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Responding to Rebuke

Unless the LORD of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah. – Isaiah 1:9

God rebukes us for good reason.

Rebellion.

Disobedience.

Idolatry.

We could go on for a while, you know.

The point is not that we are rebuked or the reasons for our rebuke.  The point is that we can respond to the rebuke rightly.

Reminder

Our rebuke should remind us that God is a righteous judge.  We are reminded that our purpose here on earth is to please God.  His rebuke reminds us to get our lives in line with His purpose for us.

Reflection

Usually, rebuke from God is based on His supreme authority.  Such rebuke should help us reflect on who God is and how He is to us.

Relationship

Focus on your relationship with God.  God redeemed us for us to have a relationship with Him.  Above all else, we need to maintain that relationship with God through constant communication and continual communion with God.

Shameless

Shameless

 

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You expect me to be ashamed,

To deny what I have become

And to only accept what the world has to offer.

I forsake the world’s treasures.

I reject the evildoers.

I shall not be ashamed.

 

Shame?

No, I feel none.

I refuse to accept the notion

That my beliefs should conform and not conflict

And that I must be ashamed of myself,

Ashamed of the cross,

Ashamed of My Savior.

 

Shame?

The shame is on you.

Shame on you for your cruel opinions.

Shame on you for your doubt and unfaithfulness.

Shame on you for your unbelief.

 

Shame?

As for me,

I shall remain shameless.

I reject any notion of shame.

 

Lamentations in the Storm

Lamentations in the Storm

“Be not simply good – be good for something.”

- Henry David Thoreau

 

Imagine if you had nothing getting in your way, nothing holding you back.

What would you do with your life?

Could you see yourself doing whatever you could to help someone else?

Could you see beyond yourself and make a difference for someone else?

Just imagine if you had that opportunity.

No obstacles.

No opposition.

No other objective.

Just being in the position to do good for someone else, uplifting their spirit and blessing them through what God has already done for you.

Now it’s time for a reality check.

The only thing holding you back from doing such mighty works is you.

YOU…Your Own Unwillingness

If you could somehow shake that unwilling spirit, then you can do it.

Oh, that’s not you?

Then it must be. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unworthiness

That is the pitiful self image that says that you are not worthy of doing good because you know that you are of no earthly good.  Our Bibles tell us that we are a “new creation” based upon the work of the Lord.  We are worthy!

So, you still think that’s not you?

How about. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unfaithfulness

You just don’t believe that God can use you in such a way.  You don’t believe that you can be a blessing, especially since you are in the need of a blessing yourself.  Elijah was fed by ravens by a brook, and then he was fed by an impoverished widow.  There was another widow who gave all that she had when she placed two mites in the offering.

Get YOU out of the way and let God have His way.

Sit YOU down and set yourself up to be a blessing to someone.

Give YOU his walking papers and give God an open opportunity to use you like He’s never used you before.

 

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8 (NASB)

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. – Jude 1:3 (NIV)

God’s people have been entrusted with “the faith.”

The ability to contend for the faith is based on commitment to the faith.  However, there is cause for concern in Christendom.

The Prop. 8 Debate: Arguing about What We are Against Rather Than for What We Believe

Homosexuality is a sin.  That’s biblical and sound.  However, adultery, lying, murder and a load of other things are sinful, too.  In church, we are to speak out against sin and speak up about salvation.  We cannot attack one group of sinners and turn a blind eye to others.  That type of soap box ministry feeds the media frenzy, but does little for the kingdom of heaven.

Preach the truth and teach how to live by the truth.

Denominational Divisions and Disunity 

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? - 1 Corinthians 13:3 (KJV)

We are divided over doctrine.  We are divided over religious practices.  We are divided over women and their roles in the ministry.  We are divided over heaven and hell.  We are even divided over Christ, His deity, and His miracles, even His messages.

We are just plain divided.

Return to the Word and resubmit to His Spirit.

Let the Lord lead you in how to go forward with brothers and sisters in the faith.

Lackluster and Lost Leadership

I oftentimes contemplate whether we are part of that generation that was led astray, destroying the landmark left by our ancestors and removing the reminders of God’s faithfulness to us and those who came before us.

