Who Is Wise Among You?

Photo by Andrés Dallimonti on Unsplash

Due to my growing interest in ancient Greek history, there was a time during my early teen years where I studied the words of several Greek philosophers. Socrates, (or So Crates if you’re a Bill and Ted fan) was at the top of my list. Perhaps that’s the reason I ask a lot of questions and ponder why.

To the people of the day, and for centuries to follow, the words of these philosophers were considered to be truly wise.

One quote by Heraclitus I discovered during my college Humanities class has stuck with me through the years.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. Heraclitus

Life continues to flow, does it not? We can never snatch back yesterday.

Today we are surrounded by people who claim to be wise. To have all the answers. To be able to solve all our problems. During the time Job endured unimaginable trials – all his children killed, his home destroyed, his livestock and wealth taken from him, his health deteriorated to the point he cried out for death – his so-called friends counseled him with their self-proclaimed wisdom.

They said many things, but their wisdom was anything but wise.

In the Book of Job God tells Job, “To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord. To understand, you must turn from evil.” God states wisdom is not to be found among mortals; no human knows its true value. God alone knows the way, knows the place where wisdom is found.

Socrates stated, “The unexamined life is not worth living [and] ethical virtue is the only thing that matters.”

Well, although I agree we must examine our lives daily to make sure we are following the path Jesus set before us, and I agree ethical virtue is important, I’d have to disagree with ethical virtue being the only thing that matters.

I believe an abiding faith in, reverence and love for, and obedience to the One True Living God needs to top our list of the things that matter most.

What do you think?

Were there any philosophers you enjoyed studying? Any philosophical quotes you’d care to share? Here’s another from Socrates. “Wisdom begins in wonder.” 

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Wisdom is not to be found among mortals; no one knows its true value. The depths of the oceans and seas say that wisdom is not found there. It cannot be bought with silver or gold. The finest gold and jewels cannot equal its value. It is worth more than gold, than a gold vase or finest glass.

The value of wisdom is more than coral or crystal or rubies. The finest topaz and the purest gold cannot compare with the value of wisdom.

Where, then, is the source of wisdom? Where can we learn to understand? No living creature can see it, not even a bird in flight. Even death and destruction admit they have heard only rumors.

God alone knows the way, knows the place where wisdom is found, because he sees the ends of the earth, sees everything under the sky.

When God gave the wind its power and determined the size of the sea, when God decided where the rain would fall, and the path that the thunderclouds travel; it was then he saw wisdom and tested its worth—He gave it his approval.

God said to us humans, “To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord. To understand, you must turn from evil.” Job 28:13-28 (GNT)

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

I wish you well,

Sandy

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Getting Rid of the Weeds

Is it just me, or does yard work never end? Earlier, I dealt with the results of our February freeze. Next, I moved on to getting rid of the weeds in our yard. I’ve dug up dandelions, tackled dollar weed, and attacked the sprawling sticky whatever-it-is weed that spreads out all over the place. And then there was the thorn laden vine that wove itself through the azalea. Yeah, that was fun to remove. Not.

Why is it the plants died from the freeze, but the weeds flourished? Tis a puzzlement to be sure.

Getting rid of the weeds is an ongoing, tedious, labor intensive battle I don’t seem to ever win. However, as I worked at getting rid of the weeds in my yard, I thought about how much weeds and sin have in common.

  • If I don’t get the whole root, the weed will just come right back.
  • If we don’t dig out the root of sin, it will just pop right back.
  • Some of the weeds sneaked in under the fence from the neighbor’s yard.
  • If we aren’t careful, our neighbors’ sins can become our own.
  • Getting rid of weeds is a lot easier if done when we first notice them.
  • Getting rid of sin is the same thing.
  • Those weeds I didn’t get rid of last year had time to grow and become tougher to remove.
  • The sins we don’t deal with when we first notice them will be more difficult to remove the longer we allow them to remain.
  • Weeds with shallow roots are easier to remove.
  • Sins we haven’t allowed to get deep into our soul are easier to remove.
  • All the weeds may not get removed in one day.
  • Our sins may not get removed in one day.
  • Pulling weeds and taking steps to keep them from returning is a lot of work. I’ll probably enlist help to complete the job.
  • Getting rid of our sins is work. We need to enlist help from the Holy Spirit.

