Monday, January 30, 2023

           Tradition says that Jeremiah wrote Lamentations.  There is a heavy and mournful tone that surrounds this particular book.  Indeed, the name itself contains the word “lament.”  When we lament or think of a lament, we think of mourning, loss and grief.  Jeremiah wrote this book as a lament over Israel’s disobedience toward God and even indifference toward God’s Word and ways.  Jeremiah wrote, “How the gold has lost its luster, the fine gold become dull!  The sacred gems are scattered at every street corner” (Lamentations 4:1).  Israel had lost its glow and shine.  The people had everything they could have wanted.  God had blessed them richly and exceedingly—making them His very own people.  But Israel turned from the Lord and pursued the way of other nations and other gods.  We would never lose track or sight of gold, silver or fine gems.  But Israel did.  More than losing sight of material wealth, Israel had lost sight of God!
            Israel was like fine gold that had lost its luster.  The nation was like a collection of rare and precious jewels that had been scattered into the wind—lost, disbanded and forgotten.  The people had wandered from the Lord and chosen their own ways and pursuits.  We can easily lose our glow in life when we make life about ourselves and not about knowing, seeking and pursuing the Lord.  When we insist on having life our way, we begin to lose the shine and glow that come from leaning on the Lord and walking faithfully with Him.
            A car has to be maintained. So does a house.  There are healthy habits we can choose to make part of each day so we stay physically healthy (good foods, exercise, proper rest, staying hydrated).  Likewise, we maintain our spiritual glow and luster when we develop and adhere to good spiritual disciplines.  We want to be active in reading the Bible, praying, worshiping, sharing our faith, inviting others to worship with us, tithing and serving when God opens doors for us.  Our spiritual health cannot be put on autopilot or neglected any more than our physical health can.  A car will not change its own oil or repair its own breaks—we have to keep watch on these important things.  We also have to keep watch on how we are doing spiritually.  Sunday worship gives us a wonderful and established time to see how we are doing.  We never want to confine our faith to one day a week.  But Sundays are a good time to take a look at how we are doing spiritually and how well we are practicing the great spiritual disciplines of the Christian faith.
            There could be a part of you (or me) that does not want to pray or read the Bible consistently.  We can get distracted, tired, overworked or overextended.  So, we have to discipline ourselves to do what we know is right and good.  When we do this, we usually discover that we have cultivated a great love for God and our time with Him.  Polish your faith just as you would polish fine jewels or jewelry.  Take care for how you allocate time devoted to God just as you might keep track of a collection of coins or stamps.  If you walk, bike or run each day, take that time to have an ongoing time of prayer and conversation with the Lord.  If you find yourself driving a lot, make the inside of your car a sanctuary where you can talk with the Lord or even listen to His Word being read to you. 
            The enemy would love for us to lose our way with the Lord—to be as scattered as the gems Jeremiah described.  The enemy would love to keep us just busy enough to lose sight of God and our longing for God.  One day of neglecting God can easily turn into a week, a month and a year.  And each day neglecting God moves us inches further away until we wake up one day and find that we are as scattered and lost as the gold and gems that Jeremiah wrote about in Lamentations. Make the most of every opportunity and enjoy this day that the Lord has made.  Have a great Monday.  Remember you can worship with us at any hour at              

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