Obedience and Blessings

ObedienceAndBlessings

I am blessed to use several devotionals throughout my day and week. One of my sources of inspirational reading is the blogs I read from YOU! I so appreciate your interpretation of and encouragement in God’s Word.

Another that I read and study daily is Quiet Walk’s Walk Through the Bible daily devotional, found here: http://www.walkthru.org/qw-daily-devotional

Today’s readings inspired me to go off on some tangents about obedience (one of my favorite topics). It starts with a Bible passage I love, where Hezekiah spreads Sennacherib’s letter before his Lord, in the temple. The discussion pointed out that, “God is not reluctant to bless us. But we must be sure we are eligible by being faithful to Him.”

God is a God of faithfulness! He loves to shower His blessings upon us. But we must position ourselves to be eligible to receive His blessings.

How?

By being obedient.

How to be obedient?

READ GOD’S WORD!

Without God’s Word, it is easy to assume and visualize in our minds how we can be obedient to God. We can (and do) make up anything we want to push ourselves into believing we are pleasing Him, while in reality we are conniving to please ourselves.

God is our plumb line, our source of Truth, of reality. Everything we do or say or think or feel must be aligned with the Truth He gives us in His Word.

Mind you, blessing does not always mean a lovely life filled with roses and lemonade. Blessings come in all forms. Sometimes a blessing looks like a face of anger or a scary situation or a blocked road or even death, to turn us to the direction God wants for us. If we are in tune with God, if we know Him, His Word, His Spirit of Truth, then He WILL guide us.

None of us is always obedient. We try, and God forgives. The devotional this morning continued with this passage from Joel 2.12, 13: Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Sometimes we are afraid to be obedient to God, fearing we won’t get what we want. God knows our hearts. If we will but surrender to Him, He gives us joys we cannot imagine – even better than what we thought we wanted!

Pray with me:

Lord, I praise You. I worship Who You are, and I bow before Your throne of glory. I acknowledge my weakness and my sin. I come before You, knowing You love me, You welcome me, and You want Your best for me. Increase my faith in Your goodness. Guide me to read more of Your Word, instruct me in the way I should go. Give me a heart that yearns for You, a heart that desires above all else to know You and please You. Give me eyes and a heart to see the beauty and peace and joy of Your Ways. Amen.

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Oh, the Injustice!

I have a few devotionals going at any given time, and most of them now are focused on events leading up to and including the crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.

All these things – indeed, all things since the beginning of human history – have been intended by God for us and for His glory. He does / He allows these things out of His great love for us.

In studying the events leading up to the crucifixion, we can see that there were a great many injustices to Jesus, much tidings of unfair treatment, of men twisting facts and reality to achieve their own ends. We cringe at injustice, we cry out, and we are grieved.

I thought this morning on those unjust events, and brought it to present day. Humans have not improved in the justice and righteous department at any time in history. God allowed the injustices to Jesus for us, because He loves us.

The same is true today. God allows injustices because He loves us.

At the time, no one, including those who loved Jesus, could see why these things had to happen. No one could see The Big Plan. No one had God’s perspective.

We still don’t.

I cannot begin to put words to the immeasurable, infinite peace I have in my heart, my mind, my soul, in knowing that God’s got this: He is in control, He’s perfect, and He loves me.

I pray you, too, know His Peace.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Know Him. Know His Word. Obey Him.

Promises of Love

PromisesOfLove

John 14.15  If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 14:23  Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

These are promises, not ultimatums. They stem from The Greatest Commandment in Matthew 22.37-40

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

And from 1John 4.19 We love him, because he first loved us.

In and of ourselves, we are unable to love God. He quickens our spirit through His love, and then we are able to love Him. As we surrender to Him, we receive His love more and more. As we love Him, we desire more and more to know Him more deeply, to know His commandments, and to keep His commandments. He fills us with desire for Him, and His desire is for us to find true joy, peace, and love in Him, His way. That’s how He designed us.

Love Is and Is Not

Ah, love! What is love?

We must turn first to God’s Word, because it is Truth, and it says that God is love. Pay attention to what God says about love, because He is the Author of love, and He created us. His love – agape – is true love.

God is perfect; therefore, His love is perfect. He loves unconditionally: that means

  1. He loves you because He said He loves you (John 3.16) and God never lies.
  2. He loves you no matter what you do or don’t do.
  3. He loves you just as perfectly and unconditionally as He loves other people (so it’s no use comparing ourselves to anyone else and how we might think God must love them more because their life is prettier than mine).
  4. He loves you just as much as He loves Jesus.

Did you get that? God loves you just as much as He loves His only begotten Son, Jesus. How do I know that? Because God’s love is perfect, always. It’s always unconditional. It’s never less than any love He has for anyone or anything else. God loves you fully, with all He has and is. Because He is perfect, He cannot love less than fully perfect.

Unfortunately, we twist the meaning of love. We choose to think love is a feeling. Even if we think we’re showing love to another person, it doesn’t always work out, because we’re working from our own definition of love, not God’s love.

How do you love?

Many people think love is a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s not. Love is where you spend most of your time; it’s your priority. Even if someone thinks they hate themselves and are despicable, and cut themselves or think of suicide, they still love themselves most because that’s where they are spending their thoughts and their time and energy. It’s no coincidence that depressed people find meaning and joy when they start volunteer work: they learn how to think of others more than they think of themselves.

It is very important that you choose how you love, and how you perceive love, very wisely. Again, God is our model, our anchor.

A scenario: If the person you love does not love you and accept you, then, in your mind, you are not loved, you are not accepted; you are not lovable, you are not acceptable.

As much as I know it’s not healthy to be co-dependent, if someone I love doesn’t love me back, then (in my mind) I am totally unlovable: something is wrong with me, and I can’t fix it because the unlovable part of me is my person – who I am.

