February 1, 2018 Give Thanks

Hebrews 12_28-29


Malachi 1:8 Offering Defiled Sacrifices

“When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty. Malachi 1:8

God was asking the priests why they were showing contempt for Him and not giving Him honor. They asked how they were showing contempt. He told them that they were offering defiled animals for their sacrifices. They were doing something to God that they would not do to their governor.

Until the time of Jesus people had to offer animals for sacrifices to God for various reasons. Some were offered for sins done, others for thanksgiving, and others for blessings and honoring. Once Jesus came the offering of animal sacrifices was done away with. He became the one sacrifice salvation from sin for all men, for all time.

Although Jesus is the sacrifice for sins, there are other sacrifices that believers can offer God today. These can be sacrifices of worship and praise, time, money and talents. Any time a person gives God something it is a type of sacrifice. It is giving up something that the person has to God.

However, giving of these things can also be given in contempt and not honoring to God. There are people who go to church every Sunday morning and during the worship time, just barely say the words of the songs. They say the words of worship and praise, but not from the heart.

Or they give money in the offering plate, while wishing that they did not have to give it. They give out of obligation or to look good, not from a cheerful heart.

Some will give time to work in a ministry, but do not give it their best work. They are late for Sunday School class. They did not study for the lesson. They grumble about having to do it.

All of these things would not be done for a boss at work. Most people give better time and effort at work, then they do to God.

Take a look at your own life and see how you are treating God. Are you giving God your best? Or are you holding back some?

Do not give God the leftovers, but give Him the first and best. He will provide for you and redeem what you have given.

I pray today that you will love God with all your heart; that you will give your best to God; that you will know God’s provision for you; and that your sacrifices to God will be an honor to Him.

Daniel 7:27 Future Power And Authority

Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. Daniel 7:27

While the nation of Israel has been brought into captivity, Daniel receives a vision of the future. God reveals to Him what Jesus will accomplish. In the end, Jesus will be the sovereign ruler of the entire world. As the supreme ruler, He will hand over all the kingdoms of the earth to all the believers. At that point, every ruler on the earth will worship and obey Him.

When a person looks around at all the nations of the world today, he will see very little unity and no one person in absolute control. There is chaos, fighting and wars everywhere one looks. Sinning against God is rampant and promoted everywhere. At times it appears as though no one is even attempting to serve God at all. Churches seem to be dying at a rapid rate and no one cares. A person may wonder if God is really in control.

Even though it seems no one is following God and that God is not in control, it is not true. God still has a remnant of believers in this world who are faithfully serving Him. Jesus had stated that the road to heaven is narrow and only a few will find it.

God is still at work to this day. He is working to save as many as possible and holding off the final judgment against all mankind. Despite what people may think, that day is coming. Once Jesus returns and judges the world, He will be in absolute control, with everyone, who is left, serving Him. At that point, all the power and authority of all the kingdoms will be handed over to all the believers. Peace and unity will reign on the earth.

As you are going through your day-to-day living, it may seem like chaos and that God is not in control. It may seem hopeless and never coming to an end. Keep your eyes on Jesus, looking for His return. There will come a day when all the sin and chaos of this world will come to an end. It is closer today than it was when Daniel saw His vision, and it is still true.

I pray today that you will know God’s peace in your life; that you will serve and obey God with all of your life; that you will know Jesus will return someday soon; and that you will be His witness on this earth.

Daniel 3:17-18 Even If God Does Not Help

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:17-18

King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a large statue of gold of himself and wanted every person in the nation to bow down to it. Three young men, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, known more as Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, had refused to bow down to the statue. The king gave them several chances to change their minds, warning them that they would be thrown into a hot, fiery furnace if they did not do it. The men stated that God would deliver them, but even if He did not, they still would not bow down to that statue. They would obey and follow God, no matter what happened.

It is common to hear of a person who had believed in God for a time, but chose to walk away from God because God did not deliver them from something. One of the more common reasons is that the person prayed for either healing for a loved one and God did not heal the person. The person prayed for died in without healing. The one praying gives up on God and walks away.

Acting like that does not give God absolute authority or control. God is the one in control and knows what is best for each and every person.

In the Old Testament, God made the rule not to bow down to idols. The young men chose to do that regardless of what God does. They did not set any stipulations on obeying God.

You have to set it in your heart that you will follow God, no matter what the cost is or what He will or will not do. You have to trust that He is doing everything that is the best for you.

Make the choice to not bow down to any idols in this world. Worship God and God alone. In reality, the worst that can happen is death, which then will allow you to step into heaven for eternity.

Who are you going to bow down and worship today?

I pray today that God will reveal His power to you; that God will strengthen you to not bow to sin; that you will turn from all sin to God; and that you will not fear this world or anyone in it. 

