There are people who are trying to use scare tactics to gain control. There are people who are using scare tactics to gain access. There are people who are using prophecy to prove their version of reality and cause for the final outcome. There are people who make claims of doom and gloom which when I hear them, I think to myself, “well, that is what the book of revelation says will happen” but the cause or the trigger or the threats don’t seem to align with the outcome they are proclaiming.
Ever seen the number of prophecies that came true through Jesus’ life and death and resurrection? Ever considered the prophecies that are yet to come?
Do you see how people try to deny the truth of the Bible when it doesn’t help their cause but when it does they bring it in without actually referencing it as their source?
Do you realize the hope and the truth that can be found in the Bible? Like…
“Leviticus 16 is about the Day of Atonement, an annual ceremony designed to cleanse the sins of the people of ancient Israel (vv.29-30). It was a day when goats were killed so that God’s people could know life (vv.15-17, 20-22). These animals died because sin, the people’s offenses against God, required the payment of death (10:1-3; Romans 6:23).
The same is true today. Sin still causes death, but Scripture reveals that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” and that Jesus’ blood is the “perfect sacrifice” for our sins (10:13; Hebrews 9:12-14). He’s paid the price for what we’ve broken (2 Corinthians 5:21).”
— from Day 3 of the devotional Our Daily Journey: A 30-Day Walk With Jesus
So let’s make sure that when we are considering what is being said that we consider the facts vs the stories that are being told rather than assuming the sources of the stories is really looking out for our best interest compared to their own agenda.
Now in day to day conversation with friends, family, and coworkers, it is best to not have that initial perspective as it will cause your to miss out on real conversation – we need to initially come at it with the perspective that we are in the conversation with good intentions. Yes we may discover through the process that it’s not the case, but that isn’t a good way to start the conversation since it is based on the fact that there is a relationship or a developing relationship.
So let’s jump into today’s reading and see if we can find more examples of things said in the past that have come true or are yet to come in the future even though they were prophesied or spoken of hundreds if not thousands of years ago.
Do you realize that you were created on purpose and for a purpose by the hands of God?
Do you realize that your calling or purpose may seem overwhelming at the moment, but that when God calls you to it, He will get you through it? Do you realize that He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called? We don’t have to be perfect to come to God! Once we start the relationship with Him, then He starts the work in our heart and the renewing of our mind. He will give us the words to speak! He will give us wisdom to make decisions! He give us words of wisdom to speak into situations! He will give us undeserved favor to be able to be in a specific situation at a specific time in order to be used for His purposes!
1These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests from the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. 2The Lord first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah. 3The Lord’s messages continued throughout the reign of King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, until the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah, another of Josiah’s sons. In August of that eleventh year the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives.
Jeremiah’s Call and First Visions
4The Lord gave me this message: 5“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” 6“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” 7The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! 10Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.” 11Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?” And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.” 12And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” 13Then the Lord spoke to me again and asked, “What do you see now?” And I replied, “I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north.” 14“Yes,” the Lord said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. 15Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the Lord, have spoken! “They will set their thrones at the gates of the city. They will attack its walls and all the other towns of Judah. 16I will pronounce judgment on my people for all their evil—for deserting me and burning incense to other gods. Yes, they worship idols made with their own hands! 17“Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them. 18For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land— the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah. 19They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
–from Jeremiah 1
What do you see going on around this country? What do you hear is going on around this company? What sources are being held up and which seem to be getting covered up? What is the truth? What is the truth from the past saying about this situation? What are the plans for the future being presented saying about this situation? Do you realize the impact? Do you realize the results? Do you consider the possibilities? Consider the character! Consider the platform! Consider the impact! Consider the benefits! Consider the truth! Consider the reality! When your options look bad from one angle, are you willing to look at it from other perspectives too to make sure you can see it from all sides? We need to get beyond the emotions in order to be able to get to logic! When we’ve faced trauma, there will be triggers that get us to a state where we need to find a way to diffuse it so that we can move from emotions to logic! Be it with the support person on the phone! Be it with the coworker who you are facing off with! Be it with the political atmosphere taking place around us. If we can get to the data, the facts, the truth and get beyond the stories and the feelings (as hard as that is), then we can ask God to speak into that situation and give us wisdom to make the right decision for the future! So will you be willing to hear God’s plan? Will you be willing to pursue God’s purpose? Or will we go our own way and even it pushes us further away from God and raises the risks and concerns about the future for us and the generations to come? It’s an important time and an important season! We have all been given free will and so we all get to decide for ourselves what we will think, say, and do! We will all create our own stories! We will all get to see the outcomes too!
