Monthly Archives: September 2019

Jeremiah 32-34; Hebrews 3; Psalm 74

In the midst of heartache, God’s presence can seem distant. His actions (or apparent lack thereof) can confuse our finite minds.

I marvel that one of the most common “favorite” verses that people share today (Jeremiah 29:11) comes just before incredible destruction for Judah. In this passage in Jeremiah we see him still wrestling a bit with the durability of this promise and God steps in again to confirm its truth.

First, let’s look at the highlight reel from these chapters:

Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ (Jeremiah 32:6-7 ESV)

[so, Jeremiah bought it – a seemingly foolish purchase since they were all about to be hauled off into captivity – so Jeremiah has his say with God]

I prayed to the Lord, saying: 17 ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

[really earth-rattling prayer in verses 18-21, if you skipped over it, go back and worship along with Jeremiah. Even in his worry and doubt — he knows how to worship!]

22 And you gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them,  23 And they entered and took possession of it. But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. . . Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them. 24  . . . What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it.

25 Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses”—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’” (Jeremiah 32:16-25 ESV – emphasis mine)

27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

42 “For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 43 Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’

[it gets better]

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)

in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11 the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness (Jeremiah 33:10,11)

God tells Jeremiah to buy a basically useless piece of land as an awesome picture of His promises. This land will be restored. God’s Word won’t fail. If you every doubt, come to me, the great I AM, and ask and I’ll bring matchless peace and wonder once again.

Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame;
    let the poor and needy praise your name. (Psalm 74:21)

Life will have trouble. Life-altering, gut-wrenching, incomprehensible trouble. God is still there, still ruling, still waiting patiently for what He knows is the right timing.

Still worthy of our worship.

Resting in Him is not always easy, but it is always right.

Lord God, thank you for holding us all in Your hands. Protecting us in front and behind and never letting go, never straying from your goodness and your promises. You never fail. ~In Jesus Name Amen.

 

Erin (6intow)

 

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Jeremiah 28-31; Hebrews 2

I don’t know about you, but I can read a passage of Scripture over and over and over again. And then I read it again and a new truth jumps out at me. That’s what happened when I started getting ready for this passage of 66books. The two verses I focused on are included below:

3 …How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will (Hebrews 2:3&4 [ESV]).

I love studying about spiritual gifts and have led many seminars and classes helping Christ followers understand their gifts. We have all been given at least one spiritual gift when we come to Christ. For many it’s two or three. right in the middle of verse three the writer to the Hebrews writes that one of the ways we know our salvation is sure is the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given us. And He has done it according to His will. He has placed in just the right place and given us just the right gift(s) to use in service to Him and through that experience we know that we are sons and daughters of God the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus His Son. And I have never seen these verses in this light. I must have just read through this passage without seeing this mention of spiritual gifts this way.

So, do you know what spiritual gift(s) you’ve been given by the Holy Spirit? If not, you are not experiencing the sense of the reality of your salvation that you could if you knew what they were and using them in the service of our God. Ask your pastor and do some reading about how one finds out. And then use your gift(s) and steward them as you grow in Christ.

What are your top three spiritual gifts? Mine are 

  1. Teaching
  2. Leadership
  3. Apostleship (starting new ministries and being comfortable in cross cultural situations.

In the comments section share yours with us all.

Lots more to share, but we’ll leave that for another day or year;-)

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Hebrews 1; Psalms 67, 118

In Hebrews, I read of the Father’s love for the Son.

I read of His delight, generosity, pride and affirmation.

I read in Psalms of His love, and it is faithful and enduring.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever (Psalm 118:1, NLT).

I thank you, Lord, for your goodness, your faithfulness, your trustworthiness. When I read about your attributes, my heart finds safety and security.

I got a package in the mail yesterday from a friend who has a special way of showering joy like confetti upon her friends. Inside were gifts that she knew would delight–soft things, lovely things, cozy things, tied in bright pink ribbons. Even the mailing label sported her colorful, festive, telling way of celebrating people in her life.

