Tag Archives: God’s promises

Jeremiah 30-33; 1 Peter 1

Chapters 30, 31, 32, 33 … they tell of restoration. There is a time of suffering and destruction. And there is a time of restoration.

28 In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the Lord, have spoken! Jeremiah 31:28, NLT.

What was destroyed, he can just as deliberately plant it and build it up.

These words speak hope to me. They show me he’s in control.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6-7, NLT.

These chapters speak of hope and restoration, of God’s miracles and might.

Lord, I take all the hurts and broken pieces and hand them to you. They are safer in your hands than mine.

Courtney (66books365)

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Habakkuk, 2 Corinthians 7

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. 2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT.

What defiles the body?

What defiles the spirit?

I’m nearing the thirty-day mark of an eating plan that was designed to reset my body and not only reveal to me the situations that sparked cravings, but the foods themselves that had a tighter grip on my will than I ever imagined. So, what defiles the body? Have I thought very often about how I treat and use my body? What does my lifestyle suggest of my faith?

In conjunction with this thirty-day plan, I’ve come off a summer of stress and big change to enter a school year of big change and stress. Nearly daily there’s some situation or another that’s like a shoulder bump off course. (I’m not kidding how many times I’ve felt a prompting to “eat the cookie” to temporarily soothe my frazzled emotions.) These situations that can either bring out my best or my worst. What of my thoughts? What of my attitude? Can these defile the spirit?

These past few weeks have been a time of reflection about habits and attitudes, about past and future, about where I put my faith. When Paul speaks of cleansing, he gets my attention. His statement flows from parts in 2 Corinthians 6, so I look there too for perspective. He tells of his hardships, and a few I can relate to. He speaks of unions (between believers and unbelievers/God’s temple and idols). He calls our bodies temples of the living God, and these are His promises:

“I will live in them
    and walk among them.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
    and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
    and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
    and you will be my sons and daughters,
    says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 16-18, NLT

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

Father, I’m so thankful to be aware of things that were clouding my mind and clouding my heart. I’m so grateful for the bumps and stresses too, because after each one, I feel as though I could hear Paul saying, “What are you going to do? Are you going to take the cookie or take His Word?” Thank you for loving me so much you didn’t want to leave me where I was, but instead welcome me to you, calling me daughter.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 3-5, 1 Chronicles 12, Psalm 122, Acts 22

David and Paul. Both passionate, seeking the heart of their Lord not self serving desires. They were both strong leaders who endured repeated hardships before meeting their Savior. Both determined and strong leaders with a heart for the people they served. I am reminded by their difficult journeys that life isn’t fair. Often as Christians we are left thinking, “why did this happen to me? I’m a good Christian….I love the Lord.” We question why bad things happen to good people and why, if God promises all things will work together for the good, why are there hardships and struggles that sometimes don’t work out to our liking?

Throughout the pages of the old testament story of David and the new testament story of Paul I have often found myself cheering and routing for them to stand up for themselves and seek the justice they deserve but each time they lay down their own pride and selfishness and do what they are called to do. I don’t believe I would have reacted the same way they did. David, anointed at 15 but not King until 37, chased by his beloved hero, Saul who sought his death. On several occasions he had the chance to take Saul out and take over as King. Instead he frequently stood by and either served or spared Saul. Paul, a roman citizen, a Jew and a believer, beaten and imprisoned. He endured more physical hardships and imprisonments for the name of Jesus than any other and yet continued traveling to bring the gospel to the unsaved. Both of these men were servants of the Lord. It was more important to them to remain faithful and obedient to their Lord than to seek their own comfort or justice.

In this day and age there are many uncertainties in the world around us. Religious rights and freedoms that we have taken for granted for many years are starting to slip away. Whether in big ways or small ways, we are all challenged on a daily basis; will we remain faithful, obedient and selfless or will we give in to selfishness? Will we seek our own justice or comfort or will we lay down our own pride and love others. Despite their struggles, David and Paul endured the hardships, pressed on and they both knew who it was that was guiding and protecting them.

“And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” 2 Samuel 5:12

Gods’ hand of protection and even blessing remained on both of these men through many trials as long as they remained obedient to the One who called them. My hope and my prayer is that I will be able to do the same when, not if, persecution comes my way. The struggles that David and Paul endured are what made them who they are and strengthened their faith that their God would deliver them. Let us rest in that same assurance and hope.

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Jeremiah 29-30; Titus 1

If I had witnessed the destruction of my community and were forcibly carried off, the acceptance of the new rule and order would be the last thing on my mind. Survival and fighting my captor would be top priorities. So imagine how the Hebrews felt when they read Jeremiah’s God given instructions:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; Increase in number there; do not decrease. also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”  Jeremiah 29:5-7

Perhaps they were disappointed with God’s directions, but his mandate was clear. Settle down and seek the peace and prosperity of your new home town. Their captors were probably expecting to have to strong-arm the Hebrew people on a daily basis. Imagine their surprise when the Hebrews didn’t put up a fight, but dug in and made Babylon home. The newly vanquished were peaceful and prosperous; their community stood out from the other foreigners. Babylonians had to be asking why. If they followed the clues, they would be led to their God, Jehovah.

God’s instructions are often counter intuitive. We wonder why in the world He leads us into the circumstances and places He does and then his Word sounds out through the centuries:

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you” declares the Lord, “and bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:11-14.

These are not just words to toss out to 20-somethings contemplating their futures. They are an anchor to the present. Too often I get lost wondering what God wants me to do in the future that I neglect the very moment He has given me. I have been guilty of pleading with God to send me a message about the future down on silver platter. In response, He has asked me to rest in the knowledge that He has it all under control; He alone holds the plans in the palm of His hand. A heart that is at peace stands out. So much that it causes those around us to seek the clues as to why. God work that kind of trust into my heart.

Klueh

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Joshua 1-3; Luke 1:57-80

God tells Joshua three times:

Be strong and courageous.

Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9, NLT.

The scouts who slip into Jericho’s walls meet Rahab, a prostitute, who helps them. She tells them how word has spread throughout the region of God’s power and presence with them.

“I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. 10 For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. 11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.” Joshua 2:9-11, NLT.

I read on of them preparing themselves to move forward into God’s promise.

The Lord told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” Joshua 3:7-8, NLT.

I hunker into a literary huddle inside the camp, leaning in to listen. Joshua was probably speaking loudly to a crowd, but in my mind, he whispers so I draw closer in expectation.

So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says. 10 Today you will know that the living God is among you …” Joshua 3:9-10a, NLT.

Step in and stop. This phrase sticks with me through the years, and I’m reminded today. I read these verses several years ago when we were preparing to move. Today, I can look back at that time of life and see God’s hand throughout the details.

Sometimes God leads into unfamiliar territory. I am thankful for every single step (tear and fear) of that journey. There was no doubt of his presence at the time, even when stepping out in faith was heavy and hard. Don’t miss his glory. Look for him, even in times of deep sadness or fear … the living God is among you. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Joshua, Old Testament