Week 7 Devotionals

 Week 7
Memory verse: Deuteronomy 5:33:� Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.� (NIV) 
Faith and obedience
God promises incredible things in His word to those who are obedient.� Blessing, salvation, protection, help, what we ask � all these and more are promised to those who obey God�s commands.� Deuteronomy 5:33 says �Follow all the directions the Lord has given you.� Then life will go well for you.� (GW)� Obedience and faith work together.� God has linked them together so that all of the promises of God are available to you if you simply follow the conditions for them He has laid out in His word.� There was one man in the Bible whom Jesus told he had the greatest faith in all Israel.� Do you know who it was?� One of the disciples?� Someone He healed?� Someone He raised from the dead?� Nope, none of these.� Actually the person was a Roman citizen, a centurion.� He had a servant who was ill and paralyzed.� "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."� Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."� When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.�� (Matthew 8:5-10, NIV)� The Bible tells us that if we follow God�s instructions, if we are obedient, we will be happy.� We will lack nothing and have all that we need.� We will have freedom, wisdom, be content and have peace. We will have success, as well as reward in heaven.� However, don�t miss the first part of that � we have to be obedient first.� Obedience is the basis for all of God�s promises.� A lot of God�s commands don�t make sense to us from our human perspective, but regardless, God says to do them.� It�s a matter of trust.� It�s a matter of faith.�
Lord, please increase my trust in Your promises today.� Give me the faith of the centurion � to know that Your promises are there for me if I simply obey You.� I give You thanks.� In Jesus� name, amen.
Obedience is a demonstration of faith.� If we just follow God�s instruction, He promises to reward us.� Over the next few days we�ll look at how to receive God�s promises.� The first way is to obey God immediately.� Are you a procrastinator?� Do you put off until tomorrow what you should have done today?� You�re not alone.� However, if there is ever a time for hurry, it�s when action and obedience is required by God.� Is He telling you to do something?� Don�t put it off � don�t miss out on the blessing that He has in store for you.� Do it today.� Read Psalm 119:32.� �I will quickly obey Your commands�without delay I hurry to obey Your commands.� (NCV)� Are you tired?� Will you have more energy tomorrow to do what God wants you to?� What rewards are you missing out on when you wait?� Obey God immediately whether you feel like it or not.� Whether you understand it or not.� Obedience has nothing to do with doing what feels like the right thing.� God is very clear in His instructions.� Listen to God today.� What is He telling you to do?�
Dear God, I want to do Your will today.� Please tell me what You want me to do and give me the strength to act on it today.� In Jesus� name, amen.�
If you want your life to be filled with God�s blessings you have to obey Him completely.� This is the second way to receive God�s promises.� We need to be willing to obey EVERYTHING God tells us to do, not just the things that we like, or are good at, or we can afford, or don�t take that much time.� We can�t say �Well God, I prayed for that person like you said, but I really don�t have time to make a meal for this person, maybe next time.�� I hate to think what my life would be like if God responded to my prayers the way I respond to what He tells me to do.� Satan tempts us with doubt.� He�s been doing it since the Garden of Eden.� He tempts us to doubt God�s word.� �Did God really say that?� �Do you question God�s voice in your ear?� Did He really tell you to stop and pray for that person on the street?� Is He really telling you to offer that person a ride? The Bible is clear that we are not to question God�s instruction.� Psalm 119:4 says �Lord, You gave Your orders to be obeyed completely.� (NCV)� It isn�t our job to decide if God�s instructions are just.� It�s our job to obey them.� Having faith is being able to trust God with the details.� We may not understand or have it all figured out and that�s okay.� Proverbs 5:3 tells us �Trust God from the bottom of your heart.� Don�t try to figure out everything on your own.� (Mes)
Dear God, I want to receive Your promises.� Help me today to obey You completely, in everything You ask me to do.� In Jesus� name, amen.
