Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 7.28.11

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THURSDAY— Faith Fosters Confidence & Perseverance
Big Point: While Jeremiah lacked self-confidence, his faith in God—His Word and promises—gave him all the confidence and perseverance he needed to fulfill his purpose.

Perhaps you’ve heard the tried and true hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” sung by many churches throughout the years. That song was written by Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) who had a difficult early adult life. His health was so fragile that there were periods of time when he was confined to bed, unable to work. Between bouts of illness he would have to push himself to put in extra hours at various jobs in order to make ends meet.

After coming to Christ at age 27, Thomas found great comfort in the Scriptures, in the fact that God was faithful to be his strength in time of illness and weakness, and to provide for all his needs. Lamentations 3:22-23 was one of his favorite scriptures: “22The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

While away from home on a mission’s trip, Thomas often wrote to one of his good friends, William Runyan, a relatively unknown musician. Several poems were exchanged in these letters. Runyan found one of Thomas’ poems so moving that he decided to compose a musical score to accompany the lyrics. As a result, the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” was published in 1923.

It sounds like Thomas and Jeremiah shared a similar story—both led lives full of challenges. Yet, just as Jeremiah did, Thomas persevered, relying on his strong faith in God’s Word and His promises. As a result, we can all sing that hymn as a reminder of God’s Great Faithfulness.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Lamentations 3:18-25 (New Living Translation)
18I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” 19The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. 20I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. 21Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: 22The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 24I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” 25The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.

Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing IF we don’t give up.

THINK…Find the answers
Lamentations 3:20 records Jeremiah saying that he would “never forget this awful time as I grieve over my loss”. However, he dared to do what, in verse 21?

What hope do we have, as promised in verse 23, that will happen each morning we arise?

Who is our inheritance?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Trials, tribulation, stress, heartache… it seems God often wants to use us during those times when we are completely broken. Jeremiah suffered greatly, but he never forgot the faithful love of God. He always had that to rely on! How often do you find yourself praising God for how faithful He is?

And, when do you find yourself most likely to praise Him for His faithfulness?

We often seem to heap issue after issue upon each other, blinding us from seeing all the glory and goodness God has given us. As a result, we lack confidence, and end up getting down and depressed about where we are in our lives. Imagine turning that “downward attitude” upward— focusing on what mercies you see God providing you every single day. When we begin to focus on our basic needs, we realize that most of us have them met—day in and day out. Take the time throughout your day today to focus on God‟s mercies and what you need to function this day and consciously praise Him for his faithfulness.

Perhaps you can jot down some mercies that God has given you right off the top of your head; list them here for a jump start.

“Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Great is Thy faithfulness,
O God my Father,
There is no shadow
of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions,
they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning
new mercies I see.
All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Lord, unto me!
-Thomas O. Chisolm
(Verse 1 & Chorus)

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you recognize Him in your every single day—to see the mercies that He provides. Ask Him to increase your faith and give you confidence in Him, and Him alone, so that you too can persevere.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Jeremiah 37-41
Ch 37: It’s no new thing for those who’ve faithfully declared the Word of God and served the Lord, to be presented as enemies, imprisoned and persecuted. When God’s servants are accused, they may boldly deny the charge, commit their cause to Him who judges righteously, and continue to contend for the faith.
Ch 38: God’s faithful ministers, who show the lost what enemies they are to themselves, are often looked upon as enemies of the country, and are wickedly abused. They may, however, commit the keeping of their spirits to God, who can even raise up friends for them in their distress (vv8-9), if it be for His glory.
Ch 39: Final captivity of Judah in accordance with the prophets. Truly there is a God who judges the earth in this life, as well as in the next. When sin has provoked Him to withdraw His protection, the greatest city is helpless (the false prophets fell by those judgments which they said would never come; while the true prophet Jeremiah escaped those judgments which he maintained would come).
Ch 40: Sooner or later God’s true prophets will be justified before their persecutors— who will be made to understand that their sin is the cause of all their misery. vv2-3: This pagan captain understood the judgment of God better than the leaders of Judah. vv9-12: God in His wrath still remembers mercy and prospers a remnant—after a further trial of their obedience.
Ch 41: God sometimes permits bloody work to be done in order to a) complete the ruin of an unhumbled people, and 2) to fill up of the measure of their judgments.

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