Saturday, April 21, 2018

Simple Acts of Obedience

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 111: Today. I am grateful for the life changing power in simple acts of obedience.

When God breathed into Adam... what I like to call the "soul breath" ... he brought to life this amazing creation that was different from the others. Humans... made in His image ... would not be ruled by biological design alone. 

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. -Genesis 1:27

This new creation would be able to intentionally act outside of what was human nature with great intention. This creation could choose to love and be loved. Man could choose to NOT do what came naturally... self denial for a greater purpose. Think about it.  

What comes naturally? To love ourselves, to want what we want .. and to seek our own elevation, fortune and fame in this world. With the gift of free will came choice and responsibility. 

Accompanying our choice was the invitation to walk with God, talk with God and to know him with a naked intimacy that would be amazing and terrifying all at the same time. God gifted it to Adam and then Eve... and every soul He knit has together in the secret place of a mother's womb to grow, know and hunger for Him. 

It is why believers might appear kind of weird, crazy and not quite right. We've tasted the fresh, soul cleansing breath of God's great grace and gift of a new heart and a new life. When Christ fills in the missing piece in our souls, we are whole again. There is a peace and contentment this world cannot really understand. 

What comes next... is entirely our move. We can be saved... but when we surrender in obedience to the will of God ( I grew up calling it sanctification), we never know where "His will" will lead us.

"Great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience." - Steven Furtick

Simple acts of obedience. Not as easy as they sound. Small acts of disobedience can echo beyond the initial wrongdoing and have an echoing impact into future generations. Sin has consequences... even when forgiven. 

One of the things that stands out about Jesus was his unshakeable obedience to the Father's will. His tenacious faithfulness to the heartbeat of the scriptures. Those who hated him constantly tried to "catch him" breaking Old Testament laws, but he would trump their accusations with appropriately applied truths, consistent with scripture, and the nature of God. He did it again and again. Some recognized the Messiah and believed. Others plotted to kill him. He came for a purpose and nothing would interfere keep the will of God from unfolding. 

"God positions you, not according to your preference, but according to His purpose." -Steven Furtick

The night in Gethsemane, Jesus asked if there is another way, but the answer was "no". 

"He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
  Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?  Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away[a] unless I drink it, your will be done.”Matthew 26:38-42 (NLT)

So, he knelt in submission, praying "Thy will be done." What would come next would challenge and change everything man had known before and there would be a new covenant sealed in Christ's blood. Talk about obedience. Obedience out of love for God... for you... and for me. 

When God doesn't answer our prayers in the ways we have requested, it does not mean he wasn't listening. He instructs us to ask in Jesus name and we will receive, but we are called to ask according to His will. We must seek Him with our whole hearts. That means prayers can be answered in the oddest way... and at the strangest times. 

God loves to surprise his children. I am sure He smiles when we are struck with awe by the magnitude of his blessings in unexpected ways.  

Do we chase after His heart in the same way we search for the latest and greatest in cell phones, children's toy at Christmas or whatever is currently "on trend"? God isn't a trend. He is the Alpha and Omega.. the beginning, the present and the end. He is timeless and not limited by time. He is awesome in every way. He is so much more than I can begin to find the right words to say. 

Do we savor Him?

Breathe Him in. Read His word. Listen for His voice.Be filled with His Spirit.  Be still and He speaks. But, fasten your seatbelts my friends... it could be a wild and crazy ride. Love and the Outcome sings "The God I Know": 

Until the moment, the second I met Your Love (Oh-oh-ohhh) And then I threw my hands up, worries down. I remember when He showed me how. To break up with my doubt. Once I was lost, but now I'm found. No strings attached, when He saved my soul. I want you to know, the God I know. (Yes... there is a boombox in the video. :) )

Obedience isn't always easy, but it is always worth it. And suddenly, our vision clears and we can see that it was God all along. He never wavered on His promises, ignored or left a prayer unanswered. In obedience, we learn to trust His goodness and his timing. 

Today. I am grateful for the life changing power in simple acts of obedience.

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