Tag: personal responsibility

Ear-tickling prophets!

Scripture reading for September 19th: Micah 1-2

“If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ he would be just the prophet for this people.” Micah 2:11

Micah lived in a day of fallen moral values, a time when  God’s people lived for materialism and pleasure.  Micah was called to warn God’s people of their sins.   This statement was meant to shock their senses.  A man of God telling them about plenty of alcohol to cure their sin would be like a doctor prescribing poison to cure a fatal illness!

As Micah exposed the sins of this people, he mentioned those who plotted to take the property of their brothers and sisters through fraud and deceit. (Micah 2:1-3)  The land was a promised inheritance for each family.  The promised land was divided by Joshua according to God’s plans by lot to each family. (Joshua 13 and following)  It was to be a perpetual inheritance.   God is for personal responsibility and ownership under His authority.  If we can learn to be faithful with the little here, He can give us much in the coming millennial kingdom!

We are a people who have always valued the right to ownership.  Our government has laws that protect property ownership and rights.  When God’s people got into sin and became deluded and drunk on their own ways, they lost their inheritance.   As it happened to God’s people in Micah’s day, so it could happen in our land!

“In that day men will ridicule you:  they will taunt you with this mournful song: ‘We are utterly ruined: my people’s possession is divided up.  He takes it from me!  He assigns our fields to traitors.'” “Therefore, you will have no one in the assembly of the Lord to divide the land by lot.” Micah 2:4-5

The loss of their land would bring about the ruin of God’s people!  This people would receive a false prophet who would prophesy plenty of wine and beer.   Their delusion would lead to their destruction and captivity.  They would lose their property and suffer eternal loss.  Oh that God’s people would listen to truth and be responsible stewards of God’s promises!

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Sunday Rest and Reflection:Personal Responsibility!

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Wonderful Name of Jesus Christ!  Jesus is Lord and He desires that all would know Him and receive His Father’s love and gift of eternal life.  He has promised eternal life to all who believe in Him.  (John 3:16)  Because of this wonderful love, we who believe respond by gathering on this first day of the week to celebrate our life in Him.  We gather to study and hear the word of God that brings us life and renewal.  Please don’t neglect gathering together today in a fellowship of believers!

Reflecting on the past week’s readings, I recalled Ezekiel’s instructions to be a watchman over God’s people.  God told him to warn the wicked man and try to dissuade him from his wicked ways.  (Ezekiel 33:7-9)  If Ezekiel failed to warn the  wicked person, God would hold him responsible for that man’s blood.  But if Ezekiel warned that man and the man failed to turn, then the man will die for his sin and Ezekiel would be free from responsibility.

Sin brings death.  We have the remedy and are called by God to share the Gospel with sinners.  If they listen and turn away from sin to Christ, they will be saved.  If they fail to listen, persist in sin, and die in it, they will die not once, but twice!  They will be separated from God at the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-14.  If we fail to share with those who are sinners when we know the Gospel and enjoy it’s benefits, we are responsible!

As you gather today with God’s people, pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be a strong witness to this generation.  Take responsibility to repent of your sins as exposed by the preaching of the Word.  Take responsibility to share the Gospel with sinners in the coming week!  We have such good news; we can joyously share it!

In His Love,

Pastor John

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Prophet of Personal Responsibility!

Scripture reading for August 23rd: Ezekiel 16-19

There was a proverb in Israel that went something like this, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” (Ezekiel 18:2b)  Through Ezekiel, God brought this popular myth into question.  To God, each person belonged to Him and answered to Him personally.  He judged each person on their own conduct and either rewarded or punished them accordingly.

We have a teaching in Pentecostal circles today that speaks of “generational” curses.  It goes something like this: if your father or mother was involved in alcoholism, for example, you might have this “curse” passed on down to you.  This curse must be broken off for you to be free.  Now we know that there might be some truth in this; if there is a genetic disposition in your family for alcoholism, you may have that, too.  But what God was teaching here is different.  Each person is responsible before Him for their actions and choices.  We are not victims of our family tree or some generational curse.  We choose either to obey and follow God, or to disobey and rebel against God.  We are free moral agents with the ability to choose.

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would rather that they repent and live.  (Ezekiel 18:23)  Repentance requires taking personal responsibility for our sins, not blaming someone else.  Repentance requires turning from the sin and then doing what God commands.  It is very simple and yet so profound.  God is merciful and desires to show mercy rather than judge.  When we fail to repent, He must judge us!  (Ezekiel 18:26-28)

“Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord.  Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.  Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.  Why will you die, O house of Israel?  For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone.” (Ezekiel 18:30-32)

Sin is man’s major downfall.  We have all sinned and need God’s mercy.  (Romans 3:23)  God has sent Jesus Christ to take away our sins in the sacrifice of His body on the Cross of Calvary.  Why not take a moment and confess your faith in Jesus Christ and the cross?  God loves to show mercy!

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Work and warfare!

Scripture reading for May 9th: Nehemiah 3-4

God’s people are wired for work!  When a vision is present, focus of energy and teamwork can result in a miraculous amount of work being done and great accomplishments.  It takes leadership and discipline to get people to work together.  There are many hindrances that try to hold up progress and destroy the vision.  The leader must assess the situation, cast the vision, organize the team of workers, and deal with the hindrances in a timely and effective manner.  He can’t run a popularity contest or seek to appease those who would hinder or hold up the work.

Nehemiah was an effective leader.  He was chosen by God as he prayed for the city of Jerusalem, burdened for it’s broken-down walls.  Nehemiah was given favor, authority, and materials from the king to go and rebuild the broken walls of his beloved city.  His vision was the rebuilding of the walls.  His plan of action was formulated as he assessed the situation for himself after arriving there. (Nehemiah 2:11-16)   He decided on putting families in charge of rebuilding the section of wall nearest their own homes.  (Nehemiah 3)  This brought personal responsibility to bear on how the job would be done and how fast they would work.  You work harder and smarter if your own family’s lives depend on it.

Nehemiah had to deal with opposition, both external and internal.  This is spiritual warfare that is ever-present in the life of a believer seeking to do God’s will.  He prayed first (Nehemiah 4:4-5) and then posted a guard.  He armed half the men while the others worked.  He kept a trumpeter by his side to sound the alarm if any family was attacked and needed help.  (Nehemiah 4:17-20)  Everyone worked together and kept ready to meet any opposition or force that might attack them.

This is a good plan for each person in God’s family.  We are each assigned work to do by the Lord according to our gifts and talents.  There will be opposition and it must be dealt with and watched closely to avoid setback and defeat.  The Holy Spirit is the trumpeter in our lives who lets us know when trouble is coming.  He helps us prepare for attack and leads the resistance.  As we work and fight together the work gets done quickly.  We remember that we are fighting for our own protection and that of our family.  Personal responsibility and God’s grace insure the victory!

“Don’t be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14

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