Bible Verses on Obeying God

35 VERSES ON OBEYING GOD—EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD, DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, IS SCARY, OR YOU JUST PLAIN OUT DON’T WANT TO….

  • Exodus 19:5 NIV
    Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession
  • Exodus 23:22 ESV
    “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
  • Leviticus 26:3-4 ESV
     “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit...
  • Deuteronomy 4:39-40 NASB
    Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other. 40 So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”
  • Deuteronomy 11:1 NIV
    Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.
  • Deuteronomy 11:26-28 ESV
     “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today,28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.
  • Joshua 22:5 ESV
     Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of theLord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
  • 1 Samuel 15:22 HCSB
    Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
    Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
  • Psalm 103:17-18 ESV
    But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
        and his righteousness to children’s children,
    18 to those who keep his covenant
        and remember to do his commandments.
  • Psalm 119:44 NASB
    So I will keep Your law continually,
    Forever and ever.
  • Psalm 119:60 NASB
    I hastened and did not delay
    To keep Your commandments.
  • Proverbs 19:16 NLT
    Keep the commandments and keep your life;
        despising them leads to death.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:13 NLT
    That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.
  • Isaiah 1:19 ESV
    If you are willing and obedient,
        you shall eat the good of the land;
  • Isaiah 48:18-19 NASB
    “If only you had paid attention to My commandments!
    Then your well-being would have been like a river,
    And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
    19 “Your descendants would have been like the sand,
    And your offspring like its grains;
    Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence.”
  • Jeremiah 7:23 ESV
     But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’
  • Matthew 7:21 ESV
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
  • Luke 11:28 NIVHe replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
  • John 12:26 ESV
    If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
  • John 13:17 ESV
    If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
  • John 14:21 NASB
    He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
  • John 15:10 NASB
    If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
  • John 15:14 ESV
    You are my friends if you do what I command you.
  • Acts 5:29 ESV
    But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
  • Romans 5:19 NIV
    For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Romans 6:16-17 ESV
    Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[a]you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
    We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
  • Hebrews 11:8 ESV
    By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
  • James 1:22-25 NLT
    But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
  • 1 Peter 1:14 NIV
    As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
  • 1 John 3:22 NLT
    And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.
  • 1 John 3:24 NASB
     The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
  • 1 John 5:3 ESV
    For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
  • 2 John 1:6 ESV
     And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
  • Revelation 14:12 ESV
    Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

Bible Verses to Help People-Pleasers Break Free

  • Psalm 118:8 ESV
    It is better to take refuge in the Lord
        than to trust in man.
  • Proverbs 29:25 ESV
    The fear of man lays a snare,
        but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
  • John 12:42-43 ESV
    Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
  • Romans 8:31 ESV
    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
  • Galatians 1:10 ESV
    For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
  • Ephesians 6:5-9 ESV
    Bondservants, obey your earthly master with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
  • Colossians 3:22-3 ESV
    Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily,as for the Lord and not for men
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:4 ESV
    but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
  • James 4:4 ESV
    You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Have you ever given everything in you to try to please everyone around you?

“People-pleasing cripples our hearts, paralyzes us when we make decisions, and ultimately destroys our calling. We worry so much about what other people think of us that we ignore what God thinks”  (Anywhere Faith).

But there’s hope!anywhere-faith

We can learn to value God’s opinion of us over everyone else’s and to follow Him in wholehearted obedience even if it means disappointing others.

