How Important is Your Obedience?


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Most of you are probably familiar with the story of Joshua and the children of Israel’s amazing defeat of the city of Jericho.  They obeyed the instructions the Lord gave them and marched around the city for seven days until the Lord caused the walls to fall in on the city.  The people were able to utterly destroy this stronghold in Canaan when they obeyed the Lord’s instructions.  However, there was one man who disobeyed the instruction to leave all the spoils of Jericho for the Lord.  Achan took of the accursed things in Jericho and hid them in his tent.  His disobedience seemed insignificant until a couple thousand men went up to defeat the small city of Ai and met unexpected defeat.  The Lord revealed to Joshua that there was sin in the camp that had to be eradicated before Israel would be victorious against the enemies in the Promised Land.

 The thing that struck me was how many people were affected by Achan’s disobedience – thirty-six people died in the Israelites defeat at Ai, Israel was put at risk for other nations to come against them, Achan and his whole family were stoned to death and all his belongings were burned in the valley of Achor.  Achan’s coveting the Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold caused great distress for the whole nation of Israel.  I believe God uses stories like this one to illuminate an important truth – Obedience is a non-negotiable matter in the eyes of a holy God.  What are you trying to negotiate when it comes to matters of obedience in your life today?

Resting in Him


globe_demoSaturday was our Annual Ladies’ Day at our church.  We plan and prepare for a year, and there are a lot of details that are taken care of that those who come do not even realize and never see.  And yet so it is.  The ladies in our church carry on and do it every year.  We had a speaker; we had decorations; we had food; we had door prizes; we had special music; we had stories about missions (since our theme was “Around the World”); we had a housekeeping tip; we had prayed for many months.  And so it came.

I look forward to seeing the ladies from neighboring churches and enjoying the fellowship with them. I look forward to watching our ladies working hard to make everything go well and make everyone welcome and comfortable.  And they did—but this year I only got to see it in pictures.

Last Monday I broke out with what I thought was an allergic reaction to something.  My husband and I were traveling.  So upon my return home, I saw the doctor on Thursday and was diagnosed with shingles.  The left side of my face has blisters—in my scalp, on my forehead, in my eyebrow, on my eyelid, beside my nose, above my lip, and below my lip.  On top of all that terribleness—I got a cluster of three fever blisters on my left side of my lip.

And so, I did not get to enjoy the day as the years before; but I am thankful that I have an assistant (our youth pastor’s wife), a missionary daughter, and a host of faithful church ladies who took the mantle and carried on.  The day was wonderful and came off without a hitch.

I, in my sad condition, learned some things.  The Lord is in control and though things do not always happen according to plan, He does still bless.  I learned to be still and trust the Lord. Yes, I shed some tears over missing the day, but I trust His sovereign plan to be best.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

I am thankful for all the sweet ladies and our youth pastor who texted me and sent me pictures throughout the day.  I was there is spirit!

True Wisdom


950-1_971836zRead: I Kings 3:3-14.

When Solomon began his reign as king of Israel, the Lord asked him what he would like to have. Solomon asked the Lord for an understanding heart – wisdom to rule his people and to make correct decisions. As a result, the Lord granted him wisdom, riches, and honor, and he is remembered as the wisest man who ever lived.

We too need an understanding heart to make the right decisions and to have lives that are pleasing to our Lord! How we need wisdom in this world of uncertainty and chaos!

First of all, there is no true understanding, no true wisdom, apart from God’s Word and a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalms 119:130). The Bible tells us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). Have you received Him in your life as your personal Savior? If not, there is no way you can be truly wise!

There is a true story that illustrates the power of God’s Word to save and transform lives! Many years ago a missionary traveled by horse and buggy through a small mountain town in Brazil and sold Bibles to the inhabitants of that place. Many families bought Bibles and began reading them.  The village priest found out and went around town confiscating the Bibles from the homes of the people. Two of the families in that place hid their Bibles, refused to give them to the priest when he came by, and continued reading God’s Word. As a result, one of those families got saved, and today, three generations later, some of their loved ones are pastors, missionaries, and servants of the Lord! Two of those are our son-in-law and daughter-in-law. Their grandfather would go to the train station in that small town and give out tracts to the people traveling through, and many were saved as a result of his life. God’s Word is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword! God’s Word is dynamite! Truly, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Once we are saved, we continue to need God’s Word for wisdom day by day! We need the Bible to help us live our lives in complete consecration to Him! We need the Bible so that we may shine in this dark world and be a testimony for God’s glory. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).

We need to walk in wisdom, and the only way to do so is to spend time each day reading the Bible, meditating upon it, and obeying it! Some people may even read God’s Word but fail to obey His commands and fail to serve Him faithfully. They do not walk in wisdom! “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). May we walk with the Lord every day, obeying His Word, giving our all to Him, and living for Him!

Thought: Oh, that the Lord would help us truly value the great treasure that we have in the Bible!

Witten by Mrs. Lydabelle B. Barrett (One of our Missionaries in Brazil; and she is also Mrs. Dorothy Bieber’s sister. Mrs. Bieber is a staff and church member of Tabernacle).

I Need to Obey


Paul-on-the-road-to-Damascus               Recently reading in the book of Acts, it struck me how Paul never stopped talking about his conversion.  It really didn’t matter to whom he was speaking, he always seemed to tell about what had happened to him the day God spoke to him and changed his life.  To him the message never got old.

               I noticed that he didn’t add to what happened to him.  He just told the same thing over and over.  And God used it.  In some instances, many were saved.  Other times, people left undecided.  Yet other times, it angered people.  But Paul didn’t worry about people’s reaction to his message.  He was just faithful in giving it.

               Oh that I would be that faithful.  That I would be “his witness unto all men of what (thou) hast seen and heard” (Acts. 22:15).  God will give me the power to do it, but I need to be faithful in giving that witness.  Nothing fancy, just testifying of how God changed me from an unforgiven sinner to someone who has been saved by His grace.

               But I need to obey.

 

Family Unity


images21D5DZSIThe family that prays together stays together is more than a cliché!  Looking to the Word of God and praying with a spouse can bring unity and great blessing.  Why is this so?  The couple is inviting a third Person into the relationship Who can bring about godliness.  Giving God the opportunity to be in control by daily getting direction from His Word and agreeing to follow His Plan has immediate as well as eternal benefits.  The daily activity of coming together before God’s Word and sharing common concerns by bringing them to God gives the couple the opportunity to keep short accounts and ask God for help to bless daily activities.  Giving God first place in the home is imperative to harmonious living because the couple is submitting to a plan that God promises will bring peace and harmony between two sinners who are naturally antagonistic toward each other.  The couple learns to think like God does and will then do what He says.   This can be the ingredient to bring about unified goals and plans for God’s glory in the home which He has established.

Praying together and being willing to submit to God in every area of the relationship gives the greatest structure for harmonious living.  Recognizing the preeminence of Christ and allowing His Word to govern responsibilities in all the daily activities bring security and blessing that a couple who ignores God’s presence cannot have from the old nature preoccupations.   Can two walk together unless they be agreed?  (Amos 3:3)   This Truth can only be experienced if spouses are daily willing to submit to God’s plan. 

When Everything Goes Wrong


il_214x170.803206920_219rThou art careful and troubled about many things (Luke 10:41).

I do not know what had gone wrong in the kitchen, but it was “one of those days.”  Not a drab, uneventful day–plenty happens on these distracting days, when we seem to have gotten out on the wrong side of the bed.  All day long we are vexed and pestered by the mosquitoes of petty care.  Everything seems to have determined to be perverse.  Tempers flare, nerves are strained, we “feel like we could scream.”

Some people can stand big troubles better than this variety.  They rise to the crash and disaster, but the wear and tear of petty distractions overcome them.  And yet perhaps it is a greater victory to overcome these little aggravations than to face nobly a gigantic trial.

There is grace for these days too.  We may be kept in perfect peace if our minds are stayed on Him.  These dwarfish demons can do our testimony more harm than the onslaught of an oversized devil.  The breakfast table may call for more grace than the Lord’s table on Sunday morning.  Instead of depending on two cups of coffee making you fit to live with, get a good start at the feet of the Lord of “all the days.”

 

Day Be Day with Vance Havner, pages 72-73.

The Mirror of God’s Word


imagesRomans 3:10-12 Reads “As it is written, there is none righteous no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

As you read this passage, does it make your heart sink? Paul is referencing what David said in Ps. 14 and Ps. 53.  As we are to look into the mirror of the word of God, do you see yourself as the unrighteous sinner that you are? I sure see myself in that reflection. That reflection is all based on the law. When you see your reflection in the mirror, do you fix the mirror, or do fix what you see that is wrong? Let’s fix what is wrong with the spiritual reflection we see here. We are all unrighteous.

