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July 30th - Risking Recidivism

Risking Recidivism

(Jeremiah 13:1-27; 14:1-22; 15:1-9)


Panthera Pardus – African Leopard

Photographer Unknown


The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah’s lament continues in today’s daily Bible readings.


The Sign of a Sash


The Lord offered Jeremiah a sign, instructing him to store a linen sash in a rocky crevice near Perath. Several days later, God told the prophet to go and retrieve the sash. Jeremiah found the linen sash soiled and destroyed. The Lord likened the condition of the ruined sash to the spiritual state of His people.


Jeremiah called to the people of God, warning them of their need to return to the ways of the Lord.


Self-Salvation is Futile.


The Lord spoke through Jeremiah, clearly declaring man’s inability to redeem himself. Surely, even now, none of us can effect true and lasting change in our lives without the power and purpose of the Lord God.


“Can you ever change

and do what's right?

Can people change the color

of their skin,

or can a leopard

remove its spots?

If so, then maybe you can change

and learn to do right.”

(Jeremiah 13:23, CEV)


This morning, as I type this daily devotional entry, my heart is particularly heavy. A person very dear to me is hospitalized with acute liver failure. This young man faced a near-death experience almost two years ago, which proved to be a major milestone in his personal life. Those who loved him most prayed aggressively and recruited others to pray for him as well.


At that time, the Lord granted this young man another chance. He found new conviction and purpose, joining a support group and even enrolling in advanced education. He became a champion for healthy nutrition. He stopped drinking.


Yesterday, however, this young man was rushed to the hospital with liver distress. Something threatened the delicate balance within his body. We do not know what caused the turnaround. Did something in his body shut down suddenly? Did he suffer a physical reaction to a food ingredient, an environmental stimulus or something else?


Now he will need a liver transplant. Based on this young man’s personal history, he may not top the transplant list, except for mercy.


Liver disease is a scary thing. The patient’s very complexion changes to an unusual color. Once the liver ceases working properly, the rest of the body is in serious trouble.


What a spiritual allegory. Does any of us deserve a new start? Who is able to merit God’s grace? None of us warrants the wondrous mercy of the Lord. And yet He offers His hand to us.


Is healing possible?


Can this color be changed back to a healthy glow? Can this life be restored?


What about the rest of us? What healing do you need today from the Lord? What changes would our merciful Master lovingly desire to build into your life? Or mine?


With God, all things are possible. Without Him, we do not have a chance.


Will you pray with me?


God Almighty,

You are the Great Physician

Of our souls,

Of our minds,

And of our bodies.

How we need Your

Healing touch.

Rebuild us

For Your glory.

Amen.


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