Tag Archives: obeying god

Trusting His Plan

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my son to get ready, and then, before he gets ready, he asks, “Where are we going?” I usually tell him, “It doesn’t matter. I said to get ready, so get ready.” Instead of quickly obeying, he constantly wants to know all the info before doing anything. As a parent, it can be frustrating. There are things he needs to know, and there are things he doesn’t need to know. I simply want him to obey when asked to do something instead of questioning everything I tell him to do.

Even though I know these frustrations as a parent, when the shoe is on the other foot, I act the same way. How many times had God told me to get ready or to go somewhere, and I want to know all the details before I do anything? There’s also those times where I know where He’s leading me, but I want to know all the steps first. It’s like I’m my own child when God is the father telling me to do things. I wonder how frustrated He gets at our questioning and inactivity while He’s waiting for our obedience.

Proverbs 20:24 says, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” (NLT) As children of God, we need to understand there are things we need to know, and things we don’t. God knows everything we are about to do, and how He wants it done. Since the beginning of time, all He has asked is that we would simply trust Him. He’s looking for our obedience without having to understand everything. We need to have enough faith to trust His will, His plan and His directions without questioning them. Simple obedience yields eternal benefits. Just like the old song says, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way.”

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An Understanding Heart

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been taught that Solomon asked God for wisdom. I tried looking up the scripture where he asked God for “wisdom”, but the Bible doesn’t put it that way. In I Kings 3:9, Solomon asked God for an understanding heart so he could judge the people well. In essence he was asking for wisdom, but as I dug deeper, he wanted more than just wisdom. He wanted to do well in God’s sight and to care for His people.

When I looked up the word “understanding” as it was used in this context, it had three meanings. The first was to hear. Solomon wanted a heart that could hear not only God, but what others were saying too. He didn’t want to just rely on what his ears heard, he wanted to really hear what people meant. Wisdom comes in not just hearing what is spoken. It comes when we can discern the true intent of the words spoken.

The next meaning of “understanding” was to listen. Almost everyone is born with the ability to hear, but only a few ever learn to listen. I believe that God is always speaking to us. We hear Him, but we don’t really listen to what it is that He’s telling us or showing us. Solomon was concerned about the ability of his heart to listen to God. He wanted God to know that he understood the only way to truly govern the people well would be if He could listen to His voice.

The third meaning of “understanding” in this context is to obey. It’s not enough to hear or listen to God. We have to obey what He tells us. I’m sure that Solomon had been told of Saul’s disobedience and of God’s response in I Samuel 15:22. Obedience is better than sacrifice. God is more concerned with our obedience to His word than in our obedience to religious rituals. Anyone can walk through the motions of a ritual, but only the wisest among us obey a God at all costs.

Wisdom was a by product of what he truly wanted. Hearing the voice of God, listening to what He really said and acting on it from his heart is what made Solomon truly wise. You and I can experience that wisdom. Solomon’s request for an understanding heart is one that you and I can ask for today. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.” God would love to give each of us the wisdom that comes from an understanding heart.

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Handling Transitions

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Times of transition in life can be difficult. There’s the fear of the unknown and the excitement of a new beginning mixed up with the stress of change. Each one of us goes through these times in our lives. They usually aren’t easy to walk through because you don’t know how long the transitional period will be, you don’t know how much life will really change and You doubt that your making the right decision. I’ve learned there are things we can do to help these times go by more smoothly.

The first thing you can do is to be patient. David’s transition from shepherd to King took years. He had to learn to be patient during that transition time. He didn’t quite have all the skills necessary to be a successful King. There were still lessons to be learned in the pasture and on the battlefield before he was ready. God knows what you need in order be successful in the next step He has for you. Don’t rush into the next phase. Let Him continue to work in you and through you as He moves you into your next phase.

The next thing I’ve learned is to be obedient. When Queen Esther was faced with having to make a transition in her relationship with the king, she was scared. She decided she would rather procrastinate than to face him and save her people. In Esther 4:14, her uncle Mordecai said, “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” God has you in this time of transition for a purpose. Your obedience still matters. Perhaps your transition is not for your benefit, but for that of others. Listen intently to what God is saying and do what He asks.

The last thing you can do is to trust God in the process. He sees the overall plan for your life. He knows what changes need to be made and when, so that you will be where He needs you when He needs you. Don’t panic because things aren’t happening according to your timeline. Allow them to happen in His. We only see a part, but He sees the whole. He will not leave you alone in this process. He will not abandon you to the no man’s land of transition forever. It will come to a close and your next chapter will begin. In the meantime, trust His plan for your life and trust in the process He uses to move you.

