Category Archives: Jeremiah

Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

Jeremiah 50 and 51 proclaim woeful ruin and the winnowing destruction of Babylon. So great, that Jeremiah instructs at the end of 51:

61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, 62 and say, ‘O Lord, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates,64 and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, and they shall become exhausted.’” 51 ESV

Yet, like an oasis in the middle of grievous ruin and righteous vengeance: Jeremiah 50:20

20 In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

And I stop short. I ponder… what would it be for one to search for iniquity and there be none? No sin. None found. An oasis of peace; of life; of pardon.

I Peter 3 (The Day of the Lord Will Come) also details the coming vengeance of the Lord; a sound warning; a telling of destruction:

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn. But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be dililgent to be found by him without spot of blemish, and at peace. (2 Peter 3: 11-14 ESV)

And the words “at peace” catch hold of me. What means this peace in relation to me? An oasis of pardon in my life? at peace held in the cross of Christ and His resurrection life? I ponder the peace I find in that small section in Jeremiah: the peace of no sin; no iniquity- and this is one wildly glorious aspect of life in Jesus… that one day we will be free from the body of this death. And free from sin and iniquity.

1 Peter 3 also reminds that the Lord’s timetable is not my timetable.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works done on it will be exposed. 2 Peter 3: 8-10 ESV

I realize I do not want to be exposed. What will remain? What gold tried in the fire? I know it is all grace, and I find myself small before Him.

Lord, you are coming, and the enemy wants Your people (me) blind, confused, and deadened. Your Word exhorts that we are to be holy and blameless. Lord, there is no power within me to produce holiness. I need Your Spirit; I need Your grace. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Under the mercy and in the grace of the cross, Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

And just a wee bit of fellowship here (as a P.S. from me to you):

This song- from this album- speaking to me today (and tonight). I pray it speaks to you, too. It is all yours, O God. And without you, I can do nothing.  This week I had a desperate experience- where I had to just give it up and surrender. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. And as I leaned into God- I leaned into His arms. Literally. And I found Him there. I found myself. He undertook- and in Him- it was so. He carried me through. And in my life- I realize I need to find myself saying again, again: “It is yours, Lord. Do what You will.” And, I need the reminder. I need to lay it down. All down. God be praised.  Let my life be more than smoke and lights!! I will tell you: I found peace in that moment of helpless surrender.

 

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Jeremiah 38, 39, 52; 1 Peter 2

A contrast of despair and hope.

King Zedekiah’s kingdom is surrounded and starved, and he is pursued and forced to witness the heartbreaking murder of his children and fellow nobles before his own eyes are gouged out, and he is led away–captive. (Jeremiah 39) I read through this passage and Jeremiah 52, and the despair and loss is thick. Names in a book, figures of history–once living, breathing men. We all have a story–about where we come from and where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going. About loss and love and despair and hope.

In Jeremiah, a city is dismantled and destroyed–the temple pillars Solomon had raised, gone. (I catch the briefest glimpse, of pomegranates, a detail recorded.)

These things had been made for the Lord’s Temple in the days of King Solomon. 21 Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference. They were hollow, with walls 3 inches thick. 22 The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1⁄2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. 23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 pomegranates on the network around the top. (Jeremiah 52:20b-23, NLT)

In 1 Peter 2, a new temple.

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say,

“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
    chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
    will never be disgraced.”

Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,

“The stone that the builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.”

And,

“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
    the rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
    now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
    now you have received God’s mercy.”

 

11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (1 Peter 2:5-12, NLT)

Father God, I am so grateful for your word in my hands and heart, for your love and direction, for your mercy and provision. I read these words in 1 Peter 2 and I am filled with hope and joy, to be part of something you are creating, to be valued and loved, chosen. You chose me. I want my life to be a song of praise to you. Keeping my eyes on you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Jeremiah 37, 21, 34; Psalms 79; James 5

“Zedekiah son of Josiah succeeded Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim as the king of Judah.  He was appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  But neither King Zedekiah nor his attendants nor the people who were left in the land listened to what the Lord said through Jeremiah.  Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, son of Maaseiah, to ask Jeremiah, “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.”  Jeremiah 37:1-3 NLT

King Zedekiah’s heart wasn’t right before the Lord.  He didn’t want to listen to what Jeremiah said.  But, he wanted his prayers answered.  How many times have I come before the Lord with the wrong heart? Feeling far from him.  Knowing that I needed to ask for forgiveness.  What a contrast to David’s humble plea…

“Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name.  Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name.” Psalms 79:9 NLT

Sometimes “Help” is the only word I can utter.

“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.  Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.  Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.  Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well.  And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.” James 5:13-15 NLT 

I am amazed at all the prayers God has answered in my life.  I look through old photos and pause to reflect on his goodness.  A verse comes to mind, “Who am I Lord, that you have brought me and my family this far?” (2 Sam 7:18).  But, still at times I forget all he has done. I get tired in the waiting.

“Elijah was human as we are, and yet he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!  Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.” James 5:17&18

If it would have been three and a half days, I’m sure Elijah would have been grateful .  But, I can imagine how elated he was after three and a half years.  Did he ever want to give up hope? Maybe. But, he didn’t give up praying. What an example his faith is to me.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are.  Thank you for your faithfulness.  How you care about my every need.  Thank you for your promises and for the hope I have in you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Jeremiah 27, 28, 29, 24; James 4

This morning’s passage is a hard one for me for two reasons… First I like to think I am in charge of my own life and I can make things happen on my own. That’s such a total self lie and this passage supports that truth. God is the one who is in control of our days. Second, is our life really that brief!?! Is it really a mist that is here one second and gone the next? Yes it is! Not something we like to think about…

James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 [ESV])

Regarding the second, Andy Stanley reinforces this truth and shares with us that we serve a God who is from everlasting. Only by throwing our lot in with Him can our mist-like existence have meaning. That’s why every morning my prayer is that in the context of God’s everlasting I can make a difference for His kingdom work. That makes our mist have an eternal impact.

