Monthly Archives: August 2009

Jeremiah 34-36

Scripture

“Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire.” (Jeremiah 36:23, NIV)

Observation

Jeremiah and Baruch proclaimed God’s word, but King Jehoiakim rejected it completely. The king was punished for his wickedness, but Jeremiah and Baruch faithfully obeyed. They rewrote the message that Jehoiakim had burned.

Application

Our job is to declare God’s truth, whether or not it is accepted. It’s easy to quit, when no one seems to listen. It’s tempting to water down the truth, when people refuse to heed. And yet, we are charged to “preach the word…correct, rebuke and encourage” (2 Timothy 4:2), and to “hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:16). To be faithful “sowers”, regardless of the condition of the “soil”. (Matthew 13)

Prayer

God, give us the courage of Jeremiah and Baruch, so that we will proclaim Your word. Will You show us when to speak, and what to say? Open the ears of those who hear, too, so that they can accept Your truth. We love You, Lord, and we want to be faithful to You. Amen.

amystorms

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Jeremiah 32-33

Scripture

‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Take these deeds, this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, that they may last a long time.” ‘For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Houses and fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.” ’

Jeremiah 32: 14-15 (NASB)

Observation

For Israel, the promises of God are inextricably connected to the land. The land promised to Abraham as an inheritance and a place for the people of God. In Jeremiah the people are about to suffer the greatest punishment possible – being removed from the land. Because of the great sin of Israel in following after other gods they were to be visited with a physical manifestation of separation from the promises of God. They would be humiliated and carried off into exile and the land would be laid waste. But even in the midst of their worst nightmare God is still a God of hope and promise. Even though they deserve everything they are getting for their adultery against God, He still provides a promise of hope. “Houses and fields and vineyards will be bought in this land.” God would bring them back. To reinforce this promise He had Jeremiah buy land right before the fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah who had preached that Judah was doomed, also offered hope that although Israel had broken their covenant with God, God could not break His covenant with Abraham. After all God swore by Himself to do it.

Application

There are so many amazing things in this passage. I think that there is great application here. Even though the church is not Israel, we can still draw great confidence from these passages which remind us that God is faithful in spite of our sin. Even in our worst of sins and in the ugliness of our hearts, God is bigger. In our biggest failure and in the areas in our life left desolate and ruined, God says “Houses and fields, and vineyards will again be bought and sold in this land.” God will take what is desecrated, and defiled, and laid waste, and He will bring it back to life. Over and over again we see in the Bible the great work of our God, taking what was dead and from that death bringing new and greater life. What a great God we serve.

Prayer

Father thank you that you love to take what is dead and reclaim it to bring abundant life. Everywhere we look we can see reminders of your great work. From filthy waste you cause beautiful and life-giving plants to grow. From ruined nations entrenched in dead religiosity you bring forth the One who would bring life for all. From ruined lives you restore years that locusts have eaten. We are all your reclamation projects Lord and it is truly awesome to behold your work in your people. Your work us beyond comprehension and Your greatness beyond imagination.

Amen.

Mike

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Jeremiah 29-31

Scripture

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV

 Observation

  • God’s thoughts toward us are peaceful and wants to give us hope.
  • When we call on God He listens to us.
  • If we seek God with all our heart we will find Him.
  • God is accessible to anyone who seeks him

 Application

These are incredible verses; God is so clear about His thoughts toward His people.  It is so reassuring to know that the God of the universe is personally concerned and cares about each of us.  He wants the best for us and we can be our best by depending on Him.  I’m humbled by the love from God in this passage.  We serve a passionate and dependable God. 

Prayer

Lord God I’m so grateful and honored to be your son.  Help me to live in the reality of these verses and remember daily that you want the best for my life.  Thank you for loving me and all your children with incredible passion. Amen.

 Jon

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Jeremiah 26-28

Scripture

Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word.  Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way.  Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.” (26:2b-3)

Observation

Grace.  Mercy.  Those probably aren’t the first words that come to your mind when you think of the Hebrew prophets.  Reading about God’s wrath and impending judgment, it’s easy to see God as a heavy-handed judge who is eager to apply the full measure of the law.

But then you run across passages like this.  “Perhaps they will listen,” God says to Jeremiah, so face the angry crowd that wants to kill you, stand up to the false prophets, deliver my message to the people.  It just might be that those that hear you will repent and turn from evil and “then I will relent.”  God is waiting patiently, giving them every chance to repent, because he wants to be merciful, he wants to pour out his grace on his people and not give them the judgment they deserve.

Application

I struggle with grace, particularly when it is applied to others.  God, why do you not punish those that do evil?   They’ve done some really terrible things – how can you overlook that?  I want to be the heavy-handed judge that gets to rain down fire from heaven.  Of course, I struggle less when the grace is applied to me.  I’m happy to receive God’s grace and forgiveness as I come to Him again, confessing a sin that’s plagued me over and over.

I was talking to a friend recently about ways to model God’s grace to our kids.  My friend took the hard line:  “they’ll see God’s grace in your love as you discipline them and teach them.”  Perhaps he’s right, but there’s this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I’d be in trouble if God took the same approach with me.  When God lavishes his grace on me, others that are watching might call it “permissive,” but I call it “amazing.”

Prayer

Thank you, Father, for your amazing grace.  I am so undeserving of your love, yet you pour out your mercy and forgiveness on me, and you’ve given me a purpose and a hope that goes beyond anything in this world.  Help me to be a conduit of your grace to others; help me to reflect in my words and actions the grace that I have received, and help me to lavish that grace on others in a way that points them to you.

