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Week 34 Recap

Jeremiah chapter 34 is basically a 2-part chapter:

• Part1: The Warning to King Zedekiah of the Babylonian Invasion and the Results (vv. 1-7)
• Part 2: The Relief of Debtors According to God’s Covenant (vv.8-22)

Be sure to download the Show Notes from Week 34 to get the full picture of the chapter’s discussion on the livestream this past episode.

Obedience Has Its Own Rewards

Never take your obedience as the reason God blesses you; obedience is the outcome of being rightly related to God.

Oswald Chambers
A world cloud based on the words contained in chapter 35 of Jeremiah

The Old Testament gives a clear picture of the value of obedience in the Lord’s eyes. We see God using a lesson of stark contrast here in chapter 35 with Jeremiah. The Rechabites, descendants of Jonadab, refused to touch wine, but God instructed Jeremiah to offer them wine in the house of the Lord nonetheless.

God uses the Rechabites as a living and breathing example of what Judah and Israel have not been. In a word, it is called obedient. God’s words through Jeremiah posed the question: “Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?” (v. 13, NIV). His usage of the Rechabites in comparison to both Judah and Israel showed how much God desired for dedicated and devout followers like the Rechabites were to their ancestor Jonadab.

Let the lesson sink in for you. Obedience to God has its own rewards. By responding to God with obedience, we also confirm our own understanding of what God values of ritual sacrifices like burnt offerings. Since we have the ability to look back on it and see how the sacrifice of bulls and goats could never wash away our sins.

Tune in Wednesdays at 11 AM PST

Friday Freebie

We’ve all heard some portion of the Book of Psalms in one way or another. We might have heard a worship leader use a psalm for the call to worship to kick off Sunday worship. Songs have been lifted up from the choir loft countless times with the Psalms as their foundation. And numerous prayers and sermons have been lifted from the 150 psalms contained in the Bible. In essence, the Book of Psalms is an essential part of the church and its worship as well as the believer and his or her celebration of God’s love through prayer, poetry and praise.

Watch this video NOW!!

Take on the Book of Psalms Daily Bible Reading PLan. This offers a simple strategy for diving into the Book of Psalms. This reading plan offers a daily methodology for scheduling and journaling your adventure through the Book of Psalms day by day. Sign up for our newsletter and get a FREE copy of the companion Book of Psalms Reading Plan Schedule as a FREE gift.

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"Prayer changes things, prayer changes things; if you believe, you shall receive, prayer changes things. . . " - Lyrics of "Prayer Changes Things" popularized by voices like Mahalia Jackson and the Georgia Mass Choir.

Prayer Changes Things

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

I have heard it said throughout the years. I’ve heard it during testimony periods upon testimony periods in church. I have heard the choir sing it with conviction from the choir loft time and time again. Plenty of other bloggers and other online content creators have shared it in one way or another in the blogosphere, noting how much prayer can impact things powerfully. Some even question if this idea of prayer changing things is even so. It’s nothing new to me in my spiritual journey.

But as I prepare for the 30-Day Prayer Challenge coming up this September, I can’t help but reflect on the notion that prayer changes things.

“Change requires action.”

John C. Maxwell

Beyond simply expecting something to happen because you have prayed over it or on it, laying it out before the Lord, I wonder what comes along with that for you. For me, it usually paves the way for a changed outlook on my part. I am a firm believer that even if prayer doesn’t change the outcome, it will most definitely change the outlook of the one praying if it is sincere and genuine supplication and petition to God Almighty. That’s what I expect out of prayer at the bare minimum: a new way of looking at the situation that sent me to my knees in the first place.

Ask yourself: What actions do I need to add to my prayer life?

Do you need to pray more for others than yourself?

Do you need to begin to get comfortable praying with others?

Do you need to find a way to listen to God more than you speak?

