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February 13, 2022 1:00 am
Believers can tend to get caught up with everyone else when economic and social calamities strike. How should we as believers act and live when the going gets tough? Let’s take some guidance from the prophet Jeremiah who saw times like ours coming. To endure times of hardship, we need to have a support system in place cultivated in the soil of our inner devotional life with God. We’ll explore five choices that cultivate intimacy with God where He can revive our souls even in the middle of a dry and dusty land.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
There comes a time in the decline of the nation. But God no longer delays judgment.
America may be at that point. Believers are caught up with everyone else in economic and social calamity strikes. How should we as believers act and live in the going gets tough today guidance from an Old Testament prophet saw times like ours coming from Chicago.
This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer.
Today we conclude a seven part series on famines, deserts and other hard places after the music of worship. Erwin Blitzer will bring a message from Jeremiah chapter 17 on developing a support system.
Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our service were so glad that you have come to worship with us, and we been praying God's blessing on this place in your life, and we trust that you will sense it.
You know the Bible says in Psalm 103. Bless the Lord all my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name. There are times when we say to ourselves, we need a blessing, but we can also bless God through our prayers through our commitment to our worship and that let us open our lives to him today to experience that blessing from him, but in turn bring glory to him through our response no matter where you are, no matter where your listening.
God is watching is monitoring our hearts that is about together in prayer.
Father, we do say bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name we pray that the inside the inner life that we have within us might be gathered up in one in concentration in praise in gratitude, expressing our deep love for you use these moments together in ways that we cannot even predict because your grace and your love and your mercy is going to be so evident, open our lives to your spirit. We ask in Jesus name, amen. I invite you to follow along with me in your bulletin as we read together from Jeremiah chapter 17 verses five through eight in Galatians chapter 5. Please re-allow Whitney on the bold print. This is God's holy word death, saith the Lord cursed is the man who interested in man and makes flash his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a straw in the dancing and shall not see any good, he sailed doing out in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Bless the man who trusted in the Lord who is the Lord, he is like a tree planted by Warner debt-financed. Our Ruth my dream and does not fear when heat comes for the leads remain green and is not painted in the year of draw for it does not see the bear fruit but the fruit of joy P patient guy.
Good moan in gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law. Thank you. Please be seated. So how are you doing how's your inner world coming along as I mentioned one of our members was looking on the floor after a meeting in after his service and somebody had scribbled this prayer on the bulletin summarize in Abba father. I thirst and I hunger for your holy love, grace and truth and mercy and grace to show your mercy even to others who are my enemy, perfect my heart in your love for me, cast out all fear. My father of love and mercy, grace and truth. May my cup run over with your love and mercy. Please. I love this because my innermost being to overflow with rivers of living water, even to my enemies. Clearly, this person was dealing with some enemies. I want ask for a show of hands but anybody here dealing with some enemies are right I hear you, and then he out oneself or she wants grace, truth, purity and holiness.
Strength our my Jesus, I hunger and thirst and then I am so empty. Please fill me cast out all fear, impurity, lust, jealousy, envy, coveting, greed, malice, revenge, and the prayer goes on for a bit, and fill my empty cup.
Wonder if that speaks to you today if the truth were known in your inner world is in great difficulty. Today were going to go back to some basics and do as you know, this is the conclusion really of a series of messages entitled famines, deserts and other hard places and we talked about the famines the deserts the economic downturn what people of had to experience in life how hard times get but today we are going to concentrate on that inner life and in during in the midst of it all, but first of all some bad news before we get to the good news. I do believe that there is a time in the history of the nation where the nation seems to be at a tipping point and it goes the wrong direction and there is nothing that we can do to even stop it.
I think for example of Ezekiel chapter 14, where God says things are so bad that even if Nello and Daniel, and Job prayed I would spare them, but it would not reverse the direction of the country's terrible when you look at the news today.
You may indicate that perhaps America is close to that. But in the midst of all that God always has a remnant, there are always people who still are faithful and they deserve his special attention and ours as well. Would you take your Bibles and turn to the 17th chapter the 17th chapter of Jeremiah Jeremiah 17 I preached from this passage of Scripture. A couple of years ago, but it fits in so beautifully with what we've been talking about the drought and famine. The desert, I really do feel that it needs to be reshaped as I tried to do it in very applicable to us today. Notice the Jeremiah begins in verse one of chapter 17. The sin of Judah is written with a pan of iron with the point of the diamond.