(wordisalive)

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Jeremiah 23 – 25

Scripture

“Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.” (Jeremiah 23:3)

“For behold, I begin to work disaster at the city that is called by my name, and shall you (the other nations) go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the LORD of hosts.” (Jeremiah 25:29)

Observation

Jeremiah prophesied bad news for the nation of Israel – they would be punished for their transgressions at the hands of the Babylonians (the theme up to chapter 23).

Jeremiah prophesied good news for the captives – a remnant will be spared, they would return to their land, and turn their hearts back to God.

Jeremiah prophesied bad news for the surrounding nations – they would suffer God’s wrath – many nations, peoples and lands will be an “everlasting waste.” (i.e. eliminated forever).

God’s chosen people were called to be a light and blessing to the nations. When they were faithful, the surrounding nations potentially benefited. When they failed, the nations around them inevitably suffered. As the people of God went – so went the inhabitants of the earth.

Application

  • God fulfills his promises perfectly, while that is glorious, it is also sometimes frightening. While a remnant of God’s people returned from exile (ultimately, a remnant will be saved forever) many nations and peoples have disappeared from the face of the earth – forever.
  • Where the nation of Israel failed in their calling to be a light to all nations, God has raised up another family of people. A people from all nations, tongues and tribes, a people for himself, a holy nation, a kingdom of priests. The Church.
  • We have been called to be salt and light in the world. Like the nation of Israel – as the Church goes – so goes the world. This is the  glorious and frightening reality of our mission.

Prayer

Lord Jesus bless us all, the Church, that we may be a blessing to others. Give me peace, compassion, and love that I might be a vessel of your peace, your compassion and your great love. I pray that I would have eyes to see people the way you see them – with your deep love and care. Lord Jesus help me understand more deeply the role of the Church, and my role in the Body of Christ – to be salt and light – may others be blessed through my faithfulness and by the faithfulness of your Church. Amen.

ps.anglin

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Jeremiah 19-22

SCRIPTURE

But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jeremiah 20:9

OBSERVATION

God set Jeremiah apart before birth.

  • He was a priest.
  • The word of the Lord came to him.

God appointed him to be a prophet.

God touched him and put his words in Jeremiah’s mouth.

God fortified him like an iron or bronze wall.

God gave him specific orders and encouragement.

  • God told him ahead of time that the people would fight against him.
  • God assured him that he would not be overcome.
  • God promised to be with him and rescue him.

Jeremiah warned the people that if they continued to disobey, do evil, worship idols, shed innocent blood, and break their covenant with God they would face dire consequences. He was threatened, mocked, and beaten just as the Messiah to come would be, but God’s word was too powerful to keep quiet. Still the people chose to turn their back on God.

APPLICATION

I wondered how Jeremiah was able to keep talking in the face of death threats. God’s word came to Jeremiah. There-after they appeared to be having an on-going conversation. As I was reading, I couldn’t always keep track of who was speaking. Jeremiah had a very intimate relationship with God.

Sharing my heart with my family often creates tension. They don’t want to hear about God either. Keeping my thoughts to myself actually gives me heartburn. I don’t remember the last time I talked to God about my frustration. Jeremiah was comfortable discussing his feelings with God.

Yesterday I left the house without talking to God and I observed that I was just like everyone around me. Jeremiah and God were a team. That’s where his strength came from. I thought, if I was having an on-going conversation with God right now I would be different. I would speak more and have less heartburn from trying to hold the fire of God’s word inside. Then I would be a stronger team player and God’s word could accomplish the purpose for which it was sent.

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

PRAYER

Father, you created me uniquely for your purpose. May I hear your voice clearly when you move me to action. May I remember you are always there to guide and encourage me. May every word I speak be glorifying and honoring to You. Thank you for choosing me to be on your team. In Your Son’s precious Name. Amen

yicareggie

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Jeremiah 15-18:

Scripture:

Jeremiah 17:14-18

14Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.
15Behold, they say to me,
“Where is the word of the LORD?
Let it come!”
16I have not run away from being your shepherd,
nor have I desired the day of sickness.
You know what came out of my lips;
it was before your face.
17Be not a terror to me;
you are my refuge in the day of disaster.
18Let those be put to shame who persecute me,
but let me not be put to shame;
let them be dismayed,
but let me not be dismayed;
bring upon them the day of disaster;
destroy them with double destruction (English Standard Version)!

Observation:

In the midst of judgment and suffering all around, Jeremiah stands firm before the Lord and asks to be blessed, healed and saved.  He has had his own disappointment in life and with God’s dealing with him, but he stands firm before the Lord and asks for protection and safety.  He also asks that his enemies be destroyed.  What faith in his position before the God of the universe and the role he plays in God’s economy of ministry and justice!

Application:

I’m not sure I can stand as bold as Jeremiah did before the Lord.  There are always things that He can bring before me that I need to change and work on.  I have asked for healing and been healed.  I have asked for safety from my enemies and it has been given.  I have asked for salvation and been given it.  So, I’m not sure it’s the force with which one asks, but the plan God has that counts.  I have seen God’s plan play out in my life and that of my family.  Many times, like Jeremiah, it’s been in the midst of suffering, pain and confusion.  Other times it has been clear and beautiful.  God uses all of us who are following strong after Him, both during times of confusion and clarity.

Prayer:

Father God thank you for including me in your plan.  Thank You for your healing, restoring, saving ministry in my life.  Help me to never forget that I belong to You and You have the very best in store for me, no matter what.  I look forward to Your healing, restoring and saving ministry again tomorrow and the next day and the next.  I pray these things in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

dmbaldwin

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