Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
As the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon, there was a lot of destruction and suffering. At the time, there did not seem to be a lot of hope. The end could not be seen and it appeared as though God had completely abandoned them for all eternity. Yet, Jeremiah notes that God’s love is so great that they would not be completely destroyed. Despite what was going on around them, he could see God’s compassion for them being renewed each day.
When people are going through hard times, they often feel as though they are completely alone and that God has abandoned them. It is common for a person to feel as though God is full of anger and hate, not wanting anything to do with him ever again.
These hard times can be something physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, or one of many other difficulties in life. The pain that one is feeling is real.
You may be going through a situation right now in your life, or you may have gone through one, or you will go through one some day. Jesus had said that you will have troubles in this world.
As you are going through a troubling time, keep in mind that God has promised you life and salvation through Jesus. There is a hope that one day Jesus will return and take you away from all the troubles of this world.
Another thing to remember is that no matter how difficult your situation is, it could be worse. The situation could be worse if you had no hope of salvation. If you do not believe in Jesus, then you can only look forward to an eternity of separation from God. As long as you are believing in Jesus and trusting in His work in your life, you have the hope of eternity in heaven.
As you get up each morning, realize God has spared your life on this earth for a purpose. He is showing you great love in keeping you going forward. Do not lose hope or give up. You may be hard-pressed, but you are not crushed or destroyed. Trust God through the tough times because He is faithful and will not abandon you.
I pray today that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will know God’s faithfulness; that you will know God’s love and compassion; and that you will have hope in Jesus.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
This is a set of verses that people love to quote. They love to hear the idea that God wants to prosper them and give them a great future. The problem that is common, is that many people do not look at the context in which these verses are written.
At the time God made this statement, the Israelites were going into exile in Babylon. They were prisoners of war. Their homes and towns were destroyed. They were cast out of their homeland. All their belongings were taken away.
As a person reads this, one may wonder how God is planning to prosper them. Why would He be placing them in exile if He wanted to prosper them?
While the Israelites were in captivity, they would show the love of God, by praying for them. They would work hard and serve the Babylonians as though they were serving God. The challenge was that they would have to do this for seventy years before they would receive the prosperity of their homeland again.
God has plans to prosper you, but those plans may be in the long run, not immediate. It may take time to get to that point. On this earth you may never prosper financially as the world sees prosperity, but you may prosper in peace, joy, contentment, and love. You will know that you have a future that will never come to an end. You will know that someday you will have a mansion with many rooms in heaven on a street of gold.
In order to get all of that, however, you must seek God with all of your heart. You must put His desires first in your life. It is not about you and your prosperity or wealth, but what God wants.
Find Jesus and you will have a hope that is above anything the world can offer or has. You may not see it completely this side of heaven, but it is coming, just like the Israelites had to wait for it.
I pray today that you will know God’s plans for your life; that you will trust God’s timing in your life; that you will know the prosperity God has in store for you; and that you will seek God with all of your heart.
This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Jeremiah 25:11
The Israelites in Judah had chosen to follow false gods, despite many warnings from the prophets. God had chosen to punish them by allowing Babylon to overrun the nation and place them all in captivity. Through the prophets, God told the Israelites to go into captivity and serve the king of Babylon, a gentile king, for a time. This time of service and punishment would only last for a set amount of time. It would end in seventy years, there was the hope of restoration.
Living in sin will always have a price that a person must pay. The ultimate price is death. It starts out with spiritual death and separation from God, and ends with physical and spiritual death for all eternity.
Those who have never chosen to follow Jesus are destined to be punished for eternity. Those who have chosen to follow Jesus have had their sins removed. The punishment is no longer there. However, when believers step back into sin and choose to not follow Jesus for a time, there may be punishments set in place by God.
God is a loving Father who does not allow His children to do wrong without any correction or punishment. He disciplines those He loves.
There may be times when you have chosen a wrong path that was not God’s path for you. You chose to step into sin for a time. God may discipline you in order to get you to focus back on Him. He does not want you to stay in sin and be punished with death for eternity.
The good news is that the discipline is only for a set amount of time. It is not for eternity. The discipline for the Israelites lasted for only seventy years. God set a limit for it when He put it in place. He will also place limits on the discipline in your life.
The consequences of living in sin may be for a short time or a longer time, but when there is repentance, it is not for eternity. Go through the discipline and learn to follow God correctly. Know that it is only for a set time. With the forgiveness found in Jesus, you will still live for eternity. Do not stay in that sin, but know the hope you have in Jesus.