Bible Verses about How God Changes and Transforms Us

  • Psalm 51:10 ESV
    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
        and renew a right spirit within me.
  • Psalm 139:23-24 ESV
    Search me, O God, and know my heart!
        Try me and know my thoughts!
    24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
        and lead me in the way everlasting!
  • Ezekiel 36:26 ESV
    And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
  • Romans 12:2 ESV
     Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
  • 1 Corinthians  6:11 ESV
    And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
    And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
  • Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV
    to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
  • Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV
    Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
  • Philippians 1:6 ESV
    And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
  • Colossians 1:10 ESV
    So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
  • Colossians 3:10 ESV
    and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
  • 1 John 3:2-3 ESV
    Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Feeling like you need to do enough or be enough to attain perfection, to be holy, to earn God’s love?  Here’s the truth:

God’s love covers us …and cleanses us. Then, in His compassion, He transforms us.  He’s big enough and gracious enough to tackle our mess until the day He decides that construction is complete and He takes us home. So often, where God is taking us is less about our destination and more about our journey of becoming like Jesus.  God is more interested in our character than our accomplishments anyway
Anywhere Faith)

Bible Verses for When you Feel Small

  • Psalm 37:16 ESV
    Better is the little that the righteous has
        than the abundance of many wicked.
  • Proverbs 15:16 ESV
    Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
        than great treasure and trouble with it.
  • Isaiah 11:6 ESV
    The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
        and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
    and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
        and a little child shall lead them.
  • Isaiah 40:29 ESV
    He gives power to the faint,
        and to him who has no might he increases strength.
  • Zechariah 4:10a ESV
    For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
  • Micah 5:2 ESV
    But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
  • Matthew 11:25 ESV
    At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children
  • Matthew 13:31-32 ESV
     He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
  • Matthew 19:14 ESV
    but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Matthew 25:21 ESV
    His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
  • Luke 12:32 ESV
  • Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
  • Luke 16:10 ESV
    “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

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Have you been feeling small?

Oh my friend, I have been there.

At first, it’s overwhelming.  We feel weak and insignificant, maybe overwhelmed and unworthy.

But then I remember this truth:  God uses the small.

When the twelve spies returned home with their report from their jaunt in the Promised Land, ten of them said this:

The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. …and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Number 13:32-33 ESV)

Here’s the lesson for them and for me and for you:anywhere-faith

Your victory or success–or even just your ability to make it through this very day–does not depend on you.  So you’re a grasshopper. That’s okay.  God uses grasshoppers…You can be a grasshopper and still take possession of the Promised Land because you serve a great and mighty God who is stronger than any giant and can knock down any wall.

God didn’t call you because you are able; He called you because He is able (Anywhere Faith)

 

 

Braving it out because that’s what it takes to overcome

My daughter spent almost all of her 8-year-old  life living in a home without a paved driveway or a neighborhood with a sidewalk.

Bike riding for us was a spurious affair.  About once a year, everything aligned perfectly.

The weather was cool, but not  cold, and definitely not hot or rainy or snowy or even too windy.

The calendar was clear.  We did not have rehearsal, school, camps, dance, karate, sports, church, a birthday party, or some other activity.

That was the one day a year I would load up the minivan with all of our children and then, after they were all buckled in, pack that minivan with every single one of their bicycles and helmets.  We would then drive to  a school parking lot and “practice biking.”

Loading  all those bicycles up so we could drive somewhere to  practice, though, wasn’t really fun.  For any of us.  The kids tried for a little  bit,  but gave up and we all went back  home again so we could move  along to other ways to spend our time.

But now, “the time has come.”  We live in a neighborhood.  Not only that, we live on a cul de sac with a sloped and paved driveway in a neighborhood.

This is the ideal place.

Eight years into life, though, is enough time to build up some fears about going too  fast and falling, about scuffing up knees and elbows and maybe not always landing in the grass.

It’s enough time to build up some immunity to  mom’s pep talks about being  courageous and persevering  in the face of adversity.

So, thus far, our attempts at mastering  this whole deal without training wheels have involved more injury than success.

It is slow going and it is painful going and it is discouraging going.

What  I want is for my daughter  to decide in her deep-down heart of hearts that this is worth it, that she’s going to do whatever it takes to master this elusive skill, that she’s willing to get back on that bike 50 times if that’s what’s needed.

And if she falls 51 times, then she’d get back on there 52.

So far, though, I think she hasn’t decided this is worth doing.  She wants all the fun of bike riding to her friend’s house a few doors down without any of the actual learning.

