Monday, August 06, 2012

August 6, 2012 … Faithful Follower, … No Matter What!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 219 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Jeremiah 1-3[NIV] To study these chapters,

Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 1: 1-8; 16 :[NIV] … 1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 3 and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.; … 4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." … 6 "Alas, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young." 7 But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord. … 16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made. 
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 2: 4-5; 13; 23-25; 31-32 :[NIV] … 4 Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob, all you clans of Israel. 5 This is what the Lord says: "What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. … 13 "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. … 23 "How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals'? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, 24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving — in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her. … 31 "You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord: "Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, 'We are free to roam; we will come to you no more'? 32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. 
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 3: 11-13; 22-23 :[NIV] … 11 The Lord said to me, "Faithless Israel [i.e., the northern tribes consumed by Assyria] is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: "'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the Lord, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,' declares the Lord, 'I will not be angry forever. 13 [From God to Judah] Only acknowledge your guilt — you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'" declares the Lord. … 22 [God’s mercy to His beloved children] "Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding." "Yes, we will come to you, for you are the Lord our God. 23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. 

My Journal for Today: Ever had a designated task which you were charged by authority to accomplish, and you either didn’t feel up to the task or you simply dreaded what the outcomes were going to be? Well, in today’s chronological read in the Bible, I’m led to begin studying and meditating upon one of the so-called “major” biblical prophets, in this case Jeremiah. And it’s easy to see why this poor dude was nicknamed by later believers as “the weeping prophet;” because of all the prophets bringing God’s truth to God’s people and the surrounding territories, Jeremiah probably had it the worst.

Just reading through these first three chapters tells us that, though Jeremiah recognized his call to prophesy, he felt terribly inadequate to the task. He came back to God after the calling with self doubt about his age (being very young at the time) and his inability to speak (sound familiar? … maybe like Moses). But God’s calling on this man was solid; and Jeremiah set about, in deep faith and a trusting spirit, to carry the hard messages to the Israelites and even to other surrounding nations. And what did he get for his God-directed work? Well, he was rejected, imprisoned, thrown into a cistern, beaten, and suffered many other trials, sometimes close to being killed. And, though I’m sure he hated his circumstances, which just never seemed to be joyful or positive, Jeremiah was a “keep on keeping on” kind of Godly man.

As you can see I’ve entitled my journal entry for today Faithful Follower – No Matter What! That was Jeremiah; BUT … is that you or me? Personally, I’ve had a God-directed calling on my life for quite sometime; and there are many times when I dip myself with self pity into the tarpits of discouragement. Being called to lead a ministry to promote walking in freedom from habitual sexual sin, especially in a world that has become so hypersexually wicked, can be very discouraging at times, especially when I see so many Christian men – let alone the non-believers – being sucked into life-damaging, and often addictive, patterns of sexual idolatry and sinful pursuits. It must’ve been like the feelings that Jeremiah and others of the prophets, like Habakkuk, felt like when they saw God’s people ignoring God’s will and His ways, even after hearing God’s truth, as happened in the early days of Jeremiah’s ministry to Josiah, the young king who tried to reform Jerusalem.

Today, I see so many men of God being led away from the path of becoming Godly men because they seemingly cannot or will not surrender their will to God’s will; and, though I’m certainly not a prophet, I feel, as Jeremiah must have, pangs of great grief, to the point of weeping, when I see how many Christians are pursuing the flesh rather than following the will and ways of God from His word.

But I’m uplifted by the example of ministry and/or mission work exhibited with such faithfulness as did Jeremiah; and following his exemplary lead, I will move on to do what God has called me to do. And I pray for the same resolute commitment to Godliness and shining the light of Christ from any who might be reading here. It can be very discouraging at times to follow God’s ways of light in a world growing ever darker. It’s also very easy to be grief stricken when we see friends falling on the battle fields of spiritual warfare. But when we note our common calling by God (see Acts 1: 8 and Matt. 28: 19-20 to be His witnesses and His disciples in this world, we simply must not let fear, nor discouragement, nor worldly challenge stop us from moving forward as did Jeremiah.

My Prayer Today: … Thank You, Lord, for the character lesson of this weeping, but resolute, messenger of God; and may we, who know You as Lord, take up his same banner. Amen

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