Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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                                                                                                                                                                                  October 9, 2018

 

If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?

~Jeremiah 12:5

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               I would love to tell you that I love how brutally honest the Lord is. But frankly, I don’t like it at times. Oh, I appreciate it all of the time, but sometimes it is difficult to hear His honesty as it comes through His precious Word. However, we as His people are to listen and respond to His Word is every situation, regardless of whether or not we like what He has to say to us. The Lord on high does not govern the affairs of the world according to public opinion polls. God is true, even if every man is a lair in convincing themselves of something otherwise (Rom. 3:4).

               And so I came face to face with this verse today in my devotional time. Let me tell you how I’ve always interacted with this verse. In context. What that means is that I’ve always looked at it as a message from God to the people of Judah. But that wasn’t accurate. I realize now that the Lord was speaking directly to Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet of God that was called to do the nearly impossible job of delivering His words to His people. The message was clear: the people had sinned, Babylon was coming, and the only way to survive the judgment was to surrender to it. Well, nobody wanted to hear that (and they still do not)! The people wanted to hear that God loved them and was for them and that He would protect them against any enemy that came against them. The message of impending judgment was not one that they wanted to hear. But rather than take their complaints to the Lord they began to attack His messenger. And so Jeremiah to HIS complaints to the Lord. Look closely at verses 1-4. He says in verse 1, “Lord, you are righteous (you are correct) even if I plead with You…but I’m going to talk to You about how I disagree with what You’re doing.” Now, that’s my paraphrase but it is true to the intent of the verse. Jeremiah has taken exception to God’s decisions about matters. Specifically, he complains that the wicked seem to be prosperous and happy. The unsaid part of this verse would sound something like “while I’m here doing the best I can and I’m suffering.” Can you not hear your own frustrations in Jeremiah’s words? “I’m doing the best that I can and things keep going badly for me.”

               But he continues in verse 2. Jeremiah almost seems to blame God a little bit: “You created them, You planted them, You have allowed them to grow and bear fruit. You know they don’t mean what they say”…and again the unsaid words “but You’ve allowed them to continue anyways.” Meanwhile, in verse 3, “I’m doing right by You, God. So please, destroy them. Punish them. Let them see their end”…and unsaid, “But let things just be easy for me, God. Please!” Now please understand that I’m not trying to suggest that we ought to add anything to God’s Word. I am simply allowing my own thoughts to be echoed out through Jeremiah’s words. I am completing his thoughts because I know my own. The problem with that activity is that I want to be associated with Jeremiah’s complaint to God, but not His answer from God. Negativity attracts negativity, and Lord knows I’ve been guilty of being that source of negativity too many times. I feel a kinship with Jeremiah. I feel his pain and frustration. But that is where I want it to stop. I don’t want to say what I feel and think out loud because somehow that doesn’t make it real. Somehow the Lord will not know what is in my mind if it doesn’t come out of my mouth! So, at the same time, I applaud Jeremiah’s words while also condemning the fact that he spoke them to God.

               But the Lord’s answer to Jeremiah is as clearly delivered to me as it is to you. God was not speaking to Judah. He wasn’t simply answering Jeremiah either. It is as if God was looking through time right into my office, right into my heart and He was answering me too! “If you’re struggling right now when it is easy, how are you going to handle it when things get really bad?” The Lord says that Jeremiah has been running with the footmen and has grown weary. Horses run faster than footmen, so how will he keep up with them? God says, “If in the land of peace and safety the wicked have frustrated you, how will you do when you’re in a land that is neither safe nor peaceful?” In essence I hear God saying that He is about to up the ante in a big way. Babylon will come in as an agent of justice, but that will only exacerbate the problems Jeremiah sees. I’d love to believe that God’s judgment will always change people for the better, but that is not always so. Notice this verse from Revelation16:21 after the 7th bowl is poured out: “And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.” Judgment at times only increases the rebellion of the wicked. Jeremiah, do you really think you are ready for that? Benjamin, do you??

