Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Thanks to everyone who gathered last evening at the memorial service for our dear sister Charline Yerian. Many people shared how their lives were touched by this remarkable servant of God. Several remarked about how she was such a great example of faithfulness, kindness, and generosity. Although the blue chair with armrests at the back of the auditorium is now vacant, the influence of her example will continue to be present among us.

While Charline can never be replaced, we continue to need godly role models just like her. Who will have the courage to be the next model of godly service and faithfulness in our spiritual family? Who will choose to step up and be the humble disciple that younger disciples can safely imitate?

We may be tempted to say, “That’s not for me! I don’t want to be an example for others.” But we are an example to others whether we like it or not. The only real choice we have is regarding what kind of example we are going to be. Will we be an example that inspires others to greater Christian faithfulness and service or will we be an example that does the opposite?

The baton is being passed in the marathon of faithfulness. Who will run the next leg of the race? While it is never too late to start, it is also never too early to start. This is not just a job for senior saints. There is always a pair of younger eyes watching how we live and serve God. Let’s rise to the task before us!
“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

God loves you!

Promises, Promises...

“Then they said to Jeremiah, ‘May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with the whole message with which the Lord your God will send you to us. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God’” (Jeremiah 42:5-6).

Promises of faithfulness come easiest when God’s people are most desperate. Those who survived the destruction of Jerusalem were fearful of Babylonian reprisals in response to the assassination of Gedaliah, King Nebuchadnezzar’s appointed governor over Judah. They began making plans to run to Egypt, but they paused long enough to ask Jeremiah to seek God’s will in the matter. “Please tell us what to do, God! We promise we will do it -- even if we don’t like it!”

Ten days later, Jeremiah gives the people God’s unpleasant answer. It was God’s will for the people to stay in the land of Judah and trust His protection. But that wasn’t what they wanted to hear. God’s words were barely out of Jeremiah’s mouth before they refused to honor their promise to listen to Him and do whatever He says. “So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces, and all the people, did not obey the voice of the Lord to stay in the land of Judah” (Jeremiah 43:4).

All cultures understand it. The Chinese say it this way: “Talk doesn’t cook rice.” The Arabs say it this way: “A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain.” Our own Benjamin Franklin said: “Well done is better than well said.” However you say it, actions do speak louder than words. Promising to listen to God whether you like what He tells you or not is a grand intention. But true faithfulness to God is best measured by actions, not words. Faith without works is STILL dead!

God loves you!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Word Games

“...Then all the remnant of Judah who have gone to the land of Egypt to reside there will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs” (Jeremiah 44:28).

God had mercifully spared a remnant of His people from the destruction that fell upon Judah and Jerusalem. One would think that these individuals, more than any others, would understand the importance of hearing and obeying the words of God. But instead of remaining in the land of Judah as God told them, they fled for refuge in Egypt. And even in that foreign land, God continues to reach out to His rebellious children through the prophet, Jeremiah. He reminds them of what they had already seen and experienced (44:2-6). He confronts them concerning their own stubborn rebelliousness and warns them of the consequences (44:7-14). Incredibly, the people claim they were better off doing things their own way! They had convinced themselves that life was better when they carrying out their own words (44:15-19). God closes the chapter by saying that He is not going to argue with them over the matter. They would know soon enough whose words would stand the test of time.

My words are no match for God’s words. In a contest of words with God, I’m unarmed and disqualified. God’s words will stand long after my words are forgotten. Therefore, when I read Jeremiah 44, I am amazed at the audacity of the Judean refugees in Egypt. How dare they exalt their own words over the word of God! But when I am honest with myself, I have to admit that the temptation is there. After all, am I not “entitled” to my opinion? Not when that opinion contradicts, ignores, or exalts itself over God’s words! Aren’t my words important? Not in comparison to God’s words!

When I am tempted to play word games with God, may I be ready to echo the words and actions of Job: “Behold I am insignificant; what can I reply to you? I lay my hand on my mouth” (Job 40:4).

God loves you!