The days ahead may well be days of less money, fewer options, higher prices, and more uncertainty. For many, the comforts we've known may fade away into a tougher reality.
No job, no insurance, perhaps a foreclosed home. How do we handle deprivation when all we've known is abundance? Today, we begin a series to prepare us for such a time as this. Stay with us. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer.
Today, we begin a seven-part series on famines, deserts, and other hard places. After the music of worship, Erwin Lutzer will bring a message on we have no map for this territory. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our service. We're so glad that you're worshiping with us, and whether you had a hard week or an easy week, we are here today to put aside all of the distractions of life and give our undivided attention and focus to the Lord.
Because he is here among us. And the scripture makes it very clear that if we focus on him, we will be at peace, the scripture says in Isaiah. They that wait upon the Lord, they shall renew their strength, and thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee. Whatever you've brought with us today, with you emotionally, lay it at the feet of Jesus so that we can worship him acceptably.
And the choir is going to be singing, reminding us of this marvelous promise from God's Word. Would we join together now in prayer and a moment of quietness, inviting the presence of God. Hear our prayer, O Lord, as we invite you to be among us with power, with glory, conviction, and strength. And we thank you that as we focus upon you, the assurance from your Word is that we will have peace.
In Jesus' name, Amen. Oh, he is the only perfect, blessing place. He giveth perfect peace. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is staying on thee. Oh, he is the only perfect, blessing place.
He giveth perfect peace. And he who doth praise thou, O God, will renew his strength, and I am here now, Almighty, only with thy humble hand. Heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven, keep me till I come home.
Keep me till I come home. Holy Father, yes, I love you, blessed are ye in peace with the throne, and the fire and the heat we love. We need your light and we need you. Stop the giver, stop the giver, leave us in our strength and shield.
Leave us in our strength and shield. With our strength the branch of torment, with my anxious kiss of sight, carry me through the swelling current, and be safe on me inside. Songs of praises, songs of praises, I will ever give to thee. I will ever give to thee. As we continue to worship this morning, I draw your attention to our scripture reading, which is listed in your bulletin, taken from Psalm 119.
Please join me on the bold print. Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you, let me not wander from your commandments. I've stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord, teach me your statutes. With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth, in the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes, I will not forget your word.
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. Lead me, Lord, lead me in my righteousness, save thy way, claim me for my face. For it is the Lord, the Lord only, and make us be family, save him. Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness, save thy way, claim me for my face. For it is the Lord, the Lord only, and make us be family, save him. Lead me. By the river, Lord, let us reach the perfect peace.
Over all its water, let us leave its rising trees. Perfect death in all of earth, over every day, perfect death in all of earth, keep her all away. Save the Lord, the Lord God, Christ the Holy One, might be best in all his perfect peace and rest. In the hollow of his blessed hand, never hope can follow, never take a stand.
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, not a blast of worry, touch the Spirit there. Spirit of God, share all love, hearts are fully blessed, hiding as he promised, perfect peace and rest. Let every child cry, O Father, come upon him, and trace upon our God, Lord, by the Son of God. May they trust him holy, all for us to do, they who trust him holy, find him holy too. Spirit of God, share all love, hearts are fully blessed, hiding as he promised, perfect peace and rest. Praise God from whom all has been told, praise him, all creatures here behold. Praise him above all the earth behold.
Praise, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. Well, today I begin a series of messages entitled Famines, Deserts, and Other Hard Places. So let me begin by asking, what if God wanted to take us where we have never been before? A whole new level of devastation and suffering that most of us have never experienced. Some of you are already there individually, but I mean what if, what if this was true of all of us? What then? What if the promises of God are still true and we believe that they are?
Thankfully, indeed they are. But let us suppose that we have to apply those promises in ways that we've never had to apply them before. What if we as a nation end up with the same kind of poverty that we see on television in other parts of the world and join the world in its poverty and devastation and even natural disasters? What then? What if God in heaven simply says, enough already? I've been judging you, I've been sending you remedial judgments, and those remedial judgments were intended to warn you to repent and you didn't, so enough already. You're going to now experience the kind of judgments that were found even in the Old Testament.
What then? Michael Craven, who is the president of the Center for Christ and Culture, wrote, I do not think it is too strong or sensational to say that we are witnessing the collapse of Western civilization. Across the Western world, the fruits of apostasy and secularism are manifesting themselves in overwhelmingly destructive ways. In my lifetime, I've seen the rapid demise of the family. For the first time in American history, non-married households now outnumbered married households, 52% versus 48%. Only one-fifth of American households represent traditional families. These statistics are from the New York Times. Out-of-wedlock birth rates in the U.S. have reached 40% following a similar trend throughout Western Europe countries, some of which are as high as 66%.
And then he says, while out-of-wedlock births continue to rise, more and more people are simply not having children at all, leading to a depopulation of the West on an unprecedented scale. Add to this the radical redefinition of marriage and family to include same-sex couples, and the future of the natural family, an institution essential to healthy society, only promises to worsen. Then very quickly, our academic institutions have shifted from teaching virtues and the pursuit of truth to intolerant platforms for secularized political values and godless indoctrination.
Revenue from the consumption of pornography, catch this, exceeds that generated by all professional sports combined. And then the media, of course, contributes to this. Our political leaders have abandoned statesmanship and true public service for personal power gains and government-driven social and economic engineering. Recently, Europeans and some Americans have descended into barbarism and anarchy as the state proves incapable of serving as savior and provider. In the wake of supplanting God with the state, personal responsibility has been replaced by selfishness, dependency, and entitlement. Finally, the church, which once was the moral authority in the West, has rendered herself irrelevant, marginalized in the public square. As for the church, and now this is most important, we alone bear the responsibility for our own demise. The culture did not render us irrelevant.
We did. We've been entrusted with the truth, the message of hope, and we have neglected this responsibility in exchange for security and comfort. We've tried unsuccessfully to build our lives in a way that seeks to comfortably balance the demands of following Christ with our own quest for personal peace and affluence.
But it doesn't work. You either love Christ or you love your own life, and the article goes on. In addition to what he mentions there, and I didn't read it all, I'd like to add today to show our weakness, our submission to Islam. There are Catholic hospitals that are taking down crucifixes, and there are Protestant churches that are taking down their crosses so as not to offend our Muslim friends. Just in Canada, where we came from last week, we were told about a classroom where there was a substitute teacher who brought her prayer mat, then in the middle of the class asked the class to be quiet as she went through her prayers. Could you even imagine what would happen if a Christian were to do that? Perhaps I've told you that in some schools, the Muslim students, because of their courage and commitment, they put their prayer mats in the halls, and students have to step around them.
Christian students have to be off somewhere where nobody sees them, having their Bible studies or their witness. I have a friend who works in national security. He says that there are members of the Brotherhood, the Muslim Brotherhood, that have infiltrated our security forces, and he says that we are generally regarded as weak, quick to compromise, and easily led.
And I think that that assessment is right. So my question to you today is, what happens when the sock comes unraveled? What happens when the difficulties really come, and when the fruits of secularism begin to have their full impact? What then? I can imagine somebody saying, Pastor Lutzer, you shouldn't preach about this because people are going to panic and fear. Well, just to be clear, my purpose is actually the direct opposite. I do not want us to fear. I do not want us to panic.
When other people do, we shouldn't. I can hardly wait because one of the messages I'm going to preach comes from Jeremiah, where Jeremiah says, Blessed is the man who has planted his tree near a stream, because he will not fear when drought comes. That's the whole point of these messages. It's to be realistic about what might happen, but it's also to engender hope and fear and commitment to God and to one another, as we shall see. That's the purpose. In fact, in the final message on the series, we all are going to pray a prayer. It's going to be a prayer that all of you will be invited to pray to lift any spirit of fear or panic from us, regardless of what the future holds, because our roots will be that strong. You see, it's my intention, I don't think that we can change society, by the way, and I'll tell you why, at least not a great deal.
I think we're too far down the river. But it's my intention that when this series is over, we will have changed, because whom we trust will have changed. That's really the goal. Wayne Gretzky, that great hockey player in Canada, said that the reason that he was so good on the ice, he said he never would go where the puck was, he said.
I always went where I knew the puck would be. And that's what we want to do in these messages. Not just talk about what is, but what could be. I love the sayings of Woody Allen. He really was gifted in saying wonderful things. And one of them is this, he says, you know, history has to repeat itself, because nobody was listening the first time around. And history does repeat itself.
And it's repeating itself right now, and nobody is listening no matter how many times around it goes. Come with me to the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet who lived during a time of Israel's history that was much like our own. Jeremiah wrote and taught and preached during a time of decline. There had been a revival under a man by the name of Josiah, but the revival didn't last because the repentance wasn't deep enough.
