Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jeremiah 13:11 - This is God's heart desire

"As a loincloth clings to a man's waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me, says the LORD. They were to be my people, my pride, my glory—an honor to my name. But they would not listen to me."
This is God's heart desire: to be in such a close relationship with his people that they cling to him. He then pours out his blessings so that everyone can see how wonderful and good he is. This is still his intention! So—are you clinging to him? Are you letting God be God in your life, such that you bring honor to him as people see clear evidence that God is active in your life? Are you listening to God? Not listening was his people's downfall. Don't let it be yours!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Psalm 78:72 - "He cared for them with a true heart and let them with skillful hands"

"He cared for them with a true heart
and led them with skillful hands."
This description of David as king and shepherd of God's people gives us something to strive for in any leadership role we may have (including parenting): first, you care from a true heart. Love is the guiding principle, along with truth. You lead from the heart, not the head. "Skillful hands" are also necessary. You must acquire whatever skills are needed to lead in love and truth. Love, truth, and skill. These will make you a great leader, like David.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Live Like You Mean It - BOOK REVIEW

The title of this book caught my attention to read and now providing my personal book review of 'Live Like You Mean It.'  Today we live as others want us to live and we get caught up in that life and feel there is no escape.  There is, however, if you remind yourself you are unique and there is no one else like you.  God made us to be individuals and we must praise Him for all that he does for us.  'Live Like You Mean It' provides 10 crucial questions that will help you in clarify your purpose, live intentionally and make the most of the rest of your life.  I related to T. J. Addington's near death, as I was near death six years ago with bacterial infection.  Unlike Addington who already gave his heart to the Lord, I began mine again.  As I read the book, it renewed me my life wiring God had planned for me.  It opened my thoughts of what my purpose is, will, and should be.  The fact that he refers to scripture was very educational.  I personally like to write notes in my Bible and when I come across books, like this one, it influences me to jot down reminders.  At the end of each chapter he gives a bottom line summary, as well as a prayer.  Awesome is all I can say.  There is a study guide with each chapter, which helps you to reflect on what you read and understand your life and purpose in this life.  Small Bible study groups would benefit from this book, as other individuals like myself.  Whether you are a born again Christian or not, this is a good book to read and reference, as well as staying renewed with the wiring God has for you.  Spread the word of the 'Good News' today, be a follower, and continue the journey of Jesus Christ.  As long as I am breathing, there is still more work to do for heavenly Father.  I was not disappointed in the reading of this book and would recommend the book highly.  I suggest reading this book casually, as it can be a fast read, but it needs to be absorbed.  Addington has written this book very easy to understand.   If you truly want to live like you mean it, get this book.  On the back jacket cover, this book will show you how to respond to your God-inspired inner urgings, to discover that sweet spot of our personal wiring, and live them out intentionally. Make a difference - are you ALL IN?

1 Thessalonians 1:10

"And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God's Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment."
If you look around at what's happening in the world and you read biblical prophecy, it's easy to become scared. This verse is the antidote. We may not know exactly how or when, but we who trust in Jesus' death and resurrection believe that he will come again. Two future events are described here: coming judgment and Jesus return to earth. What's past is that God has already rescued us from the terrors of coming judgment. We have no need to fear, whatever happens! Judgment is future tense, but rescue is past tense—already accomplished!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jeremiah 12:7–9

"'I have abandoned my people, my special possession.
   I have surrendered my dearest ones to their enemies.
My chosen people have roared at me like a lion of the forest,
   so I have treated them with contempt.
My chosen people act like speckled vultures,
   but they themselves are surrounded by vultures.
Bring on the wild animals to pick their corpses clean!'"
Even as God declares his abandonment of his people, he uses love language. "My people, my special possession, my chosen people"—twice he says this last part. God may punish, but he does it with great grief. Sin is serious, it must be paid for, and it gives God only anguish to express the just part of his nature. If we think there's a conflict between love and justice on God's part, there is! Even within God's own heart. God's dilemma is spelled out in Jeremiah, but it's resolved in Jesus' taking on the punishment for sin. That's our good news!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jeremiah 12:1–3, 5–6 God was always faithful

