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Sweet and Sour
12/29/2008

Sweet And Sour
    
    But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
    
    I was corresponding with my good friend Tim Hazlett a while back, as he was responding to a devotional that was sent. The devotional was called What would you do? and the bases of the question proposed within went something like this:
    
    Are we willing to put our sense of self aside for others who dont know Jesus? Are we willing to put our profitable work aside in order to lead others to a relationship with Jesus?
    Tims response to the devotion was as follows:
    
    Lots to be thankful for...humbled by this message...how blind we are. How can we further His kingdom when I'm too busy furthering mine. May we all eat this "sweet and sour" message. For He MUST increase and I decrease. Amen.
    
    I enjoyed Tims honest heart-felt response to this devotion. I enjoyed his perspective on the message being sweet and sour. Isnt that the way the word of God can be to us at times? How many times have we received a certain snippet of scripture and responded with a hearty, Amen! while other times we simply cringe because it strikes an area where we are weak in our walk? Its as if we would like to pick and choose which ones we agree with or will allow to sink into our hearts and heads.
    
    Isnt that how accountability works though? I always say that the ones, who need accountability the most, are the ones who want it the least. I think that we can all relate to this at one point or another.
    
    When I think about spiritual accountability, I think about Isaiah the great Prophet of God. He was the first of Gods Prophets. The Prophets stood with the priests of God as representatives of God. And theirs was the role of confronting people and speaking for God. They brought with them, the message of Gods commands and promises.
    
    But the people who heard these messages were no different than us, and they didnt always receive it very well. The message that Isaiah brought to the people was confrontational because of their lifestyle and their continued tendencies to disobey God. This made Isaiahs, as well as the following prophets messages hard to hear.
    
    Isaiah called the people to turn from their lives of sin and warned them of Gods judgment and punishment. It took a strong man who was courageous to look an entire society in the face and give them a message of accountability that would not be well received. But Isaiah found every bit of his strength in the Lord, as we should to (see Psalm 29:11). When we turn to God for His will, wisdom and the strength to do what He asks of us, we are given empowerment to complete any task, regardless of how we may be viewed or persecuted.
    
    Some may have a real fear to speak out to others about their faith, or to share Gods Word. But we can be assured that if we seek the Lord and ask for His guidance and will in these situations, then we can do it with the love of God as our motive. We will then find that our compassion and concern for others will eliminate whatever fear there may have been.
    
    There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1John 4:18 (NKJV)
    
    Hey Christian, you might not be Isaiah, but what you say to others may be a prophesy to them. And, just as it was with Isaiah, there will be some who receive the message of the Gospel; that message of salvation through grace, that God has shared with them through you. And then, there will be others, who cannot handle the message of Gods righteous judgment.
    
    We need to hold fast to what God has led us to say and do, and know that He is at work in the lives of these people. We might be sharing many things with others with regards to the Word of God, and not every message is about salvation. There are all sorts of messages that need to be shared with those who know God, and with those who dont as of yet. We can and should be passing on these things to others. Things that will encourage, exhort, teach, guide, and hold accountable, and these will be messages that are both sweet and sour.
    
    But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Joshua 22:5 (NKJV)
    
    STUDY QUESTION: According to 1 John 4:18, why shouldnt we fear telling others about Jesus?
    
    PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you struggle with sharing the message of salvation with others?
    
    APPLICATION: Seek God in everything. Ask for Him to give you a spirit of boldness to share with others, and realize that you are really showing the love of God when you obey Him and share.
    
    Father, Thank You for Your perfect love. Thanks for casting out the fear that once filled me. Help me today to see the opportunities to share the gospel message with those whom You have brought into my life. In Jesus precious name, amen&
    
    Be Blessed, Pastor Scott
    
    

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000