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To Your Post | The Comeback

#storychanging

To Your Post | The Comeback

Monday “Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matt. 5:16

*“Why does he do it?” people asked about the generous benefactor. “I guess he’s just a really great guy.”

*“She’s such a terrific person,” neighbors said about Molly. “I wonder why she’s always so kind, helping people. I admire her.”

*“I wanna go to that church,” Harry announced. “They don’t carry on about religion and stuff. They just make people feel good about themselves. I don’t care much for God or Jesus or the Bible, but I could be a member of a church like that.”

What’s the problem with each of those statements? Many people would see nothing wrong with them. But let’s place the filter of Jesus’ words over them and look again. Who or what is being glorified in each of those sentences? It’s the good people, isn’t it? We like admiration and we often do good things so others will praise us. In fact, it feels so good to do good that many times our motivations are not as noble as we’d like to think they are. Jesus wanted His followers to be so different from the world that they would shine like lights in the darkness. Our lives are to be so relentlessly good, so unselfish, so counter-culture that there is no other explanation for them except that God has worked us over. We are not called to be glory hogs, but to be mirrors so that it’s only the light of Jesus people see in us. When we do good works, we want them to think, “Isn’t God good!”

Final Thought: When you do something praiseworthy, who gets the glory?

Prayer: Father, am I out to make you look good or to make me look good? Do I plan good deeds so that I look like a good person? Help me be honest with myself. You are the Light in me. Forgive me for hogging it or hiding it. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Tuesday  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses.”  Acts 1:8

“Mr. Jones, please take the stand,” the judge said. Once the witness was seated, the DA turned to him. “Now Mr. Jones, are you an expert on physics? On aerodynamics? Can you give me the five laws of exponents?” When Mr. Jones turned ashen, the DA smirked. “I thought not. So why should we listen to you about this case?” Mr. Jones swallowed hard. “Well…sir…you see, I don’t know nothin’ bout those things, but I do know what I saw and heard. I was there, sir, and I’m here as a witness.”

Sometimes our mouths go dry at the term “witness.” We imagine a hundred frightening scenarios where we are bombarded with questions we can’t answer. “Explain the Trinity and give three examples.” “Can God make a rock too heavy for Him to lift?” “How could a fish swallow Jonah?” Satan loves those imaginary scenarios because they distract us from the word “witness.” A witness is someone who simply tells what he or she has seen or experienced. If we’ve had a saving encounter with Jesus Christ, then we are witnesses to that. With the Holy Spirit inside us, we have the power to testify about what God has done in our lives. If He has done nothing, we have nothing to say. But if we truly know Him, serve Him, and love Him, we have a lot to say. We don’t have to be experts on everything in the Bible. But if we have a testimony, we are qualified to be witnesses.

Final Thought:  Is your testimony ready so that God can call you to the witness stand?

Prayer: Father, I admit I’m scared of the idea of witnessing. I’m afraid I don’t know enough. But those first disciples didn’t know much either except that Jesus died and rose again. They knew Him and all you’d done for them. I do too. In His name, amen.

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Wednesday  He said He would destroy them—had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him… Psalm 106:23

When the Lord gets fed up, look out! He is patient, kind, forgiving, and ready to give second chances. But when He has had enough, that’s it. He had had enough of those rebellious Israelites. Despite all God had done for them, they chased idols, grumbled against Him, and copied the lifestyles of the pagans around them. So God told Moses, “Step aside, son. I’m done with them. I’ll make a new nation for myself from your offspring.” But instead of stepping aside, Moses stepped up. “Please, Lord. You are righteous in your anger, but the whole world knows how you chose this people for your own. So what will they say if you destroy them?” Good point. The LORD liked the way Moses engaged with Him, so He relented and spared the Israelites. An entire nation was saved—the nation from which our Savior would come—because one man stepped up.

Our country is spiraling in the wrong direction and the Lord would be right to destroy us all. Like the Israelites, we’ve been greatly blessed. God has granted us freedom, prosperity, blessings, and health. But in less than 250 years, we’ve become idol worshipers and atheists, copying the lifestyles of the pagans around us. “We want communism!” shout the free people. “We want addictions!” shout the healthy people. “We want to murder our unborn children!” shout those blessed with offspring. “We want to celebrate sodomy!” shout those with God’s word in front of them. What might God be planning for our nation because of all that? But what if fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers stepped up like Moses did? Would God listen and relent?

Final Thought:  Moses’ concern for God’s reputation empowered him to step up. What’s keeping you from stepping up?

Prayer: Lord God, it’s not enough for me to get mad, rant on social media, or hide my head in the sand. As Moses intervened for Israel, I’m ready to step up and plead for mercy for this nation. We deserve your wrath, but I ask for mercy in Jesus ‘name. 

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Thursday  I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap…  Ezekiel 22:30

Ezekiel 22 reads like the morning newspaper. God is telling Ezekiel how wicked the Israelites have become, and He lists some of their worst abominations. Their sinful behavior had dishonored the name of the Lord among the nations and He was fed up with it. Israel was supposed to be a light on a hill, a model of righteousness that would highlight the wickedness of the pagans around them. Instead, Israel had become just like the pagans, and for that, God was about to bring swift and terrible judgment. He told Ezekiel that if He could find one person willing to stand in the gap, He would relent in His judgement. He found no one.

God’s desire for His people has not changed. He instituted the church as His beacon of light and Jesus as our model of righteousness. But we have watered down the gospel, made friends with the world, and redefined godly convictions as judgmental. Many churches have substituted holiness for comfort and popularity, but God is looking for people who will rebuild a wall of righteousness. He wants to spare us the judgment to come, but too many are more concerned about being accepted by the pagans. That was Israel’s attitude, and the consequences God brought on them should be a warning to us all.

Final Thought:  Are you someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness in your life, your job, your family, your church?

Prayer: Father, search my heart. How compromised am I? Show me areas of my life where I allow the world to influence me rather than influencing it. If righteousness is not my main goal, I am missing something. Correct me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Friday  “Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God.”  2 Samuel 10:12

“Rise up! Be strong! Fight bravely!” As Joab, commander of David’s army, called to his troops so the Lord calls to His church. Our enemy Satan is gaining ground. He is capturing our children, infiltrating our governments, and sending deadly viruses, riots, anarchy, and hatred pulsing through our world. Governments are crumbling under his assaults. Economies are crashing from his schemes. Religious platitudes won’t make a dent and tweets don’t threaten him. He is not afraid of surface-level spirituality or the Sunday-morning crowd. Only one kind of person threatens his kingdom of darkness: Dangerous Christians. 

Being dangerous is not the same as living dangerously. To live dangerously is to abandon wisdom and seek thrills and attention. Being dangerous means we’re committed to God’s plan and are willing to charge into Satan’s hideouts and demolish them. Dangerous people live what they preach, preach what they know, and refuse to be intimidated. They educate themselves so they can answer the skeptics. They discipline themselves so their own temptations don’t take them out of the game. They continually surrender themselves to whatever God wants to do in and through them, and then they get out of the way. They’re bold with the truth; yet, they know that mercy is not weakness, tolerance is not love, and silence is not always golden. Dangerous people move beyond “niceness” and fight bravely for the souls of the people in their lives. Be dangerous.

Final Thought:  How dangerous are you to the kingdom of darkness?

Prayer: Lord, am I a spiritual wimp? Do I live what I preach and preach what I know? Do I let my enemy silence me when I should speak and provoke me when I should remain silent? Help me, Lord. I’m ready to be dangerous to my enemy. Amen.