Proverbs 28:4 Accepting Instruction

Crossing instructions

Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them. Proverbs 28:4 

Listening to and accepting instruction is an annoyance to many people. The classic example is of a dad who spends hours attempting to assemble a new toy on Christmas morning, because he does not want to read the instructions. He thinks he can do it without the instructions.

People do not like to be instructed because they want to do things their own way. Getting instructions is like being the underdog or the worker and not the leader or boss.

Everyone wants their freedom to do what they want, how they want and when they want, thus instructions are ignored. Many will try to find a loop-hole in the instructions to get out of following them.

Solomon says that those who would ignore instruction are actually lifting up those who are wicked.

Being given instructions is something that has occurred since Adam and Eve walked on their earth. God gave them a few instructions on how to tend the garden, yet they ignored the instructions and fell into sin. They gave honor to the devil and praised him.

Believers are to obey God and those in authority over them. Leaders will give instructions on how to do something, just as God does. Rejecting those instructions is being selfish and praising those who are wicked. It is saying that those who do things the wrong way are right. It is rejection of God.

However, accepting instruction is admitting one does not have all the answers. It is admitting that someone is greater. It is allowing God to be in control. In doing this one will be resisting the wicked and all sin. They will seek to walk on the path of righteousness in Christ Jesus.

God has some instructions for you on how you are to live your life. Some of those instructions you will read in the Bible. Some you will hear God speak to your heart. Others will be spoken to you through someone else.

You have two choices when you hear some instructions. You can ignore it and be selfish, self-knowing and walk the wrong path. Or you can accept it in obedience and walk the path God has for you.

Do not allow the ways of the wicked and this world lead you down the wrong path. Take the instructions God has for you and walk His path for you. Resist sin and follow God.

I pray today that you will hear God’s voice in your life; that God will reveal His instructions to you; that God will strengthen you to turn from all sin; and that you will walk the life of righteousness in Jesus. 

Proverbs 5:23 No Discipline Equals Death

Karate stance

For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Proverbs 5:23 

Discipline is the ability to make oneself do the right thing or to choose to not do something wrong, regardless of how hard that decision is. Athletes discipline themselves to work out and practice long and hard in their skill to improve and become better. They push the hardships of the hard work aside to improve.

Many in the world do a great job at disciplining themselves to do a sport, but often will not choose to discipline themselves in other areas of life that are not good.

There is no discipline used to hold oneself from living in sinful ways. Choices to commit and live in adultery, homosexuality, or some other deviant lifestyle are common. Each of these and many more ways are ways that lead to death. Sinful lifestyles are accepted as normal and promoted.

Solomon realizes that lack of discipline will bring about death. People are led down wrong paths by their own folly.

The believer must choose to live for God and according to His ways and commands. It takes focus and discipline to live for God.

Yet, there are many in the church who have chosen to put discipline aside and follow the ways of the world. Men lust after other women or men who are not their wives. Women lust after men and women who are not their husbands.

Sin is embraced and accepted as the world accepts it.

True discipline will choose to not walk down sinful paths. This is not down out of legalistic beliefs, but out of love for God for what He has done for each person. Jesus died to remove sin and the death sentence of sin upon a person.

Walking in sin puts that death sentence back into place. It is foolishness to choose to die.

Each day you will have choices to make. You can either look into and follow sinful ways, or you may turn away from all sin and follow God’s holy and righteous ways of living.

God wants you to have an abundant life. Living in sin may be abundant for a short season, but in the end it will bring about death.

Discipline yourself, train yourself to stay focused upon God and His ways. Train yourself to choose to obey God’s commands and not live in sin.

Embrace the life God has for you, not the death the world offers.

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus provides; that God will guide you into His ways of living; that God will give you strength to walk in His ways; that you will keep your eyes focused upon God; and  that you will have discipline to obey God. 

Psalm 128:1 How To Be Blessed

Walking on a path

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. Psalm 128:1 

People are always searching for ways for things to go right. Seeking ways to make it in this world and have everything go correctly for them. When everything goes smoothly or when they get what they desire, they feel that they are blessed.

Usually the belief that the only time someone is truly blessed is if they have received many things. The larger the bank account and house they have, the more they are blessed. The better the job title or bigger paycheck, the more blessed they are.

While these can be blessings, they are temporary and do not always survive. Along with that, one must keep working hard to keep what he has achieved.

The psalmist realizes that the ones who are blessed are those who fear and obey God.

Walking in obedience to God is something that is a simple thing to do, yet, most do not choose to do it. They will obey God in some areas, but not in many others. They pick and choose what they will obey God in.

When a person chooses not to obey God in all areas, there will always be trouble in the heart and soul of the person. This trouble will override anything material things that the person has accomplished.

As one walks in obedience with God, there will be a peace, contentment and hope that no other can understand. It has nothing to do with material possession. The blessing is found in knowing that one is standing in the right position with God. It is knowing that one is doing what God wants.

Peace with God is a blessing that overrides any troubles in this life that one might run into. It gives one the strength to keep moving forward during trying times.

You may be looking for peace and contentment in many things. However, if you are not walking in obedience with God, you will not know that peace. You will be in a war against God.

God will guide you with His Holy Spirit in how to live for and obey Him. Choosing to not follow Him, will result in discord and no peace. There will be no real blessing in your life. The material things will come and go.

Find out what God wants you do and then do it. Find the blessings God has in obeying Him.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will know what God wants you to do; that God will strengthen you to obey His every command; and that you will know the peace of loving and obeying God in every area of your life. 

Psalm 100:3 It Is All About God

Sheep with shepherd

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

Having knowledge is important in surviving in this world. It takes knowledge to know how things work. It takes knowledge to know how to accomplish something.

Knowledge used correctly can guide a person in making the right choices. It can also guide a person in choosing the right person. Employers will not hire a person who has no knowledge about the job or the position.

There are many in the world who believe that they have the right knowledge, that they know what is best. Groups will attempt to control others with their ‘knowledge’. However, the knowledge of this world is only temporary and of man alone.

The psalmist tells people to know that the Lord is God. God has created everyone and so everyone belongs to Him. The knowledge is that God is in control and people are to follow and obey Him.

In a world that is all about self, it is easy for one to forget that God is the one who is really in control. People think that they are self-made and can do whatever they want.

This belief can easily slip into the life of a believer in the church. One  begins to lead some ministry and it goes successful. After a time, he runs with it in his own way, forgetting that what it is all about. The focus is on building his ministry, rather than God’s kingdom.

Believers are to find out what God wants and do that. He is the one who guides and gives the strength and ability to do what needs to be done. It is God who accomplishes things through the believer.

You were made by God. You were made to do what He wants in His way. As a believer you are to follow God as sheep follow their shepherd.

God knows what is best for your life and is there to guide you on that path. There will be times that the path does not look like the best path, but you must know that you belong to Him and He loves you and will guide you correctly. It is not about you, but Him.

Allow your life to be one that loves and serves God. Give Him complete control of your life and see what He can do in and through you.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will trust God’s leading; that you will obey God in every area of your life; and that you will allow yourself to belong to God alone. 

Abraham: Doing Crazy Faith

Bavaria landscape

The LORD had said to Abram, “God from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, who you love–Isaac–and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2

As we continue to look at what faith is, we must look at Abraham. He is considered the father of faith.

When he comes on to the scene, it shows God coming to him and telling him to leave his land, father and inheritance to go somewhere God would lead him to. Abraham (at this point Abram), listened and obeyed God. He stepped out in faith to follow God’s leading.

Abraham had been raised up in the land of the Chaldeans in Ur. His father was probably and worshipper of a false god or some idol, not a follower of God. He had lived there most of his life. At the age of seventy-five years old, God appears to him and tells him to move away to an unknown area.

Elderly man

Think about this for a moment. There was no internet in those days. Abraham was not able to look up information on where to get housing. He was not able to call ahead and find a new job to transfer to. The new area was probably an area that speaks a different language.

Along with this move, he is leaving his father behind. He was no longer carrying on his father’s occupation or caring for his land. He was, in a sense, turning his back on his family, walking away from them.

Not only was this a new location to move to, but Abraham was not young anymore. He was seventy-five years old. Keep in mind this was after the flood and God had said that man’s days would be limited to about 120 years on this earth. Abraham was well over that half way point.

This was like a mid-life crisis. He had to change homes, countries, jobs, and family after being settled for many years. Yet, he stepped out in faith, trusting God’s word to him. God promised him land and families, though Abraham did not know how this would happen yet, nor the problems that would come about before it was fulfilled.

Boy stepping out

 

First point–Step out in faith.

God has a different path for each and every believer. Some things may be somewhat similar, but they are still different roads. One thing that God wants from everybody is for them to trust Him. That is what faith is.

Although radically changes are not an every day thing, they do occur within the life of a believer, or anyone else. As you walk with God, there will be times God will have you pack up and move out to something new, something you cannot see or really dream of.

Sometimes this can be a physical move from one place to another. Other times it can be a change in lifestyle, giving up something or changing your friends. It could also be a change of careers or work. Whatever the change is, it can be difficult, but it is what God wants you to do.

Usually these types of changes do not always make sense to the normal mind. It appears to be an insane change or a step towards suicide. Yet, God always makes a path towards a greater life.

Since Abraham had obeyed God, he was blessed with a nation from his family line. He was given land. Ultimately, Jesus brought salvation to the world through his lineage. All because of a step of radical faith.

When God calls you to do something, it is for a purpose. It is to make you better, make you His witness and to build His kingdom. So step out in faith to do what He is calling you to do. Trust that He knows what is best for you in this fallen world.

The other thing that Abraham had to face was when God asked him to sacrifice his son. This was the long promised desired son and only son that Abraham was called to sacrifice on an altar. It sounded like an insane thing to do. Why would God call him to sacrifice his promised son? What good could ever come from that? Isn’t God a God of life? Didn’t He command that no one is to kill anyone? Isn’t this going against what He had commanded?

God was not looking for the sacrifice at all. He really does not care about sacrifices. God is looking for obedience. To obey is better than sacrifice, yet God called for a sacrifice.

When God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham immediately obeyed. The bible does not say he questioned God or had to pray about it for days/weeks to make a decision to whether he heard God or not. He knew that he had heard God and so he immediately obeyed Him.

Since Abraham had obeyed without any question, God provided an alternative to sacrificing his son. He provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of his son. God knew then that Abraham would obey no matter what God asked of him.

Abraham and Isaac

 

Point two–Obey immediately in faith. 

There are times that God still asks people to do something extremely radical and crazy. Some of those things will even appear to go against what God has previously said to do or not to do. You must know that it is God who is speaking and guiding you.

In order to know it is God speaking, you must be in constant communication with Him. You must know His voice and what He has to say. You must know His character. In order to know these things, you have to stay immersed in the Bible and in prayer.

Every time you open and read some of the Bible, you are finding out something about God. You are learning who He is, how He is and what He does. As you spend time in prayer, communicating with Him, you are learning to hear His voice. Once you know His voice, you will know when He speaks or when it is something false.

As soon as God speaks something, you must step out an act upon it. This is obedience. Obeying God immediately every time. It is not questioning God or doubting self, it is trusting God–faith. It is knowing God and knowing you can trust him.

I doubt that God will call you to physically sacrifice your son, since Jesus became the sacrifice for all. However, He will call you to sacrifice other things in your life that it is not needed. He will also put a test in front of you to see if you will fully obey Him or not. This can be found in sacrificing something that is not bad, but is dear to your heart–your treasured possession.

It is at this point that faith steps in. It is trusting God and having faith in Him that what He is asking you to do is in the best interests of you, others and His kingdom for His glory and honor.

Faith will obey immediately without questioning. It will not to try and find an excuse not to do something, but will find a way to do it.

No Fear

As I close out this talk on faith, using Abraham as an example, learn from Abraham. Learn what it means to step out in faith immediately. Learn what it means to obey immediately in faith. God will not let you down, but will carry you through whatever is ahead of you in this life and the life to come.

Do not fear, but live and act in His love for you. God is there for you and will not forsake you or steer you wrong. Be full of faith as you step out and obey God in every area of your life.

2 Kings 18:6 No Stopping

jogging on a road

He held fast to the LORD and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 2 Kings 18:6 

As people are moving forward with something, there will come a lot of opposition and challenges. It can become easy to throw in the towel and give up. Or it can be easy to get distracted on the way and change paths.

It is very common for a person to begin something, but then to shortly give it up for something else or because it is too difficult. Those who continue to press on are the ones who become successful. Very few people become successful without a lot of struggle and dedication. Beginning well is easy, but finishing well is a challenge.

Hezekiah had become king of Judah and immediately he went through the nation and had all the high places to the false gods torn down. He focused on serving God and obeying all of His commands. He chose to hold fast to God and refuse to stop.

Starting to following God is not a difficult thing to do for most people. However, continuing to follow Him and obey Him may be a challenge. It challenge one’s belief and trust in God. It challenges his focus on serving God.

As soon as one begins to follow God, the world will strive to stop the following. Things will attempt to get in the way and distract the person from God and His commands. Reasons to not obey will constantly pop up.

The believer must hold on fast to God and not give up. He must hold on to God as though he were holding on to a rope that his life depended upon, because his life does depend upon God. One cannot save his life, but once saved he needs to honor God with his life by obedience.

At some point in your life, you have chosen to follow God and obey Him. The world will do what it can to distract you and turn you away from God and obeying Him. Do not allow yourself to get distracted and disobey God’s commands to you. Hold fast onto God.

Know that God has the best plans for you. The world has plans to destroy you in the end. As you are holding fast to God, He is holding fast to you. God will not allow you to be destroyed. Don’t stop holding on to God.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will be dedicated to serving God; that you will know what God wants of you; and that you will not stop obeying God. 

1 Kings 13:21 Completely Follow God

Forest road

He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the LORD says: ‘You have defied the word of the LORD and have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you.'” 1 Kings 13:21 

Obeying the rules is something that a lot of people claim that they do. However, many of those same people do not always follow the rules. There are times that they break the rules, sometimes on accident, but often on purpose. They choose not to obey for personal, selfish reasons.

At times when they choose to not follow the rules, they will give excuses as to why they didn’t follow them. Or they ignore the truth of what they did.

There was a man of God from Judah who had received a message from God to give to King Jeroboam. He was to deliver the message and  immediately return home and not stop anywhere else. He did give the message and began to head home. As he was going home, another prophet came to him, telling him a lie that God said to come eat with him. The man from Judah goes.

Immediately upon eating, the prophet tells him that he did not obey God, but did what he was told not to do. The man from Judah was led astray from God by a false prophet.

Many believers are told by God as to what they need to do. As they are in the process, other believers or false believers, will encourage them to change directions. Then some believers will choose to stop doing what they were told by God to do, in order to follow another believer or false believer. As with the man from Judah, many believers defy the word of God.

When God tells you something that you need to do, you must do it. Keep your focus on what God has told you. God does not change His mind or change directions like many in the world will do.

Not everyone will understand what God has told you to do, but you must keep doing it. There will be some believers who will attempt to change your path or direction, even in the name of God. Do not allow other believers to lead you astray from doing what God has told you to do.

God will speak and guide you directly Himself, if you allow Him too. Don’t change the course God has you on. Keep following Him.

I pray today that you will know what God wants you to do; that you will stay focused on what God tells you to do; that God will open your eyes to false prophets; and that God will strengthen you to make the right choices.