July 9

Ezekiel 16-18, Psalm 35

I can't remember the exact source, but a fairly recent study came out showing that though students in the United States now fair worse than other nations in regards to almost every scholastic measure, we are number one in self esteem.  So highly do we exalt ourselves that when we behave or think badly, rather than reflecting on ourselves we have been taught to look externally to figure out who to blame. Consider every talk show, the guests blame parents, spouses, former friends for their current predicament. Consider modern psychology which often focuses on the faults of others, especially parents, which cause you to be in the problem state you are in.  Consider politics which will blame your race, your gender, your job, your poverty level for the reason for your current situation.  This way of thinking which engulfs our society is completely opposite from the way God thinks.  Though we are all called to influence one another, when all is said and done we will be totally responsible for our own choices when we all face God, and we will all face God, one day.

Chapter 18 of Ezekiel devotes the entire chapter to the topic of our individual responsibility and is a wonderful read.  Ez 18:20summarizes the previous verses and says, "The soul who sins shall die.  The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son.

The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."  This chapter concludes in 18:30-32 with, "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord God.  "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies", says the Lord God.  "Therefore turn and live!"

Jon Courson said, "Sin is not bad because it is forbidden.  Sin is forbidden because it is bad." Because we have fallen into a state in our nation of looking externally or outside of ourselves for our personal misery, repentance eludes us.  It is only through personal acceptance of our own behavior followed by repentance whereby we can initiate the process of allowing the blood of Jesus to cover our sins.  Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Though many like to focus externally on our differences and reasons for our situation, Paul refutes this in Galatians 3:28 saying, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  So we all have a choice, we can do like our politically correct culture and point out the unfairness of the plights of others, and in so doing you will be loving and hugging these individuals right into hell.  Or you can point them to Jesus and allow Jesus and His Word to illuminate the sin in their lives and lovingly lead them to repentance and into a relationship with Jesus, the only One who can wash away their sin and make them righteous before God.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster