February 9 – Joyful Obedience

“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:8 (NIV)

There is nothing that makes the heart of a parent more glad than to hear a child respond to instruction with “Yes, Daddy…okay, Daddy.” Joyful obedience, as opposed to reluctant obedience, is a mark of a Spirit- filled disciple. (See Psalm 40:7-8.)

You see, parents have ways of bringing about (forced) obedience in the conduct of their children, but it is so much more rewarding when they CHOOSE to obey willingly. You grow in your faith in Jesus by both hearing AND obeying His Word. (See James 1:22-25.)

Obedience is a mark of true discipleship. Jesus said, in I John 8:31b: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” It is also a condition for understanding God’s truth. Read John 7:16-17.

You are a child of the loving, heavenly Father, who loves to give good gifts and rewards to those who follow Him in JOYFUL OBEDIENCE. Encourage each other to say “no” to the world when it makes an offer. There is reward for JOYFUL OBEDIENCE to God!

PRAY: “Yes, yes, yes, Father, I will to do Your will today and, in so doing, I expect to understand more of Your Truth, as Your Word promises. In Jesus’ Name, forgive my failures to live up to Your standard of holiness. Amen.”

 

February 8 – The Promised Land

“…walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8b-10

Folks talk and sing about it…the Promised Land…the land flowing with milk and honey, BUT maybe your walk with God seems like a perpetual desert! “So how,” you ask, “do I get to the Promised Land?”

For Christians today, the Promised Land is not a physical PLACE but a spiritual POSITION. It is a position of growth in the Lord…FORWARD MOTION…a plane of experience called the “victorious Christian life.”  “Walking in the Spirit” (Romans 8:1) and “abiding in the Vine” (John 15:4) are commands of SPIRITUAL movement.

Stop looking for another PLACE to go…another job, another church, another opportunity. See yourself maturing IN THE SPIRIT as you walk through those spiritual Red Seas and past those spiritual giants…not wandering in circles, getting nowhere for forty years, but arriving at your PROMISED LAND by obediently following God’s road map of service along the path of life. Recognize God’s purpose in your walk HERE and NOW, and pass through that dry desert into CANAAN!

PRAY: “Father, I thank You for Your up-to-date road map with its clear directions. I need not fear any roadblocks as I walk the Highway of Holiness.* In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

*Isaiah 35:8 (paraphrased)

 

February 7 – Patient Obedience

“Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12

Read Joshua 8 today. The “wilderness” is God’s training ground, while the “Promised Land” is God’s battleground. God wants you to learn the necessary lessons in the wilderness so that you will go forward and battle the enemy at Jericho.

Your “Jericho” may be a family problem or a financial situation. The walls may be high and seem impenetrable. Remember, the walls of Jericho came down through the patient obedience of the Israelites, not through military might!

God gave specific instructions. He did not need the marching, counting, and blowing of trumpets to bring the walls down, but He did require patient obedience.

As you get into step with God’s plan…trusting Him, obeying Him, waiting for Him…you will see great spiritual victories in the “Promised Land”…not because of clever battle strategies, but just through patient obedience.

Remember, though, there is a difference between “patient obedience” and “delayed obedience.” “Patient obedience” requires waiting on God’s forward-march orders while “delayed obedience” is, in reality, “disobedience.”

PRAY: “All-knowing Father, help me today to stay in step with Your plan for my life — not to lag behind or jump too far ahead. I am Your obedient child. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

February 6 – Keep Looking Up

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

“Keep looking up!” Christian mothers often use that phrase to lift the spirits of their children. Perhaps you have been encouraged by someone speaking those words.

The specific word for “man” in the Greek language is “anthropos,” which means, literally, “the up-looking one.” Cattle of the field look down. Horses look down. Dogs look down. However, men and women are created to look up and discover their heavenly Father who is the Creator of the universe and the Source of all hope and strength.

In the midst of a chaotic world, this hope above and within gives permanence and stability to the Christian, even in the stormy seas of life. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

God, the Creator, never changes. Malachi 3:6a says, “For I am the Lord, I change not…”  (See Psalm 119:89.)

Keep looking up, for “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (I Thessalonians 5:24)

PRAY: “Creator God, it is wonderful to know I can depend on You. Creation is often fickle because of sin, but the heavens declare Your glory.* Thank You for Your faithfulness. Amen.”

*Psalm 19:la (paraphrased)

February 5 – Waiting on God

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”   Psalm 27:14

Joshua commanded the people, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” (Joshua 6:10,NIV)

Sometimes marching silently around the walls of your “Jericho-sized” problem can be most trying. Seven days, maybe seven years of patient obedience may bring with it the suffering of mockery and ridicule. Be faithful.  One of the most consistent elements of God’s deliverance plan seems to be a time of waiting.

“…blessed are all they that wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18c)

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart….” (Proverbs 3:5a)

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him…” (Psalm 37:5a)

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

All of these verses represent “waiting” promises from God’s Word. Remember, the results are worth waiting for. The day will come when you will hear the words “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!” (Joshua 6:16b, NIV)

PRAY: “Father, when I review my past, I stand in awe at Your  longsuffering. Help me to learn to wait in perfect peace. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

February 4 – New Life

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17

Notice this Scripture says “all things are BECOME new”…not that there are “all new things”… when you come to know Christ. NEW LIFE is manifested out of the old as you GROW in the strength of the Lord.

God’s Word says that the real strength of your spirit, soul, and body depends on the might of His Spirit in your inner man. (See Ephesians 3:18.) When you ask Jesus into your life, He actually sends you the Holy Spirit. Since Jesus has a glorified human body, He cannot get inside you, but the Holy Spirit can.

Jesus lives His life and personality (mind, emotions, and will) through you by the Holy Spirit. “Let this mind he in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

For every difficult situation you face, Christ promises to give you the inner strength you need to overcome. He says, “I am come that [you] might have life, and that [you] might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:l0b) LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY!

Jesus does not want you to be sick in body, discouraged in mind, or weak in spirit…for He has made all things new.

PRAY: “Living Lord, thank You for NEW LIFE in Your Son through Your indwelling Holy Spirit. Grant me the mind of Christ as I grow into His likeness. Amen.”

 

February 3 – Going Through

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” I John 3:1a

Even in the midst of a WILDERNESS experience…even with GIANTS in the land…God wants you to be an overcomer NOW! The kingdom of God is a PRESENT reality, a life-style of righteousness, peace, and joy…even in the midst of the problem!

How do you experience that? By recognizing WHO you are and by changing your THINKING! For example, Jonathan and his armourbearer stood against tens of thousands of well-armed Philistines and saw God give the victory. He proclaimed: “Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” (I Samuel 14:6c, NIV)

Daniel went THROUGH the lion’s den. David went THROUGH the lion, the bear, and the giant. Paul and Silas went THROUGH the beating and jailing. God took Israel THROUGH the Red Sea. The Hebrew boys went THROUGH the fiery furnace. Even Jesus went THROUGH the wilderness experience.

It is time to stop thinking like MEN and start thinking like SONS OF GOD. The way you THINK will determine what you SAY and DO…which will ultimately determine what you ARE!

PRAY: “Father, thank You for the privilege of being called children of God by Your grace and love.  I believe You will see me THROUGH all of life’s experiences. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

1 John 3:1a