Ezekiel 8:10-11 Idols In The Church

So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and unclean animals and all the idols of Israel. In front of them stood seventy elders of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising. Ezekiel 8:10-11

God was giving Ezekiel a vision of inside the temple. He was seeing idol worship being done. It was showing the condition of the hearts of the people and the leaders of Israel. They were worshipping false gods inside the temple.

Looking at many churches around the nation, they can look very beautiful on the outside. Large beautiful churches with great looking landscapes, beautiful platforms, and great looking foyers are seen everywhere. As one looks at the surface of these churches it often looks as though everything is done for the worship of God.

One has to look at things with the eyes of God, who sees into the heart of what is shown, to see what is really happening. Churches, in the name of outreach, have often chosen to do things without God at the center. It is often the thought of do whatever it takes to get someone to come into church, but do not preach Christ and Christ crucified.

The message of the cross is one that is detestable to the world and to every person, until he sees what it has done for him. It cannot be left behind or forgotten.

Churches are made up of people and it is the people who have chosen to do things without God as though they are doing God’s will. Sins are being done in secret, as though God does not see them. These very sins are brought into the church. Sins of jealousy, pride, anger, idol worship, and selfishness are being allowed into the church with no thought of giving them up. These are the things that brought judgment against Israel and will bring judgment against everyone today.

Do not allow yourself to let idols into your life. When you step into a church to worship, get rid of all sin and follow God. Make God the center of His temple, your body, so that the church building will also be a temple of God to worship Him in.

I pray today that God will strengthen you to get rid of idols in your life; that you will put God first in every area of your life; that every church will be followers of God; and that God will be honored in every church. 

Isaiah 29:13 Worship By Human Rules

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Isaiah 29:13

Isaiah was prophesying against the people of the city of Jerusalem. When a person looked at them, it appeared as though they worshipped God. God was looking at the heart and said that they honored Him with their lips, but they were only worshipping Him with manmade rules and not from the heart.

Words are something that is easy for a person to speak. Many people will claim to be a real friend of someone, but when that person is in a real need, none of his friends take the time or effort to meet that need. The talk of being a real friend was only lip-service. There was no real meaning to it.

People work and speak in the same way with God. Look around America and it is very easy to find a lot of people who claim to be a follower of Jesus. Yet, as they claim to be a follower, they do not step foot in church, never witness of who He is, and live a life that does not even begin to resemble that of Jesus.

Many do go to church each Sunday to worship God in the physical body. In their hearts they are not really worshipping God. As they are worshipping God in a song, their mind is on the dinner meal or other activities. They are thinking about the game being played that afternoon or what they need to do at work the next day.

The hearts of many are not focused on God at all. They go to church and sing the songs because that is what you are supposed to do, not because they want to do it. It is all based upon man’s rules on how to worship God, not from the heart.

This occurs because most people want to fit in and not be different.

Take time today to focus your heart and mind on God. Find reasons to worship Him from your heart and not just the mind. Break the rules of man on how to worship God and worship Him in a new way from your heart. And live your life in worship of Him.

I pray today that your heart will match your lips in worship of God; that you will know God in a personal way; that you will not fear man’s rules in worshipping God; and that you will be near God with all of your life. 

Nehemiah 9:6 Knowing Who God Is

You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry hose, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. Nehemiah 9:6

After the Israelites had stood and listened to the Book of the Law of Moses being read from beginning to end, they realized what they had done wrong. They realized how they had walked away from God’s commands and why they were sent into captivity. Now they began to confess their sins before God. The Levites were leading the people in this confession. The first thing they point out is that God is to be praised and that He alone is God. It is God who made everything that is and deserves all the worship.

The world does not recognize who God really is. They want to believe that there are many gods, or even no god at all. When there is one god, then there is accountability to his ways and rules. People do not like to be held accountable to anyone, even a god. Therefore, in the eyes of the world, sin does not really exist. One cannot sin against something that does not exist.

As a believer in Jesus, however, there is a God. With God existing, there also exists His commands. When those commands are broken, there has to be either a punishment or a confession.

Those who have decided to follow Jesus have learned to confess those sins. The first part of confession is recognizing who God really is. He is the One who created everything and is in absolute control of everything. Because of this, He is the One who can make all the rules.

As a believer you must know this in your heart and mind. Realize that God is the only god there is in all of creation. Do not allow yourself to believe the way of the world that there are other gods out there.

God is the only one who should receive praise and worship for being God. He is the only one who should be sought for forgiveness and obeyed.

Who is God to you?

Is He just a god among other gods?

Or is He the God of all?

I pray today that you will know God personally; that you will know who God is; that you will worship God alone; and that you will let the world know who God is.