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Hope

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“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

God told the prophet Jeremiah to make a wooden yoke and use it as an illustration to the people of what God was planning to do.  He told them that the Lord was going to allow Babylon to take over their country as well as many other nations around him.  If they would submit to the Babylonian rule, they would be allowed to stay in their own country.  But if they rebelled, then they would be taken captive and forced to leave their country.

In Jeremiah chapter 38, we see Jeremiah going before the king with this message.  Another prophet, claiming to have heard from the Lord, took the yoke off Jeremiah and broke it in pieces, saying that within two years they would be delivered from the oppression of Babylon.  Jeremiah responded with a new message from God in verse 13, “You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron.”

When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we come under subjection to Him.  But that yoke is so much lighter than the yoke of sin, that the world offers us.  There are many voices in the world that would tell us we are missing out on a lot of things. I have heard young people say that they want to go out and partake of the things of the world and see what it is like.  They do not realize that they are stepping away from the Lord and taking on themselves yokes of iron that will eventually destroy them.

Jesus said His yoke was easy and His burden was light.  He gives us rest and peace, something this world can never do.  It is not a hardship to bear His yoke, because He is always there for us, giving us strength and guidance.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for the rest and peace that we find in you, a shelter from the world, and our strength and guide.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 NLT

This has always been one of my favourite scriptures, and one that I stand upon many times, knowing that God is always there for me, and that He will continue to work on me until the day He calls me home.

Paul had great confidence in the church in Philippi that they would continue in the teachings he had given them when He was with them.  In verse 10 of this chapter, Paul prayed that they would understand what really mattered so that they would live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. In those days, they were expecting the Lord to return at any moment.  I wonder how they would have felt if they had known that thousands of years would pass before this would happen.  But Paul wanted them to be filled with the fruit of their salvation – the righteous character produced in their lives by Jesus Christ.  Then they would bring much praise and glory to God.

In verse 12, Paul said that his imprisonment had been beneficial, as he was able to be a witness to many.  Believers had gained confidence to boldly spread the message without fear. What looked like something detrimental in his life had been turned around to produce good.

In verse 27, Paul says that whether he was able to come to them again, or if he only heard about them, “he would know that they were standing side by side, fighting together for the faith.”

One of the greatest joys of my life has been knowing that young people I taught in a Sunday School class, or in a youth group, are living for the Lord today, and serving him faithfully.  Like Paul, we must pray for the people that we have had influence on through the years and have confidence that the Lord will continue to work on them until He comes.

Prayer:  Thank you Jesus for the work you are doing in our lives and in the lives of those you have allowed us to minister to.  We have confidence that you will continue the work until you return.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11

We have many squirrels in our yard and it is interesting to watch them at this time of year as they are busy gathering nuts and seeds to store for their winter food. It is amazing to me how they can remember where they have buried things so that they can go back and find them later. God has given them an instinct to prepare for what is coming. They cannot listen to the weather forecasts on the radio or read the newspapers that tell what the winter is going to be like, but they will be ready for whatever comes.

As we listen to sermons week after week in our local churches, we hear so many wonderful teachings from the Word of God. Sometimes the message does not apply to us at that time, but we store it up in our hearts because we know that a situation may arise when we will need some answers and the Lord will bring to our remembrance what we have heard. We have no way of knowing what we may face in the coming days or weeks or months, but the Lord will give our Pastor a message that will prepare us for whatever comes our way.

The same thing is true when we read and study our Bible each day. A Scripture may stand out to us and we wonder just why the Lord is opening it to our hearts. It may not be something that fits today’s situation, but we store it away, knowing that at sometime in the future we will need it. Often amid a trial or circumstance, scriptures will come to us that we can’t even remember reading, but they contain the answer for what we are facing.

Just as the squirrels prepare for winter, we need to hide God’s Word in our hearts, so that it is there when we need it. We do this by spending time every day reading the Word of God, meditating on it, and hiding it in our heart, so that when the need arises, we can dig it up, and have the confidence that the Lord will give us the answers that are required.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your word which is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Help us to hide it away in our hearts, so that it is there when we need it.

Devotion by Anne Johnston