Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Words of Encouragement

People look for answers in many places. Some look to reading about their "signs". Some look to readers, fortune tellers. Some look to others that will tell them what they want to hear. Yet, we must do as Joshua did and say, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. And when we do, we must look to the "Hills, from whence cometh our help". Our Help comes from the Lord.

"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices! " 'When any Israelite or any alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I the LORD will answer him myself. I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am the LORD. " 'And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. They will bear their guilt—the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him. Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign LORD.' " - Ezekiel 14:6-11

Ezekiel. Whose Answer will you Believe? God's answer to the people regarding their sinful condition is a simple one, repent. Turn from all the things you are doing that are against the holy God. God's answer through the prophet is if anyone has the nerves to come to seek something from me (other than forgiveness) in their sinful condition, I will answer them myself.

What will his answer be? The answer is I will punish the wicked for their wickedness. I will do this to turn them back to me. And then the answer goes on to warn do not come to a prophet seeking something that will sooth you and make you feel comfortable in your sin. Do not look for "Cotton Candy" messages to help the taste of your sin to feel good in your mouth. If a prophet is tempted to tell you lies to make you feel better, they too will have to deal with the punishment for disobedience.

What does this have to do with us today? Things are very similar today as in times of old, and that is because people are still people. Some people go to church but only to have that form of godliness so they feel better about what they are doing. They do not come seeking messages that call them to change, grow or examine their lives, deeds and thoughts.

Instead, they are looking for messages that simply feel good, that is why I call those messages "Cotton Candy". You cannot grow on cotton candy. It may taste good, but don't depend on that to make you strong. God's message is also to those that preach the word of God. He is not sending messages from his word just to make people feel good about where they are. His messages are to encourage us to live right and know that he has provisions for us to do so.

The question then for us today is the same one then, whose message will you believe? Will you believe the messages that tell you God is just happy and pleased with you no matter where you are and what you are doing? Or will you believe the message that God wants a holy people, set aside for him and his good works? I encourage us today to listen to God's message of come and receive of me so that you can become all I have ordained you to be.

I pray for us today that we would seek God's answer to what our lives should be about. Give us ears to hear.