Divine Instruction ~ Our Obedience

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Jeremiah 29:11

“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 find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God called Jeremiah to warn the kingdom of Judah, of it’s impending destruction. When he began preaching, Judah was relatively prosperous, free and secure. However things changed under the heavy hand of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule. Judah suffered greatly for twenty years before the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and they were exiled into Babylon.

Throughout these events Jeremiah warned of God’s judgment and destruction while God passionately urged His people to return to Him and receive salvation. Our verse today is one of comfort found in Jeremiah’s letter to those carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. God speaks through Jeremiah and in his letter God’s words are relayed in v 4, ” This is what the Lord Almighty says to all those “He” carried into exile.” Notice that ‘He’. Even though the situation looked bleak, God admits to being responsible for where they find themselves. It was He that carried them there and even though they didn’t see it at the time. It was His doing they were there. Sometimes it’s so difficult to understand His plan isn’t it? Yet He had a plan for His people and their future and this event was a stepping stone; a means to an end for their salvation and prosperity. He was the direct cause and I’m sure they didn’t feel good or sense God had a plan in their misery; separated and abandoned thousands of miles from their homeland. Yet God still gave His divine instruction, “Build homes and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it for it’s welfare will determine your welfare.”

Wow!! God’s commands were to build, marry, plant, and eat even though their circumstances seemed hostile! In other words, get over it, accept reality, settle down you’ll be here for a while, so bloom where you’re planted.

In verse 11 God speaks comfort into their gloom and despair. He has plans for their good and offers hope for their future in spite of visible circumstances. Their responsibility is obedience to Him. This promise was specific to the exiles in Babylon, but God’s words still speak clear to us today and His promise has brought hope to millions of God’s people in difficult circumstances. Sometimes we may find He’s led us out of our homeland or can we say, comfort zone? It may not seem fair but in these times, our obedience to Him is crucial, if we are to benefit and prosper with His blessing. Let’s be challenged today in our places of discomfort and in our exiles, to put our feelings aside to hear His Truth, receive His counsel and follow Him in obedience!

He Meets Us Where We Are!

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Romans 8:38-39

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

These words speak of a powerful, binding, everlasting love of our God for us. His love is stable and consistent and in it we are secure regardless of failure. It doesn’t increase with performance and decrease with mistakes. That’s only the way people treat people, but it’s not the way our God loves us. He loves us right where we are and in all that we go through. His love is vast! Immeasurable! Astounding! His grace amazing! It never ceases or quits even though we spurn Him, reject Him, ignore Him, belittle Him, question Him, despise Him or disobey Him! Our God will not change and our sin will not diminish His love for us.

The depth of the Red Sea with enemies in pursuit couldn’t separate His love from His people. He met them at it’s banks, in their panic, right where they were. The constancy of His love met their need and made provision for their deliverance to their victory as they made their way on into their promised land. What’s your height or depth today? It can not separate you from God. He reaches down into our unloveliness and into our hopelessness to restore, forgive, cleanse, heal and deliver. Let God meet you where you are today, and demonstrate His unfailing love to you.

“ I do not understand all the mystery of grace….only that He met me where I was and He did not leave me where He found me.” Anne Lamott
Is that not an amazing thought?

An Effective Testimony?

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2 Peter 1:5-8

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and …to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Peter stresses growth and spiritual maturity in the believer’s life!! It’s a fact that new life requires growth to follow, or death is sure. If a newborn baby fails to grow, it fails to thrive and develop and such failure immediately sends out the warning signals and the message that there is cause for concern and we need to get to the bottom of it. New life in Christ is no different. Spiritual life requires a visible, ongoing process and progress of growth and such growth will be evident in the way we live our lives and in the way we behave. If a believer fails to show signs of change, it is cause for concern and as Christ’s disciples we need to come alongside to love, support, nurture and pray for their spiritual well being!

What about personally? Are we happy with our own spiritual progress? If we ourselves are lacking in the qualities of excellence in behavior, self-control, perseverance, or love for others it should send out warning signals as to our spiritual state. Perhaps our spiritual growth has slowed, or come to a standstill because of distractions and sin in our lives, cutting off sweet fellowship with our Lord. Let’s be challenged today to make every effort to grow in Christ through the power of His word and the power of prayer.

Let His grace embrace you, saturate you and fill you to overflowing so that you will be an effective testimony to the saving knowledge and grace of God.

Work In Progress!

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2 Peter 1:5-8

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and …to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Peter stresses growth and spiritual maturity in the believer’s life!! It’s a fact that new life requires growth to follow, or death is sure. If a newborn baby fails to grow, it fails to thrive and develop and such failure immediately sends out the warning signals and the message that there is cause for concern and we need to get to the bottom of it. New life in Christ is no different. Spiritual life requires a visible, ongoing process and progress of growth and such growth will be evident in the way we live our lives and in the way we behave. If a believer fails to show signs of change, it is cause for concern and as Christ’s disciples we need to come alongside to love, support, nurture and pray for their spiritual well being!

What about personally? Are we happy with our own spiritual progress? If we ourselves are lacking in the qualities of excellence in behavior, self-control, perseverance, or love for others it should send out warning signals as to our spiritual state. Perhaps our spiritual growth has slowed, or come to a standstill because of distractions and sin in our lives, cutting off sweet fellowship with our Lord. Let’s be challenged today to make every effort to grow in Christ through the power of His word and the power of prayer. Let His grace embrace you, saturate you and fill you to overflowing so that you will be an effective testimony to the saving knowledge and grace of God.