Hard Lessons

Four young men stand gaping up at the mountain. One is determined to climb while the others try to talk him out of it, telling him he is inexperienced and will never make it.

The young man takes a deep breath and states, “I’ll go alone if you aren’t coming!” and hikes up the heavy backpack on his back and heads determinedly toward a narrow path that leads part way up the mountain. I can do this myself. I don’t need them! He thinks.

The others watch while shaking their heads. “He has a real death wish,” one boy states.

The young fellow climbs and climbs and before long he looks to be a small speck on the side of the mountain to those watching below.

He grabs at the crags in the rocks. He slowly pulls himself up another inch or two. Sweat drips down his face. His hands are already bloody and blisters form on his fingers.

Another six inches and he stops, breathing hard. His backpack feels fifty pounds heavier.

He finds a narrow ledge just wide enough for him to sit down and rest. He slides the backpack off his back and it suddenly drops over the edge falling hundreds of feet until the lad can no longer see it or hear its crash.

Out of the corner of his eye he sees movement and quickly twists his head to see what it is. Much to his surprise a Man appears at the other end of the ledge.

Clinging to the ledge, breathing hard and scared out of his wits, he yells, “Can you help me, Mister?”

The Man slowly makes His way to the young fellow and sits down beside him. He offers him some water from His water bottle and the boy thanks Him, then takes a long gulping drink.

The young fellow swipes his arm across his mouth and hands the now empty water bottle back to the Man. He scoots back a fraction of an inch to press closer to the rock wall.

“We all have mountains to climb,” the Man states. “But we don’t have to climb them alone.”

The boy looks at Him and asks, “Who are you, and how’d you get up here?”

“I am the I Am and mountains are my specialty.”

“Huh?” The boy replies.

“There are mountains and there are valleys. Lessons are learned in both. It’s how well you traverse both and how well those lessons are learned that will determine your journey.”

The young fellow slowly slides his back up the rocky wall and stands cautiously. “Well, I’ll climb this one!”

His foot slips sending loose rock over the ledge.

The Man grabs him.

“You have much to learn.” The Man states, and helps the young man to the next ledge.

(Sue’s version) Prov. 29:23, 16:5, 11:2

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Where’s our Linen Belt?

rameses_girdle

In Jeremiah 13:1 the Lord instructs Jeremiah, “Go buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch the water.”  Now isn’t that kind of a strange request? Put on a linen belt but hey, don’t get it wet. Maybe because linen is a type of material that when wet will squeeze the daylights out of Jeremiah or become really itchy like wool. After all it was considered an “intimate” garment. It was worn like our underwear. But on the other hand maybe not. Maybe He had some other reason.

Jeremiah does as he’s told and then the Lord tells him to take the belt off and go bury it in Perath. Jeremiah had to be wondering what in the world is the Lord doing! First He has Jeremiah put the belt on, then take it off, and then go hide it! What? But Jeremiah again does as he’s told and carries the belt to Perath and buries it. Now you have to wonder what Jeremiah is thinking on his treak to Perath.

As the days pass Jeremiah forgets about it and goes about his business when the Lord shows up again some time later and says, “Hey Jer. go get the belt you buried.” (my translation) He goes all the way back to Perath and digs up the belt only to find it is ruined and absolutely useless! Now what? Jeremiah must be really wondering if the Lord has imbibed on a little too much wine.

God knows what Jeremiah is thinking so explains as Jeremiah stands holding the ruined and dirty belt looking puzzled, I’m sure.  “In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah (Let’s replace that with America) and the great pride of Jerusalem. (America) These wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt – completely useless!” (v.10)

Ohhh that had to be back then. We don’t serve other gods! Is that what you’re thinking? What about the god that we place above our family and children that we leave at 6:00 or 7:00  every morning to go to? The job! What about the god of being independant and “I can’t have this kid! It will interfere with my plans?” What about the god of lust, for the same sex or for my neighbors wife or husband? The love of money? The need to be better than the Jones? Oh America, we have a whole bunch of god’s and sadly the gods of the world have attracted us so much and so fervently that we are turning our back on the one True God. The Almighty God that created heaven and earth and everything in it.

God told Jeremiah, “For as a belt is bound around a man’s waist, so I have bound the whole house of Israel (America) to me,’ to be My people for My renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.” (v.11)

God has called the Jewish people His people for many, many years but He has called the gentiles, too. (That’s non-Jewish people) He has offered the same redemption and the same blessings as He offered, and still offers, the Jewish people to us. He took America under His wings because we are a Nation under God. We looked to Him, we prayed, we sought His wisdom, and even made our Constitution from His decrees.

He had His linen belt around our waist, holding us close, but we have removed that belt and thrown it in the dirt, replacing it with pride! Pride has thrown prayer out of schools, “Gay Pride,” “We don’t need the Ten Commandments,” “It’s my body,” say the name of Jesus and see how mouths start screaming, we have elected government officials that say they are a Christian and in the same breath condemn and mock Christ followers, and the list goes on. Until America wakes up we are as dirty and as useless as the belt Jeremiah dug up and the Lord cast aside!

America may be pushing God out of the picture but God still loves us in spite of our stupidity and has been sending His warnings; Katrina, 9-11, earthquakes, Sunami’s, AIDS, Ebola, ISIS!

“But they have not listened.”  

~~~~~~~

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Blessings to you.