Tag Archives: Obedience

Understanding God: Characteristics And All

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So I’ve decided to read the bible from beginning to end. I haven’t given myself a timeframe or anything of the sort because my reason for doing it is simply to understand God better, so I’m not trying to rush the process. I really want to understand the principles within which he operates and see more of His heart in situations so that I may live a more pleasing life to Him. In times past I found the Old Testament tedious to say the least and there was no pleasure in reading the genealogy of the men of old or the rules by which they had to live, but lately, I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of the old scriptures and the revelation they bring as it relates to who God is and what he stands for.

One such revelation is just how important obedience is to God. Deuteronomy 28 in the NKJV started with the title “Blessings in Obedience” where the promises of blessings to the children of Israel were encapsulated in 15 verses. Then from verse 16 Moses speaks to the Israelites about the “Curses on Disobedience”. The next FIFTY-THREE verses tell of the curses that will come upon the Israelites if they should disobey God’s commands.

That’s a big difference in terms of volume and it’s not that the blessings weren’t bountiful or gratifying but it shows how seriously God takes disobedience. I’ve seen other instances in the bible where the punishment for one person’s disobedience affected an entire group of people and I’ve heard a lot of sermons on the importance of being obedient to God. What this chapter did was bring it home for me. It showed me that God has always hated disobedience, that it’s a part of His character. Yes He’s loving, yes He’s gracious, yes He’s merciful but a major characteristic of who God is lies in His love for obedience from His people and His displeasure in disobedience.

For me, what I’m taking away from this is that if I want to live a successful Christian life and continuously walk in God’s favour then obedience to God’s word needs to be a major part of what I do. I can never settle for simply knowing what the bible says but I must make a conscious effort to live out the word. Now, it’s not that I’m saying there isn’t a provision in grace and mercy for those times when I make mistakes or willingly go against what God requires of me, but ultimately, if I’m to live victoriously then I’ll have to consciously live an obedient life and see the blessings and favour of God shine through in everything I do.

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Emotional Engine Failure

Screen-Shot-2012-01-08-at-1.45.22-AMTo say that I’m an emotional person might be the understatement of the year. I love emotions and I understand my emotions and my potential behaviour when I’m at any given point on the rollercoaster on which emotions lie. Some years ago I heard the term emotional intelligence for the first time and once I understood what it was I spent some time analysing and understanding my own emotions and the emotions of others around me. In my observations I’ve noticed how easy it is for us to make decisions made solely on how we feel in the moment and then regret those decisions once our emotions tide over. I’ve found that the most irrational decisions made are those that are strongly influenced by how we feel while on an emotional high.

Emotions can often times stand in the way of us accomplishing what God has planned for us. Think about Jonah. God gave Jonah an assignment to warn the people of Nineveh. His task should have been a simple one to complete – go to Nineveh and warn the people – but his emotions caused his journey to be much more tedious than it should have been. Even after he spent three days in the stomach of a whale and finally decided to do as God instructed Jonah was so caught up in his emotions that rather than celebrate the change in people who heeded God’s warning he instead became angry that they were no longer going to be destroyed.

Jonah 4 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angrySo he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

jonah logoIn his anger, Jonah wished for death rather than life because he felt God should not have shown mercy to the people of Nineveh. In his anger he told God that his journey to the city was senseless because he knew from the beginning that God would spare the people. Jonah could not appreciate God’s graciousness and mercy because HE FELT the people of Nineveh didn’t deserve a second chance and should have been destroyed.

There was a time I had some information about a Christian leader that made me very upset with them. I was so angry that I distanced myself from that person because I couldn’t understand how they could live a double life and profess that they loved God. While in my angry state the Holy Spirit kept impressing on my heart the need to call that leader and encourage them. Of course in my “dignified anger” I never bothered to call but instead prayed for them and tried to move on with my life. In my mind whatever they were going through they deserved it and God was simply letting them reap the fruit of the seeds they were sewing. God never let up though, he never allowed me to feel comfortable until I picked up the phone and spoke to my leader. Imagine my surprise when the person on the other end of the phone confessed to being under spiritual attack and told me how they wished I had called sooner. I felt so foolish that day. I allowed my emotions to hinder what God was trying to do through me and rather than being a vessel yielding to God I tried to be a master handing down judgement.

How many times have we failed to celebrate the goodness of God towards those deemed lost or doomed because we felt they deserved destruction rather than mercy? How many of us allow our emotions to control our reaction to people and prevent us from living the life of unconditional love God expects us to live? How many of us wish death on people who do not live by the same choices we do and are yet to accept the Jesus we have come to know and love? How many times have we failed to show compassion to persons who aren’t Christians or persons who struggle openly with different areas in their lives although they’re Christians?

As humans we are not immune to emotions and becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we’ve automatically perfected the way our emotions affect us. As Christians we can however make a greater effort to avoid making irrational decisions when our emotions are in overdrive. Jonah is just one example of how someone’s emotions affected the work they were assigned by God in the bible. I’m sure if you did some honest introspection you’ll find ways that you would have dropped the ball on your assignments in the past because of how you felt. The thing is, as God pointed out to Jonah, we serve a God of grace and mercy. Our job is to simply be obedient to his instructions and commands regardless of how we feel. Moving beyond our emotions might be the difference between someone knowing and accepting Jesus as their saviour and that person’s soul being lost to the devil. It might be the difference between a person giving up on God and Christianity and someone continuing the race and sorting out their salvation. The thing is, we do serve a merciful and gracious God who uses us to accomplish his will, but to see his perfect will fulfilled we need to be humble and obedient and not let our own desires and emotions override what He wants from us.

I’m not saying becoming an emotionally intelligent Christian is going to be easy but I am saying it will be worth it!

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Disobedience: Is it worth the price?

I went to bed and woke up with the same subject on my mind: Choices. In a recent post I wrote about deliberately making bad choices without considering the true consequences of them. Today I’m wondering how many bad, deliberate choices are we allowed to make before God leaves us to do our own devices.

In 1 Samuel chapter 15 Saul went into Amalek to kill the Amalakites. Before his journey God gave him specific instructions to kill all that was in the city; both men and women, infants and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. Saul and his army destroyed everything with the exception of the King; Agag and the best of the sheep and oxen, which they intended to sacrifice unto God.

On the surface it seems that this was a well intended decision which would please God because in the midst of their battle the Israelite people considered the God who was with them and took the animals to offer before Him in celebration of their victory. How thoughtful and loving of them right?

Wrong. When God saw what they did he became angry with Saul and said

 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.”

God was not interested in the sacrifice of these animals unto Him as much as He was concerned about Saul’s ability to be obedient to His voice. He was upset because Saul chose to do what he felt was pleasing unto God and not what God said he would be pleased with.

I think this is the problem we face sometimes. Like Saul we have the knowledge of what pleases God and sometimes when given a task to perform we ignore the specific instructions he’s given to us and subscribe to what we know usually pleases Him. You see, because it was the custom of the Israelite people to offer the best sheep and cattle to God as a sacrifice they prescribed to that even when God said He didn’t want it.  So to, we have our customs and practices but I think we need to be sensitive to what is acceptable to God right now.

Saul’s disobedience made God reject him as king. In verse 22 and 23 of the same chapter the prophet Samuel says to Saul

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.”

In our own lives how many times have we rebelled against God and disobeyed His commandments? How many times have we been stubborn towards the instructions for life as prescribed in the bible? How many times have we chosen to offer a sacrifice; through prayer and fasting, excessive giving, acts of worship, in lieu of being obedient to what God is asking of us right now, without realizing that our sacrifices are meaningless if they are not in alignment with God’s request?

God compares our actions to witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry.

For me, this is a sobering revelation. One which I’m certain I’ll think about for many days with the hopes of it being embedded in my heart so I may never sin against God this way again. I’ve got a lot to think about and I’m sorry that I’m writing this prematurely, but for right now I feel like I have to let some of my thoughts out.

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Daily Dose – Stand Firm

Rock of Refuge

Psalm 94:22 But the Lord has been my defense, And my God the rock of my refuge.

Are you under attack by friends, family or coworkers?

If it comes because of your obedience to the Lord, stand firm in the face of their comments. He will defend you.

If you face harsh words or nasty attitudes, remain kind and He will assist you.

Should your boss do you wrong, don’t worry. Those who are against a faithful Christian are also against Him, and God will somehow make things right.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – Loving Correction

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Proverbs 3:12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights

Do you feel pain of God’s correction?

Take heart, since it shows He loves you.

Just as a loving father will not let his child walk in a dangerous place,  your heavenly Father is redirecting you onto another path.

Today’s discipline may hurt, but in days to come, your sorrow will turn to joy as you reap the blessing that follows obedience.

Your Father loves you deeply.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – Forgiven

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1 John 2: 12…………Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

Who could do something wonderful enough to earn God’s forgiveness?

No human work can buy it. God forgives because of who He is, not because of who we are or what we do.

That’s encouraging, because we can’t earn forgiveness by our own perfection. Instead, forgiveness becomes the great blessing of our Christian life that makes living for Jesus possible.

We obey God to show our appreciation, not to gain entry into His kingdom.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – Source of Salvation

BE SURE ABOUT SALVATION

Hebrews 5:9 He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

Salvation in Jesus is important to our earthly lives.

How many times has he dispelled danger or helped us avoid it? How often has sin failed to mar our lives because we obeyed His commands?

But Jesus is also the source of salvation in eternity. Instead of remaining forever in our earthly lives, God planned to bring us into everlasting life with Him in his kingdom.

In heaven, we will praise His salvation without end.

 

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – Obedience

obedience

1 Samuel 15:22 Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice

Sometimes we get so caught up in focusing on the sacrifices we want to make for God’s kingdom that we don’t take the time to be truly obedient to His word and His voice.

God wants us to be obedient to Him and His commands.

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Daily Dose – An Obedient Life

Psalm 119:1  Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord!

Want to be blessed? Then don’t live a sin-filled life.

God can’t pour out blessings on anyone who consistently ignores His commands.

Blessings belong to those who hear God’s word and take it to heart, living it out in love.

Want to be blessed?

Obey the master,you’ll live blamelessly and joyfully.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Listen

James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to LISTEN, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

I’ve come to believe that not many people pay attention to this particular verse in James, and if they do they don’t care to follow it. We live in the communication era; everyone has something to say and they have numerous ways to have their voices heard. Sometimes it’s easy to be sucked into a vortex of never ending chatter across various mediums with our hands cupping our ears. We are forever speaking and never listening.

I understand as believers our tongues and by extension our voice is our source of power from God. The tongue is our greatest weapon and as much as we need to use it on a daily basis it’s time we become more mindful about giving it a rest. Despite the recent trend WE DO NOT have to comment on everything, WE DO NOT have to answer every question out there and especially when we’re angry WE DO NOT have to let the opposition know what we’re thinking in that very moment.

WE NEED TO SHUT UP!! 

God wants to talk to us, but so much of us are caught up in our own ramblings that we do not allow God the opportunity to say a word. We pray and ask for answers, but do we stop and listen for his response? We have a lot of examples in the bible where god spoke to his disciples. Maybe he wants to speak directly to us but we’ve put on our ear plugs and put our tongues on overdrive, not allowing him access to our ears.

John 10:27 My sheep LISTEN to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I don’t wish for us to stop speaking all together or stop connecting with each other or stop spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. All I’m asking is that we take some time off to listen to what God has to say. God has given us instructions for a reason. Just like any other instruction given to us through the bible it is for our own good that we should practice holding our tongues.

Proverbs 29:20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. 

James warns that those of us who hear the word of God and does not follow it are like men who look at themselves in the mirror and then walk away not remembering what they look like. I pray that we do not become like those men. Let us follow the instruction given to us so that our words, when spoken will be for the up-lifting of God’s kingdom.

Colossians 4:Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

God Bless You!

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