Psalm 100:2 says �Obey Him gladly.� (LB)� Psalm 119:47 says �I find pleasure in obeying Your commands.� (GN)� This is the third way to receive God�s promises � obey God joyfully.� How do we find joy in obeying His commands?� By the rewards.� When we obey God and do what He wants us to do we have fewer problems in life.� We have less obstacles and therefore more enjoyment from life.� We also are promised reward in heaven.� The Bible is clear about the rewards that will be realized in heaven, there are a bunch of them.� Another way we find joy is because we love God.� He has done incredible things for us, so we love Him.� If we truly love God, we will want to do what He tells us to � joyfully. The deeper our relationship with Him, the more we want to please Him.� We enjoy doing the right thing and making Him happy because we love Him.� God measures our love by our obedience.� If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.� Look for the joy in doing what God tells you to do today.� Listen intently for His instruction and gladly go about doing His work.
Do you wake each day with this thought:� �God, just tell me what you want me to do today and I will do it with my whole heart?��� Could you make it your prayer? Continually, we have to choose to obey Him.� This is the fourth way to receive God�s promises � obey Him continually.� Have you been praying about a situation in your life, waiting for an answer?� Do you wonder why God hasn�t given you one yet?� Ponder this:� Is it possible God�s already given you the answer?� Maybe He�s already told you what to do, but somehow you�re not hearing Him.� God gives us the answer and that�s it.� We don�t get to choose.� We don�t get to say �Hmm�I�m not really liking that answer God, I�ll wait for another option.�� We have to step out in faith and say ahead of time, �whatever you decide on this issue Lord, I will honor it.�� Sometimes that is a very hard thing to do.� But God isn�t going to give you more instruction if you haven�t followed through on the instruction He�s already given you.� We have to act on our faith.� The Bible tells us in James that faith without action is dead.� Even if we don�t understand it, we need to do whatever God is telling us to do -- in faith.� Being a Christ-follower is an issue of obedience.� That is what it all comes down to.� Jesus is clear in Matthew 7:21 when he says "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.� (NIV)
Dear Lord, I want to obey You continually, not when it�s convenient or easy, but always.� Give me Your strength to be obedient in all things.� In Jesus� name, amen.
We can rely on God�s promises.� It�s hard to keep believing when we feel like doubting.� We�ve all been at a point when we felt like giving up.� What do we do when we�ve lost hope?� We rely on God�s promises.� We return to His word.� We start positive thinking again.� Back in week one, we talked about David and his optimism.�
David wasn�t the only one who practiced the power of positive thinking.� Abraham did too.� Abraham had big plans for this son that God had blessed him with.� He loved him beyond measure.� But then God asked him to sacrifice that child.� I cannot imagine what Abraham went through during the agonizing trek to Mount Moriah, but I know this � he did not falter in his faith that God would keep His promise to him.� The Bible tells us in Romans 4:18 �When hope was dead within him, Abraham went on hoping in faith.� He relied on the word of God.� (PH)
When we lose our hope, we need to continue to lean on God�s promises. When God is testing us with waiting, we need to cling to his promises and continue to do what He says, even when we don�t know why or don�t understand.� Abraham didn�t know what was going to happen, but he trusted that God was in control, that He knew what he was doing, that He loved him and wanted only good things for him, all promises of God, so he did what God said � in obedience.� If you know how that story ends, then you know it all worked out for Abraham.� And what�s so great about faith is that we know how our story ends too.� We may not know all the details of the way we get there, but we know God�s promises for our lives and what we have to do along the way.� We know that our road ends at heaven�s gates because that is what God promises.
What are you believing God for today?� Over the past seven weeks we have explored several themes that deal in some way with faith.� We have talked about expecting God�s best, stretching our imaginations, taking initiative and risks, persisting in our faith, how God meets our needs, following God�s direction and how to keep on believing.� We have covered many topics and touched on many areas of our faith.� Using all the tools and insight that you have gained over these last weeks, take some time and write down something you are believing God for.� Don�t just write down the easy thing, the tried and true, pet answer.� Pray about it.� Lay that request before God in the morning and wait expectantly for His answer.� Stretch your imagination for that something that God has in store for you.� Let Him know that you are committed to His direction before He provides it for you.� Keep on believing in His promises, today and everyday, in faith.
Dear God, thank you for Your word, Your love and Your incredible promises.� I have hidden them in my heart.�� Keep them fresh in my mind as I seek to do what You would have me do Lord.� In Jesus� name, amen.