Tag Archives: obey

Mirror Glances

You have likely glanced in the mirror recently. Each morning I catch a few glances in the mirror while getting ready to start the day. But then I walk away and the mirror does not follow. As you go along through your day, you are not continuously looking at yourself. You cannot remember all of the fine details that you saw earlier in the day.

When we read in James about the mirror glances, it is compared to people listening to God’s Word and then walking away as if it was not even heard. This letter speaks about the need to have God’s Word written on your heart so that you can remember what you have read and heard. It also reminds us that we simply cannot be hearers of the Word, but we must also be doers on the Word. If you live out the Word (instead of the glance and then fading away), the Word is not only in your heart but demonstrated for others to get a glance too.

Today, have you read the Word? Have you taken some time to sit down and read a passage, a verse, a chapter of the Bible? Have you glanced and went back to your day, or have you taken what you have read and put it to memory? If people would look at your day, would they see God’s Word being lived out or are you taking mirror glances?

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” – James 1:22-25 [NLT]

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Serve Enthusiastically

Growing up, I was taught the value of hard work. I am very grateful that my parents instilled this into me, and I hope that my children learn this as well. In Romans 12:11, we read, “Never be lazy, but work hard.” The verse continues to say, “Serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Wow! This is more than simply getting the job done.

Serve the Lord enthusiastically. Cheerfully. There should be excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness. ENERGY. Energy people around you can feel. This enthusiasm is contagious. This enthusiasm points to our Father, the One we are serving.

This enthusiasm is in high demand; it’s hard to find.  It’s something special that is not on display everywhere you turn. Too many people get caught going through the motions. Friends, don’t get in a routine. Don’t lose your joy for service. Ask Him where He wants you to serve. Pour yourself into it. Remember that you are not alone. If you are doing what you were designed to do, the enthusiasm will be there. Keep walking in faithful obedience and as you grow where you are positioned, your excitement will be contagious.

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]

Glory to His Name

We have been given the privilege and authority to share the Good News. We have a great responsibility and a great opportunity to tell people everywhere what God has done. As we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done in our own lives, the Spirit will grow the kingdom of God. When people believe, they will obey. In doing so, God will be glorified.

We have a great role in the Kingdom. It is not something to take lightly. God has sent us to go to the nations and this requires dedication and sacrifice. We have been given everything we need to do what He has called us to accomplish. We simply need to walk in faithful obedience.

Today, embrace the privilege and authority He has given you. Ask the Spirit how you can share what God has done for you. You are a chosen vessel, but remember the Spirit does the rest. Pray that those who hear about Jesus will open their hearts, believe, and obey. To God be the glory.

“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to His name.” – Romans 1:5 [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]

Like the Rain

Whenever it rains, I don’t feel so great. My body aches from the dampness. The dogs cannot go for their walks if it is raining too hard, which means I don’t get my normal exercise, and more importantly, my special alone time with God where there are no interruptions. The weather report notes that the rain is going to continue for the next few days. Part of me dreads possibly not getting out there for our usual walks, but yet I know that the rain is a blessing to us and it is certainly needed so I’m trying to be grateful.

In Hosea, we read that God “will come to us like the rain.” I always love when I can read something that paints a visual picture for me. But what is this verse saying? Rain isn’t always falling. Does it mean God will come and then go and eventually come again? No. This passage is talking about the faithfulness of God. In Deuteronomy 11, read about the blessings and the curses. It was plainly laid out for people to understand. If you obey – if you love the Lord and serve Him with all your heart and soul—then He will bless you with rain. There were two big rains acknowledge—the spring rain and the autumn rain. This was needed for the people to have a good return.

When we read in Hosea that the Lord comes to us like the rain, it is saying that we can trust that the Lord is faithful. Just as the rain comes in spring and autumn as promised, so will the Lord come and restore. The promises of the Lord are true. Next time it rains, be reminded that God is faithful. He will come like the rain to us. Ask Him to come and rain down on you.

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” – Hosea 6:3 [NASB]

“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil.” – Deuteronomy 11:13-14 [ESV]

More Than A Story: Obedience

[The Vineyard Workers: Matthew 20:1-16]

Isaiah 1:19 – “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” [HCSB]

God uses EVERYONE obedient to Him – Peter asks “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME”?

“Then Peter chimed in, ‘We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?’ Jesus replied, ‘Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.’” – Matthew 19:27-30 [MSG]

“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”- Matthew 20:15-16 [NIV]

1) This parable is not about salvation or eternal life

Salvation is not earned by works

Ephesians 2:8-9“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [NASB]

Titus 3:5-6He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” [NLT]

2) This parable is not about rewards for service

God rewards differently

1 Corinthians 3:8 – “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” [ESV]

LABORERS WHO BEGAN AT 6AM FAILED TO BE THANKFUL – SELF-SERVING ATTITUDE

We all will receive great rewards for following Jesus (see Revelation 22:12)

OBEDIENCE – act of obeying, words or actions denoting submission to authority, dutifulness

  • Obedience expresses faith in His wisdom and love. (Hebrew 11:6)
  • Obedience expresses hope in a future blessing. (Mark 10:29-30)
  • Obedience expresses love (John 14:15, 2 John 1:6)
  • Obedience glorifies God (Matthew 5:16)

Bible Study Questions:

1) In this parable, we read about a Landowner, Laborers, a work day, a Vineyard, and the end of the work day. What do you think these people/things represent?

