Our Daily Bread — Mercy’s Lament

 

Bible in a Year:

  • Exodus 39–40
  • Matthew 23:23–39

My heart is poured out on the ground . . . because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.

Lamentations 2:11

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Lamentations 2:10–13, 18–19

Her father blamed his illness on witchcraft. It was AIDS. When he died, his daughter, ten-year-old Mercy, grew even closer to her mother. But her mother was sick too, and three years later she died. From then on, Mercy’s sister raised the five siblings. That’s when Mercy began to keep a journal of her deep pain.

The prophet Jeremiah kept a record of his pain too. In the grim book of Lamentations, he wrote of atrocities done to Judah by the Babylonian army. Jeremiah’s heart was especially grieved for the youngest victims. “My heart is poured out on the ground,” he cried, “because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city” (2:11). The people of Judah had a history of ignoring God, but their children were paying the price too. “Their lives ebb away in their mothers’ arms,” wrote Jeremiah (v. 12).

We might have expected Jeremiah to reject God in the face of such suffering. Instead, he urged the survivors, “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children” (v. 19).

It’s good, as Mercy and Jeremiah did, to pour out our hearts to God. Lament is a crucial part of being human. Even when God permits such pain, He grieves with us. Made as we are in His image, He must lament too!

By: Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How do you handle the painful situations in your life? How might it help you to write it down and share your journal with a friend?

Dear God, I’m hurting because of ____________________. You see my grief. Please show Your strength in my life today.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Cross of the Moment

“[W]e are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.”(1)

The author of this comment did not have the dashed hopes of a person weary of contemporary political promises or the daunting purposelessness of life. His was not the disappointment of a child after his once-adored video game lost its thrill or the dispirited outlook of a millenial overwhelmed with options and fearful of missing out on something vital. No, long before video games existed, long before Generation Y was disillusioned with Generation X or X with the Baby Boomers before them, disillusionment reigned nonetheless. A social commentator in the late 1920s made this comment about his own disillusioned culture, words which, in fact, came more than a decade after a group of literary notables identified themselves as the “Lost Generation,” so-named because of their own general feeling of disillusionment.  In other words, disillusionment is epidemic.

As humans who tell and hear and live by stories, the possibility of taking in a story that is bigger than reality is quite likely. (Advertisers, in fact, count on it regularly.) Subsequently, disillusionment is a quality that follows humanity and its stories around. Yet despite its common occurrence, disillusionment is a crushing blow, and the collateral damage of shattered expectations quite painful. With good reason, we speak of it in terms of the discomfort and disruption that it fosters; we frame the crushing of certain hope and images in terms of loss and difficulty. The disillusioned do not speak of their losses lightly, no more than victims of burglary move quickly past the feeling of loss and violation.

And yet, practically speaking, disillusionment is the loss of illusion. In terms of larceny, it is the equivalent of having one’s high cholesterol or a perpetually bad habit stolen. Disillusionment, while painful, is evidence which shows the myths that enchant us need not blind us forever, a sign that what is falsely believed can be shattered by what is genuine. In such terms, disillusion is far less an unwanted intrusion than it is a severe mercy, far more like a surgeon’s excising of a tumor than a cruel removal of hope.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Cross of the Moment

Joyce Meyer – Angry Undercurrents

[Jesus said] The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed one, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], to proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.] — Luke 4:18-19 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind – by Joyce Meyer

My husband, Dave, and I had been active in the church for a long time. At church, we had bright smiles and mixed well with other church members. I’m sure several people thought we were the ideal couple.

But we weren’t ideal. We had a strife-laden marriage—and it showed in the home. When we arrived at church, we set aside all the strife for a period of time. After all, we did not want our friends to know what things were really like at home behind closed doors.

Dave and I had constant strife—but strife isn’t always open warfare. Strife is partially defined as an angry undercurrent.

We bickered and argued at times, but we also frequently pretended everything was fine between us. I look back now and believe that we didn’t fully realize we had a problem. The Bible teaches us that we speak out of our hearts. If we had only really listened to what we said about and to one another, we would have realized that something was wrong. For example, we made jokes in public about each other. “She thinks she’s the boss,” Dave would say. “She wants what she wants and stays on me until she gets it. Joyce wants to control everything and everybody.” Then he would pause to kiss me on top of my head and smile.

