Devotional – In Times Like These

 

Devotional Sun Icon

Cursed be the day on which I was born!
The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed! ~ Jeremiah 20:14 ESV

Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ ~ Job 3:3 ESV

And [Elijah] asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life” ~ 1 Kings 19:4

And [Jonah] asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” ~ Jonah 4:8 ESV

 

Jeremiah cursed the day of his birth. Job wished the day of his birth had never occurred. Elijah cried out “Enough!” and begged the Lord to take his life. Jonah also asked the Lord to take his, figuring death is preferable to life.

At least once in their lives Jeremiah, Job, Elijah and Jonah all reached a point where they wished they were dead!

Have you ever gone through a life crisis, wishing you had never been born? Maybe you’re feeling that way right now?! Maybe you have come to the end of what you think you can possibly handle, and like Elijah you’re screaming out to God, “Enough!”

If you are feeling that way, please remember God loves you! During times like this it’s difficult to feel His love. But, just because you can’t feel His love, it doesn’t mean you are unloved! Just because you can’t feel His presence, it doesn’t mean you are alone! Just because you feel like giving up, it doesn’t mean you should give up.

Oh, don’t trust your feelings! Rather grab ahold of the Lord Jesus Christ and never let go! Trust in His promises. Trust in His love. Trust in His strength. Trust in Him.

In times like these, you need a Savior,
In times like these, you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

The Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One,
The Rock is Jesus, The only One
Be very sure, be very sure, Your anchor holds,
And grips the Solid Rock.

———

Editorial note: Originally published April 2, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

‘In Times Like These’ by Ruth Caye Jones

 

Read More

Devotional – With A Nature Like Ours

Devotional Sun Icon

O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.  ~ Jeremiah 20:7 ESV

We may be tempted to think that the heroes of the Bible, such as the prophet Jeremiah, were invincible, even indefatigable spiritual giants.  Servants of God who never worried, were consistently fearless, and never tired of the Lord’s work.

We can easily grow discouraged, even depressed, in our service for the Lord when we think we have failed Him. “Why am I afraid to witness?” “Why didn’t I speak up and give a word for the Lord?” “Why did I go along with crowd and do what I knew was wrong?”

However the Bible does not portray the heroes of the faith as superhuman or super-spiritual.  Absolutely not. The Bible never glosses over the failures, shortcomings, or weaknesses of His servants.

Consider the following:

  • Elijah became depressed and suicidal ~1 Kings 19:4
  • David committed adultery and murder ~ 2 Samuel 12:7
  • Paul had his thorn in the flesh ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7
  • Thomas doubted the Lord had risen from the dead ~ John 20:25
  • Peter denied the Lord Jesus Christ. Three times. ~ Luke 22:61
  • Noah drank to the point of intoxication ~ Genesis 9:21
  • Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways after a fierce argument ~ Acts 15:39

Jeremiah often grew fearful and discouraged. At times Jeremiah questioned his calling—even accusing the Lord of using deception to lure him into the ministry (Jeremiah 20:7).

Clearly the heroes of the Bible were neither superhuman nor super-spiritual. Rather they were men and women “with a nature like ours.” James 5:17.

Lord, help me to go forth today in the power of Your strength.   Thank you for Your deep and abiding love!  Help me to ever keep my eyes squarely focused on you, that I may not grow discouraged.

———

 

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

 

Read More

Devotional – Formed, Known, Consecrated and Appointed

Devotional Sun Icon

“I formed you”

 “I knew you”

 “I consecrated you”

 “I appointed you” Jeremiah 1:5

When God sent a prophet to the nation of Judah He did not randomly choose just anyone.  No.  Long before God’s calling of Jeremiah God perfectly designed, specifically created and sovereignly appointed him for the task.

Jeremiah was not an accident; God specifically designed him to fulfill God’s purposes.

Jeremiah was not without purpose; God specifically created him to be a prophet.

Jeremiah was not alone; God intimately knew him and promised to go with him every step of the journey.

Jeremiah is not unique.  You were also designed and created by God for a very specific purpose.

Because you were specifically designed by God to fulfill His divine purposes, you can have confidence.  Maybe you wonder why God created you with a speech impediment? Moses said something very similar, “I am slow of speech and of tongue.” God responded to Moses by saying He is the Creator of the mouth!

Because God specifically created you for His purposes, your life has value.  You need not feel unimportant or even worthless.  You are important and your life has value—infinite value.  Why?  Because you are not an accident! God specifically created you.  God specifically created you to fulfill a unique purpose.  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV.

Because God desires an intimate and personal relationship with you, you need never to be alone or even feel alone. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8 ESV

Lord, I pray that today you would fill me with a real sense of Your presence, that You would reveal to me Your purpose for my life and fill me with the confidence of knowing that you designed and created me.

