Showing posts with label jeremiah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jeremiah. Show all posts

He Speaks

chris with a shy grin
I was looking for a particular scripture this morning. I knew it said that nothing was impossible with God, and I knew it was in Jeremiah. Well, I found it but it didn't use the exact words I thought it did. It was okay though since I found a small treasure there I want to share with you today.

In Jeremiah 32, the prophet has been imprisoned for saying God's words. The kind didn't like that Jeremiah prophesied his doom because of an unrepentant heart. So he locked Jeremiah up in the prison. It can be easy for us to "lock up" words God speaks when we don't like them or if they don't agree or support our own theologies. That's an important truth I might expound on in some other writings, but what I want to focus on is found in verse 6.

Jeremiah 32:6 NLT says this: at that time God sent me a message. God came to Jeremiah and gave him some specific instructions. What stood out to me was that Jeremiah is in prison through no fault of his own, and God spoke. I can't say for sure what types of possibilities were going through the prophet's mind, but I'm sure the future didn't look too pleasant to him. there were a lot of really bad and really good outcomes possible. But God did not regard his situation as done. He didn't see Jeremiah too far gone, He didn't give up on the situation or judge by the circumstances. He reached down and spoke to Jeremiah right where He was.

This morning, I was greatly comforted by this passage. God really does see us. He knows our situation. He doesn't judge our hearts by the circumstances we have found ourselves in. He doesn't restrain His voice or restrict His promises because caregiving is beyond his sphere of influence. Nope! He reaches right into the very heart of the matter and He speaks.

That puts it back on us to not be so encumbered by our situations that we cannot hear Him. Hey, it can happen. Caregiving requires a lot out of us - no one doubts that. But it doesn't have to make our ears dull when it comes to hearing the gentle voice of God speak into our hearts.

Today, I'll be listening intently for His voice to speak into my "prison" cell. Maybe it's only those areas of my life and heart that I've locked up and away to keep them safe from life. My meditations will be on any closed in areas I'm protecting - and how I can turn my ear to His heart once again. I'll listen for Him to speak as I trust Him for one more day - will you join me?


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He Always Showed Up

I often refer to caregivers as furnace walkers because our lives are lived out in the furnace. This morning during my devotions, some thoughts left over from yesterday evening started rolling around in my head.

I first thought of the three Hebrew children as they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Then I thought about Daniel and the entire night he spent in the lion's den. In times past these stories were really frustrating to me as they all were delivered out of their trials while most caregivers faithfully face their furnace day after day. But today my mind took a different route.

For these two stories what stood out to me in my morning devotions was the fact that God showed up. Technically, He didn't deliver them out of the trial, but He walked through it with them. The king in both of these stories had delivered these men of God to their fate - and the king in both stories removed the men from their trials. But God showed up.

God was present in the fire with the three Hebrew children, but He was not visible once the king's men got them out. The Angel of the Lord came and shut the lion's mouths while Daniel spent the night in their den, but the king came and got him out the next morning when he with feeble faith said, O Daniel, was your God who you serve able to deliver you? Indeed He was! But God didn't open the mouth of the sealed den and let Daniel out, He spent the night there with him.

There are so many stories where God showed up to walk through trials with people of faith. I think of Hagar, who was leaving the mistreatment of Sarah. God showed up and prophesied about her son, Ishmael, but then told her to go back to Sarah and server her. He didn't whisk her away on a white horse.

What about Jeremiah? Some of believer's favorite words were penned by this prophet. I know the plans I have for you....But Jeremiah did not escape the captivity of his day. Instead, God walked through it with him. And all throughout scriptures in stories of great trials and tribulations we see God showing up. His presence hovered over the Children of Israel while they made their way, the long way, through the wilderness - but they still endured the wilderness.

He was with Joseph when he was sold by his brothers into a lifetime of slavery; and also with him when he was in prison for something he didn't do. Even though Joseph did some great things through God's direction - he never just went home. 

This morning I am encouraged by these stories of faith in the furnace. God doesn't always make the fire just go away - but He always shows up and walks through it with us giving us the strength and the courage to face each new day.

Today my thoughts will be on the ever abiding presence of God. I'm going to meditate on the fact that He's not afraid to walk through my furnace(s) with me. When it gets hotter - He gets nearer. Instead of always looking for that way out - I'm going to look for signs of His presence in the fire today. I'll listen for Him and look for Him. And when I sense Him, I'll lean in close to see what He has to say. Will you join me?

What a Wait!

I've never been very good at awaiting no matter what the situation. From doctor's offices to DMVs to standing in line at WalMart - I just don't do well. It may be that my mind is going a hundred miles an hour, or it could be that I finally have time to think of all the things I could be doing instead. Whatever it is about my makeup waiting just doesn't fit me well.

We've talked a lot in our devotions about waiting on God and maybe I have seen just a tiny bit of improvement since I've become a caregiver. We have some great examples of men and women of faith who waited on God patiently; and some who waited not-so-patiently too. Abraham and Sarah waited for years for God to fulfill His promise; and Joseph waited many years for his dream to come true. When we read the scriptures we can cover several chapters in a matter of minutes and it can be easy to forget that years passed between one chapter and the next.

Last night I was reading in Daniel. I love his story and how he remained faithful to the Lord even though he was in a tough physical situation. We can read this entire book in just a few minutes but we are talking 70 years from the first chapter to the last. That's a lifetime of waiting.

In chapter 9 of Daniel, we find him looking back over the prophecies that were given by Jeremiah. Daniel had most likely read and reread these prophecies during his captivity and he recalled that God promised it would only last 70 years; and it had been 70 years. That's a long time to keep the faith and to continue to trust God through daily adversity. As caregivers, our journeys are not always super smooth or pleasant but most of us have not been in our situation for 70 years.

