This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ask for the Ancient Paths by Pastor Ritch

Many of our high school graduates have begun classes at a college or trade school or begun their journey directly into the marketplace.  What an exciting time of life!  I recently wrote a letter to these high school graduates that I share with you now in hopes that you may pass it on to a young adult for their encouragement.  Please pray diligently for the young men and women that God has included in your life.  The battle against the devil, the world and the flesh is strong.  Thank God that He is stronger yet! 
Dear Graduate,
Congratulations on your graduation from high school!  I rejoice with you in your past accomplishments and pray for your future.  I pray for God to be very real and very wonderful to you.  It is through knowing Him that we find sense in the disorder of this world, joy in the brokenness, and direction in the chaos.
You have some great decisions ahead of you as you seek to carve out a life.  You will have more freedom than you have ever had and more opportunity for doing both good and evil.  May God give you wisdom to know which path leads to life and grace to choose to walk on that path.  Some of you are about to begin college life, while others have already entered the marketplace.  I am praying for you as you seek to advance God’s reputation in a world that does not know how great He is.
One verse that I hope encourages you in the years ahead is from the prophet Jeremiah:  Thus says the LORD:  “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)
This world is full of paths and you will have to choose from the myriad of options in front of you.  Many of those paths will look lush, fun and pleasing.  God’s counsel is to ask for the “ancient paths.”  This counsel contradicts with your nature.  Your fleshly nature will be drawn to the paths that are new, exciting, pleasant or attractive in appearance.  The key element of a path is not its surface, its landscape or its views, but the key element of a path is where it leads you.  God reminds us of four key truths in this passage from Jeremiah. 

1.  God calls you to ask for the ancient paths.  You will not find the ancient paths unless you ask for them and seek after them.  The world around you hides them from your sight.  Only those who seek God’s paths will find them.  Only those who ask for God’s ways will be given such wisdom.  So begin each day asking for the ancient paths.  God will direct you!  Know that God’s map to these ancient paths is His Word and God’s guide is the Holy Spirit.  God reveals in His Word that the path is really a Person:  God’s own Son.  He will be found by those who seek after Him.  So as you ask for the ancient paths, search the Scriptures and depend upon God’s Spirit to give you light and look for Jesus.
2.  God describes the ancient path.  God describes the ancient paths as “where the good way is.”  Jesus will never lead you into harmful ends.  The devil knows that, but he is crafty.  He does not want you to desire the ancient paths and so he does two things.  First, he masks the goodness of the ancient paths so as to make them despised and rejected.  He will tempt you to question whether God’s paths really do lead to life.  Second, he decorates the new paths so as to make them loved and embraced.  He will tempt you to think that other paths are wonderful and wise.  Please remember how God describes the ancient paths!  Those who say the ancient paths are not good profess to be wiser than God.
3.  God commands you to walk on the ancient path.  Of course, it is not enough to know about the ancient paths or even to agree with them.  Paths only lead to life if we walk in them.  Obedience to God is key to everything.  God does not call you to walk alone.  He is with you.  He has also given you His church so that you walk with others on this path.  I urge you to commit your lives to a local church and walk on God’s ancient paths with others of faith.  You will need the body of Christ to obey God’s command to faithfully walk on the ancient paths.  
4.  God promises that you will find rest on the ancient path.  There is no rest like soul rest.  A rest that quiets your heart when life gets hard.  And life will be hard.  You will endure trials and difficulties of all kinds.  God only knows the difficulties that await you.  This truth need not bring worry or anxiety.  God promises rest for our souls as we walk the ancient paths.  What a sweet gift soul rest is!  This gift is yours as you walk the ancient paths!  Listen to Jesus’ promise in Matthew 11:28-29:  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Remember God loves you.  Please send me your prayer requests as you have needs.  My email is  I want to pray for you.  My heart is always open to you to talk or pray together.
Much love in Christ,

Pastor Ritch

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