1st June: Jeremiah 23:21-40
‘I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied’ (21). Before we can speak for God, we must take time to listen to Him. We dare not attempt to speak for God if we are not prepared to spend time listening to Him. Everything could have been so different – if ‘these prophets’ had taken time to listen to God: ‘If they had stood in My council, they would have proclaimed My words to My people and would have turned them from their evil ways’ (22). ‘If‘ – God doesn’t force us to listen to His Word. He invites us to listen. The choice is ours. You can allow other things to become more important than spending time with God. Don’t be ‘too busy’ for the ‘one thing’ that is more important than anything else – listening to God’s Word (Luke 10:41-42).
2nd June: Jeremiah 24:1-25:14
Can our lives be changed? Yes! They can be changed by God: ‘I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord’. This is no superficial change. This is real change, change which makes a difference. This is a change of heart: ‘they shall return to Me with their whole heart’ (7). How are we changed? We are changed by God: ‘I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live’ (Ezekiel 37:14). We become new people – ‘alive to God in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 6:11). This is the great change, the change that makes all the difference. It’s not just a little change here and there. It’s everywhere. No part of our life remains the same. Every part of life is changed. When there’s a real change of heart, everything changes – ‘all things have become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). ‘Change my heart, O God…’ (Mission Praise, 69).
3rd June: Jeremiah 25:15-38
‘I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears My Name’ (29). With the privilege of being the Lord’s people comes the responsibilty of living as the Lord’s people. We are not to be His people in name only. We are to live the life of the people of God. We must not imagine that we can enjoy the privilege of being God’s people if we are not prepared to bear the responsibility of living as His people. Privilege and resonsibility belong together: ‘You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins’ (Amos 3:2). We cannot say, ‘I belong to the Lord’ and then live whatever way we like. To those who have been ‘raised with Christ’, receiving new life through faith in Him, God says, ‘Set your hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things’ (Colossians 3:1-2).
4th June: Jeremiah 26:1-24
‘He has spoken to us in the Name of the Lord our God’ (16). Jeremiah was a true servant of the Lord. We need people like him today. He was faithful. He was unashamed of his Lord. He was unafraid to speak up for his Lord. We see this same faithfulness in Christ’s apostles: ‘Day after day, in the temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and preaching the Good News that Jesus is the Christ’ (Acts 5:42). We could do with people like that today, people who are enthusiastic about sharing the Gospel, people who are eager to win others for Christ. We can be people like that. God can make us like that – if we let Him! As you hear the Word of the Lord in Church, as you read His Word in your own home, pray that God will give you the strength to share with others the Word He has given to you.
5th June: Jeremiah 27:1-22
‘They will be taken to Babylon and there they will remain until the day I come for them. Then I will bring them and restore them to this place’ (22). God had a great purpose for His people – but they had to wait for His time. God has a great purpose for us. Christ is preparing a great ‘place’ for us: ‘In My Father’s House are many mansions…I am going there to prepare a place for you’. Christ has promised that He will return to take us to that great ‘place’: “I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also’ (John 14:2-3). Christ is coming. We must wait for Him. We must be patient. We must wait for His time, the time of His Coming, the Day when He comes for us. The Lord has not forgotten His promise. He will come ‘to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him’ (Hebrews 9:28).
6th June: Jeremiah 28:1-17
‘Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie’ (15). What a difference there is between those who wait on the Lord for His strength and those who rush ahead in their own strength! The Word of God warns us against trying to serve God in our own strength: ‘Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted’. If we are to be true servants of the Lord, we must learn to wait upon the Lord and receive His strength: ‘Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength’. What a difference the strength of the Lord makes – ‘They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint’ (Isaiah 40:30-31)! Let us exchange our weakness for God’s strength – then we will truly be ‘sent’ by the Lord and will speak His truth.
