Tag Archives: obedience

November 14; To Change or Not To Change, That Is The Question

Acts 7:54-9:31

Simon believed he was someone great. He wasn’t the only one. It sounds like he had quite a following. His sorcery must have been amazing, because people even thought he was divine.

That is, until they heard Philip preach the “good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus.” Many believed in Jesus, and were baptized – including Simon. Simon ended up following Philip around after that. Being a sorcerer, he was amazed at the miracles he saw Philip do.

Then when Simon witnessed Peter and John placing their hands on believers who then received the Holy Spirit, he wanted in on the action. He was willing to buy that ability. Peter recognized Simon for who he really was, and addressed Simon’s sin in no uncertain terms. “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right with God.”

Simon had believed in Jesus. But Simon was still the same old Simon. His heart had not changed.

Saul, on the other hand, was not only NOT a believer, he had dedicated his life to destroying the church by getting rid of anyone who did believe in Jesus. But his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus changed him.

Completely.

Saul became Paul who then dedicated his life to sharing Jesus with everyone, in hopes that everyone would believe. Paul’s belief in Jesus didn’t stop with the knowledge that Jesus is the Savior. Paul’s belief in Jesus changed his heart.

Do you believe? Scripture tells us even the demons believe, and shudder. (James 2:19). Belief is the first step, but it isn’t the only step.

If accepting Jesus as your Savior hasn’t changed you, let me suggest you check your heart. Is your belief head-knowledge, or a heart-changing, person-transforming, sin-defeating relationship with God Himself?

Change, or no change? That’s the question. And the answer is the difference between being a child of God, and being someone who has no part in His ministry, His kingdom.

Let your belief in Jesus change you.

November 1; Everything

Matthew 25:31-26:16; John 12:20-50, 1-11; Mark 14:1-11; Luke 22:1-6

What would you do if the bodily form of Jesus walked into your home and took a seat on your couch? Would you rush to the kitchen to fix Him something to eat, or get Him a drink? Would you pull out your phone and begin to call your friends to come and join you? Maybe you’d sit next to Him and ask those questions on your mind having to do with life and eternity.

Mary took what some to believe was her dowry, the downpayment for her future, her hopes to be a wife and mother, her dreams of having a home for the rest of her life, and she used it to wash Jesus’ feet. She held nothing back. She broke the jar, spilling its contents out on her Savior, lavishing Him with everything she had.

Jesus in bodily form is not likely to come to your house today for tea But if you are His child through His precious blood, His Presence is every bit as real.

What will you give Him today/?

October 31; Pure Motives

Mark 13:24-37; Matthew 24:29-25:30; Luke 21:25-38, 19:11-27

They didn’t do anything really wrong, right? I mean they were where they were supposed to be for so long, lamps in hand. Was it their fault the bridegroom was so long in coming?

The servant given one talent of money didn’t really do anything wrong. It wasn’t like the master actually told him he was supposed to use it to make more money. Didn’t the servant have a right to do with the money what he wanted to? After all, he’d protected it. Give him some credit. ┬áIt’s not like he lost it or spent it foolishly.

Maybe the bridesmaids’ and the servant’s motives were pure. Maybe they thought they were doing it right. But the Bible is pretty clear that there was something amiss. Neither the bridesmaids nor the servant had much of a respect for the man in charge. Maybe they thought, “good enough is good enough.” And if they did think that, they were wrong.

I hope you read these verses today. The rest of these stories don’t contain a happy ending. God is the final judge. There is no getting around it.

But what I don’t want to miss is the end of the story for the bridesmaids who had been prepared, and the other servants who put to good use that which the Master had given them. Talk about a happy ending! Friend, the choices we make in this life, the honor we show God, our obedience to His Word will make all the difference.

Is Jesus your Master? I hope that is the case. Then let’s all be faithful to use what He has given us, for His glory. Let’s watch for His return, ready, eager, excited to see Him. But let’s do it His way, according to what He tells us in His Word. Because pure motives are meaningless if they are not followed by obedience.

October 29; To Love God

Mark 12:18-40; Matthew 22:23-23:36; Luke 20:27-47, 10:25-28

I don’t think I can skim over what Jesus says is the greatest commandment. So I’ve sat here for a bit and pondered what it means to love God. Is it the kind of love we see on “The Bachelor?” Is it the kind of love we express when someone gets a new haircut? Is it a love that gets more than it gives, is is dependent on circumstances?

What does it mean to love God the way He deserves?

First of all, Jesus tells us we need to love Him with our whole heart, that part of us that is our hopes and dreams, our life and our emotions. It’s that which makes me me and you you. The question is, do I love God with all of me?

Jesus says we should love God with all our soul; the eternal, spiritual part of us. Does my love of God translate into complete trust, obedience, worship and praise? Is my love of God that which drives my faith? God is spirit, and we who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Does that define my love of God?

