Archive for the ‘Jeremiah’ Category

August 31st, 2015

God’s Word is Sure

“And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he became king, graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. And he spoke kindly to him, and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table, and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king according to his daily need, until the day of his death, as long as he lived.” Jeremiah 52:31-34 (ESV)

The Lord never forgets His promises and His promises never fail. Even in the midst of the promised exile, for no explicit reason, the king of Babylon, Evil-merodach, invites the king of Judah, Jehoichin, out from prison to his dining table. Whatever could have caused a foreign king to show mercy and favor to the king of his servants? Undoubtedly, the Lord is at work in this passage, remembering His covenant with David in which He promised him a permanent kingdom resulting in a messiah to fully deliver the people of God.

Even in hard times when we can’t explicitly see the presence of God, may we not forget that He is faithful and His words never fail. Yes, in this chapter we see Him upholding the hard words of judgment but also the beautiful words of redemption. His promises are true and they will always bring about His glory and our good.

Do you know the promises of God? If not, how can you hold on to them when you are sitting in prison as a king? Do you speak the promises of God over times of trouble, taking refuge in His ultimate provision and plan for you and all things? God’s word is sure! Know it and take refuge in it. Further, when you see His promises come true in your life, take a minute and thank Him for His faithfulness.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, August 31st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Faithfulness, Jeremiah, Word of God.
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August 30th, 2015

Our Redeemer is Strong

“Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.” Jeremiah 50:34 (ESV)

Our redeemer is strong! He pursues us and rescues us, calling us to repentance and dependance as an act of worship to our God, Who alone is worthy of praise! What is He rescuing us from? Why has He redeemed us? Certainly, you and I have no need to be rescued from a foreign national power in order to fulfill a Zionist prophecy in which we will be restored to our land of promise. We are, however, in bondage to sin and subject to this same wrath about which we read in the latter part of Jeremiah. Our offense before the Lord in rejecting His provision and worshiping created things demands His judgment; so, He is saving us from Himself in a way.

How can God be both redeemer and judge? That is the beauty of the character of God. Yes, He is righteous. Yes, He is just. Yes, He is Holy. But He is also merciful. He is also loving. He is also gracious. He is composed of all of these traits in their perfect and balanced form. His character demands justice but it also allows for redemption, but on His terms! Our redeemer is strong in that He alone can break the bondage of sin, having overcome all of its affects in the person and work of Christ. Do not be a slave to sin any longer. Do not let a foreign power, as it were, rule over your life. Run to the Lord, the light of our salvation, and find freedom from that which oppresses you!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, August 30th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Character of God, Jeremiah, Redemption.
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August 29th, 2015

The Folly of the Proud

“We have heard of the pride of Moab– he is very proud– of his loftiness, his pride, and his arrogance, and the haughtiness of his heart. I know his insolence, declares the LORD; his boasts are false, his deeds are false.” Jeremiah 48:29-30 (ESV)

The Lord opposes the proud, recognizing that to represent His character faithfully demands humility. As a result, when His people or even neighboring nations boast in the “might” of other gods and give the praise due our one, true God to graven images, He brings about the required humility of His creation through defeat.

In our case, as those saved by the glorious message of the gospel, we certainly know that we have no reason to boast save in the work of Christ on the cross. Why? For when we deserved God’s righteous wrath because of our rebellion, He gave us grace and mercy by the sacrifice of His beloved Son. We did nothing to deserve this and have nothing of merit to give in return. This act is God’s alone and, therefore, we boast alone in Him. When we forget this truth, the Lord has a way of humbling us, knowing that the aforementioned requirement of humility is as much for us today as it was back then. Every great leader of God in the Bible, save Jesus who did not need it, faced a moment of humility, in which the Lord gently or not so gently reminded them of their complete dependence upon Him to accomplish that to which they had been called.

In your own life, what do you boast in? Do you boast in your own abilities or accomplishments? Or do you simply boast in the cross of Christ, knowing how truly lost you were without it? May we be a people who continually deflect the accomplishments of this life to the glory of the next, reserved in Heaven for a God Who is sovereign over all things. His provision is our blessing, and we find pride only in His work in and through us.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, August 29th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Jeremiah, Pride.
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August 28th, 2015

A Source of Wisdom

“Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, ‘Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the LORD your God for us, for all this remnant–because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us–that the LORD your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.’ Jeremiah the prophet said to them, ‘I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the LORD your God according to your request, and whatever the LORD answers you I will tell you. I will keep nothing back from you.’” Jeremiah 42:1-4 (ESV)

Do people within the sphere of your influence run to you in times of trouble for wisdom from the Lord because they know of how closely you walk with Him? Jeremiah was a man who walked closely with the Lord and the leadership of Judah knew it. In a moment of panic after the assassination of Gedaliah, the leadership runs to Jeremiah to have him intercede on their behalf. Jeremiah promises to pray for them and communicate whatever word the Lord gives him to them without reservation. Jeremiah was their connection to the Lord because of his faithfulness in every circumstance.

