I am expecting great things from God. However, I realize that there are certain restrictions that I have to adhere to in order for me to give birth to these promises. If I am honest (and remember honest is good) some days I struggle with being restricted. There are specific things that I know God has told me not to do. And oh my me, do I struggle with this. These restrictions are not evil or sinful BUT they are off limits to me.
What makes it worst is when I see other Jesus loving people having the freedom to do the very thing that God has told me not do. There are things explicitly stated in scripture for ALL believers to follow. However, there are specific instructions that God gives to the individual. I cannot focus on another’s freedom and deliberately ignore God’s instructions TO ME. James 4:17 says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” OUCH! God’s word is so straightforward and that sword sometimes hurt. Willful disobedience is SIN…a key ingredient to aborting the promises of God.
This morning I read the story of Samson in Judges Chapters 13-16. Samson’s mother was given specific dietary restrictions by the angel of God. She was also told that Samson should never cut his hair, the source of his strength. God intended to use Samson as a deliver for His people, and Samson’s strength was key. These specific instructions were not given to every Israelite woman. Samson’s mother could have easily ignored these instructions or try to make a case as to why it was not fair that she had to follow such strict rules. But you see she was barren and desperately desired to give birth. Desperation is a great motivator for obedience. As you read on, we see that Samson’s end was tragic, He was not careful to follow all of God’s instructions and the source of His strength was revealed to the enemy. They were eventually able to take Samson captive.
I don’t want to be careless and insult God. I want to fully live out my God intended purpose, so today I pray for grace to do all He has called me to do, no excuses! How about you?
Before I begin with part two of this series I have to share that the highlight of decorating my home this year for Christmas was spray paint. Yes spray paint! I was impressed by this blog and all the things she spray painted. I decided to give it a try and I was pleasantly surprised.
In part one of this series, I mentioned ways to decorate our hearts for Christmas. Today I pick up where I left off. Joseph did not reason he responded…with IMMEDIATE OBEDIENCE. Mathew 1:24 says when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of The Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife. There is much to be said about immediate obedience. If I think on something too long, the crazier it seems, and the less likely I am to respond in obedience. If you know God is speaking to your heart, just do it. A lack of response shows our inability to trust God. How can we really serve Him if we don’t trust Him?
Not only did Joseph respond with immediate obedience but the scripture says that Mary remained a virgin until her son was born. As a husband, Joseph sacrificed his rights for sexual intimacy in order for God’ plan to be fulfilled. He was willing to wait and did not insist on his rights. Sacrifice is such a foreign concept in today’s culture. It is all about our rights. We worship at the alter of, “Me myself and I.” The idea of sacrifice is scoffed at, our will is glorified…hence the great chaos in our lives and this world. If you have chosen the way of the cross, sacrifice is mandatory. But no need to mourn because when you sacrifice for Jesus it is always redemptive. Always! It was necessary for Jesus to be born to a virgin and his birth set in motion God’s redemptive plan mentioned in Genesis 3:15, how awesome is that?
Finally after the child is born Joseph named him Jesus just as he was instructed to d0 in Mathew 1:25. Joseph said yes and stuck to the plan from start to finish, down to the very name. Sometimes we start our journey with Jesus having a complete yes but as time goes on we get creative. We begin to do what God has called us to do in our own way, our own strength, we put our own twist to His plan. There is no such thing as partial obedience. Carefully follow All of God’s commands. Have you deviated from the plans God has given you? Repent, ask for mercy and get on track.
My prayer is that we will have a desire for more than beautifully decorated homes this Christmas. A heart decorated with obedience is sure to shine bright! Be blessed!