Serving God in Difficult Times

Have you ever made yourself do something that’s really hard?
I had an email that I needed to send because I had to talk to someone about an issue. I was dreading sending it and the response. I put it off for about 3 weeks.

Difficult Tasks

I have a room full of books, literally. Rhonda and I went down to Nashville, Tennessee, a few weeks ago and took along several books that I was hoping to get rid of. There’s a store in Nashville called McKay’s Books. They will take your used books and either give you credit or cash for them. We brought a lot of books, hoping to make a couple of hundred dollars. Well, the store wound up only taking about 7 of the books we had brought, but it was enough for me to be able to get another book. It’s called, The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

The author of "The 5 Second Rule" got her inspiration from watching a rocket launch.

Mel had a problem getting out of bed in the morning. Her alarm would go off and she’d just procrastinate about getting out of bed. One day, she was watching a rocket launch and heard the countdown, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, LIFTOFF”, and it gave her an idea. The next morning, when her alarm clock rang, she did a mental countdown, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and jumped out of bed.

Back to the email: I sat down at the computer and said, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and started typing. Then I did the same when it was time to hit send. The response wound up being great!

About the Prophet and Chapter 25

Jeremiah was a prophet in the Old Testament. By the time we get to Jeremiah 25, he’d been preaching for 23 years. He was called upon by God to give an unpopular message. I don’t know if he did a mental countdown, but he may have taken a deep breath and just delivered the message as God had told him to.

In chapter 25, we’re going to look at some names and terms. Then we’ll look at four actions we can take. These actions will help with serving God in difficult time. The first one will help us make sense of an increasingly difficult world. Do you know what I mean? The second will help us gain a measure of peace in an increasingly difficult time. The third one will help us maintain a right relationship with God, and the fourth one will help us be ready for the end of time if it happens in our lifetimes.

Jeremiah 25

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, 2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: 3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened. 4 The LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. 5 They said, “Turn now (repent) again everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell in the land that the LORD has given to you and to your fathers forever and ever. 6 And do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and provoke Me not to anger with the works of your hands, and I will do you no harm.” 7 Yet you have not listened to Me, says the LORD, that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own harm. 8 Therefore thus says the LORD of Hosts: Because you have not obeyed My words, 9 I will send and take all the families of the north, says the LORD, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations; I will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of laughter and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones (bad economy), and the light of the candle. 11 This whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (The message is “If you don’t straighten up, you’re going to go into captivity!” 12 It shall come to pass when seventy years are finished that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, says the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. 13 I will bring upon that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings will make slaves of them, even them. And I will recompense them according to their deeds and according to the works of their hands. 15 For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me: Take the wine cup of this fury at My hand and cause all the nations to whom I send you to drink it. 16 They will drink, and totter, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. 17 Then I took the cup from the hand of the LORD and made all the nations, to whom the LORD had sent me, drink: 18 Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and the kings and the officials, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse, as it is this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his officials, and all his people; 20 and all the foreign people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines (even Ashkelon, and Gaza, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod); 21 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon; 22 and all the kings of Tyre, and all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastlands which are beyond the sea; 23 Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all who cut the corners of their hair; 24 and all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the foreign people who dwell in the desert; 25 and all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes; 26 and all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another; and all the kingdoms of the earth which are upon the face of the earth, and the king of Sheshak shall drink after them. 27 Therefore you shall say to them, Thus says the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel: Drink and be drunk and spew and fall and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you. 28 It will be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you will say to them: Thus says the LORD of Hosts: You shall certainly drink! 29 For I am starting to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished. For I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, says the LORD of Hosts. 30 Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say to them:
The LORD will roar from on high,
and utter His voice from His holy habitation;
He will mightily roar against His fold.
He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes,
against all the inhabitants of the earth.
31 A noise shall come even to the remote parts of the earth,
for the LORD has a controversy with the nations;
He shall enter into judgment with all flesh.
He shall give those who are wicked to the sword,
says the LORD.
32 Thus says the LORD of Hosts:
See, disaster shall go forth
from nation to nation,
and a great whirlwind shall be raised up
from the remote parts of the earth.
33 The slain of the LORD on that day will be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They will not be lamented or gathered or buried. They will be as dung on the ground.
34 Howl, you shepherds,(leaders) and cry;
and wallow in the ashes, you leaders of the flock.
For the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished;
and you will fall like a choice vessel.
35 The shepherds will have no way to flee,
nor the leaders of the flock to escape.
36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds
and a howling of the leaders of the flock shall be heard,
for the LORD has devastated their pasture.
37 The peaceable habitations are cut down
because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
38 He has left His lair as the lion;
for their land is desolate
because of the fierceness of the oppressor
and because of His fierce anger.

Unpopular Message

The message in this passage was delivered by Jeremiah, and it was definitely unpopular. The message was that judgment was going to come (remember I drew your attention to “turn now” meaning repent, Babylon, all these surrounding nations, and the shepherds, or leaders) and that God wasn’t going to put up with what they were doing much longer. They didn’t learn from their brothers and sisters from the North and continued to worship false gods. Moses had warned them against doing this years before.

Evangelist G. Campbell Morgan
Evangelist G. Campbell Morgan

In speaking about the passage above, evangelist G. Campbell Morgan said, “It described the processes of the Divine procedure in judgment in enlarging circles. First, there would be the judgment of Judah, Babylon being the instrument. Then would follow the judgment of Babylon by many nations. Then the judgment of the nations shall follow. Finally, the whole earth will be involved.”

There Can Be Increasingly Larger Areas of Judgement

In Jeremiah, it started with Judah, then went to Babylon, then many nations, and then goes to the entire earth. The longer you go, the worse the judgment can become. Judgement makes it difficult, but we can be serving God in difficult times.

There was a time in this nation when, if you held up a Bible, people, even if they weren’t Christians, would know what it was. They would say, “That’s The Good Book”, or “That is God’s Word”. Now, there are many who will not say that or are “offended” by the mere mention of the Bible. As we go further into judgment, it’s going to get worse.

The Bible has explained it all, we just need to watch for the signs.
The Bible has explained everything perfectly.

Scripture is written in such a way, I was told, that in every generation, people could think that Christ’s return was imminent. When Paul wrote First Thessalonians, they thought Jesus was returning right away. So much so that some quit their jobs and sat and waited for His return. That prompted Paul to write another letter, Second Thessalonians, and instruct them to “occupy until the Lord comes.” (Chapters 2, 3) We don’t know when He’s coming, but it could be any time.

A woman I knew who was in her 90s said they had been saying her whole life that He was coming, and it hadn’t happened yet. It’s been nearly 2,000 years and Jesus hasn’t returned yet…but He is and it could be today!

Watch for Judgement

Although we may not like it, we can at least understand it. We can understand that people are bringing things upon themselves. If we were to repent, things could get better. Just like if the people that Jeremiah was preaching to had repented, they could have been spared. But he knew they wouldn’t, so he told them they were going to go into captivity for 70 years, and they did. They were going to be serving God in difficult times.

The countless victims of the Holocaust probably thought the end was near, and Christ would surely return soon. But He did not.

I believe that the reason is that God has been longsuffering is that there are still some who need to come into the fold.

Watch for judgment. One of these times, it’s going to be the final one!

Serve God

I believe we live in the best Nation in the world. But I’m concerned, as many are. I’m concerned that there are 300 people being held without being charged.

When my church decided to return to live services, we left it up to the individual if they wanted to wear a mask or not. It’s their choice. Just be respectful of their decision.

Getting the vaccine is also a choice. Some have decided to do it, while others have decided against it. Some are still doing research. I’m concerned about the mandates. The mandate nearly shut down the Nation when so many flights were canceled due to pilots pushing back against mandates. It feels very oppressive. At this point, the vaccine is still experimental.

As an adult, if you got the vaccine, that’s great, it was your choice. If you haven’t been vaccinated, again, great, it’s your choice. My concern is for the children. Long-term effects are still unknown, and I don’t want the blood of the children on my hands.

According to the statistics, there’s very little likelihood that children under 20 will have a serious illness as a result of contracting COVID. But what our government is wanting is to take minors and force them to have something put into their bodies that is still experimental with unknown long-term consequences.

I’ve seen microscopic slides that show living organisms in the vaccine. Fetal tissue is used in the vaccine. Some young people who have received the shot have developed myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart. There have been over ¾ of a million adverse effects reported.

This is not meant to scare you. We’ve all made the best decisions that we could with the information we had.

This is all to say that the government is getting to the point where they’re saying, “We’re going to make you do this.”

Jeremiah warned the people that they would come under an oppressive government. He told them to make the best of it. However bad, good, oppressive it is, do the best you can with where you are. If God leads you to take a stand, and you’re punished for it, know that He will be there. It may be that we will be called to be serving God in difficult times.

Repent when Necessary

Repentance is a requireent.
Repentance is required!

Even during all of this chaos going on, some people will turn to God. I have heard that, right now, the countries with the fastest-growing churches are Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Praise God!

We can be concerned about the state of our nation, and complain, or we can do the best we can in our circumstances. Repent where you need to repent. This is a good time for all of us to examine ourselves and see what areas of our lives need to be confessed and changed. Our repentance will help us with serving God.

There WILL Be a Return!

For the people in Jeremiah, it would be a physical return to their land. For us, Christ will return. There have been different viewpoints about the timeline throughout the years. Some think that we’ll meet Jesus at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, some think it will be halfway through, and still others think it will be at the end. But everyone agrees that there will be a kingdom where we rule with God. (Some think it will be on the new earth, others think in heaven.)

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptable, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:52
It could happen today!

So, what we need to do is be ready! Regardless of what happens when, if you know Christ, you’ll be all right. If you don’t, you’re on dangerous ground. The certainty of Christ’s return will encourage us when it comes to serving God.

Watch for judgment. Serve God anyway. Repent when necessary. Watch for the return of Christ.

We don’t know when He will return but we do know that He will, and his return is closer today than it’s ever been before.

God bless you!

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