Join the 30-Day Prayer Challenge

If any of these are part of what you desire to do within your prayer life, I invite you and implore you to join us this September in the 30-Day Prayer Challenge. Simply add your email via the sign-up form and receive the FREE September 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge Calendar. In addition, you will receive weekly emails encouraging and equipping you for a stronger prayer life.

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I stated it plainly: I own some and have been gifted some Nike gear but I am not supporting a winged Greek goddess of victory

It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t scripted. It was just a little insight I was sharing based upon our discussion on what is a covenant.

I wasn’t trying to step on any toes. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone. My intention was to inform. I’m not judging anyone. I’m not condemning them either.

I am just not going to support a winged Greek goddess bearing a swoosh with my hard-earned money or the money that a local church might share with me as a guest minister in the pulpit, even the faithful believers who support my ministry with occasional free will gifts.

I just cannot do it with Nike.

What’s that about?

When I Discovered Who Nike Really Is

I was attending community college in San Diego in the late 90s and spending a lot of time at the library with my nose in all sorts of books and publications. One of my main research topics was world religions. While browsing through a book on world belief systems for empowerment, confidence and motivation, I discovered who Nike really is.

Nike: Greek Winged Goddess of Victory

  • Greek mythological goddess, child of one of the Titans
  • Symbols: wings, golden sandals, wreath
  • Known as: “the Winged Goddess”
  • Famous stone statue depicting Nike erected in ancient city of Ephesus

What God Says about Other Gods

You shall have no other gods before Me.

exodus 20:3 (NKJV)

Let me break this verse down in its context. it will make plenty of sense to you when you consider that this verse follows God introducing Himself: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

  • the Lord your God: He asserted Himself as their God, not as the God of their fathers as before with the burning bush to Moses on Mount Horeb and through Moses and Aaron in Egypt
  • who brought you out of the land of Egypt: He reminds them of His marvelous miracle at the Red Sea that allowed them to escape to freedom but also wiped out the mightiest army on the face of the earth at the time
  • out of the house of bondage: He is sure to stress that their outcries for relief from the burden of bondage that seemed to go unheard and unattended were taken care of in the deliverance that he provided them

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me

Exodus 20:5 (ESV)

God’s a jealous God. That says enough right there if we just stop where it says: “a jealous God.” Based upon this warning alone, it would seem only just to not try and play games with God in this regard.

for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

Exodus 34:14 (NKJV)

The connection to covenants comes in Exodus 34 as God makes a covenant with the children of Israel prior to driving out the inhabitants of the Promised Land. That’s where it is right there. That’s how it fits. God, “whose name is Jealous,” wants you all to Himself and that covenant makes it binding. No other gods have any place in that equation.

Determined Not to Entangle Myself with Anything Like That

Man, I was floored. I think I had tennis for P.E. coming up and I had Nike all over me, including shoes, socks, shorts, and maybe even the shirt. I felt some kind of way about it, even tried to rationalize it. That was all up until I read a little deeper and understood a little bit more about Nike’s influence in historic cities like Ephesus, a city I was familiar with from reading and studying the Bible. Finally, I just made a decision after some consideration, prayer, and quiet time.

I just couldn’t just do it with Nike anymore.

Watch the discussion on other gods as I share about Nike in last week’s livestream

Sporting But Not Supporting

Like I said before, I might own some Nike items leftover from Father’s Day and birthday gifts, even stuff from the 90s when I didn’t know any better. I think it all might amount to 4 or 5 pairs of socks, a sweatsuit, a pair of sweatpants, and maybe 2 pairs of Nike shorts. No Nike shoes. No Jordans either.

You might catch me working out or playing basketball in the Nike shorts. Occasionally, you’ll see me in the sweatsuit or sweatpants. And those socks tend to make their rounds when I wear my steel-toe boots because of their thickness (You know those socks they get you for father’s Day like an afterthought while they’re shopping in Kohl’s or JC Penney.) At worst, you’ll spot me on the Nike Run app but once Strava or Garmin, even Samsung Health, get it together a little better then I am game to switch over whether I lose followers in the community or not.