Are we the generation who did not know the Lord of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob?

Have we forgotten the Law of Moses?

Have we neglected the work and ministry of Jesus Christ?

Our leaders are leading us in the wrong direction.  They are leading us down the road away from God, where many of us have fallen away.  They have led us down a path that has led to our demise, all the while losing their own sense of calling and making their followers lose faith in them and the Christian faith that they represent.

Truth trumps everything else.  Let’s stick to the truth.  Let’s teach truth.  Let’s preach truth.  Let’s uphold the truth.

It may not cure everything at once, but it sure can cure a lot of things immediately.

Healed or Hardened

Then the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said,

Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.

- 2 Kings 5:5

Sometimes, our problems will cause us to go to extreme measures to get relief.  We will be so desperate for a solution that we will take advice from unlikely sources and end up in unlikely places in hope of a healing.

11 But Naaman became furious, and went away . . .’ 12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

- 2 Kings 5:11-12

What Naaman received did not meet his expectations.  For all of his high hopes for a healing, he received some simplistic instructions.  In fact, he was not even granted an audience with the prophet.  According to verse 10, “And Elisha sent a messenger to him. . .” as he stood outside of Elisha’s doorway.  Naaman had expected some form of royal reception after all that he had gone through to get there.

13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

-2 Kings 5:13-14

Although Naaman was hardened by the reception and the proposed remedy, he responded accordingly after some prodding and pleading by his own servants.  He did as instructed.  His flesh was restored.  he received his healing after all.

What can we learn from this?

God can bless us with something simple that we might try to complicate.  God may not want us to jump through hoops for what He has for us.  He may just want to see our faith in action.

We have a choice today.  We can be hardened or we can be healed.

What will be your choice today?

God speaks.

Are we listening?

What happens is that we usually say that we cannot hear God.

Can you sense His presence?

Do you read His Word daily?

God’s Word Gives Us Light to Follow

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. – Psalm 119:105

His Word can guide us.

How?

  • Lamp unto our feet
  • Light unto our path

How do you expect to find your way if you won’t accept His guiding light?

Jesus put it in simple terms: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 43)

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)

Learning to become content is not easy.

Christians have a real hard time with it because they have to somehow find a balance between this world system and the Word of the Lord.  Many Christians have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, yet they find themselves at the mercy of the world’s temptations and enticements.  The desirable things of the world some to lure Christians down a dark pathway of rampant consumerism and debt that comes at the high cost for keeping up with the Joneses.

 

Consumer economics says that America has it backwards.  Our savings rate is almost nonexistent, but we are constantly measuring consumer confidence as an index of American corporate profitability.  Our educational system is steadily falling behind the rest of the developed world.  However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index continue to serve as the benchmarks by which we measure mutual fund performance and the overall performance of stocks.  

I like the way Dave Ramsey poses it to callers to his weekly radio broadcast who have gotten themselves up to their eyeballs in debt and don’t feel that they need to make drastic changes.  Like so many of us within American society, they just haven’t started hurting bad enough yet to regulate themselves to PB&J sandwiches and tuna fish with crackers.

We can become content when we learn to live within our means.  Live on less than you make and you can save something on a regular basis, not just for emergencies and rainy days.

  • Consider how much you need for retirement.
  • Identify additional insurance needs like long term disability coverage
  • Do you have an estate plan?
  • Do you have a will?
  • Could you handle a job loss for 3 months? 6 months? How about over a year?

To become content, we have to learn how to live a simple and quiet life.  Paul shared such wisdom with the Thessalonians in his first letter to them: “. . . But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;  that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,  that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” (1 Th. 4:10-12)

Becoming content with what you have is enough to get you scrutinized by your neighbors and family as cheap, not just frugal.  They will consider you some kind of coupon freak or bargain hunter.

You just keep saving.

People will say that you are ruining your own lives, even the lives of your children.  They will say that you will never reach the American dream.

Accept none of their gibberish.  Keep on saving.

Keep Benjamin Franklin’s money wisdom in mind: “Content makes poor men rich, discontent makes rich men poor.”

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