7th June: Jeremiah 29:1-32
‘I know the plans I have for you…to give you a future and a hope’. This was God’s long-term purpose for His people. It was important that they did not lose sight of this. There would be ‘seventy years’ of captivity in Babylon (10-11). At times, they must have wondered, ‘Will this ever end? Is there really something better still to come?’. Our life on earth may sometimes seem like the ‘seventy years’ in Babylon: ‘The length of our days is seventy years…yet all they bring us is trouble and sorrow’! We wonder, ‘Is there a glorious future still to come?’. In our times of ‘suffering’ and ‘sorrow’, we draw our ‘strength’ from God’s Word. We look forward to ‘the Day’ when Christ ‘comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be admired in all who believe’ (Psalms 90:10; 119:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5,10).
8th June: Jeremiah 30:1-24
‘I am with you to save you’. This was God’s Word to His people. Their ‘captivity’ in Babylon would not last forever. God had given His promise: ‘I will restore the fortunes of My people…I will bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers’ (10-11,3). ‘I am with you to save you’. This is still God’s Word to us. Our ‘captivity’ will not last forever. Christ has died to ‘free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death’. We look beyond our earthly life. We see our glorious future. ‘Death’ will be ‘swallowed up in victory’. ‘Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’. Let us ‘be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, our labour is not in vain’ (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:54,57-58).
9th June: Psalm 106:1-48
We read here about sin and salvation. There is a very realistic description of Israel’s sin – ‘They soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel…They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His promise…They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord…They rebelled against the Spirit of God’ (13,24-25,33). This is not only ancient history. It’s the story of our life! We read this, and we must join in Israel’s confession of sin: ‘We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly’ (6). The history of Israel is not only a history of sin. It is also a history of salvation: ‘He saved them…’ (8,10). As we read of God’s salvation, we must echo the prayer of God’s people – ‘Save us, O Lord our God…’ – and join with them in praising God – ‘Praise be to the Lord…’ (47-48).
10th June: Psalm 107:1-43
There are some things that are worth repeating! The story of God’s amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again – ‘Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress’ (6,13,19,28). The call to praise the Lord is also something we need to hear again and again – ‘Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men’ (8,15,21,31). Let us ‘consider the great love of the Lord’. Let us ‘give thanks to the Lord’ (43,1). ‘The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one. That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free…It’s yours, it is ours, O how lavishly given! The pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!’ (Church Hymnary, 415).
11th June: Jeremiah 31:1-20
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’ (3). So often, we have been like ‘the prodigal son’ (Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father’s House. We have wandered off into ‘the far country’. We feel that we are far from God, yet still He draws near to us. The Lord is at work in our hearts. He is bringing us ‘to our senses’. He is reminding us of His love. He is drawing us back to Himself. In love, He is calling us home again. He is speaking to our hearts. He is saying to us, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’. As His love reaches our hearts, ‘the prodigal son’ becomes ‘the returning son’: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son’. ‘Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God!’ (18).
12th June: Jeremiah 31:21-40
‘Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take’ (21). It’s so easy to take a wrong turning. You lose your sense of direction. You get confused. You’re not sure which way to go. You are lost. You are getting more and more lost all the time. You can’t find your way back home again. You need someone who knows the way to come and be your guide. Is there someone who can get us on the right road again? Is there someone who can guide us safely home? Yes! Jesus is ‘the Way, the True Way, the Living Way’. ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. That’s what Jesus said. Without the Way, there is no going, Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living’ (John 14:6; Junior Praise, 89). Let Jesus be your Guide. Let Him be your Saviour.
13th June: Jeremiah 32:1-25
‘Nothing is too hard for You’ (17). We face many difficult situations. What are you to do when you feel you can take no more? Remember the Lord. Nothing is too hard for Him. Remember His promise: ‘The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one’ (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Jesus calls us to follow Him. He calls us to follow Him. He warns us – ‘the way is hard’. It is Jesus – our loving Saviour – who calls us to follow Him. He does not leave us to go it alone. He gives us His strength – ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light’ (Matthew 4:19; 7:14; 11:30). ‘When the road is rough and steep, fix your eyes upon Jesus. He alone has power to keep. Fix your eyes upon Him’. You can ‘depend on’ Jesus. He is your ‘gracious Friend’. ‘He is faithful to the end’ (Junior Praise, 279).
