Have We Grown Complacent?

Complacent. That was a problem with the people of God during the time of the Old Testament prophets. Has complacency become a problem with the people of God today?

According to Dictionary.com’s definition, complacency is “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.”

I’ve gone back to reading the prophets again. Not that they are books of overt comfort, but books of warning. Warning to God’s people to stop being complacent, wake up, take a thorough inspection of our lives to see how we line up with God’s word, and make necessary changes.

The prophet Amos was burdened over the sin of the northern kingdom in the eighth century B.C. He was outraged at the violence God’s people did to the justice and righteousness of God. He felt social justice inseparable from true piety. He believed, based on what the Lord showed him, you can’t have true piety without the social justice and vice versa.

You can’t be complacent.

Previously, I wrote a post taken from the book of Amos titled Fat Cows. This post discussed the women of Bashan. Women who were content with the way things were. They were unconcerned with the events going on around them. As long as their husbands continued to bring them what they wanted, they were fine. Who cared about the oppressed, poor, or needy? Certainly not them.

They were complacent.

Another post from Amos talked about God’s plumb line, saying one day God will take out his plumb line, hold it against the walls of our lives and judge accordingly those who become complacent.

Looking at the book of Amos, we see the Lord roared like a ferocious lion from his Temple on Mount Zion against the sins of his people. God states he will not leave the people unpunished any longer. The Lord asks, how can he and his people talk together with their sins between them?

How indeed.

God tells his people to seek him and live. Stop chasing after idols. He says the evil men make justice a bitter pill for the poor and oppressed. Righteousness and fair play are meaningless fictions to them. The Lord says evil men hate honest judges and despise people who tell the truth. They trample the poor and steal their smallest crumb.

The Lord says he hates show and pretense; the hypocrisy of honoring him with solemn gatherings. He will no longer accept hymns of praise because they have become mere noise to his ears.

Instead, God wants to see a mighty flood of justice, a torrent of doing good.

The closing chapters of Amos predict destruction. The final chapter ends with restoration.

As the Lord spoke through his prophet Amos against the complacent sins of his people, I believe he speaks through the same prophets to his people today.

There is much to learn from God’s prophets of the Old Testament. Wouldn’t you agree?

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I am the Lord, and I know your terrible sins. You cheat honest people and take bribes; you rob the poor of justice. Times are so evil that anyone with good sense will keep quiet. If you really want to live, you must stop doing wrong and start doing right. I, the Lord God All-Powerful, will then be on your side, just as you claim I am.  Choose good instead of evil! See that justice is done. Maybe I, the Lord All-Powerful, will be kind to what’s left of your people. Amos 5:12-15 (CEV)

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Guest Post – I Am Barabbas

Today’s guest post, I Am Barabbas,written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I am Barabbas.

I do not use the name Barabbas. I have never used the name Barabbas. All of my identifying documents have no reference to this name. Any correspondence whether by old school snail mail, current standard messenger apps or business appropriate email ever suggested that I am Barabbas but I must insist, I am Barabbas. Before you contact anyone on my behalf, before you seek mental health assistance under the assumption that I am experiencing some type of mental health issue, let me remind you that you too are Barabbas.

It is a small part of the story.

Jesus had been accused of many things most of which wouldn’t even get Him arrested nowadays. The mob mentality had taken over and the people in the crowd had become easily influenced. Pilate was stuck. He had an innocent man hated by the religious leaders and a guilty man, guilty not of a petty crime but of murder. One of which would get to go free and one who would be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The religious leaders whipped the crowd into a frenzy so that they demanded a free pass for a killer and a crucifixion for the one that had done no wrong. I am Barabbas and you are too.

The imagery couldn’t be more clear.

If you were to write a fictional account of selflessness, of dying so someone else could live and you really wanted the reader to identify with the one whose life was spared, this would be the story you would write. If you were to dream up a way to say, “hey reader, if you really want to experience the moral of the story imagine yourself as this character,” having a character like Barabbas would be the way to achieve your goal. Anyone who read the story would find themselves saying, “I am Barabbas and you are too.”

This isn’t fiction but still, the imagery couldn’t be more clear.

Often we read the biblical account of Jesus’ trial and death and see how unfair it was for the one who knew no sin to die for those who are sinful by nature. We understand that it should be us losing our lives because it is us that have committed the acts of disobedience against God. We read about Barabbas being released and it just adds to the drama around the injustice surrounding the ordered crucifixion of the son of God. It is unfair, wrong, unjust, corrupt and many other adjectives but the descriptive word we often miss is imagery. I am Barabbas and you are too.

We have been let off the hook.

