Glorify God • Magnify Him in this World!

All or Nothing!

Scripture
For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Luke 9:26 NET

Observation
Those who aren’t right with God don’t like to think of this.

One day, we will all stand in front of God. Jesus, Our Advocate, will be there too. Judgement will come down on us for our lives, our sins, and the way we chose to live here on Earth. We ALL deserve to be judged severely!

But for those who have made Jesus their Lord and Savior, Jesus covers ALL of our sins. He will advocate for us. He won’t be ashamed of us.

Those who chose to live their lives on this Earth, ALL for themselves, who didn’t want anything to do with Jesus, or just dabbled with a relationship with Him, will experience a whole different scenario.

Jesus won’t step in. Jesus won’t advocate. Their judgement from the throne of God will stand! And that judgement will end with a trip to…

Are you ashamed of Jesus? Do you prove that by the way you live?

Application
If Jesus isn’t number one in your life, you are playing a very dangerous game. Get right with Him, and then follow His Word to live the way He wants you to live.

Your eternal life is at stake! Jesus will do what He has said He will do! You need to trust and obey ALL of His commands.

Prayer
Lord, thank You that You made a way for me. Help me to proclaim Your saving grace in this world by my speech and the way I live.

Peace
Todd

The Proof is in the Fruit

Scripture
But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance.
Luke 8:15 NET

Observation
Many people don’t pay close attention to the Parable of the Sower. If they did, they would check their heart everyday to how they were responding to God’s Word.

Many are deceived because they think that just receiving the Word is good enough. The key is to understand and allow the seed (Word of God) to grow in healthy soil.

Instead, people allow the devil to come and take it away. Others, during times of testing, abandon the Truth they heard. And then there are those who allow the worries, riches and pleasures of the world choke out what God wants to do.

The Word should be producing “fruit with steadfast endurance” in good soil.

What is important is that the Word of God will germinate and grow. The key is the soil – your heart. Is your heart right to know, listen and obey the Word of God? The proof is in the fruit.

Application
The Word of God is transformational. Just observe a flower bud on a fruit tree sometime. The flower forms, but soon falls off as the fruit is left behind.

At first, you might not even see or recognize the fruit. But in time, it grows and is easily recognizable. When it ripens, it is good and brings joy to those who eat it.

Is your life being transformed? Are you growing spiritually or are you producing fruit that never matures?

Where were you a year ago, five years ago with the Lord? Can you see a change? More importantly, can others see a transformational change in you?

If not, check your heart, the soil you are planting in. Don’t allow the devil, the world or worries steal what God wants to do!

Prayer
Lord, I don’t want to settle into a mediocre spiritual life. I desire a transformational life in You. Help me to have the right heart to listen and obey Your Word always.

Peace
Todd

Discouraged and Not Thinking Straight

Scripture
When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’”
Luke 7:20 NET

Observation
John the Baptist had already told his disciples that Jesus was the Messiah. He heard God speak the day he baptised Jesus in the river. So why was he doubting now?

John probably had an idea of what he would be doing for Jesus. He probably imagined himself as one of his staunchest supporters, ministering the Good News right next to Him.

But that was his plan, not God’s.

Instead, John found himself in prison. And with that time, as he found himself isolated, he became discouraged and even questioned if Jesus was “the One.”

Isolation brings discouragement. And although John was a faithful servant, even he experienced it. He was human and prisons will suck the life out of you.

This is a very important lesson for Jesus’ followers! You were never supposed to live in isolation away from God’s people! Don’t put yourself in a spiritual prison!

Believers are supposed to fellowship together, encourage one another, be there for each other. When one is down, the other can help encourage him in the Lord.

Are you surrounding yourself with God’s people? If not, you are putting yourself in a situation where you can easily become discouraged, lose faith and not accomplish what God has for you. You are also putting yourself in a situation where the enemy can easily attack you.

Application
The remedy is easy. Go to church. Attend small group. Read the Word. Pursue Christian fellowship.

Excuses are plenty. But unless you are in a prison cell, you don’t have any good ones! You’re just lazy! And that laziness will cause you to be ineffective for Jesus.

Start now! Start now! Start now!

Don’t let discouragement take root in your life!

Prayer
Lord, help me to value the communion of the saints. Help me to desire the friendship of my Christian Brothers and Sisters. Help me to reach out and be an encouragement to those who are discouraged.

Peace
Todd

Seek Him With All Your Heart

Scripture
When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul,
Jeremiah 29:12-13 NET

Observation
The Prophet Jeremiah wrote those words to the People of Israel who were exiled.

They were far from their homeland and away from the Temple of God.

Buy even then, the Lord was giving them hope. Even after all their sin and chasing after false prophets, the Lord wanted them to know that He was merciful. He would hear their prayers when they called out to Him.

The important thing though, is to seek Him with all your heart!