So Daniel realizes that the 70 years are complete according to the Word of the Lord and he sets himself in prayer. Toward the end of the ninth chapter, he prays this:

Our God listen to the prayer of Your servant,
and to his supplications
For Your sake, O Lord 
Let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.
O my God, 
Incline Your ear and hear!
Open Your eyes and see our desolations...

Caregiving can be a lonely place and sometimes, like Daniel, we just need God to hear and to see us. Our challenge is remaining faithful during the trials of day-to-day living. It can be difficult to be patient. And while there are some pleasant days - each day can be filled with hard work that leaves us exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally at the end of the day.

Today as we take care of our loved one, let us meditate on simply remaining faithful in our walk with God and meditating on the truth that He has not left us to walk it alone. 

This will be my meditation today - will you join me?

Ever Wanna Give Up?

Have you ever just wanted to give up? I mean, face it  - life can be tough especially when you are faced with daily challenges and adversity. But if giving up was a real option - What would you give up to? We really are not alone when we've had all we think we can handle. For many of my acquaintances our days are filled with pain in one way or another. Some of my friends live in constant physical pain and then there are many who like me, and other caregivers, have this nagging emotional pain that does not ever go away. Either way it's pain on a very high level.And there are days it does not seem worth it to go on.

We are not alone! In Jeremiah 20 we find that he had been beaten and placed in prison in stocks - only for speaking God's words. He must have been in every kind of pain imaginable. His body hurt from the intense beating, his soul hurt and even his spirit was in pain as he cried out I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name...Jeremiah really wanted to give up for at least a second. Recently- I have felt the same way! But...

Just like Jeremiah when we reach that point of all we can carry - we have something, someone, Who will carry us. Jeremiah goes on to say that just at that point when he really wants to give up and give in - he finds that God's word is in him like a fire and he cannot hold it in! And even though everyone was literally against him Jeremiah found that the Lord is with me like a dread champion! And He is with us too - no matter what we face.

When it gets to be too much - we may take a rest - but we will never give up! As we continue to hide His word in our heart we will find that the Holy Spirit is right here with us - carrying us and comforting us through the turmoils of life. He really is our peace - but instead of giving up on life because of the pain - we must give in to Him in spite of the pain. He will comfort, He will carry and He will protect our spirits from harm. Let us trust Him for one more day.

Good Morning!

Jeremiah is sometimes called the weeping prophet. To many he seems to be a very big whiner. But he carried such a passionate burden for the people of God that he wept much of the time. If you briefly turn through the pages of Jeremiah you will find some very harsh things God had to say to his people. And besides obeying God and having to speak to His people in such a manner, he was imprisoned and persecuted.

Lamentations gives us a closer look into the tender heart of this prophet. (Yes, a prophet does have a tender side!) He wept over the disobedience of his own people and he did not understand why they didn't just obey God. I am sure when he was mercilessly thrown into the mucky pit he wondered if his life was over. He was left to sink in the muddy mess and basically left for dead. Do you think he ever questioned God's call on his life? As a caregiver and the huge life changes that role brought I have found myself questioning God about many things.

But in Lamentations 3:19-24 Jeremiah turns his thoughts to the Lord once again. In verse 19 he says that he remembers his afflictions. He did not ignore them. As caregivers there is absolutely nothing about our situations that can be ignored! Jeremiah speaks of all the emotions he has had - bitterness, wandering, and afflictions. In the next verse he says his soul is bowed down. Have you ever felt that way under the load? I am sure we all have from time to time.

Jeremiah then goes on to encourage himself in the Lord. He reminds himself of why he still has hope. God's unfailing lovingkindnesses and His compassion are enough strength to make another day on. He says that they are new every morning... sufficient to carry me through each day I must face. And then he speaks of God's faithfulness...through the storm, through the furnace, throughout this life - He remains faithful!

Therefore  - we have hope in Him!

Everyday Pressures

One of the things that others don't understand is the day to day pressures that we deal with. Even on the best good days we have there is so much to deal with. And really, when we are experiencing a good day any simple thing can wreck our emotions and we have to sweep them up for the rest of the day! Honestly, I'm not sure why that is except that we run so tight all the time. Our emotions can be stretched between pleasant and unpleasant emotions so tightly we are like the proverbial taut rubber band. So tight, in fact that any simple motion can set it off.

We all deal with the emotions of being a caregiver in different ways. Some of us may find a place and cry it out, others get angry and some just hold it all in. No matter how you deal with the huge responsibilities and load of being a primary caregiver we all know we must have Him to carry us through. When we can admit we really cannot do it on our own - He can step in and lift us up.

Lamentations 3:19-24 offers us great hope. Jeremiah starts out in verse 19 about his affliction and life's bitterness. This "Bible hero," a prophet of the Lord speaks of being bowed down within. Can we relate to that or what? Then Jeremiah shares how he encouraged himself in the Lord. He said that he reminds himself of how  the Lord's mercies never cease, and His compassions never fail. He recalled how these compassions, His mercies are new every morning. And that's how he remembered that he had hope!

So today let us remind ourselves of the mercies of God. Take a minute or two when things get heavy today to remember things that God has specifically done for you. Or think of a time when you know He had to carry you through! - renew your hope in Him today! It's a new day - here, it's still morning - so He has a brand new set of mercies and compassions ready to carry you through the day!

Right Back to Him

 God is so patient with us. I run to Him so often, I often wonder if He silently shakes His head as I approach for the millionth time. In a ...