We deserve to die not Jesus. That is where the biblical account ends but I wonder, did Barabbas keep his granted clemency in the forefront of his thoughts? Did he live as a man deserving death but allowed to live? Was he changed because someone else took his place? We will never know this side of eternity although, if it still matters once I am in heaven, I would love to know what happened to Barabbas. I guess the only question that you and I can answer is, do we live with our granted clemency in the forefront of our thoughts? Do we live as a people deserving death but allowed to live? Are we changed because someone else took our place? I am Barabbas and you are too.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:12-14 (NIV)

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Prevail Book Review

Beginning with Genesis 12:7 and ending with Revelation 22:12-13, Prevail: 365 Days of Enduring Strength from God’s Word by Susie Larson gives readers exactly what the title promises; enduring strength from God’s word.

Reading Prevail is like talking with a trusted friend about your problems, fears, and doubts, knowing she will point you to God’s truths without the least bit of ridicule or condemnation.

Although I appreciate the way Prevail works its way sequentially through the Bible, I especially appreciate the Table of Contents which lists each devotion by subject. I find that helpful when looking for a devotion that addresses a specific need.

Each devotion has a highlighted verse, meaningful commentary of the Scripture that speaks to the reader in a personable, encouraging way, and points the reader to God. This is followed by the Scripture reference the devotion came from for further study, an application statement, and short prayer. The pages are beautiful. Swirls of varying pastels adorn each page. I found that soothing.

I highly recommend Prevail: 365 Days of Enduring Strength from God’s Word for those seeking more from their daily devotional.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Are We Living In Laodicea?

In the beginning of the book of Revelation, the apostle John records Christ’s words regarding Christ’s letters to seven churches. In Chapter 3, Christ’s letter is to the church at Laodicea.  This city, about forty miles east of Ephesus, has been called the “city of compromise.” The Laodiceans tried to be neutral regarding their faith, giving no real commitment to following Christ.

Laodicea was a place of great wealth with a prosperous center of banking. It manufactured clothing made from the wool of black sheep raised in the area. It was a major center of commerce situated on trade routes.

It was a place of science and literature. It boasted in having an excellent medical school. In fact, the Laodiceans developed a salve using Phrygian powder which cured eye diseases.

Although the Laodiceans boasted in their wealth, fine black wool garments, and salve to cure eye diseases, Jesus condemned them. He said they were really miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.

They were spiritually poor in the midst of their worldly wealth.

Jesus suggested they buy from him gold made pure in fire so they could be truly rich. Buy from him white clothes so they could be clothed and cover their shameful nakedness. Buy from him medicine to put on their eyes so they could truly see.

The Laodiceans built an aqueduct which brought cold water from the mountains. By the time it reached them, the water was lukewarm. Likewise, in a valley nearby were hot springs. As boiling water was brought to the city, it cooled on the way and was only moderately warm.

Neither hot nor cold.

I like ice cold tea. I don’t like it once the ice melts in my glass. I also like hot tea. I do not enjoy it once it cools and grows lukewarm. Perhaps you can say the same about food or drinks you enjoy. We want them one way or the other. Not something straddling the middle.

So I wonder. Are we living In Laodicea? Are we walking around like we’ve got it all together? Saying we’re rich. We don’t need anyone’s help, including God’s.

As was true with those living in Laodicea, it is true with us today. A life of compromise and lack of commitment to Christ does not appeal to Jesus. It makes him want to spit.

Neither hot nor cold.

Unaware of spiritual poverty and blindness.

Clothed in darkness, not light.

I don’t believe any of us want Jesus to spit us out because we’ve let the fire that once burned bright for him grow dim. Perhaps we need to get rid of lukewarm attitudes and turn up the heat in our commitment and relationship with Jesus, so our eyes can truly see how he desires us to live.

And then live it.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 I know what you do, that you are not hot or cold. I wish that you were hot or cold!  But because you are lukewarm—neither hot, nor cold—I am ready to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich, and I have become wealthy and do not need anything.’ But you do not know that you are really miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.  I advise you to buy from me gold made pure in fire so you can be truly rich. Buy from me white clothes so you can be clothed and so you can cover your shameful nakedness. Buy from me medicine to put on your eyes so you can truly see.

 “I correct and punish those whom I love. So be eager to do right, and change your hearts and lives. Revelation 3:15-19 (NCV)

 

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry – Child of My Love, Lean Hard

Child of My Love, Lean Hard

Jeremiah Eames Rankin

Francis Murphy’s Gospel Temperance Hymnal‎ page 57

Child of My love, lean hard,

And let Me feel the pressure of your care;

I know your burden, child. I shaped it;

Balanced it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion

In its weight to your unaided strength,

For even as I laid it on, I said,

“I will be near, and while she leans on Me,

This burden will be Mine, not hers;

So will I keep My child within the circling arms

Of My Own love.” Here lay it down, not fear

To impose it on a shoulder that upholds

The government of worlds. Yet closer come:

You are not near enough. I would embrace your care;

So I might feel My child reclining on My breast.

You love Me, I know. So then do not doubt;

But loving Me, lean hard.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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