Luke 7:22 Don’t Stumble, Be Blessed

 

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“Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Luke 7:22

Jesus had been going around healing the sick, casting out demonic spirits and giving back sight to the blind. John the Baptist sent some men to find out if Jesus was the one they were to expect. Jesus told them to report what they see and told them that any who does not stumble because of Him will be blessed.

People all over the world hear of things that Jesus said and did. As they hear these things, some will choose to follow Him, while others will reject Him right away.

There are many who choose to follow Him, but only for a time. As they read the Bible more and go to church more, they begin to hear what Jesus said. As they hear the things Jesus taught, many will begin to stumble and fall away.

The words and teachings of Jesus are not always easy to follow or accept. His words go against the main thoughts and ways of this world. The world is always talking about looking out for self. Jesus taught one is to deny himself.

The world teaches that a person can strike a person back who has hurt him. Jesus taught to love that person, rather than striking back.

The world teaches to get all the money one can for himself. Jesus taught to give generously to God and everyone in need.

These are just a few of the teachings that Jesus taught that go against the ways of this world. Many people have a difficult time accepting them or actually putting them into practice. Every week people go to church and hear about what God says in the Bible, but only a few actually do what He says to do.

This is a stumbling in their walk with God. To love God, is to obey Him. Not following His commands is not loving God and they are stumbling.

Think about your life and how well you follow, or don’t follow, God’s commands for you. Are you allowing yourself to stumble?

If you are not stumbling over His words, you will be blessed. God only has your very best in mind when He gives you a command. Trust Him and follow Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. Do not allow yourself to stumble over His words and be blessed.

I pray today that you will know God’s heart for you; that you will trust God’s commands to you; that you will not stumble over the words of God; and that you will be His witness in this world.

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Luke 2:14 Peace…For Some

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“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

The night that Jesus was born, some angels appeared to some shepherds in a field nearby. The angels told the shepherds that a savior had been born and how they would be able to find Him. They also began to praise God and proclaimed peace on those whom His favor rests.

The portion of this verse that is commonly quoted is “peace on the earth.” People like to hear about there being peace on this earth. This is even more encouraging to people who in an area of much turmoil or war.

Christians, along with many other people are desiring peace around the world. They want to see and end to war and fighting. This is a good thing to desire, but the angels never proclaimed peace all over the whole earth.

The angels proclaimed peace only upon those whom His favor rests. Not everyone on this earth has God’s favor. Not even everyone inside a church has His unmerited favor. Any person who has not repented of their sins and chosen to follow Jesus is an enemy of God. Where there are two enemies, there can never be peace.

Two enemies are always at war with each other, as long as they are enemies. God will always be at war with anyone who does not follow Him or obey Him. There are some who do not follow Jesus, but do not openly speak against Him, they are still enemies with God. If one does not follow and obey God, He does not love God, thus an enemy.

The peace the angels proclaimed is to be with those on whom His favor rests. God gives favor to those who love, obey and follow Jesus. Only those who have chosen to turn away from their own sins and self are truly following Jesus and thus receive His favor and peace.

As long as you are at war with God, you will not know peace.

If you are looking for peace, draw closer to Jesus. Become more like Him in following and obeying Him. It is then that God’s favor will rest upon you and you will know His peace. This is a peace that is peaceful regardless of what is going on in your life or in this world. A peace not everyone has.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will live at peace with God; that you will love and obey God with all of your life; and that you will share that peace with others.

 

Mark 3:35 Are You A Part Of His Family?

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Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. Mark 3:35

As Jesus was talking His mother and brothers came up wanting to see Him. Some people told Him that they were waiting. He then asked the question of who His family was. Then He answered His question with stating that those who do His will is part of His family.

Family blood runs deep with some families. Those who are related by blood will often do whatever is needed to protect and take care of other members of the family.

One illustration of dedicated family is of the mafia families that are often portrayed in movies. They are seen to take care of family members, as long as the member does his part as a member of the family. If one member of the family betrays the other members of the family, he is often cut off from the family. In the movies, that person is often killed.

People are born into being selfish and sinful, doing their own thing rather than what God wants them to do. At that point, people are not a part of God’s family. They are a part of the family of the devil or this world.

To be a part of God’s family one must do what God wants that person to do. God wants people to believe in His Son Jesus, who died on the cross for their sins. He wants them to listen to Jesus and obey all that He says. 

Once a person gives his heart to Jesus, he has repented of his sins and begins to obey God. This obedience is doing God’s will. At that point he is now a member of God’s family. He is either a brother, sister or mother to Jesus, with God the Father being the Father of all.

Doing His will is easy, if you allow it to be. It comes down to two simple rules: love God and love everyone else. This is exactly what Jesus did when He came and walked upon this earth. He loved God by obeying what He wanted Him to do. He loved everyone else by dying for their sins on the cross.

How are you doing at doing what God wants you to do?

The more you do what He wants, the more you are a part of the family of Jesus. Are you a part of His family?

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will obey God; that you will do what He wants you to do; and that you will love God and everyone else.

Matthew 1:20 Doing Something Crazy

But after he had considered this, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20

A young girl named Mary and a young man named Joseph were engaged to be married. While they were waiting for the time to be married, God does a miracle in Mary and causes her to be pregnant. This creates an ugly situation for Joseph, since they are not married. Either they did things together that they were not supposed to do before marriage, or she cheated on him before marriage.

After choosing to quietly divorce her, God appears to Joseph and tells him that what is happened is by His own doing. God tells Joseph to stay with her and that this child will be a savior to the people.

In this popular, well-known story of the Bible, Joseph is asked to do something by God that is crazy. This could look very bad for Mary and Joseph, no matter which path Joseph takes. If he divorces her, she was a bad person and he chose a bad person. If he stays in the engagement, then they both look bad for doing something before marriage they were not supposed to do. Yet, Joseph hears God, obeys Him and trusts Him. The rest of the story is the salvation provided by Jesus.

There may be times in your life when God will ask you to do something that is out of the ordinary and is crazy. From the viewpoint of the world, it does not look safe or wise. However, God is looking from the viewpoint of heaven, above everything. God always knows what is going on and what the best plan of action is.

God’s ways and thoughts are way above anything any person can come up with. God may be asking you to be a witness to someone, who is known to be dangerous. Or to be a witness at your workplace where people don’t like God. Or some other challenging thing to do.

You have a choice to make: Will you follow and obey God, trusting Him? Or will you ignore His request and not trust Him?

Be willing to do the crazy thing God asks of you, it may be what changes the world.

I pray today that you will hear God’s voice; that you will trust God’s directions; that you will not fear obeying God; and that God will use you to change this world for Him.

 

Zechariah 6:15 Building God’s Temple

Those who are far away will come and help build the temple of the LORD, and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the LORD your God. Zechariah 6:15

God had sent Zechariah to Joshua son of Jozadek to commission him to build the temple. His name means branch, so he would become the branch that will reach out to all people. People from all over would come to help him in building the temple. The only requirement needed to make this happen was that he had to diligently obey God.

Joshua was an example of who Christ Jesus would become. He was a type of savior to the people. The temple, in the Old Testament, was a sign of God’s favor, presence and power. He was to build that temple, drawing all people to it. Jesus, later, would be a temple Himself and would draw all people to Himself also.

The building of God’s temple has never finished, although it has changed from being a physical building with bricks, to a body of people. Paul said that the body of a believer is the temple of God, it is where God now dwells.

Instead of using bricks to build the temple today, believers are presenting the gospel message to the rest of the world. They are to lift Jesus up and promote Him. As they do, He will draw all men unto Himself. In that process the temple of God will be built larger and larger.

In order for all people to be drawn to Jesus, every believer must obey His word. Jesus set the example on how to spread the gospel message. It was to be spread boldly with love, compassion, grace and mercy. When a believer is working diligently in this manner, God’s temple will grow. People from all over the world will come to Him. People who are lost in sin will come to Him.

