September 14, 2013

Today you should read: Jeremiah 52

So this is it, the last chapter of Jeremiah. Throughout the whole book Jeremiah has had the same message from the Lord, repent and turn to the Lord or destruction is coming. Well, they didn’t listen and destruction is here. What a sad and gruesome story we have today. All this happened because of today’s principle:

When we ignore God’s directives, bad consequences follow

When God gives us direction and commands to follow and we ignore them it brings discipline down on us. I am reminded of the story of Jonah. What a prime example of how God disciplines us when we disobey Him. Jonah was told to go one way and he ignored God and went the opposite direction. This resulted in a bad storm, Jonah being tossed into the ocean, and a giant fish swallowing him for 3 days. Ultimately, Jonah ended up exactly where God wanted him to be and the same will be true for God’s people. God brought judgment on His people in the form of exile to Babylon but He also promised to bring them back one day and He will. There will come a day when all of God’s people will be gathered together and will live with Him forever, without sin and its effects in our lives. But for now, we reap what we sow, so make sure your life is filled with the sowing of righteousness and obedience, which will produce a good, holy life, and not a life filled with discipline and misery as we see in today’s passage.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

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September 13, 2013

Today you should read: Jeremiah 51

Isn’t nice to know that, in the end, God wins? And even though it seems evil is victorious here on earth, it never really is. God wins in the future, and God is winning now. He is sovereign and strong; almighty and all-powerful. Even the darkest days of human history are used for His glory and will turn out for good (Romans 8). He rules today and He will rule on the last day. As Christians, this gives us a solace unparalleled.

Jeremiah wrote about the triumph of our God in the chapter we read today. Babylon, a sworn enemy of Israel, heard the curtain call. Their wickedness — pure evil — could not go unpunished. Israel and other nations saw Babylon as an unassailable foe. Could they stand against the Lord? No chance. These verses make it clear:

“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, declares the Lord, which destroys the whole earth; I will stretch out my hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and make you a burnt mountain. No stone shall be taken from you for a corner and no stone for a foundation, but you shall be a perpetual waste, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 51:25-26, ESV)

A few times in this chapter, the people were essentially told to “get out while you can”. If they wanted mercy, they had to get out of Babylon. What a great parallel to us and Christ! Consider Babylon as a picture of our sin. If we want to find mercy and freedom, there is only one way to escape: Jesus. But we need to embrace Him while we can. If not, we’ll experience the full weight of God’s judgment.

Are you grateful for Jesus today? Are you thankful that you have been pardoned and delivered from the “Babylon” you were in? Finally, are you striving to rescue others from impending judgment?

Posted by: Todd Thomas

September 12, 2013

Today you should read: Jeremiah 50:17-46

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “the Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

~ Exodus 34:6-7

Moses was privileged to stand on Mt. Sinai and be in the presence of God and hear God proclaim to him the nature of His character. Our passage today is a great picture of God’s character and how he deals with the events that were happening in Jeremiah’s day.

But who will by no means clear the guilty….

The nations of Babylon and Assyria were destroying the nation of Israel. Verse 17 states, “Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions.” I don’t know about you but when I picture sheep being chased by lions I don’t have a whole lot of hope for the sheep. I just hear a British voice over on the Discovery Channel describing how the lion tears apart the sheep and drags it back for her/his cubs. Babylon and Assyria were destroying the people of Israel and taking many of them back to their country to serve as slaves.  This is real persecution that many of us have never experienced.

Thankfully we serve a God who is perfectly just and in this passage we see how God watches over his people.

Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. (v. 18)

Although God allowed for these events to happen to Israel because of their disobedience to God, He by no means will allow the guilty to go unpunished (v.21-46). Those who are God’s children can always trust that God always has a plan and is in control of all things. Because of God using the Babylonians and Assyrians as a means to discipline Israel, the Israelites probably felt like God had abandoned them. However, this passage shows us that although God disciplines his children He never turns his back on them.

The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin….

Do you remember what started all of the punishment of Israel in the first place? Remember how they worshipped other Gods and idols? That one just so happened to be the first commandment. As a matter of fact there was not one law that they did not break. Israel deserved to be completely wiped off of the face of the earth. Instead, God promises to restore Israel to the Promised Land and to completely pardon their sin (v. 19-20). These two verses show the mercy of God and how much he loves his children. We have been privileged to live during a time when we get to look back and see the fulfillment of this promise to Israel.

“Even when we are dead in our trespasses, – made us alive with Christ —it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”  ~Ephesians 2:5-6

God sent his one and only son in order to take on the wrath and punishment of sin that we deserve. This is how he restored his people Israel and pardoned their sin making good on his promise and it is how he continues to draw sinners to himself today. God desires to make a people for himself that worship him and love him and He does this through His son Jesus. If you and I place our faith in Jesus and make him Lord we will be saved and cleansed of all our sin.

The question that I have for you today is which part of God’s character are you currently experiencing?

  • Are you experiencing his love and mercy because of your relationship with Christ?
  • Or are you taking a chance with your sin between you and God without Jesus?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

September 11, 2013

Today you should read: Jeremiah 50:1-16

Don’t you love a happy ending?  You watch a movie – everything seems lost – you’ve shed a tear or two (you made sure no one saw you), and just when its minutes from being over everything changes and the victim becomes the victor (to borrow a Joel Osteen line) – a happy ending!  Nothing wrong with that…

All of Jeremiah has been a bad scene from a movie.  Death – destruction – hurt – loss – now … FINALLY Jeremiah gets to give some good news.  The villain (Babylon) is going to lose in the end and be destroyed by the Lord of Hosts and Israel – God’s chosen people – are coming home to stay.  God always keeps His promises!

I don’t know where this JumpStart finds you… maybe things look glum.  Maybe you don’t know where to turn and you feel like you’re living the scene of the worst movie ever.  Don’t give up – God is still on His throne.  He hasn’t forgotten His plan for Israel, or for you…

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  29:11

Call out to Him – He will hear you and answer…

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  33:3

Remember – God is sovereign – that means He’s in charge of everything.  Nothing can happen in your life unless it goes past His desk and He signs off on it…

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.

 Romans 8:28-29

He’s faithful and you can trust in Him!

Posted by: Tim Parsons