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Isn’t This The Same Man? –Acts 9:21

Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 8:1b-9:43

Take a minute and think about the most evil, despicable, and wretched person you’ve heard of.

Was it…

      • Hitler
      • ben Laden
      • Stalin
      • Mao Tse-tung

Maybe is was some serial killer that terrorized your community?

Or someone who personally hurt you or a close family member?

What if…

God asked you to go to that person and pray for them and be His messenger of healing to that person?

Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”

Yes, Lord!” he replied.

The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”

“But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”

But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.  And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” 

–Acts 9:10-16

I don’t know about you, but many times I read over this kind of stuff in the Bible and don’t let it really sink into my spirit.  Saul was a really bad person.  He was one of the witnesses and agreed completely with the killing of Stephen (Acts 8:1).

Yet, in an instant he was a changed man.

All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”  –Acts 9:21

If you had been one of the disciples, how would you have felt to have Saul, now know as Paul as a part of your ministry team?

Would you have been able to go to Straight Street(Acts 9:11) and welcome Saul into the family of God?

Heavenly Father, this story causes me to examine myself.  It once again, makes me realize that Your will and Your plan come in packages that boggle the human mind.  Your ways are definitely higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:8).  Lord, help me to give mercy to everyone who crosses my path.   Lord, help me to love my neighbor.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 10:1-12:5

Have You Taken the First Step to Denying Jesus?–Luke 22:54-60

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 14:53-65, Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:66-72, Matthew 26:69-75, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:25-27, Mark 15:1, Matthew 27:1-2, Luke 22:66-71, Matthew 27:3-10

I’m a Christ follower.

I’m a Christian.

I believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word.

I believed Jesus died on the cross for my sins.

It’s pretty easy for me to type these words and announce to the unknown blogosphere that I’m a Christian.  But what about the days when I’m in a situation where my faith could cost me

  • My reputation
  • My status
  • A promotion
  • A new job opportunity
  • My selfish desires

What happens on those days?

 

Too many times I’ve chosen the world and the opinion of others and denied Jesus, just like Peter.

So they arrested him (Jesus) and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance.  The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there.   A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”

But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”

After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”

“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.

About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”

But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  –Luke 22:54-60 NLT (Explanation mine)

Have you ever thought, “How could Peter do that?”

But when we really think about it, most of us have denied Jesus many more times than Peter.

There’s a significant message in Peter’s denial.  So significant that it is recorded in all four of the gospels.

This account tells me…

  • ANYONE can deny Jesus  (Matthew 16:13-18)
  • The first step to denying Christ is following Him at a distance (Matthew 26:58)
  • Jesus knows that we’re going to deny Him but he still chooses to use us
  • Those God chooses to use mightily will be tested
  • We deny Jesus in different ways; sometimes with our words and sometimes with our actions

I remember a time years ago when my words and my actions were saying two different things.  My words were proclaiming Christ as Lord of my life but my actions were denying Him.  When I came to my senses, I repented and God forgave me. But occasionally the enemy of my soul reminds me of that time and tries to convince me that God cannot use me because of my denial.

Because of Peter’s story, I know that’s a lie.

Jesus told Peter He was going to be the rock (foundation) of the church (Matthew 16:13-18) BEFORE Peter denied Him.  And that’s exactly what happened!

Do you feel you cannot be used of God because of your times of denying Christ?

If you’ve denied Christ repent, move close to Him and be about your calling!

Heavenly Father, we’re so thankful You understand our humanness.  Forgive us for denying You in our words and our actions.  Help us to overcome the enemy’s attempts to keep us from being all that You called us to be.  Use us for Your Kingdom and Your Glory.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 15:2-5, Matthew 27:11-14, Luke 23:1-12, John 18:28-40, Mark 15:6-15, Matthew 27:15-26, Luke 23:13-25, John 19:1-16, Mark 15:16-20, Matthew 27:27-31, Luke 22:63-65

Let Me Tell You About My Grandchildren—Mark 10:13-16

Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14,Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17, Mark 10:17-31, Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 18:18-30

Let me show you a picture of my grandchildren! Five of them are missing in this picture, but it was a rare photo opportunity to get this many of them together !

The one, true, living God of the universe spoke each of them into existence.

God could have chosen a million different ways to fill His earth, but He chose to do it through children…

Jesus made sure we knew the value of children.  He also told us that the only way we can receive the Kingdom of God is like a child:

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them!  For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.  I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”  Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. —Mark 10:13-16

How do we receive the Kingdom of God like a child?

