Monday, June 21, 2010

Meditating on God's Word

About a week ago or more a member of our church who has been a great prayer partner for me dropped off a photocopy of a devotional reading entitled "What the Bible Says about the Thrill of Obedience." It was read at staff meeting this morning by our office manager since the person assigned to do the devotion today was unavailable.

The devotional was deeply meaningful for me, especially because another prayer partner had texted me about being awakened at 4:30 this morning with a clear sense of God's direction for something he or she had been praying about.  He or she asked me to pray that God would confirm the word that he or she had perceived was from the Lord.  Perhaps God is confirming it through this devotion.

The devotion speaks of the Lord continuously moving us "through a variety of circumstances" as He works our His purpose for our lives.  Though we can never allow experience to override God's written Word in the Bible, as we live in submission to and in agreement with that Word we can pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us through all of our ups and downs.  One of the readings assigned for this coming Sunday confirms this also, as Elijah waited through wind, earthquake and fire to hear a gentle whisper (דְּמָמָה דַקָּה׃) from God (1 Kings 19:12).

The devotion we read this morning is based on Isaiah 31:21 -- see that verse in context below.

19 Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. 20 Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it." 22 Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags; you will say to them, “Away with you!”
23 He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures; 24 and the oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat silage, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 On every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water—on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

Here's the devotion about the thrilling adventure of obedience:

    '...God intended our walk of faith to be a thrilling adventure, motivated by our love for Jesus Christ.  Obedience is about discovering God, not about avoiding unpleasant consequences.  That is why John can say, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.  And His commandments are not burdensome" (First John 5:3).
    When we place our trust in the omnipotence of the Lord and act on His prompting, life becomes exciting.  We need not be afraid of the future because God already knows the outcome of our obedience--and we can trust His promise that He does everything for our good (Romans 8:28).
    Walking in faith is so thrilling because each step leads to a fantastic blessing from Almighty God. The Lord continuously moves through a variety of circumstances toward His overriding purpose for our lives. If we back off from obedience because of a mistaken desire for safety, we deprive God of the opportunity to demonstrate His awesome power in us. Small choices may seem insignificant, but they lead toward a lifetime of walking with God.
    As God's children, we should ask Him what He wants us to do every day. "What would you have me say here, Lord" or "What is the best decision now?" We must learn to listen to our heavenly Father and remain sensitive to the quiet voice that prompts us throughout the day. Isaiah says: "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or to the left."
    When we keep our minds attuned to Him, we will begin to understand the significance of some decisions we might otherwise barely notice. Ultimately the awareness will lead to a lifestyle of walking with the Lord and receiving His best for us.'

As you look to what is ahead of you--what is your next step of obedience?  Keep your mind attuned to God by meditating on His Word, and then ask Him to speak and confirm what He has said.

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