Tag Archives: Obedience

God Knows Where You Are Going Even If You Don’t – Part 3

30 Sep

Boaz, The Son of a Harlot, Ruth, a Pagan – Brought Together by God and Became Part of the Lineage of Jesus Christ! 

Continued . . .

How great is our God! He took ordinary people – sinners – saved them and turned their lives around and made them part of the lineage of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King!

So, we find Ruth under the blanket, at the feet of a strange man. She did not sleep, she waited. It must have seemed a long time to Ruth. Finally, Boaz was startled and woke up! He asked who was there. Ruth replied, giving her name, and announcing she was his servant girl. She requested that he spread his cover over her. She told him she was a relative and reminded him that he was supposed to take care of her. The more we learn about Ruth, the braver she seems to get! Obedience certainly takes courage.

“Boaz was an older man, possibly a leader in the city. Naomi was certain that he would do the right thing and redeem her as was the custom of the day. If there was anything improper about this action, the fault must lie upon Naomi. . who knew or should know, the laws of Israel better than Ruth. It is true that Boaz, being near of kin to Naomi’s oldest son, and then nearest of all now alive, was obliged by the divine law to marry the widow of Mahlon, who was the eldest son of Elimelech, and was dead. Her coming to lie down at his feet, when he was asleep had such an appearance of evil. . . It is dangerous to bring the spark and tinder together; she (Naomi) knew Boaz to be not only an old man, but a grave sober man, a virtuous and religious man, and one that feared God.” (Bible Commentary)

Just imagine what God can do with one so dedicated and obedient. Here we are today, a couple of thousand years later, reading about a young woman born into a pagan land, submitting herself to one of God’s own and reaping such a mighty reward, here on this earth, in her lifetime – -God’s grace – His mercy – His blessing! Amazing!

Boaz blessed her! Wow! He realized Ruth was once again being obedient to Naomi by being there. He told Ruth he thought this was the greatest kindness that she had shown Naomi even from the beginning. Boaz was so intuitive. He told Ruth of his respect for her because she had not sought after a husband to marry, either rich or poor. Even more amazing, Boaz told Ruth he would do all she asked. He went so far as to tell her that all the people in their town knew she was a good woman. Then he then told Ruth that there was another kinsmen who was a closer relative than he. This meant there was a problem. Well, isn’t that the way life is?

This was an open door for doubt and unbelief to come in. We all face this in our daily lives. Many give up at this point and begin to murmur and complain. But, we can look back at how the path God had prepared for Ruth and know that He is still in control. His plan is still in operation. This is just a slight detour.

Boaz told Ruth not to be afraid. He told her of his plan to go to the other relative to see if he would take care of Ruth and if he refused, Boaz would do it. He then told her to stay there until morning. Ruth slept at his feet, not at his side, and got up just before daylight while it was still too dark for anyone to recognize her. “But as soon as the day broke, that she had light to go home by, she got away, before one could know another, that, if she were saying, yet she might not be known to be abroad soul unseasonably. She was not shy of being known to be a gleaner in the field, nor ashamed of that mark at her poverty. But she would not willingly be known to be a night walker, for her virtue was her greatest honor, and that what she most valued”. (Bible Commentary)

Ruth returned to her mother-in-law and told her what happened. Naomi advised Ruth to “wait”. She said that Boaz would not rest until he took care of the matter. And, as Naomi predicted, Boaz went to the city gate and waited there until the other close relative passed by. Boaz invited him to come and talk. He also gathered ten of the older leaders of the city as witnesses and told them about Naomi’s return to Bethlehem from Moab. He told the men that Naomi wanted to sell the piece of land that belonged to their relative, Elimelech. He offered the nearest relative the opportunity to buy the land and asked for an answer. The other relative said he would buy back the land. Goodness, another bump in the road of God’s plan. To be expected – right?

Boaz continued to explain that if he (the nearest relative) purchased the land from Naomi he must marry Ruth, the Moabite. That meant the land would stay in the name of Naomi’s son, which was customary in that day.

This changed everything! The close relative said he could not buy the land because it might interfere with what he could pass on to his own sons. So he told Boaz to buy it himself. Finally!

We all face bumps in the road as we wait upon God. Many times we give up – or take matters into our own hands. We live in a world where most things we want are instant, so waiting on God is not easy for any of us. But, the Scripture tells us that “Good things come to those who wait”.

So, Boaz declared to the older leaders that they were witnesses as to his purchasing from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons. He also announced that he was taking Ruth, the Moabite, as his wife so that her property would stay in his name and not be separated from his family. The older leaders testified to their witness of Boaz’s claim and blessed Boaz and Ruth.

So Boaz took Ruth as his wife. They had a son and Naomi was praised by the people of her town. They all gave credit to the faithfulness of Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, who loved her. The child’s name was given to him by the people of the town. They call him Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David from whom our Lord Jesus descended.

To make this story even more amazing, Boaz was the son of Rahab. Just think about it. Rahab was a harlot. God saved her and blessed her and she became a part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. And Boaz, born to Rahab, a fine man of God married a Moabite woman, called “strange” in that day due to her heritage. Yet, God saved her and brought her together with Boaz. Together they brought forth a son and became a part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. “Ruth is hereby brought in among the ancestors of David and Christ, which was the greatest honor. The genealogy is here drawn from Pharez, through Boaz and Obed, to David, and so leads towards the Messiah, and therefore it is not an endless genealogy”. (Bible Commentary)

Only God – – -only God – – -could bring about such an amazing, miraculous plan. As we were promised in the beginning of this story, “all things worked together to those who loved God. . .”

This is not the end of Ruth’s story – it’s a new beginning!

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God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t – Part Two

8 Sep

Continued from August 30

NOTHING BY ACCIDENT

. . . God prepares our way as we struggle day by day, putting one step in front of the other – sometimes not knowing where life is taking us.

As providence would have it, Ruth decided to go and work in the fields to glean the corn so that she and Naomi could eat. She just happened to select a field owned by a well known kinsman of Naomi’s husband named Boaz. One day Boaz saw Ruth gleaning in his field and asked the worker over his servants who she was. When the worker told Boaz it was Ruth, he had already heard what she had done for Naomi. She had proven herself as a notable woman in her deeds – everyone heard about it and then saw it. Boaz recognized that God had recompensed Ruth for all she had done for one of his own and saw that God was rewarding her and covering her with his protection.

Boaz gave instructions to his workers that they were to allow Ruth to continue to glean in his field. He even told them to drop extra corn so that Ruth might pick it up. He commanded them not to rebuke her or send her away. He also ordered them to watch over her and to keep her safe.
Boaz showed much kindness to Ruth for which she was very grateful.

One day, Ruth humbled herself and bowed low before him in thanks and asked him why she had found grace in his eyes. He told her that word had come to him about how she had devoted herself to her mother-in-law since her father-in-law’s death. He also knew she had left her father and her mother and her country to live in a land and people she knew nothing about. Boaz told Ruth that God wanted to repay her for these things and because she had put her trust in God and turned from pagan idols. Then, he told her that he wanted her to stay in his fields, close to his maidens. He wanted to make sure she was protected. This was God’s way of watching over her, again, unknown by Ruth.

When Ruth went home and told Naomi of the day’s events Naomi praised God and told Ruth that Boaz was a near relative who could redeem them. Naomi was a godly, perceptive woman. She wanted to find a home for Ruth and a husband. She wanted Ruth to prosper.

When the harvesting was finished, Boaz went among his workers to the threshing floor where they were winnowing the harvest. There was food and drink and celebrating.

Naomi told Ruth to bathe and perfume herself and change her clothes. She wanted her to put on her best clothes but not to look like a harlot. Naomi then instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be eating and drinking. She told Ruth to stay out of sight, not to let anyone see her, but to watch and see where Boaz slept. Ruth was to wait until he fell asleep and then go and lift the covers and lie down at his feet. Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would then tell her what to do. Ruth agreed to do everything Naomi told her.

Once again Ruth proves her courage her respect and complete trust in Naomi. Keep in mind that Ruth was from a foreign land. She knew nothing of the customs of Naomi’s people. God’s love continues to draw this young woman and continues to soften her heart. She was not an Israelite. She was a woman from another land. God had forbidden marriage to the pagan women there. It is even believed by some Bible scholars that Naomi’s sons died an early death because they married against God’s will.

This is an amazing act of God’s mercy and grace. God opens His arms to receive everyone. His love drew a pagan woman to Himself through one of His own. He then completely changed her through her hardships and made her into a virtuous woman, worthy of a good husband, a man of stature and wealth. Incredible!

The picture portrayed here is one of extreme proportions. To summarize, the two sons of Naomi sinned against God by taking foreign wives, forbidden women because of their heritage. Then, one of the very same women turned her heart over to God through her commitment and dedication to Naomi, one of God’s own people. God open the door for Ruth to marry into this godly family. How true it is that God’s ways are so much higher than ours!

To Be Continued . . .

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

• Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

Accomplish Great Things – Me?

14 Feb

“Accomplish great things – me?” You say, “I’m not Moses. He was a great man of the Bible, and I’m just ordinary.” 

Accomplish God’s Plan For Your Life

You can  accomplish great things with God’s help. It might surprise you to discover that Moses, too, was just an ordinary man. Reading about him in Exodus will shine a light on just how ordinary he was.  He was not a great man. He was just a man who God used to accomplish His will. It is always God we look to, not man. We need God, in all we do and in all we are.

Moses was born after Joseph died and a new king ruled over Egypt. The king decided that the population of Israelites (God’s children)  was growing too fast and he feared that they would become greater than the Egyptians. He also feared that if they became too great they would join the enemies of Egypt and fight against them.

In order to get more control over them, the King decided to set hard taskmaskers over them. God’s people became even more afflicted, but the Israelites were still multiplying. (God has promised to Abraham that his descendants would multiply greatly, and God always keeps His promises.)

The King came up with another plan. He instructed the Hebrew midwives to kill any male child born  to the Hebrew women, but to let the daughters live. The midwives feared God and did not do as the king had commanded them. They told the king that the Hebrew women were “lively and gave birth before the midwives could get to them.”

Since the midwives were obedient to God, He multiplied their numbers even more. So, the Egyptian people were instructed to throw every baby boy born into the river and drown them.

Moses was born at this time in history. His mother hid him successfully as long as she could but the time came when she could no longer keep him hidden. She feared for his life. She  placed him in a basket and sent his sister, Miriam, to place the basket in the river, and to keep an eye on it so she could report back as to what happened to Moses.

In God’s divine plan, the daughter of the Pharaoh was bathing in that very same river at the very same time that little basket floated by. (God’s timing is always perfect and miraculous!) She sent one of her maids to see what was in the basket.  When she saw the baby she knew it was one of the Hebrew children, and she had compassion on him because he was crying.

As another great part of this miracle, Miriam asked the Princess if she would like for her to find someone to nurse the baby. Guess who Miriam took the baby to? – You guessed it – back to Moses’ mother! And, to make that even greater, she paid Moses’ mother to feed him and take care of him until he was old enough to return to the King’s palace. God is just so good. His ways are truly amazing.

Moses Returned To The Palace

The day came when Moses was returned to the Pharaoh’s daughter, and she named him “Moses” saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

I find it so interesting that God had a plan for Moses before he was even born. Even though everything man could do to stop that work from taking place, God would not and could not be stopped. His perfect will for Moses and the children of Israel was set in motion. They needed someone to deliver them from captivity. God heard their prayers and Moses was sent to accomplish that task.

God sent Moses to live in the palace of the King who did all he could to destroy him! What’s even more spectacular to me is that Moses was raised in the King’s palace and learned all of the Egyptian ways. He experienced all the earthly material things of the King himself.

Moses Lacked Faith

Moses had received a great education and all the King had to offer, but he lacked what was most important to a child of God – faith. As he grew older and discovered more about his heritage. One day he made a big mistake – (interestingly, this mistake was used by God to make Moses into the man God wanted him to be from the beginning).

Moses saw an Egyptian man beating one of his Hebrew brothers. He checked to make sure no one was watching, then killed the Egyptian and buried his body in the sand. The next day Moses discovered that his secret had been found out and he fled from the palace in fear that he, too, would be killed when the Pharaoh discovered what he had done.

Moses fled into the desert and dwelt in the land of Midian. There he became a shepherd and took a wife. This was the new life of Moses. He no longer enjoyed the fine life of the king’s palace and his royal duties. He made a big mistake and traded his kingly robes for a shepherd’s robe in the desert.

The Desert

The Desert

A tree in the desert

One hot day in the desert, Moses saw a fire burning in the middle of a bush, but the bush was not consumed.  He decided to take a closer look. He went closer to the bush, burning – but not burning up. When he got close to the bush, and God spoke to him from the middle of that fire! He told Moses to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.

Do you ever take a closer look when something gets your attention? Or, do you let it pass and continue on your way? As disciples of Christ, it is extremely important for us to acknowledge the whispers of God – the small signs He places in our path to get our attention. Lots of times we just go on our way, oblivious to what God is saying to us. Know this, God is always with us and many times His Spirit gives us signs along the way as encouragement and warnings as to His will for our lives.

