Trust and Obey

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Trust and Obey

1 When we walk with the Lord 
in the light of his word, 
what a glory he sheds on our way! 
While we do his good will, 
he abides with us still, 
and with all who will trust and obey. 

Refrain:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way 
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

1 Samuel 15:22

But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

When we were in Youth Group, we played a game called the trust game. One person stood with another standing directly behind them. The person in front was instructed to close his or her eyes, cross their arms, and fall backward, trusting the person behind them to catch them before they hit the floor. Admittedly, I was so small I never worried too much whether I would be caught. But no one wanted me to be the one catching. I was a head shorter than anyone else in the group and would clearly have fallen with the person I was trying to save from ending up on the floor.

Our scripture speaks of the importance of obedience to God, and we need to realize that obedience and trust go hand in hand. King Saul was going into battle, and he was instructed to wait until the prophet Samuel arrived to offer a sacrifice to God. Samuel was late, and Saul became fearful that the battle would be lost if the sacrifice was not given, so he took it upon himself to present the sacrifice to God instead of waiting. Did you remember that because of this rash act, King Saul would lose his kingdom?

Sometimes we can do things with the best of intentions, and other times out of fear, but the bottom line is that God doesn’t just request our obedience, He demands it.

You might be thinking, Pastor Carol, this isn’t a very encouraging message. We want to hear hope! But listen. Our hope is never in our own actions, but in waiting on God, listening to God, and living according to His Word.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Does this scripture sound like a suggestion? No, it is not. When we acknowledge God, we are recognizing His rights, His authority, His status. When we trust and obey God, He will not only make our crooked paths straight, He will many times place us upon the right paths. God does not lead us down blind alleys, but instead He shines the light of His understanding upon us when we determine to walk in His word.

Trust and obey, there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Receive now this blessing: May the Lord our God give strength to we His people, and may He overwhelm us with His peace.

Take the name of Jesus with you and share Him with all you meet.

Higher Ground

Are you goal oriented, or just living for today?

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In the Sweet By and By

There’s a land that is fairer than day

And by faith we shall see it afar

For the father waits over the way

To prepare us a dwelling place there.

 

In the sweet by and by

We shall meet on that beautiful shore

In the sweet by and by

We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

 

Hi, it’s Pastor Carol again, and I want to share with you the hope that we have as Christ followers. Hear now the reading of God’s Holy Word:

John 14:1-3 (NRSV) 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

This is the word of God for the people of God.

Thanks be to God.

Has there ever been such hope as that given to us through Christ Jesus? First we have the hope of salvation found in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Then we have the hope of the resurrection, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.

Can anyone exist without hope? Merriam-Webster dictionary says that the definition of hope is to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.The use of the word “hope” has become so overused, and really, the meaning has been watered down to the point that “hoping” is not much more than wishing that something unlikely will occur.

Conversely, hope in the Bible is a confident expectation, not because of our efforts, but because of God’s promises. There is a solidity in godly hope, whereas the hope found in the world is nothing more than a wispy trail of smoke that dissipates into the atmosphere.

So, I ask again; can anyone exist without hope? I think not.  I encourage you today to grab hold of the hope found in the scriptures and in a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. There is a land that is fairer than day, but because of hope we can trust not only in that grand reunion on heaven’s shore, but in living daily a life that reflects Christ in all we say and do.

Receive now this blessing: 2 Th. 2:16-17 – Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. Take the name of Jesus with you, and share Him with all you meet.

 

 

 

 

 

Count it All Joy

You can have a melody down in your heart,

when it’s aching, almost breaking,

Even though the sorrow makes the teardrops start,

You can have a melody down in your heart.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

This is the Word of God, for the people of God.

Thanks be to God.

Let us pray: Father God, we acknowledge that You alone are the Giver of joy. May our joy be complete as we look to You, and You alone, as the source of every good thing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This is a strange time in which we live. 2020 had barely begun when we started hearing of a new virus called the novel coronavirus which soon gained pandemic status. Then, just as it seemed normalcy was returning, the news of the senseless death of a man named George Floyd ignited literal firestorms in cities around the world. In places like Little Rock, where I live, we were under an 8 pm curfew.

I am old, yet there are many things I still do not understand. But, there is one thing I know, understand and believe. When words fail, when understanding is limited, just say Jesus. You see, joy does not come as a result of our circumstances but in spite of our circumstances. James wrote in his letter to the universal church that our faith will be tested, but the test is not what matters. It is the way we react to this testing that reveals our character.

The word joy appears over and over again in the Scriptures. The psalmists write, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:5b) and “Shout for joy to God, all the earth” (Ps. 66:1). Likewise, in the New Testament, we read that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

 Joy is not a fleeting emotion, but instead it is a gift from the Holy Spirit and as our relationship with Christ grows, so does our joy. Life is full of choices.  In the midst of the fear over a pandemic, the anger due to injustice, the many things we encounter in this life, I encourage you to choose joy.

Receive now this blessing: Joy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Allow the Holy Spirit to flood your heart and soul with the joy that only He can give.  Take the name of Jesus with you, and share Him with all you meet.

 

Till the Storm Passes By

Song: Peace, Peace Wonderful Peace

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial-like strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.

  • Refrain:
    Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
    Coming down from the Father above!
    Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
    In fathomless billows of love!

There are two storms I think of in the Bible that help me to put life’s difficulties into perspective. First, I am reminded of the storm in which Jonah found himself. You remember the story.  Jonah was a prophet of God, but he had received only one word from God, and it had been a long time ago. When God finally spoke to Jonah again, giving him the mission to take the word of repentance to the Ninevites, Jonah was not happy. Who would want to save the Ninevites? They were horrible people. Yet, because Jonah knew if he took God’s word to them, they would receive it and be saved, he ran.

Jonah ran down to Joppa where he found a boat and ran and hid in the bottom of the boat. But you can’t hide from God. A storm came, and the sailors realized this was a storm of supernatural origin. So, they ran down to the hold of the boat, woke Jonah up, and said, Please, pray to your God to stop this storm so that we might be saved.  At Jonah’s instruction, the men threw him into the waters and the storm immediately stopped.

Then there was the storm in Matthew 8:23-26 (NRSV)

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.

This is the word of God for the people of God.

Thanks be to God.

 Let us pray: Father God, today may we learn from the storms to find safety in You. May our faith be strengthened and our hope grow large within us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jonah’s storm was a storm of Jonah’s own making, and it existed to point Jonah to God. The storm told about in the gospel of Matthew was one that came from nature, and it existed to point the disciples toward God.

Notice how in both stories, Jonah and Jesus were asleep in the bottom of the boat while the storm raged. I would imagine Jonah slept because he was exhausted from all of his running. Jonah was able to appease the storm by ending up in the belly of a fish, where he spent three days and three nights reflecting upon his situation and becoming obedient to God. Jesus, fully man and fully God, slept because He knew the wind and the seas were no danger to him, and when he said, Peace, be still, the storm had no choice other than to obey.

We are living in the storms of a pandemic which we cannot seem to control. And in the midst of the fear and disruption over this disease, we have come face to face with the injustice against our fellow man that still exists in the 21st Century. Both of these storms threaten to capsize the boat, but it is only Jesus who can calm the troubled seas.

Let us allow Jesus to speak peace over our situation, understanding that sometimes relief is immediate, but at other times we need to rely on God’s peace to go with us and bring us comfort and assurance, even in the midst of the storm.

Receive now this blessing: There is no storm so severe that God will not be with you. Take shelter in the God who is larger than the storm, larger than your problems. Take the name of Jesus you, and share Him with all you meet. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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