God has a solution to the problem. It is the blood of Jesus Christ! Many of us have confessed our sins before the lord and have been forgiven and cleansed from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We would call these people saved sinners. Many are still trying other ways to correct their reflection problem. We would call these unsaved sinners. See, we are all sinners; some are cleansed and prepared for eternity with God and others have not received the cleansing blood of Christ to correct the reflection of unrighteousness in their lives.

I’m thankful that God gave us the law so we can identify our sin, and I’m also thankful that he provided a way for us to be forgiven. Are you a saved sinner or an unsaved sinner?  Please do not forget what manner of man you are (James 1:24).

All the Way My Savior Leads Me


untitledAll the way my Savior leads me

O the fullness of His love!

Perfect rest to me is promised

In my Father’s house above.

When my spirit, clothed immortal,

Wings its light to realms of day

This my song through endless ages–

Jesus led me all the way.

From All the Way My Savior Leads Me by Fanny Crosby, 1873

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (I John 4:18).

Milling of Rumors


untitledHe that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.  ~Proverbs 17:9

How’s that rumor mill going?  Ever seen one?  Been part of one?  If you are anything like me, you have probably been both.  Been on the outside looking in, inside looking out, caught up in the spinning, or trying to hold it back!  Whatever the situation, it might have started out fine, but probably took a turn for the worse.  And forget about the aftermath!  You know when the person who is the subject of the mill finds out about it!  Ooo…yeah…not good!  That shouldn’t come as a surprise.  God told us about it in Proverbs and said it is not the right way to operate!

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus, the Christ, provided a living example of what it meant to love one another.  He spoke it many times and did it more than that culminating in the showing of the love of the Father as He gave Himself to die on the cross and receive the wrath of the Father as the punishment for the sins of mankind though He, Himself, did no sin.  Proverbs 17:9 exemplifies that love in a short concise manner; it is a wonderful little snippet of truth.

Remember this verse is in Proverbs, so it is poetic in structure and thus must be understood in that manner.  The structure is quite simple; two short lines of synthetic parallelism, if you want to know the terms.  All that means is the two sections of each line have a “when this, then that” type of relationship; they are conditional to an extent, since it is part of the Word of God, the result of the condition is always true.  For example: “he that covereth a transgression” always “seeketh love.”  That is the way God designed it.  The second line is just the same: “he that repeateth a matter” always “separateth very friends.”  Additionally, since the result is always true, the reverse is also truth.  To love someone, cover their sins; to separate from someone, repeat their sins to another.

For those of us who believe in and have received what God has done for us and given us, He is the best example I can think of for this couplet.  He covers our offenses (sins) with the blood of His Son because He loves us.  He does not go around telling all His angels about our sins!  He covers those sins, effectively washing them away, with the blood of Christ.  The rumor mill is stopped before it is even started!  Why?  Because He seeks to love us!  He will not speak of our sins to another, not that He is not able to do so, but because He always does what is right and by definition of Who He Is, covering the sin is right.  Therefore, by His very character, He is a God of reconciliation because He desires to love us, draw us close, not separate from us.

Practically now, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Do we start rumors concerning our own faults, sins, offenses?  No, we don’t!  Why?  Because we seek to love ourselves!  Talking about our sins to others in the rumor mill is not loving of self, it causes the opposite, a separation, a distancing.  Then why would we do it to others?!  Part of loving others is allowing those offenses, sins, to be covered and not repeated for others to hear.  The whole “I only repeat for prayer requests.” excuse is just as bad.  There is a time and place to repeat that which is necessary to request others to pray for the situation.  It is a matter of wisdom to determine when and how much information is needed.  My rule of thumb (that I try to stick to) is the following: would I be telling this person, at this time, this information about myself?  If I can honestly say yes, then I would proceed, if not, it stops or the details are dropped.  You know, application of the Golden Rule!  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!  The source of that rule is recorded in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:12.

God covers the sins of His people with the blood of His Son in order to show us His love for us because that is Who He Is!  We are commanded multiple times throughout Scripture to love each other because it is what God would have us do; stopping the rumor mill before it starts is one of the myriad aspects of loving others!

Brethren, let us love one another: for love is of God!

 

Sweet Hour of Prayer


imagesSweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!

That calls me from a world of care.

And bids me at my Father’s throne

Make all my wants and wishes known.

In seasons of distress and grief.

My soul has often found relief

And oft escaped the tempter’s snare

By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

From Sweet Hour of Prayer by William Walford, 1845