Self Doubt

This is the part I like best – God begins to tell Moses that he is now ready – he’s been prepared to do the work he was prepared for. God had taken all of Moses’ rights and wrongs – all of his mistakes. Every event of his life up to that point had prepared him to be the answer of thousands of prayers being sent up from the people of Israel for deliverance.

I don’t think Moses intended to be stubborn. Mostly, he doubted himself. He gave in to doubt, fear, and even unbelief. He doubted whether God could accomplish such a great task using a man like him. He was focusing on himself and what he could do rather than on God and what HE could do.

He questioned God about many things. I don’t think God minds our questions. I believe He would rather us ask Him in prayer and seek His answers in the Bible than to run to friends or other sources. After all, He IS The Way!

Moses offered up to God every excuse he could think of as to why he was the wrong person for the job. God answered his questions. Moses even asked God, “Who am I, that I should go to the Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  It  makes sense to me that he would ask that question. I certainly would have, and most of you probably would, too.

In the midst of the argument against his assignment, Moses challenged God by asking Him what he would do if the people did not believe him. God assured Moses that He would be with him every step of the way. He also told Moses something key to how God works in us. He asked Moses what it was he held in his hand. Moses had “only” a staff.

God can use what we have, whatever it might be, for His glory. Even if we don’t know how to do what He asks of us, He will see to it that we are prepared for what He calls us to do.

Next Time

In the next blog, I will continue with how God used an ordinary man to do a great work – not a work to bring honor to Moses, but a work to bring honor to God. When God gives us direction – He is responsible for the outcome, if we are obedient.

What is in your hand? Will you argue with God about what He wants from you? Even if you have nothing in your hand and God calls out to you, He will provide what you need.

It’s okay to ask questions, we are instructed to do that in the Bible. Initial doubt and fear are understandable. Give it back to God though. That’s part of His plan for you – not to carry the burden, but to let Him carry it.

Exodus  1-4 The Essential Everyday Bible Commentary NKJV

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COMFORTABLE?

5 Mar

Comfortable?
by Linda Weaver  
6/26/2013 / Christian Living

As God’s children we are sometimes led by Him into uncharted waters – areas we are unfamiliar with. In the Bible there are stories of many who were called by God into unfamiliar territory or directed by Him to do things that were way out of their comfort zone.

In Genesis, Chapter 12, we read that God told Abram (later called Abraham) to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household to go to a place God would later show him.

Wait a minute — do you mean God would ask someone He loved to pick up everything and just go somewhere else without telling them where?

What in the world would you do if God placed that instruction in your heart? Oh, and did I forget to say that Abram was 75 years old at that time? So, in case you are thinking you’re too old think again.

Further, the Scripture says, “So, Abram left, as God had told him”. I mean, Abram packed up everything – his belongings, his family, his animals and left his old life behind.

Okay, I’m sure I can imagine what you may be thinking. I don’t have the space to write about it all here. However; if you think God wouldn’t ask something of you without giving you a map from beginning to end, you are mistaken, my friend. That is what faith is all about.

Besides, I’m sure God may have already directed many of you in some areas of your lives. And, if so, how did you respond? I can probably guess at many of the questions and excuses that you could come up with. (Ask me how I know.)

“God, are you talking to me?”
“I must have imagined that.”
“Where in the world did that come from?”
“Surely God wouldn’t tell me to do that.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I can’t do that. How would I . . . ”

You see, the very lives we live follow God into many unknown areas and uncharted waters if we are truly listening to Him and letting Him direct us. It may not be about going to a “far country” as God instructed Abram. But, it may be a tug at our hearts to do something else which may take just as much faith. We can’t map out our lives like we do a vacation. When we walk with God, life gets very interesting at many levels. Besides, a “far country” is anywhere that is unfamiliar to us.

Think I’m a little out of balance? Well, it’s okay if you think that. Sometimes I’m not so sure myself. But, I do know this. I trust my God in heaven. I know His voice, and I follow His direction to the best of my ability.

Do I make mistakes? You can be sure of it. Will I again? I’m sure of it. Why? Because I am most certainly human. But, I have plenty to say about how faithful God has been to me in the midst of many a trial and many a storm. Most of them took me on a journey I didn’t think I was ready for with no idea of exactly how I was going to get there. My peace came from within, knowing that God would never fail me because He never has.