When I opened God’s Word this week and looked over the scriptures for today, I saw love. I saw love on every page. And I saw the writers’ response of gratitude and praise in return. He is so very worth celebrating.

Father, you show me how to love and live. You model delight and joy and generosity. You model faithfulness and perseverance and unchanging, stable grace. I open your word and my heart finds your embrace. I am so grateful. Thank you for loving me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 21, 24, 27

I have thought of God as my lucky charm a few times in my life. It was no surprise for me to see King Zedekiah turning in his chips to claim the lucky charm from God when the Babylonians were approaching.

“Inquire of the Lord for us, for Nebuchadnezzar[a] king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal with us according to all his wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us.” – Jeremiah 21:2  ESV

While it did not work for King Zedekiah, and unfortunately, his sin made the people of Israel suffer, God made a promise and it is a promise that I have taken for myself.  My key promise of them all – God’s eyes will be on me and so His favour also.

I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. – Jeremiah 24:6-7  ESV

Today, I read that a promise is an obedience to the instructions that God gives. In this case He is telling King Zedekiah to humble himself and take the yoke of the Babylonians for that is the only way the people of Israel will be able to stay and keep the land that God had given them. So the promise was – take the yoke and live.

But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the Lord, until I have consumed it by his hand. – Jeremiah 27:8  ESV

At times I am called to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and when I do, God will walk with me – that is a promise I can live with.

Father, I thank You that Your eyes are on me with favour. I thank You that You have a purpose for my life. As I walk this life, I can count on Your promise to walk with me always. I love that You have given promises that You have always kept. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar)

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Philemon; Psalms 105

“So here I am, an old man, a prisoner for Christ, making my loving appeal to you.  It is on behalf of my child, whose spiritual father I became while here in prison; that is Onesimus.  Formally he was not valuable to you, but now he is valuable to both of us.  He is my very heart, and I’ve sent him back to you with this letter.” Philemon 1:10-12 TPT 

Do I have spiritual parents pleading for me, like Paul was for Onesimus?  I am thankful for the wisdom filled women that God has given me over the years. I pray for strong mentors in the life of my kids, who can fill the spaces that I can’t.  My daughter has a youth leader who goes to battle for her mind.  I have a Heavenly Father who is praying on my behalf.  He knows when my heart has wondered and wants to see me reconciled back to him.

“I  would have preferred to keep him here by my side so that he could take your place as my helper during my imprisonment for the sake of the gospel. However, I did not want to make this decision without your consent, so that your act of kindness would not be a matter of obligation but out of willingness.  Perhaps you could think of it this way: he was separated from you for a short time so that you could have him back forever.  So welcome him no longer as a slave, but more than that, as a dearly loved brother.  He is that to me especially, and how much more so to you, both humanly speaking and in the Lord.” Philemon 1:13-16 NLT

Paul loved Onesimus, but he was willing to send him back to Philemon.

What do I need to let go of and trust the Lord with? Do I have faith that he can use every situation for good, like he did for Joseph?

“But he had already sent a man ahead of his people to Egypt; it was Joseph, who was sold as a slave.  His feet were bruised by strong shackles and his soul was held by iron.  God’s promise to Joseph purged his character until it was time for his dreams to come true.  Eventually, the king of Egypt sent for him, setting him free at last.” Psalms 105:17-20 TPT

Thank you Father that you pursue me.  That you don’t leave me where I am.  Your heart aches when I wonder and you long for me to be restored back to you. You call me friend. I am grateful for your love.  Amen.

“Don’t you ever forget his miracles and marvels.  Hold to your heart every judgement he has decreed.  For you are his servants, the true seed of Abraham, and you are the chosen ones, Jacob’s sons.  For he is the Lord our God, and his wise authority can be seen in all he does.  For though a thousand generations may pass away, he is still true to his word.  He has kept every promise he made to Abraham and to Isaac.” Psalms 105:5-9 TPT

Amy (amyctanner)

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Jeremiah 47-49

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

Attack…flee…plunder…disgraced…capture…silenced…destruction….destroy…broken…

““Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come,”” declares the Lord.”

