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The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

A popular country song says, “Ours was just a love gone wrong. Don’t that sound like the same old song.” While country music has some happy songs, it’s famous for its heartbreak lyrics like Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Country music fans love a good tearjerker.

You’ll find something far different if you open a hymnbook. See how we sing about God’s love for us. His is a love gone right—right to our hearts, filling us with joy and exuberance. His is a never-failing love that extends from everlasting to everlasting.

The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.

It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell.

Few things are more painful than troubled relationships. If you’re troubled today by a strained relationship, shift your attention to your Heavenly Father who loves us with an everlasting love. He can change heartbreaks into hallelujahs.

Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me! Charles Wesley


Jeremiah 20 – The Glory of the New Covenant – Jeremiah 31

God Fights for Us

[God] will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

A Colorado mother proved she would stop at nothing to protect her child. Her five-year-old son was playing outside when she heard him screaming. She rushed outside and, to her horror, saw that her son had an unexpected “playmate”—a mountain lion. The large cat was on top of her son, with his head in its mouth. The mother summoned her inner mamma grizzly to fight off the lion and pry open its jaws to rescue her son. This mother’s heroic actions remind us of how motherhood is used in Scripture to illustrate God’s tenacious love and protection for His children.   

God tenderly cared for and comforted His people as a mother eagle cares for her young (Deuteronomy 32:10–11Isaiah 66:13). Also, like a mother who could never forget a nursing child with whom she had built an inseparable bond, God would never forget His people nor forever withhold compassion from them (Isaiah 54:7–8). Finally, like a mother bird offering protective cover under her wings for baby birds, God would “cover [His people] with his feathers” and “his faithfulness [would] be [their] shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4).

Sometimes we feel alone, forgotten, and trapped in the grip of all kinds of spiritual predators. May God help us remember that He compassionately cares, comforts, and fights for us.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

How have you seen the image of God as a parent illustrated in your life? In what ways have you experienced His care, comfort, and protection?

Heavenly Father, as baby birds find protection under their mother’s wings, may I find refuge under the shield of Your faithfulness.

Listening for God

God’s voice is clearer when the distractions are few

1 Kings 19:11-13

In the Song of Solomon, the bride says, “I was asleep, but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling”’ (Song 5:2). In a similar way, God reaches out to us. He is speaking, knocking, and seeking entrance to our lives.

Unfortunately, our restless hearts are prone to wander, and our minds are distracted by the many voices competing for attention. Do you ever pull away from the clamor and try to distinguish the sound of the Beloved knocking and calling?   

Jesus said that His sheep know His voice (John 10:4), but that recognition is gained through a lifelong habit of listening. In Psalm 46:10 (NIV), we are admonished to be still and know that the Lord is God. To do this, we must first shut out the noisy distractions of this world. Elijah is a good example—while standing on Mount Sinai, he expected God’s presence would be in the wind, fire, and earthquake, but nothing happened until it was quiet. Then he heard a voice.

We must develop the habit of settling ourselves in order to hear the Lord. Can we say to our Bridegroom that our hearts are quietly listening, even when we sleep?

Enoch: A Man of Faith

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)

Surely one of the most godly, as well as interesting, characters who ever lived was Enoch. He is one of only two who lived before the Flood (Noah also, Genesis 6:9) of whom it is said that he “walked with God.” He is also one of only two individuals who never died (Elijah, 2 Kings 2:11). Little is known about him, but the Bible reveals him to be exemplary among men and special to God.

Notice that he was, first of all, a man of faith. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death;…he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [i.e., that God exists], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:5-6). Enoch had ample faith in the fact and work of God, which yielded a close walk with God. He also had faith in the caring character of God that rewards the diligent search for Him on His terms with sanctification, fellowship, and eternal life. This faith, we are told, pleased God.

We find in the little book of Jude a description of Enoch’s ministry. Enoch’s faith impelled him to denounce strongly the false teaching and ungodly living of his day, prophesying the coming return of, and judgment by, the Lord (Jude 1:14-15).

