Strengthening Your Righteousness Muscle

Strengthening Your Righteousness Muscle

Jeremiah 12:1-4

Righteous are you, O Lord,
    when I complain to you;
    yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
    Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
    they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
    and far from their heart.
But you, O Lord, know me;
    you see me, and test my heart toward you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
    and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
How long will the land mourn
    and the grass of every field wither?
For the evil of those who dwell in it
    the beasts and the birds are swept away,
    because they said, “He will not see our latter end.”

The English Standard Version of the Bible gives verses one through four the title: “Jeremiah’s Complaint”.  Some of the commentaries I have read about these verses state that this is not Jeremiah quarreling with God, or attempting to quarrel with God, but it is a plea.  I would say a plea for justice. Continue reading

Advertising Your Spirituality

Advertising Your Spirituality

You see a lot of people who claim to be very “spiritual” people.  Most of these people like to advertise just how “spiritual” they are.

Spirituality isn’t painted on the side of a van, bus, trailer, car or house.

Spirituality is painted in your heart.  It’s painted there for you and God to see and that’s all that matters.

Read Matthew 6:1-18 Continue reading

Words We Want To Hear

Words We Want To Hear

Jeremiah 10:3-5

for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
A tree from the forest is cut down
    and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
    they fasten it with hammer and nails
    so that it cannot move.
Their idols
are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
    and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
    for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
    for they cannot do evil,
    neither is it in them to do good.”

The theme of these verses seems to be a common one throughout the Old Testament.  False idols, and the destruction of a nation that turns to them is reported throughout the Bible, especially in the books of the prophets.

I have written a number of times about false gods and idolatry, and this will be another piece on that subject.  I’m sure there will be a few more times I will write about this, since I am currently reading the book of Jeremiah and still have fifteen more books to go in the Old Testatment. Continue reading

Set Your Heart

Set Your Heart

Daniel 10:12

Then he said to me “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard and I have come because of your words.”

I like the message in this verse.

People say, where is God, why hasn’t God done what I wanted?  Why hasn’t God taken care of me?  How could God let this happen to me?

They conclude “Since my life isn’t what I think it should be or what I want it to be, there must not be a God.”

The problem in that conclusion is the word “I”.  It’s not about you and you wanting your carefree life. Continue reading

Seeing Is Not Believing

Seeing Is Not Believing

Isaiah 11:3-5

And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

Isaiah is speaking of the Messiah.  If you read further into chapter 11, specifically verses 6 through 9, you will read about the peace that the Messiah will bring to the world.  What I wanted to write about is what Isaiah is saying in verses 3 through 5, and how they apply to the present, especially with all the technology and how easy it is to manipulate the truth. Continue reading

When Our Drink Is Gone

When Our Drink Is Gone

Hosea 4:18

When their drink is gone they give themselves to whoring, their rulers dearly love shame.

I knew what this meant to me when I first read it and wrote down the verse.  But I thought I would read what scholarly people think of it and compare my thoughts with theirs.

The scholars and theologians say this verse deals with the tribe of Ephraim, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, that has become a bunch of drunks, alcoholics, the people along with their leaders.

That may be true for the times this book was written but here is my modern day assessment of this verse.

Society today loves its “feel good”. Continue reading

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Isaiah 44:9-20

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?  Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.  The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.  He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.  Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

The English Standard Version of the Bible titles these verses: The Folly of Idolatry”.

Isaiah speaks of how we take man-made objects and give them powers they do not possess.  We turn them into false gods that meet our human expectations.  We do this today just as it was done in the time of Isaiah.  It is done within the conventional organized religions, where symbols are professed to deliver us from evil.  And there are those who claim that some man-made objects can possess evil powers.  These are obvious examples of idolatry.  But many of us fall to the folly of idolatry in a more subtle manner. Continue reading