Tune in this week and watch Live @ Lunch Bible Study as we continue with the Jeremiah Journey. We study the Book of Jeremiah week by week, chapter by chapter for 2021 every Wednesday at 11 AM PST.

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Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah – Jeremiah 31:31 (NASB)

Covenants Come in Different Varieties

Covenants are designed to serve as binding agreements between two parties. In modern times, we might think of a contract with a signature by each party involved as a legally-binding agreement for business such as a commercial property lease or a purchase order with a supplier. Covenants in the Bible meant something different and deeper. Christians today need to understand the covenant relationship in order to truly grasp the atonement of sin through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.

Old Testament passages tell us that covenants are established on two different levels:

  • Man-Man: According to the Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: “A covenant was an agreement between two parties that laid down conditions and guaranteed benefits, depending upon a person’s keeping or breaking the covenant.”
  • God-Man: “Covenants between God and the people he created, however, differed from purely human covenants. They were not agreements between equals, because God was always the one who gave, and people were always the ones who received.” (Bridgeway Bible Dictionary)

The New Covenant Offers Something Different

Look further in our Bible study discussion guide for this week to see more details about covenants in the Old Testament. Look at Jeremiah 31:31-34 for a better understanding of what God’s new covenant offered in comparison to the covenant broken by His people in the past.

Previous Covenants Broken by God’s People

not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, declares the Lord – Jeremiah 31:32 (NASB)

Keep in mind that God’s people have a history of breaking covenants with God. It’s beyond simply being disobedient when you totally disregard it. Look at 1 Samuel 8:7-8 when the people demanded a king instead of Samuel’s sons who served as judges over Israel. They had been disobeying God and meddling with other gods since leaving Egypt.

https://youtu.be/avurasl9Ag0

Something New and Different with God

For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. – Jeremiah 31:33 (NASB)

The new covenant was to be a new start for Judah and Israel with God.

Think about how that sounds and how that is supposed to work.

A group of people who just served 70 years in captivity in a foreign land full of godless folks will come back to their homeland and return to a restored relationship with their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Their past behavior alone disqualified them. Despite whatever bad habits they might have picked up from their captors, they would just jump at the chance to be the chosen people again and serve God Almighty? It sounds like a stretch, but here’s how God planned to accomplish it.

They will not teach again, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their wrongdoing, and their sin I will no longer remember.

jeremiah 31:34 (NASB)

The relationship would become a more personalized relationship, according to God. It will go beyond the surface. It would be deeper than something superficial. God would be known by His people and they would know that He has forgiven them of their prior sins against them with the penalty having been paid with their captivity in Babylon.

If nothing else, it sounds a like a good start to reboot their relationship and see how long it takes these chosen people to drift away to other gods again.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

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Today at 11 AM PST via YouTube

David Their King

But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. – Jeremiah 30:9 (NASB)

While studying something totally different, I came across something interesting and related to our current study in Jeremiah. It sparked me to research the relationship between Jesus and David more intensely. It also provided me with a clearer understanding of David’s earthly kingdom versus his everlasting kingdom promised to him by God.

Jesus Questioned the Pharisees about the Son of David (Matthew 22:41-46)

After some testing from the Sadducees and Pharisees, Jesus turned the tables and posed 2 questions to the Pharisees:

  • Whose Son is the Christ? (v. 42)
  • How does David call Him “Lord” if He is the Son of David? (v.44)

To the first question, they all responded: “The Son of David.”

However, the second question posed by Jesus did not elicit such a collective response. Jesus asks the second question based on Psalm 110:1, a psalm of David. Sadly, the response to the second question went something like this: “And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore (v. 46, NKJV).”

No one was able to answer Him.

Imagine that no answer to the question could be found among those who claimed to be the “keepers of the law.” The answer was beyond the scope of their grasp and understanding. Even though they worked closely with the Holy Scriptures, the Torah, the Law of God, they had no answer to provide Jesus for His second question. They had no understanding of how David could call Him both Son and Lord.

