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Posts Tagged ‘Ebenezer’

Milestones of Obedience

October 16th, 2014

By faith Abraham obeyed . . . [and] went without knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 NLT.

Life is a sequence of events and a succession of experiences.

My thoughts and comments today are about “milestones of obedience.”

Life is a journey, comprising a sequence of years, a succession of events, and a collection of experiences. The last – a collection of experiences – may well be the more important of the three. Experiences create the moments where treasured memories are made. Time can be counted in minutes, but life is measured in moments. If you think about it, you will easily recognize the distinction between minutes and moments.

Minutes are too many to all be remembered. Moments are fewer yet forever mark the journey and progress of your life. I don’t remember the day of the week nor the exact time of day when Gayle said yes to my expression of love and proposal of marriage. But more than fifty years later, I fondly recall that moment and the joy I felt when she did.

Many years ago, my friend and spiritual father, Campbell, said a few words which remain of primary importance to me yet today. He said, “Abraham’s journey was marked by milestones of obedience and altars of consecration.” Campbell’s words were a life-shaping moment of spiritual understanding that continues to impact what I believe and how I choose to live my life – “milestones of obedience and altars of consecration.”

Obedience to God is essential and non-negotiable in your faith journey. There are no more consequential moments than when you walk in obedience. Like King Saul, you may try to offer God your preferred options rather than full obedience. Saul did not offer a lesser sacrifice; he tried to offer a different sacrifice from what God asked. “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice.” Read 1 Samuel 15:13-15/22 NIV. Any option other than what God requires is unacceptable.

Milestones indicate much more than the irreplaceable time that has passed; spiritual milestones mark the progress and success of your journey, or the lack thereof. They are enduring reminders of the grace of God in your past and the sovereign purpose of God over your future. Such moments are sacred and should be celebrated. Upon Israel’s victory over the Philistines, “Samuel took a stone . . and called it ‘Ebenezer’ saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12.

Abraham’s journey began with a divine encounter, as will yours, and his response of obedience. “The Lord had said to Abraham, ‘Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’” Genesis 12:1 NIV. Imagine the obedience and faith that was required in that. His journey would take him from his “country,” everything previously familiar to him – his “people,” everyone with whom he felt most comfortable – and “his father’s household,” the source of provision he had trusted.

“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 NLT. Obedience requires trust beyond explanation. Abraham did not know where he was going but he knew Who He was following. To follow God obediently, you have to leave where you are to go where God wants to take you. Your spiritual journey cannot take you further than your current obedience will allow.

Consecration to God is essential and non-negotiable in your faith journey. In the next edition of EveryDay Life, we will further examine the very important, second aspect, “Altars of Consecration.” Every moment of consecration at an altar is of eternal consequence in your journey. Every place Abraham pitched his tent, he built an altar and worshipped the Lord there. See Genesis 12:7/8/13:18/22:9. An altar is where you humbly bow and surrender yourself to the supremacy and sovereignty of God, a sacred place of worship expressed in costly sacrifice and sincere consecration. Altars are significant to God and crucial to your spiritual journey.

Today, my prayer for you is for you to grow in the grace of obedience and the practice of consecration.

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Together is Better

February 27th, 2012

“Thus far the Lord has helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12 NIV

“Rarely, if ever, can a person truly say, ‘I did it all by myself.’”

My thoughts and comments today are that “together is better.”

When you take an honest look at life, you recognize that whatever your successes, there were few things you achieved by your efforts alone. Rarely, if ever, can a person truly say, “I did it all by myself.” And if you did, you did not do it as well as you could have with others’ help; together is better! “Two are better than one . .” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV. Why does it seem important for a person to claim full credit? What drives a person to need to believe an achievement is theirs alone? Those who fail to appreciate and acknowledge the contribution of others will eventually find themselves without others’ help.

The seed of that need is insecurity. If you struggle with that, maybe you need to become “comfortable in your own skin.” Security within yourself occurs when you are at ease with what your abilities are, as well as what they are not. Insecurity is not uncommon and only means that you have not identified the extent and limits of your securities. It is healthy and helpful to recognize that you have both. However multi-talented you may be, no one – not even you – possesses every ability, skill, and talent for every task. Insecurity insists that others know what you can do but worries they may find out what you cannot.

Letting people think you can do it all by yourself is an exhausting way to live. You will never do as much, never do as well, and never be as satisfied. Anyone has something to contribute to make the work of everyone a little more, a little better. God says, “Give to everyone what you owe them . . give respect and honor to whom it is due.” Romans 13:7 NLT. To whom it is due; so simple and practical a lesson to remember. Be thankful for others’ help and generous to share credit where due. If you require all the credit for what is done, you will receive all the blame for what was not done well.

When you do succeed, through benefit of the unrecognized work of others, pride is birthed from the insecurities you carefully deny. Pride is a tyrant that cannot allow or admit any failure, but with pride failure is inevitable. The Bible warns, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18. The longer that takes, the greater and further the fall. The Bible says, “God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 NLT. Better to have God for you, than resisting you; don’t you think?

“Be down to earth with each other for – God has had it with the proud, but takes delight in just plain people. So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is upon you; He’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7 The Message. Content, carefree, and cared for, that’s what God promises; isn’t that what you want most?

Samuel led Israel in a great victory. Their constant enemy, the Philistines, had been soundly defeated. It takes a leader to lead, but it takes more than one man to win a war. Samuel recognized his part was not apart from the help of God and others. “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12 NIV. Notice two words: the Lord, and us!  Samuel gave credit where credit was due. Where you include God, God includes you. See Psalm 28:7 NIV. The result? Continued success for everyone! “So the Philistines were subdued . . and throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7:13 NLT. Why do alone what you can do better with God and others?

My prayer today for you is that you feel no need for the credit, nor requirement to do it all alone.

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