  • Children are helpless, unable to save themselves
  • Totally dependent on the mercy and grace of God
  • A child enjoys much but can explain very little
  • Children live by faith
  • They trust others to take care of them
  • Children immediately go to their parents when they are  hurt or have a problem

Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary

It’s so easy for children to believe in and have faith in God.  I see this in my grandkids.  When we pray for them to feel better, they believe they will.

They wholeheartedly believe God…

  • Is who He says He is
  • Will do what He says He will do

What happens?

How do we go from a little child who totally believes in God and believes God, to doubting who He is and what he says?

The pull of this sinful world is huge.  From the time a child is conceived a battle begins…a battle for their soul. That’s why we must train up our children in the ways of God and the things of God (Proverbs 22:6); so that when they grow up they still have child-like faith.

Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3).  Lord, help me to live a life that leads my grandchildren straight to you.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture ReadingMatthew 20:1-6, Mark 10:32-34, Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34, Mark 10:35-45, Matthew 20:20-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-19:27

Pass Me the Duct Tape—Matthew 12:36-37

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 8:1-3, Mark 3:20-230, Matthew 12:22-45, Mark 3:31-35, Matthew 12:46-50, Luke 8:19-21, Mark 4:1-9, Matthew 13:1-9, Luke 8:4-8, Mark 4:10-20

And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.  The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you. Matthew 12:36-37

Every idle word…

Lord help me!  I’m in trouble.  Where’s the duct tape?

I looked up the word “idle” in Word Studies in the New Testament hoping for a reprieve, but none was to be found…

Idle (ἀργὸν). The word is compounded of ἀ, not, and ἔργον, work. An idle word is a nonworking word; an inoperative word. It has no legitimate work, no office, no business, but is morally useless and unprofitable.

Friends, Jesus wasn’t just talking about profanity, He was talking about gossip, criticism, whining, complaining, etc; anything that isn’t adding value to people’s lives.

Let’s look at the context in which this verse is written (Matthew 12:22-37).

Jesus was getting it from all sides:

  • The crowds were following Him everywhere; He couldn’t get enough time to Himself to grab a bite to eat
  • His family was trying to pull Him away from the crowds saying, “He’s out of his mind”
  • The teachers of religious law were saying He was possessed by Satan

When the teachers accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan He took great offense, not because they were doubting Him, but because they were speaking against the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit; which the religious leaders should have recognized.  Jesus gave a timeless warning that had grave consequences against speaking against the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was in this serious setting that Jesus warned us about idle words.  He prefaced His warning with a word picture, which was the common way to communicate in Jewish culture.

A tree is identified by its fruit.  If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. –Matthew 12:33

If our heart is good our words will be good.  If our heart is bad our words will be bad.

In Jesus’ day the only words they dealt with were spoken words; very few people could write. Fast forward 2,000 years…how many words to you speak, write, type, or text in a 24 hour period?

Before you run to the garage and get your duct tape, remember Jesus sees and know our heart, so even if we keep our “idle” words from coming out, we’re still accountable for them.

What can we do about our idle words?

Don’t focus on the words…

Focus on getting your heart tuned into the Holy Spirit; ask Him to create in you a clean heart (Psalm 51:10) and your words will follow.

Heavenly Father, we want our words and our heart to be pleasing to You.  Lord, You made us, You know our human failings. Please forgive us when we fail; speak loudly to us when we do.  We say with David, create in us a clean heart.  Jesus, make us like You!

In Your Holy Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Matthew 13:10-23, Luke 8:9-18, Mark 4:21-29, Matthew 13:24-30, Mark 4:30-34, Matthew 13:31-52, Mark 4:35-41, Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25

Hate Change? Remember This One Thing—Malachi 3:6

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Malachi 2:10-4:6; Joel 1:1-3:21

Do you like change?

Most people don’t.

Sometimes things change for the good and some times change makes things worse.

Either way, change is a gamble.

How do we live in a world where change is the only constant thing in life?

We stay close to the One who does not change—

I am the Lord, and I do not change.  –Malachi 3:6

It is so fitting that God told us He doesn’t change on the last day of our chronological reading of the Old Testament.

As I think back over our 266 days of reading, the unchanging goodness of God is the overarching message of the Old Testament with the unchanging sinfulness of mankind as a close second.

It’s really ironic that we’re constantly changing but our sinful nature can’t be changed…

Until

We meet our Savior—Jesus Christ…

Which we are about to do in tomorrow’s reading.

What have you learned in these 8 months and 23 days?

Here are my take a ways from our Old Testament journey:

  • Jehovah God is the one, true, living God of the universe
  • Man inherently sinful—we can’t be “good” on our own
  • We  need a savior
  • Our God will use extreme measures to rescue us

AND

God does not change

Heavenly Father, I’m so thankful that You are my unchanging God.  My desire is to stay close to You as You lead me through the maze of change in this sinful world.  Jesus, I can’t wait to spend the rest of the year learning about Your gift of salvation.  Holy Spirit, draw us to Your Word.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen.

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

 


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 1:1a; Luke 1:1-4; John 1:1-18; Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23b-38; Luke 1:5-38

Two Words That are Big Deals to God…Zechariah 8:14-17


 

Today’s Scripture Reading: Zechariah 6:1-15; Ezra 5:3-6:14a; Zechariah 7:1-8:23

Have you ever wanted to do something special for someone but because you know them so well, you are concerned they will either–

  • Not appreciate it
  • Use it for harm
  • Brag about it and cause dissension
  • Lie about the reason you did it to them

In today’s reading our Heavenly Father had  those same feelings about His people, the Jews.  He had been so angry with them that He abandoned them to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who destroyed the Temple and exiled the people to Babylonia (Ezra 5:12). After 70 years God’s heart is once again tender towards His people.

“But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. 

But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!

For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 

But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid. 

But this is what you must do: 

  1. Tell the truth to each other. 
  2. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 
  3. Don’t scheme against each other. 
  4. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. 

I hate all these things, says the Lord.”  —Zechariah 8:11-17

 

Friends, this isn’t the first time God mentions justice and mercy. These 2 qualities are a big deal to our Heavenly Father; He doesn’t use the “hate” word that often.

 

Today’s Christian has a way of prioritizing sin, deciding which ones are worse than others.

God’s priorities are different than ours.

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:

  • To do what is right, 
  • To love mercy,
  • And to walk humbly with your God.  –Micah 6:8

Heavenly Father, help our hearts to be tender to the things that are most important to You.  We want Your blessings. Help us not to tie Your hands.  Help us to do what’s right; to love mercy and show it to everyone we come in contact with and to walk humbly before You.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Zechariah 9:1-14:21

A Building Caused Me to Feel Shame–Ezekiel 43:10-11

Today’s Scripture Reading:Ezekiel 40:38-43:27

Some of my earliest memories are in church. In those early years my mom took us to church a couple of times a week. Somewhere around the age of nine I began to understand the gospel. At this young age I started to grasp the magnitude of my sin.

 

I know, nine year olds don’t have a lot of sin.

 

What I mean is, I began to understand I had inherited a sinful nature from my ancestor Adam.

 

A battle began in my young heart.

 

A battle for my soul.

 

Every Sunday, as our pastor  preached I would feel the need to walk down the aisle and make a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ, but something held me back.

 

I would think things like…

 

“I’m too young. “

 

“This is what the adults do.”

 

“I’m not a bad kid.”

 

So each week I would put it off.

 

The weeks turned into months, the conviction was so strong that the moment we drove into the  parking lot and I saw the church that feeling would come over me…

 

Lord, I’m ashamed of my sin!

 

Those childhood memories came rushing back when I reach these verses in today’s reading…

 

 “Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, and they will be ashamed of what they have done.  –Ezekiel 43:10-11

 

The people of Israel had abandoned their God, their laws, and traditions. Their Temple had been destroyed and they were in Babylonian exile. God knew that when they saw the plans for the new Temple that He personally designed, the magnitude of their sins would flash before them…and they would feel shame.

 

In today’s culture the thought of God wanting us to be ashamed and feel shame doesn’t fit with our “I’m okay and your okay” way of thinking.

 

But

 

The only way we can come to Christ is through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we need to be ashamed and experience the feeling of shame to be able to break free of our sins.

 

Thankfully, during my 10th year of life, I walked that aisle, confessed my sins, accepted Jesus as my Savior, and began to live my life for him.

 

What about the feelings of shame?

 

The minute I walked down the aisle they were gone!

 

Has it ever returned?

 

Yes, when I’ve gone against God’s Word but God’s forgiveness is only a prayer away!

 

Here’s the good news.

 

God does not want Christians to live a life of shame. Whether you accept Him as your Savior when you’re 10 or 100, whether your sins are as innocent as a 10-year-old or as depraved as the worst sinner; HE WILL TAKE AWAY THE SHAME!

 

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  –1 John 1:9

 

If we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive us

 

AND

 

Cleanse us from all our wickedness!

 

Our job is to accept that forgiveness and be free.

 

If you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior and asked for His forgiveness and you’re still feeling shame and condemnation, that is not the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

 

Recognize where that shame is coming from, assign it to the proper owner (the enemy of your soul)…

 

AND…

 

Be free my friend!

 

In Jesus’ Name be free!

 

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 44:1-46:24 

Your Dearest Treasure—Ezekiel 24:15-16

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Ezekiel 24:15 through Ezekiel 25:17; Jeremiah 34:1-22; Jeremiah 21:1-14; Ezekiel 29:1-16; Ezekiel 30:20 through Ezekiel  31:18

What is your dearest treasure?

Ezekiel’s dearest treasure was his wife.  The King James Version calls her “the delight of his eyes.” When I think about Ezekiel’s life as a prophet it’s easy to understand how important his wife was to him.  God had called him to bring difficult messages to the Jewish people while he was held captive in Babylon.  I’m sure many times he felt as though he was completely alone; except for his wife.

This word from the Lord must have felt like a dagger through his heart:

Then this message came to me from the Lord:  “Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears.  Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.” –Ezekiel 24:15-17

My first thought after reading these verses was, “Lord, why would you go to such great length to send Israel a message.”  I’m thinking like a human and seeing this earthly life and earthly love as the most important gifts we have and wondering why in the world would God waste all that to send a message to some rebellious people; but God’s ways are not like our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and this earthly life is just a second in the scope of eternity.

The thought of Ezekiel’s wife dying a premature death must have been  overwhelming; asking Ezekiel not to show any sorrow at her death was completely unheard of.  This is totally contrary to Old Testament funeral practices, which featured loud wailings and passionate expressions of grief.   Demonstrative grief and sorrow was expected and seen as a sign of great love of love for the one who had died.

The death of Ezekiel’s wife was a sign designed to portray the loss of God’s blessing for Jerusalem (24:15–24). The “dearest treasure” (24:16) referred to Ezekiel’s wife. The same expression was used in 24:21 to refer to the Jerusalem temple. As Ezekiel was forbidden the customary mourning practices with regard to his wife’s death, the people were not to mourn God’s judgment on Jerusalem, for it was just (24:22–23). (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)

Ezekiel’s level of love and commitment to his God and the office of a prophet is the ultimate love story and God’s example of how the Jewish people were supposed to act when God’s judgment would fall on Jerusalem.

WHY—

Would God ask so much of Ezekiel?

Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold—their joy and glory, their heart’s desire, their dearest treasure—I will also take away their sons and daughters. And on that day a survivor from Jerusalem will come to you in Babylon and tell you what has happened.  And when he arrives, your voice will suddenly return so you can talk to him, and you will be a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.Ezekiel 24:25-27 (Emphasis mine)

Friends, in our lives we’ve all had things happen to us that just don’t make sense.  It’s hard for us to believe our Heavenly Father would allow us to walk through such pain and sorrow.  In these hard times our continued commitment to the Lord may be the greatest testimony of the reality of Christ an unbeliever will ever see.  Your testimony could make a difference between heaven and hell for that person.  Your testimony could be the only thing that gets them through their pain and sorrow.

Your Heavenly Father could be saying to you, “________________, you are a symbol for these people.  Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Heavenly Father, help us to reflect our trust in You in the good times and the hard times of our lives.  Help others to “know You more” through the testimony of our lives.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Jeremiah 32:1 through 33:26; Ezekiel 26:1-14

In My Proud Days—Ezekiel 16:56

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Ezekiel 14:1 through Ezekiel 16:63

“No man will ever treat me like that!”

“My wife will never act that way!”

“I will never do that awful thing!”

“My children will never act like that!”

“I will never take a job like that!”

“I will never gain that much weight!”

“I will never drive that kind of car!”

“I will never live in a house like that!”

“I will never be like “those” people!”

Have you ever made any of these statements?

In my proud days I would dream about and plan every detail of my perfect life.  It was like I was constantly doing research—“I like that, I don’t like that.  I want that, oh no… I don’t want that.  I’m certainly not going to be like that!”

Somehow I thought “I” could actually control all aspects of my life.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that life has definitely shown me just how insignificant my prideful plans are in the big scheme of things.  What I said I would never do, get, or have— I’ve done, got, and had…in spades!

