2 Kings 12:3 Not Removing Everything

Houston skyscraper

The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. 2 Kings 12:3

In cleaning out some things, extreme attention to detail must be used. Everything must be cleaned correctly, or it will end up failing. When a doctor is removing cancer cells from a person’s body, he must remove every cell or the cancer will return very quickly. The problem can re-arise when things are not fully done.

There are many things that need to be cleaned with extreme care or there will be problems later on. Cleaning of water, dishes, food, electronic equipment and more. Each one requires that all contaminants be removed. If some contaminants are left, it can cause sickness or damage to something or someone.

Joash had become king at a very young age and was under the guidance of Jehoiada, a priest. He had done very well in doing what was right in God’s eyes, but he did not remove any of the high places to the false gods in the land of Israel. This allowed the people to continue to offer sacrifices to the false gods on a regular basis.

Although at the time, it did not appear to be a problem, allowing these sacrifices would later keep the people from serving God. It would cause them to walk away from God and bring on His wrath against them.

Believers today will often leave sinful things in their lives, instead of cleaning them out. They will keep watching, or listening to things that do not honor God. These things will open the door to greater sins or a turning away from God completely.

Every believer is to strive to walk in the holiness and righteousness that Jesus provided when He died upon the cross. Sin is to be turned away from. The world will strive to bring small sins in to distract and turn the believer away from God, whether the believer accepts those things or not is the choice to be made.

Examine your life and see how clean is your life. What high places are still set up in your life that do not honor God or can turn your heart away from God?

God can reveal where you have altars set up. There should only be one altar in your life–one to God alone. Jesus paid for your life, now live for Him and remove all altars so you don’t get tripped up later on.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will reveal any false altars in your life; that you will have an altar to God in your heart; and that God will strengthen you to turn away from all sin. 

Advertisements

Deuteronomy 17:1 Don’t Offer God Junk

Geese by a lake

Do not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him. Deuteronomy 17:1

Giving to others is something that some people do on a regular basis. It often appears good and that they are being very generous, that is until what they are really giving is looked at.

There are many people who bring things to Goodwill or to Salvation Army that are not worth giving. They often give wore out or have broken things to those in need. It is rare, to never, that the best things are given to any one in need. Only the leftovers or rejects are given.

This can often happen in the church in the same way. There are many people who give tithes and offerings to God, but they are only giving the leftovers or the rejects to God. They do not give  the best.

These offerings are not only the physical cash offerings, but their time and efforts. Time and thought is not put into working in a ministry. Focused effort is rarely done with studying God’s word or being a witness. The focus of many people is self or this world, rather than on God and His kingdom. The busyness of this world often leads people to give what is left, and not the best.

God had told the Israelites not to offer any sacrifice that had a defect in it. During that time, they offered physical sacrifices of animals. What people would do would be to offer a defective sheep or ox to God as their offering to Him for one of the festivals. God would find this detestable, because they were giving to get rid of, not to honor and bless God.

Every believer needs to give God his best and trust God for the rest. Give the best of time, money, and effort.

Take time today to focus on what you are giving God. Allow God to have the first and best of everything you have, your time, energy, abilities, and money. Do not give Him only the leftovers or what you really don’t want anyways.

Take time to give God the best of you. Allow God to change the worst in you, but give Him the best, while in the process of change.

How is your giving to God today?

I pray today that you will give to God with a willing heart; that you will give God all of yourself; that you will give God the best; and that you will honor God in all of  your giving. 

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?

400-08300213

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.

639-02029522

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.