Praying with Jesus: Then You Will Call On Me

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” – Jeremiah 29:12

Suffering isn’t fun.  No one really wants to go through a tough time.  But sometimes we need to.

When this passage from Jeremiah was written (it was in a letter from Jeremiah), the Israelites had lost the promised land and been sent into exile.  Not fun.  And in vs 10 God had just told the Israelites he wasn’t getting them out of exile any time soon.  They would be in exile for 70 years.  This would be hard.

But why were they in exile in the first place?  They had turned away from God and turned to worshiping false gods.  That is worse than exile.  God needed to get their attention and do so in a way that would last.  God was working to turn the heart of Israel back to Him.  The tough pill to swallow is that the exile was for their own good.

There is another famous Bible verse that God said right after telling the Israelites they would be in exile for 70 years:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Sometimes God lets us go through difficult times because we need to remember who He is and turn back to Him.  The wonderful news is that He will hear us when we call out to Him.  He is there the whole time working His plan for our welfare, for our future and hope.

If you are going through a difficult time right now, call out to God.  He will hear you.  If life is pretty good right now, don’t forget the God who has blessed you.  Continue to turn to Him…He will hear you, too.

Heavenly Father,

You are wiser than I am.  You are good.  When things are going well, it can be easy to forget to come to You in prayer.  Remind me.  Help me to always remember You and turn to You.  If I do start to drift, bring me back to You, even if that means I have to suffer some.  Being Your child is more important to me than avoiding suffering.  Thank You that You considered having me as Your child more important that the suffering You faced at the cross.


In the Aftermath – Sermon Follow-Up

312526080_75053bd0ed_z“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust. Surely he will save me from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of the night.”
-Psalm 91: 1-5

Sunday morning was filled with the terror of the night. As I left home for early service yesterday I heard on the news that 20 people were dead in the shooting in Orlando. We prayed for the families and all of those involved in this tragedy at the 9:15 service. Leaving church someone told me the death toll was now up to 50. At the 10:45 service this event became part of the sermon. For the second time this week we had to deal with profound sadness and shock. This time we had to ask, how can someone be motivated to do such an evil thing? [Read more…]

Suffering In This Life

revelation2_10“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
-Revelation 2:10

If you just have enough faith, you will get the house…car…blessings you’ve always desired.  You will never get sick and never suffer.  Just name it and claim it.

You may have seen messages like that out there, even coming from leaders of large churches.  However, this is not what Lord promises in the Bible.  In fact, we are told repeatedly that we will suffer: [Read more…]

Devotion – September 12, 2015 – Fix Your Eyes On Jesus

psalm10_14You, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
—Psalm 10:14

When we are suffering it can be easy to start to wonder whether God really sees our suffering or, if He does, whether He cares.  Why would God let this happen?  We don’t always understand why we suffer, but the Scriptures do promise us two things about suffering.  First, in this life we will suffer.  Second, God will be with us every step of the way, He will be our helper, and He will rescue us either here or in eternity. [Read more…]

Devotion – August 24, 2015 – Tough Times Ahead

mark9_30-31Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”
—Mark 9:30-31

Jesus taught many people many things.  He certainly could attract a crowd, but sometimes He would go off with His closest disciples and teach them separately.  Sometimes He did this because He was preparing them for their roles as apostles, sometimes He was preparing them for what was about to happen.  In this case, it’s more the latter.  Jesus has been traveling with these 12 men for nearly 3 years.  They know He is the Messiah and they are following Him.  But they were about go through something none of them expected…something that would totally shake the foundations of their faith.  Jesus, their friend, their teacher, their Lord, would be killed. [Read more…]