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It Takes an Obedient Heart

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It Takes an Obedient Heart

If you have a child that consistently disobeys you, and they shut out whatever instruction you give them, what do you do to help them? You pull back. You let them fall. You let them learn their life lessons the hard way because you know they won’t obey you anyway. Why bother to waste your breath?

And isn’t our Heavenly Father an even better father than we are? God knows when to pull back.

Look at the lives of King David and King Saul. David had a heart for God, even though he made mistakes, but King Saul was habitually disobedient. It was to Saul God said, “It’s not sacrifice I’m looking for. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Disobedience is no different than the sin of witchcraft.”[1]

After God quit speaking to King Saul, that’s exactly what Saul turned to for direction, witchcraft (see 1 Samuel 28).

If we won’t obey, if we won’t heed the direction of God’s voice, He will quit talking and leave us to guide our lives.

God said to the children of Israel through the prophet Zechariah; “Did your ancestors listen? No, they set their jaws in defiance. They shut their ears. They steeled themselves against God’s revelation and the Spirit-filled sermons. And God became angry, really angry, because he told them everything plainly and they wouldn’t listen to a word he said. So this is what God said, if they won’t listen to me, I won’t listen to them. They turned a dreamland into a wasteland” (see Zechariah 7)

How badly do you want to hear God’s voice? Are you willing to wait until He speaks? Are you willing to obey?

[1] 1 Samuel 15:23

Obey the Bible’s Instruction

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Obey the Bible’s Instruction

It’s easy to hear the Word. It’s not as easy to weave it into the everyday fabric of our life and thought. But, if you want to build your life on God’s Word then you must obey its instruction.

Jesus told a story about two men. Both had consistent exposure to the Word. Both heard the sermons and read the books. But only one put the truths he learned into practice in his everyday life.

One day the inevitable storms of life came to both men. The outcome was so different.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.[1]

The other man fell apart and GREAT was the fall of his house!

The Apostle James wrote about being not only a hearer of the Word but a doer of the Word.

We can’t just hear it. It’s vital that we DO IT!

Most scholars believe that James was one of the brothers of Jesus. James did not become a follower of his older brother, Jesus until after the resurrection when Jesus appeared to James in His resurrected body.  No doubt in the early years James heard the Word taught by Jesus many times. But he did not internalize the Word or put it into practice.

First, we must accept the authority of the Word, second, we must then begin to practice it, and third, we must learn to self-feed.

Don’t miss the next blog coming up in just a few days about the importance of learning to self-feed.

To listen to this entire message via podcast, click here.

[1] Matthew 7:24-25 NIV

 

God’s Notorious Mercy

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God’s Notorious Mercy

Why we do what we do is as important as the attitude behind it. The world understands retaliation; they don’t understand love.  ONE MISSION comes from the Great Commission of Jesus, which commands us to take the Good News to every person everywhere. Lakeview’s mission is: “Connecting to Christ, changing lives, impacting the world … together.”

I’ve learned the work of missions is messy.

The work of missions is as much about God working in us as it is about the people we are trying to reach for God. Through missions, God deals with our hearts and attitudes towards other people that we may not understand or even like.

Jonah, the first missionary, is a great example of that. The Lord spoke his word to Jonah, son of Amittai. He said, “Leave at once for the important city, Nineveh. Announce to the people that I can no longer overlook the wicked things they have done.” Jonah immediately tried to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish. He went to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid for the trip and went on board. He wanted to go to Tarshish to get away from the Lord (Jonah 1:1-2 GW).

Jonah’s reaction to God’s missions call to Nineveh set off a huge storm in his life, and in the end, he learned a great lesson about God and about himself. Jonah ran away from his God-given assignment.

Jonah knew about God’s notorious mercy. In his desire to escape God’s call, he boards a boat and heads out to sea. While he sleeps, unaware of what’s going on in his world, a storm rises up in the ocean. When he realizes his disobedience has put the lives of others at risk, Jonah tells them to throw him into the ocean. God prepared a whale to swallow him up, and after three days in the whale’s belly, Jonah becomes willing to do what God asked him to do. He went to Nineveh, delivered God’s message and the people of the city repented.

The Book of Jonah was written about 750 B.C. At that time the Assyrian Empire had become the largest empire to that point in history and the city of Nineveh was its capital. The Assyrians were a notoriously brutal conquering force. They routinely tortured and brutalized the people they conquered.

They sadistically killed their enemies refusing to use the traditional means of death in warfare. They like mutilating the bodies of the dead. They widely bragged about their exploits so as to instill terror in the hearts of all other nations. In fact, terror was their most powerful weapon (terrorism is NOT new).

At the height of the Assyrian terrorism, which had now reached the country of Israel, God told Jonah, “I am going to destroy Nineveh.” And I think Jonah said, “GREAT! That’s a good plan! I hope I get to see it!” But there was a tiny glitch in the plan. God told Jonah to go warn the people of Nineveh, and if they repented, they would be saved.

For some reason, God’s mercy extends to the worst of humanity.

That can be difficult for us to understand. I pray today God would give us an understanding of His heart in this command to go and share the Gospel.

An Invitation to Serve

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An Invitation to Serve

Leonard Sweet overheard a seminary student complaining about the appointment he received from a bishop. He didn’t feel the appointment suited his talents and gifts. The other student replied, “You know, the world’s a better place because Michelangelo did not say, “I don’t do ceilings.”[1]  The other student’s words caused Sweet to go back to his office and write these words:

“The world’s a better place because a German monk named Martin Luther did not say’ “I don’t do doors.”

The world’s a better place because an Oxford don named John Wesley didn’t say, “I don’t do preaching in fields.”

The world’s a better place because Moses didn’t say, “I don’t do Pharaohs or mass migrations.”

The world’s a better place because Noah didn’t say I, “I don’t do arks and animals.”

The world’s a better place because Rahab didn’t say “I don’t do enemy spies.”

The world’s a better place because Ruth didn’t say, “I don’t do mothers-in-law.

The world’s a better place because Samuel didn’t say, “I don’t do mornings.”

The world’s a better place because David didn’t say, “I don’t do giants.”

The world’s a better place because Peter didn’t say, “I don’t do Gentiles.”

The world’s a better place because John didn’t say, “I don’t do deserts.”

The world’s a better place because Mary didn’t say, “I don’t do virgin births.”

The world’s a better place because Paul didn’t say, “I don’t do correspondence.”

The world’s a better place because Mary Magdalene didn’t say, “I don’t do feet.”

The world’s a better place because Jesus didn’t say, “I don’t do crosses.”

Romans 12:9-13 says, Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;  not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality (NKJV).

Our service should lead to impact on the lives of others. It should cause transformation in our walk, as well as their walk of faith. Have you received an assignment you would rather not accept? What assignment have you accepted from God that turned out in a way you never imagined?

We want to hear your story. Share it with us in the comments.

[1] http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/1994/spring/4l2032.html Copyright (c) 1994 Christianity Today, Inc./LEADERSHIP Journal

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