THE GOD WITH A PLAN
20 Weeks – 9/4/2017 to 2/9/2018
Overview – The title of this series is actually taken from one of the most quoted verses in the book. You’re likely to see it on a 3 X 5 card on a home refrigerator. Then again, you may find it on a plaque a Christian book store. It’s the 11th verse of chapter 2 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Some believe it means that God wants me to have the best car, the nicest house, and the latest iPhone. Personally, I think the verse is a reflection of the character of God! I also think it’s a reference to that which truly gives a future and a hope: a relationship with the God who made us through His Son, Jesus Christ! There is no hope or future without Him. That is ultimately the plan for your life and mine. Let these 20 messages speak to you about the Lord’s plan for your life.
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#20 – Air Date Week of 2/5/2018
The God Who is Jealous!
This Week – This is the sixth message in a series within a series from Jeremiah; it’s the last of the overall series. It deals with the “jealousy” of God! God does not apologize for being jealous of His own. That surprises some people about the Lord. Yet He loves us so much, that unfaithfulness on our part produces jealousy on His!
Monday (2/5) – The first of four bullet points: our behavior has consequences. We are the result of what we have done in life. We are the result of our choices in the past. We are the result of our past thinking. What do those things have to do with what’s going on in your life right now at this moment? More than you and I probably know or can imagine.
Tuesday (2/6) – The second bullet point: our past behavior impacts what we become! What are you becoming today? Look at what’s happened in your past. The second point: our behavior impacts future generations. You probably have been impacted by that which your parents or grandparents have done! The fourth point: our behavior is noted by a jealous God.
Wednesday (2/7) – God identifies something He hates in His people: idolatry! God hates it today just as much as He did thousands of years ago. We may not have idols of stone or metal; we just drive them and live in them! God does not apologize for His jealousy. Exodus 34:14 says this: “For the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God!”
Thursday (2/8) – We are envious of that which doesn’t belong to us. Jealousy is different; we are jealous of that which is ours. We share a power story of jealousy in a marriage. It’s a story that perhaps you can relate to; listen to Walter Wangerin’s story of his wife being jealous of one of his co-workers. She felt a “righteous or a rational” jealousy for her husband. God has a righteous jealousy of us!
Friday (2/9) – There are things that we do and say that reveal things about us. We share a humorous story about a couple where something that happened revealed something about the young man to his fiancé. We close with a very serious story about the death of a father and son. It provides a lesson of the love and faithfulness of our God! The God who is jealous is the God who loves us with an everlasting love.
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#19 – Air Date Week of 1/29/2018
Obeying the Covenant
Jeremiah 42:1-6, 43:7
This Week – This is the fifth message in a series within a series from Jeremiah. It’s about obedience as a part of our covenant with the Lord. It’s better to not pray than it is to pray hypocritically. Sometimes people pray with no intention of doing what the Lord leads us to do! Really? People do that all the time. We obey the Lord only when we agree with His guidance.
Monday (1/29) – A group of God’s people come to Jeremiah to ask him to pray for them. They tell him, “Whatever the Lord tells you; we’ll follow and obey.” They didn’t! It’s better not to ask for God’s guidance if we have no intention of following His command or word! God’s people said we will obey; yet they really followed their own inclinations. That’s happened with your life and mine!
Tuesday (1/30) – God tells Jeremiah to tell the people to not go to Egypt after Jerusalem is destroyed. They commit to obedience; then they choose to do as they please! That describes your temptation and mine. We are all tempted to do what we feel is best in life. Obedience to the Lord often takes a back seat to the Lord’s will and word!
Wednesday (1/31) – The purpose of prayer is to seek the will of God, not just to confirm my will. It took me 10 years in counseling people in the ministry to realize that most people wanted confirmation for what they had already decided to do. Jeremiah 43:7 says that the people entered Egypt in disobedience to the Lord! What have you and I entered into in disobedience?
Thursday (2/1) – We talk about bumper stickers and what they may or may not reveal about the driver. If you had a bumper sticker on the back of your car, what would it say about you personally in terms of spiritual realties? Would it reflect obedience to the Lord, or would it reflect something less?
Friday (2/2) – We quote a psychologist who says that most men want to be close to a woman who leaves them alone! We talk about how that often reveals what people want in life. We want to be close to a God who leaves US alone! God not only wants to be close to us through His Son. He wants us to live in obedience to His word and His will.
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#18 – Air Date Week of 1/22/2018
Standing Alone in Covenant
Jeremiah 37:1-3, 15-17
This Week – This is the fourth message in a series within a series from Jeremiah. Standing alone in any situation can be difficult. Being a believer and follower of the Lord God Almighty has always involved times of standing alone. That’s true today in 2018! Being a believer has never been “in” or the thing to do. Jeremiah stood alone for the Lord in his day; we may be called to do the same!
Monday (1/22) – We explain what it means to stand alone for the Lord. You may have to stand alone in your own family, in your job or school, or in your circle of influence. Standing alone means saying “yes” when everyone else says “no”. Or more often than not, it means saying “no” when everyone else says “yes”. If it hasn’t happened lately, it will soon enough!
