Old Testament In a Year: November 3 – Jeremiah 33, 21

Jeremiah 33, 21
Focus Verse: Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. – Jeremiah 33:6

God specializes in restoring what is ruined and in making that which is broken beautiful again.

He has promised to do it to His people. In days to come, Israel will be restored to its former glory and all its people will receive health and healing, prosperity and peace. Instead of the curses of sin, they will experience the blessings of salvation. Instead of the guilt of rebellion, they will experience the freedom of redemption.

God is also in the process of restoring and making beautiful everyone who comes to Him by way of His Son, Jesus the Christ. When we trust in Him, we experience health and healing from the sickness of sin. An abundance of spiritual prosperity and eternal security is made available to us in Heaven. Our future is restored and God reshapes and rebuilds us as He originally formed us to be. We are cleansed from guilt. And as new creatures in Christ, we reflect the joy and glory of God before all the world as we tell of the good that He has done for us.

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Memorize a Scripture a Month: November 2017

memorize-a-scripture-a-month-november-2017

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16
King James Version (KJV)

Old Testament In a Year: November 2 – Jeremiah 31, 32

Jeremiah 31, 32
Focus Verse: Ah, Lord God! It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You. – Jeremiah 32:17

Jeremiah did not always understand God’s doings, but this prayer shows that he maintained trust in Him regardless. Because God had made the heavens and the earth, Jeremiah knew that nothing was too hard for Him to do.

Jeremiah didn’t guess: I think nothing is too hard for God.

He didn’t question: Is nothing too hard for God?

He declared: Nothing is too hard for You.

What would happen if we prayed with this declaration in mind and mouth? God, I don’t understand Your ways in this or Your thoughts in that, but this I know – nothing is too hard for You. And since nothing is too hard for You…because nothing is impossible with You, please do the impossible for me, with me, and through me.

May the truth that there is nothing too hard for God to do, be the foundation of our faith and the ground of our prayers. And if ever we begin to doubt this truth, may we take a moment to look at the heavens and the earth, at the sun and the moon and the stars, at the oceans and the mountains, at our self – created out of nothing, spoken into existence by the word of God. This observance will surely strengthen our faith and increase our prayers. No, nothing is too hard for the One who made everything.

Old Testament In a Year: November 1 – Jeremiah 51, 30

Jeremiah 51, 30
Focus Verse: It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens. – Jeremiah 51:15

Sin is evidence that we either do not know who God is or we have forgotten who God is – if not permanently, then for a moment.

After being chosen by God, delivered from Egypt by God, and abundantly blessed with the Promised Land and so much more by God, Israel turned to sin because she forgot who God is – mighty and miraculous, good and great and gracious, longsuffering and everlasting, patient and powerful, and above all…HOLY, a God who cannot stand sin.

After being raised up by God to become a mighty nation and conquer many other nations (including God’s chosen nation, Israel), Babylon started and continued in sin because she did not know who God is. She did not realize that it was He who had given her the might she had.

As followers of Christ, it is easy to forget who God is when we become too familiar with Him. We’ve been praying to Him for years and reading the Bible every day. We’ve been going to church faithfully and know all the lyrics to all the praise songs. So, we think we know God well. He’s just the same as one of our human friends. We talk to Him any which way. He’s the big guy upstairs who only cares about out happiness and who we run to when we want something.

This type of “knowing” God is wrong. Because we are finite and He is infinite, it is impossible to fully know God. If we could fully know God and understand all His ways, He would not be God. We must be careful not to minimize the majesty and might of God just so we can wrap our minds around Him. God is POWERFUL…the One who made the earth. He is WISE…the One who established the world. He is UNDERSTANDING…the Person who stretched out the heavens. And above all, He is HOLY…the One who hates sin. He hates it so much that He turned His back on His only begotten Son as He hung on the cross, bruised and crushed by the sins of the entire world.

In its end, sin only brings forth pain and death, but in its beginning, sin often has a way of making us feel happy. And if engaging in sin brings us feelings of happiness, then God doesn’t care about our happiness. He cares about our holiness. He cares about us becoming more like Him. Therefore, He will not wink at our wrongdoing or turn a blind eye when we do bad things just because He wants us to be happy. God’s holiness trumps our happiness every time.

God. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. He is higher…so much higher than we. Never forget.