I get that.  There are some ways that  my heart is right there with her.

God says to brave it out and tough it out.  Put on those  sneakers and that helmet and get on out there where it’s  rough and hard and we might fail.

Yeah, falling and failing is part of it.  That may be what we fear the most, but God doesn’t .   He knows it’s part of  the learning and the growing and without it,  we’re just  living what’s easy instead of what takes faith.

And, faith is what it takes to  please God.  That’s what blesses His heart.  That’s what makes Him pump His fist with joy when He sees us down here.

Without faith,  it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)

So, it’s hard.  Yes.  It is.

God calls us to do  hard things, though, EVEN impossible things maybe, not because  He wants to see us fail, but so that He can succeed.

in  1 Kings 12, King Jeroboam decided  to take the easy way out. He wanted whatever would earn him brownie points with his people even if it meant disobeying God.

So, even though God said the nation of Israel needed to  worship in one place only, Jerusalem, Jeroboam decided this was too hard a burden.  He set up idols and places of worship in Dan and Bethel so people wouldn’t have to travel as far or work as hard to get there.

Priscilla Shirer says this:

“If left to  ourselves,  we will always choose “Dan” and “Bethel” over the more  cumbersome journey to Jerusalem” (Discerning the Voice of God p. 139).

Do we want “Dan” and “Bethel?” Do we want the pain-free and the easy even if that’s not where God is?

Or do we want God’s best, His will and His plans?

What I want is for my daughter to set her heart on overcoming so she holds out for Jerusalem.

Maybe that’s what God desires for us also, to determine in advance that we’re going to obey.  Period.  We’re going to follow Him.  Period.  We’re going to pour ourselves out for Him.  Period.  We’re going to worship Him.  Period.

Even if it means we have to pass right by Dan and Bethel and trek all that way to Jerusalem.

Even if it means some skinned knees and bruised egos as we stumble our way along all because being with Him is the greatest desire in our deep-down hearts.

What’s the next right thing today? #AnywhereFaith

This week, we celebrated my son’s birthday and he loved every minute of it.   The next morning, he told me, “It’s  still my birthday” and asked for a cupcake.

There’s nothing like a good celebration!

And,  here’s another reason to celebrate—it’s the one-year anniversary of the release of my book,  Anywhere Faith.

Thanks so much to you for buying the book, reading it, sharing it with others, studying it with small groups, and sharing about it on social media.  You blessed me and encouraged me, and I’m grateful.  Here’s a little encouragement for you today:


As a teen, I attended some huge youth conferences with my church and they tended to have something in common:

There was always a tremendously dynamic speaker who had a jaw-dropping testimony of God’s grace: He did drugs.  He was in a gang.  His girlfriend got pregnant and he made her have an abortion.  He was an alcoholic, who was addicted to pornography, and homeless.

Then He met Jesus.

By the time the testimony was over, the altars were flooded with teens crying and praying for God to save them and use them.

But my story didn’t seem to fit in.  They’d ask if anyone felt “called to ministry” and I’d raise my hand and pray that God use me “anywhere” and send me “anywhere.”

Only, how could He use a girl like me?  I’m relatively boring and surely the world truly needed displays of God’s grace and mercy on a grand scale.

I prayed and searched for God’s will for my life, but I didn’t end up in foreign missions or traditional full-time ministry.  So, does that mean God didn’t call me after all?

Now, that’s my story.  How I struggled to truly let grace seep deep in my soul.

How I searched so hard for one “big calling,” that I overlooked the impact of daily obedience and the calling to follow Him right here, right now, serving Christ by serving others in small ways every single day.

Your story might be like mine.  Maybe you desperately want to follow Jesus “anywhere,” but you can’t see where He wants you to go.

Or perhaps your story is entirely different.  Maybe you have that testimony of radical transformation, but you feel like an unworthy vessel, unfit for His use.

“Calling” is a tricky subject for Christians.  It sometimes trips us up into a mess of confusion.

