DAILY DISCIPLINE #94
By Colleen Donahue
Our human potential can only be fulfilled when God's will is fulfilled rather than our own. Life is therefore lived at its best when it's lived with faith in God. Jeremiah, our subject this month, lived such a life. He was more interested in what God wanted for his life than in what he wanted. His life doesn't show much in the way of worldly success or personal achievement, yet he lived it to the fullest. Jeremiah's walk of faith with God is more significant than his teachings and we are fortunate that more is known of him than any other prophet.
Jeremiah was born during the last decade of the most evil king Judah ever had, King Manasseh. He was a thoroughly bad king with a totally corrupt government and its influence spread throughout the land. The moral condition of Judah had reached its peak. While keeping a "form of religion" men and women did "what was right in their own eyes" without regard to God. Idol worship and evil of all kind was rampant from the king on down.
It was into this political and moral turmoil that God sent Jeremiah to be his spokesman. If this description of Judah sounds close to what you and I live in today then let's listen to the words of Jeremiah and look at.......
JEREMIAH-Part 1: A Life of Faith in God
BEFORE HIS BIRTH
Day 1- We know only 3 things about Jeremiah's background.
Day 2- No child is just a child. Each is a creature in whom God intends to do something glorious and great. We are not just the product of our parents genes. So instead of being told what Jeremiah's parents were doing we are told what God was doing.
Jeremiah 1: 5
Day 3- "Before I formed you and in the womb I knew you." (Jeremiah 1:5a). This turns everything we ever thought about God around. Before it ever crossed our minds that God was important, God singled US out as important!
Psalm 139: 15-16/ John 15:16
Day 4- The practical result of this realization is that we don't have to be panicky and anxious, searching for the answers to life. We come to God who knows us and reveals to us the truth of our lives.
John 1:4/ John 14:6/ I John 5:12
Therefore my identity isn't just what I or others think of myself, but what God thinks of me.
Day 5- Besides knowing Jeremiah before birth, God did two other important things. He CONSECRATED him and APPOINTED him. To be consecrated is to be set apart for God's side. We are chosen for something important that God is doing. What is God doing that we are meant to be a part of ?
Saving and Rescuing- Psalm 37:39/ Isaiah 41:10 / John 3:17
Forgiving -- Isaiah 43:25 / I John 1:9
Blessing & Providing -- Psalm 23:5 / Isaiah 30:23
Healing --Isaiah 57:18 / Hosea 6:1
Enlightening-- Isaiah 30:21 / Isaiah 42:16
Loving -- John 15:9, 13
There is a spiritual war in progress throughout our universe. There is death but God is for life. There is sickness but God wants us whole and well. There is evil but God is for good. There is hate but God abounds in love. There is ignorance but God has light for every man. There is no neutral ground in the universe. Everything is contested.
Day 6- God is out to win the world in love and each person has been set apart to do it with Him. He doesn't wait to see how we turn out but chooses us before birth. What does God desire our response to be?
Romans 12: 1-2
Day 7- The third thing that God did to Jeremiah before he was born was to appoint him a prophet to the nations. The word appointed means "gave". God had given Jeremiah away before birth even as He had given His Son Jesus before birth.
Jeremiah 1:5/ John 3:16
Day 8- We are meant to live by giving. It is what we do best and its the air in which we were born. Giving is the action that was designed into us before our birth. Our life is for others.
Matthew 5:42 / Luke 12:33 / Luke 6:38 /2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Day 9- Even though God knows, consecrates and appoints us before our birth we each have the choice whether or not to respond to Him. His love for us is so great, that He even risks that we will not chose Him.
Deuteronomy 5:29/ Matthew 7:21
Day 10- Jeremiah was like most of us. He wanted to say "yes" to God but he looked at himself, saw all his inadequacies and feared he would not be suitable.
Jeremiah 1: 6
Jeremiah was not alone in feeling inadequate for God's call.
Day 11- Moses felt a great personal incompetence.
Exodus 3:11/ Exodus 4:10
Day 12- Gideon and Saul felt keenly their lack of social position.
Judges 6:15/ I Samuel 9:21
Day 13- Solomon looked at his young age and felt his immaturity.
