Matthew 16:23 Don’t Be A Stumbling Block

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23

In every business or organization there are leaders at the top that see the bigger, long-term picture of the organization. They are able to see what steps are needed in order to accomplish their task or goal.

With every goal there are some steps that will be difficult and may even appear to be ridiculous to have to take. Yet, though steps are required to reach the goal. In the organization there will be some who will try to keep from having to take those difficult steps.

Jesus had just told the disciples that He would have to be killed. Peter rebuked Him. Jesus rebukes Peter because he was being a stumbling block, not do what God wants, but what self wants.

Walking with God will require that one gets all of his instructions from God as to what to do and where to walk. In the process of moving forward with God, there will be times when God has a person walk through an extremely difficult situation. It may be one that could risk one’s life or even take it.

It is easy for people to want to back down and not follow God through it, but that is keeping the world’s ways of living, not God’s. To walk with God will require that one lay’s down his own life to be concerned with what God is concerned about. It is sacrificing self’s desires for those of God.

In this life, a believer may lose his life following God, but in the end he will have eternal life, just as Jesus did.

There may be times when God will call you to do a extremely difficult task. Instead of being like Peter and trying to do it a different way, becoming a stumbling block, be willing to do what God says.

The desires of self and the things of this world are all temporary and will pass away. What God does is always with eternity in mind, lasting forever.

Be careful that you do not allow yourself to become a stumbling block to others or to God, but following God’s ways of living. Do the work and walk the path God calls you to do and walk. Don’t be a stumbling block and have God rebuke you.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know what God calls you to do; that you will walk the path God calls you to walk; and that you will be concerned about what God is concerned about.

Matthew 4:20 Leave And Follow

At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:20

There are times when some new person comes on the scene with some new great idea, toy, song, word or something, and everyone appears to drop everything to follow that person. People are very quick to follow major celebrities in whatever they do.

Things that will catch their attention to follow are new ideas, objects or performance. People love to follow new ideas, hoping or thinking that it will make life better, thus they are quick to change what they follow.

Jesus came up to two men who were fishermen, working on their nets and boat. He told them to follow Him, and they immediately dropped their nets and followed Him.

Most people are not quick to drop everything to follow a complete stranger, whom they have never met before. Questions are usually asked first. People want to know the who, what, why and where first. This becomes especially true when they must drop their job, their livelihood. It is their means of provision for themselves and their family.

Every day there are people who choose to believe in Jesus. They will say a sinner’s prayer and be saved. However, it is another thing for them to leave their past, change and follow Him. In many church circles, the emphasis is to believe in Jesus, with no mention of change of life and following Him.

Believing in Jesus is the first step to living for God. The next step is turning away from the old life and embracing a new one. God will show a person what He desires of Him. The new goal in life is catching people for God, being His witness. Every believer must be willing to drop their past as they begin to follow Jesus.

God is calling you today. First, if you are not a believer, to believe in Jesus, His one and only Son. Then Jesus calls you to be His witness and strive to catch men for Him.

This means you must be willing to let go of your past and embrace the new life. Change your way of acting, thinking and speaking. Your new goal will be to be His witness everywhere you go, with every opportunity you have.

As God is calling you, are you willing to let go of your past, trust Him and follow Him? God has a plan for your life when you choose to follow Him. Embrace it today,

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will follow God with all of your life; that God will strengthen you to leave your past behind; and that you will embrace what God has for you now.

Zechariah 1:3 Return To God

Stream in a forest

There tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 1:3 

People like it when a loved one returns from being gone for an extended period of time. They do not like to be separated for any reason. It is because of their love that there is a desire that the one will return.

The separation hurts worse when the reason for separation is by choice made out of selfishness or anger. It is being separate on purpose to go a different direction, rather than by forces out of either person’s control.

God was upset with the people of Israel and was calling them back to return to Him. They had chosen to walk away from Him and follow false gods. God was willing to return back to them when they were willing to return to Him.

There have been many believers who have turned their backs upon God and walked away. Others have not fully turned their backs on God, but refuse to live for Him. They have chosen to live in sinful ways and following the ways of the world, while claiming to believe in God.

This can be seen in the lives of individuals as well as in the lives of churches. Many of both have chosen to walk away from God and follow the world’s ways of acting and thinking.