We talk about God “calling” me to do this or “calling” me to do that, but we don’t always know what that looks like day in and day out.

And sometimes we miss it entirely.

When I wrote in my book, Anywhere Faith, about following God anywhere He calls us to go, I shared some truths about “calling” because God wants all of us to follow Him, whether that’s around the world, across the street, or in our own homes.

GOD CALLS ALL OF US

Your past, your present and your future don’t have to look like anyone else’s in order for God to use you.  anywhere-faith

Maybe He called you to foreign missions or full-time ministry.  Maybe He called you to pray for the teachers at your kids’ school or to help young moms who need encouragement.

If we obsess over what someone else’s calling looks like, we can sometimes miss what He has planned for us.

God uses the ordinary. He uses the everyday and the mundane. He uses the untrained. He uses the sinner who repents and the prodigal who returns. He uses us despite our past and even sometimes because of it (Anywhere Faith).

CALLINGS DON’T HAVE TO BE (AND OFTEN AREN’T) GLAMOROUS OR GRAND.

I’m not a speaker at conferences talking about deliverance from addiction.  Today, I have played Play Doh with my son, scheduled doctor’s appointments for my kids, prayed for my family, written to you, washed dishes and laundry, and performed a million small and seemingly insignificant tasks that are actually ministry.

Sure, the disciples traveled with Jesus, witnessed miracles, and even healed and performed miracles themselves in Christ’s name.

But the calling wasn’t all glitz and glamor.  They packed light and traveled far. They left families and jobs behind to pursue Jesus.

Jesus told them to bend low, to do the dirty jobs, to wash feet, to love outcasts, to touch lepers.

He asks us to humbly serve others every day, too.

Your calling might not be to a stage or arena; it may be to faithfulness at work, witness in your community, and ministry to your family.  Every “calling’ is significant to Him.

GOD CAN USE YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE

We can get so caught up looking for big visions for our future that we miss the ways He asks us to serve today.  I’ve done it myself, praying desperately for God to show me “His will for my life” instead of His will for this moment.

Let’s ask God to show us the next right step and walk that way.  We can trust Him with our future.

 WHEN WE TALK ABOUT CALLING, LET’S REMEMBER THIS:

God isn’t looking for the flashiest vessels; He’s looking for yielded vessels…
He uses the humble, the willing and the obedient (Anywhere Faith).

May we be yielded today, humble today, and obedient today as we follow Him “Anywhere.”

I Didn’t Feel Ready

 

Sometimes we want to see the provision in advance.

Before we step out in “faith,” we want to know we have enough: time, money, strength, ideas, training, support.  We want our offerings to God and our ministry for Him to be perfect.

But in Hebrews, we’re told:

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

God helps us in our time of need—not as a stockpile for our seasons of neediness.

This is a lesson I’m learning inch by inch.

For just about a whole year before it ever happened, I worried over my oldest daughter starting middle school.  I ran through every possible question about the transition.

When will the bus come?  How will she adjust to earlier morning hours?  How do we get her to school on time without waking up all the other kids? Will she need to take showers in the morning or at night?  How will her after school activities fit into the schedule?  

This might be reaching levels of extreme crazy, but there it is.  I’m a planner.  I like to consider all the possibilities.

But I also prayed.

And that was so much more important.

Here’s what happened.  On the first day of school, she got up, got ready, and went to school.  She did that all year.

Just like that.

A new ministry, a schedule adjustment, an extra activity thrown in, a needy friend, a season of pouring out to others—these aren’t opportunities to freak out; they are opportunities to see God come through.

GOD GIVES US WHAT WE NEED WHEN WE NEED IT, AND NOT OFTEN BEFORE.

One of my favorite “callings” in Scripture is the moment God spoke to Jeremiah:

Then I said, “Alas, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”
But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
“Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 1:6-8 ESV). 

On the surface, It sounds like Jeremiah thought he was too young for prophetic ministry.

But then I consider context:

the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign (Jeremiah 1:2 ESV).

Jeremiah began prophesying during the reign of Josiah, who became king when he was only eight years old.

So even if Jeremiah was in his teens or early 20s when God spoke to him, he had seen God use an eight-year-old king to lead the nation of Judah in one of its greatest spiritual revivals.

“I’m too young” doesn’t seem like a good excuse.

Maybe what Jeremiah really felt was unready and unprepared.

And that’s where I totally understand Jeremiah.

Sometimes I feel unready, too.

Like the whole transition to middle school, I wanted to know all the answers in advance and have the perfect plan already in place.

You too?

When God calls you, do you ask Him to wait until you feel “ready?”

Maybe if we train a little longer, stock up a little more, save a bit, work it all out on paper, and prepare, prepare, prepare, then we can follow God’s call.

We wait until we have extra money to give.

We wait until our gifts are perfected to offer them to others.

We wait for free time before we serve.

BUT THE TIME TO SERVE GOD ISN’T WHEN WE FEEL READY; IT’S WHEN HE ASKS US TO FOLLOW.

After all, God told Jeremiah, “I am with you.”

He promises us His presence, too!

IF WE WAIT UNTIL WE’RE “READY,” UNTIL WE’RE PREPARED, UNTIL WE’RE FULLY TRAINED, UNTIL OUR GIFT AND OUR OFFERING ARE PERFECT, UNTIL WE FEEL LIKE ENOUGH, WE’LL WAIT AND WAIT AND NEVER TAKE THAT STEP OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE.

We’ll be trusting in ourselves rather than relying on God to be with us and to be enough for us.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 says:

If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done (TLB).

What is it you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you to do?  What season are you entering?  What task has He laid at your feet?

God will be enough for you.  He will give you everything you need exactly when you need it.  So, don’t pause until you feel ready or until you’re perfect and your gift is worthy.

Right now, right where you are, with what you have, you can follow Him where He’s calling you to go and trust Him for provision and strength for the journey.

#AnywhereFaith and Christmas

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Today, I plunked down $0.88 for a new address book.

Then, I laid its 13-year-old, well-worn predecessor to rest.

It was time.

In that old address book, I have crossed out.  I have drawn arrows.  I have swirled over old addresses and entered in new.  I have stuffed envelopes with corrected info into the pages.

This year during ‘Operation Christmas Cards,’ I flipped through that edited mess.  Seven more family members moved this year to new homes in new places.

Most of these are happy moves: The new-job, new-marriage, new-baby kind of celebration.

Others are moves of in-between, of change, of loss and sadness and finding new hope for the future.

Since I have an intense dislike, maybe even horror, of writing in pencil, though, I can’t just erase and start afresh at each new life event.

That’s when I realized the truth.  It wasn’t time for more corrections.  It was time for a completely fresh shart.

It was time to move on.

And it strikes me right at that moment as I fill in the blank pages A-Z, surrounded by Christmas decorations and Christmas cards, that Christmas itself is about moving.

God began that progress, journeying to us:

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9 HCSB).

He makes the first move.  He steps into the void we can’t breach, the abyss of sin we can’t possibly cross, and He leaves the glory of heaven for our sake.

Jesus isn’t the only One who moved that first Christmas, though.

“The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth” (Luke 1:26).

Mary and Joseph loaded up the donkey and trekked slowly “from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the City of David, which is called Bethlehem” (Luke 2:4 HCSB).

The angels arrived on the hillside to announce the Savior’s birth to shepherds and then “left them and returned to heaven” (Luke 2:15 HCSB).

Then, those shepherds in their excitement said, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened” (Luke 2:15 HCSB).

Days later, a man named Simeon was guided by the Spirit and went straight to a GOd-appointed place:  “he entered the temple complex” (Luke 2:27 HCSB).

Wise men from the east searched the night sky and could no longer remain at home, complacent, apathetic, mildly interested but not engaged when they saw the mysterious star.

