Celebrating You

 

‘He celebrates and sings because of you.’ Zephaniah 3:17 CEV

Some of us think so little of ourselves that we’d rather be in a bad relationship than none at all. Being around people doesn’t guarantee you won’t feel lonely. In fact, being with the wrong people guarantees you’ll end up feeling empty and used. Until you overcome your fear of being alone and wait for God to give you the right relationships, you’ll continue to feel lonely.

Sometimes loneliness is more about not liking yourself than about not having people around who like you. Otherwise, why would you spend so much energy avoiding rejection instead of building healthy relationships? Perhaps you think if you don’t get involved you won’t get hurt. Or you’re afraid to open up in case people criticise you for sharing anything personal. Such anxieties just contribute to your sense of isolation. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, ‘What you picture in your mind, your mind will go to work to accomplish.’ So:

(1) You need a true picture of how God sees you. Paul says, ‘Because of what Christ has done we have become gifts God delights in.’ (Ephesians 1:11 TLB) Zephaniah writes, ‘He celebrates and sings because of you, and He will refresh your life with His love.’

(2) You need a true picture of yourself. David said, ‘You put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise You because of the wonderful way You created me. Everything You do is marvellous!’ (Psalm 139:13–14 CEV) Having these two pictures clearly in mind stops you from operating with a devalued self-image, and enables you to ask for what you need in a relationship.

SoulFood: Jer 31–32, Mk1:29–34, Ps 72:12–20, Prov 9:7–9

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Jeremiah 31–32 (Listen)

31:1 “At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”

  Thus says the LORD:
  “The people who survived the sword
    found grace in the wilderness;
  when Israel sought for rest,
    the LORD appeared to him from far away.
  I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
  Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
    O virgin Israel!
  Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
    and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
  Again you shall plant vineyards
    on the mountains of Samaria;
  the planters shall plant
    and shall enjoy the fruit.
  For there shall be a day when watchmen will call
    in the hill country of Ephraim:
  ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
    to the LORD our God.’”
  For thus says the LORD:
  “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
    and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
  proclaim, give praise, and say,
    ‘O LORD, save your people,
    the remnant of Israel.’
  Behold, I will bring them from the north country
    and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
  among them the blind and the lame,
    the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together;
    a great company, they shall return here.
  With weeping they shall come,
    and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back,
  I will make them walk by brooks of water,
    in a straight path in which they shall not stumble,
  for I am a father to Israel,
    and Ephraim is my firstborn.
10   “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
    and declare it in the coastlands far away;
  say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
    and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.’
11   For the LORD has ransomed Jacob
    and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
12   They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
    and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,
  over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
    and over the young of the flock and the herd;
  their life shall be like a watered garden,
    and they shall languish no more.
13   Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
    and the young men and the old shall be merry.
  I will turn their mourning into joy;
    I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14   I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance,
    and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,
      declares the LORD.”
15   Thus says the LORD:
  “A voice is heard in Ramah,
    lamentation and bitter weeping.
  Rachel is weeping for her children;
    she refuses to be comforted for her children,
    because they are no more.”
16   Thus says the LORD:
  “Keep your voice from weeping,
    and your eyes from tears,
  for there is a reward for your work,
      declares the LORD,
    and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17   There is hope for your future,
      declares the LORD,
    and your children shall come back to their own country.
18   I have heard Ephraim grieving,
  ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined,
    like an untrained calf;
  bring me back that I may be restored,
    for you are the LORD my God.
19   For after I had turned away, I relented,
    and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh;
  I was ashamed, and I was confounded,
    because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
20   Is Ephraim my dear son?
    Is he my darling child?
  For as often as I speak against him,
    I do remember him still.
  Therefore my heart yearns for him;
    I will surely have mercy on him,
      declares the LORD.
21   “Set up road markers for yourself;
    make yourself guideposts;
  consider well the highway,
    the road by which you went.
  Return, O virgin Israel,
    return to these your cities.
22   How long will you waver,
    O faithless daughter?
  For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth:
    a woman encircles a man.”

23 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes:

  “‘The LORD bless you, O habitation of righteousness,
    O holy hill!’

24 And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and the farmers and those who wander with their flocks. 25 For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”

26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.

27 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the LORD. 29 In those days they shall no longer say:

  “‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
    and the children's teeth are set on edge.’

30 But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

35   Thus says the LORD,
  who gives the sun for light by day
    and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
  who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the LORD of hosts is his name:
36   “If this fixed order departs
    from before me, declares the LORD,
  then shall the offspring of Israel cease
    from being a nation before me forever.”
37   Thus says the LORD:
  “If the heavens above can be measured,
    and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
  then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
    for all that they have done,
      declares the LORD.”

38 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when the city shall be rebuilt for the LORD from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the LORD. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

32:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah. For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, “Why do you prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it; Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye. And he shall take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall remain until I visit him, declares the LORD. Though you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed’?”

Jeremiah said, “The word of the LORD came to me: Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the LORD, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.

“And I bought the field at Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. 11 Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions and the open copy. 12 And I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my cousin, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 I charged Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. 15 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’

16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD, saying: 17 ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts, 19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. 20 You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day. 21 You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror. 22 And you gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 And they entered and took possession of it. But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. They did nothing of all you commanded them to do. Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them. 24 Behold, the siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and because of sword and famine and pestilence the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it. 25 Yet you, O Lord GOD, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses”—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’”

26 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore, thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city shall come and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the LORD. 31 This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. 34 They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

36 “Now therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: 37 Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.

42 “For thus says the LORD: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 43 Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ 44 Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, declares the LORD.”

Mark 1:29–34 (Listen)

29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Psalm 72:12–20 (Listen)

12   For he delivers the needy when he calls,
    the poor and him who has no helper.
13   He has pity on the weak and the needy,
    and saves the lives of the needy.
14   From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
    and precious is their blood in his sight.
15   Long may he live;
    may gold of Sheba be given to him!
  May prayer be made for him continually,
    and blessings invoked for him all the day!
16   May there be abundance of grain in the land;
    on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
    may its fruit be like Lebanon;
  and may people blossom in the cities
    like the grass of the field!
17   May his name endure forever,
    his fame continue as long as the sun!
  May people be blessed in him,
    all nations call him blessed!
18   Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
    who alone does wondrous things.
19   Blessed be his glorious name forever;
    may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
      Amen and Amen!
20   The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.

Proverbs 9:7–9 (Listen)

  Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
  Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

Sat 07 April, 2018


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