Tag: future

Oct 18 Promises fulfilled

sky-684322_1920Father, part of Jeremiah’s prophecy has already come true. You did indeed send Your people “into the hand of the king of Babylon”. And seventy years later, You did “gather them from the lands where You banished them”. They once again bought and sold fields in the land. Jerusalem was rebuilt. I love the words of Jeremiah’s prayer, and have sung them before: “Ah Lord God, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power – Ah Lord God You have made the heavens and the earth by Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You…Great and Mighty God, Your name is the Lord Almighty”.

The earth is Your creation. All power and honor and sovereignty is due You, and only You. It is truly the work of Your hand and arm. And there is literally, nothing that is beyond Your ability and power. Nothing is too hard or difficult for You.

And we haven’t even seen all You can do! For part of Jeremiah’s words are yet to be fulfilled. You declared “The days are coming when this city will be rebuilt…will never again be uprooted or demolished”. And although the city was rebuilt when the king of Persia sent the Israelites back, it has been destroyed again and again. And rebuilt.  Also, they were to “live in safety”. But the Israelites have been under the rule of many conquerors since then. Even today, as a formal nation, their neighbors are not on peaceful terms with them, and war is an ever-present concern. So those “days” have not arrived yet.

But Your fulfillment of Your promises in the past assures me that Your promises for the future are true. And that the prophecies You have given will all come true.   One day, “All will know the Lord, from the least …to the greatest.” So in the meantime, I desire to live a life guided by Your instruction. It seems the list of qualities Paul gives for church leaders is a good place to start. Father, help me to be “temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunk or violent or quarrelsome or a lover of money.” If I am drawn away from or drift away from these qualities, rein me back in so I will not be an embarrassment to You.

Thank You, that the Creator, Almighty God, King of the Universe, cares enough to let me know, through Your Word, of Your faithfulness to keep all the promises You have made. And for showing me what is to come. And I thank You for showing me how to live until that time: in great hope and in humble obedience.   Amen

Jeremiah 31:27-32:44; I Timothy 3:1-16

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Oct 16 Trust God’s plan

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“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.” These wonderful words of life and promise and hope that so many believers have claimed as personal encouragement were given first to a specific group of Your people who had rejected You and endured such hardship that they had been forcibly removed from their homes and land. They had been seized by a military force and taken to a foreign country to live as captives.

I cannot even imagine the trauma of being relocated like that. I would imagine escape back home would have been considered. Or revolt. Some attempt to regain freedom. But even if escape were possible, home was a thousand miles away! And now comes this letter from Jeremiah to say ‘Accept captivity! Settle down! Live in the new land. Pray for your new home! For seventy years!’

That must have seemed just the opposite of what they wanted to do. And the harsh word, that this was Your doing must have been confusing and hurtful. But then, in the same breath, comes Your promise to them. “When seventy years are completed in Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill My good promise to bring you back to this place”.

Father, I know I sometimes wonder if where I am is really the place You want me to be. I trust the plans You have for me. Even if it means I have to wait on Your timing. But please don’t let it take seventy years, Lord! David prayed, and I do too, “Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You.” Thank You Lord, that You are “forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call on You.” Thank You that You do “Hear my prayer, Lord,” and “listen to my cry for mercy.” I praise You that You are “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”.

The Israelites must have looked at their circumstances and doubted whether it could really be Your will. Father, sometimes things don’t look too good to me either. And Iwonder how You will work things out for my good. But I totally trust that You will.   I completely “rely on Your faithfulness”.

Father, open my eyes to the truth of where I am right now. If I have gotten myself off Your path, show me how to return to it. If I am where You want me to be, help me hear your voice of encouragement. Help me feel Your presence here with me. And if waiting is involved, help me wait patiently, prayerfully, praise-fully, and productively.   Show me those plans as I need to see them. My hope and my future are in You. Amen

Jeremiah 29:1-14; Psalm 86:1-17

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

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Father, Isaiah is filled with the vision of Your triumphant return! You bring reward to Your people. You come avenging Your people, righting wrongs done centuries ago and ever since.

