“Get Out of Jail, Free” Card

TODAY’S DAILY BIBLE READING

Old Testament: Jeremiah 51 – Not Forsaken

Jeremiah 51:5

“For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the Lord of hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”

img_2489As Jeremiah writes this, Jerusalem is smoldering in the rubble of its own destruction. Babylonian forces have taken the people captive, burned the city to the ground, and set up their own government to rule over Israel. Since the cause of Judah’s fall was their stubborn rebellion against the Word of the Lord, it would seem logical to conclude that God had forsaken His people. Jeremiah declares that those who are in covenant relationship with God, will not be utterly forsaken, even when we have sinned against… Read More

Jeremiah 52 – Get Out of Jail

Jeremiah 52:31

“Now it came to pass in the thirty- seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach, King of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin, King of Judah and brought him out of prison.”

Jehoiachin, the last King of Judah, will forever be known as the one sitting on the throne when the nation fell. The collapse was not entirely his fault, although his wickedness did play a part. While very few details are preserved regarding his actual reign, we are told that after 37 years in prison, he was suddenly released and treated favorably. Jeremiah does not give an explanation of the details leading up to his release, but as Scripture unfolds, we can uncover…Read More

 

New Testament: 2 Peter – Longsuffering

2 Peter 3:9

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Peter writes, as the day of the Lord approaches there will be an increase in those he calls “scoffers.” A scoffer is one who shows his contempt for an idea or concept, by not only rejecting it, but mocking it, and those who believe. Peter goes on to explain, one of the signs that Christ’s return is drawing near, is an increase in those who mock Christ and Christianity…Read More

 

No More Excuses

TODAY’S DAILY READING – Jeremiah 49-50 & 2 Peter 2

Old Testament: Jeremiah 49 – Excuses Excuses

Jeremiah 49:4
“Why do you boast in the valleys, Your flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? Who trusted in her treasures, saying, ‘Who will come against me?’”

Some things never change. The sun will always rise in the East and set in the West, water will always be wet, and a person in a backslidden state will always deceive themselves, about their spiritual condition. This was true 2600 years ago in Ammon, and it is true today.

When we drift from the Lord, we develop a skewed perspective about our spiritual condition and the reasons for it. There are a number of pretty common deceptions that keep a person from turning back to the Lord…Read More.

Jeremiah 50Pardon the Preserved

Jeremiah 50:20

“‘In those days and in that time,’ says the Lord,
‘The iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none;
And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found;
For I will pardon those whom I preserve.'”

One of the greatest benefits of being in a relationship with God is the forgiveness of sin. God explains that although we have transgressed His laws, the covenant provides pardon. In Israel’s case, it was through temple sacrifice, in ours, it is through the blood Christ shed at Calvary. The forgiveness He offers is complete. All sin, and it’s penalties, are washed away in the priceless blood of Christ. When God forgives, nothing will ever be brought up again….Read More

New Testament: 2 Peter 2 – In the Pig Pen

2 Peter 2:22
“But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’”

A few years ago, I was in northern Ghana with a group of people from our church. Our purpose was to bring the Gospel to remote villages that had yet to be reached for Christ. Just as Paul developed a custom of going first to the synagogue, then to the market squares, we too, had developed our own custom. Because of the practices of their culture, it is customary, when a traveler arrives at their home, to gather the family, offer the traveler a drink and ask “What brings you here and do you have a message for us?” As you can imagine, this provides a wide open door to share… Read More

Clean Me

TODAY’S DAILY BIBLE READING: Jeremiah 47-48 & 2 Peter 1
Old Testament: Jeremiah 48 – Clean Me

Jeremiah 48:11
“Moab has been at ease from his youth; He has settled on his dregs, And has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into captivity. Therefore his taste remained in him, And his scent has not changed.”

