What does it take to get God to change His mind?

“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.”  Jeremiah 18:7-8.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 18-20, Psalm 96, and John 16.

Can the Bible be believed?  I certainly hope so!

God is telling Israel and Judah the way out of the disaster He has planned for them.

How does this fit in our lives?  We can do something about impending disasters: Repent of the evil we’re committing.

If I am living in sin, I can be fairly certain that there will be consequences.  If I repent of my sins, God can change the result those sins were leading me into.

He can turn the storms of live away from us.

If I want God’s protection, I must be right with Him.  Am I guaranteed a life of happy times?  Certainly not.  But I must not resign myself to disasters.  Instead, I must get myself clean before Him and claim this “turning around” Scripture.  In today’s verses, God was willing to change His mind about an upcoming disaster if the intended recipients of that disaster would get clean with Him.

“Lord, I must never underestimate You.  You love me so much that You provided a way for me to escape my sins’ consequences.  Help me to fully trust You with every part of my life.  I want that cleanness before You.  You amaze me, Father.”

God can change His mind if we will change our ways.

 

 

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Someone is listening

“What passes my lips is open before you.”  Jeremiah 17:16.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 16-17, Psalm 96, and John 16.

Verses like today’s show up all the time in the Bible.

And every time I read them I get a shot to my conscience.  I start to play back the day so far and cringe.

“Everything” I say is known to God!  Rest your brain on that.  We are indeed completely accountable and yet we live as if there is no third party within hearing range.

What would a conversation, in any location, sound like if I knew that Someone else was tuned to it?  That’s an easy one to answer: Different!

How often do you speak harshly about someone not in the conversation?  Unkind words cannot be part of my conversations.

How controlled by God would I have to be to speak only His Words?  A lot more than I am now, for sure.

And it is not that I don’t want to use just His Words, it’s that I am so undisciplined in my relationship to Him that His Words are not fully my words.

I also have a lousy memory of Scripture because I forget that He is in my midst always and hears it all.

“O Lord, a direct-hit Scripture for certain.  I must be tightly connected to You.  My words betray our relationship.  My words are supposed to benefit listeners not titillate or infuriate them.  I surrender to You.  Fill me with You.  May my words please You, I ask.”

Just imagine that God hears everything you say…………because He does!

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I have no friends

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:15.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 13-15, and John 15.

A believer is never friendless, according to today’s verse.  That’s good enough for me!

I do not have many friends.  I have a cellphone that receives few calls.  Message are rare except for solar panels and things like that.

But I do have One certain friend: Jesus.  I am not out of His “loop.” I am an insider.

Friends know each other’s business.  They know habits and family and plenty in between.

I am bonded to God.  I have committed my life to Him.  I am His follower.  I know of His behavioral patterns. That’s because we are friends.

BUT could I know Him better.  Certainly, but how?  Spend more time in active communion with Him.  I think of how often I am unaware of Him.  How dare I ignore my best Friend?

“Lord, forgive me for lessening my pursuit of a better friendship with You.  I need that friendship.  I need an awareness of Your closeness to me and of Your interest in me.  You are watching what I do.  You are looking for devotion from me.  A casual acquaintance is not a friend.  Forgive my casualness, I beg.  Help me to work harder at improving our friendship. I love You.”

What a friend we have in Jesus………..

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That’s my God!

“Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’  But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.  When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.  He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.”  Jeremiah 10:11-13.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 10-12, and John 14.

Do you want to brag about God?  Jeremiah gives us plenty of ammunition!

This is not some “other” god.  He’s the real deal.

Our earthly concept of “greatness” is so world oriented.  Someone hits a home run: “That was great!”  A home run is great?  What would such a person say about what God has done?  I would hope that the first thing they would realize is that God is the One who is great.  These other things are trivial in comparison.

But do we live out the concept of a great God?  I am quite certain we don’t.  I believe that we seldom recognize what God has done and is doing.

God is in charge of the wind?  How does that happen?  Does He have a large fan somewhere?  We miss Who He is and wallow in our own little things.  We see a rock but miss the mountain.

I need to see Him better.  I need to admire His handiwork that is already in place.  I need to notice His Doings in my daily living.  How dare I ignore Him.  His love for me is amazing.  It always has been and always will be.  How blessed I am!

“Lord, I live in the midst of Your amazing handiwork.  Forgive me for not seeing it and recognizing You for it.  How blind of me.  You are an awesome God!”

How are we missing God’s greatness?

