Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

2023 Back to School Sunday - Start right and stay right all year

August 21, 2023 Mark Roberts Season 3 Episode 40
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
2023 Back to School Sunday - Start right and stay right all year
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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday Morning Coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives. Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And, he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 3:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Coffee podcast for Monday, August the 21st. I'm Mark. I'm holding a great cup of coffee. In fact, this is really good coffee. It's from a roaster in Conway, Arkansas Blue Sail Coffee. I was given some of this for my birthday and I am enjoying it tremendously. I do have notes from yesterday's sermon. It was back to school Sunday, yesterday at West Side . That's such a great Sunday and I want us to talk about daily Bible reading. I'm really glad to have the podcast this week because Lamentations is not an easy book to read, but I think when you begin to engage with it and see what's going on there, it becomes, it becomes something that we really value. We begin to see how important the book of Lamentations really is. Didn't say it's gonna be your favorite book of the Bible, but absolutely think we can learn so much that helps us draw near to God. Guess what our plan is for the year. Yeah, that's right. Our goal is to draw near to God. The book of Lamentations helps us do that. We're gonna talk about that, gonna talk about the sermon and yes, we're gonna get to drink some coffee together. Let's get started. So yesterday was, like I said, back to school Sunday and I am, I'm pretty pleased with the sermon yesterday because instead of focusing so much on the first day of school, what to do on day number one, wanted to talk a little bit more about the entire school year getting started, right on day number one, of course, but some things that need to be working all year long. And as we think a little bit more about back to school and kids are getting back into that rhythm and we're starting 'em up again. And I know all these school districts started at different times. You may not have started yet, or your kids may actually be in school now, have been in school 10 days, wherever you are with all of that, let me just say this. I think sometimes parents put way too much pressure upon themselves to conform to the rhythms of other parents. And I'm thinking particularly about daily Bible reading or prayer. Sometimes we see stuff on social media or maybe we're in conversation with other parents and their conversation goes something like, we always start the day with our daily Bible reading or we always start the day, the whole family gathers around the table. We eat breakfast together, we talk about what's gonna go on, we talk about the Lord, we pray together. It sounds super spiritual. And then we look at our own routine at the house, which looks a whole lot more like, oh, I don't know, maybe a circus full of monkeys is running around crazily because the tent is on fire and we think, what do you mean you? You sit around the table together and pray. We're we're lucky to get out the door. Wrong time. And I wanna say this. That's okay, that's okay. Don't let somebody else dictate to you the spiritual rhythms and disciplines that you and your family are going to practice, particularly the when of when you're going to practice those things. Of course, we wanna read the Bible together, of course we wanna pray together, but some families are late risers and they're grabbing stuff as they go out the door and there's just not gonna be a calm, quiet moment to really pray together and and think about the Lord and that's going to be okay in so many ways. Comparison is the thief of joy and the joy that we have with our families and the things that we're doing together can be stolen when we have to compare our family to some other family that just has a different way of doing. Maybe they're going to bed earlier, I don't know. But our family, for example, never did daily Bible reading in the morning. We were all climbing out of bed at the last possible minute. Dean and I eat breakfast on the way to work. No, I'm not making that up. So having a wonderful family time where we all sit down and hold hands and pray and look at each other with warmth and adoration in our hearts that that was not ever, ever part of how we did things. And you know what? That's okay because we found other time in our day when we could do that in a really good fashion. So as you begin the new year, do what's going to be best for your family and what works for your family. Don't let somebody dictate to you how your family is to experience daily devotions and prayer time and to talk about the Lord, do what's going to work, not what we have seen idealized on social media. How about that? And with that said, I'm gonna grab me some more coffee here. No , I've already eaten breakfast so I'm not eating while I'm talking to you right now and I'm not on the way to work, but I do have some wonderful coffee and I have my Bible open to the book of Lamentations. Can you turn your Bible there too? Let's talk about daily Bible reading For Monday's Bible Reading. We are reading the entire second chapter of Lamentations. Lamentations chapter two is our Bible reading today. Don't forget what we talked about on Friday. This is an acrostic, which means sometimes the thought will jump around a little bit because what is controlling what Jeremiah writes here is not necessarily how the thought flows, but what he needs to pick up. The next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the dominant emphasis in our reading today, you must, must, must get this, is that God is the one that caused the destruction of Jerusalem. This is the result of the work of God. And I have underlined in my Bible, I use colors and various things to help me see things in the word of God. And