A Future and a Hope

Tim Savage

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
For some Jeremiah 29:11 is a very familiar verse. Many would call it their life verse; a reminder that God has a plan for our lives and that He wants us to succeed and prosper. It's often interesting to see a familiar verse in it's context in the Bible. What comes before and after it? Who said it and to whom was it said?

This morning, verses 12 and 13 resonated in my mind. God is speaking through Jeremiah to the people of Israel, who were under the oppressive rule of a foreign king, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Children of God were defeated and hopeless and I can't even imagine the life of a slave in those times, the hardship and labor must have been relentless, and life, cheap.

But God wanted so much more for them, a life filled with hope, joy and good. God wants the same for us today, but how do we seize that promise and walk with confidence in the faith that it's true? I think verses 12 and 13 explain it. God's plans for us take shape when we seek after Him wholeheartedly and pray that His will is done in our lives. These are easily written, but take discipline and courage to live out. In seeking after Him, we have put Him first in our lives and submit our desires to His authority.

In practical terms, that means we need to learn more about God and His ways. Believe in His Son, Jesus Christ and follow His teachings. It's a huge lifetime commitment, but the rewards are greater than anything the world can offer us.
If I feel oppressed or depressed, if my world seems to be hurtling, out of control, in the wrong direction, if I question the call on my life, I need to spend time with my Heavenly Father, listening to His voice and His direction for my steps. I need to see past the things of this world that might get me down and focus on living a life to serve Him, that's when His promise of hope and prosperity start to be realized in my life.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I want to claim your promise, but I need Your strength to live a life in service to You. Help me to seek after You wholeheartedly today.

In Jesus name,

Devotions for August 22

Jeremiah 28,29,30
1 John 3

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