Category Archives: Obedience

Will I Choose Silence?

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Do you ever feel inadequate? Maybe you don’t use your gifts because you think they aren’t good enough.

I often feel inadequate as a voice speaking out. I look back on previous devotions and see I need my own advice! It’s frustrating. Part of me thinks I need to be more “spiritual” or “victorious” to share a message with others. But, I suspect readers relate more to my struggles than to my victories. No one has it all together and shouldn’t give the impression they do. However, this struggle doesn’t go away.

Recently, I was doing my daily  SOAP  reading and this verse stood out:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Queen Esther had the opportunity to speak up for her people and possibly save them from destruction, but she was afraid. There was a good chance she would die if she approached the king without being summoned. Her uncle Mordecai gave her the advice in verse 14, telling her if she kept silent, God would bring deliverance from another place.

The truth of that verse hit me. “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise…from another place.” I realized I can stay silent, but if I do, God will use someone else to share His message. I’m the one who misses out if I don’t share. God will find a messenger. He will accomplish His purposes on earth. For Him to ask me is a privilege: not a right. If I deny that privilege, I lose it. I want Him to use others but I don’t want to miss out on that opportunity! If I keep silent and don’t share through writing, I’ll miss the blessing of experiencing God working through me. I’ll miss the encouragement that comes from others. I don’t want to treat lightly the grace He is giving me by offering opportunities to share His truth. I can’t take that for granted. Opportunities come from Him. I’m not entitled to the privilege of sharing through writing.

Yes, I need to seek Him, live for Him, and know the truth of His Word: otherwise, what I have to share will grow thin. Living for myself doesn’t produce fruit. But, the fact that I stumble and fall and struggle with my flesh doesn’t disqualify me from the race. I’m humbled and awed that He would still give me opportunities and still use me to encourage others. I don’t deserve that privilege. It’s all grace.

What are your gifts?

How is God using you?

If you struggle at times with feeling unworthy to use those gifts, remember if you stay silent, if you put your gifts aside, God will send someone else, use someone else and you will be left without the blessing that comes from serving Him. He wants to use all His children. He wants all believers to operate in the body as one.

We are all important and together we fulfill His purpose on earth.

I don’t want to miss out on experiencing Him working through me.

Father, thank you for the grace you give me every moment, every day. It’s amazing grace that I can even come to you in prayer. Thank you for the opportunities you give me to serve, to share, to write, and to give. Help me to take each one. Open my eyes to see when and where to speak and what to say. Open my ears to hear your call. Please work through me and let your will be done not mine. May all glory always go to you.

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What Am I Devoted To?

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S – “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:35

But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

O – Ruth is an example of devotion. She was devoted to Naomi and was determined to be faithful to her to death. Paul was writing to the Corinthians about matters concerning relationships and living in this world but I think his point is we are to live with undivided devotion to the Lord. Whatever else we do or whatever relationships we have, it should not take us from our undivided devotion to the Lord. He is first. We should say like Ruth, “wherever you lead, I will follow.”

A – Do I have undivided devotion to the Lord? I can’t say I do. I’m distracted by so many things. People, possessions, life. How do I get to where nothing can take me from my devotion to my Lord. How do I deal with the world as if I had no dealings with it? (v.31) The NLT says to “not become attached” to the things of the world. The original word means to not use it much or excessively. To not use fully or overuse. I guess it means to not be obsessed with this world. To not look to the things of the world as what we need to be happy and fulfilled. God wants us to see Him, to know Him as the primary source of all our needs. He is all we need to survive and be happy.

P – Father, please show me how to live in this world and deal with the world yet stay detached from the world. Will you show me or give me an example? Please be my strength. I am so grateful for your love and grace. But I want to be like Ruth and say that I will follow you no matter what to the death. You are the source of all I need Jesus! I love you!

SOAP Bible reading method.

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What if There Were No Laws?

