Thursday, July 12, 2012

Obedience - When It's Hard

For a moment, picture the following:
There is a mighty king, renowned for his power and victories. Wherever he fights, he comes away victorious, burning the enemy city and carrying away hundreds of captives. This king is now coming against your nation, and you are totally unable to defend yourself. There is only one place to go where you can escape this king’s invasion. Would it not be wise to flee?

The tribe of Judah faced this decision (Jeremiah 42-43). King Nebuchadnezzar was coming to fight against Judah and they were unable to defend themselves. The nation that they thought was the habitation of safety was Egypt. Before taking the journey down to Egypt, however, they came before Jeremiah the prophet and asked him to seek God (Jeremiah 42:1-3). They assured Jeremiah, “Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 42:6)

God gave Judah two options: 1) Stay in the land and be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, or 2) Flee to Egypt for and be overtaken by the sword and famine. God’s will was for the remnant of Judah to stay and be delivered into the hand of Babylon.

The thought process of Judah was understandable. Egypt appeared to be quiet and free from fear, whereas staying in the land and living through King Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion was not an appealing alternative. They were faced with a choice: obey God and stay in the land, or disobey God and flee to Egypt. Which did they choose? They chose Egypt: “for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to Tahpanhes.” (Jeremiah 43:7) What was the result? Jeremiah’s prophecy was fulfilled,
“And when [King Nebuchadnezzar] cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword. And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace. He shall break also the images of Beth-she'mesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.” (Jeremiah 43:11-13)

What can we learn from Judah’s example?

1) Obedience is not simply saying, “I will obey” (like Judah did in Jeremiah 24:6), but in actively obeying.
2) Obedience is not always easy – in fact, to obey might mean to let go of our way of thinking and follow God – even when things do not seem to make sense.
3) There is safety in obeying God. Had Judah obeyed God and stayed in their land, God would have saved them, delivered them, and guided King Nebuchadnezzar to have mercy on them (see Jeremiah 42:11-12).
4) God loves us too much to allow us to continually disobey Him. He will bring correction if we willfully disobey Him (see Jeremiah 46:28).

Sometimes we face tough choices like the tribe of Judah did. Will we take the easy route and disobey God’s commands, or will we follow Him, no matter what the cost?

I have greatly enjoyed sharing "Thoughtful Thursdays" with you each week, but for the time being, I will have to lull my weekly posting. I will still share articles, but not as frequently. :) Thank you for all of your input.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Verse 27 of 52!!

My verse for this week is John 10:28 - I had memorized John 10:27 before, so I will share them both.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."
John 10:27-28

This verse has become very special to me as I've heard many debates on security or insecurity of the believer. I personally believe in the security of the believer because of verses like these. According to this verse, once we are saved, we are bound in the grasp of Jesus' hand - and no man (including ourselves!) can loose us from our heavenly Father's grasp!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Don't . . .

(from Webster’s New World Dictionary)
       ~an adjustment of opposing principles, systems, etc. in which part of each is given up
       ~to surrender or give up

Choices surround us daily. Darts are thrown at us, tempting us. Will we compromise? Will we swerve from our convictions? Will we surrender to the world? Or will we stand firm where God has placed us?

Compromise does not happen suddenly, but gradually by small, daily choices. Choices such as:

“My parents used to say we couldn’t watch this, but I’m probably old enough now.”

“This is a special occasion. I don’t dress like this on a regular basis.”

“Maybe this dress is a tad bit too short . . .”

“Oops! This book has a curse word. Oh well, I’m already half-way through.”

“Just once won’t hurt.”

“What would my friends think if I don’t join them?”

“I just couldn’t tell them ‘no.’”

“I don’t feel very comfortable doing this, but that’s just my personality.”

When we are tempted to make a compromise, our choices lead us to do one of two things: be conformed to the image of the world, or be transformed to the image of Christ (Romans 12:2, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.).

As a young girl: stick to the convictions and standards set by your parents. Do not sway from them – even if “everybody else does it this way.” Honor their obedience to God. (see Ephesians 5:1-3)

As a young woman: stick to the convictions and standards that God has placed in your life. Do not second-guess yourself because of what others are doing, but return to God’s Word to see what He says about each issue. (see 1 Corinthians 7:34a)

As a married woman: stick to the convictions and standards that God has led your husband to take. Do not try to persuade him to change, but encourage him to follow what God would have him to do. (see 1 Corinthians 7:34b)

Girls and ladies, let us not be conformed to this world by following the patterns of those around us, but be transformed to our Lord, renewing our minds daily by the Word of God.

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