Youth Prophet

Dear fellow servants of God,

I was just a guy when I commenced my service to God and I thought some of my experiences may edify you. I am Jeremiah the prophet. I am sorry my book is hard for you to understand and so I will explain to you in simple terms. Read my book, having in mind a budding youth who matured into a grand old man.

My native place was Anathoth, a Benjamite town, five kilometres North East of Jerusalem. I was from a family of priests. Though young, I was obsessed with serving the Lord and I joined the company of priests in my home town.

Our country was going through a political turmoil and our king Josiah was only eight years old (2 Ki 22:1). When he was saved (In your language), he was sixteen (2 Chr 34:3), started his reformation at age 20, and was full swing when he was 26 (2 Ki 22:3). The temple was cleansed. The Book of the Law was found and worship was restored. The prophetess Huldah was consulted (2 Ki 22:14). Josiah was Judah’s last good king. We both were of almost the same age and I would say my book is a tale of two youths. When Josiah was 21, God told me that He had chosen me and appointed me as His prophet even before He formed me (Jer 1:5). You may think I was excited. Far from it. I was terrified and protested that I was too young for that august calling, pointing out that I was no ‘speaker’ (v6). But God assured me that He would do the job and I just had to be an instrument in His hands (vv18,19). Just hop into the Time Machine and come along with me to 626 BC when I started my ministry. My ministry extended for nearly 50 years, till 586 BC, through the reigns of Josiah - Jehoahaz - Jehoiakim - Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. I saw the final destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC and died in Egypt.

I want you to understand under what circumstances I prophesied so that my book will be made easy for you. I was a failure in the eyes of the people because my call to people to turn to God brought no results. Josiah died in the battle with Egypt. It was a great loss for me. I composed laments for him (2 Ki 23:29,30; 2 Chr 35:20-25). After his death, his sons took the nation back to corrupt ways and tried to do away with me or silence me. There was political instability. The threat of Babylonian invasion was impending. People were polarising into two parties. The pro-Egyptian party was for migration to Egypt before the invasion. The other was for remaining in Judah and accepting the Babylonian rule according to my prophecy. In this scenario, it was hard for the people to decide.

1. My first lesson to you is: If God has called you even before you were formed, then it is His sheer GRACE. The sovereign choice is not because of your accomplishments but God’s grace. Never forget it. It will keep you humble under all circumstances. Pride has slaughtered many ministers of God. It is satan’s sword. Beware!

2. Secondly, it is RELUCTANCE. When God calls us to serve Him, our first reaction is, “No, no, not me, Lord.” This is very natural. You think of your qualification, physical strength, family and you protest. Anxiety and inferiority complex fill your heart at the thought of the awesome task before you. I was happy with my quiet job as a priest in my own town. I was scared out of my skin to be a prophet (Jer 1:6). Maybe you are involved in some ministry. When God prompts you to jump over the bar, your throat tightens. God does not need a well accomplished person but someone who will obey Him. Today I assure you that God will never let you down. Just bow your head and say, “Amen” to God’s call. Put your trust in God and go ahead.

3.  DISCOURAGEMENT is a devil that stalks you throughout your ministry. When I started to prophesy in Judah, the revival under Josiah was just taking off and people were reluctant to listen to my message of doom. My message was that God was angry with His people and would send the Babylonians to destroy Judah. The revival showers during Josiah’s reign were inadequate to stave off God’s anger after three centuries of sinning (Jer 15:1). God could not forget the wickedness of Manasseh (2 Ki 24:3,4). So the people were confused. After listening to me, people turned to other prophets for a second opinion. As it is today, it was difficult for them to discern between the true and the false prophets. The majority of prophets said, “Peace, peace.” It is natural therefore to choose to believe the comforting message. You tend to believe the message that suits you, right? I myself had doubts. Am I right or are they right? Yet there was a small group of righteous people who believed me. In the midst of revival, and in spite of Josiah’s best efforts, people were still clinging to their idols, turning to God in pretense and not with all their heart (Jer 3:10). I couldn’t find a single honest person. It was terribly discouraging (5:1). God told me the response of the people in advance: “They will not listen to you” (7:27). It was absolutely discouraging for me to go and preach knowing the negative result. But if you persevere you will reap the reward. God made His word in my mouth fi re (5:14). His question, “Is anything too hard for Me?” gave me the backbone whenever I was downhearted (32:27).

