No More

Have you ever wandered away from God?

It’s easy to do – there are so many distractions.  It’s difficult to keep God at the top of our priorities when long lists of other things clamor for our attention.

So we wander.

I used to wander away from God pretty regularly.  I wouldn’t even it realize it until something bad happened so I would look to God – surprised at how far I had drifted away from him.

I stopped wandering when my spiritual habits became the foundation of my life.  Reading and studying God’s word daily has moved from a ‘if I have time’ thing to something that is not optional.  Talking with God and listening to him as he helps stay in line with him is not optional in my life.  Worshipping and serving God with my spiritual family is also not optional.  Tithing my time and treasures is not optional.   Others things have to be taken out of my schedule if my time with God is not happening.

When my life became grounded on my spiritual habits, the wandering stopped.  I am experiencing the blessings Isaiah told the people of Judah they would receive when they turned back to God –

God is gracious to me and always answers my call.  He has walked closely beside me in all of the tough times he has permitted to happen in my life.  He blesses me during these times – guiding me and teaching me.  Whatever is happening, I hear his voice in my head saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

I have given God first priority in my life and he provides everything I need each day.  I am confident that he will take care of me until the end of my days here on earth.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Choose to Obey

God asks you and I, “Do you want to be blessed?”  He tells us how in Leviticus 29.

If you are careful to obey my commands, I will shower my blessings upon you.

You will be fruitful and prosperous.

I will keep you safe.

I will bless you with peace.  You will sleep well – not fearful of anything.

I will remove all threat to your safety from your life.  Your enemies will fail.

Don’t worry about being outnumbered by the evil ones – I am on your side.  I will look upon you as my favorite child – providing for you and always being faithful.

My blessings will overflow in your life – one on top of another.

I will walk with you and live with you.  I will be your God and you will be my child.

I am the Lord your God who sent my only son to die for you so you might believe and live with me forever.

I gave you freedom so you can choose to stand faultless before me.  You can choose to walk closely beside me everyday.  You can choose to love me and listen to me.

You can choose to obey.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Believe It!

Our world can be so disappointing – people lying to get ahead, just telling you what they think you want to hear.  Often, never actually intending to do what they say they will do.

God is just the opposite.

He always does what he says he is going to do.

He always keeps his promises.

He doesn’t always do things the way that we think he should but – then again –

he is God and we’re not –

he is perfect and we’re not –

we have a 3.5 lb brain while his is infinite and eternal –

we just need to accept that his ways are better than our’s.  I need to believe that and stand firm each day on the fact that God loves me and wants the best for me.

God and I have a personal relationship and he tells me about my part of this relationship in Leviticus 26:3-13.  Let’s all underline this in our Bibles and believe it.

My part – keep his commands and obey him.

God’s response –

He will bless my labor, what I do.

I will have food to eat and a safe place to live.

He will give me peace – I will lie down at night without fear.

He will remove danger and my enemies from my life.  I will have victory over my enemies.

God will look on me with favor and keep all of his promises.

I will prosper.  He will be my God and I will be his daughter.

I need to believe this and move forward confidently – with my head held high and my eyes focused on my Father.

Then I will receive the blessings of obedience.

Amen.  May it be so, Abba Father.

We Miss the Blessings

How often do we decide to make a positive change in our lives – and then we don’t follow-through?  We change our minds.  It gets too hard so we give up.

How often does this happen?

All of the time.

How often are we convicted by the Holy Spirit to make an adjustment in order to better line our lives up with God’s will?  And, after we try, we give up.  When it gets tough, we go back to our old habits.

We are very fickle.

When it gets hard, we opt out of the hard changes that are needed and decide to go back to being comfortable.

In Jeremiah 34, we read about the Israelites doing this same thing.  The Law of Moses had restricted how long Hebrews could be slaves.  When Jeremiah pointed out that fact that the Israelites had not been following this law,  they saw that they were doing this wrong thing.  And they let their slaves go free.august 14 2016 we miss the blessings

“But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.” (vs 11)

We are not told the details of why the Israelites changed their minds – but we can read between the lines.

Life got hard.

The Israelites had to get their own water and cook their own food.  They had to clean and do all of the dirty work the slaves had been doing.

Obeying the law was just too hard so they decided to disobey and go back to the comfortable life they had before they were convicted of their sin.

And they missed the blessings that come after we obey.

God blesses obedience.

He has blessings lined up, waiting for us……if we’ll go through the tough part of obeying.

When we actually do the things that the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do, we are going to feel the satisfaction that comes with participating in God’s plan.  We will experience his blessings.

The blessings that only come after we obey.

Thank you, Abba Father.

I Will Send the Rain

If we were farmers, the right amount of rain for our crops would be critical to the amount of our harvest.

I grew up in rural Iowa and we would have standing-room-only extra prayer meetings in church if we needed rain for the crops.  We had no irrigation.

God provided the rain.March 6 I will send the rain

Today, we may not be farmers but we still depend on God to provide what we need.  He provides the jobs we have in order to buy food to eat and a place to sleep.  He provides his Word to us so he can guide us in making choices and decisions.

God provides the air we breath.  If he stopped, we would…….stop.

In Leviticus 26, God reminds us that, if we obey him, we will experience his blessings of obedience.  Notice this very important thing – obedience comes BEFORE the blessing.

After we obey, the rain (God’s blessing) will come down making our crops grow (our work and efforts will be successful).  The harvest (joy,  love, meaning) will be plentiful.

