Tag Archives: obey God

Why Try

We all like to understand things. Some of us like to understand more than others. I remember when I was young and would take apart our VCR (remember that?) and see if I could put it back together. I learned how the VCR worked so well I was able to fix ours from time to time.

When it comes to life, we are to walk by faith. This means that we won’t always know what is going to come our way. We may not even understand some of it. But even so, we are supposed to press onward in faith. As today’s verse says, “The LORD directs our steps.” Since He directs our steps, there’s no reason to understand everything. We don’t need all of the whys because we know the Who and we can trust the Who, knowing that all the whys are for our best.

Today, understand that no matter how many times you dig into the Word, you won’t have all of the answers. But it’s okay! You may not understand everything along the way, but you will be walking with Him through it all. That’s so much better.

“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [NLT]

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Just Obey

Sometimes it seems like we try to make things difficult, like we cause things to be complicated. The Bible tells us to not add or subtract anything from the Word of God. We are to “just obey.” This seems like a simple command, but again, we like to overcomplicate things.

Some people attempt to add to the Word of God to require people to jump through hoops to try to fulfill the commands. The Pharisees were big on doing this, and kept a whole collection of additional commands to make it hard for everyone. This kept them in control. Other people like to subtract from the law of God. When we remove things that God says, it becomes easier for us to follow; however, we then have drawn a line in the sand and changed something we were never permitted to change. If we have removed some of the law, we are not following the law.

God wants us to obey. We do not need to add anything to make it difficult for some people to fully obey. We also shouldn’t subtract anything to try and make it easier. As we remove items, we distort what God set. Today, just obey. Don’t try to add or subtract. Only obey.

“Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you.” – Deuteronomy 4:2 [NLT]

Loyal Spirit

Today’s verse is one of the most quoted from the book of Psalms for good reason. The request to create a clean heart is because the heart is defiled with sin. We can easily understand that our hearts are defiled and need cleansing. He alone can cleanse us.

The Hebrew word used for “loyal,” “faithful,” “right,” and “steadfast,” is translated as “to be firm.” It is associated with correcting, and putting right. To renew a loyal spirit is a request to help the Psalmist stand firm and not succumb to temptation again—a spirit that is prepared and ready, a spirit that is established and immovable, one that moves forward in faithful obedience.

What the Psalmist is asking God for is for a heart that is pure, undefiled from sin—for God to cleanse all that was defiled. He then is asking God to help him to have a renewed spirit, a strong and faithful spirit that can stand firm so he no longer succumbs to temptation—so that he no longer goes against God, but instead follows in faithful obedience. Today, let us pray for a clean heart and a right spirit. Let us walk in faithful obedience.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10 [NLT]

All Sin

The Message translation of 1 John 3:4, says that “sin is a major disruption of God’s order.” Sin is anything that is against God. We know that “everyone who sins is breaking God’s law.” God is holy and He cannot look at our sin. He has a beautifully orchestrated plan and He knows the best way. When we go against His will, we sin.

Note that the New Living Translation says that “ALL sin is contrary to the law of God.” All sin. It’s important to never get caught in the habit of labeling sin and deciding what sin is worse. Sin is sin. All sin is contrary to the law of God.

Today, remember that sin is anything that goes against God. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all need a savior (Ephesians 2:1). Remember that, “Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin.” He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Our debt has been paid in full, but this does not mean we should keep on sinning (Romans 6:15-16). Allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit guide you. Reach for the freedom that Jesus Christ offers and follow Him (Romans 6:17-18).

“Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” – 1 John 3:4 [NLT]

“All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.” – 1 John 3:4-6 [MSG]

Be Anxious

The Bible tells us not to be anxious (Matthew 6:25, Luke 12:25, Philippians 4:6), but there is a moment when the Bible tells us to be anxious. In 1 Peter 4, we are told to be anxious—to “be anxious to do the will of God.”

Peter warns us not to be spending our lives chasing our own desires. Remember that the desires of the flesh are contrary to the Spirit. We read, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh for the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:16-17 NIV). Instead of “chasing your own desires,” you are to “clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14 NIV).