14th June: Jeremiah 32:26-44
‘I will bring them back to this place’ (37). God is bringing us into His ‘place’. He is bringing us close to Himself: ‘They will be My people, and I will be their God’ (38). He is bringing us into the ‘place’ of obedience: ‘I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me’ (40). He is leading us to the ‘place’ of blessing: ‘I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and the good of their children after them‘ (39). Sometimes, our life seems like ‘a desolate waste’. We must not lose sight of the purpose of God: ‘I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul’ (43,41). God will not leave us in our ‘desolate waste’. He will lead us to a better ‘place’ – the ‘place’ of obedience and blessing.
15th June: James 1:1-27
Even the most difficult times can have a godly effect on us – when we ask God for wisdom: ‘Lord, what are You teaching me in this?’ (2-5). Humanly speaking, we may be ‘in humble circumstances’. Spiritually speaking, we are in a ‘high position’ (9). Our position is to become even higher – ‘the crown of life’ (12). Before that happens, there will be many temptations (13-15). We can face these temptations with confidence in the God of faithfulness and His ‘Word of truth’ (16-18). God’s ‘Word’ is ‘planted in us’ so that we may become ‘doers of the Word, and not hearers only’ (21-22). Don’t let God’s Word ‘go in one ear and out the other’ – ‘like water off a duck’s back’. Let there be His controlling – ‘a tight rein on the tongue’, caring – looking after the needy, and cleansing – ‘unstained from the world’ (26-27).
16th June: James 2:1-26
The Gospel turns the world’s values upside down – the ‘poor in the world’ are ‘rich in faith’ (5). We are to live according to the Gospel. We are not to be controlled by the world’s way of thinking. If we ‘show favouritism’, we place ourselves in a dangerous position – ‘judgment without mercy’. Even where there is the threat of judgment, there is the promise of mercy – ‘mercy triumphs over judgment’ (9,13). God is calling us back from the brink. He is saying, ‘It’s not too late’. Even at ‘the eleventh hour’, God is calling us to receive His mercy (Matthew 20:6-9). He wants to change us. He wants us to put Him first. For Abraham and Rahab, God came first – not Abraham’s son, not Rahab’s country (20-26; Genesis 22:12; Joshua 2:9). Don’t let anyone or anything come before Him. He must come first – every time.
17th June: James 3:1-4:12
So much harm can be done by a hurtful word. so much good can be done by a word of witness. An evil ‘fire’ can be turned into a godly fire: ‘It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You spread His love to everyone. You want to pass it on (3:5; Mission Praise, 348). Use your words with wisdom – ‘the wisdom that comes from heaven’ (17-18). Don’t fight to get your own way. Ask God to show you His way (4:2). Be careful how you speak: ‘Do not slander one another…Who are you to judge your neighbour?’ (4:11-12). May God deliver us from hypocrisy – ‘out of the same mouth come praise and cursing’ (3:10). May He give us ‘more grace’ – to be ‘humble’ and not ‘proud’, submitting to God and resisting the devil (4:6-7).
18th June: James 4:13-5:20
Don’t worry about ‘what will happen tomorrow’. It’s in the Lord’s hands (4:14-15). We must not lose sight of ‘the purpose of the Lord’. We must remember that ‘the Lord is full of compassion and mercy’ (11). We look forward to ‘the Lord’s Coming’ as the great Day of our salvation (7-8). We must not, however, forget God’s words of warning: ‘The Judge is standing at the door’. God speaks to us concerning ‘the misery that is coming upon you’. What is He saying to us here? – He is warning us: Be careful how you live – Don’t trust in riches. ‘Don’t grumble against each other’ (1-3,9). The warning and the promise belong together. Those who are facing judgment can be brought to the Saviour. May God help us to speak His Word – the warning as well as the promise – , always praying that sinners will be saved (16,19-20).
19th June: Jeremiah 33:1-26
‘I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against Me…Then this city will bring Me renown, joy, praise, and honour before all nations on earth…’ (7-9). What great blessing lay ahead of God’s people! God was pointing His people to the place of blessing: Jesus Christ – ‘the righteous Branch from David’s line’ (15-16). ‘In Christ’, we have ‘every spiritual blessing’: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 2:9). God has so much blessing to give to us. Come to Him and receive His blessing: ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you; I will show you wonderful and marvellous things that you know nothing about’ (3).
20th June: Jeremiah 34:1-22
‘Freedom for the slaves’ – What a good idea! ‘Everyone agreed’. The slaves were ‘set free’. So far, so good! Then things went wrong – ‘Afterwards they changed their minds and took back the slaves…and enslaved them again’ (8-11). What did God have to say about this? – ‘You have turned round and dishonoured Me…You took back the slaves…You forced them into slavery again…You have not obeyed Me’ (16-17). Jesus Christ isn’t like these slavemasters! He doesn’t only promise us freedom. He gives us our freedom: ‘If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed‘. He doesn’t come to us with ‘a pack of lies’ – promising this, that and the other, and then breaking every promise. He sets us free with His Word of truth – ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:36,32; Psalm 119:45).
21st June: Jeremiah 35:1-19
‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey My words?’ (13) – ‘Jonadab, son of Rechab, ordered his sons not to drink wine and this command has been kept…I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed Me’ (14). We are not to say, ‘I will follow You’ and then change our mind (Luke 9:57). We are not to sing, ‘Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee’, and then live a life which contradicts our prayer of commitment to the Lord (Church Hymnary, 462). We are to mean what we say. We are to follow through our words of commitment with a life of obedience, a life that is pleasing to the Lord. The Rechabites were obedient to Jonadaab’s command – and they were blessed by God (18-19). Obedient and blessed – That’s what God wants us to be. Let’s obey the Lord – and look to Him for the blessing.
22nd June: Psalm 108:1-13
‘With God we shall gain the victory. He will trample down our enemies’ (13). In ourselves, there is only defeat. We are no match for ‘our enemies’ – the world, the flesh and the devil. We are surrounded by the world – ‘The world is ever near. I see the sights that dazzle. The tempting sounds I hear’. We live with the constant problem of the flesh – ‘the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will’ (Church Hymnary, 434). Behind the world and the flesh, there is an even stronger enemy – the devil: ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual forces of evil…’ (Ephesians 6:12). Our situation seems to be utterly hopeless. How can we possibly win the victory? The simple truth is: We cannot. There is, however, a deeper truth: God is with us – and ‘with God we shall win the victory’!
23rd June: Psalm 109:1-31
We must come to the Lord, recognizing that, without Him, our situation is hopeless – ‘I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow’ (22). When our enemies are on the attack, we are no match for them. What are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us? We must come to the Lord, praying for His help, asking Him to save us – ‘Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with Your love’ (26). Let us look away from ourselves and our own weakness. Let us put our trust in the Lord and His strength. The Lord will not fail us. He ‘stands beside’ us in our time of testing. He ‘saves’ us from our enemies. Let us praise Him: ‘I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth. I will praise Him among many people…’ (30-31).
24th June: Jeremiah 36:1-32
‘The king cut it with the penknife, and threw it into the fire’ (23). The king didn’t like God’s Word. He thought he could get rid of God’s Word. What a fool he was! God saw what was going on. The king’s attempt to silence God was utterly futile. God would not be silenced. He continued to speak His Word. Soon, the king was hearing another Word from the Lord: ‘You burned that scroll…’ (29)! God is still speaking to us today. He calls us to listen to Him. He calls us back from the way of ‘wickedness’, back from the brink of ‘disaster’ (31). He calls us back from the way of unbelief, the way that leads to ‘the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels’. He calls us to be ‘blessed’. Have faith in the Saviour. Receive ‘the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world’ (Matthew 25:41,34).
