Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Obedience of Joy

Are you abiding in the Lord? Does He abide in you? To answer those questions, we need to totally understand the word abide. To abide in the Lord means we are in compliance with Him, obeying and following His commands. The opposite would be to disobey. If Jesus abides within you, He and His commands remain. He stays with you; His life continues to bless others through you. Below is my experience from an “abiding” moment.

I have been struggling with a nasty sinus infection and ear infections for about a month. My right ear has been so blocked that it feels as if I’m underwater; sounds are very muted. It’s quite creepy when I sleep on my left ear because I become almost deaf. Nightime has been extremely hard as I usually wake up around 2:00 AM and almost go into a panic. My thoughts race to the “what ifs” and I freak out. That’s what I did this past Tuesday night and my husband said, “Debbie, why don’t you practice what you preach?” That piece of humble pie almost choked me! So I went downstairs, turned on the light, and practiced. I began reading Psalm 4.

Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?

Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD will hear when I call to him.
In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.

Offer right sacrifices
and trust in the LORD.
Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?”
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
Wow, did I need to HEAR that. Thank you, Jesus! Spiritually I felt better, but physically I still felt bad, so I went online and requested a substitute for work, grew sleepy, and fell asleep in my chair. My husband woke me up at 6:30 AM. Generally I begin my devotions first thing in the morning, but I turned on the TV and began watching a movie. Within half an hour, the cable went out. I knew what was happening and I said, “OK, God, I understand. I need to open my Bible.” My devotions for that day were from Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV).

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
“OK, God, I hear you loud and clear!” I said and proceeded to pick up my unopened March devotional journal. The first words I read were “Do not be anxious.”
“OK, I get it, God,” I said with a smile and pursued more of the Word. I opened to John 14-16, reading the words that Jesus shared with His disciples the night that He was betrayed. Chapter 15 is about the Vinedresser and I wanted to see what Jesus had to say before and after the teaching on the vineyard. I discovered some wonderful truths from our Lord and Savior. He reassured me again of His abiding love. Look at the first passage I read in these chapters: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1 (NKJV) God’s assurance to my doubting heart overwhelmed me! He loves me so much that He repeated Himself in various ways. It reminded me of Peter’s experience with Jesus after His resurrection.
In John 21:15-17, the resurrected Jesus is speaking to Simon Peter. He’s asking Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” And Simon answers, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love you.” But Jesus asked him a second and third time. Why? Because Peter had denied Him three times and three times Jesus reconciled with Peter the importance of loving Him and tending His sheep. Have you denied Christ with your doubt and worry? If you have, it’s like saying you don’t believe in His power to fulfill His Word. Do you truly love Him? How many times has He spoken to you about the truth of His promises?

God spoke to me four different times Wednesday morning, but He said the same thing. “Debbie, stop worrying. Focus on Me and nothing else. I’m taking care of you as I always have. Trust Me and believe in Me.” I realized the depths of God’s love and dove deeper into His Word. Oh, how He blessed me that morning as I abided in His love. I pray His words will bless you with sweet abiding moments of truth.

Jesus, knowing that He would be leaving them very soon, encouraged His disciples with the words written in John 14-16. Throughout those chapters, He repeated Himself in various ways. He wanted to make sure that His disciples understood His love for them. Written below are Jesus’ words that He shared with His disciples. How they soothed my own worrying heart!

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20 (NIV) Jesus said, “...but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. John 14:31 (NASB)

What does He command us to do? To love one another. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. John 15:12 (NASB) ...and He says to abide in His love. John 15:9-10 ....and we will abide in His love if we keep His commandments. He tells us that if anyone loves Him, he will keep His word. John 14:23 Keeping His commandments means obeying His Word and His Word says, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1 (NASB)

Worry is a constant temptation in this world and Jesus tells us not to do it! He asked His disciples and us, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27 (NASB) Worry is disobedient to the Word and when we disobey, we fall into temptation and sin. Jesus gave us a prayer where we can pray, “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13 (NKJV) Pray it with faith!

We who believe in Christ know Him, the Spirit of Truth, and He abides in us. John 14:17 When we doubt and worry, we are saying we don’t trust our faithful God. We become disobedient and sin against our God who loves us. Father, forgive us!

His gift to us is peace, a peace that comes only from the Father. Hear Him say so: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27 (NASB) Jesus was speaking to His disciples with all these encouraging words on the night that He was betrayed. He told them that the ruler of the world is coming. Satan is the ruler of this world and He would love nothing more than to get us off the path of righteousness. But Jesus says that Satan has nothing in Him and He also says, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 (NKJV) And again He says, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NASB)

Jesus knew what His disciples needed in order to stay focused. He knows what we need in order to stay focused. Did they listen? Eventually. Will we listen? I hope so. He said all these things so that we would be full of joy. Hear Him speak, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:11 (NASB) Joy comes from rejoicing always. Philippians 4:4-7 Joy comes from God. Oswald Chambers said, “Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not.”

We are overcomers because of Christ and we have the gift of peace. We need to rejoice and exhibit joy, for “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Let’s make the following words our creed of faith:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 (NASB)
Praise God and AMEN! It all comes back to love; God’s abiding love, Christ’s love for us and our love for Him! Don’t disobey Him with your weaknesses; love Him enough to obey His commands with joy!

1 comment:

  1. Debbie, I am truly overwelmed with JOY after reading this challenging and encouraging post! I am so thankul that you not only HEARD this word from the Lord, but that you have been obedient to follow through and use your gift of writing to share it with others! Praise be to God!