what I have underlined here is all of the sentences that talk about God's action to one, how the Lord in his anger has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud. He has cast down, he has not remembered. Verse two, the Lord has swallowed up, he has broken down, he has brought down verse three. He has cut down, he has withdrawn. Verse three, he has burned, he has bent his bow. Verse four, I have all of those underlined in red so that I can see in my text this emphasis and this chapter is just, it's full of underlined stuff. It's kind of a reddish pink marker that I'm using a special marker for Bible pages. Don't just use any marker on your Bible. It'll bleed through and make a mess. Keep your sharpie away from your Bible. But I have this special, pinkish, reddish marker and wow, that just really helps me when I'm reading, I see immediately this repetitive emphasis, God is the one who has brought this suffering. It is God's anger and wrath that has brought these severe consequences. All of that is to say that sins wages are not to be sneered at. Sin is serious business with the Lord. And you get a sense of the people reeling under these blows of God's judgment. God used to fight for them. Think about them when they went into the land of canon and now God is their enemy. How difficult this would be to take. So verse eight, the Lord determined to lay into ruins. He stretched out the measuring line. Do you see that God has a standard, he stretched out the measuring line. I wanna talk more this coming Sunday about the standard we need to see. That's not any in any way a new idea that we've arrived at last week. Uh , no, no, no. God has always expected obedience to the standard and then verse nine talks about the law being no more and the prophets finding no more vision. There's a famine of the word of God going on here. Verse 11, details particularly verses 11 and 12. The terrible suffering that's going on a siege would mean people are starving to death, particularly hard on the children and upon their mothers, but they have listened to false and deceptive visions. Verse 14, they did not listen to God through Jeremiah. Remember Jeremiah seven, those prophets were saying nothing can happen. Here we have the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord. Remember Hananiah breaking the yoke off of Jeremiah's neck ? These people wouldn't listen. They didn't want to listen. As a result, judgment fell and judgment here is catastrophic and awful and ugly. I don't like anything about this in the dust of the streets. Verse 21, live, the young and the old, my young women and my young men have fallen by the sword. This is rough. This is hard to listen to, hard to read, but this tells us sin is serious business with God. You cannot draw near to God if you're not taking sin seriously. God takes sin seriously. Lamentation chapter two, see you tomorrow. We'll read in Lamentations chapter three. Welcome to Tuesday, and today we're reading Lamentations chapter three, verses one to 33. You'll notice that this chapter is longer than the other chapters and it is a little bit different. This is a triple acrostic that's easy for me to say. A triple acrostic where three lines in a row all began with the corresponding letter from the Hebrew alphabet. So it's three times what we have seen in chapters one and chapter two. That's why it's 66 verses and not 22 verses 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. And there's been some discussion about this chapter exactly how it works, but it definitely seems that the author here is taking on the despair of Jerusalem and it seems like Jeremiah here is bringing confession, is bringing all that despair before the Lord, and there is an amazing and magnificent passage in the center of this. I again, it makes me really glad that we're reading Lamentations. This is a tremendous passage. We actually sing some of this and I wonder when we sing it, how many people know where this comes from and what it means and why it is so great. Once again, I have a ton of red here because there's so much about what God has done. Verse three, he turns his hand. Verse four, he made my flesh, he broke my bones, he besieged, he made me dwell, just goes down over and over again. He did this. He did this because God is the one who has moved against Jerusalem and God is not embarrassed about that and Jeremiah is not trying to make any secret of that. Maybe that's an important lesson for us as we draw close to the Lord. God is not in any way ashamed or embarrassed about judging sin. Sometimes we don't want to talk about hell. We don't want to talk about people being lost. We are, we are embarrassed about that. Don't be embarrassed. The Lord speaks plainly about his holiness and justice and that holiness, that justice means God will not be able to tolerate any kind of sin. Pretend that that's not important. It doesn't matter. Oh, God just says kind of, you know, naughty, naughty and slaps a little bit on the hand . No, no. What happened to Jerusalem isn't a little Spanky Spanky on the hand is it? Now let me give attention then we're reading the first 33 verses of this chapter, but particularly want you to focus now on verse 20 on through verse 2021 on through verse 24, this I call to mind . My soul continued to remembers and it's bowed down within me, verse 20 by this, but this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Verse 23, great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion. Therefore I will hope in him. This is the basis for the hymn that we sing. Great is thy faithfulness. And what Jeremiah talks about here in this amazing section of lamentations is the covenant love of God. The vital word here in verse 22 is the word hassad in Hebrew, which the E Ss V renders steadfast love and and I always say we just don't have a good English word that adequately addresses and covers what the Hebrew here has in mind. The idea of covenant love of loving, because I've promised loving even when you're unlovely unlovely because I promise that I would love you. Somebody make an English word. Get busy