How often have you gotten yourself in trouble because you chose not to listen to or follow the recommended instructions to complete a project? God understands this tendency in our human will to presume that we know just enough to get the job done without His help. The bible is full of warnings to avoid presumptive sin by choosing to listen to God’s instruction for doing life.
“Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! (Psalm 19:13a)
When Israel was led into captivity after years of enjoying and mishandling the blessings of God, Jeremiah the prophet tells us it was due to them not listening to God. They had forgotten there need for God who not only brought them into the promise land but also their need for Him to keep them there. They presumed that God would not judge their sin.
“I will pursue them with sword, famine and pestilence…because they did not pay attention to My words…you would not listen, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:18-19)
As children of God we are also deeply loved by Him. It is His love for us that drives His discipline towards us for our good. He sacrificed His Son (Jesus Christ) in order that we might enjoy His abundant blessings in this life on earth and throughout eternity. The better we become at listening to His instructions the more our lives become enriched with His blessed presence and all the daily benefits of His provision.
“I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm My covenant with you.” (Leviticus 26:9)
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to ultimately provide for all our needs. He is the Blessed Savior from whom all blessings flow. It is in and through Jesus that God made His plea once again to His beloved children to listen to His Son in order to live in the abundance of His provision on a daily basis.
“This is My Son, My Chosen One, listen to Him!” (Luke 9:35)
The Bible is our instruction manual for life, how well are you listening to it?
“Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” (Psalm 19:13b)
Have you ever been asked by God to choose the less traveled road that seemed to include sacrifice and loneliness? If you obeyed His voice you know that it required a faith deeper than you had at the moment of acceptance. And you had to come to terms that obeying came with no guarantees on the desired outcome compared to the labor that it seemed to involve. Did you know that God promises that the labor that He calls us to will not be in vain?
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
When God calls us to labor on His behalf it is assumed that we know it can only be done in the Lord. Otherwise how can we be ‘steadfast, immovable, always abounding’ in accomplishing what we have accepted to do?
The call to labor encompasses every arena of life and relationships. Some are called to labor for their marriage, family, children, health, home, career or ministry. Whatever the call, whatever the sacrifice involved we are admonished to be ‘steadfast, immovable and always abounding’ in our labor in the Lord.
Labor can involve suffering and hardship, yet it is not in vain. Our faith is tested in the Lord and when we endure we come forth pure as gold, through the refining fire of God’s love. We may not achieve our initial desired outcome but God always delivers a far richer outcome than we could have imagined. Knowing Him more, being transformed into the image of Christ and reaping the divine fruit of faithful labor in the Lord.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Your labor is not in vain!
Love wins. It triumphs over all things. And this is possible because God loved first and through His all-powerful love He caused His light to shine upon the just and the unjust. We all enjoy the daily benefits of the light of His grace and love.
“The Lord is God, and He has made His light to shine upon us.” (Psalm 118:27)
God is love. We can know His love by placing our trust in His Son, Jesus, who is the light of the world (John 8:12), the bright morning star (Rev. 22:16). This Jesus, who loves us is the rock and anchor of our faith, the answer to all that we will ever need, the Savior of the world. He died and rose again in order to offer eternal life by taking our place on the cross. He is the Stone that the builders rejected who in triumph has become the Cornerstone of faith.
“This is the Lord’s doing, it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:23)
Jesus said that we can know that we have come to know Him and God’s love if we keep His commandments. We can know that His love is being perfected in us. (1 John 2: 3-5) Our new nature in Christ removes the right to be selective in the commandments that we keep, our new nature delights in responding like Jesus would respond in everyday circumstances. His love did not leave us as orphans to work this out for ourselves, He gave us a Helper, the Holy Spirit who empowers us to walk in God’s light.
“And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)
We are called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) as we pursue fulfilling a lifestyle of obedient faith in love.
“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15: 9-11)
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Have you ever questioned God’s presence in your life? If the answer is yes you are in good company. God knew that you would struggle with this dilemma. He provides an illustration that sheds light on and gives application to you knowing that He is with you. We can see it in the life of King Saul and King David.
“The word of the Lord came to Samuel: I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not performed My commandments.” (1 Samuel 15:10)
We can know that ‘God is with us’ when we walk in obedience to His commandments. King Saul had a rebellious heart and was more about doing what was right in his own eyes rather than obeying God. A true God follower delights in obeying His word. And this delight in obedience God promises to bless because obedience shapes our heart after God and His ways.
