Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 28 November 21:
Hosea 4:1-3 — “There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish.”
What does it mean when God’s description of abhorrent godlessness sums up most of the popular TV shows and movies enjoyed by many Christians today? How can we be entertained by what God hates? What does that say about the condition of our hearts? What should be most shocking to us is what no longer shocks us.
Media entertainment (audio, visual, print) is an idol for God’s people. Even in its most benign forms, ‘educational’ programs preach a secular, humanist message; ‘news’ programs are biased not only in what they select to cover but also in how they cover it; ‘family friendly’ shows are like a gateway drug to more ignoble programming and still manage to slip in ungodly values; and commercials are designed to entice us and inflame feelings of lust, pride, discontentment, anxiousness, envy, jealousy, and greed.
At the very least (perhaps the most critical point), the entertainment industry distracts us and wastes our precious time. Many Christians tell themselves if they disconnect from the medias, they will lose touch with what is going on around them. However, the most informed people I know rarely watch any television or online programming. Most of what you get from mainstream media is inaccurate and irrelevant to the decisions you need to make, and everyone around you will already be talking about the big issues anyway (relationships provide information). Hearing repeatedly about every gruesome sex crime, murder, scandal, or tragedy which has occurred across the planet (through global networks) serves to only depress you over things you cannot even influence. Turn off the TV, radio, and blogs for 30 days and invest that time and focus on your relationship with God, your family, your church, your friends, your neighborhood, your coworkers, and your community and see what happens. When you get in your car, instead of turning on your radio, turn on your spiritual receiver – pray, and just listen for the Counsel of the Spirit. Meditate upon these verses:
- Ephesians 5:1-21 -- Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. - Psalm 101:3 -- I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. - Philippians 4:8 -- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - 1 Corinthians 15:33 -- Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” - Matthew 5:29 -- If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. - Galatians 6:8 -- For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. - 1 Timothy 4:7 -- Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; - Galatians 5:19-21 -- Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. - James 4:4 -- You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. - Galatians 5:13 -- For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. - Matthew 6:22 -- “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light…. - Romans 12:2 -- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - 1 John 2:15 -- Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 -- Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. - 2 Timothy 4:4 -- And will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. - Matthew 5:28 -- But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. - Psalm 119:1-176 -- Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! - John 4:23-24 -- But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” - Revelation 3:16 -- So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. - Romans 1:32 -- Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. - Psalm 1:1-6 -- Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous…. - Exodus 20:7 -- “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. - Matthew 10:16 -- Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. - Proverbs 21:4 -- Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. - Job 31:1 -- I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
“Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.” If you care about your environment, focus on fighting sin before worrying about global warming, carbon emissions, etc. Clean hearts will promote a clean environment. Start with your heart and your house. Remove from your presence what dishonors God.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 November 21: Remove from your presence what dishonors God, and pray that God will give you His heart which abhors sin and rejoices when His children seek unity with Him and abide in His love.