Monthly Archives: July 2013

July 31

Jeremiah 8:4-9:15, 9:22-10:16, 26:1-24

Be warned, Jeremiah says, disobedience will be punished. And it will be devastating.

What God said through Jeremiah to the flesh and blood kingdom of Israel he continues to say to us in 2013. Throughout the Bible we are introduced to a God who repeatedly says…

I love you. I want to bless you. I want you to obey me so that you can enjoy this world I’ve created. If you don’t obey, realize that there are serious consequences. I will not be ignored.

When the Old Testament Jews heard this message from Jeremiah they wanted to kill him. How dare he tell them they weren’t right. When the New Testament Jews heard Jesus singing the same song they nailed him to a cross.

I get it. No one enjoys having their faults pointed out, privately or publicly. So many of us don’t want to see our short comings. We’d rather go through life blindly, thinking we’re ok just the way we are.

But we have a choice here. Our choice doesn’t change the Truth. But it will determine what life looks like for us from here on out.

The bottom line is this… You and I have faults. The Bible calls them sin. And each of us are accountable for every last one we’ve ever committed. Are we going to get angry at the One who holds us accountable? Or are we going to allow that One to take those sins on Himself?

We don’t have to like God’s plan. But that won’t change his plan, either. Hear what God would say to us today. And let’s allow him to do his work in each of us.

Remember he loves us. He wants to bless us. Let’s obey him so he can.

 

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July 30

Jeremiah 22:1-17; 2 Kings 23:31-37; 2 Chronicles 36:2-5; Habakkuk 1:1-3:19

Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.

Recently I have had conversations with Christians who have expressed concern over the future of our world. We have seen freedoms chipped away in the US. There is war over water in over-populated countries. Food shortages. Poverty. The acceptance of sin in society which Christians know can only bring God’s wrath.

I don’t know what the future holds for us who live on planet Earth. I look at my sister’s grandchildren and could go crazy worrying about what’s ahead for them should the Lord not return. The Bible tells us things will continue to erode until that day.

But then I read things like Habakkuk 3:2 and I remember Who it is that holds the future. There is so much evidence of God’s love, his care and protection not only in the pages of the Bible but in history books and in the lives of people I know.

God is still on the throne. He is so much greater than Satan. And, although life will undoubtedly get more difficult, God promises to go with his children every step of the way.

May God’s deeds be made known to our world in 2013. May he renew them in our day.

Remember mercy, dear God. We’re depending on You.

July 29

Psalm 81; Jeremiah 47:1-8:47; 2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-36:1

Don’t go, Josiah. This is not your battle. Stop opposing God or he will destroy you.

God sent that message to Josiah through Neco king of Egypt.  But Josiah went into battle anyway. And he didn’t survive. This young man who had done so much good for the kingdom died like anyone else.

Was it God’s will? Did God take Josiah because his time was up?

No! If that were the case I doubt God would have bothered to warn him not to go to battle.

Once again I am reminded that God did not create robots when he created man. He knew Josiah would not heed his warning but that’s not the same as making it happen. Had Josiah listened to God I wonder what other amazing accomplishments we would be reading about today instead of reading about Josiah’s death.

God speaks to each one of us when we read his Word. He may use the voice of a Christian friend. But as sure as I am sitting at this computer today, God is trying to get my attention. He’s trying to get yours. And when he does we have a choice. We can obey. 

Or not.

Of course he knows what we’ll decide but rest assured his will is that we obey. 

Heavenly Father, I want to hear what you have to say to me today. As I read your Word, as I talk with people who love you, may I have my ears and heart on alert. I don’t want to miss what you want me to know. And I want to obey whatever it is you reveal to me. May your people be quick to listen and quick to obey.

July 28

Nahum 1:1-3:19; 2 Kings 23:1-28; 2 Chronicles 35:1-19

I’m not young. I’m not quite ready for the home yet but the calendar (and that darned mirror) tell me the days of my youth are long past. 

As I read about King Josiah’s reign I find myself evaluating my own life. What we read today occurred when Josiah was 26 years young. He had been king for eighteen years by that time. This young man worked tirelessly to bring the Jewish nation back to its former glory as the people chosen by God. 

He accomplished more – so much more- in his young life than I who have lived more than twice as many years as he.

I am convicted this morning. I may not have the stamina Josiah had or the power he enjoyed but God has things for me to do that are just as important to the kingdom. 

As I look at my life I realize there were so many missed opportunities, so many things I could have done but didn’t. 

I’m not saying my life has been futile exactly. I am saying however, I’m sad I didn’t do more. When I think about how much God has done for me, what Jesus did for me, I am ashamed of what I have given back.

But wait! My heart is still beating and my limbs still move (more slowly maybe but they get the job done). God still wants to use me. There are still souls who need the Savior.

So I can continue to think about what might have been or I can begin today to do the work God has called me to do. While I still have breath I want to serve Him, I want to be his voice, his arms to reach out to the lost. Lord, use me today.

Father, I pray for all of us today who know you as our Savior. Your Word makes it plain that age makes no difference in your kingdom. All of us have jobs to do to spread the good news of the gospel. Give us strength. Help us to recognize opportunities. And may you find us faithful. May our lives be lived in gratitude for what you have done for each of us.

July 27

Jeremiah 16:1-17:27; 2 Kings 22:3-20; 2 Chronicles 34:8-33

I gave my heart to the Lord as a little girl. I grew up knowing I was a Christian and that God loved me. It wasn’t until I was  teenager, though, that I really heard and understood the seriousness of sin. I confessed my sin at the altar of our church, broken before a holy God. With tears I accepted his cleansing and it was at that moment I truly realized what it meant to be  Christian.

What is your response to God’s Word? When you read how God hates sin, when you recognize yourself as a sinner, when you realize your need to repent – what do you do?

Josiah tore his clothes when he heard God’s Word read to him. He was devastated, ashamed, broken. Josiah confessed his sin and accepted God’s forgiveness. Then he got up and began to live life a changed man.

I remember my altar experience of long ago. And I wish I could say I got up from there that day and lived a changed life myself. I have to admit there have been times when my walk with the Lord wasn’t a priority and when I allowed sin to get a grip on my heart. There have been other points in my life when God’s Word cut me like a knife, when I looked into the face of a holy God and recognized my sinful state. There have been other tears of repentance when I’ve allowed God to deal with the sin in my life.

And I hope there continues to be. May I always be sensitive to what God would say to me through his Word. May I read it with an open heart. May I recognize those things in my life that hurt my Lord. And may I, like Josiah, be quick to repent.

I pray the same for you.

July 26

Jeremiah 5, 6, 13

When I worked with middle school kids it was a challenge to keep belts on the boys. Do you know the song, “Pants on the Ground”? I can’t think that wearing your jeans so low you have to hold on to them with one hand is comfortable. Kids!

After reading Jeremiah 13 today I got to thinking about belts. There is security in that strip of leather as it’s wrapped around a person. But a belt in belt loops, tightly fastened can’t hold up a pair of pants unless it is resting against the body of a person.

God compared his people to a belt. There is nothing special about that belt in and of itself but God wrapped it around himself to bring himself “renown and praise and honor”. And if his people – if that belt- can’t do that it is ruined, completely useless.

What do you do with a useless belt? Most of us probably throw it out. Some might repurpose or recycle it. But if it’s not doing what it was intended to do you find another that will.

I want to be God’s belt. I want to be wrapped tightly around him. I want to fulfill the purpose I was created to do… to bring him renown and praise and honor. I want to hold up that which he’s entrusted to me, the salvation bought by his dear Son.

Lord, I want to be as close to you today as a belt. I want to rest on you, be fastened to you so that I can do what you have for me to do. Let me bring you renown, praise, and honor as others observe my life. I want to be used by you today.

July 25

Jeremiah 2-4

Jeremiah is expressing God’s longing for his people to love him. God remembers the early days when Abraham and Sarah had Isaac. He remembers Joseph and Moses and David. And God longs for people who love him like they did.

The other day I shared with you a loved one’s concern for her newly redeemed dad. I told you her dad doesn’t want to go to church because he thinks it’s full of hypocrites. What would this man see in you or me if we attended his church?

I’ll tell you what God says about hypocrites. In 3:6-11 God is upset with Israel for their faithlessness. That nation openly rejected God and served gods made of stone and wood. Judah on the other hand, gave lip service to God. They did not worship him with all their hearts, “but only in pretense.”

Look at verse 11. “…Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah”.

God certainly isn’t saying either nation is righteous. He’s mad at all of them for their disobedience. But God holds a little more contempt for those who profess to be his children, yet live lives that say otherwise.

I’m challenged to check my heart this morning. Am I loving God the way he longs to be loved? Am I serving him 24/7 or just on Sunday mornings? I don’t want to be accused by God or man of worshiping him only in pretense. 

Father, you deserve to be loved. May I show you how much you mean to me today by the things I do and the words I speak and the thoughts I think. May others recognize my love for you by the life I live.