Category Archives: Lamentations

Lamentations 3-5; Haggai; 1 Peter 1

I am amazed watching young people in their spiritual growth and at the same time I can cringe at what they can come up with to do or say that would put into question if there is any spirituality in them at all.

One thing for certain, especially with my children, I tried to put into them the importance of walking with Jesus everyday.

It is good for a man that he bear
    the yoke in his youth. – Lamentation 3:27  ESV

When I walk with Jesus the outcome of my salvation is not in question. I do not lack in desire to live a life according to the call before me. Unfortunately, if I walk in the faith only because of my profession of faith I miss out on the fact that Christianity is life in God. There is only one way the world can know that I am Christ’s – it is not in how I handle grief, it is not how passionate I am to confess my sin, it is not the thrill of first love or of glad emotions – it is because I obey Jesus. This is the true outcome of salvation – I walk with Jesus.

Should I walk away from Him and disobey Him, then God will step in to get my attention and I pray that He always will.

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.  Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce.  And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors. – Haggai 1:9-11  ESV

Getting my attention through my finances is quick and painful. For my hope is not there, it is in Jesus and sometimes I need a wake up call to remember that.

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5  ESV

That is where my confidence is – the future is strong and sure. It motivates me and will equip me to be the disciple who engages in good works with the foundation of such being love. It takes away my doubt, even in some very tough times. My hope is a living hope.

Father, I thank You that in my youth You shaped me and formed me to be Yours. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Peter, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Lamentations, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Lamentations 1-2; Obadiah; James 5

“All the majesty of beautiful Jerusalem has been stripped away.  Her princes are like starving deer searching for pasture.  They are too weak to run from pursuing the enemy.  In the midst of her sadness and wondering, Jerusalem remembers her ancient splendor.  But now she has fallen to her enemy, and there is no one to help her.  Her enemy struck her down and laughed as she fell.  Jerusalem has sinned greatly, so she has been tossed away like a filthy rag.  All  who once honored her now despise her, for they have seen her stripped naked and humiliated.  All she can do is groan and hide her face. ”  Lamentations 1:6-8  NLT

I feel the hopelessness in these verses.  Having the wind knocked out of me and blindsided by attacks of the enemy. Times when I want to run and hide, instead of remembering the goodness of God.  I am thankful for a God who rescues and pursues me.  Who heals the innermost parts of my soul. Who tells me what to pray when I don’t know what to pray anymore. Who hears and answers my prayers in his timing not mine.  James urges me to keep praying when I don’t see the miracle yet.

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.  Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when 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 crops.  My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about forgiveness of many sins.” James 5:16-19 NLT

What if Elijah thought his prayers didn’t matter, like I sometimes do?

“But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place.  And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance.  The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble.  The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything.  There will be no survivors in Edom.  I, the Lord, have spoken!  The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath.  The captives from Jerusalem  exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev.  Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom.  And the Lord himself will be king!” Obadiah 1:17-21 NLT  

My prayers are effecting future generations.

Strongholds and generational bondage breaking.

Hearts turning back to him.

Dear Father, help me to trust you when I can’t see.  Give me eyes to see your goodness. Help me not to hide in fear.  But to live with a knowledge and hope in you. Thank you for your patience with me.  Give me rest when I am weary.  Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

Leave a comment

Filed under James, Lamentations, Uncategorized

Lamentations; Psalm 137; 1 Peter 4

Spiritual Gifts are one of the most mis-understood and least implemented parts of the Christian life. I was with a group of Christians not too long ago. About 25 people and asked them how many of them knew what their gifts were. Only two or three raised their hands. That is a pretty typical response I would say. Yet here we see Peter challenging his readers to steward the gifts they have been given by the Holy Spirit and use them well.

We find the spiritual gifts discussed in the 4’s and 12’s (Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4; 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12). Who said the Bible was hard to read or figure you!

So spiritual gifts are given to us at our point of conversion to Christianity. They are given to us to edify the Body of Christ. There are between 19 & 22 depending on your theology (not the place here to discuss that) and each one of have at least one gift.

In this morning’s reading we find the following:

  • Hospitality, v. 9
  • Speaking (most likely teaching), v. 11
  • Serving, v. 11

9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:9-11 [ESV]).

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Are you using them to serve the Body of Christ? If not read through the 4’s and the 12’s and begin this week.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Peter, Lamentations, Psalms, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 19; 1 Corinthians 1; Lamentations 4; Luke 24

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose what the world thinks is unimportant and what the world looks down on and thinks is nothing in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. God did this so that no one can brag in his presence. Because of God you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God. In Christ we are put right with God, and have been made holy, and have been set free from sin. So, as the Scripture says, “If people want to brag, they should brag only about the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 (NCV)

As a teenager and young adult, I realized that I did not have any one skill that I highly excelled in; I was never going to be an extraordinary talent. I was never going to be a Charlotte Church or an Andrea Bocelli, though I love to sing. I was never going to be a Beethoven or a YoYo Ma, though I love music. I was never going to be a Picasso, a Shakespeare, or a Meryl Streep, though I love the arts. I was never going to be a Dominique Moceanu, a Dorothy Hamill or a Ray Lewis, though I love athletics. Though I love all things culinary, I was never going to be a Jacques Pépin or a Julia Childs (my personal hero – and yes, I will admit, I grew up pretending I was her when I took my turn to help out in the kitchen).

