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Lord, I Can’t— Jeremiah 1:6-12

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 21:1-9, 2 Chronicles 33:1-9, 2 Kings 21:10-17, 2 Chronicles 33:10-19, 2 Kings 21:18, 2 Chronicles 33:20, 2 Kings 21:19-26, 2 Chronicles 33:21-25, 2 Kings 22:1-2, 2 Chronicles 34:1-7, Jeremiah 1:1-2:22

Heavenly Father, the words “I can’t” have crossed my lips or my mind many times. Just like Jeremiah I always have a reason.

  • I’m too busy
  • I’m too young
  • I’m too old
  • I’m too tired
  • I’m too stressed
  • I’m too sick
  • I’m too afraid

“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”

The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,

“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
 Today I appoint you to stand up
against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down,
destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up
and plant.”
Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”

And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.”

And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching,and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” -Jeremiah 1:6-12

Lord, there are several lessons for me in this passage.

1. You hear all of my “I cant’s”

2. You don’t want me giving excuses (“Don’t say, ‘ I’m too young'”)

3. You have assignments for me (“You must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you”)

 

4. You don’t want me to fear what people say or think about me (“Don’t be afraid of people)

5. You will go with me and protect me ( “I will be with you and will protect you”)

6. You speak to me (If you spoke to Jeremiah You will speak to me, if I will listen)

7. You equip me to do what You call me to do (“I have put My words in your mouth)

8. You appoint me to carry out Your mission for my life (“Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms”)

9. You are watching me and will get Your plans accomplished in my life (“I am watching and will certainly carry out all my plans”)

Lord, bring these nine things to my remembrance when I want to say, “I can’t.”

Jesus, I CAN do all things because of the strength You give me. — Philippians 4:13

Lord, accomplish Your plans in my life.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 2:23-5:19

Lord, What’s My Assignment? –Exodus 31:1-6

Today’s Scripture Reading: Exodus 29:1-31:18

Heavenly Father, I love the fact that You, the God of the universe chose, appointed, and assigned particular people to do particular things to build the Tabernacle.  What’s just as exciting is You “filled them with Your Spirit,” which gave them the “wisdom, ability, and expertise” to complete their “calling” with excellence! (Exodus 31:1-6)

Lord, I know the same holds true today.  Many times throughout my life You have given me wisdom, ability, and expertise to do something that needed to be done; something I had no idea how to do in my understanding.  I’m sure Bezalel and Oholiab were honored to be chosen, but they may have left like Moses (and me)… “Lord, I don’t think I can do this.”  Just like Moses, they did it “afraid” and it turned out to be “exceedingly, abundantly, more than they could have expected.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Jesus, I pray that today, we will be looking for Your assignments.  Help us to realize that, “You qualify those You call.”

Holy Spirit, speak loudly.  We don’t want to miss our opportunity of a lifetime.  Help us to see any task great or small that has been assigned by our Heavenly Father as an honor and a privilege.  Help us to jump at the chance to be used!

Jesus, give us supernatural discernment to know when the enemy of our soul is trying to keep us from accomplishing our “divine assignments.”  Help us to be strong in You and Your power (Ephesians 6:10-12).  Use us for Your Glory today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Exodus 32:1-34:35

Sentenced to Silenced by Three Words—Luke 1:18

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Today’s Scripture ReadingMark 1:1a, Luke 1:1-4; John 1:1-18; Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23b-38; Luke 1:5-38

In Luke 1, two absolute, no-doubt miracles were announced by the angel Gabriel.

  • Zechariah and Elizabeth were going to have a son— But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.  You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.  And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.  He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” —Luke 1:13-17
  • Mary, a virgin was also going to have a son—Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:29-33

Two announcements, two sons, two miracles…

Two responses, similar, but oh, so different:

  • ZechariahZechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” —Luke 1:18 (emphasis mine)
  • MaryMary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” —Luke 1:34

Both asked how…

Both knew it was naturally impossible…

But Zechariah’s three additional words ———->        I be sure…

…caused him to be silenced for nine months.

You would think that the presence of an angel and the announcement of God’s Word would encourage Zechariah’s faith, but they did not. Instead of looking to God by faith, the priest looked at himself and his wife and decided that the birth of a son was impossible. (The Bible Exposition Commentary)

Mary believed what was much harder without a sign.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant.

May everything you have said about me come true.” —Luke 1:38

But before we criticize Zachariah too much, we should examine ourselves and see how strong our own faith is.

When we need a miracle do we look to—

  • Ourselves, like Zechariah, where the impossible is not possible?
  • To God, like Mary, where nothing is impossible?  (Luke 1:37)

Heavenly Father, help our unbelief (Mark 9:24).  Help us to expect the miraculous.  We are Your servants.  May everything You have said about us come true (Luke 1:38)

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen.

 

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 1:39-80; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-40

It’s Too Hard. I’m Quitting! –Joshua 17:16

Today’s Scripture Reading: Joshua 15:20-17:18

“It’s too hard, Nana.”  “I can’t do it!”  How many times have I heard one of my grandchildren say these words.

Forget the kids, how many times have I said these words?

“It’s too hard!”

“I can’t do it!”

“I can’t live like this.”

“I’ll never get this debt paid off!”

“This marriage isn’t going to work!”

“It’s just too much to ask.”

The descendants of Joseph responded, “It’s true that the hill country is not large enough for us. But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots, both those in Beth-shan and its surrounding settlements and those in the valley of Jezreel. They are too strong for us.” —Joshua 17:16

The descendants of Joseph were complaining that they needed more land because there were so many of them, but they didn’t want to have to work and fight to win the land.

Then Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph, “Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion. The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners. And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.” —Joshua 17:17-18

Sometimes we need to say to our children, grandchildren and ourselves, “I don’t care how much you whine or complain, you can and will do it!”

Friends, let’s be careful when another friend says, “I can’t do it; it’s too hard.”  The easiest thing to say is, “You’re right, it is hard.  Don’t worry about it!

Let’s be a real friend and say, “No, you can and you will do it!”

If you are tempted to quit today, here’s my advice: “Don’t quit, don’t give up–You can do it.

For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength. —Philippians 4:13

Heavenly Father, it’s normal to be a quitter these days, but You have not called us to be normal.  Help us to see that finishing what we start is the right thing to do.  It sets us apart.  It speaks louder than words.  It’s shows our character.  Not giving up could be our greatest witness in these troubled times!  Jesus, give us supernatural strength and determination to finish what we start!

Heavenly Father, use us for Your Glory today!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Joshua 18:1-19:48

I Can’t…But God says I Can!—Jeremiah 1:4-9

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Kings 21:1-9; 2 Chronicles 33:1-9; 2 Kings 21:10-17; 2 Chronicles 33:10-19; 2 Kings 21:18; 2 Chronicles 33:20; 2 Kings 21:19-26; 2 Chronicles 33:21-25; 2 Kings 22:1-2; 2 Chronicles 34:1-7; Jeremiah 1:1 through Jeremiah 2:22

Fill in the blanks:

O Sovereign Lord, I can’t ___________ for you!  I’m too _____________!

The Lord replied.  Don’t say, I’m too _____________, for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.  And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you.  I the Lord have spoken.  I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my _______________.  —Jeremiah 1:4-9

If you had an encounter with God like Jeremiah and he spoke these words to you, would it change your life?

As a young adult I heard a message from Pastor Steven Chitty that changed me forever.  The only thing I remember about that message is this one illustration:  He said that when we get to heaven and we meet God face to face, a huge screen will come out of the sky and a video will begin to play.  As we watch it we will see everything God planned for us, everything he knew we were capable of, everything he gave us the talents and abilities to be and do for his Kingdom (Jeremiah 1:5).  The greatest sadness of our lives will be when we see the things God planned for us that we didn’t even try to do because of fear and because of saying. “I can’t.”

No, this illustration is not in the Bible but we will stand before Christ in heaven and he will evaluate our life on earth as a Christian (Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10).

Knowing that we’re on this earth for a pre-determined purpose should cause us to wake up every day looking for God’s best for the day like a treasure hunt.  If we can overcome the “I can’ts,” life will be a great adventure!

You may be thinking, “I have “no idea” how I fit in God’s master plan.

God will show you if you spend time with him.  Here are three questions to get you started:

  1. What am I good at?
  2. What do I like to do?
  3. What needs to be done?

You may be thinking, “What if I think God’s speaking to me and I step out and try and he really didn’t speak, it was just my imagination?”  This is one of the greatest lies Satan uses to keep us from living out Jeremiah 1:5.

But we have an antidote to combat that lie in Romans 4:3:

For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him

as righteous because of his faith.

Friends, don’t miss this:  If you step out by faith to serve God in a particular way because you believe He has spoken to you, He will count you righteous because of your faith in believing you heard from God.

Sometimes we have to “do it afraid.”  I can personally say that almost every day these last three years that I have sat down to write for this study, I feel the fear of not having anything to say. Every time I have to push through the fear; I just place my hands on the keyboard and start.  The fear goes away and God does what he did for Jeremiah and what he will do for you:

Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth!” –Jeremiah 1:9

Heavenly Father, give us the faith and determination to be what you planned for us to be.

In Jesus Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Jeremiah 2:23 through Jeremiah 5:19

Will This Be Your Biggest Regret? 2 Samuel 23: 20-21

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 2: 1 through 2 Samuel 3: 5, 1 Chronicles 3: 1-4a, 2 Samuel 23: 8-17, 1 Chronicles 11: 10-19, 2 Samuel 23: 18-39, 1 Chronicles 11: 20-47

There was only one King David.

In most of our lifetimes God will not call us to a leadership role as visible as this “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:13-14).

But

He has called us to something.

Benaiah was one of those people who was determined to give his best to his calling. He was determined to pursue rather than be pursued.

Benaiah son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel was a vigorous man who accomplished a great deal. He once killed two lion cubs in Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he climbed down into a pit and killed a lion. Another time he killed a formidable Egyptian. The Egyptian was armed with a spear and Benaiah went against him with nothing but a walking stick; he seized the spear from his grip and killed him with his own spear.      

 –2 Samuel 23:20-21 (The Message)

I never noticed Benaiah in my Bible reading until I read a book called, In a Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson.

I want to be a lion chaser like Benaiah.  I want to take the things in life that have the capacity to destroy me and use them for God’s Glory.

What are the lions in your life?

As Mark said in his book:

What if the life you really want is hiding behind your biggest problem?  Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase. You will look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. Stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path.

Before Benaiah could face the lion he had to face something bigger—his fears.

What fears are holding you back?

Here are the first three that come to mind:

  • The fear of failure
  • The fear of success
  • The fear of rejection

These fears may be your lions.  Let’s get out of the defensive mode and move to the offense—go after them, even it you have to chase them into a pit on a snowy day.

What are you waiting for?

Become a lion chaser!

©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:   2 Samuel 3: 6 through 2 Samuel 4: 12

Are You Constantly Tempted? Judges 2:2

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Judges 1:1 through Judges 3:30

Can you believe these Israelites?

In yesterday’s reading they were saying, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods” (Josh 24:16). And today they’ve broken covenant with the Lord and made covenant with the foreign people of the land (Judges 2:1-3).

Something caught my eye in verse 2 of Judges 2…They (the people of this land) will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.

I’m thinking out loud here, but I wonder if some of the areas in our lives where we seem to be tempted beyond measure are places where we’ve broken covenant with the Lord.

I know that Jesus came to free us from the Law (Romans 8:20) but I also know that God put  laws into place, such as  sowing and reaping that affect His ability to intervene, even though Jesus has forgiven us of our sins (Gal. 6:7).

We certainly see an example of sowing and reaping in today’s reading.

After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.  –Judges 2:10

Because of the Israelites failure to “fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly” (Joshua 24:14) their children had no knowledge of the amazing God of their fathers.  They needed a Joshua in their lives who lived a life that said, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)

Do you ever wonder why God didn’t just wipe out all the nations that were tempting the Israelites to turn away from the living God?  We got the answer in today’s reading:  I did this to test Israel–to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the Lord as their ancestors did (Judges 2:22).

Even in Israel’s day they had a choice.  God wanted them to choose to wholeheartedly follow him.  I guess they failed the test.  But they got a do over… And so do we.

Father, I want to live in covenant with you. I want to live a life that overcomes temptation. Please show me the areas in my life that are not pleasing to You and teach me Your ways.  I want to leave a trail that my children and grandchildren can follow that leads straight to You Lord.  I pray for this next generation.  Holy Spirit, draw them to You.   Help me to tell my children and grandchildren about the mighty God that you are in my life.   Bless my fellow travelers on this journey.  Word of God Speak.

In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen!

 
 

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Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:   Judges 3:31 through Judges 6:40

It’s Too Hard–Joshua 17:16

Today’s Scripture Reading: Joshua 15:20-17:18

“It’s too hard, Nana.”  “I can’t do it!”  How many times have I heard one of my grandchildren say these words.

Forget the kids, how many times have I said these words?

“It’s too hard!”

“I can’t do it!”

“I can’t live like this.”

“I’ll never get this debt paid off!”

“This marriage isn’t going to work!”

“It’s just too much to ask.”

The descendants of Joseph responded, “It’s true that the hill country is not large enough for us. But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots, both those in Beth-shan and its surrounding settlements and those in the valley of Jezreel. They are too strong for us.” —Joshua 17:16

The descendants of Joseph were complaining that they needed more land because there were so many of them, but they didn’t want to have to work and fight to win the land.

Then Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph, “Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion. The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners. And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.” —Joshua 17:17-18

Just like my grandchildren, children, and the descendants of Joseph, sometimes we need someone like Joshua to say, “I don’t care how much you whine or complain, you can and will do it!”

Friends, let’s be careful when another friend says, “I can’t do it; it’s too hard.”  The easiest thing to say is, “You’re right, it is hard.  Don’t worry about it!

Let’s be a real friend and say, “No, you can and you will do it!”

If you are tempted to quit today, here’s my advice: “Don’t quit, don’t give up–You can do it.

For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength. —Philippians 4:13

Heavenly Father, it’s normal to be a quitter these days, but You have not called us to be normal.  Help us to see that finishing what we start is the right thing to do.  It sets us apart.  It speaks louder than words.  It’s shows our character.  Not giving up could be our greatest witness in these troubled times!  Jesus, give us supernatural strength and determination to finish what we start!

Heavenly Father, use us for Your Glory today!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Joshua 18:1-19:48

Are Past Failures Keeping You From Future Goals? Psalm 90:17


Today’s Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 31:30-32:52; Psalm 90

From my earliest remembrances biographies were my favorite books to read. I’m inspired by the underdog; people who shouldn’t have made it; people who had every excuse to quit, yet for some reason they didn’t.

I think the story of Moses’ life is my all-time favorite biography.  Every time I read Exodus through Deuteronomy I look for Moses’ finest hour.  There are so many great moments, but I think his prayer is Psalm 90 may be the most amazing moment for me.

Think about it.  God reminds Moses “one-more-time” of his failure to demonstrate the holiness of God at the waters of Meribah and tells him it’s time to die. (Deuteronomy 32:48-52) That’s not exactly the last words you want to hear from your boss!

How did Moses overcome those feelings of failure?

I think it was all about his focus.

If Moses would have continued to focus on his mistake at Meribah, he would have missed hundreds of opportunities to succeed.

Moses kept his eye on the goal: Getting his people to the Promised Land.

It wasn’t about him.

It wasn’t about having a perfect life.

Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. –Psalm 90:10, 12

It was about finishing the job.

It was about pleasing God.

It was about being a part of a supernatural kind of success that makes our personal failures a faint memory.

Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful! —
Psalm 90:17

Heavenly Father, show us our focus today. Make our efforts successful.  Let us see You work today.  Let us see Your glory today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12; Joshua 1:1-2:24

10 Reasons to Stop Complaining

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 11:1 through Numbers 13:33

As I read today’s scriptures I kept saying over and over, “Lord, help me not to complain!” Here’s why:

  1. God doesn’t like complaining
  2. People who are just going along for the ride can get you in trouble.  The foreign rabble (11:4) were probably Gentiles who thought a trip to the Promised Land would be great, but when the going got tough, they began to complain and caused the Israelites to do the same.  We should take this lesson very seriously, “step away from the complainers!” (and don’t be one!)
  3. Complainers frustrate leaders.  Moses asked God why he deserved “the burden of all these people, since he didn’t give birth to them.” (11:10)
  4. Don’t complain, ask God for help. God hears the concerns of leaders and helps them WHEN they ask.  He devised a plan to take some of the load off Moses. (11:16)
  5. There’s something God doesn’t like more than complaining— being rejected and doubted.  Basically, when the Israelites said they would have been better off in Egypt, God took it personally. (11:18)  And, when Moses gave an assessment of the impossibility of feeding the 600,000 foot soldiers  God took it as an insult and came back with a hearty, “Now you’ll see whether or not my word comes true!” (11:23)
  6. Moses had a character trait all really great leaders have—humility.  He didn’t care who got the credit: But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake?  I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all.” (11:29)
  7. Sometimes the Lord gives us what we ask for and it isn’t what we need.  “But while they were gorging themselves on the meat—while it was still in their mouths—the anger of the Lord blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.  So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, which means graves of gluttony. (11:33-34) I’m sure there are many spiritual lessons in this scripture, but I can’t get past the words gorging and gluttony.
  8. Jealousy can get you in trouble.  Aaron and Miriam “thought” they were on the same level with God as Moses.  Let’s just say that God set them straight.  I love the Lord’s response to them in Numbers 12:6-8, that began with “Now listen to what I say:”
  9. If we think like a grasshopper we’ll be treated like one.  These people saw the power of God like no other people in the human race, yet they said, “We can’t go up against them.” (13:31)
  10. Caleb was the only one who scouted out the new land who said, “We can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30)

I want to be like Moses and Caleb, but sometimes I act like the foreign rabble and the Israelites!  Holy Spirit show me the things in my life that aren’t pleasing to you!

Pressing on towards our Promised Land!

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 14:1 through Numbers 15:41

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