Tuesday (1/23) – One of the ironies of life is demonstrated by the leaders of God’s people not paying any attention at all to Jeremiah and his warnings. Yet when disaster hits, those same people come to Jeremiah and say, “Please pray for us!” We have seen that in our country right after 9/11 2001. For one week people who never or rarely attended worship services showed up on that Sunday to pray! Sound familiar in your life or mine?
Wednesday (1/24) – We share a famous story of “standing alone” in our country. You may remember an African-American little girl by the name of Ruby Bridges in New Orleans who had to be escorted into a public school by four U.S. Marshals. She was alone, but in a very real sense, she wasn’t. So it is with us. We may be alone, but not really because of the presence of the Lord!
Thursday (1/25) – God’s people were dismissive of the Lord’s warnings to them. Be careful when you “dismiss” the word of God with the wave or a hand or heart. We all do it. We talk about the funeral of a person where I asked for the person’s Bible. I wanted to see what they had marked or written in it. It’s a powerful story that just may speak to you about your life and mine.
Friday (1/26) – We close with a very powerful story about the prayer of minister who was profoundly deaf. He gave this prayer to his congregation just three weeks before being killed in an automobile accident. What he said will touch your heart; you may want to pray his prayer yourself! If you do and mean it, your life will never be the same!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#17 – Air Date Week of 1/15/2018
Paying Attention to the Covenant
This Week – This is the third message in a series within a series from Jeremiah. It’s about paying attention to the covenant we have with the Lord. A traffic safety video pointed out those accidents at train crossings happen because people don’t look and they don’t listen! God’s people in Jeremiah’s day didn’t look to Lord or listen to Him. They disregarded the covenant they had with the Lord. We can do the same thing in 2018!
Monday (1/15) – Have you ever pretended not to hear your spouse, a co-worker, a friend or neighbor? We all have. We can even do that with the Lord God Almighty! We discuss how we can turn a deaf ear to the people around us, and we can turn a deaf ear to the God who loves us, more than we love Him! As people don’t look and listen at a train crossing, there are consequences. When we don’t listen to the Lord, they are consequences.
Tuesday (1/16) – Jeremiah said that God’s people didn’t pay attention to His word nor would they listen to Him! God is speaking to our nation today, yet millions don’t listen to His word or His will. When we pretend to not hear a spouse or parent, that can actually be an act of disrespect. Is it not disrespectful to the Lord when we do that to Him? People do that to the Lord week after week, month after month, and year after year.
Wednesday (1/17) – We share the story of a playwright in London in 1963. He was watching a play that he wrote on November 22nd of that year. As people found out by accident that President Kennedy had just been assassinated in Texas, people got up and walked out of the theater one or two at a time. The playwright said, “Reality had interrupted the stage comedy on the stage”. Has your life ever been interrupted by the reality of God’s word?
Thursday (1/18) – Can you think of anything sadder than standing before the Lord someday and hearing Him say, “You didn’t listen to me or my word”? We share a true story about a University of Texas instructor who chose not to speak on Sundays, to anyone! He didn’t for three years! He honored his commitment not to speak. What would happen if you committed to listen to the Lord!
Friday (1/19) – We talk about “passive language skills”. That’s where a person knows enough about a foreign language to understand some or most of what a person is trying to say. Some people have “passive spiritual understanding”; they have a sense of God speaking to them through His word! Maybe that’s happening right now in your life? Let Him speak to you through this passage!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#16 – Air Date Week of 1/8/2018
Covenant Prayer Life
This Week – This is the second message in a series within a series from Jeremiah. All of the rest of the messages from this Old Testament book of Jeremiah is about the word “covenant”. This message speaks of covenant people praying to the God of the covenant. If you have accepted the Lord into your life, you are a part of that covenant agreement with God Almighty through His son. As a covenanter, do you communicate through prayer with the originator of that covenant?
Monday (1/8) – Is it possible to be a “prayerless believer” in Christ? Is it possible to be a “prayerless Christian”? Some people must believe that; they rarely, if ever pray! We talk about how our covenant with the Lord involves talking to Him in prayer. Prayer isn’t optional for a believer in Christ! It’s absolutely necessary for everyone who claims to be in a covenant relationship with the Lord.
Tuesday (1/9) – Jeremiah begins his prayer to the Lord recounting the capacity of God to create the universe. What’s remarkable about this is that he never saw a copy of National Geographic magazine, a planetarium show, or a PBS television program about the universe! And yet, he rehearses what God has done in creation. Have you ever done that?
Wednesday (1/10) – Verse 18 says “God shows his love to thousands.” The Bible says further that God blesses those who acknowledge Him and also those who don’t! But then the verse says that God “brings the punishment or the fathers’ sins into the laps of their children after them.” That means God brings the “fallout or impact” of parents’ sins into the lives of their children. That is sobering, isn’t it?
