Beating myself up

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”  1 John 3:19-20.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 28-30, and 1 John 3.

If I am doing something wrong I want God to prick my conscience about it.

Today’s verses guide me away from constantly seeing God as Judge and nothing else.  I must stop being perpetually gloomy because of not being perfectly holy.

God is also a God of love.  He doesn’t want me sinning but He also knows that sinners will sin.  He reads my heart and notes my intentions.

These verses are obviously for believers.  If you aren’t a believer you need to be clearly tuned to the consequences of your sins: Eternal separation from God.

As a believer, sins are an indication of my former state and a reminder of where I’ve come from and where I don’t want to return to.  They provide plenty of “O, I’m sorry” opportunities.  God knows the genuineness of these apologies.  If I truly love Him, I can’t help but apologize and glow in the fact that He has promised to forgive me.

I must strike an accurate middle ground in my daily walk regarding the God of Love and the God of Justice.  If I’m condemning others and myself too much then I have overplayed the God of Justice part.  If I’m ignoring my sins and the sins of others too much I’m overplaying the God of Love part.  Walking the fine middle line takes an on-going tight relationship to God.  He will lead me to get justice and love right.  I need Him every second!

“Lord, forgive me for misunderstanding how to live as a believer.  Forgive me for wallowing in self-condemnation.  Forgive me for excusing sin.  Help me to function in a way that pleases You.  Help me to react to sin as You want me to.  Prick my conscience when I mess it up in either direction.  I love You, Lord.”

God is a God of Justice and of Love.  Can we get the balance right between the two?

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In what do we trust?

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”  Psalm 118:8.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 21, 24, 27, and Psalm 118, and 1 John 2.

How nerve-wracking this world is.

Even something like today’s eclipse throw’s folks into a scare.

When evidence is displayed that shows that the universe is beyond our control, we get anxious.

It is probably a good thing because “Who’s in control?” is a great question.  God is in control.  He was the Creator and the universe works on His whim.

Humans are not in charge of the universe.  We are here on borrowed time.  We are terminal.  Our days are in His hands.

I must remember that God knows best.  I must be consulting Him for guidance.  I must be willing to change course in an instant.  I must be willing to stay the course if I must.  I can’t consult Him occasionally and stay on course.  Too many twists and turns.

I am easily worried by things and that’s a good thing.  Why?  Because those worries alert me that I have taken my eyes off God and onto something else to take refuge in.  I quickly learn that the other refuges are inadequate.  But glory to Him, I have God to turn to.  How comforting that He knows what’s best for me and will lead me.

“How blessed I am, Father, to have You as my Savior.  The comfort is palatable.  Forgive me for chasing counterfeit gods.  They are worthless and remind me of the folly found frequently in the Old Testament.  You were angry when Your people choose alternatives rather than You for guidance.  Forgive me for ever going there.  I love You too much to persist at it.  You are my One and only God.  Hallelujah!”

Is God at the top of your “trust” list?

 

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Evil scares me

“you trust in your riches and say, ’Who will attack me?’” Jeremiah 49:4.

“The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you.” Jeremiah 49:16.

“I will chase Edom from its land in an instant.” Jeremiah 49:19.

Note the sequence: I’m not afraid. I have everything under control.  I’m gone in an instant.

God is in charge whether we know it or not.

Evil exists.  Powerful evil, in fact.  North Korea has missiles that can reach us.

But if you follow the sequence you can see North Korea.  However, can you also see the United States?

We have no special immunity from disaster.

We live in a culture that trusts in counterfeit gods.  But those counterfeits are anything but secure.

We need note that Edom is removed in an INSTANT.  Their so-called defenses were useless.  Their pride in their own capabilities was similarly useless.  And they went down the drain in a hurry!

They were helpless before God.

The enemies in our midst are known to God.  No matter what evil they generate, they will not overpower the God we trust in.  We have chosen the past, present, and future Winner.

“Lord, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the forces of evil that inhabit earth.  They are everywhere and at times are in our neighborhoods.  We scare easily and when we do it reveals that our trust in not in the Almighty God but in the gods we, instead, trust to keep us out of trouble.  Forgive us for minimizing You.  In You we have the only trustworthy One.  The God for all seasons.  Keep us active in resisting the Devil.  You have promised that the Devil will flee from us is we submit ourselves to You.  I submit to You now.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Has the evil in the world got you down?  God is in charge.  Evil flees before Him.  We win in the end!  Live confidently in Him.

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“Do you remember the time He …… ?”

“Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 45-47, Psalm 105, and John 21.

To think that Jesus did nothing beyond what is written in the Bible is pure folly.

John, suggests, in today’s verse that there was plenty more that could have been told.

When will we hear those stories?  I imagine in the next life there will be time to hear the stories of what God/Jesus did.  I’m hoping we’ll see the “replays.”  What glorious times those will be!

I grew up in a church where the weekly prayer meeting usually involved testimonies.  The meetings were weekly and as I now think about it there should have been plenty of material available for each attendee to present.

But if we’re not paying attention, we lose track of God “in our midst.”  I drove today on a road where cars/trucks were traveling 70-80 MPH in tight quarters.  No accidents.  That is God in the details.  The recollections of just today provide many God-interventions that were noteworthy.

Jesus was involved with crowds.  So much happened within them.  Just imagine the reaction in the families of those healed.  Not much is recorded about that.

I like stories and I’m looking forward to hearing believers, past and present, sharing what God/Jesus did for them.  There surely are endless numbers of sharings ready to be given.  What a day that will be!

“I am so limited by earthly perceptions.  You have impacted millions of lives including mine.  Help me to see the many ways You impact in my life each day.  To take note of Your grace to me.  I deserve nothing.  I am totally indebted to You.  You have endlessly blessed me. I love You, Lord.”

There is no way you and I can imagine the quantity of other things Jesus did beyond what is recorded in the Bible.

 

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Perhaps

“Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways.”  Jeremiah 26:3.

“Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways…..” Jeremiah 36:3.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 26,35-36, and John 20.

God is offering a way out.

These folks are being told, now it’s up to them to respond.

God is like that.  We have choices.

If I chose to continue down a wrong road, I will surely get to a wrong location.

God loves me.  He wants me to change for the better and He gives me insight into my wrong and a viable solution.

Sounds simple but how often we resist.  The folks in the Jeremiah story heard and heard and heard that captivity was in their future.  The consequence was clear unless they changed their ways.  Spoiler alert: They don’t change their ways!

Each of us has at least an inkling in almost every situation of what will happen if we do certain things: If I drink coffee at night I will have trouble trying to sleep later on.  I reap what I sow.

I must keep my connection to God tight.  I cannot let it slip or get loose.  If I mess up the connection, then I will get into assorted difficulties.  It always works that way so, why do I keep going there?  I’m a sinner and so are you.

Paul lamented similarly when he asked no one in particular, why he continued to do the things he didn’t want to do.

How will we react after waywardness.  We must recognize it, ask for forgiveness, and do better at getting things right in the future.

“I thank You for Your Word.  I thank You that You wait patiently for me to turn my life over to You.  Forgive me for getting so easily disconnected from You.  I reconnect to You now.  Take me over, I beg.”

God is waiting for us to recognize our waywardness and change our ways.

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You didn’t think I’d notice?

“’Am I only a God nearby,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God far away?  Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the Lord.  ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:23-24.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 23 & 25, and John 19.

Our view of God is often so human.  So limited.

We imagine Him as one of us but with special powers.

We think of God as the Jesus of the Bible.  But God is not the Jesus of the Bible, He is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.

Thinking you can get away from God……..forget about it!

If I know that God is always listening and watching, I am certain to behave better.  Sometimes when I am on the computer and seductive sites show up on the sidebars, the temptation at times is strong to take a quick look.  But if I instantly realize that Someone is watching, I quickly move on.

We need the awareness of His presence.

Also we need to know that God is tuned into things going on elsewhere.  People are having surgery.  People are traveling.  God is with them and we can thank Him for it.

“Lord, how blessed I am to have You close and to have You elsewhere.  We are truly under Your care.  Forgive me for trying, at times, to act as if You weren’t around.  That’s sin.  What a great God You are.”

God is always with us.  We must act accordingly.

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Scared to be a Christian

“’You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?’ she asked Peter.  He replied, ‘I am not.’”  John 18:17.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 24, Jeremiah 22, Psalm 112, and John 18.

Troubling line.

Of course, Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples.  Under the circumstances that existed, however, he felt it was better for him to abandon that relationship.

There are times in our lives when being connected to something or someone is dangerous.  Try being a vocal Red Sox fan in Yankee Stadium or a vocal Yankees’ fan in Fenway Park.

I watched a game from Fenway this year in which a fan caught a foul ball.  The usual routine of holding the ball high and turning to face the cheering crowd didn’t go so well because the young man had a Yankees’ hat on.  The applause quickly turned to boos and insults.

For those paying attention, being a vocal Christian in the United States can now be considered costly.  The days of tolerance are over.  Attempts are underway to silence Christians.

Am I committed even to God to weather such adversity?  Will I cut and run if confronted?  That is what Peter did when the darkness of Gethsemane turned into the firelight near where Jesus was held. God cannot be pleased with closet Christians.

If I am not filled with God then I will be filled with fear upon confrontation.  Filled with God, I have His Words and His Wisdom to guide me.

“Your Word is never out-of-date.  The fears of Peter are my own fears when the conversations about You turn rough.  I need You for every word/thought that I have.  I will mess things up royally if I abandon You.  You are my God for all seasons.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

The godless are never going to be tolerant of active Christians.  Plan according.

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