What is the Most Misinterpreted Verse in the Bible? (Jefferson Bethke)

​This is a repost from Jefferson Bethke’s devotional:

Hey !

For today‘s devotional, I wanted to talk about what I think is the most misinterpreted verse in the Bible: Jeremiah 29:11

You might know this verse, maybe you have it on a coffee mug or a plaque above your desk with these words: 
 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

This verse is super encouraging, but a lot of people take it out of context and apply is to their college or their job or the person they want to date. We declare our plans to God and say, “Ok God, I know you have plans for my good so work my plans for welfare and not for evil.” 

But the problem is that we can’t take this verse out of the context of the paragraph, the chapter, and the book it’s in. Jeremiah was talking to the Kingdom of Judah, calling to them to repent and turn back to God.

This specific verse was a declaration to the people of Judah. They were in exile. Their national identity and their temple were under attack. And Jeremiah reminds them that God does care for them. 

The verse right before 11 says: 
 

“For thus says the Lord: 
When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, 
and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.”

 

In these two verses, God is saying, “It’s not ok right now, but it’s going to get better.”
 

So Does This Apply to Us at All?

Two things I wanted to share with you guys.

1) When we tell God our plans, we miss what God is doing

If we make God into our own personal genie, tell him what we want and just expect him to do it, then we get disappointed and feel like God wronged us. God is working in our lives, but if we’re too concerned with our plan then we aren’t seeing how God is working things together for our good (Romans 8:28). 

2) The True Promise Is Jesus Christ

The other place in the Bible where Jeremiah is mentioned is Daniel 9. Daniel is at the end of the 70-year promise and he prays to God asking if they’re at the end of the prophesy. But God answers Daniel, telling him, 
 

“Seventy sevens are decreed about your people and your holy city,
to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet,
and to anoint a most holy place.”

 

In Hewbew, seventy sevens kinda means 70×7. The true restoration of Israel and the temple would come 490 years later—the birth of Jesus. 

The promise of Jeremiah 29:11 is delivered in Jesus Christ. He is our welfare, he is our riches, he is our hope, and he is our temple, where heaven and earth meet. He died on the cross so we could truly know God. 

So if you enjoy Jeremiah 29:11, you can take that promise for you in Jesus Christ, that we can dwell in him and his grace. 

Radiant Church

Radiant Church

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.” (Philippians 1:27-28)

A church is a place where people should be distinct. It is a place of where the love of Christ abounds and where truth is practiced. It is a home for people who are in need and a hospital for sinners. Not a museum for the righteous, neither a place for perfect people. Manner of life is a matter of developing your lifestyle. Paul admonished the Philippian church about their way of lifestyle by simply giving them guidelines especially in living out their faith. Our testimony as a church is one very effective tool to witness to those who don’t know Christ yet so it is important to observe our manner of lives to be worthy of the gospel of Christ. How then should we live our lives as part of the body of Christ?

Standing firm in one spirit

When we stand firm in our faith and the teachings of Christ in ONE COMMENDABLE SPIRIT. Having a common set of values in the church could help us live accordingly in the light of God’s Word. A firm faith is unshakeable and cannot be compromised. If we submit to God’s word and standards accordingly then people can see the distinction of having a savior living in us. Whenever we conform to God’s will, we are submitting ourselves to ONE Holy Spirit. A church worshipping God and sharing same biblical values can hold each other accountable in our walk with God.

Striving side by side

Nothing is too difficult when it is done together. Walking in the faith is difficult without the help of our local church. We could achieve greater heights and deeper depths together with the help of God. Even ants know the principle of working together that they can carry huge amount of food by carrying it altogether. A shared burden is a shared accomplishment done by a shared community. As part of the body of Christ we MUST know and do our part for the benefit of the whole body. In as much as we should, we must edify the church making every effort to show love to one another and as an encouragement to the discouraged.

Church is the physical representation of the invisible Holy Spirit in this age. Let us contribute to make Christ’ Church radiant in this world of darkness.

Prayer That Catches God’s Attention

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“And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; He is calling you.”
Mark 10:47-49

Attention. Infants get it by crying so hard. Children receive it by making tantrums. Students want it from their teachers by raising their hands. We demand it every time we are speaking to someone. Should we demand it or acquire? Just like how firemen see a smoke nearby for them to respond in a rescue mission, same with everyone. We need to get people’s attention by creating something that will cause them to stop and look at you.
In the story, Jesus was about to pass by the roadside in Jericho where there was this blind man named Bartimaeus shouting at the top of his voice. He is shouting the name of Jesus. Properly addressing Him, he shouted “Son of David”. In this case, Jesus would know that this man was calling for Him – that he was calling for a specific person by name, calling Jesus as someone he knew personally. However, since a crowd of disciples was following Jesus, maybe He did not noticed his cry. But some people who heard him asked him to stop. Why? Maybe because he is blind and probably would ask for alms or whatever they could give to him, and yet, he shouted all the more. There then, Jesus heard and turned His head. Bartimaeus has gotten his attention. Jesus, the unstoppable God that even death could not contain; the unstoppable One who never stops loving us. He is unstoppable enough to finish the road to Calvary by laying Himself down for us even His disciples tried to stop His death. For the one of the most uncommon situations, “Jesus stopped.” The blind helpless beggar had an unstoppable faith that made the unstoppable God stopped.

How did the Bartimaeus was able to get His attention? Persistence and perseverance. How many times did we stop praying for something we prayed for so long and God haven’t answered yet? It could be the salvation of a loved one or a break in our career. He honors our persistence and perseverance in our prayers. Didn’t He mentioned in a parable that a persistent friend that knocks in the middle of the night to ask bread will eventually receive what he asked for because of his impudence? (Lk. 11:8) Never stop praying persistently with perseverance so that we won’t miss the point of prayer in our lives, that is to get “in touch” with Jesus – hand to hand experience like what Bartimaeus had.

Divine Appointment

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“And the Lord commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.” – Deuteronomy 31:23 ESV

 

Joshua is a great conqueror. Little he knew about it until such time that God said so. We are all like him. We are living our lives the way we wanted without a clear direction because we never had a clear instruction until we see that there is a God who can give us our divine appointment. We will live our lives chasing after pointless things because we do not know our purpose.

One good thing here is that God knows how we are wired because He is our creator. He addressed Joshua properly saying “the son of Nun” denoting how much God knows about Joshua – his identity, his passions, his strengths. The same goes for you. Joshua was called and chosen by God. Hand-picked to carry a task with a clear instruction. The big question is, “will you cooperate with God’s plan?”

He was called to be courageous for the task appointed to Joshua was larger than life. God gives his people a mission that is always too difficult so that they would learn how to depend on God all throughout the journey. God knew that discouragements would be inevitable specially in carrying the divine appointment that He gave us yet he gave the promise ‘I will be with you.’ How often do we listen to God’s instruction for His desire for our lives? Did we just simply give up on God-given dreams hard-wired with our God-given passions?

Living out God’s purpose is not an easy road. It’s normal to experience opposition but our response to it will matter. God wants Joshua to conquer the promise land and lead the Israelites. It is easy to give up whenever opposition comes but our desire to accomplish every God-given task. The happiest people on earth are not the rich ones; neither the powerful nor the influential ones but the one who has come alive by knowing His purpose through a God-given divine appointment.  All men die, but only few men have ever lived. Our busy lives are filled with appointments with different people and a lot of disappointments from life but God’s divine appointment is simply attained by setting a “divine appointment” with God.

Are you living the divine appointment God has given you? How often do we seek God in our “divine appointments” with Him? Is there a time that you have really carefully thought about seeking His will in your life’s purpose?