 

Even Your people do not deserve Your great salvation, but You will bless the remnant You have chosen and those who call on Your name.

Father, help me keep my eyes on that future. And my focus on You and Your promises, not on what is happening here on earth. Here on earth the wicked seem to be the prosperous. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.”

When I listen to the voice of modern society and how far it has pulled away from You and Your standards, it is easy to wonder if I am still on the right track. I see people who do not worship You who prosper so greatly, with seemingly no consequences. They amass influence and power and become the people who drive my society and its values. And I wonder: Do You see? Do You see what is happening in Your world? The one You created so carefully? So lovingly?

I seek to live according to Your principles, and it brings challenges and trials.

But I will remember Your promises. I trust Your plan. And these Words of Yours strengthen me: “I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel,  and afterward You will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail,
  but You are the strength of my heart  and my portion forever.” Whatever the earth can offer is nothing compared to all You have already given me, and have promised me will be my future with You! Thank You! Amen

Isaiah 62:6- 65:25; Psalm 73:1-28

Sept 30 You are my Light

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“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.”

Father, what a glorious picture You paint of a time when You come to the earth. I have no idea when it will be, whether I will be alive and able to see it first hand, or whether many more generations will pass before it happens. But I believe all will be as You describe.

You give me a picture of what it will be like to give me hope for the future, and to spur me on to live as I should right now. It is hard to see injustice and people being treated badly. But what a promise that one day there will be justice and vindication for all! Father, help me hold on to that hope as I pray for that day to come soon.

In knowing how to live during this time, help me “stand firm in one Spirit, striving together [with other believers] as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way…” In these times there will be troubles, but I have “encouragement from being united with You”. So when I face a challenge, don’t let me run away from my faith in order to meet my needs. Don’t let me compromise my beliefs in order to ‘fit in’ with the prevailing social attitudes. Show me how to draw strength and support from other believers; and how to strengthen and support them.

Father, help me follow Your example, being humble and obedient, thinking of others before myself. Let my motivation be to be more like You, not seeking selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Father, I pray for Your swift return, when “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. Amen

Isaiah 60: 1-62:5; Philippians 1:27-2:18

 

May 16 Praying Your Word

Father, I pray the words of this Psalm for myself, and my loved ones.praying-hands-on-bible

I give You praise!

Blessed am I because I fear You – have an earnest respect for You – and delight in knowing and obeying Your commands. May my children be mighty in the futures You have promised them. May they live uprightly so their generation will be blessed.

Thank You that I possess wealth and riches. Perhaps not as the world recognizes wealth and riches, but as You count them.   And thank You that Your righteousness remains with me forever. Even in the dark times, let me live in Your light as You give me grace and compassion to deal with whatever comes. Let goodness pour into my life. And let me generously pass that goodness on to others. I will seek Your justice in conducting my affairs and act in accordance.

As I have planted my faith in You, I will never be shaken. The world will not make me fall apart. Keep my heart strong even in the face of bad news, so I will not fear. But draw me ever closer to You, who I trust completely.   Because I know that You win in the end, my heart and mind are secure. I know that at the end of the age, when You return, all Your foes will be vanquished, and I will look triumphantly on those foes.

I will send my service and prayers and financial support to the poor, here and around the world. Let Your righteousness done through me, be remembered forever. And my family be remembered honorably. Amen

Psalm 112:1-9

Mar 11 from beginning to end

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Thank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited, reconciled, into fellowship with You. Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through. Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid! That You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence. And eventually died physically. They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers. Yet sin continued, with more sacrifices being made as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people. Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again, as You judge all the living and the dead, even the angels, and create a new heaven and a new earth. You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes. They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever. I am eternally blessed to be Your child. Thank You. Amen

Numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Jan 18 Trust in every high and low

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Heavenly Father, thank You that I can trust You through the ups and downs, the highs and lows of my life. There are times when things are going so well I feel on top of the world. And there are other times when it seems as if nothing is going right, and never will. It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything because everything seems to work out wrong and there is no sign that things will change for the better.

Israel’s son Joseph must have thought that when he was first thrown into a well by his jealous and conniving brothers, then sold to slave traders and carried off to Egypt far away from home. He was completely out of control of his own future at that point. But You were in control. And You had a master plan.

I know from scripture how Joseph’s life turned out: all for the good, and for the saving of his family. But I cannot see into the future to know the twists and turns my own life will take, or how it will turn out. And that is the challenge of life here on earth.

There are so many things I cannot control. They become a source of anxiousness, worry, and wringing my hands. Other things, I try to control, but they slip through my fingers like water or sand. They are the source of making plans, and back up plans, contingencies and manipulation; again, stressful. And there are the things that I seem to control and am pleased with, but am misled, because in truth, I am not in control at all. I only think I am.

I could continue to live this misguided life of false security, manipulation and anxiety. But I choose to lay it all down. Father, instead, I choose the peace of giving it all to You. This is where trust comes in. I choose to believe Your Word: that You have a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future, to never leave me or forsake me. And You have proven Yourself steadfast and trustworthy all throughout the ages. You created the heavens and the earth and everything in them and have sustained them ever since. You have kept Your covenants and Your promises to men; every one. You have given revelation and prophecy that so far, has all come true. By Your power, the earth turns and the sun rises every morning.

Just like in Joseph’s life, I trust that You will position me where I need to be, when I need to be there. I trust You to prepare me for what comes next. And to guide me through it by being with me.

You will keep me safe. In You I take refuge. You are my Lord. Apart from You I have no good thing. In You I trust. Amen

Genesis 37:1-36; Psalm 16:1-2; Jeremiah 29:11; Deuteronomy 31:6

Dec 7 Where there is life, there is hope

Father, what a picture of joy and hope when You say “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert”.  Because in the desert, very little grows.  The lack of water and the intense heat plus sandy soil produce low, scrawny plant life.  But to find grapes: something juicy and good that can nourish, is a wonderful and valuable find!  When living in or crossing the desert, a find like this can be the difference between life and death. figtree

A similar picture is seen in the next part of the verse: “when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree”.  For a fig tree is different from most other fruit trees.  It will take four to five years, and sometimes six or seven years for a fig tree to produce it’s first crop of figs.  So all those years, care must be taken to keep it watered and fertilized and protected from the weather and winds, parasites and disease so it will be healthy enough to produce.  Then, when seeing the early fruit, you know it has all been worth it!  There is success!  And hope of many more harvests to come.

Both of these create an emotional response of relief, satisfaction – that the future is secure and what has been done and accomplished was worth it.  I love seeing this in projects or ministries I have been involved with.  Or when I think of lives I have impacted.  It is a good feeling that any positive influence will continue and go on.  I feel it when I think of my children.  I feel delight and hope.

But then that was all taken away when You saw what happened.  “…they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved”.   Delight is erased.  Hopes are dashed.  Joy is replaced with sadness, grief and anguish over the loss of those involved and the prospect of the joyous future that had been envisioned.

Father, do You feel like this about each one of Your creations now?  Do You have delight in each one, and then anguish over their fall away from You into idolatry?  Father, I am Your child.  Keep me from turning away from You.  Show me clearly where and when there are idols I am in danger of being drawn to: pride, possessions, money, fame, popularity, whatever.  I believe You gave these words to John: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”.

I echo these words for my own children.  And also “pray that [they] may enjoy good health and that all may go well with [them]”.   Father, help me and my children and loved ones be faithful to You.  Help us walk in a manner worthy of You, to show hospitality, not to gossip, to welcome believers, not to imitate what is evil, but to imitate what is good.  Father, let “our mouths be filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” because of the “great things You have done for us”!  Thank You for the great things You have done for us!  Amen

Hosea 9:10; III John 1:1-14; Psalm 126:1-6