Tag Archives: CCF chronicles

Intimacy Through Obedience

Why do you call me, Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 Many people think they are demonstrating obedience to God by helping others occasionally, avoiding temptation, and attending church every Sunday. Some people believe by going to Bible studies and seminars, God is pleased with them. But these is much more to obedience.

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True obedience to God means doing what God says, when He says, how He says, as long as He says, until what He says is accomplished. Unfortunately, this concept is often rejected in today’s culture. Our society is corrupt, and as a result, we have rationalized obedience to the point of missing the best of God’s blessings,

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If at present, you are experiencing great spiritual frustration, there may be an area of disobedience in your life that you have not dealt with. Perhaps God has asked something of you, and in response, you have either ignored His words or done only part of what He asked. If the Lord is bringing something to your mind right now, consider this; it could be that you have been living in that same situation for years because at some point, you chose to do things your way instead of God’s way. Understanding this key distinction between our way and God’s way can make a tremendous difference in every believer’s life. We must place obedience at the top of our priority list.

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The principle to understand is this: Obedience is the way to increased intimacy and enjoyment of God. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15 Keeping a commandment is different from having a commandment. After all, anyone can own a copy of the Bible and therefore read God’s Word. But it is a different decision to take hold of God’s Words, vowing to obey them. The test of real intimacy or real love to Jesus is whether we keep His commandments or His Word. Are you living in obedience and keeping God’s commandments” If not, what changes can you make? Jesus makes this promise to those who obey Him. “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and We will come and make Our home with each of them.” John 14:23, Jesus promises a new fellowship with the Father for those who obey. This is not like a piece of candy that is offered as a bribe to entice a child to behave.

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Have you ever experienced a time when you feel God wants you to do something but it is inconvenient or difficult and you don’t want to do it? A battle goes on in your soul. Finally you decide to do what God wants because of your love for Him. Afterwards, you feel terrific, close to the Father than even before, joyful you did what was right. That’s the principle in operation here. Every time we disobey we cut ourselves off from fellowship with the Lord, we erect a barrier. This barrier hinders the warmth of His love, the enjoyment of His person, the closeness of His presence in one’s life. The goal of obedience is not material blessings as some would seem to indicate. The goal of obedience is an increased intimacy with the Father. This is a much better motivation than any truckload of material things.

Where are you in following the commands of Jesus? Some may say, I have never really committed myself in following Jesus the way He wants me. Or I have followed some but whenever convenient. If that is the case, now is the time to declare you willingness to the Lord that you want to be intimate with Him. You want to enjoy His presence in your life. You want to be obedient to Him in all aspects in your life. Then you can experience the joy and peace that comes from trusting Jesus and yielding to His will.

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Humility: The Pathway to Significance

James was the first apostle to write about humility. In his letter to Jewish believers who were forced to live outside Jerusalem, he writes these words, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10) The believers were struggling with discouragement and fear. They could not understand why their faith was being tested in such a severe way. This meant humbling themselves under God’s hand and allowing Him to raise them up to greatness and significance at the proper time. They also had to learn that significance from their perspective was different from God’s viewpoint.

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Humility also changed the way the apostle Peter viewed God. He learned to submit his heart to God instead of pushing his desires or viewpoints to the forefront of his life. It also changed the way himself as being more important, but he saw himself as a servant and many times less than others. This does not mean that Peter had a low self-esteem. But instead, godly humility taught Peter how to evaluate his life from God’s perspective.

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An example of this is in John 13, when Jesus looked that the disciples’ feet were not washed and no one was there to do it. And so He got up and washed their filthy feet. This is the Son of God who put that garment that fits all on and tied the knot in the slaves’ apron and bent down and washed their dirty feet. The apostle Peter probably remembered when the Lord put that on and when the Lord did that. We need to clothe ourselves with the attitude of a servant toward one another. Here are two principles that we can learn about humility.

