“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NKJV
Out of captivity
The children of Israel had been in captivity in Babylon, and I am sure it seemed as if they would never know the joy of the Lord ever again. But even as they were cast away, faithful God had a plan of redemption that would bring them back, and give them a right mind and spirit, as they would once again seek and pray to the Lord.
I love reading the old testament, as it is filled with types and shadows, glimpses of the love of God, foretold to those in bygone ears, and fulfilled after the cross for those who are called and saved in Jesus. It offers the truths of God, by way of application, for the New Testament believer.
Reading Jeremiah twenty nine was a reminder that the Lord is always faithful, even when we are not. Though the children of Israel had gone into captivity because of their disobedience and idolatry, the Lord sen them a promise through Jeremiah, that one day they would again be free and in their own land.
For the New Testament follower of Jesus, the promise of a future and a hope is increasing in importance, for many today are caught up in their own type of bondage, as many are given over to sin.
We, particularly here in America are caught up in churches contaminated by the values of the world, and compromised. The word of God is not fitly preached or taught, and the flesh dominates the lives of those who fill the pews.
This has led to a captivity of sorts, not one where where Christians have been swept away to a foreign land, but one where hearts and minds have been drawn away from the truth of God’s word. The churches where this is happening are bereft of the preaching of the full counsel of God. Liberty has become licentiousness.
There is little teaching regarding sin, the authority of Scripture, or its inerrancy. The teachings and preaching is oriented to the filling of the pews, and not the filling of the souls with Holy Spirit. Those charged with presenting the word work hard to twist it, seeking to diminish its power and lessen the conviction as the Inspired Word collides with sinful lifestyles.
Like the church at Corinth, immorality is winked at, and there is more emphasis on world acceptance rather that being pleasing to God. Pastors seek the esteem of the world, and preach for the churchless or the seeker, and leave those few who truly know the Lord amongst them, starving for spiritual food.
“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”
I Corinthians 3:18-23 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we are nearing the age of clarification, when the Lord will define for us who we ought to be and what we ought to teach. In the persecution to come, we be in a time transition. It will not seem so in the midst of it, for most of us can not see the ultimate plan of God, but those who trust the Lord will know.
In the midst of the season of suffering, it will be crucial to in remembrance of all that the Lord has done. The word of God will be essential to us, for in its we have the constant reminder of all the Lord has done for those who have come before us.
Time and memorial is full of those who have know the steadfast presence of God, and the knowledge that He is always faithful, come what what may. There are those who have laid aside the joys of this world, to seek after God, often paying a great price. They were ones who sought the Lord with all of their hearts, and the Lord was found by them.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV
My people, there is freedom from captivity in the Lord, for where the Spirit is there is liberty. Let us be living examples of the power of the Gospel, having lives that reflect His holiness and His glory, standing out in stark contrast to the world which is shrouded in darkness.
Now is the time for repentance, to put aside the worldliness that has held us captive, for it is far better to address our issues now, than wait until the Lord does.
The Lord truly has a future and a hope for us, for we know from the end of the book, the Bible, that He is going make all things new. May we be focused on the glory to come. The Lord will gather His people from their captivity, and we will be united in one place, forever praising the Lord.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.””
Revelation 21:1-5 NKJV
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Yes, and amen!