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Words From Amos

So today, the book of Amos has been smacking me down amidst all of the talk and bickering about “how bad off we are” in this world…be it financially or health…or the fact that the house that we bought a couple of years ago that was 70% above our honest budgeting is causing us to go under.

I received an email from two friends today about issues we all seem to agree on with regards to finances…and the way the church views those finances.

Tonight, I shared a passage that came to me from Amos 4

1 “Listen to this, you cows of Bashan
grazing on the slopes of Samaria.
You women! Mean to the poor,
cruel to the down-and-out!
Indolent and pampered, you demand of your husbands,
‘Bring us a tall, cool drink!’

2-3“This is serious—I, God, have sworn by my holiness!
Be well warned: Judgment Day is coming!
They’re going to rope you up and haul you off,
keep the stragglers in line with cattle prods.
They’ll drag you through the ruined city walls,
forcing you out single file,
And kick you to kingdom come.”
God’s Decree.

4-5“Come along to Bethel and sin!
And then to Gilgal and sin some more!
Bring your sacrifices for morning worship.
Every third day bring your tithe.
Burn pure sacrifices—thank offerings.
Speak up—announce freewill offerings!
That’s the sort of religious show
you Israelites just love.”
God’s Decree.

6“You know, don’t you, that I’m the One
who emptied your pantries and cleaned out your cupboards,
Who left you hungry and standing in bread lines?
But you never got hungry for me. You continued to ignore me.”
God’s Decree.

7-8“Yes, and I’m the One who stopped the rains
three months short of harvest.
I’d make it rain on one village
but not on another.
I’d make it rain on one field
but not on another—and that one would dry up.
People would stagger from village to village
crazed for water and never quenching their thirst.
But you never got thirsty for me.
You ignored me.”
God’s Decree.

9“I hit your crops with disease
and withered your orchards and gardens.
Locusts devoured your olive and fig trees,
but you continued to ignore me.”
God’s Decree.

10“I revisited you with the old Egyptian plagues,
killed your choice young men and prize horses.
The stink of rot in your camps was so strong
that you held your noses—
But you didn’t notice me.
You continued to ignore me.”
God’s Decree.

11“I hit you with earthquake and fire,
left you devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick
snatched from the flames.


But you never looked my way.
You continued to ignore me.”
God’s Decree.

(Amos 4 – The Message)

Do we find  a point where we wake up and realize that God is where our faith should be?  St. Assasi used to say “go out in the world and preach the Gospel….and use words where needed.”  Its an important statement…but do we listen?

Below is a portion of my rant in email:

Until we, as a whole, get to a point when we can get out of our little false reality that “we have it bad”…then we cant make a difference with what little we feel we had.  I sat the other day with a huge migraine thinking about how it kept me out of work for the day….how “bad” things had to be to keep me out of work.  Then, I realized the easily accessible medication I have in the medicine cabinet in my nice air conditioned house, the bed that I could lay down in and rest my head on a satin-covered pillow while listening to a bit of light radio………..and my life is SO bad with my migraine.

Fast forward to places in 3rd world countries…..I can rest my case.  I, by no means, have it bad.   The problem is…we all “understand” the problems in 3rd world countries and how we “have it good” in comparison…but we tend to use it when we want to explain to our kids why the should eat when 3rd world kids are starving – yet say it only because we don’t want to see what we worked hard for (food) go to waste.  Instead, we should see how GOOD we have it with what little we feel we have.

We cant begin to help others until we realize why….and how our times are, by no means “bad”.  We have “bad times” only based on our perception of what “financial stability” and “shortfalls” are.  Am I facing such a harsh time when I fear losing my job….yet, even if I did,  I have a country that will PAY me for being laid off?  If I realize that there are countries where you are considered VERY fortunate to even HAVE a job…and NOONE is going to bail you out if you lose that job.

It all comes down to one thing…our PERSPECTIVE has to change.  You guys are, as always, on the right track…..but getting others on the same page of understanding is going to take having a TRUE perspective change of what is poverty and what is still richly blessed.  Until then…people will feel so happy with their modest 10 cents on the dollar that they give to the church only because “it is what I am told to do.”

I’ll refrain now from my normal commentary…and let you do what you will with the message I write.

Until Every Knee Bows,

Jason

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