Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jeremiah 3:2–4

"'Look at the shrines on every hilltop.
     Is there any place you have not been defiled
     by your adultery with other gods?
You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer.
     You sit alone like a nomad in the desert.
You have polluted the land with your prostitution
     and your wickedness.
That's why even the spring rains have failed.
     For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless.
Yet you say to me,
     "Father, you have been my guide since my youth.
    Surely you won't be angry forever!
    Surely you can forget about it!"
So you talk,
     but you keep on doing all the evil you can.'"
The people called God "Father" and said he was their guide "since youth," but it was not so! They were sinning in many ways, and at the root was idolatry—looking to something other than God to meet their needs. Though the people were sinning grievously, to them it was a little thing, something surely God would forget about. We tend to minimize sin. Our only true perspective of what's sinful is God's Word. What is it saying to you about any area where you're trusting "other gods" rather than the God?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jeremiah 3:19

"'I thought to myself,
     'I would love to treat you as my own children!'
I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land—
     the finest possession in the world.
I looked forward to your calling me 'Father,'
     and I wanted you never to turn from me."
Here is a glimpse into God's heart. He loves to treat us as his children. Loves to bless us. Loves us to call him Father and depend on him. He longs to give us good things as we trust in him. Bask in God's love for you today. Call him Father and ask him for whatever you need, trusting him as a little child would trust his or her father. For so you are, and so he is!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Broken Cry - by Christi Armstrong

Distill my soul with your blood,
marring the pride I hold tight,
until it crumbles and slips
past my wounded clasp.

Flow through my broken veins,
breathing deeply in my mourning.
Open my stubborn eyes,
to the beauty of your mercies severe.

Bend my shattered world,
crushing the pieces,
collapsing my life.
Surrender my tears to prayer
and bow my heart at your feet.

Clothe me in brokenness,
birthing my suffering heart,
through the pressures of my sorrow
that shine in the power of your grace.
Rain down holy tears,
filling the springs of my heart,
pouring the light of your promise
into my soul's darkest night.
Copyright 2010 Christi Armstrong

Jeremiah 3:1, 12–13

"'If a man divorces a woman
     and she goes and marries someone else,
he will not take her back again,
     for that would surely corrupt the land.
But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers,
     so why are you trying to come back to me?'
says the LORD.
"Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the LORD says:
'O Israel, my faithless people,
     come home to me again,
for I am merciful.
     I will not be angry with you forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt.
     Admit that you rebelled against the LORD your God
and committed adultery against him
     by worshiping idols under every green tree.
Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.
     I, the LORD, have spoken!'"
There's a beautiful picture of grace here: Though his people have forsaken and betrayed him and gone after other gods as lovers, still God calls them to come back to him. Consider well this humility of God—all because he is love. It's his very nature. Embrace it, as he longs to embrace you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Jeremiah 2:34–37

"Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor,
     though you didn't catch them breaking into your houses!
And yet you say,
'I have done nothing wrong.
     Surely God isn't angry with me!'
But now I will punish you severely
     because you claim you have not sinned.
First here, then there—
     you flit from one ally to another asking for help.
But your new friends in Egypt will let you down,
     just as Assyria did before.
In despair, you will be led into exile
     with your hands on your heads,
for the LORD has rejected the nations you trust.
     They will not help you at all."
The people looked everywhere for help except to the Lord. So God judged them and punished them. Not only did they reject God, but they did great evil. The two go hand in hand. Without God's perspective, everything goes completely awry, and evil takes over. Look to the Lord alone for help in whatever situation you face!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Philippians 4:11–13, 19

"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."
What is the secret Paul mentions here—the secret to getting along happily whether he had much or little? Perhaps verse 13 is the answer: knowing he can do anything with the help of Christ, who gives whatever is needed at the moment. It was his radical dependence on God to supply every need. Add to this what he learned earlier, mentioned in verse 6—to not be anxious but to pray about everything. This stance will produce true contentment and is based on faith.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jeremiah 2:13–17

"'For my people have done two evil things:
They have abandoned me—
     the fountain of living water.
And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns
     that can hold no water at all!
Why has Israel become a slave?
     Why has he been carried away as plunder?
Strong lions have roared against him,
     and the land has been destroyed.
The towns are now in ruins,
     and no one lives in them anymore.
Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes,
     have destroyed Israel's glory and power.
And you have brought this upon yourselves
     by rebelling against the LORD your God,
     even though he was leading you on the way!""
Here is the essence of sin: forsaking the fountain of living water and digging cisterns for ourselves. We cannot help but create flawed cisterns, cracked and unable to hold any water at all, let alone the living water that God offers. And the result? Destruction and disaster, brought on by forsaking the Lord who wants to lead his people to blessing. Is there any area of your life where you may be "digging your own cistern" rather than looking to the fountain of living water? (Clue: any area that is not flourishing could be one where you're depending on self, not God.)