4.  Never underestimate the WORD OF GOD. I received it directly from God. But you are fortunate to have it in printed form. You hear God’s voice from the Word and get your vision from the Word, not from the skies. Today many preachers try to hear God’s physical voice and get into all kinds of deception. They say God told them this and that in their visions and mislead people. God doesn’t speak to people today like He spoke to the early prophets. Beware! Other ministers would like you to run along with them. Did not they tell Michaiah to prophesy along their lines? (1 Ki 22:13). Be bold to speak the truth. So spend much time with the Bible and fill yourself with the Word. Meditate it, write down your meditations and read standard commentaries. Then you’ll experience, “the Word of the Lord came to me” (Jer 1:4). It is from there God speaks to you. God’s Word was my joy and heart’s delight. I ate God’s Word (15:16). God touched my mouth and put His Words in my mouth (1:9). Pray for this touch. Speak to the people the Word of God and nothing but the Word, even though they may not like it. Resist the temptation to speak what the people want to hear (5:30,31). Revival starts with the Word of God. So read it, meditate it, preach it and teach it (2 Ki 23:2).

5.  PRAYER is the breath of God’s servant. It should be an integral part of your person. God may wake you up at the most inconvenient times, when you feel like pulling the blanket over your head. I kept on talking to God. I literally was pouring out my heart to Him – my doubts, my anger, my anguish, my joy and everything. Prayer is not just asking, it is deep conversation with a friend. God answers prayer in the most unusual ways. I was facing constant snubbing and discouragement in Judah. While I was weeping before God, He was answering my prayers in a surprising way. Four Jewish young boys who were taken to Babylon as prisoners, were turning the world upside down! Their message reached the end of the world! It was wonderful news to me. A copy of my prophecies reached Daniel and he started to pray, setting up a chain of events (Dan 9:1-3). In one of the deportations was a man called Ezekiel, who later God called to be a prophet among his fellow captives. He was also a young man of 30. What I was to the people of Judah in Jerusalem, the prophet Ezekiel was to the captives in Babylonian exile. God sent messengers again and again because He had pity on His people. Youth must develop the habit of talking to God about everything and receiving answers. In that case, it cannot be a casual, routine prayer. It should be a deep and serious conversation with God which requires being alone with Him and total concentration.

I used to cry my heart out whenever I thought of the destruction of God’s people, like Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Jer 4:19; 9:1). But one thing I understood was that I was not alone. God was also weeping. Even today He is weeping for the people. Floods, volcanoes, hunger, famine, earthquakes, pandemics, sin, wars! People suffer for their sins, yet God weeps for them. God is never happy to destroy sinners. You need a bleeding heart to pray. You will see unusual and unexpected results as you pray and you will be encouraged to pray more

6.  You think I was courageous? No. I was like you, full of FEAR. God had to repeatedly rebuke me and assure me, “Do not be afraid” (Jer 1:8). I had to face the attacks of kings, officials, priests and people. When I trembled, God asked me, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a safe country, how will you manage in the thickets of Jordan?” (12:5). God trains your hands for war.

You are going to face harder times. So prepare yourself and be courageous. God asked me to do something that no young man would dare to do. I was to stand at the entrance of the church and warn the congregation, “God is going to bring disaster if you live this way” (Jer 7:1-11; 19:14,15 ). He made me a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall. “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you” said He (Jer 1:18,19). The promise is for you too. The Lord was with me like a mighty warrior (20:11). He is with you too.

7.  Without SACRIFICE there is no ministry. As if what I was undergoing was not enough, God told me not to marry or have children. How much I dreamt about my sweetheart and the life we would build together! How could I break the news to her? But as days went by, I understood that it was good I did not have a family in the turmoil we were going through. God also told me not to attend funerals or festivals. What else is life? But I had to abide by His rules (Jer 16:1-8). Taking up your cross every day and following Christ is not easy. But remember that no cross is as cruel as the Roman cross on which Christ was hung till He died. The trend today is different. But you must choose a different lifestyle – a life of sacrifice. You must be ready to give in to any demand by God. Ministry is not luxury; it is demanding, taxing, tiring. It means sweat and blood and tears. Absorb the concept at the earliest so that you will not be sidetracked into the maya bazaar of today’s religion. God knows how much we can bear and will not take us beyond a certain point. He is not a hard taskmaster. He also invites us to enter the joy of the Lord.

