obedience

Let Us

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Jesus went into the ship with His disciples and said, Let us go over to the other side of the lake. Had Jesus told them that in the midst of the sea they were going to face a storm, some of them would have probably gotten off the ship. 

Shortly thereafter, a strong wind came, the waters began to fill their ship and the disciples began to panic and worry. But Jesus was sleeping during the storm. So, they woke Him up and said, Master, master, we perish.

Wow. Did you hear what they said?

They told Jesus that they were going to die, but Jesus had already told them before they got into the water that they were going to make it to the other side.

Has God ever sent you a word and at first you believed Him?

Maybe He told you that he was going to restore your relationship with your child.

Maybe He told you that one day you would own a business.

Maybe He told you that nothing was going to separate you and your spouse.

Maybe He told you that after many miscarriages that you were going to conceive and give birth to a healthy child.

And then something happened. A storm came and now you question what God said. So, instead of saying what God said, you say what you’re feeling at that moment.

It will never happen.

I’m not smart enough.

I don’t think my husband/wife and I are going to make it much longer.

I’ll never carry a child to full term.

When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and the raging water. He then turned to the disciples and asked, Where is your faith? God has dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3) and to receive what God has said or promised, it will require YOUR faith as well as your patience and obedience.

On the other side is what God prepared for you. On the other side is what you have been called to. The moment Jesus and His disciples got to the other side, they met a man who had lived in tombs, wore no clothes and had been possessed by demons for a long time (Luke 8:27). On the other side are people waiting on you to become who God created to be. On the other side are people waiting for you do what God told you to do. They have heard and now they are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. 

One of the reasons why some of us haven’t gotten to the other side yet is because we allowed the storm to stop us rather than to make us. You gave up too quickly. You chose to go back to what feels safe and comfortable rather than to go forward. You’re trying to avoid the storm because you want everything to come easy, but God wants to use the storm to build your faith and to make you for where He is taking you.

Another reason why we haven’t gotten to the other side is because we stopped believing what God said. When Jesus spoke to the disciples, we know that they believed him because they stayed in the ship when He got in it, but the moment they saw the wind and the raging waters, they didn’t think or believe that they were going to make it to the other side.

But if Jesus says, Let us, then that is a sure indication that whatever you’re about to go through, you’re not going to go through it alone. Jesus was only with them, but the good news is He is in us. 

And if He says, We are going over, then we are going over AND to the other side – but it will only happen according to your faith.

Be encouraged.

 

[Scripture reference: Luke 8:22-27]

Let Us Do Better

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When Moses sent out men to investigate the land that God was giving Israel, ten spies came back with the report of how strong the people were that lived in that land. One of the people that they were referring to were the Amalekites (Exodus 13:29).  These were the same people that attacked Israel right after God had delivered them from Egypt. They waited until Israel was tired and weary and they targeted those who were weak, who had fallen behind and were isolated from the others (Deuteronomy 25:18). When God brought Israel out, He brought them out wealthy (Exodus 3:21) so I’m sure they robbed Israel as well. Shortly after the attack, Israel fought the Amalekites and won, but God promised that He was going to destroy every Amalekite for what they did to His children (Exodus 17:14-16, Deuteronomy 25:17-19).

Israel wanted a king. God didn’t think it was a good idea, but He gave them what they asked for. In 1 Samuel 15, Samuel, a prophet of God, anoints Saul as king. It was time for God to fulfil the promise He made to his children and He was going to use Saul to carry it out.  I remember what Amalek did to Israel, how he waited for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass (1 Samuel 15:2-3). This scripture proves to us that God is not forgetful. Maybe it’s been years since God said it, but God loves you, He has not forgotten you nor has He forgotten the promise He made. If He said it, He shall do it.

Saul just had one job, but he didn’t do everything God told him to do. He spared the king of the Amalekites and he kept the best sheep, oxen and lambs and all that was good (1 Samuel 15:8-9). God told Samuel what Saul had done and now Samuel was grieved and cried all night to the Lord. The next morning, Samuel goes to meet with Saul. When Saul sees Samuel, he tells him of his obedience, but all Samuel hears is disobedience.  What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? Saul then blames his men. THEY have brought them from the Amalekites. And then he assures Samuel that the animals weren’t for him, but they were to be sacrificed to the Lord (1 Samuel 15:15).

