I buy milk at the grocery store so that my children can have cereal and I can drink my morning coffee. I go to the gym so that I can get exercise to take care of my health. I walk the dogs every morning so that I can have quiet time with God and get the dogs some fresh air. The “so that” is important. Things are often connected. God has a plan. God uses everything for His good purpose. Things are often connected.
In Psalm 23:3, David wrote that God opens and He leads. The verse includes a “so that” which cannot be passed over. He opens and He leads SO THAT you can bring honor to his name. Things are often connected. Yes, we get to enjoy the fruit of open pathways and leading with footsteps of righteousness, but this all is to point to Someone greater. The doors that open are to point to Jesus. The footsteps of righteousness point to Jesus. All that we do and say should point to Jesus.
Today, look out for the “so that.” Consider the people God brings before you today. Consider the time, talent, and treasures in your possession. Consider the circumstances and events of the day. Be open to the “so that,” and remember the importance of bringing honor to His name. With your words, with your actions, with every breath may you honor Him!
“That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name.- Psalm 23:3 [TPT]
Some of us are very blessed by our country of birth, the families we were born into, and the opportunities that we have had in life. We are blessed. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Even so, some people oppress the poor. Rather than answer the call to serve and assist the poor, there are steps taken that thwart any chance of the poor having opportunities for change. There are people who turn their eyes and look past those in need, while there are others who take advantage of those people who are already struggling. These people could use a hand up, but instead receive a push downward.
The Bible tells us that those who oppress the poor insult God. When we take steps to tear down rather than build up, this goes against God’s design. He created all people. He wants the best for all of us. Today, look for opportunities to help those in need. Do what you can to be the difference and shine the light.
“Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors Him.” – Proverbs 14:31 [NLT]
When I was growing up, I remember being held accountable for grades based on the actual grade. I was supposed to earn certain grades. Bottom line. I do things differently with my children. I want them to do their best, whether their best is an A or a B or whatever—I want them to know that whatever they do, they are to give their best effort. If they feel that they did their best, then they succeeded. If not, then we have a problem.
I have always tried to give everything my best effort. I’m sure you heard the phrase do your best because that is the best you can do. That’s what I always aimed to accomplish. The best. In Proverbs, “the best” is used when describing the things we produce. The Bible says that we are to honor God with “the best part of everything you produce.” This means, NO LEFTOVERS! Leftovers are not best unless we are talking about spaghetti.
To truly honor God, you bring before Him the best part of everything. He does not need your offerings. He doesn’t need anything from you or I—we need it! We need to be able to let go of the best part of everything so we can cling to God. He is better. We choose God over these temporary items because we have a desire in our heart for Him. If you are still handing over leftovers, ask God to open your heart so you open your hands and bring Him glory.
“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” – Proverbs 3:9 [NLT]
We are taught at a young age to say “thank you.” When you are raising a child and the “thank you” is not said when the child receives something, there is a prompt given. “Say thank you,” we say. Young people know this too well. Mom and dad will give the eyes if you receive something and do not say the words. But thankfulness is not simple about words, but about the heart. And the One we owe the most thanks to is God Almighty!
The Psalmist speaks of thankfulness being your sacrifice to God. He says that giving thanks is what truly honors God. Consider this—we often get caught up on trying to do for God. We think we can do good things and that is our sacrifice. But we get entrapped in this idea that we are paying God back. We busy ourselves with doing and we forget to thank Him for all He continues to do. But what He wants is us—He wants our heart. Instead of doing good things, stop for a second. Take a moment. Pause. Thank Him for what He has done and is doing in your life. Give thanks. That honors Him more than empty tasks.
God has already done for us. He continues to do for us. We can never do enough to outdo God. When we thank Him, and recognize what He has done, we acknowledge that He is above all and in all. He is the great I AM. Honor Him today with your thanksgiving! Stop striving and stand in awe before your Maker!
“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me. If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” – Psalm 50:14, 23 [NLT]
The parting of the Red Sea is one of the most known events that we read about in the Bible. God moved in a mighty way as He led His people through the parted waters while chased by the Egyptians. After the Israelites made their way safely through the parted sea, the water came crashing down upon the Egyptians. The Bible says that “Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore” (v. 30 NIV).
“When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before Him.” This is the awe that we should always have for God. He moves in mighty ways in our lives each day. Sometimes we are unable to see what He is doing because our eyes are fixed elsewhere. Sometimes we forget all He has done in the past.
Today, consider if you have lost the awe. Do you have that deep respect for God? Do you have that fall on your knees, face to the ground type awe? Do you have that speechless awe? Are you filled with awe? If you aren’t feeling that this morning, take time to realign yourself to God. Spend more time in the Word and prayer. As you refocus your eyes, may your heart follow.
“When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before Him. They put their faith in the LORD and in his servant Moses.” – Exodus 14:31 [NLT]
As we run with Jesus, we continue to build godly relationships.