8.  PERSECUTION is unavoidable for any servant of God. I had close brushes with death and escaped by the skin of my teeth(Jer 26:8,9). But Uriah who prophesied the same was not so lucky. King Jehoiakim had him killed (vv20- 23). The Holy Spirit is given to you to be witnesses and martyrs (Acts 1:8). That is the least you can do for Christ who died for you. Every year many lose their lives for the cause of Christ. Consider it a privilege to die for the Gospel. Your blood will be the seed of the church.

Straighten your backbone and face it. It will be better for us to obey God and suffer than obey man and be blessed. My own town’s people threatened to kill me if I prophesied in the name of the Lord (Jer 11:21-23). I was beaten and imprisoned for a long time (37:15,16). They lowered me into a deep well with only mud and I sank into it (38:6). Those were anxious times for me. I could not help thinking, “Where are the promises of God?” When Jehoiakim wanted me and Baruch arrested, the Lord hid us. What an encouragement amidst discouragement! (36:26).

9.  Break up your UNPLOWED GROUND (Jer 4:3). There are so many areas where the Good News has not been announced. Take for example the high rise buildings where the rich live. You can go knocking at their doors with a gift, New Testament or even a Gospel portion. Or you can choose a place where no one has ever gone. Go prayerfully and start sowing the seeds. Show them Christ. Have a shepherd’s heart. God’s sheep are scattered everywhere. You don’t have to go in search of them. If we are not gathering them to Him, we are scattering them from Him (23:1,2). I even wrote a letter to those in exile in Babylon encouraging them that after 70 years God would bring them back (Ch 29). Keep ministering to people in whatever way you can. Produce soulwinners. Keep encouraging your friends to go with you and instill a sense of responsibility in them towards lost souls.

10. There is no substitute for HARD WORK. God does not entrust His work with lazy people. I was already serving God as a priest when He called me to be a prophet. You must keep going in rain or shine. Read the book of the Acts of the apostles to understand their passion. Nothing could stop them. They did not stop with praying. They testified in synagogues, market places, prisons and everywhere. When persecuted and scattered, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (Acts 8:4). The result – the whole world heard the Good News! I prayed. I wept. I prophesied. I demonstrated. I wrote. I never gave up on the people. I never was tired of God’s work. After 23 years of prophesying, God instructed me to write them down on a scroll through a scribe named Baruch (Jer 36:1-4). It was laborious to write in a scroll, all my prophesies. When King Jehoiakim burnt the scroll, my stomach secreted gallons of acid (v 23). God wanted us to do it all over again (v 28). For what? I thought. These people will never listen to what God says. But laboriously I had to rack my brain and dictate the whole content to Baruch once again and he had to painstakingly do it all over again (45:1). And see today the fruit it is bearing! So sweat and labour for God will never go waste. Don’t expect comforts everywhere. Compared to what we had in our days, you have so much. You can do much more than us if you have the mind to sweat it out.

At last the king understood the seriousness of my prophecy (Jer 21:1,2). Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (39:1). I was released by order of King Nebuchadnezzar (vv 11,12). But later Baruch and I were forcibly taken to Egypt (43:4-7). I was in Egypt against my wish, surrounded by idol worshipping Hebrews. I spent my last days there and there ends my story.

What shall I say? Was I happy that my prophecies came true? No, no. I only wished people had listened to the words of God. As per God’s word, after 70 years, He brought them back to the Promised Land and established them as a nation. Today when I see Israel as a nation, my heart swells with pride about my God. His promises never fail and His servants will never be put to shame. Even though my ministry was an apparent failure, today I see what my prophecies are doing to Christians around the world. It is always too early to give up. So faithfully do your job. Though the beginning may be small, the end shall be prosperous (Job 8:7).