How bout the first… well only by trusting God for everything including our days and our successes and failures will our days be ordered right. Who are you trusting in for your meaning everyday? Thinking that God does order our days and there is nothing we can do but follow Him wholeheartedly is our best course of action. Try it today and see what happens. It just may be your best way forward ever!

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Jeremiah 22, 23, 26; Psalm 77; James 2

Your road led through the sea,
    your pathway through the mighty waters—
    a pathway no one knew was there! (Psalm 77:19, NLT)

The psalmist (Asaph) is troubled and feels alone, and his opening words in Psalm 77 seem to ring reaching, empty and unheard. He gets his bearings together, and starts to tell himself of all the good things God has done, and this verse stood out to me in relief (both raised from the other words and from encouragement too).

Your road led through the sea. It led through the mighty waters. It was a pathway no one knew of; they didn’t know it was there. Faced with a pursuing army/enemy behind them and an expansive sea ahead of them, why did they choose the water? Why didn’t they turn back and fight? That moment before the path was revealed must have been thick with pressure. It must have seemed lose-lose. Someone must have felt torn in wonder. I stand in the words of the moment and marvel at the road that leads through the sea, through mighty waters, the road that no one knew was yet there.

This verse is the verse foundation around the rest of the reading for me–of Jeremiah’s retelling of the Lord’s repetition: do the right thing.

This is what the Lord says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! (Jeremiah 22:3a, NLT)

15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king!
    Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink.
But he was just and right in all his dealings.
    That is why God blessed him.
16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy,
    and everything went well for him.
Isn’t that what it means to know me?”
    says the Lord. (Jeremiah 22:15-16, NLT)

And in James, the underscore of faith, and that without works, it is useless, dead.

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? James 2:18-20, NLT.

Lord, I don’t need to continue to fight a past that wants me back into captivity when you have already secured my freedom and my future. Some situations seem lose-lose. Stressful. Threatening. Sometimes I’m not sure which way to turn. But I turn to you and I take to heart your words to do the next right thing. Help me to discern what is right, just, and wise. Help me to see your path before me, and to walk in it.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Jeremiah 14-16; Psalm 76; 2 Corinthians 13

Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go! And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘Those destined for death, to death;
those for the sword, to the sword;
those for starvation, to starvation;
those for captivity, to captivity.’

“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” declares the Lord, “the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds and the wild animals to devour and destroy. I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem. (Jer 15:1-4) NIV

In light of the last reading I had, suffice it to say this one hit me in the gut. I wasn’t prepared to hear how God was going to punish the Israelites because of Manasseh. Hadn’t God put him back on the throne to rule Judah? Hadn’t God forgiven him?

I think I needed to read it as a reminder. Yes, God is good and he can forgive us and put us back into leadership. He can change the hearts of the most hard-hearted among us. I like to focus on that part of God. The truth is, God is just! There are consequences to our sins. We have no idea what we set in motion when we choose to “do our own things” and not do what God instructs.

To some, the words sound harsh. “God wouldn’t do something like that to His people” one might think. The thing is, God was very specific about what He deemed acceptable behavior. He spelled it out for the Israelites. He loved them, He provided for them, He warned them they had turned away from Him and gave them every opportunity to repent and change their ways. Yet they still chose to worship idols they themselves created. They still chose to act in ways so contrary to the behaviors God specifically told them not to do. Maybe Manasseh was forgiven, but the generations that followed him suffered because of his early choices. God had entrusted the leadership of His people to him and he led them astray. They had done evil in the sight of the Lord.

I can see this in my own life. There are things going on in the lives of my children that I can attribute to the choices I made which impacted them. Sin has a ripple effect! I have witnessed generational sin in my own family of origin. I have prayed for God to break these patterns so my grandchildren will not repeat them. I truly believe He will answer that prayer.

You, Yourself, are to be feared;
And who may stand in Your presence
When once You are angry?
You caused judgment to be heard from heaven;
The earth feared and was still,
When God arose to judgment,
To deliver all the oppressed of the earth. (Psalm 76:7-9) NKJV

Lord, I am so thankful that You are a God who is loving and just. We can always count on You—You are constant in every way. You love us too much to let us stay in our place of sin. I tried living life apart from You and know the freedom that comes from staying in Your will. I choose You!! In Jesus name, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Jeremiah 11-13; 2 Corinthians 12

In Mark Batterson’s latest book Whisper he shares an experience he had with healing. You see Mark has had asthma since childhood. At the writing of his book he had been healed from asthma by God for 700 plus days. However, the first time he was prayed for in healing the asthma, something else miraculously happened. Mark also had feet that were covered by warts. The next morning after the prayer for healing the warts were gone, but he still had asthma. It was like God was saying to him, “I have the power to heal you, but I have chosen not to do so at this time.” Mark had a thorn in his side that lasted for 35 plus years. That may be why his ministry has been so remarkable and he has been so humble.

Paul’s experience is found below:

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ.a For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 [CSB]).

I believe the “good news” is the more prideful you are the more serious the thorns God may give you. He wants us to point to Him always and not to our talents and abilities. His plan for us is to be a vessel that He uses and works through to further His kingdom.

Can you point to any thorns in your life God has given you? These weaknesses are given to you so that God’s glory will shine brighter through you and that through those weaknesses His kingdom will advance.

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