The Ancient Paths

Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 7:57 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “It is Well with My Soul,” which was immediately followed by the song “Broken Hearts.” After I had read the passage of scripture, the Lord then put the song “The King is Coming!” in my mind, and I began singing it in faith believing he is truly coming for his children one day.

It Is Well with My Soul / H. G. Spafford / P. P. Bliss

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well; it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed his own blood for my soul…

It is well with my soul,
It is well; it is well with my soul.

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Jeremiah 6 (NIV):

I Cannot Keep Silent

I cannot keep silent.
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;
I have heard the battle cry. ~ Jer. 4:19b

To whom can I speak and give warning?
Who will listen to me?
Their ears are closed
so they cannot hear.
The word of the Lord is offensive to them;
they find no pleasure in it.
But I am full of the wrath of the Lord,
and I cannot hold it in. ~ Jer. 6:10-11a

I identify with Jeremiah’s words and the emotions I believe he felt when he said these words. God had shown him so much concerning the spiritually devoid condition of God’s people. He had heard the warning cries of God Almighty for his people to repent of their sins and to turn back to their God in obedience to his commands or else face God’s hand of judgment. The Lord had shown him the spiritual decay and rot of the family of God and how the people, for the most part, were completely oblivious to their own spiritual condition. The Lord had given him vivid pictures of the spiritual adultery and idolatry of his people, and he agonized over the idolatrous ways of his people and their refusal to listen to God’s messages and to come to repentance. Yet, even though the people largely stopped up their ears and refused to listen, Jeremiah could not speaking the messages of God to the people. And, I believe God is speaking these same messages to his idolatrous and adulterous church of today, and I, for one, cannot hold it in, and I cannot keep silent!

As though it were not serious

“From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all; … ~ Jer. 6:13-15a

This is happening in today’s church, as well, though not in all the church, but in the idolatrous and spiritually adulterous church of today which has largely adopted the ways of mankind and of the world, over and above scripture. So many of our church leaders have bought into the marketing schemes of men for building Christ’s church, when Christ said he will build his church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. They follow the teachings and philosophies of worldly men, and they utilize worldly methods to attract the world, but to what? They water down the gospel of Jesus Christ and teach that repentance (turning from sin; radical heart change) and obedience to Christ and to his commands are not essential elements of believing faith for salvation. They tell the people that all they have to do is recite a prayer and that they now have their ticket into heaven, that it can never be taken away from them, and, as an added bonus, God will graciously rapture them out of this world before anything gets really bad (before the time of tribulation).

So, in essence, they are giving people a false hope of heaven based upon a lie and deception because many knowingly and willingly teach what is false in order to gain converts for themselves. In watering down the gospel they are thus dressing the serious wounds of people with a Band-Aid (a false gospel), as though the sin is not really serious. Many are also teaching that we should never confront one another with serious sin unless we have first developed a long-standing close relationship with people to where we have their trust, but then how many fail to ever confront once that relationship has been established because now they don’t want to do anything to hurt that relationship? They also tell them that God is pleased with them no matter what they do, and that he will never visit them in judgment (divine discipline). Yet many will hear on that day, “I never knew you!”

The Ancient Paths

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I appointed watchmen over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ ~ Jer. 6:16-17

Crossroads are a point of decision concerning which way to go next. The “ancient paths” and the “good way” are the way of repentance, the fear (awe; honor; respect) of and love for Almighty God, and obedience to his commands, which are requirements for salvation by God’s grace through faith (see Eph. 4:17-24; Luke 9:23-25; Rom. 6; Gal. 2:20; 1 John, et al).

We are to no longer walk according to the pattern of our flesh so that we obey its desires, but we are to put off the deeds of darkness and our old selves, be transformed into new creatures in Christ Jesus via the Spirit of God, and to put on our new selves, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” We are to walk in the Spirit and in obedience to Christ and to his commands. Then we will know his peace and rest for our souls.

Yet, the people said “No,” and much of today’s church is also saying “No,” from the leadership down, because they don’t want to offend the people and lose people for their earthly kingdoms, yet they will lose many for the kingdom of heaven because they refused to believe and practice the truth themselves, and because they refused to teach it to others. And, God has appointed his servants today to give out these same messages to his church, and in many respects these messages are being met with the same or a similar response by the vast majority of today’s complacent, comfortable and accommodating church.

Not Acceptable

What do I care about incense from Sheba
or sweet calamus from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;
your sacrifices do not please me.” ~ Jer. 6:20

God is not interested in our ritualistic, dutiful, and/or obligatory exercises of religious piety and practice, thinking our sacrifices for God will be pleasing to him. God wants our hearts fully devoted and committed to him in surrender and obedience to his will for our lives. He wants us as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the pattern of this world, but daily being transformed in our hearts and minds so that by our lives we can prove what is pleasing to him (see Rom. 12:1-2).

No matter how many church services or Bible studies or small group meetings we attend, or how many missions projects we involve ourselves in, or how many times we sing in the praise team or serve in the nursery, if what we do does not come from hearts devoted to God and to obedience to him and to his commands, and/or if we are knowingly living in disobedience and refusal to surrender all to him, then God will not be pleased with our sacrifices. He has no need of them.

Weep, mourn and wail

Put on sackcloth, my people,
and roll in ashes;
mourn with bitter wailing
as for an only son,
for suddenly the destroyer
will come upon us. ~ Jer. 6:26

When judgment falls, and it is inevitable that it is coming, and it is coming to America very soon, I believe, those who have put their faith in a false gospel absent of the cross of Christ in our lives, and thus in a false hope of never having to suffer such discipline at the hand of God, will be ill-prepared for what is coming.

Yet I believe scripture (read Isaiah, for one) teaches that God will use this time of judgment to purify his church, and to revive and restore her, and that through her the gospel will go out throughout the world, and that people of all nations will flock to Jesus Christ, to his gospel, to the kingdom of heaven, to his church (his body) and to salvation, and therein lies much hope for our future.

Broken Hearts / An Original Work / December 14, 2012

Based off Jeremiah 31:15 (cf. Matt. 2:18)

Weeping in Ramah; Her children no more.
Rachel is weeping; Her comfort forlorn.
Jesus is waiting; Her comforter be,
When she calls on Him, Down on bended knee.
He has provided our sins’ sacrifice,
When He died for our sin, Paying the price.

Our hearts are broken; We’re feeling her pain;
Looking for answers and someone to blame.
Jesus is calling us; Him to believe;
Turning from our sins, So we can be free.
Trust in His promises. Lean on His grace;
Living for Jesus, Eternal life gain.

Days of confusion, Distress, pain and grief;
Looking for someone to give us relief.
Our God and Father in heaven above
Is looking down to us; Providing love.
Call upon Him in your Sadness and pain.
Trust your life with His Son; Live life again.

The King is Coming! / Bill Gaither

Happy faces line the hallway, those whose lives have been redeemed
Broken homes He has mended, those from prison He has freed
Little children and the aged hand in hand stand all a-glow
Who were crippled, broken, ruined, clad in garments white as snow