Monthly Archives: August 2011

Keeping Silent

As you read through the Old Testament you’ll find some very interesting stories. In just the past week in my Old Testament class we’ve talked about prophets going to heaven in a whirlwind, bears eating kids because of their bald jokes and people paying big bucks to eat a donkey head during a famine. However, a story that stood out a lot because of the application it has for us today is the story of four lepers in 2 Kings 7:3-14.

At this time, the Arameans were laying siege to Samaria. It had gotten to the point in which the whole city didn’t even have food to eat (thus the donkey head mentioned above). However, outside the city there were four lepers. They hadn’t been in the city because lepers would have been separated from the rest of the people. Knowing that they were probably going to die no matter what they did, the four men decided they would go to the Aramean camp and see if they would be willing to offer mercy. The lepers were in for a big surprise when they reached the camp though. Everyone was gone. God had caused fear in the camp and the Arameans had fled, leaving behind everything in the camp. After eating their fill of food, the four lepers even started taking things from the camp and hiding them for later. However, in verse 9 we read a statement that shows their change in conscience. It says, “Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent.”

The lepers recognized that they had received a great blessing and it would have been selfish for them to keep that good news a secret. I hope by now you can see the great connection this has for us today. We too are in a “day of good news.” That good news is the gospel of Christ! As Christians, we have been blessed to have something that has saved us from sin. Unfortunately, like the lepers, many of us have taken that good news and hid it. We are keeping silent.

At the end of verse 9, the lepers recognize that keeping this good news a secret would lead to punishment and so they returned to the city to tell the king and his household. Similarly, we too will face punishment if we choose to keep the gospel a secret. I’m afraid that evangelism is something that too many Christians see as an option. We can share the good news with others…but only if we want to. That’s not how it works. We as Christians should recognize that it is our responsibility to bring this news back to those who still need it. However, it shouldn’t simply be done because of obligation. Like the lepers, we should recognize that the great blessings we have discovered are too great to keep to ourselves. We should be those who are anxious to get back to those who need it and share the good news with them.

You may already be involved in evangelism in some way. If so, keep it up. The good news you are sharing is powerful and can change lives. Evangelism may be something, on the other hand, that you have pushed off as an option. If that’s the case, I hope you will look for a way this week to share the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news we have discovered is far too great to keep secret. It’s time that we as the church speak up and stop keeping silent.

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Get Out of Debt Quick!

Debt. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that word in the last few months I might actually have enough money to bail the United States out of our current financial situation. There’s nothing to like about debt. It’s stressful, binding and we often feel like we can never escape from it. I’m sure each of us have encountered it in some way. Whether it’s student loan debt, car payments, credit card bills or a mortgage, most of us have endured some sort of debt in the past. Now, as debt becomes more and more of an issue, many have started looking for a way to “get out of debt quick.” Unfortunately, when it comes to our financial status, the only way to get out of debt quickly is to pay the debt. Sometimes, like the situation our nation finds itself in, we simply don’t have the funds to pay that debt. So for those of you who read this post in hopes that I had an answer to your monetary struggles, all I can say is keep at it.

As humans, money is the least of our worries when it comes to debt. For as stressful as it can be to owe money, we have all been at a point where we owed far more than we could ever pay. In Romans 6:23, Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death.” In other words, those who sin must die (much like the story of Adam and Eve, this isn’t referring to a physical death but a spiritual death). Earlier in Romans, Paul wrote, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23). So, if everyone who sins must die, and everyone has sinned, we all owed something that we couldn’t escape from. No matter how hard we could have tried, there was no way we could have ever escaped from that sin on our own. When the US was trying to deal with the debt crisis a few weeks ago, they had countless meetings to brainstorm and discuss ways that we might escape from that debt. As humans, no amount of brainstorming sessions could ever have freed us from the debt that we owed.

If that were the end of the story, it would be a depressing and hopeless one. However, we are incredibly blessed in that someone came to us with a “Get Out of Debt Quick” plan. That person was Christ. Before I mentioned Romans 6:23. The first half of the verse explains what we owe because of the sin in our life. However, the second half of the verse is where we find hope. It says, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Christ was willing to pay that debt for us and it cost us NOTHING! It was free! Can you imagine the bank calling you tomorrow afternoon and saying, “We know that you still owe another $30,000 on your home but an individual has come forward and paid that debt for you. You are now debt free.” You might have nicer friends than I do but I don’t see that happening. However, Christ did that very thing in our spiritual life. As one of my favorite devotional songs states, “He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.” If we are willing to accept Christ as our Lord through repentance and baptism, we will become DEBT FREE!!!

I can’t guarantee that our nation will be able to pull itself out of the debt that we are in. I also can’t promise that paying off your financial debts will be an easy task. The one thing that is promised (not by me but by God) is that those who are obedient to God and become followers of Him will be freed from the bonds of sin. God promises that our debts will be wiped away. All it takes from us is our commitment to the Lord. To me, that seems like an opportunity far too wonderful to pass up.