Do not try to build His temple on your own, using your own plans. Seek out God and His word to understand what you are to do in order to build His temple. Follow His rules in building and you will see success. Pattern your life after that of Jesus–the Branch, that you are a part of .

Are you building God’s temple today?

I pray today that you will be a part of God’s temple; that you will seek to draw others to Jesus; that you will tell others the gospel message of Jesus Christ; and that through you God will draw many to salvation in Jesus. 

Daniel 9:8 Admitting Sin

We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered in shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. Daniel 9:8

Daniel had just received a very clear vision of how long Israel would be destroyed and under captivity of another nation. He then started reading some of the words of Jeremiah and seeing what God had told him. Once he read those words, he started to pray to God a prayer of repentance for the nation of Israel. Daniel started admitting to breaking God’s commands and sinning against Him.

Daniel did not point fingers at other people and just say that they were the ones to sin. He included himself in the sins against God.

It is very easy, and very common, for people in the church to point fingers at the sins of others. Christians blame those in the world for the corruption and sin that is so rampant in their nation. Blaming politicians and leaders for the sin comes easily for many people. People will say if “they” did not allow something, that sin would not be there or the corruption would not have happened, always talking about someone else and not themselves.

When actions like this are done, one is not showing the love and mercy of God towards others. Nor is the person taking his responsibility in what is being done wrong.

Some may say, “I have never killed anyone (or some other sin), so why am I to repent.” It is true that you may not have done a particular sin, but there is another one that you have done. Regardless of what sin you have committed, you have sinned against God and helped lead your country to where it is today.

Along with that, every believer is supposed to be His loving witness to this world. As you go through your days ask yourself if you are doing everything that you can to be His witness. Ask yourself if you are showing His love and mercy to this dying world in the best way possible and as much as possible.

Since many believers cannot say that they are doing these things to the level God wants them to do, they are helping others continue in sin.

Seek God and ask Him to show you how you can reach the world for Him.

Repent of all sins, both the corporate and the personal. Allow God to change lives.

I pray today that you will seek to be a witness of Jesus to everyone you meet; that you will do your best to bring all to God; that you will show His great love and mercy to this world; and that you will repent of all sin. 

Daniel 1:8 Choosing To Not Be Defiled

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel 1:8

When King Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had taken over Jerusalem and all Judah, he carried many people into captivity. Out of these people, he chose some who were the best and brightest to work for him. They were brought into the palace courts to work and given the best food and drink, along with all other needed provisions. Daniel was among those given that favor.

The food being provided was food that the Israelites were not supposed to eat according to God’s law. Daniel set it in his heart that he would not defile his body with the food being offered. Regardless of what may happen, he refused to eat that food. He asked the officials to not eat it. He was given favor, because God was on his side.

In this world there are many things that are out there that can defile a believer. No matter what store or location a person walks into things are available to cause one to sin. Pictures, thoughts, and actions are everywhere being done that are filled with sin and can lead a believer down the wrong path. Even other people can lead a person wrong.

As a believer, you must make a commitment to the Lord prior to walking into any place. You must commit to not allowing yourself to be led into sin. You have to choose not to walk down certain paths that the world offers.

In the process of doing this, there will be many times that you will go against the flow of society, even some in the church. Some may be doing it in good will, not meaning to harm you, but still be against God’s ways. It may also be painful. As with Daniel choosing not to eat certain foods, it runs the risk of creating severe pain and suffering. God is with you, and if you choose to follow Him and His ways, He will take care of you.

Before you walk out of your house today, or even your bedroom, resolve in your heart to not allow yourself to be defiled by sin. Refuse to walk down that path as you walk in this world.

I pray today that you will know God’s will for your life; that you will choose to follow God alone; that you will choose to not walk in sin against God; and that you will not allow yourself to be defiled by this world.