GOD WIL RESIST THE PRIDEFUL IN HEART

1 Peter 5:5, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble“. Pride is not only dangerous, it is tremendously destructive. Proud people always think that others are talking about them. Somebody said proud people are self-centered, and self-centered people are usually miserable. They seldom apologize because in their minds they are always correct. Self-centered people will hardly approach somebody and say, I am sorry. They’re just too proud.

Nowadays, we see people stumbling around all the time trying to fix their life, looking for a solution or some kind of therapy or counseling that will work. They read a lot of books that they think will deliver them from their supposed dilemma and the bottom line may be there is no freedom, because they don’t want to humble themselves before God. Because of their pride, they are feeling the opposing hand of God in their life. Always remember that God opposes the proud but He gives grace to the humble.

GOD WILL REWARD THOSE WHO ARE HUMBLE IN HEART

1 Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Pride is at the root of most of our anxiety. Proud people think it’s humiliating to cast everything upon God and be cared for. Humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God means we must relinquish control of our lives to Christ. Humility gives us the means to trust Him by casting our cares upon Him. In other words, humility is perfect quietness of our heart.

Don’t ever think you will be easily humbled, it takes much prayer for the death of pride. It also takes much rejection of praise and much confession of sin. Lastly, it takes much confidence in a caring God. If our lives are earmarked with the grace of humility, everyone we meet will know that we are intimately involved with the Saviour. Humility is something that God develops within us through the power of His Spirit. It is the fruit of the Lord Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on Calvalry’s cross, manifested in those of His own who are definitely subject to the Holy Spirit.

Meditating on our Wonderful and Awesome God

Psalm 8 tells us that God created everything (the moon, the stars, the sky, the earth, human beings, animals, plants and all living and inanimate things on this earth). His creation tells us that He is powerful and awesome. Through His creation, His majesty fills the earth and His existence is undeniable. He is glorious and deserves all praises and honor. He is also a thoughtful, loving and caring God.

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers. The moon and all the stars you have set in place.” (Psalm 8:3) Let’s ponder on these facts: There are more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Each galaxy in turn in composed of billions of stars. Our galaxy (Milky Way) is 100,000 light years wide. A single light year is equals to six million miles. The galaxy nearest to us, Andromeda, is 2.5 million light years away. The most sophisticated telescope can pick up approximately 100 billion galaxies but beyond that, no one knows how many galaxies make up the universe. Can you even begin to imagine and visualize the vastness of the observable universe? Yet despite its unimaginable vastness Scriptures tell us in Isaiah 40:12 that God measures the universe in the span of His hand!

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“You put us in charge of everything You made, giving us authority over all things.” Psalm 8:6 God gave us authority over the sheep and cattle, the birds in the skies and the fishes and everything that swims in the ocean. Many of them are a delight to the eyes because of the variety, colors, details, and such intricateness. God is truly awesome and wonderful and without a doubt a great architect and artist.

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Now consider another creation of God, the human being. Davis states that men or human being are mere mortals created by God. Yet God made human beings only a little lower than God and crowned him with glory and honor. Of all of God’s creation God created the human beings in His image and likeness. We are the only creation with intelligence and more importantly a soul. “For You made us only a little lower than God. And You crowned us with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:5.

Do you know how sophisticated and complex the human body is? Do you realize that just living or existing for one minute may feel like the simplest thing but what goes on inside our body is wonderfully complicated? Do you know that our body is doing a million different things to help keep us alive and we are not even aware of it?

David gave utmost praises to God because his heart and mind had marveled at the limitless grandeur of God and had given serious thought to the One who is self-sufficient, yet nevertheless was mindful and cared for man. And David’s meditation on God and on the universe cause him to exclaim, “What are mortals that You should care for us?” (Psalm 8:4) It moves us to think, who are we that God should care to know our name and would care to feel our hurts. Who are we that after seeing the sins in our hearts God would choose to look at us with love? Compared to His other creation we are insignificant.

As one song describes us, we are but like flowers that here today and withered tomorrow. We are but like vapor in the wind, Yet despite our sinfulness, God hears us when we call and He catches us when we fall. Despite our sins, God picked us up so we can rise again, for we are His, because He has redeemed us with the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ,

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” But who are we that God should sacrifice His only Son to die a painful and cruel death so that we may have eternal life?

When we think of God’s creation we are reminded of how miniscule and insignificant we are. But when we think of what Jesus has done to redeem us from our sins so that we can enjoy eternal life with Him, we are truly, truly awed and humbled. it compels us to say, “Oh Lord our Lord, truly Your majesty fills the earth and You deserve nothing but praises. Glory be to Your name forever and ever. Amen.”

Would You Be Truly Free?

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A Scottish theologian wrote, “We usually think of murder, adultery or theft as among the worst sins. But the root of all sin is slavery to self-sufficiency or “independence from God”. One would have to conclude so after looking at how God systematically removes self-sufficiency from our hearts before He begins to seriously use us. Look at this snapshot of a very young David. Self-absorbed, kicking and struggling, he mirrors what so many of us are like when enslaved by self-sufficiency.

The first portrait of David is in Psalm 55:2-5, “I am restless in my complaint, surely distracted, because of the voice of the enemy, because of the pressure of the wicked; for they bring down trouble upon me and in anger they bear a grudge against me. My heart is in anguish within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. “The turmoil in
David’s inner man is unmistakable, “distracted” (v2), “heart in anguish” (v4), overwhelmed by “fear, trembling, horror” (v5).

The second portrait of David is many years later, towards the end of his 10 years ordeal in the wilderness, fleeing Saul and his cohort. Psalm 68:6, “God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land,” Mind you, David’s circumstances have not changed. He’s managed to slip away from Saul’s assassins at every turn; but they continue to stalk him. But now note that the “I and me” pronouns and their derivatives are gone. Now he clearly looks “Godward” for creature comforts. (Psalm 68:19-20) Obviously David’s been freed, liberated by years of communing with God in the wilderness. The two portraits are as differents as night from day!

This is what happens when God liberates one from slavery to self-sufficiency. This is what Jesus meant in John 8:32 and 36, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. If the Son sets you free, you are truly free. “This is what it looks like when one is free and ready for His purposes.

Another words for “self-sufficiency”  is “disconnection from God” which is demonstrated by our actions. If not by our lips, declaring that we do not need Him, Self sufficiency compulsively drives us until we bend or crack and eventually check out with an ulcer, a nervous breakdown, even a heart attack, or a stroke. In one day, everything you’ve held on to for dear life, your titles, your possessions, your trophies are reduced to irrelevance.

The third portrait of David is in Psalm 71, the prayer of an elderly King David for deliverance. Obviously it is someone who was no stranger to suffering and trails, someone who clearly knew whereof he speaks. (Psalm 71:9) David had brought Israel to its greatest peak of power and stability. In the following years the nation had  almost mythologized David.

But this is the background now; two insurrections by much loved sons, rape and murder in the family, this is probably why David wished to remain anonymous. Psalm 71:10-13, “For my enemies have spoken against me; and those who watch for my life have consulted together saying, God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is no one to deliver. O God, do not be far from me; O my God, hasten to my help! Let  those who are adversaries of my soul be ashamed and consumed; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor, who seek to injure me.“ Think about David’s deep grief.

Psalm 71 takes us, through real and multiplied adversities in David’s life, trials, suffering because of ungodly foes and because of an uncertain future yet verses 19-20 says, “For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens,you who have done great things;  God, who is like You? You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.”

Talk about purposefully getting to know God. This Psalm leads us to know Him in so many different ways and know that He is both necessary and sufficient. This Psalm is first and foremost about completely trusting God, a frenzied call to walk away from chronic self-sufficiency and a call to turn to total dependence on God. Psalm 71:14, “But I will always have hope.” Evidently this Psalm states that in our darkest, most  difficult days, it calls us to anchor our hope, our very life on God.