The nation's tears were not hot enough. And so in the book, God is pronouncing judgment on Jerusalem and Judah and predicting what we call the Babylonian captivity. So throughout all the book, you find that the nation is coming down from the north.
That's the Babylonians. And they're going to destroy Jerusalem and destroy all the cities, and that's the message Jeremiah has. You'll notice in verse 5 of chapter 1, and by the way, it's on page 627, if you just happen to forget your own Bible at home.
627 on the Bible that is there in the seat ahead of you. Verse 4 and 5, Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you, I appointed you a prophet to the nations. And of course, Jeremiah says, Who am I?
I don't have the strength, etc. God says, I'm going to put words in your mouth. Verse 8, Do not be afraid of them because I am with you to deliver. And then you'll notice continuing in chapter 1, God says that these people, the Babylonians, are going to come against the gates of Jerusalem. And then verse 16, I will declare my judgments against them, that is the people of Judah and Jerusalem, for their evil in forsaking me.
They've made offerings to other gods, worshipped the works of their own hands, but you dress yourself for work, and this applies to us now. Arise, say to them, everything I commanded you, do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, bronze walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, because I am with you, declares the Lord. I know that this applies specifically to Jeremiah, but it also applies to us. You and I are living at this moment of history, the confluence of genes that God brought together to create you was intended for this moment.
There was a reason why you weren't born 30 years ago. You are called to this moment to prove God's faithfulness in the midst of a nation that is under judgment, and more judgment is coming. And like Jeremiah, God is going to protect us, he's going to care for us, and not only that, he says, I will fight on your behalf. But you'd better be faithful. You are called to this family, this family of believers, this moment in history, you are called by God.
And you and I are together. Now what I'd like to do is to look at that phrase that I read in verse 16, all the judgments that I'm going to bring upon you. And I'm going to answer the question, what were the judgments that God brought to the people? What was God so upset about? What was it that made him so angry that he would talk about these judgments?
Three different kinds. First of all, you have what we would call moral judgments. All the way through Jeremiah, you always have this reference to idols. You know, the people went to the hills, and they made idols of wood and stone and silver. For example, Jeremiah says in chapter 2, verse 27, you who say to a tree, you are my father, and a stone, you gave me birth. And then God says they have turned their back to me and not their face. In other words, they didn't face God, they turned their back on God.
What's going on? I used to read the Old Testament and think, what in the world were the people doing, you know, this idea of making an idol? I mean, give me a break. Who would pray to something that you made? And then I heard a lecture by an Old Testament scholar on idolatry in the Old Testament. And then I understood the reason that people preferred these kinds of gods is because these gods were very tolerant and accepting of sexual orgies.
That was the whole point. You know the God of Israel, he opposed homosexuality, adultery, fornication, we don't want that. We want a God who is compatible with anything and everything that we delight and want to do. That's the God we want.
So if I make one of wood, he'll agree with me about everything. So all the way through Jeremiah, you have these references that, you know, you fornicate under the trees and you do all this stuff because God says, I'm going to judge you for it. And he says that all the wells are going to dry up.
You know, in chapter 2, it says in verse 13, For my people have committed two evils. They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, hewed them out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. You know, you don't understand this unless you realize in Israel, the cisterns were really just caves in mountains. And they would plaster them in a very primitive way. And pretty soon that water would be brackish and it would be very, very bitter and people couldn't even drink it.
It was so bad. And in that context, the Lord says, you know, you've forsaken me, the living water, the streams that flow, and you've hewn yourself out cisterns, broken ones that can't hold water, and they will dry up. Isn't that true of illicit sexual relations? I remember a man here 25 years ago, not with us anymore, but we were trying to convince him to go back to his wife rather than commit adultery. And I remember his words to me. He says, I have found an oasis in the desert and now you want me to go back to the dry desert. Ten years later, he writes this 10-page letter indicating all the bitterness that came to him. The oasis turned out to be a broken cistern that could hold no water.
The desert would have been better. Wow. So God says, I'm going to judge you for this. Is there anyone who doesn't believe that we are under judgment because of rampant, unrestrained sexuality, which we call progress?
Is there anyone who doesn't believe that? The very fact that 20 million children will go home tonight with only one parent, primarily the mother, is proof that we have broken God's laws, adultery, pornography, and the home is being decimated. By the way, speaking of single mothers, we here at the church believe that you are our heroes. We know that you need help and that's why we have family ministries.
We're here to help you parent your children. That's why Pastor Bob is on staff, he and his wife, because we are committed to speaking to and ministering to the brokenness that exists in our society. But take, for example, sexual addiction.
What is addiction? It's simply the intensification of the consequences of sin. God says, you want to sin this way? I'll give you lots of it. Now, even in those situations, we are here to help, to encourage you men particularly.
That's why you should be going to our men's fraternity ministries, where you can find other brothers who are struggling so that you can struggle together and be victorious together for the glory of God. But God says, I'm judging you because of your immorality. And by the way, it says in Ezekiel, they make up idols in their own mind. So people today have a God who's so tolerant, he agrees with them about everything.
He might as well be made of stone. There's a second kind of judgment, and it follows inevitably, and that is, of course, economic judgment. There are so many passages, but, for example, in chapter 2, verse 15, God says that when the Babylonians come, the land is going to be a waste. It says in chapter 2, verse 17, let's see if I can find it here quickly, had you not brought this upon yourself by the way the Lord says?
And then he goes on to say that you are under every green tree. And in chapter 3, verse 2, lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see where have you not been ravished? By the waysides, you have been awaiting lovers, like an Arab in a wilderness.
An Arab might be waiting for an animal that he can kill or whatever, and that's the way you've been. And what I'm going to do is to send you judgment. With your vile whoredom, the Bible says you've polluted the land.
But notice, this is what I wanted, verse 3, therefore the showers have been withheld. And there are verses that say that the blessing of God in terms of the productivity is going to be taken away from you. The land is going to be made barren. And remember, in those days, the land was the economy. It is going to be barren. So you have economic judgments that are going to take place. And it says in the book of Deuteronomy, God said to the people, if you follow me, you will lend to many nations and you will not borrow.
Now, what do I need to say about the United States of America? As we begin to spend our way into oblivion, and we realize, by the way, that it is the children who are going to suffer. That's exactly what Jeremiah says. He says it is the children. He says the Babylonians are going to come and they are going to destroy your children. I can't see it in the text right now.
It's written here in my notes somewhere. But that's what God says. And children are going to suffer more arguments, more arguments about money, more divorces. And that's what pains me the most about the future, is the kind of debt and devastation we are leaving for our children and our grandchildren.
But it's easy to point our fingers at the federal government. What about us? What about our consumerism?
How did we as families get into such deep debt? I'll speak about that possibly in another message, except to say that it may well be that God says enough is enough. So we are being judged economically. Let me say also that we are being judged religiously. How does God really judge a nation?
Here's what he does. He takes people's ears and he makes them deaf to the truth so that they will only accept what they want to hear. He says in the book of Amos, he said, I'm going to send a famine to you, but it's not going to be a famine of bread and water. He said it's going to be a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. In other words, you aren't going to hear God's word. And if you don't hear God's word, you're going to be deluded by someone who pretends to preach it. And that's why Jeremiah spends so much time on false prophets.
Your Bibles are open, for example, in chapter 5, verse 12. It says, verse 12, they have spoken falsely of the Lord and have said he will do nothing. False prophets are speaking. There will be no sword or disaster that will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine. And then they're speaking about the true prophets and they say, you know, prophets like Jeremiah, prophets like Ezekiel, they are like wind.
The word is not in them. Now your Bibles are still open to chapter 5. Look at what it says in verse 30. An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule at their direction.
My people love to have it so. But what will you do when the end comes? Now before I read the next verse about false prophets, I have to tell you I'm sometimes amazed at God's leading in my life. Yesterday morning I was watching the news very early when I got out of bed and I decided to turn to a channel I sometimes turn to when I want to hear a false prophet. No, no, no.
Yeah, you can do that. You know you can find them everywhere. Now I don't have to tell you, do I, that not everybody on television is a false prophet. I'll give you one clue in just a moment as to how to tell the difference.
Not the only clue, but it's an important clue. And so this false prophet was saying, I was there, he said, and I had this vision of Jesus. Jesus came to me with a tray of cookies from one end to the other, and he said about with this tone of voice, take a cookie. I'm telling you the truth.
