My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:6-7
Jeremiah was given a vision of two baskets of figs, one of which were very good, and the other was very bad. God said that the good figs were like His people who were good and followed His commands. He would watch over them, even while it captivity and bring them back to their land. God planned to build them up again, because the followed Him with all their heart.
In themselves, no person is good. Every person is filled with sin and cannot cleanse himself. Their condition changes when they accept Jesus. He cleanses them from all sin, when they turn to Him with all of their heart.
A lot of people feel that God is only out to get them and harm them. Nothing good seems to come their way. Many will not even attempt to serve God because of the bad things that have occurred in their lives. Believers often struggle with this same challenge.
When you turn to God with all of your heart and trust Jesus for cleansing of your sin, God is more than willing to cleanse you. He will then watch over you to build you up, not tear you down. God will use the hardships of this life to make you into the person He wants you to be.
As you turn to God with all of your heart, God will turn towards you. He will work at changing your heart so that you may know Him more and more. You get to know God so that you can live the way He plans for you. God has the best plans for your life and you need to trust His plans.
Do you want to stay down in the dumps, because things are not going as you planned (in exile)?
Or do you want to trust God in the dumps to build you back up in His way and in His time?
God is watching you to build you up, not tear you down.
I pray today that you will turn to God with all of your heart; that you will obey all God’s commands; that you will trust God with all of your life; and that you will know God is there for you.
Watching television and movies is a favorite pastime of many people. People love to watch something. It allows them to escape into a different world for a short time. It allows them to step out of reality into a fantasy world.
The things that people watch cover an extremely broad band of categories. Many of those categories overlap each other, creating new categories. Fantasy, drama, horror, and comedy are the base line of movies. Then they broaden out to fantasy/drama, or comedy/horror, or some other combination.
It is very interesting to watch what most movies are about. If you really look at them closely, most of them tell the same story that has been told a dozen times before. The only real difference is in how it is told. One time it is live action, next time it is with fantasy, next time it is with anime, the next is with puppets, the next is with music, and the variations of the same story keep going.
Other times it is the same type of story, such as boy meets girl, falls in love and after a time of rejection from her they get married. This story has been told hundreds of different times in different ways. Or the hero saves a person, city, nation, or the world. Or the flip side the bad guy does not get caught or die in the end, and they come back with a sequel.
Billions of dollars are spent every year watching movies, whether in the theater, pay-per-view, paid channels, television, or online rentals. People love to watch movies.
Now you may be asking why did I say all of this. Where am I going with all of this?
During this past week the movie, “It,” came out as a remake of this classic movie. Many of the students I teach in 6-8th grade had went to see it. Several had seen it several times. Along with those in my public, non-Christian school, I know of several in the church that also went to see it or want to see the movie.
During one of my classes, one of my students asked me if I was going to see the movie. I had told the student that there is no way I would go and see it. The question was then raised as to why. The answer to that is what led me to write this post.
People who study movies and plays will always try to point out the good in a movie. They want to point out how the bad guy loses in the end. How good always triumphs over evil. They point out the good moral points of the story. It is true that in every movie there is usually some good moral point in it, no matter how bad it appears as a whole.
Christians will be very quick to point out that the bible does not say that a person should not watch movies. Many will be also quick to point out all the immoral stuff that is written in the bible. With both these arguments they want to say that it is acceptable to watch anything that they want to watch.
The first thing I would like to say is look at what Paul had said:
1 Corinthians 10:23 New International Version (NIV)
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.
Paul says that you may do whatever you want, but not everything is beneficial. There are things that do not benefit you at all. It does not help you in any way.
Romans 8:28 New International Version (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
God does not work that way. Everything that God does has a purpose. Everything that God allows has a purpose.
Many people think that God is just a great big ogre out to make life miserable for them. That He will not allow them to have any fun in life and is always out to get them or punish them.
God has given you the right to do whatever you want to do. However, what many people do not like to hear is that there are consequences to the choices made. If you want to make a choice to sin, God will allow that, but the consequence is death. God allowed Adam and Eve to make that choice, and He still allows people to make that choice.
