The Bible is the unpopular truth to many today. And those who speak the truth are being told, “You can’t say that here … ‘there’s separation of church and state.’ ” Or, “You’re trying to impose your religion on us.” Others demand that we, “give hardy approval” to the sinful things they do. How does God expect us to respond to those pressures?
Also read about praying in difficult times, a word to Christian singles, and Jesus the soon coming King.
Amos 6 & 7
The Unpopular Truth
Speaking the Unpopular Truth
12 Then Amaziah said to Amos.
“ Go, you seer!
Flee to the land of Judah.
There eat bread,
And there prophesy.
13 But never again prophesy at Bethel,
For it is the king’s sanctuary,
And it is the royal residence.”
Rather than hear the truth and heed their warnings, the people of Amos’ day banished the prophets. How very much like the world in which we live. Today the cry is “separation of church and state” or “don’t try to impose your religion on me” or “you can’t say that here!” Those who talk about God’s standard are called intolerant, homophobes, judgmental or worse.
“and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1.32 NASB).
But God in His mercy always has a faithful remnant willing to speak the unpopular truth, in spite of criticism, and even threats. Like God Himself, we are called to love sinners, while hating sin, and sometimes that means speaking the truth under difficult circumstances and when it’s unwanted.
Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4 also applies to us:
1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Today’s Other Readings:
Cry Out to Him
1 I cry out to the LORD with my voice;
With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication.
2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.
The Psalms are great to read and meditate on when we are discouraged, overwhelmed or even distraught. Many contain the prayers, praises, laments and cries for help of His people. They often begin, as this psalm does, acknowledging the writer’s desperate situation, while leading them and us to greater trust in God.
A Word to Christian Singles
“An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, and he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.”
Those of you who are single would do well to remember this verse. You think that unbeliever you’re dating or to whom you’re attracted is so wonderful … but if you insist on staying in that relationship, perhaps even disobeying God and marrying an unbeliever, it’s just a matter of time before there are problems.
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Cor. 2.14-15).
Each of us thinks our situation is different. I’ve heard it dozens of times:
“He doesn’t have a problem with my religion (church involvement, etc.).”
“I’m sure he (or she) will get saved.”
“He comes to church with me.”
“How else, will she get saved if I don’t keep loving her.”
“He says he believes in God.”
And I’ve seen so many learn the hard way that God always gets it right! As I tell single women all the time, “Right now you have the option to break off this relationship (and you must if he’s an unbeliever and you want to obey God). But if you get married, you no longer have that option.”
Marriage is a covenant relationship, one that a believer is not to walk away from once they’re married. Many who refused biblical advice, come back and say, “I should have listened!” Some women spend years, even decades, in difficult, unequally yoked situations.
But the most important reason to obey God’s commands is because of your relationship with Him.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14.15).
The Soon Coming King
This time of year we think and talk and sing about Jesus being born as a baby in that humble stable. We’ve heard the story so many times it can easily lose its impact on us. We can forget what that really means.
But as we read Revelation, remember that same Jesus who was born a baby is, also, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Creator of the universe, the Eternal Word, and He is coming back as King to judge His creation. One day soon every knee will bow and every tongue will confess—willingly or unwillingly—that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2.9-11)!
Do you have a plan to grow spiritually through God’s word in 2017?
Getting ready for 2017
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.