Posts Tagged ‘obedience’

  

“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬ NKJV)

Last April, Mary Beth Sammons lost her job as a vice president for an Internet company where she made about $110,000 working 50 hours a week. Today, Sammons works more than 60 hours a week at two jobs — one at a preparatory high school and another for an online magazine — and is barely making $50,000. While Sammons, 52, would rather be working one job, as a single mother, with one child in college and another kid heading there, she said, “I take work wherever I can get it.”

Sacrifice suggests an action that must take place regardless of will or even against our preferred desire. As Christians, there are often times when we must sacrifice personal desire in order to achieve God’s desire for us. The hardest part is denying personal wants of the immediate, even though we know that God’s eventual accomplished plan works out even better for us. What must happen must happen. 

Be a person of sacrifice for what is right. Whether family or spiritual, some goals are definitely worth it. Do what you’ve got to do and you’ll see what you need to see! You are loved today! 

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“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'” (Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭21‬ NKJV)

In the early 1930’s, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was so appalled at how many in the church capitulated to Hitler, blessing his evil doctrines that were “shaded” with religious tones, that he wrote a response, his manifesto entitled, The Cost of Discipleship. In it, he warned of “cheap grace”, the teaching that stresses that grace is free, so it really doesn’t matter how we live. There is no cost for holiness. 

As Jesus encountered one who had both riches and a hungry heart, Jesus made him choose. Was that cruel? Not really. But there can only be one Master, one passion, and it must be Him. It says Jesus loved him enough to offer discipleship, but the man didn’t love enough in return to sacrifice whatever it took to follow. 

Grace is freely given, but it isn’t freely kept. There is a cost to be a disciple. But the unsaid is that there is a GREATER cost for disobedience, one we pay later and with both present and eternal consequences. If everything has a cost, then choose the one that leads to life! You will find the price not so bad and the dividends out of this world! You are loved today!

 

“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Acts‬ ‭24‬:‭16‬ NIV)

In 1991, a New Hampshire school administrator, Pamela Smart, had an affair with a 16 year old student, then convinced him to kill her husband. She was sentenced to life without parole. In an interview 23 years later, she admits not listening to her conscience:

“I was in a situation where I knew better. And I shouldn’t have made the decision that I did to be involved with him. It took me many years to see my own responsibility.” 

Our conscience is that ability within us that attaches itself to the highest standard we know, and then continually reminds us of what that standard demands that we do. If God’s standards are what I seek in my daily life, then those will be what I am, and should be, reminded of. So I must live in such a way that my conscience is clear towards both God and those around me by living to that higher standard, not intentionally sabotaging myself in a fit of selfish action.

When you begin to debate, stop immediately. When we argue with the Holy Spirit, we lose every time! If a stricken conscience is a cruel taskmaster, then find freedom that only comes from doing what is right! You are loved today!



Jesus said to him, ‘Simon, do you love Me?'” (John‬ ‭21‬:‭16‬ NKJV)

According to Psychology Today, about 40 percent of all female murder victims die at the hands of a former or present spouse or lover. The home becomes a dangerous place for women (as well as for children). Nearly all male murderers claim that they committed the murder out of love, and possibly it was a result of loving too much. But can you truly destroy a life out of love? Is that how love acts?

In the text, Jesus is asking Simon Peter if his love is true. Just a few days earlier, Peter was emphatic that he would die out of love for his Master. Now, after denying Jesus in His hour of need, Peter reacts differently; he is broken. Jesus is trying to help His disciple to understand that he is not only forgiven, but that love doesn’t respond with emphatic hopes but with faithful future action: “Tend My sheep.”

People can be satisfied of our spiritual love because we say the right things. But what does God see? Love will be known by our faithfulness: “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. He who does not love Me does not keep My words.” (John‬ ‭14‬:‭23-24‬ NKJV) Let your love be true love, even as you are loved! 

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But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth.” (John‬ ‭16‬:‭6-7‬ NKJV)

In times of crisis, the Bible has given me hope. When I have grieved a loss, it’s words have brought me comfort. As a pastor, I also have the privilege of dispensing these same words of life to others that are going through similar circumstances. But could God also bring tough words into our lives? You bet!

When the Lord speaks words of conviction into guilty ears, our heart breaks because we know we’ve done wrong. When the Holy Spirit wisely reveals to us that tough times are a’coming, we cringe at the unseen. To understand these tough words of God, you must understand the context from which He speaks to us: Out of the great love of His heart. He doesn’t aim to hurt us but to draw us to Himself, so that nothing, including sin, can separate us from intimacy with Him.

True love will speak the tough truths to you. I love, but I’m not great at it. That’s why I’m grateful for a loving Savior who can correct all of us the right way. Don’t be discouraged, just correctable. It always leads to blessed places! You are loved today!

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Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” (Psalms‬ ‭33‬:‭12‬ NKJV)

Here in Arkansas, the upcoming House Bill 1228, the Conscience Protection Act, affirms religious liberty in our state. Arkansas is one of a handful of states with no amendment, law, or court ruling protecting the traditional understanding of the free exercise of religion.

Over and over again we have seen Americans marginalized simply for wanting to live out their deeply-held religious convictions. It strikes me as ironic that when pilgrims were fleeing England so many years ago, it was to escape what we have basically become. It is a shame to have to draft laws to protect what made America great in the first place!

Take a moment today to pray for our nation. Practice your right to share your concerns with your local representatives, or be involved in local ministries like Family Council, that merges the fields of both ministry and politics. God will keep blessing America as long as she keeps blessing God! We are truly loved today!

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Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (Psalm‬ ‭5‬:‭12‬ NIV)

It was around 2005. I owned a custom picture framing business in a military town during the War on Terror. As troops were mass deploying overseas, it made local money tight. In spite of being a luxury business in war time where other shops were closing down en masse, God brought me a steady stream of customers and commercial contracts, keeping my shop booming and my family and ministry provided for.

In my own life and that of others, I see abundant examples of God’s blessings in the middle of a season of need. Living the Christ Life faithfully doesn’t mean a life of ease without trials. It does, however, mean that God will take care of you. I may have to eat a steady diet of Spam and ramen noodles for a time, but I know that His promise of a turnaround still applies!

As one man said, favor ain’t fair! While some may feel they’ve earned it, I don’t. God’s blessings stem from His heart of mercy and my obedience to His instruction. I can’t earn it, but I’m willing to live right so that I may receive it! Let God’s favor wrap around you today! You are loved!