Tag Archives: Jeremiah

Jeremiah 47-49; Psalm 80; 2 Peter 2

17Help the man you have chosen.

Make this human being strong for your service.

18Then we will not turn away from you.

Give us life again, and we will call to you for help.

19Lord God of heaven’s armies, take us back.

Show us your kindness so we can be saved. Psalm 80:17-19

God desires me to serve Him. His command to me, above all else, is to love Him with all my heart and soul and mind. But, as hard as I try, I still fail miserably at times.

I believe that God offers second (and third, and fourth…) chances. Because He knows that I am not even close to being perfect, because He can see into my heart and understand everything that is there, He knows the intentions of my heart are to serve Him always.

9And so the Lord knows how to save those who serve him. He will save them when troubles come…2 Peter 2:9

Noah and Lot are examples of men in the Bible who were not perfect (I mean Lot offered his daughters to be raped by lustful men – yikes), but because of their desire to serve God and follow Him, He rescued them from devastation.

The Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites and other tribes were not so lucky. They had no love for God in their heart and served idols who called for death and destruction. Though they were given warnings, they did not turn away from their sin and they reaped what they sowed.

16But a donkey told Balaam that he was sinning. And the donkey is an animal that cannot talk. But the donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the prophet’s crazy thinking. 2 Peter 2:16 

God won’t give up hope for those who turn away. He will constantly pursue anyone whose heart is blackened by sin by any means possible, from the natural consequences of a life lived with bad choices to words straight from a donkey’s mouth.

Just as I pursue my children in the midst of their bad choices, calling them back to obedience and cultivating a repentant heart, my Father in Heaven does the same for me. He gives me life and gives me strength. He shows me kindness that I don’t deserve and saves me from the enemy.

Yesappa, Thank You for being the God of many chances. Thank You for showing me kindness, grace, and mercy in the midst of my bad choices. Give me life where the enemy only wants death. Help me draw nearer to You in each moment to find strength to stand against sin; and give me life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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

14My brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does nothing, his faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save him? 15A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or might need food. 16And you say to him, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat.” You say this, but you do not give that person the things he needs. Unless you help him, your words are worth nothing. 17It is the same with faith. If faith does nothing, then that faith is dead, because it is alone.

18Someone might say, “You have faith, but I do things. Show me your faith! Your faith does nothing. I will show you my faith by the things I do.” 19You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too! And they shake with fear.

20You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing? 21Abraham is our father. He was made right with God by the things he did. He offered his son Isaac to God on the altar. 22So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. 23This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called “God’s friend.” 24So you see that a person is made right with God by the things he does. He cannot be made right by faith only.

25Another example is Rahab, who was a prostitute. But she was made right with God by something she did: She helped the spies for God’s people. She welcomed them into her home and helped them escape by a different road.

26A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith. Faith that does nothing is dead! James 2:14-26

One of my all-time favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I like just about everything about that movie, including Harrison Ford’s handsome face 😉 .

One scene always stands out to me:  Indy is working his way through the cave to find the Holy Grail coming against tests to prove his worth. During one test, as he stares down into the abyss of the cavern, he realizes that he’s going to have to have faith to “leap” to the other side. He gathers his courage. He puts his foot out and leans forward, half expecting to fall to his death. As he begins to fall, his foot lands on an invisible bridge that stretches across the gap and he is able to walk across safely.

I often feel like this is how I live my life. So many chasms lay before me in this journey. When I have faith in God to be there every step of the way, I am able to stick my foot out and leap.

Indiana didn’t simply have faith and then walk away from the impossible. He took action. He did something. He put out his foot and started walking, knowing that it was quite possible it could lead to his death.

As James points out in his letter, both Abraham and Rahab had faith in the God of Israel, and they acted on it, being obedient to what God had instructed. They demonstrated their faith through their actions…and were blessed for it.

Faith doesn’t stop at believing that Christ died and rose again. Yes, that the first step, but faith is also about how I live my life, the outcome of the choices that I make, and the strong foundations that I strive to build in myself and others.

Faith is a tree, and works are it’s fruit. I’m saved because I believe in Christ as my Savior, but my maturity lies in how I live that faith out in my daily life – do I ignore the needs of the people around me, living selfishly in my own little bubble or do I reach out and help, encourage, and love them without an expectation of return as Christ instructed?

Do I demonstrate my faith through my actions, my behavior, my choices, my speech or do I pray and read the Bible only for brownie points and notches on my spiritual belt?

Yesappa,Thank You for your gift of grace given for all who believe and have faith. Help me grow strong in my faith in You and Your goodness and mercy. Help my faith in your be evident in the way I live my life and the things that I do to glorify You and honor those you’ve put in my life, be it for a moment or a season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

“My people have been lost sheep.

Their shepherds have led them astray

and turned them loose in the mountains.

They have lost their way

and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold….

 

But the one who redeems them is strong.

His name is the lord of Heaven’s Armies.

He will defend them

and give them rest again in Israel…

Jeremiah 50:6; 34a

I am learning about identity. Who am I? What is my sense of self?

Often, when thinking about identity, I tend to look first at the roles I take part in – I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, a wife, a mother, a friend, etc. Also, I think about my characteristics – I’m honest, caring, compassionate, strong, hungry for learning, loyal, etc. Sometimes I think about the ugly of my past or the sins of my current experience. All of these things make up identity as the world sees it; they are the identifiers that make me different than another person or similar to someone else.

But I am coming to learn that heaven sees me in a different light.

Before I really knew Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I was a lost sheep; I was led astray by the enemy and those that sided with him. Just like the people of Israel, I was turned loose into the wilderness and didn’t know how to find my way back. But my sin didn’t cause the Lord to abandon me, to leave me or forsake me. He was still my God, even though I wasn’t walking by His side. He still called me to come to Him.

“For the lord of Heaven’s Armies

has not abandoned Israel and Judah.

He is still their God,

even though their land was filled with sin

against the Holy One of Israel.” Jeremiah 51:5

The reality is, whether I have full revelation of it or not, that my identity is completely connected to God, as my creator, as my Father.

I am Julie. Who I am is loved by God. I am forgiven and saved. I am valuable and worthy. I am a child of God. I am a daughter of the King. I am called.

Yesappa, Thank You for being strong and full of grace and mercy. Thank You for never abandoning me, even when I was lost. Thank You for calling me out of the darkness into Your arms. Thank you for giving me true identity that neither the circumstances of my life nor the enemy can steal from me. Thank You for giving my life purpose. Help walk out ‘who I am is loved by you’ ever moment of every day; and when I stray from that, pull me back into Your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45; Psalm 133; James 3

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. James 3:1-12

I’ve been told by a handful of people that I should have been a lawyer because of how well I can present an argument; I’m pretty sure that a couple of those comment were not meant as compliments at the time.

Words are my greatest asset and at the same time lead to downfall. Controlling my tongue has by far been one of the hardest parts on my journey as a believer. When I get excited about something, I won’t stop talking about it, sharing everything with others, often to the point of too much information. When I get angry, I won’t stop talking – sometimes the better word would be yelling – trying to prove my point, the reason I’m angry, in the hopes that it will convince others to side with me.

Worst of all, I know that I am completely out of control when four letter words start popping out of mouth, unfortunately sometimes in front of my kids. In my past, I used to joke that my language would make a sailor blush (apologies to all the sailors who aren’t foul-mouthed).

In various stages in my walk with Christ, I have gained much control over my mouth and the words that waterfall out. I have reigned myself in, with the help of Holy Spirit – learned how to hold my tongue even when desperate to talk, practiced giving others the chance to add their input to the conversation, breaking habits of using bad words as an instant emotion release and as the means to feeling more powerful in the moment.

I’m in a season right now, where I am really struggling with controlling my tongue. As a solo mom of three wonderful, yet very high spirited and strong willed children under the age of five, I am exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed out, stretched too thin, did I mention exhausted…and running on empty makes it much harder to control those outbursts in the midst of repetitive daily frustrations.

It is said that the tongue can bring life or death and I want mine to be a bringer of life.

Yesappa, Thank You for giving me the gift of words, for allowing me to share with the world through writing and speaking, by teaching Your Word to those who will listen and hear. Lord, help me better control my tongue, that it won’t be venom to my loved ones, but that it will build-up and encourage. Help my words bring life to my husband, my children, my family and friends, and even the people who seem to be my enemies. Remove the curses from my mouth and fill me with words of love, peace, patience, kindness…and when all that bubbles up is unedifying, help me hold my tongue, keeping silent, instead of lashing out with my two-edged sword. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Jeremiah 49-50; Hebrews 5

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:12-14

These verses first stood out to me when I was involved in the House of Prayer. I had the opportunity to receive training from various teachers who had spent unbelievable amounts of time in the Word. And, these verses were a huge part of why I started writing for 66Books.

I was in my first year of motherhood, exhausted as most mothers are. I was new to the struggle of balancing life duties with my desire to spend huge amounts of time in the prayer closet. My daughter didn’t understand (and still doesn’t) that I needed to have time alone, time with God. And, though I incorporated God as best that I could into my day-to-day life, I was feeling dry and empty.

One day in desperation, at the end of my rope, completely burned out, I prayed and asked God to show me what to do, to show me a solution. I wanted something that would help me get back into the Word the way I had been in years past. I wanted someone to help hold me accountable to setting time aside to delve deeper than my simple (yet effective) “Help me Holy Ghost” prayers.

Less than a week later, I got a random email from a woman who I didn’t know, but who has become one of my dearest friends, asking me if I would consider contributing to the 66Books blog. The moment I read the email, I knew that it was a direct answer to prayer, and I stepped into this amazing journey of exploration into the world of ‘solid food’.

I’ve probably read the whole Bible 15-20 times throughout my life. I was raised in a Christian home, went to Christian school for my early and middle education, attended church and youth group as a teen, and then when I really started following Christ, I went to ministry school and began getting involved in missions. Much of those readings could have been considered ‘milk’; just surface readings to get the work done, to memorize the Bible verse so I’d pass a test, or racing with friends to see who could get the most read the fastest.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with reading the Word as straight forward ‘logos’, just the reading the words as they are written, as a story and as a biographical work. Sometimes I need it to be easy (especially when reading the Mosaic law in the Old Testament); I just need to drink it in, like a baby drinks milk to be sustained.

But something has changed in me, and even as I am reading, I am ever looking out for that ‘rhema’ Word, a word or a phrase or a group of verses that resonates, that seems like it was spoken just for me in that moment. When it pops out, highlighted on the page, I know that is where God is leading me to dig and explore; and there is where I start to chew on the solid food, the meat of the Word.

What I have begun to learn on this journey of gnawing on solid food, is that there is so much more for me, so much hidden in the Word that is specific and relevant to my life, to my struggles, to my personal walk. There are nuggets of wisdom buried like treasure in everything that has been written, in the choice of words (even those words that may not have been translated in the best way), just like the parables were bites of concealed knowledge understood by those who pressed in and were enlightened.

I have learned that when I read the Bible at face value, I am nourished; but when I chew on the meat of the Word, I feast. My mind and my heart are opened in new ways to God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s love; and, I am overflowing with His goodness and filled by His faithfulness.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Jeremiah 31, 32; Titus 2

The Lord appeared to him from far away.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (ESV)

 

The Lord appeared from of old to me [Israel], saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. (AMP)

 

God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
(MSG)

 

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.
(NLT)

 

From afar Yahweh he appeared to me and-love-of eon I-love-you onso I-draw-you kindness/with covenant loyalty. (Hebrew Interlinear)

Jeremiah 31:3

Ok, I am going to come clean…as you may already know, I am a total word ‘nerd’. I love delving into the meanings of words, the etymology of where those words originated. It is great that the average person is able to enter into the Word through various translations that fit better with more modern language, but I find that often, when I look at the original Hebrew or Greek words, the things that God is expressing explode off the page in a new way, helping me better understand His heart. So much has been lost in translation in the attempt to help the Word become more accessible.

Once again, in today’s reading, a verse that I am very familiar with was deepened by looking onto the Hebrew; it gave me better understanding of the depth of what God was sharing with Israel, and with me today.

The word that was highlighted for me today is the word “everlasting” which literally translated from the Hebrew is the word “eon”.

God loves me with eons…

He loves me for all ages, always and forever, continuously, eternally, forevermore, permanently, perpetually. He loves me indefinitely, during the lifetime of my existence, of the existence of the things of earth.

All of these meanings blow me away with the enormity, the vastness of His love for me. But as I looked deeper, the word eon also means vital force and life.

God’s love is my vital life force. His love is imperative to my life, critical and essential to my being. His love is something He freely gives, all the time, every moment of the day, regardless of my choices. He loves me when I am walking with Him, and He loves me when I have disconnected. And, He even loved me with His everlasting love when I was still a sinner, running from Him as fast as I could.

Yesappa, Thank You for loving me, so completely. Thank You for being my life force. Thank You for drawing me to You always. Help me love You more in return, holding on to the truth of Your covenant loyalty. Help me love others with Your love. Help me keep my love on like Your light in the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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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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