As people choose to live in sin, God must step back from them. He still loves them, but can no longer be with them, because they have walked away. God longs for those to return to Him, turning away from sin. God is quick to forgive and extend mercy and grace when one is willing to reach out to Him.

God desires that your walk will always be with Him. He loves you with an undying, perfect love and only wants what is best for you.

You may have become like the Israelites and allowed the things and ways of this world to get between you and God. If this is the case, God will be waiting for you to return to Him.

Allow God to lead your life in every area and see how great life can be. Jesus came to give you abundant life, not just a list of things to do and not do. God is waiting for you.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will live your life completely for God; that you will return to God if you have walked away; and that you will know the life God has for you.

Ezekiel 44:9 Restricted Entry

Restricted area

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites. Ezekiel 44:9 

All over the world there are places that people have set up that have restrictions as to who is allowed to enter. Nearly every business has places within it where the majority of people are blocked from entering the area. The location is only allowed for those who work there or have special permission to enter, everyone is blocked from it.

Often the block is due to protection for the company and for the outsider. Some places require special equipment to enter. Other places have information in that is not to be released to just anyone.

God had just shown Ezekiel a vision of the restored temple. He then tells Ezekiel that no outsider is allowed into the temple.

The temple was the holy dwelling place for God to be among the people. In order for one to enter, he had to be purified and be a true follower of God. No one else was allowed to enter.

Since the time of Ezekiel, God has set up His temple in the hearts of believers. God is still telling people that no outsider is allowed to enter His temple.

Instead of just being physical beings entering, today it is false idols, greed, pride, anger, and sin that are to be not allowed to enter. People allow these things into their hearts and lives. When sin is allowed into the heart, one is pushing God off of His throne in the heart, which is His temple, His dwelling place.

The heart is the dwelling place for God, and nothing else should be allowed in that place. Nothing spiritual, physical or emotional should be allowed into the heart that does not honor God. The heart belongs to God and to God alone.

Take a moment to examine what is allowed into your heart. Think about what things you allow your heart to follow and hold on to. Are these things the things of God? Or are they the things of this world?

When you became a follower of Jesus, He gave you a new heart, because your heart became God’s dwelling place, a holy temple. Keep it pure and holy for God to dwell in. Do not allow sin or this world to move God off of His throne in your heart. Restrict access to your heart to God alone.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will give your entire life to God; that you will allow God to reign in your heart and life; and that you will serve God alone.

Ezekiel 34:31 Belonging To God

Sheep and shepherd

You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord. Ezekiel 34:31 

Very few people like to be owned and controlled by someone else. They like their freedom. People like to be able to do what they want, when they want and how they want.

While everyone loves absolute freedom, everyone is also partially under control of someone else. Most people have a job and are controlled in what they can and cannot do while at work by their employer. Every nation has rules that govern what things can and cannot be done. So no one is truly one hundred percent free all the time.

God tells the people of Israel that they are His sheep and that He is their God. This is despite the fact that they have fallen away from Him. He will draw them back.

Every person is free in themselves, but at the same time, every person has to answer to God. The one who has chosen to follow Christ has chosen to give up his own personal rights and obey God completely. He is now a sheep of God’s pasture.

The sheep does not get to choose what he does or where he goes. The shepherd guides the sheep into what is best for the sheep. Left on its own, the sheep will get itself hurt and in trouble.

In the same way, the believer, left on his own will fail and be destroyed. Following God’s commands and word will bring life. The believer must allow God to be his shepherd, His Lord and God, the one who controls everything.

As one allows God complete control of his life, he will have everything that is needed at the time it is needed. Just as a shepherd provides all that is needed, God will also provide all that is needed.

You have a choice as you walk on this earth as to who will be your leader and guide. You can try to lead yourself, in your limited knowledge and wisdom and sight. Or you can allow someone else to lead you.

In allowing others to lead, you also have a choice. You can allow those with the same limited knowledge and wisdom to lead you, those in this world. Or you can allow God to lead you.

Allow God, in His infinite wisdom and love, to be your God and to lead you to a full life that will extend into eternity. Let God be your God.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will allow God to lead your whole life; that you will trust God with all of your life; and that God, alone, will be your God.