What about you? Are you known for your faithfulness to the Lord? Do those who are far from the Lord come to you for help and prayer? May we be a people so in-tuned with the Spirit of God that whenever those around us at work, school, or in our neighborhoods have trials and tribulations, they immediately come to us for wisdom and prayer. May the Spirit of God flow from us as we have sought Him continually in prayer and in His word. Become a place of hope for those in need as you radiate the fruit of the Spirit, having been transformed by the gospel.

And as a final thought today, thank the Lord for the Jeremiah’s in your life, whom you run to in times of distress to find wisdom and discernment from the Lord.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, August 28th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Discernment, Jeremiah, Wisdom & Understanding.
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August 24th, 2015

The Word of the Lord Stands Forever

“Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” Jeremiah 36:2-3 (ESV)

Once again we see the prophet, Jeremiah, coming against an ungodly king with the word of the Lord. In this particular instance, the Lord commands Jeremiah to write down all that He has revealed concerning His people and present the document to the king. Upon hearing the prophetic word, the king commands the seizure of both Jeremiah and his secretary, Baruch, and burns the word of the Lord. In response to this rash act of the king, the Lord simply instructs Jeremiah to recreate the scroll and speak over Jehoiakim a vision of wrath.

The word of God stands forever and cannot be destroyed. God has given us His revealed word to display His glorious nature and direct our steps as His creation. The words written by Jeremiah were not simply Jeremiah’s words or ideas regarding God’s people; they were inspired by God Himself and, therefore, carry His authority. Jehoiakim missed the point. Instead of seeing the scroll as God’s way of allowing him to repent, the king responded in anger, attempting to destroy that which he did not like. God’s word, though, is eternal and will stand against any attempt to destroy it.

May you and I both marvel at and respect the eternal word of God! God has spoken over mankind His will for all of creation, and we must choose to respond faithfully rather than reject that truth in anger simply because we don’t like it. Treasure God’s word for in it you will find blessing and hope as you obey its commands.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, August 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Jeremiah, Word of God.
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August 23rd, 2015

The Price of Truth

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah. For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, ‘Why do you prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it;”” Jeremiah 32:1-3 (ESV)

Occasionally, speaking truth can have consequences attached to it. In this case, the Lord had spoken through His prophet a word about the future of Judah and, thus, its king. Needless to say, the king was not happy about what Jeremiah had spoken over his kingdom and imprisoned him as a result. Jeremiah’s obedience to speak the truth cost him his freedom and put his life in danger.

We are charged today to speak forth the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and while certainly the gospel is good news, it is also offensive. Inherent in our message is that people are bad, sinful, lost, and in need of a savior. We must point out the flaws of men in order to show them their need for a savior. Sometimes people respond negatively to this, and while they may not have the power to imprison you or threaten your life, they can be hurtful in their rejection. The question you must ask yourself, though, is whether or not this temporary rejection is worth their eternal good. Certainly for Jeremiah he thought the message of impending judgment was worth the risk because he loved his people.

Are you willing to risk your freedom in order to proclaim God’s truth? Are you willing to love someone enough to let them reject you in order to tell them about their great need and Christ’s glorious provision? What are you willing to sacrifice to spread the good news?

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Evangelism, Jeremiah, Truth.
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August 22nd, 2015

God’s Everlasting Love

“Thus says the LORD: ‘The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.’” Jeremiah 31:2-3 (ESV)

The presence of discipline does not indicate a lack of love; rather, discipline when given by the Lord is always motivated by love for the good of His children. As we have seen throughout the prophets, the people of God had wandered from the Lord and had begun to turn to other things to find satisfaction. The Lord calls them back to Himself in discipline, knowing that if His people continue to pursue the favor of idols or satisfaction in the world, they will come up empty. The best thing He can give His people is Himself. They have no need to turn elsewhere, if they remember that He truly is the perfect solution to every need they have. The discipline the Lord gives, then, is not only given out of anger, although there is a since in which the Lord is rightly offended by their sin. This discipline is ultimately given out of love for His glory and their good.

God’s everlasting love for you has an inherent long-range perspective that allows for discipline in the present to protect you in the future. Parents surely understand this relational dynamic, knowing they must discipline their children in order to help them know how to act appropriately for their future success.