Even after Samuel explains to Saul what he has done, Saul still tells him that he obeyed God, but the people didn’t (1 Samuel 15:20-21). Saul heard what God said yet he spared the king of Amalek.  He also saw what the people were doing yet he refused to stop them. He was king, but He allowed the people to do what they wanted to do.

And Samuel said, Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to listen than to offer the fat of rams (1 Sam 15:22).

Samuel never said that the sacrifice of animals wasn’t good, but his obedience would have been better. God never asked Saul for sheep or lambs. Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).  God wanted his body. He wanted total obedience.  He wanted holiness. When you obey God, you sacrifice (or kill) your will and your ways.

There have been things God told me to do in the past and just like Saul, I did some things, but I didn’t do everything He told me to do. The sad part is that I wanted God to overlook my disobedience, but to accept my sacrifice. But Lord, look at the other things I’ve done for you. The only way to please God is to give Him what He wants, not what you want to give Him.

The Amalekites lived on the southern part of the land that God promised to give to Israel, but before Israel could possess the land, Saul was told to kill everything. I know that the enemy doesn’t want us to get those things that God promised us, but in studying this passage of scripture, I realized that it’s not always the devil or people that are trying to stop me, but it’s me and my disobedience that keeps me from ‘possessing the land’.

One of the things that God told me recently was, If you can’t obey Me, I can’t trust you. And if God can’t trust me, then He can’t trust me with the things that He wants to give me.  Anytime God tells you to do something and you don’t do it, you just don’t reject His word, but you reject Him. When Saul rejected God’s word, God rejected Him as king.

But we will not be like Saul. We will kill it, let it go, cut it off and we will separate ourselves from those things that separate us from God’s will. We will honor God and we will honor the ‘Samuels’ He has placed in our lives.  

At one time or another, we have all done what we thought was good, but let us do better.

To obey God is better than sacrifice.

Let It Be

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Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:38, NJKV).

God sent an angel to Mary.  Gabriel told her she was going to become a mother.  You shall conceive in your womb  (vs 31).  He also told her what she would carry and who He would become.  He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest  (vs 32).

All of this sounded good, but Mary had one question.  How can this be?  (vs 34).  How was she going to have a baby?  She was a virgin and she wasn’t married yet.  The angel explained to her who would do the work – the Holy Ghost (vs 35).  It wouldn’t be by her power or by Joseph’s might.  It would be by HIS Spirit.

The angel knew that what he told Mary sounded impossible so to build her faith, he told her about her cousin (vs 36).  Elizabeth was barren and too old to be a mother. No one ever thought she would have a child, but in three months she was going to have a son.

The impossible is possible – with God.

The angel said what God told him to say.  Now, Mary had to make a decision.  According to Luke 1:38, she decided to serve the Lord.  I am the servant of the Lord.  Mary had no idea what she was about to go through.  She didn’t know that she would have to leave her home, leave their families and flee to Egypt during the night to protect her son.  Even though Simeon prophesied that she would suffer as though she had been stabbed with a sword, she didn’t know that meant watching her son being mocked, beaten, spat on and crucified.  My point is this: Even though she didn’t have all of the details, she surrendered.  She trusted God.  She wanted what God wanted and she was willing to do whatever He commanded.  Her response to God was, Use meDo what You want, not what I want.

Maybe God has told you what you are going to do for Him and who you are going to become and just like Mary, you either looked at your past or your present condition, and wondered how.  How is this going to happen?  I don’t have a college degree.  I don’t have a spouse.  I don’t have that much money in the bank.  I don’t know anyone who could help me. I don’t speak very well in front of people.

But I will tell you what Gabriel told Mary.  The Lord is with you  (vs 28).  You don’t have to be afraid.  You were chosen for this.  What you are carrying and will bring forth is great.  What you must go through is going to save and deliver many.

Stop running.  Stop resisting.  Stop fighting God and let it be – according to His word.  Let it happen.  Stop trying to figure it out.  Stop thinking about yourself and think about those who are hurting.  Think about those who are bound.  Think about those who are not saved.  This isn’t about you.  Forget about your plans and find out what His plan is.  Make a decision.

