Glorify God • Magnify Him in this World!

Making Fun of Faith

Scripture
23 When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the disorderly crowd, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but asleep.” And they began making fun of him.
Matthew 9:23-24 NET

Observation
The crowd in this deceased girls house operated like they always had. People died, they mourned. The same ol’ same ol’.

Jesus came and did things so differently. He went against the accepted ways of doing life and relating to the Father. He had a different faith.

For Him, physical death was nothing to overcome, it was like waking up someone from sleep.

And as He walked in faith, they made fun of Him.

Application
The world will always make fun of faith. It looks silly to them. It is strange.

Faith takes you out of the realm of yourself and causes you to depend on God.

Understand that if you’re going to be a person of faith, you’re always going to look backwards to others. You are going to be made fun of and there will be times when you are persecuted.

But faith leads to resurrection and life. It did for this little girl, it did for Jesus and it will for the faithful.

Prayer
Lord, I desire to live a life of faith. Help me to see beyond those that will make fun and persecute faith,to see the life You give.

Peace
Todd

A Fair Judge

Scripture
He judges the world fairly;
he makes just legal decisions for the nations.
Psalms 9:8 NET

Observation
In a world of corruption, God the Father is a fair Judge. But it is important to understand that He IS a Judge.

A judge will make their rulings by a set of laws. God the Father will do the same. His laws? They are found in His Word. And He will judge the entire world according to what He has set in His Word.

But what about grace? What about mercy? He gives that freely to His children, to those who love and obey Him. And who are they? Jesus said if You love Me, you will keep my commands (John 14:23-24). Again, it goes back to His Word.

Application
Don’t miss this! So many people will be disappointed on Judgement Day because they believe or have been told that God is a grandfatherly type person who just wants to put the world on His knee and bounce them up and down. They will be mistaken because He is a Judge.

On that day He will ask those people, I gave you my Word, why didn’t you obey it? Why did you live the way YOU wanted to and didn’t live the way I asked you to?

Why would the Father want anyone who is disobedient to go to Heaven? Heaven is this perfect place of people who love and follow Him. You do that now! You don’t start doing that after you die or go to Heaven.

A complete change of heart is needed. But if you desire it, He will give it to you. He will give you the Holy Spirit to help you.

He is a Judge. And Jesus has paid the price for your sin. Start living for Him!

Prayer
Lord, I pray that I will be faithful to Your Word. In a world that anything goes, but where Your people are rejected and made fun of, help me stay strong be faithful.

Peace,
Todd

Dying on Display

Scripture
20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 NET

Observation
Modern day Christians don’t understand the cross. We hang them in our homes, we wear them on clothes and we sing about it sometimes in church (although rarely nowadays).

The cross was reserved for the worse of the worse. It was a terrible way to die, usually from blood loss and asphyxiation.

But more than that, those crucified were humiliated. They were left exposed. They died on display, exposed to jeering and sometimes laughing people. They were ridiculed and most were not allowed to be buried properly.

Application
For Paul to say he had been crucified with Christ was saying that he was ok with all that.

He was saying…for the cross of Christ…

I’m ready to be humiliated. I’m ready to be laughed at. I’m ready to be scorned. I’m ready to die.

The verse ends, “I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

To Paul,it was all worth it, in this life and the next!

Prayer
Lord, it is hard to die to self, especially when I know it’s not going to be easy, just like it wasn’t easy for You. Give me the strength I need to die in this world, so that I can truly live for You.

Peace
Todd

Changed? Not Changed?

Scripture
They were only hearing, “The one who once persecuted us is now proclaiming the good news of the faith he once tried to destroy.”

Galatians 1:23 NET

Observation
The change that happens in a new believer can be so dramatic that it causes people to talk. Not in a bad way, but in a way that glorifies God.

The fact is that the Lord requires us to change. We become new creations. We are no longer ruled by our passions and lusts, but by a desire to be pleasing to Him. Jesus is now our Lord, and we live according to His Word through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The worrisome part is when people become “Christians” but have only come to that reason in their head. Be it they heard a sermon about Hell or maybe that God would answer their prayers. But they haven’t really changed. Maybe they cleaned up a bit, but they weren’t changed! These “new believers” want to hold on to the promises of Heaven and enjoy all this Earth has to offer too.

This isn’t a true conversion. The Father doesn’t get the glory from that. In fact, that harms the faith more than helps. The world sees hypocrites at this point.

Application
The Christian life should be a reflection of what God has done on the inside. Can people point to your “former” days and see a difference? Shouldn’t the Holy Spirit in your life change you? I mean, this is God Himself taking up residence inside of you!

Are you changed? Why or Why not? Are you still holding on to the old life? Don’t! That life is a dead end road.

Instead, pursue Jesus with all your heart. Be willing to let Him guide you. Drink deeply of the things of God and put away things that don’t add anything to the Kingdom. You won’t regret it!

Prayer
Lord, thank You for changing me. Thank You for the Holy Spirit inside that teaches me and helps me know Your will. Help me to want more of You and to actively pursue Your heart before anything else.

Peace
Todd

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