Thursday, January 3, 2013

Do This…Or Else

'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-- unless you repent.”   Revelation 2:5
I’ve been having a bit of fun lately.  Upon wishing someone a nice day, for example, I then add the words “…or else” to the end of the phrase.  “Hey, have a very merry Christmas…or ELSE!”  It’s fun because people get a kick out of it.  No one is expecting a threat to be tagged onto the end of a blessing.  “It was good seeing you!  Have a nice day…or else.”  The parties practically always respond with a giggle.

But it got me to thinking.  “Or else…what?”  In fact, I was bidding my older sister goodbye in a telephone conversation recently and I added the phrase: “Okay, I love you!  Take care of yourself…or else!”  She quickly responded: “Or else what?”  Well, I wasn’t prepared for that.  Or else what…hmmm.  I’d have to think about that.  I really had no intention of backing up my threat.

Because I Said So
This is the phrase that every child hates to hear from their parent.  “Because I said so.”  It’s a pretty good trump card.  They are the parent.  They are the givers of many blessings, or the givers of many punishments.  If we are wise, we will stop right there and do what we’ve been told.  …Or else!  But what about when God says “Or Else!” And he does.  In Revelation 2:5 we have an ‘or else’ statement.  The church at Ephesus has been very busy BEING the church, and doing church stuff.  But they have become dry and lifeless.  Verse 4 notes that the church has “left (its) first love.” The members are instructed to return to those things they did in the beginning.  They are to pursue the Lord again like they did when they were on fire for him!  If they don’t, God will remove his power and presence from them…they would no longer be effective. 

Or else.  Suddenly, he has our attention, right?

Water wearing down stone
It is an amazing consideration that the mighty Grand Canyon was carved by the Colorado river.  But the persistent abrasion of the water bit by bit, ever so slowly, wears down the rocks and carries the soil away…leaving behind a void.  This also happens to us spiritually.  Living in this world causes us to wear down.  Here, God is warning us to heed his “Or else.”  He doesn’t WANT to remove the lampstand…but he must do what he must do.  From his compassion and love for us, the angel speaks: “Repent…or else!”  I think it is time we heeded the warning.  Amen?

Scripture to Claim
Almighty God, you have been so patient with us.  We have not earned, nor do we deserve such amazing grace!  Yet, we have benefitted from it.  Help us, Lord Jesus to heed the heart of this passage…to repent…or else.  Correct us.  Deliver us, and don’t allow us to wither spiritually in our own practice of religion.  But rekindle the fire within each of us this day.  Come Holy Spirit!  Fill us.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Submitted By Kerry Patton

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