David’s Kingdom and the Davidic Covenant

David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. – 2 Samuel 5:4 (NIV)

By comparison, David’s earthly kingdom and his eternal kingdom are different levels.

  • David’s earthly kingdom is limited (40 years)
  • David is promised that his descendant will hold the everlasting throne forever (Matt. 1:1-6, 16; Luke 3:31-34)
  • “Son of David” stems from the royal origin of Jesus and His earthly lineage found in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke with the term “son” meaning descendant or offspring

Confirmation from Jeremiah’s Contemporaries

But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the LORD their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the LORD and of his goodness. – Hosea 3:5 (NLT)

24 My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow My ordinances and keep and observe My statutes. 25 They will live in the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They will live there forever with their children and grandchildren, and My servant David will be their prince forever. – Ezekiel 37:24-25 (NIV)

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is righteous and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. – Zechariah 9:9 (NASB)

Along with Isaiah, these prophets were contemporaries of Jeremiah, sharing God’s message with His people in different regions around the same time and confirming each other’s prophecies. Other contemporary biblical texts share about the covenant extending forever. Both jeremiah 32:40 and Ezekiel 37:26 speak of an “everlasting covenant” between God and His people initiated with David’s descendant as their king. Some biblical translations even call Him “their prince.”

Continue to Study on David and the Son of David

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You shall be My people, And I will be your God

Jeremiah 30:22 (NASB)

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Hear the depth of devotion is those words. See the deep connection shared between them. Hold tightly to the promises of God to do more than just deliver His people out of captivity.

God desires a relationship with His people based on a covenant.

There’s so much more that comes before that 22nd verse. We see it throughout chapter 30. God’s promise of a new covenant includes a picture of a renewed relationship between God and those sent into captivity in Babylon after 70 years. He promises them that they will be His people and they will have Him as their God.

Much like the children of Israel coming out of captivity in Egypt, the end game of God’s plan for them at this point is a new relationship with the people based on the promises of God. I find that Giselle of Seek the Truth gives a thorough explanation for us all to ponder in comparison.

Much like many of us coming back and recovering from the effects of addiction or other trauma and drama in our lives, these folks stood in need of something to hold onto as they endured their punishment under the judgment of God. They needed a light at the end of the tunnel and that light was the promise of God as to what would be their new relationship when the captivity was all done and over.

God’s promise of this new relationship under a new covenant comes at a peculiar place within the contents of this chapter. The chapter is filled with God’s assurances to these captives in Babylon, but it also contains some insight into the judgment and punishment to be endured these captives as well as the future outlook for those who have held them captive.

God’s Assured Promises to the Captives in Babylon

*Rescued from captivity (v.3, 8)
*Returned to the land of forefathers (v.10)
*Restored among the nations of the world (v. 17)
*Renewed in a new covenant with God (v. 22)

The Messianic Message Within the Chapter

But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king. . .

– Jeremiah 30:9 (NKJV)

“David their king” is not the reincarnation of King David the son of Jesse. This refers to the Lord Jesus as a “Son of David.” This is related to the promise of the Messiah being of the lineage of David with an everlasting kingdom.

Interestingly, the notion of this passage referencing King David literally falls short based on the chronological timeline sequence of the Scriptures. Also, the personal profile of King David leaves a lot to be desired especially when we look at chapter 30’s contents on judgment and punishment. In fact, one blogger gives an insightful comparison of King David and R. Kelly for you to read at your leisure. None of us are without blemish but that doesn’t excuse David’s wrongdoings. It merely gives us more biblical evidence that the reference isn’t literally translated as him.

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Don’t feeling like missing the livestream of our Bible study sessions is a major letdown. We add our livestreams to our YouTube channel and its Bible Study & Beyond Playlist weekly. Just go to the YouTube channel and search for #JeremiahJourney videos. Or, you can simply go directly to the Bible Study & Beyond Playlist.

