Tag Archives: obedience

Doing Good Things

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

This verse says that all of us who are new in Christ can do the good things God planned long ago for us to do. I wonder what those things are.

I used to think they were big things like preaching, prophesying, or doing miracles. I didn’t do big things like that, so I feared that I missed doing the good works God prepared ahead of time for me to do. But maybe God’s good plans include smaller, less noticeable acts. It could be that He plans for me to show kindness and mercy, forgive those who offend me, help meet another person’s need, write a devotional blog, or pray for a friend (or an enemy).

As I seek to follow Jesus, He shows me good things I can do.

(Painting by Renoir titled “Girls at the Piano” is Public Domain from: https://www.wpclipart.com/ )

 

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Paths of Peace

Speaking to his infant son John (John the Baptist), Zechariah said, “[You will give the Messiah’s] people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…[and the Messiah will] guide our feet into paths of peace.”

Thank You, Jesus, for guiding my feet into paths of peace.

When I go Your way regarding anxiety, I receive peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). If I trust You and anchor my mind in You, You keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). You give real peace, not the shaky peace the world gives (John 14:27).

Jesus, You tell me not to let my heart be troubled or afraid. Sometimes I think I can’t prevent my heart from being troubled and afraid. But the truth is that with Your Holy Spirit in me, I have all the power I need to choose obedience, trust and peace instead of fear, agitation and anxiety.

Yes, thank You, Lord, for Your guidance into pathways of peace.

Amen.

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Our Tailor’s Pattern

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern,…just so you shall make it.’” (Exodus 25:1, 8-9 NKJV)

God is shaping me according to the pattern of Christ.

Like a tailor, He cuts away the material that doesn’t fit the pattern. As I yield to His work, things like bad attitudes, jealousy, outbursts of anger, impurity, quarreling and other sins can be discarded. (See Galatians 5:19-21.) Also, all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander must be snipped off and trashed (Ephesians 4:31).

Then His Spirit removes and adds and shapes (when I obey Him) so I match Christ’s likeness. Colossians 3:9-10, Amplified, says, “Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, and have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.”

Finally, as a quilter would, He fits me together with other believers to make for Himself a work of both function and beauty. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Thank You, God. Amen.

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Journey Re-blog 8 -Prayers in the Valley

In my sojourn through the Valley of Anxiety, I struggled through sleepless nights and shaky days, and regrets often surfaced. In late November, I wrote this prayer:

Dear Lord, You are God, the only God. You are the One who has ultimate control. I want to fit into Your plans, for they are good. You have always been faithful to me. Please forgive me for the times I’ve turned away and looked longingly at what I thought might have been or what used to be. Too often I’ve run after what looked good from a human perspective instead of trusting Your goodness. Please forgive and cleanse as you have promised (1 John 1:9).

2015 National Park in California

Lord Jesus, I remember Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”* And I feel so ashamed of the many times I’ve missed opportunities to do the good works prepared ahead of time for me to do. Lord God, please work in me according to Your promise in Philippians 2:13—“For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose.”*  Then I can take advantage of the opportunities which You give me today instead of missing them and tomorrow wallowing in regret.      Amen.

*Holman Christian Standard Bible

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Hope in the Lord

(Picture from Pintrest)

“I try to take one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked me at once,” so the poster said. I laughed because on some days it does seem like life is like that. On those days, maybe I could take some tips from the Psalms:

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…!
Psalm 62:1, 5 “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.”
Psalm 100:3 “Acknowledge that the Lord is God…!”
Psalm 131:2 “I will calm and quiet myself like a weaned child with its mother.”

And I could remember Isaiah 40:31 “Those who wait on the Lord renew their strength….”
Oh, may I remember to put these verses into practice next time I feel overwhelmed!

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A New Attitude

Real faith results in obedience. For me to respond in faith to what God says in His Word means putting it into action in my life. I would choose to obey—to do what the Word says instead of just listening and nodding my head in agreement. (Romans 2:13; James 1:22)

This afternoon I got frustrated with a customer service representative who couldn’t seem to understand my question no matter how many ways I tried to phrase it. I’ve had problems like this before, and in the past (like last week) I’ve gotten quite upset.

But today, I’m looking at 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I’m in Christ Jesus. Therefore, God wants me to always rejoice, continually pray, and give thanks even in frustrating situations—even when I can’t get the help I think I need. This is an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit bear fruit in me—patience and self-control specifically. I can choose to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. I could pray, “Lord, please help me to let go of my old ways and be renewed in Christ-likeness. Thank You for this chance to grow.”

Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(Both quotes NIV)

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Listen

One of my goals this year is to learn to listen better—especially to God. The following reminded me of my need to work toward this goal.

At a family holiday gathering, one of the exhausted children whined for his father’s attention. All the adults, including his father, were busy with other pursuits. While I worked on a craft project, the Holy Spirit nudged me to help the child. I thought, “I’d comfort the boy, but I don’t know what to do. My attention or attempts to comfort would only get him more upset because I’m a rather distant relative.”

So I asked God what I could do, but I kept on working on my craft instead of stopping to listen. After a few minutes I got an idea of what to do. By that time, however, the child had sat down on the couch and fallen asleep.

By being too busy to listen to our Father, I missed an opportunity to obey Him and perhaps become less distant to my young relative. Maybe I can learn from this experience to stop and listen next time the Holy Spirit nudges.

“…Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.” -Hebrews 3:15 New Living Translation

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Spirit and Life

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life (John 6:63*).”

Thank You, Lord, that Your Spirit gives us life. You are the Vine. We are the branches. We draw our nourishment from You. (John 15:4-5) Depending on my own thinking and doing what looks good to me has never benefited anyone. I see that more as I trust You more.

Jesus, You said Your words are spirit and life. I want to fill up on Your words. But I see that if I want to partake of the life they give, I must also put those words into practice, doing what You say and persevering in that. [“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”–Matthew 7:24-27*  (Emphasis mine.)]

So if I find out what You said, write it down, and even memorize it, I can still miss out on the life You want me to have. To enjoy Your abundant life, I need to do what You say—obey You. I need the power of the Holy Spirit working in me to do that. And that is just what You promised!

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13*).

Oh thank You, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit helps me today to feed on Your Word and do what it says. Amen.

(*Scripture quotes are New Living Translation.)

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Purpose

An article in my daily devotional booklet made me think about the purposes God has for my life. I used to spend most of my time (even as a Christ-follower) trying to run from difficulties, get people-approval, and make life comfortable and happy for me. But now I recognize that as the world’s way of life, not God’s way. His way is to love Him with all I am, keep His kingdom first, and love others—especially those who belong to His family. I think about the following verses (quoted from the New Living Translation):

Galatians 2:20: “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
From 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “…You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price….”

Since God bought me with such a high price, and now I belong to Him, I need to spend the remaining moments (or if God permits, years) of my life loving and serving God and bringing glory to Him.

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Yes, I Can!

Yes, I can obey God’s Word! I’m through telling myself the “I can’t” lie. Sometimes, when I would read a Scripture portion or verse, I would say internally, “God says to do  _________, but I really can’t. So I’ll just skip that part and look for something I can do. For example, I would read Philippians 4:8 (“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”). Then I’d think, Well, yes, but you know I’ve tried to think on these good things, and I really can’t. Other thoughts always take over. Then my mind runs wild, and I fall back into a negative outlook.

    I repent. No more “I can’t.” No more excuses. I will choose to listen to the truth that by the power of the Holy Spirit I can obey God. I will choose life, not death. (Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”)
(Scripture quotes are New King James.)

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