Digging in Deeper: Amos 6:1

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure on the hill of Samaria — the notable people in this first of the nations, those the house of Israel comes to.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things Jesus talked about more than just about anything else was money. He spoke frequently about our attitude toward our money and condemned our tendency to trust in it more than we ought. He warned against trying to serve two masters—God and money. On one occasion, He commanded a rich young man to actively sell all of his possessions before he could come follow Him. It’s almost like He was trying to say something. It wasn’t something new though. He was right in line with what the prophets of old had been saying for a long time. Amos gives us a great example here.

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Love’s Transformation

Knowing we’re supposed to love the hard to love people in our lives, even knowing the theological reasons for that, is one thing. Actually seeing it in practice is something entirely different. This past Sunday as we continued in our series, Hard to Love, we took a look at a remarkable story of the kind of transformation that can take place when we let love loose into our hard to love situations. You don’t want to miss this.

Love’s Transformation

Let me start this morning with a tough question.  In fact, I want you to close your eyes in order to answer this one.  How would you respond if your child was murdered?  That’s an emotional question, I know, so go ahead and feel that emotion for a minute.  Let me show you a picture.  This is a picture of Mary Johnson and her son.  In 1993 Mary’s son, Laramiun Byrd, was 20 years old.  One night he went to a party with some friends.  As perhaps many young men are wont to do he did a little bit of fronting at the party to the benefit of his ego and his image in front of his friends.  Now, this might not be such a big deal on a normal night, but this particular party was also attended by a 16-year-old young man named O’Shea Israel.  O’Shea took up Laramium’s challenge and did a bit of fronting of his own.  After all, he couldn’t be made to look bad in front of his own friends.  Things digressed from there and the next morning Mary got a call asking if Laramiun had come home the night before.  He hadn’t.  Not long after some officers arrived to let her know that he had been murdered at the party.  In an instant—perhaps just as you imagined—her world completely fell apart. 

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 5:21-24

“I hate, I despise, your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies. Even if you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle. Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever received a gift you really didn’t want? I remember playing a big family White Elephant game when I was growing up. I can’t remember exactly what the first gift I opened was, but it was something pretty cool and I was pleased. But then, my uncle used his turn to steal it for my cousin. The second gift I opened was literally a paperweight. I was crushed. I may have gotten a gift, but I most decidedly did not want it. That was a little bit like how God felt about the worship of the Israelites here. He wanted one thing, but they kept giving Him another; and He wasn’t happy about it.

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Morning Musing: Amos 5:14

“Pursue good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord, the God of Armies, will be with you as you have claimed.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of my favorite things to do growing up was read the newspaper comics. The top of my list were always Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side. I even purchased the complete boxed set of each of them when they became available. Once they retired, though, I had to move on to others. On my second tier, Non Sequitur was always one of my favorites. Let me explain what this has to do with what Amos is saying here.

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Timothy 2:11-13

“This saying is trustworthy: For if we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things we find spread throughout the New Testament are creeds. In a day long before the printing press made books something at first relatively and then exceedingly easy for average folks to have, when the most of the Scriptures most churches had access to was perhaps a fragment of one of Paul’s letters, the creeds were how the average Jesus follower learned the deep truths of the faith. Let’s talk about why that matters and why this one is really good.

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