VIDEO Keep Hope Alive

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. Jeremiah 17:7

The record of Jeremiah’s prophetic utterances makes up the longest book in the Bible. The ancient Near East—from Egypt to Mesopotamia—was in a constant state of flux, turmoil, and war during Jeremiah’s life. And that included life in Judah where Jeremiah saw five kings come and go during his ministry.

In many ways, Jeremiah was witness to a level of threat and change very much like what we witness today. Modern nations are threatening, and sometimes attacking, one another. People in many nations and societies live in fear of political and economic instability. And the masses are looking for someone to trust. That’s why Jeremiah wrote, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.” That didn’t mean that war and turmoil would stop the moment people started trusting. Jerusalem was conquered and people—even godly people like Daniel—were carried into captivity in Babylon. But trusting in the Lord dispelled fear of the future.

Trust in the Lord has the same effect today for those who hope in Him. Don’t let the world’s instability cause you to lose hope. Keep hope alive through faith in God.

Where there is no hope, there is no faith. William Gouge


Jeremiah 17:7-8 We can trust God during these difficult times

Life Expectancy

A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by. Psalm 90:4

In 1990, French researchers had a computer problem: a data error when processing the age of Jeanne Calment. She was 115 years old, an age outside the parameters of the software program. The programmers had assumed no one could possibly live that long! In fact, Jeanne lived until the age of 122.

The psalmist writes, “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures” (Psalm 90:10). This is a figurative way of saying that whatever age we live to, even to the age of Jeanne Calment, our lives on earth are indeed limited. Our lifetimes are in the sovereign hands of a loving God (v. 5). In the spiritual realm, however, we’re reminded of what “God time” really is: “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by” (v. 4).

And in the person of Jesus Christ “life expectancy” has been given a whole new meaning: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). “Has” is in the present tense: right now, in our current physical moment of trouble and tears, our future is blessed, and our lifespan is limitless.

In this we rejoice and with the psalmist pray, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

By:  Kenneth Petersen

Reflect & Pray

What worries do you have about your life and its limits? How are you comforted by the presence of Jesus?

Loving God, sometimes this life is hard, but—even so—I sing for joy in Your provision for me. Satisfy me today with Your unfailing love.

Our Top Priority

Unless we determine to put God first, we can easily lose days, weeks, or years to lesser things

Luke 10:38-42

Which sister in today’s story best describes you? Are you distracted and stressed, or eager to learn from the Lord? During Jesus’ visit, Martha let serving Him become more important than listening to Him. Even though the sisters were both expressing their love and care for Jesus through their actions, Mary chose the better way.

Sometimes in the busyness of life, we lose sight of how important it is to refresh our soul with God’s presence. Although the Lord doesn’t want us to neglect our responsibilities, we need to spend part of each day praying, reading, and meditating on Scripture.  

Our relationship with the Lord should have first place above all else in life. Our mind and spirit need daily renewing with God’s Word so that our thoughts, attitudes, affections, and actions will flow from the application of spiritual truths. But as we’ve all probably discovered, this is not easy. Our own selfish nature clamors for supremacy, and the world with all its pursuits, pleasures, and temptations encourages us to indulge ourselves. 

Nothing should supersede your relationship with Christ. Like Mary, make time to listen and learn from Jesus through His Word.

On Eschewing Evil

“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11)

The venerable English word “eschew” is not used much these days, perhaps because there is not much evil that people eschew any more. Nevertheless, a wonderful formula is couched in this terminology in our text. If anyone desires to “see good days,” then he should “eschew evil,” even in his speech, and instead “do good.”

The Greek word translated “eschew” here is ekklineo, meaning “incline away from.” That is, instead of having an attitude that “inclines toward” evil, as the world does, the Christian’s inclination must be its polar opposite.

The word is used only two other times in the New Testament. “Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). We are not only to eschew evil words and deeds but also evil men who teach things contrary to God’s Word. The other occurrence refers to what ungodly men eschew. “They are all gone out of the way…there is none that doeth good” (Romans 3:12). Here ekklineo is translated “gone out of the way.” The ungodly eschew doing good; those who would love real life and see good days must do good and eschew evil.

That such an attitude honors and pleases God is especially evident from His thrice-repeated testimony concerning the patriarch Job, “a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3). Job saw some bad days, of course, but there were far more good days of great blessing until he finally died “full of days” (Job 42:17). Like Job, let us eschew—shun, avoid, run away from—evil in any form. HMM

An Intimate and Private Place

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.Psalm 5:3

One of the most liberating declarations in the New Testament is this: “[T]he true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). Here the nature of worship is shown to be wholly spiritual….

From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden center of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God.

There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribably wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ, and He will enter only by the invitation of faith. MDP010

[G]et alone with God and His Word every day. I recommend that you turn off the radio and the television and let your soul delight in the fellowship and the mercies of God. TTPII, Book 6/074

Meeting the Person

My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection.Philippians 3:10

It must not be assumed that the study of Scripture and the contemplation of the principles that God has built into His Word are unimportant. They most certainly are. But let us be on our guard that we do not fall into the trap of contemplating the principles that God has built into the universe more than God Himself.

I have often seen students of Scripture fall into this trap when, in reading their Bible, the only things that get their attention are the principles that relate to godliness. They underline them in their Bible, mark alongside them other Scriptural references, and think that by doing this they are growing spiritually. The problem, however, is that only the principles of daily personal godliness capture their interest; their heavenly Father does not.

Imagine treating a love letter that way: identifying and underlining the principles, reflecting on the profundity of some of the insights, marveling at the clarity of the language and yet missing the main purpose of the letter—romantic passion and love. Yet this is the way some people approach the Bible. Our aim in studying the nature and character of God must be to know God better (not merely know His Word better), and we must seek to enlarge our acquaintance not simply with the characteristics of His nature, but with the living God whose characteristics they are.

Prayer

O God, help me never to approach the Bible content to know only the written Word. Give me a passion that never remains satisfied until, through the written Word, I discover more of the living Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Rv 2:1-7; 2Co 5:14

What was the church in Ephesus commended for?

Why was this insufficient?

Godliness and Persecution

In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.—2 Timothy 3:12

Living a godly life will not insulate you from hardship. Paul said that the more blameless your life, the more likely you will be persecuted. According to Paul, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). As the world increasingly embraces sin, worldly people are becoming increasingly intolerant of godliness. Darkness cannot tolerate light; the more your life illuminates the presence of Christ, the more you should expect opposition from the forces of darkness. Your Christlike nature will be offensive to those in rebellion against Christ’s Lordship.

You may have recently repented of your sin and taken a new step of obedience to God. Perhaps you expected to experience God’s blessing immediately as He demonstrated His approval of your obedience. Instead, you were met with opposition. The persecution may have come even from other Christians who misunderstood your motives. Perhaps you obeyed God, and still your actions were met with criticism instead of praise.

If you are sincerely following the Lord’s direction, don’t be discouraged. Paul warned that those who seek to live godly lives will suffer persecution. Do not be surprised when this happens to you. If the world crucified the Son of God, surely the world will be hostile to anyone who lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. Persecution may be the best evidence that your life is like that of Christ. Jesus warned that the world hated Him, the Savior, and so it would certainly misunderstand and mistreat His disciples (John 15:18).