Many of us find comfort in the words of Lamentations 3:22-23.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Yet we may fail to understand the context. This was a statement of FAITH in the midst of circumstances that CONTRADICTED the truth. Jeremiah said in the previous verse, v. 21, “This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope.” He would have been devastated without this declaration of faith. Here is a sample of his thoughts and experiences when he made his affirmation in vs. 22-23.
He (God) has driven me and made me walk in darkness…v. 2
He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship…v. 5
He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. v. 8
My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “my strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord.” vs. 17-18
At a time of the year when we look back as well as “anticipate” the future, it is vital to not make assumptions about God based upon our circumstances or feelings, however real they are. Let’s follow Jeremiah’s example. Honesty about our experience, but trumping it with faith in the character of God! Lamentations 3:22-23
As we close out this year, I find symbolic encouragement from these attached photos from one of our three Christmas Eve services. (ref. Philippians 2:15) Shine as lights!
If you would like to give to GFC before the end of the year, be sure to do so according to the following:
- Via mail, envelopes post-marked by Tuesday, December 31st
- Submit online before midnight Tuesday, December 31st
- Hand-deliver to the church office by NOON on Tuesday, December 31st
Looking forward to resuming our series from the letter to the Philippians this Sunday. The Chain Reaction continues!
Grace and peace,
"Meditating on the Word of God: More than a Resolution" Psalm 119
The Word of God is a treasure. Those who have discovered this truth hide this treasure in their hearts because it has become a source of joy for them. It helps them to live a life of integrity, to make good choices and to have discernment in decision-making. The psalmist testifies of this truth throughout the whole chapter of Psalm 119. What would be your personal testimony as far as the Word of God is concerned?
THINKING IT THROUGH
We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.
~John R.W. Stott
If you cut him, (John Bunyan) he'd bleed Scripture!
~Charles H. Spurgeon
The soul can do without everything except the Word of God, without which none at all of its wants are provided for.
God must speak to us before we have any liberty to speak to Him. He must disclose to us who He is before we can offer Him what we are in acceptable worship. The worship of God is always a response to the Word of God. Scripture wonderfully directs and enriches our worship.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.
~2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT
LIVING IT OUT
1. Would you like to make a commitment to start studying the Word of God in the New Year? If yes, what are the obstacles before you and how do you think you might overcome them?
2. Can you remember an occasion when the Word of God helped you deal positively with a complicated situation or overcome a temptation?
3. What is your attitude or reaction when the Word of God challenges a particular behavior in your life? Are you willing to ask God for help?
4. Would you be willing to take some of the time you spend watching your favorite TV show, surfing the Internet for pleasure or playing games, etc. and devote it to the meditation of the Word of God?
Helpful Tool/Resource in the New Year:
The Gospel Coalition – Daily Scripture Reading by D.A. Carson http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/
"Chain Reaction: Sweet" Philippians 2:12-13
One of our kid’s favorite words some years back was “sweet!!” I liked it. Sometimes our experience of the Ultimate Journey—being changed by Christ and used by Christ—does seem so “sweet.” But it is. In two short, powerfully honest verses, Paul tells us why faithfulness to Christ is so sweet! Enjoy!
LOOKING IT UP
1. Review the previous context and note the connection beginning in 2:11- “so then, my beloved brethren, just as…” How is the letter of Paul progressing as it moves along? (Note the reference to obedience in 2:8 and 2:12.)
2. How does the address, “my beloved brethren,” 2:12, protect us from any false interpretation of these verses?
3. How has the word ‘salvation’ been used in Philippians thus far in 1:19 and 1:28? (Note the word ‘salvation’ simply means ‘deliverance’.) What is determined by each context?
4. What does Paul seem to be urging the believers in Philippi to do as they continue their lives, even in Paul’s absence?
5. Of what should these eternally secure believers be afraid?
6. In what way does v. 13 provide motivation for us in the Ultimate Journey?
Posted on Mon, December 30, 2013
by Tom Oyler