Some have suggested that Enoch’s ministry is not yet over. All men die, for “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27), and Enoch has not yet died. Perhaps he is one of the two tribulation “witnesses” (Revelation 11:3) whose messages are so much like those of Enoch and Elijah who will be martyred, resurrected, and taken up to heaven directly from Earth (vv. 4-12). At any rate, Enoch is certainly one of the great heroes of the faith whom we shall meet some day. JDM

God Sees All, Knows All

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.Revelation 2:7

We have lived with unholiness so long that we are almost incapable of recognizing true holiness. The people of God in the churches of Jesus Christ ought to be a holy people. But ministers have largely given up preaching Bible-centered sermons on holiness. Maybe they would not know what to do with hearers who fell under the convicting power of God’s Word. Preachers today would rather give their congregations tranquilizers….

Our Lord is a holy Lord, and His eyes are as a flame of fire. His X-ray eyes can see right through everything! We can hide nothing from God. He sees all and knows all. But apparently we have a hard time with that fact—preachers and lay people alike. We seem to think our respectability should be accepted by our Lord as spirituality. JIV061-062

The basic principle in a spiritual life lies in its control. The Holy Spirit works to bring the Christian to refuse the further reign of self and to choose the sovereignty of Christ over his life by yielding to Him as Lord.

You cannot get power from God until you receive holiness. HS071

“The Doubter’s Prayer”

Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.John 20:27

If your doubts still persist after facing them, praying about them, and developing the habit of talking to yourself with a Scripture passage that refutes them, then seek the help of a minister or a Christian counselor. God has given us three resources to help us whenever we get into spiritual difficulties: the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the people of God. The final answer to doubt may come as you share with an experienced Christian the things that are going on in your heart.

If you are not able to get the kind of help I am suggesting, then get in touch with your nearest Christian bookshop and ask them to recommend some helpful reading on the subject. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to settle down into a complacent attitude about your doubts. Adopt a positive approach and determine to do something about resolving them. This will ensure that even though your doubts may take a certain amount of time to be cleared away, they will not be able to degenerate into unbelief.

Let me remind you of “The Doubter’s Prayer” compiled by Martin Luther:

Dear Lord, although I am sure of my position,

I am unable to sustain it without Thee.

Help me or I am lost.

If the only thing you are able to do is pray, then that by itself will prevent doubt from becoming unbelief. If you also adopt the principle of “talking to yourself” from the Word of God, then you have in your hands the strategy for overcoming doubt.

Prayer

Father, help me, whenever I don’t know what to do, to turn naturally to prayer. Then no moment will be empty or fruitless. But help me also to utilize the power of Your Word, the Bible. Let these two things become my central strategy. Amen.

Further Study

Mk 9:14-29; Mt 9:29-30; 21:21

What was the father’s request?

Do you need to pray that prayer today?

Spiritual Famine

Hear this! The days are coming—

[this is] the declaration of the Lord God—

when I will send a famine through the land:

not a famine of bread or a thirst for water,

but of hearing the words of the Lord.—Amos 8:11

One way God communicates is through silence. The Israelites blatantly ignored and rejected God’s word to them, and God responded by sending a famine. This famine was far more severe than a shortage of food and water. Instead, they were deprived of His words of life.

God’s silence may be hardly noticeable at first. You may still remember times when God spoke to you, but you gradually realize you’ve not heard His voice for a long time. If you realize you are in a “drought,” immediately seek God and ask Him what adjustments your life requires so you can once again enjoy fellowship with Him. It may be that you disobeyed His last instructions to you and that He is waiting on your obedience before giving you a new direction. It may be that there is unconfessed sin in your life or that you have a damaged relationship (Isa. 1:15; 1 Pet. 3:7). It is possible that you have done too much talking in your prayer times and that He wants you to listen. God’s silences can be powerful times for Him to communicate with you.

God is God! Because He is God, when He speaks He expects a listening ear and an eager response. He will not be mocked! (Gal. 6:7). When we ignore Him, He may withhold His voice until we repent and get right with Him. The prophet Isaiah assured King Asa, “The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”