25th June: Jeremiah 37:1-21
‘Is there any Word from the Lord?’ – ‘Yes! There is a Word from the Lord’. The Word from the Lord wasn’t exactly what the king wanted to hear – ‘You will be handed over to the king of Babylon’ (17). God was going to bless His people – but they would have to be patient: Things were going to get an awful lot worse before they would get much better! Before their restoration – “I will bring them back and restore them to this place’ – , God’s people faced captivity – ‘They will be taken to Babylon’. There was bad news – a captivity of ‘seventy years’. There was good news – the captivity wouldn’t last forever (27:22; 29:10-11)! God speaks of His blessing – ‘It will certainly come’ – , but He also says, ‘Wait for it‘ (Habakkuk 2:3). Let’s listen to all that He says to us – and not ‘only hear what we want to hear’!
26th June: Jeremiah 38:1-28
‘No Surrender’ – Was this the way forward for God’s people? ‘No Surrender’ – What would happen if God’s people adopted this attitude? Jeremiah speaks God’s Word to the people. He calls them to make their choice. They can ‘surrender’ and ‘live’. They can say, ‘No Surrender’ – and face certain death (17-18). Captivity in Babylon would not be easy. They would be heartbroken as they recalled happier times – ‘By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion’. It would be so difficult to keep on praising the Lord – ‘How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?’ (Psalm 137:1,4). Life in Babylon would be difficult – but ‘it would not be the end of the world’! They could still look forward to the fulfilment of God’s ‘gracious promise’: ‘I will come to you and bring you back to this place’ (29:10).
27th June: Proverbs 21:1-31
‘The victory belongs to the Lord’ (31). When defeat seems inevitable, God comes to us with His Word of encouragement: ‘The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save, a Warrior who gives victory. He will take great delight in you. He will renew you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing’ (Zephaniah 3:17). God’s Word shows us the way of victory. It is the way of faith in our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?’ (1 John 5:4). God ‘gives victory’ to us. We must receive His victory by ‘faith’. Living for Christ is never easy – ‘In this world you will have trouble’. Don’t let this get you down. Jesus says, ‘Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).
28th June: Psalm 110:1-7
‘The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand…’ (1). These words direct our attention to our Lord Jesus Christ: When ‘He was taken up into heaven, He sat at the right hand of God’ (Mark 16:19). When Jesus ascended to the Father’s right hand, the Holy Spirit was sent down from heaven to fill our lives with God’s blessing (John 7:37-39). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives are changed: ‘In the Day of Your power, Your people will come to You willingly…’ . We come to the Lord in our weakness, and He ‘renews our strength’. We come to Him in our weariness, and we are ‘refreshed’ by His ‘streams of living water’ (3,7). ‘Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise’ (Revised Church Hymnary, 435).
29th June: Psalms 111:1-112:10
‘Praise the Lord…To Him belong eternal praise…Blessed is the man who fears the Lord…His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes…’ (111:1,10; 112:1,8). Those who ‘fear the Lord’ have no need to live in fear of man. Those who know that ‘eternal praise belongs to the Lord’ can face their enemies with confidence. Our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is in the Lord. We know how good the Lord has been to us – ‘He provided redemption for His people’. We have heard and believed the Good News of Christ. We need not ‘fear’ any ‘bad news’ which the devil sends our way. We ‘trust in the Lord’, confident that the ‘light ‘ will triumph over the ‘darkness’. The Good News of Christ will triumph over the devil’s bad news (111:9; 112:4,7).
30th June: Psalms 113:1-114:8
‘The Lord is high above all nations…Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high?…Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, who turns the hard rock into springs of water’ (113:4-5; 114:7-8). The Lord is greater than we could ever imagine. There is no greatness like the greatness of the Lord. All human greatness cannot even begin to compare with the greatness of God. His greatness is not only the greatness of His power. It is also the greatness of His love. When we sing, ‘How great Thou art’, we sing not only of His power – ‘Thy power throughout the universe displayed’. We sing also of His love – ‘And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die – I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin…’ (Mission Praise, 506).