May 22, 2019

Today you should read: Lamentations 2

Yesterday we read about how Jerusalem lay in ruins while Jeremiah laments the state of the city and the sin of the people. Everything has gone wrong. A city once beautiful and lively is now destitute.

Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations, pens the words of Jerusalem: “The Lord is right, for I rebelled against him” (Lamentations 1:17). They recognized that the Lord was punishing them for their wrongdoing.

In our reading today, we see the details of the punishment from God. The Lord took away any sense of protection that Jerusalem felt. The walls were broken down, the Temple invaded, and the gates destroyed.

The people of Jerusalem were defeated. From false prophets leading them astray to enemies mocking them, they realized their sin had gotten them in a tough situation.

The question is raised, “O Lord, think about this! Should you treat your own people this way?” (v.20). The people of Jerusalem questioned God’s goodness in the midst of sorrow and suffering. This is the wrong way to react to suffering.

“But it is the Lord who did just as he planned” (v.17).

God knew exactly what he was doing. Because God is just, he cannot let sin and rebellion go unpunished. It would be wrong of him to do so.

The good thing for us is that God does not punish his people in this way every time they rebel against him now. God knew that he was punishing his people by the destruction of their city, but he would crush his Son on the Cross, laying the sins of the entire world upon him.

The Cross is where the justice of God (God’s punishment of sin) and the love of God (God’s sacrificial giving of his Son) collide.

Do you ever find yourself questioning God’s goodness? Look to the Cross. See that this world still feels the effects of sin, but see that God loved you enough to send his Son to die in your place. God protected you from ultimate judgment and suffering by sending Jesus, and for that, we should worship and praise the Lord.

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

May 21, 2019

Today you should read: Lamentations 1

We’re starting one of the most feared, but important, books of the bible in Lamentations. For some context of the entire book, watch this video below:

Lamentations reveals a specific, catastrophic moment in Jewish history. The first couple of verses reveal Jerusalem’s fall. Verse 1 contrasts from verse 2 where the once great and prominent status of Jerusalem becomes a slave, widowed and deserted in mourning. As indicated in the name of this book, the rest of this chapter is an invitation to how they mourn and grieve over the season God has them in. Three specific words stick out about this chapter regarding the Jews grieving and how we should grieve as God’s people.

  1. Remember (v.7): We must remember the days of old with the Lord and how He is sovereign and still good. Remember the precious things of the Lord in salvation and past victories.
  2. Empathy (v. 16): It was not just Jeremiah doing the weeping, but the collected state of Jerusalem. We must weep with and for those who are going through such suffering and hardships. This should not be experienced alone but in community. Even today, there are hardships and injustice that the church should have more empathy for.
  3. Justice (v. 18, 22): Jeremiah recognized that the Lord was in the right and he asks the righteous lord to deal with the evildoing before him. He doesn’t take himself or God’s people out of that request. Maybe God will deal with such evil with wrath, maybe grace and mercy. But justice is deserved and accomplished in both and in mourning, we must remember we have a just God.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

May 20, 2019

Today you should read: 3 John

After his initial introductory encouragement in verses 1–4, John speaks into the difficult situation that the recipient, Gaius, has found his church. John encourages Gaius in his support of traveling brothers and sisters in Christ. However, there is another leader in the church, Diotrephes, who not only refuses to support them, he kicks out of the church anybody who does.

3 John is very short and addressing some very specific circumstances. This is first century, early church correspondence. However, there are several principles that apply to us all.

First, in verse 4, John rejoices “to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” How often do you celebrate obedience? We treat faithfulness and steadfastness as the status quo for believers and only remark when issues arise. What would it look like for you to celebrate those who are walking in truth—those who serve at your church, those who spent time with the Lord every day for a week, those who prayed for the salvation of those in their lives?

Secondly, how do you treat those who carry the message of the Gospel to others? John calls the effort of Gaius and others “a faithful thing” (5), and “you will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God” (6). CPC is big on missions. We love missions and missionaries. As a group, our church gets asked by many to support them as they go, and many of you respond with overwhelming generosity. Thank you. Others, however, don’t respond quite as well. How you support “people like these” (8) is between you and the Lord, however, as a former CRU staff member I will say that not everyone in church treats support raisers well. Your church works to support missions locally, regionally, and internationally—what would it look like for you to do this in your home? Even if you can’t support financially, don’t ignore those who ask to meet with you about the mission God has laid on their heart (nothing hurts as bad as being shunned by those in your church through silence). If you can’t give, you can pray. If you have a theological disagreement or some reason you don’t want to support them, be respectful and honest.

Thirdly, don’t put yourself first, but do good and protect your testimony. Notice the contrast between Diotrephes (9–10) and Demetrius (12). The transition between the two examples is verse 11, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” Your goodness doesn’t save you, but it shows the world your salvation. And, when you open your mouth to proclaim the Gospel, your witness remains unhindered.

In the comments, share what stuck out to you from today. What is God teaching you and what are you going to do about it?

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

May 18, 2019

Today you should read: 2 John

2 John is often a book that does not get much attention in the Bible, but there are beautiful truths within it. To give a little background, John is an older man at this point in his life. That is why he uses phrases like “children”. In the passage, you will notice he is talking to a “lady”. This “lady” is more than likely a church that he is addressing.

Two things to notice: First, John loves this church and wants them to follow God. He shows that he loves them and so do other believers “because of the truth that abides in us” (v. 1-2). Then, he commands them to walk in the commandments that they know (v. 4-6). Secondly, John wants them to be careful of who’s teaching they follow. He does not want them to go astray.

What I love about 2 John is that we can see the heart of a pastor. No matter what church you go to, or where you are living, you need to find a pastor who loves and cares for you and teaches the truth. My prayer is that you have found that at CPC. As one of the staff members, I promise that we pray for you and will be there for you if you need something.

So my question for you is how can we pray for you?

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice