Monthly Archives: July 2013

July 31

Jeremiah 8:4-9:15, 9:22-10:16, 26:1-24

Be warned, Jeremiah says, disobedience will be punished. And it will be devastating.

What God said through Jeremiah to the flesh and blood kingdom of Israel he continues to say to us in 2013. Throughout the Bible we are introduced to a God who repeatedly says…

I love you. I want to bless you. I want you to obey me so that you can enjoy this world I’ve created. If you don’t obey, realize that there are serious consequences. I will not be ignored.

When the Old Testament Jews heard this message from Jeremiah they wanted to kill him. How dare he tell them they weren’t right. When the New Testament Jews heard Jesus singing the same song they nailed him to a cross.

I get it. No one enjoys having their faults pointed out, privately or publicly. So many of us don’t want to see our short comings. We’d rather go through life blindly, thinking we’re ok just the way we are.

But we have a choice here. Our choice doesn’t change the Truth. But it will determine what life looks like for us from here on out.

The bottom line is this… You and I have faults. The Bible calls them sin. And each of us are accountable for every last one we’ve ever committed. Are we going to get angry at the One who holds us accountable? Or are we going to allow that One to take those sins on Himself?

We don’t have to like God’s plan. But that won’t change his plan, either. Hear what God would say to us today. And let’s allow him to do his work in each of us.

Remember he loves us. He wants to bless us. Let’s obey him so he can.


July 30

Jeremiah 22:1-17; 2 Kings 23:31-37; 2 Chronicles 36:2-5; Habakkuk 1:1-3:19

Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.

Recently I have had conversations with Christians who have expressed concern over the future of our world. We have seen freedoms chipped away in the US. There is war over water in over-populated countries. Food shortages. Poverty. The acceptance of sin in society which Christians know can only bring God’s wrath.

I don’t know what the future holds for us who live on planet Earth. I look at my sister’s grandchildren and could go crazy worrying about what’s ahead for them should the Lord not return. The Bible tells us things will continue to erode until that day.

But then I read things like Habakkuk 3:2 and I remember Who it is that holds the future. There is so much evidence of God’s love, his care and protection not only in the pages of the Bible but in history books and in the lives of people I know.

God is still on the throne. He is so much greater than Satan. And, although life will undoubtedly get more difficult, God promises to go with his children every step of the way.

May God’s deeds be made known to our world in 2013. May he renew them in our day.

Remember mercy, dear God. We’re depending on You.

July 29

Psalm 81; Jeremiah 47:1-8:47; 2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-36:1

Don’t go, Josiah. This is not your battle. Stop opposing God or he will destroy you.

God sent that message to Josiah through Neco king of Egypt.  But Josiah went into battle anyway. And he didn’t survive. This young man who had done so much good for the kingdom died like anyone else.

Was it God’s will? Did God take Josiah because his time was up?

No! If that were the case I doubt God would have bothered to warn him not to go to battle.

Once again I am reminded that God did not create robots when he created man. He knew Josiah would not heed his warning but that’s not the same as making it happen. Had Josiah listened to God I wonder what other amazing accomplishments we would be reading about today instead of reading about Josiah’s death.

God speaks to each one of us when we read his Word. He may use the voice of a Christian friend. But as sure as I am sitting at this computer today, God is trying to get my attention. He’s trying to get yours. And when he does we have a choice. We can obey. 

Or not.

Of course he knows what we’ll decide but rest assured his will is that we obey. 

Heavenly Father, I want to hear what you have to say to me today. As I read your Word, as I talk with people who love you, may I have my ears and heart on alert. I don’t want to miss what you want me to know. And I want to obey whatever it is you reveal to me. May your people be quick to listen and quick to obey.

July 28

Nahum 1:1-3:19; 2 Kings 23:1-28; 2 Chronicles 35:1-19

I’m not young. I’m not quite ready for the home yet but the calendar (and that darned mirror) tell me the days of my youth are long past. 

As I read about King Josiah’s reign I find myself evaluating my own life. What we read today occurred when Josiah was 26 years young. He had been king for eighteen years by that time. This young man worked tirelessly to bring the Jewish nation back to its former glory as the people chosen by God. 

He accomplished more – so much more- in his young life than I who have lived more than twice as many years as he.

I am convicted this morning. I may not have the stamina Josiah had or the power he enjoyed but God has things for me to do that are just as important to the kingdom. 

As I look at my life I realize there were so many missed opportunities, so many things I could have done but didn’t. 

I’m not saying my life has been futile exactly. I am saying however, I’m sad I didn’t do more. When I think about how much God has done for me, what Jesus did for me, I am ashamed of what I have given back.

But wait! My heart is still beating and my limbs still move (more slowly maybe but they get the job done). God still wants to use me. There are still souls who need the Savior.

So I can continue to think about what might have been or I can begin today to do the work God has called me to do. While I still have breath I want to serve Him, I want to be his voice, his arms to reach out to the lost. Lord, use me today.

Father, I pray for all of us today who know you as our Savior. Your Word makes it plain that age makes no difference in your kingdom. All of us have jobs to do to spread the good news of the gospel. Give us strength. Help us to recognize opportunities. And may you find us faithful. May our lives be lived in gratitude for what you have done for each of us.

July 27

Jeremiah 16:1-17:27; 2 Kings 22:3-20; 2 Chronicles 34:8-33

I gave my heart to the Lord as a little girl. I grew up knowing I was a Christian and that God loved me. It wasn’t until I was  teenager, though, that I really heard and understood the seriousness of sin. I confessed my sin at the altar of our church, broken before a holy God. With tears I accepted his cleansing and it was at that moment I truly realized what it meant to be  Christian.

What is your response to God’s Word? When you read how God hates sin, when you recognize yourself as a sinner, when you realize your need to repent – what do you do?

Josiah tore his clothes when he heard God’s Word read to him. He was devastated, ashamed, broken. Josiah confessed his sin and accepted God’s forgiveness. Then he got up and began to live life a changed man.

I remember my altar experience of long ago. And I wish I could say I got up from there that day and lived a changed life myself. I have to admit there have been times when my walk with the Lord wasn’t a priority and when I allowed sin to get a grip on my heart. There have been other points in my life when God’s Word cut me like a knife, when I looked into the face of a holy God and recognized my sinful state. There have been other tears of repentance when I’ve allowed God to deal with the sin in my life.

And I hope there continues to be. May I always be sensitive to what God would say to me through his Word. May I read it with an open heart. May I recognize those things in my life that hurt my Lord. And may I, like Josiah, be quick to repent.

I pray the same for you.

July 26

Jeremiah 5, 6, 13

When I worked with middle school kids it was a challenge to keep belts on the boys. Do you know the song, “Pants on the Ground”? I can’t think that wearing your jeans so low you have to hold on to them with one hand is comfortable. Kids!

After reading Jeremiah 13 today I got to thinking about belts. There is security in that strip of leather as it’s wrapped around a person. But a belt in belt loops, tightly fastened can’t hold up a pair of pants unless it is resting against the body of a person.

God compared his people to a belt. There is nothing special about that belt in and of itself but God wrapped it around himself to bring himself “renown and praise and honor”. And if his people – if that belt- can’t do that it is ruined, completely useless.

What do you do with a useless belt? Most of us probably throw it out. Some might repurpose or recycle it. But if it’s not doing what it was intended to do you find another that will.

I want to be God’s belt. I want to be wrapped tightly around him. I want to fulfill the purpose I was created to do… to bring him renown and praise and honor. I want to hold up that which he’s entrusted to me, the salvation bought by his dear Son.

Lord, I want to be as close to you today as a belt. I want to rest on you, be fastened to you so that I can do what you have for me to do. Let me bring you renown, praise, and honor as others observe my life. I want to be used by you today.

July 25

Jeremiah 2-4

Jeremiah is expressing God’s longing for his people to love him. God remembers the early days when Abraham and Sarah had Isaac. He remembers Joseph and Moses and David. And God longs for people who love him like they did.

The other day I shared with you a loved one’s concern for her newly redeemed dad. I told you her dad doesn’t want to go to church because he thinks it’s full of hypocrites. What would this man see in you or me if we attended his church?

I’ll tell you what God says about hypocrites. In 3:6-11 God is upset with Israel for their faithlessness. That nation openly rejected God and served gods made of stone and wood. Judah on the other hand, gave lip service to God. They did not worship him with all their hearts, “but only in pretense.”

Look at verse 11. “…Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah”.

God certainly isn’t saying either nation is righteous. He’s mad at all of them for their disobedience. But God holds a little more contempt for those who profess to be his children, yet live lives that say otherwise.

I’m challenged to check my heart this morning. Am I loving God the way he longs to be loved? Am I serving him 24/7 or just on Sunday mornings? I don’t want to be accused by God or man of worshiping him only in pretense. 

Father, you deserve to be loved. May I show you how much you mean to me today by the things I do and the words I speak and the thoughts I think. May others recognize my love for you by the life I live.

July 24

Zephaniah 1:1-3:20; 2 Chronicles 34:4-7; Jeremiah 1:1-19

When was the last time you read the book of Zephaniah? Can you even find it in your Bible? It’s one of those books I have to stop and think where it even falls in the Old Testament.

But reading it today I was reminded that the God of love, of grace, and redemption is also the Mighty Judge. He has the power to destroy this life we know as easily as he created it. 

In our politically correct nation our churches have emphasized God’s loving attributes. But we don’t often hear about his anger. Read Zephaniah and you will see God’s anger toward sin.

God doesn’t take sin lightly and he certainly doesn’t laugh at sin. He never overlooks sin or excuses it on the basis of someone’s intentions. Like it or not, agree with it or not, God is clear about what sin is. Lying, infidelity, homosexuality, dishonesty, greed, gluttony, drunkenness are all sins as identified by God in his Word. 

Yes, all sin is forgivable when confessed. But no sin will go unpunished. That punishment will be paid either by the one who commits the sin or by Jesus on behalf of the sinner. 

The payment for sin is death. Eternal death. The Bible tells us Jesus not only paid that debt but he conquered death itself. We can either accept what he did or face him on our own. And facing him on our own will only turn out badly.

Let’s thank God for his love, for his grace, for redemption. But let’s not forget who we are dealing with here. He is Almighty God, Holy, Holy, Holy. 

And sin makes him really mad.

Holy God, we bow before you today and acknowledge that you take sin seriously. Forgive us when we don’t. I ask that you’ll reveal in each of us today those things in our lives that anger you. May we confess and repent of them and accept Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf. I pray that none of us will hold on to sin or think for a minute that you will excuse that sin in us. May we view sin the same way you do and purge it from our lives. May we walk with you today in the righteousness that is ours through your Son.

July 23

Isaiah 66:1-24; 2 Kings 21:1-26, 22:1-2; Psalm 82; 2 Chronicles 33:1-25, 34:3

Is it possible for someone to be too sinful for God to forgive? Look at the life of King Mannaseh. During the first years of his reign he undid everything his father Hezekiah had done. He worshiped Baal, consulted mediums, even sacrificed his own son. He turned the temple of the Lord into a place of false worship and encouraged the Jewish people to worship the gods of other nations.

His was a blatant act of disobedience and disrespect toward the God his father had served. But in 2 Chronicles 33 we find out Mannaseh repented. He humbled himself before the Lord and God forgave him.

King Mannaseh spent the rest of his life trying to undo the damage he had done. He worked hard to restore the nation as God’s blessed people.

So the answer to my question is – no. There is nothing you or I have done that God can’t forgive. The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. Praise the Lord!

Sometimes we might hold back from serving the Lord because of a sin we committed in our past. We convince ourselves that what we did was so awful we don’t deserve to be forgiven. And you know what?

We’re right to think that!

That’s the definition of grace – receiving what we don’t deserved. Grace that is greater than all our sin. 

If a past sin is holding you back because you think God can’t forgive you, think again. Go to him. Humble yourself. Ask him to forgive you. Repent. Forgiveness is yours for the taking because Jesus has already paid the price for that sin. It’s up to you to accept it for your own.

Don’t let Satan’s lies prevent you from receiving what God is offering you today. Remember, God has seen it all. Nothing you say will surprise him. He’s anxious to hear you tell him you’re sorry for what you did so he can wash you with the blood of Jesus.

Yes, even you.

July 22

Isaiah 61-65

Isaiah 64:4 says “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” Over and over God has shown himself to be the one true God. There just is no other.

And the amazing thing about God is that, not only is he bigger than life, mighty, holy, and righteous, he is also personal.

God wants to live right here in our hearts. He wants us to recognize his still small voice. He wants to have fellowship with each of us.

The Bible tells me God is working in my life to bring me closer to him. He’s working in your life, too. He wants to speak to us both through the pages of his Word. He wants us to wait on him, meditate on his Word, pray. He wants us to know when he nudges us toward action and he wants us to obey.

And when we wait on him, when we obey, he promises to act on our behalf. That doesn’t mean we’ll always get what we want. But it does mean we’ll get what he wants for us.

Even better!