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Hello....you out there?

So seek God and live! You don't want to end up with nothing to show for your life but a pile of ashes, a house burned to the ground. For God will send just such a fire, and the firefighters will show up too late. (Amos 5:6)

Ever find yourself in a place where it feels like everything around you is 'on fire' and you are somehow trying to put out all the fires at once? I think we occasionally find ourselves in these times of wearing and quite frustrating 'firefighting'. Most of us can put out a small fire, but those bigger ones require the expertise of the firefighter specifically trained in the task! Amos was one of the twelve minor prophets of Israel. He finds himself leading a group of people who had little time for God and lots of time for their good life. The armies of Assyria (one of their fiercest rivals) were battling for bigger territory and Israel was allowed to live almost without warfare during that time, enjoying the expansion of their own territory without the need for battle. Although the nation was prospering and expanding, their heart for God was not so expansive. There are times when we enjoy 'prosperity' and 'goodness', almost forgetting about who it is that blesses us with such good things.

Values are often determined by the circumstances we find ourselves in. When Israel was "down on its luck" with armies battling them on every side, they sought God, listened to the prophets and wanted to be engaged in worship. When they seemed to be living carefree, they had little need for God in their lives. Their values were allowed to be shaped by the prosperity they enjoyed - oftentimes focusing on their own gain, and leaving the poor or sick to fend for themselves. Amos comes with a tough message - either they wake up to their drifting away from God, or face his coming judgment! He was bringing a message that the 'fire' was coming - they better be prepared. God gives us these warnings when we need them in our lives and if we heed them quickly, the fires will not get out of hand. If we ignore them, there is no telling how big the fires will get before they are under control!

It is a hard one to deliver, but probably even harder to listen to when you find yourself enjoying great times and then being brought to the realization you just might have left God out of the equation! Here's the cold, hard facts - God makes no differentiation when it comes to sin. Either you are guilty of sin or not. The fact that you are a child of God when you sin is just as significant as when a total unbeliever sins. The only difference is that we recognize that we have someone to run to with our sin, whereas the unbeliever is just left dealing with the outcome of their sin. With each period of compromise in our lives, compromise gets easier and it gets bigger! It is like we are lending fuel to the fire. Thank goodness that God gives us messengers of his grace! We may not get a "prophet" to show up on our doorstep, but we do experience the grace of his message! It may be in hearing the Word of Truth through another believer, or a convicting thought comes to mind through the action of the Holy Spirit within, but we get the message!

Our position as God's chosen and loved does not make us exempt from his position on sin, nor on the potential for sin in our lives! We have a responsibility to live right! When we don't - God reminds us of our responsibility! Plain and simple. God's Word measures us to make sure we stay on the "plumb" with God. When we are getting a little "out of plumb", his Word has a way of bringing us back into plumb. That is why God sent the prophets of the Old Testament - to act as a plumbline to bring his people "back to plumb" with him. It may be time to begin to consider the condition of our hearts. We might find that we are "melting away" without really seeing that we are - so busy fighting fires that we don't see all the fuel we have been giving them. Before we find nothing but a pile of ashes to remind us of what we once enjoyed, wouldn't it be better to "adjust our plumb" now? Just askin!

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