Accountability

Ezekiel 33

Saturday, October 29, 2022

This week we have covered pain and sorrow in our trials, our hope in Jesus, newness in the clay, God’s comfort for us in our battles, and our freewill to live for Christ.

Though these topics are all different, they all connect in how we reach others. Our job as Christians is to share the good news of God and his Son.  Our prayer everyday should be to touch the life of someone in a positive way; and hopefully to bring people with us along the journey. But our job is also to be accountable for one another in our journey of faith. This doesn’t mean to be judgmental but understanding.

As we have gone through this week, we have seen how God comforts, but he also tests by letting us face sorrow, and we have seen how our faith is based on our freewill to follow Him. The same goes with accountability. We are to walk alongside each other in trials and in comfort and help each other walk closer in our faith in God and the hope we have in Jesus.

Ezekiel 33:7-9 says,

As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel.  When you hear a word from my mouth, give them a warning from me.  If I say to the wicked, ‘wicked one, you will surely die,’ but you do not speak out to warn him about his way, that wicked person will die for his iniquity, yet I will hold you responsible for his blood.  But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his way and he doesn’t turn from it, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have rescued yourself.”

This scripture really hits home how important remaining faithful every day is. It is not enough to just go to church and give our offering. While those are important things, what really matters is bringing Jesus outside of church. Jesus continually went to people who were broken and lost, just as we are supposed to.

We are supposed to be the light for people who have no light.  We are supposed to be there for the person at school who is always alone, talk to the coworker, who you know is going through a hard time, and spread the joy and hope that Jesus would spread.

 A song written this year by Cain, called The Commission words it perfectly. “Go tell the world about me, I was dead but now I live. I’ve got to go now for a little while, but goodbye is not the end.” He will be back someday, and he wants to see everyone there. If we don’t spread his word who will? 

I want to know that I did everything I could in my life to share Jesus with as many people as God gives me the opportunity.

My Grandpa used to say this quote by Stephen Covey, but it goes like this. “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”

-Hannah Eldred

Reflection Questions

  1. How do you feel about the job of watchman?
  2. Has anyone been a faithful watchman for you – warning you of the danger of continuing down a path away from God and his commands? What did they do well?
  3. How can a watchman deliver God’s warning in a way that might be best heard and heeded?

Going with the Gospel

Around the World or Across the Street

Acts 18

It is interesting how some people basically stay in one place all their lives and others seem to travel about quite frequently. No one can accuse the apostle Paul of being a homebody! In Acts 18 we notice that Paul travels quite extensively staying in one place for a little while, and then traveling to another place. Sometimes the places he traveled to received the gospel message with readiness and welcomed him, and at other times he received more hostile treatment. Everywhere he went he shared the gospel message. About the first thing he would do each place he went was to go to the synagogue and teach there about Jesus being the promised Messiah and way to salvation.

Among his travels he met Priscilla and Aquila and they were strengthened in the faith. So much so that later when Paul travelled on to a new location without them they were able to teach another man named Apollos more clearly about the gospel. It seems whether near to home or far away these early Christians were ready and willing to share the message with whoever would listen and believe. They were truly ready to give an answer in season for the hope they held within them.

We should be ready and willing just as they were to give an answer for the hope that we hold within us. Whether God gives us the opportunity to travel from place to place, or whether He asks us to be the light within our own community. Our willingness should always be present, just as it was with the early Christians, to share the hope we have in Christ.

-Pastor Merry Peterson

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 2 Samuel 17-18 and Acts 18

This Little Light of Mine

John 8 12

It is now officially summer. I love summer. I love the warmth of sun on my skin, the colorful growth and plant life around me, and the sound of voices as people are outside living life. I appreciate the simplicity of walking out my door without dragging a coat, scarf, and layers that never seem to be comfortable no matter what I do, and being able to simply open the door of my car versus brushing it off, warming it up, or on really bad days. . . digging it out. In general, I prefer sweat to shivers or snot (my nose pours this out in anger toward the cold within a few seconds of me being out there usually). I would rather have mosquito bites itch for a few days than itchy, dry skin for months just longing for warm sunshine days to come. Summer has its cons, but it has its pros, and I appreciate them.  As a child I remember dreaming of carefree summer days to come while sitting at uncomfortable desks in sterile classrooms with not even a window or glimpse of the “outside world” in sight. As an adult working 11 hour shifts, during winter months I would drive to work in the dark and get off in the dark, restricting my only sunlight exposure to the occasional view through a hospital hallway. I do not prefer to live this way.

The sunlight has so many benefits. Of course, lying out in the sun for hours in vanity or laziness are bad ideas. Blistering skin is a bad idea. And since anything can be misused, I do not want to condone anyone making unwise choices for skin or physical health this summer on account of this reading. But, just a little research will tell you how our western “indoor” culture is significantly deprived of sunlight in general. Sunlight helps us synthesize Vitamin D which is essential for so many bodily functions I won’t even begin to name them. Sunlight increases oxygen in our blood, lowers blood pressure, and builds the immune system. Sunlight improves our mood. In fact, areas of the world where there is more sunlight compared to cloudy northern climates further from the equator have significantly less diagnoses such as multiple sclerosis, ADHD, mood disorders, sleep disturbances, etc.  There are many known benefits to sunlight, and I find that concept to be quite spiritually relevant.

When I was in college, I remember being paired up with a girl from my college dorm Bible study, and we were asked to come up with the lesson for the following week.  She said her idea was “Let’s talk about light. It comes up a lot in the Bible it seems”. So, we had a week to casually research light references in the Bible we thought and come up with a little lesson of some sort…..and we realized by the middle of the week that we were not going to even touch the tip of the iceberg of what is there in the Bible in one study. Light is contrasted with dark throughout scripture, and darkness or a lack of light is correlated to evil numerous times. The light is good stuff. God’s son is the light. We are to walk in the light. We are to turn from darkness.  So, I can only provide a drop in the bucket of the idea of light here today. . .but here are some things to think about:

“You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.  (John 12:35, NIV)

 “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12, NIV)

We can be overtaken by darkness and lost. We need to intentionally seek and follow the light. The light has been lovingly and freely given to us by our Creator and sovereign God. We don’t know where we are going if we aren’t following the light of his son, Jesus. And, we aren’t following Jesus if we aren’t living like Jesus lived. If we are followers of Jesus, we are also a source of light to others.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:14, NIV)

Ultimately, we need to identify the contrast between light and dark by believing the light is good and turning away from evil.  We are called to accept the light God has provided through the forgiveness and salvation made possible by the gift of His son, our Messiah. As part of that belief, we are instructed to follow Jesus and in turn bring glory to our Father. Also, by doing this, we shine a light for others who are lost, just waiting for a glimpse of that summer sun on a cloudy, wintry day.

I appreciate so much those who have been a light to me on this earth, and those who have taught me of a day to come. One without tears and mistakes and disappointments. A day so bright we won’t even need the sun at all according to Revelation!  Followers of Jesus long for that day where we can reign together with him in his kingdom, but as we wait for it with open arms, let’s not forget to continually seek the light, love the light, and shine the light.

 

–Jennifer Hall

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