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An Endlessly Misinterpreted Scripture

FaithJessica Scheks3 Comments

About a week or so ago I read this post by Lori over at Always Learning. She was talking about contentment and spending less because materials goods have no value -- eternally speaking. She mentioned a verse that I constantly see on Pinterest, that is sometimes posted on Facebook when someone is going through a trial, and is quoted by many in the Christian world. The problem is that people always quote the NIV {this post is not intended to debate which version is the best} instead of the KJV. I've always been taught that the KJV is closer to the original translation and I often use the Strong's KJV concordance while studying to really help me understand a verse better since some of the vocabulary is rarely used anymore or used differently in this day and age.

The verse is Jeremiah 29:11 -- you have probably heard it quoted this way many times:

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'"

However Lori quoted it from the KJV Bible and it takes on an entirely different feeling and meaning:

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

{I'm sure I've read this scripture a dozen or so times in the KJV Bible, but it never really struck me until today.}

Now I didn't mean to be super harsh by crossing out the first version of this scripture, but the world tends to interpret this verse very incorrectly when read from this version. They believe that God has a very specific plan for them filled with only good things; they will never be harmed and no matter what they will always have a hope for eternity.

First off -- this scripture is about the Israelites as a whole, it's definitely not directed towards one specific individual, but rather a large nation. People today take it is a promise that God will specifically make sure no harm comes their way as an individual. But by reading more of the Bible we know that trials are going to come our way. Just because we are going through a trial does not mean God has forsaken us! Psalm 34:19 tells us that "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them ALL!" {Emphasis mine.}

I feel like to continue this post I'm going to have to mention the concept of predestination >> Personally I believe that God predestines certain events, certain jobs for certain people, etc. But I do not believe that He predestines every aspect of every person's life. If He did it seems to me that we would not have free will, or the ability to make choices. My two main "arguments" are that first of all, God has given us the ability to make choices because we have the ability to sin. But if God predestined every single decision we made, then when we did sin would it be God's fault? I think we know the answer. It definitely would not be God's fault. Secondly, if God knew the outcome of everything then praying would be pointless. In Mark 7:25-30, the Syrophoenician Woman changed the mind of God by asking Jesus a second question in order to have the demon driven out of her daughter. If it were predestined that Jesus would not heal her daughter, then her asking a second question and persisting that her daughter be healed wouldn't have changed anything.

Something else that we need to consider is the fall of mankind -- we failed. Therefore we have a curse on this earth which explains much of the evil and sickness that we must endure. If we had not fallen, death would not be a fear of humans because we were not made to die. But mankind decided to sin; it was a decision, and now we have to live with the consequences.

Taking all of this into consideration will tell you that, yes, Christians along with everyone else in the world will go through trials and suffer at some point, but we also have a hope that the rest of the world doesn't have -- That if we continue to walk with God while we're being tested we will come forth as gold! (Job 23:10)

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" // Romans 8:1-3

Jesus made us free! He suffered to make us free. He suffered. He sinlessly suffered to make sinners free. {There is no greater love!} But this means we will also suffer, but we will suffer for Christ's sake! Suffering for Jesus seems like the least I could do since he did everything for me and yet I feel unworthy even to suffer in his name let alone be blessed.

And even though this scripture doesn't mean what so many believers think it means, it doesn't take any of the glory from our God! He does know you personally, after all He created you. He formed you. He is YOUR {personal, loving, all-knowing, amazing, graceful, merciful} GOD!


We Are Not Above Anyone's Sin

FaithJessica Scheks3 Comments

A couple weeks ago I was driving home listening to Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. The topic immediately caught my interest as it was sort of a taboo topic to discuss in the Christian world and I had also just finished reading the novel And The Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers. (Which I highly recommend!)

{First let me preface this post by saying that this topic did not appeal to me because it is something I've gone through or have watched someone else go through. However, it is very intriguing to hear how other Christians have gotten through something so terrible.}

The topic was marital affairs. Jill Savage and her husband were on the show discussing the experience they endured and the steps they had taken to save their marriage afterwards. You can read their story here if you'd like, but I'm not going into too much detail about it in this post.

What left a lasting impression in my mind after listening to the program was something a caller had said. A woman called in to share her experience: Her husband had cheated on her, she was a Christian and he was a "Christian" (aka: He didn't walk the walk, but said he believed in God sort of thing). When she found out about the affair she was shocked and completely distraught; feeling like her world was caving in. Thankfully she had a solid group of Christian women who went through the experience with her - listening when she needed to talk and giving advice when she asked for it. She said the one piece of advice that helped her decide to try and fight for her marriage was short and simple, but it made a big enough of an impact on her that she chose to stay and work things out. Her friend simply told her:

"You are not above his sin." 

When she took that advice to heart and applied it to her marriage, it didn't mean that things instantly turned around. It was a huge struggle for her. But thankfully, upon being found out, her husband turned to Christ more than he ever had in the past. He turned his life over to God and repented and had a deep sorrow for what he had done to his wife. I can't imagine how much harder it would have been for her had he not.

But then she went on to say that she is now the thankful one that her husband stuck by her side because for two years she wasn't the easiest person to live with. She made life very hard for her husband, and looking back she couldn't believe he stayed through it all - which shows that he had a true salvation experience! It just amazed me to hear that as her and her husband started to get on the other side of this trial and she looked back over the experience, she began to realize how blessed she was that he stayed for the way she treated him on a daily basis.

Many callers also said that looking back, they wouldn't change what they had gone through now that they had mostly gotten past it... Which is a pretty powerful thing to say because no one would wish for an affair in their marriage.

The message I got from listening to this radio segment has really stuck in my mind the past few days as I interact with others. There hasn't been huge fights or drama-filled conversations, but even the little things that annoy me or when someone close to me does something I find to be extremely irritating, I have to remember that I AM NOT ABOVE THEIR SIN. The mere fact that I get so annoyed and irritated shows that I'm definitely not above their sin. And it's amazing how quickly you can forget that fact in the midst of something -- Lord help me not to forget! Fill my heart with love for those around me so that I can respond with compassion and glorify You in all that I do. I am reminded of the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians when I reflect on all of this because charity is so important; if I don't have charity I have nothing.

love//My photo was edited on VRSLY//

So even if an affair is not something you are going through, I would still encourage you to read Jill Savage's blog posts about how her and her husband worked to save their marriage. They just recently did a series titled "No More Perfect Marriages" where her and her husband took turns sharing about their experiences before, during, and after the affair they endured. I feel like it's a lesson to all Christians despite whether or not they've had to deal with an affair because it's very hard to love someone at their absolute worst -- especially when they've done something so painful towards you.