Peace, Not Prosperity

Today is Sunday, the twenty-fourth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,509

Yesterday’s high temp hit 100 degrees in my area, to make our total days of triple-digit temperatures 28, with the current streak at eight days. The current forecast shows only next Saturday (July 30) being below 100. It has been fifty days since it rained. There is a 35% chance of rain next Friday, and 22% on Saturday.

We are planning a trip to Mineral Wells, next Saturday, as I have a lunch gathering with some high school band classmates, along with our director. I’m concerned that the house will be too hot to work in, but we will see how it goes.

My day at the library yesterday was pretty good. It didn’t seem very busy at the circ desk, but a lot of books were returned, so we kept busy emptying out the book drops.

The Texas Rangers lost another game to the Athletics, last night, 3-1. They are now nine games below .500, at 42-51. They remain in third place in the AL West, twenty games out of first, and eight games out of the Wild Card race. They play again in Oakland at 3:07 CDT, today. Martin Perez is starting, so there is some hope, but the bats have to work, too.

The Red Sox lost another game to the Blue Jays, but it was a bit closer, this time. It was 4-1, this time. The Sox are only one game above .500, now, at 48-47. They remain in fourth place in the AL East, and are now only a half game ahead of last place. They are 16.5 out of first place, and three games out of the Wild Card race. They play Toronto again today, in Boston, at 1:35 EDT.

The Nationals continue to have the worst MLB record, at 31-65. The Dodgers are within a half game of catching the Yankees with the best record. Those Dodgers also own the best current win streak, at seven consecutive games. The other LA team, the Angels, has the longest current losing streak, at five games. The Red Sox have lost four in a row. The Nationals still have the worst run differential, at -163. The Rangers are still in the green, but barely, with +4, and the Red Sox have dropped to -8.

At this point, I’m losing hope that either of my teams will see any playoff action, this season. I know there’s still a lot of baseball left, but it’s just not looking good. To make matters worse, Rafael Devers has been placed on the IL for the Sox. It’s just a hamstring, so maybe it won’t be for long.

We have our church gathering this morning at 10:15, and then we have a show that we are attending, in Irving, at 2:30. That’s pretty much it for the day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we bow down before you in this time when you have brought us hardships and judgment. Change this earthly age, we beseech you. Bring in something from heaven so that your will may be done and your mercy come to all nations. Strengthen us on all our ways, we pray. We thank you for all you have done for us. May your name be praised and glorified at all times. We want to follow you and to remain in your heavenly life. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 
(Hebrews 10:35–36 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the confidence I have in God, that I will be "richly rewarded"
2. for the peace that God gives us
3. that God dwells with us, within us, and not in any building
4. for God's Word, and the hope for proper understanding of it
5. for the community of saints, and the hope for unity within it

Today’s word, from Pray A Word A Day, is prosper.

“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 hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

This is a dangerous word. And the writer of today’s reading claims that the Hebrew word for prosper means “to push forward, to pass through, to get on.” However, that doesn’t appear to be the word used in Jeremiah 29:11. There is a Hebrew word that does mean that, but the word in Jeremiah 29:11 is shalom!

That word can be translated as prosperity, but usually, it means “peace,” and that is how the KJV translates it. The ESV uses the word “welfare,” the NLT says “good,” and Peterson, The Message, says “to take care of you.”

I like this verse, but we have to be careful with verses like this. This is not a “promise” that we can “claim” for ourselves. Context is everything! And in this case, it is important to look at the verse before it.

“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. 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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
(Jeremiah 29:10-14 ESV)

Here’s the thing. I do believe that God’s plans for me are good. But this passage is explicitly written to Israel, and any attempt to “claim” it for ourselves is misguided. Nevertheless, I believe we can take comfort for it, as well as the following verses that do promise that if we seek the Lord we will find Him.


My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
(Ezekiel 37:27 ESV)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
(1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV)


Father, I thank You for the peace that dwells within me. I pray for proper understanding of Your Word and that misinformation would not be spread lightly. Help us to understand the difference between peace and prosperity, especially when we get caught up in material things. I believe that my “prosperity” comes in spiritual things, and I believe that You have granted me peace through Your Spirit, because of Your Son. Help me to call on You and seek You wholeheartedly, that I might find You, because You are not making it difficult for us to find You.

Your dwelling place is, indeed, with us, within us, both individually, and as Your Church, the Body of Christ. I pray for unity as we realize this in our lives.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
(John 14:27 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.