Thursday (1/11) – We share a true story of a woman from Lancaster, Pennsylvania with MS, multiple sclerosis. By her own admission, that wasn’t her real problem. She said she “fantasized about killing her husband” because of her bitterness toward him. The Lord didn’t take away her MS, but He did deliver her from her hostility toward her husband! Do you need to hear this?
Friday (1/12) – God may prompt you to do something that is counterintuitive. Like what? Like forgive someone in your family or at work! When you and I pray, God will prompt us to do things we would never think of doing on our own. What could God be prompting you to do because you are a man or woman of prayer? You may already know what that is! If not, ask Him!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#15 – Air Date Week of 12/11/2017
This Week – Everything in life is wrapped around the word “covenant”. All of life is impacted by covenants kept and covenants broken. God is the God of all covenants! God made a covenant with His people in the Old Testament; He made a new covenant with the rest of us since the cross! One Bible scholar thinks this passage just may be one of the most important passages in the Old Testament!
Monday (12/11) – If you’re married, you are in a covenant relationship. If you have a mortgage or student loan, you are in a covenant with a bank or lending institution. The cross of Christ is the symbol of the new, spiritual, eternal covenant we have with the Lord God almighty! The 10 commandments stood for the “old “covenant. We live under the “new” one; Christ is the mediator and establisher of that covenant!
Tuesday (12/12) – We are either covenant keepers or we are covenant breakers. You and I may not take covenants seriously, but God does. His covenant with us is “sealed” with the blood of Christ, God’s son. When you and I get that; life is never the same. Marriage is never the same; life and death are never the same. Our concept of eternity is never the same. Covenant changes everything!
Wednesday (12/13) – Verse 34 says that God will “remember our sins no more”. What does that mean? God chooses to not remember our sins. That’s significant. We talk about what one counselor calls “retrievers” in today’s message, people who are good at confessing the sins of other people. You may be a retriever or married to one. God chooses not to remember a sin that is confessed and forgiven!
Thursday (12/14) – We quote Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church who writes that “he will never look at a firefighter the same again” after 9/11/2001. That’s understandable! When we understand what Christ accomplished on the cross with His death and resurrection, we will never look at the word “covenant” the same again. We’ll never look at the cross the same as well.
Friday (12/15) – I couldn’t tell the story I close with today at the first service. It’s just too emotional. I barely got through telling it the second service that morning, but I did tell it completely at the third service. That’s what you will hear today, one of the most difficult stories for me to tell of a young minister’s death from cancer. It’s a message that will make you appreciate the covenant relationship we have with the Lord.
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#14 – Air Date Week of 12/4/2017
Loved with Everlasting Love!
Jeremiah 31:3-4, 9
This Week – Every person has gone through the experience of questioning someone’s love for them. It may be someone very close to you; you really weren’t sure where you stood in the love area. God claims to love us with an “everlasting love”. Only a person who is everlasting in their existence can claim to be everlasting in the way they care for us. Emotionally and spiritually, this is a passage for you to consider this week on CrossHope!
Monday (12/4) – Would it make any difference in your life to know that God loves you with an “everlasting love”? Whom we love, and who loves us impacts us as people, more than we know. It takes an everlasting being to love us with an everlasting love. We don’t have that capacity; we won’t until heaven! We begin with that thought today!
Tuesday (12/5) – Jeremiah begins by saying in verse 3, “the Lord appeared to us in the past”. We discuss three ways that God “appears” to us: 1) through communion or the Lord’s Supper, 2) when we read or hear the word of God read, and 3) thorough people that ask us for help. How has the Lord “appeared” to you in the past year? He has!
Wednesday (12/6) – Jeremiah says that God has “drawn us with loving kindness”. God draws us out of fear, guilt, bondage of resentment, and bitterness. He does that by loving us with an everlasting love. What does He need to draw you out of in your life? (We talk about the three greatest reasons for depression in children.) This is important if you are a parent!
Thursday (12/7) – We are affected by what’s happened in our past, sometimes dramatically. You are and so am I. We don’t turn to money in a time of grief or crisis. We don’t turn to philosophy or science. We don’t turn to great writing. We turn to the One who loves us with an everlasting love. His name is Jesus. Are you ready to do that?
Friday (12/8) – I close with a story out of my childhood as a way of introducing the story from the Chicago Tribune newspaper. It’s about a woman who died along with her five children in a senseless fire in their house. It’s an illustration of love in a powerful way. Multiply that love 1000 times, and you still haven’t begun to match the love of God that Jeremiah says is everlasting! A great song puts it this way, “Loved with Everlasting love, led by grace that love to know”. That’s your story and mine!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#13 – Air Date Week of 11/27/2017
God’s Plan for My Life?
This Week – Every sermon series has a “theme message”, the message that is the basis of the series title. This series is no exception. The theme we have been developing each week is “the God with a plan”. Jeremiah states in 29:11-14 that God says, “I know the plans I have for you….” Some think the scripture has nothing to do with us today in 2017. I think it has everything to do with the character of God! The God who creates can certainly have a plan. That’s what we talk about every day this week! (This message was given in September of this year in Stone Mountain, Georgia.)
Monday (11/27) – We begin with a piece of writing you need to hear from Michael Josephson, a retired law professor. Other than scripture, I personally think it’s one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever shared on this program. Really? Yes, really! We then share what some scholars say is the most important text out of the book of Jeremiah. It’s a passage that people have up on the refrigerator; they really need it on the tablet of their heart!
Tuesday (11/28) – There are two extremes regarding this scripture. Some think it’s a blanket text for “health and wealth”; God wants me to have the best of everything! Others think it’s a passage that has nothing to do with us today. I really believe it has to do with the character and activity of God! We explain what that may mean for you and me. The God of ultimate creativity has ultimate “planning skills”!
Wednesday (11/29) – When you pray anywhere on this earth, you bring the presence of God into that room, that car, that restaurant, or that park bench. You really do. We share a powerful story of Ravi Zacharias, praying with a group of atheists. What happened in that situation may surprise you. Then again, maybe it won’t! What could prayer right now wherever you are, do in your life or someone else’s?
Thursday (11/30) – All of Christianity boils down to the person of Jesus. Everything hinges on who and what He is. He was either the greatest liar that ever lived, the greatest lunatic that ever lived, or He is Lord! The sooner you and I decide figure out that “trilemma”, the better. We close with perhaps the most important sentence of the message: “the God who is sought is found!”
Friday (12/1) – I rarely use illustrations about movies, especially movies that I haven’t seen. And yet we close with talking about the movie, “Avatar”, released in 2010. We share how that there were people who thought about suicide after experiencing depression after seeing the movie. Ecclesiastes 3:11, talks about God planting the idea of “eternity” into the hearts of everyone. That may explain what happened with those people. What do you think?
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#12 – Air Date Week of 11/20/2017
The Mighty Warrior
Jeremiah 20:7-11, 14-18
This Week – You may have never heard someone describe a passage of scripture as the “most depressing passage in the Bible”. And yet the passage we study this week, it might be an apt description for you after you read it. Jeremiah laments the fact that he was even born! He rues the day that someone came to his father with the news of his birth. That’s a depressing thought and where we begin. This message just may be what you need to hear!
Monday (11/20) – We open with the story of a minister’s life who said he was “raised in hell” and chaos seemed normal! You may not be able to relate to that despair, but I know there will be someone hearing this story who will say, “That was my story”. And yet, the Lord worked in Jeremiah’s life; he worked in the life of the minister. He can work in your life and mine, regardless of our history!
Tuesday (11/21) – We read the passage that describes a cynical view of life based on what Jeremiah experienced as a prophet of God. It’s not pretty. He actually wonders if it would have been better had he died in his mother’s womb. He says more mournful things than that! And yet he breaks into this verse, “The Lord is with me like a mighty warrior.” That just may be a word for you today!
Wednesday (11/22) – Many people question their existence when they go through grief, tragedy, and failure. Perhaps you have, but have never verbalized it. If this passage teaches us anything it speaks of God’s presence in the good and the bad. He’s on the mountain top; He’s also in the valley of my life and yours. We both need to know that!
Thursday (11/23) – I hadn’t read a novel for decades, and yet I share a story from a novel I read about the moon being hit by an asteroid, knocking it out of its normal position. The book is called, “Life as We Knew It”. It’s safe to say, life was never the same after the event. You may have gone through something where you could talk about life as you used to know it before that event. It may have been a divorce, a death, or a major disappointment; life hasn’t been the same since!
Friday (11/24) – I close with a story about my oldest son, Jonathan from his childhood. I laugh and choke up at the same time when I think of this story. It’s a story that speaks to the truth of Jeremiah 20:11 that the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior. If you listen to the program today, it will make sense and perhaps speak to something going on in your life, right now!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#11 – Air Date Week of 11/13/2017
The Potter and the Clay
This Week – Many scholars say that Jeremiah 18:1-12 is the most famous of all the passages in this book of the Bible. Others would say it is one of the top three! Regardless, it’s an important statement for your life and mine. Simply put, God is the “potter” of my life; I’m simply the clay or material formed! That’s a scary thought for some; it means God is in charge of my life from start to finish. To some that is comforting; to others it is downright offensive.
Monday (11/13) – We begin with a true story of a man who did a back-flip off of the bar at a tavern. He sued the bartender and won a $5,000.00 judgement! He contended it was the bartender’s fault. We talk about the spiritual lesson of that story that involves our disobedience to the God who made us! The text will illuminate your thinking on that as well. He’s the potter; we are they clay.
Tuesday (11/14) – People resent this scripture about God being the “potter” and my being the “clay”. You may privately resent that thought line. Why? It’s because that it means that God is in charge of my life. The potter has full control and discretion over the clay. That’s just an unacceptable concept to many if not most people. We like to think that we are both the potter and the clay. We are in charge of this thing called my life!
