Tag Archives: hope

Jeremiah 28:1-31:20

So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,” says the Lord. “For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them. For I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 30:10&11 NLT

In their bondage, God asked the Israelites to seek Him wholeheartedly. And He promised to listen to their prayers. Lord, help me not to give into fear. Give me the faith to rise above my circumstances. Help me to remember that You are with me.

This is what the Lord says: “When I bring Israel home again from captivity and restore their fortunes, Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins, and the palace reconstructed as before. There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving, and I will multiply my people, not diminish them; I will honor them, not despise them.” Jeremiah 30:18-19 NLT

What am I allowing to hold me captive that I need to ask the Lord to free me from? Fear, worry…it can be a daily surrender to give those back to the Lord.

“Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines.” Jeremiah 31:3-4 NLT

Dear Father, I am holding onto Your promises. Forgive me when I turn to other things. I can be so forgetful. I trust in You. I am grateful for Your promise to restore. You are good. Your goodness pursues me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 66 Books, Jeremiah

Psalms 37:27-39:13

Psalm 38. A psalm of David. A petition. That is the heading that precedes the verses. The psalm is an acknowledgement of sin. The physical and emotional descriptions that follow underscore to me that sin is death.

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.
Your arrows have pierced me,
    and your hand has come down on me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
    there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed me
    like a burden too heavy to bear.

My wounds fester and are loathsome
    because of my sinful folly.
I am bowed down and brought very low;
    all day long I go about mourning.
My back is filled with searing pain;
    there is no health in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
    I groan in anguish of heart. (Psalm 38:1-8, NIV)

As I continued to read, I became curious about the circumstances of the psalm. I did a quick search. A preview of one link held this: “David Guzik commentary on Psalm 38 describes the only hope a sinner has, who has been forsaken by friends and hunted by enemies: God.”

The only hope.

21 Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Savior. (Psalm 38:21-22, NIV)

The only hope at all.

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40, NIV)

I’m reading a book called Resilience by Eric Greitens and just finished a section about praying. “I can’t tell anyone else how to pray, but I find myself praying more when things are harder. I also find myself drinking water more when I am thirsty, and eating more when I am hungry, and sleeping more when I am tired. And I’ve finally begun to accept that if I pray more when I am troubled, that’s just as natural.” (191)

Lord, I’m grateful that my prayers reach you. And just like water to quench a thirst, or food to nourish and strengthen, when I am troubled (or any time), I can call to you and it is just as natural.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

Job 29:14-32:10

Job searches for cause and effect. He examines his life and his actions. He remembers the good that he has done. So why?

“I thought, ‘I will die in my own house,
    my days as numerous as the grains of sand.
19 My roots will reach to the water,
    and the dew will lie all night on my branches.
20 My glory will not fade;
    the bow will be ever new in my hand.’ (Job 29:18-20, NIV)

His pain, suffering, and exclusion would have made sense to him if he were a terrible man, even a secret sinner. But he was a good man. So why?

“If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune
    or gloated over the trouble that came to him—
30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin
    by invoking a curse against their life—
31 if those of my household have never said,
    ‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’—
32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street,
    for my door was always open to the traveler—
33 if I have concealed my sin as people do,
    by hiding my guilt in my heart (Job 31:29-33, NIV)

It’s a formula I’ve come to count on, perhaps erroneously. If you work hard, you’ll be rewarded. Good job performance should equal a raise or promotion. Kind acts should beget kindness returned. But life is much more complicated than that.

I have grasped grief and hope with the same hands. And Job’s grappling with his situation feels like hope being pried from his grip.

“Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man
    when he cries for help in his distress.
25 Have I not wept for those in trouble?
    Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 Yet when I hoped for good, evil came;
    when I looked for light, then came darkness.
27 The churning inside me never stops;
    days of suffering confront me.
28 I go about blackened, but not by the sun;
    I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
29 I have become a brother of jackals,
    a companion of owls.
30 My skin grows black and peels;
    my body burns with fever.
31 My lyre is tuned to mourning,
    and my pipe to the sound of wailing. (Job 30:24-31, NIV)

In the bigger picture, the one of holding this book in my hands and knowing the start of Job’s story to the end, I want to whisper to him in these chapters, “It isn’t over yet.”

I know that God considered Job faithful. I know that Satan wanted to test Job’s faith–and likely more than that, wanted to completely destroy it (after all, the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy). The battlefield moves inward as Job expresses those thoughts aloud. Outwardly losing his wealth and family, suffering in health, to inwardly the thoughts that circle in his mind–the grounds for anger, resentment, confusion, doubt, despair. Which is harder: the outer battle or the inner battle?

When my thoughts try to pry hope from my grip, I want to remember this–the bigger picture. The bigger picture Job didn’t see. The bigger picture that tells me in the hardship, “It isn’t over yet.” The bigger picture where Jesus declares it is finished and that he is coming back.

Lord, I’ve lost years in the grapple to make sense of what is with what should be. In the heavy days of what is, let me remember the hope of what will be.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 5:17-8:22

My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope. O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. You see me now, but not for long. You will look for me, but I will be gone.” Job 7:6-8 NLT

I can learn a lot from Job’s vulnerability with his emotions towards the Lord. But, his hopelessness made him question God’s goodness. When has my view of God been so limited that I feel like His intentions towards me are not good? I know how easy it is to slip down into that despair.

What are people, that you should make so much of us, that you should think of us so often? For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watched of humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.” Job 7:17-21 NLT

Job was sure that sin must have been the cause for his suffering. He was trying to figure out what didn’t make sense. Don’t I do the same thing when I say things like, “How could a good God let bad things happen?” I’ve come to realize that some things I will never understand this side of Heaven.

Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved.” Job 9:3 NLT

It seems like Job knew deep down that he hadn’t sinned against God. He was going through such intense suffering that he was trying to figure out why God would ”pick on him.” His friends didn’t help, by making Job question himself. Which caused Job to question God’s heart. I am thankful for a God that can handle my doubts.

Dear Father, thank you that I can cry out to you when I don’t understand. Thank you that you are a God of justice, but your mercy triumphs over judgement. I pray that I would give Godly advice and wisdom that reflects your heart. You are a big God and Your ways are higher than mine. I pray that I would rest in your sovereignty. I trust You Lord, Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Ezekiel 16-18; John 6

“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!” Ezekiel 18:23, 31&32 NLT

These verses remind me that God is a God of justice, but also mercy. His heart toward me is to truly live, drawing from His abundance. He provides for me beyond what I can ask or imagine. So why do I sometimes live from scarcity? When he has more than enough to give?

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so nothing is wasted.” John 6:11&12 NLT

What am I seeking after? Is Jesus my treasure?

They rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” John. 6:19&20 NLT

How many times have I let my circumstances dictate the size of my faith?

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” John 6:47-50 NLT

Thank you Father for sending your son to give me eternal life. And for the gift of your Holy Spirit. I want to overflow with gratitude for your faithfulness. Thank you for who you are. Forgive me for when I turn to other things. Thank you that you waste nothing when I surrender it to you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under Ezra, John, Uncategorized