Tag Archives: honoring God

(Haggai) What You Believe and What You Choose

In reference to the words of the prophet Haggai, my study Bible says this:

“To acknowledge the Lord as God has implications for ordinary decisions of life. It is to live before One who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and who has an agenda. He has a plan that impinges on the details of our lives.” (CSB Apologetics Study Bible; 2017; Holman Bible Publishers; Nashville, TN; p1143)

Do you believe in God? Then how does knowing He knows all, sees all, and has a plan for you that requires your obedience, effect the choices you’ll make today? I’m talking about your choice of clothing, the places you choose to go, the thoughts you allow yourself to think. How does your belief in God impact your day-to-day?

Haggai brings up an important point. It has to do with how close we choose to live with sin before we ourselves become stained with sin. He paints a picture of someone in dirty clothes rubbing shoulders with someone clean. Does the cleanness ever rub off on the filth so that the filth becomes clean?

Have you ever hugged a dirty, smelly person, and watched the dirt fall from their clothes, and their stench replaced by the scent of your shower gel? The answer, of course, is NO.

But, if you hug that dirty, smelly person, you walk away with smudges on your clothes, and the lingering scent of body odor on your skin. You walk away needing a bath yourself.

You catch diseases by being close to the diseased. But they never catch your health by being close to you.

Choices. You and I will make them today according to what we believe about God. And your choices will impact whether or not God’s will will be done in your life today.

(Proverbs 23) A Question of Alcohol

People have interesting reactions when I tell them I don’t drink alcohol. Most common reaction is surprise. Doesn’t everyone have a glass of wine now and then? Sometimes I see a wall go up. One person actually responded with, “So you think I’m going to hell?” That was extreme. Most of the time my abstinence makes drinkers uncomfortable, and sometimes there is no reaction at all.

It’s not my intention to make anyone uncomfortable. However, if God convicts someone by my choice about their own drinking, I’m happy to be used by God that way.

Let me say as I often do: the Bible doesn’t list drinking alcohol as a sin. So no, you aren’t going to hell just because you have a glass of wine, unless your drinking is an act of rebellion toward God, unless your glass of wine becomes two – then three – and you get drunk, which is addressed in Scripture. (Eph 5:18)

It’s also addressed here in Proverbs, and it’s one of the reasons I choose to refrain from drinking alcohol. The wisdom of God says:

Don’t gaze at wine because it is red, because it gleams in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a snake and stings like a viper. (23:31-32)

I don’t have to be bitten by a poisonous snake to know it will make me sick or kill me. I don’t have to be bitten by a viper to know I should stay clear of it at all costs. And I don’t have to drink alcohol to know it can harm me, either.

Did you know that your body, so intricately created by God, recognizes any amount of alcohol in your system as a poison? Your organs immediately begin fighting that poison in the same way it does arsenic. Read the science. It’s true.

And, although people say they can drink alcohol without it effecting them, those same people will say, “I need a drink” after a hard day. If it doesn’t effect you, why do you need it? For what reason? Doesn’t make sense.

If I am going to be an effective witness for Jesus, I want my brain working at 100%, not dulled by alcohol even a little. I want to be ready to give an answer for the hope I have in Jesus without slurred speech.

Lastly, my choice not to drink alcohol has sparked conversations about my Savior that would not have happened if I’d poured a glass like everyone else. The fact that I declined has given me the opportunity to share why I did.

If we “come out from among them and be separate,” like the Bible says, people will notice. (2 Corinthians 6:17) And if people notice, they may just give us an opportunity to share the Gospel.

There’s another benefit. I can have a great time sober AND remember it the next day with no regrets! 🙂

So go ahead and have a drink. I will not condemn you. I am not better or more holy than you. I believe God has prompted me to honor Him in this way. And I will not tell you you have to do the same. How you choose to honor God is between you and Him. May we all be obedient.

March 8; Defending God’s Honor

Numbers 25-26; I Chronicles 7:14-29

God said this about Phinehas, a priest and a grandson of Aaron: “… he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them…” (Numbers 25:11) Phinehas obeyed God and eradicated sin from among the Jews. And his actions were brutal.

Phinehas was zealous for God’s honor.

God is asking me to consider whether or not I even give a thought about His honor among my friends, my community, our nation, and the world. And if I do, what does defending His honor look like?

I can’t tell you the number of times as a middle school counselor, that I had to deal with fighting children over what one said about another’s mother. That mother’s child would often defend their mother’s honor by punching the child who would dare say anything against her. And the mother’s child would absolutely declare their right to do so.

Is God honored in our world today? Are we defending Him? Are we as zealous about defending His honor as a middle schooler is zealous about defending his mother? Are we as zealous about God’s honor as He is? Would we fight for His honor if it came to that?

I know Scripture tells us the meek inherit the earth, that we are to turn the other cheek, love our enemies, and live at peace with everyone. And I think we mistake that for tolerance. How do we balance that, and also defend God’s honor?

For me, it might mean I need to start mentioning it when a friend uses God’s Name as a punctuation mark. I need to speak up when someone attributes something to God that’s not consistent with Scripture. (which means I need to know what Scripture says)

I need to be, with Paul, “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” (Romans 1:16) And I need to zealously defend God’s honor, with an attitude of love. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Although, Phinehas ran a spear through the couple who were dishonoring God. Please don’t do that.

But maybe eradicating sin for me means ending relationships with those who turn a deaf ear when I defend God’s honor. Maybe it means turning off certain TV shows, and writing the network a civil letter telling them why I did. It might mean doing my homework before I buy something to see what the company supports. I don’t know. I’m just brainstorming with myself here. I hope you’ll do the same and consider how you can defend God’s honor today.

That is, if you want to defend His honor, or if you see the need to. But don’t miss what else this passage of Scripture tells us. God made a covenant of peace with Phinehas for defending His honor. I believe our efforts, no matter how insignificant we think they might be, do not go unnoticed by the One whose honor we defend.

God, I want to honor you with every breath I take. I want to be aware when you are dishonored in my hearing, and I ask you to give me the courage to speak up. I want to honor you with the choices I make, and the words I say. I want to honor You because You deserve honor, now and forever.