Obeying God brings great joy

Have you experienced the joy of obedience?

No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what it right. O Lord Almighty, happy are those who trust in you.

Psalm 84:11-12 NLT

This is what I told them: “Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well!”

Jeremiah 7:23 NLT

We all live in a web of relationships dependent upon obedience to authority. Like a loving parent, God sets standards for our good and to protect us from evil and harm. God desires obedience motivated not by fear but by love and trust. Ironically, obedience actually frees us up to enjoy life as God intended, because it keeps us from becoming entangled or enslaved to those things that distract us and cause us heartache. Even though God’s command is sometimes difficult, or doesn’t make sense from our human perspective, obedience will always bring blessing, joy, and peace.

adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 1238

Digging Deeper

For more on obedience, see End of the Spear by Steve Saint, Tyndale House Publishers (2005).

Steve Saint was five years old when his father, missionary pilot Nate Saint, was speared to death by a primitive Ecuadorian tribe. In adulthood, Steve, having left Ecuador for a successful business career in the United States, never imagined making the jungle his home again. But when that same tribe asks him to help them, Steve, his wife, and their teenage children move back to the jungle. There, Steve learns long-buried secrets about his father’s murder, confronts difficult choices, and finds himself caught between two worlds.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Verse of the Day – 2/2/12

From inside the fish Jonah prayed … “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.”
Jonah 2:1-2 (NIV)

Phil Ware

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Jonah was disobedient, rebellious, and selfish. He had run from the Lord. He had shunned the Lord’s command. He had endangered the lives of those on the ship where he had tried to hide. Yet even in the middle of his rebellion, God heard his cry and delivered him. If you are in rebellion, if you are seeking to hide some secret and all-consuming sin, please know the Lord wants to ransom and redeem you! Things won’t be easy, but coming back to the Lord means ultimate redemption and deliverance.

Prayer…

Holy and righteous Father, please forgive me for the times that I am in rebellion to your will. Help me to recognize those times and give me the strength to avoid those temptations. In your grace, dear Father, please not only help me to live as you want me to live but also lead me to someone else who needs to know of your grace and redemption. Please use me to help them escape from their bondage to sin and shame. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

Become a Worry-Slapper!

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,

and all these things shall be added to you. 

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will worry about its own things. 

Matthew 6:33-34

Jesus said, “I tell you not to worry about everyday life—

whether you have enough.”

Not enough time, luck, credit, wisdom, intelligence. 

We’re running out of everything, it seems, and so we worry! 

But worry doesn’t work.

I challenge you to become a worry-slapper.

Do you procrastinate when a blood-sucking bug lights on your skin? 

“I’ll take care of that in a moment.” 

Of course you don’t! 

You give the critter the slap it deserves. 

Don’t waste an hour wondering what your boss thinks. 

Ask her.

Don’t assume you’ll never get out of debt. 

Consult an expert.

Let God be enough! 

He knows your needs. 

Seek Him! 

He will give you everything you need!

~ Max Lucado

Obeying God brings great joy

How Much Do You Trust Your Heavenly Father?

If you love me, obey my commandments. 

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you.…

Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love them.

And because they love me, my Father will love them,

and I will love them.

And I will reveal myself to each one of them.

Matthew 21:28-32 NLT

An expression of trust

Parents set up rules for their children: Clean up your room, don’t go anywhere with a stranger; be home by 11 p.m. The purpose, of course, is for the children’s benefit and protection; loving parents are not trying to make their children miserable by given them rules to follow. And parents hope that their children will understand rules as expressions of love and concern; they hope their children’s obedience will be motivated more by love than by fear of punishment. Our obedience to Christ should likewise be an expression of our trust in his care for us.

adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 934


It is better to go to Troas with God, than anywhere else without Him.
G CAMPBELL MORGAN

You have not really learned a commandment until you have obeyed it.… Nothing clarifies doctrine like doing. Each new thing learned becomes a millstone if we don’t make it a milestone.
VANCE HAVNER

