Saturday, October 29, 2011

Don't Forget Your Destiny

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Lamentations 1:1-2:22

...She did not consider her destiny; therefore her collapse was awesome... Lamentations 1:9 (NKJV)

It has been said that sin is often a case of temporary insanity. Israel forgot who she was!!! She forgot the great calling God had given her. She forgot the history of great men and women who had carried the mantle. She forgot who God made her to be.

Therefore, she fell for the lies of temporary lovers. She settled for momentary solutions instead of holding for promised destiny. She had a great calling, but she suffered an equally great fall. Why? Because she forgot who she was.

Temptation always speaks to us of immediate relief. It lies to us telling us that the promised destiny will never come. We sell out our future for a bowl of beef stew (Gen. 25:29-34).

Today CONSIDER YOUR DESTINY!!! Meditate on the grand future before you in God. Consider the good things God yet has for you. This is one of our greatest weapons in the fight against sin. HOPE IN GOD!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

At Which Table Do You Eat?

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Jeremiah 51:1-52:34

And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life. Jeremiah 52:34 (NKJV)

The king of Judah was given rations at the table of the king of Babylon. We might think it finally turned out well for Jehoiachin, the defeated king of God's people. Instead of languishing in prison, he had was given a place of favor and provision in a foreign land.

In our carnal desire for comfort and security, we might think this is not so bad after all. But let's look at it for what it really is, and draw lessons for today.

Jehoiachin was a KING! Yet he now was conquered and owned by a foreign king. He was eating at the wrong table. Many believers today are in the same condition. We are kings and should be living in our own land enjoying God's gracious provision. Instead we are captive and living under the hand of carnal bondage. The provisions may be adequate, but they are not freely given by a loving God.

Are you satisfied with token rations? Too often we walk in defeat and consider the allowances of our difficult situation to be good enough. But God wants to return you to His original purposes. YOU ARE A KING! He wants you to live in a land of freedom.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Like Shiloh

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Jeremiah 26:1-27:22

"Then I will make this house like Shiloh....". Jeremiah 26:6 (NKJV)

As we read the Old Testament prophets, we read a story of the judgment of God. Repeatedly, God's people have disobeyed and rebelled against God. Despite faithful warnings from God, they refused His grace and goodness, His beckoning to walk in blessing.

With reluctance, God backed away from them. This is an example of the judgment of God. He does not always bring devastating catastrophe. He does not usually rain down fire. His usual means of judgment is to back way and remove His presence.

He says that He "will make this house like Shiloh." Shiloh was once the most important location in Israel. It was there that the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Was erected in the days of Joshua. It was there that the seat of government once rested. It had seen some of the greatest moments in redemptive history. But now it lay desolate.

There is a great lesson here. We cannot rest on yesterday's glory. We cannot believed as the Pharisees did years later (John 8:33) that our past accomplishments or lineage guarantee God's favor.

Nothing takes the place of radical, complete, whole-hearted surrender. It is that people who will always walk in God's best.

Friday, October 14, 2011

God's Word a Hammer

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Jeremiah 23:21-25:38

"Is not My word like a fire?" says the Lord, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:29 (NKJV)

God's Word can break open the hard places. It is like a hammer. Many times we find ourselves in difficult situations. Human ability to perform runs its course, and we find ourselves halted and shut down. There is however something stronger than our circumstances. It is the Word of God.

The reason a hammer works is because of its hardness, its constituent strength. It does not crack or fracture under pressure. In a sense, the hammer "enforces its will" on that which it strikes. So it is with God's Word.

But a hammer must be USED. It does not operate on its own. Someone must pick it up and swing it. So it is with the Word of God. So bring God's Word to bear in your situation today. It will break open the hardest barriers.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Full Ministry of Jesus

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Jeremiah 22:1-23:20

"I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor shall be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking," says the Lord. Jeremiah 23:5 (NKJV)

Jesus is our all-sufficient savior and king. It is marvelous to consider the ways He has made provision for us. His care is complete reaching to every area of life. He is the great shepherd of the sheep.

In His provision, He comes to us through many that He has raised up to carry aspects of His care. We find this vividly described in the Book of Acts where it says that there were "none among them who lacked"(Acts 4:34).

He promises to feed us, to defend us, to bring us hope, and to banish our despair. He is to us righteousness and peace. This is the direct ministry of the Lord to us. But, He also uses His servants to fulfill this ministry.

So are you open to the full ministry of the Lord? He says, "I will set up shepherds, and prophets, and leaders, and vessels who will bring Me to you." This is part of what it means to be Christ's body.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Fire in My Bones

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Jeremiah 19:1-21:14

Then I said, "I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name."  But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back and I could not.  Jeremiah 20:9 (NKJV)

There are many vivid images in Scripture for the Word of God.  The Word is described as light, as a lamp, as bread and as water.  A little later in Jeremiah, the prophet says that God's Word is like a hammer that shatters rock (Jer. 23:29).  In that same passage, we are told that the Word of God is like a FIRE. 

Here today, Jeremiah EXPERIENCES the fire of God's Word "shut up in his bones."  God's Word is like a fire.  In this passage, Jeremiah has the Word working in His life, but is refusing to release it!  There are interesting insights here. 

First, God's Word is ACTIVE.  We should not expect the Word of God to be simply information that we can learn and store passively.  Hebrews 4:12 says that God's Word is living and powerful.  It always moves inside of you.  As you read and meditate on Scripture today, you should realize that God will through His Word MOVE YOU.

Secondly, the Word of God goes DEEP INSIDE YOU.  Jeremiah speaks of it being "in my bones."  God's Word is not peripheral.  God reaches to the core of who you are.  He speaks to the base of your being.  There is an interior resonance, a chord that the Word strikes in us.

Lastly, God's Word will accomplish that for which it is sent (Is. 55:11)!  You cannot hold it back.  It is EFFECTIVE.  I am so glad that my hope rests not in myself or my ability, but in the faithfulness of God and His Word.

Monday, October 10, 2011

His Words Were Found

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Jeremiah 14:11-16:15

Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV)

Three things we do with the Word of God! First, we FIND His Word. This may sound simple. Shouldn't we just read the Bible. Yes, of course. That's the start. But it is more that just reading words on a page. It is also finding there the nuggets of gold, the treasures of truth, the priceless gems of gospel and grace that feed your soul.

As we gaze at the truths of Scripture, we then INGEST them. We "eat" the Word of God. What does this mean? Eating is more than just swallowing and forgetting. We chew, we taste, we savor, we fully receive digesting and incorporating the nourishment into our entire body. the Word literally becomes a part of us.

Lastly, we rejoice. We JOY and ENJOY the life in the Word of God. This is more than a response or reaction. This is a decision. Because we love God's Word, we value it. As we receive it our joy is full.

This is the great territory of all those who are called by His name!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Heart of God

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Jeremiah 2:31-4:18

Can a virgin forget her ornaments or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number. Jeremiah 2:32 (NKJV)

Hear the heart of God. There is certainly no doubt that our God is awesome in splendor, majestic in power. He is all in all and NEEDS nothing. But in this passage, hear His heart!

This is an incredible truth. The God Who created the universe and holds all power and authority is speaking of a LOVE RELATIONSHIP. while there is no lack in God, yet He speaks here as one who desires reciprocal relationship. In a sense, He has made Himself vulnerable to us.

It is wonderful to consider that even though God does not need us, yet He desires to relate with us. He calls us and beckons us to come into thrilling and invigorating relationship to Him.

Without weakening God, I would like to say to you today that He misses you when you stay away from Him. We may often remark how we miss our quiet time during a bust season. Well, God misses it, too. So spend time today rekindling the most important relationship you have!

Monday, October 3, 2011

What Do You See

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Jeremiah 1:1-2:30

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?"  And I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree." . . . And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, "What do you see?"  And I said, "I see a boiling pot..."  Jeremiah 1:11,13 (NKJV)

Jeremiah chapter 1 is so full of truth -- so many lessons.  We find the great power of God's Word released through prophetic ministry to tear down and build up (1:10).  We find the God's eternal perspective on who we are and what we are to do (1:5).  We find three ways we are to stand up for God in our world -- like a city, a support beam, and a wall (1:18).  It is truly rich stuff!

Central to this chapter are two images.  God twice asks Jeremiah, "What do you see?"  The two visions are 1) an almond branch, and 2) a poiling pot.  These two are pictures of God's work in us and through us.  God is always wanting to GROW something in us.  He also desiring to REFINE and PURIFY us.

The almond branch speaks of new growth.  Jesus spoke about His desire for us to be fruitful.  This requires that we be attached to our nutrition source (see John 15).  If we do that, we will bear MUCH FRUIT.  Part of the reason we have daily disciplines of prayer and Bible study is so that we can be the almond branch that buds and grows.  Today, God is growing something fantastic in your life!

The boiling pot speaks of God's activity to change us.  He is working to remove the impurities and elevate our intrinsic quality.  Like gold or silver, He is refining us so that His qualities shine through us.  Today, there is something God is wanting to boil off of you.  He is always desiring to change you for the better.

So let these two operations go forward in your life today.  Fruitfulness and refining.  Do you see it?  Can you see these two things taking place?  Like Jeremiah, God asks you, "What do you see?"