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Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Lifestyle of Obedience (and other devotionals)

A Lifestyle of Obedience


According to John 14:21, we express love for Jesus by obeying His commands. To love Him wholeheartedly, we must develop a lifestyle of obedience. Let's look at four aspects of such a lifestyle.
1. Our trust in the Father grows. This confidence comes from believing that the Lord is who Scripture says He is. And God's Word tells us that He is good—as well as faithful to keep His promises (2 Cor. 1:20). Psalm 86:15 calls Him merciful, gracious, loving, and slow to anger. His character remains unchanged by difficult or hard-to-understand circumstances (Heb. 13:8).
2. We develop a deepening ability to wait on the Lord. Delays can be hard in our I-want-it-now culture. But we must resist temptation and wait on Him instead of running ahead.
3. We commit to obey God. Without such a resolve, we'll vacillate at decision time or allow fear to prevent us from choosing His way.
4. Our study of Scripture becomes consistent. TheBible reveals God's priorities, commands, and warnings. It acts as a light, illuminating His chosen path for us while revealing obstacles and dangers along the way (Ps.119:105). Without it, we are like a person who walks in the woods at night without a flashlight.
Becoming a Christian doesn't mean that obedience to the Lord is automatic. It's a lifelong process of growing in our trust and patiently waiting on Him before we act. This requires a steadfast commitment to obey so that we can say no to ungodly choices and yes to God.
~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!—Rom 8:37 
The Gospel is so arranged and the gift of God so great that you may take the very enemies that fight you and the forces that are arrayed against you and make them steps up to the very gates of heaven and into the presence of God.
Like the eagle, who sits on a crag and watches the sky as it is filling with blackness, and the forked lightnings are playing up and down, and he is sitting perfectly still, turning one eye and then the other toward the storm. But he never moves until he begins to feel the burst of the breeze and knows that the hurricane has struck him; with a scream, he swings his breast to the storm, and uses the storm to go up to the sky; away he goes, borne upward upon it.
That is what God wants of every one of His children, to be more than conqueror, turning the storm-cloud into a chariot. You know when one army is more than conqueror it is likely to drive the other from the field, to get all the ammunition, the food and supplies, and to take possession of the whole. That is just what our text means. There are spoils to be taken!
Beloved, have you got them? When you went into that terrible valley of suffering did you come out of it with spoils? When that injury struck you and you thought everything was gone, did you so trust in God that you came out richer than you went in? To be more than conqueror is to take the spoils from the enemy and appropriate them to yourself. What he had arranged for your overthrow, take and appropriate for yourself.
When Dr. Moon, of Brighton, England, was stricken with blindness, he said “Lord, I accept this talent of blindness from Thee. Help me to use it for Thy glory that at Thy coming Thou mayest receive Thine own with usury.” Then God enabled him to invent the Moon Alphabet for the blind, by which thousands of blind people were enabled to read the Word of God, and many of them were gloriously saved.
—Selected
God did not take away Paul’s thorn; He did better—He mastered that thorn, and made it Paul’s servant. The ministry of thorns has often been a greater ministry to man than the ministry of thrones.
~L. B. Cowman~
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Simon, Simon, behold Satan asked to have you that he might sift you as wheat - Luke 22:31
The Master apparently did not pray that temptation should be withheld. The quick eye of His affection had discerned the tempter's approach. His quick ear had detected Satan's request of the Father; as though he said, "Let me have the chance for one brief hour, and I will show that these men, so far from being gold, silver, and precious stones, are only wood, hay, and stubble." But though He knew all this, the Master did not request that the winnowing wind should be withheld. Why? Because temptation is part of the present order of the world. Why it is so we cannot tell; that it is so we know assuredly. Why the Almighty permitted the evil one to intrude into paradise, and to assail every single soul of woman born, that has passed to years of consciousness, we shall probably never understand until mystery drops from our eyes in the meridian light of heaven. We only are sure that the permission of temptation is not inconsistent with His almightiness or beneficence.
Because temptation tests character and reveals us to ourselves and to one another. - Was it not well that Peter should know how weak he was; that he might become truly penitent and converted? Was it not befitting that Judas should be exposed before the day of Pentecost? Was it not best that the foundation stones of the Church should be well tested? It is better to learn our weakness now and here than at the Judgment seat.
But if Satan tempts, our Advocate pleads. He anticipates the advent of temptation by storing up His prayers. He warns the soul when the hawk begins to hover. If He may not arrest temptation, He will at least ask that our faith may not fail; and will seek us out as He did Peter.

~F. B. Meyer~
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Protecting New Believers

We have been talking about the devil's attack on newborn babes in Christ.  This is something we can expect.  But what are the reasons for it?
Look at Isaiah 59:15-16, as it provides us with a clue,
So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.  Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.  He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
I want you to think about that.  Truth fails, and the person who departs from evil makes himself a prey, in the same way that a lion looks at a wounded gazelle as prey.
To me this is a picture of what happens to some new believers.  They depart from evil (get saved) and suddenly it seems like everything is going wrong for them.  And God is not pleased about it!
Where it says He "wondered " literally means He was astonished that there was no intercessor.  This means that there was no one praying.  That is why they became prey!
If we do not pray for those who turn from evil, then they will become the prey of the devil.  We have a responsibility to intercede for people who come to Christ.  It puts up a barrier of protection around them.
Paul wrote to the Colossians about this when he said, Praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ.  Paul didn't just pray for them before they were saved, he also prayed for them after they were saved.
Oh, may God not wonder in our day, "Where is the intercessor who should be praying for the new babes in Christ?"
Let's take our responsibility seriously and pray for those who have newly come to the faith.

~Bayless Conley~
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God's School of Obedience

1 John 1:3-6

Starting at age five, our children are enrolled in school and given lessons to learn each year. We are students too. At salvation, we became participants in the Lord's school of obedience. There, we are discovering the necessity of trusting Him and waiting for His direction. We are taught the importance of commitment and learn to search His Word for guidance. God also wants us to learn these lessons:
• Listen attentively to the Spirit's promptings. Our God does not speak in an audible voice, but He makes Himself heard quite clearly through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Spirit is our Helper who will bring to mind Scripture passages we have studied (John 14:26) and show us how they apply.
• Obey the next step. Abraham was called to leave his home and journey to an unknown destination (Gen. 12:1). He obeyed even though the way was unclear to his human mind. We, too, must step out in faith even when we do not know all the details of the itinerary.
• Expect conflict. We can't live obedient lives without having trouble with the world (John 16:33). Our friends or family may drift away when they realize certain interests of ours have changed. Some may hurl criticism our way or call us unkind names, while others may reject us completely.
Practicing a lifestyle of obedience doesn't mean we'll never make mistakes. But it does require diligence if we are to succeed. Obeying the Father was Jesus' priority and purpose in life, and we should make it ours as well. Which of these lessons do you want to tackle first?

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~


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