———

 

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

 

Read More

Devotional – The Bread and The Cup

Devotional Sun Icon

 “No one shall break bread for the mourner, to comfort him for the dead, nor shall anyone give him the cup of consolation to drink for his father or his mother.” Jeremiah 16:7

God sent the Prophet Jeremiah to the southern Kingdom of Judah to pronounce God’s impending judgment because of the nation’s persistent idolatry.  God was about to unleash the enemies of Judah who would bring sweeping death and destruction.

If the nation of Judah would truly confess, repent and turn from their sin, Jeremiah preached, God would relent and withhold His judgment.  Sadly the people ignored Jeremiah’s impassioned pleas, choosing instead to persist in their evil ways.

In Jeremiah 16 God instructs those who would survive not to bury or lament the dead or even comfort surviving family members.

In verse 7 God specifically directs the people to refrain from the common funeral practice of breaking bread and partaking of the cup of consolation.  It was as if God was saying that the deceased were not worthy to be remembered for their sins were so great.

Today, when we meet together each Lord’s Day to break bread and partake of the cup we do so to remember One who is truly worthy to be remembered, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who died in the judgment in Jeremiah’s day were guilty sinners; He was without sin. They turned from the true God to worship idols (v11); He did the will of His Father.  They broke God’s laws (v11); He fulfilled the law.  They refused to listen to God (v12); He was the Living Word of God. They followed their own will (v12); He meticulously followed the will of His Father.  They deserved the judgment of God; He did not.  They bore their own judgment; He bore our judgment.

So on this Lord’s Day we meet together to break bread and partake of the cup to remember our Lord Jesus Christ.  For He alone is worthy to be remembered.

———

 

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

 

Read More

Devotional – The Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd

Devotional Sun Icon

Jesus Christ as Shepherd

“the Good Shepherd” ~ John 10:11

“the Great Shepherd” ~ Hebrews 13:20

“the Chief Shepherd ” ~ 1 Peter 5:4

We live in a world filled with danger, uncertainty and temptations.  Everyday the news is filled with reports of crime, violence, terrorism and wars.  Regularly we are confronted with the evils of the world. Some of the evils we find repulsive, other evils secretly tempt us and lead us astray.

The hymn writer penned:

 Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wand’ring heart to Thee:

Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it—prone to leave the God I love.¹

Like sheep we are prone to wander, prone to wander into danger.  Yet we need not despair! There is a Shepherd!  Not just any shepherd, but the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd! The Lord Jesus Christ.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36

He is the Good Shepherd because He laid down His life for the sheep.  John 10:11

He is the Great Shepherd because He rose from the dead for the sheep.  Hebrews 13:20

He is the Chief Shepherd because He will soon return to reward the sheep.  1 Peter 5:4

Lord, like a sheep I am prone to wander from the God I love. Thank you for providing for me a Shepherd – a Shepherd who is willing to leave the 99 for the one. Who is willing to leave the 99 for me.  Thank you Lord.

 

 [1] Osbeck, Kenneth W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996. Print.
———

 

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

 

Read More

Devotional – The God of the Impossible

Devotional Sun Icon

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 ESV

Immediately after waking up this morning I was quickly engulfed by a dreadful torrent of fear. My heart started pounding… I even began to sweat as my mind raced though all of the items on my agenda.  “This is impossible,” I thought, “How can I ever face the day ahead of me!”

Amazing!  I was already defeated.  I had only been awake for a few minutes—I was still in bed!—and I wanted to give up.

Is this how God wants us to live?  Paralyzed by our own feelings of inadequacy and fear? Of course not!

God’s earnest desire for us is to abound in hope, fill us with all joy and give us His peace that surpasses all understanding!

How?  How can I possibly know hope, joy, and peace despite the seemingly insurmountable problems I face?  By believing!  By believing in the long promised Messiah—The Lord Jesus Christ.

Why was I filled with a paralyzing fear this morning?  Because I was looking at my problems!  I was looking at myself.  I had taken my eyes off of Jesus Christ and I began to sink in to a quagmire of self-pity and fear.

Lord, help me to keep my focus on you, to rely on you and to fill me with all hope, joy and peace that comes from believing in you.

———

 

Editorial note: Originally published March 2, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

Read More

The Clouds Are The Dust Of His Feet

The clouds are the dust of His Feet. Nahum 1:3

Read More

Devotional – Peace in Times of Turmoil

Devotional Sun Icon

“Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away?  Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 23:23-24

There is nowhere you can go where God is not.  There is nowhere you can go where God cannot see you.  There is nowhere you can go where God cannot hear you.

If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the truth of God’s all-presence brings inner peace in times of turmoil, confidence in the face of opposition, and strength in times of weakness.

Today you can face all of the difficulties of life knowing that He is right there with you. You can be comforted to know that He hears your prayers.

Father, You are omnipresent. There is nowhere I can go where you are not.  May I rest fully in the peace, confidence and strength that only your presence can bring.

———

 

Editorial note: Originally published February 4, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

Read More
p 5 of 512345