August 16, 2015

Jeremiah 23:16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the Lord.

What a tragic thing! When those who are charged with communicating the heart of God to His people speak only out of their own hearts instead, nothing good can come of it. Sadly, this is all too common. Just as in Jeremiah’s day, preachers who are concerned with padding their bank accounts or pandering to their flesh aren’t going to be on their faces before God, seeking what He would say to His people. Much of the mess today, not just in the Church but in the world, comes from precisely this problem. At the very least, preachers have been afraid to speak out against sin in society because they were afraid it would hurt their popularity, and they were more concerned with having a big church and big salary than with speaking God’s truth. Thankfully, recent events in America have caused some to wake up and realize they have to stand up against the tide of evil, and that is hopeful. However, this has to be on a day-by-day continuing basis, and not just a flash in the pan. It is too easy to get going with some popular movement and forget God entirely. Looking at a collection of sermons and picking one to preach is no way to feed the people of God! God calls all of His children into individual, personal fellowship with Him; how much more does He call for His shepherds to hear His voice! I have seen people who were “in the ministry” because they thought it was a good, safe occupation. How very dangerous! Speaking in God’s Name without listening to what God is saying is like playing Russian Roulette with five bullets and only one empty chamber. God calls His agents first of all to be holy, and along with that to be faithful. Anything else is running full tilt at a cliff.

As a pastor/minister myself, this certainly applies to me. If I cook up messages rather than listen to God, then I am inviting disaster. To be quite honest, I am nervous about this morning’s message, because I am speaking on the theme of my photo show that runs through tomorrow. It is a good theme, recognizing that we are created beings and responding to our Creator in gratitude and praise, but I fear that it might not be what God wants said to this congregation this morning. I need to be fully submitted and sensitive, speaking only and exactly what He wants said, because only that has the power to change hearts and minds and deliver from evil of all sorts.

Father, thank You for this Word to me. Help me indeed be faithful to communicate Your Word to Your people, to all to whom You give ears to hear, whether they are part of this congregation or not. Thank You for the opportunities You’ve given me to speak to people in various ways this week. May Your words through me have their full work, whenever, however, and to whomever they are spoken, so that the works of the devil may be destroyed (1 John 3:8) and Your kingdom come, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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