When discipline comes, don’t become resentful toward the Lord; rather, seek out the truth behind the discipline, knowing God simply desires to root out ungodliness for His glory and your good.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Jeremiah, Love.
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August 21st, 2015

Seek the Welfare of the City

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 (ESV)

Jeremiah in this passage is addressing the false prophecy of Hananiah, who proclaimed to the Jewish people in chapter 28 that within two years of his prophecy the Lord would release His people from the yoke of Babylon. Jeremiah begs to differ, suggesting to his people that the Lord would not only leave them in captivity for longer than two years but would leave them there for generations. God’s people had rebelled and the punishment would not be light or fleeting.

In the meantime, though, Jeremiah delivers an interesting challenge from the Lord to His people, urging them to engage with the city of Babylon for its welfare and for their own. The likely reaction for many of the Jewish people would be to simply ride out the storm of captivity and never have anything to do with Babylon, creating a bubble of sorts to shield themselves from these gentiles. Yet, God commands them to act otherwise, knowing that if the people of God give benefit to their captors, they will receive benefits as well.

 For us today, a similar challenge exists. We are not in bondage to a foreign government as a people, but we do live in a culture that does not honor the Lord. We have a choice as God’s people about how to interact with that culture. Do we simply wait for God to come rescue us and live in a bubble or do we engage the culture for our mutual good? Isn’t it in the interest of the Church to have governments that protect life and help those in need? We, then, should engage God’s established, secular institutions for our mutual good rather than resisting the city altogether.

Ultimately, we are to take the gospel to all people and in all places and our government can help that cause or hurt it. Just look at the government in Iran. We should not be afraid of the city as the people of God. We should use it to help further the cause of Christ, for in fighting for the welfare of the city we too may find benefit for the Kingdom of God.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, August 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Culture, Gospel, Jeremiah.
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August 20th, 2015

Our God is at Hand

“Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully.” Jeremiah 23:23-28a (ESV)

As representatives of the Lord, let us be careful to follow that calling faithfully, not claiming a word from the Lord for our own glory but sharing that which He has revealed for His glory and our good. The leadership of the Israelite people had themselves fallen away from the Lord and had begun to lead the people entrusted to them away as well. The Lord in this passage marvels at the audacity of these prophets and priests, claiming the authority and blessing of the Lord while defaming His holy name. Had these leaders fallen so far out of God’s presence that they failed to remember His nature and His resolve to defend His character and covenant? As a reminder, the Lord promises to raise up new leadership in the aftermath of the exile that will lead His people to Him rather than away from Him.

As the people of God today, let us be sure that we are not claiming revelation from the Lord simply because of convenience. As a funny example, I’m reminded of a time in college where I wanted to get out of a relationship with a girl I was dating, and I told her that the Lord had told me to do it. Now while I am sure there have been times where the Lord has truly revealed such action, this was not the case for me. This was just the easiest way out, and I abused God’s name to get what I wanted. As the people of God today, and certainly those of us in leadership positions, may we hold in the highest esteem revelation from the Lord, using it with the holiest of intentions so that those around us do not come to question the integrity of God while questioning ours, because He will defend His name.

Know that God is all around us. Do not think you can slip something by Him that detracts from His glory rather than enhances it! Be aware of God’s presence and live in light of it.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, August 20th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Integrity, Jeremiah, Omnipresence.
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August 19th, 2015

Potter’s Touch

“So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” Jer 18:3-4 (ESV)

One of my Life Group teachers who flew an A-10 fighter jet in the Air Force used to say, “The closer you get to the enemy, the greater the conflict.” When you are living to please God, be ready for that spiritual motion to cause friction and spiritual warfare.

The safest place for you to be is in the center of God’s will. The most dangerous place for you to be is in the center of God’s will. When you are living in the center of God’s will, you experience His provision and protection. However, you are the greatest threat to Satan when you are living in the center of God’s will. When you think about it, being on Satan’s radar is an indication of being a threat to his kingdom. You cannot walk in the center of God’s will unopposed.

Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, experienced the painful reality of being on the potter’s wheel. God placed Jeremiah on the potter’s wheel to demonstrate His loving and corrective touch. God demonstrated the value He places on purity, holiness, and full surrender. God expects that of every generation and every nation.

Don’t resist those seasons of being placed on the potter’s wheel. Remember that God is the Potter and you are the clay. God tenderly and lovingly molds you and shapes you for His glory. God removes the impediments in your life that restrict His flow through you. Be still! Rest! Give God access to every area of your life. Allow God to shape you for His eternal significance.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Christlikeness, Jeremiah, Potter's Wheel.
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