Time under heaven

January 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV))

Have you ever thought about how you would know what time was called for?

Some are obvious. Birth and death and many others, but most are difficult to determine, especially if we follow the command to love one another.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

How do we balance this command with the words from Ecclesiastes? How do we treat the world and those who flaunt their sin at our faith? I know that everyone is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. This implies that God is patient with us and wishes for us to return. We are to show the same patience with those who flaunt their sin, yet we are also told of what will happen if they do not repent.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

How do we respond to those who claim that Jesus is love and yet they still continue in their sin?

How do we, who are called to do as Jesus did, respond when we are told that everything has its time under heaven? Will there be a day when we, as the Body of Christ, are called to hate? Will we be called to kill? Will we be called to turn away when in our hearts we know that we are to love? Will there come a point in time when we can no longer associate with sin because we are called to be with Jesus?

I have come to the conclusion that in order to know the time, we must know Jesus. In order to know Jesus, we must seek Him in all that we do. We cannot follow Jesus while we watch sports or our favorite television show. We follow Jesus by embracing Him in all aspects of our lives. Only then will we be able to begin to understand the time under heaven.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

Even in the face of wickedness

August 2, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Though grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and regard not the majesty of the LORD.
(Isaiah 26:10 (NIV))

Do you ever wonder why some people just seem to scoff at anything that is mentioned in the Bible?

Lately, there seems to be an outright hatred of anything that has Biblical roots. These people claim to seek tolerance and acceptance, yet, they are the first to be unaccepting of anything or anyone that clings to their faith.

I have seen comments from people wishing that those who profess a faith in Jesus would all die. I have seen comments where they vulgarly rant about what they would like to do to Christians. I have seen things that I thought that I would never see. I call it pure evil when people wish to do vile things to others and show no remorse for their thoughts and actions.

This sadly reminds me of the story of Lot.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
(Genesis 19:1-5 (NIV))

Innocence is lost.

That was Satan’s plan all along. Humanity was to lose the innocence and the joy that was theirs. He deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden, and he has slowly worked his way into every aspect of society. We are to the point where faith is ridiculed. There is anger and evil.

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
(Luke 17:26-29 (NIV))

Noah and his family lived righteous lives in the midst of evil. Lot and his family lived righteous lives in the midst of evil. No matter what may come, we, as the Body of Christ, must not allow the evils of the world to sway us from our faith. We must not allow our imparted righteousness to be taken from us by giving in to the evils of this world.

John Newton was correct. Grace is amazing. It can overcome evil.

We must pray for guidance. We must pray for wisdom. We must pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the words and to guide our actions in hope that those who are lost may be shown the same grace and mercy that we have been shown.

Even in the face of wickedness, we must be the light of Jesus to the world.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Sin, Wickedness and Iniquity

March 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NIV))

I saw something today that gave me a better understanding of sin and wickedness. When I understood the difference, chills ran down my spine and tears came to my eyes. The realization of what our world has become is heartbreaking.

Perhaps, it is better to use a different word and translation to describe wickedness.

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV))

Iniquity.

That sounds like a good Old Testament word that has fallen out of use, but if you stop to think about the difference between sin and iniquity, you may be surprised.

I am certain that you have heard that the word “sin” means to miss the mark. That concept implies that you are trying, but you fall short. It implies that you desire to do what is right but simply cannot achieve it on your own. This is where we, as the Body of Christ, fall.

Have you ever truly looked at the word “iniquity?” Some translations use the word “wickedness.” Either way, the concept is that the person deliberately chooses to do things that are contrary to God’s Will. They simply do not care that what they do is wrong. In fact, they seem to live to do what is evil. It was explained to me that those who are living in this manner do not listen to the truth and will often lash out at those who offer them the truth.

Consider the story of Lot and Sodom.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
“Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
(Genesis 19:1-9 (NIV))

These men were wicked. They were evil. They did not miss the mark, They deliberately chose to commit something vile and evil. When Lot attempted to stop them, they threatened to do to him even worse than they intended to do to the two angels. They were willing to commit a vile act against someone who spoke the truth simply because he spoke the truth.

Does this sound sadly familiar to anything that we see today?

We have people so engrossed in their evil that they attack those who bring the truth. Has our world’s wickedness, its iniquity, grown so vile that people no longer desire to even do what is right? Think about that and how God has dealt with wickedness and iniquity in the past.

There is a difference between sin and iniquity. It is a matter of the heart. Do you long to do evil or do you long to do what is right?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: