July 2, 2013

Today you should read: Jeremiah 2:1-13

Oh, young love. Do you remember what it was like to receive that note from your crush in middle school saying, “I like you, do you like me? Circle yes or no.” Today is no different , just done over texting or Twitter. It’s also the same reason why top 40 mainstream radio stars sing about this type of love so often. Of course, we all know that these feelings don’t represent true love the way God speaks about it. But whether it’s a young crush or a new marriage still in the honeymoon stage, it’s easy to be passionate about or devoted to that relationship when you are young and everything is so new. The same goes with our devotion to God as Jeremiah warns in the beginning of Jeremiah 2:1-3:

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.  Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the Lord.”

Jeremiah not only reminds us of the fickle devotion and love Israel had when they first followed God to the promised land but reminds them that they went after worthless things – therefore becoming what they went after (v. 5). Jeremiah calls out the fathers, priests, shepherds and prophets of Israel, the spiritual leaders of God’s people for allowing them to get into this spiritual state (vs. 5, 8). However, he still extends grace and mercy by reminding them that God will contend for them – despite their spiritual adultery (v. 9) and pointing out their specific sins so they will know what they need to repent of (v.13, an illustration of how they had forsaken God to worship their own false, manmade gods which is similar to drinking from toilet water when God gives you pure, filtered water.)

So in light of these 13 verses, let’s see how we make the same mistakes Israel once did and was warned about:

  1. Have you been less devoted and passionate about Jesus since you first became a Christian and everything seemed so new, and the feeling of forgiven and loved was fresh? How can you continue to love Jesus and live for Him the same way you did in the beginning and the same way you will need to for a long lasting marriage after the “honeymoon stage?”
  2. Are there worthless idols in your life that you need to repent of that are making you worthless as a Christian in His mission?
  3. Do you need to be reminded that God is contending for you and your children; that despite unfaithfulness, God is still fighting for you and those you parent and disciple?
  4. Are you drinking from the dirty water of the world in any areas of your life when Jesus has promised to give you pure, filtered water to nourish you and keep you alive in Him?

Posted by: Erik Koliser

July 1, 2013

Today you should read: Jeremiah 1

We begin the book of Jeremiah today, which will be encouraging and challenging for all of us.  Jeremiah was a prophet the Lord used to warn Judah of impending judgment and challenge them to repent.   Just for clarity as you read, Jeremiah’s prophecies are not recorded chronologically, but instead are grouped together more topically or thematically.

I want to focus on verses 5-10 today, which is the story of the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry.  Some may refer to this instance as a “call” to ministry.  I like to think of these times more as a command to ministry, rather than a calling to do something.  In fact, verse 5 says that God appointed him as a prophet to the nations.

Also, in verse 5, the Lord said He knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb and consecrated him before he was born.  The Lord told Jeremiah that He knew him before he was born and created him for this purpose of being a prophet for this particular time.   Do you know that God created us all with a purpose as well?  His purpose for our lives isn’t merely a suggestion.  I believe He has appointed us to certain roles and positions all for the purpose of making Him known.

Have you considered his purpose for you?  Have you considered where and how He has appointed you to serve?  Wouldn’t it stink to go through our whole lives and never know His purpose and plan for us?  What’s worse would be for us to know He is appointing us to certain roles, positions, and challenges, yet we choose not to be obedient.  We’d be missing out.

Some of us know where God wants us to be and do, and we’ve gone through the same thought process that Jeremiah did in verse 6.  “But, Lord, I don’t know how to speak.  I’m young.”  Or to put it another way, “Lord, I don’t think I am qualified to serve in this role.  I haven’t been a Christian very long.”  Or, “I’m afraid to do this, Lord.”  Some of us have those thoughts, but we trusted in the Lord to work through us, and He did.

Some of us, though, are still battling with His appointment for our lives. Take courage from the Lord’s words to Jeremiah in verses 7-10.  The Lord told him not to be afraid, and that He would equip Jeremiah with the words to say because He had appointed Jeremiah.  The appointment was the Lord’s doing and He would equip Jeremiah.  The same is true for us when God appoints us to do things.  He’ll equip us, guide us, and provide for us.

God wants to use you for a purpose.  Some of us are currently fully invested in what God has appointed us to do.  Some are debating being obedient.  Some are trying to figure out what God wants us to do.  My advice is to know that God will equip you to do whatever He wants you to do.

Posted by: Rich Duffield