What we must do

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. John 15.10-11

Why is it so hard to be obedient? There are many passages in the Bible that talk about life and death, both in the New Testament and the Old Testament.

In the Old Testament, we read of the Israelites failure to obey time and time again. It just seems like they cannot get it right. Even though they know that life is dependent on obedience, they fall time and time again into idolatry among other sins.

In the New Testament, we read in Acts 5 about Ananias and Sapphira. In 1 Corinthians, Paul had to correct one problem after another of sinful actions or attitudes in the congregation in Corinth. Humans have a hard time being obedient!

To be obedient, we must submit. Submission is considered weakness by those who do not know any better, but it is the most difficult thing to do on a consistent basis. It is so easy to stand up and say that you have had enough, that you are doing what you want to do just this once. There is the account of the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew 26.36-46. His will was secondary to the will of God, the Father. Hebrews 5.8 says that Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered.

Our ego, our selfishness, does not want to let go of the false perception that we are in control. We are very good at deceiving ourselves and less apt at dying to ourselves, Matthew 16.24-27.

Yet, if we want our joy to be complete, that is what we must do. Submit. Be obedient. For if we are not obeying God, there is only one other alternative. The devil is like a roaring lion seeking to devour, 1 Peter 5.8. To whom do you submit?

#risingjoy #John #obedience

I don’t want to

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love. If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love”. John 15.9-10

Jesus shares a very important principle here. Obedience is for everyone. No one who is disobedient will remain in God’s love. Even Jesus was obedient to God. The Hebrew author writes that Jesus learned obedience through the things that he suffered, 5.8. That obedience was not always something that he wanted to do. We see that in Gethsemane in Matthew 26.36-46. Jesus knew and understood what was coming in the near future. He did not want to die such a horrible death. However, there was something that he wanted more – to do God’s will. Can that be said of me when I am brought face to face with something that I do not want to do because it will take me out of my comfort zone? Can it be said of you? I fear that many do not worry about obeying God at those times. I have been guilty of that myself. But the Hebrew writer in 12.1-2 encourages us to run the race before us keeping our eyes fixed on the one who blazed the trail before us. Want to know what part of the secret was? Jesus did not concentrate on the thing that he did not want to do. He concentrated on what would come after. His reward! Then he obeyed even in the things that were hard and against his wishes. He endured. Praise be to God that he endured. His endurance makes my, and your, salvation and joy possible!

#risingjoy #John #obedience

What constitutes a church meeting?

While congregations across the world have cancelled their meetings because of the coronavirus, some still insist on gathering the saints together. Yesterday, we in Urbanova gathered a small number together, while experimenting for the first time with a live broadcast. Continue reading

#church, #coronavirus, #obedience

Willing to serve

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:17

Do. Such a small word, yet loaded with meaning and activity. I can do so many things, some good, some not so good. I have to choose how I will spend my time and what I will do. Obviously, I want to be blessed. So I must do the things that will lead to blessings received. Should be easy, right? Not always because my selfishness surfaces and I do not always want to do good. It is a constant struggle that I had hoped by this time in my life, I would have conquered. Some days, I do very well. Others, well you get the picture.

There is also the understanding that is needed. Jesus had just washed the disciples’ feet. Something that needed to be done, but no one was willing to do it. Except Jesus. His was a servant heart that focused on obedience to the Father. May I have that focus this year and be willing to serve, even in those things that no one else wants to do.

#risingjoy #obedience

Hugh’s News & Views (What Happens When . . .)

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE OBEYS THE GOSPEL?

The expression “obey the gospel” may not be familiar language to many, but to those acquainted with the Scriptures it is recognized as the expression of a great spiritual truth. Peter wrote, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God (Christians, the church – I Timothy 3:15, hf). And if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (I Peter 4:17). As if in anticipation of that question Paul had earlier warned that at the second coming of Christ He would take “vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 1:8). In his letter to the Romans Paul plainly stated: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel” (10:16). The American Standard Version says, “But they did not all hearken to (heed, NASB) the glad tidings” (another term to refer to the gospel, hf). Continue reading

#hughfulford, #obedience

Remembering Daddy on Father’s Day

Let me tell you about my daddy. Today is Father’s Day and naturally, I am thinking of him.

A year before Douglas and I married, Daddy was restored to the church asking for forgiveness. He stated he had lived in sin for 30 years. I was 21 or so at the time, so this decision really made our house a home. (Thanks, Raymond Elliott for your part in this decision.)

Daddy stopped drinking, smoking and cursing at that time. He laid it all down. I know it can be done because my Daddy did it. He later became a Deacon in the Elba Church of Christ.

