Week Thirty-four — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Jeremiah rebuke to the leaders contains a rich promise — Jeremiah 23: 4,5

Note: Jeremiah now turns attention to false leaders and prophets.  In his rebuke, he speaks in verses 5 and 6 of a true shepherd king to come.


Jeremiah 23: 4,5 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the lord.

Prayer:  Lord God, may your leaders bring us ever closer to you.

Thought for the day:  The best directions come from someone who has been there.


Isaiah 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Prayer:  O God, we who are your sheep do humbly ask your mercy and grace.

Thought for the day: Some cats know how to climb up but not down.


Ezekiel 34: 15,16 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord.  I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.  I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy.  I will shepherd the flock with justice.

Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks for your nurturing care for your people.

Thought for the day: Excessive cruelty to animals is a punishable crime.


Matthew 25: 32-33 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we never be separated from you.

Thought for the day:  Careful zoo keepers lock the gate behind themselves.


 Luke 15: 3,4 Then Jesus told them this parable.  Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

Prayer:  Lord God, may we become part of your search party for the lost.

Thought for the day: Police use a cordon to search for missing persons.


Psalm 23:1 ,2 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, in your care there is safety and there is abundance.

Thought for the day: The best river guides know how to avoid the whirlpools.


John 10: 11 I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, truly you have shown there is nothing you would not do to save us.

Thought for the day: Non-essential personnel can take a vacation anytime.

photo: “Jeremiah” by Fr Lawrence Lew O. P. on http://www.flickr.com


Week Thirty-three – Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Jeremiah’s Sixth Sermon — Jeremiah 18: 5, 6


Jeremiah 18: 5, 6 Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

Prayer:  Lord God, we are ever as clay in your hands.

Thought for the day:  Diamonds are formed under pressure.


Psalm 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.

Prayer:  Lord God, when we feel as though we were dried out pieces of pottery give us strength.

Thought for the day:  Some forgetful gardeners should stick to silk flowers.


Isaiah 29:16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”?

Prayer:  Lord God, we humbly acknowledge that we are your creation.

Thought for the day:  In time their predators learn how to outsmart genetically modified grains.


Isaiah 64:8,9 Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand, Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord; do not remember our sins forever. O, look upon us, we pray for we are all your people.

Prayer:  Lord God, as your creation we always exist at your mercy.

Thought for the day:  Where do discontinued cars go?


Psalm 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Prayer:  Lord, deliverance is from you.

Thought for the day:  Before there was a PlayStation 2 there was the mud puddle.


Romans 9: 20, 21 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Prayer:  Lord God, you have molded our characters and hearts according to your divine purpose.

Thought for the day:  If the best china had feelings, it would feel very lonely.


John 9:6, 7 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.  “Go,” he told him, “wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent).  So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, touch us that we may be healed.

Thought for the day:  To find life in the desert just add water.

photo: “Jeremiah” by Fr Lawrence Lew O. P. on http://www.flickr.com


Week Thirty-one — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Jeremiah’s Fifth Sermon –Jeremiah 17: 24, 25


Jeremiah 17: 24, 25 but if you are careful to obey me, declares the Lord, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates on this city with their officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever.

Prayer:  Lord God, may we be faithful to those commands you have given us.

Thought for the day:  Honoring the store pick-up list has saved many relationships.


I Samuel 15:22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Prayer:  Lord God, may our faithfulness to your word bring you pleasure.

Thought for the day: The best lawyer honors the letter of the last will and testament.


Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men.”

Prayer:  Lord God, when we must choose, give us strength to always choose to obey you.

Thought for the day: Why do children playing board games invent their own rules?


Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.

Prayer:  Lord God, may our obedience be wholehearted.

Thought for the day:  Half-hearted obedience is a child’s downfall.


2 Corinthians 2:9 the reason I wrote to you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.

Prayer:  Lord God, when our leaders test our obedience, may we prove faithful to you.

Thought for the day:  Living with the consequences of disappointment is often easier than living with the consequences of disobedience.


Hebrews 5: 8, 9 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks for the obedience of Jesus.

Thought for the day: Obedience is a choice.


I Peter 4:16, 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And, “if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Prayer:  Lord God, we would obey the one who lovingly gave us mercy and grace.

Thought for the day: Love is the grease that allows the wheel of obedience to turn freely.

photo: “Jeremiah” by Fr Lawrence Lew O. P. on http://www.flickr.com


Week Thirty — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Jeremiah’s Fourth Sermon — Jeremiah 13: 6,7

Note: This week’s series of verses begins with an illustration from the prophet Jeremiah.  He has girded himself with a new belt, set it aside, and retrieved it after it had fallen apart.  The practice of girding on a belt is seen throughout the Bible.


Jeremiah 13: 6, 7 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” So I went to Perath and dub up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.

Prayer:  O God, may we remain ever open to the messages in deed you send to us.

Thought for the day:  The telegraph was a transcription of a series of dots and dashes that used Morse code.


Joel 1: 13, 14 Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar.  Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offering sand drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God.

Prayer:  Lord, we humbly admit sometimes we should wear the garments of mourning.

Thought for the day:  What became of black attire for funerals?


Ps 18:39, 40 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.  You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.

Prayer: Lord God, we are secure when we are armed for spiritual warfare by you.

Thought for the day:  Experimental bullet-proof vests are for dummies.


Isaiah 11: 4, 5 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.  He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

Prayer:  Lord God, you are wrapped in righteousness and altogether holy.

Thought for the day: Some poverty is mass-produced.


Luke 12: 35, 36 Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we always be ready to serve you.

Though for the day: Why did the woman with the flat tire have no car jack?


Ephesians 6:14 stand firm the, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may truth be girt about us along with the whole armor of the Gospel.

Thought for the day: Truth on your side is an armor.


I Peter 1: 13 Therefore, prepare you minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Prayer:  Lord God, may we be prepared to act for thy namesake.

Thought for the day: Fire extinguishers need to be charged at all times.

Thought for the day: Why do some actresses insist that they never be photographed without their makeup?
photo: “Jeremiah” by Fr Lawrence Lew O. P. on http://www.flickr.com


Week Thirty-nine — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Jeremiah gives a third sermon — Boasting in the Lord — Jer. 9:24, 25


Jeremiah 9:23,24 This is what the Lord sayeth: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

Prayer:  Lord God, knowing you in your glory and your holiness is beyond description.

Thought for the day: Some good things do leave you speechless.


Psalm 10:3,4 [The wicked man] boasts of the cravings of his heart, he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Prayer: Lord God, we confess that we have boasted of your goodness and love all too infrequently.

Thought for the day:  When a gift is demanded, the generosity of the giver is forgotten.


Psalm 44:8 In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.

Prayer:  Lord God Almighty, we join the choruses in heaven declaring you holy.

Thought for the day: No passport is required to enter the land of God’s praise.


Psalm 34:1, 2 I will extol the Lord at all times, his praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Prayer: Lord God, we share our praise with those who need your mercy and grace.

Thought for the day: The best hiding places are survival spaces.


2 Corinthians 9:1,2 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints.  For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.

Prayer:  Jesus, we give thanks for the example of all those who would eagerly serve you.

Thought for the day: It does the heart good to see those who give cheerfully.


Romans 3:27,28 Where, then, is boasting?  It is excluded. On what principle?  On that of observing the law?  No, but on that of faith.  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

Prayer:  Lord God, we follow you in faith.

Thought for the day: To some faith is a formula to be recited, and to others faith is a trust in someone.


Ephesians 2: 8, 9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

Prayer: Lord God, to you belongs the praise and thanksgiving for loving us enough to send your only begotten Son.

Thought for the day: The goose that laid the golden egg never intended to take a leave of absence.