on this and get us a good corresponding English word for this idea of the steadfast, the covenant love of the Lord. God's love isn't brought to an end by the destruction of Jerusalem. That's what Jeremiah is saying here. God's love can't end. He doesn't operate in that kind of way. God continues to keep his word. Great is your faithfulness. Like I said, we sing that song, but Jeremiah wrote this at a time when people were questioning the faithfulness of God. Look what's happened to Jerusalem. Where is God in this? God is done with us. He's given up on us. He's not gonna keep his word to David in two Samuel seven that there'll be a king to sit upon his throne. God has failed us. Maybe some people were saying, Jeremiah says, no , the Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in him . I want us to think more as we draw close to the Lord about how God never fails us and we never want to determine whether God loves us and he's true to his word based on this morning's headlines in Jeremiah's day. It just didn't look good for the faithful, but Jeremiah here is reassuring the people, God still caress about us. God is working against sin, but God is still keeping his word that's so significant. He does not afflict from his heart. Verse 33, God does not want to bring this kind of judgment. God didn't willingly do this. He didn't want to have to do this, but he had to judge sin and in fact, Jeremiah will use that judgment to bolster his faith and not destroy faith. More on that in our second half of Lamentations three that we'll read on Wednesday. See you tomorrow. It is Wednesday and today we complete Lamentations. The third chapter. We begin in verse 34. We'll read to the end of the chapter verse 66, and this really is the heart of Lamentations chapter three, and this really helps us with our faith, particularly when things don't go the way we expected. That's important to hold onto here as we look at Lamentations chapter three. A lot of people didn't think Jerusalem would be destroyed, and so they are struggling to make sense of all of this. Maybe that's a good introduction to our case for Christianity. Speaker for tonight, Kyle Pope, he'll be talking about the case for the resurrection and there wasn't anybody that was expecting the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. It's the central piece of Christianity. It is the central piece of our faith in Christ Jesus. I'm glad Kyle will be here to help us with that. He is an outstanding scholar and does really, really good stuff and I think his presentation tonight will be a wonderful way for us to conclude the case for Christianity. But before we do that tonight, we will want to have our daily Bible reading done and we'll want to work through Lamentations chapter three. Notice here that God does not tolerate injustice. Verse 35, to deny a man justice in the presence of the most high to sub a man in his lawsuit. Once again, we're thinking about God's character, who God is knowing God so that we can be like God. Then there is this marvelous little section 37, 38, 39 , God has spoken, who has spoken and it came to pass. Unless the Lord has commanded it, is it not from the mouth of the most high that good and bad has come? Why should a living man complain a man about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways and return to the Lord. Jeremiah looks at the destruction Jerusalem and says, I'll tell you what this means. This means God is in control. God promised this was going to happen and the fact that it did happen shows us we can trust God. Isn't that an amazing statement by Jeremiah? I just love how that works. Instead of being angry at God, Jeremiah says, this is what the Lord told us was going to happen. Now it has happened and that just shows how trustworthy the Lord is. Count on God. He's going to do exactly as he says he will. So even when bad things happen, Jeremiah is able to build more faith in the Lord as a result of that. So he really starts pushing beginning in verse 40 all the way down to 51, a call for repentance. We need to turn to God. We need to do more than just have formal prayers where we're lifting our hands. Verse 41, we need to turn to God and I think things get pretty personal in verse 52, Jeremiah has had a rough go. We did not read all of that, but you remember probably that Jeremiah had been thrown into a muddy cistern at one point. People hated him. We read in Jeremiah when he was nearly assassinated because people didn't want to hear his preaching anymore. He's really had a tough time out of all of this. And you have heard verse 61, there are plots against me. Jeremiah gets pretty personal as he concludes Lamentations three. So maybe a couple of points here that work When we are in doubt and despair, what should we do? We should verse 21, hope in God. Verse 26. We should wait on God. Verse 33. We should know that God is good and then particularly we should see verse 37, that all that happens comes from the hand of God. God is in control. We trust in God that is an unshakeable conviction. Just because things didn't go the way we thought they were going to go, doesn't mean we give up on the Lord. We just realize God knows better than we do. We wait upon the Lord, wait to see what God is doing. I hope that helps you. Tomorrow we read Lamentations chapter four. It is Thursday and today we read Lamentations chapter four. Lamentations chapter four really pushes us back to the present circumstance in Jerusalem and we see starvation and cannibalism and famine and cruelty. All the things that Deuteronomy 28 predicted would happen. Remember we began the year in Deuteronomy 28. Here's the covenant, here's the curses, here's the blessings. This is what happens if you obey . This is what happens if you don't. We're getting a very good look at God keeping his word. This ought to teach us to take God seriously. He's not kidding. He's not kidding through his prophets, Jeremiah, we need to take God at his word. So the chapter works down with some very miserable and difficult conditions. Things are awful and lots of people are dying and are