Friday, January 29, 2016

Three life lessons from Jeremiah

Jeremiah - Artist unknown
Jeremiah - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 1:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "But the Lord said to me: 'Do not say "I am a youth,"
For you shall go to all to whom I send you
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.' " Jeremiah 1:7


In ten short verses Jeremiah gives us three lessons for a lifetime. They were truths from God to him that would guide, comfort, and goad him on through the reign of Judah's last five kings.

Lesson 1 - His life was planned
- Jeremiah 1:5.
God told Jeremiah he was no accident. His ministry and assignment were part of God's design. Before he was even conceived God knew him and set him apart for his unique job as a prophet to the nations.

Lesson 2 - His natural shortcomings were no problem - Jeremiah 1:7.
Jeremiah objected to this assignment. He wasn't a speaker. He was too young. God allayed all his fears with the promise of His presence.

Lesson 3 - His ministry could have an impact far beyond what would be expected
- Jeremiah 1:9,10.
Who would listen to a young, single prophet of Judah? Yet God's promise that He would supply Jeremiah's words meant that they would have divine authority over nations and kingdoms.

Though God will not give any of us the assignment He gave Jeremiah, I believe the lessons behind the specifics of Jeremiah's life apply to us too.

1. We are not accidents either. God has a plan and destiny for each one of us. I love Ephesians 2:10 in this regard:
For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us] - AMP version.

2. Our shortcomings are not a problem to God either. Our excuses (I'm too old, too uneducated, too poorly connected, too old-fashioned etc.) might just be a benefit in that they show off who is really working through us.
But we have this precious treasure [the good news about salvation] in [unworthy] earthen vessels [of human frailty], so that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be [shown to be] from God [His sufficiency] and not from ourselves - 2 Corinthians 4:7 AMP.

3. Our lives can also have a way bigger impact and our words have more authority than common sense says they should. Jesus' many teachings on the power of prayer  (e.g. Matthew 6:6) as well as His words to Peter and the disciples come to mind:
I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth shall have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth shall have [already] been loosed in heaven - Matthew 18:18 AMP.

As we face our assignments for 2016, let's relate the life lessons God gave Jeremiah to our lives and find purpose, courage and hope in them.

PRAYER:
Dear God, thank You that You knew me before I ever existed, that You have a purpose for my life, and that You are and will be the means of fulfilling it. Amen.
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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible,
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

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