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Tiberias, Israel, 26 October 2016

Less than 48 hours into the Biblical Study Tour, we've already visited Caesarea Maritima (the impressive Roman capital on the Mediterranean coast where Pontius Pilate was based); Armageddon (the hill of Megiddo, the location of dozens of battles through the course of history); Magdala (and the newly opened synagogue where Mary Magdalene grew up); the Sea of Galilee (the sunset boat tour was amazing); Caesarea Philippi (where Peter confessed Jesus as Messiah); Tel Dan (the ruins of one of the two of the cities in Northern Israel where the apostate kingdom worshipped a golden bull (1 Kings 12:27-29); Bethsaida (the fishing village that was home to Philip, Peter and Andrew; Nazareth and Capernaum (Jesus' first and second hometowns). And we're only just getting started!

Writes Atlanta Christian Sherwin Mackintosh: "We had a devo on the boat yesterday on the Sea of Galilee (photo below). People were in tears from the reality of that situation. It was intense!" 

40 have already signed up for the 2017 tour, and there's plenty of room for more. Visit the website. Let me (or fellow-tour leader Steve Kinnard) know if you want to register.

Lie no.1: "Peace, peace!"

Last week we introduced the series with the sad and shocking truth that in the Israel of Jeremiah's time religious leaders were corrupt. "Prophets prophesy lies" (5:31), Jeremiah laments. The first lie is found in Jeremiah 6:

6:13 “From the least to the greatest,
    all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.
14 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
Peace, peace,’ they say,
    when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.

The people of God were not doing well. Their spiritual malaise is compared to a medical emergency. Instead of surgery, they were offered a band-aid. Their spiritual leaders were glossing over the problems, refusing to deal with the real issues. The consequences would be dire.

Sound familiar? Preachers who won't preach the word, teachers who inoculate their listeners against the truth by boring them or skewing the message, elders more concerned with making budget than with the truth -- the first lie, "Peace, peace," is repeated every Sunday throughout most Christian denominations.
  • Christians are no longer learning the scriptures (unexcited about God's word).
  • Fellowship is superficial, even when it's apparent people are stagnating or uninvolved in the ministry.
  • Sin and worldliness are rampant, yet no one is challenging sin.
  • Few visitors are attracted to the church, and even fewer men and women are being baptized into Christ. 
How tragic! Not just sad, but "horrible and shocking" (Jer 5:30). This will not end well for ancient Judah -- and it won't end well for us if we swallow this first lie. What's the second one?  (To be continued...)

Until next week...

Next week I'll write from Jerusalem. Please keep all 144 members of our group in your prayers. Thanks for your support.

Douglas Jacoby

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