Got a garden full of weeds in your life? What steps are you taking to get rid of the weeds? Maybe, as with sin, the first step is admitting there are weeds in our garden, and determine to do something about them.

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“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” Isaiah 43:25 (NLT)

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

I wish you well,

Sandy

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Ruth and Boaz

Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash

The story of Ruth and Boaz is a familiar one. It is a story of loss, bitterness, redemption, love, and joy. The main characters are the widow Naomi, her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth, and the kinsman redeemer Boaz.

Throughout the Book of Ruth we see God working. I love how the Bible says, as it happened, and as it turned out. Naomi and Ruth didn’t just happen to arrive in Bethlehem at harvest time, and Ruth didn’t just happen to end up gathering grain in Boaz’s fields. The fact Ruth is King David’s great-grandmother, and Boaz is David’s great-grandfather, putting them both in Christ’s genealogy, is by no means mere happenstance.

If you are familiar with Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz’s story, you remember Naomi’s family moved from Bethlehem in Judah to the land of the Moabites during a severe famine. While there, Naomi’s husband and both sons died, leaving behind three widows.

When word reached Naomi good crops were once again growing in Judah, she decided to return. At first, both daughter-in-laws decided to go with her. In the end, only Ruth left her homeland of Moab to join Naomi on her journey.

First off, this was no leisurely stroll to the market. These two women left their home and walked approximately 50 to 60 miles for 7-10 days. They descended from the mountains in Moab, entered the Jordan River Valley north of the Dead Sea, ascended to Jericho, and climbed an additional 2,500 feet near Jerusalem, before walking south to Bethlehem.

Two women traveling such a great distance alone definitely would not be without its dangers. Wild animals and thieves topped the list.

We know their story ends well. However, I’d like to point out a couple things we might miss by just looking at this as a nice love story between Ruth and Naomi,  and between Ruth and Boaz.

Ruth was from Moab. The Israelites did not like the Moabites for a number of reasons, going all the way back to their wilderness wandering days. So Ruth’s willingness to embrace the God of the Israelites and live among them was huge.

Boaz’s mother, Rahab, was the Canaanite woman who hid Israelite spies right before the people of Israel circled Jericho, and God leveled it.

There was the very real possibility Ruth would be treated roughly if no one protected her.

As the son of an outsider, Boaz understood what being an outsider meant, and was willing to protect Ruth.

Ruth’s devotion to God wasn’t inherited from her family. They were pagan-worshiping child-sacrificers. Ruth chose to worship God.

Boaz was a close kin who could redeem Ruth according to the Levirate law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). He chose to redeem Ruth.

In this story, we see a God who works in our lives to achieve his plan whether we are aware of it or not.

We are shown God invites everyone to be a part of his family, regardless of where they came from or what their previous beliefs were.

Before the kinsman redeemer can redeem, he must be related by blood to those he redeems. He must be able to pay the price of redemption. And there has to be a willingness to redeem. 

Just as Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. Through his sacrificial blood we are related to him. Jesus was without sin and able to pay the cost. He willingly paid the price for our redemption.

What is your favorite part of Ruth and Boaz’s story?

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Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot.

The neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s baby boy!” But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David. Ruth 4:116-17 (MSG)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When No One’s Watching

Photo by Gabriel Meinert on Unsplash

The other day, I drove through the neighborhood as the elementary school dismissed. I chuckled when I noticed one particular boy. Once he was out of sight of the police officer directing traffic, he removed his bicycle helmet and hung it from the bike’s handlebars.

