If you have gone to God begging for one thing or another, health, job, money, etc. and have been blessed enough to get that prayer answered. It is NOT because you promised God you would go to church, or promised Him you would read your Bible more or pray more. It could be for a number of reasons but it is NOT through anything you did that God blessed your life or someone else's life other than you prayed and hopefully you believed. But even if you had a few doubts and God came through for you, that's just God. More than likely He answered that prayer for you already knowing that you only meant what you said because you were desperate or scared. More than likely He answered that prayer for you to let you know how faithful HE is, even if you aren't. To show you how much HE loves you even if you don't show Him.
How many "deals" have you made with God lately? How many of your bargains have you kept? I don't just mean a day or couple of days, I mean diligently trying to do what you told Him you would do. I know about this "Let's make a Deal" game, I played it in the past myself. Until one day God spoke to my heart and convicted my Spirit and I totally gave my life to Him. I realized that He had done far more for me than I could ever repay even IF He DID play the game.
There is NOTHING I can exchange for Jesus giving His life for me. NO deal I can make sweeter than the gift of Salvation that God gives. NOTHING to compare to living in Eternity with God the Father and Jesus the Son. NOTHING.
If you've made some bargains with God lately, now is the time to say, "Father, please forgive me for I truly did not know what I was doing". Now is the time to say, "God is able to save us but, no matter what, I will serve Him". As Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo said before walking into the fiery furnace. "Even if God doesn't save us, we will NOT deny Him, we will not serve other gods". (paraphrase)
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17 [a]If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; [b]and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
What has God done for you lately? Things you haven't even asked for: 1) let you wake up this morning, 2) A roof over your head, 3) food on your table, 4) the internet if you are reading this right now, even if it is free internet at the library.
I'm just trying to show that God blesses us each and every day but it won't always be this way. Now we get to the serious business. Many of you, especially if you are my age, have heard parents, grandparents talk about the tribulation and the second coming of the Lord. Unfortunately OUR children have not heard it enough and their children?? Their children probably haven't heard it at all. Unless it's from you or they are blessed enough to be in a good God fearing, Bible believing church with a Pastor that preaches the truth of God's Word.
This to my children's generation: If you do not raise your children in church and to believe, worship and honor God, do not expect them to do those things when they grow up.
Proverbs 22:6 (NASB) has this to say: 6 Train up a child [a]in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Notice it says, "train up a child in the way he should go" first. They have to have something to go back to or not depart from. You are not doing them a favor by not teaching them about God when they are young. Another thing you must keep in mind is that children learn more by observing than by being told. In other words, they mimic what you do whether you want them to or not. When they are grown their thoughts will be, well it wasn't important to my parents so it must not be that big of a deal.
Remember that while they are small YOU are responsible for their teaching. YOU will be held accountable on judgement day for your part in teaching them about God. If you did not make God a priority in their childhood, HE won't be a priority in their adult life.
Here we are back to playing "Let's Make a Deal" again. God please save my child, please heal them. I'll do anything, I'll pray more, I'll read my Bible more, I'll go to church more, I'll take them to church". Sound familiar? We have probably all done it at one time or another. We have responsibility, Salvation is free but we can't take it and run, it isn't a one time thing, it's a lifelong process. I'm not saying God won't bless you, I'm just saying we need to quit playing "christian", quit playing church and start living for God, before it's too late. Quit playing the "Let's Make A Deal" game and start truly serving and loving God, then even though we are not promised an easy life, you WILL see constant evidence of God in your life, you won't have to go to Him with empty promises, you will go to Him in complete faith and watch His faithfulness unfold.
Isaiah 29:13 (NASB)
13 Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their [a]words
And honor Me with their [b]lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their [c]reverence for Me [d]consists of [e]tradition learned by rote,
(PARAPHRASED: Because people say they love Him and say they will do anything for Him but it's only lip service and doesn't come from the heart because the heart is far removed from Him. Their reverence and honor consists of the traditions they have been taught and not for true love and worship of God.)