A Foundation of Confidence Built through Obedience 

foundationWorries, fears, doubts, etc. Most of us struggle at times with these things. We spend time and emotional energy worrying about the future. The world presents myriad issues to be concerned about; the health of those we know and love, our financial security, how we are perceived by others, our children’s future, wars and conflicts, politics, etc. The list is endless.

We spend much time and energy working to mitigate these worries and fears. Planning, saving, pursuing education, knowing the right people, having the right job, getting the kids into the right school, etc. Planning is a good thing, but it must not become the main thing.

At the end of Matthew chapter 6, Christ taught clearly and specifically about worrying. He asked, “can you add an hour to your life by worrying?” Instead, He said to first seek the kingdom and His righteousness. Then, what we need will be provided for.

You’ve heard this all before. “Trust God and it will all work out!” “Let go and let God!” But, these superficial cliches are missing a key ingredient.

Obedience


“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!” Psalm‬ ‭119:1-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬


When we are walking in full obedience, we have nothing to fear. Pursue obedience. Pursue and hunger for righteousness. And everything else will work out. Even the troubles that come can be faced with confidence as we walk in obedience.

The first step? Genuinely pray as David did in Psalm 51:10 –

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

And keep obedience to Him as the main thing!

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Perspective

eternal life

Ever meet someone who had a limited perspective? That colleague who just can’t see the bigger picture. That young person who is drowning in the drama of the day. The adult who is oblivious to the world around them. We are guilty too – Believers are expected to have an eternal perspective.


James 4:14

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.


Years ago I heard a message regarding keeping eternal perspective. I began to think more about the fact that this life is infinitely short in comparison to eternity. Although it is easy to become focused on getting all I can out of this life, my actions during this brief journey on earth have an eternal impact.

What if I said that if you lived in the woods with no food or water for 24 hours, I would give you 500 million dollars, peace and happiness for the rest of your days! You would have to be insane to not be willing to rough it for 24 hours for that kind of reward. This analogy pales in comparison to what is in store for those who love and follow Christ.

Scripture tells us our life is a mist. The older I get the more I see it. As Believers we are commanded to sacrifice. To put our wants on hold and obey Christ. To put God first, others second, and ourselves last. God has a great reward for those who love and follow Him. And sacrificing for a minute is nothing if you have an eternal perspective.


2 Corinthians 4:17

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.


Our troubles are light and momentary. I have to be reminded of this too.

Cultivate an eternal perspective.

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Above All Else

So much clamors for our attention. The opportunities to do things seems endless; sports, shopping, entertainment, and hobbies alone can consume us. We live in a society that enables us to stay endlessly busy.

But, does busy equal effective? Years ago Stephen Covey wrote about putting “First Things First”. He showed us how to develop a vision of who we want to be and how to manage our time to support that vision. His approach is logical. For a Believer, the “vision” is clear.

God’s Glory.


Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)


An impartial view of our calendar and checkbook will go a long ways in telling us if we are putting His kingdom first. The specifics of how we apply these truths will vary by person. But, the principles apply to all of those who are followers of Christ.

  • How are you using your time and talent in ministry?
  • How are you consistently praying for the advancement of Gods kingdom?
  • How much time do you put into reading Gods Word?
  • How are you giving financially to help more people hear the good news?
  • Who are you discipling?

I was once challenged to create a personal mission statement. This exercise helped to clarify how I would live out the mandate to “seek first His kingdom”. Over the years I have edited, but it has continued to be a guiding document for me. It is framed in scripture and gives practical guidance for me.

I encourage you to do the same. Save it and refer back to it.

As a friend of mine has said, “dont dumb your way through life”. Have a plan and then work the plan. For the Glory of God.

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Serving Through Words

Feet

I once had a supervisor who, upon being called would arrive and ask, “what can I do for you?”. I have never forgotten his genuine attitude of service.


Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.


It is a good thing to end the day knowing we have given our all. Knowing we have served the Lord zealously and enthusiastically, as Paul exhorts us to in Romans 12:11. But we can be enthusiastically serving ourselves (I know I can!). Serving ourselves can be so easily hidden. It can be made to look righteous, but in reality our “service” can have a self-centered motivation.

During His time on earth, one of the ways in which our Lord served, was by what He said. In love, He spoke the truth to others. Sometimes this was an encouragement, such as when He forgave sin. Sometimes it was a strong rebuke, such as when He called Peter Satan! Many times He was teaching truths to His followers.

What about me? How do I use my words to serve?

  • Do I speak the truth to encourage – “God is sovereign my friend. He has control of this situation”.
  • Do I love enough to rebuke – “Hey my friend (or child or spouse), this thing you’re doing is really not good. I am concerned for you.”
  • Do I take the time to teach His truths – When a friend or family member is faced with a difficult situation, do I help them see the biblical truth or principle that should be applied?

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

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Embracing the Pain

We run from pain. Our bodies react to eliminate physical pain. We work quickly to eradicate emotional pain. To allow pain isnt logical. To embrace it?

The book of James says to “consider it pure joy” when faced with trials. Why? Because they test our faith. And this testing produces perseverance.  Another word for perseverance is “grit”. Do you want the Lord to make you into a gritty servant of His?

James 1:2-4 consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (ESV).

In Romans we are told to “rejoice in our sufferings”. Why? Because they bring endurance. Endurance brings character. Character produces hope. Do you want to be a gritty, follower of Christ, who displays endurance and character, and has eternal hope? Or would you rather be a cowardly, lethargic, hopeless, follower, who lacks integrity? Yeah, me too.

Romans 5:3-4 …but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseveranceperseverance, character; and character, hope (NIV).

In their natural state, metals contain impurities, making them unusable. The metal is brought to extremely high temperatures, which causes the impurities to separate from the metal. The impurities are removed, bringing the metal one step closer to being useful. We each have impurities within us (sin). To be a useful tool in the hands of our Creator, we too must be put under extreme conditions at times.

When the refining process occurs, don’t run. Ask….

  • What can I learn?
  • How can I grow and mature?

Don’t ask God to shrink your trials. Ask Him to grow you bigger than your trials.

Metal

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Even the mundane

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”.

Often we separate our “church life” with the rest of our life. We go about the mundane tasks of working, shopping, driving, exercising, or socializing without considering how we can be honoring God; how we might be pointing others towards Him.

Even while doing the most routine of activities, we must do it to the glory of God.

But why? And how?

Why?

Because Christ lived a perfect life for us and then died a horrible death to be our perfect sacrifice. We don’t do these things to earn salvation. We can never earn it; it was a free gift of grace and has nothing to do with what your effort (Ephesians 2:8). You have to confess of your sins and accept His free gift of Salvation. Our gratitude is shown in a life of giving. Giving to Him and for Him. Romans 12:1 says to offer ourselves as living sacrifices; this is our true worship.

How?

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).

  • Did something great happen to you? Thank God for it publicly.
  • Going through a difficult time? Acknowledge publicly that God uses such things to grow us.
  • In the midst of another beautiful day? Remind those near you of Gods amazing creation.
  • Know someone who is struggling? Ask if you can pray for them. Share your faith with them.
  • Someone offend you? Show them love and grace (like God did you).
  • Know someone making bad choices? Love them enough to point it out. Love does NOT mean avoiding conflict and difficult conversations.
  • Your time. Your money. Your talents.
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