Maybe some of you watch that channel too. And then he went on to say about all of the blessings that should come into our life, I couldn't take any more of it. And then I'm sure it ended by saying, send me some money that will be seed money, and God will bless you from now throughout all eternity if you just give me money. I was sitting there thinking, how does this relate to the pastor who is in Iraq sitting in jail waiting to be executed?
How does it relate? In fact, one of the messages I'm going to preach in this series is entitled Faith at the Breaking Point. It's going to have to deal with martyrdom and whether or not our faith is strong enough to endure it. But how does that pastor relate to that?
How does somebody who's dying of cancer, whose kids are all sick, exactly how does that relate that you're all supposed to be happy, happy, happy? So I'll tell you right out, if you want to find a false prophet, it's quite easy to do. But they prophesy in God's name. All throughout here, God says, they prophesy in my name, but I've not sent them. I'll read the verse, and then I'll give you the clue. This is in chapter 14, verse 13. Then I said, ah, Lord, behold, the prophets say to them, you shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine. But I will give you assured peace in this place. And the Lord said to me, the prophets are prophesying lies in my name.
I did not send them, nor did I command them to speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name, although I did not send them, and who say, oh, sword and famine shall not come upon this land? Uh-uh, especially if you send me money. By sword and famine, those prophets shall be consumed, and the people to whom they prophesy will be out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them, their wives, their sons, their daughters, for I will pour out their evil upon them.
Wow. How do you know a false prophet? One clue, not the only clue. Sometime in the future, in a different series of messages, I'd like to speak about false prophets in more detail, but I'll simply throw this out to you. Don't ever follow a preacher who does not have a good theology of suffering. That's one of the ways to find a false prophet. When the Apostle Paul was distinguishing between the true and the false prophets, you remember what he said.
He said, if you want to know that I'm legit, watch how I suffer. And if all that you get is this business of being blessed and that everybody's to be healed because Jesus took care of the curse. Of course Jesus took care of the curse, but we don't inherit all of it now. That's why even false prophets eventually die. Death is the curse, too.
Never known of one that has lived forever or even beyond the age of 100. So the point is this, that God says, I'm going to judge these false prophets. And I can imagine that when the devastation comes, if the day of calamity should come upon us, all of these false prophets would suddenly vanish like a tsunami taking care of a sandcastle. And God would say, all of your visions and all of your dreams and all of the prophecies that there will be no judgment and no suffering are all wrong.
How do we wrap this up so that you and I know where we're going in this series of messages? I've entitled this particular message, We Have No Map for This Territory. And it's because I'm talking about places where you and I have never been.
At least I haven't. But it's not as if there is no territory that others have not experienced. And as I mentioned in the book of Jeremiah, we already see it.
Now, here's the way in which we need to nail a few things down. First of all, let me say that calamities and judgments from God may be unavoidable, unavoidable. I'll talk about this when I speak about God's eventual judgment, but in the book of Revelation, there's a phrase I never saw before. Have you ever had that experience?
You just say, I never saw that before. It says that when Babylon is destroyed, all the cities of the world will collapse. That's what's going to happen to Chicago. We cannot stop the eventual demise of America. America isn't even mentioned in prophecy.
We can maybe slow it down, and we should do all that we possibly can. But in Ezekiel 14, a very interesting passage, God says, I'm bringing judgment. And even though Noah and Job are praying and Daniel, he said, I won't stop my hand. There is such a thing as a tipping point where God says, I have had enough, and sometimes it's inevitable. I think that God has brought many remedial judgments to America, but we're not listening.
I read to you a moment ago, I guess I didn't. I have more material here today than I can cover, but I've read a moment ago where God says, I'm going to stop up their ears, and they're not going to hear. People don't want to hear about God and judgment.
They just don't want to hear. You know what they did with Jeremiah? They threw him in a pit. Jeremiah ended in a prison. I mean, it was not a fairy tale story of how this prophet began to drive a new chariot.
There was nothing along that line. It was tough sledding. But God says, I'm going to defend you, and I'm going to be with you, and you're my servant. And God says that to you today. You are God's servant for this moment, even though people don't want to hear. Second, in a time of judgment, judgment is always collective. When the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem, Jeremiah suffered along with them, and the remnant of believers also suffered, just like us. After all, we are on the same ship.
We are going to the same destination as a country we are. I love the words of Chesterton. He said, we are on a life raft together in a fearful storm.
We owe one another a terrible allegiance. And I would say that as Moody Church, one of the things I want to have happen in this series is that we think through better ways how we can help one another through fearful storms. And could I say, as a parenthesis, that there is much more going on in this congregation than you know about, even that I know about, and I know more than most of you. We are helping people who are going through their own day of calamity. We are sometimes paying their bills. We are involved, whether the calamity is personal, whether it is economic, whether or not it is other areas of counseling. We are doing what we can. But you who are sitting here today listening to this, you also owe to us a frightful, terrible kind of loyalty. We have to go through the future together. And I am burdened for the many of you who believe that Christianity is a matter of convenience.
You may come to a service. You never give anything. You never volunteer for anything. You never commit to anything. You're never part of a small group because you simply think you can coast. I am not a prophet like Jeremiah, but I believe the day is coming, and it could even happen in my lifetime, when the day of casual Christianity will finally be over. And there will be a distinction between the committed and the uncommitted.
And coasting will no longer be an option. But we're in it together. Sane boats, those say, well, you know, those who are in favor of same-sex marriage are saying, in effect, you know, I can drill a hole on my side of the boat, and I have a constitutional right to do that. Well, yeah, the problem is we're on the same boat. That's the problem. We cannot separate that, and that's not the only issue.
It's the only one that came to mind right now. But we are in this together. And I say as a congregation, are we going to hang together? I hope so.
You're very quiet out there. Finally, I see this as nothing but a great time of opportunity. What an opportunity.
What a time to be alive. On Friday on the plane coming from Canada, Rebecca gave me a newspaper, or I should say a magazine. She wanted me to read an article. What an article. Here's a young mother dying of cancer.
And before she died, she said this. And she has young children. At least they talked about a son who was still young and having some disabilities. Can you imagine? Can cancer be any worse than that to take a young mother?
I can't think of anything worse right off the top of my head. But she said, to me, the big C in my life is not cancer. The big C in my life is Christ. That's what it's all about. The goal of life is not to have a long life. God may give it to you, as he did my parents, but that's not the goal of life is to try to figure out how do we live an extra day. The goal of life is not to have a long life. The goal of life is to glorify Jesus no matter what situation we are in or what is happening around us.
That's the goal of life. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. And so the big C in our lives is not calamity. The big C in our lives is Christ.
And some of you who are listening don't even know him personally. You must acknowledge your own need of him and realize that he died to be our savior, and when he is our savior, he will be our protector, even as Jeremiah was protected. Not protected from evil and not protected from suffering, but protected from the wrath of God, and protected and God says, no matter where you go, no matter what situation you're in, no matter what pressure you have on you, I'm going to be there with you.
I'm not going to abandon you. Even in Jeremiah, God talks about a remnant that he is going to be with no matter what. And that's why this series of messages is being preached. It is to help us clarify our values, to get rid of the fog, and to see what is eternal and what is important. And then to know whether it is a famine, whether it is a desert, or some other hard place, we can make it safely to our eternal home. And we're created for this moment, this hour, right now, at this moment, to be God's representative in a world that clearly has lost its way. Let us pray together.
Father, we feel like Jeremiah. You know, we're scared. We're saying, well, we don't know what to say. We don't know what to do.
We're totally paralyzed. We've been told our faith is supposed to be private. We've kept it very, very private. We've done very well. We've not lived it out.
We've not shared it. We've held it to ourselves. And here we are, with everything running over us, weak, eager to compromise. Oh, Father, we may not be able to do too much about the world, too much about politics, perhaps a little bit that we should do, but at the end of the day, help us to be changed by whom we trust. And give us the courage and give us the hope that we need to make it successfully to the other side. Help us to be gripped by the fact that you've called us to this moment of history, to be your representative in this world. And for those who've never trusted us, and for those who've never trusted Christ as Savior, help them to see that if they come under the shadow of His protection through faith, receiving His gift of salvation and His forgiveness, they can be also on the path with us to something far better than earth has to offer.
We ask in Jesus' name, amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer began a series on famines, deserts, and other hard places as he spoke on We Have No Map for This Territory. Next week, part two in this series and a message on trusting God when the wells are dry. This seven-part series can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. Call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Church's ministry. Our thank you will be a set of CDs designed to help us prepare for the hard times that may be coming. Just call 1-800-215-5001, or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614.
Mention famines, deserts, and other hard places when you write or call. Online, go to moodyoffer.com. That's moodyoffer.com. Join us next time for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
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