Join us this Wednesday at 11 AM PST for Live @ Lunch Bible Study

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Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who is prophesying to you?

Jeremiah 29:27 (ESV)

Playing a Role Out of Position

Reading the rebuke of Shemaiah from the Lord sounds like a laundry list of misgivings and mistaken moves on Shemaiah’s part. When God has to go on a roll to run down all of your transgressions, He is not just having a tie to vent. Believe in all honesty that He is setting up things to take you down and set you straight.

What do we know about Shemaiah?

Shemaiah the Nehelamite, a false prophet who went with the captives to Babylon and who opposed Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:24, 31-32). Shemaiah means “God heard” in Hebrew. Nehelamite, according to topical Bible research, means “dweller of Nehela.” However, “no such place-name is found in the Old Testament.”

He sounds like a self-appointed prophet among the Babylonian captives who took offense to the letters sent by Jeremiah. His words call for such a madman to be restrained and confined “in the stocks and neck irons,” according to verse 26. He challenges Zephaniah to answer why he has not rebuked and handled Jeremiah as of yet, especially after he said for the Babylonian captives to settle in and make the most of their time in captivity since it would last 70 years.

Not only was this man out of position, but he was totally taking on a man called by God to share His message, not a madman with a message of his own.

Leave It to God to Handle False Prophets

We’ve seen God do it before. We should not be surprised to see God do it again. He uses His servants the prophets to deliver His message to the people, while He handles false prophets with swift justice. He did so with Hananiah, the prophet dying within the same year of his false prophecy in the previous chapter.

Did you really think Shemaiah was going to get away with such an outlandish move as putting Jeremiah on blast like he was the false prophet?

Not one bit.

God sets things straight by making it plain. “Behold, I will punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, and he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the Lord, for he has spoken rebellion against the Lord” (v. 32, ESV). Despite what the false prophet believes and says, he is dealt with by God in a way that shuts down his own message.

The best part of it all comes at the tail end of the verse and chapter where God says “for he has spoken rebellion against the Lord.” It is what it is. It is God having to rectify what some fool says another one believes without even comparing it with what God has said already. It is pure foolishness passed around and taken in like bad medicine. People are warned that they reap what they sow. Such is the case with Shemaiah. You think somebody needs to be corrected? Okay, let’s let God handle that and see who gets handled for pushing falsehood and rebellion among God’s people.

Jeremiah 29 is the foundation for this week’s livestream Wednesday at 11 AM PST

Let the lesson of Shemaiah help you learn more about how God deals with falsehood. He does not spend a lot of time on it. He does not offer many words for it. He speaks on it and against, and then it is handled by Him. In fact the Lord has warned us about these false prophets. I think most of us who know the Lord can live with that rather than trying to figure out what God is doing to make things right.

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So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord. (V. 9, NLT)

False Prophets Seek to Fool the People with Lies Again and Again

False prophets talk what they talk up until what they say is proven wrong, and then they either disappear in shame or they find a ready excuse as to why what they said did not transpire just yet. Jeremiah’s response to the prophet Hananiah is a clear example of subtle rebuke. He points out that many prophets existed long before both he and Hananiah became prophets. He explains in plain words that a prophet is proven from God when what he predicts comes true.

One of the best online discussions on false prophecy via Allen Parr

Read this week’s Bible study discussion guide and discover more about the false prophecy of Hananiah. See how Hananiah the Gibeonite proclaimed that God would break the yoke placed on the people of Judah by the king of Babylon within 2 years.

2 years?

But Jeremiah had prophesied that their enslavement would last 70 years. How in the world could Hananiah explain this conflict with his contemporary? Other prophets proclaimed the Lord’s message in other regions and these same prophets were further confirmation of what each other said. That wasn’t the case with Hananiah.

Just Who was Hananiah?

