Tag Archives: Jeremiah 29:11

He Restores

I have been studying Jeremiah this month. One of the most quoted verses in Jeremiah is Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Many times this verse is not used in the proper context. As you read the verses around it, you read of a people who is in exile. This does not sound like something desirable. The promise for a hope and future is made to the people in captivity. It was a promise to those who spent seventy years under the rule of others. It was a promise to bring back the people.

After the seventy years were up, just as promised, God delivered his people out of captivity. The people of God were able to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple and the city walls. God restored His people. Just in the same way, He is able to restore all that is broken. That includes you and I. For just as the earth and all it contains, you and I are broken. Praise God, He promises to restore us.

Though this verse speaks about a people long ago, God also promises us hope and a future (Hebrews 10:23). He also listens to our prayers (Psalm 77:1, 1 John 5:14). His Word also says when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Today, remember what the Psalmist wrote: “Trust in Him at all times… pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (62:8 NIV). Let Him continue to restore you by fixing your eyes on Him and following His leading.

“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’” – Jeremiah 29:10-14 [NIV]

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Cat Meets Dog

“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” – Psalm 91:4 [NLT]

When walking the dog, a cat came into view. My dog immediately got excited to “make friends” with the cat. I do not think that the cat was too eager for this friendship and she ran away. What struck me as funny was the fact that she ran and stopped beside her family’s dog and got herself comfortable beside the dog, as if the relax in her protection. She looked at peace lounging beside the dog. My dog noted the change of situation and kept on walking. It’s not so often that I see a cat lounging at peace beside a dog.

As the dog offered great protection to her family’s cat, so God offers us great protection. We are able to run to Him and rest in Him. We can be sure that when we are covered with His wings, we are safe—we are secure. Nothing can pluck us from His hands (John 10:27-28). The Bible tells us over and over again to fear not. Why? Because He is with us and He is in control (1 Corinthians 3:16, Proverbs 19:21). Because He loves us and He has promised us a hope and a future (John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11).

Today may be one of the hardest days of your life—rest in Him. He will bring you comfort. He will bring you strength. He will provide you all that you need. He always does.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” – Psalm 46:1 [NLT]

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Focusing on Now

Today I took a walk and it was really foggy outside. The funny thing about fog is that when you are walking through the fog, you cannot see ahead of you, and you cannot see behind you either. If you turn around to look where you just came from, you cannot see anything except for right where you are at– you can only focus on the present. It reminds me about how we are supposed to focus our attention on the present.

If we focus so much on the past, we are taking our focus off of God, because God is in the here and now. God is in the present, right now, with us, working, clearing the path, preparing us, by our side– He is with us! If we are trying to focus on the past… oh I wish I could have done that better…oh I wish I never did this… why did I do that… how did this happen… you feel so much of a failure and you focus so much attention on the past that you are not allowing your focus to be on God and right now so that good things can happen… so that you can focus on your purpose for now and move ahead.

In the same sense you cannot focus on the future. It’s okay to have a vision. It’s okay to plan things out. It’s not okay when you start becoming afraid of what is going to happen. If you start focusing too much attention on the future of all the great things that are going to happen, as well, you take your focus off of God.

C.S. Lewis has a book called “the Screwtape Letters.” Letter 15 talks about the danger of focusing on the past, because God’s not there, and focusing on the future. The future he says, inflames fear and hope. The past is “frozen and no longer flows.” The present, he says, “is all lit up with eternal rays.” Gratitude looks to the past. Love looks to the present. Fear, lust, and ambition looks to the future. As Matthew 6:34 states, we need to not worry about tomorrow because today has enough worries.

God gives us all we need to handle today. We just need to be focused on today to see that. It’s okay to have plans. It’s good to have a vision for your life. We cannot get so involved about what happened in the past (because God has already forgiven us for that) that we don’t focus on the here and now. You cannot get so involved in what God is going to do with you in the future, because you won’t listen then to what He is saying right now. Jeremiah 29:11 gave us the promise. He wants us to have hope and He wants us to have a future.

We need to focus on right now, today, and listen to what He is saying. There are times when we are not going to hear things. There are times when we won’t get the answer we want. If you are confused right now about which direction you are to take in life… if you have decisions you need to make and you prayed about it and you don’t think you’ve gotten enough answers on which way to go, but you know you need to go in a certain direction… it’s okay to take a step forward. God is with you. If it’s the wrong step, you’ll know. You’ll find out. It’s okay to make mistakes. God uses those mistakes to teach us some important lessons.

Don’t focus on the fog in your life. Don’t focus on the past. It’s okay to learn from your mistakes and it’s okay to grow from your mistakes, but don’t focus on the past. At the same time, don’t focus on the future. It’s okay to have a vision for your life. It’s okay to have hopes and dreams, but understand that God is in the present- He’s in the here and now and He’s working with you to get to the future. It’s all about your eternal life, not just about this one moment. And so you need to focus on the present, and in the end, no matter what, God is always with you.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
– Matthew 6:34 [NIV]

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

– Jeremiah 29:11 [ESV]

The Flow of Water

As winter comes through our area, the water is beginning to freeze into ice. It is always an unpleasant sight for me, because I’m not too fond of winter. However, with this change, I understand that the ice will thaw in the springtime and once again the water will flow.

The funny thing about water is that there is this constant changing occurring all of the time. The water changes direction. The water changes temperature. The water gets dirty. The water gets purified. The water freezes. I think you get the point.

We are a lot like water. We often change directions and we often have temperature changes. We can look at that as changes in our actual numerical temperature or as our mood changes.

One thing for certain is that God does not change; however, He wants us to change. He made each one of us with a special purpose, and He is by our side to help us each reach that goal. We are challenged to change direction, and we are encouraged to get purified.

Perhaps we will have moments when it seems like we are frozen as ice, like we are stuck in a present situation. Remember, the ice eventually changes as God’s creation works around the ice to melt it back to water. A present situation is just that, a present situation. Nothing stays the same except for God. Keep pressing forward and watch as God melts the ice in your life.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” -Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]