We will live safely in our land.

He will fight our enemies for us and bring peace to our lives.

When we obey, God will look upon us with favor.

And he will walk beside us every day.

He has promised and he always keeps his promises, so it will happen – after we obey.

Thank you for your blessing on our obedience, Abba Father.

This is the Way

We will not weep any longer.July 9 2015 this is the way

When we cry out to God for help, he answers us.  He has given us the freedom of making our own choices which means he has to stand back and watch when we make bad ones – choices that can have long-term negative consequences for us.

Other times, God creates adverse situations in our lives in order to discipline us and teach us.

Both of these situations cause problems and challenges in our lives.

When we’re knee-deep in trouble, the smart thing to do is to call out to God.  BEFORE we get neck-deep.

He will open our eyes to the truth and to the lesson he is trying to teach us.

Isaiah tells us in Chapter 30 that we will hear a voice behind us, saying. “This is the way, walk in it.”

If we choose to obey these directions, God will shower his blessing on us.  When it seems like there is only darkness around us, God’s light will break through to heal us and make us whole.  He will direct our next step and then our next one, until we get to the place that right for us – where he wants us to be.

Please help us obey, Abba Father.

 

Our Next Step

We can spend a lot of time thinking about and worrying about our next step.

The next step for our career.April 6 2015 our next step

The next step for our marriage.

The next step for our children.

The next step as we grow older.

Our next steps can often seem like they are in a fog – unclear, hard to see.

I’m one of those people who like challenges.  I like trying new things.  So thinking about my next steps excites me, motivates me.  But that doesn’t make them any clearer.

David shows us in 2 Samuel what to do at times like these.  David inquired of the Lord.  He asked God if the next step he was planning to take – going to a town in Judah- was the right one.  And God said, “Go.”

Then David asked for more details – which town was he supposed to go to?  And God said, “Hebron.”

So David went.

At this point, David could be 100% sure he was where God wanted him to be.  With that assurance came the knowledge that God would be protecting him and blessing him in Hebron.

We can have this assurance as well – that we’re right where God wants us, covered by his love and protection.  We just need to ask.  God will answer.

James 1 teaches us to believe that God will answer.  We need to have no doubts about this.   God promises that he will give us generous amounts of wisdom in every situation…..if we ask him and believe.

The answers may not be what we want to hear.  David might not have wanted to go to Hebron.  But he went.  He obeyed.  A wise choice.

David believed that God would guide his steps.  And God did.

God promised he will do the same for us.  One of my favorite verses about this is Proverbs 3: 5&6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

We claim that promise, dear Father.  Thank you.

Sword Fighting Class – Look Intently and Be Blessed

Consider if pure joy, my dear brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1 1 - 9 If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives wisdom to all without fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like the wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.  But the one who is rich, should take pride in his low position, for he will pass away like the wildflower.  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed.  In the same way, a rich man will fade away even as he goes about his business.James 1 part 2

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor can he tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full-grown, give birth to death.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruit of all he created.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this; everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word of truth that is planted in you, which can save you.  Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourself.  Do what it says.

Anyone who listens to the word and does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

We are almost to the end of James 1!  Great job!  Here’s this week’s verse:

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it – that man will be blessed in what he does.

When we hear God’s word and we let the Holy Spirit direct us and correct us through it, we are blessed.  Every part of God’s revelation to us has a purpose in our lives.

As we live a life obedient to God’s word, he has more and more room to bless us.  He becomes increasingly more precious to us the closer we walk with him.

What we say is not nearly as important as what we do.

Please help us be doers of your word, dear Father.

 

Blessings Come After Obedience

We obey,

and then we are blessed.

We read this in Deuteronomy 11 and we also see this same principle mentioned several more times through the scriptures.Feb 17 2015 Blessings come after obedience

God’s blessings come as a result of obedience.

It would be easier if it was the other way around, wouldn’t it?  “God, if you do this thing I want, then I will do what you want.”

We pray to God asking for his blessings on our life and on the lives of others.

But – are we obeying?

That’s the first step.  Then the blessings follow.

Moses told the Israelites to love the Lord with all of their heart and soul and strength.  If they did this,  THEN God would send the rain for their crops and their cattle.

Moses warns them against being enticed by other gods and disobeying.  In their time, these gods were wooden and metal statues.  In our time, it’s often money and possessions.  The god of More can often get more of our attention that the Master of Universe.

Moses told the Israelites that, if they worship other gods, the One True God would shut the heavens and they wouldn’t get rain.  They wouldn’t be blessed.

This leads to some very important self-evaluation for us today –

Are we experiencing the abundant raining down of God’s blessings as a result of our consistent obedience?

Or has God shut down the flow of blessings as a result of our disobedience?

Abba Father, please open our eyes to your truth.

Leviticus 26, 2014

If you obey me, I will grow much fruit in your life.  Your work will produce harvest after harvest after harvest.

I will bring peace to you and you will not be afraid.  I will remove the things that scare you and I will keep you safe.

When you face your enemies, I will be with you and you will have victory.March 6 2014

I will look on you with favor and I will keep all of my promises to you.  I will abundantly provide for all of your needs and I will always be with you.

I will be your God and you will be my people.

I am the Lord your God who has conquered death for you so you are no longer slaves to sin.  I have removed the burden of your sin and have adopted you as my sons and daughters.  You are now Prince and Princesses of a King.

These are the blessings of ObedienceAmen! Hallelujah!