Tag: disobedience

Dec 14 I am so Jonah!

Father, what wonderful lessons I’ve learned from Jonah!  And about Jonah and about You.  He is so human…  And You are so God…

sea-79836_1280You spoke to Jonah, giving him a view of Your plan for him and specific directions using the gifts and talents You placed in him.   And You speak to Your people today.  You have given each of us gifts and talents to use in accordance with Your plan.

Help me hear Your voice clearly when You speak.  Give me direction and a view of Your purpose for my gifts.

Jonah thought he could get away with being disobedient.  He thought he could hide from You.  Silly man.  And silly me!  There have been times when I did not follow Your direction.  I never ended up in the belly of a great fish, but I did miss out on some wonderful opportunities.

Remind me of that when I consider disobedience in the future.

You have everything under Your control!  Not only did You see where Jonah went, meaning there in no place to hide from You; but You were in control of everything around him.  The weather?  You brought the storm!  And calmed it.  A large fish?  You brought it to swallow Jonah, and it obeyed Your command to vomit him onto dry land.  The same thing is true of the events and circumstances, relationships and opportunities in my life.

Remind me that You see me wherever I am.  And that there is nowhere I can go away from You.  And nothing beyond Your power.

Jonah called out to You, “In [his] distress…”  Even when he thought his life was over, and knowing he had been disobedient, he prayed to You.  There is no circumstance where I cannot call on You.
It is never too late, I can never be too bad, I am never too far-gone.

You answered!  Even in the bowels of death and disobedience, You heard and answered Jonah’s prayer and rescued him.

You are a God of second chances!  And third and fourth…  You want Your people to be obedient.  You coach them to win, giving them every opportunity to do so.  And I am one of Your people.

Thank You for giving me second chances and more.  Thank You for always hearing my prayer and answering me.

Jonah obeyed eventually.  What I take from this is:  obey the first time – it will save me a lot of grief!

Thank You for this view into Jonah’s life.  It is a view into my own.  And into Your greatness.  Because You are so God…  And I am so human…  Amen

Jonah 1:1-3:3

Sept 29 Remember and Praise!

note-152133_640Father, You looked down on the people You created, and what a disappointment! You saw them in their “sinful greed” and “willful ways.”  Even when they sought You with fasting, it was not in earnest.  And was not acceptable to You.  You told them how to behave to be blessed.  Yet they still did not respond as You had instructed.

Their sin separated them from You.  And so You achieved salvation for them by Yourself.   “As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says The Lord.  My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and My Words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips…from this time on and forever, says The Lord.”

Father, I wonder how I disappoint You when You look at me.  I so often think of my own needs and wants before others, and I want things my own way.  That sounds a lot like “sinful greed” and “willful ways.”  But because I am Yours, I have Your Spirit in me, and I have Your Word.  The Scriptures tell me how to live, and the Spirit prompts me in the right direction, even when I stray.  I am thankful that You do not give up on me.

You have been with me since my youth, giving me hope and confidence; helping me when I needed help, rescuing me when I needed saving.  Now, “deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.”

As I face things that seek to pull me away from the path of righteousness, my emotions are strained, my good intentions eroded, and my character taxed.   But I am “confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

It is You, Father, Your power that will work in me and through me to enable me to achieve all You have purposed for me.  So rather than focus on my troubles, I chose to focus on You!  I believe Your Word and I trust Your Spirit.

Father, even now, help me remember Your faithfulness to me.  Help me recall the times when You interceded to protect me, when You made a way of escape for me, when You stayed with me in the hard times and got me through them with a vision or a song or an answer to prayer.

As I remember them one by one, I will sing and give You praise!  I will recall and tell others of Your greatness, and Your goodness to me.

Thank You that You are “my rock of refuge, to which I can always go.”   Thank You that “You are my strong refuge.”

Thank You for these Words You sent me through David.  I can almost use them word for word to praise You.  They so elegantly voice the praise and thanks I want to express.  Thank You that You are my God.  Amen

Isaiah 57:15-59:21; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 71: 1-24

 

Sept 8 Consequences

usa-flag-830720_640

What a loving Father You are. You instruct gently, and spell out exactly, what the truth is. You teach Your children how to do what will bring them the greatest reward. You remind them: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”

You spell out the rewards and the consequences over and over again. When they become disobedient, You send others, prophets, to remind them and warn them off the destructive path and back onto the path of blessing.

Even when they are immersed in their sin and being obstinate, You offer them forgiveness and a way back into Your grace and favor.   “Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Scarlet and crimson are bright and deep shades of red. Trying to get a red wine stain or a bloodstain out of something is difficult. And my sin stains me like that. But You tell me You can cleanse me as white as snow: sparkling, pure, glistening, frosty snow. You can remove my sin and its stain to make me as white as the softest, purest lamb’s wool!

“But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” That is the consequence of disobedience. Who would choose that? Who would give up the blessing of Your provision and favor, in order to be devoured by death?

And yet, the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry. They turned away from You. In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many “little g” gods they worshipped. Meaningless because their hearts did not belong to You any longer.

And You brought judgment. Because of Your righteous character, You had to uphold justice and be true to Your Word.   They did not understand until it was too late.

Father, I believe my country has been blessed and protected by You because we trusted in You. But now, we have turned away as a nation, “resisting and rebelling.“ We no longer honor or even acknowledge You.

You have sent a warning. You have sent people who have tried to call America back. But we have not returned. We have chosen the path away from You. And You will bring judgment.

Before it is too late, Father, I pray my nation will turn to You. Bring us leaders with godly values. Open our eyes to our sin and give us repentant hearts. “Come, [America], let us walk in the light of the Lord.” Amen

Isaiah 1:1-31

Aug 5 Prophecies and Promises

don-t-lose-your-patience-1241239

Lord God, from today’s scriptures it is clear that you have moved armies, governments, civilizations to accomplish Your will. You told Your prophets, who told the people, exactly what would happen if they did not keep their covenant with You.

Their choices were clear. In obedience they would receive Your blessings. Disobedience would bring Your curses and they would be removed from the land You gave them as an inheritance. Even knowing this, and being reminded by the prophets, their hearts were hard and they chose curses by their behavior.

You even told Your prophet Jeremiah that their captivity would last seventy years. And the prophet Isaiah gave the name of the king who would return them to their land one hundred and fifty years before it happened!

Sure enough, because of their continued disobedience, they were captured and taken away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. Then the Persians came to power and overtook Babylon. Their King Cyrus announced he would build a temple in Jerusalem for the Lord, the God of heaven. Any of Your people in captivity would be free to go!

This happened seventy years after captivity began as predicted! And the man who released them as promised by prophecy was not even born when he was named by the prophet!

So I can believe with assurance in the prophecies You have given about the coming days.   All You revealed to John on the island of Patmos, and more about the end times. Of course, I do not pretend to know Your exact time table, but I know I need to be ready.

I need to be living like You have shown me, and being obedient to receive Your blessings. I need to be watching so I am not misled.   My faith must not rest on man’s wisdom, but on Your power.

I believe that I must “wait for You”. For Your wisdom, perspective, for Your perfect timing in my life. Help me be patient while I am waiting. Help me to “be strong and take heart”.

You will move things in Your timing: armies, governments, civilizations. You hold the hearts of men and kings in Your hand. And I believe I will see Your goodness, in my life, while I live.

Thank You for Your blessings. For Your promises. For Your prophecies. And for answering me when I seek Your face. Amen

Ezra 1:1-11; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:13-14

 

July 4 We depend on You

cross-1314136_640O Father, Your people didn’t think that judgment would come. But You sent Pharaoh Necho from Egypt in the west to take Judah’s king in chains and tax and oppress the people. Then Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon in the east came twice to burn Jerusalem and strip the land of the last of its treasures and people.

Your people went into exile, taken from their land, to be prisoners in a foreign place. It was just as You had promised. Your people ignored Your covenant and the prophets You sent and followed their leaders into disobedience and idolatry. And paid the price for their choices.

Father, You give me a choice today. You show me how to live by Your Word. You teach me right from wrong. Your values and morality are clear. But my society lives by a different standard. And most of the people believe You will not judge. Although You have the greatest love, You also hate sin. And You have said there will come a time for judgment.

I believe that time is nearing. Father, help my nation hear Your warnings and turn back to You. Help me in my own life, make choices that are according to Your Word. Help me not simply make the easiest choices, or the most popular ones; but give me understanding to know how to make the right choices. Let me live my life for an audience of One: You.

Help me recognize my own sin and turn from it. Strengthen me to do what is right even when it is hard. Let others see that I love You. And that I live my life accordingly.

“Let the kings be wise; and the rulers of the earth be warned. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. And all who take refuge in the Lord will be blessed.” Amen

2 Kings 23:31-25:30; Psalm 2:1-12

 

June 14 Obedience – better than sacrifice

letter to God

Father, here there are three examples of people You told specifically what to do. The ones who disobeyed You, paid a terrible price.

1 Rehoboam, Solomon’s son who inherited the kingdom, was given a word by You through Shemaiah. Although it was Rehoboam’s plan to rally the forces and attack Israel, he stopped that plan, obeying Your instruction. All his army went home, safe.

2 Jeroboam had been told at his anointing, that he would be king over ten tribes of Israel, and have a dynasty as enduring as David’s. Jeroboam would rule over all his heart desired IF he would obey Your commands and walk in Your ways, and do what is right in Your eyes.  But he did not. He made golden idols and led the people to worship them instead of You. This led to his downfall and destruction.

3 A man You sent to prophesy against the altar Jeroboam set up, did as You said at first. His prophecies came true. But he was tricked, deceived into stopping to eat and drink where You had told him not to. He paid with his life that day.

Father, help me take seriously what You instruct me to do.

Strengthen me to be obedient – to change my plans if need be, in order to obey. Even if what You tell me goes against what seems to be logical human thought – let me clearly understand what I am to do, and recognize if I am straying from it.

Protect me from those who would deceive or trick me into being led away from Your command.

Help me, through obedience, to stay in Your blessing and in Your will. Amen

I Kings 11:29-39; 12:20-13:34

Feb 2 I choose praise!

sing-a-new-song-2-1428461-639x582Heavenly Father, You have shown me two different responses the Israelites made in the presence of Your blessing.

The first is one of dancing and singing praises to You. When You delivered them from Pharaoh by having them cross through the waters of the sea on dry ground, Miriam took a tambourine and led Moses and the Israelites in singing of Your miraculous deliverance.

But another time, when these people grumbled for food in the wilderness, You promised and delivered a blessing of meat in the evening and bread in the morning.   That night You brought them quail to eat and in the morning You created and gave them manna: something so marvelous and unknown they didn’t know what to call it. They even called it ‘manna’, which means ‘what is it?’ There is no mention of rejoicing, or an outpouring of gratitude or thanks – even though there was no other place for them to get food in the desert. What they did was respond with disobedience. They did not gather according to Your instructions.

And although You continued this particular blessing six days a week (with extra gathered the 6th day for the Sabbath) for forty years, (that’s 12,480 times !!) it wasn’t long before they were grumbling again unappreciatively.

I pray Father, that I will respond to Your hand of blessing in my life like the first example. Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, highly exalted – You are my God and my King!! I will write songs and sing of Your wonders! I will tell others of Your greatness and Your blessing in my life. I will write and send emails to communicate them! But even if I stand in a room alone with my hands and voice raised to You, even if I sing off key, even if no one else knows, do not let me miss an opportunity to acknowledge Your power and involvement in my life with gratitude.

Open my eyes Lord, so I will see and understand all of Your blessings. Prompt me when I forget to acknowledge Your gifts. Do not let me take Your blessings for granted; or respond with disobedience. I desire to make a “sacrifice to You of shouts of joy!! I will sing and make music to the Lord!”

Exodus 15:19-17:7; Psalm 27:6

Dec 14 I am so Jonah!

sea-79836_1280Father, what wonderful lessons I’ve learned from Jonah!  About Jonah and about You.  He is so human…  And You are so God…

You spoke to Jonah, giving him a view of Your plan for him and specific directions using the gifts and talents You placed in him.   And You speak to Your people today.  You have given each of us gifts and talents to use in accordance with Your plan.   Help me hear Your voice clearly when You speak.  Give me direction and a view of Your purpose for my gifts.

Jonah thought he could get away with being disobedient.  He thought he could hide from You.  Silly man.  And silly me!  There have been times when I did not follow Your direction.  I never ended up in the belly of a great fish, but I did miss out on some wonderful opportunities.  Remind me of that when I consider disobedience in the future.

You have everything under Your control!  Not only did You see where Jonah went, meaning there in no place to hide from You; but You were in control of everything around him.  The weather?  You brought the storm!  And calmed it.  A large fish?  You brought it to swallow Jonah, and it obeyed Your command to vomit him onto dry land.  The same thing is true of the events and circumstances, relationships and opportunities in my life.  Remind me that You see me wherever I am.  And that there is nowhere I can go away from You.  And nothing beyond Your power.

Jonah called out to You, “In [his] distress…”.  Even when he thought his life was over, and knowing he had been disobedient, he prayed to You.  There is no circumstance where I cannot call on You.  It is never too late, I can never be too bad, I am never too far-gone.

You answered!  Even in the bowels of death and disobedience, You heard and answered Jonah’s prayer and rescued him.  You are a God of second chances!  And third and fourth…  You want Your people to be obedient.  You coach them to win, giving them every opportunity to do so.  And I am one of Your people.  Thank You for giving me second chances and more.  Thank You for always hearing my prayer and answering me.

Jonah obeyed eventually.  What I take from this is:  obey the first time – it will save me a lot of grief!

Thank You for this view into Jonah’s life.  It is a view into my own.  And into Your greatness.  Because You are so God…  And I am so human…  Amen

Jonah 1:1-4:11