Glorify God • Magnify Him in this World!

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

Steady In

Scripture
But Jeremiah said, “They will not give you over. Please obey the Lord in what I am saying to you, that it may go well with you and you may live.
Jeremiah 38:20 NASB

Observation
The Prophet Jeremiah had many conversations with the Kings of Israel, imploring them to turn and listen to God. There were times where it might have seemed like they were listening, then they would get off track.

Jeremiah knew that the best place, the only place for the King of Israel was right in the middle of God’s will through obedience.

It’s hard for Believers to see others suffering and having a rough time because they just won’t obey the Lord’s command.

Remeber, God’s discipline is to move His people to a right relationship with Him.

Application
When someone you love and care about won’t listen to the Words of God, when they want nothing to do with God, the only thing you can do is pray.

You know your loved one better than most. When it is too much to keep talking and imploring them, the only thing you can do is pray.

Pray that God would, in His mercy, move on them to repent and start living rightly.

How many tears and prayers have been offered to the Lord for those who just won’t submit themselves to the Lord’s will? 

But, prayer is powerful, because God listens. 

Prayer
Lord, help me to stay steady in prayer for those family members and friends who haven’t truly submitted their life to You. Thank You for Your mercy and love that have no end.

Peace
Todd

Drive Them Out!

Scripture
But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live.
Numbers 33:55 NASB

Observation
When the Israelites were ready to go in and conquer the land that God was giving them, God told them not to leave any trace of the previous inhabitants there.

If they did leave some, God said that they would become a hindrance to them later on. And because we know the rest of the story, we know that the tribes that didn’t completely wipe out the previous inhabitants were caused to sin because of the inhabitants religious practices.

We have the same issue. When we come to the Lord, He asks us to repent of our sin and turn to Him. But if we allow a little to remain from our previous sinful life, if we don’t completely turn and repent and put our eyes solely on Him for EVERYTHING, sin will creep up and find a foothold in our life.

Application
God knows what He is doing. He knows how easily we can get swayed into living in ways that don’t honor Him.

That’s why it is important to surround yourself with the things of God. You do that by reading the Bible, praying, going to church, investing in Christian relationships, etc…

Also, like the Israelites, we should watch what we allow to come around us. Becareful what you watch on TV, read, the people you hang around and call your closest friends, what you do online, etc… If it doesn’t honor God in some way, or worse, if it goes against what God desires for you, it will influence your life in the wrong way.

This all sounds very legalistic, but it really isn’t. There is a discipline to living godly lives. Just like there is a discipline to anything else, losing weight, getting healthy, becoming debt free… You don’t put yourself in situations that are going to cause you to get your focus off of your goal.

Is one of your goals to draw close to God? Is there something standing in your way?

Prayer
Lord, thank You for Your love and mercy. Thank You that You are always blessing me. Help me to live bodly for You, that nothing gets in the way.

Peace
Todd

Why God Disciplines

Scripture
Perhaps when the house of Judah hears about all the disaster I am planning to bring on them, each one of them will turn from his evil way. Then I will forgive their wrongdoing and their sin.”
Jeremiah 36:3 NASB

Observation
The purpose of the Lord’s discipline is not to punish. Punishment usually comes from anger and a desire to pronounce vengnece.

God’s discipline is different. He disciplines because He loves us. The purpose of His discipline is to turn us back to a right relationship with Him.

Sometimes His discipline only needs to go so far before we realize our sins and turn back to Him. But often, out stubbornness and desire to do what we want causes Him to be more severe. Because He loves us and is jealous for us, He won’t hold back.

He disciplines us because He loves us!

It doesn’t feel good when it is happening. But if we realize that He is doing it because He loves us, we can run back to that right relationship with Him. That’s where we should be.

Application
When things are going haywire in your life, do you stop to think if it is discipline from the Lord? Do you stop for a time and start to evaluate if you have allowed your life to get too focused on other things and not on Him? Maybe you’re going down a road that you shouldn’t?  Maybe you have allowed sin to creep into your life? Maybe you are not listening to what He is saying? His discipline is all to get your attention and get you right on track with the Lord.

Remember that He does this because He loves you. He is discipling you because He knows the best place for you is right in His will. Don’t delay, get back on track with Him!

Be honest. Evaluate your life. Where are you with the Lord? If you were to lay it all out in front of Him, what would He tell you to remove?

Always remember that God knows best. He has the best in mind for you. He is like this because it is built in to His nature. GOD IS LOVE!

Prayer
Lord, help me to identify and understand Your discipline. Thank you that you care so much about me that you will do whatever it takes to get my attention. I desire nothing more than to be in a right relationship with You. Everything else is secondary.

Peace
Todd

Your Word?

Scripture
If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
Numbers 30:2 NASB

Observation
Taking an oath in God’s eyes is a pretty serious thing. This verse implies that you had to really understand you would be held accountable for what you said you would do. 

Until recently, we used to take someone at their word. “He’s a man of his word” meant that you could count on him doing what he said. What about now?

Now, we have contracts, lawyers and put things in place to make sure people do what they say they will do. If they don’t, there is some type of consequence. But even at that, people still break their word, their committmemt.

How would God look at this today? Has God changed with the times? Or does He stay the same?

If you’re not sure, let me assure you, He stays the same (Hebrews 13:8). 

He will hold us accountable to our word. Have you committed to Him but then backed out? Or maybe you didn’t fully back out, but you haven’t truly honored your word either. It’s easy to say, “He’s God, He understands my heart.”

If you committed to Him, honor your word.  Give God what He deserves. Give Him your whole life. He will not take advantage of you or ever leave you.

Application
We often don’t honor our word because we are too busy. And because God is somewhere out there, not in front of us, pestering us… It’s​ easy to neglect Him. 

But now that you’re reading this, think about the committmemt you made to Him. Are you honoring it? If not, start right now!

If you’re too busy, make time for Him. Make time to read the Bible and pray. And for your sake, attend church and link up with some strong believers.

Don’t wuss out on your committmemt to God. One day, He will ask you about it. I pray that TV, sports or fishing are not more important than He is.

Prayer
Lord, help me to honor my committmemt to You. I want to be faithful in all I do, but especially walking in Your ways.

Peace
Todd

In Half a Sentence

Scripture
And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots.
Matthew 27:35 NASB

Observation
The Gospel of Matthew only devotes half a sentence to the crucifixion of Jesus. I’m not talking about the crucifixion story. I’m talking about the actual crucifixion of Christ.

The Gospel of Matthew doesn’t talk about laying down the cross, then laying Jesus on it. It doesn’t reference the soldiers stretching out his arms and picking up the best spikes. Matthew doesn’t say how many strikes it took for the spikes to go through His flesh and into the cross. You don’t read about how they lifted up the cross and set it in the ground with a rough thump, with Jesus on it.

You get half a sentence that He was crucified.

Books have been written and movies have been made about the crucifixion. We know how bad it was. But that isn’t what Matthew wants us to focus on.

Matthew moved real quick over the specifics and technical aspects of how Jesus was nailed to the cross. Why? 

The how is not as important as the why. Why did He get crucified? Jesus died to pay your sin debt and allow you to come into a right relationship with the Father.

Application
Focus on the why! Be reminded today and everyday that Jesus made a way for you to get close to the Father. Don’t take that for granted. Don’t let it slip by you as you do life.

Jesus paid the ultimate price so that you could be righteous in the presence of God.

When you look at your life before accepting Jesus, let the hurt, pain, discouragement and loneliness be half a sentence. But focus on the Holy Spirit, the presence of God, the power of His Word and the communion of the saints. This matters!

Prayer
Lord help me to keep my eyes on what truly matters. Help me to stay in Your presence and seek Your face. Help me to forget all the rest that has brought me to this point in life, all but You.

Peace
Todd