Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Obedience IS......

Obedience is, the very best way, to show that you believe.
Doing exactly what the Lord commands, doing it happily.
Action is the key, do it immediately, joy you will receive.
Obedience is, the very best way, to show that you believe.

Do you remember singing this song when you were a kid?  Remember back to childhood, when everything was just so easy!  We learned this song and it taught us the truth from scripture that immediate obedience is what God expects of His children.  As parents, we teach this to our children in expecting first time obedience.  In John 14:15, Jesus tells his disciples, "If you love Me, keep My commandments."  Several years ago now, I went through the study "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby in my church, and he said something that has stuck with me ever since.  If we struggle with spending time with God in fellowship, we don't have a scheduling problem, we have a love problem.  Same holds true if I struggle with obedience in a particular area, I don't have an "obedience" problem, I have a love problem.  If God shows me something from His Word that I know I should be doing, or shouldn't be doing and I don't do anything about it, I am not loving God. Let me tell ya, I was broken in that moment.  My fellowship with God changed at that point, because I desire to love God, but how could I love someone I wasn't even getting to know?  Then I had to evaluate where my obedience stood as a picture of how much I truly love Him.  Sure, I obey Him in the big things.  I'm faithful in my marriage, I raise my kids according to God's Word, I serve in the church, I live a moral life.... but what about the "little stuff"?  When I speak my mind without thinking and hurt someones feelings, do I ask for their forgiveness?  When I get angry with my husband (I know, he's perfect, so I should never have a reason to be angry), do I blow up and treat him with a lack of respect or do I take my anger to God and then calmly discuss the issue with my husband.  See, God only gave us two commands:  Love God with you heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbors as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31)  I can't even keep those two!

Hear my heart, in that I'm not saying we have to obey every second of every day and always do good in some attempt to earn God's love.  God loves you unconditionally, and he showed that by sending Jesus to die on the cross to pay for your sins so that you can spend eternity in Heaven with Him if you would just turn your life to Him.  What God's Word does say, is that we show our love for Him by how we obey.  When you read His Word, do you just check it off your list and get a warm fuzzy knowing you opened the Bible today, or do you obey what He's telling you to do?  Knowledge means NOTHING if you're not going to apply what you know.  You are not loving God if your obedience to Him doesn't match with what His Word says. Next time the Holy Spirit convicts you of something in your life, next time you read the Bible and see something that needs to change in your life, remember that you love God!  If you love Him, you WILL keep His commandments.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Depression: Do We Have a Choice?

Did you know that we CAN (and do) choose how we are going to feel?  I put this chart together as a way to visualize what I have learned in God's word so far about how stress plays into our lives and how we can choose to respond.  The paths we have to choose from lead to two very different places.  Here's the hard truth that we MUST realize:  If I choose to worry, then I have chosen to NOT trust God.  If those of us that battle with depression could truly grab a hold of that one truth, it would revolutionize our walk with the Lord and He would cure the depression.  I STRONGLY encourage you to look up each of these verses and let the Word of God change your life!  I have this chart hanging in my office at work to remind me what choices I need to make every day so that I experience peace instead of depression.  Feel free to print one for yourself as a constant reminder to choose peace!    This is not an exhaustive list.  One thing that I have found critical is being quick to repent when I find myself going down path 2.  When I choose worry instead of trust, I have sinned and immediate repentance is the only thing that will pull me off that path.  Do you trust God?  Let's show our trust by having joy in trials instead of worrying about them.  Worry is NEVER OK.  Do we have a choice?  Absolutely!  These verses merely scratch the surface. I would love to hear from you!  What are some verses that you have found helpful as you deal with stress in your life?  Share them in the comments space!