Accepted

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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.

What is the context and content of Jeremiah 29?

  • These letters were written to the exiles living in Babylon.
    • Verses 1-2 – list of those to whom the letter is written.
    • Verses 4-6 – instructions for living life in Babylon
    • Verse 7 – bloom where you are planted
  • These letters contain a promise from the Lord
    • God promised that the captivity would only last 70 years.
    • God promised that He had plans for them.
  • Application
    • When we think about our difficulties, do they even compare with all that the Jews had to deal with in the Babylonian captivity?
    • God has a plan for your life and His plans almost always involve trials, tribulations, challenges and difficulties.

What is the purpose for these challenges in life?

  • God’s reason for allowing challenges in my life is to prepare me for eternity—His goal is holiness, not happiness.
    • He is most concerned about our character and motives.
    • What we need is an eternal perspective that changes everything—how we view life, how we view trials and how we live life day by day.
    • The unique trials that each of us face on earth are designed by an eternal God who knows and sees everything.
  • We must realize that God sees everything in the context of eternity.
    • He knows our advantages and our disadvantages—our family backgrounds, our marriages, our education, and everything about us, down to the minutest detail.
    • He sees the good and bad circumstances that we face
    • This world is fixated on immediate gratification—and we’re all guilty.  (e.g. lines at the drive thru or check-out, shipping times for online shipments, parcels to the Philippines)
  • Application
    • If we focus on immediate gratification and fail to see things from an eternal perspective, we lose sight of God’s plan for our life.

How can we keep our focus on the eternal?

  • We can use Paul as our model. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 16-18; 11:23-28)
  • How do our challenges compare?  Paul saw beyond the things that he suffered on earth.
  • How did Paul view these challenges?  He viewed these things as “light momentary afflictions.”
  • Application
    • So what is the secret to maintaining an eternal perspective? (2 Corinthians 4:16)
    • This world can tear us apart… on the outside, but if Jesus Christ is IN us, we have nothing to fear—He renews our spirits (‘inner self’) day by day.

Conclusion

  • Are you being renewed ‘day by day’?  Are you giving God the opportunity to work in your heart and life every day?
  • If we hope to overcome the fear of the unknown, God must be at work IN us and our eyes must be on eternity.

 

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