I Kings 3:7
Day 14- Isaiah could only see his uncleanness before God and felt unworthy to be His spokesman.
Day 15- To look "in" at our self we will only see inability, weakness, fear, uncleanness and inadequacy.
John 15:5 / 2 Corinthians 3:5
There is a great gap between what we think we can do and what God allows us to do. Our ideas for ourselves are trivial but God's ideas for us are grand!
Day 16- God is very understanding when we feel our call is beyond our abilities, yet He is firm. Whatever God calls us to , He equips us for, directs us in and protects us throughout. What did He promise Jeremiah?
Jeremiah 1: 7-9,12,19
JEREMIAH'S WORK AND MESSAGE
Day 17- Two thirds of Jeremiah's work was to be in the direction of destruction and only one third construction. Until men see that they are sinners they will see no need for a Savior.
Jeremiah 1:10 /Psalm 53:3/ Isaiah 64:6 / I John 1:8
Day 18- God gave Jeremiah two visions that would help give direction to his life's work. The first vision was a rod of almond. The Almond tree --- one of the first blooming trees in Palestine offered a promise that the fulfillment of spring was coming. So God's words are not just "blossoms" but they are the promise of fulfillment. In other words God will do what He says.
Jeremiah 1: 11-12 / I kings 8:56 / Matthew 5:18
Day 19- The 2nd vision allowed Jeremiah to see into the future and to understand why God wanted to use him as a warning call throughout the land.
Jeremiah 1: 13-18
Day 20- This vision gives evidence that our path has been prepared. It is for us to walk in it. God prepares the path but He also prepares ME to walk in it.
JEREMIAH'S FIRST MISSION
Day 21- Jerusalem. This was the center of Palestine, the center of worship and therefore the center of life. This was where Jeremiah was to start speaking for God. What were God's concerns for the people?
Jeremiah 2: 1-11
Day 22- Through Jeremiah, God summarizes the people's behavior down to two points.
Jeremiah 2: 13
Day 23- God wants to satisfy our lives with Himself. He calls Himself the fountain of living water because our spiritual thirst can only be satisfied at His well.
Psalm 36:8-9 / Isaiah 55:1-2 / John 4:14 / John 7:37 / Revelations 22:17
Day 24- The broken cistern in Jeremiah 2: 13b is a great holding tank for water that is leaking because of a fatal crack. Many spend all of life building cisterns that can't hold water.... the cistern of pleasure, wealth, fame or human love. These will all crack and leave us dry. Satisfaction and fulfillment that stays full can only be found in God.
Psalm 63: 1/ Psalm 103:1-5 / Psalm 107:9 / Isaiah 58:11
Day 25- Men and women who have rejected or at best ignored God in their day to day affairs are suddenly critical of God when their lives run dry and sorrows come. Maybe you also have blamed God for something that's happened to you. God cannot be blamed for our troubles and sorrows. Who can we point our finger to?
Jeremiah 2:17, 19, 29 / Jeremiah 3:18
Day 26- It is man's own sin individually and collectively that bring about most of the sorrow and suffering we face. Yet, even this apparent evil is used by God if it forces us to turn back to Him for help and restitution. His heart is wide open to any sinner that turns to Him.
Jeremiah 3: 12-17 / Jeremiah 4:1-2
Day 27- Instead of turning to God for help the people turned to their neighboring allies Egypt and Assyria. This was a further rejection of God and in the end would not help them. Jeremiah 2: 18, 36-37 / Isaiah 30:1-5
Day 28- In our day to day troubles, we reject God as well when we turn to other people or solutions rather than seek God first for HIS solution.
Psalm 118:9 / Isaiah 2:22/ Isaiah 31:1 / Jeremiah 17:5
Day 29- Jeremiah described the people as having turned their backs to God but not their face. In other words, they walk away from God and do what they please but then look back to Him when they need some help.
Day 30- God is not obligated to help us when we are really looking to the things of this world as our gods. During Jeremiah's days these gods were made of wood and metals. In our day they may take form of money , influence , fame, and material goods. But they are non the less gods of our own making.
Day 31- The Lord rejects anything we trust in outside of Himself. We cannot prosper by them.
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