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Archive for the ‘Obedience’ Category

Fruit

Judah was in the wrong, and Isaiah 3:8 explains why,

“For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen,
Because their speech and their actions are against the Lord,
To rebel against His glorious presence.”

Such audacity. Rather than rejoicing in God’s glorious presence, they rebelled. Yet this can be more subtle than we might think. When a nation has known God’s Word and passes legislation that is in opposition to that wisdom, it really is just rebellion. And with that can come a hardening that gives us a dangerous confidence that proclaims our ways are just as good or better than God’s. We see this in Isaiah 3:9,

“The expression of their faces bears witness against them,
And they display their sin like Sodom;
They do not even conceal it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.”

Rather than being ashamed, they pranced sin into the light – not to be forgiven, but to brazenly present it as acceptable. As an example, the Scriptures tell us gossip is sin. We know how hurtful and harmful it can be. Yet some love it, gather for it with no shame, and even put it up in lights on TV! Let’s see what God has to say in Isaiah 3:10,

“Say to the righteous that it will go well with them,
For they will eat the fruit of their actions.”

Precious relief. By continuing in the righteousness that Christ affords, we can be pleasing to God, enjoying His presence; redemption rather than what we deserve. But there’s a warning in Isaiah 3:11,

“Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him,
For what he deserves will be done to him.”

Jesus came to save us from what we deserved, and we cannot thank Him enough.

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MOVE WITH GODLY FEAR

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I’ve been going slowly through Genesis, ruminating verse-by-verse to learn more about our Father. Reading in Genesis 6, which is the time of Noah, we know that Matthew 24:37 says,

“But as the days of Noah were,
so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

It has been interesting how Scripture regarding the days of Noah, seems to give clarity to “what in the world” is going on in America and much of the world today. So, Lord willing, we will take several blog posts to walk through this passage to hear teaching and warning from the Lord. I pray He will lift our spirits to walk more boldly in His light; help us to know what is holy and what is not; and show us our part in what we need to be doing to be lights in an ever darkening world.

As a sneak preview, we know that Noah walked with God instead of opposing Him. Noah survived. Hebrews 11:7 says,

“By faith Noah,
being divinely warned of things not yet seen,
moved with godly fear,
prepared an ark for the saving of his household,
by which he condemned the world
and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

It’s exciting to remember that the Kingdom of God will consume all other kingdoms, and He will reign forever and ever. In whatever time period God places us, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have much for which to be thankful. We do well, like Noah, to move with Godly fear as we rejoice that He loves us enough to show us the right way to go.

I can’t wait to continue this walk through the time of Noah!  Lord, lead us.

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“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye,
but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”
Matthew 7:3

A well known coach shared what his wife taught him. We ALL have blindspots: the way we view ourselves, or imagine others view us VERSUS the way we really are, or the way people actually view us. She let him know his blindspot was huge.

We obviously are not seeing our own blindspots. Maybe we do get a glimpse, and pride makes us look away. Think of hearing someone who has run you late in times past, declare themselves punctual. Or people who consistently offend with their words or actions, yet speak of their heart of compassion. Those types of declarations leave us completely confused – whether positive or negative.

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Blindspots are dangerous for us and everyone around us. When my newer car proved to have quite a blindspot, my husband put a small mirror on it. Just look how the big red truck in the first photo became obvious! That’s what our spiritual Groom, Jesus, does for us. The answer to our own blindspots is not self-focus, and more intense declarations to convince people of the way we want them to view us! It’s humbly looking to Jesus, who is able to show us things we couldn’t otherwise see. He reveals traps of the enemy, and things we need to correct.

Lord, help us to see those things we cannot see without You.  Help us to be still and pay attention, so that we really will be more joyful with less of us and more of You.

“Then He turned to His disciples and said privately,
‘Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see…”
Luke 10:23

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Control

I visited an art museum recently, and passed this sculpture on the way in.

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I enjoy gazing at oil paintings, but I admit I just don’t get contemporary sculpture.  As we passed it again on our way out, we heard whale sounds coming from it.  In fact the last line explaining the artist’s message said, “With its whale songs, the sculpture also brings to mind Moby Dick, the great white whale that signifies humanity’s obsession with controlling forces larger than itself, whether in the context of war or the struggle with nature.”

Now that I get.

“…humanity’s obsession with controlling forces larger than itself…”

There is no force greater than our God.  Humans will often try to grab the reins rather than bow the knee in obedience and thanksgiving.  From our individual lives, family, church, government, etc. – every time humans grab the reins, we make a mess.  It was eerie to hear those whale sounds as if they were trapped inside the sculpture.  When we try to control, rather than submit to the wondrous reign of the King of kings, we fling ourselves into bondage.  Rather than living in the wondrous freedom that glorifies Him, we are confined to a lesser way.  Submitting to the wise counsel of God puts the spotlight on Him and keeps us free.

So next time we’re tempted to take control, let’s give thanks instead like we see in Revelation 11:17, “saying:

‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,

The One who is and who was and who is to come,

Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.'”

 

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I was reminded in a devotion this morning that God is not part of my portion, but my everything.  The tribe of Levi was not given land like the other tribes.  They were told that God is their inheritance.  Just breathe that in.  It made me think of something a board member gave me last year.  It was a Dr. Seuss bag which reads, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”  When God is our everything through Christ, that means we are walking with Him.  So spiritually speaking, oh, the places we’ll go!

I’m more of a home body, but I started last year fellowshipping with believers on another continent.  Oh, the places!  This January a door may be opening to study the Word at a transitional facility with precious souls between prison and release.  Oh, the places!  I know a man who has stood back amazed at how the Lord is moving in his secular work place.  Oh, the places!  Someone needs to get that country club membership and join that golf or tennis team, if the Lord leads, for the ministry He desires to do there.  Oh, the places!  We are praying for a pastor in one of the most dangerous Iranian prisons for preaching the Gospel.  Oh, the places!  That home bound prayer warrior – oh, the places!

Because our All in All is using us in our daily lives, every day proclaims, “Oh, the places!”  Drum roll please as we approach that ultimate wonder of having God as our Portion,

“…for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Oh, the places…

(Kari Jobe ~ Revelation Song)

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“He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.”
Psalm 126:6

I love to plant things from seed.  If any of it actually grows I am pretty much beside myself.  I walked by this year’s zinnias and marigolds and was so uplifted by truth.  I was thinking back to those small packets of tiny seeds, then the little sprouts that were specks in the dirt, and now these glorious and colorful plants overflowing their spot.  What began as something that couldn’t fill the palm of my hand had produced so much mass, I couldn’t hold it all in both arms.

Think about it.  Something so tiny and seemingly insignificant as a seed is full of mind boggling potential.  And so it is spiritually.  Nothing you do as unto the Lord is insignificant, no matter what it looks like today.  As we serve the Lord of the Harvest, He has us planting seeds of truth and kindness throughout our lives.  Some will bear fruit for us to see, and some will bear fruit long after we’re gone.  How amazing to get to be a part.  1 Corinthians 3:7 says, “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”  All glory to Him.

Don’t get discouraged.  God’s plans are beyond anything we could come up with.  Every seed planted has astronomical potential.  Keep sowing and watering as He directs, praying always.  What looks like nothing one day, could be a great harvest down the road.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 15:58

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Throughout God’s Word we are told to watch and be ready.  This series has put some much needed “getty up” in my spiritual walk.  Let’s finish it with a passage that summarizes what we’ve learned.  Think spiritually as we look at Proverbs 24:30-34,

“I went by the field of the lazy man,
And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
And there it was, all overgrown with thorns;
It’s surface was covered with nettles;
It’s stone wall was broken down.
When I saw it, I considered it well;
I looked on it and received instruction:
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest;
So shall your poverty come like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.”

Life is hard enough.  What a waste of all the potential God has placed in each one of us when we give Satan a foothold to destroy through our own spiritual laziness.  Let’s be diligent to love and walk with the Lord so that our walls are strong, our way is clear, and we have plenty of spiritual food for ourselves and those around us even in hard times.  As delusion is being heralded as profound in the world today, we’ll be so thankful we were diligent to serve our God and trust in His ways.

“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the Lord is His treasure.”  Isaiah 33:6

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