'LORD, you always give me justice
when I bring a case before you.
   So let me bring you this complaint:
Why are the wicked so prosperous?
   Why are evil people so happy?
You have planted them,
   and they have taken root and prospered.
Your name is on their lips,
   but you are far from their hearts.
But as for me, LORD, you know my heart.
   You see me and test my thoughts.
Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered!
   Set them aside to be slaughtered!
'If racing against mere men makes you tired,
   how will you race against horses?
If you stumble and fall on open ground,
   what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?
Even your brothers, members of your own family,
   have turned against you.
They plot and raise complaints against you.
   Do not trust them,
no matter how pleasantly they speak.'
What an intimate relationship Jeremiah had with God! God always responds, Jeremiah said, when Jeremiah brings a case before him. Jeremiah could voice anything to God: complaints, hurts, even his desire for revenge on his enemies. And God challenges Jeremiah to be strong and warns him again about plots against him by Jeremiah's own brothers. Jeremiah's life was not at all easy, but he knew God throughout it. God was always faithful in the tiniest details and the deepest anguish of Jeremiah's heart. This same God is here for you, in the same ways.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Colossians 4:12–13 What and How to Pray

"Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis." (NLT)
Here's another model of what and how to pray. What: ask God to make our loved ones strong and perfect, fully confident of following the whole will of God. (Isn't that what gives peace?) How: earnestly, even at times agonizing over those for whom we pray. How earnestly are you praying for those in your world?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Psalm 34 Commentary

David praises God, and encourages to trust him. (1-10) He exhorts to fear. (11-22)

Commentary on Psalm 34:1-10

If we hope to spend eternity in praising God, it is fit that we should spend much of our time here in this work. He never said to any one, Seek ye me in vain. David's prayers helped to silence his fears; many besides him have looked unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and it has wonderfully revived and comforted them. When we look to the world, we are perplexed, and at a loss. But on looking to Christ depends our whole salvation, and all things needful thereunto do so also. This poor man, whom no man looked upon with any respect, or looked after with any concern, was yet welcome to the throne of grace; the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The holy angels minister to the saints, and stand for them against the powers of darkness. All the glory be to the Lord of the angels. By taste and sight we both make discoveries, and have enjoyment; Taste and see God's goodness; take notice of it, and take the comfort of it. He makes all truly blessed that trust in him. As to the things of the other world, they shall have grace sufficient for the support of spiritual life. And as to this life, they shall have what is necessary from the hand of God. Paul had all, and abounded, because he was content, Philippians 4:11-18. Those who trust to themselves, and think their own efforts sufficient for them, shall want; but they shall be fed who trust in the Lord. Those shall not want, who with quietness work, and mind their own business.

Commentary on Psalm 34:11-22

Let young persons set out in life with learning the fear of the Lord, if they desire true comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter. Those will be most happy who begin the soonest to serve so good a Master. All aim to be happy. Surely this must look further than the present world; for man's life on earth consists but of few days, and those full of trouble. What man is he that would see the good of that where all bliss is perfect? Alas! few have this good in their thoughts. That religion promises best which creates watchfulness over the heart and over the tongue. It is not enough not to do hurt, we must study to be useful, and to live to some purpose; we must seek peace and pursue it; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal for peace' sake. It is the constant practice of real believers, when in distress, to cry unto God, and it is their constant comfort that he hears them. The righteous are humbled for sin, and are low in their own eyes. Nothing is more needful to true godliness than a contrite heart, broken off from every self-confidence. In this soil every grace will flourish, and nothing can encourage such a one but the free, rich grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The righteous are taken under the special protection of the Lord, yet they have their share of crosses in this world, and there are those that hate them. Both from the mercy of Heaven, and the malice of hell, the afflictions of the righteous must be many. But whatever troubles befal them, shall not hurt their souls, for God keeps them from sinning in troubles. No man is desolate, but he whom God has forsaken.

Jeremiah 11:18–23 Plot Against Jeremiah

"Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying,

"Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
     let us cut him off from the land of the living,
     that his name be remembered no more"
But, O Lord Almighty, you who judge righteously
     and test the heart and mind,
  let me see your vengeance upon them,
     for to you I have committed my cause.
"Therefore, tis is what the LORD says about the men of Anathoth who are seeking your life and saying.  Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord or you will die by our hands - therefore this is what the Lord almighty says: "I will punish them.  Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine.  Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the men of anathoth in the year of their punishment.'" (NIV)
Jeremiah was unaware of the plot to kill him—but God knew. And he revealed it to Jeremiah. Jeremiah was afraid, but he learned that God knows the deepest thoughts of the heart and mind. He also learned that God is a God who could be trusted—even as Jeremiah faced this impossible task of warning God's people of judgment. God would protect Jeremiah as he committed his cause to God. He would render justice in Jeremiah's personal life, not just among his people. God can always be trusted, even for the things you don't know, but God does.