Jeremiah 16:16-18:23 ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:3 ~ Psalm 81:1-16 ~ Proverbs 25:6-8
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Old Testament - There are a lot of great verses in Jeremiah's readings today! Jeremiah 17:5 stands out: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the Lord." I think oftentimes we put more trust in others than the Lord - our spouses, our pastors, our friends, our family, and even ourselves. The risk here is that people are human and are not perfect. They will eventually disappoint at some point. God is the only perfect option to place our ultimate trust in. I do think we can still "trust" others to a degree - marriage of course being a prime example of this trust in another human. But, marriage will really only ultimately work if God is the "third cord" in the marriage (see Ecclesiastes 4:12). Overall, this verse wisely cautions that our highest level of trust should be reserved for God! Who will not fail us. Ever. Who do you trust these days the most? Do you trust God above anything or anyone else? Do you trust God more than you trust yourself?
Jeremiah 17:7-8 has some great imagery! ""But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit." These verses remind me a lot of Psalm 1, verses 1 through 3. Is God your hope and confidence? If so, do you feel like a tree planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water? How deep are your roots in God's living water these days?
Jeremiah 17:19-27 are some powerful verses on the Sabbath! I talk a lot with my friends about taking Sabbaths. I am really bad at it... and I know I need it. And I know my friends need it too. I'll have to remember verse 27 next time I'm having the Sabbath discussions with my friends... :) "`But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.'" How are you doing on taking a Sabbath each week? What would your response be to a modern day Jeremiah standing at the gate and telling you to keep one day a week as a holy day unto the Lord?
I like this verse in Jeremiah 18:15 - "They have stumbled off the ancient highways of good, and they walk the muddy paths of sin." I like that metaphor - the ancient highways of good. These sound nice! You want to be on these. And not veering off into the muddy paths of sin...
New Testament - The First Thessalonians verses today are great teachings on living to please God and the hope of the resurrection. A verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:2 that I actual use fairly frequently is: "the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night." I confess that I don't get too into predicting "end times" scenarios. Pre-trib, post-trib, etc. I know many good friends who are into all of this. I guess I just come back to this verse about the day of the Lord coming unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. I think this also applies to each of our own lives. We don't know how many years we have - hopefully many. But, you just don't know. And I don't really dwell or worry about it. The end of our lives will likely come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. And if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we do not need to fear the day of the Lord!
In First Thessalonians 4:3-5 today we read this teaching of Paul’s: "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust." Are these verses contrary in any way to what you might see in our culture today? Are these verses contrary to any way that you might live your life? Do you see the value in this teaching of Paul’s? Is the lust / sexual immorality that our culture sells full of life or emptiness? Is this teaching of Paul’s full of life or emptiness? Are you controlling your own body in a way that is holy and honorable? What does Paul mean when he says it is God’s will that you should be sanctified? Do you want God to sanctify you? Will you participate in the sanctification process with God? Will you avoid sexual immorality?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Thessalonians chapter 4 titled "The Call to Holiness" is at this link. Below is a great image for 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 from today's readings:
Psalms - I always like reading verses like 1 & 2 in Psalm 81 today - verses that speak of music & God - "Sing praises to God, our strength. Sing to the God of Israel. Sing! Beat the tambourine. Play the sweet lyre and the harp." Do you sing praises to God? Is God your strength? I'll go off on a tangent here, which is always a risky thing to do... :) I'll admit that I am a music junkie. Really. I have loved music immensely ever since I was a pre-teen and heard K-TEL's Hit Explosion with such songs as Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger." :) Well, ever since then music has played an interesting role in my life - both positive and negative. Bottom line is that I think God used music to bring me to Him. Seven years ago I ended up at a rock & roll postmodern evangelical church where I really first heard songs about Jesus in a rock song! It was a paradigm shifter for me... I ended up accepting Jesus as my Lord & Savior at that church two months later - thanks in large part to an amazing pastor there at the time and thanks in large part to the rock & roll worship. I have to confess that I do love any opportunity I can get to flat out worship God in a rock & roll worship way! :) I do realize the risks of high energy rock music... it can propel people to do very dumb things. But I think it can also propel people toward Jesus. Maybe music is like anything else - it's a double edged sword. I will share with you that a buddy of mine shared with me how he threw out every single one of his worldly / secular rock & rap CD's after becoming a Christian. He said he didn't want to be fed by the messages that are in those songs anymore. I tried following his lead on this - and actually threw a few CD's in the trash... but I pulled them out before taking them to the dumpster. :) I'm starting to think though that I have a few CD's that need to get to that dumpster here sooner rather than later... I don't listen to them. So why hang on to them at all? Hope you don't mind this long tangent. Does anyone else have any music / God experiences that you would be up for sharing with us all? Please post up in the Comments section below! (And please forgive me for this image below... I couldn't resist... :)
Proverbs - In proverbs 25:6-7 today we read - "Don't demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great. It is better to wait for an invitation than to be sent to the end of the line, publicly disgraced!" This reminds me of Jesus' parable of not taking the best seats at the feast, or you may be asked to move down. But take the lowest seats and you may be asked to move on up. This is similar to Jesus' teaching: "those who are first, shall be last. And those who are last, shall be first." Are you comfortable being last? This Proverb today also talks about waiting for an invitation. How are you doing these days on waiting? Are you comfortable with waiting? Are you even comfortable on waiting for God? I'll share with you that when I am in a season of "waiting" I have been incredibly encouraged by Isaiah 40:31 - "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." And I've also been encouraged greatly by the Lincoln Brewster song "Everlasting God" that has the awesome line - "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord!" Amen! Do you feel your strength rising as you wait upon the Lord?
Worship God: Based on my brief comments above about Lincoln Brewster's awesome song "Everlasting God," here it is:
Do you know our God who reigns forever? Click here for your strong deliverer!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life." 1 Thessalonians 4:7 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you are living a pure life. Pray that you are pursuing holiness in your life on a daily basis. Pray that you are repenting and fleeing from anything impure in your life.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you from today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Grace, love, peace, and joy!