Posts Tagged ‘disobedience’

Saved and You Know It

February 6th, 2018

God made salvation simple and certain; confess and believe.

 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

My thoughts and comments today are about, “saved and you know it.”

As a child I learned a simple truth from a few words in a children’s song, “If you’re saved and you know it, then your life will surely show it. If you’re saved and you know it, say Amen.” Matters of eternal salvation must not be left to speculation.

On this matter, you cannot afford to be wrong. The Bible is clear, “He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the son does not have life. These things have I written unto you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:12-13 NIV.

There are many people, good people, who have wrongly assumed that being good is all that is required to go to Heaven. They have trusted in their good works, such as: being moral, honest, good neighbors, charitable, or religious, but according to the Bible those are just not good enough. I recall someone observing that, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage can make you a car.” The Bible is clear. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV.

How good is good enough? How many good works make you good enough for Heaven? Would God be fair and just if He left anything as important as your eternal soul to personal assumption or speculation? If I asked you, “What are you trusting right now to allow you into Heaven?” How would you answer? People offer diverse but wrong answers to such a simple question. But it is not what you think that matters, or sincerely believe, or prefer the answer would be, nor anyone else’s opinion that will make Heaven certain as your eternal home.

There is one standard alone for every person in every generation and nation, and that single standard is God’s Word. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NIV. Who else could you trust to make this eternally consequential matter clear and specific for you? Exclusive? Unfair?

Some people may think so, but a single standard is inclusive, both equally fair and just to one and all. If it will not be adjusted to include someone who fails to meet that righteous standard, then neither could it be adjusted to exclude someone who does. Anyone who accepts God’s Son as their Savior can and will be included – whatever their nationality, language, origin of birth, personal history, or circumstance of life.

The Apostle Paul’s words were unequivocal, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” Romans 10:13 NKJV. No wonder it is called the Good News. No one – absolutely no one – can or will be refused. Here is the simple answer from God’s Word. “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’” Romans 10:9-11 NLT. It is important that you know how to make Heaven your eternal home. God made salvation simple and certain. Confess and believe.

In the Greek language in which the New Testament was written, the word for confess – homologeo – literally means, “to say the same thing as.” The Bible is clear, certain, and unalterable, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV. When from your heart, you say the same things about your sins that God says, about Jesus dying on the cross as redemption for your sins, and inviting Jesus to be your Savior, you receive complete forgiveness and confidence to embrace His promise of eternal salvation. God’s promise is specific and sure.

Here is how you are saved. Ask Jesus to forgive every disobedience and sin, place your faith and trust in Him as your Savior, and listen for the Holy Spirit’s confirming whisper in your heart that you are His and He is yours. Then believe and rejoice that God has done exactly what He promised He would do. You experience no greater joy than knowing your sins are forgiven forever. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12 NKJV. God will forget your sins. He will never forget you.

The Gospel is simple, clear, certain, true, and powerful to save. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-18 NIV.

Reading that phrase, “to save the world though Him,” are you amazed by the expansive scale and global scope of God’s heart and eternal agenda for the whole world? His love, grace, and passion was and remains as broad as to transform every nation, as far reaching as to redeem every generation, and yet as specific and personal as to redeem each single individual – “to save the world though Him.”

I love the sentiment of the aging apostle John when he wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 2 NIV. That is my sentiment, my joy, and my prayer for you.

Today, I pray for you to be certain about your salvation, never leaving eternity to chance.

Christian Communications 2018-307

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Obedience is Best

September 26th, 2014

“I take joy in doing Your will, my God.” Psalm 40:8 NLT.

Partial obedience is subtle disobedience in disguise.

My thoughts and comments today are that “obedience is best.”

Obedience does not come naturally; by fallen nature we are disobedient. Among a child’s first words is an adamant, “No!” When what you are asked to do agrees with what you want to do, that might appear as obedience but it’s not. I suggest that obedience is joyfully doing what you are asked, even when doing otherwise would be your preference.

David wrote, ”I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your Law is written on my heart.” Psalm 40:8 NLT. As you read those words, notice an obvious cause and effect. See Isaiah 1:19 NKJV. There is a direct relationship between the priority of the Word of God in your heart and your ease with obeying God promptly and fully. “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” Psalm 143:10 NLT. Walking in obedience places you on solid ground.

