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Shaken to become a Principled Person

Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.’” Jeremiah 35:18-19 (NIV)

We are now in week three of our 2nd series of the Jeremiah study. As we began this week’s meeting, I prayed for God to use His Word to shake us to the core and bring a new light to the book of Jeremiah. I am not quite sure why these words came flowing out so quickly but…God…He answered!

Chapter 35 of Jeremiah is primarily about a group of people known as the Rekabites. This nomadic clan were faithful promise keepers who proved their allegiance over and over. When tempted or presented with a situation to fall back on their pledge, they were steadfast and unwavering. WOW!

We spent some time dissecting the major takeaways from this family. Let me share some of those with you:

  1. The Rekabites were tent dwellers and through this they displayed the understanding that this earth is not our destination in the end. We often get entangled by life and its “stuff”. It can bog us down and even overwhelm. Our material things are here today but gone tomorrow yet we can’t seem to do without, stop wanting more and more, and many times lack the ability to control it all. I am so guilty. I have WAY TOO MUCH and frequently forget that I am only passing through.
  2. This family had made an alliance to set rules and ways of living. They had determined what was best for them and they knew their why when it came to agreeing to these standards. They knew what they were pledging, the reason behind it, and how it was profitable for their living. When was the last time I thought about my values and absolutes?
  3. The Rekabites did not let culture, or the “modern” way of life sway their promises. While the world around them was falling apart and diving deeper and deeper into sin, this family stood firm against conforming to the “in thing to do”. They embraced their values and held tightly to this obedience regarding the established rules for their lives. I often make decisions based on “everyone else”. How am I different from the world in which I live?
  4. The Rekabites were steadfast. When they made their vows to abstain from things not productive for them, they knew how they would answer if temptation ever came. This family was prepared for situation where their faithfulness would be tested. They knew prior to any enticement what they would say and do. They were proactive in being successful when it came to their obedience. Am I steadfast or do I teeter and totter on average?

God honored the Rekabites for their obedience to their word. The Lord desires the same from each of us and craves to see us, His children, committed and unswerving. Our Father has proven His love and faithfulness to us over and over to the point of death. He is loyal, reliable, and constant. What a beautiful Father we have.

I challenge you to study this passage more and listen to a few sermons on the topic. Take some time this week and think about these “principled people”.

Then,

  1. Write down a couple of absolutes for your life. What is one value you have that you will not comprise no matter what?
  2. How is this profitable for God?
  3. What/Who might try to sway you from obedience?
  4. What will it take to be steadfast and faithful in the days ahead?

Once you have decided on a couple of absolutes, take some time to write them down and pray over them. Share them with a friend and ask them to pray for your devotion to be solid in the days ahead. Let God know the desire of your heart when it comes to these values and rules you have set for yourself.

May the witness of the Rekabites touch you in such a way that it also shakes you to the core and causes you to focus on what matters the most…

This is not your home…God’s ways are profitable…culture doesn’t dictate your values…and obedience is possible when you decide to be become a principled person.

Blessing and prayers for you in digesting Jeremiah 35. May you never be the same after reading it.  

Terminal Illness-We All Have It!

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com So you will be my people, and I will be your God. Jeremiah 30:22 (NIV)

Medically, no one wants to hear the word terminal-knowing it leads to death or the end. This word can turn our lives upside down and shake us to the core. It seems to change everything once the effects begin to unravel. Life is never the same.

In Jeremiah we find a portion of Scripture in chapter 30 referencing this very medical language. It clearly states, “Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing.” (verse 12b) What? Talk about getting straight to the point-there is no beating around the bush here. And to surprise you even more, let me share 12a, “This is what the Lord says:” Words uttered from God.

So, exactly what is this wound, incurable injury God is referencing? What is the disease within where the Lord clearly conveys a terminal effect? We all have it. There is no human cure and it has the power to spread and completely destroy life as we know it. Deadly.

This three-letter illness is SIN. There is no human remedy and the pain is overwhelming. The guilt and shame will devour. The sting of death is its friend and the disease can easily spiral out of control until we are consumed and unrecognizable. In medical terms some might even say, “They are too far gone! There is nothing more we can do.”

BUT GOD…”But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds”, declares the Lord, …” Jeremiah 30:17a. Only God has the antidote-the true cure-Jesus Christ, the Savior! AMEN!

ALL-yes, all have sinned. The very thing that brings pain and suffering. The wounds are deep from it and it can spread like wildfire within a short period of time. It has a major way of destroying lives and those around it.

Many times, we try to find a cure on our own. We attempt to heal the pain and/or find a remedy without the help of the Lord. We enlist in ways to “humanly” become healthy or even find an “earthly” cure, but nothing can restore and heal us from sin except Christ Himself.

Jesus was sent as the new covenant. A chance for healing, restoration, and life eternal. Our antidote so to speak. He made the sacrifice for the ultimate cure! Through His death and pain, we are offered grace in exchange for our terminal illness-sin.

When was the last time you read the plan of salvation?

How have you been able to share this with the world recently?

What could you do to ensure others know of this miraculous healing?

May you be encouraged to stop and give thanks for what God has done for you.

God’s Word says:

ADMIT we have sinned: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) Sin separates us from the LORD and its outcome is death.

BELIEVE in Christ’s sacrifice: Jesus paid the price for all sins. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf…” (2 Corinthians 5:21a)

ASK for forgiveness & for Christ to enter your life: “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as LORD, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved:” (Romans 10:9) The gift of the LORD is eternal life and it is only by grace you can be set free from the terminal effects of sin. (Ephesians 2:8)

Now, go beyond and find a way to share it with the world. Remember, the antidote is for ALL!

For I Know the Plans

Photo by Maria Gulyaeva on Pexels.com Article from the thoughts of: Robin Gonzales

As we continue our study of Jeremiah, we come to chapter 29-that most famous verse which catches most people’s attention: Jeremiah 29:11 (AMPC) For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

It is a verse we have heard often and maybe even relied upon. But what was the context in which it was written? Think about what was actually happening when God makes this statement. The Israelites had been captured by the Babylonians and sent into exile for 70 years. Ouch! However, these Israelites escaped death under God’s wrath and were possibly still receptive to the Lord.

In their exile period they needed God assurances that He had not forgotten them, abandoned them, given up on them, and there was still hope for a better outcome than under the Babylonian’s reign.

Can you relate? Think about low periods of your life regardless of the reason. Life captured and imprisoned by circumstances and strife. You crave just a glimmer of better days ahead.

Isn’t it nice to be assured God provides great hope? Yes, His name is Jesus-the Savior who is the final outcome and our true intercessor. He gives us a brighter outlook despite the difficulties we may experience. 

But let me take you beyond this verse to the primary purpose of this article. You see, for me, this was not the verse seizing my attention. It was Jeremiah’s instructions in verse 7. Let’s take a look: 

Jeremiah 29:7 (AMPC)

And seek (inquire for, require, and request) the peace and welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captive; and pray to the Lord for it, for in the welfare of [the city in which you live] you will have welfare.

Jeremiah had just finished telling the Israelites they would be in exile for 7 decades so they needed to go forward, build houses, marry, and raise families. In other words, you are not going anywhere anytime soon–so settle in. He continues telling them to help their city to be at peace and prosperous so that they too would be peaceful and prosperous.

What did that mean for them? Live and work as if it was for the Lord. Submit to the authority God had place over them. In doing these things, all would be well. Yes, even humbling themselves under the Babylonian reign. Jeremiah might have even reminded the captives to display Godly behavior such as grace, mercy, forgiveness, understanding, etc. towards the Babylonians!  

Let’s take this a step farther. What does this mean for our daily living? Well, if we think about it-we have all been placed in a city by God himself. You are where you are for a reason. The same can be said about your country, place of employment, school, church, etc. The Father places us in specific areas and wants us to carry out our lives with the same principle He instructed the Israelites thousands of years ago.

We find these same sentiments in the New Testament as a reminder to live in peace, govern ourselves with humility, and work as if it were for the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (AMPC)

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:23 (AMPC)

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.

Romans 13:1 (AMPC)

Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction}, and those that exist do so by God’s appointment.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (AMPC)

First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior.

Let’s reflect:

How often do we pray for our elected leaders to have wisdom, good counsel, good health, strength, rest, peace, protection, help? I know I am lacking in this area. What about you?

I may remember the president or governor or law enforcement or first responders occasionally, but I don’t often think about state representatives, mayors, school board officials, etc. Our entire governing body needs prayer no matter our country, city, workplace, …

I urge you, including myself, as we approach this election in a few days to pray for the candidates, winning or losing, and take a different perspective toward those who are elected-weather or not we chose them. Also, continue to pray for all the leaders in our country all the way down to bosses, pastors, teachers, and parents.

Let’s remember each one of us is responsible for peace and prosperity where we have been placed. (Side note: most of us are responsible for someone else) So with Jeremiah 29:7 in mind, I think we all could use as much prayer and intercession we can get.

Only God can truly say, “For I Know the Plans!” But, it doesn’t let us off the hook to do our part.

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