Why obedience is important to you and God.

In sharing the Christmas message at church, our pastor focused on Joseph, the husband of Mary and his obedience to the Lord.

I don’t recall hearing many sermons about Joseph during the Christmas season.  It is usually about Christ and His sacrifice, and mostly about Mary and her response to the Angel –  Behold, the maidservant of the Lord.  Let it be to me according to your word.  Luke 1:38

Obedience

In hearing about Joseph, our pastor pointed out key truths.  He was a son of Abraham,  a just man, wanting to please God, obedient and operated in faith.

Imagine for a moment.  Joseph is engaged to Mary, and the scripture says before they came together or were married, Mary was found to be pregnant. Joseph did not want to disgrace her, and he made plans to break off the engagement silently.

How do you think Joseph felt at hearing this news?  His betrothed was pregnant, and not by him.

As Joseph was thinking about how to end his relationship, it was during this time an Angel came to him in a dream and informed him Mary was pregnant of the Holy Spirit.

Would you believe a story like that?  Joseph did, and his obedience to the Lord is recorded.  Not only here, but also when he was warned of yet in another dream to escape Egypt to save Jesus´  life.

I have been meditating on this sermon all week, and I ask myself, where have I been disobedient to the Lord in my daily life?  It´s so easy to read this story many times over, but never stop to think about Joseph´s obedience in all of this, and how vital it was.

This type of obedience took courage and faith.

If we read of all the accounts in the Bible where the Lord calls someone to operate in obedience, many times it goes against logic.

  • Moses parting the red sea
  • Moses striking a rock and have water gushing out of it
  • Noah building an Ark
  • Gideon choosing only 300 men  to defeat the Midianites
  • Sauls conversion on the road to Damascus

Of course, there are many more examples of obedience in the Bible.  If we strive to be obedient in the smallest of things in life, imagine how the Lord will trust us with the bigger things that come our way.

The bigger things may result in blessings, greater gifting and anointing upon our lives and satisfaction that you are in God´s will.

Operating in obedience to the Lord demonstrates our love for Him.

John 14:15  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

My prayer for 2018, When I hear the voice of the Lord leading me in a direction that may seem unlogical, may I be obedient.

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7 ways to grow your faith

We live in a very busy world. Everywhere we go, people and things are vying for our attention. It could be the latest cell phone, tablet, or book to read, the choices today are endless. Our families complain because we don’t spend time with them, our boss wants more of us, and we go to bed tired.

Our time is valuable.

Grow your faith

If we are not careful, neglect can set it. We need to be intentional about what is important to us,  how to prioritize and learn to say no to what is not beneficial in our lives.

One of the relationships we should never neglect is our relationship with God. We should not allow our spiritual growth to languish.  This should be on the top of our list.

But where do we begin? How do we grow our relationship and faith with the Lord?

Here are a few tips. It is up to you how long you would like to spend in each section.  Doing just a few of these a few days of the week and consistently, you will notice a change begin to happen inside of you.

Here they are:

Read your Bible. Yes, a very common one, but one that is often overlooked. Reading or hearing the word has become very easy. There are excellent Bible apps and even audio versions of the Bible.

Resist the sins of the flesh. The world is full of advertisements, and the world portrays evil as good. Sexual sin, pornography, addictions are strongholds. It’s best to avoid them then fall into their trap.

Help where you can in your church. Our pastors and leaders need us. Helping, even in the most minimum of way brings gratitude to your heart. If you see a void, fill it. If unsure, ask and it will be given to you.

Learn to surrender. We love to hold onto things, to be in control of our lives, family, and circumstances. But there is One who holds our future in His hands, and He really does know best. In a struggle, surrender to God and peace will fill your heart.

Practice gratitude. Thanking and giving thanks with a sincere heart causes the enemy to flee seven ways. Even when things are not going well, I am sure you can make a list of many things to be grateful for. Go ahead, say them out loud, and experience the gratefulness that fills your heart

Practice love. Learn to love like Jesus did. Avoid strife, gossip, and contention, and learn to walk away from arguments.

Learn to hear God´s voice. Yes, you can hear God´s voice and receive peace and guidance. There are many excellent books and teaching if you are unsure where to begin. I would like to recommend Mark Virkler Book, 4 Keys to Hearing God´s voice.

I hope these are useful for you. If you know of other tips, please share them in the comments, I would love to hear from you.

