Category Archives: Lamentations

U-Turn

“Turn us around and bring us back to you again!  That is our only hope! Give us back the joys we used to have.”  Lamentations 5:21 (Living Bible)

My computer has not been working very well lately.

A nearby repair shop found nothing wrong except that the machine is 4+ years old.

What to do?

Therein became the problem as my approach was; “What can I do?”, and “What can others do?”

I got so uncertain about what to do……that I turned to prayer!

A Godly Sherlock Holmes could easily note my problem: looking for solutions in the wrong order.

Why do I constantly plan and proceed without His counsel?

What small part of my thinking does He actually control ?

I set out this morning to visit a computer place that I had used 4+ years ago to install the software needed to get my current computer up-and-running at that time.  As I drove to the place, I heard an Inner Voice: “You haven’t had your devotions yet.  Turn around, go home, and have them before you do anything.”

I wanted to ignore that Voice because I was on the way, but I knew that I couldn’t.  I turned around, went home, and had my daily reading and meditating.

Lamentations 5:21 caught my eye.  For me that verse said, “Stop planning and proceeding without me and turn, instead, to me without ceasing.”

I do not know where my search for computer solutions will take me, but I feel a whole lot better about that search now that I’ve turned to Him before seeking anymore solutions.

 

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Where is God when a Category 4 hurricane is heading your way?

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  Lamentations 3:25-26.

How can God be “good” when things aren’t going so well?

God is “good” because He is in charge and ALWAYS knows what to do and when to do it.

I look through a glass darkly.  I can’t see the future and I don’t fully understand the past and the present.  God does.

Perfect for me is the idea of waiting quietly.  That is contrary to the way I am.  I want things to get done.  I want to make sure that they do get done.  I am not patient.

This verse tells me that it would be “good” if I calmly waited.  That is a verse out of God’s handbook……..for me.

Sometimes my hard driving will get things done.  Other times it gets me into trouble and frustrated.

Will I trust God?  Will I stop trusting myself?

I often judge God by my own standards.  What am I thinking when I do that?  I have such a limited perception of what is going on.

The news today is about a Category 4 hurricane closing in on the East Coast.  There will be damage.  There could be loss of life.  Where’s God in this?  Clearly, I don’t understand God……….but I trust Him.  He can turn a storm.  Recall the New Testament story on the Sea of Galilee.

I suspect that many are praying that the storm will veer away.  Will God change its course?  If He doesn’t, is He no longer “good?”  All that God does is “good.”  It is good by His Standard.

Many who are praying about the storm will say afterwards, “I prayed, and God didn’t do anything.”  If the storm hits the East Coast, then it was part of God’s plan.  He allowed it to do what He wanted it to do.  Tough teaching for sure.

Conclusion: God knows what He’s doing.  I must see what happens that way.

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Sin sticks

“Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future.”  Lamentations 1:9.

This verse is talking about Jerusalem.  They disobeyed God and never considered the consequences.

When I disobey God, I must know that my disobedience is noticed.  If God knows about it, then I must do something about it.

Jerusalem ignored God and weren’t concerned about the consequences.  How is that possible?  Maybe they were so entrenched in sin that they couldn’t stop.  Maybe they had no fear of God.

I cannot intentionally disobey God without fearing the consequences.  I know that I am going to be uncomfortable if I let things slide.  My guilt is not going to go away.  I need to confess my sin to the One I have disobeyed and then seek restoration with those who suffered through my disobedience.

Jerusalem did neither.  They ignored the consequences and ended up invaded and exiled.

God has charge of punishment.

My conscience must be so sharp that every sin I commit gets a reaction.  I need to be so close to God that I can’t sleep on disobedience.  I cannot rest until I’ve confessed to Him and cleaned up things with those offended.

Conclusion: I cannot let sin stick to me.  I must confess it and address it.

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Do you have an addiction?

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”  Lamentations 3:40.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Lamentations 3-5, and Revelation 15.

I need to examine the way I do things.

Mileage on something doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing.

I have recently figured out that I have an addiction for a certain behavior.  I wish I could report that it is a good habit……….but it isn’t.

I have excused myself for such behavior since I have been married.  “It is who I am,” I tell myself.  “It was wrong and I will see that it doesn’t happen again”…….but it does.