NO, THEY MOVED.

They committed to the journey, packing camels, loading supplies, asking questions.

They must have left so much  behind:  Family, possessions, homes, a culture they knew and friends they loved.  Maybe they left position and power in the dust in order to arrive in a foreign land as strangers and outsiders searching for a King they couldn’t describe whose name they didn’t know.

Where were they going?  They did not know.  When would their journey end?  They could not say.

Just like Abram long before, the Magi left their homes to travel to an unknown destination for an uncertain amount of time.

Friends must have called them crazy.  Family might have questioned their sanity.

Yet, they kept moving because a star “led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was ” (Matthew 2:9 HCSB).

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT THE FAITH OF MOVEMENT, ABOUT FAITH IN ACTION.

It’s going anywhere god calls you to go.

 NO STANDING STILL.  NO REMAINING THE SAME.  NO STUBBORNLY REFUSING TO LEAVE THE OLD IN PURSUIT OF GOD’S WORK ANEW.

In a season steeped in tradition, God shows us that He can do the surprising and unexpected.  He is at work.  He is in motion.

Christmas is angels and shepherds, sages and a teenage girl, the righteous and the ordinary, all abandoning their plans, agendas, comfort, and homes, leaving it all behind so they would not miss what God was doing.

ARE WE SO WILLING TO MOVE?

When God calls, when He is active, when He is at work and He comes to us, will we also go to Him?

I’ve finished filling this new address book now and for a while at least everything is settled and set.

Yet, I’m hushed with expectancy.  I’m at the feet of Christ with anticipation.  I’m asking the question and I’m silent, breathlessly waiting for the answer He gives:

“God, what are you doing and how can I be there?  I don’t want to miss it by refusing to move when you move. Lead me this Christmas.”

Originally published 12/11/2015anywherefaith-christmas

 

Would you consider sharing the message of Anywhere Faith with others this Christmas?  Click here to visit the book page on Amazon.  Thanks!

Bible Verses on Overcoming Fear and Worry

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  • Exodus 14:13
    And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again (ESV)
  • Deuteronomy 31:
    Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
  • Joshua 1:9
    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened,and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
  • Nehemiah 4:14
    After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
  • Psalm 23:4
    Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
  • Psalm 27:1
    The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  • Psalm 34:4
    “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
  • Psalm 56:3
    When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
  • Psalm 56:4
    In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?
  • Psalm 91:4-6
    He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
  • Psalm 112:7
    He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
  • Isaiah 35:4Say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, and do not fear,
    for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
    He is coming to save you.”
  • Isaiah 41:10
    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • Isaiah 41:13
    “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
  • Isaiah 44:8
    Fear not, nor be afraid;
    have I not told you from of old and declared it?
    And you are my witnesses!
    Is there a God besides me?
    There is no Rock; I know not any.”
  • Isaiah 51:12
    “I, I am he who comforts you;
    who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
    of the son of man who is made like grass,
  • Jeremiah 1:8
    Do not be afraid of them,
    for I am with you to deliver you,
    declares the Lord.”
  • Zephaniah 3:17
    For the LORD your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
    He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.[a]
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
  • Matthew 6:34
    Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
  • Matthew 10:31
     Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
  • Mark 5:36
    But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” (ESV)
  • Luke 1:74-75
    We have been rescued from our enemies
    so we can serve God without fear,
    in holiness and righteousness
    for as long as we live.
  • Luke 12:32
    “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
  • John 6:19-20
    They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them,“Don’t be afraid. I am here!”
  • John 14:27
    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
  • Acts 18:9
    And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,
  • Romans 8:38
    And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
     for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
  • Hebrews 13:6
     So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
  • 1 John 4:18
    There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Struggling with fear, anxiety, and crushing worry?

Me too.anywhere-faith

I wrote in Anywhere Faith a reminder that I need myself some days:

“What happens in our Christian walk will always be with God. Even when we stand on the precipice of the unknown, feeling the knots in our stomach, fretting at night rather than sleeping, wondering what will happen next, we can hand that situation over to God and remember that He is with us. Jesus said it to the disciples when they called out in fear on the lake, ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage. I am here!’ (Matthew 14:27 NLT).

Take courage, because He’s here, right here with you, present with you, never abandoning you, not sending you out all by your lonesome self. He knows the risks. He knows what makes your heart quake. He knows exactly what’s going to happen when you obey His call, and He promises to be with you no matter what.” (Anywhere Faith).

 

Trusting When Life Feels Shaky

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We were simply working on a piano lesson.  I didn’t anticipate crumbling her perspective on life, the world, and the ability to “know” truth.

But that’s what happened.

As a young music student, I learned the same lesson in music theory: a B sharp is the same exact note as a C on the piano.

Now, this was cool to me.  I thought I was “in the know” and had some incredible, deep music knowledge that only the truly initiated can possess. It was a sort of all-access pass to conversations with musicians who actually knew far more than I ever will.

That’s not what this felt like for my daughter.

I told her, “See that’s a B sharp, so you actually just play this C.  See it’s the same thing. See how cool that is?”

She did not see.

She accused me of rocking her world.  Everything she ever thought about life and existence could all be on shaky ground where B’s are really C’s and how are you ever supposed to know what’s really true?

Her whole reaction was shockingly unexpected, but I consider. I ponder what’s at stake.

Life can feel just that shaky at times.  There are things we take for granted, foundations we’ve been sure are rock-solid.

There are expectations we just know will be met.  There are promises we feel sure God will fulfill in a certain way.

Then something goes awry.

We can ride this intense roller coaster of emotions:  “Everything is great!  Everything is falling apart!  Today I definitely see everything working out!  Today everything is in despair!”

What can we truly know?

When life can shock you like that, when a moment that should be certain victory becomes defeat instead, when you trusted in God but got hurt anyway….when you look at the music and see a B sharp but you play a C….then what do we do?

Shakiness like that, doubts like that, disappointment like that may seem like they’re signs of weak faith.

We tell ourselves, “Pretend to have it all together.  Don’t admit that you’re struggling with doubt.  Don’t tell anyone you’re feeling defeated.”

But here’s what I wrote in Anywhere Faith about doubting:

“God is gracious. He knows exactly what’s in our heart in our weakest moments. He loves us and calls us anyway, not because we are worthy, but because He is worthy; not because we are able, but because He is able.

We need not exert ourselves and try to force ourselves to believe, or try to chase doubt out of our hearts. Both are just as useless. It begins to dawn on us that we can bring everything to Jesus, no matter how difficult it is; and we need not be frightened away by our doubts or our weak faith, but only tell Jesus how weak our faith is (O. Hallesby).

We can bring our doubts to Jesus. We don’t have to pretend they don’t exist or hide them away in embarrassment and shame. Instead, we can pour those doubts right out at His feet and choose to trust Him. Trust Him to answer prayer. Trust Him to do what He promises to do. Trust Him even with our doubts (#AnywhereFaith).

We can drag our confusion and hurt, our disappointment and doubts to the feet of God and ask Him to heal us and show us how to trust Him.anywhere-faith

Not trust in circumstances.

Not trust in others.

Not trust in ourselves.

Not trust in our own expectations or plans.

Not trust in what we think God will do.

But trust Him.  Trust His character.  Trust His love for us.

Jeremiah the prophet wrote:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is in the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream;
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

Before these verses, he tells the people “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength….” (verse 5).

In other words, don’t trust in other people. Don’t trust in human strength.

After these verses, he says, “The heart is deceitful above all things…” (verse 9).

In other words, don’t trust your own heart and emotions.

But in the moments when nothing seems to make sense and when circumstances seem impossible, we can go back to the thing we know we know that we know.

We trust in the Lord.

We sink our roots deep down in Him and we allow Him to make us fruitful and strong despite heat and drought and the crazy world where B sharps are really C naturals.