So my goal was to become a jack-of-all-trades. I wanted to be full of knowledge, to know enough about as much as possible. I wanted to be like Benjamin Franklin who had so much information, so many facts to share with the world. I wanted book smarts, and I wanted ‘street’ smarts as well. I wanted to learn from other people’s proficiencies and I wanted to learn through experiential knowledge too. I wanted wisdom.

I took pleasure in learning, whether from reading a nonfiction book, from watching an educational T.V. program, or from studying someone while they plied their trade, and even from jumping in with both feet to attempt something I had never tried before. I had satisfaction in knowing more than the next person. I took pride in being ‘right’ (even when I was wrong).

Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NCV)

When I began following Christ, He revealed my arrogance and my outlook on wisdom changed. I recognized that my attitude was in the wrong place. My drive for knowledge had stemmed from self-importance, from a desire to be better than other people, to ‘prove’ myself to the world. I had taken a bite of ‘knowledge of good and evil’ fruit, rather than walking with God each day in the cool and quiet of our secret place, trusting Him to reveal true wisdom. I boasted in myself, rather than singing the praises of my Creator, the Author of everything, the Designer who has all knowledge because He is ALL knowledge.

The teaching about the cross is foolishness to those who are being lost, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people God has called—Jews and Greeks. 1 Corinthians 1:18, 24 (NCV)

I continue to this day to love to learn as much as I can, and I believe that my Father takes enjoyment in my search for understanding. My quest is set right at the Cross at Calvary, an exploration aligned with His Kingdom. My pursuit is now grounded in Him. He has given me spectacles covered in the blood of Christ, to help me see things through His eyes, giving me new awareness, giving me new insight. He cleanses my heart daily, bathing it in love, changing my perception and allowing for godly discernment.

Christ did not send me to baptize people but to preach the Good News. And he sent me to preach the Good News without using words of human wisdom so that the cross of Christ would not lose its power. 1 Corinthians 1:17 (NCV)

My objective is to investigate and embrace the awesome ‘foolishness’ of the Cross, the breathtaking gift of grace. My intention is to share with everyone I meet the tremendous power of the sacrifice Jesus became at Calvary, offering comprehension of the Truth, the only Truth that sets captives free. My aim is to proclaim His Glory. My purpose is His mission.

Yesappa, I want to be a fool for You, steeped not in worldly intelligence, but drenched in Truth. Help me walk daily in Your wisdom. Help me live immersed in Your understanding. Help me boldly brag about the power of the Cross, Your Good News, Your Gift of Grace with courage no matter how stupid another may think I am. Help me Holy Ghost! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Comments

Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Lamentations, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

I Samuel 16, Romans 14, Lamentations 1, & Luke 21

My world. No, it’s Your world and me in it.  How do I get this confused? You would think after walking so many years in the Light of Christ that the concept of being an alien in this world would be a solid belief, yet I find myself sunk deep in the muck of my desires, permeated with the details of being involved in all that goes on around me.  I could never be a Mother Theresa.  Not because I don’t care for the disenfranchised, but where would I find electricity to plug in my hairdryer; how could I afford makeup, and there would be no need to wear sexy boots.  Don’t get me wrong; I would spend a week or even a month roughing it on a mission trip or helping a friend or family member.  I might even give up a weekend to help a stranger move or feed a crowd.

But I fear there is something missing in my DNA when it comes to full-fledged, sold out, surrendered body, soul, and mind to the things of God.  I worry that I am more like King Saul than his replacement, David.  Saul could not seem to do everything God commanded because he was self-absorbed. God finally told Saul to step aside and let another take his place.

So in my effort to prove I have a heart that beats only for God (so I can be like King David), I have swung the hammer of law to crush the liberty of others.  Just ask my daughter or my ex.  It has seemed more important to be righteous than to be gracious.  Oh, and giving grace can feel soooo very gracious.  Yuck!

Like Jeremiah in Lamentations wrote, “The yoke of my transgressions was bound; they were woven by His hand and thrust upon my neck; He made my strength fail.”  Yet, I thank Him for that.  There is this side of me that longs to be led serenely trusting Christ’s words and revelation. Though I may not have a natural ability to follow the God of my life, I am urged to keep submitting to Him.  Because of this desire, I believe His Holy Spirit spurs me on to love in the midst of external turmoil or the humiliation of internal weakness.  Christ tells us that He is coming again and that we need to rid ourselves of any hindrance to recognizing His appearance. If the destruction of my world is necessary to the salvation of my soul, then so be it.

 

Janet

2 Comments

Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Lamentations, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans