Zeal

‘Be zealous and repent.’ Revelation 3:19 ESV

We’re called to be on fire for God, to be passionate and to be intentional in how we live for Him. But it’s not always easy. Our faith can be pushed to the background, we can lose our motivation to seek God and we can become weighed down by things we have to face in life. Seven churches are mentioned at the beginning of Revelation, the seventh being Laodicea. This church was told: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!’ (Revelation 3:15 NIV) God doesn’t want us to be lukewarm when it comes to our faith. He wants us to have zeal for Him. Zeal is enthusiasm, dedication or passion for something. In Revelation 3:19, the people were told: ‘Be zealous and repent.’ And that’s exactly what we need to do too. We need to find our passion for God again. God should be our top priority, the first thing we think of in the morning and the last thing we think of at night. He should be the One we’re living for. We need to repent of our lukewarm ways.

The Bible says: ‘Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.’ (Romans 12:11 NIV) So how do we make sure we’re never lacking in zeal? We need to honestly look at what’s priority in our lives. We need to surround ourselves with people who are on fire for God. We need to make time to spend with God and be closer to Him. And ask Him to increase our passion. So today, let’s take the advice given to the church in Laodicea: ‘Be zealous and repent.’

SoulFood: Isa 45–48, Luke 3:1–10, Ps 79, Pro 2:9–10

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Isaiah 45–48 ()

( to me, O Jacob,
    and Israel, whom I called!
  I am he; I am the first,
    and I am the last.
13   My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
    and my right hand spread out the heavens;
  when I call to them,
    they stand forth together.
14   “Assemble, all of you, and listen!
    Who among them has declared these things?
  The LORD loves him;
    he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
    and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15   I, even I, have spoken and called him;
    I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16   Draw near to me, hear this:
    from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
    from the time it came to be I have been there.”
  And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.
17   Thus says the LORD,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
  “I am the LORD your God,
    who teaches you to profit,
    who leads you in the way you should go.
18   Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
    Then your peace would have been like a river,
    and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
19   your offspring would have been like the sand,
    and your descendants like its grains;
  their name would never be cut off
    or destroyed from before me.”
20   Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
    declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
  send it out to the end of the earth;
    say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21   They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
    he made water flow for them from the rock;
    he split the rock and the water gushed out.
22   “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

Luke 3:1–10 ()

()

3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

  “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight.
  Every valley shall be filled,
    and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
  and the crooked shall become straight,
    and the rough places shall become level ways,
  and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?”

Psalm 79 ()

()

A Psalm of Asaph.

79:1   O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
    they have defiled your holy temple;
    they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
  They have given the bodies of your servants
    to the birds of the heavens for food,
    the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth.
  They have poured out their blood like water
    all around Jerusalem,
    and there was no one to bury them.
  We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
    mocked and derided by those around us.
  How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever?
    Will your jealousy burn like fire?
  Pour out your anger on the nations
    that do not know you,
  and on the kingdoms
    that do not call upon your name!
  For they have devoured Jacob
    and laid waste his habitation.
  Do not remember against us our former iniquities;
    let your compassion come speedily to meet us,
    for we are brought very low.
  Help us, O God of our salvation,
    for the glory of your name;
  deliver us, and atone for our sins,
    for your name's sake!
10   Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
  Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
    be known among the nations before our eyes!
11   Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
    according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!
12   Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors
    the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!
13   But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
    will give thanks to you forever;
    from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Proverbs 2:9–10 ()

()

  Then you will understand righteousness and justice
    and equity, every good path;
10   for wisdom will come into your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

Tue 15 January, 2019


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