Thursday, August 14, 2014

Settle in with prayer. Jerehmiah 29

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon;  "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters.  Increase in number there, do not decrease. "Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.  Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers,  you too will prosper."
 Jeremiah 29:4-7

These were the words of Jeremiah in a letter to those who were carried away in exile to Babylon.   Other false prophets spoke of a quick return to Jerusalem.  They promised that God would bring them back out of his strength, goodness and grace.  Their words brought hope.  Their words were the one's they wanted to hear.  Their words brought joy and meaning.  Yes the people wanted the false prophet's words.  They wanted to leave this God forsaken land in which they were taken captivity.   But their words were not God's words.  Their words were hollow and empty and over time these empty words would bring greater despair. 

Jeremiah's words told them to settle down.  His words were to make roots where they were for they would never return to the Promises land again save for their children.  It would be 70 years if God was truly speaking through Jeremiah. 

Seventy years!  It's enough to make you despair.  Yet, Jeremiah says to settle in,  make this place your temporary home.  Have children.... and teach them about the home that they will return to some day.  I added that last part but I believe that is was implied. "Yes, teach them to be good Jewish boys and girls and prepare them for the day they will return."  

I read someone who wrote something like this.  "Do you know your children may be your greatest contribution to the world." 

Yes future generations would have to rebuild the great nation of Israel.  For now they had to settle in and pray.   They would pray for the nation that things would go well for them and pray for the hope of future generations.  Pray, call out, seek God, live productive lives and provide for their children..   They would be the seeds of future blessings.  There's would be the great sacrifice for future generations and if they were lucky they would find some joy as well.

Today, I wonder how much we think about the future generations?  Their Hope?  Their world? 

It might have been easy for the people of Israel siting in exile to say,  "Why bring children into this God forsaken place?"  "Why bring children into this world with such struggles and pain"...  

Have you ever said that about our world?  If you have I believe Jeremiah has some words for you and me.  "God is faithful."  "God has plans."  "God will honor your sacrifice." God will listen to your prayers for them."    

Prayer:  Today we call upon You and seek You with our heart.   Please bring this nation back to its greatness again.  Please help this place to be a nation where we and our children will prosper.  Protect our children.  Oh Lord, may they see a future peace that we could only dream about.  In Jesus name, Amen

Friday, August 8, 2014

God has a plan for you. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Jeremiah 29:11-13New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

This is one of the great promises offered to God's people in the Old Testament and it came at a very difficult time.  The people of Judah were exiled to Babylon as prisoners to live in a foreign land.  These were tough times and Jeremiah the Prophet wasn't promising any good news anytime soon.  While some false prophets were promising that God would soon return the captives to Jerusalem, Jeremiah was relaying God's words to settle down for the long haul; seventy years to be exact. Surely the people were in despair... Yet Jeremiah offers these words of hope.  Words that told them that God still had a plan for them. God had not abandon them.  

Perhaps you find yourself in one of those places today.  You've had a major disappointment and you wonder where is God?  You hurt, you're disappointed, you're confused, you feel lost.  If you're in that place today, these are good words for you.  God has a plan and it's a plan for good and not for evil. A plan to prosper you and not harm you.  

God is still with you.  So don't despair. Cry out to the Lord.  Seek him with your whole heart and you will find him.  And for the Christian finding Christ is the greatest joy.  

In the end, this life is bound to kick us and bring us down.   Sometimes it kicks us because we did something we shouldn't have done.  This was why Judah found themselves in this predicament.  But, even in the difficulties we can find forgiveness, joy and peace.  The greatest joy comes from God's presence with us as we seek the Lord with our whole heart. 

The people of Judah surely wished things could return as they were, and in comming generations they would know that blessing, but in the midst of their captivity in Babylon they could still experience the presence of God.

Prayer:  Dear God I wish that things could be different for us today but we trust you know you know what is best.  Forgive us of our sins. Today, we cry out to you and we trust that you have a future plan.  And Lord, while we wait for that plan to take shape, help us to find joy in the midst of sadness because you are with us.

A thought for today:  Even if you have lost someone or something very dear in your life, seek the Lord with your whole heart.  God may not heal that hurt but God will give you a new hope.  Remember God loves you and God will never leave you.

God Bless You!