The Lord of all creation has ordained that he would do his work through us. Our seeing the Spirit’s guidance and obeying what he wants us to do and say is the way he works to bless the world.
LLOYD OGILVIE

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

If God says we can, why do we say we can’t

by Jon Walker

Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown.” Jeremiah 2:2 (NIV)

The word devotion in Jeremiah 2:2 is a translation of the Hebrew word kesed, which is often translated as “loving mercy” or “loving kindness.” It is a love of relentless pursuit, and throughout the Bible, it shows up like mile-markers measuring God’s grace-chase after his prodigal sons and daughters, refusing to let them get away from the mercy of his love.

But something surprised me in these prophetic words from Jeremiah. In a sense, God says, “I remember the devoted, loyal love of your youth. You were like a new bride with love dancing in your eyes, and you’d follow me through the desert or into a desolate land.”

In a sense, God says, “I remember your youth, when you chased after me with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.” If you once chased after God with every bit of your being, then it is possible to do it again.

God says we’re capable of giving him our whole love. If he says we can, why do we say we can’t?

If God says we can, why do we say we can’t? is a post from: GraceCreates Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and Growing with Purpose. He has served on staff at Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries and is currently the managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals and the Ministry Toolbox. Contact him at questions@gracecreates.com. This article is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.

Facebook: GraceCreates with Jon Walker. Twitter: http://twitter.com/Grace_Creates

