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I left Jacob’s Well Recovery Center for Women the FIRST time after graduation with the best of intentions. I was sold out to God and I was more than willing to follow His ways. Coming back was never an option for me. Then…life showed up and I was completely unprepared. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that God used people that I allowed back in (people who were not good for me) as His servants to get me back to where He wanted me, not in a physical sense per se, but spiritually. In the world, I had everything I ever wanted, money, a wonderful job, a little bit of fame, a beautiful home, and success; but my prosperity became a curse. Everything I did became a chore, even the things I was doing for the Lord and in His Holy Name. Troubles came but I did not let them make me stronger in my faith. I faltered under the weight of doubt, scrutiny, and fear. Then it happened…I was led back into captivity and I went without looking back. I was carried back into exile.

captivity2Jeremiah 24:1-7 – After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord.2 One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.

3 Then the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.”

4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

captivity1I love how Jeremiah says what he sees in the physical, but our God is patient and He will show us what He needs us to see in the spiritual. He used my captivity to refine me. He knew my heart would survive walking through the fire. He knew every move that I would make that would lead me down the lonely road toward the heat. I sought relief but He made me wait. He would eventually preserve me and bring me back into His land and my purpose. He NEVER stopped loving me. He NEVER gave up on me!

Part II tomorrow….

You can read Jeremiah 23-27 about Jeremiah’s call and his prophecy against Judah at www.biblegateway.com. What a testimony to God’s favor and mercy upon us all! Join in the discussion by posting comments or questions below and let’s do this together!! #ReadtheBible #bgbg2 #BibleGateway #newbeginnings #Jeremiah

To further your reading, consider this from:

captivity3Ezekial 11:17-19 – 17 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’

18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

Even though I was far from home (mainly in my heart), God protected me. My external circumstances in my relapse did not indicate my standing with God. His love never failed. My new life given back to me when I came to my senses was only the work of the Holy Spirit, but I had to recognize it and repent of my sins.

Related Scriptures: Zechariah 7:12; 2 Corinthians 3:3; Amos 8:1-2