Mary’s mind was made up. 

It didn’t matter that Elizabeth was old or that Mary wasn’t married.  God is able to perform what He promised.  No word from Him will ever fail.  If He said it, then He will do it.  All He needs from you is your obedience.  All He needs is a ‘yes’.  What has been hard for you is not too hard for the Lord.

Maybe you’re thinking about what happened the last time.  Like Simon, you tried and nothing happened.  We have toiled all night and have taken nothing  (Luke 5:5). You were disappointed.  You had enough.  You were even thinking about giving up.

But, try again.  Trust God again.  Nevertheless at your word, I will let down the net  (Luke 5:5).  Sometimes we have this picture of how the ministry, the marriage, the career, or the children should be, but let go of what or how you think it should be. You have to believe that what God wants to give you is better than what you’re holding onto.  Let it go and…

Let it be.

Don’t Miss It!

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One day, Jesus told a parable of a certain man who had two sons (Matthew 21:28).  The man went to his first son and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard’.

  1. Go (move, take a different course).
  2. Work (assignment).
  3. Today (now).

I’m not sure what these men were doing when their father called them, but he apparently had a different plan for them – to work in HIS vineyard.  It reminded me of when Simon Peter and Andrew were casting their nets to catch fish and Jesus told them, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.   Prior to the invitation, they had been working for themselves and for their families, but this day Jesus called them to work for his Father.

The man didn’t ask his sons if they wanted to go.  He told them to go.  This wasn’t about what they wanted to do.  This was about what he needed them to do.  He sent both of them to his vineyard to plant and to water so that it would bring forth fruit.  The first son’s response was, I will not.  Initially, he didn’t want to change. He was stubborn and disobedient, but afterward he repented and went.  The man went to his second son and said the exact same words.  The son said, I go, sir, but he never went.  

The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few (Matthew 9:37).

God just doesn’t want us to attend church every week.  There is work to do.  Just like Joseph, God has sent  us ahead of the famine (Psalm 105:16-17).  There are people who have a need and God needs us to be in our place to meet their need.  God doesn’t want us to be like the second son who hears the word, but refuses to do the word.

The first son almost missed a great opportunity, but he believed  and went to his father’s vineyard. The second son saw his brother go to work.  He saw the change and the ‘fruit’ of his labor, but still refused to change.  To be honest, I don’t think he wanted to work.  I think he is like some of us who just expects our Father to do  everything.

If faith does not have works [deeds and actions of obedience to back it up], it is by itself dead [inoperative and ineffective] (James 2:17).

God told Abraham that a great nation would come out of him.  He was going to make his name great.  And not only was He was going to bless him, but He was going to make him a blessing.  How do we know that Abraham believed God?  Because He obeyed God.  He moved toward the promise God made.  He went to get what God had given him.  Some of us have missed out on things that God has promised us because we refuse to do the first thing He told us to do.

Your blessing is in the obedience. 

Maybe God is not telling you to leave a certain location or to walk away from some people, but maybe you need to leave the lies that the enemy has told you – what you can’t do and what you will never be.  Sometimes there are things such as hurt and unforgiveness that are keeping us from moving forward.  Joseph could have blamed a lot of people for what he was going through – his brothers, Potiphar’s wife and the butler who forgot about him.  It seemed like the people who he was sent to help, only hurt him.  My point is this: The longer he stayed angry and bitter, the longer he would have stayed in prison (mentally).  And in Joseph’s case, he didn’t have a lot of time to waste.  A famine was coming and his family as well as many others needed him to be free from prison.

In John 5:4, an angel would go into the pool at a certain season so it was important that one be ready at all times.  Whoever stepped in the water first after the angel troubled the water would be made whole of any disease he had.  I don’t know how long the impotent man had been lying at the pool, but he had an infirmity for 38 years.  According to this man, he kept missing  his healing because someone would always step down before him.  One day, Jesus saw the man lying at the pool.  He knew how long he had been in that condition and He gave him another opportunity to be healed, but the man had to want it.  Do you want to be whole?

It’s not too late for you.  God has not counted you out.  A missed opportunity doesn’t have to be a lost opportunity.  Another opportunity is coming to you.  I believe God is going to do something even greater in this next season.  And just like the impotent man, He doesn’t want any of us to miss it.  He wants you to be a part of what He is doing.  In fact, He wants to do it through you.  He wants to use you greatly in this next season.  He wants to make you whole.  He wants to restore years to you.