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S – “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

O – Judges is hard to read. All the ugly violence and despicable acts are disturbing.  The last verse in the book explains why. When everyone does what is right in their own eyes, the result is chaos, pain, and war.

A – We seem to be leaning to this philosophy in present day. Everyone wants to be free to do what they think is right, what feels good but that does not work! As Judges shows, that philosophy ends in violence, immorality, war, rape, and destruction. To the point it is not safe to walk in the street at night. God have mercy!

Jesus paid a high price to redeem me. I want to live in a way that glorifies Him. Please help me Lord!

P – Father, you always know what is best. We may not be under the law for salvation but your laws are there for a reason. They protect us and guide us. We need boundaries. Please guide our nation. Guide our leaders. Help us to walk in submission to you and not to our own desires. You bought us with your life. Help us to walk in a way that glorifies You.

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In the Face of my Enemies

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“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5

Who are my enemies?

I don’t have the kind of enemies King David faced every day. I don’t go into physical battle to fight other nations. I doubt my son will ever wage war against me (as David’s son did). But I do have enemies. My biggest enemy is the enemy we all have, Satan. Our accuser, the father of lies, the evil one. He’s the one who wants to steal from us, kill us and destroy us. I also face the enemies in my own heart. My pride, selfishness, apathy, jealousy, self-protective bent, and desire for comfort to name a few.

Sometimes when I am struggling with these “enemies”, I have a hard time writing or sharing spiritual truth. I find it difficult to write out scriptural insights because my enemies accuse me and tell me I’m not worthy. As I was reading Psalm 23:5 one morning, it struck me that God wants to prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. When I come to Him in the morning to read the Bible, pray and write my thoughts, He has promised to spread a table before me, to give me truth and insight into His word even in the presence of my enemies of pride, selfishness and sin. Even in the presence of the accuser, the devil. When I come to Him with an open heart and mind confessing my sin and seeking Him, He will give me truth. He will feed my soul with a banquet spread out on the table. I can ignore the enemies who mock me and jeer at me. They are defeated. Jesus has made a spectacle of them.

He has won the victory!

When I tremble and lay down my sword in the presence of my enemies, I believe a lie.

I am letting my enemies deceive me by convincing me I’m defeated. They rejoice when I let their accusations keep me from seeking my Lord and from acting on His truth. His truth stands no matter how I “feel”. Yes, I’m an imperfect vessel but God still chooses to use me as He has used sinners through the ages. He sees me through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. My faith is in Him and not in my own abilities. I can do nothing apart from Him.

So, I’ll seek Him and I’ll search the Scriptures and I’ll write about His truth even when my enemies mock me. He is my strength and shield. My ever present help in time of trouble.

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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Choosing to Praise

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“My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Psalm 108:1-4 (ESV)

God called King David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). There are many reasons God said this about David but Psalm 108 shows us one clear reason. David was fixed on praising God. He was fixed on praising God not because things always went his way. Not because he never suffered. Not because he was perfect. It was a choice he made. He told God, “My heart is steadfast!” To be steadfast is to be firm, stable, established, fixed. He was set on praising God and nothing would sway him from that. He said,

I WILL sing and make melody with all my being!

I WILL awake the dawn!

I WILL give thanks to you, O LORD!

I WILL sing praises to you among the nations.

David determined to sing for God with all his being. He chose to start his day praising God. He made the choice to give thanks to Him. He was set on praising God in his heart and also chose to praise Him among the nations.

Why? Why would he praise him in spite of trouble and oppression? Why would he praise Him in spite of his own weaknesses? Why would he praise Him in the midst of daily struggles?

“For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 108:4-5

Why would he praise Him? Because God’s love is great above the heavens! His love never fails. His love is everlasting! Because His faithfulness goes on forever!

He deserves all praise and all glory! His love and faithfulness will never fail us.

Like David, I can choose to praise Him. I can say with David:

I will sing and make melody with all my heart!

