Don’t Be Intimidated

 

‘God did not give us a spirit of timidity.’ 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ (Hebrews 11:6 NIV) So, if you want to please God, it’s a wise thing to only get involved in things that require you to use your faith. The key to moving forward is always having something to anticipate and believe God for.

You venture, or you vegetate. Jesus deliberately sent His disciples into a storm. Why? To develop their faith, and show them that with Him on board you can get through anything! God will keep exposing you to difficult situations because He knows it’s the only way your faith will grow. Phillips Brooks was a 19th century preacher who worked for the abolition of slavery. He wrote, ‘Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your power, pray for power equal to your tasks.’

You don’t tap into God’s resources until you attempt something that seems humanly impossible. That’s when you discover: ‘I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.’ (Philippians 4:13 TLB) All progress involves risk. In tennis, you can’t return every ball while your foot’s still behind the service line. And progress involves overcoming fear.

One day, when David was tending his sheep, ‘there came a lion.’ (1 Samuel 17:34 KJV) But in God’s strength he defeated it—plus a bear, and later a giant called Goliath. That lion was just an opportunity in disguise. If David had wavered or run away, he’d have missed his chance to become king of Israel. So, when a lion of fear comes into your life, recognise it for what it is: an opportunity from God to rise up in faith and conquer it.

SoulFood: Jer 49–50, Mk 2:18–22, Ps 50:1–15, Prov 10:8–10

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 49–50 (Listen)

49:1 Concerning the Ammonites.

Thus says the LORD:

  “Has Israel no sons?
    Has he no heir?
  Why then has Milcom dispossessed Gad,
    and his people settled in its cities?
  Therefore, behold, the days are coming,
    declares the LORD,
  when I will cause the battle cry to be heard
    against Rabbah of the Ammonites;
  it shall become a desolate mound,
    and its villages shall be burned with fire;
  then Israel shall dispossess those who dispossessed him,
    says the LORD.
  “Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is laid waste!
    Cry out, O daughters of Rabbah!
  Put on sackcloth,
    lament, and run to and fro among the hedges!
  For Milcom shall go into exile,
    with his priests and his officials.
  Why do you boast of your valleys,
    O faithless daughter,
  who trusted in her treasures, saying,
    ‘Who will come against me?’
  Behold, I will bring terror upon you,
    declares the Lord GOD of hosts,
    from all who are around you,
  and you shall be driven out, every man straight before him,
    with none to gather the fugitives.

“But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, declares the LORD.”

Concerning Edom.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

  “Is wisdom no more in Teman?
    Has counsel perished from the prudent?
    Has their wisdom vanished?
  Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths,
    O inhabitants of Dedan!
  For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him,
    the time when I punish him.
  If grape gatherers came to you,
    would they not leave gleanings?
  If thieves came by night,
    would they not destroy only enough for themselves?
10   But I have stripped Esau bare;
    I have uncovered his hiding places,
    and he is not able to conceal himself.
  His children are destroyed, and his brothers,
    and his neighbors; and he is no more.
11   Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive;
    and let your widows trust in me.”

12 For thus says the LORD: “If those who did not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, will you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you must drink. 13 For I have sworn by myself, declares the LORD, that Bozrah shall become a horror, a taunt, a waste, and a curse, and all her cities shall be perpetual wastes.”

14   I have heard a message from the LORD,
    and an envoy has been sent among the nations:
  “Gather yourselves together and come against her,
    and rise up for battle!
15   For behold, I will make you small among the nations,
    despised among mankind.
16   The horror you inspire has deceived you,
    and the pride of your heart,
  you who live in the clefts of the rock,
    who hold the height of the hill.
  Though you make your nest as high as the eagle's,
    I will bring you down from there,
      declares the LORD.

17 “Edom shall become a horror. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. 18 As when Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities were overthrown, says the LORD, no man shall dwell there, no man shall sojourn in her. 19 Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make him run away from her. And I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? 20 Therefore hear the plan that the LORD has made against Edom and the purposes that he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Even the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away. Surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 21 At the sound of their fall the earth shall tremble; the sound of their cry shall be heard at the Red Sea. 22 Behold, one shall mount up and fly swiftly like an eagle and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom shall be in that day like the heart of a woman in her birth pains.”

23 Concerning Damascus:

  “Hamath and Arpad are confounded,
    for they have heard bad news;
  they melt in fear,
    they are troubled like the sea that cannot be quiet.
24   Damascus has become feeble, she turned to flee,
    and panic seized her;
  anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her,
    as of a woman in labor.
25   How is the famous city not forsaken,
    the city of my joy?
26   Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares,
    and all her soldiers shall be destroyed in that day,
      declares the LORD of hosts.
27   And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.”

28 Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon struck down.

  Thus says the LORD:
  “Rise up, advance against Kedar!
    Destroy the people of the east!
29   Their tents and their flocks shall be taken,
    their curtains and all their goods;
  their camels shall be led away from them,
    and men shall cry to them: ‘Terror on every side!’
30   Flee, wander far away, dwell in the depths,
    O inhabitants of Hazor!
      declares the LORD.
  For Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
    has made a plan against you
    and formed a purpose against you.
31   “Rise up, advance against a nation at ease,
    that dwells securely,
      declares the LORD,
  that has no gates or bars,
    that dwells alone.
32   Their camels shall become plunder,
    their herds of livestock a spoil.
  I will scatter to every wind
    those who cut the corners of their hair,
  and I will bring their calamity
    from every side of them,
      declares the LORD.
33   Hazor shall become a haunt of jackals,
    an everlasting waste;
  no man shall dwell there;
    no man shall sojourn in her.”

34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah.

35 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might. 36 And I will bring upon Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven. And I will scatter them to all those winds, and there shall be no nation to which those driven out of Elam shall not come. 37 I will terrify Elam before their enemies and before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, my fierce anger, declares the LORD. I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them, 38 and I will set my throne in Elam and destroy their king and officials, declares the LORD.

39 “But in the latter days I will restore the fortunes of Elam, declares the LORD.”

50:1 The word that the LORD spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet:

  “Declare among the nations and proclaim,
    set up a banner and proclaim,
    conceal it not, and say:
  ‘Babylon is taken,
    Bel is put to shame,
    Merodach is dismayed.
  Her images are put to shame,
    her idols are dismayed.’

“For out of the north a nation has come up against her, which shall make her land a desolation, and none shall dwell in it; both man and beast shall flee away.

“In those days and in that time, declares the LORD, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’

“My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, ‘We are not guilty, for they have sinned against the LORD, their habitation of righteousness, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.’

“Flee from the midst of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as male goats before the flock. For behold, I am stirring up and bringing against Babylon a gathering of great nations, from the north country. And they shall array themselves against her. From there she shall be taken. Their arrows are like a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed. 10 Chaldea shall be plundered; all who plunder her shall be sated, declares the LORD.

11   “Though you rejoice, though you exult,
    O plunderers of my heritage,
  though you frolic like a heifer in the pasture,
    and neigh like stallions,
12   your mother shall be utterly shamed,
    and she who bore you shall be disgraced.
  Behold, she shall be the last of the nations,
    a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.
13   Because of the wrath of the LORD she shall not be inhabited
    but shall be an utter desolation;
  everyone who passes by Babylon shall be appalled,
    and hiss because of all her wounds.
14   Set yourselves in array against Babylon all around,
    all you who bend the bow;
  shoot at her, spare no arrows,
    for she has sinned against the LORD.
15   Raise a shout against her all around;
    she has surrendered;
  her bulwarks have fallen;
    her walls are thrown down.
  For this is the vengeance of the LORD:
    take vengeance on her;
    do to her as she has done.
16   Cut off from Babylon the sower,
    and the one who handles the sickle in time of harvest;
  because of the sword of the oppressor,
    every one shall turn to his own people,
    and every one shall flee to his own land.

