Matthew 15:8-9 Honoring God In Word Only

Lip Service Only

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'” Matthew 15:8-9

Some Pharisees and teachers of the law complained to Jesus about the disciples not washing their hands. Jesus called them hypocrites and then quoted Isaiah. He pointed out that the people only honored Him with their lips and not with their heart. They only come up with human rules to worship God.

Going to church and singing a worship song is an easy thing to do. Claiming to believe in Jesus is also an easy thing for a person to do. Doing these things can appear on the outside to be honoring God. It can appear the person is a good Christian follower of Jesus.

The reality of it is that doing these things are only outward things and may not always be a part of the heart. For some people, they go to church only because they are forced to (such as children), it is the thing to do (because parents brought them up to do it), or to look good to others. Some have been brought up in a church and so they do not want to leave the church and look bad, but they really don’t want to be there either.

People will come up with all kinds of rules about being a Christian, just to look good. However their heart is not really in it. They mouth the words of worship songs, rather than sing them from the heart. They are quick to point out faults in others, but are slow to compassion and mercy. This is missing who Jesus really is and what He was about.

Living like this is honoring God only with the lips and words. The heart is not a part of it. God is seeking to have your heart, not just your words.

As you say and do things each day, you need to ensure that it measures up to what Jesus said and did. Jesus said and did everything from the heart. His heart was to please His Father–God, not just to look good on this earth.

Everything said and done must honor God from the heart, not just the outward actions. Don’t just go through the routine of looking like a believer in Jesus. Be a believer and follower of Jesus from the heart. Keep your heart close to Jesus.

I pray today that you will focus your heart on Jesus; that you will worship God with all of your heart and life; that you will honor God from your heart; and that you will live true to God in all you say and do.


Habakkuk 2:9 Building A House

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain, setting his nest on high to escape the clutches of ruin!” Habakkuk 2:9

Habakkuk had noticed all the people who refused to follow God were appearing to be prosperous and making it. He could not understand how the pagans could be wealthy, while the believers suffered, so he questions God about what He is seeing. God answers him. God points out that there will be trouble for the person who builds his house by evil ways.

A house is where a person lives, eats, and sleeps in. It is a representation of a part of their life. For some people it is a major portion of their life, while with others it is only a small part of their life. It depends on how much they work or travel.

Lives and homes are built all the time with money that is worked for. Most people will state that they have legally earned the money that they have to build their life the way that they want to. The real challenge is what a person means by work.

Some people when they do go to work, they cut corners all the time at work, not fully working, and still get a paycheck. Others do work hard all the time, but are doing things that are illegal or sinful to get their money. These are people building their house on something that is unjust gain.

Even though they appear to be successful, God is watching them and their time will come. Their house is not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. It is built upon things of this world and it will come crashing down in the end.

If you are believer, you must work at things that will honor God. Gaining money to build your life will do no good if it is gained by measures that does not honor God in any way or goes against God’s commands. If you sell something that promotes sin, you are building your house by unjust gain. If you do not give all of yourself to your work, when you are working, then you are building your house by unjust gain.

Take a look at your life and how you are building your house. What is the foundation? What are the materials you are using? Does it honor God? Or is it being done in the ways of this world?

I pray today that Jesus will be the foundation of your life; that you will build your life in God’s ways; that the work you do will show honor to God; and that you will be a witness of God wherever you work.

Daniel 4:37 All That God Does Is Right

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Daniel 4:37

After seeing the three young men survive the fiery furnace, King Nebuchadnezzar chose to follow God and lead his nation to follow God. God gave the King a vision that his kingdom would prosper, but there would be a time when he would be crushed. Later, the king stood up and claimed that he was God and he built his own kingdom. Immediately God took his sanity and he lived for several years as an animal in the wild. Later the king looked up to the heavens and declared that God was God and honored him. His sanity and kingdom were restored.

Going through life it is easy for a person to think that he has done all that he has done by his own power. Hard work appears to pay off and no one can see God, so it must be by his own hands that all has happened. Some believers are even guilty of thinking this way and putting God on the side.

When a person puts God on the side, He will often do something to get his attention. His goal is to get the person’s heart back in the right condition.

Many believers also get angry with God when He knocks them down, so that they will look up to Him. The pain of the knock down causes many to give up on God, rather than see that it was for their benefit in the end.

Looking up to God and allowing Him to be in absolute control is the best thing you can do. Everything that God does is the best thing for your life. Had not God knocked King Nebuchadnezzar down, he would never have turned his heart back to God. He would have died living in the sin of believing he was God.

If you are already following God, keep your eyes on Him and allow Him to be in control. Do not take that control away from Him. He knows what is best for your life.

If you have fallen away and God is knocking you down, look up to Him. There is forgiveness available. God has great things in store for you, if you trust Him.

I pray today that you will allow God to be in control; that you will trust all of God’s actions; that you praise God for all that you have and are; and that you will be humble before God.


What Are You Watching?


Watching television and movies is a favorite pastime of many people. People love to watch something. It allows them to escape into a different world for a short time. It allows them to step out of reality into a fantasy world.

The things that people watch cover an extremely broad band of categories. Many of those categories overlap each other, creating new categories. Fantasy, drama, horror, and comedy are the base line of movies. Then they broaden out to fantasy/drama, or comedy/horror, or some other combination.

Movie Types

It is very interesting to watch what most movies are about. If you really look at them closely, most of them tell the same story that has been told a dozen times before. The only real difference is in how it is told. One time it is live action, next time it is with fantasy, next time it is with anime, the next is with puppets, the next is with music, and the variations of the same story keep going.

Other times it is the same type of story, such as boy meets girl, falls in love and after a time of rejection from her they get married. This story has been told hundreds of different times in different ways. Or the hero saves a person, city, nation, or the world. Or the flip side the bad guy does not get caught or die in the end, and they come back with a sequel.

Billions of dollars are spent every year watching movies, whether in the theater, pay-per-view, paid channels, television, or online rentals. People love to watch movies.


Now you may be asking why did I say all of this. Where am I going with all of this?

During this past week the movie, “It,” came out as a remake of this classic movie. Many of the students I teach in 6-8th grade had went to see it. Several had seen it several times. Along with those in my public, non-Christian school, I know of several in the church that also went to see it or want to see the movie.

During one of my classes, one of my students asked me if I was going to see the movie. I had told the student that there is no way I would go and see it. The question was then raised as to why. The answer to that is what led me to write this post.

People who study movies and plays will always try to point out the good in a movie. They want to point out how the bad guy loses in the end. How good always triumphs over evil. They point out the good moral points of the story. It is true that in every movie there is usually some good moral point in it, no matter how bad it appears as a whole.

Christians will be very quick to point out that the bible does not say that a person should not watch movies. Many will be also quick to point out all the immoral stuff that is written in the bible. With both these arguments they want to say that it is acceptable to watch anything that they want to watch.

The first thing I would like to say is look at what Paul had said:

1 Corinthians 10:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

Paul says that you may do whatever you want, but not everything is beneficial. There are things that do not benefit you at all. It does not help you in any way.

Free To Do

Romans 8:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

God does not work that way. Everything that God does has a purpose. Everything that God allows has a purpose.

Many people think that God is just a great big ogre out to make life miserable for them. That He will not allow them to have any fun in life and is always out to get them or punish them.

God has given you the right to do whatever you want to do. However, what many people do not like to hear is that there are consequences to the choices made. If you want to make a choice to sin, God will allow that, but the consequence is death. God allowed Adam and Eve to make that choice, and He still allows people to make that choice.

Ezekiel 36:26 New International Version (NIV)

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36,26

God wants to give you a new, living heart of flesh. He wants you to live life to the fullest.

John 10:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

With God giving you a new heart and a new life, you should live the way He planned for you to live.

Going back to watching movies.

Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Paul says that you are to think about certain things. These things are what are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

When watching a movie, the movie may be excellent in the way it was made. It may have excellent acting and excellent filming, but that does not finish out what Paul said to think about. Does it fit the pure? Is it admirable? Is it praiseworthy? Is it lovely?

Watching someone or something just go around and kill does not fit the description of what Paul said to think about. Watching a couple or a person be unfaithful in their marriage is not pure. Watching the thief or crook be honored as good, is not praiseworthy.

Time To Decide

And of each of these few examples, how do any of them really benefit you? Do any of them bring you closer to God? Or make you more like God? If not, why watch them?

What you take into you will eventually come out. If you fill your life with garbage, that garbage will come out in the end.

Everything that you say, do, watch, or listen to should be done for the benefit of God and to bring you closer to God, or to bring others closer to God. Yes, you are allowed to do whatever you want, but there is a price to do it. If you choose things that bring about death, then it will be death that you will receive.

Take a moment and think about the movies or shows that you watch. What benefit is there in watching those movies or shows?

If Jesus were standing right next to you, would He choose to watch them with you? Would you be comfortable with watching them with Him next to you?

Ask God what He wants you to see or watch before you watch something. See what He has to say about it.

