Posts Tagged ‘ Obedience ’

If Only

O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways. Psalm 81:13 NRSV

MP900399410[1]If only they would listen to me and do what I told them to do.” That’s something I’ve said repeatedly over years of raising children. I’ve found that one of the hardest parts of parenting is letting children go, and allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions as they grow up. It is painful to watch those you love stumble and fall.

If only they would listen!

Of course, the experience parents have is but a small glimpse into what God must experience. In Psalm 81, the writer makes it clear that God wants God’s people to have a single-minded devotion. God longs for them to listen to God’s words and to follow in God’s ways. The Lord longs for those who claim their place in his family to submit to his will. God simply desires the full devotion and obedience of God’s people.

If only God’s children would submit to God’s will.

If only that was what God got. Statues of strange idols dotted the landscape of the nation. God’s people bowed down and gave their worship to foreign gods. But like a patient parent, God continually admonished those who strayed, and encouraged them to change their ways. The Lord made it clear that if they would turn from their stubborn ways, then they would be blessed in ways that went beyond anything they could have asked for or imagined. God would put down their enemies and bring them victory. God would provide them with the finest of blessings and satisfy their longings.

MP900399407[1]I believe God is no different today. Each of us has a place as a child in God’s family, but we also have to choose whether we will listen and follow God’s ways.

Listening and following are a choice.

There are so many other voices today calling for our attention. There are so many other roads we could follow. But the psalmist’s plea is as fresh today as it was when it was written. God wants us to submit daily to the truth of God’s word. God wants us to walk in whole- hearted devotion to Jesus Christ. The Lord wants our worship and our full obedience.

MP900399412[1]If we listen and respond to God’s call, then God will be able to lead us, use us and bless us. If we are willing to put away our stubborn and selfish ways, then God can do for us everything God wants to do and give us everything God wants to give.

So why not love God with your whole heart, soul and mind, and then enjoy God’s  blessings today!

Walk in the Way of the Lord!

Prayer:

Patient God, your call is clear and consistent. My response is not always what you ask for. Forgive my tendency to go my own way. Help me to conform my will to yours, and to do all you ask me to do!

Amen.

Demands

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

I struck you with blight and mildew; I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards; the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. Amos 4:9 NRSV

The ancient Israelites prided themselves on being the chosen people of God. But it didn’t take long before that wasn’t really enough for them. Many decided to go their own way, to do their own thing, and to worship their own gods.

MP900399041[1] In response, God sent a series of judgments to turn the people back to repentance. That didn’t work. For the most part, God’s people turned a deaf ear to God’s judgments.

When things start going bad, I think it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Continuing to rebel against God’s law, and turning our backs on God’s call for obedience, are bound to lead to tragic ends.

Despite repeated warnings, that’s exactly what happened to God’s people. They continued to go their own way, until they were overrun by foreign invaders and carried off to exile.

MP900446637[1] Even though I’m not a coffee drinker, I know that waking up and smelling the coffee can get things moving in the right direction. God still wants us to turn from sin and walk with Jesus. God still wants us to go God’s way instead of our own. God is still calling for obedience from God’s people.

This might be a good time for us to learn from the mistakes of the past. Turning away from the self-indulgent distractions, embracing a lifestyle governed by the principles of God’s love and grace, and rededicating our time, talents and resources to God’s work is always the right thing to do.

Wise people learn from the past. Wise people pay attention to what God is saying and doing.

Let’s let God’s call turn us around, and draw us ever closer to the rich and rewarding life of discipleship God has prepared for each of us!

No More “No!”

MP900401577[1] Any parent with young children knows that as soon as children begin asking for something, a “No!” starts bubbling up inside us. That’s perfectly normal. It’s almost become a reflex, because we get a relentless barrage of ideas, wants and needs coming at us day after day.

What’s not normal is when we let that “No!” slip out at the wrong times. When our children want to cuddle up close, they don’t need to be pushed away.

And when God calls us to action, we don’t need to say “No” either.

That’s the theme of the song in today’s video. The time has come to stop saying “No!” to God. The time has for us to open our eyes to the needs around us, to listen to the voice of God directing us, and to giving our time, talents and treasure to doing God’s work.

I think we all need to be reminded once in awhile that “No” isn’t always the best response. Click here to watch the video. Then ask yourself if you have been saying “No” when all God wants is a joyful “Yes!”

Opportunity Knocks: Will You Answer?

Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Peter 1:14 NRSV

MP900449043[1]Opportunity came knocking. I answered.

“It looked like fun. I knew I shouldn’t do it, but I did it anyway. I thought, how bad could it be?”

Now look where I am. I’m in a hole.

The story is as old as humankind.

Even when we make bad choices, God is still at work in our lives. God knows when we fall, and sees us languishing in our holes. God graciously orders circumstances in our lives to give us the opportunity to turn our lives around. In our weakness, God offers us strength. In our confusion, God offers clarity. In our bondage, God offers us freedom. In our brokenness, God offers us wholeness.

There will always be opportunities to fall and inclinations to sin. There will also be opportunities to love God and respond to God’s grace.

MP900446559[1]So whether or not you are in a hole right now, which way are you leaning? Are you inclined to acknowledge God, accept God’s love for you, submit to God’s will, and conform your life to a pattern of holy living? Or are you more inclined to satisfy your own desires and live by your own rules?

Christians have a choice. We get to choose the kind of life we live. The choice is to follow evil desires, or to strive to be holy in all we do. We must choose wisely when opportunity comes knocking!

Of course this is not a one-time choice. It’s a decision we have to reaffirm day by day, and sometimes moment by moment!

Today’s verse reminds us that when opportunity knocks we are to choose wisely, and conform our lives to what God wants. We are to align our behaviors with the One who calls us. We are to live by God’s law, by the principles outlined in God’s Word, and by the example given us by Jesus Christ.

Then we will glorify God and stay out of the hole, no matter what opportunity or inclination comes our way!