“The Wine of False Religion” December 28

 

The Wine of False Religion - Religious fanatics, suicide bombers, terrorists, even radical defenders of abortion or gay rights, could they be drunk on the wine of false religion? Also ... When we experience sorrow over sin, is it worldly sorrow or godly sorrow? And what do we have in common with lions, greyhounds, goats, and kings?Religious fanatics, suicide bombers, terrorists, even radical defenders of abortion or gay rights, could they be drunk on the wine of false religion?

Also …

When we experience sorrow over sin, is it worldly sorrow or godly sorrow? And what do we have in common with lions, greyhounds, goats, and kings?

 

Today’s Readings:
Zechariah 7-9
Psalm 148.7-14
Proverbs 30.29-31
Revelation 18

 

The Wine of False Religion

 

Revelation 18:

Drunk on Religion & Prosperity

 

terrorist rifle

Verse 3 says, “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

Just as wine can entice and weaken the resolve of the one drinking it and can blind one to the truth, the wine of false religion can blind, as well. It can be legalism (believing that rules and sacraments can save you), new age spirituality, today’s version of religious tolerance (believing that all roads somehow lead to God), or any kind of religious fanaticism.

Whether a person is fanatically religious in a pseudo-Christian way, fanatically atheistic, fanatically pro-abortion or pro-gay, or a fanatical Muslim or white supremacist, it has an appeal that can be intoxicating. This helps explain why men and women are willing to fly airplanes into buildings, strap on suicide vests or turn a gun on strangers and co-workers alike.

 

Prosperity

 

money in hand greed trusting richesAnd just as religious idolatry can make a person drunk, so too, wealth, abundance and a focus on material things can drug a person into a materialistic stupor, “the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

Eventually the world’s false systems of religion and economics will come to an end, but we must guard against any vestige of them in our lives even now.

Ephesians 5 says:

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

God does not want us to be drunk with wine or religion or any earthly thing, but rather to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. When we do, just as drunkenness affects a person’s walk and life, the filling of the Spirit will affect the way we walk and live.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Zechariah 7-9:

Broken and repentant or just sorry?

 

Verse 7.5 “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests. ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’”

Fasting was a sign of repentance and humility and recognition of sin. God was asking the people if their fasting was merely a religious exercise or done because they were broken over their sin and rebellion against Him.

Oftentimes, we express outward sorrow and regret over our sin, but we must ask ourselves, are we sorry because we don’t like the consequences of our sin?  Are we more like children who are about to be punished for some misdeed, crying, “I’m sorry; I’m sorry! I won’t do it again!” Or are we truly broken and repentant?

poutingThe first is worldly sorrow. It’s sorrow over the consequences and over the messes we make.

The second is godly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to changes in our actions, not just outward expressions of sorrow.

It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death (2 Cor. 7.9b-10 NLT).

 

How can we tell the difference?

 

How can we tell if we are broken and repentant or just sorry? Continue reading

“Laziness, Lions & the Prosperity Doctrine” September 29

 

Laziness, Lions & the Prosperity Doctrine”What do lions have to do with laziness and what is difference between “the prosperity doctrine” and true prosperity from God’s perspective? Also, read about some of the blessings we have when we are “in Christ.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 49 & 50
Psalm 112.1-4
Proverbs 26.13-15
Ephesians 1.1-23

 

Laziness, Lions & the Prosperity Doctrine

 

Isaiah 49 & 50:

The Coming Messiah

 

praise

These two chapters continue to talk about the (then) coming Messiah. He would be a man—a human being—born of a woman (49.1) and a light not just to the Jews but to the Gentiles, as well (49.6). Though there would be a time of separation from the nation of Israel, God would not divorce her (50.1). Isaiah also said He would suffer torment at the time of His first advent (50.6-7).

There is an invitation to all who are in darkness to come and trust in the name of the Lord (50.10), as well as, a warning that man made religion will not work (50.11). We can do nothing to save ourselves; all our attempts at being good enough or finding our own way to God (“you who kindle a fire”) are futile.

Men and women have been trying to find their own way to God since the tower of Babel and, probably, even before then. But there is only one Way!

 

Psalm 112.1-4:

Prosperity

 

doctrine of prosperity

Verse 1, “… Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.”

Psalm 1 expands this thought:

1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

Unfortunately, the message preached in many pulpits is, “just come to Jesus and He will cause everything you do to prosper.” There is an element of truth in that idea, but without qualifying it with the truths found in these verses and understanding what prospering means from God’s perspective, people end up coming to Him as if He is a spiritual vending machine.

It’s the man or woman who fears the Lord, who doesn’t listen to ungodly advice, doesn’t hang around friends and co-workers who are up to no good, especially those who scorn the truths and reality of God, who will prosper. It’s those who delight in the things of God, meditate on those truths, and obey them, who will prosper.

Sadly, many buy into a superficial doctrine of prosperity and happiness, a message that sounds good to our selfish nature, but requires little of us in the way of change or growth. A large percentage of them will walk away from God at some point when it doesn’t deliver, sometimes mad at God when they do.  Continue reading

December 28 “Truly broken and repentant or just sorry?”

broken and repentantWhen we experience sorrow over sin, are we sorry because we don’t like the consequences of our sin?  Or are we truly broken and repentant? The first leads to spiritual, relational, and emotional death. The second leads to a growing relationship with God and a fruitful Christian life. So how can we tell the difference?

Today’s Readings:
Zechariah 7-9
Psalm 148.7-14
Proverbs 30.29-31
Revelation 18

 

Zechariah 7-9:

Broken and repentant or just sorry?

Verse 7.5 “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests. ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’”

Fasting was a sign of repentance and humility and recognition of sin. God was asking the people if their fasting was merely a religious exercise or done because they were broken over their sin and rebellion against Him.

Oftentimes, we express outward sorrow and regret over our sin, but we must ask ourselves, are we sorry because we don’t like the consequences of our sin?  Are we more like children who are about to be punished for some misdeed, crying, “I’m sorry; I’m sorry! I won’t do it again!” Or are we truly broken and repentant?

The first is worldly sorrow: sorrow over the consequences, sorrow over the messes we make. The second is godly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to changes in our actions, not just outward expressions of sorrow.

It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death (2 Cor. 7.9b-10 NLT).

 How can we tell the difference?

How can we tell if we are broken and repentant or just sorry? Continue reading

September 29 “The superficial doctrine of prosperity and happiness” & LINKUP

walk away, back viewSadly, many who buy into the superficial doctrine of prosperity and happiness, will walk away from God at some point when it doesn’t deliver. Sadder still, the reality of God’s love and care for His children and the work of grace through salvation are so much greater and more wonderful than they can imagine!

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 49 & 50
Psalm 112.1-4
Proverbs 26.13-15
Ephesians 1.1-23

 

Isaiah 49 & 50:

The coming Messiah

These two chapters continue to talk about the (then) coming Messiah. He would be a man—a human being—born of a woman (49.1) and a light not just to the Jews but to the Gentiles, as well (49.6). Though there would be a time of separation from the nation of Israel, He would not divorce her (50.1). He would suffer torment at the time of His first advent (50.6-7).

There is an invitation to all who are in darkness to come and trust in the name of the Lord (50.10), as well as, a warning that manmade religion will not work (50.11). We can do nothing to save ourselves; all our attempts at being good enough or finding our own way to God (“you who kindle a fire”) are futile.

Men and women have been trying to find their own way to God since the tower of Babel and, probably, even before then. But there is only one Way. Continue reading

September 12 “Good doctrine matters!”

truth, torn paper

Good doctrine matters because what we believe about God, His sovereignty, and His dealings with those He loves determines how we’ll respond to the tests and trials of life.

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 15 & 16
Psalm 106.24-31
Proverbs 25.8-10
2 Corinthians 4.1-18

Isaiah 15 & 16:

Judgment against gentile nations

Isaiah not only warned God’s people of coming judgment, but he also warned of His judgment against other nations.

Moab was a nation that descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot through incest with his daughter. This prophecy warned of the destruction of their land and resources, as well as, coming military defeat.

more, greed, discontentPsalm 106.24-31:

Despising God’s blessings

Verses 24-25, “Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His word, but complained in their tents …”

These verses contrast believing God’s word with a lack of contentment (they despised the pleasant land—God’s blessing) and complaining. We’re faced with the same choice. Are we going to be thankful or discontent? Are we going to trust God and enjoy His blessings or are we going to be constantly wanting more? Continue reading