Glorify God • Magnify Him in this World!

Cutting Off Your Hand

Scripture
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 5:29-30 NET

Observation
This Scripture commands the believer to perform some real extreme acts to deal with sin. However, ripping out eyes and cutting off hands to deal with sin isn’t something that has ever happened in mainstream Christianity.

Why? Because it is a metaphor. A metaphor that shows the severity of sin in our lives and how we should deal with it.

You shouldn’t just “love” it away. You shouldn’t just accept it because that is how your personality was formed. You should be proactive and get rid of it…don’t mess around. 

Like a deadly disease that keeps spreading when it goes unchecked, sin will continue to grow and cause more and more damage if you allow it to rule in your life, ultimately keeping you from eternal life.

Application
Again, don’t rip out your eyes or cut off your hand. But do examine your life and remove things that cause you to sin. 

Like…

Are there friends that entice you to do things that you shouldn’t? Are you watching TV shows that don’t honor God? Are you looking at things on the internet that keep you from God? Are you listening to music that glorifies everything in this world, but God? What are you reading? 

This might seem like a do and don’t list. But it is more than that. You are choosing to be purposeful in removing things in your life that keep you from fully living the life that God wants for you. 

Why wouldn’t you want to do that? Why would you want to continue to share your heart and mind with the world instead of giving it all to Jesus?

Instead, surround yourself with the things of God and see what happens. 

Prayer
Lord, help me to remove anything in my life that is not of You. Help me to remove anything that causes me to sin.  Help me instead to surround myself with things that honor and glorify You.

Peace
Todd

Special Favor

Scripture
Realize that the Lord shows the godly special favor; the Lord responds when I cry out to him.
Psalms 4:3 NET

Observation
God is not like a Greek mythology god. He’s not up in Heaven, sitting on His throne, waiting for us to mess up so that He can throw lightning bolts at us. He is a loving Father who wants the very best for us.

He is a God who comes close to those who seek Him. David understood this. The Lord listens… He responds… He moves in our situations, even granting us special favor in the situations of life. Think the way a “good” Father acts and responds toward their child.

Application
A key here is that you are “crying out” to Him. He listens when you come to Him and seek His face.

How is your prayer life? Do you spend enough time with the Lord that He would consider you a son or daughter? Or when you come to Him, are you like a stranger?

God isn’t a cosmic Santa Claus granting your every desire once every so often. You need to know His heart and His will. That only comes from spending time with Him. When you do, when you are “godly,” He will come through for you.

Realize that He will show the godly favor…

Prayer
Lord, thank You for being active in my life. Help me to not neglect to spend time with You, to realize that time with You is special and precious and nothing in this world compares to it.

Peace
Todd

Fruit Warning!

Scripture
Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance,
Matthew 3:8 NET

Observation
John the Baptist warned people that an outward expression of faith, without an inward work wouldn’t do.

In his time, many people we’re coming to get baptized for the forgiveness of their sin. But just because they were a little wet, didn’t mean that they were good with God. He stressed that there had to also be a change in their heart. There had to be a new focus on living for God, a 180° change.

This change, would be apparent. This change would produce fruit. In other words, people would be able to look at you, what you were doing, how you lived, and see that you had changed.

Application
Many are deceived because they say a little prayer in church, get a little wet (baptized), maybe get emotional, but then go back to living the way they have always lived.

A real heart for God doesn’t want to go back to the old ways of living. A true heart for God wants to be pleasing to the Lord. A true heart has made Jesus Lord of their whole life. And as a result, produces that fruit.

I’m not talking about earning salvation. That is free from God, you can’t do anything to earn it. But a heart that has truly been given to the Lord, a heart that has truly received the free gift of salvation, a person who has understood that they are a sinner and need to repent and be saved, will produce fruit.

What type of fruit are you producing, the fruit of repentance or the fruit of selfishness?

Prayer
Lord, I pray that my life reflects the joy I have when I repented and turned my life over to You. Let others see You in me. Let it be apparent that Your ways have changed me forever.

Peace
Todd

Antichrist in Your Midst

Scripture
18 Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they went out from us to demonstrate that all of them do not belong to us.
1 John 2:18-19 NET

Observation
John said that there were many antichrists running around at his time. This is true today too. Antichrist simply means anyone who is against Christ.

But he says something here even more shocking. He says that they went out from among them. These antichrists at one point hung out with them and looked like them. 

But at some point, a difference was realized. At some point, a different path was taken. It was a path that “seemed” spiritual, but wasn’t the plan that God had prepared.

This is worriesome. Just because something looks spiritual and is couched in spiritual language doesn’t mean it is from God. 

In these last days (God is waiting, wanting more people to come to repentance through Jesus Christ), it is important, just like in John’s day, to identify antichrists in our midst.  Because they do not belong to Him!

Application
You must be careful in this day and age! We live in a time where so many things “seem” right. We live in a time when people do what they believe is right and good instead of basing what is right and good on what the Word of God says.

The devil will not come wearing a red suit and pitchfork. He will come disguised as an angel of light. He will say the right things, even do some of the right things, remember, he came from among them. He is a master of deception! 

Dont be deceived! Know the Word of God! This is eternal life we are talking about here! 

You will invest in the things that matter to you. I pray that the things of God are first in your life.

Prayer
Lord, help Your people to know the truth plainly. As we read Your Word, let it help us discern those that are of you and those that come to deceive. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Peace
Todd

He Was Obedient

Scripture
24 When Joseph awoke from sleep he did what the angel of the Lord told him. He took his wife, 25 but did not have marital relations with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus.
Matthew 1:24-25 NET

Observation
By every right, Joseph could have divorced Mary, the mother of Jesus. She wasn’t his wife yet (Jewish engagement was different), and she was saying she was pregnant through the Holy Spirit! Yeah right!

Which man ever would believe that? In everyone’s thinking, this marriage was starting off on the right track.  And, understandably, Joseph was going to divorce her!

But then God intervened!  God, through an angel in a dream, confirmed that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and not to be afraid to take her as his wife.

And so Joseph did. He was obedient!

Application
The Lord looks for those who would be obedient to His Word. The Bible is filled with men and women who were obedient to the Lord. The Lord used them for His glory and to further His purposes here on the Earth.

The Bible is NOT filled with men and women who were disobedient and selfish, people who God spoke to, through a dream, prophet, etc.. They chose to do things their way and not impact eternity.

There are examples of disobedience in the Bible, but they are there for our instruction and as an example of what not to do.

God honors obedience. He has given us His Word and lets us choose.  Choose to obey and see how God uses you!

Prayer
Lord, help me to obey Your Word and what You desire. Sometimes it is hard because my mind, flesh and the world’s ways get in the way. But You promised to help me. Give me the faith that I need to bring you glory.

Peace
Todd

The Holy Things of God

Scripture
23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.
2 Kings 2:23-24 NASB

Observation
This is a terrible tragedy. 42 kids were killed by two bears. If this happened today, the outcry would be unreal. But we can’t miss what was going on here and how it applies to us.

When a crowd forms, the people involved feed off of one another. Being that there were 42 kids here, probably meant that the scene was very chaotic with kids following and calling Elisha names and more. The words that came out of Elisha’s mouth were probably like any other adults. “You kids! Your parents haven’t raised you right! You deserve a spanking!”

But what God saw was a disrespect and disregard for the man of God and the things of God! This was God’s prophet! These kids treated the holy things of God with contempt and made fun of him, like Elisha was some funny circus clown.

God doesn’t accept that His holy things be treated with contempt. He eventually deals with it. He will eventually bring judgement down. It will be severe and just.

Like Moses took off his sandals and only certain men approached the Holy of Holies in the temple, we need to understand and respect the holiness of God.

Application
The Holy Spirit doesn’t just reside with a few chosen people today like it did in the Old Testament. Today, everyone who accepts Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit inside!

Jesus said that it would be better for us if He went back to the Father, because then He could send the Holy Spirit.

Think about that for a second. Jesus said it would be better than if He was present with us. The remarkable thing is that the Holy Spirit lives inside the life of every believer. Do we treat Him with respect? Do we treat the Spirit of God with honor?

We will get to Heaven and realize that we missed it so bad. We lived powerless Christian lives when all the time the Spirit of God was inside of us, we just didn’t give Him time and place to move in our lives.

Start today. Don’t treat the Holy Spirit as some weird “spiritual magic stuff.” Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and lead you today. The holy things of God are right there on the inside!

Prayer
Lord, help me to stop and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me. Help me to identify Your voice through Him. Help me to honor what You honor. Help me to do what You want me to do. Help me to trust and obey.  There is nothing more that I desire.

Peace
Todd

Spiritual Selfishness

Scripture
16 “As for the word you spoke to us in the name of Yahweh, we are not going to listen to you! 17 Instead, we will do everything we said we would: burn incense to the queen of heaven and offer drink offerings to her just as we, our fathers, our kings, and our officials did in Judah’s cities and in Jerusalem’s streets. Then we had enough food and good things and saw no disaster,
Jeremiah 44:16-17 NASB

Observation
Why are people so stubborn when it comes to trusting in the Word of the Lord? Where is the fear of the Lord? Where is the heart that desires to do the will of God? Where is just pure critical thinking? It all goes out the window when people become selfish!

These people were lucky enough to leave Judah before King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it. When they returned, they asked Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord if they should stay or go to Egypt. When Jeremiah responded that they should stay in Judah, they said he was lying and went down to Egypt after all. 

In Egypt, they told Jeremiah that they would continue to worship who they wanted. They even said that the reason they weren’t blessed was because they didn’t continue to worship and sacrifice to the queen of Heaven.

How stupid could these people be?Everything that Jeremiah said about Judah came true in their lifetime. They saw it with their own eyes.

This happens when people get their eyes off of God and purely focus on themselves. And that is the worse place to be! God know you better than you know yourself. He created you! His Word and His ways are the best for us!

