Monday, December 26, 2011

Wrong Worship

By Dave Branon

Read: Acts 19:23-41
This trade of ours [is] in danger of falling into disrepute. —Acts 19:27
Bible in a year:
Haggai 1-2; Revelation 17

If you really want to get folks upset, threaten their economy.

A bad economic picture gets politicians voted out of office, and the threat of a downturn nearly got the apostle Paul kicked out of Ephesus.

Here’s what happened. Paul came to town and started “reasoning and persuading concerning . . . the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). For more than 2 years he shared the gospel, and many began following Jesus.

Because Paul was so successful in getting people to see that there is only one true God, many Ephesians stopped worshiping the goddess Diana. This was bad news for the local silversmiths, who made their living creating and selling Diana statuettes. If enough people stopped believing in her, business would dry up. A commotion and an uproar broke out when the craftsmen figured this out.

This Ephesus incident can remind us to evaluate our reasons for worshiping God. The silversmiths wanted to protect their worship as a way of protecting their prosperity, but may that never be said of us. Don’t ever let your worship of God become an avenue to good fortune.

We worship God because of His love for us and because of who He is, not because loving Him can help our bottom line. Let’s worship God the right way.

We worship God for who He is,
And not because of what we’ll get;
When we acknowledge what we owe,
We’ll thank Him that He paid our debt. —Sper

Don’t worship God to gain His benefits— you already have them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rejected Light

By David C. McCasland

Read: John 12:35-46
I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. —John 12:46
Bible in a year:
Micah 4-5; Revelation 12

In the early hours of December 21, 2010, I witnessed an event that last occurred in 1638—a total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice. Slowly the shadow of the earth slipped across the bright full moon and made it appear a dark red. It was a remarkable and beautiful event. Yet it reminded me that while physical darkness is part of God’s created design, spiritual darkness is not.

Scottish pastor Alexander MacLaren said: “Rejected light is the parent of the densest darkness, and the man who, having the light, does not trust it, piles around himself thick clouds of obscurity and gloom.” Jesus described this self-imposed spiritual eclipse of heart and mind when He said, “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23).

The great invitation of Christmas is to open our hearts to the Savior who came to end our darkness. Jesus said, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. . . . I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:36,46).

The way out of our spiritual night is to walk in the light with Him.

Come to the Light, ’tis shining for thee,
Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see—
The Light of the world is Jesus. —Bliss

When we walk in the Light, we won’t stumble in the darkness.