Old Testament In a Year: October 31 – Jeremiah 50

Jeremiah 50
Focus Verse: For behold, I am stirring up and bringing against Babylon a gathering of great nations, from the north country. And they shall array themselves against her. From there she shall be taken. Their arrows are like a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed. – Jeremiah 50:9

In this chapter, we read of how God plans to use a nation from the north to bring about judgment on Babylon. This is a stark contrast to previous chapters in the book of Jeremiah when God used Babylon to bring about judgment on His people, Israel. This shows that God is in control of everything in our world – every kingdom, every government, every person in power.

He lifts up. And He brings down.

At certain times and in certain places, He makes some mighty and others weak.

He guides the hearts of leaders wherever He pleases and directs the steps of humans…all so that His purposes may be accomplished.

Old Testament In a Year: October 30 – Jeremiah 27, 28, 29

Jeremiah 27, 28, 29
Focus Verse: But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. – Jeremiah 29:7

Because of their persistent disobedience, God’s people were living as exiles in a strange land. In a short space of time, they went from living in the promised land of Jerusalem to living in the heathen land of Babylon. Their easy and light yoke was replaced with a hard and heavy one. Yet, God did not instruct His people to curse their new yoke, to rebel against their new king, or to despair in the new land they were living in.

He called for them to prosper…to multiply…and to increase.

He called for them to seek the health, happiness and prosperity of Babylon. He called for them to pray for Babylon. He called for them to bless Babylon. In seeking the health, happiness and prosperity of Babylon, they would find their own health, happiness and prosperity. In being a blessing to Babylon, they would find a blessing of their own.

When we find ourselves in a place of exile, due to disobedience to God or for another reason, God does not want us to despair. Our place of exile may be a less than ideal job, a tight financial season, or a relationship with a difficult partner…but whatever the case, we can flourish in spite of the circumstances.

It may be that in praying for the prosperity of the less than ideal job we are in or in seeking the health and happiness of our difficult partner, we will find our own health, happiness, and prosperity. It may be that in being a blessing amid our financial tightness, we will find our own blessing.

Because our faith is in Jesus the Christ and because the power of God is within us, we can prosper, multiply, and increase wherever we are…not only when we’re in Jerusalem, but when we’re in Babylon; not only when we’re in a welcoming place, but also when we’re in a place of exile.

Old Testament In a Year: October 29 – Jeremiah 23, 24

Jeremiah 23, 24
Focus Verse: Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? – Jeremiah 23:23

God is both “at hand” and “far away.”

God is in Heaven (far away), but He does not only see, hear, and interact with those who are in Heaven with Him.

Although God is out of our sight, we are not out of His mind. He is very much involved in the affairs of humans. We cannot see Him, but He sees us. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, God is near (at hand).

He is everywhere at the same time. There is no place we can go where He is not there. No where we can run where He cannot follow. Those who believe in Jesus the Christ can find comfort in this great fact. In every place and at all times, God is near to us. In our times of trouble, He is near to help us, hear us, and hold us.

Old Testament In a Year: October 28 – Jeremiah 49, 13, 22

Jeremiah 49, 13, 22
Focus Verse: Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. – Jeremiah 22:3

God blessed His people, Israel, because He wanted them to be a blessing to others.

After being recipients of His justice and righteousness, He now wanted them to show justice and righteousness to others. After being delivered from the hand of their oppressor, Egypt, He now wanted them to provide deliverance for others who were being oppressed. They had experienced no wrong or violence from His hand, so He now wanted them to do no wrong or violence to anyone else – regardless of how low their estate was.

The goodness which we experience from God is not for us to keep to ourselves, but to share with others. As His followers, we are blessed beyond measure with good and perfect gifts…and because we are so blessed by Him, He wants us to be a blessing for Him.

As Christ loves us, so we should love others.

As many times as Christ forgives us when we hurt Him, so we should forgive others when they hurt us.

As Christ is compassionate towards us, so we should be compassionate towards others.

Old Testament In a Year: October 27 – Jeremiah 47, 48

Jeremiah 47, 48
Focus Verse: For, because you trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken; and Chemosh shall go into exile with his priests and his officials. – Jeremiah 48:7

The people of Moab thought their works and their riches could keep them safe and protect them from God’s judgment…but they were wrong. Those who live their lives outside of God’s will cannot escape the consequences that will ultimately come from doing so. True safety can only be found by those who abide in God and place their confidence in Him.