Wednesday (11/15) – What part does “brokenness” play in the life of a minister? We talk about that today. We then share a story about a box of broken pottery pieces (from Israel) that meant absolutely nothing to me for years. Then I took it to a professor of archaeology who explained each piece in terms of history. God can take the broken pieces of your life and mine and do even more with them than the professor did!
Thursday (11/16) – We share the story told by Chuck Swindoll about a young man who came into a church sanctuary late at night, probably under the influence of drugs or alcohol. What he did, what he wrote, and what he prayed to the Lord God almighty may be something you and I need to do! God can hear you regardless of your level of sobriety right now! He’s the potter; we are the clay!
Friday (11/17) – We close in a special way today. We tell the story of a young man who was told he has terminal cancer by his doctor. He goes home to tell his father that he loves him, something he admits he has never done before. What happens next in the story will grab your heart; it did mine. We close with the song, “Change My Heart, Oh God!” You may never sing that song in the same way again!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#10 – Air Date Week of 11/6/2017
Jeremiah 17:9-10, 24:7
This Week – Most people have heart trouble, but not necessarily physically. The Bible says more about our hearts than anything else! It really does. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah speaks of the deceptive nature of your heart and mine. Your heart, Biblically speaking, is the part of you that thinks, feels, decides, and desires. It’s also the part of you that the Holy Spirit of God connects with in spiritual matters. That just may happen this week!
Monday (11/6) – We begin by talking about what happens in a flood, as happened in Florida and Texas after the recent hurricanes. Flooding occurs on two levels. Visibly it occurs on the surface. But it also occurs beneath the surface in the miles of underground conduits and tunnels. Your life is like that is well with your heart. Jeremiah says that your heart is “deceptive above all things”. So is mine. Listen to what he says about our hearts.
Tuesday (11/7) – We cannot understand our own problems, let alone other people’s problems. That’s why Jeremiah says our hearts deceive us! We’ve all made rational decisions that we thought were correct, just, and understandable. There was only one problem. We were wrong. “Rational thinking” can be just as mistaken as “emotional thinking”.
Wednesday (11/8) – We conclude a story begun yesterday about self-deception that happened in the cockpit of an airliner that resulted in a crash. The pilots believed things that they shouldn’t have believed; then they didn’t believe things that they should have believed. Sounds like what happens in people’s lives, doesn’t it? That’s happened in your life and mine!
Thursday (11/9) – We go through the book of Psalms and briefly look at some of the thoughts connected to the heart. You not only will be surprised to hear them, they will speak to what’s going on in your life today in 2017. Psalms speaks of the “wounded” heart. If you’re 30 years old or above, you probably have a wounded heart. Listen to today’s program about this issue!
Friday (11/10) – The good news of this message is contained in Jeremiah 24:7 that talks about God giving people a “new heart”. You may be praying for someone to change their ways. Maybe you need to pray that God gives that person in your life a new heart. What about you? Do you need a new heart? Let Him work in your life in this way! God is in the “heart business”. He really is, He’s God!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#9 – Air Date Week of 10/30/2017
This Week – What do you remember about your parents from your childhood? Some people have warm and loving memories; others have horrible and disturbing memories. Most have something in between. The prophet Jeremiah says in our passage that we study this week that even the children of God’s people “remember the idolatry of their parents”. If you’re a parent, what spiritual memories do your children have?
Monday (10/30) – Have you ever used the phrase, “his or her guilt was written all over their face”? It means that their sin or misdeed was obvious for all to see. Jeremiah says the sin of God’s people was “engraved on the tablets of their hearts!” And then the most embarrassing accusation of all, given by the prophet: “even their children remember their idolatry!” Children have spiritual memories, not just vacation and camping memories!
Tuesday (10/31) – Children tend to walk in the fears of their parents. If your parents constantly worried about money issues, you probably do also. If your parents were always concerned about illness and disease, you probably are as well. What memories do your children have about your relationship with the living God? Maybe you would be surprised to find out. What are their “faith” memories?
Wednesday (11/1) – We talk about the “cost” of sin in our lives. We live often with the consequences of forgiven sin. What does that mean? We can be forgiven, yet still living with the consequences or fallout of what we have set in motion. You know that is true, experientially! So do I! Sin always has a price tag! Sometimes, a hefty price tag! Aren’t you thankful for God’s forgiveness?
Thursday (11/2) – We share a story about the origination of GPS systems in automobiles. Originally created for military uses, it moved on to rental cars, and now is probably in your car and mine. As a believer in the Lord God almighty, we have a “GPS”: it’s called the word of God. We also have the Holy Spirit of God that indwells in every believer. We have “direction” for our lives, we really do!
Friday (11/3) – We close with a true story of a woman who described her life being involved in radical politics, alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity, and new age thinking. Those were her words! Her story of trying to save her marriage and coming to Christ will touch your heart in a powerful way. I still get choked up when I hear this story. You just may as well!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#8 – Air Date Week of 10/23/2017
Cause and Effect
This Week – Have you ever used the phrase, “cause and effect”? It refers to the consequences of what we do, say, or set in motion. Everything we do or say has consequences. The prophet Jeremiah says, “Our sins testify against us!” Does that make you think or give you pause? It does me. That’s what we talk about this week on CrossHope.