Dig deeper into the character of Hananiah and discover just who he was and what type of prophet he was during his times. See how he went to extreme antics such as breaking the wooden yoke from upon Jeremiah, so that the priests and the people looking on could see what he predicted God would do with the yoke of bondage and captivity said to come under Babylonian rule. He even spoke again after destroying Jeremiah’s yoke, speaking boldly before his audience.

However, God spoke to Jeremiah and directed him to go to Hananiah with this message: The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. (v. 15, NLT). He goes on to warn the false prophet that he shall die that same year due to his “uttered rebellion against the Lord” (v. 16, ESV).

In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died. (V. 17, ESV)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Why We Won’t Get Fooled Again (or So We Think)

Jeremiah explained how to know that a prophet is genuinely sent by God in verse 9. The formula is fairly simple. In order to know if the prophet is truly sent by God, what he predicts has to come true. The truth cannot help but get revealed as part of God’s will and His large scale plan. If what a prophet has to say does not come true, then he is viewed as a false prophet.

So, what about the people who believe the lies of false prophets? Paul tried to explain it to his son in the ministry, Timothy, with these words: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they shall heap to themselves teachers in accordance with their own lusts. Jude says this about them in verse 19: “It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (ESV). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned His audience: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

People will fall prey to the misleading messages of false prophets because it sounds good and the sermons make them feel good about themselves. Despite the messages lacking the spiritual and biblical substance to withstand any form of testing, people will accept the lies over the truth. People will follow the false prophet rather than the simple, faithful preacher who comes straight out and simply says: “Thus saith the Lord.”

Join us Wednesday at 11 AM PST for Live @ Lunch Bible Study and the Jeremiah Journey Week #28.

The spiritual warfare that we engage in forces us to fight attacks from all sides, especially those who Jude says have crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness. Our warfare will require us to defend the Good News and “contend for the faith” despite the people being swayed by the trickery of those with golden tongues of eloquence and painting pictures of celestial pipe dreams pouring out from heaven.

Will we ever rid ourselves of those who preach out of selfishness and gain? Will we ever get rid of those who proclaim a new gospel due to their egotistical exhortations that claim that God has bestowed a special message for you but only through them?

I cannot say whether we will or not see a day when this comes to the end, but I can say that we can continually build up our discernment. We can keep ourselves rooted and steeped in the Scriptures. We can test everything by the Scriptures and the Spirit. We can stay cautious in following any particular doctrine just like the Bereans when they heard Paul speak. We can gird ourselves with the full armor of God and trust in Him to handle the wayward wordsmiths who weave tales of false hope and empty promises.

I like what I am reading on WordPress from many bloggers out there, especially when we see help for those seeking to become a Christian. From topics like spiritual warfare to others like spiritual renewal, there is a world of writers and bloggers seeking to contend for the faith and help each us make more sense out of all that we face day by day.

But the Gospel is Preached

I believe that Paul had the right attitude in Philippians and its opening chapter of this letter from prison. In verses 15-18, Paul breaks down that there all sorts of folks preaching the Good News due to his own imprisonment. He spoke openly of how he accepted and rejoiced that the Gospel was preached despite some doing it for the wrong reasons. That was the cause for him to rejoice, even while he sat behind bars.

 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. – Philippians 1:18 (NIV)

Can we have a similar perspective?

Can we see things in a similar light?

Paul did not fight earnestly to stop folks from preaching the Good News for profit or selfish ambition. He pointed out that he was fine and okay with it all since Christ is preached.

We may know that the doctrine is faulty and based on some man-made additions to the sacred text that explains salvation as simple as believe in your heart and confess with your mouth (Romans 10:8-9). But we also know that God hasn’t called us all to play the role of Jeremiah. God hasn’t told us each to confront false prophets. If that is your ministry, may God be with you as you carry out from confrontation to confrontation. For all others, place your focus on where the Lord has led you by His Spirit and in His service, and make your work provide a lasting impact on the lives of others, especially those who have yet to come to know the Lord.

