At Ease in Zion

At Ease in Zion

Mediocrity, complacency, laziness. They have commonality. These are conditions of the heart that reveal the callousness of a man’s heart. His lack of care for his world are exemplified through his attitudes, and his attitudes are reflected through his actions.

Consider the Israelites. Amos addressed the impending disaster for Israel. After imploring God’s people to return to Him, Amos told them what God thought. Concerning their complacent worship, the Lord Himself said,

“I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your failings.

Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like and ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:21-24

Can you imagine God saying that to you of your worship? Can you imagine God saying that to you of your work? Can you imagine God saying that to you of your family life? What an indictment! And what brought that about? It’s explained in just a few short words.

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria…” Amos 6:1

Complacency does that. A student pastor once asked his youth group on a scale of 1 to 10 in your relationship with God, “How many of you are a 10–on fire for God?” A couple of students raised their hands. “How many are a 1–you couldn’t care less about God? A few raised their hands to this inquiry. How many of you are more in the middle with your feelings toward God? Almost the entire group raised their hands.

The youth leader read, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

Yes, those are the words of our God in Revelation 3.

Complacency, mediocrity–they don’t occur naturally in our lives. No, instead we are quietly lulled into that state by turning our thoughts from God to ourselves. As Dave Ramsey says, “mediocrity is not the norm.”

So how do we turn that around? Well, the Lord continues in Revelation 3 with the answer. “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” You see, God is love. He is not sitting on His throne just looking for an opportunity to strike us, but as the perfect Father, He disciplines us back to good relationship with Him. He continues, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to Him and will dine with Him, and he with Me.”

Our loving Father desires fellowship with us. But who wants a relationship with someone who is apathetic about that relationship? God wants ALL of you. If you’ve been treating Him like a foreigner while sitting back lapping up a life of self-centered luxury, turn your attention back to Him.

“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Andy Get Your Gun

Dad and me at the range after trying out the shotgun.

My dad loves to tell stories of his past. Many of them I’ve heard before, but last week he surprised me with a new one. When he was 15, my dad, known to many of his friends as Andy, received a 16-guage shotgun from his father. He loved the gun and used it often for hunting. He kept the gun until the late 1940s. My brother was soon to be born and mom and dad needed some money, so my dad sold the gun for $25.

Just a few weeks ago, my dad, now 85, ran into the man who bought his long-sold shotgun. He asked the man if he stilled owned the gun, and the gentleman replied that he did still have it. My dad offered $100 to purchase the gun and the deal was done. This old shotgun, now discolored and worn from years of neglect was finally back in the arms of the man who learned to shoot with it as a boy. My dad spent more than two days cleaning and repairing the gun.

After sharing the story, Dad surprised me by telling me he went to all the trouble because he wanted me to have that gun. He had planned to give it to me in October for my birthday, but he just couldn’t wait. With great excitement, he brought the gun out–and it’s a beauty! It too, is my first gun. Sure, I’ve shot his guns for years but never owned one of my own. As excited as I was to have that old 16-guage shotgun, nothing would compare to the work and love that came behind that gun.

Isn’t it just like our Heavenly Father! He loved us so much that He purchased our sin through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus; all because of His great love. He went the distance just so that we could be in relationship with Him forever.

No doubt, I’ll cherish that old shotgun for the rest of my life, but never more than the relationship that I have with my dad.

L-R: Becca, Laura, Dad, Melissa
Laura, Becca, Dad, Mom, and Melissa