Each journey I take with my Heavenly Father, takes more of my trust and faith. And, each journey gets more exciting. Scary, yes, but exciting. God knows where I’m going that’s what is important. He can see around the corner — I can’t.

Walking with God doesn’t allow for being in a rut. Don’t like being uncomfortable? Neither do I, but I want what God wants for my life and that usually means being a bit uncomfortable. It also means not coming to a dead-end.

My friends, God wants you still kicking until He calls you to your mansion in the sky. If you sit down and get comfortable you’ll miss out on some exciting things.

Hearing Voices

14 Jul

Recently, Pastor said “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”?  That statement brought so many things to mind. Scripture tells us that Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NKJV

I’ve heard many people say that they don’t hear God’s voice or that God doesn’t speak to them. John 10:27 tells a different story. If we are born again Christians we are His children, His sheep, and His Word says that we hear His voice.

I like the way Pastor said it – “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”? We hear voices constantly – so much so at times that we can’t rest. Where do they all come from? They are not all God’s voice. We can’t claim that everything we do is directed by God because it isn’t. God’s Word, the Bible, is His Word. To know God’s Word is to know God. Without reading the Bible, we can’t know which voices we are hearing.

We hear voices on the radio, the television, people all around us, our inner thoughts, the devil and the still small voice of God. Even Jesus was tempted by satan as he fasted. Jesus, in turn, spoke the Word of God to Him and told him to flee.

Today the world around us moves so fast. We do our best to keep up, and in doing so we sometimes don’t take the time to consult with the One who was given to us as a counselor – the Holy Spirit of God. We don’t always have to stop everything we’re doing and get on our knees to talk to God although there is a time and place for that.

God is with us all the time, everywhere we go. We can talk to Him on and off all day. We can thank Him as we are blessed, call out to Him when we have a question and need guidance, or seek His knowledge and direction, as needed. He can, and will, give us instant direction if we need it. One of the shortest prayers in the Bible is “Lord, save me.” He hears us, and He knows us.

Sometimes we blame things on God that He didn’t do. We may not have trained ourselves to  focus on what God is saying to us. Listening to God and taking our marching orders from Him will assure that we remain in His perfect will. Ignoring that “red flag” we sometimes sense in our hearts is dangerous and can get us off track which gets us out of the will of God. Following God’s voice sometimes takes courage – especially if it takes us out of our comfort zone, but our comfort zone is not always part of God’s plan for us.

The “red flag” is that little bit of uneasiness we feel when we’re about to do something we shouldn’t do. A feeling that something isn’t just as it should be,  is reason enough to stop and reconsider our actions. The problem can be that we are facing a deadline and time is of the essence, but God isn’t limited by clocks and deadlines. Our trust in Him should be so great that we trust Him to work beyond a deadline. Ignoring His warning can lead to bigger problems.

God always has our best interest at heart. He knows the path we take and can lead us around the pitfalls. Our part is to listen to Him and obey His direction. The fear we feel inside can be transformed by prayer into faith. God looks on our hearts and knows we are doing our best to follow His lead. He is well able to turn things around for us and will do just that as we dedicate ourselves to following Him as He leads us.

God has a divine plan for each one of us. Getting to the finish line will be much faster and less complicated as we let Him lead us rather than take unwanted detours and distractions by following voices other than His.

 

 

We Are Limited – God Is Not!

12 Jun

There isn’t one day in our lives that God doesn’t already know about. We may encounter surprises or unexpected circumstances, but God is never surprised. He knows everything we do before we do it. We may not always be prepared, but God is.  He has every answer we need, and He will accomplish all that He has purposed for us. Our part is to walk with Him, and follow in obedience.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)

God wants to use each one of us for His purposes, which sometimes requires us to step out of our comfort zones. Our confidence should be in Him, not in our own abilities. As we take the first step, God is at our side, guiding us. He will equip us for any task He  brings our way. Past mistakes or  fear will attempt to hold us back, but God doesn’t require perfection; He wants our love, trust, and obedience.  As we follow His lead and do our part, He will do those things we can’t do; He will make a way.  Our challenge is to take the first step.

It is in our nature to want to know things in advance, but according to Scripture, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Our eyes should be on Him and what He can do – not on ourselves and what we can do. We are limited, God is not.

Where ARE You, God? How You Can Be Certain God Is Listening.

10 Apr

I have published an eBook which you can find at the following link or you can click on the book cover at the right.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J1906PK.

Where ARE You, God? – is the testimony of a few of the struggles and tragedies that God has walked me through. It also contains documentation of a great many amazing miracles God did for me during this time.

This booklet will encourage anyone who is struggling and questioning God. It will also testify to the fact that even as Christians we are not exempt from adversity. But, if we let Him, God will walk us through the fire and direct every step we take to an outcome that is best for us.

An Excerpt:  At 60 years old, I was taking care of my mother who had advanced Alzheimer’s disease. I was doing all I could to keep my head above water. My financial situation began to fail despite my best efforts to keep things in check. Eventually, I exhausted all possibilities to work things out on my own.

I saw the storm clouds gathering, again. Disaster darkened the horizon. I tried to prepare myself, but there was nothing I could do to stop the disaster from crashing in on me. I faced bankruptcy and foreclosure on the home that God had so miraculously provided for me. 

Nothing in my past struggles prepared me for the frightening ordeal that God was about to walk me through. I had to learn to listen hard to God’s leading—step by step—trusting Him to save me at the very brink of disaster. 

After crying uncontrollably one day, I picked up my Bible and God spoke to me out of I Samuel 12:16 (NIV) “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!”

I felt as though He had seen my tears and my breaking heart and was now telling me He had a great future for me. Yet, here I am at what seems to be one of the most frightening events of my life. And, now, I wasn’t sure what was happening to me.

 

 

 

 

Faith vs. Doubt

24 Mar

I want to have strong faith. I know I have the faith of a mustard seed, but I want never to doubt! I don’t know if that is possible.

I have lived the majority of my life as a child of God. So, I have had many opportunities to trust God. Sometimes, I didn’t trust Him at all. At other times, my trust was limited.  It was easy to have “faith” when I was fairly certain of the outcome.

Earlier in my walk with God, I knew about doubt and faith and being double minded. I found that I wavered a lot, just not intentionally. I wanted to believe. I knew, in theory, that I could trust God and that He could do anything.  I also knew from sitting under many years of teaching from the Word of God, what faith was all about. But, it took years for me to really get it.

Now that I am a senior citizen, I can say that although I would like to have learned about the subject of God and His ways quickly and then “graduated,” that just isn’t God’s way.  If that were the case, I wouldn’t have need of a day-to-day relationship with Him. My relationship with Him wouldn’t  grow, nor would I have learned what it means to really trust Him – following the Holy Spirit as He leads me through life.

Scripture says that I must pick up my cross daily, and follow Him. I can relate it to a relationship with a significant other. As we grow old together, we continue to learn new things about each other as we face life’s challenges. As I walk daily with Jesus Christ, my Lord, my relationship grows deeper and I come to know Him more as I walk in obedience to Him – I even learn about His ways when I don’t walk in obedience.

With each trial I face, I have the opportunity to either trust Him and follow Him in obedience, or not. Either way, if I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit, I can get to know Him and even myself, better. Trials aren’t sent as punishment or because God doesn’t care. Trials come for many reasons. Possibly, I act in disobedience – maybe not even on purpose. Or, something happens beyond my control. What is important is that I take everything to Him in prayer.

With each step that I take in my daily walk with God, I learn to trust Him more and more. I find contentment and peace as my relationship with Him deepens.

I have reached a place that I know, without any doubt at all, that God knows what is best for me. He will not fail me. Even when I make mistakes, He is there to help me. I have no doubt – none – about that. It doesn’t mean that I won’t have trouble, disappointment, or even sorrow, in my life. It means that God is with me every step of every day. If I allow Him to, He will teach me by His Holy Spirit, to rest in peace and trust Him with the outcome.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have doubts about circumstances and whether I am doing what is right.  And, I even doubt sometimes if God is going to do what I ask – the way I ask – when I ask. But, the bottom line is that I do not doubt that He will do what is best for me in His time, not mine.  My part is to yield to Him, trust Him and know that His ways are higher and better than mine.

What I can’t do is get upset and rebellious when things don’t go the way I want them to.  If I really want God’s best, I have to follow Him and trust Him. Otherwise, I get into trouble and have to humbly ask Him to forgive me and then to show me the way back.

God has proven Himself faithful to me again and again. He knows me so much better than I know myself. He knows what I like and what will make me happy. So, I can trust Him and not doubt that His ways are truly the best for me.

I have witnessed God’s miracles again and again, in the worst of circumstances.  God is so amazing – there aren’t words to express how good He is. Not because of what He can do for me, but because He loves me so much. His love is the same for everyone – we just have to receive it.

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