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October 12

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“But, O Lord of hosts, You who test the righteous, And see the mind and heart” (Jeremiah 20:12 NKJV).

From: October 12, 2020


Jeremiah cried out to God, proclaiming Him as the One who tests and sees the mind and heart of man. Jeremiah was under constant attack by his brethren for the prophecies the Lord gave him to preach. His plea to the Lord was that his enemies’ motives would be tested and seen as sinful and rebellious, whereas his were sincere and true. He knew that only the Lord could truly test and see the mind and heart of man.
This stands in contrast to the wisdom of the ancient philosophers, who taught, “Know thyself.” Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius advised his son, “This above all: To thine own self be true.”
This seems wise advice. Our lives deserve examination. But self-examination is faulty and fallen. The autonomous assessment is too subjective. The sinner is blind to his own sin. Jeremiah knew this. Earlier he had written, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).
Yet Jeremiah appealed to the Lord whose judgment is perfect. Jeremiah prayed to the Lord who tests and sees our hearts and minds. Rather than praying “know thyself,” his prayer was more like, “know thy God that He might reveal thyself.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, we lay our hearts and minds open before You this morning. Test us to see if there is any grievous way in us. Examine our anxious thoughts. We take every thought captive to obey Christ. Transform our thinking that we might have the mind of Christ in all things. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13a NLT).

From: October 12, 2019


The apostle Paul instructed the Thessalonian believers to honor those who are leaders in the Lord’s work. The word “honor” means to show appropriate respect, recognizing their worth and giving them what they are worth. The word “honor” also implies financial support, as Paul instructed Timothy, “Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17). Or as the KJV renders it, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”
We bestow great honor on actors and athletes, but do we honor those who lead in the Lord’s work? Do we honor those who teach and preach the Word? How much is their spiritual guidance worth? Do you show them great respect and wholehearted love? Consider those who are your spiritual mentors, small group shepherds, Sunday school teachers, and pastors who preach the Word… Do you honor them as the Word of God says?
PRAYER: Dear Father, teach us to show honor to those who lead in Your work. Their work is most important and often least appreciated. Yet, we trust that You will reward them even when others don’t. Lord, help us, the members of Your flock, to honor the shepherds that serve under Your Son Jesus, who is the Great and Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep. We give Him our highest expression of honor and praise. For it is in His name that we pray, amen.

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people” (1 Thessalonians 5:15 NLT).

From: October 12, 2018

Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians is straight out of the Jesus playbook! Didn’t Jesus teach us to turn the other cheek and to pray for those who persecute us? This is a hard saying, for it goes against our desire to inflict pain back onto those who injure us. Yet, it is one of the most radical responses that we can make. For it breaks the cycle of evil by overcoming evil with good. To love our enemies is to be like Jesus who died for us while we were yet sinners.
Who has hurt you today and you are even now thinking about how to hurt them back? Stop. Release your hurt to the Lord, asking Him to defend you, so that you might do good even to that one who has hurt you.

“Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4 NKJV).

From: October 12, 2017

Instructions to the people of God for the poor, the fatherless, the afflicted and the needy:
1. Defend them. They are among the least powerful in society. They need your defense. Stand with them when more powerful people and power centers mistreat them.
2. Do justice towards them. Treat them fairly and with dignity. Don’t join those who look down on them.
3. Deliver them. Give them the message of deliverance, which is the gospel. And with it, help deliver them from their physical needs for food, clothing and shelter.
4. Free them. Many of them are enslaved by addictions. Be involved in ministry to them that would break their chains.
Jesus taught that when we care for the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick and the prisoner, then we have cared for Him. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matt. 25:40).
How will we involve ourselves in this ministry to the “least of these?”

“And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.'” (Jeremiah 21:8 ESV)

From: October 12, 2016

Jeremiah was given the difficult task of prophesying that Jerusalem would fall to the Chaldeans (Babylonians). They could not win a fight against the besieging army because God Himself had sent them as an instrument of His wrath. If they chose to stay and fight, they would die. But if they chose to surrender to the Chaldeans, they would live. Jeremiah boldly preached, describing the “way of life” and the “way of death” to them. Being called to preach against his own nation was a heavy burden for Jeremiah. Yet, a true prophet, a true preacher, must put God first above all worldly concerns. God calls His ambassadors to declare the “way of life” and to warn of the “way of death” without regard to political correctness and affiliation.

“And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 NKJV)

From: October 12, 2015

Paul must have written this letter in October to encourage Pastor Appreciation Month. 🙂 For he urged the Thessalonians to give recognition, high esteem and love to those who labored and served as their shepherds. There is a sinful human tendency to rebel against authority. Yet, believers are to be submissive to God and to those whom He has placed “over” them to “admonish” them. This makes the hard work of shepherding more beneficial for both the pastor and the people.

“His word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” (Jeremiah 20:9b NLT)

From: October 12, 2014

This is a description of how the prophet Jeremiah felt before he preached. The Word of God burned within him until he had to let it out. The disciples who encountered the risen Lord Jesus on the road to Emmaus described a similar feeling, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). Does God’s Word set your heart ablaze?

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

From: October 12, 2013

What is God’s will for your life? Be full of joy, prayerful, and always thankful. Be the body of Christ in this world!

“Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

From: October 12, 2012

Paul says that we should “honor” our spiritual leaders. In a culture that celebrates individualism and rebellion against authority, we must swim upstream to honor our leaders. It goes against our worldview. Yet, those who follow Christ have transformed minds that recognize this need for submission to authority. Do you honor your pastors, teachers, small group leaders… do you honor those who lead in the Lord’s work?

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

From: October 12, 2011

Stop wondering about God’s will for your life. Instead, choose joy, pray and give thanks. This will make you receptive to God’s will. It turns your eyes outward, away from self, where you can see what God is already doing and join Him there.