Landowner –

Laborers –

Vineyard –

Day of work –

End of the work day –

2) Those who were hired last were unworthy of what they received. They were receiving a day’s wage despite working less than a day’s work. They were paid first. They were treated equally.

How does this resemble God’s grace?

What reminds us of our unworthiness?

3) Those who were hired first were paid last. It was their opinion that they were treated unfairly though they were paid an equal amount and given exactly what was agreed upon.

Why was it difficult for these workers to accept God’s grace towards others?

What made this an unfair transaction (from their vantage point)?

4) Before this parable, Peter asks what the disciples will gain for leaving everything behind. Jesus twice speaks of the Great Reversal. Those who are first will be last; those who are last will be first. It wasn’t about the difference of the reward. We should all be thankful.

How can we obey with an attitude of gratitude? What does this look like?

What should be our motivation of service?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Crinkling Plastic

As I turned around to head out the door and walk my sister out, I told the dogs to stay. Max and Marci both stopped and stood at attention. They immediately obeyed my words and I continued onward to see my sister out. But as I was opening the door and saying goodbye, I could hear a crinkling of plastic. I knew that although Max had remained where he was and obeyed my command, Marci went over to the garbage on a scavenger hunt because her Master turned her back.

There are a bunch of Maxes and Marcis of the world. Sometimes we are one and then sometimes we find ourselves as the other. It is easy to obey at some moments, more so than others. But we are to obey every time. Our obedience should not change because of situations or circumstances. With God, His back isn’t turned. I don’t know if we forget His eyes see the crinkling plastic before human ears would hear it. Or perhaps we think that some things aren’t so bad as others—we must obey this list of “written in stone” items like “don’t steal” or “don’t kill” but there is a separate list of “not so important” things that are negotiable.

Obedience isn’t a word we like to hear. It means that we submit to authority. It means we might not do what we necessarily desire. As you walk with Christ, you will find obedience comes a little easier. Yes, it still may be a challenge, but there’s a greater desire to do God’s will and follow His way as you grow. You start to want what He wants. You start to see that His “rules” are for your benefit. Yes, God wants what is best for you. And when you realize that and when you fall head over heels in love with Jesus, you want nothing more than to walk in obedience.

“But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.” – 1 John 2:5 [NLT]

As Precious As Sight

When I was young, I remember my grandfather always telling me about the need to take care of my eyes. Even after he went to be with the Lord, my grandmother reminded me of this important need. I’ll admit that sometimes we take advantage of our sight; we don’t realize how important it is to our lives. I certainly felt the absence of sight when I had an eye injury a few years back.

In Proverbs, it says, “My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!” Did you catch that? AS PRECIOUS. Do you consider God’s Word, His teaching, what He has to say to you as precious as your eye sight? Do you realize the importance? Long ago the Jewish people would tie the Word to themselves. Today I write verses on my hand and get scolded because it doesn’t look very professional. But in both cases, it is about keeping God’s Word close—it’s about trying to remember everything He says so you can live it out.

Your relationship with God is the most precious relationship you can and will ever have, if you take the opportunity to have one. His teaching, His Word, therefore should be most precious to you. I remember back when I would read my Bible when it suited me, when it fit in with my plans, when I needed something out of it, or just to say I did it. I thank God that today I am a different Tania; today I cannot go a day without reading His Word. Every morning. Every lunch break. Every evening. I have to read it. I want to read it. I need to read it. It is as precious as my eye sight. I pray it is the same for you.

“Dear friend, do what I tell you;
treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well.
My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands;
etch it on the chambers of your heart.
Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
Treat Insight as your companion.
They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—
that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.”

-Proverbs 7:1-5 [MSG]

 

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Living the Life Set Out for You

God has a great plan for your life. Do you believe it? It is true. He has a great plan for each and every life. He is the great Creator and He has something exciting and special for each one of us. Don’t look to someone else’s life to define you, to copy, to guide your path. Only you can live your life and God has designed a plan just perfectly for you. He alone can guide your steps in this journey.
God responded to Solomon’s prayers with a guarantee and a warning. He promised a solid foundation for Solomon’s rule and a descendant always on the throne for Israel. What was required was to live in God’s presence, to be pure in heart, “living the life (God) set out.” This means the life that God planned for him to live, being in God’s will.
God knows your full potential. He created you and knows what will be beneficial and what will deprive you. He understands you more than you understand yourself. There are moments when we believe we know better, when we only see so much of the plan and do not think it will work out as well as something else we could come up with ourselves. God has a beautiful life set out for you. Walk in faith and trust in His will for your life. If you don’t, you might be missing out on something you could never even have imagined. Yes, His plans are that good!

“And GOD said to him, ‘I’ve listened to and received all your prayers, your ever-so-passionate prayers. I’ve sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel, make it a sure thing on a solid foundation. The same guarantee I gave David your father I’m giving you: ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’’”
-1 Kings 9:3-5 [MSG]

 

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