Thursday, November 18, 2010
Amos 4 and 5
These two chapters really amaze me, especially chapter 4. The Israelites would sacrifice to God, but they would not listen. He wanted their Heart not their sacrifices. God would try to warn them through prophets but they still would ignore what God had to say. The people would continue sacrificing their children and prostituting themselves; they were living in wickedness. Then God did something that usually worked; he began to punish them like a father would to his child. He wanted to show them a lesson. However after this they still did not acknowledge him. They continued to ignore God.
So God let them be, their sin destroyed them. The ironic thing is, chapter 5 states that all they had to do was turn to him. All the death and destructions that becomes inevitable was not really all that inevitable. All the Israelites needed was to begin being just and following God with their heart. He did not want the hypocrisy of the people. They would do the “right” religious festivals and worship but their hearts would not obey him. It was all empty.
Allow me to pose a question to you. Do you utterly ignore God? Do you go to Church and leave Jesus at the door? Do you sing songs of praise, but when it comes to your daily life you do nothing? All God asks of you is to love him but also help the needy. He wants you to reach you lost friends, he wants you to help the poor, and he wants you to follow Jesus’s footsteps. I just want to encourage you to start listening because if you don’t your consequence might be like Israel: being destroyed by their sin.
“I the LORD, hate and despise your religious celebrations and your times of worship. I won’t accept your offerings or animal sacrifices- not even your very best. No more of your noisy songs! I won’t listen when you play your harps. But let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry.” (Amos 5:21-24)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I just wanted to challenge you with a thought today, are you in tune with God? If God was a song, would you be playing the same tune or are you on a beat of your own. I watch this video that will be the centerpeiece of the Discussion in Epic Youth Jr High Style (I just made that up lol). Its only 10 minutes and yet it is very meaningful. I hope you enjoy it like I did.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Reading these chapters in Amos is a pretty scary thing. May people don’t realize this side of God. In these chapters, God talks how he is going to destroy the wicked and save the poor. He talks about destroying countless nations. You see the wrath and justice of God.
It makes me realize that we live by something we take for granted every day. We live by something called grace. Grace is getting something that we do not deserve. If you look at the sins of Israel, we commit many of those acts. Ezekiel says that the real reason Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed was because they mistreated the poor. Today we do the same. In today’s society, rape, abuse, drugs, individuality, prostitution, idol worship, etc. run rampant; however, God allows us to still exist and even thrive. This Grace runs so deep and this brings up my next point.
These chapters make me realize just how big the sacrifice of Jesus really is. If the God of the Old Testament is the same one from the New then we should truly be on God’s naughty list, but we are not. The blood of Jesus really covers us. It gives man more time to realize who God is and what he has for us. It allows for people like you and me to come to God and really gives us a chance to live life.
All I know is that we really do live by grace. The sin that you commit or the ignorance you are allowed to keep is only there because God is allowing it only for a time. It is true on the other side of the spectrum. The relationship with Jesus is only allowed because of Gods’ grace. He wanted us to get out of our mess. That is why we are getting something we do not deserve. He loves you so much and is giving you this grace. I encourage you to take it and if you already have it then be thankful for it.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Have you ever felt like everything is going wrong in your life? Have you ever cried out to God and felt like he was not listening? Have you ever been so stressed or in so much pain that it is even hard to breathe? Have you ever screwed up and felt like God is punishing you? Those are intense feeling and you are honestly not alone.
The book of Lamentations is intense and is full of pain. It is about a guy screaming out to God. His country is destroyed and his people are being hunted down. Everyone he knows is either being killed or deported. The children of his people were being massacred and it seemed like God was actually against them. One of the most powerful verses of the book reads “My eyes are red from crying, my stomach is in knots, and I feel sick all over. My people are being wiped out and children lie helpless in the streets of the city. A child begs its mother for food and drink then blacks out like a wounded soldier lying in the street. The child dies slowly in its mother’s arms.” (2:11-12). Can you understand this pain. Another verse states that the prayers of the people are being lifted up but the clouds are blocking them. It means that God seems like he is not listening.
Now honestly, if you would of read the books before this one. These people were wicked and were completely going against God for a long time. These people were Israel and God continued to warn them what would happen if they did not obey him, yet they did not listen. They continued to be lawless and wicked. This is what happened. Even knowing about how the Israelites committed evil deeds, this punishment seems so severe. This book even states that women are eating their children because they are so hungry. It does not seem fair and ‘just’. It amazes me that the author of this book even challenges God. It shows honesty.
What is the point of this devotional? Well in the mist of this there was hope. The author stated that it could be worse. They could have COMPLETYLY been destroyed; however, God allowed them to live and there is hope in that. That is the one of the hopes of this story; however, what about you? What is the hope in your life when you are crossing the thresholds of this hell? The hope is found in your actions. Something the author said in the mist of this Holocaust was profound “We’re still alive! We shouldn’t complain when we are being punished for our sins. Instead, we should think about the way we are living and turn back to the LORD.” (3:39-40). He talked about repentance which is turning away from their sins and following the LORD again. Now I honestly don’t know if God punishes his people like he did then; however, I do know we suffer when we engulf ourselves in our wrongs and saturate ourselves in our sins. We do have repercussions. So to put this in today’s terms: when your hand is burning, don’t complain about it but take it off the stove. We need to turn away from our sins. If Israel would have done this, these events would not have happened. They would be in peace. So I challenge to seek God in the mist of the current hell you’re going through, and if you are not listening to God, there is consequence that is inevitable. Its just a natural law like putting your hand on a stove; its going to get burned. I encourage you, to just look at your life and see if you are living the way that you should be living.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Being The Worst Example
Have you ever had a bad example in your life? Maybe this person caused you to do something very stupid. Maybe this person caused you to indulge in a bad habit that seemed to become almost like an addiction. It is interesting, people can usually point fingers and reveal the bad examples in their lives. Some of them consist of friends, family, movie stars, and even church leaders. Have you ever wondered who the worst example in the bible is? The person is Jeroboam son of Nebat.
Jeroboam was the first king that split off from the Dynasty of King David. He led 10 of the 12 tribes to split and create the Kingdom of Israel. (I know it can get confusing). The important thing is that he is mentioned well over 30 times in just 2 books of the bible. He led Israel to abandon God and utterly reject him. He was one of the most powerful examples in the Old Testament. He was a terrible example in the bible. He led people in such deep sin that even eventually the people of Israel began to sacrifice their own children.
My challenge for you today is to imagine if you were written in the Bible. What would it say about you. Would you be a good example or would you be one like Jeroboam that led people away from God. This is a very a deep thought. I encourage you to be conscious of your actions today and see where it leads you. Enjoy