However, after he turned onto my street, things changed. He placed the helmet on his head. A few houses later, he pulled to the curb and tightened the straps under his chin.

When he believed no one was watching, he acted one way. When he knew there was the possibility his parents might see him, he acted another. Obedience had nothing to do with it. Doing the right thing had nothing to do with it. Getting caught had everything to do with it.

While I found the incident rather humorous, it led me to wonder. How often do I, do we, behave one way when we believe no one’s watching, and behave another way when we believe they are? Not really out of obedience to God or out of love for him, but out of the fear of being reprimanded for not wearing our helmets?

We don’t need to look further than the third chapter of Genesis to see this played out in the lives of Adam and Eve. After they were deceived by the serpent, they tried to hide from God. Things did not work out as they thought they would.

When the LORD told Abraham he and Sarah would have a son in a year’s time in Genesis 18, Sarah laughed. She thought God wouldn’t hear. Guess what? God heard.

Before we leave the book of Genesis, there’s the story in Genesis 37 of Joseph and his ten older brothers. Out of jealousy, and believing no one would find out, they threw Joseph into a dry cistern. They planned on leaving him there and concocted a wild story to tell their father Jacob about how Joseph died. But then some Ishmaelite merchants traveling to Egypt arrived. The older brothers sold their younger know-it-all brother into slavery. The going price? Twenty shekels of silver. They didn’t think anyone would find out. Boy were they wrong. What they planned for evil when no one was watching, God planned for good.

The Bible is filled with stories like these where people thought they could do whatever they wanted when they believed no one was watching. The Israelites and that golden calf of theirs recorded in Exodus 32. Jonah and the large fish he found himself taking up residence in recorded in the book of Jonah. Ananias and Sapphira and their land deal recorded in Acts 5 shortly after the New Testament Church began.

Regardless of the situation or reason, when we act as if no one’s watching and do wrong, we forget a very important fact. We can’t fool God. God sees. God hears. God knows. We show our love for God through our obedience, whether anyone sees us or not.

Instead of removing our helmet when we think no one’s watching and then putting it on when we think they are, what say we act like God’s watching? Because, you know, he really is. Not as someone looking to punish, but as someone who loves us too much to allow us to harm ourselves through disobedience.

Which story in the Bible about someone doing something when they think no one’s watching is your favorite?

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Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and my Father and I will come to them and live with them. Those who do not love me do not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me.” John 14:23-24 (GNT)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When Satan Tries To Steal Our Joy

When Satan tries to steal our joy we don’t have to let him. As difficult as it is some days, we can choose joy over despair. Not in our power alone, but in Christ’s.

Sometimes it takes a concentrated effort to block out the joy-stealers in our life and dwell on the joy we can have in knowing Christ instead. It takes practice to trust in the One who holds every tear we’ve cried to take away the sorrow. It takes faith to know the same God who created the world and has our names engraved on his hand won’t allow anything to reach us he didn’t plan or permit.

Current events are enough to make us hang our heads and run for cover. Every time I read the newspaper or listen to the news and feel my joy slipping away, I have to consciously remind myself God is still on his throne. He is still in control. Nothing happens he isn’t aware of. Even when I question what happens, I am determined to fight back against the joy-stealers.

I admit that is often easier said than done. Especially when I’m faced with yet one more health concern.

There may be moments when we stand tall on mountains of faith, then plunge to the valleys of doubt, deep fear, or depression the next.

It’s not like we go around tossing ourselves into those dark times on purpose. Our peace, happiness, and joy are not things we willing throw away. Those are things Satan, the deceiver, joy-stealer-extraordinaire delights in snatching right out from under us.

Stealing our joy is what the father of lies is good at. Satan really cannot stand for us to enjoy the life our Creator God provides for us to the fullest. He loves to drop us into a pit of despair. But Jesus is the rescuer who pulls us out of the slimy pit, puts our feet on solid ground, and restores our joy.

