Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Jezebel Culture

Read 1 Kings 16:29-34

“He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him...”

I can remember as a child going to my dad’s house which was on a lake. I can remember my summers there vividly as my brother and I would swim on our raft that had a 20 foot high dive platform. As I climbed to the top I can recall how excited I was to perform my specialty pencil dive. This is when you point your feet and put arms at side and go in feet first and jump in abandoning any fear of what was below the surface of the water.

As I got ready to jump I did not pay attention to which side the high dive was on. The raft had not swung out to the drop off so when I jumped, I plummeted through the shallower water where my feet hit the dark cold muck at the bottom of the lake. The suction seemed endless, but it was the tall weeds that frightened me the most. The more I struggled to resurface for air the more my body became tangled in the weeds. As I struggled and struggled to resurface without being able to break free from the grip of the weeds, I realized that I was going to drown. I can remember just saying to myself, “Please help me,” and I stopped struggling and the weeds let go, and I broke the surface of the water gasping for air.

This story is a metaphor for being aware of the tangle of sin.  Sin is like weeds that lurk below the surface, but even though we know the weeds are there, we are not discerning, and before we know it, we are tangled. That is how it is with sin.

King Ahab was an evil king and his wife, Jezebel, has become a metaphor for sexual promiscuity and enticing people away from God. We live in a culture today that has been entangled in sin and enticed away from God. We live in a Jezebel culture. We have lost any discernment of truth and abandoned any fear of the consequences. How can a culture survive with this attitude toward sin and self-gratification?  The answer is we can’t.

That is why we must develop discernment and fight the battle being waged against families and set ourselves apart from our culture. But we must never withdraw from the culture. We are to be “in the world, but not of it.”

Take some time this week looking at your life. Ask yourself if you have been enticed by the Jezebel culture and been entangled by sin. If so, ask God to bring you back and then engage in the battle. Remember that when we turn from sin and turn toward God, he will use us mightily.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dead Man Walking

Have you ever seen anyone raised from the dead (except for in zombie movies)? I mean, imagine the scene at the tomb of Lazarus in John 11 when Jesus says, "Lazarus, come out!" And out walks a dead man who is no longer dead.

I am inspired by this story for a few reasons:

1) Jesus actually delays two more days after hearing the news of his sick friend Lazarus--which teaches us that God's timing is not always our timing.

2) After seeing Mary and Martha weeping for the loss of their brother we see that Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Why--because Jesus hates sin and the devastation it wreaks in the world.  "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God."

3) "Jesus wept." Jesus demonstrates his humanity.

4) Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Jesus demonstrates his divinity.

Things to ponder:

The same power that raised Lazarus from the dead is the same power that helps us live a life that amplifies Jesus and glorifies God. We are called to live radical lives for Jesus.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blessed are the Meek

I have been pondering some of Jesus' words in Matthew 5. In verse 5 he says:

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the Old Testament, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. --From

I find it interesting that it is the meek that inherit the earth, not the proud and overly egotistical that seem to be glorified in our day. God's economy is upside down from the world's values. We are called as followers of Jesus to live radically different lives.

Where have you seen meekness at work in your life or the life of others?