The Lord’s Case against His People
1The Lord gave me another message. He said, 2“Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. 3In those days Israel was holy to the Lord, the first of his children. All who harmed his people were declared guilty, and disaster fell on them. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 4Listen to the word of the Lord, people of Jacob—all you families of Israel! 5This is what the Lord says: “What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. 6They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness— a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?’ 7“And when I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its bounty and goodness, you defiled my land and corrupted the possession I had promised you. 8The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who taught my word ignored me, the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, wasting their time on worthless idols. 9Therefore, I will bring my case against you,” says the Lord. “I will even bring charges against your children’s children in the years to come. 10“Go west and look in the land of Cyprus; go east and search through the land of Kedar. Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this? 11Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols! 12The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the Lord. 13“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
The Results of Israel’s Sin
14“Why has Israel become a slave? Why has he been carried away as plunder? 15Strong lions have roared against him, and the land has been destroyed. The towns are now in ruins, and no one lives in them anymore. 16Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes, have destroyed Israel’s glory and power. 17And you have brought this upon yourselves by rebelling against the Lord your God, even though he was leading you on the way! 18“What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and your covenants with Assyria? What good to you are the streams of the Nile or the waters of the Euphrates River? 19Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken! 20“Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you said, ‘I will not serve you.’ On every hill and under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols. 21But I was the one who planted you, choosing a vine of the purest stock—the very best. How did you grow into this corrupt wild vine? 22No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. I still see the stain of your guilt. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!
Israel, an Unfaithful Wife
23“You say, ‘That’s not true! I haven’t worshiped the images of Baal!’ But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done. You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate. 24You are like a wild donkey, sniffing the wind at mating time. Who can restrain her lust? Those who desire her don’t need to search, for she goes running to them! 25When will you stop running? When will you stop panting after other gods? But you say, ‘Save your breath. I’m in love with these foreign gods, and I can’t stop loving them now!’ 26“Israel is like a thief who feels shame only when he gets caught. They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets— all are alike in this. 27To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, ‘You are my father.’ To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say, ‘You are my mother.’ They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me, ‘Come and save us!’ 28But why not call on these gods you have made? When trouble comes, let them save you if they can! For you have as many gods as there are towns in Judah. 29Why do you accuse me of doing wrong? You are the ones who have rebelled,” says the Lord. 30“I have punished your children, but they did not respond to my discipline. You yourselves have killed your prophets as a lion kills its prey. 31“O my people, listen to the words of the Lord! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘At last we are free from God! We don’t need him anymore!’ 32Does a young woman forget her jewelry, or a bride her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me. 33“How you plot and scheme to win your lovers. Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you! 34Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor, though you didn’t catch them breaking into your houses! 35And yet you say, ‘I have done nothing wrong. Surely God isn’t angry with me!’ But now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned. 36First here, then there— you flit from one ally to another asking for help. But your new friends in Egypt will let you down, just as Assyria did before. 37In despair, you will be led into exile with your hands on your heads, for the Lord has rejected the nations you trust. They will not help you at all.
–from Jeremiah 2
Are we being unfaithful today? Are we being disobedient? Are we missing the mark? Are we rejecting God as a nation? Are you part of the remnant? What will you do? How will you respond? Don’t give up! Keep your hope and trust in God! Yes in this world we will have troubles, but we can have faith and take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Yes in this world we will face trials of many kinds! As Jesus told us, consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds – seems counter intuitive but that’s not where the statement or story ends – for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Let’s do our part! Let’s use the skills we have to provide for ourselves! We see how Paul answered the call! We see how Paul’s life was transformed by an encounter with Jesus! We see how the world was transformed by his passion and obedience to go and do and say what God gave him to say! We see how he knew the Jewish history and was able to take those facts in order to speak to the truth of who Jesus is! So let’s live out our lives with passion to complete the work God has for us to do! Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts to create a new heart in us! Let’s invite Jesus into our lives so that we can have a renewing of our minds! And let’s be the people God created and purposed for us to be!
Paul Meets Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth1Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. 3Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.4Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. 5And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”7Then he left and went to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue.8Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized.9One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him,“Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” 11So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God.12But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. 13They accused Paul of “persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law.”14But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul’s accusers and said, “Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case. 15But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters.” 16And he threw them out of the courtroom.17The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention.
Paul Returns to Antioch of Syria18Paul stayed in Corinth for some time after that, then said good-bye to the brothers and sisters and went to nearby Cenchrea. There he shaved his head according to Jewish custom, marking the end of a vow. Then he set sail for Syria, taking Priscilla and Aquila with him.19They stopped first at the port of Ephesus, where Paul left the others behind. While he was there, he went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews. 20They asked him to stay longer, but he declined. 21As he left, however, he said, “I will come back later,God willing.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22The next stop was at the port of Caesarea. From there he went up and visited the church at Jerusalem and then went back to Antioch.23After spending some time in Antioch, Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia, visiting and strengthening all the believers.
Apollos Instructed at Ephesus24Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. 25He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. 26When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.27Apollos had been thinking about going to Achaia, and the brothers and sisters in Ephesus encouraged him to go. They wrote to the believers in Achaia, asking them to welcome him. When he arrived there, he proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God’s grace, had believed. 28He refuted the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the Scriptures, he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah.–from Acts 18