Application
It is so important to be in the Word and know what God has said. It is important to know and understand how others responded to God and we’re destroyed for their disobedience.

God has given us a clear picture of what happens to His people that don’t make Him number one in their lives. It is so foolish to live stubborn and only care about what we want.

When will we learn to listen to the Word of God? When will we obey and trust Him? 

Prayer
Lord keep me from becoming selfish and only desiring what I want. Help me to know Your will, Your Word. Help me to meditate on it and trust You with my whole heart.

Peace
Todd

Praying for Direction

Scripture
2 Jeremiah the prophet and said, “May our petition come before you; pray to the Lord your God on our behalf, on behalf of this entire remnant (for few of us remain out of the many, as you can see with your own eyes), 3 that the Lord your God may tell us the way we should walk and the thing we should do.”
Jeremiah 42:2-3 NASB

Observation
Seeking the Lord for direction is one of the most important things you can do. God’s ways are not like our ways. Sometimes He chooses to do things differently from common wisdom. That is why we should always seek His will for our lives.

But God is not a magic ball. You don’t go rub it whenever you need to know something. Knowing comes from spending time with Him and seeking Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word. 

There is no other way!

And you won’t be disappointed.

Application
The starting point is my relationship with God. The remnant went to Jeremiah because He was close to God.

He reveals His will to His people because He doesn’t hide anything. He has always let His people know what was coming.

We can know the same for our personal lives. We can know what He desires!

Let Him direct your path. Don’t try to figure it all out by yourself. He will help you and guide you. But you have to be open and ready to do what He desires.

And what He desires will always be better than you could possibly imagine. 

Prayer
Lord, I desire to seek You in everything. I don’t want to take a step unless it is in Your will. Help me to stop and listen to what You are saying. Help me to identify your voice and what You are doing around me.l so I can adjust myself to You.

Peace
Todd

As You Work…

Scripture
May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.”
Ruth 2:12 NASB

Observation
Ruth left everything she knew and stayed with her mother-in-law as she traveled back to the land of Israel. 

They were poor. So poor that she had to glean, picking up the grain that the workers in the field dropped on the ground, to get enough food for her and Noemi to eat.

In being faithful and working hard, she caught the attention of Boaz. He blessed her and even provided more opportunities to pick up grain and be safe from someone who might want to do her harm while she was out gleaning.

Application
What actually turned Boaz’ attention to Ruth? Was it her hard work, her love for Noemi, her willingness to humble herself? Or was it all of it? 

There is no doubt that God had a plan here. We know that because Boaz plays in the lineage of King David. But God uses people. And since He doesn’t force us to do His will, He uses people who are willing to get out and be faithful, obedient, honoring, etc… to walk in His ways and accomplish His will.

Are you making yourself available to God’s will as you are faithful, obedient, work hard and seek Him? Do you make time to hear Him or identify His voice? 

He is always working in and around you. Expect His move and see what happens! He will blow you away!

Prayer
Lord, use me today. As I go out, help me to be faithful to Your Word. And as I go, let me hear Your voice and accomplish Your will.

Peace
Todd

The Price of Disobedience

Scripture
Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes at Riblah; the king of Babylon also slew all the nobles of Judah. 7 He then blinded Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in fetters of bronze to bring him to Babylon.
Jeremiah 39:6-7 NASB

Observation
King Zedekiah was warned multiple times by the Prophet Jeremiah to submit to the King of Babylon. In fact, in the previous chapter, 38, Jeremiah pleads with him one last time. But the king didn’t listen.

We don’t know the specifics of why the king didn’t listen. He apparently wanted to know what Jeremiah had to say, he sought him out in Chapter 38. 

It could have been pride. It could have been that he didn’t want to look foolish in front of the nobles. It could have been selfishness or a host of other reasons. In the longrun, it doesn’t matter, disobedience is disobedience and the king paid a heavy price.

After being captured, the last thing King Zedekiah was allowed to see was the death of his own son’s and the deaths of all the nobles. He was then blinded and put in chains. Use your imagination on how they blinded him. I don’t imagine a nice surgical routine!

King Zedekiah went to his grave with these last images burned in his memory.  It could of all been avoided if he would have just obeyed the Word of the Lord.

Application
God is active in our lives. He looks down from Heaven and looks straight into our hearts. He know you and He only wants the best for you.

When we obey Him, His hand of blessing is on us. When we disobey Him, His hand of correction is on us to get us back to a right relationship with Him.

He doesn’t care so much about the exterior of life. He knows that this life, this body, is passing away. He is more concerned about your soul and where your heart is. He will let things in this life happen so that you will turn back to Him.

But then, it is your choice. There are some, just like King Zedekiah, who no matter what happens, won’t repent and turn things around with Him.

Don’t let that happen! Being in the favor of God, through living a life of obedience is the best place to be.

Prayer
Father, help me to live my life in obedience to You and Your Word. Even when everything else around me cries out to not obey You, help me to honor You even more so. Thank You for eternity and that this world is not all there is. I like forward to Eternity with You.

Peace
Todd