Devotional – Spiritual Exile

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“And Jeremiah… [said] ‘I am banned from going to the house of the Lord.” Jeremiah 36:5 ESV

Jeremiah was in spiritual exile—banned by his own brethren from entering the house of the Lord! Why? For speaking the truth.

Joseph was sent into exile and slavery by his own brethren! Why? For speaking the truth.

Jesus Christ was rejected and crucified by his own brethren, for He ‘came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.’ John 1:11 ESV. Why? For speaking the truth.

Today, maybe you too are in spiritual exile for speaking the truth—having also been rejected by your own brethren.

Spiritual exile is not a fun place to be, but take heart! You are in very good company. Jeremiah, Joseph, and Jesus were all rejected by those who should have gladly received them and the truth they proclaimed!

Never forget—God not only sees the bigger picture, He sees the entire picture from beginning to end! When rejected by your own, the best example to follow is that of the Lord Jesus Christ, for ‘when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.’ 1 Peter 2:23 ESV.

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Editorial note: Originally published June 29, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Got Satisfaction?

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For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107:9 ESV

The December 9, 2004 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine published a listing of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” as compiled by leading music industry insiders and experts.

The #2 song of all time? ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Wow! What an admission… what a commentary regarding the world we live in… it offers NO satisfaction. Many years after its release Mick Jagger confessed the song was his “view of the world” and expressed his “frustration with everything.” (source) Truly this world has nothing of enduring value to offer your hungry soul.

Can’t get no satisfaction? Then stop looking in this world! Look to God alone, for only He can satisfy your longing soul.

Satisfied with Thee, Lord Jesus, I am blest;
Peace which passeth understanding, On Thy breast;
No more doubting, no more trembling,
Oh, what rest! Oh, what rest!

Taken up with Thee, Lord Jesus, I would be;
Finding joy and satisfaction All in Thee;
Thou the nearest and the dearest
Unto me, unto me.

Henry Bennett

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Editorial note: Originally published June 23, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – God is Fully Trustworthy

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yet I will not make a full end. Jeremiah 4:27 ESV

but make not a full end. Jeremiah 5:10 ESV

I will not make a full end of you Jeremiah 5:18 ESV

but of you I will not make a full end. Jeremiah 30:11 ESV

but of you I will not make a full end. Jeremiah 46:28 ESV

Looking for evidence that the Bible is true? Look to the Jew!

Some two thousand six hundred years ago God, through the prophet Jeremiah, told the Jewish people His judgment was about to be poured out on them. The Babylonians would overrun the Jewish nation and destroy the city of Jerusalem, including the temple. Many would die and most of the survivors would be taken captive and exiled to Babylon.

God also made a stunning promise: despite being brought to the brink of total annihilation, He would not make a full end of the Jews.

Fast forward 2,600 years: the Jews are still a clearly identifiable people! God has kept His promise– His word is fully trustworthy!

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Editorial note: Originally published June 17, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Encourage One Another

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Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 ESV

What words? “…the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV.

We can encourage one another (and ourselves) by remembering we, as the Lord’s people, have a glorious future! Today, there is much to be discouraged about, but faith grabs hold of the promises of God. And, what better promise could there be than “we will always be with the Lord?”

Family, health, and financial problems are very real and very discouraging. But remember, in Jesus Christ you have the promises of God to cling to and a wonderful future to anticipate: we will always be with the Lord!

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Editorial note: Originally published June 11, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – What’s in a Name?

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Judas (not Iscariot) John 14:22 ESV

Solomon poetically declared, “a good name is better than precious ointment.” Ecc. 7:1 ESV.

Unfortunately the name Judas has been forever tarnished because of Judas Iscariot’s ultimate act of betrayal. How tarnished? So tarnished that John is very careful to point out which Judas he is NOT speaking of! And, in the 2000 years since then very few parents have given their child the name Judas. Why have so many avoided this name? Well, to put it bluntly, the name stinks!

What about your name? Is the aroma of your life like a precious perfume? Will those around you come to associate your name with something akin to a fine smelling perfume?

Lord, I humbly ask you to empower me to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to you. I ask for Your grace to live peaceably among all of my neighbors, even those who act unkindly towards me. Lord, I pray that my life might reflect the sweet aroma of the name of Jesus Christ.

