Posts Tagged ‘obey’

Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many. Jeremiah 5:6

Words fascinate me. So God uses them often to get my attention. Today I saw the same letters in two different ways.


What comes to mind when you think of a wolf? For me, it is something wild, snarling, attacking, hunting prey.  Beautiful animals, from a distance. But don’t get too close.

Scripture talks of wolves in this manner. Where I live we don’t have wolves, but we have plenty of their cousins, the coyote.  I lost a kitten to one several years ago. It ventured underneath the fence and the coyote, lurking in the tall grass of the vacant lot,  snatched it in its mouth.  They are stealth in their prowess.

Spiritually, there are a lot of wolves out there. There are ideas that seem beautiful at the time. The lure to run free is tempting. And just when you think all is okay, snatch. The consequences are lethal to the soul.

Wolves run in packs. It is the same with temptations. One rebellious act leads to another. One little backslide sends a person teetering on a slippery slope, ready to tumble.

Now flip the letters around. F-L-O-W.

Eden had a stream flowing through it to bring water to the lush vegetation as well as Adam and Eve. The promised land was described as flowing with milk and honey.  Jesus said He was the living water and no one who came to Him would thirst.  In other words, to the obedient, God provides abundantly.

Instead of rebelling and heading off on our own where dangers lurk, we can choose to “go with the flow”, as the 1970’s adage states.  Not only can we float in the boundaries of God’s will, but we can be an example to others who either don’t realize that is an option or have considered it too stifling.

Jesus said in John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 

So, it’s our choice. Be a lure in the right way to a thirsty world by letting His love flow, or go off on our own and be lured by the wolf called self who crouches waiting to devour our souls.

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 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)

If you have taken time out to read this devotional today of all days, congratulations. Millions of people are only thinking of one thing today—getting their tax returns done before midnight.  They are too busy rendering unto Cesar at the moment to find time to turn to God, except perhaps in a desperate plea of panic when they see how much they owe. Tax time can definitely be a stressful time. So many rules, loopholes and hoops to jump through. Endless forms to fill in, if-that-then-this scenarios, trying to determine if you, as a square peg, can squeeze into the round hole of restrictions.

Praise God  that His way is not so convoluted. Perhaps that is why many people find salvation hard to believe. There are no hoops to jump through, no volumes of rules to follow to the letter or else, no restrictions, no loopholes. What’s the catch? It’s not that simple. No way. There has to be a plan.

Of course there is. What is God’s plan? To restore us to His presence. That’s it. His biggest desire for us is to return to Eden. But our sinful nature blocks the way. Evil lurks to trip us up and tempt us into turning our heads, and then our backs. All we need to do is to say we are sorry and we desire Christ to come into our lives and take it over. His plan brings peace into chaos, hope into despair, a future of faith where none once existed.

Today, who will you choose to serve? Jesus said we can’t have two masters. Yes, we must render unto ImageCesar, so to speak. But, the best way to do that is to realize that even the government is under God’s plan. In Romans, Paul encouraged the people to be respectful of their government because it, too, came from God. If God is truly sovereign then all is under His control, despite the human free will factor. Once we render all to Him, it makes having to render unto the government more purposeful, and all the more necessary. By paying our taxes, we are abiding by the law of the land, and in essence, obeying God’s desire for us.

Render all to God first—all your fears, misdoings, hurts, joys, blessings and money. Then trust in His plans for you. He died on a cross to ensure that plan. Whatever April 16th brings, you can have faith that it is under control. Render unto Cesar, yes. But first, surrender to God.

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John stands knee-deep in the river, day after day. He feels this inner fervency to draw people to repent. So much so that he lives off the land and sleeps under the stars. Relentlessly, he cries out, taking no notice of how he is received.  Maybe, just maybe a few will respond.

Then, one day, the Son of BaptismOfJesusByJohn-787653God,  for whom he has been preparing others to receive, arrives and wants to be baptized as well. John says, “Uh, no. You are the one who should be doing this to me. I am not worthy to untie your sandals.”

But Jesus tells him this is what must be done, and there is purpose in it.   I can picture him as he looked into John’s eyes. I almost hear him say, “Trust me on this. You have to do this. You’ll see why in a minute.”

As he is baptized,  the Holy Spirit comes to bolster Jesus through the next three years of grueling ministry.  God anoints Him for the task. He confirms that Jesus is His Son.

Jesus’ baptism has another purpose as well. It’s is also a foreshadowing of Jesus passing that same Holy Spirit on to each believer who is baptized in His name and receives Him into their lives.  While John baptized for repentance of sins, Jesus takes that and turns it into so much more. John’s baptisms was temporary and temporal.  Jesus’s obedience turned it into a divine and eternal action of our loving and willing-to-forgive Father in Heaven.

Have you ever felt inadequate for a ministry God has called you to do?  Then you can relate to John. But just as Jesus told John that what he was asking him to do was purposeful and necessary, so He tells you. Just do it, trust and then watch what happens. Christ can take your simple acts of obedient talent and manifest Himself into them so they become  significantly more than you ever imagined.. He did it with water jugs at a wedding, with a boy’s meal of fish and bread, and with two pieces of wood tied to make a cross bar in which to punish thieves and murderers.

So, do what Christ is calling you to do, no matter how insignificant it makes you feel. Obey His command. Perhaps the skies won’t open up and an illuminated dove descend. But God will nod and say, “This is my child, with whom I am well pleased.”


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