Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jeremiah 15:15-21 - Trust in God

"Then I said,

'LORD, you know what's happening to me.
  Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors!
Please give me time; don't let me die young.
  It's for your sake that I am suffering.
When I discovered your words, I devoured them.
  They are my joy and my heart's delight,
for I bear your name,
  O LORD God of Heaven's Armies.
I never joined the people in their merry feasts.
  I sat alone because your hand was on me.
  I was filled with indignation at their sins.
Why then does my suffering continue?
  Why is my wound so incurable?
Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook,
  like a spring that has gone dry.'

This is how the LORD responds:

'If you return to me, I will restore you
  so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,
  you will be my spokesman.
You must influence them;
  do not let them influence you!
They will fight against you like an attacking army,
  but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze.
They will not conquer you,
  for I am with you to protect and rescue you.
  I, the LORD, have spoken!
Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men.
  I will rescue you from their cruel hands.'"
Jeremiah may have trusted and obeyed God at one point, but right now he's accusing God of being unreliable. God tells him the past doesn't count; he has to return to God and trust right now, this moment. Only then will God fulfill his promise to strengthen and deliver him. Jeremiah was being influenced by others and feeling self-pity because he was not trusting God in the moment. Our choice is always: Will we trust God right now? Trust two minutes ago won't help us now. It's got to be moment-by-moment trust.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jeremiah 15:10-11 - Will you trust God or complain to others?

"Then I said,

'What sorrow is mine, my mother.
  Oh, that I had died at birth!
  I am hated everywhere I go.
I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose
  nor a borrower who refuses to pay—
  yet they all curse me.'

The LORD replied,

'I will take care of you, Jeremiah.
  Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf
  in times of trouble and distress.'"
Jeremiah complained not to God but to his mother. Yet God was the one who answered Jeremiah in his distress with a promise of care. How often do we turn to someone else to complain about our situation, rather than God? Yet even then, God steps in with grace and offers a promise. Things will turn around, he assures Jeremiah. Yet the implication is that they will turn around eventually. In the meantime, Jeremiah's choice is to trust or complain. The same choice is ours in difficulty. Will you trust God or complain to others?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

1 Thessalonians 2:10 - Keep our motives as pure as possible

"You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God—that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all of you believers."
The implication from this verse is that some people might have questioned Paul's motives somehow. Even Paul was misunderstood, perhaps maligned. We should expect this in relationships. All we can do in such cases is keep our motives as pure as possible, and maintain a clear conscience before God. The rest will have to work out as we trust God.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jeremiah 14:16-17 - This is how God's justice works.

"As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them. Now, Jeremiah, say this to them:

'Night and day my eyes overflow with tears.
   I cannot stop weeping,
for my virgin daughter—my precious people—
   has been struck down
and lies mortally wounded.'"
This is how God's justice works: He turns the tide so that the evil that people bring to others turns back on themselves. It is their own wickedness boomeranged to fall on their own heads. God can do no wrong himself, but he can and does turn evil around so the evildoers pay for their own sins. Yet even as God pours out his anger and judgment, it causes him great grief. God allows people to go to hell, but he himself suffers about it. Or rather, suffered—in Jesus' death on the cross.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

'Soulprint' - Book Review

The author, Mark Batterson, pours the insight and energy into helping you experience the joy of discovering who you are and the freedom of discovering who you're not.  From the back cover it tells us the book 'Soulprint' encourages you to recognize and explore the five defining moments in your life that will determine your destiny.  Along the way, you'll find that you're not just turning the pages of a book.  You're turning the pages of your remarkable, God-shaped, world-changing life.

The one thing that we must remember is that we are unique; we are not like anyone else.  True, we can pick up similarities, especially when we are around someone for a time.  But remember, they pick up similarities from us also.  God created each of us wired differently and encourages us to remain unique and true to ourselves.  We need to remember the God-given identity that makes us unlike anyone else.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you were this person or that person?  Do you know that that person you wish you were is probably wishing that they were you?  Ironic isn't it.  Growing up I thought that and today I like me.  I believe that is a key obstacle that some of us need to do … like yourself as there is no one else like you.
There is discussion questions in the back of the book for your small Bible Study group and you can read the first chapter of Mark's book 'Primal'.

Proverbs 19:17 - This verse challenges us

"If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD—and he will repay you!"
This verse challenges us: What do you do for the poor on a consistent basis? Do you support ministries to the poor such as Compassion, World Relief, or World Vision? This verse says when you do so, you are lending to the Lord. Notice it's "lending," not giving. God considers himself in debt to you when you help the poor—and he will repay. (Amazing!)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Psalm 79:8–9 - Do not hold us guilty

"Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors!
   Let your compassion quickly meet our needs,
for we are on the brink of despair.
   Help us, O God of our salvation!
Help us for the glory of your name.
   Save us and forgive our sins
for the honor of your name."
This plea asks that God would overlook the sins of his people and let his tenderhearted, merciful nature meet their needs. The psalmist is not afraid to ask that it be done quickly. The people needed help right now! What do you need right now? Don't be afraid to express your true situation to God and ask him to quickly meet your needs. It's in his compassionate and forgiving nature to do so.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jeremiah 13:15-17 - Pride always leads to separation from God

"Listen and pay attention!
   Do not be arrogant, for the LORD has spoken.
Give glory to the LORD your God
   before it is too late.
Acknowledge him before he brings darkness upon you,
   causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountains.
For then, when you look for light,
   you will find only terrible darkness and gloom.
And if you still refuse to listen,
   I will weep alone because of your pride.
My eyes will overflow with tears,
   because the LORD's flock will be led away into exile."
Pride always leads to separation from God. It did so for Satan, and it did so for the people of Judah and Israel whom Jeremiah was sent to warn. He warned them out of grace, because God always gives time to repent. But there will come a time when the judgment will come, when pride leads away from God and we finally experience the effects of that choice. Wherever pride is taking root in your life, God will not be there. This passage is your warning; there's still time to turn from any pride in your heart.