“5 Thus says the Lord: Cursed [with great evil] is the strong man who trusts in and relies on frail man, making weak [human] flesh his arm, and whose mind and heart turn aside from the Lord.

For he shall be like a shrub or a person naked and destitute in the desert; and he shall not see any good come, but shall dwell in the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?

10 I the Lord search the mind, I try the heart, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

11 Like the partridge that gathers a brood which she did not hatch and sits on eggs which she has not laid, so is he who gets riches by unjust means and not by right. He will leave them, or they will leave him, in the midst of his days, and at his end he will be a fool.”  Jeremiah 17: 5 -11  The Amplified Version

**********************************************************************

I hate being sick.  I’ve been sick for the better part of 4 days now with a bad cold, bronchitis, or whatever it is.  I’m getting better and spiritually I know that by Jesus’ stripes, I’m healed.  But still, it takes some diligence to fight the good fight of faith, and when you don’t feel good, it’s just too easy to give up, quit, and give in to the illness…or even bad circumstances, whatever they might entail.  Perhaps more on this later….. in the meantime, I receive the healing You bought for me on the Cross!  Sickness, be hanged!

*****************************************************

I’ve had the above scripture on my heart for several weeks now and wasn’t sure where to go with it nor was there any clue as to what God wanted to say to us.  You may wish to go to the Bible and read the whole context, but for brevity sake, I’ve only included a small part.  But it starts out with God being pretty perturbed with the tribe of Judah and He is quite blunt about what will happen to them if they don’t get their act together and give up their sin.  He also makes the point that the human heart is deceitful, perverse and corrupt without God being the center of the human experience.  After all, any of us could attest to that.  All we have to do is watch the evening news and recognize that what used to be very infrequent, bizarre occurrences are now much more commonplace and not bizarre at all.  We’ve become accustomed to sin.  And much of the time anymore, we don’t even recognize sin as being sin.  “We’ve come a long way, Baby!” Lion Of Judah

Now, Judah was a very treasured tribe by the Lord, the one who eventually sired the Messiah, Jesus, the Savior of the World, The Lion of Judah, through Mary, a young teenage girl.  He loved His people.  The tribe’s very name meant “the praise of God”.  How disappointing must it have been to see His people acting like a bunch of out of control children.  And, as he mentions, nothing good ever comes from relying on the arm of flesh, our own human capabilities and skills.  When we do that, we stop relying on God, become filled with pride in our own selves and accomplishments, and eventually, we’ll fall on our faces in shame and disgrace after reaching what we think we wanted only to find out, we didn’t want it after all, or it wasn’t what we thought it would be.  We must recognize that He is the One who has given us all we will ever need to survive and thrive in this world, and that those skills, gifts and talents we have are to be used for Him.  For His purposes, to benefit whoever He directs us to help.

But notice in the middle of all the discipline God speaks out to Judah, He gives the encouraging words that let the tribe know that if they will turn from their sin and trust Him again, rely on Him again, He will bless them.  He still loves them, He still is there for them.  They have not been totally abandoned.  I don’t know about you, but if I were guilty of what they were guilty of, and I’m sure I have been at some point in thought, word or deed, I would want words of comfort and a “get-out-of-jail-free-card”. The Nativity

I guess basically, this section of scripture just speaks to me of the love of my Heavenly Father.  He sees and knows our very hearts, He disciplines us for being self-centered, selfish, prideful, and a whole host of other bad things, but in the end, He extends the olive branch. “I still love you, I sent my Son this Christmas Day so you would have hope.  Just trust Me, rely on Me, have confidence in what I have planned for you.  You will be blessed beyond your wildest imaginations.”

Yes Lord, I will trust You.  I will rely on Your strength, your grace, your mercy and favor to guide me through all of life’s struggles and trials.  Help me to trust You more and use whatever gifts you’ve entrusted to me for Your Glory.