Monday (10/23) – We begin with a major story or illustration of the late broadcaster Paul Harvey entitled, “If I Were the Devil”. It just may be his most famous piece of programming/writing. It describes the United States of America years ago when it was aired the first time in 1979, let alone in 2017. Listen and see what you think about its application to this country today!
Tuesday (10/24) – The behavior of God’s people was so bad, He tells Jeremiah to not even pray for the people. Can you imagine the Lord telling someone like Billy Graham to not even pray for the United States of America? How bad do you think it would have to get in this country for the Lord to do something like that? If we’re not there now, when do think that day would possibly come?
Wednesday (10/25) – The description given of God’s people is amazing in Jeremiah 14. This is the strongest passage in the book quoted thus far. Their sin testified against them! Their backsliding was great. We explain that “backsliding” simply means to turn your back on the Lord. Ever had anyone turn their back on you? How did you feel? Have you ever turned your back on the Lord?
Thursday (10/26) – God’s people wandered from the Lord. That’s another way of saying that they were practicing idolatry. Most people know what the phase means when someone says, “he or she wandered away from their marriage.” You don’t have to be a theologian to figure that out. People do that with the Lord God almighty all the time. We don’t have idols today; we simply drive them, live in them, and wear them!
Friday (10/27) – We tell the unpleasant story of how doctors in the early 1800’s performed autopsies, then actually examined pregnant women and delivered babies without even washing their hands! One doctor spoke up to the medical community about this practice being responsible for deaths of many women to what was called, “childbed fever”. What he told the doctors of his day has spiritual application to us in 2017! It really does!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#7 – Air Date Week of 10/16/2017
Life Isn’t Fair!
Jeremiah 12:1-2, Psalm 73:1-28
This Week – If you haven’t asked the question recently, you will! “Why do people who reject the Lord and His word seem to succeed, and have health and wealth?” Your second question is this. “Why do the people who try to follow the Lord and His word seem to face illness, struggle, and defeat?” That’s one of the oldest questions in the Bible, including the 7th message in our series from Jeremiah. This message will deal with this issue in your life and mine.
Monday (10/16) – We begin by referring to the oldest book in the Bible, in terms of when it was written, where Job talks about questioning why people who ignore the Lord seem to succeed. He even notes that their children are “dancing in the streets with tambourines.” We all wonder why life doesn’t seem fair. You may have wondered that recently. We then read from the text in Jeremiah where the prophet says he has an issue he needs to discuss with the Lord. It’s about life’s fairness or lack thereof!
Tuesday (10/17) – We reflect on the most famous passage of all in the Bible about life’s seeming unfairness: Psalm 73. The author is a man named Asaph who says he envied the wicked. We then share the most important sentence of the message. Don’t base your opinion of God solely on the distribution of heath and wealth. Base it on the cross!
Wednesday (10/18) – Have you ever had the wrong perception of a person? We all have and do. We tell the story of a corporate psychologist who shares about being with a group of multi-millionaires and billionaires who would be perceived as living charmed lives. And yet many of them struggled with addictions, depression, and conflict. I close with a story of a friend of mine who was murdered in Chicago years ago. To my knowledge, his murderers were never caught. Life isn’t fair, is it?
Thursday (10/19) – Life isn’t fair in many ways in most people’s lives. We share a story told by Dr. Leroy Lawson of Mesa, Arizona. It hopefully will speak to your life about unfairness and God’s power no matter what happens. We quote an observation of Dr. Henry Blackaby about God working through you to minister to people. God will use you if you are available to Him! He really will, even in a life that isn’t fair!
Friday (10/20) – You may have resentment toward people, toward a company, a school, a college. You may feel that you have been cheated or deprived in some way. And maybe you have! Again, don’t base your opinion of the Lord on the distribution of health and wealth. Base it upon what happened on the cross of Christ. That will change how you look upon a life that is fair or unfair!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#6 – Air Date Week of 10/9/2017
Whose Life Is It?
Jeremiah 10:23, Proverbs 16:9, 19:21
This Week – Do you use a “Day-Timer” or calendar to schedule things in the life? Many people do. After years of using them, the temptation for all of us is to think of our time on this earth as “ours”. But is it really? What we study this week in Jeremiah just may change your thinking. It has for me! What perhaps we used to think of as ours and ours alone is something that belongs to the Lord God Almighty! It’s called your life and mine.
Monday (10/9) – My most vivid college memory is going into a fellow student’s dorm room in the middle of the night, to see him literally planning out the rest of his life on paper. I was truly in awe, because I was only worried about what I would eat for breakfast the next morning. But there it was right in front of me, 5 years ahead, 10 years ahead, and 15 years ahead and beyond. Life didn’t go as he planned, or for that matter how you and I may have planned. Jeremiah as something to say to you and me today!
