December 17

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV) 11For 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. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Though the LORD was speaking this to Judah, it is true for all who seek Him. He has good plans for all who would seek Him with their whole heart. Sometimes we have a subconscious idea of God as the big policeman in the sky. He does execute justice, but in doing so He turns us from evil.

He has an intended plan for every life. It is a good and prosperous plan. It is better than we could possibly plan for ourselves. His desire is for our good. If we could grasp that our Creator wants to bless us and be a Father and friend to us, our whole outlook on life would change. That simple understanding would end most depression in the world today. Why do we think He is out to harm us? That is Satan's goal, not God's.

When the people of Judah were restored from captivity, they learned a lesson from their punishment. They had a more serious attitude toward God's instruction. They made mistakes, but on the whole they were willing to receive instruction. When our hearts are in that condition, we pray for things that are in line with God's will for us, and God hears us. We seek His presence and He is there, meeting us as we pray. It must be a wholehearted seeking, because He deserves nothing less.

Prayer: Lord, help me to seek You with all my heart!

December 17

1 John 3:1-3 (NIV) 1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

You can't see the greatness of this love unless you see how depraved man is in contrast to how holy and good God is. It is only in the contrast that the enormity of love is realized. Have you seen parents that patiently endure the destructive time of experimentation that their teenager goes through? They take care of the child's every need, love and nurture them through the years and are paid back by rebellion. Now multiply that love to an infinite degree, and multiply the rebellion to the end of your imagination, and you might come somewhere close to understanding how great is the love the Father has lavished on us.

He loves us so much that He will see us through until we are transformed into His likeness. The work is in process today, but it will culminate when your eyes behold Him. You won't have to use your imagination any longer. You will see Him as He is. The very sight of Him will transform you. The caterpillar will emerge from his cocoon and spread his wings and fly.

What do we do with this amazing hope? We purify ourselves even as He is pure. We set aside the desires for worldly things, and focus on this transformation. Though we know we will not break free from the cocoon until our eyes behold Him, we allow His transforming work to continue in us daily.

Meditation: Think about the love the Father has lavished on you, that you should be called a child of God!