I have discovered that the more you respect the person who asks you to do something and the more that you regard the wisdom of their words, the more readily you choose to obey. That should be your attitude about obeying God. God’s will and His Word will always be in perfect agreement. The more you know the Word of God the easier you will recognize the voice of God, and the better you will embrace the will of God. There are times obedience must begin simply as a matter of your will, not because you feel like it or understand it. Obedience seems to grow more natural the more you practice obeying. Heartfelt obedience can then become your joy.

Too late, King Saul learned a hard lesson. He was given specific instructions from God to, “completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation,” and even the herds and flocks that belonged to them. But Saul decided to spare their King, and kept the best of the sheep and cattle to “sacrifice to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 15:21. Saul mostly obeyed, having reasons he deemed acceptable for the exceptions he made. He almost obeyed, thinking that would equally please the Lord. The idea sounded good to Saul, not so good to God.

You obey or disobey; there is no third alternative. “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice . . stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols . .” 1 Samuel 15: 22-23. To God, stubbornness expresses resistance to God and insistence on a way of your choosing, but God equates that with idolatry, “putting someone or something in a place reserved for God alone.” In this example, you would be elevating your opinion above loyalty to God.

Partial obedience is subtle disobedience in disguise. “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” Romans 12:2 NLT.

Today, my prayer for you is that you know and savor the true delight of doing God’s will.

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Time Well Spent

April 24th, 2013

“Make every minute count.” Ephesians 5:16 CEV.

You cannot buy, borrow, or bargain for more time than God gives.

My thoughts and comments today are about “time well spent.”

Most of everything you use or lose can be replaced, except for time. It is a mistake to not value time as you should or use it as wisely as you could. Time is a limited commodity; you cannot buy, borrow, or bargain for more time than God gives you. Use the time you have, well and wisely. Time is irreplaceable, much too precious to waste; invest in people and matters of eternal importance rather than spending it frivolously. Jesus advised, “Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven . . for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NIV.

James’ counsel was that you not presume anything about tomorrow, because “How do you know what will happen tomorrow?” James 4:13-17 NLT. The Psalmist prayed, “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NLT. The wise objective is to prize each moment, investing it wisely as a gift from God. Paul’s counsel is, “Make every minute count . . find out what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:16-17 CEV. Here’s practical advice how to do that.

(1) Just say, “No.” Learning to say no to things – or people – that waste time allows you opportunity to say yes to God’s will, caring for your responsibilities, and being helpful to others. Stress results when you busy yourself with things not your responsibility, or commit to more than you can accomplish in available time. Jesus could confidently say to His Father, “I have finished the work You gave Me to do.” John 17:4 TEV. Jesus was not distracted by lesser matters, understanding personal priorities and knowing what is eternally important.

(2) Avoid procrastination. Ignoring things that must be done wastes time now and usually takes more time later. Personal and spiritual maturity is evidenced by doing what you should even when you don’t feel like doing so, just because that is what you should do. Jesus said, “I always do those things that please [the Father].” John 8:29 NKJV. Can you say that today? My spiritual life improved noticeably when I understood that procrastinated obedience is merely disobedience by lesser name. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NIV. Obeying God promptly and fully is time best spent.

(3) Take time to abide in Christ. Time reflecting on God’s Word, worshiping in His presence, and serving others is time well spent. Jesus was clear,“You cannot be fruitful unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 NKJV. You will be more effective, more fruitful, more successful, and so much more satisfied. Listen and learn from the One Who will guide your life and direct your steps. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV. Your time doing so is well spent and makes every other minute more effective. A disciple of Jesus will trust His promise, “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, and all these other things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33. Life works best God’s way. First things first” is always good advice.

My prayer for you today is that you value time and use it with eternal purpose in mind.

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April 23rd, 2012

“Be sure to do what you should. Galatians 6:4 NLT

Procrastinated obedience is simply disobedience disguising itself.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “procrastination.”

What are you putting off that you should do today? Ask yourself, “Why do I have trouble getting started on things that I know I should do?What was your answer or excuse, as the case may be? Procrastination is never your best answer – to a task, challenge, promise, or problem. More often than not, now is the best time; today is the best day!

Many things that you will put off doing are not so bad once you actually begin. The hard part is moving past the emotional inertia and simply getting started. There are some tasks that take less time to complete than a person wastes waiting for just the “right time” to begin. Wrongly, you may assume that the right time is the time that you “feel” like doing what you should do, and that is rarely the case. It’s starting that stops you.

In a beloved movie, “The Sound of Music,” Maria teaches the Von Trapp children, “Let’s begin at the beginning; a very good place to start.” And today is a very good place to start! The Bible says, “You who say, ‘tomorrow we are going to a certain town . . we will do business there and make profit.’ How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog – it’s here for a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:13-14 NLT. Begin today before the opportunity is missed.

Have you felt the Lord gently nudging you to do something you have been putting off? What seem reasons to you may sound like excuses to the Lord. You may not say you won’t do what the Lord is asking, but maybe you haven’t said that you would either. Valuable time is wasted while waiting, time wasted in your life, and time and opportunity wasted for the Kingdom of God – time you can never recover, time lost forever.

Jesus told a story about two sons. Read Matthew 21:28-32. Both were clearly asked to work in their father’s fields, “today.” The first said he would not, “but afterward repented and did.” Did he go later that day, or a later day? Does it matter? The other said that he would, “and did not go.” Was he lying? Probably not. Like me sometimes, he probably meant to do it that day after he took care of something else first. Jesus asked a pointed and pertinent question: “Which of the two did the will of his father?” Think about that; how would you answer the question?

The real answer is: neither did the will of their father, not as and when he wanted. I don’t think that either son wanted to disobey their father. Like us, they probably just had previous plans or things they preferred instead. “Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well.” Galatians 6:4 NLT. It is not always as simple as today’s verse sounds, is it?

My Dad taught me a valuable life-lesson when I was still a teen, “First things first!” The right thing to do is always the best thing to do, and first is always the right time to do that. Procrastinated obedience is not obedience really; it is simply disobedience disguising itself. I have observed that any delay to obey makes obedience less likely or less complete. Do you find it easier to be prompt about things for more immediate and temporal benefit than in matters of eternal consequence to yours or others’ lives? Why not begin today “to do what you should!” It keeps life simpler.

My prayer for you is that you put off what you should not do, not what you should.

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Simple Obedience

July 28th, 2010

“If you just listen and don’t obey . .” James 1:23 NLT

To obey is to do fully and promptly what you know clearly to do!

My thoughts today are that “simple obedience.”

Have you ever noticed that when a child does not promptly obey, a parent will usually ask, “Did you hear me?” In the Greek language, the language in which most of the New Testament was written, the word obedience comes from the root word, “to hear.” Life is this simple; hearing presumes obedience.

It is a mistake to assume that a person will do better if they know more. So we give them more information, and wonder why they do not do better. More information is not what a wrongdoer needs. I have observed that the real problem is this: people are naturally inclined to do too little of what they know, rather than their knowing too little of what to do. Jesus gives people greater truth, not more information, and adds inspiration to that – the desire and power to do what you know to do. “It is God that works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.

I was just a teen when my spiritual life was permanently changed at a youth service by a testimony from the newly saved mother of one of my friends. Whatever else she said, God spoke quietly but powerfully into my heart and life when she challenged us with a probing question Jesus asked, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?” Luke 6:46 NIV. Read Matthew 7:24-27. If Jesus is your Lord, your obedience is not optional.

Jesus told a story of a father who asked each of his two sons to work in his vineyard. The first son said that he would not work, but later decided that he would do as his father asked. The other said that he would work in the vineyard, but ultimately did not. He knew what his father wanted, and simply chose not to bother. Jesus asked his listeners, “Which son did the will of the father?” Matthew 21:28-31 NIV.

The correct answer is, neither. They both had sufficient information of their father’s need and intent, but neither of them had sufficient interest to do what they knew. You are never commended for eventually doing what you knew to do much earlier. Procrastinated obedience is actually just temporary disobedience. To obey is to do fully and promptly what you know clearly to do! See James 5:1 NLT.

James, the brother of Jesus, compares God’s Word and will to a mirror that reveals a true and accurate reflection of yourself that inspires you to live according to the knowledge you have. But James warns against turning away and ignoring what you know. That describes a person who “listens but does not obey . . one who looks intently at the (Word of God) and abides in it . . that man will be blessed in all he does.” James 1:23/25.  If you will take care of the “doing, “ God will be faithful with His “blessing.”

My prayer for you today is that you know the will of God for your life, and do it!

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