Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jeremiah 29

Day 30: Jeremiah 29:1- 32

For  I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and You will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV).

                I have read Jeremiah 29:11 multiple times and quoted it numerous times, however, reading it with the understanding of the previous chapters has given it a new meaning for me. Take a moment and put yourself in the shoes of the people of Judah; they had been exiled to Babylon, meaning they were being held captive there, and they receive this letter from Jeremiah while he is still in Jerusalem. This letter pretty much tells them to make the most out of their situation because they’re going to be in captivity for 70 years but God has a plan for them. Granted the people were exiled because of their own disobedience but let’s be honest we would not really be all that comforted if we received this letter telling us that we’re pretty much going to be in slavery for 70 years but no worries God has a plan to restore you in the end. There’s a great lesson in this however; as God is telling the people “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you” He’s  telling them even though He’s exiled them to Babylon, the plan is not to hurt them or harm them but to get them to turn back to Him. In turning back to Him, He will restore them and when they go to seek Him, He will respond to them.

                Sometimes God allows us to go through difficult times to bring us back to Him. In the moment however all we can look at is what is wrong and how hard it is for us that we can’t see it as an opportunity for us to turn to God and grow in Him. It appeared that God wanted to harm them but the reality was He knew these people were stubborn and hard heartened and He knew what would get their attention. Even if exiling them would hurt them and make them uncomfortable if it would get them back to God He would do it because it would give them hope and a future in eternity with Him. God will do whatever He has to do to win your soul and that includes allowing you to hit rock bottom so that you turn to Him. As you face different tests and trials don’t use it as an opportunity to complain but make the most of it and allow God to work in you during that time knowing that it will bring you closer to Him. Know that He has not abandoned you in those times either. He just wants you to learn to seek Him wholeheartedly and He promises that He will be found by you.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jeremiah 28

Day 29: Jeremiah 28: 1-17

But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true (Jeremiah 28:9, NIV). 

                Something that my pastor always says that I think is really funny but also true is that “a lot of people weren’t sent, they just went.” Everyone who calls themselves a prophet is actually not sent by God; they gave themselves the calling because they liked the title and feeling of importance. So many people call themselves prophesying or saying “God said” and nothing that they say come to fruition because they spoke out of their flesh and not a word from God. Sometimes people will speak things out of faith (such as saying God will heal someone who’s sick, etc.) and that’s not necessarily a bad thing but we still must operate in the spirit and allow God to show us what His will is. We can want certain things to happen so badly that we want to speak it into existence but the reality is that it simply may not be God’s will. Jeremiah even says himself as Hananiah is speaking of God bringing relief and solving their problems, that he too hoped the Lord would fulfill that prophesy if it was true (v. 6-9). It’s okay to exercise our faith and hope for God to turn situations around however our obedience to  God is going to play a factor in that and we have to go and speak as God leads us. The problem with Hananiah although his message sounded good and made the people feel good, it was a lie. It was a confirmation to the people that God would honor their disobedience by giving them relief from the punishment that He poured out on them for disobeying Him. I sense that Hananiah wanted to be liked and that he wanted to calm the itching ears of the people by giving them a word that sounded good and toss “and the Lord said” on to it to make it sound official. God loves His people but understand that He will not reward disobedience and that there are also consequences for speaking false prophesies (v. 16-17).

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jeremiah 27

Day 28: Jeremiah 27:1-22

“Do not listen to the words of the prophets…I have not sent them, declares the Lord.. They are prophesying lies in My Name (Jeremiah 27:14-15, NIV).

                There are multiple instances in this chapter where God tells Jeremiah to speak on the false prophecies that have been going forth. It made me think of the importance of having discernment in order to be able to tell when a person speaks a word from God to you versus a word from their own flesh. There are a lot of people who are more concerned with pleasing people than pleasing God so in return they will say anything that is pleasing to the ear even if it is not true. You should be weary of individuals that are always telling you everything good or everything that you want to hear. Just like with the false prophets, a lot of people don’t want to give you the “bad news” even though they know you need to hear it for your benefit. The thing about love is that it requires a person to speak some things to you that you may not want to hear but they will say it anyways because they know it is for your good. People who truly love you and care about you are more concerned with pushing you towards Christ than having you happy with them all the time because they tell you everything that you want to hear. The false prophets were making the people “happy” by feeding them lies about what God would and would not do but ultimately they were leading these people away from God and setting them up for a path of destruction. Ask God to show you the hearts of people and allow Him to remove the people in your life that are hindering you from growing in Him.