 

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 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 5
   Updated

 Dr Lilian Stanley Blog
   Updated

  •   The Best Crown Ever! (Tamil)
      Dec 05, 2022
    The Best Crown Ever! more...
  •   The Best Crown Ever!
      Nov 18, 2022
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 Daily Devotional for Women (English)
   Updated

  •   367. December 31 Golden Girl
      Jun 06, 2023
    Now the Golden Girl has climbed from her state, step by step, to the right hand of the King. She is now the bride and the queen. Let?s see the blessings of the right hand of God more...
  •   366. December 30 Golden Girl
      Jun 05, 2023
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 Daily Devotional for Women (Tamil)
   Updated

 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 4

  •   051. Blessed Accident
      Feb 21, 2018
    A sailor wanted to go round the world in a boat and set up a record. Sadly, a storm lashed his boat and it broke to pieces. The sailor swam and reached a small uninhabited island. He ate wild fruits and roots and survived. He made a more...
  •   052. Offense
      Feb 21, 2018
    An elaborate feast was arranged for all the palace staff on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth?s birthday. It was a grand affair. The table was loaded with a variety of dishes. Everybody enjoyed the feast and sat down for dessert. In the meanwhile the table more...
  •   053. Great and Small
      Feb 21, 2018
    A small zero collided with a big zero. ?Don?t you have any sense? Don?t you know I am much bigger than you?? asked the big zero; ?You must be ashamed of yourself.? more...
  • Click here for more 

 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 3

  •   094 Ant and Worm
      Jun 01, 2016
    An ant was majestically walking along a forest. She saw a worm crawling. The ant told the worm: ?Look at me. I am so brisk and smart. You should be faster and dress up beautifully. You look ugly.? Despising the worm the ant moved along. more...
  •   095 Diligence Pays
      Jun 01, 2016
    Ragu was very jealous of the humble minister, Ra more...
  •   096 Poor Minister
      Jun 01, 2016
    A poor minister of God used to go to a rich businessman asking for contribution for the work he was doing in villages. The rich man would give excuses and ask hi more...
  • Click here for more 

 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 2

  •   001 The Modern Prodigal
      Jul 11, 2013
    The Modern Prodigal more...
  •   002 Lower One Foot, Lord!
      Jul 11, 2013
    Lower One Foot, Lord! more...
  •   003 Beautiful Cheques
      Jul 11, 2013
    Beautiful Cheques more...
  • Click here for more 

 Little Stories For Little Hearts

  •   Introduction
      Jun 06, 2013
    Story Behind The Stories more...
  •   001. Is GOD For Real
      Jun 05, 2013
    There were two scientists. One was a believer in the true God and another was an aetheist more...
  •   002.The Language of Love!
      Jun 05, 2013
    A circus was running in town, and crowds elbowed each other to buy tickets. One day an unusual incident happened more...
  • Click here for more 

 Sweet Sixteen

  •   019 - Mala the Great!
      Jun 25, 2015
    7 Dec 1988 Dear Aunty, It?s been 2 months since we were in touch. I?m saturated with ?news? to give you and nearly bursting with curiosity to hear what?s been happening at your end. The last letter you wrote to me was an eye-opener. To more...
  •   020 - The Rainbow
      Jun 25, 2015
    On the day she arrived, she was at my doorstep! ?Hi aunty? ?Oh Mala, how are you?? She shook my hand so long and hard that it ached, and planted a kiss on my cheek - so unusual of her. ?Why didn?t you write aunty?? ?Oh, I knew you?d be coming soon. So more...
  •   021 - What to Do?
      Jun 25, 2015
    7 Jan 1989 Dear Aunty, Christmas holidays were great fun. It was lovely getting in touch with friends and relatives. On New Year?s Day I gleaned thro? my diary- There was so much to thank God for! My friend Esther is in Rajasthan. She wrote asking for g more...
  • Click here for more 

 Ministry

  •   Youth Prophet
      Jul 24, 2022
    I am Jeremiah the prophet. Read my book, having in mind a budding youth who matured into a grand old man more...
  •   Starting Trouble?
      Apr 30, 2022
    Many want to serve God but they do not know how... more...
  •   I am a Missionary!
      Aug 14, 2018
    1. I am a missionary and so I work for God and not for an organisation. Though I am under the discipline of an organisation, whatever I do, I do with the fear of God. God is my Master and so I subject myself to the leaders. I quell any rebellious spirit t more...
  • Click here for more 

 Women

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Youth Prophet

Dear fellow servants of God,

I was just a guy when I commenced my service to God and I thought some of my experiences may edify you. I am Jeremiah the prophet. I am sorry my book is hard for you to understand and so I will explain to you in simple terms. Read my book, having in mind a budding youth who matured into a grand old man.