Tuesday (10/10) – We share a powerful story of a minister friend of mine who was the father of a son with major birth defects and complications. Many Sundays, he would enter the pulpit not having slept for one minute! He was up all night in his son’s room that looked like a hospital room at the local children’s hospital. You need to hear his answer to the question, “What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this experience?” It just may change your thinking about something in your life.
Wednesday (10/11) – You just may be offended by this next sentence. There is no room in the Kingdom of God for “control freaks”. Nowhere will you find that concept endorsed or lifted up in scripture. That’s what we discuss today on CrossHope. God can use rejection, disappointment, failure, and even grief in your life and mine to bless us. Why? Because He is God, you and I are not!
Thursday (10/12) – Dr. Robertson McQuilkin was a college president Columbia, South Carolina many years ago. His story of his wife developing Alzheimer’s disease will speak to the deepest part of your being. How he came to terms with her illness actually speaks to Jeremiah’s admonition to you and me. We are either living in submission to the will of God or we are living in slavery to our own wills! Listen to his story today!
Friday (10/13) – We talk about changes that need to happen in your life and mine. What do you do when you are convicted about the direction your life is going? Do you just continue on with business as usual or do you stop and make the necessary adjustments in order to change course? We are not the authority on anything; the Lord is the authority on everything! It takes courage to change; it also takes the power of God!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#5 – Air Date Week of 10/2/2017
Boasting in What?
Jeremiah 9: 23-24
This Week – Everyone boasts about something, some more than others. But did you know that God’s word says that everything we boast about can fall under one of three headings? The prophet of God known as Jeremiah says that men and women can boast in “what and whom they know”, they can boast in “what they do or have done”, and thirdly in “what they have or possess.” Jeremiah gives us an alternative for boasting in your life and mine!
Monday (10/2) – We open with an illustration about children boasting in the typical things children boast in. And yet boasting doesn’t stop at the age of 12. It goes on into our 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s and beyond! You may know retired people who boast! We introduce the text where Jeremiah gives the real source of boasting in your life and mine. It may just surprise you!
Tuesday (10/3) – Jeremiah begins with this phrase: “This is what the Lord says.” He’s not giving his opinion or spin; He is sharing the Word of God with His people. He begins with pride in knowledge of people and earthly wisdom. Has that ever impacted your thinking? Paul in Corinthians says that knowledge puffs up the person who possesses the knowledge. Then Jeremiah talks about people boasting in their strength, meaning boasting in what they do and what they have done.
Wednesday (10/4) – The third boasting has to do with the big one: Money! It’s the temptation to boast in what we have or will have. Have you ever been tempted to boast in what you have or what you plan on getting? We all have. Jeremiah then transitions into what we are to boast in. In a word, we are to boast in the Lord in that we understand and know Him! What a concept!
Thursday (10/5) – Jeremiah says it’s possible to both understand intellectually, and know experientially the Lord. I share an illustration of how that works. It’s a story about an older cousin of mine who was a doctor who lived with the disease polio. He understood the disease intellectually because of medical training. But, he knew it experientially because he lived with it! We can understand and know the Lord!
Friday (10/6) – Jeremiah tells us that the Lord delights in three things: kindness, justice, and righteousness. People who know the Lord, people who understand the Lord delight in what He delights in. Does that make sense at all? We close with a silly little story that you make think is even “stupid”. But you will remember it tomorrow and even days from now when you’re tempted to boast in what you know, what you’ve done, and in what you have! Don’t believe that? Listen to this story today!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#4 – Aired Week of 9/25/2017
The God Who Speaks (And the People Who Don’t Listen)
Jeremiah 6: 10-15
This Week – Some people are deaf or hard of hearing. Others are deaf by choice. They choose not to hear or listen. You may be married to such a person! According to Jeremiah, God’s people had “ears that were closed so they cannot hear.” God’s people refused to listen to the word of the Lord because they found it offensive. Has the Bible ever offended you?
Monday (9/25) – We begin by quoting a professional counselor, Steve Arteburn who believes many of our problems are caused by a refusal to hear and heed the word of God in our lives. What about your life? Have you ever refused to listen or accept something that God said in His word that spoke to something going on in your personal life? We all have!
Tuesday (9/26) – The word of God actually does two things: it draws people and it repels people! Both! The same message from the word of God can draw someone closer to the Lord; it can also “run someone off”! In the ministry you see it all the time. We share a story of a woman who was so “offended” by my reading of a scripture at a wedding; I honestly thought she might assault me!
Wednesday (9/27) – Jeremiah says that the prophets and priests were “dressing the wounds of God’s people as though they were not serious.” He was talking about covering up their sin. We share a serious illustration of a neighbor many years ago who shot himself in the chest. All I knew to do was to cover the wound with a folded cloth as a compress. But he needed surgery. We cover the wounds (sins) in our lives, but we need spiritual surgery!
Thursday (9/28) – We quote a quiz by Steve Arteburn that covers some of the issues that you, your spouse, your children, or parents deal with in life. It’s a quiz about the “unhealed wounds” in your life. One man hearing this said it described the last 30 years of his life! Maybe it will do the same for you. We tend to reproduce that which we don’t resolve. Read that last sentence again!
Friday (9/29) – We close by looking at verse 15 of Jeremiah 6 that talks about people who “don’t know how to blush”. What does that mean? Some people not only don’t listen to the word of God, they simply don’t care what they say or do! We all know people like that. They refuse to hear what God has to say, their ears are closed, they find the word of God offensive. Sound familiar?
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#3 – Aired Week of 9/18/2017
The God of Truth
Jeremiah 5: 1-5
This Week – Whenever someone tells me that personal honesty or integrity really isn’t that big of a deal in 2017, I think of the passage we study this week. It is Jeremiah 5 where God says He’s actually looking for men and women who do two things: they deal honestly and seek the truth! It must be important to Him. He then says if Jeremiah can find one person who does those two things; He’ll spare the city of Jerusalem. That’s no small thing!
Monday (9/18) – We begin with a piece of writing written years ago by Zig Ziegler, a motivational speaker from Texas. He wrote about marrying the “wrong” person or being the “right” person. Someone reading this right now needs to hear what he said. It just may speak to something you are going through in your marriage today! It really will.
Tuesday (9/19) – Isn’t it amazing that God says He’s looking for honest people on the earth? Actually He says He’s looking for just ONE! You may be the only honest person where you work or go to school. You may be the only honest person in your family! This may surprise you, but you may be the “ONE” in your marriage that is truthful. Don’t give up being the ONE!
Wednesday (9/20) – If you’re looking for a mate in life, a good starting point would be to find someone who deals honestly and seeks the truth! Why? Because that is what God is looking for! Verse 2 says, “The Lord’s eyes are looking for truth.” The ultimate definition of the word truth comes from Jesus who said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” Seeking the truth is to seek Jesus!
Thursday (9/21) – According to one author and his survey, most people lie routinely to their spouse, their parents, and to friends and associates. We tell the dramatic story of a cab driver from San Francisco who had a passenger who left her purse in his cab with $1,800.00 in cash in an envelope! What this cab driver did will amaze you! It may speak to your honesty or lack thereof.
Friday (9/22) – We quote a counselor who talks about what it takes to have honesty in your marriage and family. This is not just important, it may be crucial to the success or failure in your marriage! This can actually change someone’s life and marriage today, just by listening to this part of the message. If the Lord was and is looking for people who deal honestly and simply seek the truth, what does the Lord see in your life and mine?
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#2 – Aired Week of 9/11/2017
The God We Forget!
Jeremiah 2:5-13, 31-32
This Week – Have you ever forgotten a birthday or an anniversary that you shouldn’t have? Do you remember the feeling you had? More than that, do you remember what your forgetting did to the other person? God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah says, “My people have forgotten me, days without number!” Forgetting a birthday is one thing; forgetting the Lord is something totally different!
Monday (9/11) – We begin with a story about Bear Bryant, the late great football coach of Alabama. It’s about a television commercial he did for a southern phone company and the reaction of his viewers. It will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye. It introduces the second chapter of Jeremiah that talks about the forgetfulness of God’s people regarding the Lord who saved them and delivered them. Have you every forgotten what the Lord has done in your life? We all have!
Tuesday (9/12) – In verse 5, Jeremiah says, “This is what the Lord says!” He doesn’t claim authority on his own; rather he claims “delegated” authority. Most preachers can take a lesson from this. Any spiritual authority we have comes from Him; it’s not inherent with us. Many people claim their own authority in telling people how to live. That’s arrogance. We can only ultimately share what the Lord says through His word.
Wednesday (9/13) – Jeremiah says that God’s people preferred water from a broken cistern to the living water of a spring. It’s a great analogy of even today. We reject the Lord and choose the second rate or the temporary. In verse 32, God says that His people had forgotten Him days without end! In a sense, God was saying He had lost track of the time of forgetfulness. We use a humorous wedding story to illustrate this point.
Thursday (9/14) – We share a great story by Dr. Scott Peck who tells of being a “self-proclaimed” Boy Scout when he was a boy. He had the Boy Scout handbook and the official Boy Scout hatchet. But that’s all. Many people have a Bible on the coffee table, and a framed copy of scripture on a wall plague. Having the accouterments doesn’t make us a scout or a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Isn’t that right?
Friday (9/15) – We close with a powerful story told by my favorite preacher, Ben Haden of years ago in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He tells of being called to the hospital in the middle of the night to a man facing death. He pledged faithfulness to the Lord from that day forward, if God would just spare his life. His pledge was quickly forgotten. But we can’t judge him; we have done similar things. It’s called forgetting what the Lord has done!
THE GOD WITH A PLAN
#1 – Aired Week of 9/4/2017
The God Who Won’t Leave You Alone!
Jeremiah 1:4-9, Ephesians 2:10