Ezekiel 36:26 New International Version (NIV)
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
God wants to give you a new, living heart of flesh. He wants you to live life to the fullest.
John 10:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
With God giving you a new heart and a new life, you should live the way He planned for you to live.
Going back to watching movies.
Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Paul says that you are to think about certain things. These things are what are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
When watching a movie, the movie may be excellent in the way it was made. It may have excellent acting and excellent filming, but that does not finish out what Paul said to think about. Does it fit the pure? Is it admirable? Is it praiseworthy? Is it lovely?
Watching someone or something just go around and kill does not fit the description of what Paul said to think about. Watching a couple or a person be unfaithful in their marriage is not pure. Watching the thief or crook be honored as good, is not praiseworthy.
And of each of these few examples, how do any of them really benefit you? Do any of them bring you closer to God? Or make you more like God? If not, why watch them?
What you take into you will eventually come out. If you fill your life with garbage, that garbage will come out in the end.
Everything that you say, do, watch, or listen to should be done for the benefit of God and to bring you closer to God, or to bring others closer to God. Yes, you are allowed to do whatever you want, but there is a price to do it. If you choose things that bring about death, then it will be death that you will receive.
Take a moment and think about the movies or shows that you watch. What benefit is there in watching those movies or shows?
If Jesus were standing right next to you, would He choose to watch them with you? Would you be comfortable with watching them with Him next to you?
Ask God what He wants you to see or watch before you watch something. See what He has to say about it.
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1
God was preparing to destroy Judah because of the sins of the people. He gave many warnings that it would happen. Even though this was God’s plan, there were many of the leaders of the temple that were trying to say something different. They had their own priests and prophets saying that God would bring about peace. They were also leading the people into the sin of following false gods. The people were being destroyed and scattered because of the way they were being led.
God gives them a warning that He would punish them for doing this. As He would destroy them, He would also bring out a remnant of the people, who they were leading wrong, to restore and build up again.
Shepherds are the ones who are supposed to lead the sheep to the best food and water. They are to protect them from the enemy. If the slack off on any of their duties, the sheep will scatter and be destroyed.
Ministers, preachers, and evangelists are always considered the shepherds or leaders of the people in the church. Although this is true, that does not mean that other people are not shepherds also. Many people, who are not preachers, also are leaders of other people. They are the ones who lead and guide some people in the walk in this life. Many are parents, while others are teachers, or mentors, or bosses of others.
People today are teaching or leading others down paths of sin that are against God. False teachings are being taught in the churches, as though it is God’s word. Prophecies are being made that God will overlook sinful acts, because of His great love. Prayers for God’s peace are being made, without a call to repentance from sin. Adultery, drunkenness, lying, cheating, gossiping, stealing, jealousy, hatred, oppression, racism, and many other sins are accepted in the church as acceptable. These are just a few ways of destroying and scattering God’s sheep. God will hold them accountable.
As a believer, you must correctly speak God’s word. Speak the truth in love at all times. Do not allow yourself to be guilty of destroying His sheep, because you spoke of God’s word in a false way. Seek God’s direction in His word as you live it and lead others with it.
I pray today that you will know God’s word in truth; that you will speak God’s word in truth; that you will not be guilty of leading others wrong; and that God will strengthen you to live in righteousness for Him.
This was originally posted on the Sped Homeschool website. My wife, Cammie, wrote this and has been homeschooling for over 20 years and is still homeschooling several children. If you homeschool and have special children in your home, please go to their website. The group has been started to help homeschool parents with children who have special needs at a national level. The organization was originally started in Texas and has now been able to go national.
Have you ever wondered just why spaghetti sauce tastes best when simmered for hours over low heat verses just mixing all the ingredients up as fast as you can? Or why a roast is more tender and juicy when it’s slow cooked on a lower temperature than cooked on high for a shorter time? It has to do with being patient for everything to break down and come together in its own time.