Being chosen by God to be His chosen people, could definitely give a nation a big head.  I wonder if all of Abraham’s clan watched from a distance as God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and thought, “We’ll never be like “those” people!

In Ezekiel 16, the Lord is handing out the “worst of the worst” prizes and Israel beats both its sisters Sodom and Samaria, in the most and worst sins ever recorded:

Your older sister was Samaria, who lived with her daughters in the north. Your younger sister was Sodom, who lived with her daughters in the south.  But you have not merely sinned as they did. You quickly surpassed them in corruption. –Ezekiel 16:46-47

It seems that Israel thought they were immune to God’s judgment because they were His chosen people.  Isn’t it funny, we all want to be immune from God’s judgment but we pridefully judge others all the time?

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. –Proverbs 16:18

The funny thing about the sin of pride, when God exposes it, there’s usually a very big splash:

In your proud days you held Sodom in contempt.  But now your greater wickedness has been exposed to all the world, and you are the one who is scorned—by Edom and all her neighbors and by Philistia.  This is your punishment for all your lewdness and detestable sins, says the Lord.  –Ezekiel 16:56-58

When our pride is exposed we have a choice—repent, change, and stop the sinful behavior or…

Go back to “Pride is not pleasing to God” school, one more time

until

we

exchange

“I’ll never do that”

for

“but the grace of God go I.”

Heavenly Father, help us to really understanding the destructive power of pride.  Holy Spirit, reveal the areas in our lives that are the most vulnerable to the sin of pride.  Forgive us, help us to learn from our mistakes, and pray for and give grace to others who are fellow students in “pride is not pleasing to God” school.

In  Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Ezekiel 17:1 through Ezekiel 19:14

It’s My Parent’s Fault. Right? Jeremiah 31:30

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Jeremiah 31:15-40; Jeremiah 49:34 through Jeremiah 51:14

How many times a day do we hear people blaming their dysfunctions on their parents?

It seems that this is nothing new; the Jews in Jeremiah’s day did this so much they turned it into a proverb:

The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste. —Jeremiah 31:29

This proverb was actually true in those days; they were living under the curse of Exodus 34:7

I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.”

But in today’s reading Jeremiah speaks of a day when the people will no longer quote that proverb.

The Day is coming when…

All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker. –Jeremiah 31:30

Ever since Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent, (Gen.3:11-13) human beings have shifted the blame for our sins, faults and shortcomings to anyone and anything we could find to remove the guilt for our own shoulders.  In the last century psychologists have sought to trace the main source of adult’s problems back to their childhood.  While we know our parent’s genetic disposition and the environment they created for us played a role in

  • Our physical features
  • Our personalities
  • Our self-esteem
  • Our values

Jeremiah 31:27-34 assures us,

–WE are not punished for our parents sins!

–WE are accountable for our sins!

Friends, if you mark in your Bible make sure you highlight, underline and star* Jeremiah 31:31-34.  This Old Testament passage is the bridge to the New Covenant .

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

This covenant was inaugurated on Christ’s death and will be ultimately fulfilled during the millennial reign of Christ when Israel acknowledges their sin and turns to the Messiah for forgiveness (The Bible Knowledge Commentary).  When Jesus died on the cross, all the accountability for our sins was placed on Him, not our parents.  Our sinful nature came from our original parents, Adam and Eve and Jesus’ death on the cross broke that curse.  All we have to do to be free from our original parent’s sins is

  • Admit we have a sinful nature (Romans 3:23)
  • Recognize we need a savior (Romans 6:23)
  • Believe that Jesus Christ, the son of God died on the cross at Calvary to rescue us for our sinful ancestry (Romans 5:8)
  • Receive God’s gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Confess to others that Jesus is our savior (Romans 10:9-10)
  • Enjoy the promise of eternal life in Christ (John 3:16)

All parents do things right and do things wrong.  Let’s be thankful for the good things and nail the bad things to the cross of Christ, and leave it there!  Blaming our sins on our parents won’t save us, but accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior will provide true freedom from our past.

Dear friend, if you are reading this and you’ve never accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, I pray that today is your day for salvation!

 

Be free in Jesus’ Name!  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 51:15-58; 2 Kings 24:10-17; 2 Chronicles 36:10; 1 Chronicles 3:10-16; 2 Chronicles 36:11-14; Jeremiah 52:1-3a; 2 Kings 24:18-20a; Jeremiah 37:1-10

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