As in the Days of Sodom and Gomorroh

Today’s Bible Reading – Genesis 19 & 20 and Matthew 10

I think we can assume it is universally known that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire from heaven for their wickedness.  In Genesis 19:1, we read that Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city.  Historically, important people, like city elders, would sit in the gateway of a city to judge between parties in a dispute, or businessmen would congregate there to transact business.  

2 Peter 2:7 tells us that Lot was a righteous man.  And yet, there he was sitting at the gate of a very wicked city.  This suggests to me that he was assimilating into the wicked city.  I think Lot’s decline started in Genesis 13, when Lot and Abraham had to separate because the land couldn’t support all their flocks and herds.  Lot greedily chose to live in the lush fertile valley near Sodom, and left the barren, rocky heights for Abraham to graze his flocks.  In Genesis 13:12, Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom.  In Genesis 14:12, he lived in Sodom, here, in Genesis 19:1, he was sitting in the gateway of the city, easing his way into assimilating into the sinful city.

Even though Lot was a righteous man, he apparently didn’t exert much Godly influence over the locals.  In Genesis 18:32, God said He would spare the city if only 10 righteous were found there.  As it was, only Lot was considered righteous.  Not only did he not convert others in the city, he couldn’t even convince his own future sons-in-law to leave the city with him.  (And arguably, he didn’t have much positive influence over his own daughters.  Read Genesis 19:30-38 as proof.)

Despite Lot’s poor judgment in choosing where to live, God was very merciful to Lot by sending two angels to lead Lot and his family out of the city before sending judgement.  Once they were clear of the city, God rained down fire and burning sulfur on the cities of the plain, and everything and everyone was destroyed.  Everything Lot had owned, everything he had worked for literally went up in smoke.  Unfortunately, Lot’s wife looked back, presumably longing for what she had left behind.  She died as a result of this.

We’re told in 2 Peter 2:6, “… he (GOD) condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly…”  This story in Genesis 19 is an example of what will happen when Jesus returns, when He will save the righteous, and destroy the wicked by fire.

In Luke 17, Jesus is talking about conditions before the second coming of Christ.  Luke 17: 28-32 says, “It was the same in the days of Lot.  People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.  But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.  It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, no one who is on the roof of his house with his goods inside should go down to get them.  Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.  Remember Lot’s wife.”

I think there are several applications for us.  

First, if you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, it’s imperative you fix that right now.  Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.  Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

Second, If you do have a relationship with the Lord, continuously work on strengthening that relationship with the Lord.  Especially since we don’t know when Jesus will return and we don’t know when we will die.  We should live in such a way that we would always be ready to give an account for our lives.  2 Corinthians 5:10 reminds us:  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

Next, we should all carefully choose the situations in which we find ourselves, and seriously consider whether we are being conformed to the patterns of the sinful people around us, or if we’re influencing others for the Lord.

Finally, we should not become too attached to the world or anything in it.

1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”

I’ll close by challenging you to follow Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

–Steve Mattison

Follow the 2021 SeekGrowLove.com Bible reading plan to read the Bible in a year – with an Old Testament and a New Testament/Psalms/Proverbs reading each day. Together let’s Seek God, Grow spiritually and Love Him and others more and more!

The Most Needed Ministry

Matthew 26 & Mark 14

In the closing moments of Jesus’ life after the last supper he took his three closest disciples and prayed. Jesus was a man of prayer and it is fitting that in the final moments before he is handed over he prays to his Father. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of prayer. Many of us are guilty of not praying as we ought to. Look at the degree to which Jesus expected his three closest disciples to pray. In Matthew 26.36-41 and Mark 14.32-38 he asks them to remain and watch while Jesus went off and prayed. Watch and pray are synonymous words. To watch is to pray and to pray is to watch. 

When Jesus comes back the first time he questions Peter, James, and John and says, ”You couldn’t keep watch for an hour?” Jesus expected his disciples to pray for a whole hour! Many of us can only last a few minutes let alone an hour. If prayer was important to Jesus and his ministry and his relationship with God CERTAINLY it must be a priority for us. I would venture to say prayer is one of the most neglected and undervalued ministries. Jesus never believed prayer was expendable, neither should we. 