This is a tangled issue when it comes to family. A mother or father who does not love (or does not know how to show love to) a child is a tragic situation.

Be assured that God will show love to everyone, no matter the situation. He will bring His people.

God tells us to love one another. We can love because He first loved us. His agape is a pure, unconditional love. It involves forgiveness.

The healthiest One to be co-dependent with is God. He always loves me. He created me, and He created me in love. He knows my innermost thoughts, and nothing is hidden from Him. That’s why it is critical to put God first. My identity is in Christ, not in another person. He loves me, therefore I am lovable.

If love is a confusing issue for you, go first to God. Read His Word, speak with His loving Spirit, let Him speak to you.

And also remember to show God’s love to others every day. You never know when God is using you to show His love.

1 John 4.19 We love because He first loved us.

Ruth’s Obedience

I listened to a sermon about Ruth yesterday. The pastor pointed out that Ruth gleaned from the fields of Boaz and that, even though Ruth was content with living off the “left-overs,” God had so much more for her; and, so much more for us.

Even though the pastor focused on Ruth’s kindness, I have always been drawn to the picture of obedience that Ruth paints. She did all that her mother-in-law, Naomi, directed her to do. The basis for her obedience seems to be her commitment to her mother-in-law (Ruth 1.16-18), which I believe was given to her from God.

It was Ruth’s initiative to glean from the fields, and she “happened” to choose the field of Boaz. Naomi was excited to learn (and recognized immediately that it was God’s Hand) that Boaz had shown kindness to Ruth, as Boaz was a near kinsman, able to redeem Ruth (and, by extension, Naomi). Boaz had, indeed, singled out Ruth to extend his kindness to protecting her, feeding her, and heaping upon her that for which she worked.

Note that Boaz, also, exhibited obedience to God in that he followed God’s ordinance to harvest his fields but leave what was left for the gleaners. If he had not been obedient, if he’d been one to hoard it all for himself, he would not have met Ruth.

The height of Ruth’s obedience came when Naomi directed her to, at night, find where Boaz was lying, uncover his feet, and lie there. What would happen next? Naomi told Ruth that he would tell her what to do. Ruth’s reply to her was simply, “All that thou sayest unto me I will do.”

In her shoes, I might have argued. Whaaat? Lie down next to a man I hardly know, and he will tell me what to do? What if he laughs at me? Scorns me? Ignores me? Throws me out? Gets embarrassed and asks me quietly to leave?

But Ruth obeyed. God blessed her obedience.

{God always blesses obedience.}

So I played, “What if…”

What if Ruth had not been so obedient? What if she decided she wasn’t worthy to try to grab the attention of such a distinguished and popularly honored fellow?

Don’t we all sometimes disobey because we think we’re not worth it? Because we’re less than others? That we don’t deserve such kind treatment? We haven’t earned the right for others to think highly of us?

That we don’t deserve to be loved like that.

God created us, and He decided that WE DESERVE TO BE LOVED LIKE THAT. That’s what He created us FOR!

Look at the blessings and honor He showered upon Ruth: She’s a direct kinsman to King David and to Jesus Christ Himself!

It is the epitome of egotism, pride and puffed-up self to think that our opinion of ourselves is more valid than God’s opinion of us.

Read in God’s Word what He thinks of you. (See my post, A Love Letter to You.) Act in obedience to Him. See what amazing blessings He desires to shower upon you, His beloved child.

Luv Dat Famlee

Family get-togethers,

reunions and such,

aunties and uncles

get back in touch

 

with all those we love,

and all those we don’t;

those whom we hug

and those whom we won’t.

 

It’s hard to choose,

when family gives you lip:

grit your teeth

or let ‘er rip.

 

They gabble together,

those elders lament,

of morals and politics;

Wonder where the grandkids went?

 

Food brings us back

and ties us together.

Ice cream and sparklers

strengthen the tethers.

 

Families are funny

the way they pan out,

a mish-mash of kin

we can’t do without.

 

Born into, or adopted,

or take in a stray.

We love ’em, we hate ’em,

can’t give ’em away.

 

When it comes to family,

one cannot choose.

When it comes to family,

one cannot refuse.

 

Pour out thy love,

measure by measure,

to those whom God gives you

in His good pleasure.

A Love Letter to You

love letter

Dearest (insert your name here), my Beloved,

I have searched thee, and I have known thee. I understand your thoughts afar off. I encompass your path, and I am acquainted with all your ways. I have beset you behind and before, and I have laid My hand upon you. Take heart, my beloved! There is nowhere you can go from My Spirit, nowhere you can flee from my presence. Even if you dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall my hand lead you, and My right hand shall hold you. I have made thee most fearfully and wonderfully. I have made your soul to know that I have created a marvelous work in you.                                         Ps 139

I take pleasure in you. I beautify the meek with salvation.                                         Ps 149.4

I am ever in the midst of thee, and I am mighty. I will save. I will rejoice over thee with joy; I will rest in my love for you; I will joy over thee with singing.                     Zeph 3.17

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.                                                                                                                     Is 41.10

I will show you the path of life: in My presence is fullness of joy, and at My right hand there are pleasures for evermore.                                                                                 Ps 16.11

I am love. I have brought you to dwell in Me, and I dwell in you.                     1 John 4.16

Out of my love, I have created you in order that I may have a relationship with you. You are rooted and grounded in love. I draw you to Me, that you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of Me, your Creator and Lover of your soul.                                                Ephesians 3.17 – 19

My Dear, you are Mine forever. And I have given unto you eternal life; you shall never perish, and no one can ever pluck you out of my hand.                                    John 10.28

I will cherish you forever, and we will be together forever.

Agape,

Your Lord and Creator, Jehovah