October 31 “Make a difference”

counseling comforting convinceAs believers, we are part of a family. And as a family, we have responsibilities to one another. We also have a responsibility to lovingly speak truth to those who are lost. Each of us can make a difference.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 47 & 48
Psalm 119:113-120
Proverbs 28:5
2 Timothy 4:1-22

 

Jeremiah 47 & 48:

Overcoming evil

In these two chapters the Lord speaks to the Philistines and the Moabites and warns them of coming judgment. Even though God would first use these and other heathen nations as instruments of judgment against the nation of Israel, He would also judge them.

Sometimes, in God’s sovereignty, He allows people in our lives to sin against us, too, because He knows He can use it to grow us and help us to become more like Christ.

Romans 8.28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

When it happens, we are to respond with love and forgiveness and to trust Him to deal with them appropriately. Continue reading

October 30 “In the last days”

time running out midnightThe stage is set … “… in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3.1-5a).

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 45 & 46
Psalm 119.105-112
Proverbs 28.4
2 Timothy 3.1-17

 

Jeremiah 45 & 46:

Trusting God’s sovereign plan

In chapter 45 God speaks to Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe or secretary. Baruch was depressed and discouraged because of all the disaster God was about to bring on his nation.

Baruch hung out with Jeremiah. He knew what Jeremiah knew. He understand the what and why of God’s dealings with His people. And yet, he was struggling with his feelings.

And just because we understand truths like Romans 8.28-29, 1 Corinthians 10.13, and other similar passages, doesn’t mean we enjoy the trial when it affects us! Perhaps, Baruch was asking “Why me? Why did I have to be born at this time in history? Why couldn’t God have sent me somewhere else until all this was over?” Perhaps, he was reminding God that he had served Him faithfully and didn’t deserve this. Continue reading

October 29 “Instead of asking ‘Why me?'”

why me conceptAre you asking the question, “Why me?” What should you be asking instead?

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 43 & 44
Psalm 119.97-104
Proverbs 28.3
2 Timothy 2.1-26

 

Jeremiah 43 & 44:

Sinning against ourselves

Chapter 44.7, “Now therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel. ‘Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves …’”

Sin is, first and foremost, against God. Second, it is sin against other people either directly or indirectly. And, ultimately, it is committing evil against ourselves, because sin has consequences! God will allow us to choose to sin, but, as I’ve said before, we do not get to choose the consequences!

 

Psalm 119.97-104:

Why me?

Verse 97, “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

Often, when we choose to sin it is because we are dissatisfied with what God has allowed in our lives. Instead of meditating on God’s law, we meditate on the unfairness of it. “Why me?” is our constant question. Why isn’t God answering my prayer? Why is God allowing “so and so” to get away with something? Why does He seem to be blessing everyone but me? Why? Why? Why? Continue reading

October 28 “An umbrella of protection & handed over to Satan”

umbrella How do we stay under God’s “umbrella of protection”? How do we put ourselves outside God’s protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection to its members?

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 41 & 42
Psalm 119.89-96
Proverbs 28.2
2 Timothy 1.1-18

Jeremiah 41 & 42:

Umbrella of protection

Interestingly our verse in Proverbs today is 28.2:

“Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; but by a man of understanding and knowledge right will be prolonged.”

John MacArthur says, “unrighteousness in a nation produces political instability with many vying for power …,” on the other hand, “Wisdom promotes social order and long rule.”

We see that truth in operation here in Jeremiah 41 and 42, and in the following chapter. Ishmael sees an opportunity to seize control and is shortly overturned himself by Johanan. But, because he lacked righteousness and trust in God, Johanan soon leads the people to ruin.

There is also a beautiful picture of God’s willingness to protect His people in chapter 42. When the people were in a desperate situation, they turned to God by asking Jeremiah to intercede for them and ask for wisdom, but they were unwilling to obey God. The place of protection was where God had placed them and commanded them to stay. But since it didn’t make sense to them, they left and went their own way, only to be destroyed as we’ll see in the next chapter.

Remember 9-11. After that horrible tragedy people flocked to churches, but few actually made the life changes they needed so they could truly live under God’s protective authority. And as a nation, we have totally rejected the spiritual lessons we should have learned.

But what about on a personal level, how do we either stay under God’s protective authority or leave and go to Egypt? Continue reading

October 27 “Guilt, anxiety and paranoia” & LINKUP

fear paranoiaGuilt and anxiety can be God’s early warning system to keep us from hardening our hearts and doing things that can harm ourselves or others. But when we refuse to heed those warnings, they can morph into paranoia and a continued downward spiral of sin.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 39 & 40
Psalm 119.81-88
Proverbs 28.1
1 Timothy 6.1-21

 

Jeremiah 39 & 40:

The faithfulness of God in hard times

What a sweet testimony to the faithfulness of God! When the city was defeated, Nebuchadnezzar gave orders that Jeremiah was not just to be spared, but to be given a ration and told he was free to go anywhere he wanted to go!

We get so concerned about how the economy or some political change will affect us. Instead of standing firm for truth in the face of adversity and evil, we compromise, worry, and put our trust in other gods, like government, to save us. Instead of voting for candidates who are morally right we vote our pocketbooks (who promises me the most?). We lie to get unemployment benefits. Or we compromise our values in the work place, the classroom and the marketplace. Continue reading

October 26 “Those who are ‘really’ widows”

happy senior woman portraitPaul said the body of Christ should help provide for those who are “really widows.” Who are they and what should that look like?

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 37 & 38
Psalm 119.73-80
Proverbs 27.23-27
1 Timothy 5.1-25

 

Jeremiah 37 & 38:

Costly faith

Can you imagine being thrown into a dungeon and, eventually, into a well for speaking the truth? There is often a cost involved in following God. Sometimes it’s rejection by our families or friends and sometimes persecution in the work place or some other area of society. Jeremiah certainly suffered as a result of his unswerving faith and willingness to speak the truth.

What about us? We must ask ourselves, are we willing to stand up for the truth—in our families, work places, schools and universities? Or do we cave in when it’s too hard or costly? Continue reading

October 25 “Cutting and pasting the Bible”

Computer Key discardHow do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it merely as a book of nice suggestions for living?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 35 & 36
Psalm 119.65-72
Proverbs 27.22
1 Timothy 4.1-16

 

Jeremiah 35 & 36:

Cutting and pasting the Bible

Chapter 36.22-26 says:

22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. 23 And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 24 Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Nevertheless Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah implored the king not to burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them.

The king was sitting in his house, warm and comfortable, and—with a complete disregard for the Word of God! When the Scriptures were read to him, he simply cut them off the scroll and threw them into the fire!

holy bible genesisI once heard about a liberal theologian who literally cut the first few chapters of Genesis out of his Bible. Others today throw out the whole Bible as being the work of men. Still others, claim they are followers of Christ, but pick and choose what to believe.

Some talk about how Jesus loves everyone, but forget that He ordered the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some claim to love God but don’t do what He says, forgetting His words, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14.15). And others say it’s a book of principles alone. They deny its truthfulness in the area of history and science and eliminate the whole creation account. Continue reading

October 24 “Good doctrine matters in hard times”

depression prayer hard timesIf you’ve been taught “there’s a miracle in your mouth;” that God wants you rich; that if you have enough faith or enough hands laid on you, you’ll be healed; or that your problem is a demon of lust, alcohol, or pornography … and it doesn’t happen, where does that leave you?

 

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 33 & 34
Psalm 119.57-64
Proverbs 27.21
1 Timothy 3.1-16

 

Jeremiah 33 & 34:

Call to Me, and I will answer …

Chapter 33.3 says, “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”

What an incredible invitation from our Mighty God! The only reason not to pray is because we don’t take Him at His Word.

 

Psalm 119.57-64:

Obedience, godly friends, and a hunger for truth

I love this psalm. It is rich in wisdom and truth and this passage is no exception. Verses 60-64:

60 I made haste, and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.

Do you obey the Lord, quickly, or do you hem and haw and try to find some loop-hole?

61 The cords of the wicked have bound me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.

Are you willing to live for Christ no matter what the cost?

62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.
63 I am a companion of all who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.

With whom do you hang out?

64 The earth, O LORD, is full of Your mercy;
Teach me Your statutes.

Are you hungry to know God more and better every day through a better understanding of the Scriptures? Continue reading

October 23 “On women teaching, modesty & pearls”

tattoosLadies, do you ever chafe against some of the Bible’s teaching on modesty, authority, and the role of women?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 31 & 32
Psalm 119.49-56
Proverbs 27.20
1 Timothy 2.1-15

 

Jeremiah 31 & 32:

“Is anything too hard for Him?”

Chapter 32.17, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You …

And verse 27, “‘Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?’”

Do we even begin to understand who God is?—the omnipotent creator of the universe! He is not only omnipotent (all powerful), but He is omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), and sovereign (totally and completely in charge and in control! Add to that—the fact that He is good (Ps. 119.68); He is love (1 Jn. 4.8); and He is holy (1 Pet. 1.15). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Continue reading

October 22 “Be careful … your thoughts run your life!”

sad blonde womanWhat do you think about? What hurts, disappointments, or cares? Will you let Jesus come into those broken places or will you let wrong thoughts run your life?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 29 & 30
Psalm 119.41-48
Proverbs 27.19
1 Timothy 1.1-20

Jeremiah 29 & 30:

An incurable affliction

Chapter 30 contains one of the most descriptive pictures of the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel, followed by God’s amazing promise. It is also a picture of our spiritual condition apart from Christ and the redemption He purchased for us at the cross. Think about each phrase as you reread it: Continue reading