Is there forgiveness for an abortion or are there some sins for which we never find redemption?
And what if you’re contemplating an abortion? Have you justified something that you know is wrong? Have you bought into the world’s philosophy in this area? Or are you scared and don’t know what else to do?
Also read about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and how believers can be a part of what God is doing in the world. Continue reading →
“A continual dripping … and a contentious woman are alike …”
Ladies, we need to understand what God is saying here about the power of our words and attitudes.
None of us lives in a perfect world. We have spouses and children, bosses and co-workers, family, friends, and neighbors who are imperfect. But we can choose how we’ll respond.
Will we be the women Peter encouraged us to be?
¹ In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over2 by observing your pure and reverent lives. 3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (1 Pet. 3.1-4 NLT).
Will we choose to live the kind of lives that win others even without words (v. 1)? And when we do speak, will they be impacted by the purity and reverence of our lives (v. 2) or will they see a harsh, prideful heart?
Proverbs has a lot to say about the power of our words:
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. (Prov. 15.1-2 NLT).
Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything (Prov. 13.3 NLT).
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing (12.18 NLT).
He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit (Prov. 17.27 NKJV).
Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body (Prov. 16.24 NLT).
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences (Prov. 18.21 NLT).
And what about our attitudes? As Peter reminded us in the passage we just read (1 Pet. 3.1), we communicate even when we’re not speaking.
Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance (Prov. 21.24 NLT).
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16.18).
Ladies, how do we want our husbands and others to think of us? We have a choice. But if we want to reflect a godly attitude, if we want kind words to fill our mouths, we’ve got to start with our hearts. Jesus said:
“It is what comes from inside that defiles you.For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness” (Mk. 7.20-22).
What are you putting into your heart? God’s truth or worldly ideas?
On what do you meditate? On slights and hurts, things you wish you had, on all your husbands faults? Or do you cultivate gratitude, contentment, forgiveness, and grace?
As I read chapter 23, verses 5 & 6, I was reminded of Genesis 3 where right in the middle of pronouncing the curse that would come on Adam and Eve as a result of their sin, God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3.15). Right there in the garden, God gave them, and us, a glimpse of His plan to restore His creation to right standing with Him.
And here in Jeremiah 23, as He is pronouncing the consequences of Judah’s repeated disobedience, He promises to bring them back:
5 “ Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“ That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Another reminder of the coming of the promised Messiah—what a good and awesome God we serve! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8) and that was the Father’s plan from the beginning.
Do you believe Jesus is coming back soon? Does your life reflect that belief? How should you live in light of that truth?
The alternative is to live like the people in Jeremiah’s time who needed God’s rod of judgment, as we will see in our Old Testament reading. As we dig deeper into Psalm 119, we will see how knowing and contemplating God’s Word can help us steer clear of sin and grow in our understanding of God and His will.
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
Jesus is coming back both for His church and to judge the whole earth. He is coming “like a thief in the night,” but as believers, who know His Word, we shouldn’t be caught off guard. Instead, we should live every day like we believe Jesus is coming back soon:
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
The rest of the chapter spells out some ways we are to do that:
1. By respecting our pastors and elders and submitting to their authority (v. 12).
Hebrews 13.17 says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
Incidentally, October is “Pastor’s Appreciation Month.” Is there some way you could show appreciation to your Pastor? A meal? A card? A word of encouragement?
2. By being faithful in our relationships to our brothers and sisters in Christ (v.14).
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”
Sometimes we need to encourage one another. Other times we need to gently rebuke one another.
3. By not returning evil for evil, but by giving a blessing instead (v. 15). Romans 12:
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “VengeanceisMine, I will repay,” says the Lord.20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
4. By rejoicing in the blessings of God and being thankful (vss. 16, 18).
Some time has passed and the Jews have failed to heed God’s warnings through Jeremiah, but now the invaders are approaching. Skirmishes are already being fought outside the city, and the people will soon be driven back into the city itself.
Now that things are desperate, the King sends a messenger to Jeremiah asking him to intercede for them. God answers by telling them that they are not just fighting the Babylonians, but they have made themselves enemies of God Himself!
