Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17

Jeremiah 30:1-31:26; 1 Timothy 2:1-15; Psalm 87:1-7; Proverbs 25:18-19

Two things really stuck out to me about today's readings:

First, Jeremiah gets a break. He finally gets to prophesy some happy news. "He who scattered Israel will gather them...for the Lord will ransom Jacob....they will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord" (Jer. 31: 10-12).  He must have been so glad that though Israel will fall, the Lord will still redeem them. He must have been so glad to carry that message.

That is still true for us today. Though we may turn away from the Lord and fall, he is waiting and longing to redeem us. The Lord loves us with an everlasting love and he will build us up again (see Jer. 31:3). So much so that we will “go out to dance with the joyful" (Jer. 31:4). I know that seems almost impossible to imagine when we are in the midst of our crisis. But if it could be true of Israel at that time, it could be true for us as well. 

Second, I was again reminded "that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Everywhere I look, I see God calling us to pray and trust in Him, not in the government, not in ruling bodies, not in powers or authorities of this world, but in Him. One of the ways we trust and partner with Him is in praying for these ruling bodies. And we don't just haphazardly pray, but we do it in earnest, with requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving. That's a tall order.

Why do we do this? One, so that we may live peaceful lives and also because "this is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3-4). So, we don't just do it for our own comforts, but for the sake of their salvation! The order gets taller. 

Lord, we thank you that you always show mercy and you always bring restoration to those who have wandered from you. May we turn our hearts towards you and joyfully anticipate the abundance you bring. We also pray for those in positions of authority over us and our lands. We pray that they will be just and good rulers. We thank you for them. We ask that they may know you, the one true God, and bend their knees to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 

- Mary Matthias

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you.

Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16

Jeremiah 28:1-29:32; 1 Timothy 1:1-20; Psalm 86:1-17:Proverbs 25:17

Almost exactly six months ago, I wrote a post on this very psalm, looking at it from a structural point of view to extract a fuller meaning.  I love how Scripture speaks to us in so many different ways, even the same Scripture.  Today, I'm moved again by these words, but this time in recognition of the way they articulate my heart and circumstance.  

I need the Lord to hear and answer me.  I am poor and needy, dependent on him.  I choose, again and again, daily, sometimes even hourly, to trust him, but I need mercy so very much.  In a time of discouragement, I look for joy, and the only place to find joy is by looking to him.  (See Ps. 86:1-4.)

I am immeasurably grateful that God forgives and is good and abounds with love to all who call on him.  That's me!  He forgives me.  He is good.  His love spills onto me, more than I could ever need or even experience.  It abounds.  I love that word.  (See Ps. 86:5.)

Because God is so good, because there is none like him (Ps. 86:8-10), I can turn to him in difficulty, knowing that he hears and cares (vs. 6-7).  He will meet me.  

But he's not a genie for me to rub when I'm in trouble.  He desires my change, my growth, my sanctification.  The only way to make such an alteration in me is to teach me his way.  If I learn to hear (Ps. 86:11a), then I can obey (vs. 11b).  If my heart is wholly his (vs. 11c), then I can honor him in all I do, with all I am (vs. 11d-12).

The last verses of the psalm remind me to remember God's activity in history, both universal history (creation, the cross-burial-resurrection, the gift of the Holy Spirit) and my personal history.  God has delivered me from the depths of the grave (Ps. 86:13), experienced in torn relationships.  I have encountered his compassion (vs. 15a) in the forgiveness of my anger.  He has never failed me (vs. 15b), and this history gives me the courage to ask him to turn to me and meet me once again (vs. 16-17).


- Sarah Marsh

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you.