So many Believers come to the Lord with “bless me” prayers. They don’t truly seek the Lord, they fit Him in their schedule. And even more don’t have time for God untill they are in the middle of trouble and need His help!

Choose to live a life that needs God at all times. Don’t only call on Him when you need something. Develop a deep relationship with Him. You’ll come to know a God who desires a deep relationship with you too. He will come close to you. He will be your strength. He will move mountains on your behalf!

Application
Real times of prayer don’t happen on accident!

Just like any relationship takes time, effort and committmemt, the same is true with the Lord.

You need to schedule a time to spend with the Lord. You might need to wake up early or give up something like TV, but schedule a daily time to pray.

It will be hard to pray because your flesh will want to revolt. Your body will tell you, you need rest. Your mind will start thinking about other things. But you need to focus instead on spiritual things and on the Lord.

Lastly, you need to be consistent in your relationship with the Lord. We commit to the things that are important to us. We show how important the Lord is to us when we stay committed to our relationship with Him!

There is nothing else like spending time with the Lord and knowing that He is listening and moving in your life. Don’t delay! Start now!

Prayer
Lord, I desire to seek You more and more each day. Grant my desire to seek You be unmatched by anything else.

Peace
Todd

Evil Will Come…

Scripture
So when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time.
Luke 4:13 NET

Observation
The devil comes on the scene right when Jesus was getting ready to move into ministry, right when Jesus was moving closer to God.

You see, the devil doesn’t really care about anything you do for yourself. But the minute you get close to God, he wants to put an end to it.

He let Jesus have His baptism experi nice. He let the dove descend and God to say, “You are my Son…” But as soon as that was over, he came in with all sorts of promises and ease, anything to circumvent what the Father had for Jesus.

A Believer who is focused and on a mission for God is a threat to Satan’s kingdom. He doesn’t like it and will come after that person to stop what God wants to do. He’s been opposed to the Lord from the beginning.

Know that if you start moving closer to the Lord, if you seek God with all your heart, you are going to encounter Satan’s schemes. But stand firm, Jesus has overcome and He empowers you to overcome too!

Application
You have to be aware that any effort to draw close to the Lord is going to be met with the devil’s schemes. So every child of God is going to encounter temptation and distraction.

The way to combat this is to continue to stay close to God. You need to stay prayed up! You need to stay in His Word! You need to hang with Believers that will speak into your life and will encourage you as you do the same for them.

Jesus used the Word of God to counter everything the devil threw at Him. It is important to know what the Bible says.

Know that the devil always looks for an opportune time to come in and stir up problems. He will come fast and furious to do you in. You need to be ready at all times. At all times!!

Prayer
Lord, help me to stand against all the devil would try to throw at me. I want everything You want for me and desire only Your plan for my life.

Peace
Todd

New Coat of Paint

Scripture
And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised.
2 Corinthians 5:15 NET

Observation
Modern Christianity is in a sad state in most places. This verse gives us a lot of insight into it though.

When get “saved” and give our lives to Jesus, we are making a decision to no longer live for ourselves. We are saying, by accepting Jesus, that we will start to live for Him!

But that is not what usually happens today!

Instead, it is like we get a shot of feel good and then continue living our lives the way we always have. We don’t become new creations. We continue to be old creations with a new coat of paint.

And that is why we have so much trouble living the life the Lord wants us to live… We want the security of going to Heaven and the indulgence of our flesh too.

You can’t have it both ways. Choose to live for Him.

Application
Choosing to live for Jesus means learning and knowing how He wants us to live!

We learn this by reading His Word, praying, going to church and surrounding ourselves with the things of God.

We do this by removing things from our lives that are not pleasing to Him. Things that don’t glorify God need to go!

Trust in Him and He will never let you down. But you have to trust and commit yourself completely to Him. What are you waiting for?

Prayer
Lord, help me to have eyes only for You. Help me to desire eternal and heavenly things. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

Peace
Todd

This Is Temporary!

Scripture
Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NET

Observation
This world isn’t all there is! That’s a hard statement to accept because we live in this world. We feel, see, touch, use all of our sense. We know this world, we are familiar with it.

But it’s temporary. The Apostles knew this. The early Christians knew this. They went to their death because this world didn’t have a hold on them. They were already looking forward to the next.

Jesus knew this too! He only lived 33 years on this world. But He didn’t care about not living life to the fullest! He cared about living His life to please His Father in Heaven.

Our focus, our attention, our lives should always reflect the desire to live for God.

We live in this world. We go to work, we play, we relax, we…. But we need to make sure that we are not trying to make Heaven on Earth. We should keep, at the very front of our minds and hearts, that we are here to fulfil His desires, His plans.

It might be rough at times. Some have a worse time than others, there is no doubt about that. But it won’t last long.

Eternity is a long time. If we ever have the desire to look back at our time on this Earth, we will realize that our time was a drop in a vast ocean that we can’t even comprehend.