My native place was Anathoth, a Benjamite town, five kilometres North East of Jerusalem. I was from a family of priests. Though young, I was obsessed with serving the Lord and I joined the company of priests in my home town.

Our country was going through a political turmoil and our king Josiah was only eight years old (2 Ki 22:1). When he was saved (In your language), he was sixteen (2 Chr 34:3), started his reformation at age 20, and was full swing when he was 26 (2 Ki 22:3). The temple was cleansed. The Book of the Law was found and worship was restored. The prophetess Huldah was consulted (2 Ki 22:14). Josiah was Judah’s last good king. We both were of almost the same age and I would say my book is a tale of two youths. When Josiah was 21, God told me that He had chosen me and appointed me as His prophet even before He formed me (Jer 1:5). You may think I was excited. Far from it. I was terrified and protested that I was too young for that august calling, pointing out that I was no ‘speaker’ (v6). But God assured me that He would do the job and I just had to be an instrument in His hands (vv18,19). Just hop into the Time Machine and come along with me to 626 BC when I started my ministry. My ministry extended for nearly 50 years, till 586 BC, through the reigns of Josiah - Jehoahaz - Jehoiakim - Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. I saw the final destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC and died in Egypt.

I want you to understand under what circumstances I prophesied so that my book will be made easy for you. I was a failure in the eyes of the people because my call to people to turn to God brought no results. Josiah died in the battle with Egypt. It was a great loss for me. I composed laments for him (2 Ki 23:29,30; 2 Chr 35:20-25). After his death, his sons took the nation back to corrupt ways and tried to do away with me or silence me. There was political instability. The threat of Babylonian invasion was impending. People were polarising into two parties. The pro-Egyptian party was for migration to Egypt before the invasion. The other was for remaining in Judah and accepting the Babylonian rule according to my prophecy. In this scenario, it was hard for the people to decide.

1. My first lesson to you is: If God has called you even before you were formed, then it is His sheer GRACE. The sovereign choice is not because of your accomplishments but God’s grace. Never forget it. It will keep you humble under all circumstances. Pride has slaughtered many ministers of God. It is satan’s sword. Beware!

2. Secondly, it is RELUCTANCE. When God calls us to serve Him, our first reaction is, “No, no, not me, Lord.” This is very natural. You think of your qualification, physical strength, family and you protest. Anxiety and inferiority complex fill your heart at the thought of the awesome task before you. I was happy with my quiet job as a priest in my own town. I was scared out of my skin to be a prophet (Jer 1:6). Maybe you are involved in some ministry. When God prompts you to jump over the bar, your throat tightens. God does not need a well accomplished person but someone who will obey Him. Today I assure you that God will never let you down. Just bow your head and say, “Amen” to God’s call. Put your trust in God and go ahead.

3.  DISCOURAGEMENT is a devil that stalks you throughout your ministry. When I started to prophesy in Judah, the revival under Josiah was just taking off and people were reluctant to listen to my message of doom. My message was that God was angry with His people and would send the Babylonians to destroy Judah. The revival showers during Josiah’s reign were inadequate to stave off God’s anger after three centuries of sinning (Jer 15:1). God could not forget the wickedness of Manasseh (2 Ki 24:3,4). So the people were confused. After listening to me, people turned to other prophets for a second opinion. As it is today, it was difficult for them to discern between the true and the false prophets. The majority of prophets said, “Peace, peace.” It is natural therefore to choose to believe the comforting message. You tend to believe the message that suits you, right? I myself had doubts. Am I right or are they right? Yet there was a small group of righteous people who believed me. In the midst of revival, and in spite of Josiah’s best efforts, people were still clinging to their idols, turning to God in pretense and not with all their heart (Jer 3:10). I couldn’t find a single honest person. It was terribly discouraging (5:1). God told me the response of the people in advance: “They will not listen to you” (7:27). It was absolutely discouraging for me to go and preach knowing the negative result. But if you persevere you will reap the reward. God made His word in my mouth fi re (5:14). His question, “Is anything too hard for Me?” gave me the backbone whenever I was downhearted (32:27).

