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Too stubborn for God

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If you had to name the one attribute of YOU that you wish you could change, it’s likely that stubbornness would be at or near the top of your list. Seriously, read the definition below, and for a real eye-opener read the synonyms as well. Do you see yourself in any of these words?

Having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.
synonyms: obstinateheadstrongwillfulstrong-willedpigheadedobduratedifficultcontraryperverserecalcitrantinflexibleiron-willeduncompromisingunbending.

See what I mean? Not a very flattering picture, is it? Yet I must confess that my name should be written right alongside the definition of ‘stubborn’. Might I find yours there as well?

There was a man in the Bible that also wore the moniker of stubborn. His name was Saul, the very 1st king of Israel.

King Saul was given a very specific assignment to attack the armies of the Amalekites, a people who had dealt treacherously with Israel by ambushing them when Israel came out of Egypt. Per the word of the Lord, it was now payback time.

The problem was that king Saul only partially obeyed God. Instructed to utterly destroy every trace of the Amalekites, Saul and his men instead kept for themselves the best of the spoil.

But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed1st Samuel 15:9

There is a key word here that you don’t want to miss: unwilling. Saul and his men were unwilling to fully obey the command of God. Do you know that when someone is unwilling to do something, that the decision not to do it is a choice?

Think about it this way; if you are willing to do a thing, you don’t think twice about it. You just do it. Being unwilling however means you had to make a conscious choice not to do it. See the difference?

That’s what Saul did on that fateful day. He knew what he was told to do, what he was supposed to do. He was simply unwilling to obey once he saw all of the good things that were his for the taking. Only they weren’t his for the taking!

All of this incurred the wrath of God. So angry was the Lord over this, that he sent the prophet Samuel to go and confront king Saul and tell him that because of his disobedience, God would take the throne from him and give it to someone better than he.

Here are the words that Samuel spoke to Saul.

Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.”  1st Samuel 15:22,23

What Samuel was telling Saul here was that God placed a much higher value on obedience to His word than any burnt offering or sacrifice. He then calls out two traits of Saul that God hates: rebellion and stubbornness, equating the sins of witchcraft and idolatry to them. In case you’re wondering, those two sins were about as bad is it could get. In fact, either of them could cause you to be put to death.

Saul was too stubborn to be used of God. All the Lord wanted him to do was simply complete the assignment he had been given. Saul, however, thought he had a better plan. Isn’t that the hallmark of stubborn people? They (we) always have a better way of doing things, or so it would seem.

How many of us can look in the rear-view mirror and say ‘if only I had listened to the word of God’….? This should cause all of us to take a look inward and see if stubbornness has taken root in us.

Stubbornness is actually an outward expression of an inward rebellion that is at work in our hearts, and it must be defeated if we are going to move forward in our walk with God. Prayer, the study of God’s word, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit are the weapons God has given us to defeat this enemy called stubbornness.

Let’s use them, in Jesus name!

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When God Has Another Plan

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I’ve spent my entire adult life either making new plans or working to bring existing plans to fruition. Everything from creating business plans at work to helping my wife plan our annual family vacation,planning is something I’ve always been involved in.Depending on who you ask,I’ve been more successful in some areas than others and I’m sure you can all relate to that.

Yet when it comes to serving God,our best laid plans are often reduced to shreds.All of our planning,strategies,and hard work can be brought to naught when we feel the Lord leading us in a new direction.If you’ve ever been in this place then you know that when you feel the Holy Spirit begin to tug at you to go a different direction, it can be a very hard thing to do.After all, whoever said that obedience is easy?

Abraham was a man who came to a place where he had to make a decision about which way to go with his life. Read with me the Genesis account of this story(emphasis mine).

Genesis 13:1-18 (NKJV)
1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South.
2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.
3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents.
6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”
10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.
12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.
14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are— northward, southward, eastward, and westward;
15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.
16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.

Abraham gave Lot the 1st choice of the land before them, and like most of us Lot chose the best of the best. Who could fault him for that? Again, wouldn’t we do the same?

Yet God had another plan for His servant Abraham.While Lot was busy with moving toward the green grass and wells of water in Jordan,it would be easy to say that Abraham got the short end of the stick. But God had something much better than wells and fields in store for Abraham.Instead of real estate,He gave Abraham a covenant, or a promise.A promise that his seed would be as the dust of the earth for multitude.A promise of blessing.

Sometimes God’s plan calls for there to be a separation,or parting of the ways.We can trust Him to have our bests interests at heart if we will choose to follow His plans and not ours.Leaving our comfort zone is never easy but leave we must if we are to continue to grow in Him.

I find myself in this exact same position at this time in my life.The Lord has uprooted our family and we have begun a new journey,a journey that we are taking by faith for we do not know what is beyond the next bend in the road.All we know is that we feel His call to step out and obey.A journey that is both frightening and exciting at the same time.I pray that this is not a selfish request, but we desire your prayers.

Be blessed,

Ron

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 

The Cross That Set Me Free

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As Easter is fast approaching, I find myself being drawn more and more to the Cross of Calvary. To me, nothing is as precious or more sacred then the Cross that Jesus suffered and died upon. It’s because of this cruel instrument of death that I am free from the chains that once held me bound.

I find it interesting that what some consider nothing more than a piece of interesting jewelry to wear around the neck can also be a symbol of hatred and disgust to others. Indeed, I can think of no other image that stirs the emotions of mankind more than the Cross of Christ.

Scripture presents a picture of the Cross described in many different ways. The Apostle Paul referenced the Cross by associating it with the words Offense, Foolishness, Obedience, Shame, Reconciliation, and a host of others. However you picture it or describe it one thing is clear: without it you and I would be forever lost with no hope.                                                  Image

 

Jesus is my Redeemer, my Savior, my very present help in the time of trouble.

He paid the debt that I could never pay,and for that I worship Him with all that is within me.

Be blessed,

Ron