A 365 Day Devotional Journal
Scripture: Matthew 11:28-31; Jeremiah 29:11-14; Jeremiah 31:25; Romans 10:17; John 7:37; Romans 12:1-3; Ephesians 4:20-24; Matthew 6:25-30; Luke 12:4-7, 22-28; 1 Chronicles 16:34; 2 Chronicles 5:12-14.
I kid you not.
This is the actual photo of the first two moves in a game of Scrabble ® between my husband and me yesterday.
Funny how God speaks. Moments before, the Scripture floating through my mind was from Jeremiah:
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”¹
This of course is a well known passage proclaiming the promise of God to draw Israel back to Himself, as you can see from its context:
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”²
But Jeremiah 29:11-14 also is a Scripture the Holy Spirit breathed into my heart during several years of personal despair when my husband was finishing college. I had graduated earlier yet remained stuck in an utterly mind-numbing secretarial job because it paid well, had benefits, and was our means for him to complete his final two years of an engineering degree.
So back to yesterday – the Holy Spirit again whispered these words in my ear. And yes, I admit it. I had been thinking disparaging thoughts about our future.
You’d think I would learn to trust God after all this time, right?
Give yourself a break. Everyone has doubts from time to time.
True, but doesn’t God’s Word say “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”³?
My conclusion, then, is that when I am not walking in faith, it means I have not been in God’s Word long enough to renew my mind.
Hard words, I know, but either you believe what the Word says or you don’t. The choice is up to you. You can’t pick and choose which parts to apply to yourself and which parts to ignore. Either we accept the whole of God’s Word, or we reject it. It’s as simple as that.
I had been guilty of dwelling on thoughts of worry. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see our country is in serious trouble, and if you are like me, you also recognize that living with your head stuck in the sand is a foolish endeavor at best. At worst, such behavior leaves you unprepared for the impending disasters threatening our horizon.
For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.” But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?4
So what do I do?
Back to the Scrabble ® game and the intersecting words, “heavy laden.” I don’t know how God speaks to you, but with me, He speaks in one of several ways. Object lessons like this are one way He provokes me to mediate upon His Word. And meditating on God’s Word, my friend, always brings peace.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”5
Jesus came to earth at a time when Israel was in bondage to Rome. These people did not live in a free society. They lived in constant fear of oppression and the realities of Rome’s ungodly domination and brutality. Prior to Jesus speaking these words of invitation to the weary, He said this to His disciples:
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”6
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”7
O you of little faith?
How far I have to grow!
Read: Matthew 11:28-31; Jeremiah 29:11-14; Jeremiah 31:25; Romans 10:17; John 7:37; Romans 12:1-3; Ephesians 4:20-24; Matthew 6:25-30; Luke 12:4-7, 22-28; 1 Chronicles 16:34; 2 Chronicles 5:12-14. Journal your private thoughts.
Father God, You are so good. Your mercy endures forever. Thank you. Hallelujah, may Your glory fill this house! Help me to grow into the image of Christ, that I may be found perfect in You. For Jesus’ sake, and the kingdom’s, amen.
¹Jeremiah 29:11 Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
²Jeremiah 29:12-14. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
³Romans 10:17. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
4Romans 3:3-6. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
5Matthew 11:28-31. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
6Matthew 10:28-31. (See Luke 12:4-7.) Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
7Matthew 6:25-30. (See also Luke 12:22-28.) Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise