Yesterday we saw the amazing power of God at work as King Hezekiah called on the Lord to save them. Even though the enemy would have destroyed them, they were delivered in a powerful way. Yes it is great to read all these accounts in the bible where God thunders from heaven, the earth trembles and quakes and He shatters the enemy. These are there to show us who God is and what he will do for those who obey Him wholeheartedly. These examples follow through to the New Testament. You read account after account of Jesus healing the sick, casting out demons and turning people from the power of darkness. John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” People pray expecting God to answer and do the same but as you look closer to what they believe, you see a lack of belief and faith. People want God to bless them yet they do not want to completely turn to him. The rich man asked Jesus what must he do to get eternal life. He had kept the law and said, 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Jesus knew his heart and the attachment he had to those things. That was what was holding him back and he was not willing to turn away from it.
                The same holds back any who want more of God but do not want to turn from their wicked ways. I think everyone wants to be blessed by God but not everyone will do what He commands. Deuteronomy 28:8 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:” Then the blessings are listed and yes everyone wants them but do they really pay attention to the first part about obedience to God’s word. Since they don’t, then when all the curses listed happened to them they are shocked and blame God. You see they expect a lot more from God than they are willing to give. There is a strong unwillingness to submit themselves to God yet they want His blessings. It really is simple; obey and be blessed, disobey and be cursed. Why should we expect anything less than that as the instruction manual is very clear? 
               Many are confused in the area of works and grace. It is not by works but by grace (definitely not cheap grace) that we are saved but that does not mean there are no works. Ephesians 2:1 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
              When there is a little word “if” do not think it to be insignificant. Look back at Deuteronomy 28 and the blessing. “1 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:” Here is also a warning to the people from Samuel. 1 Samuel 12:13 “Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! 15 But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.” We can’t expect all these blessings if we cannot even follow a little word like “if”. This little word though can lead you to eternity or not. 
               Many Christian songs today talk about God loving us no matter what. The expectation that goes along with that is no matter what, I am okay because God loves me. Having false expectations comes from false teachings. Jude 3 “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Jude 17  “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” We cannot be like the rich man and be friends with world. Remember it wasn’t his wealth that was evil; it was his heart. 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
              In order for us to be blessed by God we must do what he says and continue doing and believing. For those who no longer follow God‘s word wholeheartedly, Paul says it a couple different ways to the Galatians. First he says, Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Then he says Galatians 5:7 “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.”  We must keep running and not stop.
               Do you want to be blessed by God then stop what you are doing and turn around and turn away. Stop following man and get back to the word of God. Stop listening to every sermon under the sun and read your bible and trust God to speak to you. Get into it yourself. Is the bible really your daily bread and no I am not talking about a pamphlet. You just may find yourself questioning those you have been listening to. Separate yourselves from false teachings, doctrines and theology. Ask God for discernment in this area. Yes this may cause trauma in your life but you will get over it. This may mean you have to leave your church and follow where God wants you to be. You are probably going to end up in the desert for a while but don’t worry, you will grow. If God wants you to stay then challenge the church you are at to turn from their wicked ways and follow the word of God, not the most recent guru with God’s so-called inspired plan. The church is not a business to be run with a Fortune 500 mentality. Don’t make excuses for not obeying. You do not want to be standing before Jesus with your excuses, as it will be too late then. You say God doesn’t speak to me. Okay then get back to your bible. If you want to read a one-year plan then do it but don’t get to caught up in those. I personally don’t read that way but that’s me. But for you, you may like a reading form the Old and then the New and Psalms. There are many different reading plans. Don’t read just to get it done. I guess that is why I don’t like the plans. Just make sure you read or listen to it and you will be amazed at how God will speak to you. Remember also there are many online bible resources like Bible Gateway, Bible Study Tools, Bible Hub or Step Bible but don’t get caught up on the writings along with it. Use the online bible sources as you would your own bible. Just a side note, commentary is not the inspired word of God. Yes it can be helpful at times but be careful. I do recommend that you own a bible to have in your hand and write in. Try to get one with wide margins on the side. Also don’t use the online bible as an excuse so you can have your phone on in church.
               Take inventory of what you really believe. You are not a Baptist, Brethren, Reformed, Methodist or Catholic Christian to name a few. If you find yourself lukewarm then repent. You will be spewed out of Jesus mouth if you are. You are responsible to get this right as you have the bible. You wake up and go to bed every day and you see the sun, moon and stars in the sky. Romans 1:8 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Not only when you look up do you see the wrath of God you also see his promises to David. (We do not worship the stars by the way – horoscopes etc.) So if you are feeling God calling you to Him and stirring your heart, then listen and become a willing servant and submit your life and follow. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” 
             If you want the tables turned on your enemies then turn around. John 20:11 “Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”