Do you anxiously pursue the will of God? Do you chase after the will of God? Or do you usually find yourself chasing after your own desires? Today, seek the will of God. Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ.

“You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” – 1 Peter 4:2 [NLT]

Helping Yourself

You may have heard the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” It is something that is said often to encourage people to not stand around, but instead to do something. Action is certainly important, but this phrase is often misunderstood by believers and nonbelievers.

Regarding salvation, we cannot help ourselves. The Bible says that, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6 NIV). We were and are helpless. Through Christ alone is our salvation. We cannot be “good people” to earn salvation. It is a free gift. This is grace.

Even so, we understand that we are not to sit around doing nothing. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, we read of the command that “those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” God blesses those who obey. While in Galilee, Jesus told His disciples, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did this, they had a large number of fish in the net (see John 21:6).  Action is important. But we are never “helping ourselves.” We are living a life in Christ, following His will. He is our Helper. We are blessed as we walk in obedience. You want to help yourself? Reach out and jump into the arms of your Heavenly Father. Cling to His Word. Walk in His ways. It is never a life lived alone—it is never a life lived on our own strength. You are not helping yourself, but rather, allowing Jesus to guide your steps, to be Lord of your life. He is your help. He is you refuge. He is your everything!

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.’” – Jeremiah 17:5 [NIV]

“The one who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.” – Proverbs 28:26 [HCSB]

Acts: Persecution

Acts Series: Persecutions

… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12 [NIV]

Bold Speech + Truth = Persecution

“When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.’” Acts 7:54-60 [NIV]

We must obey God rather than men

Apostles had to appear before Sanhedrin to be questioned by high priest. Reminded them of orders to not teach in name of Jesus. Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings! (see Acts 5:29)

— GOD DELIGHTS IN OUR OBEDIENCE —

Standing Ovation from Jesus

“’Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” – Acts 7:56 [NIV]

Stoning of Stephen = Spread of Persecution = Spread of Gospel

“Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.” – Acts 8:1 [NLT]

— GOD USES EVIL FOR GOOD –

Blessed are those Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit Me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Matthew 5:10-12 [MSG]

What to do when facing persecution:

BE SUBMISSIVE

Acts 4:3 Peter and John were arrested – didn’t fight back

“Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” – 1 Peter 2:20 [NLT]

BE SPIRIT-FILLED

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 [ESV]

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NASB]

BE BOLD IN TRUTH

“Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time – Ephesians 6:19b [MSG]

Acts 4:24b-31 [ESV] “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.’

 Download Lesson Outline

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Turn My Eyes

Moses had a very intimate relationship with God. Moses said to God, “Let me know your ways so I may understand You more fully” (Exodus 33:13b NLT). He desired to understand God—to truly know God. The Psalmist wrote that, “He (God) made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel” (103:7 NASB). God’s ways must be made known. Israel only knew God by His actions; Moses knew God more intimately. God spoke to Moses. Moses wanted to hear Him, wanted to listen and obey.

I love what the Psalmist writes in 119. Verse 34 begins, “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. The passage continues, “Lead me in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways” (34-37 ESV).

What an amazing prayer! Give me understanding. I want to keep Your law with all my heart. Lead me. I delight in Your commands. Incline my heart. May it all be about You. Turn my eyes to You. Keep them away from those things that are worthless. I only want You. Give me life in Your ways. Life everlasting. Lord, fix my eyes on You.

God Actions

There are times in life when we should stand still and times we should get going. It is best to have God actions—actions taken in obedience to God. There are moments when we rush into something when we are to wait. There are other moments when we wait and wait, when God wants us to move and take action.

In Exodus 14, we are told of the escape through the Red Sea—one of the most well-known and retold events. In verse 13, Moses tells the people to “just stand still and watch the LORD rescue.” Moses was trying to calm down the Israelites so they could be focused on God alone. They stood still. Then in verse 15, God responds. He says to “tell the people to get moving.” First they stood still and waited, soon after they were commanded to move.

The key to this all is that they were focused on obeying God. We can have God actions as well. Continue to focus on Him and walk in obedience. There will be times we are told to stand still and times we are told to move forward. Distinguishing between the options only comes through focus on Him.

But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.’” – Exodus 14:13-14 [NLT]

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