Ezekiel 14:5b-6 … because they are all estranged from me through their idols. 6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

What a prophet Ezekiel was! His warnings to the nation of Israel were not sugar coated. Repeatedly he warns of Israel of their idolatry and God’s impending judgment upon them. But even with warning after warning, did Israel obey? Before we judge Israel to harshly in our hearts, we need to remember there is ‘something’ in this for us! Most every American Christian has an idol. I know that the title for today’s devotional probably misled the reader into thinking I was going to be writing about the popular weekly program. However, it does fall into today’s thoughts.

We live in an absolutely wonderful age! I’m able to go on the Internet and find most anything on any topic. I have every imaginable device at my fingertips to make my life easier. My smart phone keeps my calendar organized and I see my emails instantly. We have been called the microwave generation and we are appropriately named because we want things now! I, too, want things now! Unfortunately, this mentality has penetrated our every day lives as well as our spiritual lives.

I live in the ‘Bible in a minute’ generation. I recently did an on-line search to find a new “Bible Reading Plan” – I was amazed to find the Bible in a Minute! Seriously? What good can 60 seconds of reading do anyone? Just about as good as someone scarfing down their dinner in 60 seconds. It will only lead to indigestion and poor nutrition! Amen?

My generation doesn’t even need to leave the house to go to church – ( can turn on the television and have the pick of dozens of preachers. I don’t even need to study the Bible because I can look things up on the Internet and glean from other people’s findings. But doing my study this way gives me a scrambled egg version of spiritual nourishment – a tad of good Bible teaching scrambled with worldly knowledge. Is it any wonder that Christians are powerless today? The Lord Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would teach us in all things. (John 14:26) How can we be taught if we go to others for teaching instead of God Himself?

There are plenty of churches but they are filled with idols. I’m not talking about the ones built by human hands that we see in many churches. I’m talking about the idols that push away the Lord from my life. There are so many distractions today that we allow into our lives more and more. Even though each day has 24 hours, each day has less time for the Lord than the day before. When my oldest son was in T-ball, I was busy running him back and forth to practices and games after I got off work. We ate on the run – we rush home afterwards so my children could do their homework. We had a short family altar then it was bedtime and the day started all over the next day. Where was the Lord in all of this? Where was fruitful time at family altar? When did my children learn about Christ and their need for salvation? Could they see Christ in me as I rushed around? Can you recognize the idols that were in my life at that time as I gave you this account? Let me list them for you: (1) Sports took over the family (2) My selfish need to get the children to bed so I can have ‘me’ time (3) ‘Bible in a Minute’ for family altar.  I’m sure if I dug deep enough, I could find a few more idols in there. How many American families are represented in today’s story? How many American idols are represented in each American family?

A daily assessment (meditation) of my life was needful in order to see what idols were pushing Christ away from His rightful position. (Psalm 77:12) An idol is anything I put before the Lord in my life. I needed to spend time thinking and meditating on what the Holy Spirit had to teach me. (Psalm 119:22) How could I overcome bowing to the idol of distraction and busyness? Ezekiel worded it well in verse 6: Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. Yes, that’s right. REPENT! Repenting required a change of my mind and a change in my direction. It required a conscious effort to let go of those idols in my life and allow room for the Holy Spirit to do His work. Making time for the Lord – making time to tell others about Him – making time to go to church – making time to read my Bible – making time to pray. All these things were needful for me – I could not proceed without the removal of those idols in my life.

I hope that today’s devotional blessed someone out there. I hope you can see that God calls all of us to repent and turn away from whatever it is that puts Christ in the back row of life. He is the King – He is the Lord and must be at the head. He will not compete with idols. As you remove these idols from your life, replace them with good, solid Holy Spirit-led tasks and activities, you will find yourself walking more closely with your King!

~Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Disillusioned people are everywhere! They have been told the “Gospel” … if you trust in Jesus and get saved, your life will be blessed with His goodness! Today’s Scripture is used to support their words. However, this is not the foundation on which a person must be saved. We do not get saved just so we can have God’s blessings upon us. That ulterior motive will bring great disappointment when trials come our way!

The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9) make it clear that the Gospel does not fall only on good soil. The Word of God falls on man’s heart – man being a sinner bound for Hell, Christ willingly taking on man’s punishment by coming to earth, and Christ’s death and resurrection are the payment for that sin. No where in the Gospel do we see that all things will be wonderful for this person if he becomes a Christian. In fact, Jesus said that He wasn’t here to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34-36). The minute we are saved, we have new enemies. So why tell people that everything will be peachy keen after salvation? That’s just not the truth! This person has an unrealistic view of salvation and the moment he encounters conflict because of it, he will forsake it. The Gospel has not taken root (as the Parable says) and he is easily offended.

The point of the Gospel is repentance. That’s not an easy thing to do but it’s required. It’s not just blabbing a prayer asking for salvation and never committing to it. Look at what the Word has to say about repentance? It’s not just for the Jew! Christ Himself spoke His first words in His ministry recorded the word “repent.” There are 22 verses with this word so it’s important:

~Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

~Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

~Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

~Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

~Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

~Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

~Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

~Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

~Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

~Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

~Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

~Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

~Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

~Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

~2 Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

~Hebrews 7:21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

~Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

~Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

~Revelation 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

~Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

~Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

~Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Something this important should be preached from the mountain tops. There are many out there who think they are saved but have not changed one bit since their salvation. They live a religious life, even a moral life, but they have never repented from their sin. Repentance is part of salvation. It is not something we can forsake! It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His first words EVER spoken in His ministry should be obeyed!

~Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.