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Posts Tagged ‘obey’

Listening Is More Than Hearing

November 7th, 2018

Attentive listening prompts obedience  

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” James 1:22 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,

“Listening is more than hearing.”

My Dad expected obedience. With him, obedience was the norm. If I did not respond accordingly, he would kindly ask if I heard him. He rightly assumed that if I heard him, obedience would be my response. My Dad never threatened me with, “Obey me or else.” My success was his highest hopes for my life. His love was generous and steadfast. His expectations were reasonable and clear.

I regret the times my dad needed to ask, “Allen, did you hear me?” Sometimes, it seems I can still hear his voice when I need reminding that obedience is the best way forward. When there was an issue, the problem was never about my ability to hear; it was always about my willingness to obey. My Dad’s expectation was that if I were truly listening to him, I would hear him clearly and correctly, and I would respond obediently. And I would obey him promptly and completely. He was right to expect that, as is God.

Attentive listening and prompt obedience are two things essential and invaluable for your success in life. Here are two practical realities. You must do more than just listen. You have to obey. If you do not do more than listen, you will not understand what God is saying? And if you don’t understand, how can you obey completely? The Bible says, “These blessings shall come on you . . if you will hearken to the voice of the Lord.” Read Deuteronomy 28:1-14 NKJ. Obedience releases unexpected blessings. The New Testament seems to echo, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” James 1:22 NKJ.

Why do we entertain so many voices, as well as our own inner voice of ideas and opinions? Why would you and I allow meaningless noise to drown out the gentle and essential voice of the Holy Spirit? Why would we listen to voices which deceive, mislead, or distract?

When God spoke to the young Samuel, his response was simple and honest, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10. Samuel placed himself in the posture of a servant prepared to obey whatever God said. Should we do anything other than that? Samuel’s attention and recognition of God’s voice implies that he was listening in order to obey whatever God said. And God had a lot to tell him because the young Samuel was willing to listen when others did not.

You would like to know your future, but you cannot apart from God. Life is lived one day at a time. Ever wonder what God is longing to tell you about what lies ahead? Would you breathe easier today, and worry less about tomorrow, if you knew that God has everything under His control?

When you listen with a predisposition to obey, you will hear the truth-telling whisper of the Spirit in your heart assuring you that, “The Lord goes before you and will be with you . . do not be afraid.” Read Joshua 1:7-9 NIV. Live with a heart to know and obey God; doing so allows you to live with blessed assurance and complete confidence.

My prayer for you today is that you will live confidently and obediently.

Christian Communications 2018

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A Holy Endeavor

August 16th, 2018

Your daily work can be a holy endeavor.

 “Work with enthusiasm, as working for the Lord rather than people.” Ephesians 6:7 NLT

My thoughts and comments are about, “A Holy Endeavor.”

People often describe their job as, “work.” Your job should be work, requiring your best efforts and the bulk of your time. For the better part of your lifetime and a substantial portion of each day, work will occupy your time, attention, energy, and effort. Your attitude can make that time pleasant as well as productive.

Work can be little more than a necessity, something you have to do so to provide for yourself and family. Or work can become a drudgery, something you have to do but really don’t want to do. Or you can make your work a fulfilling joy, an activity and place where you discover the privilege of meaningful service. On different days, your experience will likely be a variety in differing proportions of all of those.

The Bible is clear. “The Lord God took [Adam] and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’” Genesis 2:15-17 NIV. Work was the privilege of being stewards of God’s ample provision and care. But that privilege was accompanied by a responsibility. Adam was to work and take care of the garden, free to eat of any tree in the Garden, except one, described as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Contrary to what most people suppose, work was Adam’s assignment rather than God’s punishment for his disobedience. The punishment was the added labor that would be required. The difference was this. At the initiative and insistence of Eve, Adam chose to ignore God’s warning, eating of the fruit of the single tree that had been forbidden to them. Adam’s failure resulted in disobedience entering into God’s creation as they had been forewarned.  