Godly living starts at home. If you aren’t living godly at home, you won’t succeed in godly living outside of the home.
Paul speaks about the importance of godly relationships in numerous letters.
- Husbands & wives
- Parents & children
- Masters & slaves
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
– Ephesians 5:21 [NIV]
- 18 – Wife put your husband first
- 19 – Husband love wife
- 20 – Children obey parents
- 21 – Parents don’t be hard on children
Husband and Wife (Colossians 3:18-19, Ephesians 5:22-33)
Loving leadership equals mutual respect – Ephesians 5:21
Husband sacrifices (Christ like sacrificial leadership by husband will keep the ultimate good of his wife in view at all times)
Wife submits (honors & affirms his leadership, helps him exercise role in family)
He loves her. He wants the best for her. She knows this and she submits.
- Wife does not practice absolute surrender – that is only to Jesus.
- Wife is not naturally or spiritually inferior
Parents and Children (Colossians 3:20-21, Ephesians 6:1-4)
- Children obey parents in everything as it pleases the Lord
- Parents don’t provoke less they become discouraged and give up
- Parents parent with firm loving guidance – not dictatorship
- Parents encourage – children obey
Bible Study Questions:
1) Read Ephesians 5:31-33.
What does verse 31 say husbands should hold fast to?
Verse 33 says that the man shall ________ the wife and the wife shall __________ the husband. What does this passage mean?
Which command is harder or are they both equal?
2) The Bible says that the man is to love his wife and the woman is to honor her husband. How does love and honor go hand in hand?
3) Regarding parent child relationships, both have responsibilities. Parents are called to ____________ their children. Children are to _______ their parents.
4) How does encouragement and obedience go hand-in-hand?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:
Believers, children of God, are considered “God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted” (1 Peter 2:9 MSG). Today, the big questions we should ask ourselves: Are you speaking out for Him? Is your life telling others of a difference He has made by your example? Are you praising God with your words and deeds?
The word excellencies is translated from “ἀρετάς” which literally means “virtue.” The only other time it is used in the New Testament is in Philippians 4:8: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT). This same word is used in Isaiah 43:21, where we read: “the people I formed for Myself that they may proclaim my praise” (NIV). The New Living Translation states, “I have made Israel for Myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.” Eugene Peterson’s translation describes them as “people custom-made to praise me” (MSG).
If we are to “tell about the excellent qualities of God,” it is not simply by the words we speak, but by the actions we take in life (GW). We show forth praises by our profession of Truth and by a good example. Let us examine the words we speak. Let us examine the actions we take. Are we telling people about the “excellent qualities of God” or telling them something very different? Are we professing the Truth or spewing something else?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 [ESV]
When I walk Max, I try to walk in a particular direction depending on whether it is morning or afternoon so as to not have the sun shining directly in my eyes. When the sun is in full force, it can be near blinding as you are trying to walk forward. I have enough trouble walking when I can see everything.
Today’s passage talks about bad behavior blinding people. The people were so blind that it never occurred to them to consider how to honor God with their lives; they never gave it a thought. Sadly we can spend a great deal of our time considering other things, though each day we should consider how to honor God with our lives.
Each day we can act in a way that will bring God glory or we can live for ourselves. Each day we can decide to follow God’s will or to take another path guided by our selfish flesh. Each day we can walk closer to God or take a few steps back. Today, I pray that you will ask the question, “How can we honor our God with our lives?” He alone deserves honor, glory and praise. Let us honor Him with our lives.
“It never occurs to them to say,
‘How can we honor our God with our lives,
The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn
and maintains the rhythm of the seasons,
Who sets aside time each year for harvest
and keeps everything running smoothly for us?’
Of course you don’t! Your bad behavior blinds you to all this.
Your sins keep my blessings at a distance.”
– Jeremiah 5:24-25 [MSG]
I’ve been to many banquets over the years; each one is a great celebration. In today’s verse, it speaks about “a banquet of praise.” The NIV says, “Sacrifice thank offerings to God.”
Now today we do not sacrifice thank offerings like they once did; however, we still should offer praise to God. He alone deserves praise. In verse 15, God says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Call on Him. He will help. We will honor Him. It seems so simple but yet it gets neglected again and again.
We can never praise God enough. We can never offer Him enough thanks for what He has done for us, what He has given us. When I think of spreading out a banquet feast, I think of the big table of food at a wedding celebration or birthday dinner. I think of a Christmas family dinner or a picnic spread on a beautiful summer day. Those feasts we give a lot to make happen. We prepare. We spend. We plan. We pour a lot out for those banquets. A banquet is elaborate. A banquet is large. So when we think of a banquet of praise, it should never be only a “thank you for my food” before your meal and nothing more for the rest of the day. Imagine tomorrow morning, waking up and only having what you thanked God for today. Wow! There’s so much more to be thankful for, so much more opportunity to praise Him. Start spreading out that banquet. Honor Him.
“Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you’re in trouble—
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
-Psalm 50:14-15 [MSG]