Many of us go through times in our lives, too, where we reject God’s truth, then when we get into trouble we cry out, “Oh God, help me! If You get me out of this mess, I’ll never do it again!” Continue reading →
To say I’m not a fan of the vampire, living dead crazes would be an understatement. I think it contributes to our society’s loss of shock about the things of darkness. Many of us have seen so much death, blood, and wickedness on our TV screens that we are no longer repulsed or shocked by it. But could there be an even more deadly reason for people’s fascination with fictional immortal beings?
There was, however, a time when the dead did come out of their graves and the Bible says it will happen again. How should that influence our thoughts about eternity?
Imagine, if you will, your family sitting around the dinner table one night when there is a knock at the door … and there stands “Uncle Joe,” whose funeral you had attended a few years before?
Ecclesiastes 3.11 says that God has put eternity in our hearts. John MacArthur in his Study Bible said, “God made men for His eternal purpose, and nothing in post-Fall time can bring them complete satisfaction.”
I believe it was Paul Tripp who said we were “made for glory.” We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s in our bones.
1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5.1-8).
Even those who claim no belief in a Creator God, often have a desire to leave a legacy and so live on in some way.
But like all God-given desires, the Fall has twisted our thoughts about eternity and immortality. Many of us believe we can control our own destinies and even decide what truth is. We, often, refuse to acknowledge that we will all stand before God one day (2 Cor. 5.9-10).
Some even claim they would rather go to hell than to heaven with a God who holds them accountable to His law, as if hell is some eternal party and not a place where “their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mk. 9.44).
The truth is, we will all live forever. The question is “where?”
But instead of contemplating that reality, whether directly or not, has led to a strange fascination with fictional immortal beings.
I want to be careful here. I don’t want to make this sound like a sin issue. Each of us must decide before God where we stand on these issues. Like Halloween and many other things, these are conscience issues.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I might as well live it up, I’m going to hell anyway?” Or maybe that’s you. No matter what you’ve done, God is willing and able to forgive you, but you must come to Him. Don’t let another day pass. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.
Even in the midst of God’s judgment, verses 7 & 8 say:
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
It’s important to remember that there were faithful believers among those who would soon be conquered and exiled, including Daniel and the other young men we read about in the book of Daniel. Even though their nation and their way of life suffered, God blessed and watched over His faithful remnant. Daniel would find favor in spite of plots against him and political and military upsets. He would, eventually, serve under eight pagan kings.
Our Deceitful Hearts
Verses 9 & 10 are two verses which we often share in counseling:
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
It’s so easy for us to believe that we know what’s going on in another person’s heart—what they’re thinking, what their motives are, what they’re going to do in a given situation. But the truth is we can’t even fully know our own hearts and we certainly cannot know someone else’s. Our own hearts can deceive us, causing us to believe we’re somehow “OK”—justified in our actions, even when we’re focused on ourselves and not the glory of our God.
We must constantly stay connected to God, asking Him to search our hearts and show us the sin and deceit that resides there.
11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD. “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”’”
12 And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.”
We’ve all met people like that. They know what God’s Word says about the way they’re living, but they aren’t willing to do what God requires, so they just say, “I might as well live anyway I want, because I’m going to hell anyway!” Continue reading →
Magic, mediums, spiritists, witchcraft and Halloween: What does the Bible have to say about these things? What about Christians and our participation in Halloween? How is this a conscience issue?
And what about the increase in the interest of magic and the occult in the world today? Is it becoming more and more normal? Has the evil eye replaced the cross as the trendy new thing to wear and why?
Today’s reading in Jeremiah is pretty shocking in some ways. God declared judgment on His people. He said some would die “gruesome deaths,” that some would be “consumed by the sword” and others would be “meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth” (16.4). He said this would happen because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem” (15.4) and “… you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me” (16.12).
“Each one,” so while Manasseh was singled out because of his leadership in doing evil, they weren’t being judged just because of something he had done, but because they had done the same things and even worse. If you go back to 2 Kings 21 you can read just what the sins of Manasseh were. It says:
3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.
11 “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols),
16 Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD.
It was bad enough that the people had returned again and again to their idolatry, but Manasseh brought the worship of false gods right into the house of the true and living God! This would be like a husband bringing his lover right into his wife’s bed and then setting up a permanent place in their house for him to go and commit adultery with her.
He “also made his son pass through the fire.” He sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to one of these demonic gods.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, he “practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums.”
We read something like that and think, “Wow, those people were really horrible!” But does a passage like this have any application to us?
Ephesians 5 says:
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
We’re to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Look at that list again in 2 Kings 21.6 above: soothsaying, witchcraft, spiritists and mediums.
Soothsaying is the use of supernatural spirits to affect this world or predict the future. Witchcraft is the practice of magic, the use of spells, or the invocation of spirits. Spiritism is the belief that the dead communicate with us in some way. A medium is someone used to communicate in some of these ways.
That would include palm reading, horoscopes, so-called white magic, crystals, new age religion, or spiritism of any kind.
In our part of the country, I have heard things like this many times, “Well, my mother says it’s OK to go to this woman who removes curses. She says she believes in Jesus.” She may believe in Jesus, but James said, “… even the demons believe …” (Jas. 2.19). We’re to have no fellowship with those things.
Other people say, “I read my horoscope for fun, but I don’t really believe it.” Why would we want to play around with anything that might be displeasing to God? Genesis 3 says that the serpent was more subtle than all the beasts of the field. His question to Eve was “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3.1). In other words, “Did God really say …?” He’s still asking the same question in various ways today.
In fact, there has been a major upswing in involvement with magic around the world and even in our nation’s capitol. That involvement includes the sacrificing of women and children. A practice that’s happening today.
Just as alarming is it’s normalization. One of the central figures in the social world of Washington D.C., a woman by the name of Sally Quinn, has written a book in which she comes out about her participation in the occult.
Dr. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in his daily briefing quoted The Washingtonian Magazine who said:
“Beyond the particular anecdotes, this book is Quinn’s coming-out as an ardent believer in the supernatural. For the longest time, she declares, ‘I had been afraid to discuss my occultism for fear people would think I was crazy, and then I was reluctant to discuss my blossoming faith for fear my friends would think I had gone over the edge.’”
But as the Washingtonian went on,
“But now Quinn is going all in.”
Dr. Mohler said:
All in, indeed, for in this book and in the magazine profile, Sally Quinn documents her own participation in the occult to the extent that she says in her own words that she put three hexes on persons who subsequently and rather quickly died. Now what’s so important about this is that here you have a person who has been and still is at the very center of the social life of Washington D.C., the Capital of the United States of America. And now she is to use her own words all in when it comes to the occult and all out when she speaks about it in public. That tells us a great deal, of course, about Sally Quinn, but it also tells us a great deal about high society in Washington D.C., which upon reflection tells us a great deal about ourselves.
But a similar story appeared in Religion News Service from Greece. The headline,
“In Greece, the evil eye is trending.”
Jenny Lower tells us that,
“The term refers to negative energy caused by another’s jealousy, which Greeks believe can cause minor troubles and even physical symptoms for the victim.” The evil eye symbol, we are told, “is popping up everywhere, from handmade soap to chic hotel lobbies.”
… one person said and I quote, “The evil eye is like the new trendy cross.”
The most interesting dimension of this report is what becomes very clear, and that is that this return to superstitions comes in the midst of what is supposedly simultaneous turn to secularism to a secular worldview. But as we learn over and over again that secular worldview is never a) secular for long or b) as secular as many will claim. But the line in the article about the evil eye jewelry becoming a substitute for the cross, well that just tells us that those who have been wearing the cross as jewelry might well never have recognized it as meaning much more. But the ultimate issue here is the fact that what’s revealed about the secular worldview, once again, is that it’s a vacuum. And a vacuum never exists for very long. A vacuum is fragile, and eventually it is going to be filled by something. And what we see now is that if it is not filled by biblical authentic Christianity, it will be filled by something else perhaps in New Age spirituality, perhaps superstition, perhaps even the occult.
You can listen to all of Dr. Mohler’s briefing here. That day’s audio also includes a very interesting piece about the Kennedy family’s evolution on abortion.
Christians & Halloween
That brings us to Halloween. At this time of year, Christians sometimes wonder whether it’s OK to dress up or take part in Halloween activities. I think there’s some gray area here and needs to be considered prayerfully. Continue reading →
The world says, “follow your heart.” But the Bible has something entirely different to say about the heart. Also read about God’s discipline of His children, godly friendship, and how Paul handled the need to offer constructive criticism.
In chapter 13 God used an object lesson to illustrate the filthy spiritual condition of the people. He had the prophet bury a dirty sash (probably an undergarment) in a hole instead of washing it. He was instructed to leave it there until it began to rot. Then in verse 10 God said:
“This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing.”
Their sin and rebellion had rendered them useless to God!
These people thought since they were God’s people, that they could live any way they wanted. They could “follow the dictates of their own hearts.”
Today, one message the world sends is “follow your heart,” but another passage in Jeremiah says:
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jer. 17.9 NLT).
So our wicked hearts tell us we are OK with God because we had some experience, prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, got baptized, or became the member of a certain church. Our ticket to heaven has been punched. So we …
… act selfishly at home with our spouses and children.
… make work or friends or children or a hundred other things a higher priority than our personal relationship with God.
… drink to excess, feel justified in our anger, refuse to forgive, or dozens of other things that God says are sin.
When we do, we, too, become just like Jeremiah’s sash—“profitable for nothing”! We negate our testimonies, especially in the eyes of the people closest to us. “Following our hearts” is our own undoing!
These are challenging times to be a believer. There is a huge clash of world views. The truthfulness of God’s Word is being attacked on many fronts. Perhaps, you are being attacked personally for standing for the truth. How should a believer respond to those attacks?
These truly are challenging times to be a believer, and while it is going to get more and more intense as this world of ours spins closer and closer to the 2nd coming of Christ, it’s not new.
There was a “clash” in Jeremiah’s day, too. Chapter 11.21-23:
21 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the men of Anathoth who seek your life, saying, ‘Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD, lest you die by our hand’— 22 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts. ‘Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; 23 and there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring catastrophe on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their punishment.’”
There were people who didn’t want to hear the truth and who threatened Jeremiah. In fact, they threatened to kill him if he continued to speak God’s truth. But God said, don’t worry about them, Jeremiah, I’ll deal with them in My time and in My way.
There will be people who are not going to like it when we speak the truth. They may be family members, co-workers, supervisors, friends or enemies. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, but how should we respond?
First, we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for His name (Acts 5.41).
We shouldn’t try to fight evil with evil. Remember Romans 12.21 tells us: Continue reading →
Take the test: look into the mirror of God’s Word and ask yourself, “Which of these characteristics describe me and which don’t?” What do your answers tell you about your walk with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?
In chapter 1 of James’ epistle, he compares the Word of God to a mirror (Jas. 1.23) and goes on to say that “if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (Jas. 1.25).
Here in Colossians, Paul commands us to “set our mind on things above, not on the things on the earth” (v. 2).
This chapter gives us a great summary of what a mature Christian life should look like—kind of a composite mirror image of Christlike character. Read back through Colossians 3 and take the test. Ask yourself what you are reflecting to the world.
□ Are you putting sinful desires to death? Do you repent when you recognize them (v. 5)?
□ Do you covet what others have, either relationships, material things, or prestige (v. 5)?
□ Are you worshiping anything besides God alone (v. 5)?
□ Do you allow yourself to get angry or malicious (v. 8)?
□ Do you use unwholesome or filthy language (v. 8)?
□ Do you use the Lord’s name in vain, even those OMGs (v. 8)?
□ Do you lie to avoid conflict or problems, cover sin, or mislead (v. 9)?
□ Are you seeking to become more like Christ (v. 10)?
□ Are you merciful and compassionate (v. 12)?
□ Are you kind to friends, family, co-workers and strangers (v. 12)?
□ Are you proud (defensive, self-righteous, demanding, selfish …) (v. 12)?
□ Are you patient (longsuffering) (v. 12)?
