Hosea 13:2 Increasing Sin

Buddhist idols

Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen. Hosea 13:2 

The world does not have a solid standard to live by. They do not know what it really means to love another person. It is acceptable for a person to live in any way that he desires as long as it does not directly, immediately hurt another person in any way.

The only reason the world can live in this way, is because they do not follow God and do not know the standard God has laid down for them to live. In the process of living this way, they are living in sin against God and often even against each other.

God was upset with Ephraim because they had chosen to sin more and more. They continually made more idols from their silver to worship, rather than worship God.

While it is expected for the world to live in sin, the church is expected to turn more and more away from all sin. The only thing the church, or believers, should worship is God alone.

Yet, this does not happen for many believers in the church. It is common for believers to be right alongside of the world following and worship man-made idols. They fashion their own idols to worship and idolize. There are some who are guilty of worshipping the same things as the world does, worshipping positions, titles, money, material things, people, and even things inside the church.

Some churches have allowed their people to sin and idolize things to the point that it is difficult to tell them apart from the world. Some ‘believers’ have allowed sin in their life and are not even trying to change.

Every believer needs to strive to live like Jesus, without sin. With the Holy Spirit one should turn away from sin rather than to embrace it more and more.

Examine your life and see where you are in your walk with God. Are you guilty of worshipping idols? Are you guilty of sinning more and more on purpose?

Turn to God and allow His Holy Spirit to guide you. Be willing to turn away from all sin and live as Jesus did. Do not allow the sinful, idolatrous ways of this world to creep into your life and pull you away from God.

Worship and serve the Lord your God and Him alone. Live for God, not this world or yourself.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will reveal idols in your life; that God will strengthen you to remove all idols in your life; and that you will allow the Holy Spirit to guide you away from all sin.

Daniel 7:14 An Eternal Kingdom

Looking over a city

He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:14 

Kingdoms and nations have risen and fallen over the centuries. Some have remained around for hundreds, even thousands of years, while others have only lasted a short time.

Some nations have risen to power and appeared to be strong enough to last forever, but eventually fell and were destroyed. The one common factor of all nations, is that none of them have lasted forever, all have fallen at some point.

Daniel gets a vision of the Son of Man being given all authority and power over the entire earth. His kingdom would be one that would last forever and never be destroyed.

Over the centuries the Christian belief has had times where it appeared to be the dominating belief of the people of the world, while other times it appeared to be dying out. When Jesus died upon the cross, many of the disciples began to wonder what would be next. They had expected Him to live and conquer the world,  but He didn’t. It was after His resurrection that they began to see His true power and authority.

Many nations and groups of people have attempted to destroy God’s kingdom of believers. Yet, none have succeeded. In fact, the more the church was persecuted, the more it grew in power and authority.

Despite what the world thinks or feels, Jesus is in control. He has already been given all authority and power when He rose from the dead. Every believer can stand on this truth and hope, knowing that some day all sin will be erased and they will be on the winning side.

There may be days when you feel as if the world is winning the battle against believers. It may appear that God is not really in control and will lose in the end.

Do not forget that Jesus defeated death, the greatest enemy of man. He was able to do this because He was given all authority and power to have an everlasting kingdom.

You, as a believer, are a part of His kingdom. You are on the winning side. Do not give up or lose hope. In the end God will win the battle and you will win with Him as long as you trust in Him.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will trust God’s authority and power; that you will know the hope you can have in Jesus; and that God will remove fear of the world’s weak power and authority.

2 Timothy 1:7 Don’t Be Timid

 

Sunset background

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

The world often has the wrong view of what believers are like. They are often portrayed as weak, hateful and with no self-discipline.

The world thinks that believers are weak because they have to rely upon God, rather than on their own strength and power. Believers are often seen to be walked all over and ridiculed, so the world sees that as a sign of weakness. Some are weak, because they back down from standing true their beliefs.

Believers are often believed to be hateful, because of their speaking out against sin. Some, however, are hateful in the way they speak and how they treat those who sin. Many people have killed others in the name of God, showing hatred.

Others see believers with no self-discipline, because they see some do the very things that they speak against.

It is true that some believers have given Christianity a bad name by their words and actions. There are many who claim to be a follower of Jesus, yet, do not try to live like Him in any way. However, there are also many who are living for Christ in this world.

Those who do try to live for God, know what God has given them. God’s immense power has been given to believers to overcome sin, to turn away from temptations, and to stand true against the beliefs of this world. His infinite love has been given to every believer to love the enemy and to overlook the many wrongs done. His Holy Spirit has been given to the believer to guide him into making the right decisions with self-discipline.

The world will still not fully understand a believer, but the believer must not give the wrong view of who a believer is and who Jesus is.

God has given you everything that you need to live for Jesus, to live a holy life in this world. You do not have to be shy in what you believe, but stand strong and true to God’s word in your life. As you stand strong, do it in love and with self-discipline. Do not bring shame to the name of Christ in this world. The world is looking to bring you and Christ down. Don’t let them and don’t give them a reason, you have the power.

I pray today that you will know what God has given you; that you will know God’s power and love in your life; that you will show the world God’s power and love; and that you will stay true to God’s word in your life.

 

1 Timothy 3:7 A Good Reputation

 

Cabin on a hill

He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 1 Timothy 3:7

Reputation is how other people see a person. What type of person do they see when they look at someone? What is his character like?

Reputations can be good or bad. Some can be positive reputations that every loves, or they can be negative ones that people hate.

Every person has a reputation of some sort. It can be seen in how they act and react to different situations. There are people who are known to get angry every time when they begin to talk about politics. Others may always be generous with time, or money. Some may have the reputation of being a talker.

Although Paul is talking specifically about someone who is going to be an overseer, the rule can be applied to every believer. Believers are to have a good reputation with outsiders, with people who are outside the belief in Jesus.

As Jesus walked on this earth, He had a good reputation with all people. He was known for being loving, kind, and generous. He was known to heal and forgive. Whether a person believed in Him or not, people knew who He was and what He was like.

Believers in the church do not always have a good reputation with people outside the church. Some are extremely judgmental. Others are stingy with their money and not giving. Many employers will state that believers are thought of to be lazy and not giving their best effort at work. Churches are often closed off to outsiders. People inside the church have their own little cliques that they stay in, and refuse to let others in.

These types of actions push people away from God and Jesus. They are falling into disgrace and into the devil’s trap to destroy the church and individual.

Find out what people think about you. What is your reputation with those outside the church?

Do people know you to be a believer, who is full of love, grace, mercy and truth?

Or do people see someone who says one thing and says or does something different?

Although reputation is not everything, it does mean something. It reveals how you are really living your life. Although the world may try to destroy you, they cannot deny who you are. What is your reputation to the world?

I pray today that your life will be like that of Jesus to this world; that people will know you are a follower of Jesus; that you will not do anything that will bring disgrace to God; and that many will know Jesus because of your actions and words.

Colossians 4:5 Using Opportunities Correctly

 

Immigrants

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5

All around the world in every nation and every city or community, there will be people who are outsiders. These are people who have moved into the area from some other location. This location can be from the same country, maybe only a few miles down the road, or from across the ocean. Regardless of where they come from, they are outsiders.

When these outsiders come from another nation, they are called immigrants. There is currently lots of discussion on how to treat those immigrants and what should or should not be done with them. Some want to kick them out, some what to put them in jail, and others want to let them stay.

The same problems arise with people who are outsiders coming around the church. These are people who are not believers. How does one in the church act towards them?

Often many believers treat them with distrust and hatred, not giving them an opportunity to know Jesus.

Paul says that the believer must be wise in how one acts towards them and to make the most of every opportunity.

Wisdom can be seen in being careful in choosing the words and actions spoken. Every believer is supposed to be a witness of who Jesus is and a representative of His great love and mercy towards others. This takes great wisdom from God to know.

The believer is to take every opportunity he can to show God’s love to the outsider–the non-believer, the world. This can only be done with love, mercy and grace in both words and actions.

Every day and at every moment there are many opportunities to be a witness to an outsider. More than half the world is an outsider to God.

Instead of being afraid of an outsider, find ways to reach out in love to the outsider. Take a look at what you are saying and doing around the outsider. Are your actions and words drawing them or pointing them to Jesus? Or are your actions and words pushing them away from Jesus?

Allow God to open your eyes to the many opportunities that come your way each day. Grab every opportunity you can to be His witness. Draw in as many outsiders into His kingdom as you can. That is the goal of Jesus.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for all people; that God will guide you in what to say and do around others; that you will show God’s love and mercy to all people; and that you will be filled with God’s wisdom.