I pray today that you will follow Jesus with all your life; that you will learn all lessons from God; that God will strengthen you in all discipline; and that you will shine for God after any discipline.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Isaiah 60:1-2
Israel had walked away from God, so they were cast into captivity. However, after a set time, God brought them back out of captivity. In this passage God is pointing out to them that their light has come. God had begun to show favor to them. The rest of the world was still in the dark, but Israel could see the light.
Along with being brought back out of captivity, this passage is also looking forward to the time of Jesus. When Jesus came into the world, He was called the light of the world and He called Himself the light.
Although nearly two thousand years have passed since Jesus walked on this earth, things have not really changed at all. The world is still living, as a whole, in darkness. People live as though there is no God, and as there is no hope. All over the world people are committing suicide all the time, because they have lost all hope. They feel as though there is nothing to live for.
If you are believing in and following Jesus, you have a hope that the world does not have. Though they do not have that hope, they can see it in you. You are a shining light in this world.
You shine because you are different. You have a love and a joy that is different. Being different is what makes a person stand out. It is what the world wants, but does not have or know how to get it. The world seeks those things in temporary, worthless things, rather than in Jesus.
As this world lives in darkness and despair, you live in the light and glory of God. God’s favor is on you, even while going through extremely difficult situations in life. As you go through those situations with a hope, the world will see it and desire it.
Are you willing to let the world know what this hope it?
Are you willing to let the light of God shine through you to everyone around you?
I pray today that you will know the hope you have in Jesus; that you will know God’s glory in your life; that you will shine with the light of Jesus in this world; and that you will be a witness to everyone of who Jesus is.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31
Everyone has days of weariness. The business of things to do, places to go, and people to see gets to a person and they begin to slow down. It does not matter the age of a person, because given enough time and work, they will get weary.
Watch a young child running and playing. It appears as if he will never slow down or come to a stop. He runs on the Energizer battery, he just keeps going and going and going and going. But if one watches long enough, even that young child runs out of energy. Little children are known for all of a sudden laying down in the middle of the floor and going to sleep, or falling asleep with their face on the plate at the dinner table. Their energy has given out.
Isaiah says that there is a way to have more energy and strength. There is a way to have it renewed. It is found in having hope in the Lord.
Going through this life can be very wearisome. It can drain the energy of a person, especially when things are not going so well. It appears that you do good over and over again and again, and do not seem to get any good results. Things still go wrong and you get weary and want to quit. Most of the world will quit.
To keep going and renew your strength, focus on the Lord. Find the hope you have in Him. Keep in mind that one day Jesus will return and take you to heaven where there will be no more sorrow, pain or suffering.
As you focus on that, you will have the needed energy and strength to keep going. You will be able to soar above others in this world. You will be able to run and not get weary. You will walk on in the heat and not faint.
The reason you can do this, is because you know that in the end you will win with God on your side. Hold on to that hope in the Lord and renew your strength.
I pray today that you will personally know God; that you will know the promises God has for you; that you will trust God’s word to you; and that you will know the strength God can provide.
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, or his delight in the legs of the warrior; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11
The world likes to look at what a wealthy or successful person has and admire it. They consider how large the house is, what type of car they drive, how big of a paycheck is made, the position a person has at work or in the community, and many other things. Things like this is what people delight in either seeing or having themselves.
Power is the other thing that people like to look at and admire. Men love to admire a car that has a lot of power. People often crowd around a person who has high authority or influence in a community. Those who have a great ability in some field are often sought out by others trying to learn how to have that same ability.
God does not look at those things and find the same great delight that man does. Seeing someone in high position or very successful does not excite the Lord at all. God already owns everything, so having it means very little to Him. He also has absolute power, so power and position mean nothing.
He finds great delight in those who fear and trust Him. God already has the ability to do anything and everything needed. He gets excited when a person will trust Him to do what is needed for him every time and all the time.
God’s love for you is perfect and unfailing. God will not and cannot do anything that is not for your benefit. The real challenge is do your really believe that?
If you really believe that God does every thing He does for your benefit, then you must stop trusting in this world and the things of this world. Put all of your trust in God and Him alone.
Allow God to lead you in the path you are to take. Trust that His love is so great that you will not be harmed. You may get harmed physically, but your spirit will live for eternity with God.
Where is your hope today?
Is it in the things of this world?
Or in God’s unfailing love?
I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will trust God’s love for you; that you know God delights in you following Him; and that you will not trust the things of this world.