“Hope For the Future”

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There is a promise in Jeremiah that a lot of us quote without realizing the context. It is a great promise no matter what, but the context gives us a deeper understanding of the promise. Here’s the promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV84).

Ah, but the context? The prophet Jeremiah is “promising” in a letter that the people of Jerusalem are about to go into exile into Babylon for 70 years! Sadly, dark days are ahead, and yet the spotlight of hope in v. 11 shines in this darkness: The LORD has great plans for us, too, to “give you a hope and a future.” Yes, even in this exile, even in this very darkest of times. … 

So whether COVID or lockdowns or elections or weather or life appear to not be going “your way,” or whether it is but an encroaching darkness, know this: the LORD has plans for you, for us, to give us a hope and a future…, but do not stop at verse 11; we need to keep reading as we secure this hope and future:

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile” (Jeremiah 29:12–14 NIV84).

Is it as clear to you as it is to me? In this encroaching darkness, we are to “call upon” the Lord, pray to Him, seek Him—with all our heart, and then He will be found by us! This is my hope in any darkness: I need to keep seeking the Lord Jesus with all my heart as He uses this “Dark night of the soul” to cleanse my heart from what is not seeking Him. Is He your hope for the future? 

Coach Mike

“For the Good & the Bad?”

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As we approach the Thanksgiving Season, we are often challenged to find something to be thankful for. And, sadly, many of us during this pandemic year have felt like we belonged to the Patriarch Job Fan Club. A lot of heavy “stuff” has happened…

But as a member of the Patriarch Job Fan Club, we’d do well to remember one thing that Job discovered: It is out of the deepest pain comes the greatest Praise!

For Job himself said, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD,” and “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 1:21, 2:10 respectively NASB95)

He also learned that thanksgiving includes the difficult, the hard, the challenging, and the “bad,” as well as all the “good”. And we are not crazy in thanking the LORD for the “bad,” because “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Join me this Thanksgiving season on learning this lesson: Out of the deepest pain comes the greatest praise, as we thank the Lord for all the hard times we have experienced as well as all the good.

Peace,

Coach Mike