4.  Never underestimate the WORD OF GOD. I received it directly from God. But you are fortunate to have it in printed form. You hear God’s voice from the Word and get your vision from the Word, not from the skies. Today many preachers try to hear God’s physical voice and get into all kinds of deception. They say God told them this and that in their visions and mislead people. God doesn’t speak to people today like He spoke to the early prophets. Beware! Other ministers would like you to run along with them. Did not they tell Michaiah to prophesy along their lines? (1 Ki 22:13). Be bold to speak the truth. So spend much time with the Bible and fill yourself with the Word. Meditate it, write down your meditations and read standard commentaries. Then you’ll experience, “the Word of the Lord came to me” (Jer 1:4). It is from there God speaks to you. God’s Word was my joy and heart’s delight. I ate God’s Word (15:16). God touched my mouth and put His Words in my mouth (1:9). Pray for this touch. Speak to the people the Word of God and nothing but the Word, even though they may not like it. Resist the temptation to speak what the people want to hear (5:30,31). Revival starts with the Word of God. So read it, meditate it, preach it and teach it (2 Ki 23:2).

5.  PRAYER is the breath of God’s servant. It should be an integral part of your person. God may wake you up at the most inconvenient times, when you feel like pulling the blanket over your head. I kept on talking to God. I literally was pouring out my heart to Him – my doubts, my anger, my anguish, my joy and everything. Prayer is not just asking, it is deep conversation with a friend. God answers prayer in the most unusual ways. I was facing constant snubbing and discouragement in Judah. While I was weeping before God, He was answering my prayers in a surprising way. Four Jewish young boys who were taken to Babylon as prisoners, were turning the world upside down! Their message reached the end of the world! It was wonderful news to me. A copy of my prophecies reached Daniel and he started to pray, setting up a chain of events (Dan 9:1-3). In one of the deportations was a man called Ezekiel, who later God called to be a prophet among his fellow captives. He was also a young man of 30. What I was to the people of Judah in Jerusalem, the prophet Ezekiel was to the captives in Babylonian exile. God sent messengers again and again because He had pity on His people. Youth must develop the habit of talking to God about everything and receiving answers. In that case, it cannot be a casual, routine prayer. It should be a deep and serious conversation with God which requires being alone with Him and total concentration.

I used to cry my heart out whenever I thought of the destruction of God’s people, like Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Jer 4:19; 9:1). But one thing I understood was that I was not alone. God was also weeping. Even today He is weeping for the people. Floods, volcanoes, hunger, famine, earthquakes, pandemics, sin, wars! People suffer for their sins, yet God weeps for them. God is never happy to destroy sinners. You need a bleeding heart to pray. You will see unusual and unexpected results as you pray and you will be encouraged to pray more

6.  You think I was courageous? No. I was like you, full of FEAR. God had to repeatedly rebuke me and assure me, “Do not be afraid” (Jer 1:8). I had to face the attacks of kings, officials, priests and people. When I trembled, God asked me, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a safe country, how will you manage in the thickets of Jordan?” (12:5). God trains your hands for war.

You are going to face harder times. So prepare yourself and be courageous. God asked me to do something that no young man would dare to do. I was to stand at the entrance of the church and warn the congregation, “God is going to bring disaster if you live this way” (Jer 7:1-11; 19:14,15 ). He made me a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall. “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you” said He (Jer 1:18,19). The promise is for you too. The Lord was with me like a mighty warrior (20:11). He is with you too.

7.  Without SACRIFICE there is no ministry. As if what I was undergoing was not enough, God told me not to marry or have children. How much I dreamt about my sweetheart and the life we would build together! How could I break the news to her? But as days went by, I understood that it was good I did not have a family in the turmoil we were going through. God also told me not to attend funerals or festivals. What else is life? But I had to abide by His rules (Jer 16:1-8). Taking up your cross every day and following Christ is not easy. But remember that no cross is as cruel as the Roman cross on which Christ was hung till He died. The trend today is different. But you must choose a different lifestyle – a life of sacrifice. You must be ready to give in to any demand by God. Ministry is not luxury; it is demanding, taxing, tiring. It means sweat and blood and tears. Absorb the concept at the earliest so that you will not be sidetracked into the maya bazaar of today’s religion. God knows how much we can bear and will not take us beyond a certain point. He is not a hard taskmaster. He also invites us to enter the joy of the Lord.

8.  PERSECUTION is unavoidable for any servant of God. I had close brushes with death and escaped by the skin of my teeth(Jer 26:8,9). But Uriah who prophesied the same was not so lucky. King Jehoiakim had him killed (vv20- 23). The Holy Spirit is given to you to be witnesses and martyrs (Acts 1:8). That is the least you can do for Christ who died for you. Every year many lose their lives for the cause of Christ. Consider it a privilege to die for the Gospel. Your blood will be the seed of the church.

Straighten your backbone and face it. It will be better for us to obey God and suffer than obey man and be blessed. My own town’s people threatened to kill me if I prophesied in the name of the Lord (Jer 11:21-23). I was beaten and imprisoned for a long time (37:15,16). They lowered me into a deep well with only mud and I sank into it (38:6). Those were anxious times for me. I could not help thinking, “Where are the promises of God?” When Jehoiakim wanted me and Baruch arrested, the Lord hid us. What an encouragement amidst discouragement! (36:26).

9.  Break up your UNPLOWED GROUND (Jer 4:3). There are so many areas where the Good News has not been announced. Take for example the high rise buildings where the rich live. You can go knocking at their doors with a gift, New Testament or even a Gospel portion. Or you can choose a place where no one has ever gone. Go prayerfully and start sowing the seeds. Show them Christ. Have a shepherd’s heart. God’s sheep are scattered everywhere. You don’t have to go in search of them. If we are not gathering them to Him, we are scattering them from Him (23:1,2). I even wrote a letter to those in exile in Babylon encouraging them that after 70 years God would bring them back (Ch 29). Keep ministering to people in whatever way you can. Produce soulwinners. Keep encouraging your friends to go with you and instill a sense of responsibility in them towards lost souls.

10. There is no substitute for HARD WORK. God does not entrust His work with lazy people. I was already serving God as a priest when He called me to be a prophet. You must keep going in rain or shine. Read the book of the Acts of the apostles to understand their passion. Nothing could stop them. They did not stop with praying. They testified in synagogues, market places, prisons and everywhere. When persecuted and scattered, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (Acts 8:4). The result – the whole world heard the Good News! I prayed. I wept. I prophesied. I demonstrated. I wrote. I never gave up on the people. I never was tired of God’s work. After 23 years of prophesying, God instructed me to write them down on a scroll through a scribe named Baruch (Jer 36:1-4). It was laborious to write in a scroll, all my prophesies. When King Jehoiakim burnt the scroll, my stomach secreted gallons of acid (v 23). God wanted us to do it all over again (v 28). For what? I thought. These people will never listen to what God says. But laboriously I had to rack my brain and dictate the whole content to Baruch once again and he had to painstakingly do it all over again (45:1). And see today the fruit it is bearing! So sweat and labour for God will never go waste. Don’t expect comforts everywhere. Compared to what we had in our days, you have so much. You can do much more than us if you have the mind to sweat it out.

At last the king understood the seriousness of my prophecy (Jer 21:1,2). Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (39:1). I was released by order of King Nebuchadnezzar (vv 11,12). But later Baruch and I were forcibly taken to Egypt (43:4-7). I was in Egypt against my wish, surrounded by idol worshipping Hebrews. I spent my last days there and there ends my story.

What shall I say? Was I happy that my prophecies came true? No, no. I only wished people had listened to the words of God. As per God’s word, after 70 years, He brought them back to the Promised Land and established them as a nation. Today when I see Israel as a nation, my heart swells with pride about my God. His promises never fail and His servants will never be put to shame. Even though my ministry was an apparent failure, today I see what my prophecies are doing to Christians around the world. It is always too early to give up. So faithfully do your job. Though the beginning may be small, the end shall be prosperous (Job 8:7).

 

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