Jeremiah 49:39 NIV

I am sitting on my front porch in the cool of the morning. The sun is filtering through the trees and I hear the steady traffic on the main road. There is a slight breeze and leaves are gently falling to the ground. It’s a slow morning with nothing that HAS to be done right now. I feel relaxed. And then I read the words of God recorded by Jeremiah and it’s like a shock through my system.

How can the God who loved the world so much that He died for her, call for such violence and destruction? That is not the God I know…but…that is a part of the God that I choose to love and follow.

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

What became a little clearer to me today is the importance of obedience. I know…we hate that word! Especially as adults who have found their independence. But God knows! He created us! He knows what we need, how we will find what our hearts ultimately long for, and how to live in such an angry and sad world. He knows! Not me! I don’t know. I struggle every day with what seems to be insurmountable in my life and in the world.

What do I do? What do we do?

We practice obedience. Not for others but because we believe that God truly knows. That’s what Jeremiah did. He couldn’t have been the first choice on anyone’s party list. The words he recorded from God were not going to make him popular. But he was obedient. And it was hard.

What is God calling me to be obedient about today? What is he calling you? What is one step we can make today? Remember that it’s because of our relationship with God that we obey. We don’t obey to gain it.

Dear God, obedience is hard! You know that, you have lived that, and you call us to obey not in order to be in relationship with you but because you are GOD and you know! You know best what we need and how to walk this hard path of life. God help us in our disobedience. Turn our hearts away from the false peace and towards your fulfilling love. Amen

Mandy (mkaybaldwin)

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Jeremiah 35,36; Jeremiah 45,46; Jude

To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for[a] Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.  Jude ESV

What does it mean to know myself beloved in God and kept for Christ? Do I see myself held for Him? Kept is such an entrancing word to me. What is the keeping of a body, soul, mind, heart, life for Christ? He is the precious prize; He is the worthy One who loves and He is coming in the clouds- Victorious Savior- am I kept and do I keep myself for Him? Vaguely (as if in a fog, dimly) , I have reflected on how easy it is to lose the precious things- the things of great price that should be treasured and protected. Highly valued. Do I value what He does?  And then the gracious blessing: Mercy, peace, and love in abundance. O beloved one, treasured of Christ, may you, may your life overflow in mercy, peace, and love. May you have more than enough.  The mercy, peace, and love are like a lavish fountain to me- available in Christ, fully refreshing.  Abundance is such a healing word.

14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude ESV

I must be careful not to follow my own instinct or the way of my natural understanding. Following Christ is an abandonment to Him not to the world (the way of Cain), the flesh, idolatry (all that raises up higher than the Lord.) The Lord has been speaking to me about the importance of works. Not to earn salvation; not to prove my goodness or worthiness- but as a witness of His life. Also, as something that is important and pleases God. Godly deeds matter.

A Call to Persevere

17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They[f] said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment[g] stained by the flesh.  Jude ESV

Keep yourselves in the love of God. I am captivated. There is a nuance of protection in the word keep; there is a sense of tucking in close, there is choice and there is choosing; we are kept (verse 1) and we keep (verse 21). My focus must be on building up the most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping myself in the love God, waiting for Christ’s mercy: this is a large endeavor; it is a full-time focus. Help me to treasure You, Lord- with my life.

Doxology

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.  Jude ESV

To him who is able to keep….

Lest we/I become to fearful, discouraged, or dismayed- God is able to keep. All  praise belongs to Him. All worship is for Him. Keep me in Your love! The beautiful jubilance of being presented without fault and with great joy! Years ago, we often sang a worship song based entirely on this verse of this beautiful Doxology. I found it here.

Lord, press upon my heart to be kept, to keep for you, in you, by Your love. May I know what it is to hide in the secret place of Your Presence under the wings of  Your profound love. Help me take my days, my obedience, my life seriously and may You sanctify these and create something worthy.  Lord, may I know the utter safety of being kept in Your love, waiting for Your mercy. Amen.

Rebecca( offeringsbecca)

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