Daily Encouragement

October 16 – What are we to do while we’re stuck on earth?

October 16
Jeremiah 28:1-29:32
1 Timothy 1:1-20
Psalm 86:1-17
Proverbs 25:17

Jeremiah 28:3 – Hananiah the son of Azur was a morale booster. Today we call his work PsyOps. And while it was lauded by the king, it would be worthy of death by God (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). But Hananiah’s prophecy was two years out. The prophecy of Jeremiah was time sensitive – how would the people know who was the right prophet?

World War II Morale Boosting Posters

Jeremiah 28:16 – Jeremiah prophesied that Hananiah would be dead within the year – while Hananiah’s prophecy was peace within two years. 

Interestingly in recent times John Alexander Dowie, founder of Zion, IL entered into a prayer duel with the founder of Ahmadiyya.

A bizarre sidelight on Dowie’s later years is that he became embroiled in an acrimonious public dispute with a controversial Indian Muslim religious figure, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya movement. In 1903 they engaged in a widely publicized prayer duel, each calling upon God to punish the other to expose him as a false prophet. Ahmad and his followers proclaimed Dowie’s rapidly ensuing illness, disgrace, and death as a vindication of their religious beliefs. Ahmad died in 1908, a year later than Dowie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Community_Church

Jeremiah 29:2 – It is strange that we see the eunuchs mentioned here – this is another pagan practice that had been adopted by Israel. Deuteronomy 23:1 declared castration forbade a man from the assembly of the LORD. Why would a political leader in an attempt to be like the surrounding nations, cut off his advisers from the LORD? Then again the people offered their children to Baal as burnt offerings (Jeremiah 19:5), and castrated their advisers. 

Jeremiah 29:5-7 – This is good advice for us today. We are away from our true home. Jeremiah 29:10 says they will be in captivity for 70 years. Interestingly Psalm 90:10 talks about our threescore and ten (70 years) on earth before we go to our New Jerusalem (Revelation 21)! The “United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing,” better known as Shakers, believed that Jesus was coming back so soon that they did not need to “bear sons and daughters” (Jeremiah 29:6). Even today many talk about how they can’t imagine bringing children into the world.

What are we to do ? Prepare to stay awhile thru:

  • personal comforts (build houses)
  • profits (plant gardens)
  • procreation (take wives, bear sons and daughters), 
  • politics (seek the peace of the city)

Yes God is OK with you living in a nice house, having a 401k, bringing children into this world, and with you voting, volunteering on a campaign, donating to a candidate, or even running for office yourself! BUT – 

Jeremiah 29:10 – There is something better coming (taking you to the New Jerusalem). That is the expected end. We can enjoy this present life, but remember to call upon the LORD (Jeremiah 29:12), and that someday we will be gathered in (Jeremiah 29:14).

Jeremiah 29:22 – That is a vivid image of the end of a false prophet.

1 Timothy 1:3 – Jeremiah battled false teachers in Hananiah (Jeremiah 28:15) in Jerusalem, and Ahab and Zedekiah (Jeremiah 29:21) in Babylon. Timothy is now battling false teachers in Ephesus. 

1 Timothy 1:15 – The anointed Messiah, “Jehovah is Salvation” entered the world on purpose, to save people who admit they are horrible people. The good people (those still in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 29:16-19), won’t be saved. But the bad people – those who went into captivity (Jeremiah 27:12-13) can live if they surrender! 

1 Timothy 1:17 – The hymn “Immortal Invisible, God Only Wise” is based on this verse.

1 Timothy 1:18 – In 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul will get back to this expression – as he urges Timothy to fight the good fight!

Psalm 86:1 – The Psalmist recognizes the same truth that Paul and Jeremiah do – God hears those who admit they are needy!

Proverbs 25:17 – As we say today – “Don’t wear out your welcome.”

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

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Daily Encouragement

October 15 – Not afraid for even his own life.

October 15
Jeremiah 26:1-27:22
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18
Psalm 85:1-13
Proverbs 25:16

Jeremiah 26:1 – Have you noticed that Jeremiah’s writings are not in chronological orders? Earlier we read that God would not turn even if Samuel prayed, but now he offers to hearken (Jeremiah 26:3). From J. Carl Laney:

According to Murphy, the individual units of Jeremiah were originally addressed to the people to whom Jeremiah ministered at different stages throughout his ministry. The final form of the work, compiled after Jehoiachin’s release in 561 B.C., was a message to the exiles in Babylon providing encouragement and hope through promises of restoration. Since the judgments which Jeremiah announced had been fulfilled, the exiles in Babylon could be confident that the restoration would also come about.

