by Julia M. Bruce,
Throughout the book of Jeremiah, we find the prophet over and over again warning the people of God’s coming judgement. Then we come to the book of Lamentations, which is a lament. In the Alexandrian form of the Greek Septuagint, the following words precede the first verse of Lamentations:
“And it came to pass, after Israel had been carried away captive, and Jerusalem became desolate, that Jeremiahs sat weeping, and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem.”
The book is written with a sorrowful mind, with great sighing and moaning. It is written out of a broken heart for the nation that would not repent. Imagine that God has called you to be a prophet to His chosen people and to warn them of His coming judgment because of their idolatry and sin, but they refused to listen. Would you feel like you had failed God? Would you feel like you had failed your nation? Would you go to bed at night wondering what else you could have done or said that might have made the people turn back to God? If we can step into Jeremiah’s shoes, we can feel the broken heart with which he laments over what has happened and the sad events that resulted in him writing the five poems of lament that make up the book of Lamentations. (click to tweet) In 586 B.C. the Babylonian army destroyed Jerusalem and burned the temple, palace and city – exactly as God said it would happen and Jeremiah had warned the people it would happen. The book also alludes to the famine in Jerusalem, the breach of the city walls, the exile of the people, the looting of the temp, and the execution of the leaders.
Yet even in all this, we can also find hope because of God’s great faithfulness. In Chapter 3, verses 22-23, Jeremiah issues a remarkable testimony to the extent of divine grace. Right in the middle of the five chapters of lamenting and weeping, there is a ray of hope and sunshine and in the midst of Jeremiah’s depression and despondency, he teaches us about the unceasing mercies of God. (click to tweet) From these two verses, we learn four important characteristic of God that can bring hope to all of us no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in: God is steadfast, loving, merciful, and faithful.
Verse 22 begins with God’s lovingkindness. The Holman Bible Dictionary notes that the Hebrew word, chesed, is the Old Testament’s highest expression for love and refers to God’s election, covenant-keeping, or steadfast love. It is a love that remains constant regardless of circumstances. It doesn’t matter how much I love God or if I choose to turn my back and walk away from God, God will always love me – even enough to send Jesus to die for my sins while I was still his enemy (Romans 5:8). (Click to tweet)
The next thing we find is that God’s lovingkindness never ends. It is steadfast. To be steadfast, is to be resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. It is loyal, committed, and dependable. It is enduring patiently, reliable, true to the end. God’s love for us never ceases. He ALWAYS loves. In fact, 1 John 4:8 says that God IS love. It part of who He is. (Click to tweet)
We also find that God’s compassion never fail. Some translations use the word “compassion” and some use “mercies.” The Hebrew word translated here mercies is used 250 times in the Old Testament. It is a sweeping, all-inclusive term for God’s love, goodness, forgiveness, compassion, and faithfulness. Even in the bleakness of God’s discipline, there was hope. Judah would not be permanently destroyed, but ultimately restored. Mercy is a characteristic and action that comes from the very nature of God and is the foundation of forgiveness. Mercy from God is never given based on our merit, but as God’s gift to us. (Click to tweet) It is His unending mercy that allows us to come into His presence day after day, sin after sin, to seek His forgiveness. Exodus 34:6-7 says, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth; who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” God’s justice and righteousness cannot be overlooked. Israel, learned this the hard way. We can’t expect to continuously live any way we want, ignoring God and then run and ask forgiveness and expect that at some point God doesn’t step in with justice and righteousness. (click to tweet)
But there is another thing we can see about God’s mercy – it renews every morning. Every day, God has a new supply of mercy. He will never run out. He doesn’t use it all up on one person and then doesn’t have enough for me. And because He is merciful, he offers a way of salvation rather than leaving us dead in our trespasses and sin. (click to tweet) Salvation is God’s merciful act of withholding His wrath and eternal punishment woven with His grace in granting both forgiveness of sin and trading our sin for eternal life. There is absolutely nothing we can do to get God’s mercy. Romans 9:15-16 says, “I will show mercy to whom I show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Mercy is 100% dependent on God who chooses to show mercy. We can make no claim on God’s mercies. They are completely undeserved – and yet they never cease. Like Israel, we have done much to provoke God’s anger and abused His mercy. We have ignored it and turned our backs on it and are just a haughty as Israel was in thinking that God will not judge. But at times, God’s judgment is also His mercy towards us because His chastisement is more merciful than allowing us to continue down a path that will bring us harm. God will always adapt the expression and action of His mercy towards us so that it meets our immediate need – even if that mercy comes in the form of judgment.
The fourth thing we see about God is that he is faithful. He is trustworthy and dependable. We may fall short and miss the mark, but God never will. He will always be faithful to offer us His great love and mercy. (Click to tweet) From the first sin in the garden of Eden all the way down through time to today, God’s unmistakable pattern is seen over and over again: Sin and disobedience brings consequences, but confession and repentance always brings forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. (click to tweet) It can be difficult for us to fully understand the depth of God’s faithfulness because we live in a world filled with broken promises and disappointment. We have, at times, even been guilty of breaking promises and disappointing both God and others. But when we take the time to acknowledge the times in our life where God has been faithful, we can be reminded of just how great His faithfulness is towards us. We can remember how He has provided for our needs, given us courage when we were afraid, loved us when it seemed as if everyone else had turned their backs on us, sent us a brother or sister in Christ with a word of encouragement just when we needed it, and when he was faithful to us when no one else was.
Jeremiah lived through a very dark, depressing, overwhelmingly difficult time. We can experience our own difficult days and just as God’s lovingkindness reached out to Jeremiah and His mercies did not fail and God’s faithfulness came shining through in the darkness, so He does for us in the middle of our circumstances. Take some time to reflect on the faithfulness of God and His lovingkindness and mercy that never ends.
#Lamentations #lovingkindness #compassions #mercy #neverending #greatisthyfaithfulness #WCM
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BOOKING NOW! Be a host site for the NEW God, Love & Marshmallow Wars Book Tour & Couples Conference:
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
#GLMW #couplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage
T-shirt Fundraiser Event: We have a new product line of Christian apparel and accessories available in our Teespring Store and our new Spreadshop Store. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more.
The designs below have been added to our Spreadshop Store for the Thanksgiving Holidays! We will be adding them to the Teespring Store throughout the week this week. Order today because it will be gone soon as we gear up for the upcoming Holidays. Christmas items available soon.
Spreadshop is offering a 20% discount on everything from November 13-16
All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries.
Thank you for helping us grow!
#fundraiser #tshirt #WCM #teespring #spreadshop #Thanksgiving
Looking for a keynote speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants. Today, Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
#JuliaBruce #speaker #keynote #author
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