17 “Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones. 18 Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. 19 I will restore Israel to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and in Bashan, and his desire shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead. 20 In those days and in that time, declares the LORD, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

21   “Go up against the land of Merathaim,
    and against the inhabitants of Pekod.
  Kill, and devote them to destruction,
      declares the LORD,
    and do all that I have commanded you.
22   The noise of battle is in the land,
    and great destruction!
23   How the hammer of the whole earth
    is cut down and broken!
  How Babylon has become
    a horror among the nations!
24   I set a snare for you and you were taken, O Babylon,
    and you did not know it;
  you were found and caught,
    because you opposed the LORD.
25   The LORD has opened his armory
    and brought out the weapons of his wrath,
  for the Lord GOD of hosts has a work to do
    in the land of the Chaldeans.
26   Come against her from every quarter;
    open her granaries;
  pile her up like heaps of grain, and devote her to destruction;
    let nothing be left of her.
27   Kill all her bulls;
    let them go down to the slaughter.
  Woe to them, for their day has come,
    the time of their punishment.

28 “A voice! They flee and escape from the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, vengeance for his temple.

29 “Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Encamp around her; let no one escape. Repay her according to her deeds; do to her according to all that she has done. For she has proudly defied the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, declares the LORD.

31   “Behold, I am against you, O proud one,
    declares the Lord GOD of hosts,
  for your day has come,
    the time when I will punish you.
32   The proud one shall stumble and fall,
    with none to raise him up,
  and I will kindle a fire in his cities,
    and it will devour all that is around him.

33 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.

35   “A sword against the Chaldeans, declares the LORD,
    and against the inhabitants of Babylon,
    and against her officials and her wise men!
36   A sword against the diviners,
    that they may become fools!
  A sword against her warriors,
    that they may be destroyed!
37   A sword against her horses and against her chariots,
    and against all the foreign troops in her midst,
    that they may become women!
  A sword against all her treasures,
    that they may be plundered!
38   A drought against her waters,
    that they may be dried up!
  For it is a land of images,
    and they are mad over idols.

39 “Therefore wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall dwell in her. She shall never again have people, nor be inhabited for all generations. 40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities, declares the LORD, so no man shall dwell there, and no son of man shall sojourn in her.

41   “Behold, a people comes from the north;
    a mighty nation and many kings
    are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
42   They lay hold of bow and spear;
    they are cruel and have no mercy.
  The sound of them is like the roaring of the sea;
    they ride on horses,
  arrayed as a man for battle
    against you, O daughter of Babylon!
43   “The king of Babylon heard the report of them,
    and his hands fell helpless;
  anguish seized him,
    pain as of a woman in labor.

44 “Behold, like a lion coming up from the thicket of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make them run away from her, and I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? 45 Therefore hear the plan that the LORD has made against Babylon, and the purposes that he has formed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the little ones of their flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 46 At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and her cry shall be heard among the nations.”

Mark 2:18–22 (Listen)

18 Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

Psalm 50:1–15 (Listen)

A Psalm of Asaph.

50:1   The Mighty One, God the LORD,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
  Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.
  Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
    before him is a devouring fire,
    around him a mighty tempest.
  He calls to the heavens above
    and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
  “Gather to me my faithful ones,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
  The heavens declare his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge! Selah
  “Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
    O Israel, I will testify against you.
    I am God, your God.
  Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
    your burnt offerings are continually before me.
  I will not accept a bull from your house
    or goats from your folds.
10   For every beast of the forest is mine,
    the cattle on a thousand hills.
11   I know all the birds of the hills,
    and all that moves in the field is mine.
12   “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and its fullness are mine.
13   Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
14   Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and perform your vows to the Most High,
15   and call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Proverbs 10:8–10 (Listen)

  The wise of heart will receive commandments,
    but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
  Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
10   Whoever winks the eye causes trouble,
    and a babbling fool will come to ruin.

Fri 13 April, 2018


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