Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘obedience’

Let’s Look Like Jesus: Tender Hearted

Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spoke against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.   (2 Kings 22:19)

In the passage above, young King Josiah wept as he heard the Word of God read.  He wept for the failures of himself and his people to obey the LORD God.  That passion for obedience to God is founded upon confidence in His goodness–the ‘rightness’ of God’s commands.

Jesus’ words as translated in the New Living Translation convey the idea well:

“I know that His commands will bring eternal life…” (John 12:50).

Jesus came that those who believed on Him would have abundant, unending life.  Obedience to God and abundant living are integrally entwined!

Despite Jesus’ passion for obedience, He says He did not come to judge.  He did weep at the stubbornness and unbelief of those He came to save, though.  In Isaiah it was prophesied that the Messiah would be despised and rejected–yet would not open His mouth.

Jesus simply stayed focused on the Father’s will and completed His task–deliverance of all who would believe to abundant, eternal life!  King Josiah offers us a similar example:  he mourned his own failures as well as those of his people.  Then, he set out to obey all that was made known to him.  We will do well to imitate their examples.

There is much to mourn in this our world today:  false gods abound (wealth, prestige, pleasure); pagan religions are flourishing; immorality is glorified.  When we allow the Spirit to convict us of our own shortcomings, we will be awed by His mercy.  When we worship Him, the heartbreak of the damage of sin to the world around us will move us to tears.  Harsh judgment and criticism of others will not soften hearts to the mercy of God; however, confession of our own shortcomings, repentance and determined obedience will witness to God’s glory.  Weeping for the lives damaged and destroyed by sin prepares us to serve those who are held captive in darkness.  Sorrow for sin aligns our hearts with God’s own heart.

May our hearts be broken for the damage to lives darkened by sin;  may we be so awed by God’s glory that we will lift Jesus up for all to see!

What do you see in the world around you that makes you sad…makes your heart break?
 
What does God have to say about it? 
 
How can you help others to see God’s sorrow and His solution for the problem?

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32)

Let’s Look Like Jesus: Humility

The perpetual prayer list to aid us in transformation begins with a character quality that is treasured by God but rare in humanity:  HUMILITY.  Let’s look at Christ and gaze on the beauty of humility He exhibits.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Philippians 2:5-8

Throughout Christ’s life, He evidenced humble surrender to the will of the Father.  Jesus told the disciples that the meat He ate was obedience to the Father!  His very sustenance came from doing what God desired.

The essence of humility is surrender to the Heavenly Father. 

Faith and humble obedience look an awful lot alike.  Any time spent looking at how Christ lived will reveal new aspects of humility:  his entrance to Jerusalem was on a donkey; He lived as a homeless servant; His own will was never His driving force.

The opposite of Christ’s humility is humanity’s self-serving, self-centered demands for consideration.  A focus on ‘my rights’ draws me from His humble presence.  Pride rears its head in subtle, diverse ways. We are often unaware of pride’s presence in our hearts until we fall flat on our face. Anytime we trust in ourselves–our strength, our knowledge, our experience, our efforts–instead of God, lethal pride is lurking. Humble awareness of the need for divine intervention ushers in victory. Prideful perseverance in the face of need guarantees a fall.

Humility matters so much to God, that all of life

functions as a classroom for pride and humility lessons.

Consider the ‘classrooms’ discussed below and ask the Spirit to reveal areas in your life where pride is lurking and threatening a fall.  Seek to see where foolish pride is obscuring the glory of God.  Rejoice at the victory of humility!

• Relationships are a priority to God.  Perhaps that is why relationships offer university-level instruction on humility. Without Christ, meeting our own needs and securing our ‘rights’ drives every relationship. Unity demands humility; without it, marriages disintegrate, parents and children fight, churches split and friendships end. Humility trusts God to meet our needs and direct our interactions.

• The workplace, too, teaches humility. As employees become sacrifices on the altar of greed, profit-driven administrations shred pride in preparation and performance. Humility trusts that God orchestrates both the present and the future. Humility gives victory over unpleasant working conditions and even unemployment.

• Working for the Lord is especially fraught with pitfalls of pride. God calls us only to the work of faith. The service we do is simply scaffolding on which to observe the work of God. Pride confuses our efforts with His work and interferes with eternal fruit. Humility rejoices at God’s handiwork and the immense privilege of working for the King of Kings!

• Trust in our physical bodies begins in childhood but wanes in aging. The human body is a marvelous machine; yet its design includes wearing out! Even those who exercise and eat right experience illness, disease and ultimately death. Humble acceptance of the aging process exhibits trust in God to work within our limits; prideful resistance hampers His work and dampens our spirit.

Personal tragedies and natural disasters provide brutal lessons in humility. Mistakes, carelessness, the unavoidable presence of evil in the world and even accidents devastate our prideful assumption of control. Humility frees us from the need to be perfect. It acknowledges that God is greater than our mistakes and greater than the evil that is in the world. God trusts God can and will bring good from the most horrid events. Humility accepts a loss of control to receive total security from Christ.

Recognizing need is the key that opens the door to humility and its faithful companions: joy and contentment. When needs confront us, let us reject our natural, prideful responses of whining demands or childish independence and humbly, jubilantly praise God for His powerful promises of provision! In fact, let’s learn to look at needs as invitations to know God more and humbly accept the invitation.

Obedience = Trust

“Obedience is really just getting your dog to trust your judgment more than its own.”  Wally Wimmer, Last Straw Dog TrainingDSC00011

Heartsong Pets continues toward developing therapy dogs to bless our community!  Our heart desire is to help our pets honor the intent of St. Francis of Asissi when he said, “Preach the Gospel at all times–and if necessary, use words.”  Below you will find an overview of the steps we are following to help our dogs.  But I can’t help but see how it relates to walking out a life of faith.

For me, learning to obey the commands of God is exactly the same.  The Word of God is a loving letter of instruction from our Heavenly Father.  He never makes rules to hear Himself talk or rob of us of pleasure.  God gives rules that we might understand what His heart looks like.  We will never understand until we choose to obey.

The privilege and power of choice is easily overlooked.  As parents, our job is to offer choices to our children that are fit for their maturity level.  Our goal is that they will learn to exercise their right to choose with wisdom that comes along with increased knowledge.  Children who never learn to think for themselves and exercise choice become adults who are easily led astray.  Treasuring choice actually leads us to obedience.  God gave choice to humanity because it is the only path to fully understanding the greatness of God.

Choice is a divine privilege.  Robbing humanity of choice is the work of the devil.  There is an interesting dynamic of evil that hides itself well.  The temptation to reject restraint actually leads to total bondage.  Addiction is the perfect example.  Choosing to drink or drug is a decision each individual can make…stopping becomes increasingly harder.  Choosing not to surrender to God is a choice one can make…but the sound of His loving call becomes fainter with each step away.   The arms of God remain open to all who will heed His call to come, though!  The option to choose God remains as long as His breath is in our body!

Obedience to His call is trusting Him more than we trust ourselves.  

Heartsong Pet – Training Session One

  • Teach the name as a command.  When the name is called, the response should be immediate.
  • No is also a critical command.  Clear instruction when a behavior is not desired matters.
  • Sit is a command that becomes an efficient ‘base of operations’ for later commands.
  • Nap (rest or wait) is a command that assists with impulse control.

Session Two will focus on playing together…fun, productive games to build bonds with our pet pals!

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