DATE: July 24, 2019
TEXT:. Luke 23:39-43 – “ One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence?] We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed.
What a difference a decade makes.
According to Eastern Illinois University professor Ryan P. Burg, in 2008 the religious group, the Nones, were 22.2% of our population, By 2018 that number had risen to 29.5%. Now if a church had posted those figures over the same period of time there would be great rejoicing. But the fact is no church has managed to do that and every state except one shows an increase in the Nones’ numbers. (In case you’re curious, the state with a drop in Nones was South Dakota.)
Now it is possible that you may never have heard of the Nones before. If so that’s a shame, because one-out-of-every-ten of your neighbors belongs to that group.
Which is why we ask “What do they believe and why?” Actually, we really need to ask, “What DON’T they believe and “WHY don’t they believe?” The first question is easy., “What don’t they believe?”. Well, they don’t believe any of the stuff the church teaches. They don’t believe in the doctrines, in sin, in our need for a Savior, in heaven hell, judgment and forgiveness.
In short, the Nones don’t believe in None of that?
And if you would like to know just what it is they don’t believe the surveys will tell you:
Now it is quite possible that you have some Nones in your family. If so, you agonize and pray for the soul of your beloved and lost friend or relative. You ask the Holy Spirit to open their eyes so they may see the truth of the Lord as clearly as you do.
If that accurately describes your situation, I can only tell you that the Lord is on your side, He Who sent His Son into the world to provide salvation for sinners is still reaching out to save.
This you know.
What you may not know is this: in the history of the world there have been many times when a large percentage of the population turned their backs on God. When the Psalmist said, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God” he wasn’t speaking about one or two people.
Yes, people often deny the Lord and His love,
But the time will come when they will also look death in the face
That’s when their bravado will fall away. It is also when the Holy Spirit will do some of His finest work. If you doubt me, then talk to the thief on the cross. From that place of death he gave up being a Nones and clearly saw forgiveness of sins and salvation in the Christ.
He was not the first; he will not be the last.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I pray that the hearts of those who cannot see you may be opened. May they see Jesus standing and asking for admittance In His Name Amen.
The devotion for today was inspired by various recent news articles. For further reading you may wish to go to this address: and the article written by . Mikaela b Matthews for Christian Headlines on July 15, 2019. The article is here: https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/mikaela-matthews/religious-nones-fastest-growing-group-in-the-u-s-3-states-see-rise-in-evangelicals.html
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html