When God Gets Your Attention

When God Gets Your Attention

When God gets your attention. He speaks from a Godly source, validates his word, and his word is final.

God generally works through ordinary people and events. But he sometimes reveals himself in extraordinary ways that inspire awe and wonder. And they remind us that while God is sovereign over the universe, he still involves himself in the details our lives. Because he wants a personal relationship with each one of us and sometimes uses unusual means to get our attention and present a choice. Such is the story of Ahaziah, the king of Samaria. The story is told in 2 Kings 1:1-18.

When God gets your attention he speaks from a Godly source

People are inherently spiritual. Even those who reject the Biblical God often seek spiritual substitutes to follow and worship. Like Ahaziah, king of Samaria, which was the capital of Israel at the time. After Ahaziah was seriously injured in a fall, he sent messengers to ask the pagan god Baal-zebub if he would get better.

However, God told the prophet Elijah to intercept the messengers on their way. Elijah told them to inform the king he should have inquired of the true God of Israel, not Baal-zebub. Therefore, the God of Israel says he will die.

This gets King Ahaziah’s attention.

When God gets your attention he validates his word

We commonly seek a second opinion when we receive bad news. And question the validity of a voice that might be God. Is God really speaking? Is it simply a dream? Our imagination? Is the source trustworthy or should we fact check? That’s what King Ahaziah did.

He sent a military captain with fifty shoulders to directly confront the source. The prophet Elijah.

Elijah was sitting on a hill when they arrived. Not a particularly impressive posture for a messenger of God. And the captain was bold and confident. He commanded Elijah to come down from the hill. To which Elijah replied, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” ( ESV, 2 Kings 1:10) ZAP! Nothing left but a heap of ashes.

King Ahaziah sent another captain with fifty soldiers and the scene was repeated. The captain of a third group, however, wised up. He fell on his knees before Elijah and pleaded for his life and those of his men. And God told Elijah to go with them to see King Ahaziah.

Today, God commonly validates his word through scripture, the counsel of Godly people, and divinely orchestrated events. But in this story, God clearly spoke and validated his word through Elijah the prophet.

When God gets your attention his word is final.

Scripture does not record everything said between Elijah and king Ahaziah when they met. Did king Ahaziah seek forgiveness? The text doesn’t say. But he is presented with a choice. He can…

  • Repent before God
  • Reject God
  • Ignore God’s word and hope God doesn’t mean what he says

It’s doubtful king Ahaziah repented because God generally relents before a contrite heart. Ahaziah more likely refused to give up his false god. And perhaps, like the two, crispy fried captains thought God would not follow through on his word.

So Elijah repeated God’s words of judgment on king Ahaziah. Since he turned to the false god Baal-zebub rather than the true God of Israel, he would not get better, but die. And it happened according to God’s final word as spoken through Elijah.

But the story could have ended differently. God gained king Ahaziah’s attention and gave him two opportunities. First, to put his own heart right before God and second, lead his people to also follow and worship the God of Israel. But he didn’t which is also in God’s providence. God allows us all to freely choose.

The story demonstrates God’s grace and justice. King Ahaziah rejected God’s grace and therefore, received justice. And the same offer of grace and justice is presented today in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only one question remains.

Does God have your attention?

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group?

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

A Study Of Colossians 3:5-8

A Study Of Colossians 3:5-8

A Study Of Colossians 3:5-8 covers sins believers should put to death, the cause of God’s coming wrath, and sins believers should put away.

A Study Of Colossians 3:5-8. Sins believers should put to death.

V.5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

The Greek word for “death” is nĕkrŏō, which means to subdue, be dead, and mortify. And the Greek word for “earthly” is ge, which means soil, solid part, earth, ground, and world. In other words, Paul is addressing matters related to a Christ-follower’s earthly existence.

In chapter two, Paul presented the picture of baptism as a symbol of believers identifying with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. And now he presses that point. Since we have died with Christ, here are some sins we should put to death as well.