“And to Adam He said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit I told you not to eat, I have placed a curse on the ground. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains.  All your life you will sweat to produce food, until your dying day.” Genesis 3:17-19 NLT. The sweat and toil of work was the horrible price of man’s minimal regard for God’s provision being enough.

God appointed work itself to man earlier than his disobedience. Notice where man was to be employed? The Creator placed Adam and Eve in a garden, a picture of provision, plenty, and beauty – a fruitful place created by God, blessed by God, and frequented by Him.

It seems that the difference is whether you are in God’s employ or simply trying to put bread on the table. Since God first ordained His creation to know and enjoy meaningful employment in partnership with Him, would He not provide a way for you and me to redeem our daily work and discover it a holy endeavor, rather than a lifelong struggle? The proper answer is, “Of course.” Let me share a few simple, practical truths.

Choose a Godly attitude about work. Let your daily work be a holy service to God and man. “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do.” Ephesians 6:7-8 NLT.

Consider the purpose of work. “Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need” Ephesians 4:28 NLT. Honest work provides for your needs, and supplies a surplus for sharing generously with others. The goal is not merely to get more, but to have more to give.

Value those who employ you or work alongside you. You accomplish that by thankfulness for the opportunity you are given and by offering only and always the best of your effort and diligence to serve. “Obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ” Ephesians 6:5 NLT. In your work, you also serve Christ. Be realistic. The workplace is not a perfect place with perfect people. But you can be diligent in your work as a service to the Lord. Be the best boss or employee that you can be, and do so as, “unto the Lord.”

Consecrate your work to God. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 NIV. Do not depreciate those for whom you work. They are God’s point of supply for meeting your daily needs. But look above and beyond them to the Lord, Who is your Source. To Him be glory.

Today I pray for you to dedicate your life in joyful service to God and others.

Christian Communications 2018-8319

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Matters Eternal and Essential

August 12th, 2016

Simplifying options simplifies life.

“Love your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Matt 28:37 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about “matters eternal and essential.”

Doing what you would rather do instead of doing what you should do is a waste of time. Distraction from truly important matters happens too frequently. We easily procrastinate while busily engaging our time, talents, and resources with too much that is temporal and optional. That behavior may be typical but it’s not particularly profitable. We need Godly wisdom to guide us.

Wisdom is not about having all the right answers, because sometimes you won’t. Wisdom is about asking the right questions to the One who holds all truth. Know where to turn when you need to know what to do. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 NIV. Life is simpler and success and satisfaction are possible when you seek answers from the right source. Jesus was asked, “Which is the most important commandment?” Matthew 22:36 NLT. In spite of the questioner’s deliberate attempt to embarrass Jesus, his question allowed Jesus to identify and clarify authentic love for God.

Jesus’ answer was clear. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. A second is equally important Love your neighbor as yourself. All the other commandments are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NLT. Love God with the entirety of all you are and possess; love others as you love yourself. Those are the foundation for all obedience.Jesus clarifies what is eternal and essential.

Commandments – truth you accept as essential and non-negotiable – determine the commitments that govern how you live every day. Your commitments should rest on the greatest commandments. Commitments reveal what you consider important. Your life is the sum total of your commitments. There is no higher nor more worthy commitment than to love and serve God with all you are, do, and have. Your values, priorities, and expenditure of time and money should be chosen accordingly.

Life becomes complex and choices get messy when you haven’t clarified what is eternal and essential. Simplifying options simplifies life. Ultimate commitments are things and matters that are not easily changed, nor should they be. I think those involve promises that you make to God and others, in your spiritual life and in your relationships. Pray diligently; think carefully; obey faithfully.

Today, I pray for you to know that the eternal is ultimately all that is important.

EDL Love Matt 36 8-12-16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communications 2016

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Complete and Equipped

April 22nd, 2016

“The Word of God . . is at work in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV.

In a world where few things work as promised, God’s Word works.

My thoughts and comments today are about being, “complete and equipped.”

It is sad when people have something irreplaceable yet regard it as less than its value. Often, things familiar and readily available are taken for granted. In light of those comments, consider the most precious, valuable gift God has entrusted to you – His holy, eternal Word. The Bible is God’s Word, inspired to the hearts of faithful men, and is eternal. It is a unique collection of wisdom and enduring prose, yet so much more.

Paul instructed young Timothy, “The Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:15-17 NKJV. When God’s Word fills your heart and thoughts each day you are described as, “complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Psalmist describes such Godly people, “In all they do, they prosper.” Read Psalm 1:1-3 NLT.

People discount and ignore God’s Word, while others have made great sacrifices to provide and preserve it. Some try to discredit and destroy regard for the Word of God, while others have sacrificed their lives to protect and defend it. Jesus was clear. The Word of God is essential not optional. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Luke 4:4 NKJV. God’s Word is uniquely essential to every area of your life and the quality with which you live it.

The Word speaks to the heart and spirit. Listen and obey. Prize its wisdom and truth. The Bible contains wisdom for all situations – health and hope for the struggling, Godly wisdom for your success and satisfaction, a path to life in its fullness, the truest revelation of God, and eternal salvation for the soul. “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God . . the Word of the Lord will live forever.” 1 Peter 1:23-25 NIV/NCV. See Luke 21:33 NIV.

I suggest a few questions you would be wise to ask and consider, “Do I love and follow God’s Word? Does God’s Word live in my heart? Does it direct my conduct and choices? Does it determine my values?” To live successfully, you must live according to truth. Love and prize your Bible; take time each day for its truth, and be always able to say, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You, O God.” Psalm 119:11 NIV.

For their love and faithfulness to God’s Word, the Apostle Paul commended Christ-followers at Thessaloniki “When you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV.  In a world where few things work as promised, God’s Word works, and it will work in your life, now and forever.

Today, I pray for you to commit to trust and obey God’s Word, at all times in all things.

Antique Bibles

Christian Communications 2016

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The Will of God

March 23rd, 2016

“That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12 NKJV.

Lack of obedience impairs your ability to hear from God.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the will of God.”

God’s will is not secondary to anything, but primary to everything. “[God] works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” Ephesians 1:11 NIV. Through obedience, God includes you in the accomplishment of His will in His world, as well as His will in your life. In his letter, Paul clarified the supreme priority of God’s will, “We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Read Colossians 1:9-13 NIV.

The will of God holds incomparable, personal benefits. Paul continues, describing unsurpassed results when the will of God inhabits your heart and mind: (1) living worthily, (2) pleasing to God, (3) abounding fruitfully, (4) a growing knowledge of God, (5) strengthening in His power, (6) being patient and enduring, (7) rejoicing and grateful, and (8) sharing a Godly inheritance. The Bible describes God’s will in these words – “His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV.

I have found this to be true, “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear a word you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 1802-88. Jesus told a story of a father and two sons. Their father asked each of them to work in his vineyard. One son refused his father, then reconsidered and did as his father asked. The other son readily agreed to do what his father asked of him, but neither started nor completed the task. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NKJV. Jesus asked his listeners, as I ask you, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” The answer should be obvious. Obedience is not what you say you will do; obedience is altogether what you do. You and I are to be defined as, “bond servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Read Ephesians 6:5-8 NKJV.

More than once, I remember my Dad asking, “Allen, did you hear me?” He was not doubting my physical ability to hear. He was accurately questioning my willingness and intention to obey. Hearing presupposes obedience. When King Saul disobeyed the specific instructions of God, the prophet Samuel asked him, “Which does the Lord prefer: obedience or offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey Him than to sacrifice the best . . to Him.” 1 Samuel 15:22 TEV. For obedience, God offers no option, accepts no substitute.

“God listens to the Godly man who does His will . . The man who does the will of God lives forever” John 9:31/1 John 2:17 NIV. Maybe you struggle to know God’s will at times. Maybe you have not recognized God’s voice or have not listened carefully enough. Or maybe you have procrastinated doing what God has spoken previously. Lack of obedience impairs your ability to hear anything further from God. God will not move forward in your life when you have unfinished business with His will.

Today, I pray for you to do “the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” from your heart.

Christian Communications 2016 www.facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

EDL hear the Word

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