If you believe it, then do the thing that you’ve said in your heart, I’m not going to do it  or I’m afraid to do it  or I don’t want to do it.  Maybe some of you are thinking, I’ve done what the Lord told me to do and nothing has happened yet.  The key word is yet.  It may not have happened the last time, but it will happen – if you don’t faint.  Try it again.  Believe Him again.  God wants you to see His goodness.

Don’t miss it!

It Pays to Obey

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I remember on one of Tyler Perry’s movies where the mother was talking to her daughter about forgiveness and how God was going to take care of everything and Madea interrupted the conversation and said, ‘God takes too long’. Most of us laughed at that part, but in reality we don’t think it’s a laughing matter. Sometimes it does feel like God is taking too long to do what He promised.

God told Noah that something was going to happen that had never happened before and He has told you that He is going to do something that has never been done before – in your life, but a lot of times it requires you to do something that you have never done before. Noah never built an ark before and we know this because God had to tell him how to build one.

When God told Noah that He was going to destroy the earth, He gave him instructions. Noah built the ark the way God told him to, he gathered two of every living thing (male and female) and he gathered food for his family and the animals. What Noah was preparing for could not come until he was prepared for it. If what he was expecting came too early, it would have destroyed him and his family.

Normally, we just look at what Noah built, but we don’t look at what God was building in Noah – faith, patience and perseverance. God was also teaching him how to trust Him. What God asked him to do was not completed in one night. It was hard labor, but remember that a laborer is worthy of his reward (I Timothy 5:18). He was doing what no one else was doing, but it didn’t matter what others were doing or not doing. Noah did ALL that God commanded him (Gen 6:22). 2 Peter 2:5 calls Noah a preacher of righteousness. I’m sure there were those who didn’t think he was a ‘real’ preacher or that he heard from God. They probably laughed at him. Even though he had a family, I’m sure he felt alone sometimes.

Sometimes people feel like going to church or paying tithes and offering or doing anything for the Lord is in vain and because it doesn’t look like anything is happening for them, they stop, but they stop before God could start. Going to church is not about attendance. Tithing is not about money. It’s about trust. It’s about obedience. Stop focusing on yourself. Stop looking at what YOU can get out of it. There are other souls involved here. The thing that God is about to do in your life is not just going to help you, but it is going to help others. Noah’s obedience not only saved him, but it saved seven others. God wants to bless you, but He can only bless your obedience.

God gave the children of Israel a word – a promise. He told them He was going to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians. They initially believed what Moses and Aaron said and they escaped, but the Egyptians would soon pursue them to get them back. When the Israelites looked back and saw the Egyptians behind them, they lost focus. They didn’t focus on what God said, but they focused on what their enemies were doing (or trying to do).

If God has given you HIS word, put your hope in that word. Blessed are they that hear the word of God and obey it  (Luke 11:28). There is a reward for obedience and your obedience is about to pay off – and I’m not talking about when you get to heaven. I’m talking about while you’re here on earth.

When you do what God tells you to do, nothing good will be withheld from you. If it hasn’t happened yet, it may be because you’re not prepared for it yet. Don’t be angry with God. He is only protecting you from that which wishes to destroy you. And don’t rush God. You don’t want your vine to cast its fruit before its time (prematurely). You want everything to happen at the right time and at the time God purposed. Noah wasn’t somewhere waiting on God. He was working. He was obeying God. He was believing God for something he hadn’t seen yet.

Whatever you’re praying to God about, believe that you will receive. Don’t ask for bread, but then expect a stone. I know there have been many disappointments, but God is not like man. He will not lie to you and He will not disappoint you. He is your great reward (Gen 15:1). So don’t stop doing what God told you to do. Your labor is not in vain. It is not useless. There is purpose in everything you do for God and that purpose will be fulfilled in your life and in those who are connected to you. Your reward may not come immediately, but it will surely come. Kenneth Hagin once said that when you disobey God, it costs you, but when you obey Him, it pays! So don’t get discouraged. Your Father, Who sees what you do secretly, is about to reward you openly.