Tag Archives: trust

God Keeps His Promises ~ Jeremiah 21:1 – 23:8

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’ ~ Jeremiah 23:5-6

Here we see Jeremiah’s prophecies coming to fruition. In chapter 21, King Zedekiah asks Jeremiah to go to God in his behalf and ask God to intervene with miraculous acts to defeat Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who was on the attack. Not only does God decline this request, He further says, “I Myself will war against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, even in anger and wrath and great indignation.” (21:5)

God pronounces judgment against wicked kings. These are kings who rule by oppression and extortion, seeking power for themselves at the hands of the people. These evil kings force people to build grand palaces but do not pay them for their labor. They rule selfishly, with no regard for the wellbeing of their people, especially the poor and needy among them. He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?” Declares the LORD. (22:16)

With God’s righteous wrath raining down on Israel, He never forgets His love for His people. In chapter 23 He promises redemption through “…a King who will act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land” (23:5). This, of course, is God’s promise of salvation through the coming Messiah.

Are you a believer who feels the Old Testament is irrelevant today? Think again. The parallels between Israel in Jeremiah’s time and the world today are striking. Ongoing wars in the Middle East, mass murders at the Washington Navy Yard, our country teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and the growing divide between rich and poor in the United States are just a few examples of the evidence and result of sin all around us. When we seek the things of this world, when we honor false gods, turmoil ensues.

Have no fear, for God offers peace even amidst the turmoil of our modern world. God always makes good on His promises. The Righteous Branch prophesied by Jeremiah has come. His name is Jesus. Through Him our separation from God is bridged. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24) Turn to the One whom God sent to redeem you and rest peacefully in the assurance of eternal life in God’s presence. In Him, and only Him, can one find true peace and hope.

Ponder this: Do you know Jesus? I do, but I often wonder if I am truly living according to my faith. What can I do to share this Good News? Are there changes I must make to my priorities?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank You for fulfilling your promise of a Savior through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for the peace that comes through knowing Him. Help me, in response, to live a life that honors my Savior. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Prison Hymns ~ Acts 16:16-40

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. ~ Acts 16:23-25

As I read the book of Acts I continue to be amazed at Paul’s complete submission to the will of the Father. Paul clearly sees that God’s plan is bigger than he (Paul) is. This passage provides an example of how God uses the perseverance of His children to save those who are lost.

Paul and Silas are jailed because Paul called a demonic spirit out of a slave girl. The girl’s owner had them arrested because he was making a living out of the girl’s possession. Once the demon was gone her mystical powers left with it and so did her usefulness to her master. So, in essence, the slave owner accused Paul and Silas of stealing his livelihood.

Cell Block

Cell Block (Photo credit: dbnunley)

Paul and Silas spent the night in jail after being stripped and beaten. How did they spend their time? By “praying and singing hymns to God”! As I read this passage I wonder how I would spend my time if I were in a similar situation. Something tells me that I would be brooding over my unfortunate circumstance, not singing hymns. We are also told that the other prisoners were listening to them. What an incredible witness! Chained to the wall in the depth of the prison after being severely beaten, Paul and Silas never lose focus on the One whom they serve. Their ministry continues, even in the bowels of prison!

An earthquake causes the prisoners’ chains to break and the prison doors to fall open. The jailer awakens, and fearing that his prisoners had left through the open doors, draws his sword to take his life, probably realizing that the punishment he would receive for allowing prisoners to leave would have been far worse. But, Paul, Silas and the other prisoners were still there! Why? Paul and Silas knew God was at work and they had a role to play in accomplishing His mission. Apparently the jailer realized this too, for he asked Paul and Silas to share the Gospel with him and his family. The jailer brought them to his family, who came to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and were saved.

Paul and Silas were unjustly stripped, beaten, and imprisoned. Through all of that they maintained their steadfast faith in God and actively demonstrated that faith to those around them, even in a most difficult and unjust circumstance. God worked through Paul’s and Silas’ imprisonment to save a man and his family by bringing them to faith in Christ. Do I allow Him to work through me in times of trial?

Ponder this: It is not difficult to show faith in good times; but how do I react when things go wrong? Does the world see Christ in me, even when things don’t go my way?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, Thank you for the faith examples you gave in Paul and Silas. Help me to learn and grow in faith so that the world sees You through me, even when times are tough. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Whom Do I Serve?

Devotion on Acts 1:1-11

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus’ words recorded in Acts 1:8.

These are the last recorded words of our Lord before he was taken up to heaven. They are powerful words that reveal God’s ultimate plan for the Messiah to save all the peoples of the world “to the ends of the earth.”

Prior to His final statement, Jesus said something else: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4b-5. We live in a society that wants everything “now”. We are impatient and demanding. God often tells us to wait – wait for His timing, His purpose, His place, His blessing. When we trust God by obeying His command to wait, we are reminded that His timing and purpose are perfect and we, as a willing vessel, are an important part of His plan.

By now the disciples surely realize that Jesus’ ministry had not ended with His death on the cross. It was really just beginning, and they were chosen to be His first ambassadors to a post-resurrection world. The ambassadorship that started with Jesus’ disciples continues today with each of us. We all have a place in this world – a place in which we interact daily with people who need the hope that only faith in the Lord can provide.

Ponder this: What kind of ambassador am I? Whom do I represent? When people encounter me, do they see Jesus?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, Thank you for the privilege of serving You. Keep me ever mindful of my attitude and approach to those around me, that I may be an ambassador that truly glorifies You. Should I be provided the opportunity to share my faith, give me the words that point directly to you. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.

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