“And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him.” (1 Samuel 18:14)
“And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him.” (1 Chronicles 11:9)
God departed from King Saul because of his disobedience and unwillingness to follow Him with his whole heart, Saul broke faith with God. The prophet Samuel was instructed by God to seek out a man after His own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14)
True success in your life is measured by obedience to the God of the universe. You can count on His daily support in every area of your life and the blessings of obedient living.
“Blessed is the man…his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalms 1:1-3)
You can know that ‘God is with you.’
Arriving into the land of promise is often preceded by a clearly defined path laced with life instruction and spiritual maturity along the way. Maintaining the promise land lifestyle is often far more difficult.
The land of promise showcases God’s blessings. He promises abundance and multiplication far beyond what we can produce through our own efforts. Blessing our households, our offspring and all the work of our hands.
“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And He will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 28:8)
He promises to give us favor with mankind by placing us in positions of leadership and will make us prosperous in what He has called us to do and to become with only one condition…to faithfully obey His voice, being careful to do all His commandments. (Deut. 8:1) Herein lies the dilemma of maintaining the land of promise.
It is one thing to arrive into the land of promise, it’s another thing to maintain it. And God knew our tendency to wander into disobedience and provided a way back before we had to ask.
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey His voice in all that I command you today, will all your heart and with all your soul…” (Deut. 30:1,2)
According to this passage we can know that obedience keeps us in the presence of God’s blessings and disobedience drives us away from God’s blessings. But thank God that His mercies are new every morning. His hand is always extended with new tender mercies calling us back to Him but it must be with all our heart and soul. On this condition He is eager to restore us again to the land of promise.
“…then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and He will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.” (Deut. 30:3)
When we decide to walk in obedience to God out of love for all that He has done for us, with all our heart and soul, He promises life in His blessed presence. The way into His presence is through Jesus, His Son.
“For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments…when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 30:9,10)
Choose to maintain your land of promise in obedience to God who loves you and desires the best for your life.
Photo Credit: Skilal
Blessed living leads to a blessed life.
A blessed life does not imply a life without trials or suffering, it implies a life of consistently bearing fruit that in turn blesses us and those around us.
We tend to think of fruit in the natural mind that is useful to the human body. However, in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ we have been given the capability to produce tremendous fruit if we stay planted near the river.
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
In other words, there are no fruitless seasons of life if we stay near the water source, the river of blessing. There will never be a season when we are not enjoying the fruit of our labors in Christ. Jesus promised that;
“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:38)
We can toil all our lives and never experience the ‘river of blessing’ that God has specifically designed for our lives. We must first believe in Jesus who is the river of blessing. When we find our delight in Him we become like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season.
“Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary.” (Ezekiel 47:12)
Are you planted near the river?
Do you ever feel like your faith walk is easily affected by life’s circumstances? Do you seem to waver between trusting in God and trusting in yourself to work through the trials of life? When you don’t know what to do, what do you do?
The bible tells us that faith and wisdom work together to bring stability into our daily lives.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…” (James 1:5,6)
Did you notice the warning to ‘not doubt’? Doubt embraces uncertainty and distrust, it makes us hesitant to believe, fearful or apprehensive about the truth. God encourages us to receive wisdom from Him and then warns us not to doubt the instruction in truth that He gives. If we doubt we are described as unstable and tossed about as the wind.
“…for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8)
Faith in God and the application of His wisdom in our daily lives will give us the stability we desire that will position us to weather any trial or test that comes our way. This is God’s promise to those who love Him.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
Perseverance is the key to fulfillment. Many are inspired to fulfill their designed purpose and yet so few enter into their promise land. Perseverance implies a continued, patient effort towards a desired end that leads to fulfillment.
The decision to perseverance is just the first step, finishing well requires a strength beyond our ability. The prophet Jeremiah was called by God to persevere. He was also given assurance that he would have divine protection in his difficult pursuit of fulfilling God’s plan for his life.
“And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land…They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:18, 19)
Even with this powerful promise of protection from God, Jeremiah struggled with all the threats and opposition he received early on, just as we struggle. God used it all to show Jeremiah his need beyond his own abilities. The Lord answered his complaints by addressing his inadequacies to go the distance without God’s help.
“So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm, what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?” (Jeremiah 12:8, The Message)
Like us, Jeremiah had to learn how to depend on God’s strength to persevere. With every deliverance Jeremiah’s trust in God’s power and presence grew. He achieved the fulfillment of God’s purpose for his life and received all that God promised him.
Whatever God has asked of you, His power and strength will get you there, not your’s. Choose to persevere, trusting in His daily provision. May the ‘few’ turn into the ‘many’ who persevere to the end, fulfilling their purpose on this earth!
“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)