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Editorial note: Originally published June 5, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

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Devotional – Do Not Be Anxious About Anything

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 ESV

Seriously? Don’t be anxious?! Do not be anxious about anything? Is this even possible?

Paul answers with a resounding yes! Yes it is possible!

How? Prayer! As cares arise throughout the day take each of those cares immediately to the Throne of Grace… and leave them there! Don’t worry, He will know what to do.

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Joseph Scriven

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Editorial note: Originally published May 26, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

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Devotional – Are You In God’s Hall of Faith?

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By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God. Hebrews 11:3 ESV

Hebrews 11 is God’s Hall of Faith… the names of Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, David and many others who lived triumphant lives of faith are there.

Did you know you are also listed in God’s great Hall of Faith?
You are… if by faith you ‘understand that the universe was created by the word of God.’

Today, the world’s elite scoff at the idea of a creator God. Our high schools and universities furiously reject any notion of the Lord creating the heavens and the earth.

Have you ever been laughed at or ridiculed for your faith in the Creator of the universe? Take heart for you are not alone! Hebrews 11 goes on to tell of “others” who “suffered mocking… and… were… afflicted, mistreated.”

God did not overlook their faith… He will not overlook your faith either!

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Editorial note: Originally published May 21, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

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Devotional – Only One Life Twill Soon Be Past

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Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  James 4:14 ESV

Earlier this week a horrific passenger train accident in Philadelphia, PA resulted in 8 fatalities and over 200 injuries.  As I saw pictures of the tragic accident and heard traumatized survivors describe their nightmarish experience, a flood of emotions overwhelmed me.   Anger– how could such an accident happen?  Sorrow for those who were injured.  Revulsion at the sight of grotesque injuries. Compassion for those who lost loved ones and prayers for all of those affected.

Tragedies like this are a stark reminder of the brevity of life.  One moment you’re comfortably riding a train sipping hot coffee– the next moment– before your coffee’s steam has even dissipated–  you find yourself having passed from this life into eternity.

Tragedies like these should serve as a reminder to redeem the time we have been given and make productive use of every minute for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

C. T. Studd

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Editorial note: Originally published May 15, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

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Devotional – A Peaceful and Quiet Life

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But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7 ESV

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV

Jeremiah 29:4-23 records for us a divinely inspired letter written by the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. The letter, written near the beginning of the Babylonian exile, provided the newly arrived exiles with instructions for daily living, encouragement, and warnings regarding false prophets.

Among other things, the exiles were to “seek the welfare of the city” in which they were living. In other words, the exiles were to live as exemplary citizens. They were to conduct themselves in a manner that would benefit the larger community around them.

The exiles were also instructed to “pray to the Lord on [the city’s] behalf.” In addition to being model citizens the exiles were also instructed to petition God in prayer for the welfare of city– the city that was holding them captive!

In the New Testament we have been given similar instructions: to be good citizens (Romans 13:1, Mark 12:17), to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), and to pray for those who are in political positions of authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Why?

“That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 1 Timothy 2:2.

Lord, it is my desire to live a peaceful and quiet life. I desire to live a life that would reflect your love and character to the world around me. Help me to live godly and dignified in every way. For your glory. Amen.

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Editorial note: Originally published May 9, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

 

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Devotional – Stop Waiting!

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He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4 ESV

Are you waiting for the absolute perfect moment to obey God’s calling? Are you waiting for the absolute perfect moment to witness to your neighbor, coworker or classmate? Did you wake up this morning, look at the calendar and think, “Nope, the conditions are not right today. I’ll wait for a better opportunity.”

Stop waiting!

The farmer who waits for the absolutely perfect weather conditions to sow the seed will never plant. Just as the farmer who waits for the perfect weather to reap the harvest will have his crops rot in the field.

Stop waiting…

…for the conditions to be right to obey God’s calling in your life! Step out in faith today! Stop waiting for the perfect opportunity to witness! Share the gospel today!

Jesus Christ said, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” John 4:35 ESV

Stop waiting! Otherwise the crops will rot in the field, the harvest will pass, and it will be too late.

Stop waiting.

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Editorial note: Originally published April 24, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

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