And Jesus says we should love God with all our mind. Love of God is not a mindless emotion. Can I honestly say I love God with good sense and thoughtful choice? Is my love for God simply a reaction toward His love for me, or is it a conscious decision to love Him because He first loved me?

The Ten Commandments would be so much easier to obey if we loved God like He deserves. Jesus said loving Him is the greatest commandment.

It’s that important.

October 13; You Talking’ To Me?

Mark 14:29-44; Matthew 14:1-21; Luke 9:7-17; John 6:1-15

What did Jesus mean by telling the disciples to feed the five thousand men (plus women and children) that day they were on that remote hill? The disciples suggested the people leave to go find food for themselves. There weren’t exactly Walmart stores around the corner. The people had been there all day, some had come from great distances. They were hungry. And Jesus said, “Feed them.”

You talkin’ to me, Lord?

The disciples found a few loaves of bread and some fish and brought it to Jesus. “This is all we have,” they told Him. And it was enough.

What did Jesus mean by telling us to go and make disciples?

You talkin’ to me, Lord? I didn’t go to seminary. I’m not great with words. I’m shy. I’m just a regular guy, no Billy Graham here. I wouldn’t know what to say. Send them to the preacher, or the Sunday School teacher. Or let them figure things out for themselves. I don’t have what it takes to make disciples.

In the feeding of the 5000 Jesus didn’t expect his disciples to scrounge up enough food for everyone. He asked them to give Him everything they had. They did, and the people were fed – with plenty of food left over!

Who is Jesus telling you to feed today? Are you going to let them fend for themselves, or will you expect them to go somewhere else to hear about the Savior because you are looking at your meager abilities?

Hear Jesus tell you to give Him what you have, and let Him take those meager abilities and turn you into a disciple-maker.

Yes. He’s talking to you!

October 11; Stop Sinning… or Else.

Mark 5:21-43, 6:1-6; Matthew 9:18-34, 13:53-58; Luke 8:40-56; John 5:1-15

The Jewish leaders saw a man walking around, carrying a mat on the Sabbath. They knew him as a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. Now he was walking around as if nothing was wrong.

But he was carrying a mat.

I shake my head at the Jews who were witnessing a miracle right in front of their eyes, yet pounced on the guy for breaking the Law by carrying his mat on the Sabbath. Legalist much?

The healed man answered them, “The guy who healed me told me to pick up my mat.” And when the Jews asked the man to name his healer, he had no idea. Jesus had slipped into the crowd without leaving his business card.

But here’s something I noticed today: when the man ran into Jesus later, Jesus told him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man immediately went running to the Jewish leaders who’d questioned him earlier, and identified Jesus as the one who had healed him and told him to carry his mat on the Sabbath.

Typical.

At least of me, and maybe you. Oh, we are thankful to God for His many blessings. We praise Him for good medical reports, for paying our bills, for keeping our kids safe. But don’t tell me I’m a sinner.

Don’t mess with my screen time, or my anger and jealousy. Don’t point out the times I use language that dishonors you, or when I gossip, or lie, or blend in with the world. Bless me Lord, then leave me alone.

Now maybe I’m reading too much into this passage. Maybe the healed man went excitedly to the Jewish leaders, thinking he’d share the good news of Jesus Christ with people who would be excited about Him, too. I don’t know what he was thinking.

I just don’t read that he repented of the sins Jesus addressed.

I want to always praise God for every blessing in my life. He is unbelievably good to me. I want to share Him with others, people for whom He died, people He loves as much as He loves me.

But I also want to hear Him say, “Stop sinning… or else,” and be quick to do what He says.

September 28; How Old Is Too Old?

Luke 1

Elizabeth was barren. She and her husband, Zechariah, longed for children. But year after year after year Elizabeth did not conceive. Some who have studied her life believe she could have been as old as 80 when the angel appeared to Zechariah and promised they would have a baby boy. The only thing I know for sure is that she was “well along in years,” (vs 18) and the angel told Mary that Elizabeth was going to have a child “in her old age.” (vs 36)

So, when most women her age were bouncing their great-grandchildren on their knees, Elizabeth very well could have been experiencing morning sickness and swollen ankles. But her pregnancy was a miracle, a long awaited miracle, and I believe Elizabeth probably loved every minute of it.

God asked Elizabeth to give birth to and raise one of the most recognizable, significant men in the Bible. John the Baptist would herald in the coming of the Messiah, Jesus! In fact, John announced Jesus’ arrival even while he was still in Elizabeth’s womb!

Yes, Elizabeth was old. Really old. But God had a job for her to do, and she did it seemingly without whining about it. I think there’s a lesson here.

Let’s not let age determine your faithfulness to serving God in whatever way He asks. When He lays an opportunity at our doorstep, when He nudges our hearts, let’s not sit back and think, “I’m too old.” If God wants us to serve Him, He’ll give us exactly what we need to serve Him.

After all, like the angel told Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Even using us who have been around the sun a few dozen times. How old is too old? I’m thinking there’s no such thing.