dead. In fact, verse nine, Jeremiah says, the people who are dead are the lucky ones. The rest of us are having to live in the middle of this mess , and that's even worse. The Lord is the one that did it. Verse 11, verse 13. Because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priest, lots of emphasis here in verses 12 to 16 about how the priest and prophets failed the people. So much to be thinking about there. What happens when God's leaders fail the people? What happens when God's preachers don't bring the word of the Lord? Assure people, let 'em hear what they want to hear. Disaster is sure to follow. Then in verse 17, all their vain hopes are talked about down to about verse 20. They were always hoping for political salvation, hoping an alliance with Egypt would rescue them from the Babylonian army. We talked about some of that as we read in Jeremiah. Jeremiah, the 37 chapter deals with some of that always thinking we don't have to turn to God, we'll just get some help from Egypt. Egypt, of course, total disaster, never helping him out, never was gonna work out. Jeremiah told him about that. And of course, God's word was right. Pick up verse 21, then rejoice and me . Glad O' of Edam. Yeah, there's the book of Obadiah. There's the book of Obadiah right there. Edam was all excited about Jerusalem being destroyed and the Jews being taken off in the captivity. Well, your day will come. You rejoice why you can't Edam because judgment is coming for you as well. Chapter four is an important chapter. Look at the Lord's anger at sin. That's where we need to be in chapter four. God is not happy when his people disobey him. Think about that. I'm setting up some things for Sunday morning. Can you tell? Yes. Obedience matters to God. Sin matters to God. See you tomorrow, Friday, Lamentations five. Welcome to Lamentations chapter five on Friday as we conclude the week in the book of Lamentation, Lamentations. Five is an appeal to touch the heart of God. It is a prayer for mercy to look down upon their distress and help them. And this is the place where the alphabetical acrostic ends. This chapter is not in that acrostic format. And so Jeremiah calls for the Lord to look upon them, verse one, and to help them understand. Remember, oh Lord, remembering in the Bible isn't just, Hey, think about this. Call this up in your mind. You see that Post-it note that you wrote to remind you, no, no, no, no, no. Remembering in the Bible means to act. It is a call to action. Lord. We need you to help us. And of course, the people that were left after the Babylonian iii , Babylonian Invasion, 6 0 5 5 9 7 5 86, the people who are left in 5 86 are just the poorest people of the land. Very few people, two kings 24 14, Jeremiah 39, very few people are left. Just a few folks to tend the vineyards and be able to make some kind of crop so that they can still send tribute to Babylon. Everybody else is drug off into slavery. This is just a pitiful, pitiful few people. Verse six even says some things, I'm sorry. Verse seven says some things about our father's sin. That's a reference to the parents being involved in idolatry and they are reaping what their parents sowed, but don't get lost here and decide somehow they're not guilty as well. The sin of idolatry was planted by the parents and the children participated in that as well. Verses 17 and 18 then talk about what God is doing. And in many ways, this is the supreme sign of God's anger because the temple Mount, the place where God had made his name to dwell becomes, it becomes a place where just wild animals live. How sad it is to see Jerusalem desolate and destroyed. And then there is the ending prayer in verses 19 to 22. Jeremiah refuses to give up his hope because he knows that God abides for God, your in charge. We look to you, we need you. What will you do next? And I think it's important to see maybe in that last verse, verse 22, unless you've utterly rejected us and you remain exceedingly angry with us, that in so many ways we stand in a better place than the prophets ever did. Jeremiah's not exactly sure what's happening next. Jeremiah doesn't have all of the understanding that you and I are operating from. As we've read the rest of the Old Testament, we know the rest of the story and particularly we've read the New Testament and seen what God has done to redeem sinful people through his son. This is a powerful book, and I hope that you're like me as we get done with Lamentations and you're thinking, wow, if I hadn't been made to read this by the reading schedule, I just probably wouldn't have read it. But now I'm glad I did because I'm closer to the Lord as a result of reading the Book of Lamentations. Well, there you go. Thanks for listening to the Monday Morning Coffee podcast. You know the drill. If you love what you're hearing, you need to subscribe or follow so that you'll get it automatically on your device. If you need some help doing that, see me at services. And we've got some technically minded folks who will make sure it's right on your phone or tablet, just automatically. It just drops down and is downloaded for you. And of course, we would love for you to give a review on iTunes or whatever app you're listening on. And best of all, tell somebody else about the show that will be a help to them and it will position you in their minds as somebody who's serious about daily Bible reading. So until next week, I hope that your Friday is wonderful and that the Lord will be with you today all day. I'll see you on Monday with a cup of coffee.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday Morning Coffee with Mark. For more information about west side, you can connect with us through our website, just and our Facebook page. Our music is from upbeat dot IO that's upbeat with two P'S, U PP B E AT, where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with us. And we look to seeing you again with a cup of coffee, of course, on next Monday,

Sermon Notes
Monday Lamentations 2
Tuesday Lamentations 3:1-33
Wednesday Lamentations 3:34-66
Thursday Lamentations 4
Friday Lamentations 5