The word “earthly” refers to our old, sin nature since in Jesus Christ, we are new creations. (2 Corinthians 5:17) And yet, we can and do still sin. Because even as followers of Jesus, life on this earth includes an ongoing spiritual battle against sin. Paul describes his own spiritual battle in Romans 7:15-19. The good news, however, is that our old sin nature is no long our master.

So, how do you put sins to death? By cutting off the sources that feed them.

Paul identifies sexual sins

Notice these sins don’t attack one at a time, like a martial arts movie where multiple fighters politely take turns to individually attack. Instead, they gang up on us all at once.

Sexual immorality = pŏrnĕia. Also translated “fornication” is the origin of our term pornography. And it refers to any sexual intercourse outside of marriage between a man and woman.

Impurity = akatharsia, which means impurity and uncleanness. It refers to the marred character affected by immoral behavior.

Passion = pathŏs, which means inordinate affection. It’s also translated “lust.” Although it can refer to any out of control passion, it typically means uncontrolled sexual desires.

Evil desire = Combines kakŏs, which means evil and ĕpithumia, which means a longing for what is forbidden.

Covetousness = plĕŏnĕxia, which means covetousness and greediness. And Paul immediately calls it idolatry. Why? Because anything that displaces God as the primary source of our desire, attention, and value is an idol.

It’s important to note that sexual temptation is not itself sin. In other words, simply observing an attractive person. It becomes sinful as our gaze lingers and our thoughts move into entertaining sexual fantasies. Sometimes the best course of action is to simply look away.

A Study Of Colossians 3:5-8. The cause of God’s coming wrath.

V.6-7 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.

God will issue a final judgment over all mankind and some will experience his wrath. The Greek word for “wrath” is ŏrgē, which means violent passion, abhorrence, anger, and indignation. It is a holy God’s emotional response to the sin he hates. (Proverbs 6:16-19). However, God’s wrath is not vindictive or capricious like human anger or represent his desire for us. And Paul reminds us here that for those who follow Jesus, it’s all in their past.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (ESV, 2 Peter 3:9)

God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness are granted to all who repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Lord. But his wrath is the ultimate consequence for those who reject him.

A Study Of Colossians 3:5-8. Sins believers should put away.

V.8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Paul now addresses sins related to emotions and attitudes. And the image associated with “put them all away” is the picture of stripping off old, dirty clothes.

Anger = ŏrgē, the same word used for God’s wrath. The difference, however, is that in humans it is always self-centered and often intentionally vindictive. Anger generally suggests an internal emotion of smoldering or seething hatred.

Wrath = thumŏs, which means fierceness, indignation, and wrath. It suggests an emotional outburst of angry words and actions.

Malice = kakia, which means evil, naughtiness and wickedness. It suggests evil with an intent to harm.

Slander = blasphēmia, from which comes “blasphemy” which is evil speaking and railing directed against God. Slander is speech that puts malice into practical effect and in this context is directed at another person.

Obscene talk = aischrŏlŏgia, which means vile conversation and filthy communication.

Putting these sins away is not something we accomplish on our own. It involves regularly filling our minds with God’s word and being filled with God’s Spirit. (ESV, Ephesians 5:18) Even then, we will still fail because of our fallen, sinful nature. But we are always covered by God’s grace.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group?

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

Three Bible Precepts For Life Success

Three Bible Precepts For Life Success

Three Bible Precepts for life success. The Bible speaks a lot on the meaning and path to life success. Here are three precepts it teaches. Oddly, I did not come by them through deep scriptural study although they are clearly taught in the Bible.

But from a remark my orthopedic surgeon made during an office visit as we planned for my upcoming total knee replacement surgery.

He said there are three parts to a successful surgery. My part, your part and God’s part, I apply my surgical skills, you do the rehabilitative work, and God provides the healing. Here’s how it applies to all aspects of life.

Three Bible Precepts For Life Success. You have to do the work

In physical rehab, no pain, no gain is a reality. As someone that’s undergone multiple knee surgeries and both shoulders I know this personally. You have to push through painful physical therapy to insure full range of motion and regain strength. Otherwise, you may still get better, but likely end up with physical limitations.

Successful athletes, entrepreneurs, and top leaders will agree. Professional success takes personal initiative, accepts personal responsibility and does the work. Period. No excuses. Looking for others to blame. Demanding exceptions. But pursuing the idea that persistence pays. And then facing adversity, finding workable solutions, and pushing forward.

It’s a battle against our sin nature

It’s natural to seek the easy path. Gravitate towards security, comfort, and pleasure. Find the quick and convenient. Because this is part of our human sin nature. Work ethic, however, is learned. It pushes past immediate gratification and perseveres for a greater reward.

And this same challenge is presented to Christ-followers too. Although we are saved by faith and don’t work FOR salvation, we are told by Paul to work OUT our salvation. In other words, to actively pursue a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Live a life of obedience to God’s word. Labor for the Kingdom of God and produce fruit.

 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (ESV, Matthew 9:37-38)

Three Bible Precepts For Life Success. You have to rely on others

I needed a skilled orthopedic doctor for knee replacement surgery. And I was totally dependent on my wife who worked full time, took over all my regular home tasks and still managed to care for me physically during the first two weeks following surgery.

The point is, every success story includes the contributions of other people. Parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors who support you along the way. Along with co-workers whose strengths balance your weaknesses in building successful organizations.

For Christ-followers, this community of “others” is the church. It is where we find encouragement, support, and accountability. But it takes more than once a week worship attendance. And requires intentionally building relationships through church related groups, activities, and ministries. Where you both give and receive.

Three Bible Precepts For Life Success. You have to recognize God is sovereign

Although knee replacement surgeries are fairly routine, nothing can be taken for granted. Blood clots, infections, and other complications are beyond human control. Ultimately, God provides healing. And so I believe, exercise faith, and pray for God’s sovereign will to do so.

Because scripture teaches that God is faithful and trustworthy. His word is true. And in His sovereignty, He fully commands and directs this world towards a conclusion.

To me, life without this assurance of God is unbounded, lacks moral consistency, and meaningful purpose. With no sense of life beyond this life then what’s the point of success anyway?

Furthermore, a sovereign God provides the one thing you can’t get anywhere else. And with it a perspective that sees beyond every success and failure in life. An eternal hope.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group?

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

A Study Of Colossians 3:5-8

A Study Of Colossians 3:1-4

A study of Colossians 3:1-4 covers the desire for Godliness, making an intentional decision, and anticipating a future life with Christ.

A study of Colossians 3:1-4. The desire for Godliness

If then you have been raised with Christ…

Paul uses baptism in Colossians 2:12 as a picture of how followers identify with Christ. “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith.” And he explains the symbolism behind it. “In Christ you died” (Colossians 2:20) is symbolized when a new believer is submerged in water. And is “raised with Christ” when raised back to the surface, Paul then asks a question: “If you died with Christ, why do you return to your old ways?” He answers that question in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where he calls them new creations. Rather than turning back they should move forward in their new life.

Seek the things that are above…

And moving forward in that new life in Christ considers what’s ahead and above. The Greek word for “seek” is zētĕō, which means to seek, to worship, to desire. In other words, your new life in Christ seeks a life OF godliness. And that begins with a desire FOR godliness. It doesn’t passively wait for God to shower down his blessings. But rather, willfully and actively seeks to please God.

A study of Colossians 3:1-4. Making an intentional decision

Set your minds on things that are above…

Following Jesus begins with an intentional decision and a step of faith. But it doesn’t stop there. It requires many intentional steps of faith. And your mind is pivotal in the direction you take because it’s a primary target of Satan’s attacks. So you must take charge as the captain of it.

“Set your minds” comes from the Greek word phrŏnĕō, which means to exercise the mind, to interest oneself in. It moves beyond desire of the heart to intentionally controlling your thought life. In short, what thoughts do you let into your mind? Which ones do you entertain and which ones do you discard? And how do you manage them to shape your decisions? But most importantly…what is the starting point for your thought life? Paul has a clear answer: Start with an intentional focus on the things of God. He offers practical suggestions in Philippians 4:8 and 3:12.

Not on things that are on earth.