□ Are you willing to bear with (put up with, be inconvenienced by) others (v. 13)?
□ Are you forgiving (v. 13)?
□ Do you demonstrate the love of Christ (v. 14, 1 Cor. 13.4-7)?
□ Do you have God’s peace (v.15)?
□ Are you thankful (v. 15)?
□ Are you growing in your knowledge of God’s Word (v. 16)?
□ Are you growing in the wisdom of God (v. 16)?
□ Are you sharing God’s Word with others (v. 16)?
□ Are you willing to speak the truth in love to others (admonish) (v. 16)?
□ Do you have a worshipful heart (v. 16)?
□ Do you do all things in the name of the Lord (is what characterizes your life pleasing to Him) (v. 17)?
□ Wives, are you submissive to your husband (v. 18)?
□ Husbands, do you love your wife biblically or are you bitter toward her (v. 19)?
□ Children, do you obey your parents in all things (v. 20)?
□ Parents, do you provoke your children to anger through your ungodly attitudes and behavior (v. 21)?
□ Employees, do you obey and submit to your boss or supervisor (v. 22)?
□ Are you a man-pleaser, instead of a God-pleaser (v. 22)?
□ Do you fear God (worship, respect Him and His Word) (v. 22)?
□ Do you do all things heartily (v. 23)?
None of us will do all these things perfectly. In fact, that’s why Christ died, because we can’t … and certainly not in our own strength. But as we learn to rely on the Holy Spirit working through us, we should see growth in these areas. When we read prayerfully through passages like Colossians 3, we allow the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts and show us areas where we may need to repent and seek God’s help to change.
What do your answers reveal to you? What do they say about your relationship with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?
“But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (Jas. 1.25 NLT).
Because something is popular, a religious tradition, or “the way we’ve always done it,” doesn’t make it biblical. In today’s Old Testament passage, God condemns the nation of Israel for their false religion and idolatry. Centuries later, when a Samaritan woman met Jesus and pointed out what was popular in her religious tradition, He told her, “… those who worship [God] must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4.24)—spirit, with the right heart attitude, and truth, according to His commands. Let’s not be among those who have itching ears, wishing to hear only what we want to hear.
I know I run the risk of offending some today. I pray that I don’t, but even more, I pray that if you are you will dig into God’s Word and prayerfully seek the truth for yourself.
Itching Ears, False Worship & the Queen of Heaven
Jeremiah 7 & 8:
The prophet continues along the same lines as yesterday’s reading, even repeating some of the same phrases.
In chapter 8 Jeremiah again speaks specifically to false teachers, priests and prophets:
10 … Everyone is given to covetousness;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
When there is no peace.
Once again he condemns them for giving the people a false assurance of peace concerning their relationships with God.
He also condemns the people themselves because they were listening to falsehood. Even though our leaders are responsible for what they teach, we are responsible to make sure what we’re hearing and learning lines up with God’s Word! Because something is popular or “the way we’ve always done it” does not make it biblically sound.
Many people form their theological views by listening to preachers and teachers whose style or messages they like without going to God’s Word for themselves. Paul told Timothy:
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Tim. 4.2-4).
Some things that are being taught by very popular teachers are not biblically sound; they are fables. God is not some genie in a bottle waiting to give us everything we want or keep us from going through difficulties.
It’s been said before, but He is more concerned with our character than our comfort and more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. This is not your best life now; this is where He is growing and maturing you into the likeness of His Son. As believers our best life is to come. This world is not our home. Our home is in heaven and the best is yet to come!
It’s not that God wants us beaten down and miserable, but He wants us to find our happiness, our peace, our contentment, and our satisfaction in Him. We will never find happiness in the things of creation, only in our wonderful Creator! As the psalmist invites us in Psalm 34:
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
Jeremiah 7 also addresses false religious practices:
16 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.
God said have no other gods before Me (Ex. 20.3), that includes the worship of saints and even the Virgin Mary. Jesus honored His mother as a faithful son should. He saw to it that she would be cared for after His death (Jn. 19.24-27), but He did not honor her as someone to be worshiped or who was greater than other believers. Luke 8.20-21: Continue reading →