Thought for the day: Why do some actresses insist that they never be photographed without their makeup?
photo: “Jeremiah” by Fr Lawrence Lew O. P. on http://www.flickr.com

Week Twenty-eight — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Jeremiah gives a second sermon — Jeremiah 4: 3,4

A short devotional for the week of July 9 to July 15 is provided.  Our these for the week comes from Jeremiah’s second sermon to Judah, where he speaks of circumcision of the heart.


Jeremiah 4: 3, 4 This is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem:  “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.  Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done – burn with no one to quench it.

Prayer: Lord God, may our hearts be right before you.

Thought for the day: Spontaneous combustion starts within.


Jeremiah 9:25, 26 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh – Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places.”  For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”

Prayer:  Lord God, may all we who call ourselves your people honor you in spirit and in deed.

Thought for the day: Obedience is not only a matter of principles but also a matter of consequences.


Deuteronomy 10:16, 17 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.  For the Lord you God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great god, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

Prayer:  Lord God, may we be ready to serve you.

Thought for the day:  The willow tree that sways in the wind can survive many storms.


Ezekiel 44:9 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:  No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.

Prayer:  Lord God, by your mercies prepare our hearts to worship you in holiness.

Thought for the day: Some go to sanctuaries to admire the architectural creation and others go to sanctuaries to admire the Creator of architecture.


Colossians 2: 11, 12 In [Christ] you were also circumcised, in the putting of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through you faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we give thanks that you have prepared us for fellowship with God.

Thought for the day: Spiritual surgery is subcutaneous surgery.


Romans 2:28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the spirit, not by the written code.  Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

Prayer: Lord God, in faith we would claim to be your people, your children.

Thought for the day:  God’s DNA paternity testing never produces a false-positive.


Philippians 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh – though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

Prayer: Lord God, without the pretense of worldly prestige we worship you in spirit and truth.

Thought for the day: Prayer provides the dress and address for our worship.

Thought for the day: Why do some actresses insist that they never be photographed without their makeup?
photo: “Jeremiah” by Fr Lawrence Lew O. P. on http://www.flickr.com

Week Twenty-seven — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Jeremiah begins his prophesy — Jeremiah 2: 1, 2

Sunday, July 2

Jeremiah 2:1,2 The word of the Lord came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem.  I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown.

Prayer:  Lord God, call to our remembrance the joy of finding faith in you.

Thought for the day:  Good counselors invite couples to recollect why they were attracted to their partners.

Monday, July 3

Jeremiah 2: 7, 8 I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce.  But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. The priest did not ask, “Where is the Lord?” Those who deal with the law did not know me, the leaders rebelled against me.  The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.

Prayer: Lord God, may we ever be faithful to you.

Thought for the day: The new and the improved are often confused..


Tuesday, July 4

Jeremiah 2:13 My people have committed two sins: The have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Prayer:  Lord God, the well of your blessings is bottomless.

Thought for the day: The drain plug should be replaced before new oil is added.

Wednesday, July 5

Jeremiah 2: 21, 22 “I have planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock.  How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?  Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign Lord.

Prayer:  Lord God, we give thanks for the cleansing blood of Jesus to wash away our sins.

Thought for the day:  Cold water of cornstarch paste are tried remedies for blood stains.

Thursday, July 6

Jeremiah 2: 31, 32 You of this generation consider the word of the Lord: “Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness?  Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam; we will come to you no more?’” Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.

Prayer:  Lord God, may we be ever mindful of the times you have delivered your children from bondage.

Thought for the day: Recollections of works of God are vitamins for the spiritual life.

Friday, July 7

Jeremiah 3: 14, 15 Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.  I will choose you – one from a town and two from a clan – and bring you to Zion.  Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

Lord God, we gratefully acknowledge how you have planned a future for your people.

Thought for the day:  Does the insurance company love grandchildren better than the grandparents love grandchildren?

Saturday, July 8

Jeremiah 3: 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “men will no longer say, ‘the ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.

Prayer: Lord God, we look forward to that day when we shall be invited into your heavenly presence.

Thought for the day: Why do some actresses insist that they never be photographed without their makeup?
photo: “Jeremiah” by Fr Lawrence Lew O. P. on http://www.flickr.com