We’ll also continue our study in Revelation as the final conflict approaches.
There are only two more days in 2016. Have you set a goal for your Bible reading in 2017? Have you invited someone else to join you? Let’s bring others along as we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3.18).
On to the readings …
The Danger of Believing Lies
The Idols Speak Delusion
I found verse 10.2 very interesting. It says:
“For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd.”
Yesterday we talked about “Babylon the Great,” and how the world’s religious and socioeconomic system will be destroyed at the end of the age. We also talked about the allure of false religions. So often, what makes false religion so alluring is because it tells us what we want to hear.
It tells us we’re “OK” if we just keep these rules. It even enables us to feel self-righteous because all those “other people” outside our group don’t get it!
Or it tells us that god is within us and we just need to reach some higher level of spirituality and that we can do so by meditating on this mantra or using this substance. This appeals to the self-delusion that we are more spiritual than someone else.
The lure of false religion is one of the reasons we get so enthralled with things like “The DaVinci Code” and tales of “lost gospels.” It’s the appeal of Gnosticism, the belief in some hidden knowledge, not available to the “less enlightened.” It’s the appeal of the Masonic Temple and many “secret” organizations.
It’s the appeal of martyrdom for Allah and the reward of “100 virgins” or of giving up your life to live in a monastery forsaking all earthly possessions. It’s the deception of earning some god’s favor by self-denial or self-abuse or martyrdom.
It’s keeping the rules so you can be reincarnated into some higher life form in the next go-round. It’s not eating meat, or not marrying, or keeping other restrictions as a means to earn God’s favor.
The problem is just what the Prophet Zechariah prophesied, “… the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd.”
The truth is Jesus is the only way.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14.6).
But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind (Is. 64.6).
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4.12).
The gospel is for all who will believe they can’t do anything to save themselves. They can’t earn salvation through religious works or keeping rules. Instead, they see their need for a Savior, and put their faith and trust in His finished work on the cross.
Today’s Other Readings:
The Song of the Redeemed
Verse 1, “Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.”
The new song is the song of the redeemed! When we gather together, we are to sing and rejoice for the great gift of salvation!
Nursing Our Wounds
Verse 32 says, “put your hand on your mouth” if you have angrily devised evil, if you have meditated on some wrong and been tempted to spew it out, because just like churning milk produces butter and twisting the nose produces blood, anger will only produce more strife (v. 33)!
Much of our anger comes from meditating on our hurts and nursing our wounds. When we have been sinned against in some way or just perceive we have been wronged, we often play the video of the event over and over and over, sometimes embellishing it as we go, and almost always attaching some motive to it.
Pretty soon we’re filled with anger and bitterness. Hebrews 12 warns against harboring those things:
15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.
But it not only hurts other people, it hinders our relationship with God.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt. 6.15).
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4.31-32).
Let’s seek to be more and more like Christ by being quick to extend grace and forgive others.
[Tweet “Just like churning milk produces butter, anger will only produce more strife.” #soulsurvival #anger]
Jesus—King of Kings
Toward the end of the Tribulation the armies of the world under the control of Antichrist will gather together to destroy Israel. Instead, Jesus himself, the Conqueror, will come on a white horse, followed by His army, all of us!
He is called “Faithful and True” (19.11). He is “the Word of God” who will destroy all of Satan’s forces with His Word, that sharp two-edged sword (19.13, 15). He is “THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” All the armies, all the power, all the schemes of the devil will fail to stand against Him.
Satan, the great deceiver, promises much to those who follow him, but if you’ve read “the back of the Book,” you know he is a defeated foe. His promises are bait and the bait contains a hook. His plan is to destroy what God loves … people. Once the fish are “hooked” and he has reeled them in, he’s ready and eager to fry them up!
In the end Antichrist and his cohort, the false prophet, will be thrown into the lake of fire where they will “be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20.10), but not before they have one last opportunity to deceive (20.3).
Getting ready for 2017
What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries. Sign up between now and December 31st and you may win a copy of one of my favorite books, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney.
Start today so it can become a regular part of your day.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.