Charles Stanley –Obstacles to Obedience

 

2 Kings 5:11-17

Obedience is a powerful action that can unleash God’s glory in ways beyond our imagination. Yet obeying is often difficult because our desires are being put to the test. Sometimes we’re afraid that by doing what the Lord says, we’ll end up losing what’s important to us. But choosing not to obey may actually cost us the very thing we desire most.

In yesterday’s reading, three obstacles initially kept Naaman from following God’s instructions—and almost prevented his miraculous healing.

  1. Pride. As a high-ranking official, Naaman feared obeying would cost him his dignity. Conversely, his servants had the wisdom to see pride was robbing him of life. How often do we balk at doing what God says, for fear of looking foolish?
  2. Self-centered expectations. Naaman was furious when his very specific expectations weren’t met. We, too, often get angry at the Lord when He doesn’t comply with our demands. But if we really want His perfect will, we absolutely must “let” Him do things His way.
  3. Unbelief. Because Naaman’s faith extended only to his own vision of how he’d be healed, he initially didn’t see how obeying would cure his leprosy. It took the faith of his servants to help him see the truth: that obedience was key to unlocking God’s answer to his greatest need.

The call to obey often uncovers strongholds from which the Lord wants to free us. When we choose to respond in faith, He reveals Himself to us in a new way that strengthens our trust in Him—because ultimately, our greatest need is to know Him better.

Bible in One Year: Romans 10-13

 

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Our Daily Bread — Quiet Witness

 

Read: 1 Peter 2:11–21 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 24–26; 1 Peter 2

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. 1 Peter 2:12 nlt

Amy lives in a closed country where it’s forbidden to preach the gospel. She’s a trained nurse who works in a big hospital, caring for newborn babies. She’s such a committed professional that her work stands out, and many women are curious about her. They are moved to ask her questions in private. It’s then that Amy shares about her Savior openly.

Because of her good work, some co-workers were envious and accused her of stealing some medicine. Her superiors didn’t believe them, and authorities eventually found the culprit. This episode led some of her fellow nurses to ask about her faith. Her example reminds me of what Peter says: “Dear friends . . . . Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God” (1 Peter 2:11–12 nlt).

Our everyday lives at home, in our work environment, or at school make an impact on others when we let God work in us. We’re surrounded by people who are watching the way we speak and behave. Let’s depend on God and have Him rule our actions and thoughts. Then we’ll influence those who don’t believe and this may lead some of them to turn in faith to Jesus.

Father, help me to live in such a way that Your name will be honored wherever I go.

Our lives speak louder than our words.

By Keila Ochoa

INSIGHT

Being misunderstood or falsely accused is inevitable in a broken world. But in those vulnerable moments, Peter argues, it’s especially crucial for believers to strive to follow Christs example of responding to suffering with love rather than lashing out (1 Peter 2:12, 21). “Submitting” to those with power (v. 13) doesn’t mean blind obedience, but rather letting go of our natural desire to control or overpower others. And as we fearlessly display Christ’s love and the ways of our Lord’s kingdom (vv. 13, 16), God may even use us to guide others to His love.

Monica Brands

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – A Doubtful Mind

 

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. — 1 Kings 18:21

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Like many people, I assumed that doubt and unbelief were the same, because we usually put them in the same context. In recent years, however, I’ve learned that there is a difference. Obviously, doubt and unbelief do not honor God, but I want to show you how they function in different ways.

The story of the prophet Elijah is an excellent picture of doubt at work. King Ahab was the most evil leader the people had known. Elijah declared that because of Ahab’s wickedness, no rain would fall until he, the prophet, said so. For the next three-and-a-half years, drought scourged the land.

Now, that’s a pretty clear picture. There had been sufficient rain before Elijah’s declaration—but after he spoke, the skies quit yielding water. That is pretty obvious. Who would question God or His prophet? But apparently, the people’s fear of Ahab—as well as the lack of rainfall—caused their minds to be filled with questions.

Elijah finally called all the people together, along with the king and the false prophets, and asked them why they doubted. Why were they caught between two possible answers? That’s what doubt really is. Doubt isn’t simply unbelief—it’s more of an attitude that says, “I believe, but . . .” or, “I want to believe, but . . .”

Doubt often comes to reside where faith once lived. Doubt is active opposition to faith, and it tries to push faith aside. The people had believed the prophet, but as time wore on—three-and-a-half years—apparently questions arose, and uncertainty crept in.

If Elijah really did this, he ought to stop it right now. Maybe it just happened. Or, How do we really know that was the word of God? As soon as they seriously asked themselves these questions, they opened the door for Satan to bring doubt into their minds.

Doubt never comes from God—it is always in opposition to His will.

In writing to the Romans, Paul pointed out that the Lord gives each of us a measure of faith (see Romans 12:3). When we cling to that faith, we push away doubts. But when we allow questions to enter in—any kind of uncertainty that takes our minds away from God’s wonderful work in our lives—that’s doubt.

It is also a subtle, sneaky entry point for our enemy. He plants doubt in our minds, hoping it will cause us to oppose God. We probably don’t think of doubt as something that strong, but it is—it’s the first step of opposition to what God declares. That’s why we need to know God’s Word. If we know the Word, we can recognize it when the devil lies to us and causes us to question.

Elijah wouldn’t allow the people of his day to move back and forth from doubt to belief. He made the options clear: Believe the true God or believe a false idol. Don’t fall into the trap of saying you believe in God when your heart is filled with doubts and questions. Choose true faith and say, “Lord, I believe. I may not always understand, but I trust You.”

Prayer Starter: True and faithful God, in the past, I’ve been weak, allowing Satan to make me question You, Your love, and Your plans for my life. Not only do I ask You to forgive me, but I also ask You to teach me Your Word and strengthen me so that Satan can never trick me again. Thank You for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God Protects Us

 

“You don’t need to be afraid of the dark any more, nor fear the dangers of the day… For the Lord says, ‘Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name.’ ” (Psalm 91:5,14).

“Ladies and gentlemen, we should be out of the storm in a few moments…” The calm voice over the intercom was hardly reassuring as our Pam Am 707 pierced the fury of a storm during our flight from New York to Washington, D.C. Lightning flashed as the aircraft bounced and shuddered in the turbulence.

I gripped Vonette’s hand. “I don’t know how much longer the plane can endure this storm without breaking into pieces.”

She nodded gravely.

The 707 began to twist — first to the right, then to the left. Its wings flapped like those of a giant bird struggling against a violent downdraft. Vonette and I began praying. Convinced that our aircraft could not survive the turbulence much longer, I tenderly said goodbye to Vonette and she to me. We told our wonderful Lord that we were ready to meet Him.

Then I remembered how the Lord Jesus had calmed the winds when His disciples feared that their boat would capsize during another violent storm. If it was His will, He would protect us, too. I prayed aloud, “Lord, You control the laws of nature. You quieted the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Please quiet this storm.”

In a very short time, the rain and turbulence stopped. Amazed and thankful, Vonette and I praised God for protecting us.

Hours later, the pilot landed the plane at a freight terminal in Norvolk. The flight that should have taken sixty-five minutes had lasted four hours and taken us far from our destination. Lightning had knocked a huge hole in the fuselage near the cockpit, destroying all the radar equipment. The pilot said this was the most violent storm he had ever experienced. But God was more powerful than the storm!

God promises to protect and rescue those who trust Him. What peace and joy this gives us as we turn over the difficult circumstances in our lives to Him!

Bible Reading:Psalm 91

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With God’s help, I will claim His promise to protect me and will not be afraid of danger

 

http://www.cru.org