Murphy believes that Jeremiah has been carefully constructed to a recurring theological message of judgment and hope for God’s exiled people (p. 315). Because they have broken the Mosaic Covenant, they experienced judgment (Lev. 26, Deut. 28). But because of God’s unconditional promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:2-3), God would deliver His people from exile and rebuild them as a nation. So Jeremiah repeatedly presents Yahweh’s judgment and promised hope, destruction and restoration, and cursing and blessing.

The entry and exit points of the anthology, according to Murphy, are chapters 1 and 52. These chapters serve as “bookends” to hold the work together as an anthology. Chapter one verse 10 sets forth the agenda of the book. Here we see “in seed form” the themes of judgment and restoration which make up the rest of the book. The final chapter (52) highlights these same themes by recounting two incidents. Chapter 52 tells of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, emphasizing the theme of judgment. But the book concludes with a message of hope. Jehoiachin is released from prison, anticipating the future restoration and return of the people of Judah.

Jeremiah 26:14 – How could Jeremiah be so cavalier about his own life? Because he had accomplished what the LORD sent him to do (Jeremiah 26:12).

Jeremiah 26:18 – Who is this Micah the Morasthite? When we turn to Micah 1:1 – we realize that this was the same prophet!

  • Jeremiah 26:18 recognizes the prophecy of Micah
  • Daniel 9:2 recognizes the prophecy of Jeremiah
  • Ezekiel 14:14, 20, and Ezekiel 28:3 recognize Daniel
  • 2 Peter 3:15-16 identify Paul’s writings as Scripture

We find several times in Scripture references to other people in Scripture. It’s not just an anthology of religious sayings, but the Word of God pointing towards His Son, Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 26:23 – Religious persecution was evident in the “theocracy” of Judah with the death of Urijah. It also was evident in the Puritan colonial Massachusetts with Obadiah Holmes:

Obadiah Holmes (1610 – 15 October 1682) was an early Rhode Island settler, and a Baptist minister who was whipped in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious beliefs and activism.

Holmes.Obadiah.whipping.jpg

In 1650 he and others were taken to court for their religious views and practices, and compelled to leave the colony. He settled in Newport in the Rhode Island colony and soon befriended John Clarke and John Crandall. In July 1651 these three men, while visiting an elderly friend in Lynn, Massachusetts, were apprehended, tried, and given exorbitant fines for their religious practices. Friends paid the fines for Clarke and Crandall, but when Holmes learned of this he refused to allow them to pay his fine. Six weeks after trial he was taken to the whipping post in Boston and given 30 strokes, which were laid on so harshly that for weeks afterward Holmes could only sleep while on his knees and elbows.

Jeremiah 27:3 – A very unpatriotic message to send to Israel’s would-be allies. But this message is a message of hope as we read in Jeremiah 27:13.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 – Pray for missionaries and evangelists that the word of the LORD would have free course!

2 Thessalonians 3:6 – We are commanded to separate from disorderly brethren. What are their characteristics? False doctrine (2 Thessalonians 3:6), “Too busy to work” (2 Thessalonians 3:11), Disobedient to Scripture (2 Thessalonians 3:14).

Psalm 85:6 – Revive us again!

Proverbs 25:16 – Yes, you can have too much of a good thing!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

October 14 – A promise of punishment for presumption!

October 14
Jeremiah 23:21-25:38
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
Psalm 84:1-12
Proverbs 25:15

Jeremiah 23:21-22 – Now this is an odd scenario. There are prophets prophesying, but they weren’t sent nor spoken to by the LORD. An avalanche of alleged ambassadors from the Monarch of the World. And yet with the plethora of people purporting to proclaim the King’s Word – none have turned from their evil way.