I finally sorted out that this behavior is at the addiction level.  I looked at a book on Alcoholics Anonymous and noted that they identify themselves and their addiction.  They will say something like, “I am Ralph and I am a cocaine addict.”  They connect themselves to an owned-up-to addiction.  They recognize their neediness.

When I approach my life-long behavior as an addiction I identify myself with the problem and recognize my neediness.  I am not in charge.

Reverting to something frequently could well be an addiction.  Addictions can appear in the form of habits, I believe.  And I want to face mine as an addiction.

God wants us to look at how we are.  We need to be clean before Him.  We cannot continue to behave in an ungodly manner.  If we can’t make the necessary adjustments to change the ungodly behavior, we need to recognize our neediness in this regard and plead for His help as a cocaine addict would.  God is there for us.

“Lord, I need You every second.  Help me now to fully behave in a Godly fashion.  Help me to lean entirely on You for support.  I plead for the safety of those under the influence of Irma in Florida.  Protect and comfort them.  You are in charge.  I love You, Father.”

I want God in 24/7 in assisting me with my addiction.  I want to lay my neediness before Him as often as I’m able.  I need Him desperately.

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God knows

“You have seen……” Lamentations 3:60.

“Lord, you have heard……” Lamentations 3:61.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Lamentations 3-5, and Revelation 15.

I seldom watch the news.  Too many bad things happening.  It seems never-ending.

There’s a part of me that hopes that things will get better and that the news will be about the good things that happened.  Strictly a dream.

That is why our task on earth is so challenging: We are to be part of transforming the world in advance of the Messiah’s return.  How are we doing at that?  Not very well, if you judge it by the content of the news!

Good things are indeed happening, however, but there sure is plenty of evil around.  That is why today’s chosen verses are so comforting.  God sees and hears what is going on.

There will come a time, sooner or later, when evil will end and the unrepentant evil-doers will be punished.

Meanwhile, I know that Good News HAS happened.  The death of Jesus took everyone’s sins to death as well.  The burden of our sins was taken care of.  We each have a new life as a result with which in gratitude we can serve God.

Our choices are simple; (1) either believe the Good News and live accordingly or (2) deny/ignore the Good News and live accordingly.

Choice #2 puts you on the wrong side of God and will earn eternal separation from Him if it continues.

God knows what’s going on.  There are no alternatives to His Way.  Get on board, would you!

“Lord, thank You for giving me new life in You.  There is nothing better.  Thank You for the comfort I have knowing that You are in charge.  Right and wrong will be rewarded.  Darkness will turn to light.  You are a great God.  I love You, Father.”

Please make the right choice on the Good News.

hwfm-910-snack-in-mouth

 

 

 

 

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Do you need relief?

“I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ’Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’” Lamentations 3:55-57

(Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading – Lamentations 3-5 & Revelation 15)

Are you in trouble?

Do you have a gnawing need?

You go to bed concerned, can’t sleep, and then discover that the worry is still there when you wake up.

I went through some back pain a number of years ago that just wouldn’t let go. I wish that I had “owned” today’s chosen verses when that was happening.

Why? Look at the relief that they offer: God hears me and God offers me comfort.

The Creator of everything is on my speed dial! And He will take my call. No voice mail with Him.

Don’t you love the people in your life who comfort you. No matter what, they are a source of encouragement. They are reliably empathetic.

But friends are limited in what they can do. God isn’t. These verses tell us that the Creator is assuring us that He knows what is going on and that He cares about us. What a blessing!

Those minus God go into a crisis hanging on to counterfeit gods. Those false gods may help for the moment but have their limitations in time. God is not limited in any way. Why trust others before Him?

“Lord, I thank You that You hear and care. I thank You that You have loved me despite my waywardness. Help me to turn FIRST to You in all things. You are the great God. I love You, Holy Spirit.”

(+26 – I must keep my body fit for the service of the Lord.)hwfm-Sept-10

 

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Sins and trouble are connected

hwfm-Sept-9“The Lord brought her grief because of her many sins.” Lamentations 1:5

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – Lamentations 1-2 & Obadiah & Revelation 14)

More of the “you get what you deserve” Scripture.

The beauty of reading the Bible regularly is that because of repetition you see how God operates. You learn what pleases Him and You learns what brings on his wrath.

The folks in Jerusalem have earned the latter. Deliberately and defiantly they have rejected God. “Don’t go to Egypt,” they were told by Jeremiah. Why? God wants you to stay in Jerusalem and live under the conquering Babylonians. The folks in Jerusalem would have none of it. They even bragged about doing what God told them not to do.

I wonder if I always remember how powerful God is. If a sibling tells me to do something or else, I will gauge what their consequences might be and then decide what I’ll do. With God the consequences are unlimited in what He could do to punish the disobedient.

I am trying to be a consistent believer in the midst where God has placed me. It is often difficult. Sometimes I mess things up and later have the desire to make corrections in my behavior. Other times someone in my midst is out of sorts. I can’t change them but I can, in God’s strength and direction, do what I can to improve the environment.

I must never forget that sin brings with it consequences. God is never pleased by it. His Holy Spirit must be in complete control of my life. I can’t be directing any part of it.

“Holy Spirit, what do You want me doing now?” In my midst I’m sure there are plenty of things He wants me doing. Am I willing to hear? Am I willing to obey?

“Father, help me to know that sin has consequences. I never want to be on the wrong end of Your wrath. Prick my conscience. Send awareness. I need You dominating what I do. I yield to You now. Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

(+27 – I must keep my body fit for the service of the Lord.)

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Are You being served?

s10“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I said to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'” Lamentations 3:21-24

(Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading – Lamentations 3-5 & Revelation 15)

The gloom and doom is heavy in Lamentations.  Jerusalem has fallen and many of the inhabitants have been taken off to Babylon.

But in the middle of this despair, the writer (probably Jeremiah) puts together a collection of hopeful verses.

God loves us more than we deserve.  He knows us exactly as we are and have been.  It has indeed been a sinful existence for all of us.  God should at the least avoid us and more deserving would be if he punished and destroyed us.  BUT instead He loves us with an undeserving love.  How great is He and worth of our love in return!

I must fill myself with Him because my sins are actually sins against Him.  

I must trust in God.  He knows what I should be doing.  I want Him to direct me to wherever that is.  

Note the word, “wait.”  Consider the actions of a “waiter” in a restaurant.  “What do You want, sir?”  “Is everything okay so far?”  The waiter reacts to the wishes of the patron with the goal in mind to please the patron.  I must react to God.  Can I be still enough to be know His wishes for my life?

“Lord, thank You for Your Word.  You have been so faithful to me.  I am undeserving of anything from You and always will be.  End my bent on leading myself.  I now wait on You.  Help me to prepare and practice being Godly where I am.  Help me to eliminate my grand designs for myself and instead wait on You.  How can I serve You today?”

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God’s love for us is great

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

(Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading – Lamentations 3-5 & Revelation 15)

Think of the reasons we have given God to be angry with us.  I believe that much of our sin is even unknown to us.  We think we sin occasionally but that is a fallacy.

I can be thankful that God’s overall love for me overreaches His anger against me.

Each day is a gift from Him.

To those who are given much, much is expected.  I need to live this day in close union with Him.  There can’t be any independent living.

How blessed I am…………and so undeserving of that blessing.  “Who am I that You are mindful of me?”

“Lord, I know so very little about You.  But I do know that You love me despite knowing all about me.  Saturate me with You.  Remove the sin that so easily clogs up my spiritual functioning.  I love You, Father.”

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

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I was wrong

“The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command.”  Lamentations 1:18

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – Lamentations 1-2 & Obadiah & Revelation 14)

Doesn’t this verse fit us all!

For a group of people facing judgment, it is good to see that they have figured out the cause of their problem.

God has high expectations.  For the believer in close fellowship with Him, wrongs are not going to slide by unnoticed.  Sin is not going to be overlooked.

The closer I am to the Lord, the more I will understand His Will.  I must not drift comfortably into sin.  I may sin but I can expect immediate jabbing from my conscience.

“Lord, I need Your help.  I am a sinner.  I want to be clean before You.  I do not want to stray away from Your Will.  Jab my conscience when it happens so that I can begin the process of restoration.  Help me, Father!”

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

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