Banished for Our Good…

God banished Eve from the garden of Eden so that she would learn to Trust Him again and be obedient. She tried to learn things in her own time and in her own way when she followed the serpent. She decided God did not know what was best for her when she listened to the serpent. She Allowed the serpent to convince her that God was withholding something from her. How often do we think we know better than God? How often do we seek out the advice of others before we seek out God’s advice? God instructs us through His Word to ask him for wisdom in James 1:5-8.

Anything we put before God, we risk losing. For some it is their career, their family, or something they value more than their time with God. Whatever we devote more time to and give our heart to is our treasure. Matthew 6:21

All He asks for is our Trust in Him and our obedience, it still comes down to that after All these years: Obedience to His word and Trust in God.

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: Isaiah 1:19 (KJV)

This verse in Isaiah is simple. In the Hebrew, the word willing means to rest content, the word obedient means to hear attentively. We (as Christians) make it so difficult. When we rest in His will for our lives, when we Trust Him and are obedient to His Word, we are blessed (eat the good of the land)! When we Trust with our Whole Heart (spirit, soul, and body) He provides for us Anything we Need.

Even when we fall away, He promises to be there for us, when we seek him with All our heart and soul:

“But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.” Deuteronomy 4:29 (NLT)

But that is no excuse to fall away, it is not a safety net to fall back on. We are called to live by His Spirit which makes us holy and not return to our former ways.

God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace… So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:2, 14-16 

But let’s not think that solely through our obedience we will be blessed by God. Following God is not through rote. (definitions of rote: routine; a fixed, habitual, or mechanical procedure; without thought of the meaning, done in a mechanical way.) We must have Faith (which is Trust) in God!

“Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.” Romans 4:13-14 

Prayer: Father, help me to Trust in your ways and be obedient to your will for my life. Thank you for loving me. Help me to know when I don’t hear your answer that I have not asked correctly or I’ve allowed my own thoughts to take precedence. I know you have my best interest in mind, help me to walk in your timing and not my own. In Jesus’ Precious name, Amen.

Immediately

I was quickened to write about the word “immediately” after a friend made me aware how often the word is used in the Bible. If you search the word immediately in either the NKJV or the NLT, you will obtain at least three pages of references. There is something to acting immediately that I believe God is trying to tell those of us who believe. Most certainly he wants us to follow Him as soon as our heart is alerted to the fact that we need Him in our lives.

Matthew 4:21-22 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too.  They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

He as our rescuer and strong tower is Always there for us, we must have faith.

Matthew 14:30-32 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

Healing is an instantaneous result when we have faith and believe with our whole heart.

Matthew 20:34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.

Mark 5:28-29   For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

Mark 5:41-42 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.

Mark 7:34-35 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.

Luke 4:38-39  Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.

Luke 5:24-26 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”

Getting further in our walk or near our destination is expedient when we allow Jesus in our boat and keep our focus on Him.

John 6:18-21 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!

There is immediate deliverance in the name of Jesus and in worship.

Mark 9:22-25 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”

Acts 16:18 This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.

Acts 16:25-26  Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself.

Our salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord poured forth with his blood and water.

John 19:34-35 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.)

Our response to him should be immediate.

Acts 16:33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.

John 11:29 So Mary immediately went to him.

Prayer: Father, help my response to you be immediate, without hesitation.

Listening

Listening is a skill. I have learned over the years that to be an effective communicator, I must listen. I don’t claim to be an expert listener, I’m a work in progress. I majored in Communications in college and I remember being taught how to speak well and communicate effectively to my audience. I cannot recall the times I had to give oral presentations for classes. I was prepared somewhat by my life experiences. I held jobs where I had to train people both individually and en masse. I paired written words, which I prepared, and articulated my thoughts extemporaneously. Those who learned quickly were good at listening and were attentive.

I have a friend who is an excellent listener. We used to have lengthy conversations and in talking to him one day I mentioned that he had excellent listening skills. He is patient when I communicate with him whether we are face-to-face or chatting on the phone. He told me it was an acquired skill. I have often thought of this over the years. I have tried to hone my ears to not only hear people when they speak but to actively listen. I try to listen to their emotion and their intent. If I don’t understand what they are saying, I ask questions. I tell them what I perceive and if I’m off-base most of them will explain their words if they want to get their point across.

I looked up the words hear and listen. Hear is a perception of sound and information. Listen is to pay attention and to wait for sound, to actively hear. “To wait for sound” shows me the patience we must have when we listen. Hearing is simply to perceive with the ear while listening is to try to hear and be involved with sounds. We hear noises all day, our alarm clock, our coffee maker, voices, traffic, music, birds singing, dogs barking, our computer’s hum, but how often do we actively engage with the noises we hear? Do we just hear them or do we pay attention to them and think about them?

Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. Isaiah 55:3

I remind myself mentally to take note of what other people say and try to actively listen and not just ‘hear’ their words. I try to have my ears wide open. The Bible says that we “will find life” when we listen! In Proverbs it says “don’t lose sight of them.” This is an active form of listening! It goes on to say “let them penetrate into your heart.” When we listen and understand, we don’t simply have the knowledge in our minds we carry it in our hearts. Having the words in our heart brings a change of attitude and perception, it helps us connect.

My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Proverb 4:20-22

In Romans it speaks of connecting our faith when we hear the words of Christ. This is an active form of listening. In the Greek, the word for hearing is hearing with the soul. This is an exhortation to allow the word of God, Jesus, to penetrate our heart and soul. The “word of God” translated into the New King James version is from the Greek word ‘Christos’ referring to Christ. Christ IS the ‘word of God.’

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. (NLT) or So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (NKJV)

My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Proverb 4:20-22

I want to communicate effectively. I want to be a better listener to my friends and family and to God. It is my desire to learn.

Prayer: Father, help me to not only hear your words but to allow them to penetrate my heart and soul. Help me to be a better listener and not one who just hears. Amen