Satan wants us to live in joyless misery. He works very hard to fulfill that desire. His tactics are many. He uses people. World events. Natural disasters. Sickness. Death. Loss. Wars and rumors of wars.

When he attacks, we must remind ourselves he is defeated by the mighty resurrection power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When we find ourselves in a place where we feel something in our lives is missing, like we’ve lost something important, perhaps our joy in the knowledge we are a beloved child of the One True King needs reaffirmed.

Perhaps we need to sing the song many of us learned as children.

Perhaps we need not only sing the song, but believe it with all our heart.

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

And if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack
Sit on a tack,
Sit on a tack,
Sit on a tack,
And if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack to
Stay.

George W. Cooke

Or perhaps you would like to listen to Zach Williams’ hand-clapping toe-tapper, Old Church Choir. Either way, praise God and don’t let Satan steal your joy!

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Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.  Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too. After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. To him be all power over all things, forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11 (TLB)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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We Are Aliens In This World

Although this post first appeared October 4, 2016, I felt it worth re-posting.Hope you agree.

Last month during our trip through the Southwest, Pilot and I went through Roswell, NM on our way to Carlsbad Caverns. Although our intent was to visit the International UFO Museum Research Center to see if the truth really is out there, a tornado threatened to send us sheltering beneath the Roswell Museum and Art Center where Pilot soaked in the history of the Robert Goddard exhibit, so we decided to get out of town. Fast.

It seemed everywhere I looked between Roswell and Carlsbad there were aliens.

And this got me thinking about those of us who belong to Jesus.

We are in this world, but not of it. We are aliens, if you will. Sojourners traveling through this world, waiting for the day Jesus takes us to our eternal home in heaven.

To quote Henry David Thoreau, we march to the beat of a different drum. At least we should. People should be able to look at what we do, what we say, where we go, how we treat people, and notice we are different.

We are to reflect Jesus, not the world.

The patriarch, Abraham, was called out of the land of Ur to travel to a place God would take him; Canaan, the land the Israelites called the Promised Land. Abraham was an alien in a foreign land. He was just a-passin’ through.

We are called to be different from the world around us. We are called to a higher standard. A standard set by God. Not a standard set by the culture that surrounds us. God has chosen us to be holy and pure. We belong to him, as such, we are his ambassadors to people who do not yet know him.

This world is not our home. We are aliens. And that’s a good thing, don’t you think?

The truth is out there, and it isn’t found in a science fiction tv show. It’s found in the Words of Truth recorded in God’s Holy Bible.

Have you visited the International UFO Museum Research Center?

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But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:9 & 11 (TLB)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Trees Chose a King

One of the worst eras in Israel’s history was the time of judges. It was during this time everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes. A quizzical story in the ninth chapter of the book of Judges tells of the time the trees chose a king.

The story comes after Gideon’s death. Finding a successor among Gideon’s seventy sons was no easy task. To solve this problem, Abimelech, the son Gideon had with a concubine from Shechem, went to his uncles and asked them to go to the leaders of Shechem. Abimelech wanted his uncles to convince the leaders he should become the next king since his mother was from Shechem.

The leaders agreed. They gave Abimelech money from the temple treasury to do as he pleased to make it so. The future king used the treasury money and hired some worthless loafers, as The Living Bible translation calls them. These hired guns slaughtered sixty-nine of Abimelech’s half-brothers. Only the youngest, Jotham, escaped.

When Jotham heard the citizens of Shechem declared Abimelech king of Israel, he stood at the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted across to the men of Shechem. There he told the tale of how the trees chose a king. In his tale, the trees who sought a king represented Shechem. The king the trees selected represented Abimelech.

Jotham’s story follows.

The trees sought a king, but the most important and productive trees refused to accept the position. The olive tree was busy producing oil and couldn’t be bothered to rule over unproductive trees that simply waved their branches in the wind.