Look forward. Look towards Heaven. Draw close to Jesus. Time is short.

Application
When your attention and focus are on the things above, the things of this world have no hold on you.

The good, the bad, are nothing compared to the Glory of God.

We allow the problems and issues of this world to rule our lives when we get our focus and attention off of God and on to ourselves. It’s as simple as that!

If you are feeling overwhelmed and burdened by your life and circumstances, press into God more! Spend more time with Him! I will guarantee you that if you are overwhelmed, you have neglected spending time with Him.

You wouldn’t be the first to worry, be anxious, or freak out! Like I said above, this world has a way of getting our attention.

But you have to put God first. That’s the way you really live!

Prayer
Lord, help me to put and keep my focus on You. I don’t ever want anything to come between my relationship with You. You are everything I desire and want.

Peace
Todd

According to…

Scripture
So Mary said, “Yes, I am a servant of the Lord; let this happen to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38 NET

Observation
Mary received a word from the angel that she was going to become pregnant with the Son of God. This took more faith than many realize.

In those days, a young girl showing up pregnant, was a serious offense. It doesn’t matter that she told everyone that she was pregnant by the “Holy Spirit.” Who would believe that?

No, something like this would cause the village to turn on her, take her out of the city and stone her to death!

She knew this! But still she wanted whatever the Lord wanted for her life, whatever that was going to mean for her, easy or not! She was the Lord’s servant.

Application
We might not get a visit from an angel, but the Lord still calls us for a purpose and to live according to His ways.

Do we respond like Mary, a young teenage girl, who said, “I am Your servant?” Or do we argue, deal and complain to God?

The path that the Lord asks You to walk will require faith. He will stretch you. There are times when you won’t like it. But He knows what He is doing.

He has a plan for your life. That plan will require you to have faith. He gives you opportunities to build on your faith, to prepare you for His plan.

Later, Mary had to have faith to see her Son crucified and trust that God would raise Him from the dead.

As you look back on your life in the Lord, can you identify what He’s been doing to help you grow in your faith? And, what is He doing in your life right now that is requiring faith?

Prayer
Lord, I know I can’t always see ahead to what You have for me. Help me to trust and believe in faith. I know that no matter what the circumstances may look like, You are in control.

Peace
Todd

He’s Your Strength

Scripture
You are my source of strength! I will sing praises to you! For God is my refuge, the God who loves me.
Psalms 59:17 NET

Observation
We go through times when this world can really weigh on us. Our responsibilities, but also things that should bring us joy and refreshing can suck the life out of us.

But the Psalmist understood that our strength relies on God, not anything else!

When we finally come to that realization, we will praise Him! We know that IN HIM, we find safety and peace. He is our refuge.

Application
If you don’t plug an appliance into the electrical socket, it doesn’t matter how many times you hit the power button, it won’t work.

So many Christians want God to move in their lives, but don’t plug into the source!

This is not a difficult subject to understand. Get close to God, and He will come close to you.

The problem is when we don’t give the Lord His proper place in our lives, but then become dissolutioned because He isn’t answering our prayers.

He loves you! Get close to Him and let him be Your strength and refuge.

Prayer
Lord, thank You that I can count on You. I thank You that when all else is failing, that You are my strength and refuge. Help me to put my trust in You alone.

Peace
Todd

In the Midst of the Storm

Scripture
When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and a violent storm continued to batter us, we finally abandoned all hope of being saved.
Acts 27:20 NET

Observation
When you’re in the middle of the storm, it is so hard to see the other side. Rain, thunder, lightening, flooding, all smacks you right in the face. And when you encounter this scene for many days, it can be overwhelming.

And the feelings one feels when they are in the middle of a storm are real. Depression, hopelessness, no sense of direction…they are all very real because they come from our senses, what we know, see, hear…

The middle of the storm isn’t fun and sometimes, if you let it, it can be deadly.

When you’re in the middle of the storm, you really want to get to the other side. That is your real destination!

On the other side, it is clear, you can see, hope is restored. And eventually, the raging storm is forgotten.

In fact, on the other side, there is purpose waiting for you. In the next chapter of Acts, Paul ministers to the whole island. Many people come to the Lord there!

Hold fast through the storm. It will pass. Look towards what God has for you on the other side. There is purpose on the other side! The storm might take you there, but God will use you.

Application
If you’re in the midst of a storm right now, or the next time you find yourself there, and you will, make sure you buckle down and get closer to God.

It might look bad, but that is the time you press into Him more!

Read your Bible more! Pray more! Listen to online messages, fill your spirit with worship music.

Encourage yourself in the Lord so when you get to the other side, you are ready to move forward and tackle what the Lord has for you.

Don’t let the storm batter and break you! You belong to God. He won’t fail you!

Prayer
Lord, even the storms, let me praise You. Help me to rely on You. You give hope and peace and safety.

Peace
Todd