It is engraved on the tablets of their while. What is he saying he saying that in those days. Of course, if you wanted to carve a stone carbon name into a stone you used either appointed piece of iron ore you use the point of a diamond or a flint, and what he saying is the sins of the people are just like stones. Their hearts are like stones, and their sins are in grave on them and there's no way that they're going to give up their sin no matter what hard heartedness that's really a separate topic some time I've been thinking about that will get to it at some future time. Hard heartedness and then goes on to say you're going to lose your wealth. Because these people are going to come. The Babylonians are going to come there going to destroy the temple. Just think the gorgeous temple built by Saul think that God would take an interest in the building and say after all this effort in all this beauty surely this temple should stand but God doesn't care much about temples actually, he's always after the hearts of his people and that's were this passage of Scripture now turns.
All right. Well, that's the negative part.
That's the context of the deserts and famines and hard places, but now notice in the middle of this there is hope because we can have God change our inner world and he can take empty cups and fill them. If you feel empty today. This is the place to be.
Notice that they he goes on, and he says in verse five. Thus says the Lord curse. It is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord is like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes for its leaves remain green and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit well you know the Bible is really an interesting book for many reasons.
You notice how it just sets these two off. In contrast, and I say to you today that you are either a shrub in the desert not bearing fruit not being refreshed or you are a tree planted by the rivers of water to put it more clearly.
According to the text you are either cursed because your trusting in yourself or your blessed because you're trusting in God and you are finding that you are having inner resources to be able to go with a life and all that goes on in your inner world.
Despite the outer world. So he begins with this contrast. What I'd like to do is to give you some characteristics of that tree planted by water and then apply it and ask God to change us because we've heard his word. First of all, he shall be like a tree planted by water. He's planted in the right place planted in the right place.
And of course the place to be planted is trusting God as opposed to trust in man curse. It is the man who trusts in man but blessed is the person who trusts in God. Now, first of all, a couple of comments about trusting in man trust in man will work as long as life is going well for you. If you have a job if you're healthy and you enjoy what you're doing trust in man will get you where you want to go. Perhaps, but it can take the heat of the desert. It can take the famines the drought. It can take adversity. Therefore, it says blessed is he who trusts in the Lord and that the Lord is his strength and he is like a tree planted by the water you so Pastor Lutzer I'm going through all of these difficulties. All of these trials and God isn't responding to them. God usually doesn't respond to them.
He responds to our faith. And if we do not have faith, we cannot we cannot access the resources that God has for us why the Scripture says in the book of Hebrews so clearly that without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of all those diligently seek him out as one translation so accurately puts it, so you see, it is not simply a matter of saying the right things and even singing the right thing.
It is a matter of trusting the promises of God and in this way, we are actually planted in the right place regarding issues and famine health relationships where the weight of our lives and our lives are weighted down our where the weight of our lives is actually transferred to the shoulders of Jesus Christ because we believe that the governments of this world will be upon his shoulders and we actually trust him that's been planted in the right place, but there's a second characteristic and that is in addition to that we must grow to the right depth look at the way the text puts it, we grow to the right depth.
He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat will notice the prayer that I began with this person and whoever it is. I hope that you're here today and thank you so much for writing that. But you'll notice that the prayers also against fear and who of us has not had to pray against fear. But there is such a thing as an inner resources, he shall not fear when the heat, so when the difficulties arise. Now how do we extend our roots by the stream so that really we are growing to the right depth. I wish I had some new thing to say to you, which I had some magic wand that I could just wander this congregation, and now suddenly all of you would be so filled with the spirit so filled with sanctification and that you might just even glow-in-the-dark with Matt be wonderful if I could do that but I canned it is back to the basic it is. For example, the word of God the Word of God. The entrance to thy word gives light you're going through a time of depression. There's wholeness and emptiness within what you take out time to read a Psalm 119, which happens to be, by the way, one of eight. The longest chapter in all the Bible wanted to read Psalm 100 this morning I woke up at 436 and I was sort of ready to go sort of, but I see my heart was hot for God should have been. I'm sure so what did I do. I had to take out time clear my mind because I had kind of a very crazy dream last night I don't dream often. But I'll tell you when I do really together in a weird way, but I wouldn't tell you what was you and you wouldn't even want to know if I told you you'd say I wish I had known.
So what I do. I read I read the 15th chapter of John because in John 15 Jesus says I'm divine you are the branches. I wanted to read something about fruit bearing and how all that we need to do is to relax and to rely in him and we will be fruit bearers because he will bear the fruit through us. I needed to hear that. And then my spiritual tank began to revive why because faith comes by hearing hearing by the word of God. I knew I needed faith.
I knew I needed to cleave to the promises. First of all, the word of God. Secondly, the presence of God. I'm speaking plainly to you today. You cannot walk with God without face time not tongue about prayer per se how important that is. But face time when you come face-to-face with God and you you say to yourself, I'm not going to bring any request now except I want to delight in his presence is in those moments that God shows me my sin shows me my need and God comes along and and we connect in faith through the word of God through the presence of God. We soon discovered that our souls are revive, but you can't do it without that you can cry up to the Lord, you can ask you convey, but unless your inner man is renewed day by day, unless the inner man is renewed and it can only be done through the word of God through the presence of God.
And then this is big now to the people of God people of God.
If you are going through a hard time and you withdraw, which is what many people do I talk to people who struggle with suicide, and what did they want to do. They want to get away from all the people that are around them.
Why because they feel uncomfortable especially in the presence of those who are rejoicing in. I remember one woman tried to commit suicide.
Her pills for the deed were in her purse and she came into a meeting and that everybody was singing that old chorus that we used to sing as children or adults owes say, but I'm glad I'm glad any of you remember that how many of you remember that all but 14 of you that tells me what category Evelyn will say that I'm glad I'm glad she said she felt like shouting those say that I'm mad I'm mad hard to be around. Glad people when you're mad. The worst thing that you can do is to withdraw the people of God.
Years ago I use this illustration and I checked it yesterday on the Internet those redwood trees in California that I visited once some of them can grow up to 355 and so the question was in the essay that I read about them. How can they maintain that how do they manage that with all that weight. Tons and tons of weight and they said two things. First of all, they grow closely together and secondly there roots are intermingled. So even though the roots are very deep.
They said 12 to 18 feet, which really is not very deep at all, considering other trees.
They said that the intermingling of the roots. And then of course you can have one tree that's next to the stream and that tree begins to draw nourishment and pretty soon it is watering other trees as well and and they are receiving their nourishment even though they may be further up the hill on a desert. They are receiving their nourishment through others. You don't belong to TMC community are not plugged into a small group you live in isolation and you don't even want any close fellowship with anybody because you it's it's irritating and you have to deal with certain issues when you have hands you are really harming yourself and you will tend to shrivel like a shrub. The Bible says that God says you should be like a tree planted by the river water and that only happens in relationship relationship to God. Also, relationship to others, so we should be we should grow to the right depth as well, and we should bear the right fruit bear the right fruit. Now notice what the text says it sends its roots out by the stream.
It's dealt with sin issues. As I mentioned in our face time with God yielded nests through the word. The word is built us up within and it does not fear when the heat comes for its leaves remain green and it is not anxious in the year of drought for us does not cease to bear fruit while they hear of drought. It just keeps bearing fruit. Why because it is a tree that is planted by the stream and because it's planted by stream what's happening around at the drought that comes does not cause it to shrivel up and blow away because it's roots are deep and it's bearing the right fruit fruit in Scripture is really the. The revealing or the expression of the inner nature, the inner nature's fruit bearing. Not long ago Rebecca and I were actually in California and that we noticed along the way that we were and with some friends. They had grapefruit.
I don't know much about trees.
I can tell the difference.
I've never really taken an interest in it, though it may be something very interesting. But when I saw grapefruit rolling on a tree.
I connected the dots and said this must be a grapefruit tree taking it in a very elementary way for me must be a grapefruit. The fruit of the spirit. The Bible says is love, joy, peace, long-suffering generalist, goodness, faith, weakness, and all of that is the expression of the inner nature of Christ that comes from our inner man.
When we are planted beside a stream receiving the nourishment that we should receive and it is supernatural fruit because these things do not come naturally. Do they but they come even to those who are going through extreme situations.
Let me ask you something.
How do you react to the time of heat and drought, anger, complaining, bitterness, blaming, blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord his roots go down into a stream and he bears the kind of fruit that God wants when I was reading John 15 this morning I was reading in a translation word spoke about Jesus said you shall bear much fruit, and it shall bring much glory to God. A love that much glory to God.
You abide in him the inner resources this past week I was listening to someone preaching. He told a story that he said was true about a woman in Paris, a Christian woman who was attending an exposition there and suddenly she had a stroke whom she was.
She was out of it and she was rushed to the hospital and all that she could say was bring in over and over again bring bring what bring food and bring flowers bring this what does she want us to bring, but then when she was able to regain some consciousness and some strength.
She was able to blurt out, bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all.
That's the inner nature, the inner nature, revealing itself the fruit of the spirit in which God delights and it bears the right fruit, but it can't come apart from faith. I wish I had some quick answer to the person who prayed that prayer that we referred to where we simply said we can solve your problems in a moment it's going to come through the disciplines of the Christian life, but disciplines not in themselves, not legalistic leak disciplines that connect this with God that enable us to deal with our issues to deal with the bitterness and the anger and the resentment and the unbelief so that we can access the water that is assigned stream member George Mueller began.
All of those orphanages in England and never asked for money is not wrong at all to ask for money. I love to ask for money, especially if it's for other people for missions for children for ministry of Moody Church because it is really to do with God and his glory. But then Mueller said that for him.
He wasn't going to because he was just going to trust God and pray. But he said he did it because there were businessmen who thought that God would take care of them, and they thought they had to cheat. He said that there were older people who didn't think that God would take care of them in their old age. Now he was living at a time when there was no such thing as Social Security, and then he said there were those who were the infirm and they didn't believe that God would take care of them and he needed to give an example that faith in God actually brings God's blessing. That's why he had so many different orphanages. With so many different miracles because we need models today of people who have their roots deep deep beside the stream, and who can cope when drought comes through observations that should be life-changing for us. First of all, a drought clearly reveals what is in our inner man is not true because it's in the time of drought that you either show that you're a shrub or you're a tree. It reveals that which is within us. Our response to the circumstances of life is really determined upon the pressure that is on us and what comes out when we are under pressure. There's a second lesson and that is that drought gives us all the wonderful opportunity to witness for Christ. Wonderful opportunity because just think of it, if you're going along the desert.
As I've had the experience of doing and then in the distance you see an oasis. You know right well that there must be water there. When drought comes when the famines come when the desert, the hard places when people who know us see the way in which we react to the circumstances of life. The same debilitating circumstances that they experience and we handle it differently because were fruit bearing Christians. That's when they begin to ask us what is it within you that enables you to do that where where do you find the inner strength to be able to accept and to be able to pray and to be able to believe, even when there's no evidence for why you should believe what is the secret of the inner strength. You heard me talk about Cyprian who lived in North Africa in about the year 250 during the days of the plagues. Cyprian said the plagues were the best thing that ever happened to North Africa.
It is during the plagues that Christianity spread in the early centuries all throughout North Avenue. Why, because said Cyprian Christians dying differently. It was said of the Christians. They carry their dad as if in triumph, and the pagans looking at this said to themselves, where's all that hope coming from. Where's all that strength coming from, how can you have the inner resources to cope and you see we witness when the drought come and when the deserts and close upon us, I conclude today with a simple question.
Are you a shrub or are you a tree member that story that I used before that one of my staff members actually asked whether or not it is true, and it is true in Canada there was a group of people along the street that had a boulevard in the middle and then somebody came along and said that if you pay me money all plant trees all along all along the street here and so they pulled their money. They discovered how much it costs per household so that they could enjoy these beautiful trees so the men came and they planted the trees and day after day week after week they were being watered and all that they did is turn brown until somebody had the presence of mind to reach down to just rip one of them out and discovered that none of them had roots what the guys had done as they had cut off the branches of these evergreens and just stuck the branches in the dirt and it looked for a while as if they were real trees. They weren't.
Let me ask.
Jesus said these words, and every tree that my heavenly father has not planted shall be of that's why have to ask you today, are you a shrub. Are you actually the tree have you been planted by God and the way in which we become planted by God is to remember that Jesus Christ death and resurrection was a substitute that and if we believe in him and if we trust him. And remember that these resources of forgiveness and acceptance are free to those who come in faith and receive sometimes we work so hard in these things. Well, we should work hard only to develop faith. That's the whole purpose of the discipline of the Christians like to to develop the kind of faith by which we can believe God's promises, but as far as the resources are concerned, they all are really a free gift. You can be planted by God. The stream of water is free. The nourishment is free. What we need to do is to receive it and take the time to receive it by faith. When Jesus said this is my body which was broken for you. This do in remembrance of me. He was saying to us, remember this my death was not simply an example, my death was a substitutionary death. This do in remembrance of me and he was saying that because of his death and resurrection. We can have eternal life.
So no easy fix for those who feel empty, but there is a place where you can fill up beside the stream, it's there for you is there for an God promises will survive the drought. Father we ask in Jesus name that will take these words, however simple and use them to remind us that we can draw near to you and your word says that if we draw near to you.
You will draw near to us. Show us that father we indeed with hearts filled with gratitude draw near in your presence. We ask in Jesus name, amen and on today's drawer pastor looks or included a series on famines, deserts and other hard places as he spoke on developing a support system. We hope this series has given you principles to live by when tough times come. This seven part series can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001.
Let us know you'd like to support Moody Churches ministry are think you will be a set of CDs designed to help us prepare for the hard times may be coming. Just call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 mention famines, deserts and other hard places when you write or call online go to Moody offeror.com that's Moody offeror.com.
Join us next time for another Moody Church tower with pastor Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church