I will wake up in the morning praising Him!

I will give thanks to you, O LORD!

I will sing your praises to those around me.

It’s a choice I can make. I can praise Him in spite of circumstances because He never changes. His character is firm in spite of my problems and struggles. I can praise Him because His love for me never fails. He will never love me any less. I can make the choice to sing and make music in my heart. I can thank Him everyday for all He does for me. I can also choose to praise His name to those around me. I can tell them how great He is.

God’s love for me is steadfast. It will never change. His faithfulness goes on forever. He is worthy of all my praise.

I will give thanks to you, O LORD! I will sing your praises to others. Praise your Holy Name!

This is a choice we can make every day! It’s a gift we give to our Lord.

I originally published this devotion at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

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Walk With God

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S –   “Enoch walked with God, and was not, for God took him.”  Genesis 5:24

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5

“…Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9b  “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” v. 8

O – Both Noah and Enoch “walked with God” and both found favor in His eyes. God was pleased with them. Why? Because they walked with Him. They fellowshipped with Him. They had a relationship with God. Their faith pleased God.

A – Am I walking with God? Yes, I believe in Him, I believe His word, I know He is real, and my heart belongs to Him. But do I walk with Him or do I go my merry way? Do I do what is convenient, easy or fits my mood or do I follow the leading of His Spirit even if it is inconvenient, painful or requires sacrifice?

Walk with. Follow. He leads. I walk with Him but I turn when He turns. I stop when He stops. He sets the pace.

P – Jesus, I want to follow you this way. I want to turn from setting my own pace and stopping when I want. Dear Spirit, help me yield. Help me listen and follow.

My word for 2017: FOLLOW

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I’ll take instant maturity, please.

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Grinning with pleasure, I watched my newly planted butterfly garden. The bold yellow of the Yarrow and the vibrant orange of the Blanket flowers were a great beginning, but I longed for all the green to turn to blossoms. I rushed out each morning, excited to see new blossoms but nothing seemed to change.

Gardening brings a great lesson in patience. Hoping for growth, we plant seeds or small plants where they will get sun, adding soil, food and water. It takes weeks, months or in some cases a year or more to get full benefit of our labor. We must trust the food, water and sun to bring the seeds to full growth.

Spiritual growth is the same. When I read an inspiring verse or book or hear an insightful sermon, I want the maturity offered right now. I read about loving others with all my heart and wonder the next day why I’m rude and uncaring. I learn about the power of thoughts and keeping them focused on truth and want victory that minute. Like my butterfly garden, spiritual maturity comes with time and the right conditions for growth.

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15 (NIV)

   Perseverance produces a crop. If I want growth, I prepare my heart with prayer as I would prepare the soil. Letting the Holy Spirit break up the hard clods of sin. I plant the seeds of truth in the soil of my heart by reading and meditating on Scripture. I drink from His living water, yielding to the Holy Spirit. I spend time in His presence and His light shines on me like the sun warming my heart and bringing the seeds to life. As I listen and obey, those seeds grow and produce fruit. But like my garden this takes time and patience, daily care and trust that the fruit will come. If I apply food, water and light, my garden will grow. When I pray, read Scripture, stay in God’s presence and obey His leading, over time spiritual maturity will come.

I few years ago, after struggling to be consistent with daily Bible reading, I was introduced to the SOAP method of Bible Study. With excitement, I made it a priority every morning. After a few weeks, I wanted to see change. God helped me to see that change comes as we make these choices day by day.

It’s what we do everyday that changes us over time.

I realized I would have to be patient and faithful and trust the power of His word to work in me.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” James 5:7 (NIV)

Do you wish for instant maturity? I know I do.

     If we will persevere and keep studying, praying and applying His word as we seek to know Him better, maturity will come. Just as one day I will walk out and see a garden of beautiful flowers, there are days when I get a glimpse of His word producing fruit in my life.

Keep going! Persevere. The fruit will come!

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Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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