These three things are easily said, but much more difficult to live out. I’ve found that in times of transition, it’s easy to get out of your routine of spending time with God. You’re going to have to make time for Him. Whatever it takes, you need to make sure you are staying in His Word and spending time in prayer. Don’t lose sight of Him in the process. He’s there to guide you and has placed people in your path to help you. When you stay close to Him in times of change, those times go by a lot more smoothly.

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Lessons From Noah

All of the raining and flooding here in Texas has made me revisit the story of Noah in Genesis 6-8. While I’ve read it as an adult and heard it multiple times as a kid in Sunday School, I had never gone through verse by verse, version by version to break it down to see what things stood out to me. What I’ve found is that I’m not ready to build an ark yet, but I am willing to do the things Noah did that helped him to find favor with God in a time that no one else did. Out of everyone on the planet, he and his family were saved because of how he lived.

Genesis 6:6 says that God regretted even making man and putting him in His creation. Verse 8 says that Noah found favor in God’s eyes though. He was willing to be the only person who did what was right. In a world where desecration, outrage, infringement, assault and lust for power were the norm, Noah found favor with God because he was not willing to give into the desires of the flesh. He knew how God had wanted us to live. He was willing to be the only person who did what was right even if no one else was. He was willing to stand alone in his faith.

Noah was able to stand alone in his faith, endure ridicule and honor God when others wouldn’t because He spent time with Him. Genesis 6:9 says, “Noah walked in habitual fellowship with God. (AMP)” The only way your faith can survive hard times or times when you are the only one who is serving God is through habitual fellowship with Him. Noah made time for God. He walked with God. He talked with God. He made Him a priority each and every day by setting aside time to spend with Him. The Bible says that because of that, Noah found favor in God’s eyes.

Because He had that favor, a God was willing to save Him. He was willing to trust him with a plan that would take years to fulfill. He gave him the blueprints to build the ark and set him free to do the work. I believe another reason God saved Noah was because he was obedient. The last verse in Genesis 6 says, “So Noah did everything exactly as God told him. (NLT)” He didn’t try to put his own spin on what God asked him to do. He didn’t try to find other ways to interpret what God could have meant. He simply obeyed and because he did, God saved he and his family.

In Matthew 24:37, Jesus said, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (ESV)” There will come a time again when people will be living like the people of Noah’s generation. In that time, God will look around for faithful people. He will look for those who are willing to live for Him when no one else will. The ones He finds will be the ones who walk with Him habitually and obey everything He tells them. You and I are called to be that type of person, if you can’t walk with Him and obey Him now, how will you be able to when evil takes over the world? The time to walk with God us now.

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Are You Listening?

A while ago, I was trying to teach a group of people the importance of listening. I split the group in half and had one group wait outside the room. I told the people left in the room to do everything in their power to show they weren’t listening without speaking. I then told the group outside the room to think of a life changing event that had happened to them. I wanted them to go back in the room, find someone and share that story with them. I didn’t foresee what happened next.

The people who shared their life changing stories began getting upset. As they shared stories of a miracle baby that was born, a near death experience or something like that, they other people were taking pictures of their shoes, looking at their phones and counting ceiling tiles. The ones who were sharing their hearts began to yell, “Are you listening to me?!?” Their body language began to change. Their voices got louder. All of them were upset to the point that I had to cancel the exercise. I don’t think anyone who participated in that exercise will forget how important it is to listen.

Listening is a lot different than hearing. Listening requires active participation on your part. It involves engaging the mind. There were many in Jesus’ day who heard Him teach. They could hear what He was saying, but they weren’t listening to easy He was saying. In john 10:27, Jesus said, “The sheep that are my own hear and are listening to my voice (AMP).” He separated the two words to make a distinction between His followers and everyone else. Only those who truly follow Him listen (engage the mind and heart). They are the ones who then engage their body to do what He says.

James 1:22, the King James Version says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hears only.” When we learn to truly listen to what God tells us in a His word, we can’t go on living like we were. It changes us and compels us to live differently than before. Anyone can hear it and walk away the same. It takes someone who will listen to what it says to enact it. I think that’s why David was intent on meditating on it. When we stop and think about the scriptures we read, it helps us to listen and to focus on what God was really saying.

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 1. It talks about the blessed person and their characteristics. In verse two, he wrote, “His delight and desire are in the law of The Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and night (AMP).” The person who actively tries to listen what God is saying through His Word is blessed. Don’t just read God’s Word to check off a box of things that Christians do. Meditate on it, think about it, listen to it and then act on it. That’s how He knows His sheep are listening.

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