 

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Getting to the root of the problem

I don´t  always  have the opportunity  of doing yard work, but when I do I thoroughly enjoy it.

For some time I had my eye on a wild vine growing out of control in our yard. My mind was fixed  to chop it down. (Remember, I live in the foothills of a cloud forest, and plants tend to grow quite rapidly.)

Mano de Tigre
With machete in hand, I began chopping away. What surprised me were the many roots this vine had, embedded into the soil.  I could not seem to find the main stem of this vine.  It was a real mess.

I started at the base, but the roots were many, so I began chopping away at the end of the vine.  Some time later, progress was visible.

I was cutting away removing the leaves when I finally arrived at the base of the vine.

Spiritually speaking, we desire to eliminate a problem, but the roots are so many we cannot find out where this ¨thing¨ that is hindering us was birthed.

To get to the root of the problem, many times we need to peel the layers to get to where it started growing.

It would be easier  if we could just hack it away with one swipe, but many times God does not work that way. He deals with us carefully.

If we allow Him to work, He will begin very gingerly removing external influences that hinder our calling and relationship with Him  upon our life. He wants us to trust, mature and grow in Him.

With  trust, maturity begins to flourish.

It can be painful to our pride, but it is well worth it.

We may find ourselves in a situation  we did not know how we ended up in.

If that is you, a time of reflection is needed and here are a few helpful questions you could ask yourself.

  • When did the problem start?
  • When did my spouse and I begin having this problem?
  • How did I end up with such a bad attitude?
  • When did everything begin going crazy at home, at work, in my relationship?

You don´t know the answers to these questions, but the Lord does.  If you ask, He will tell you.

Once we get to the root of our problem, a number of things may need to happen to ensure that it does not sprout up again.

First, we need to be honest with ourselves.   God can and will work with that.

Was it sin, rebellion, an attitude problem?  Perhaps  your heart was not right.   Confess it and quickly, and forgive yourself for the sin.

You may need to forgive someone, and do so.  It is not for their benefit, but for yours. Forgiveness removes the bondage you have towards the other person and allows God to work in your heart and on the other´s person life.

Allow God to do a deep work inside of  you.

When you allow your heavenly Father to remove things that are causing you trouble, He will also do  a healing work in your heart.

Your emotions begin to heal and line up and soon you will find yourself walking in a new level of freedom.

Living in joy, freedom and growing closer to the Father should be the goal.  With those hindrances removed, you are set to walk out in your gifts and calling, where there is true happiness.

 

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The benefits of delayed gratification

I recently read an article regarding delayed gratification. While this term is not new to me, I never really paid much attention to it, much less meditate on the phrase.

As I continued reading the article, this person delayed signing a book contract until he felt he could get a better offer.

It worked.

Stop

What is delayed gratification?

It  refers to the ability to put off something mildly fun or pleasurable now, in order to gain something that is more fun, pleasurable, or rewarding later.

I have six brothers and sisters.  My father worked the night shift at a factory, and my mother stayed home raising us kids.  I am sure  by reading this  you could guess  we did not have  extras. We had the basics, and we all turned out just fine.

I remember the trips to the grocery store in  the station wagon. As soon as the groceries were  out of the car and in the kitchen, we would begin eating our ¨extras.¨  We could never save a twinkie for tomorrow, as it would be gone.

I carried this habit into my adult life.  I felt  I needed to have things right away, or else they would be gone, for good.

I associated delayed gratification with poverty and going without, when in reality it is a way for you to receive the best.

Not having and waiting to have the better for your life are two very different things.

I  realized what I believed was a misconception.

Now that I have  a full understanding of this phrase, what are the benefits?

Delayed gratification produces:

  • Patience
  • Causes maturity
  • You will not be impulsive

Moreover,

  • You will  choose to invest  in yourself, and forgo the extras that come your way.
  • You can do without the goodies  that are purchased at the grocery store or the mall.
  • You can  say no to a phone call in order to listen to a webinar, read a book, or study the Bible more.
  • Your goal will be achieved quicker.
  • You will receive the better.

The best part  is  who you become in the process that is worth gold.

I am very blessed as I have an advantage. My husband supports me in my full-time ministry and in my studies, and I am very grateful to him and to God.

I trust one day  make him and my family proud, and to receive the better at the end.

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