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He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Oftentimes, Christians see issues of their days and times and superimpose them into the biblical prophecy of the Last Days and point out the most likely public figure who fits the bill to be the Antichrist. This is usually a futile exercise in trying to give it a name and a label rather than trying to deal with the matters of the day.

Black Lives Matter & Protests for Social Justice

Is it still a question for some who believe if Black Lives Matter or not? I wish that I could say that it is an unfair question, but there are plenty who profess the love of Christ who find it difficult to love all of God’s creation and creatures, including their fellow man.

Look at blog posts from others that speak to the fact that Black Lives Matter has to be defended or justified as a statement. I read posts from folks like Cynthia Reyes and I feel like the depths of the despair experienced by countless people of color has been echoed in the kindred voice of another in the blogosphere. I read Thinking Moon’s post and realize that we both share a love for Toni Morrison (and she picked my two favorite works by her, too), but we both have two entirely different walks on this earth as a person of privilege and a person of color.

Christians do not have to hold a come to Jesus meeting about coming to an agreement about protests for social justice, police reform, and Black Lives Matter. We do need to acknowledge that there is a problem within our communities and across our nation in the United States that has captured our attention in the midst of a major health pandemic. We do need to agree that, despite many of the best intentions of good Bible-carrying believers, many Christians will not act on such matters until the pastor, the shepherd of the local church, has shared spiritual words of guidance on these same matters. The matters of today have come before the altar of the house of the faithful and await a word from on high as heavenly light from above shine upon them like a spotlight.

Doing What’s Right is Right

Seeking social justice is right. It is biblical. It is the Christian thing to do. The words in Micah 6:8 said for us to “do justice.” Naturally, English makes for a poor translation but I think we could get the point. Our measure for our religion is a matter for how we treat others. The question to answer is: Are we doing right by what the Lord calls us to do?

Aretha, the Queen of Soul, said it in a secular sense when she spoke a Do Right Woman and a Do Right Man. Could you be considered to be one who is in the business of doing right, especially doing right by others?

Jesus used a parable to speak about the “least of these.” He pointed out that the way to do right by the Lord was to do right by others. He depicted through this parable a way to do right for those who could not do you a solid and pay you back. He let us get a glimpse of what it truly means to be godly and gracious, by showing that we can show compassion towards and offer comfort for the hungry, the imprisoned, the naked, and the others that life seems to easily overlook.

And What Does the LORD Require of You?

And what does the LORD require of you? It is inserted in a retort in this passage due to the insinuation by the people that the Lord is asking them to do the impossible. The notion that the people presented to the prophet was that the Lord was being too hard on them in what He sought from them.

. . .but to do justice

We can say a lot but our actions speak louder and in greater volume than our words. We can say that Black Lives Matter is trending on Twitter and will fade away like the chants of “No justice, no peace.” The truth is that justice is right and we are called to do right as claim to love our neighbors as ourselves.

. . . and to love kindness

Kindness is like love. It’s all action and feelings. It’s not double talk. It comes down to our interaction with others, especially those who do not look like us, sound like us, or even believe what we believe.

. . . and to walk humbly with your God

Humility is a lost art. It is as ancient as things like respect and righteousness. To “walk humbly” requires us to humble ourselves. I believe C.H. Spurgeon said it best when he is quoted as saying: “Every Christian has a choice between being humble and being humbled.”

What will be your choice today?

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Money matters.

Money matters more than we tend to think.

Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything. Ecclesiastes 10:19 (ESV)

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Money matters.

Money matters a lot.

When we look at money the wrong way, we tend to lose focus. Focus on faith, not finances. Just understand that the finances are important, but they are not to be our focus. Focus on faith, but keep your eye on the money.

Jesus said a lot about money, too.

No one can serve two masters.

Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Gain more perspective on the Lord’s views on your money with this week’s Friday freebie: The Master’s Words on Money.

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