In Jeremiah 32 Judah’s king imprisons the prophet Jeremiah because he spoke truth. While Jeremiah is under arrest, God tells him to buy a field from his uncle. That does not seem unusual until we read that the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, is besieging Jerusalem, and the city will soon fall. God instructs Jeremiah to buy the field as a visual picture of His promise that His people will one day return to their land. Jeremiah tells God that he knows that whatever He says will happen does happen; however, it appears strange to Jeremiah to buy a field right when they are going to be taken captive! Here is what God tells Jeremiah in response to his inquiry,
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27; ESV). God’s word to Jeremiah is a word that I continually need to hear. What was true of God in Jeremiah’s day is true of God today: “Is anything too hard for me?”
I have been praying Colossians 4:3 for myself, “. . . pray for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ.” I keep a prayer list for several people I know who have not yet placed trust in Jesus. Specifically, I have been praying that God would open doors for me to talk with each of these people about Jesus. The last few weeks I have set up several appointments with one of these friends, and every time the door has closed. Frustrating! Yet, an unexpected door keeps opening with another friend. I’m not closing the door on my friend who keeps canceling, but I’m thinking God is at work opening an unexpected door with my other friend! He is answering my prayer, but just not how I expected! Thank you Lord for unexpected answers!
Reading Jeremiah 24 recently, I was struck with the absolute sovereignty of God and how I can trust Him in my prayer life. Just like this early morning sunrise, to me a picture of peace, I can be at peace resting in His plan for me and for my family. In Jeremiah 24, God tells the prophet that the Israelites taken captive into Babylon will experience His blessing. Those who remain behind in Jerusalem will be like “bad figs,” “a reproach, a byword, a taunt. . . .” (Jer. 24:9; ESV). I can imagine me praying, “Lord, keep my family from being taken captive.” Yet, it is about those who were taken captive that God said, “I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart” (Jer. 24:7; ESV). I do not always understand how God works, but I can trust Him to be doing His best in my life and the lives of my family.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life'” (John 4:13-14, ESV).
Spirit of God may my spiritual thirst be satisfied in Jesus Christ!
Way too often I allow circumstances to control my joy. If my life is at ease I feel at peace. If I am dealing with difficult situations, I am weighed down. My gut response is to try to solve the situation so I can feel at peace again. But most of the time the situation is out of my control. This morning the words of the prophet Jeremiah reminded me that my joy cannot rest in my circumstances. Jeremiah writes, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16; ESV). I cannot find peace by controlling my life. Peace can only be found in Him. I know Him through His word.
This week I went to visit Harold. Over ten years ago I hired Harold to build a bedroom set for us in honor of our 25th wedding anniversary. Harold built it out of my favorite wood, cherry. In fact, he built it out of cherry wood that he had air dried for over 12 years from a tree that fell near a creek on his farm. Harold is now 90 years old. His body is failing but his mind is quite sharp. Before he fully recognized who I was, I asked him how he was doing. The first thing that came to his lips was praise for who Jesus Christ is. What a godly man! What a legacy! I see the furniture he built every day. When I think of Harold I think of a man who loved his wife, Anita, well and a man who loves Jesus well! Acts 6:5b says, “. . . and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” Harold, is such a man, a hard working man who loves Jesus Christ, a true man! He encouraged me this week. Thanks, Harold!
Are you living in a whirlwind and are almost numb from going in so many directions at the same time? I have been lately. When we feel like that, it is good to take a step back and do whatever it takes to just stop, reflect, and spend time with God. It’s time to be and not do. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth” (ESV).
I live in a city where basically half of the people claim “none!” That is, they claim “none” when it comes to affiliation with a church of any kind. I am surrounded by people for whom church is a foreign concept. While I grew up in the era of Billy Graham crusades, people in my town are not going to crusades anymore. Billy Graham has gone to be with Jesus. And if they are going to hear about Jesus, they are probably not going to first hear about Him in a church service. People need to hear about Jesus from me and other followers of Jesus like me. They need to see Jesus lived out in me, but they also need to hear about Jesus from me. “Lord, open doors for me to talk with people about Jesus (Col. 4:2-4). Open my mouth to talk about Him with boldness (2 Thess. 3:1). Open the hearts of men and women to respond to the Good News (Ephesians 6:18-20).”
Yesterday a young woman asked me an important question: “How do I find peace?” Her question reminds me of a great song that our worship pastor at Faith Bible Church, Brian Hill, wrote: “Peace Is a Person.” Follow the link below and scroll forward to around minute 28 and give it a listen!
As you think back to this last Christmas, what was your best gift? My best gift came Christmas night! A young man for whom I had been praying for quite some time came up to me and said, “I did it.” He meant, “I put my trust in Jesus!” Of all the things that make me happy here on this earth, I cannot think of much that makes me more happy than birth. The birth of my three sons made me happy! The birth of my three granddaughters made me happy! The new birth of a person who has just put their trust in Jesus makes me really happy! In John 3:3 Jesus told Nicodemus, “. . . unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (ESV). Want to experience something that really makes you happy?! Start praying for someone you know to put their trust in Jesus, and watch what God does!