Isaiah 58:2-3 Doing Your Own Thing

For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.” Isaiah 58:2-3

Israel had claimed to be the nation that God loved and was over. They claimed God as their God. When they were going through tough situations, they would cry out to God, yet God was silent with them. God allowed trouble to come into their lives. The reason was because, even though they cried out to God, they were not trying to live for God. They were doing their own thing, rather than what God wanted.

People in churches all over the world are seeking to know God and His ways every Sunday morning. Throughout the days of their week, many cry out to God for help in situations in their life. Yet, just like the Israelites, many are not attempting to live for God.

Believers cry out to God for help, while at the same time refusing to forgive, or holding onto anger, or lying, or stealing, or gossiping. As one does this, they wonder why God is not showing up in their lives. God cannot be around sin and will not honor those who do not serve Him.

You have to take an honest look at your own life to see where you are at. If you are like many people, you are probably crying out to God for some help in an area of your life. You may be feeling as though God is no where near and does not hear you.

Ask yourself if you are really living for God. Are you serving God with your life? Or are you doing your own thing?

Are you trying to get help from God so that you can look good, or get better things?

Or are you asking for help so that you may build His kingdom more?

As you go before God, do what He wants, not as you please. God will hear you then.

I pray today that you will know God’s desire for your life; that you will obey the commands of God; that you will not put God on the side of your life; and that you will truly know God.

Psalm 76:11 Fulfill Your Vows

Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared. Psalm 76:11

It is easy for a person to make a vow to God or to another person. Promises are made all the time. Yet, the fulfillment of many of those vows is not very high.

Lawyers are paid big money in order to find ways for a person or business to not have to fulfill a vow or promise. The seek out loopholes in the contracts agreed upon. Most of the loopholes are found in that one party or the other had not fulfilled some part of the agreement, thus breaking the contract or vow.

Marriage vows are now often made with clauses in them, that if one spouse does not fulfill certain requirements, the marriage will be ended. People seek out ways to keep from being held accountable to their promises.

Every person who has chosen to believe in Jesus, has made a vow to God. He has promised to believe in Jesus and the work He did on the cross. He has promised to live for God and obey Him. This is the very base vow that every believer has made with God.

Other vows may also be made to God. Promises to give more tithe and offerings, to be more in service, to be more of a witness, to give up some habit or sin, to pray more, to read the Bible more, and the list goes on.

Whatever vow you have made to God, be willing to fulfill it. Do your best to hold up your part of the agreement with God. Do not seek loopholes to get out of what you promised God.

Doing this shows the world you believe in and trust in God. It also represents how God also fulfills His word all the time.

God has made many promises to you. He has never failed to fulfill a single promise.

How are you doing at keeping your vows?

Is there some vow  you made to God you have not kept? Seek God’s forgiveness and strive to fulfill that vow. God will forgive and guide you forward, if you allow Him to do so.

I pray today that you will trust God with your life; that God will strengthen you to fulfill every promise you made to Him; that you will be a witness of God’s faithfulness to this world; and that God will guide you in any vows you make to Him.

Psalm 50:14-15 Three Things God Wants

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. Psalm 50:14-15

The psalmist, Asaph, started out this psalm pointing out that God does not really need all the animal sacrifices because He already owns all the animals. The things that God wants are not the physical things, but things that come from the person’s heart

The first thing that is listed is the thank offerings. It is listed as a sacrifice to God. Taking time to say thank you is something many people do not do. This becomes especially true when the service done was something little or routine. How many give thanks to God just for being able to get up in the morning? And fewer yet give thanks for a rough situation that is to make them more like Jesus.

The second thing listed is to fulfill the vows to God. It is common for a person in a scary situation to make a promise to God to do something for Him, if He gets them out of that bad situation. Only later, most people forget about that vow or dismiss it as rash words said in the excitement. Every believer has given God a promise to follow Him when they became a believer.

The last one listed here, is to call on God when in trouble. Some do this, while others will call on others in this world first. God is to be sought out first in every situation in the life of a believer.

Take time many times throughout the day to give God thanks for what He is doing in your life. Thank God for the little things, such as the air you breathe and being able to move. Let Him know you are grateful for what He has given you.

Do what you promised. Do not ignore your promises or write them off. God fulfills all of His promises to you, do the same to Him.

And never forget to call on God first in every situation in your life. Put God first and He will deliver you. God is there for you, not against you. He loves you and has the best in mind for you.

I pray today that you will give thanks to God continually; that you will fulfill all your promises to God; that you will call on God first; and that you will honor God with all of your life.