I speak the most tragic word today.
Not one of joy, but of caution.
The prophet of old did not have an envious job. He saw visions untold. He spoke words undesired. He was persecuted in ways we cannot imagine. A lonely and undignified life of service on earth surely was rewarded the day he entered heaven.
Because the people... God's chosen people of Israel ran them off. So after centuries, God simple sent less and less. Prophets were scarce. Until the Word of the Lord was rarely spoken. And there were no Christian bookstores to go grab a copy of the Bible. There were no iPhones with Bible apps to look up a verse of encouragement.
And Amos proclaimed...
Hear this! The days are coming...
this is the declaration of the Lord God...
when I will send a famine through the land:
not a famine of bread or a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord.
So the people hungered and thirsted.
Not simply for food and water,
but for the lack of God's word.
It is all around us now... His word.
But do we really appreciate it?
Do we seek it?
Do we memorize it?
Has it become nourishment to us?
Will there be another day
when God declares a famine of His word,
when we will have to draw it from a well within?
I pray not.
But just in case...
I will store it up now.
I will drink it in..
for You, Lord are my Word of Life,
and I never wish to stagger,
ever thirsty, never satisfied
by what speaks to my soul.
Prophets are messengers of truth. Some deliver good news. But most are sent for revival... a warning to the people in need of change. Consider your ways, for the Lord is Judge!
What a difficult job this must have been. Tormented and accused; hated and persecuted, these men surely led a difficult and lonely life. But those receiving the message were being shown the mercy of God. For He is ever Our Counsel Revealed, promising to do nothing without revealing His purpose through the faithful.
What a shame then, when we lean on our reasoning rather than our faith in God. Let us hold fast to truth. And should we encounter a true prophet, let us trust in the counsel revealed from the word of the Lord. For it is always spoken for our good.
Here's the thing...
I'm working on quitting an addiction.
I mean, we've all got them
of some sort or another.
They just vary by degrees.
One of mine is a love for mysteries.
You know, the real suspense thriller type shows.
Not the wimply kind you can figure out
half-way through before the hero
is caught in the clutches of the villain.
Nor the opposite extreme that is fraught
with the paranormal, or the psychopathic.
But the ones with action,
suspense, twists and turns...
the kind that really keep you thinking
and they catch you by surprise at the end.
Unfortunately, most of them
include quite a bit of violence.
Well, I guess they have their fair share
of promiscuous relationships also.
And then, there are a few
that have to throw strong language into the mix.
I mean, it's not that all of them
have every one of these added in,
but, you know... how can it be real life drama
without some, you know, real life?
That's what I kept telling myself.
Until finally, I just deleted my avatar on Netflix.
The account is still active on our TV.
But I don't allow myself to sit down
holding the remote anymore.
And please understand,
I'm not pointing a finger at anyone but me
as I explain this.
But while I still wanted,
(and sometimes still want)
to watch those shows,
there was something inside of me that knew
they just were not the best thing
for me to put into my mind.
And after reading the book of Amos
I came across a scripture right in the middle
that seemed to point me to the reason why.
Now Amos was not the typical prophet.
He wasn't trained or educated as one,
nor was he used to speaking professionally.
He was a sheepherder that God called
from his quiet time alone with the animals
to go into the crowded cities
of Israel and Judah.
And while God gave him
several visions to interpret
this one verse seemed to boil it all down
to the simple truth God wanted him to share.
and establish justice....
But what Amos told these people
was certainly not unique
to these people, or that time.
For we find the same caution elsewhere.
In the Old Testament...
Depart from evil,
and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.
An the New Testament...
Love must be sincere.
Detest what is evil;
cling to what is good.
So what does this have to do
with my addiction...
why would I stop watching mysteries
and then use this verse
as a reason to quit that habit?
because first, I believe
God wants the best for me.
That has to be the basis
of all my choices made in faith.
After that, I know that God
cannot look upon evil.
And to be honest, if I'm involved in it
in any way, He must turn His face away
from looking upon me.
When God looks away...
It does not mean He loves me less.
It does not mean I am no longer saved.
It does not mean that He cannot hear me.
But why would I not want God
to always have His face...
His smile toward me?
Why would I do anything
to cause Him to look away?
It's almost as if...
He were in the room with me
warchbg TV, and I made a choice
that made Him turn His back to the TV.
I never want to make that kind of choice...
the choice toward something evil
instead of something good that He prefers.
God hates evil.
He wants me to hate evil as well.
I know this sounds extreme.
I know this probably is a bit ridiculous to some.
You're thinking... c'mon, Lisa. It's a TV show.
But the problem is... I am allowing
something into my mind that is desensitizing me
to something important to God.
And here is one example.
The first time I read through
the book of Leviticus,
detailing all the laws of the priests
and the sacrifices they make on the altars.
I struggled a great deal with understanding
how God would have them spatter all that blood
all over altar and the holy places.
I was horrified and it simply created
awful pictures inside my mind.
Until I realized, that to God, it was beautiful.
Blood to Him, is holy and means forgiveness.
But sadly, man... and worse yet, the evil darkness,
has made blood part of violence...
like in the movies and shows I had watched.
That is now how we have learned to think of it.
So we no longer think of blood as God does...
as a holy way of forgiveness.
I has be perverted by the world.
I even imagine how hard it is
for someone new to the church
to hear a song about being "washed in the blood."
They probably think we are some crazy cult
because of the world's depiction of blood.
But it's actually all about Jesus sacrifice.
And to God it is beautiful.
That is simply one of the examples
that convicts me about watching mysteries.
I need to control what I allow in my mind
so God can form in me the proper ideas
of holiness, rather than the world.
I want His view on things,
rather than man's.
God loves GOOD.
God hates EVIL.
God establishes JUSTICE.
That's the basis of the verse.
And He longs for us to do the same.
and establish justice....
To be honest...
that's not so hard.
It's the hating EVIL
thats the hard part.
That sounds silly, I know, but think about it.
what are some good things that I can love?
I could go on and on.
Good things are easy to love.
So let's pursue those things.
But if I turn the tables...
is it just as easy to hate these things?
and still, I could go on and on.
I wonder if rather than hate them,
I don't more like avoid them,
or maybe tolerate them.
Like maybe I don't do them,
but I allow them around me
in my home, near my family.
That's not hating them.
But would I be willing to hate them
if God asked me to?
Because that would mean
I would need to turn my face from them.
I would need to turn my ways and
my lifestyle from them.
Remember... when God sees evil,
He turns His face.
He cannot look upon evil.
Do I allow it into my view,
into my ears, my eyes, my mind, my life?
What about music lyrics,
movies, or shows I watch,
books I read,
words I speak,
attitudes I keep,
people I hang out with...
What are the influences
I let seep in?
Is there any evil in them that God
would turn His face from?
Can I honestly answer that...
Because it is much harder
to hate evil,
than to love good.
But if we can even
think on it,
pray to God about it...
then He can change our heart
and be gracious toward us in it.
Then we can establish justice in our lives.
That balance between good and evil.
And surely, that is the peaceful place
He seeks for us.
That is His best desire for our lives.
Word of God,
train me, today...
to love good,
to identify evil in my daily life,
and to know what it means
to hate it, as You do.
how I need help in this.
Good things are not hard
for me to find.
But evils of this world
slip into my life
often as I am unaware.
Sharpen my focus
so that I will see them.
Make me aware
when they surface.
please give me the strength
and ability to resist them
and turn away from them
as You do.
Not to hate people,
but to hate the evil
that turns Your face
away from their life.
To love the good in them
so they are found by You.
For I long to seek justice
and live peacefully.
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