Category Archives: Jeremiah

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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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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Jeremiah 19-20; Titus 1; Psalm 93

Lord, your laws will stand forever.
Your Temple will be holy forevermore. (Psalm 93:5)

God had established his covenant with the Jews. As long as they worshiped him as the one true God and followed his decrees, his protection was upon them. However, they chose to do otherwise.

Say, ‘Kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem, listen to this message from the Lord. This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: I will soon bring a disaster on this place that will amaze and frighten everyone who hears about it. 4 The people of Judah have quit following me. They have made this a place for foreign gods. They have burned sacrifices to other gods that neither they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah had ever known before. They filled this place with the blood of innocent people. They have built places on hilltops to worship Baal, where they burn their children in the fire to Baal. That is something I did not command or speak about; it never even entered my mind. Now people call this place the Valley of Ben Hinnom or Topheth, but the days are coming, says the Lord, when people will call it the Valley of Killing. (Jer 19:3-6) NIV

I don’t imagine these words were received with great applause by the crowds that heard Jeremiah declare the words of the LORD. As it is today, many hear the words of God and dismiss them, scoff at them, and refuse to believe them. They are “stiff-necked and refuse to listen.” But as Psalm 93 states: God’s laws will stand forever. His promises can be trusted—both the ones of blessings and the ones of curses (see Deut. 28).

As I read Chapter 20 and Jeremiah’s treatment, I couldn’t help but think of Paul and his many trials. He, too, was beaten and imprisoned for spreading the truth of God’s words.  He, too, was obeying God and fully in His will.

Pashhur son of Immer was a priest and the highest officer in the Temple of the Lord. When he heard Jeremiah prophesying in the Temple courtyard, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten. And he locked Jeremiah’s hands and feet between large blocks of wood at the Upper Gate of Benjamin of the Lord’s Temple. (Jer 20:1b-3).

Verses 7-18 are entitled “Jeremiah’s Complaint” in my bible. As I read through them, I thought of Jeremiah and what he had just endured. These verses come after he’s been spreading God’s words, warning people of the coming destruction, mistreated, and ridiculed. He spent the night in stocks at the public gate in order to shame him and try to silence him. He was doing God’s work and never expected it would play out the way it did. Having been through trials God has allowed into my life, I totally get his battle within for I’ve battled with these same feelings. Here I was, doing what I thought God called me to do, and something I never expected came out of it. I went from being angry with God, to praising Him, to hurting so badly I wish I’d never been born. Like Jeremiah, I took it straight to God and I felt his love for me as I wrestled with the turmoil inside my own head and heart. He let me wrestle until I got to that place of surrender where, knowing God was sovereign, I could once again do what he was asking me to do. Chapter 21 begins with Jeremiah once again setting off to prophesy for the Lord. Being silent was not an option for Jeremiah—he was called by God to be His voice to the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore 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. (Jer 20:9)

Lord, I pray to be so consumed by the Holy Spirit that I cannot keep inside what you’ve called me to do. I thank you for the times you’ve allowed me to share my feelings of fear, frustration, doubts, and anger as well as the times of pure praise, worship, and thanksgiving. You’ve patiently waited for me to get beyond myself to that place of surrender where you are once again in your proper place in my life. Your will above my own. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

 

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Jeremiah 9-12; 2 Timothy 2

New routines, new seasons, new challenges. A dear friend’s words to her child reach out from the years to encourage me now–to keep focused on the goal.

“If racing against mere men makes you tired,
    how will you race against horses?
If you stumble and fall on open ground,
    what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5, NLT)

Remember the why.

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things (2 Timothy 2:3-7, NLT).

Focus. Obedience. (Diligence, reward.)

15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus … 19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,”[b] and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”[c] (2 Timothy 2:15-17, 19, NLT)

I think long on purpose and Kingdom focus. Sideline skirmishes try to take my focus off the goal, words maim and discourage, and some obstacles seem like impenetrable blocks.

He reinforces, “Don’t give up.” Oh, if I stumble on the open ground, how will I ever traverse the thicket? He has spoken purpose in my heart and over my life.

21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21, NLT).

He points the way, in the distraction and in the storm.

Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants (2 Timothy 2: 22b-26, NLT).

Lord, I lean on you for understanding. You are loving and wise and generous. You gently turn my focus and remind me: don’t forget the why.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 5-8; 2 Timothy 1

Do I blush, did I blush, do I still know how to blush when I think of some of my actions and choices that I make in my walk with God? I pray that I will be sensitive to the things of God and that I can still blush.

Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
    No, they were not at all ashamed;
    they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
    at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the Lord. – Jeremiah 6:15  ESV

One of the healthiest ways I have found to speak words of strength and life into another follower of Christ is following the way Paul writes with affection to those like Timothy. He uses words like “beloved” and another translation says, “my true child in the faith” and to use words of blessings that include words like “grace, mercy and peace.”

To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. – 2 Timothy 1:1  ESV

I am not too sure if  Phygelus and Hermogenes are blushing for leaving the faith but there are some strong words of encouragement and blessing to Onesiphorus.

May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,  but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus. 2 Timothy 1:16-18  ESV

What a prayer of blessing – one that I have been trying to practice in my prayer life.

When I think of how easy it is for some to walk away from God, even with all of the encouragement and blessing that surrounds them, I am convinced that loyalty is at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Christ.

 Father, I am amazed with the strength that You speak to me through a prophet like Jeremiah and at the same time amazed with the grace, mercy and peace You also speak to me through an apostle giving pastoral encouragement to someone like Timothy. Words matter and sometimes I forget that. In fact, when I think of the moments I am faltering in my walk with You, most of the time it seems I have walked away from Your Word. Teach me how to give words of wisdom and teach me how to be pastoral and to know the right time to use these words when I am with someone. May I be sensitive, myself, to Your words to me. May I find myself blushing when You call me out with the sin that is in my life and may I be quick in asking Your forgiveness so that I may be strong and loyal in my walk with You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

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Jeremiah 1-4; 1 Timothy 6

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.  And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you.  I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow.  Others you must build up and plant.” Jeremiah 1:5-10 NLT

Fully known, set apart. How much different would I live if I fully comprehended that? Jeremiah struggled to believe it, even after the Lord spoke it to him. He questioned and doubted his influence because of his young age.  What excuses am I making when God has asked me to do something? “I can’t because…” This is exactly where Satan would want me. To live in defeat. When God has called me to live in faith.

“Get up and prepare for action.  Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say.  Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them.  For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.  You will stand against the whole land- the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.  They will fight you, but they will fail.  For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 1:17-19 NLT

It’s hard to get ready if I don’t see a storm coming. My family is going through a storm right now that seemed to hit us out of nowhere. When I find myself being battle weary, I can rest that God knew it was coming. He was preparing me in ways that I didn’t even know.  He provides every step of the way, I just need to look to him.

Fight the good fight for the true faith.  Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your faithfulness.  For your goodness. Thank you that you go before me.  And that nothing I go through will ever be wasted. That you will use it for your glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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