Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
There is mystery in God’s revelation to us through the spirit, as Jesus explains to his disciples. As we faithfully keep his words, we will also experience the presence of God – Father, Son through the Spirit – in our lives, quickening our hearts and our minds. We can live and move in the world knowing we are under the watchful, loving gaze of the Trinity.
How comfortable are you with the mystery of God living with you?
What does it mean to you to have God at home in you?
How does God’s presence impact you in what you do each day and how you do it?
Gracious God, it is incredible to grasp that the Creator and Sustainer of the world desires to be present within us and in a relationship with us. Help us to trust your words even when we don’t understand and to live as bearers of your presence in the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Jeremiah is speaking for the Lord, telling God’s people things they do not want to hear. They are in exile and would rather sit on their hands and wait for their return to Jerusalem and “normalcy” than to engage with life in the context God has put them. We can often feel like we are in exile and Jeremiah’s words hold an invitation that God is extending to us as well.
Is there a place in your life where you feel like you have been in exile for a long time?
What would you like to say to God about your feelings of exile?
What do you hear God inviting you to in the midst of exile?
Gracious God, we can often feel like we are in an unfamiliar place, and unable to get traction under our feet, with things changing each day. We want to believe that this will soon be over, but we recognize that it keeps us from fully engaging in what you want to show us. So we ask for open and humble hearts to pour out to you how we are feeling and then listen to receive your invitation in the midst of our exile. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord. For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.
There are many messages that we hear throughout our days and lives, many spins on what is happening to us, around us, or because of us. So often we want to hear the things that provide us comfort and security, even if they are not true. But God doesn’t lie to us, and He invites us to listen and discern for His truth in all the voices around us.
Is there something that you are holding on to for comfort that may not be true?
What would it feel like to let go of that?
What might be the truth that God desires to replace the lie with?
Gracious God, thank you that you do not change or waver, that what you say is always true. Give us the wisdom and discernment to hear your voice above the many voices that we hear around us and within us. May we lean into you as the God of truth and surrender our desire to be right. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.
These words are easier to rely on when things are going well and we can see the plans. It is much more difficult when the future looks uncertain and the next step murky. God invites us to trust Him even when we cannot see the road ahead, and live in the confidence that He hears us when we cry out to Him, even when we don’t receive a response.
What area of your life are you trusting God to give you a future with hope?
How does your life feel right now in light of these verses?
What do you want to say to God in prayer about where you are now and where you desire to be?
Gracious God, these are difficult words to believe when we feel in the middle of exile, with unfinished business around us and no clear path forward. We cry out to you, trusting that you hear us this day and living in the confidence that you have for us a future with hope. We believe; help us in our unbelief. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
The invitation to search for God is a daily one, an invitation offered in whatever context we find ourselves on a given day. God allowed His people into exile so that they would seek him and find Him. He is always there, ready to let us find Him as we place our search for Him an ever-growing top priority.
How do you search for God each day?
Where have you found God recently?
What would it look like to place finding God above your plans?
Gracious God, we are so easily focused on accomplishments and activities and the distractions of a busy life. Help us to feel at home w