Obedience

The Lord has a plan, and all we need to do is to be obedient to Him.

A few days ago, I was speaking with a co-worker when he used the word “obedience.” As he struggles to follow the Lord’s Will in his life, he found that being obedient to the Lord was a necessity in order to live a fulfilling, satisfying life.

I stopped to think back about times in my life when I failed to follow God. The consequences are sometimes immeasurable. As I look back upon the times when I decided the best plan for my life was ‘x,’ when God wanted me to ‘y,’ I plainly see the mistakes I’ve made.

But when we think about being obedient, what does that really mean? What will God ask us to do? Well, it’s hard to say. Sometimes he may just want some of your time, to sit down and talk with Him. Or maybe He wants you to make a life changing career decision. In most cases, it’s probably somewhere in the middle between.

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7:21 that “Not every one that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the Will of my Father which is in Heaven.”

Jesus is Lord and Savior, but we need to do more than say a prayer. We need to take our life to the next step by following His commands and being obedient to His Will for our lives.

Love one another

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light in front of him turned yellow. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by speeding through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.

The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed and placed in a holding cell.After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, “I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, signaling hand profanity to the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. Then I noticed the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk.”

“Naturally. I assumed you had stolen the car.”

 

Let’s not just talk about being a Christian, but truly live the life of one. 1 John 3:11 – “Love one another.”

A debt already paid

 

As I continue to think about our trials in life, Harvey mentioned something to me that I thought needed to be shared with everyone. As simple as this is, it’s crucial to be reminded of it.

 

Jesus fought our fight 2,000 years ago. Why do we continue to beat up ourselves and try to win a battle that’s already been won? Our debt has been paid in full!

How bad is it really?

This week I have found that many of us are struggling with trials in our lives. I have also come to acknowledge that when we are growing in our faith is when satan attacks the most. Therefore, I am comforted in knowing that what we are doing for the Lord this week is for His glory. And thus, satan has begun an offensive, and is attacking us. However, I am even further comforted through the following passage from Romans:

 

Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the future glory that is to be revealed in us.”

 

Paul tells us that no matter what we are going through, it does not compare to what is in store for us in Heaven. Our future with God is so vastly overwhelming that it is not even worth comparing to what we are going through here on earth. That’s a pretty bold statement.  

 

How bad is it? Now, I’m not sure what your trials are at this time, but I do know mine. I know that earlier this week my troubles seemed large, practically too impossible to overcome. But as I’ve made it through this week, I matured in my faith as I’ve trusted the Lord to carry me through. My troubles have shrunk in size, and as I continue to be blessed by the Lord and see each trial overcome in my life, I begin to realize again how wonderful and loving our God really is. Our troubles don’t compare to our future glory.

Support from Zion

The Lord continues to amaze me as I get feedback from others, not just here in the comments section, but from others at work, and through additional Scripture readings.

This morning I came to Psalm 20:1-2

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!

 

Now, I didn’t come upon this verse by “searching” for additional Scripture to make me feel good about the trouble I’m going through. No, I simply opened my Bible and that was the passage that was on the page I opened to. Now, some of you may believe in coincidences, fate, destiny, etc…. But what I believe in is God. He purposely knows that while I trust in Him to pull me through, I still struggle at times. This morning, God was going to make sure that since I spent time with Him this morning to study His Word, that He gave me something to kick-start my day. I’ve found that on the mornings that I stop to have my devotion time, God starts my day on a bright note.

I encourage you also to start your day with a Word from God. Open your Bible, Pray, and read His Holy Word. It will help you get through another day on earth and bring you ever closer to Jesus.

Beating the “odds”

This week I’ve struggled with trials and tribulations in my own life. Yesterday those troubles seemed to hit a boiling point. Satan was on the offensive and he was starting to get the best of me. My odds were slim to none…that is when I tried to beat him on my own, however, “with God all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26).

When I got home, I mentioned to Kimberly that I sure was glad that church service was tonight (Wednesday). I needed a little motivation to get through. And then it happened….

When I got to youth services, I got the boost I needed. God spoke to me and I ended up not teaching my lesson the way I had planned. God had a different plan, and I realize that His plan is always better than mine. So, I went along with it, not really knowing what to expect.

The Scripture we studied last night was out of James 1:2-12 

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:5-7 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial 

 

So, for those who attended, I pray that you received what you needed to hear. I know that I received what I needed last night. I realize that God’s plan is far better than one that I could ever dream up.

He will carry us through to the other side. And we should “Consider it a joy” when troubles come our way. They will test our faith, but in the end, God will use these times to mature us in our Christian faith. As James 1:4 says: God will make us “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” You can only beat the odds by following God’s plan for your life.

No Subject

Yeah, that’s right. No subject. I’m not sure why. In fact, I’m not sure exactly what this blog will be about totally.  All I know is I was pumped up again this week following the “Blaze.” If you haven’t been yet, I encourage you to attend on Monday nights at 8pm all summer long (just off Bear-Creek Cut-off Road).

The past few days I’ve been focused on what God can do. Reviewing and reading Scripture and websites that discuss His unyielding power. Then, interestingly enough, I just found another person’s blog – the title to it was “If You can use anything Lord, You can use me.”

Now, I used to believe in fate, accidents, superstitions, etc.  However, as I’ve matured in my Christian faith, I’ve come to realize that nothing is by accident. God has a plan for all of us. In this case, I thought it very cool that last nights message by Russ Warren at the Blaze had the same theme: The Lord can use me. The Lord can use YOU. Yeah, he can work through ALL kinds of people.

When I first realized that the Lord was calling me into ministry, I struggled with the question of “why?”  Why me Lord? Why would you want me? How in the world could You use ME for Your work? I’m a very young Christian (17 years old in my faith). Yet, He chose me to be involved in His work.

I’m NOT perfect; not even close. But God still chose to use me. As I study the life and ministry of Jesus, I find that Jesus also chose ordinary people to work through. I don’t know why God chooses people like us, imperfect, sinful humans; but He does. Hey, it’s His plan (a perfect plan at that), and who are we to challenge it?

So, if you find yourself asking “Why me?” like I did. Forget it. You probably won’t get an answer. I didn’t get one, I just stopped asking and answered His call. Allow Him to work in your life, God’s got a plan. Follow Him.

Fathers, a story to remember

While I cannot confirm the validity of this story, I still believe it is truly something we can all learn from. This is supposedly taken from a Daily Turning Point Devotion from David Jeremiah:

“A man came home late from work to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door. The first thing out of the child’s mouth was, “Daddy, how much money do you make in an hour?” “If you must know, I make $50 an hour” said the man. “Well, can I borrow $25?” the boy asked. “For what?” replied the man. Without saying a word, the little boy went to his room, removed some crumpled money from under his bed and added it to the money his dad gave him. He came back and said, “Daddy, now I have $50. Can I buy an hour of your time?”
Sometimes, balancing the responsibilities of providing for our children and making time to invest in their lives can become overwhelming. Being a godly father is a huge responsibility. But it is also one of life’s greatest joys. As we raise our children in the love of the Lord, may we not become discouraged as the pressures mount; rather, let us look to our own Heavenly Father for the strength, love, courage, and discipline needed to carry out this high calling.” 

Although my father spent a lot of time with me, there were still times in my life that I was in the shoes of the child and wanted more of his time.

Now, however, I am impacted by this story not only as a Father, but also as a child of God. You see, I wonder how many times our Heavenly Father has asked for an hour of our time, but we have not given it.

Many people give God an hour of their time…but only on a weekly basis. They come to church and “check the box.” But God doesn’t just want us to check a box and give Him only an hour a week. God wants more than that.

He is more than an earthly Father; He has provided for our entire life, but more so – our future eternity. Yet we fail to give back to him what He deserves. Daily Devotions do not have to take a full hour of your time. Just a few minutes with God, reading your Bible, and praying sincerely helps to start your day so that you can rejoice in the blessings He gives you on a daily basis.

If God was paid hourly, I couldn’t imagine His salary. Yet, He still gives us His time when we ask Him for it. Stop today, right now, take time for God. Let this be the beginning of a daily habit of spending time with your Father.

I can only imagine

If you missed the Youth Trip to Alabama Adventure yesterday, you missed another powerful praise and worship time! Mercy Me performed what I believe is one of the best songs of all time: I can only imagine…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwzItqYmII&feature=related

“Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine”

During the song Mercy Me takes us to the feet of Jesus. How will we react…, how will we behave when we meet Jesus face to face?

“I can only imagine 
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You”

I can’t wait until we can leave the worries of this world and join hands with one another, with the sole purpose in life: to worship our Lord and Savior. Too many times I get caught up in “life” and forget that my sole purpose in life, even here on earth, is to worship Him.

“I can only imagine” 

What will it be like? Let’s not wait to find out what it will be like to worship Him 24/7. Let’s give Him the glory in ALL that we do. Let’s praise and worship Him continuously. Hopefully you already attend church somewhere. If not, I invite you to come into your local church TODAY and praise God with the adoration He is worthy to receive. Glorify Him in all you do.

The Atheist and the Bear

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods. ‘What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!’, he said to himself. 

As he continued walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning to look, he saw a 7 foot grizzly charging towards him. 

He ran as fast as he could up the path. Looking over his shoulder he saw that the bear was closing in on him. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. 

He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear raising his paw to take a swipe at him.

At that instant the atheist cried out: ‘Oh my God!…’

Time stopped;…the bear froze;…the forest was silent….

It was then that a bright light shone upon the man and a voice came out of the sky saying:

‘You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don’t exist and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you now as a believer?’

The atheist looked directly into the light and said: ‘It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now; but perhaps, could you make the BEAR a Christian?’

‘Very well, ‘said the voice. The light went out, and the sounds of the forest resumed….

And then the bear lowered his paw, bowed his head and spoke: ‘Lord, bless this food which I am about to receive, and for which I am truly thankful, Amen.’