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Santa Cruz, 14 December 2016

¡Saludos de Bolivia! I came here once before (2008), before our church (Atlanta) had formed a strong bond with the church in the capital city of La Paz. Now many of our members regularly head down to Bolivia (and Costa Rica, Ghana, South Africa, and other countries). Santa Cruz is three flights from Atlanta, with layovers in Miami and Lima, Peru. 

In Santa Cruz I was able to spend time with a group of men considering being elders in the church. (They specifically asked for the material in my podcast "A Fresh Look at Elders.") Then I taught the congregation (200+) a lesson on Gracia versus Legalismo. Nearly a third of the crowd were seekers and other visitors. (I always love it when there are lots of non-Christians in the audience!)

Tonight at the university it's Dios y la Ciencia. Christian evidences, including science, are useful for students the world over. Tomorrow I'm in Cochabamba. The third and final stop on the speaking tour will be La Paz.
Photos, L to R: the location of Bolivia in South America; satellite view of Santa Cruz; with local church in Santa Cruz; Cochabamba; La Paz, elevation c.9000 m (12,000 ft); Cristian Escobar (leader, Santa Cruz)

"Lord, Lord"

In this series we have uncovered the lies told by the religious establishment -- and echoed among the people -- in the time of Jeremiah and that of Jesus. The three lies -- "Peace, peace!", "The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord," and "I had a dream, I had a dream" are still alive and kicking today, wreaking spiritual havoc among millions who call themselves Christians. 

One characteristic of the lies you have probably noticed is that they are repeated. The more people hear the lie, the more they will believe it. I recall a similar thought expressed in Mein Kampf. Hitler knew that he could bypass the rational thought process if only the big lie were reinforced by frequent repetition. In the same vein, Jesus warns us, "“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord...'" (Matt 7:21-22a). It isn't enough to call him Lord. He must also be our Lord!

There are several further ties between Jeremiah and Jesus:
  • Jeremiah was known as "the weeping prophet" (Jer 9:1). Similarly, Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41).
  • Both prophesied the destruction of the Temple: Jeremiah, the first (at the hands of the Babylonians); Jesus, the second, at the hand of the Romans (655 years later).
  • Both were relatively young when they took on "the system" (Jer 1:6-7; John 8:57). Can you find any more parallels? 
By now you have seen how strong the connection between Jesus and Jeremiah is. Hopefully this will also prove to be an incentive for a closer reading of Scripture, and especially those passages that foreshadow the Messiah, Jesus. 

It is unfortunate that the majority of Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, and even independents fail to teach the truth about the Lordship of Christ. Ceremonies, sacraments, doctrine, and theology will not save us. Only an obedient lifestyle will ensure we make it in the end. Let's give the Lord and his Word the place they deserve in our lives. Let's obey "the implanted word, which is able to save our souls" (Jas 1:21 ESV).

CLEAN in 2017

For quite some time now we have kicked off every year with a month of special podcasts (with notes). For example, 2015 began with an in-depth look at Romans, Romans A-Z, and 2016 started with Proverbs: the Disciplined Life. What's the plan for 2017?

CLEAN, or Clean in Twenty Seventeen, is designed to inspire us to have a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith (1 Tim 1:5). We will reach this goal by studying the great themes of purity and cleansing in the Bible, especially through stories of persons whose lives were radically transformed. That's why the subtitle of the new series is “Purity, Cleansing, Leprosy, Exorcism, & Reanimation.”

Intrigued? Do you long to be done with sin and to live a holy life? Next week you will be able to listen to the introductory podcast -- and make your decision. 

Douglas Jacoby

All material (c) 2016 by Douglas Jacoby.       unsubscribe from this list           update subscription preferences