The Greek word for “earth” is gē, which means soil, ground, world, the solid part or the whole terrestrial globe. Of course, as earth residents, we must attend to matters of this life. Earn a living. Navigate the relationships among family, friends, and career. Take out the trash.

They all demand mind space and time from our schedule. But they shouldn’t preoccupy or replace our thoughts for God.

Anticipating a future life with Christ

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Paul explains the reason we should set our minds on things above. Because in dying with Christ, we died to our old self and the things of this world. We still live in and engage with the things of this world. But we don’t let them dominate our thinking. Because our true life and final home is with Christ. Although what that actually looks like is hidden from us for now.

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Christ will “appear” and we will “appear” translates the same Greek word, phanĕrŏō. It means to manifest, show, render apparent, and declare. In other words, when Jesus returns to earth what was hidden will become apparent. Because Jesus will visibly manifest in his glory and his followers will share in it. And it’s this eternal perspective that fills us with enduring hope.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study Of Colossians 3:5-8

A Study Of Colossians 2:20-24

A Study of Colossians 2:20-24 covers the submission to religious regulations, human precepts and teachings, and the attraction of self-made religion.

A study of Colossians 2:20-24. The submission to religious regulations

V.20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world…

Paul asks a rhetorical question because he already knows the answer. And it goes back to those “elemental spirits” (Greek = stŏichĕiŏn) he mentioned in 2:8. They were possibly the pagan gods from Greek culture the Colossians followed in their lives before Jesus Christ. He is presenting a challenge to them regarding their new faith. In Christ they have died to their former life. So why go back to it? Paul affirms this new life in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations…

The Greek word for “regulations” is dogmatízō, which means to establish a decree and what seems to be right. In other words, why do you let things with no power over you, control you anyway, because they sound right?

It’s also a fair question for today. Are there extra regulations you follow because they sound right, but actually enslave you?

A study of Colossians 2:20-24. Human precepts and teachings

21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”

Paul doesn’t specifically mention the regulations, but points out their controlling features. And he does so in a sarcastic tone that increases in its level of exaggeration. Don’t handle, taste or even touch. In a modern context, he might add: perhaps you should wear a hazmat suit to avoid all contamination!

However, this was not a completely new teaching. Jesus addressed this subject with the Jewish religious leaders in Matthew 15:1-20 and Mark 7:1-23. Certainly, there are people, places, and things we should avoid. And practicing regular spiritual disciplines will promote a holy life. But following Jesus Christ is more than a list of “do’s and don’ts.” It’s a life meant to set us free, not weigh us down.

22 Referring to things that all perish as they are used—according to human precepts and teachings?

Paul disqualifies them for two reasons: First, they are temporal in nature. Food that disappears because it is either consumed, or eventually goes bad and is thrown out. Secondly, they are based on strictly human instructions. Here again, Jesus speaks on this matter.

This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;  in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (ESV, Matthew 15:8-9)

The attraction of self-made religion

The self-help section of every bookstore tells a story. Humanity has an insatiable appetite for self-improvement, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency. Is it any wonder we also seek a self-made religion?

V.23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body…

The Greek word for “self-made religion” is ĕthĕlŏthrēskĕia, which means voluntary and unwarranted piety. In other words, false humility. We want to look good to other people. In physical attractiveness, perceived character, and moral uprightness. Although outward appearance doesn’t always reflect the condition of a person’s heart. But it’s God’s primary concern and how he sees us.

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (ESV, 1 Samuel 16:7)

The futility of external controls

But they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

The Greek word for “indulgence” is plēsmŏnē, which means gratification and satisfying. In other words, external restraints don’t satisfy fleshly desires so they won’t control human passions. It is a battle all Christ-followers face in this life. Paul admits his own struggle in Romans 7:15-20.

But we are not powerless.

When tempted by Satan, Jesus answered by quoting scripture. It is our most effective defense too. In addition, since desires and passions take root in our mind, we should saturate our minds with scriptures. And rather than NOT think certain thoughts, purposefully guide them towards positive ones.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (ESV, Philippians 4:8-9)

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.