Jeremiah is describing Read More

New Testament: 2 Peter 1 – Add to Your Faith

2 Peter 1:5-7
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

Building a healthy relationship with…Read More

Changing Focus

Today’s Daily Reading: Jeremiah 45-46 & 1 Peter 5

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 45 – Self-Promotion

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up… And do you seek great things for yourself?'” – Jeremiah 45:4-5

As the nation teeters on the brink of collapse, Jeremiah is given a prophetic message for one man, Baruch. Baruch was an assistant to Jeremiah. One of his main roles was that of a scribe. He was responsible for writing down Jeremiah’s messages in book form and delivering them to the kings. We have every reason to believe that Baruch served Jeremiah, and the Lord, faithfully. But even faithful men are in need of correction from time to time. Often Christian service goes unnoticed, especially when we are in a support role in ministry. We might… Read More

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 46 – Armed and Dangerous

“Order the buckler and shield,
And draw near to battle!
Harness the horses,
And mount up, you horsemen!
Stand forth with your helmets,
Polish the spears,
Put on the armor!” – Jeremiah 46:3-4

As the forces of Egypt prepared to go to battle with Babylon, Jeremiah describes the battle scene. He paints a picture of soldiers with weapons in hand and clad with armor. His battle scene has been repeated countless times over in human history, as one force prepares to defend itself against another. I cannot help but notice a few similarities to the battle we face as believers. First, it is critical that we…Read More 

 

New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 5 – Throw It All Away

“. . .casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 

Cares, concerns, worries, and anxiety are all relatively synonymous terms. They speak of the things in life that fill us with fear, rob us of peace, overwhelm us, and stress us out. There are numerous things that create this kind of anxiety; some of them are real and others irrational, but all of them seem to have the same effect upon us…Read More

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What Are You Doing?

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 43-44

Jeremiah 43: Self-Willed

“So Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces, and all the people would not obey the voice of the Lord, to remain in the land of Judah.” – Jeremiah 43:4

After the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar’s forces, the inhabitants of Judah began to look to Egypt as a place of refuge. Jeremiah warned them that fleeing to Pharaoh would result in further death and destruction. The same people who refused to listen when the prophet told them to willingly go to Babylon, are the people who are now fleeing to Egypt. On the one hand, the Word of God told them to go, on the other…Read More

Jeremiah 44: Self-Inflicted

“Now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel:‘Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves…” – Jeremiah 44:7

God warned the people not to flee to Egypt for help. He knew the Babylonians would soon defeat Egypt and any who were In allegiance with her. Despite these warnings, many of the people chose to depart from Jerusalem and Judah, making their way to Egypt. When questioned by Jeremiah as to why they chose to disobey the clear commands of God, they responded that life was easier when they worshipped the “queen of heaven.” The real reason they fled the commands of the Lord was they wanted to worship other things… Read More

New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 4

1 Peter 4: The End Is Near

“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another.” – 1 Peter 4:7-10

Peter gives a series of exhortations, all predicated upon the fact that the end is near. When the Bible refers to the end of all things, it does so, not out of fear or despair, but out of joy and anticipation. For the believer, the end of all things means Christ will call His church home, and ultimately return to set up His earthly kingdom, where He will reign and rule in righteousness… Read More

Ready and Willing?

TODAY’S DAILY BIBLE READING

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 41 –  Gamer Over

“But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to the Ammonites.”  – Jeremiah 41:15

After conquering Judah and Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah governor over the people. He allowed many of the Jews to remain in the land, and gavethem certain freedoms regarding their worship. Soon, those who had fled from Jerusalem… Read More

 

Jeremiah 42: Ready And Willing

“Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God…” – Jeremiah 42:6

A few years back I attended a men’s conference where this verse was shared during a worship session. Like most, I was encouraged by the sentiment of it, until I recalled the context. You see, as beautiful as the verse is, it is declared by a group of people who have no real intention of doing what the Lord says. The verse might better read, “we will obey as long as the Lord tells us what we want to hear… Read More

New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 3

1 Peter 3: Answers

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” – 1 Peter 3:15

Shortly after coming to Christ, I was driving down PCH in Southern California and found myself stuck at one of the many red lights, waiting for the arrow to turn green so I could continue to my destination. It was a summer day, and since my car did not have AC, my windows were rolled down. A car pulled up next to me and the driver called out to get my attention. I had never seen him before, and to my knowledge have never seen him since, but what he said…Read More

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1 Peter 2: Living Stone

1 Peter 2:5
“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”

Peter describes Christians as Living Stones. This simple phrase reveals the miraculous nature of our salvation. Individuals can no more have their sins forgiven than a stone can come to life. However, what is impossible with men, is possible for God. We, who are dead in sin, are made alive through faith in Christ. Peter adds to the miracle of salvation by explaining, once we have been made alive, we now have a divine purpose, “we are being built up a spiritual house.” God is shaping us into the people He created us to be, that we might experience abundant life and have an impact upon others, for the kingdom of heaven. We, who were once without God and without hope in this world, have been made alive and given a life of purpose. How should we respond ? Read More