Make The Choice!

Thursday, April 18, 2013, 4:27 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me to this song:

My Jesus, My Savior / Michael W. Smith

My Jesus, My Saviour,
Lord there is no one like you,
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You.

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Ezekiel 33 (NIV):


Ezekiel was called to be a messenger of the Lord. He was to speak (repeat) God’s words to the people. He was to give them warning about their sins and the coming judgment, and he was to call them to repentance. We, the people of God today, have been given a similar calling of God to the people. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, which is what takes place when we accept God’s invitation to believe in Jesus Christ, we will be his witnesses, i.e. we will repeat his words and life to people throughout the world.

He also said that we are to make disciples (followers of Christ) of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all things Christ has commanded us. We are called to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which means to warn people concerning their sin, to inform them that there is going to be a Day of Judgment, to call them to repentance, and to share with them the hope we have in Jesus Christ of freedom from decay and freedom from slavery to sin while we still live on the face of this earth. That is a message of great hope!


The people had just faced the judgment of God for their sins. The people recognized that they were facing God’s divine discipline because of their rebellious ways and their refusal to repent, so they acknowledged their sin before God. But, they were having a pity-party. They had not yet repented of their sin, so God told Ezekiel to tell them that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live! Amen!

It is absolutely possible for us to realize we have sinned, to even confess the specific sins to God, and to feel genuinely sorry that we did wrong, and to maybe even wallow in our guilt (have a pity-party), but to never truly repent. The Bible says in 2 Co. 7:10 (NIV):

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

On the other hand, true repentance means to turn from our evil ways so that we can live. The teaching of Ephesians 4 explains this.

We must not only turn away from our former lives of living in sin and for self, but we must be made new (of the Spirit of God) in the attitude (about God and about sin) of our minds, and we must put on our new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” It is a lot like the process of metamorphosis that takes place when a caterpillar is changed into a butterfly. In other words, we have to change and become someone else. If we have been in the practice of telling lies, we need to start telling the truth. If we have been in the practice of cheating our spouses, employers, family, friends or neighbors, then we must put off living for self-pleasure, and we must give of ourselves selflessly to the legitimate needs of others, in the power of God. If all we do is try to stop sinning but we never change and become someone else, then we are like a thief between jobs. Chances are that when the going gets rough, we will return to our vomit.


The people’s response was that God was unjust. Yet God’s response back to them was that it was their way which was unjust. And, the same old thing goes on today. Many people have diluted the gospel of Jesus Christ because they feel that the message of the cross is just too hard to bear, or that it is unloving (unjust), or because they fear rejection of people, loss of popularity, or loss of people in their seats in their churches, or for whatever reason they choose to regard the true gospel as unjust. They want to pick and choose what is sin and what is not sin rather than follow God’s standards. They want to believe that we are not required by God to obey or to repent of our sin, even though these teachings of repentance and obedience permeate the New Testament. Yet, if we do not turn from our sin, then where is salvation? Where is freedom? Jesus Christ came to set us free from sin – not just free from eternal punishment in hell, but free from slavery to (the control of) sin over our lives on a day-to-day basis. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny (disallow) himself (his self-life) and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. That is the crux of the gospel and it is not unjust!


Even though the people had just experienced God’s hand of judgment against them because of their sins of rebellion against God Almighty, they still believed they should inherit the Promised Land because of the promise God made to Abraham. And, do you know that many professing Christians today feel the same way? They feel that somehow God owes them heaven because of religious heritage, or because of good works, or because they prayed a prayer at an altar at some point in their lives, or because they regularly attend church, give of their tithes and serve in their local church congregation. Yet, none of that is a guarantee of heaven apart from true repentance and a choice of the will to walk daily in humble and contrite obedience to Jesus Christ and to his commands.

So, God put things in perspective for the people. He reminded them that they had not truly repented of their sins, and he even listed off some of their most offensive sins to God, including their idolatry, their shedding of innocent blood, detestable practices, and their adultery. The book of 1 John puts things in perspective for professing Christians today. It says that if we claim to have fellowship with God, and yet we continue to walk in darkness, i.e. continue in a lifestyle given over to sin, then we are liars and we don’t live by the truth. It also says that if we say we know God, but yet we do not do (do not make it a practice to do) what he commands, we are liars. If we love this world’s (sinful) evil system, the love of God is not in us. And, no one who lives in Christ will continue in a lifestyle of sin. If we do, then we have never seen God or known him. Wow! I hope we all take this to heart!


The people of God would come and listen to Ezekiel speak the message from the Lord, and that is how they phrased it, but they did not put into practice what they heard. Boy does that sound familiar! Their mouths spoke of love, but their hearts were greedy for unjust gain. And, this goes on again today among the people of the “church”. James said this:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. ~ James 1:22-25 (NIV)

God is not interested in us merely reading and listening to his words. He is not impressed by our Bible studies and theological training if we do not follow through on what we have read or studied and put it into practice in our daily lives. It is not what we know, but it is what we do with what we know that is important. True wisdom is knowledge put into practice.


There are two types of judgment and it is important we understand the distinction. God disciplines his children for their good, and that discipline can involve what we term divine judgment, i.e. hardship, famine and sword. Isaiah prophesied concerning Jesus Christ and the time of the end before his return when God would judge his people for their idolatry, spiritual and physical adultery, and their refusal to repent of their evil ways. God’s people are the church in the last days, and it is clear from the prophecies of Isaiah that this divine discipline (correction) will result in the church revived and the salvation of souls of people from all nations who will flock to Jesus Christ and to his gospel of salvation. As well, Revelation 2-3 gives us letters to the church, most of which called for repentance, and warned of judgment if the churches did not repent of their specific named sins.

Yet, there will be a final judgment which will determine who spends eternity with God in heaven and who spends eternity in eternal punishment and torment in the lake of fire. Jesus came to save us out of that judgment of fire, but we must turn from our sins, and we must be changed in the attitude of our minds concerning sin and concerning God, and we must turn to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in faithful obedience, forsaking all others – by His grace and in His strength and power alone. Those who have genuinely repented of their sins and have followed Christ in obedience will spend eternity in glory with God. Those who refuse to repent of their evil ways and continue in their sin will face the ultimate punishment of life without God in eternal torment. Which will you choose? I pray you choose today!

Follow Him / An Original Work / February 21, 2013

Based off Luke 9:22-25

Jesus, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross.

Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself and follow.
He must take up his cross daily;
Die to sin and self each day.

Father, God above,
Loved us so: gave His Son.

If you want to save your old life;
Keep on sinning, follow your ways,
You will lose your life forever;
Hope of heaven gone away.

Spirit of our God
Gives us life in God’s Son.

Nonetheless, if you die to self;
Forsake your sin; follow Jesus,
You will live with God in heaven,
And forever praise His name!

My Jesus, My Savior: