Tag Archives: obey

Obey God and Fear Not

obey : Hand-drawn Vector illustration of an Dog Trainerobey : Illustration of a cartoon old school teacher teaching moral values and discipline
obey : White clock with words Time to Listen, illustrating the importance of listening to others who want to share important information, a reminder that its more vital to hear to really understand what people are sayingobey : Image of young businesswoman puppeteer. Leadership concept
obey : Businesswoman hanging on string and controlled by a hand Stock Photoobey : Obedience Tools in a red toolbox
obey : Learn To Hypnotize Stock Photoobey : puppeteer holds the puppet business man on the ropes
obey : Mary statue isolated on white background, Thailand obey : Soldiers lined up in camouflageSoldiers in army uniform line up holding gunsobey : Soldiers lined up in camouflageSoldiers in army uniform line up holding guns
obey : Soldiers lined up in camouflageSoldiers in army uniform line up holding gunsobey : Soldiers lined up in camouflageSoldiers in army uniform line up holding gunsobey : Soldiers lined up in camouflageSoldiers in army uniform line up holding guns
obey : Soldiers lined up in camouflageSoldiers in army uniform line up holding gunsobey : puppeteer keeps business people puppets, concept control business
obey : puppet doll business is on the edge, clouds and sky backgroundobey : Parents talking to their child Stock Photo

INSTANT OBEDIENCE

From: Streams in the Desert

In the selfsame day, as God had said unto him (Gen. 17:23).

Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Every time God calls us to any duty, He is offering to make a covenant with us; doing the duty is our part, and He will do His part in special blessing.

 

The only way we can obey is to obey “in the selfsame day,” as Abraham did. To be sure, we often postpone a duty and then later on do it as fully as we can. It is better to do this than not to do it at all. But it is then, at the best, only a crippled, disfigured, half-way sort of duty-doing; and a postponed duty never can bring the full blessing that God intended, and that it would have brought if done at the earliest possible moment.

 

It is a pity to rob ourselves, along with robbing God and others, by procrastination. “In the selfsame day” is the Genesis way of saying, “Do it now.”
–Messages for the Morning Watch

 

Luther says that “a true believer will crucify the question, ‘Why?’ He will obey without questioning.” I will not be one of those who, except they see signs and wonders, will in no wise believe. I will obey without questioning.

 

“Ours not to make reply,

Ours not to reason why,

Ours but to do and die.”

 

Obedience is the fruit of faith; patience, the bloom on the fruit.
–Christina Rossetti

Final Exam

From: getmorestrength.org

“God tested Abraham.” Genesis 22:1

In universities everywhere, mid-May brings late-night study sessions, caffeine-fueled writing binges, and ulcer-inducing stress as students are preparing for final exams—those critically important tests to determine how well the student has learned the lessons of the semester.

Let’s look at a familiar incident in the life of Abraham through that lens.

Genesis 22 begins by saying, “God tested Abraham.” In other words, it’s like Abraham’s big exam. And what is the test? God is about to test Abraham’s allegiance to the one true God in a most stressful way.

So let’s review: God called out Abraham to the city of Ur. Ur was an advanced culture and a highly sophisticated town, but it was rampant with idolatry. When God passed out this test to Abraham, Abraham was wandering through Canaan—yet another pagan, idolatrous region. And keep in mind that in pagan idolatry, the highest demonstration of loyalty to one’s god was to offer—you guessed it—your children as a sacrifice.

With that in mind, look back at Genesis 22:1. The text actually says that it is the God who tests Abraham. This is in contrast to those lifeless forms of wood and stone that were the idols of the pagan Canaanites. And it’s the one true God who comes to Abraham and gives him the following test.

Would the loyalty and allegiance of Abraham to the genuine Creator God match the misplaced loyalty and devotion of the surrounding nations to their false idols? The test is simple yet very demanding: “Abraham,” God says, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love . . . and sacrifice him.”

That’s the test, plain and simple. It’s a pass/fail exam with no room for grading on the curve. If Abraham obeys, demonstrating his allegiance, loyalty, and trust in the promises of God, he passes the test. If he refuses, he retains control over his son’s destiny, but fails to demonstrate his commitment to following God no matter what the cost.

Well, we know the rest of the story. In fact, it’s amplified and explained beautifully in the book of Hebrews where the writer explains that Abraham by faith obeyed, reckoning that even if Isaac died, God could raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19).

So what does Abraham’s test have to do with us? While God won’t ask you to literally sacrifice a child on an altar, He does often require the things in your life that are precious to you. Think about it. Isaac was God’s gift to Abraham. All of God’s promises were wrapped up in that miracle child. How easy it would have been for Abraham to love Isaac more than he loved God. Or to put it another way, to love the gift more than the Giver! The test may be the same for you. God always wants to know that nothing in your life is more important or more valuable than your relationship to Him. It may even be a sinful pattern that for some reason provides temporary kicks, comfort, or security. Do you love Him more than the sin in your life?

If by faith you can believe with Abraham that when God takes something from you, God will give something back in even better terms, then you will pass the test and give Him all He demands and all He desires. Whether it’s your money, your possessions, your career, your dreams, or even your children to His service—everything we give to Him is an opportunity to pass the test and in worship prove to Him that nothing in our lives is of greater value than His friendship and fellowship.

As you face the tests of this week, know that your Tester loves you deeply and is ready to help you pass, like Abraham, with flying colors!

Redefining My Label
STEPHANIE RAQUEL

From: Biblegateway.com

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope …” Romans 5:3-4 (ESV)

Have you ever been given a label you didn’t choose? The type of label you’re sure will stick with you for the rest of your life?

When I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, that’s exactly how I felt: I was the victim of a poor label-maker.

The doctors said there was nothing I could have done to avoid getting my particular type of cancer. So it felt as if an enemy chose me to attack, for no apparent reason.

My heart ached. Some days it felt as if I were in a boxing ring, with each new cancer-related challenge hitting me smack in the gut.

As if the cancer diagnosis weren’t enough, the trials continued. The “cancer” label affected my eligibility for health insurance and prevented me from giving blood. I know it sounds odd to be sad about not getting poked with a needle, but I often donated blood and absolutely hated being “punished” for something completely out of my control.

Life seemed so unfair. Couldn’t God give me a new label altogether?

It took several years, but God changed my perspective and enabled me to see my cancer as a gift, filled with multiple life lessons that produced endurance, character and hope.

Today’s key verse helped me understand how God was using this unfair label to change my character: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope …” (Romans 5:3-4).

This passage taught me an important distinction. The goal isn’t to rejoice because of our difficult circumstances. But rather, to rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but I’m grateful (okay, mostly grateful!) God has given me several opportunities to work on this.

Each of these traits in Romans 5 (endurance, character and hope) builds on the next. Since that fateful diagnosis, I’ve grown to see God had a purpose in what I suffered. In His grace, God allowed me to hold a mirror up to my life and closely examine it. Cancer helped my husband and me re-evaluate our priorities. Among other things, my family changed churches to find older, godly mentors, and my husband ultimately began his own business.

This month I celebrate eight years as a cancer survivor — no longer labeled a “victim,” but a “victor.” My past may not always be worth celebrating, but my future definitely is! I’m so grateful we serve a limitless God who can redefine our labels no matter what we’ve done, or what has been done to us.

Father God, I ask for Your patience as You turn trials into triumphs. Lord, help me remove the negative labels others have placed on me, and instead, live by the labels You put on me. Thank You for producing character and hope in me and helping me daily move from victim to victor. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“Joint heirs with Christ.”

From: Biblegateway.com
Romans 8:17

The boundless realms of his Father’s universe are Christ’s by prescriptive right. As “heir of all things,” he is the sole proprietor of the vast creation of God, and he has admitted us to claim the whole as ours, by virtue of that deed of joint-heirship which the Lord hath ratified with his chosen people. The golden streets of paradise, the pearly gates, the river of life, the transcendent bliss, and the unutterable glory, are, by our blessed Lord, made over to us for our everlasting possession. All that he has he shares with his people. The crown royal he has placed upon the head of his Church, appointing her a kingdom, and calling her sons a royal priesthood, a generation of priests and kings. He uncrowned himself that we might have a coronation of glory; he would not sit upon his own throne until he had procured a place upon it for all who overcome by his blood. Crown the head and the whole body shares the honour. Behold here the reward of every Christian conqueror! Christ’s throne, crown, sceptre, palace, treasure, robes, heritage, are yours. Far superior to the jealousy, selfishness, and greed, which admit of no participation of their advantages, Christ deems his happiness completed by his people sharing it. “The glory which thou gavest me have I given them.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” The smiles of his Father are all the sweeter to him, because his people share them. The honours of his kingdom are more pleasing, because his people appear with him in glory. More valuable to him are his conquests, since they have taught his people to overcome. He delights in his throne, because on it there is a place for them. He rejoices in his royal robes, since over them his skirts are spread. He delights the more in his joy, because he calls them to enter into it.

Evening

“He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.”
Isaiah 40:11

Who is he of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd. Why doth he carry the lambs in his bosom? Because He hath a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts his heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of his flock draw forth his compassion. It is his office, as a faithful High Priest, to consider the weak. Besides, he purchased them with blood, they are his property: he must and will care for that which cost him so dear. Then he is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. Moreover, they are all a part of his glory and reward.

But how may we understand the expression, “He will carry them”? Sometimes he carries them by not permitting them to endure much trial. Providence deals tenderly with them. Often they are “carried” by being filled with an unusual degree of love, so that they bear up and stand fast. Though their knowledge may not be deep, they have great sweetness in what they do know. Frequently he “carries” them by giving them a very simple faith, which takes the promise just as it stands, and believingly runs with every trouble straight to Jesus. The simplicity of their faith gives them an unusual degree of confidence, which carries them above the world.

“He carries the lambs in his bosom.” Here is boundless affection. Would he put them in his bosom if he did not love them much? Here is tender nearness: so near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. Here is hallowed familiarity: there are precious love-passages between Christ and his weak ones. Here is perfect safety: in his bosom who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first. Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!

The Good And Perfect Gift

 

  • 4 days ago

Heart Food

Your words were found, and I ate them. —Jeremiah 15:16
Bible in a Year:

I love food! I love to see it beautifully presented, and I love to savor the taste. If it were up to me, I would eat more often than I should—although it wouldn’t help my waistline! So, it’s a good thing my wife, Martie, knows when to lovingly remind me to eat healthful foods in the right amount.

Reading Jeremiah’s interesting thought—that when he found the words of God (even the words of God’s judgment) he “ate them” (Jer. 15:16)—makes me wonder if I ingest God’s Word as eagerly, as lovingly, and as often.

Clearly, Jeremiah did not actually eat God’s Word. It was his way of saying that he read and savored it in his innermost being. And that’s exactly where God’s Word is intended to go. The Word is heart food! When we ingest it, the Holy Spirit provides the power to help us grow to be more like Jesus. His Word transforms how we think about God, money, enemies, careers, and family. In other words, it’s really good for us.

So, “eat” God’s Word to your heart’s content! No doubt you will find yourself agreeing with the prophet Jeremiah when he said: “Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (15:16).

Lord, cultivate in me an appetite for Your Word.
Thank You that the Bible is food for my soul. Lead
me to read it, to savor it, to ingest it, and to know
the strength that Your words can give to my often-failing heart.
The more you feast on God’s Word, the healthier you will become.

The Master Will Judge

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ . . . —2 Corinthians 5:10

Paul says that we must all, preachers and other people alike, “appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” But if you will learn here and now to live under the scrutiny of Christ’s pure light, your final judgment will bring you only delight in seeing the work God has done in you. Live constantly reminding yourself of the judgment seat of Christ, and walk in the knowledge of the holiness He has given you. Tolerating a wrong attitude toward another person causes you to follow the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are. One carnal judgment of another person only serves the purposes of hell in you. Bring it immediately into the light and confess, “Oh, Lord, I have been guilty there.” If you don’t, your heart will become hardened through and through. One of the penalties of sin is our acceptance of it. It is not only God who punishes for sin, but sin establishes itself in the sinner and takes its toll. No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin. No power, except the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit, can change or prevent the inherent consequences of sin.

“If we walk in the light as He is in the light. . .” (1 John 1:7). For many of us, walking in the light means walking according to the standard we have set up for another person. The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie.

 

For our profit (Heb. 12:10).

In one of Ralph Connor’s books he tells a story of Gwen. Gwen was a wild, wilful lassie and one who had always been accustomed to having her own way. Then one day she met with a terrible accident which crippled her for life. She became very rebellious and in the murmuring state she was visited by the Sky Pilot, as the missionary among the mountaineers was termed. He told her the parable of the canyon.

“At first there were no canyons, but only the broad, open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie, walking over his great lawns, where were only grasses, asked the Prairie, ‘Where are your flowers?’ and the Prairie said, ‘Master I have no seeds.’

“Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them far and wide, and soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the red lilies all summer long. Then the Master came and was well pleased; but he missed the flowers he loved best of all, and he said to the Prairie: ‘Where are the clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering shrubs?’

“And again he spoke to the birds, and again they carried all the seeds and scattered them far and wide. But, again, when the Master came he could not find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said: “‘Where are those my sweetest flowers?’ and the Prairie cried sorrowfully: “‘Oh, Master, I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and they wither up and fly away.’

“Then the Master spoke to the Lightning, and with one swift blow the Lightning cleft the Prairie to the heart. And the Prairie rocked and groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned bitterly over the black, jagged, gaping wound. But the river poured its waters through the cleft, and carried down deep black mould.

“And once more the birds carried seeds and strewed them in the canyon. And after a long time the rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the nooks were hung with clematis and columbine, and great elms lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight, and down about their feet clustered the low cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets and wind-flower and maiden-hair grew and bloomed, till the canyon became the Master’s favorite place for rest and peace and joy.”

Then the Sky Pilot read to her: “The fruit–I’ll read ‘flowers’–of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness–and some of these grow only in the canyon.” “Which are the canyon flowers?” asked Gwen softly, and the Pilot answered: “Gentleness, meekness, longsuffering; but though the others, love, joy, peace, bloom in the open, yet never with so rich a bloom and so sweet a perfume as in the canyon.”

For a long time Gwen lay quite still, and then said wistfully, while her lips trembled: “There are no flowers in my canyon, but only ragged rocks.” “Some day they will bloom, Gwen dear; the Master will find them, and we, too, shall see them.”

Beloved, when you come to your canyon, remember!

 

The Good and Perfect Gift

 

Hey, Where’d You Get That?

From: Get More strength

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” James 1:17 

One of my favorite classical works of music is The Creation. But what I like even more than the stirring sounds and moving lyrics is the attitude of composer.

It was the year 1808, and the last note sounded as the symphony’s performance came to a close. Applause thundered through the auditorium in honor of one of the greatest composers of all time, Franz Joseph Haydn. The piece that had been performed was called The Creation. Haydn had written it to glorify God, by telling the Genesis story of creation through music. Audiences all over Europe adored it. And that night, he responded to the crowd’s ovation by pointing upward and exclaiming, “No, No! Not from me, but from thence! From heaven above comes all!”

At that same concert, Haydn’s contemporary Ludwig van Beethoven is said to have knelt and kissed Haydn’s hands in an act of honor. Praised by other great composers of his time and admired by the public as well, he was heaped with fame and adoration. Still, he refused to become prideful of the music God had created through Him. He knew from where it had come.

For sure, not many of us will be musical geniuses like Haydn. But God has given all of us talents and abilities. Some of us have exceptional people skills; some have what it takes to crunch numbers with precision. Others might be able to cook, write prose and poetry, or repair the transmission on a car. These gifts from God are the result of the way He created us—in His image. God is infinitely talented and able to do anything! Being made in “His image” means we have been given gifts from Him to accomplish good things and to contribute to our world.

But here’s the rub. If we’re not careful, the stealth enemy of pride will whisper to you that you are the one who deserves the credit. There is something really seductive about applause and affirmation. Giving the credit to others is not an easy thing to do. But in the end, who would you rather have people admire—you or your God? And even if you are tempted to honestly admit that you’d kinda like it to be you—upon further reflection, my guess is that you really don’t want to go there. And you shouldn’t. Competing with Him for the applause, especially when He deserves it all, is not a good idea. Particularly when we read that, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

firstfruits

From: Our Daily Journey

 


And now, O LORD, I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground (Deuteronomy 26:10)

Read Deuteronomy 16:10-12and find out what it means for you to celebrate the Festival of Harvest.

How do you honor God with the firstfruits of your harvest today? What does it mean for you to bring your best to God?

John started his new job. When he got his first check at the end of the month, he wanted to celebrate by buying my lunch for me. During our meal, he told me that his first paycheck was his “firstfruits.” With a grateful heart, he wanted to give a significant portion of it back to God.

Moses repeatedly reminded the Jews that God was their Deliverer, the Giver of their land, and the Provider of their material blessings (Deuteronomy 26:1,3,7-10). As God blessed them materially, they were reminded to do four things:

First, they were to return to God “some of the first produce from each crop [they harvested]” (Deuteronomy 26:2). This gift was their personal act of thanksgiving, acknowledging that God was their Provider (Deuteronomy 26:3-4). It was also their public act of worship, as they placed the offering on the altar (Deuteronomy 26:4), “[bowing] to the ground in worship before Him” (Deuteronomy 26:10).

Second, they were to tell the story of their redemption. They were nobodies, nomads, and slaves. But God made them into a great nation and gave them a land to call their own, a land of plenty (Deuteronomy 26:5-9).

Third, they were to celebrate, rejoice, and enjoy the good things God had given to them (Deuteronomy 26:11). God wanted them to enjoy it all: “Rejoice . . . because the LORD your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 12:7).

Finally, they were to be generous and share their material blessings with the poor (Deuteronomy 26:12-13). Knowing their selfish hearts (Deuteronomy 15:11), Moses reminded them to “remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration” (Deuteronomy 26:11).

God has given us plenty of things to enjoy, and to share. We also have a story of redemption to tell—proclaiming who our God is, how great and good, gracious and generous He is.

Are You Listening to God?

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

They said to Moses, ’You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die’ `—Exodus 20:19

We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.

“You speak with us, . . . but let not God speak with us . . . .” We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative. We respond by saying, “Well, that’s only your own idea, even though I don’t deny that what you said is probably God’s truth.”

Am I constantly humiliating God by ignoring Him, while He lovingly continues to treat me as His child? Once I finally do hear Him, the humiliation I have heaped on Him returns to me. My response then becomes, “Lord, why was I so insensitive and obstinate?” This is always the result once we hear God. But our real delight in finally hearing Him is tempered with the shame we feel for having taken so long to do so.

Yes, Please Pray!

 

 

Don’t Say You’ll Pray for Me
Lysa TerKeurst

From: Crosswalk.com

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 (NIV 1984)

I’ve been convicted about empty statements. These are words I say to make a conversation a little more comfortable in the moment. But do I really mean what I say?

Empty statements can also be little promises that give a needed lift to someone. Yet without a plan to actually keep that promise, do I really intend to keep it?

It’s not that these statements are wrong, bad or ill-intentioned. But they are empty at best and potentially hurtful at worst. People in my life deserve better than that.

I want to be a woman who exemplifies God’s Word by keeping my word.

The Bible is clear that our words matter; our words carry weight. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Our words can be gifts.

But if we speak words with no follow-through, they can be hurtful. It’s like holding out a gift but refusing to give it.

Here are three empty statements I want to stop saying if I don’t have a plan for follow-through:

1. I’m praying for you.

Obviously, I do want to pray for people. And sometimes when I say this, I have great follow-through. But other times I forget.

A great intention doesn’t make for a great prayer.

So, I need to pray for that person right then and there, or I need to keep a journal in my purse to write down prayer requests.

2. Let’s get together sometime.

Either I need to pull out my calendar and schedule time with someone or be honest about my current time constraints. The people-pleaser in me struggles with this.

When people say this to me without any follow-through, it hurts. While I can’t change what others say to me, I can make a heart policy to not do this to others.

3. I’m good, how are you?

Understandably, sometimes this is the right, polite statement to say when I’m quickly greeting someone. But I will also say this to others with whom I really should be more open and honest.

I’m reluctant sometimes to let even close friends know needs bubbling below my “I’m good” statements.

If I will be braver to open up, it will give my friends permission to do the same.

So, there they are. My three empty statements and my convictions to do a better job of saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

Let’s commit to being women who keep our word. Right now. Today. Not only will it strengthen our friendships but it will make our relationship with the Lord more authentic as we live out His Word.

Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me about using empty statements. My words can be powerful tools and I want to use them for Your purposes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Don’t miss Lysa TerKeurst’s blog post, “The 5 Best Things to Say to a Friend Today.” Click here for this must-read article.

Receive encouragement from Lysa right in your e-mail inbox throughout the week! Subscribe to her blog by clicking here.

Reflect and Respond:
Which one of the three empty statements resonates with you the most? (Keep a prayer journal in your purse, schedule a specific time to get together with someone or open up with how you’re honestly feeling.)

This week, make it a point to put action into place when using that statement.

What’s In Your Wallet?

From: Our Daily Journey

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” Ephesians 1:11

An advertising blitz for a credit card company once featured two humorous television commercials. One featured Vikings who were defeated by credit card’s low interest rates. The other series of ads poked fun at the apparent difficulty of cashing in on the “other company’s” frequent flier miles. Every one of the commercials ended with the same catchy tagline: “What’s in your wallet?”

It’s an interesting question. The stuff in our wallet represents financial security, purchase power, and prosperity. The question “What’s in your wallet?” is a clever way of planting doubt in our minds about whether or not we have the right stuff to get all the satisfaction we are looking for in life. It prompts us to wonder if we are getting all that we think we deserve. Is there more out there that we don’t yet have? Do we have what it takes to be successful? Of course, the intent of the ad campaign is to make us think that only this particular card will make us satisfied, secure, and significant. And if we don’t feel secure about having the right things in our wallet, perhaps we need to reevaluate its contents. But those who have traveled life’s road for a while will tell you that it’s not really the stuff in your wallet that finally brings the happiness you’re looking for.

Thankfully, God has an announcement of His own about where to find satisfaction, security, and significance! In Ephesians 1:3-14, the apostle Paul can hardly contain himself as he lists the incredible resources that our Father has placed at the disposal of His children. When we turn to Christ by faith, we’re given forgiveness—the joy of a clean conscience before God. We’re entrusted with His wisdom—inside information on how to live life without the downside of our ongoing dead-end experiments. We’re given access to His mercy and grace to find help in the time of need, worship to lift our spirits above the din of ordinary living, and prayer to put us in touch with the One who cares for us and loves us without condition. We find all of this and more in our spiritual wallet!

What are you trusting to bring you joy and satisfaction? What do you depend on to give you a sense of security and safety? Where do you turn for significance? Are you focused on a wallet that’s growing with the “right” credit cards, a thick stack of cash, and the right business cards? Ironically, a full wallet can be carried on a body with an empty heart.

Live for the incredible spiritual wealth and riches offered to you by our loving heavenly Father, who, according to James, delights in giving good gifts to His children. Your physical wallet may be almost empty, but, if your heart is full of all that Jesus offers, you’ve got all the right stuff to defeat the Vikings that plague your life and to experience true joy and satisfaction.

 

God is powerless?

From: GetMoreStrength.com

Job 26:1-14
These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power? (Job 26:14).

Read Psalm 145:1-21 and celebrate and praise God for who He is.

How does God’s amazing knowledge and power assure you? How does it help you cope with the pains of this life?

Rabbi Harold Kushner lost a son to a degenerative disease—premature aging syndrome. He later wrote the bestsellerWhen Bad Things Happen to Good People. Trying to maintain his belief in God, he said that God is either not good enough, since he allowed the sickness, or not powerful enough to prevent it. He chose the latter. According to Kushner, God created the world but isn’t in complete control of it. In other words, God hopes for our good and sympathizes with us in our pain, but He’s powerless to do anything about it.

Job suffered a triple whammy, losing his wealth, his 10 children, and his health (Job 1:1–2:13). Job’s three friends, showing concern, came to comfort him (Job 2:11). Believing that suffering is always the result of sin, they took turns to convince Job (Job 4:1–25:6) to confess his sins so that God would bless him once again (Job 8:4-7Job 11:14-17Job 15:5-6).

As Job conversed with his friends, he lamented that they were not helping him but adding to his pain (Job 6:14-17). Speaking of God’s unfathomable ways (Job 26:5-14), he extolled God’s omniscience—His ability to know and see everything (Job 26:5-6). And, unlike Kushner, Job didn’t doubt God’s omnipotence—His great power and sovereign rule over all (Job 26:7-13). He also spoke of God’s transcendence—that God’s ways are far above our ways (Job 26:14).

While there’s mystery in God’s ways, there’s no uncertainty about His absolute sovereignty and power. Job concluded that what we can see God doing in this world is “just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power.” Awed by Him, Job asked, “Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14). Who indeed?

Obedience To God

 

Obedience To God

 

The Dilemma of Obedience

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision —1 Samuel 3:15

God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Then we say, “I wonder if that is God’s voice?” Isaiah said that the Lord spoke to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of his circumstances (Isaiah 8:11). Without the sovereign hand of God Himself, nothing touches our lives. Do we discern His hand at work, or do we see things as mere occurrences?

Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance (1 Samuel 3:9). Every time circumstances press in on you, say, “Speak, Lord,” and make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline— it is meant to bring me to the point of saying, “Speak, Lord.” Think back to a time when God spoke to you. Do you remember what He said? Was it Luke 11:13 , or was it 1 Thessalonians 5:23? As we listen, our ears become more sensitive, and like Jesus, we will hear God all the time.

Should I tell my “Eli” what God has shown to me? This is where the dilemma of obedience hits us. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences and thinking, “I must shield ’Eli,’ ” who represents the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli— he had to decide that for himself. God’s message to you may hurt your “Eli,” buttrying to prevent suffering in another’s life will prove to be an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own risk that you prevent someone’s right hand being cut off or right eye being plucked out (see Matthew 5:29-30).

Never ask another person’s advice about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will almost always side with Satan. “. . . I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood . . .” (Galatians 1:16).

 

Inspirational stories about helping others 
 

THE OLD LADY

From: Inspirationalstories.eu 

A man was driving his car, when he saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road. He saw that she needed help. So he stopped his Pontiac near her Mercedes and got out.

He smiled, while he was approaching her, still she was worried, as nobody had stopped for hours. Moreover, he did not look safe, as his appearance was so poor and shabby. He could see, how frightened she was, so he tried to calm her: „ I‘m here to help you, don‘t worry. My name is Bryan Anderson“.

The tire was flat, so he had to crawl under the car. While changing the tire, he got dirty and his hands were hurt.

When the job was done, she asked how much she owed him for his help. Bryan smiled. He said: „If you really want to pay me back, the next time you see someone, who needs help, give that person the needed assistance. And think of me“.

A the same evening, the lady stopped by a small cafe. That place looked dingy. Then she saw a waitress, nearly eight months pregnant, wiping her wet hear with a towel. The waitress had a sweet friendly smile, although she had spent on her feet the whole day.

The lady wondered, how someone, who has so little, can be so kind and giving to a strange. Then she remembered Bryan.

The lady had finished her meal and paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress went to get change and when she came back, the lady was gone. She left a note on the napkin: „You don‘t own me anything. Somebody once helped me, just like now I‘m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, do not let this chain of love end with you“. The waitress found four more one hundren bills under the napkin.

That night the waitress came home earlier. She was thinking about the lady and the money she left. She was wondering, how the lady could know, how much she and her husband needed it? Especially now, when the baby will soon arrive. She knew, that her husband worried about that, so she was glad to tell him good news. Then she kissed him and whispered „Now everything will be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson“.

 

Acts 12:1-25 (Good News Translation)

King Herod

From: Americanbible.org.

Introduction

Acts 12:1-25: King Herod (Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great) persecutes the followers of Jesus. Peter is arrested and imprisoned but is rescued by an angel. The chapter concludes with a description of Herod’s death.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 12:5

Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him.

Today’s Reading

1 About this time King Herod began to persecute some members of the church. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went ahead and had Peter arrested. (This happened during the time of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4 After his arrest Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him. 6 The night before Herod was going to bring him out to the people, Peter was sleeping between two guards. He was tied with two chains, and there were guards on duty at the prison gate. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, “Hurry! Get up!” At once the chains fell off Peter’s hands. 8Then the angel said, “Tighten your belt and put on your sandals.” Peter did so, and the angel said, “Put your cloak around you and come with me.” 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, not knowing, however, if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed by the first guard station and then the second, and came at last to the iron gate that opens into the city. The gate opened for them by itself, and they went out. They walked down a street, and suddenly the angel left Peter. 11 Then Peter realized what had happened to him, and said, “Now I know that it is really true! The Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod’s power and from everything the Jewish people expected to happen.” 12Aware of his situation, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer it. 14 She recognized Peter’s voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door, and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15 “You are crazy!” they told her. But she insisted that it was true. So they answered, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile Peter kept on knocking. At last they opened the door, and when they saw him, they were amazed. 17 He motioned with his hand for them to be quiet, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell this to James and the rest of the believers,” he said; then he left and went somewhere else. 18 When morning came, there was a tremendous confusion among the guards—what had happened to Peter? 19 Herod gave orders to search for him, but they could not find him. So he had the guards questioned and ordered them put to death. After this, Herod left Judea and spent some time in Caesarea. 20 Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they went in a group to see him. First they convinced Blastus, the man in charge of the palace, that he should help them. Then they went to Herod and asked him for peace, because their country got its food supplies from the king’s country. 21 On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22 “It isn’t a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted. 23 At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died. 24 Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow. 25 Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.

Obedience To God

 

The Dilemma of Obedience

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision —1 Samuel 3:15

God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Then we say, “I wonder if that is God’s voice?” Isaiah said that the Lord spoke to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of his circumstances (Isaiah 8:11). Without the sovereign hand of God Himself, nothing touches our lives. Do we discern His hand at work, or do we see things as mere occurrences?

Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance (1 Samuel 3:9). Every time circumstances press in on you, say, “Speak, Lord,” and make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline— it is meant to bring me to the point of saying, “Speak, Lord.” Think back to a time when God spoke to you. Do you remember what He said? Was it Luke 11:13 , or was it 1 Thessalonians 5:23? As we listen, our ears become more sensitive, and like Jesus, we will hear God all the time.

Should I tell my “Eli” what God has shown to me? This is where the dilemma of obedience hits us. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences and thinking, “I must shield ’Eli,’ ” who represents the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli— he had to decide that for himself. God’s message to you may hurt your “Eli,” buttrying to prevent suffering in another’s life will prove to be an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own risk that you prevent someone’s right hand being cut off or right eye being plucked out (see Matthew 5:29-30).

Never ask another person’s advice about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will almost always side with Satan. “. . . I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood . . .” (Galatians 1:16).

 

Inspirational stories about helping others 

THE OLD LADY

From: Inspirationalstories.eu

A man was driving his car, when he saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road. He saw that she needed help. So he stopped his Pontiac near her Mercedes and got out.

He smiled, while he was approaching her, still she was worried, as nobody had stopped for hours. Moreover, he did not look safe, as his appearance was so poor and shabby. He could see, how frightened she was, so he tried to calm her: „ I‘m here to help you, don‘t worry. My name is Bryan Anderson“.

The tire was flat, so he had to crawl under the car. While changing the tire, he got dirty and his hands were hurt.

When the job was done, she asked how much she owed him for his help. Bryan smiled. He said: „If you really want to pay me back, the next time you see someone, who needs help, give that person the needed assistance. And think of me“.

A the same evening, the lady stopped by a small cafe. That place looked dingy. Then she saw a waitress, nearly eight months pregnant, wiping her wet hear with a towel. The waitress had a sweet friendly smile, although she had spent on her feet the whole day.

The lady wondered, how someone, who has so little, can be so kind and giving to a strange. Then she remembered Bryan.

The lady had finished her meal and paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress went to get change and when she came back, the lady was gone. She left a note on the napkin: „You don‘t own me anything. Somebody once helped me, just like now I‘m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, do not let this chain of love end with you“. The waitress found four more one hundren bills under the napkin.

That night the waitress came home earlier. She was thinking about the lady and the money she left. She was wondering, how the lady could know, how much she and her husband needed it? Especially now, when the baby will soon arrive. She knew, that her husband worried about that, so she was glad to tell him good news. Then she kissed him and whispered „Now everything will be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson“.

 

Acts 12:1-25 (Good News Translation)

King Herod

From: Americanbible.org.

Introduction

Acts 12:1-25: King Herod (Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great) persecutes the followers of Jesus. Peter is arrested and imprisoned but is rescued by an angel. The chapter concludes with a description of Herod’s death.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 12:5

Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him.

Today’s Reading

1 About this time King Herod began to persecute some members of the church. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went ahead and had Peter arrested. (This happened during the time of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4 After his arrest Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him. 6 The night before Herod was going to bring him out to the people, Peter was sleeping between two guards. He was tied with two chains, and there were guards on duty at the prison gate. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, “Hurry! Get up!” At once the chains fell off Peter’s hands. 8Then the angel said, “Tighten your belt and put on your sandals.” Peter did so, and the angel said, “Put your cloak around you and come with me.” 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, not knowing, however, if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed by the first guard station and then the second, and came at last to the iron gate that opens into the city. The gate opened for them by itself, and they went out. They walked down a street, and suddenly the angel left Peter. 11 Then Peter realized what had happened to him, and said, “Now I know that it is really true! The Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod’s power and from everything the Jewish people expected to happen.” 12Aware of his situation, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer it. 14 She recognized Peter’s voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door, and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15 “You are crazy!” they told her. But she insisted that it was true. So they answered, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile Peter kept on knocking. At last they opened the door, and when they saw him, they were amazed. 17 He motioned with his hand for them to be quiet, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell this to James and the rest of the believers,” he said; then he left and went somewhere else. 18 When morning came, there was a tremendous confusion among the guards—what had happened to Peter? 19 Herod gave orders to search for him, but they could not find him. So he had the guards questioned and ordered them put to death. After this, Herod left Judea and spent some time in Caesarea. 20 Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they went in a group to see him. First they convinced Blastus, the man in charge of the palace, that he should help them. Then they went to Herod and asked him for peace, because their country got its food supplies from the king’s country. 21 On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22 “It isn’t a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted. 23 At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died. 24 Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow. 25 Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.