Complex Parts Come Together with Time
It’s the same with homeschooling. We all have different ingredients in the form of employment, family size, level of special needs, appointments, therapies and curriculum. So why do we compare our family with that of another and try to recreate their recipe for success in our own homeschool?
Slow Cooker, Not Instapot
We are in a slow-cooker mama. Homeschooling and parenting go hand in hand and neither are recipes to be put into an Instapot to rush to the end. It’s a long slow journey with amazing rewards, but we need to recognize we are on our own journey and it isn’t going to “taste” like anyone else’s recipe or have the same ingredients.
Differences in Ingredients, Measurements, and Cooking Time
So as you daily add your “ingredients”, carefully measuring and selecting each one, be sure to add a measure of grace and a double portion of love. These two additional ingredients always make the recipe work out better.
Don’t rush, instead savor the smell of the beautiful unique recipe coming together in your homeschool today. You will be glad you did.
I warned you when you felt secure, but you said, ‘I will not listen!’ This has been your way from your youth; you have not obeyed me. Jeremiah 22:21
As the nation of Judah was being overtaken by the Babylonians, God told King Jehoiakim that He had already been warning him. God had warned him of the coming disaster, yet, the king refused to listen. It was pointed out that his not listening was nothing new. He had been doing that since he was a young man.
Parents often warn their children of not doing some action, because it will bring about suffering and pain, or punishment. The purpose of the warnings are to protect the child, not bind them up and take away their freedom. Even though the warnings are done in love, many times a child will refuse to listen and get himself into trouble or be injured.
It is common for adults to look at children and talk about how they are rebellious and refuse to listen, while many are doing the exact same thing. God has set out a way to live life. He did that, not to bind a person up and take away his freedom, but in order that he may live life to the fullest.
When a person chooses to not live according to God’s plan, God will give warnings. Living in sin and against God’s plan, will bring about disaster and punishment. God’s holiness requires that He punish, if nothing is done about it.
Believers are often guilty of this type of living. They go to church and carry a bible, so they feel that there is nothing wrong. They feel secure. Yet, they are living with a sin in their life, refusing to give it up. They refuse to listen to what God is saying through the bible or through the pastor and others. While this is happening, the person often feels as though there is nothing wrong, yet there is.
Take a look at your own life. Ask yourself how well are you really listening to God? When God speaks are you obeying what He is saying? Or are you still going about doing your own thing?
Do not live your life in a way that God would have to say of you, that you have been rebellious since your youth. May God be able to say that you have done well and are faithful.
I pray today that you will hear God’s voice; that you will obey God’s voice; that you will know the warnings of God in your life; and that you will live your life for God.
“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. Jeremiah 21:8-9
The king of Judah had sent someone to Jeremiah to ask God to stop the attacks on Jerusalem. God’s answered that He was going to destroy the city and there was nothing that could be done about it. He also stated that they had a choice to make. The two choices would be a matter of living or dying. If they stayed in the city, they would die. If they surrendered to the hated enemy, they would live. God left the choice up to the people.
God has not changed at all over the years. He still gives each person a choice and that choice involves life or death. Many try to say that God does not really give them a choice. They say that they are who they are, and there is nothing that can be done about it. Or that they are in the position they are in and cannot leave it.
Even today you have a choice to make. One option is to stay where you are at, in sin, in this world, not really living for God. Even as a believer, you have to keep growing and moving with God. If you stay where you are, you may end up not following God, you stagnate and begin to die.
The other option is to leave where you are at and follow God. Live your life fully for God, following and obeying Him in every area and you will live. God will make the way.
The leaving may not be a physical leaving, but it is one of leaving behind the past sins, and leaving a sinful life, and obeying God. This will open the way to eternal life.
God always makes a way for this to happen. Think of the Israelites when they were fleeing Egypt. God made a way through a sea that looked impassable. He can make a way for you to make that choice, if you want too.
Choose life today.
I pray today that you will know the path God has for you; that you will choose to live for God; that you will choose to obey God; and that you will know the life He has for you.