Mother worked at the Kinston Sewing Factory and on her meager salary of about $75 every two weeks, she purchased suits, ties, and white shirts for her man. Mama bought Daddy those pre-tied ties. She was a smart shopper.

Daddy loved to dress up and go to church. They were always early. Mama all but begged Daddy to change his clothes on Sundays when they got home from worship so he wouldn’t “mess his best clothes up,” but Daddy wouldn’t do it. He wanted to stay dressed up. That way he would be ready to go back for the evening service.

During the week Daddy wore a cap with overalls. You see, he was a carpenter by trade, but on Sunday it was a different story. Daddy liked to “dress up” and go to worship. Daddy was faithful as long as he lived after making that important decision in his life. Oh what a joyful peace that gives me. I love to think of Daddy and look forward to seeing him again one day. What a day of rejoicing that will be.

#christian-living, #obedience

You will be told: Acts 9.6

“But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do.”

Acts 9.6

Obedience is part of the gospel. Through the gospel God establishes a covenant. A covenant details God’s part and man’s part. Saul would have understood this instinctively.

After the establishment of the church, God, Jesus, nor the Holy Spirit never told anyone what to do to be saved. It was always left to those to whom the task had been given: the church.

#votd #Acts #obedience

I now truly understand: Acts 10.34-35

“Then Peter started speaking: ‘I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him.'”

Acts 10.34-35

Peter finally began to get the idea of what God desired as he stood before Cornelius and his family. He speaks of Christ, vv. 37-43, but he begins by what God wants from us in order to draw near to him.

Never hesitate to put what God requires of man up front in your message to others. It’s as much a part of the gospel as the death of Christ. Make redemption clear, by sharing God’s part and man’s as well.

#votd #Acts #obedience #fear

Tremble at my word: Isaiah 66.2

“My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! ‘I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.'”

Isaiah 66.2

The Lord has always defined clearly those whom he approves and blesses. He is not interested in religious ritual, vv. 3. Trembling at his word means respect and obedience.

Fear for the Lord means fear for his word. The unrighteous are hostile toward those who uphold God’s word, Isa 66.5. People who diminish the word will be punished, v. 6.

#votd #Isaiah #obedience

What God Requires

First, let us define the word require: “To demand; to ask, as of right and by authority” [Webster’s].

There are still some “religious” people that think pleasing God means only we accept His love and/or accept Jesus into your heart. Some also believe that since we serve a loving God (1John 4:8, 16), no one will be condemned to hell. There are so many scriptures that prove those beliefs wrong that it would take days, if not months, of study to cover them all. This study will therefore focus on one aspect of that study; what God requires. Continue reading

#commandments, #obedience

Please test your servants: Daniel 1.11-12

“Daniel then spoke to the warden whom the overseer of the court officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: ‘Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink.'”

Daniel 1.11-12

Even in captivity Daniel sought to obey God’s law. The king’s overseer refused his request not to defile himself with the royal food. So he used his wisdom to propose a test to the warden.

Difficult situations do not keep us from the requirement of obedience. Those who seek to obey God at every moment will find his favor.

#votd #Daniel #wisdom #obedience

Pleasure day and night: Psalm 1.2

“Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the LORD’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night.”

Psalm 1.2

In this introductory psalm, this verse serves as the summary of the righteous person who serves the Lord. The wicked follow their own plans, thoughts, and ways, v. 1.

Few are they who can be described by the verse above. Can I? If I don’t fit here, then Psa 1.1 is where I belong.

#votd #righteousness #obedience #Psalms

What does the Bible say about faith and obedience

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sin” (John 8:24).

“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (I Samuel 15:22).

The Lord will take “vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Continue reading

#bible-study, #faith, #obedience

As instructed: 2 Kings 5.14 VOTD

“So he went down and dipped in the Jordan seven times, as the prophet had instructed. His skin became as smooth as a young child’s and he was healed.”

2 Kings 5.14

Naaman, the Syrian army commander, first balked at the prophet Elias’s command. Only when he decided to obey was he healed of his disease.

Just as there is power in prayer for the Christian because God answers, there is power in obedience for the sinner because God forgives. When at some moment of obedience in your life did you see God’s power?

#obedience #power #VOTD

Offer right sacrifices: Psalm 4.5 VOTD

“Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.”

Psalm 4.5 ESV

David gives this counsel to the wicked, who have no regard for God. It was what he did. He obeyed the Lord and trusted in him to care for his life and future.

How does this principle apply today? Is it more important to remember in times of persecution?

#obedience #trust #VOTD