Evil influence

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

But they did not obey, and Manasseh misled them so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed from before the Israelites. 2 Kings 21.9

Judah had good kings and then had bad kings. Hezekiah had been a good king. Hezekiah had been struck with a terminal illness. The Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to tell him to put his house in order. However, the Lord had extended his life in answer to Hezekiah’s prayer for healing.

It would seem that during that last fifteen years, something happened to Hezekiah. When visited by a delegation sent from the king of Babylon, he welcomed them and showed them everything that was in his palace. He was later chastised by Isaiah and told that his descendants would be taken into captivity by the king of Babylon. Hezekiah was only concerned with having peace during his lifetime, 2 Kings 20.19.

During the last 15 years of his life, a son was born to Hezekiah. Manasseh was only twelve years old when he became king. He was a horrendous king. You can read about some of his atrocities in 2 Kings 21.1-7. He had sinned more than the Amorites, the nation that God had given to Israel to conquer. Disaster would befall the kingdom of Judah because of Manasseh and his influence on the people to turn to idolatry.

The people did not obey the Lord. They were influenced by an idolatrous king. Even though one more king would appear who obeyed the Lord, Josiah, the kingdom of Judah is eventually overthrown by Babylon.

Obedience to God is important! Watch who you follow after.

#risingjoy #obedience

The faith of Abraham (1)


Number 592 • December 14, 2020


QUESTION: Did Abraham believe everything God said to him and do everything God told him to do?

ANSWER: After a conversation with the questioner I understood the reasoning behind the question and I have expanded the question accordingly. If you read Romans 4:3 and 9, Hebrews 11:8,17-19, and James 21-23 you probably get the idea that from beginning to the Abraham understood and believed all that God said, and did without hesitation all that God commanded, so that he received everything God promised and was faithful in everything God asked him to do. But if you read the history of Abraham in Genesis, 11:24 through chapter 25 you will get a narrative that seems contradicting and confusing. Abraham seemed to fail God’s testing on several occasions. Does the scripture contradict itself in the story of Abraham? Continue reading

#faith, #geraldcowan, #obedience

Revive me

Rule-keeping has acquired a bad name in religion. Probably, because man makes rules. And probably, because man rebels even at God’s rules. And possibly, too, because some have removed obedience from the gospel.

Whatever the reasons, and however many they are, it’s in Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.

And Scripture sees the keeping of rules as being dependent on God.

Revive me with your loyal love, that I might keep the rules you have revealed.
Psalm 119.88.

God is willing to constantly revive us. The author looks for it, expects it, desires it. His obedience depends upon it. As does ours.

Obedience is a condition to salvation and continued grace. But it also depends upon God’s power and finds in his loyal love motivation more than sufficient to revive the flagging soul.

#devotional #Psalms #obedience

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 . . .)


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