Saturday 28 September 2013

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah lived in a very difficult time.  The northern tribes of Israel, despite years of warning had hardened their heart and been carried off into captivity.  And now the same was happening in the southern kingdom of Judah.  Jeremiah, at times, seems like a depressed prophet, living in a time of national depression.

And yet, God says to His people, in the midst of this time of crisis, I know the thoughts that I think toward you.

Do you realize that God thinks about you?  Actually, He thinks a lot about you.  And whereas the devil would like you to believe that God is only thinking of new ways to test you, God is actually dreaming up new ways to bless you.  His thoughts towards you today are more than the sands on all the sea shores of the world.  He is thinking of new ways to give you hope and a great future!

I was once visiting someone who I had known for many years.  He was a bit of a hard man, very demanding, and never congratulatory.  I think he must have been raised in an “encouragement deprived” household.  For it seemed that his way of showing you love was to correct everything he thought you were doing wrong.  And, after all these years of knowing him, I thought I was the biggest source of disappointment in his life.

Before I got up to speak on a Sunday morning, he introduced me with such encouraging words, and with such emotion that he actually cried in front of the crowd,  I was so shocked! I turned to Kathryn and whispered, I had no idea he thought that about me!

If you could just enter into God’s mind for a moment, you might say the same thing.  Really, God?  You really think that about me? Wow, I had no idea.

Yes, friend, God thinks about you! And His thoughts are pleasing to Himself.  God’s joy is self-generating and self-perpetuating.  It is like an eternal windmill that just never stops.  He is constantly in a thought process about you and how much He loves you and wants to bring you into His great plan of redemption in the earth.

One of the great benefits of fasting is that it breaks the negative cycle of your own thoughts, and opens your mind to the thoughts of God, for therein lies your true potential.  The source of God’s joy is the thoughts He has toward you.  And your strength is found in God’s joy.

The fast draws to a close, but the work of God continues in your life.  Before you close this prayer guide tomorrow we want to encourage you to take a moment and to write down, as best as you can, the thoughts that God has toward you.  When times get tough this year (and there is a high statistical likelihood that they will) you can come back to these thoughts for comfort and encouragement.

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