“I don’t think Dave’s hearing is very good,” I’d say. “I nearly always have to ask him four times to take out the garbage.” I’d smile, and everyone was supposed to know it was a joke.

Not everyone picked up on the undercurrents, but they were there. Those who frequently visited our home eventually saw even more chaos and underlying anger. But we smiled and said, “I’m only kidding,” when we put the other one down, so how could there be any real problems?

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Angry Undercurrents

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Maintains the Seasons

 

“As long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night” (Genesis 8:22).

On his way to a country church one Sunday morning, a preacher was overtaken by one of his deacons.

“What a bitterly cold morning,” the deacon remarked. “I am sorry the weather is so wintry.”

Smiling, the minister replied, “I was just thanking God for keeping His Word.”

“What do you mean?” the man asked with a puzzled look on his face.

“Well,” the preacher said, “more than 3,000 years ago God promised that cold and heat should not cease, so I am strengthened by this weather which emphasizes the sureness of His promises.”

It is most reassuring to realize that we serve a God who keeps His promises, for He is the same God who makes possible the supernatural life for the believer. Part of that supernatural life is the ability to accept our lot in life, to be able to say with the psalmist:

“This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24, KJV).

“Springtime and harvest” reminds us that as we sow the seed of the Word of God, He is faithful to give the increase – in His own good time. He simply asks and expects that we be faithful in our part, which is to give out His Word – to plant – at every possible opportunity.

The Christian who lives the supernatural life is enabled by the Holy Spirit to rejoice under all circumstances and to interpret every problem, adversity, heartache and sorrow in a positive light.

Bible Reading: Genesis 8:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will give thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness, no matter what the circumstances. I will faithfully plant the Word of God today whenever and wherever possible, realizing that our faithful God will produce the promised harvest.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God’s Great and Precious Promises

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

According to Peter, God’s promises aren’t just great, they are very great.  They aren’t just valuable, they are precious! (2 Peter 1:4).

It is God’s great and precious promises that lead us into a new reality, a holy environment.  They are direction signs intended to guide us away from the toxic swampland and into the clean air of heaven.  They are strong boulders that form the bridge over which we walk from our sin to salvation.

Promises are the stitching in the spine of the Bible.  Receive them.  Allow them to soak you like a spring shower.  Let’s be what we were intended to be —people of the Promise.  Fill your heart with hope, and let the devil himself hear you declare your belief in God’s goodness!  Because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Mitt Romney votes for impeachment: Uniformity, courage, and spiritual awakening

Mitt Romney voted yesterday to convict President Trump of abusing his power. (He voted to acquit the president on the charge of obstructing Congress.) While the president was acquitted on both charges, Romney became the first senator in US history to vote to convict a president from the same party in an impeachment trial.

In 1999, no Democratic senator voted to convict President Bill Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. In 1868, no Democrat voted to convict President Andrew Johnson.

My purpose today is not to respond personally or politically to the senator’s decision. Rather, it is to think biblically about the reaction to his action.

Many Republicans are voicing their displeasure at a decision they consider a betrayal of the senator’s party. Democrats are praising his courage in opposing a sitting president from his own party.

If the Republicans are right, Sen. Romney was wrong. If the Democrats are right, the Republicans are wrong.

None of this should surprise us.

“We must serve God rather than men” 

The rancor on display during the president’s State of the Union address is still making news. Commentators have noted that President Trump did not shake Speaker Pelosi’s hand before the speech (he did not shake Vice President Pence’s hand, either). Speaker Pelosi’s ripping up of his speech afterwards has become a meme trending on social media.

Washington Post columnist noted that the exterior of the House end of the Capitol was covered in plastic tarp and scaffolding for repairs, which seems symbolic of our times.

Divisions in Washington reflect deep divisions in our nation. Whether the subject is abortionsame-sex marriagereligious liberty, or a host of other issues, evangelical Christians hold very different positions from religiously unaffiliated Americans.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Mitt Romney votes for impeachment: Uniformity, courage, and spiritual awakening