               Of course, I’m not ready. Most of us are not ready to embrace the future. But the future is coming regardless. Perhaps God has a blessed future for us all and the judgment of God will at least not happen in our day (Is. 39:8). The Bible doesn’t seem to indicate things will get better leading up to His final judgment. Paul’s words are important to consider: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)! Things WILL get worse the longer the world persists. And yet we find ourselves getting weary and frustrated in these relatively peaceful times we live in…or at least I do. I am NOT ready.

               God is not being spiteful or mean when He points this out to us. Instead He is calling us once again to re-center our lives around Him. The only constant in this life is the Lord God Almighty who never changes (Heb. 13:8; James 1:17). I assure you that He is keenly aware of the iniquity of the world, even among His people. He doesn’t need me to point things out to Him. God is simply calling on me to trust Him in HIS determination about things. If I can believe Him enough for my eternal salvation, can I also trust Him with the day-to-day governance of the world He created? He is calling me to trust HIS judgment and determination over my own. He is calling me at the same time to prepare myself in anticipation of the days ahead. They may be good or they may be evil, but I ought to be prepared nonetheless. “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small” (Prob. 24:10). God is calling me (and you…and He called Jeremiah) to prepare myself now for what might be ahead. With each passing day the eternal stakes grow greater. People day every second around the world, and if you haven’t died you’ve only both increased your chances of dying at this moment and decreased your time left to do what you know you need to do (you just did it again…and again…and again). You cannot wait to prepare for an uncertain future when it shows us. The day to become battle ready is today, right now. And how do we do that? By turning our thoughts and our hearts back to the Lord in earnestness and integrity.

               Be reminded of Isaiah’s words: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Is. 40:28-31). Read those verse again and maybe read them out loud. Do you hear God’s faithful promises within them? It is He alone who is the source of our strength. Through Him we can run with the horses and tread over the floodplains of the Jordan. But we need the Lord. We need Him now more than ever before.

               Come quickly, Lord Jesus…but perhaps not TOO quickly.

 

 ~Bro. Benjamin 

 

Previous Postings                                                                  This Week's Sermons
October 16
October 9                                                                                       October 14 (AM)
October 2                                                               "To the Least of These: the Bleeding Woman"
September 18                                                                                   Luke 8:40-48
September 11                                                                                 
September 4                                                                                   October 14 (PM)
August 28                                                              "The Separation between Darkness and Light"
August 14                                                                                       Ephesians 5:8-14
August 7                                                                                         
July 31                                                                                             
July 24                                                                                          October 3 (WED)           
July 17                                                                           
                Acts 16:35-17:9
July 3                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                   
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If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page


October 14 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Bleeding Woman"--Luke 8:40-48
October 14 (PM) "The Separation between Darkness and Light"--Ephesians 5:8-14
October 7 (AM) "The Greatest Love of All"--John 15:12-14
October 7 (PM) "Why Do We Wash Feet?"--John 13:1-17
 
September 30 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Gadarene Demoniac"--Luke 8:26-39
September 23 (AM) "Give Me This Mountain"--Joshua 14:6-14 - Rev. David Amburgey
September 23 (PM) "Is It Right for You to Be Angry?"--Jonah 4:1-11 - Bro. Jeff Baumann
September 16 (AM) "The Son of Grace"--Luke 15:11-24
September 16 (PM) "Walk in the Light"--Ephesians 5:8-10
September 9 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Sinful Woman"--Luke 7:36-50
September 9 (PM) "The Imitation of Christ"--Ephesians 5:3-7
September 2 (AM) "Bring Your Lunchbox to Jesus"--John 6:1-14
 
August 26 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Widow of Nain"--Luke 7:11-17
August 26 (PM) "Imitators of God"--Ephesians 5:1-2
August 19 (AM) "The Church Jesus Would Join"--Acts:2:40-47 - Bro. Joey Cosme
August 19 (PM) "
What the New Man Looks Like, Part 2"--Ephesians 4:25-32
August 12 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Centurion"--Luke 7:1-10
August 12 (PM) "What the New Man Looks Like, Part 1"--Ephesians 4:25-32
August 5 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Man with a Withered Hand"--Luke 6:1-11
August 5 (PM) "...What Now Is"--Ephesians 4:20-24
 
July 29 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Paralytic"--Luke 5:17-26
July 29 (PM) "The Baha'i Religion"
July 22 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Leper"--Luke 5:12-16
July 22 (PM) "What Once Was..."--Ephesians 4:17-19
July 15 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Lowly Fisherman"--Luke 5:1-11
July 8 (AM) "To the Least of These: Peter's Mother-in-Law"--Luke 4:38-39
July 8 (PM) "No Longer Children"--Ephesians 4:14-15
July 1 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Demoniac"--Luke 4:31-37
July 1 (PM) "You Have a Place; You Have a Purpose"--Ephesians 4:11-16
 
June 24 (AM) "The Fruitless Tree"--Luke 13:6-9 - Rev. David Amburgey
June 24 (PM) "Becoming a Hero in the Faith"--Galatians 5:22-23 - Bro. Johnny Amburgey
June 17 (AM) "To the Least of These: Joseph"--Matthew 1:18-25
June 10 (AM) "To the Least of These: Mary"--Luke 1:26-38
June 10 (PM) "Leading Captivity Captive"--Ephesians 4:7-10
June 3 (AM) "With Us in the Fires"--Daniel 3:13-30
June 3 (PM) "One in Christ"--Ephesians 4:1-6
 
May 20 (AM) "New Testament Christians"--1 John 2:12-17 - Rev. Ronald Wallace
May 20 (AM) "More Than We Could Ever Imagine"--Ephesians 3:20-21
May 13 (AM) "Moms After God's Own Heart"--Hosea 11:1-11
May 6 (AM) "Great Grace for the Least of These"--Matthew 9:9-13
May 6 (PM) "Becoming the Church"--Ephesians 3:14-19

April 29 (AM) "When You're Tempted to Worry"--Psalm 37:1-9
April 22 (AM) "Can You See His Face?"--Luke 22:54-62
April 22 (PM) "Grace Is Worth It All!"--Ephesians 3:8-13
April 15 (AM) "What's It Really About?"--Mark 3:1-6
April 15 (PM) "The Way Is Open!"--Ephesians 3:1-7
April 8 (AM) "Is Salvation Fair?"--Matthew 20:1-16
April 8 (PM) "The Greatest in the Kingdom"--Matthew 20:20-28
April 1 (AM) "The Resurrection & the Life"--John 11:1-44
April 1 (PM) "Today in Paradise"--Luke 23:39-43
 
March 25 (AM) "It Is Finished"--John 19:29-30
March 18 (AM)
"Father, Forgive Them"--Luke 23:32-38
March 18 (PM) "I Thirst"--John 19:28-29
March 11 (AM)
"Forsaken for Us"--Mark 15:34
March 11 (PM)
"We Are the Church"--Ephesians 19-22
March 4 (AM) "If It Be Possible..."--Matthew 26:36-47
March 4 (PM) "The Peace of Christ"--Ephesians 2:14-18

February 25 (PM) "Remember Who You Were"--Ephesians 2:11-13
February 11 (AM) "Faith Is a Family Affair"--Deuteronomy 6:1-9
February 11 (PM) "There Are NO Inactive Church Members"--Ephesians 2:8-10
February 4 (AM) "The Glory of Christ"--Matthew 17:1-8
February 4 (PM) "Prepositional Christianity"--Ephesians 2:8-10
 
January 28 (AM) "Lord of All Creation"--Psalm 102:25-28
January 28 (PM) "Great Reasons to Be Thankful"--Ephesians 2:1-7
January 21 (AM) "I See the Lord"--Isaiah 6:1-6
January 21 (PM) "All in All"--Ephesians 1:22-23
January 14 (AM) "Let's Make 2018 All About Him"--Proverbs 3:5-6
January 14 (PM) "What Paul Prays For, Part 2"--Ephesians 1:15-21
January 7 (AM) "Time to Start Over"--2 Corinthians 5:14-21
January 7 (PM) "What Paul Prays For"--Ephesians 1:15-21
 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2017!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

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About Our Pastor
 
 
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and real-life applications.
 
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a special educator at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta. She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 3rd grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
 
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure.
 
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!