Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Yesterday I put an article up entitled, The Price of Disobedience”. In it I spoke of how God had shown me how I had been walking in disobedience in my life. He also showed me that there were consequences to my disobedience that not only affected me but others as well.

This morning as we were reading through our family devotions, God once again opened both mine and my son’s ears to the fact that he prizes obedience over everything else.

We were reading through the book Called,

Praying the Names of God, A Daily Guide, by Author, Ann Spangler.

Each reading always starts off with a verse or two from the bible, today’s reading was:

Genesis 22:15-18.

15The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time

16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,

17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

18and through your offspring£ all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

You see, God blessed Abraham greatly because of his obedience to him; he was undoubtedly one of the most successful people in the bible. All because he took God at his word, did not doubt him and then he obeyed what God had asked him to do.

Yes God had asked him to sacrifice his son, but because of the kind of relationship that Abraham already had with God, he knew that God would provide the needed sacrifice when it came time. So he set out in faith, believing that if God asked him to do it, then there had to be a good reason, as well as that would supply all that was needed for the sacrifice. He also reasoned that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead if that was necessary.

God, honored this obedience to his will, and he blest Abraham, with wealth and children and land and a good name amongst the people.

Please remember something, that the step of obedience that God asked Abraham to make was not the first contact he ever had with Abraham, they had a history together of God showing Abraham that he could be trusted and that when he said something it would be fulfilled.

God does that with us as well, he reveals himself to us all of the time, sometimes in ways that we totally understand and then other times in more subtle ways. The reason he does that is to build our trust in him, for us to see that he truly does have our best interest at heart and when we step out in faith it will be for our good and for the good of others as well.

Abraham’s key to success was absolute obedience to the will of God and for that God blest him beyond his wildest imagination. Please understand that God is not a sugar daddy or Santa clause that will give you something if you perform correctly. No.

For God it is all about the relationship that he has with you, he knows and sees your heart and the motives behind everything. God promises to bless us when we step out in obedience with him and walk in his will. He has shown us in the bible numerous examples of how he has blest people because of their obedience to his will. History is filled with people who sought to walk in humble obedience to God and through their obedience their lives were blest.

God gives us a deep joy when you are walking in his will for your life; he gives us his peace as a trade mark in your life. Through him we have the ability to encourage and affect someone else’s life for the good. He opens up our eyes to the wonders prayers being answered and a rich and deep intimate relationship with God our father.

You see, God promises that if we will diligently seek him, all of the other things that we need in our lives will be given to us by him.

So, if you feel like you are on the outside looking in today, and you are hungry for the blessings that God wants to bestow on you, ask him for the grace to obey even the smallest instruction that he gives to you. With each step of obedience he will lead you to larger ones and before long you will be in the habit of obedience. This will lead to a deepening of your faith.

God loves us so much and he has so much that he wants to reveal to each of us. He also wants to reveal himself to the world around us, through us. Take a step of obedient faith today, and courageously ask God to help you deepen your obedience to him. You will not be disappointed and God will indeed bless you because you obeyed.

The Price of Disobedience.

As a bible believing Christian, God instructs me to not only learn to walk in obedience with Him, but to teach my children the value of obedience as well. God promises us that when we choose obedience, he will prosper us and we will live in joy, we will find favor with other people and with God himself.

We all know that disobedience brings about the opposite effect to obedience. Disobedience shows a lack of respect to those who are in authority over you and it will eventually lead you down a path that will cause you untold trouble and heart ache.

I have a child who is in elementary school. She came to me one Sunday morning, just before going to church and asked me to brush her hair, at that moment the lord prompted me to check her hair a little closer and sure enough, a mother’s worst nightmare was realized, she had head lice.

Church was put on hold as we got stuck into tackling this problem. The vacuum cleaner got a really good work out let me tell you. While I was cleaning, I felt prompted to ask the Holy Spirit if like the lice infestation that we were dealing with, was there anything in our home that was infesting our spiritual walk that needed to be eradicated.

The Holy Spirit, I believe spoke this word into my heart, “Disobedience”. Well I thanked him and asked him to show me where this disobedience was so that we could deal with it.

(Let me tell you something, if you ask God to reveal something like this, you have to be prepared to hear the answers)

Later that afternoon, my daughter went to church with a friend and when she came back she was telling me how the Holy Spirit had convicted her in her heart that there was some rebellion and disobedience that needed to be dealt with. I rejoiced with her that he had shown her this and was secretly glad that it was not me in the “Hot Seat” this time.

Well a couple of weeks have passed since that incident and I was feeling a slight annoyance at my son, who never gets out of bed when I go in to wake him up in the morning. It seems that he is getting up later and later every morning for school.

This morning, however I left him and let him sleep. He stumbled downstairs just as everyone was leaving to go to their respective activities. He of course asked why no one woke him up and I told him that because he had chosen to ignore all previous attempts at waking him up in the morning, and stubbornly refused to get up, his disobedience had consequences. He had to pay the price of now running late for everything that he had to do in the morning.

Then the Holy Spirit began to make me aware of where else disobedience had crept into our home. It was finally my turn to be in the “Hot Seat”. He began to show me that he had been working on my heart for a number of years to compile some things that I had written in my journals. These are things that he has taught me over the years and that he wants me to share with others.

I have to admit that I have fought him on this, with every excuse in the book as to why I cannot do it, but the bottom line was that I am afraid to see all of it again. I say with one breath to God that I desire to do his will, that I willingly surrender everything to him, but I have not been willing to let this one thing go and into his hands.

My disobedience has been costly, it has cost me a deeper intimacy with God as I stubbornly refuse to let him use the hurts of my past to help others walk in the freedom that he has for them.

My disobedience has I believe left me wide open for future disobedience against God and his perfect will for my life. You see, disobedience breeds more disobedience and before you know it you have put yourself into bondage.

My greatest desire is to walk in the freedom, liberty, blessings and favor of the lord. All that disobedience will do for me is to drive me further away from having a deeper relationship with God.

When reading through the bible God gives us countless examples of what happened to the Israelites who chose disobedience over walking in obedience with God. Often when God finally did discipline them it was disastrous for the people. Personally I am no longer interested in trying to skirt what God wants me to do. I much rather walk in his blessings than have to be disciplined because of my unwillingness to obey what he has asked me to do.

Brothers and Sisters, I urge you today, to ask the Lord what is keeping you from walking in full obedience to His perfect will for your life. Maybe it is something that you have been hanging onto way longer than you should have, or maybe it is not controlling your tongue when you are around other people. What ever is keeping you from walking in complete obedience to God I urge you to have a serious look at it.

Where you need to repent, do so. Where you need to make changes to your thinking and your life, please do so. There is no better feeling in the whole world than to be in a place where you know without a shadow of a doubt that you are doing exactly what God has called and made you to do.

Stop being the plug in the drain, get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit have his way in your life. I promise that you will never look back to the disobedience wistfully, instead you will look forward to all the things that God wants to do in and through you because you chose obedience.

The following passage of scripture perfectly describes how I am feeling today.

Psalm 51:10-17

 10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.

14  Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

16  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17  The sacrifices of God are£ a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

 

I pray that you will prayerfully consider what God wants to do in your heart.

Amen

 

 

God is the Everlasting Light

I hear a cry over the oceans, a cry over the plains,

A cry over the mountains, from a world in darkness and pain.

Hearts that are broken, depressed and alone.

The poor and the hungry, the orphan with no home.

The prisoners in darkness, captives who long to be free,

All are calling to Thee.

 

Will you be the one to reach out your hand?

And bring light to a dying land. Will you be the one to kneel down and pray?

To drive sin and darkness away.

God is the everlasting light, the shadows must take flight.

 

Sine out like the dawn and spread the good news.

Reach out your hand, bind up their wounds.

Let His Spirit guide your footsteps as to what to do next.

As you walk out your life in love and holiness.

 

Will you be the one to reach out your hand?

And bring light to a dying land.

Will you be the one to kneel down and pray?

To drive sin and darkness away.

God is the everlasting light, the shadows must take flight.

 

Do not falter when God puts you to the test

His peace and joy will give you strength and rest

You will look and be radiant.

 

I hear a cry of righteousness and praise, welling up from the nations

For his Glorious name.

His redeemed have gathered to work as one,

to walk in the kingdom of God’s only Son

to shine forth His love as the noon day sun.

 

Written by:

Lorraine Jacyszyn

In her pretty dress, she danced all afternoon, standing on daddy’s feet. He danced so well and she didn’t have to worry about a thing.

As she got older, dancing with daddy just wasn’t as fun. You see, she wanted to lead. She would say “Daddy, you just don’t understand.”

Before long, she danced to a whole new tune, something daddy didn’t know. But daddy did know and longed for her to dance with him again. Every time he would ask, she would say “Daddy, you just don’t understand.”

As the girl become a woman, mature and strong, she saw that she really didn’t know how to dance. Her daddy really did understand.

She decided to try once again, to dance with her daddy. Her daddy didn’t judge or say no, he took her by the hand and lead her like she was standing on his toes.

When we come to God and discover His love for us, we are like that little girl just learning how to dance. But life gets in the way and soon we think we know best. Soon, we find ourselves in places that God didn’t plan for us. We find ourselves accepting second best as the grand prize, but God knows best. He knows the dance of our lives, a dance that is second to none.

How do we find ourselves in that situation? Most of the time, it’s because we believe that we know best and we don’t ask our heavenly Father to lead us. Even Jesus taught that we need to “Seek first the kingdom of God and then all other things would be added to them.” In other words, seek God and His ideas on the situation and He would lead you to all other things.

Why is this simple sounding instruction so hard to follow in our day to day lives? Just like the dance of the little girl, the longer she danced with her dad, the better and more elegant the dance became and the more content she was in the dance.

When we take the time to have a relationship with our heavenly Father and to seek his will for our lives through reading the bible and prayer He will reveal it to us.

One of the main reasons for this is that we begin to understand the language of God as we read His word. We see how He has dealt with His people and soon we will see how much we can relate to their situations. More importantly, we see how God’s solutions solved their problems and how it can do the same for us.

Then when we talk to God, we become attuned to him and before long; we can start to hear His words back to us. This may sound crazy, but you’ll find that the solution to a problem will just become evident when there was no previous solution. Or people will come into our lives at the perfect time to help us in our dance. Before long, it becomes clear that there is someone leading us in our dance called our lives.

No longer are we trying to dance with no clear steps. We are now dancing and knowing where our feet are to be placed and the dance becomes elegant. Soon a strong trust will be developed between us and our Father. Our Father never doubted us but we definitely doubted our Father.

With trust, our relationship deepens and its effects become even more profound. There are days that I honestly can say that I don’t remember life before I came to trust and dance with the Lord. When I did not dance with my heavenly father my life was filled with worry, grief and terrible missteps.

Problems don’t go away, but in our relationship with God they just don’t hold the same weight anymore. Moreover, in our trust with Him, His words become true, “Seek first the kingdom of God and then all other things would be added to them.”

So take a little bit of a risk today. Step into the hands of our Father and let Him lead you today in the dance. Even if it feels awkward or just strange, don’t worry; get to know how the Lord wants you to dance. You will never regret it. God wants to lavish His love on you and me. Learn how to trust Him and dance a wonderful dance, just like a little girl.

Dear Brothers and Sisters

 I was reading an account of a young woman, who had a huge handicap that kept her literally shut up in a prison of her own making. She stuttered.

 She struggled to pronounce most words and speaking a full sentence was pure torture. Over the years she was ridiculed by the neighborhood children and because of the ridicule she withdrew as much as she could from society.

Depression and self loathing became her constant companions.

  In her teenage years she hardly ventured out into public as she knew that she would have to speak to people in the store or in other public places. If you cannot communicate with ease to those around you, it can become a nightmare

 She was brought up in a Christian home and was taught all about loving your neighbor, they also taught her the importance of having a relationship with God and about his great love for her, but because of her inner turmoil she could neither accept nor believe what they tried to teach her.

 That was until she was about 19 years old and her father invited her to a Revival meeting. She begrudgingly went with him and listened to the speakers.  She hated church and hated the idea of having to sit in a tent meeting for a whole week and listen to the preachers talk about the wonders of God. He did not seem that wonderful to her. To her he was all about the rules and regulations and stuffy church services.

 By the end of the week she was so upset that she had not experienced anything of what they were preaching about, that she ran out of the meeting.

 I believe that God was in hot pursuit at this point, she fled to her boarding house, ran up to her bedroom and cried out to God, to help her out of this hateful state that she was in and to remove the stutter, so that she could be normal.

 God graciously met her there and he saved her from eternal separation. He gave her the gift of eternal life. She was so full of thanksgiving and joy, two emotions that she had never before experienced, it was as if she literally got pulled out of the pit of despair and given knew eyes to see the tremendous wonders of the world around her.

 As she was praising the Lord for his gift of salvation and freedom from all that had bound her, she heard him speak to her through the power of the Holy Spirit, he asked her to be willing to let him use her mouth for His glory.

 She was horrified that God would want to use her stuttering mouth for his glory. At first she was shocked, then she said to God that that was the last thing that she ever wanted to do. After a few days of wrestling with this request from God, she finally said yes.

 On the day of her conversion she excitedly told her father about what had taken place, he was very glad as he had prayed for years that she would come to know God as her personal savior. When she returned home from the tent meetings, she applied to a Christian college.  as God had put the desire in her heart to become a missionary.

 She was accepted and within a few months left the safety of her childhood behind and boarded a train to her new life.

 At the Christian missionary college they required all of the students to prepare and deliver a sermon to the professors as well as the other students of the class. The thought of it terrified her. She very nearly packed up her belongings and went straight back home.

While she was in prayer God reminded her of the promise that she had made to him; that he could use her mouth to bring him glory.

 He reminded her that he would not leave her in the lurch and would help her every step of the way, all she had to do was to rely on him and let him lead her.

 On the day of her speech she was very grateful that she was called on to speak fairly soon in the proceedings. When she got up on the stage and stood in front of the podium she felt a surge go through her body and she knew that the Holy Spirit was right there with her.

 She looked at her audience, opened her mouth and began to deliver her prepared sermon. At the end of the sermon the people in the room where  amazed that she never stuttered at all through the whole speech. God through the Holy Spirit had helped her through it, just like he had promised he would.

 Throughout her college experience God used her mightily to speak to the students; she also would go out on the teams that would do street evangelism. She struggled through this, but came to rely heavily on God to help her through each speech that she would have to give.

 She even had a fellow student say to her once, that he realized that the reason she was able to speak so eloquently to others without a stutter was because of her total and utter dependence on God to help her. He actually said that he wished he had a stutter so that he to would learn to be more dependent on God than on his own strengths and abilities.

 Over the years she realized that if she was going to make any kind of impact on the world around her that she would need to be in close and constant communion with God. She could not rely on her own strength to speak to the people. It took many years for the stutter to completely disappear but she learnt in that time to open up her heart to God in ways that even she admits, she never would have, had she not had a disability like that stutter.

 God used her many times over the years to impact many people, but it was because she had said yes to him and stayed dependent on God’s ability to have his power make her strong.

 The young lady that I speak of has since passed away, but she left a legacy of written work about her walk with the Lord that I am quite sure has impacted many more people than what she even realized. Her name was Hannah Hurnard. She was also the author of the well known book, Hinds feet on high places.

 I want to encourage you today to think about her story and how she said yes to God and because of that yes she truly lived out that verse that Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians  

“But he said to me,” My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” I realize that Paul was talking about a thorn in his flesh that he had begged God to remove, and God’s response to Paul was the above verse.

 You see Before Hannah had realized that her strength to preach came from her utter dependence on God to help her not stutter and mess up the words when she spoke to people; she would often cry out to God and ask him to remove the stutter.  He showed her that in her weakness, her stutter, shyness and bouts of depression and self loathing could only be overcome by the Power of the Holy Spirt.

 Whenever we say yes to God and we learn to lean on God for our strength instead of ourselves you will be amazed at the things that he will reveal to you and how he can use you to impact the people around you.

 So whether you suffer from a disability or not, I want to encourage you to learn to run to God for everything; to trust in His strength and ability to see you through every situation that you find yourself in.

 In saying yes to God, you are opening yourself up to the wonders of what he want to show you, through his word, the bible, through his creation all around you. Your life will be forever changed when you utter that three letter word Yes!

 I pray that you will say Yes to God today.

Amen