Next, the fig tree said it would rather produce sweet fruit than rule as king over useless trees.

The grapevine refused asking, “Should I give up producing wine to hold sway over trees?”

In desperation the trees pleaded with the prickly volatile thorn bush to be their king. The thorn bush agreed. With conditions.

“If you want me as your king, come and take refuge in my shade.” (Rather ironic since thorn bushes produce limited shade.) “But if you won’t choose me as your king, then let fire come out of the thorn bush and consume you.”

Three years after making Abimelech king, the Shechemites revolted against him. As was predicted in Jotham’s story, Abimelech destroyed them with fire. (9:47-49)

The people got what they asked for. A prickly volatile thorn bush who destroyed them. In the end, however, the actions of a woman with a millstone standing on a rooftop put an end to the thorn bush king.

Perhaps something we can gain from the inclusion of Jotham’s story of how the trees chose a king is when God’s people abandon him, and do whatever is right in their own eyes, the consequences of their decisions lead to disaster.

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 “Go and talk to the leaders of Shechem,” he requested, “and ask them whether they want to be ruled by seventy kings—Gideon’s seventy sons—or by one man—meaning me, your own flesh and blood!” (Judges 9:2 TLB)

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

Dave Peever is taking a break from writing his “I Am” series which posted here the last Tuesdays of the month.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Listening To The Voice That Matters

Noise. Confusion. Doubt. Chaos. So much bombards our life making it difficult to know which way to go sometimes. A devotion from Streams in the Desert says we are to be still and listen for God’s clear direction when our path seems uncertain.

“When we are in doubt or difficulty, when many voices urge this course or the other, when prudence utters one advice and faith another, then let us be still, hushing each intruder, calming ourselves in the sacred hush of God’s presence; let us study His Word in the attitude of devout attention; let us lift up our nature into the pure light of His face, eager only to know what God the Lord shall determine—and ere long a very distinct impression will be made, the unmistakable forth-telling of His secret counsel.”

This devotion tells us to take our questions to God. It says if we will get alone with God where the lights and shadows of earth cannot interfere, where human opinions fail to reach, and wait there silent and expectant, even though all around us insists we make an immediate decision or action, the will of God will be made clear.

The world clamors for our attention in light and shadow. Everyone has an opinion and advice they aren’t afraid to share, whether the sharing is done in a healthy way or not.

The world works hard to pull us away from following closely after Jesus. Voices all around us tell us what we should do and how we should do it, often against what God’s Holy Word tells us we should do. At those times, as the Streams in the Desert devotion writer suggests, we are to shut out the intruders, and calm ourselves in God’s truths.

God doesn’t shout to be heard. He doesn’t rush us toward a decision. He doesn’t keep us so active or agitated we can’t hear from him. He doesn’t frighten or push us. Those are the deceiver’s tactics, not God’s.

Just as the sheep know the shepherd’s voice by being still and listening to it, we can know Jesus’ voice in the same way. But first, we must shut out the imposter’s voice.

“STAND STILL,” my soul, for so thy Lord commands: 
E’en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands; 
His arm is mighty to divide the wave. 
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and thou shalt see 
How God can work the “impossible” for thee, 
For with a great deliverance He doth save.

Be not impatient, but in stillness stand, 
Even when compassed ’round on every hand, 
In ways thy spirit does not comprehend. 
God cannot clear thy way till thou art still, 
That He may work in thee His blessed will, 
And all thy heart and will to Him do bend.

“BE STILL,” my soul, for just as thou art still, 
Can God reveal Himself to thee; until 
Through thee His love and light and life can freely flow; 
In stillness God can work through thee and reach 
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach 
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.

“BE STILL”—a deeper step in faith and rest. 
“Be still and know” thy Father knoweth best 
The way to lead His child to that fair land, 
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow; 
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know 
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.
—Selected

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And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” Isaiah 30:21 (TLB)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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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?

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 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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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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