RSS

The Lord Desires Justice

Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said. Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord: In all the squares there shall be wailing; and in all the streets they shall say, “Alas! alas!” They shall call the farmers to mourning, and those skilled in lamentation, to wailing; in all the vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through the midst of you, says the Lord. Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream. (Amos 5:14-24, NRSV)

Seek good and not evil.

Hate evil and love good.

What is good? It is whatever does the best for everyone. Not that one person gets more than another or someone is brought above others. Evil elevates someone over another and does not even the playing field. And an everflowing stream is clean and fresh water, not stagnate. It is life giving to all things. It does not stifle or kill. It enhances life and brings energy to all.

So how can we bring life and energy to all?

How can we help all people be elevated?

How can we be the ever-flowing stream in the lives of those around us?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Seek the Lord and Live

For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek me and live; but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beer-sheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing. Seek the Lord and live, or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire, and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it. Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground! The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name, who makes destruction flash out against the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress. They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth. Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time. (Amos 5:4-13, NRSV)

God is a jealous God and wants us to follow Him.

God seeks us and follows after us when we do not follow Him or seek Him. That is why Amos tells us that God wants us to seek after Him. If we seek after God and try to follow Him then we will be on the path He has for us.

We will not stray to places that He doesn’t need us to be. We will follow and walk humbly with God in the ways He has prepared for us to walk.

So seek the Lord and follow in His ways, so that you may share His love with all of the world.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

God’s Judgement on Israel

Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals— they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed. Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of cedars, and who was as strong as oaks; I destroyed his fruit above, and his roots beneath. Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. And I raised up some of your children to be prophets and some of your youths to be nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel? says the Lord. But you made the nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, “You shall not prophesy.” So, I will press you down in your place, just as a cart presses down when it is full of sheaves. Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain their strength, nor shall the mighty save their lives; those who handle the bow shall not stand, and those who are swift of foot shall not save themselves, nor shall those who ride horses save their lives; and those who are stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, says the Lord. (Amos 2:6-16, NRSV)

We think that we do not need to take care of those in need as the church. But Jesus nor God never said to allow the government to create a program to take care of the poor and the needy, God over and over again tells us that we need to take care of the poor and needy.

If we push off those who need our help we are not walking as God has called us to walk. If we turn away those who need our help aren’t we actually turning away the person of God before us? God created everyone and is a part of everything he created. So by turning away someone in need, we are turning away God.

How do we serve God, and do what He has sent us here to do?

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mercy, Justice, and Peace

[ For lo, the Lord is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. Then the mountains will melt under him and the valleys will burst open, like wax near the fire, like waters poured down a steep place. All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?] But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace. If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers. “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah [1:3-5] 5:2-5a; 6:6-8, NRSV)

What do we need to do for God?

What do we need to do to follow God?

The good Lutheran answer is nothing. There is nothing I can do to earn God’s grace, but then the question wasn’t about God’s grace, it was about what we need to do for God and to follow God.

You see there is something those of us who are followers of Christ must do, and that is go where He leads us. Follow Christ everywhere. We need to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.

How do we do justice?

When we see something that is wrong, we say something or do something about it. Whether it affects us or not we need to work for justice in the world.

How do we love kindness?

We love everyone as we wish to be loved and seek to share the kindness that we have been given.

And how do we walk humbly with God?

Do what God has asked us to do, which is do justice and love kindness without asking for anything in return. To not let the world know who did it, but just follow God and know that He has blessed us beyond all award we could ever earn here.

Follow God everywhere and share the blessing with which you have been blessed, because that is what God needs us to do…

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A Promised Hope, part 2

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious. On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. He will raise a signal for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, the hostility of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not be hostile towards Ephraim. But they shall swoop down on the backs of the Philistines in the west, together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put forth their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them. And the Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt; and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching wind; and will split it into seven channels, and make a way to cross on foot; so there shall be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that is left of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:10-16, NRSV)

Our hope is that in the final day when the Messiah has come in power He will call all people to Him, from the four corners of the world. All peoples will be brought to Him and peace will reign. That is our Hope.

That God will never leave us nor forsake us and will pursue us for all of our lives.

No one will stand against the Lord and His chosen one to bring us together.

Hope in the fact that God will always bring us to him.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Promised Hope, part 1

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:1-9, NRSV)

Have you ever seen a new tree growing out of a dead stump? It is the miraculous way that life finds a way…

And in that life, there will be the spirit of the Lord. And it shall bring wisdom and understanding, might and counsel, knowledge and awe.

The awe of the Lord will be the best part of it. And you may now be saying why are you saying awe when the reading says fear?

Well fear carries a connotation of being afraid. And that is not always what biblical fear means. Fear in the bible can mean awe. Like I want my children to like me, but respect me, I want them to fear me but not be afraid of me, I want them to understand that I am their father and love them, but that there will be consequences for unwanted actions. So awe not fear…

And this shoot will judge without using their eyes or their ears. They will judge as God does by looking beyond what we can see and what we can hear to understanding the internal motivations of a person. That is our hope. That the king will be like God and see us as God sees us.

So do you have awe for God and Jesus?

Do you wonder at the love God has for you and share that with the world?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A Song of Hope for the City

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46, NRSV)

When times of trouble surround me, I know that God is my refuge, my hiding place.

I know that no matter what is going on I can stop and sit in the silence and breath and feel the life that God has given me flow through my body. You see the breath, the wind, it is the Spirit. And that is God with me.

No matter what is happening in my life, God will never leave me nor forsake me. He is my help when I am in trouble and my rest every day.

Know this and trust it. It is true for you!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,