Category Archives: Jeremiah

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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Jeremiah 1-4; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 9

I love the promises that God gives us – promises to protect, and keep us safe.

I promise to be with you and keep you safe, so don’t be afraid. – Jeremiah 1:8  CEV

Those were what I counted on in the newness of my relationship with Him.  I needed those to survive, to transition, to be changed by the Holy Spirit to become what He purposed me to be.

When you were my young bride,
you loved me
and followed me
through the barren desert. – Jeremiah 2:2  CEV

Somewhere along the way, there are those friends of mine who have found that the narrow path has lost its flavour.  The joys of this world, the pleasures, somehow made us forget that God was blessings us. We forgot that these things were not for us to absorb and keep, but to give away to others who had less than we did. Unfortunately, I have met many of these individuals personally.  I wish I could say that in my desire to disciple them back into a relationship with God, I could not.  Their story is very much like the world Jeremiah was speaking of.

Your shoes are worn out,
and your throat is parched
from running here and there
to worship foreign gods.
“Stop!” I shouted,
but you replied, “No!
I love those gods too much.” You are so clever
at finding lovers
that you could give lessons
to a prostitute. You have more gods
than a prostitute has lovers. You act like a prostitute
when you try to win back your lovers. – Jeremiah 2:25,33;3:1;4:30  CEV

I was taught in my first year of ministry that one of the best ways to avoid the temptation of pleasure was to give.

God loves people who love to give. – 2 Corinthians 9:7  CEV

While my walk with God is crazy, I can see one very common, reappearing theme in my life – I have always given what I have, away.  I know that it is not my salvation, but I also know that pleasure will not take me off the narrow path – I just do not give it a chance.  Will my friends ever find their way back to God? Yes, I will be praying for them as will others. When God steps in and grabs their attention, then those that love them will walk alongside of them.  The Lord, who never leaves us or forsakes us, will be there alongside too.

The Lord will save you
from all of your sins. – Psalm 130:8  CEV

Father, it must hurt You so much when we deliberate leave the palm of Your hand and go elsewhere to find whatever it is that we think we need or want. Forgive me for even thinking of it sometimes. Keep my feet steady, may I always find that my trust is in You alone. Walk with my friends who are struggling so much.  They need You. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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1 Samuel 12; Romans 10; Jeremiah 49; Psalms 26-27

I have read Romans so many times that I have become somewhat numb to the impact it had on Jews and Gentiles alike.  Romans 4:11 shocked me for the first time; “He (Abraham) received the sign of circumcision as a seal of righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them.”

Why did God choose circumcision of all things to represent a condition of the heart? It’s a graphic symbol about a part of the body we don’t discuss in mixed company. Isn’t it just like God to keep me from becoming too spiritual when it comes to faith? Abraham’s faith in God, calls him to place his son on the altar as well as undergoing circumcision. And what did Sarah think about all of this?

Abraham challenges me; I take faith far too lightly. God’s grace is serous business; it holds the knife over the most tender places…places I do my best not to expose.

But the good news of this grace finds me every time I cry out to God, every time I consider His word:

“But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart…” Romans 10:8  and “so faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” Romans 8:15.

I have to speak the good news of Jesus Christ to my heart multiple times a day to keep myself off the hamster wheel of works and self righteousness. It’s his grace that saves me, not what I do. What I do is a response to his grace. When it’s not, He is waiting to restore what I broke. He loves me that much, not because I merit it, but because, quite simply, that is who He is. He sees the most vulnerable parts of me— the places hidden from others and even myself, and He never turns away.

Holy Spirit, may your grace and peace settle deep into my soul so that I live in the freedom and joy of your grace. Jesus, thank you for taking my rags and giving me your righteousness to wear. I thank you for the wonder of who you are and the healing and restoration you bring to me. Your love, your sacrifice is my joy.

Kathy

 

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1 Samuel 7,8; Romans 6; Jeremiah 44; Psalm 20,21

Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Astartes from among you. Direct your heart to the Lord, and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” – 1 Samuel 7:3 NRSV

If you are like me, a follower of Jesus, then you and I have answered this question of choice and if I am honest – I have to choose everyday and every day I have to choose Jesus.  For me, if I do not, I find myself being okay with certain weaknesses and falling for certain temptations and then declaring them to be in the realm of grace

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? – Romans 6:1 NRSV

The answer is definitely a big NO! So what is my problem, why do I think it is okay?

But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their wickedness and make no offerings to other gods. – Jeremiah 44:5 NRSV

I find my relationship with God falls into a pattern, a grove, a comfortable “method” or “process” and as busy as I am in adoration, confession, thankfulness, and supplication – I miss the most important part of any relationship – listening.  While I have been busy talking, I forget to listen – how does God want to respond to what I have just said or how does He want to engage Himself into my day?  I do not know and maybe I don’t because in some weird moment of time – I might admit that I do not want to know.

I think you know where this is going – throw in some trouble and what do I do? Yes, I call on God. This is where it get’s tricky – I feel that since I did not spend much quality time with Him that I do not deserve to call on Him.  Wow – so simple to get pushed even further away from God.   But I know this – His grace is sufficient and as my Heavenly Father, He cares.  I can always call out His name and He is there.

The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
    The name of the God of Jacob protect you! – Psalm 20:1 NRSV

Lord, if I have to forgive others as much as You have forgiven me, that is a whole lot more than 70 x 7!  How thankful I am for your grace, but more thankful that You never allow the Holy Spirit to leave me – I am convicted of my sin and I find my way back to You.  I bless You for Your faithfulness – thank You for Your protection.  I can always count on You.  I pray that my faithfulness will grow as we grow in our relationship together and that I would rather do the things You would like me to do as opposed to the things I want to do for myself.  Thank You for bringing me into Your space and allowing me to be a part of Your family.

evanlaar

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1 Samuel 5&6; Romans 5; Jeremiah 43; Psalms 19

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT

I am a person who likes to avoid a disruption of peace, whether it be conflict or trials. But, God has been teaching me that they are a necessity for my growth. I tend to reflect back on “if only” than _______ wouldn’t have happened. But, I am learning that God is using those times to show me that I’m not in control. Before we left for our family beach vacation, my youngest daughter was hit in the eye with a golf club. Her eye is fine, but it left a bruise that took the whole week to go away. After we stopped for lunch on our drive to the beach, my other daughter threw her retainer away in the trash. Which I than spent an hour searching for and never found. I felt like I could breath a sigh of relief once we arrived. Only to start off the next day with a bike ride with my four kids that ended in scrapes and bruises from two of them colliding. God is showing me that I can’t escape trials. He is using them to refine me. He is testing my character and wants to see how I react. When I am in constant communion with him and in His word, I have more patience and his words come out of my mouth. If I am bound by my own fear and mistrust, I can let anxieties overtake me and be quick to snap and yell.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalms 19:14 NLT

Nothing compares to hearing my child pray before bed to heal him and his sister from their cuts and scrapes. Childlike trust. Knowing that God didn’t cause the pain and he is sovereign.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world…The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.” Psalms 19:1-8 NLT

But oh, how the ocean’s vastness, compared to my smallness humbles me and puts things into perspective.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good…So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends with God.” Romans 5:6-11 NLT

Father, I pray that I would run to your presence instead of turning away(Jer.43:7). I praise you. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. For pursuing me. I love you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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