“Will we be children of light?” November 12

 

Will we be children of light? - Israel had failed miserably concerning God’s purpose for their nation and were now faced with the fire of God’s judgment. Jesus told us as His followers we are to be salt and light. More than ever, our world needs believers who will obey that command. It won’t be easy. Salt sometimes stings and darkness doesn’t like the light, but both are desperately needed.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 15 & 16
Psalm 123.1-4
Proverbs 28.20
Hebrews 8.1-13

 

Will we be children of light?

 

Ezekiel 15 & 16:

Fruit, Salt & Light

 

In chapter 15 the nation of Israel is pictured as a fruitless vine. While the wood from fruitless trees is useful for building and other purposes, vines that are unfruitful are useless except to be burned in the fire. The nation of Israel had failed miserably concerning God’s purposes and God was warning them of the fire of His judgment.

Jesus said much the same thing in Matthew 5:

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

And in verse 14:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Our nation and our world, more than ever, need believers who will be salt and light. It won’t be easy. Salt sometimes stings and darkness doesn’t like the light, but both are desperately needed.

Left alone, darkness will only lead to more darkness: more anger, more hate, more crime, and more evil (Rom. 6.19). We must shine the light of truth and the love of Christ into hearts if we want to see any lasting change. While God uses laws to restrain evil (Rom. 13.1-7), only God can change a heart.

Salt acts as a preservative. It keeps food and, in this case, a society from rotting. You don’t have to watch much news with screaming protesters, violence against police and others, and disregard for civil and moral laws to know that the culture around us is rotting.

We must not be intimidated into silence or embarrassed by the truths in God’s Word. Instead we must speak the truth in love (Eph. 4.14-15), humbly correcting “those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2.25-26). 

Ephesians 5 reminds us:

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Let’s go and be the children of light God has called us to be.

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 123.1-4:

Looking to the Lord

 

Psalm 123.2 is a picture of complete dependence on God:  Continue reading

“Do not be afraid of them!” November 6

 

Do not be afraid of them! - Ezekiel was called to speak truth to a heart-hearted and rebellious people, but God gave him the strength he needed and told him, "Do not be afraid of them!" We live in a time when people have similar attitudes and responses to truth. Sometimes we suffer persecution, not just for what we say or do, but for who we are. Darkness hates the light. Sometimes our persecutors can be people close to us, even our own family members. What can we learn from Jesus about persecution? And what did Peter, who once denied his Lord, learn that can help us trust God and have the strength to do?Ezekiel was called to speak truth to a hard-hearted and rebellious people, but God gave him the strength he needed and told him, “Do not be afraid of them!”

We live in a time when people have similar attitudes and responses to truth. Sometimes we suffer persecution, not just for what we say or do, but for who we are. Darkness hates the light. Sometimes our persecutors can be people close to us, even our own family members.

What can we learn from Jesus about persecution? And what did Peter, who once denied his Lord, learn that can help us trust God and have the strength to do?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 3 & 4
Psalm 119.161-168
Proverbs 28.13
Hebrews 2.1-18

 

Do not be afraid of them!

 

Ezekiel 3 & 4:

Strength for the Job

Chapter 3.8-9:

8 Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. 9 Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.

Ezekiel had a difficult job. Even after their years of rebellion had taken them into captivity, the people had not softened their hearts or turned back to God. Instead, they had become more rebellious.

We live in a society today where many people have similar attitudes.

It can be very difficult to speak the truth when we’re made to look unloving or judgmental. But since God has called us to live at this time in history, we can take heart in the fact that God will give us the strength and enable us to be the light wherever and in whatever circumstances He has placed us!

Like Ezekiel, He will make our faces and our foreheads as strong and hard as necessary. That does not mean we are to harden our hearts or become argumentative or angry, rather we are to be “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” and to trust Him to give us the inner strength and the determination to be light in a dark world as we “hold fast the Word of life” (Phil. 2.15-16).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 119.161-168:

Persecuted without a Cause

finger-pointingVerse 161 says,

“Princes persecute me without a cause but my heart stands in awe of Your word.”

Sometimes it’s not just hard to speak truth to a rebellious generation, but we can suffer various forms of persecution.

The “princes” may be members of our own family or others we love and care about or they may be people in places of authority. We shouldn’t be surprised by persecution. Jesus warned us to expect it:  Continue reading