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Latest Journal Update
My morning got off to a later start than I anticipated. I made it to Old Town Fort Collins for a prayer time with some leaders and then returned home and took care of some duties and got caught up on some of my morning routines. After an afternoon appointment I returned home and took a nap to get re-energized.
I am pleased that I am finally feeling more strength and energy than I have for several weeks. I am anticipating some new routines with fitness workouts and efforts to begin some work projects. When I think of a year ago, I was thinking that I would be discharged from in-patient rehab on November 10. I still had several medical issues to deal with along with my ability to take care of some "activities of daily living." I was actually glad to have the extra month of rehab. Even though I thought I would be farther along in my recovery, I am glad that I am where I am today compared to last year!
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY... “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel...If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you. Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land." Jeremiah 42:9-12
How do you respond when the answer is not what you want to hear? I am reminded of the story of the man who was hanging on a branch over a cliff. He is yelling for help, "is anyone up there?" A voice answered, "I am here, I am the Lord." "Lord, help me, I will do anything you ask!" the man cries. The Lord responds, "let go of the branch!" The man responds, "Is anyone else up there?!"
God's judgment has come upon His people. Only a remnant of the people remain in the land. There has just been an uprising where the governor appointed by the King of Babylon is killed along with his men and some men of Babylon. The leaders and all the people come to Jeremiah and plead, "pray to the Lords for us." They are seeking direction, some want to flee to Egypt others want to stay, but they are confused and bewildered. They want to hear some direction from the Lord.
Here is their plea of desperation, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 42:5,6
Their mouths uttered the words that seemed to place them in a position to hear God's word, obey and be blessed in their obedience. The Lord's word came and told them to remain in the Land and that they would be protected and warned them that if they go to Egypt that what they feared would happen to them in Jerusalem will happen in Egypt.
This is how the leaders responded to the word of the Lord through Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie. The Lord our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there'..." Jeremiah 43:2 The leaders in their heart had already determined what would be best for their future and their protection. When God spoke what was contrary to their desires, they could not accept it and rebelled against the Lord, because if just did not make sense to them.
Pastor Mark Batterson asks, "Do you trust that God is for you even when He doesn't give you what you asked for? Do you trust that He has reasons beyond your reason? Do you trust that His plan is better than yours?" (Circle Maker, pg 122) The leaders in the land of Judah had their plan, they had their reasoning and even though they said they would heed and obey, when it didn't make sense they rationalized and rebelled.
One of the greatest acts of trust and faith is when the answer to our prayer or the "word from the Lord" doesn't fit into our logic or preconceived notions. Mark Batterson says, "If you can trust Him when the answer is "no" you are likely to praise Him when the answer is "yes." (Circle Maker pg. 122)
Jeremiah, like many pastors and leaders, had to watch as the people disobeyed God, went to Egypt and suffered the consequences of disobedience instead of experiencing God's favor and protection. As a pastor I have had people say to me, "I know what the Bible says....but..." and they proceed to follow their desires and not the Lord's and sooner or later experience the consequences of their actions.
When you pray, "Lord show me your will" - will you follow God's will when it doesn't match up with yours? When you ask the Lord to "open or close a door" - are you willing to accept a closed door as much as an open one? When you want an answer now! are you willing to wait on the Lord? Those are tough situations, but that is what trust is about and as the saying goes, "there is no safer place than to be in the center of God's will." That is true even when God's will doesn't line up with our thoughts about God's will.