The Bible is not my crystal ball or money-making machine.

If I, claiming Christianity, offer lavish promises for health and wealth in the future by making certain “good choices” today (like giving me money), I have used God’s Word not as a crystal ball but as a money making machine, and I fall into terrible danger (see, for example, the story of Simon the magician in Acts 8:9-24 or Balaam, summarized in 2 Peter 2:13-17).

For me to claim to know Christ and abuse His Word, I have revealed who I really am (Matthew 7:15-23) and disregard what Christ says (i.e., Matthew 5:3-5, Matthew 5:10-12, Matthew 10:21-28,  Matthew 10:38-39, Matthew 17:26 [Jesus performs a miracle to be able to pay taxes because He is so poor!], Matthew 19:21-24, Mark 8:31-38, Luke 9:46-48 Luke 9:58, Luke 19:1-8, John 9:1-3).

One of the most famous Old Testament passages comes from Jeremiah 29:11:

I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord.  They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. (GW)

For many years, I really didn’t know the story of Jeremiah.

The book of Jeremiah is painful to read.  It is the account of the life of a prophet who saw God’s plan when few, if anyone, around him did.  He was imprisoned, beaten, thrown into a pit, and belittled.

Jewish tradition says he was assassinated by his own people after they were exiled (forced to leave their country).

Jeremiah knew much about what would happen in his immediate future, yet he did not use this information in a way that made him wealthy, healthy, or even happy.

On the contrary, God revealed His Plan to Jeremiah to reveal the wickedness of the people, how they would refuse to turn back from their doom, and how God’s never-ending mercy would rescue those who trusted in Him during or after their exile. . . not a rescue from the troubles of this life, but a rescue of eternal death.

Revelation is comparable to the prophesies from Jeremiah in the sense that we are not told how to avoid the persecution; we are told to be brave in spite of it.

And that’s not a prediction any fortune-seeker is going to pay to hear.

The Bible isn’t just about our future.  The Word is about our past, present, and future.  Our past is washed clean in Christ’s blood, our present is made perfect by His redemption, and our future is kept safe in His love.

Whatever has happened, is happening, or will happen, we live by this faith . . . not by fortune.

We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. (Romans 3:21-22a, NIV)

But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22, NIV)

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