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Regular cleaning required

“He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’  ‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’  Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord, ’Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’” John 13:6-9.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 7-9, and John 13.

I need to be clean before God and He has done that for me.  How?  He had Jesus die for my sins.  My sins and their consequence no longer exist.  I am completely in the clear on Judgment Day.

But life on earth goes on and so does my sinning.  I must not be oblivious to my need of on-earth cleansing of my ongoing sinning.  What should I do?  When I sin, as a believer, I am almost always conscious of it.  An example for me is that I know that I shouldn’t have responded the way I did.  I recognize it for what it is, sin, and ask God to forgive me…….which He promises to do.

If I allow sin to fester within me, then I am unclean before Him and I know it.  Jesus is telling Peter that he needs to routinely cleanse himself before God.  He needs to own up to his sinfulness and seek forgiveness (washing).  If Peter chooses not to do something about his sinfulness, then he is behaving as someone would who doesn’t even believe who God is.

“Alert me, Father, to my sins.  Some I know about and some I am unaware of.  I want to be clean before You.  I don’t want to carry any sin “baggage.”  I am still amazed by Your grace to me.  How You can love a sinner, and an ongoing one at that, defies logic.  Thank You, Father.”

Regular cleaning before God is the best hygiene.

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Did you hear that?

“’Father, glorify your name!’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’  The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.  Jesus said, ‘This voice was for your benefit, not mine.’”  John 12:27-30.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 5-6, and John 12.

Ears to hear and ears to understand what we hear.

God spoke to Jesus but most of the folks present missed it.

They heard something but what was it?  Some figured it for thunder, other said it was angels.  Why didn’t they assume that it was God?  I am suggesting that they were unfamiliar with what God’s voice sounded like.  The suggestion by some that it was angels speaking implies that words were heard not just noise.

Does God still speak?  I believe that God still speaks.  I have never heard His voice out loud but I have had thoughts, usually to do things or stop doing things, that I believe are from Him.

Many in the crowd from John 12 were ultimately uncertain who Jesus really was.  Hearing the voice of God confirming Jesus would help them understand that Jesus was the Son of God.  The writer of John caught this message and I suspect that there were others in the crowd who caught it as well.

I must be tuned to God.  My walk with Him must be “in step.”  When I function at my own pace I lose connection to Him.  Then I don’t know what I should be doing or not doing.  That pattern leads to trouble far too often.

“Lord, I thank You for Your Word.  I need to be within hearing range of everything You say.  I want You to lead me every step.  Forgive me for my waywardness.  It is inexcusable.  Your love for a sinner baffles me.  I can’t understand Your love and graciousness…………but I accept it thankfully.  I love You, Lord.”

How’s your God hearing?

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HBO hackers leak top executive’s emails

“The word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you are a prophet to the nations.’”  Jeremiah 1:4-5.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 1-2, and John 10.

(My wife’s biopsy surgery yesterday morning came back clean.  Thank you for your prayers.)

Don’t let the headline make you think that you are in the wrong site!  It’s still me and I couldn’t help but connect today’s major news headline to today’s reading of the Bible.

Certainly the news from HBO is alarming.  Now folks can see what the executives wrote.  It could be embarrassing and all those other “could be’s” that an invasion of this sort could produce.

BUT God already knew what those HBO executives wrote.  He even knew that they would write it before they actually did!

You and I are no less off-limits to the eyes of God.  He knows all about us and I suspect that much of that “knowing all” does not reflect well on us.

We revel in the knowledge that HBO executives are going to be found out but there but for the grace of God go we.  We really dare not revel too much because we have our own skeletons to worry about.

There is comfort in knowing that God is with us.  There is discomfort in knowing that God knows everything about us.

How dare we think that we are worthy of His grace!  We deserve exclusion from Him forever.  YET GOD, knowing our sinfulness, found a way for us not to suffer the consequences that sinfulness deserved.  God hacked into our lives and then provided a way for us to still join Him in the after-life.

How comforting it is to know that we will be in the clear on Judgment Day because of our belief in His sin-covering death and resurrection.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

“Lord, You are amazing and I am so limited.  I lose track so easily of Your ability to know everything about me.  I stand embarrassed before You yet You still love me.  Forgive me for my rampant sinfulness.  Wash me clean, I beg.  Reveal to me the errors of my way so that I can walk Your Way.  I love You, Lord.”

God has hacked into our lives and still loves us………….that’s what you call Good News!

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