Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Lord is my portion

"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" – Lamentations 3.24

What is my lot in life? The lots fall out in all kinds of ways. The lot of some is to be rich and powerful and famous. The lot of others is to carry on one day at a time. The lot of some is to live paycheque to paycheque. Sometimes our lot is joy and sometimes it is hardships.

What all is just part of life. That’s the way life goes.

We however can live above all of that because the Lord is our portion no matter what else happens. I may not have much in this world. I may never have fame or fortune. My lot in this life may be to quietly labour away in my little corner of the world doing what little God allows me to do.

But.


But I still have the Lord as my lot in life and because He is I will hope in Him. Others may have all kinds of things, but I know that I have Christ and that gives me hope no matter what crosses my path or comes my way. I can only be content when I realise that the Lord has said ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ My eternity is secure in Him and having Him as my lot in life it will be worth it all when I finally see Him. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Great it Your faithfulness

Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  – Lamentations 3.22-23

Last week I spent a day at a Christian workers conference in Kilkenny. It was a much needed day of edification and encouragement and blessing. One of the reasons I enjoy it so much is the singing. One of the songs we sang last week was ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ by Thomas Chisholm. I could hardly do better than in capturing the essence than Chisholm did.

Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
       
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
 “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!’

Here is what Chisholm said about the song late in his life – “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now.  Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”


We have that assurance as well. No matter what our health issues, no matter what our economic woes, no matter what comes our way today we can dig down and rely on the fact that God is faithful today, His love will not fail today, and His mercies will be poured out again today. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Lord's mercies

Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  – Lamentations 3.22-23

Now we get to the things that Jeremiah called to mind to encourage himself in the Lord. Though he must have felt nearly consumed He still was able to dig deep enough to find what he needed. What he needed was to remind himself that it is only the mercies of God that keep him and us from being consumed. Mercy, of course, is another way of saying ‘kindness.’ That mercy, that kindness, of God is what keeps us going.

Where would we be without the mercy of God? Where would we be without the compassions that do not fail? When I look at this world that sometimes can seem as much a train wreck as Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day I can’t imagine living here without the knowledge that God’s mercy is with me. At the end of the day I know that He loves me because Him compassions do not fail. Mercy and love are new every morning.


Because of this I can sing ‘every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.’ I don’t need to worry that He won’t be there tomorrow. I can wake up in full assurance tomorrow that God’s mercies will still be there and His compassion will not let me down. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

This I called to mind

And I said, "My strength and my hope Have perished from the LORD." Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall. My soul still remembers And sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.  – Jeremiah 3.18-21

Lamentations is called that for a reason. It might have been called 2 Jeremiah, but the title really reflects the book. Jeremiah wrote that whole long book of warning and imploring God’s people and begging them to return to Him, but they had ignored Him and now he writes ‘How lonely sits the city That was full of people! How like a widow is she, Who was great among the nations! The princess among the provinces Has become a slave! She weeps bitterly in the night, Her tears are on her cheeks; Among all her lovers She has none to comfort her. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies.’

That is just the start of his lamenting. By the time he gets to chapter 3 he has lost hope.  ‘My strength and my hope have perished from the Lord. When I think about this I sink in despair.’

Something had to happen here. Jeremiah chose the right path and said ‘this I recall to mind.’

We will get into what he called to mind a little later. For now it is enough to look at the fact that Jeremiah chose to move along out of his despair and see another perspective.

There are times that we all need to do just that. There are times when we need to choose to recall that God is involved and get our eyes off of our circumstances. Jeremiah had to stop looking at what he could see and remember and focus on the things he could not see.


And that’s where we are today. When things get dark, and they will, we need to call back to mind the great Bible truths that we know and hold dear and turn our attention there. 

Friday, 13 October 2017

The First and the Last

"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. – Jeremiah 44.6

Throughout the whole word of God we find regular references to the fact that God exists outside of time. That’s a wonderful concept. I like sci-fi and I enjoy a good time travel story. The idea of moving through time has drawn the attention of many a writer. Because time is the one thing we can’t control it is always fun to think about what would happen if we could.

But that is where God is. He is of old and from everlasting to everlasting. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the beginning and the end. He is the First and the Last. He is the Author and the Finisher.

And most of all He is I AM.

The I AM is the One who always was, is, and will always be I AM. He can’t forget the past because He is I AM there. He is I AM now so He doesn’t miss anything. He is already in the future because He is I AM then as well.

Because He is always the First and the Last and everything in between nothing is going to catch Him off guard.

I am blessed by this reminder. At my age I have concerns (fears if I were being totally honest) about my future. We are not by any means ‘set’ for our later years financially. I must rest in the fact that God is already there. He knows all that is going to happen and what it happening in 2025 or 2030 or whenever and He has already promised me that He is going, or He is, already in 2030 with me.


I don’t know what the future holds – but I know the One who holds the future in His hands. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

When we pass through the waters

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. – Jeremiah 43.2

When you pass through the waters I will be there
When you pass through the rivers they will not drown you
When you walk through the fire you will not be burned
When you walk through the flames they will scorch you

These were promises to Israel for a specific time and place and purpose. So how do they apply to us? Do they mean anything to us?


I think there is still an application for us because they all speak of the protection and the provision of God in times of trouble. If we take these truths as speaking of eternity we find great hope. In physical terms sometimes we do get burnt. Sometimes the floods overwhelm us.

In this life.

But even when that happens we don’t have to be consumed. God walks with us through the fire and through the floods. We don’t have to face the hard times alone. Even in the depths of our worst suffering God is there with us.

And then, when our earthly journey is done, we will have our final deliverance. We have the ultimate victory in Christ. We are His and He will carry us through to the end.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

You are mine

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.  – Jeremiah 43.1

There is a lot packed in this few verses. Though written to Israel we know that each of these truths also applies to the church today.

God has also created us
He has also formed us
We also need not be afraid
He has also redeemed us
He has also called us by name
We are His

Every one of these is a special blessing and I could take a week to look at them. But I want to focus on the last one – we are His. We belong to the creator and sustainer of the universe. We belong to the eternal unchanging one. We belong to the almighty, all-knowing, ever present God. We belong to the god of ‘God is love.’

Of the course that gives us the ability to say in the midst of the troubles and say to Him ‘I am Yours!’ As the words to a modern Christian song put it ‘not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done; not because of what I done, but because of who You are…I am Yours.’


Don’t let anything diminish that thought today. We are His. We are His precious possessions. I think He has us taken care of.