Verse of the Day – We can’t be right with God and be wrong with people

My note: I thought the author of this devotional hit it right on the head. I had never thought of it that way before. I hope that the message below stirs your heart, as it did mine, to use the filter “we can’t be right with God and be wrong with people” on a daily basis to make sure our attitudes are in keeping with the Word of God and His purpose for our lives.

~~~

VERSE:
This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Administer true justice;
show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow
or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not
think evil of each other.”
— Zechariah 7:9-10
http://www.SearchGodsWord.org/desk/?query=Zechariah+7:9-10

THOUGHT:
Do you want a clear, simple, straightforward word from the Lord
today? That’s what Zechariah gives us.

He reminds us that God wants us to be

fair,

compassionate,

caring,

without prejudice, and

tenderhearted to those in need,

and to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

In other words, he wants us to treat each other like Christ treated people.

Why?

Because we can’t be right with God and be wrong with people!

PRAYER:
Loving Father, please forgive me for the times I’ve gotten
bogged down with hard-to-understand verses in Scripture and ignored
your clear teaching on how to live. Please give me the opportunity
this week to live like you have commanded me. In the future, when
my heart grows cold or my response to others is not what it should
be, please use your Spirit to bring to my remembrance this passage
so that I might live it to your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

http://www.heartlight.org/cgi-shl/todaysverse.cgi?day=20111019

Verse of the Day – Value others above yourselves

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Philippians 2

Hard to do sometimes, especially if others are giving us a hard time.

However, we are called to love the Lord our God with all our

heart, soul, mind and strength,

and our neighbor as ourself.

It goes along with “Do unto others as you

would have them do to you”.

With humility that comes from our Lord,

we can look at others with the

right attitude.

YSIC,

Sharon

Day 83: Being a Warrior « ASPIRE. MOTIVATE. SUCCEED.

Day 83: Being a Warrior « ASPIRE. MOTIVATE. SUCCEED..

Wonderful message of encouragement. There are many out in the world who go through these feelings of depression. God sees us all, and knows what we need. The main thing we need is to “Not Give Up”. He knows how much we can bear. May we who are honored to follow Jesus, live our lives in service to others. We never know who needs the arms of Jesus through our human arms.

Verse of the Day – Fix our eyes on Jesus

VERSE:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our
faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning
its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:2
http://www.SearchGodsWord.org/desk/?query=Hebrews+12:2

THOUGHT:
Who is your hero? I’m not asking for the Sunday school class
answer, but the person you most actively admire! It is hard to “fix
our eyes on Jesus” because he is not here where we can see him like
other heroes. But he was the ultimate adventurer and trailblazer.
He faced the horrific penalty and shame of the cross, taking away
our sin! He did it so that we could have a hero that death and sin
could not destroy, mar, or taint. He did it so that we could be
confident that if we follow in his footsteps, the trail he blazed
wasn’t just for him, but for us, too!

PRAYER:
Holy God, forgive me when I chase what is false and let my focus
shift from Jesus as my ultimate hero. I want to honor and serve
him, having his life come alive in me, so that others may know the
confidence that comes in having Jesus as their Lord. Words cannot
express my gratitude to my Lord for his sacrifice and the horrible
price he paid for my sins. Neither can words express my jubilation
at his trailblazing victory that assures that I will someday be
with you forever! It is in his name, Jesus Christ, that I pray.
Amen.

Relationships

Relationships.

What does that word mean? For a long time, when I saw that word I thought of relationships between a husband and a wife, a girlfriend and boyfriend, a parent and a child, a friend to a friend, and so on.

As I have been posting messages recently, I have started giving more thought as to what category or tag to attach to those messages. I’m finding that my mind gravitates to the category “Relationships”.

The reason: because so many messages fit into our Relationship with our Lord and Savior, our Father.

Messages that guide us to question:

Whether we are obeying Him.

Are we loving Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind?

What about loving our neighbor as ourselves and as we love God?

Is our mind on Him constantly? or are we occupied with thoughts and priorities that allow Him to come only at the end of our day when we are too tired to think clearly?

Are we too busy with “good works” to realize that He just wants us to talk to Him?

Are we trying to be “good enough” to make Him happy?

Are we so wrapped up in the effects of the problems of the world that we forget Who is in charge?

Where does our Father, our partner in life, our first love, our All, where does He fit?

My prayer for today is that we all pause more and take an inventory of what our relationship is with the most important person in our lives and check out our motives for what, or Who, is guiding our thinking.

Blessings,

Sharon

When Speculation Replaces Faith

By Jon Walker

That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go. (Matthew 19:22 MSG)

Jesus demands we drop the distractions and become single-minded in our obedience to his commands. In the case of the rich young man, this pulls him away from the romantic fantasy that Christ’s commands are what Bonhoeffer calls a mere “opportunity for moral adventure, a thrilling way of life, but one which might easily be abandoned for another if occasion arose.”

The young man is pulled into the reality of costly grace, where our only hope to enter the kingdom of heaven lies in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Jesus won’t allow him to see eternal life as a distant dream; he insists the young man follow him into that life now. Jesus consistently said, “The kingdom of heaven is upon you.”

Discipleship, Bonhoeffer says, is not the completion of an old life, doing that one final thing you have to do to enter the kingdom, like the capstone of a long and distinguished career ushers you into retirement. Discipleship is about irrevocably leaving your present life behind and entering a new life where Jesus is the center of significance.

It is a life in which Jesus is the only significance.

Bonhoeffer says, “Here is the sum of the commandments—to live in fellowship with Christ.” Jesus must bring us to the place where we abandon anything that holds us to the old life, anything other than Jesus to which we are attached.

The attachments may be different for different people. For the rich young man, the attachment was to his wealth. What are the attachments you have that keep you part-time in your pursuit of Christ?

When Speculation Replaces Faith is a post from: GraceCreates Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and Growing with Purpose. He has served on staff at Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries and is currently the managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals and the Ministry Toolbox. Contact him at questions@gracecreates.com. This article is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.

Facebook: GraceCreates with Jon Walker. Twitter: http://twitter.com/Grace_Creates

Fruit that will last

“I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last.” 

John 15:16

A good gardener will do what it takes to help a vine bear fruit.

What fruit does God want?

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

These are fruits of the Spirit.

And this is what God longs to see in us.

And like a careful gardener,

he will clip and cut away anything that interferes.

~ Max Lucado