Jeremiah 23:34 – A promise of punishment for presumption! If you are a preacher, and do not preach God’s Word but your ideas, God will judge. Unfortunately since Jonathan Edward’s day “eminent saints” have been misled by what they thought was God speaking to them:

I . . . know by experience that impressions being made with great power, and upon the minds of true saints, yea, eminent saints; and presently after, yea, in the midst of, extraordinary exercises of grace and sweet communion with God, and attended with texts of Scripture strongly impressed on the mind, are no sure signs of their being revelations from heaven: for I have known such impressions [to] fail, and prove vain.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-do-we-say-god-told-me/

Jeremiah 24:7 – Let’s pray for a heart to know the LORD, so we can appreciate that He is our God and follow Him with our whole heart.

Jeremiah 25:12 – There is so much evil to judge – God will punish Israel for 70 years, then punish Babylon for their sins. Yes it was made desolate and still is today!

Before Hussein’s reconstruction, there had already been destruction from the shifts in rivers and deserts, and still more from colonial powers. Germans took the Ishtar Gate, which is now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, while the French took ceramics, and the Turks used Babylonian bricks to build dams on the Euphrates.

The occupation of US forces also damaged the site. Following the 2003 invasion, the US camp Alpha was set up on the ruins. Areas were leveled to create landing pads for helicopters and parking lots for vehicles. Tanks rumbled over the ancient bricks, and Polish troops dug trenches through a temple. Soil holding artifacts and bones was scooped into sandbags. And even the military presence couldn’t keep out looters, who ransacked Iraq’s more than 10,000 historic sites after the invasion.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/babylon

2 Thessalonians 2:3 – What is the falling away / apostasia? From Jimmy DeYoung:

A close and careful word study of the Greek word apostasia will conclude that the true meaning of the word is found in the phrase, “departing from one place and going to another”, not a falling away from the doctrines of the church.
If the word “apostasia” was communicating that “apostasy” was what it was talking about then the Rapture and the coming of the Antichrist would have happened during the writing of II Thessalonians. Apostasy had infiltrated the early church by the time Paul wrote this passage.
What Paul is saying here is that the Antichrist, the “Son of Perdition”, would not come until the Church departs from one place and goes to another. That is what happens at the Rapture. The scenario for the future according to all prophetic passages is that the Rapture takes all Christians into Heaven and then the Antichrist appears on earth.

http://devotional.prophecytoday.com/search/label/II%20Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians 2:4 – Image of the Beast, the 3rd in the Thief in the Night series, depicts this defiling of the temple.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxmtzBkQo9o&feature=youtu.be&t=4186

2 Thessalonians 2:11 – God sends a strong delusion so people believe a lie. As we read in Jeremiah today, there are times He is angry (Jeremiah 25:38), and will not have a message for the people other than forsaking them (Jeremiah 23:33).

Psalm 84:10 – I heard a great message at the Christian School conference I was at the past few days. Discouragement comes in when we start calculating our hourly wage rather than our eternal reward.

Psalm 84:11 – The verse is a setting of a song from the WILDS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LX8rt8z2Jo

Proverbs 25:15 – Pastor Andrew Brunson was finally released after two years of negotiations. The FBI lead hostage negotiator shares that the best way to negotiate is with “the late night DJ voice.” Slow, deep, and calm.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

October 13 – The prophetic voice of the church

October 13

  • Jeremiah 22:1-23:20
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
  • Psalm 83:1-18
  • Proverbs 25:11-14

Jeremiah 22:1 – As I write this we are less than a month from the next election. We’ll be electing leaders, who will be passing laws. How will they decide which laws are worth passing? That comes from their personal morality. Is it more important to do X or to do Y. The job of the church in relation to the government is to teach the values to inform the policies made. As we’ve all heard, all legislation is morality, it’s just a question of whose morality we’re going to legislate.

Jeremiah 22:13 – Morality begins in the home. It is not until we repair our relationships that we can be blessed by God.

Jeremiah 22:30 – From Ellicott’s:

(30) Write ye this man childless.–The meaning of the prediction, as explained by the latter clause of the verse, was fulfilled in Jeconiah’s being the last kingly representative of the house of David, his uncle Zedekiah, who succeeded him, perishing before him (Jeremiah 52:31). In him the sceptre departed, and not even Zerubbabel sat upon the throne of Judah. Whether he died actually childless is less certain. In 1Chronicles 3:17 Assir (possibly, however, the name should be translated “Jeconiah the prisoner”) appears as his son, and as the father of Salathiel, or Shealtiel; and in Matthew 1:12 we find “Jechonias begat Salathiel.” In these genealogies, however, adoption or succession, or a Levirate marriage so constantly takes the place of parentage, that nothing certain can be inferred from these data, and St. Luke (Luke 3:27) places Salathiel among the descendants of Nathan, as though the line of Solomon became extinct in Jeconiah, and was replaced by the collateral branch of the house of David (see Note on Luke 3:23). The command, “write ye this man childless,” is apparently addressed to the “scribes who kept the register of the royal genealogies (Ezekiel 13:9Psalm 69:28-29). They were told how, without waiting for his death, they were to enter Coniah’s name in that register.

Jeremiah 23:4  This month is Pastor Appreciation Month – thank God for good pastors!

Jeremiah 23:16 – 1 John 4:1 commands us to “try the spirits” and not secretly adopt them. There are many people today who are similar to the false prophets, walking after the imaginations of their hearts.

2 Thessalonians 1:5 – Worthiness for the kingdom comes from suffering in this life? No wonder Paul had to write to clarify his instructions from previously!

Psalm 83:6 – The tabernacles of Edom? Jimmy DeYoung explores Edom in his documentary: “Rome Rising.”

Psalm 83:18 – Praise the LORD – there is no other, there is no other by His name!

Proverbs 25:11 – Discernment and application are great life-long skills to have.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

October 12 – From the Serpent in the Garden to Baal in Tophet: Satan’s plan for your death

October 12
Jeremiah 19:1-21:14
1 Thessalonians 5:4-28
Psalm 82:1-8
Proverbs 25:9-10

Jeremiah 19:3 – This wasn’t to pagan Assyria, or wayward Israel, but the Kings of Judah! They have built altars to Baal and offered their sons to Baal.

Baal idol, University of Chicago. Author’s photograph.

Jeremiah 19:9 – Baal was a fertility god – the people offered their firstborn to Baal so that Baal would grant them many more children. The LORD didn’t ask for human sacrifice, but redemption (Exodus 13:15 – The LORD drew a distinct difference between mankind and the animals). This act was a memorial of the Passover, which itself foreshadowed our Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7)! But – because the firstborn has been sacrificed to Baal, they cannot be redeemed to the LORD.

Note the similarity between this and the Garden of Eden. The Tree of Life is more powerful than the Tree of Death/Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3:22). If Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Life first, they would live forever (Genesis 3:22). If they ate of the Tree of Life after, it would reverse the Tree of Death. But because they ate of the Tree of Death first, God put a guard at the east entrance to the way of the Tree of Life to keep them from eating it (Genesis 3:24) – because the life that comes ‘free’ must now be paid for with blood (Hebrews 9:22). Satan had a plan to keep Adam & Eve from the Tree of Life by getting them to the Tree of Death first, just like he planned to keep the kids from being redeemed by the LORD by being sacrificed to Baal (Jeremiah 19:9).

But if they will offer their firstborn to Baal, the LORD challenges Baal try to deliver the other kids from the LORD’s promised judgment that will cause not just filicide but cannibalism! Jeremiah further says (because they apparently do not value children as much as prosperity) if you go to worship by burning your children alive at Tophet (Jeremiah 19:2/Jeremiah 19:6), I’ll make your houses like Tophet as well (Jeremiah 19:13).

Jeremiah 20:2 – Well, the street preacher Jeremiah has been arrested (no 1st Amendment rights in Jerusalem!), beaten, and put in stocks.

Jeremiah 20:9 – A reluctant witness for the LORD cannot stay silent. His word is as a burning fire shut up in my bones – release it!

Jeremiah 21:9 – The only way to survive is to surrender. All to Jesus do you surrender?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2BnL_zI7uw

1 Thessalonians 5:8 – Americans consumed 7 billion gallons of beer last year. But Paul urges us to be sober!

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Whether we live or die – our comfort is that we are with our LORD!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray on occasion? No! Pray without ceasing! (And pray for us! 1 Thessalonians 5:25).

Psalm 82:3-4 – Looking at what we read in Jeremiah – who is poorer or needier than the young firstborn babies that were sacrificed to Baal? Who needs protection more than the widow, on the verge of being fleeced by the unscrupulous dealmaker?

Proverbs 25:9 – Debate thy cause with thy neighbor on Facebook… or privately? Yes discretion is a valuable tool in the Christian’s arsenal!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.