Do you want to grow with God? Do you want to grow in spirituality? Do you want deeper intimacy in your relationship with God and other believers? Do you want to combat spiritual darkness? Do you want to see people saved? Pray. Pray. Pray. 

If we will give ourselves over to the ministry of prayer and intercession God will grow and mature us. Prayer is too valuable to discard, it’s too precious to pass over, and it’s too powerful to be ignored.

Lord Jesus stir in our hearts a desire and hunger for prayer! Raise up men and women who will pray! Amen!

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Matthew 26 & Mark 14

Tomorrow we will read Luke 22 & John 13.

Grow!

let us press on to maturity.png

“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instructions about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.” – Hebrews 6:1-3

 

I have three younger siblings, and have had the privilege of seeing them all grow up into some of my favorite people to be around (although we have our issues like all siblings). It is an absolute blessing to see the transformation that a person goes through in life, from infancy to adulthood. A person goes from being completely dependent on another human being, to being the one whom others depend on. Everybody sees this progress at some point in life. What is amazing, though, is how this progress is similar to what we experience in our Christian life.

 

When you first accept Jesus as your Savior, you are technically an “infant”, learning life all over again (see John 3:3). You are dependent on another Christian, likely the one who led you to Christ in the first place. You are not expected to know very much, but are in the process of learning and developing your faith. Eventually, the expectation is that you would become mature and able to train another “baby Christian”, just like parents eventually train their own children.

 

I want you to consider where you are currently as 2019 is wrapping up. Are you just now starting your Christian walk? Have you had years of experience in the Christian life and are now able to train others? Or are you somewhere in between, still developing your faith? Wherever you find yourself, it is important to remember that we are all expected to “press on to maturity”, always growing in our faith. That may look different for each of us, but we are all expected to “grow up”.

 

This upcoming year, what do you need to do to develop your faith further? Do you need to learn more about Jesus and the Bible? Do you need to put yourself into service to the Church? Do you need to find another Christian to train? What do you need to do?

 

Many blessings as you seek to grow this year!

Talon Paul

 

We are preparing to grow in 2020 with a chronological Bible reading plan.  Now is a great time to dowload and print your plan  2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan and subscribe to SeekGrowLove.com to receive daily devotions based on each day’s Bible reading.  

Stunted Spiritual Growth

Hebrews 5

Hebrews 5 12

Hebrews 5:12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 

As parents, my wife and I have the exciting opportunity to watch our daughter grow. We made a growth chart where we can visibly see how much she has grown over the years. It is exciting for her and us to watch the marks get higher and higher. 

But can you imagine how shocked and concerned we would be if, instead of growing up our daughter had shrunk! We would schedule an immediate doctor’s appointment to find out what was wrong. Growth is normal and causes joy – shrinkage would be crazy and cause for alarm.

Many of the Hebrews that this letter is written to have been backsliding in their faith. They are shrinking – the author notices this and raises the alarms. He states that they are back needing the milk instead of solid food. Imagine if a teenager or adult gave up solid food for formula and pureed fruits and veggies. For some reason this seems silly but for some reason long time Christians acting like new believers does not get the same reaction.

Instead of helping others with their faith – these believers still need someone to teach them the basics again. The author wants to go deeper but fears it will go over their heads. So before he dives in to that subject, he issues a strong warning – saying, “GROW UP! You have probably been in a situation where an adult was acting like a child. You want to shout, “act your age” or “grow up.” And essentially that is what the author of Hebrews does with these Hebrew Christians. 

In vs. 11 he calls them spiritually dull and they don’t seem to listen. But they didn’t used to be this way. The language used here indicates that there was a drop off – as if they were sick and lacking energy or possibly it is a spiritual laziness. We notice an opportunity to get into God’s word but instead flip on the tv or have a free Sunday morning to go to church but instead decide to sleep in. 

If there is spiritual life, there needs to be spiritual growth.
You have to be moving forward.
Sitting still or going back is not part of a healthy spiritual life.
Make a plan and go forward.
Don’t get lazy or give up.
It is time to grow up!

John Wincapaw