“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” (Amos 5:21-23)
If we put verses 21-23 in the modern context, how many of us go to church gatherings and meetings (feasts and assemblies)? How many of us tithe to the church or donate money or other resources (burnt offerings and grain offerings)? How many of us give or serve to simply appease God or others (peace or fellowship offerings)? How many of us take part in worshipful activities such as sing praise songs at church (noise of your songs)?
The answer is probably most, if not all, of people who call themselves Christian do all of these things. But when they are done without truly accepting Jesus, not only as Savior of our lives, but as LORD of our lives (meaning dying to ourselves and giving our life fully to Him), HE WILL NOT ACCEPT OR REGARD THEM. We have put our hope in the wrong things. (more…)
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14)
“Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon. The Lord dwells in Zion!” (Joel 3:20-21)
While the book of Joel begins with a description of God’s impending judgment for the nation of Judah’s sins, it ends with the promise of restoration. For the children of God, our ending will always contain full assurance of His forgiveness and mercy! (more…)
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruits of our lips.'” (Hosea 14:1-2)
It still blows my mind that when we sin against the Lord, because of His love, grace, mercy, and compassion, He still offers us forgiveness. (more…)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
John Piper wrote an encouraging booklet entitled Don’t Waste Your Cancer that a dear friend gave to us. It’s been helpful to read through it as my wife and I remain steadfast in the Lord through her condition. I would definitely consider this as a time when my family and I are facing trouble.
I believe that the 10 points Piper lists not only apply to life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, but to all “trouble” we encounter in this life. Depending on what version of the Bible you read, the word “trouble” is interchangeable with trial, tribulation, distress, and sorrow.
If you’re going through any of those today, then I’m here to tell you that it’s no coincidence or meaningless misfortune. God has a purpose for our trials. (more…)
“His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'” (John 9:2-3)
“Why do bad things happen to good people?” This is a very popular cosmic question that tries to assign blame for any number of reasons we may find ourselves in difficult life situations. (more…)