Obedience Motivated By Gratitude…

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Acts 5:27-32 (KJV)

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

The high priest ordered Peter and the apostles to stop teaching about Jesus, but they ignored the order.

When questioned about their actions, Peter replied,

“We must obey God rather than men” (v. 29).

What motivated them to follow the Lord with such conviction?

God’s Sovereignty.

Peter and the other disciples recognized that God had carried out His divine plan of redemption in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

Convinced that salvation was found in Christ alone, they had the courage to speak boldly about their faith.

They didn’t alter their words, even in front of a powerful authority.

Instead, they gave allegiance to God and obeyed Him.

Thankfulness.

Their obedience was also motivated by gratitude.

After betraying the Lord, Peter had wept over his failure.

Think of the disciple’s joy to realize that Christ had forgiven him for his mistakes and restored him to a right relationship with God.

With his past behind him, Peter became a leader of the Jerusalem church, with a passion to obey fueled by a thankful heart.

God is in charge of our lives.

He has rescued us from the bondage of sin, forgiven us, and brought us into His family.

Grateful obedience should be our response too.

Each day we have a choice.

We can acknowledge God’s sovereignty and trust Him, or we can turn away and follow our own plan.

Cultivating a thankful spirit will motivate us to stay the course and obey the Lord. Like Peter, let’s commit to following our heavenly Father wherever He leads.

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How Strong Is Your Desire ?

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John 8:28-29

28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

God knows who we really are—sinners by nature and practice.

Before salvation, we were actively rebelling against His authority and pursuing our own way. Yet He loved us so much that He sent His Son to sacrifice His life in payment for the sin debt we owed
John 3:16

God’s love for us is a compelling reason to obey Him in all things.

Christ demonstrated what a life of obedience looks like. He regularly withdrew from the crowds to spend time in prayer and thereby discover God’s will. Jesus sought to please His Father in everything He did—and wanted the world to recognize that to obey demonstrates love
John 14:31

Both the Old and New Testaments provide examples of this principle. David lived an imperfect life, but God knew the king was wholeheartedly committed to Him -1 Kings 15:5. David declared, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart” – Ps. 40:8. And the apostle Paul was single-minded for Jesus Phil. 3:13-14. However, before his conversion, he persecuted Jewish believers 1 Cor. 15:9

These two men experienced God’s forgiving love firsthand, which motivated them to actively pursue His will.

And our heavenly Father knows that none of us can live perfectly, so He wants His children to let the Holy Spirit help them obey.

A life of obedience requires a mind that is focused on the Lord and His plan, a heart committed to following Him, and a will that is surrendered to His authority. It consists of many daily decisions to deny self, resist temptation, and choose His way.

How strong is your desire to carry out His will?

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Replace “WHY?” With Gratitude And Trust…

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Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

We often find it easy to trust the Lord when circumstances are pleasant.

In difficult times, though, resting in Him can be challenging. Yet that is precisely what God told David to do “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall deliver you” (Ps. 50:15).

As we can see, trusting the Lord is possible because of His love for us.

In the Bible, we see this divine love clearly demonstrated through the Father’s character, the Savior’s atoning death, and the believer’s adoption as a child of God.

Another reason we can rely upon our heavenly Father is His infinite wisdom (Rom. 11:33).

He always knows what is best for us, and His judgments are perfect.

We don’t understand all that goes into God’s plan—compared to the full, clear view He has of our lives, we see just a limited picture of reality.

Therefore, what He chooses for us may not make sense at the time.

We can also depend upon the Lord because He is sovereign. In other words, whatever He—in His wisdom and love—chooses to do, He is able to accomplish.

Nothing stands in the way of our God.

He is in complete control of all things; even Satan must obtain His permission before taking action(Job 1:9-12).

We understandably dislike adversity intensely and may feel tempted to ask, “Why, Lord?”

Yet by recognizing that God acts in love, wisdom, and sovereignty, we can know that He’s allowed the situation and has our long-term best in mind.

So we can replace “why?” with gratitude and trust.

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Peace In The Midst Of A Storm…

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John 10:10, (KJV)

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Are you living the abundant life Jesus came to give?

I’m not talking about living in the fanciest house or driving the newest car. No, His promise of abundant life goes way beyond material things that this world offers.

Abundant life means “life to the full.” That means no matter what is going on around you, you can partake of the full blessings of God. You can have peace in the midst of a storm. You can have joy when things are uncertain. You can have hope when circumstances seem hopeless.

As believers, a lot of times it’s easy to look at that verse and think, “God is going to give me abundant life someday.”

But the truth is that God wants you to have abundant life TODAY!

Don’t waste another second living in mediocrity or settling for less than God’s best.

Receive His blessings by faith today. Receive His hope, joy, strength and favor.

Declare that you are living the abundant life today and every day!

TODAY’S PRAYER

Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus so that I can have eternal life.
I know that You want the best for me.
Help me to keep my heart and mind focused on You so that I can walk in Your ways all the days of my life in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

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Are You A Believer Or A Follower?

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Mark 8:34-35

34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

I like to use the word believer when talking about God’s children, as it specifically refers to those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior.

That is a much smaller population than those who label themselves “Christians”.

But did you know that even fewer people could rightly be called “followers”?

These are the folks who passionately pursue the Lord’s will in all things.

Are you a believer or a follower?

It is criticallty important that we know who we are in Christ.

It is only when we know who we are that we can properly discern:

  • -how we are to respond in virtually every situation

  • -how we are to make decisions in the face of virtually any problem or opportunity

  • -how we are to answer virtually any question

  • -how we are to treat other people

  • -how we areto schedule our priorities in life

  • -how we are to witness about Jesus Christ

Trusting in Jesus Christ is fundamental, but doing so is the first step, not the culmination, of a person’s faith.

Our primary purpose is to take a life-long journey following in the Lord’s footsteps, becoming as transparent and predictable as possible by honoring Him with our “Actions and Speech”, and always increasing in biblical wisdom.

A follower’s life is summed up in the phrase complete obedience.

In fact, Jesus defined true Christians as those who prove their
love for Him by keeping His word.
John 14:23

When it comes to obeying God, there are really only two responses—

“I will” or “I won’t.”

It’s tempting to say, “I will, but . . .” as some of Jesus’ would-be disciples did, but that’s a roundabout way of saying NO
Luke 9:59

Followers remain faithful to the Lord’s plan…

whether doing so is easy or hard.

Not only that, but they proclaim Him in both blessing and calamity, and go even when they don’t like where He leads.

Followers pursue the Lord because they know that the reward is a deeper, more passionate relationship with Him.

They are not just waiting to spend eternity with God in heaven.

The wise individual realizes that eternity begins now, right here on earth, as they accompany Him on the righteous path He has set before them…

…by treating others as He has commanded us to do so…

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