Psalm 33:19-21 (TLB)
But the eyes of the Lord are watching over those who fear him, who rely upon his steady love. He will keep them from death even in times of famine! We depend upon the Lord alone to save us. Only he can help us; he protects us like a shield. No wonder we are happy in the Lord! For we are trusting him. We trust his holy name.
I will not rant. I will not rant. I will not rant. Okay, maybe a little. Our local cable company has me steaming right now. We have been loyal customers for over fifteen years. Yet every six months or so without warning, our bill jumps a little. Same service, same internet, and basic phone but yet bigger payment. Set up for the autopay for some promotion awhile back, there is no warning. No email saying, “Hey, we decided to gouge you a little more.” If I did not monitor the account closely, they would have a hay day. A couple months ago, we were having trouble with our service. After three calls to technical support running through troubleshooting, not once or twice but three times they scheduled an appointment. A tech came and told us the TV was shot and it was not the cable box although I had suggested that it indeed was indeed their unit. So we started shopping new televisions. Something inside me (thank you Jesus for the Holy Spirit who leads to all wisdom) told me to have them check one more time, another person came and yes, it was their box. Well to add insult to injury, they charged me twice for a service call included in my plan without telling anyone. Had I not checked the account yet again, it would have been automatically deducted wreaking havoc at the bank. Okay, trying to remember that God loves customer service people just like He loves me, I called to discuss the problem and was assured it would be taken care of. Icing on the cake would be that they send another representative to the house unannounced. This would not have been a problem except my 15-year-old was alone at home and thought we had scheduled the appointment, letting a stranger in the house which I would have never done with her home alone. As if this was not enough and just when I was calming down about our last encounter, they raised my bill again. To have it adjusted will require no more than three phone calls and an hour or more on the line to haggle the price difference. This would not be such an issue if we wanted to change or upgrade our service but we are loyal customers, who are tired of the gimmicks and tricks.
I believe that in all things we are to be good stewards in life. I believe 100% in tithing. I believe in faithfulness to the Lord in our finances. Budgets are important. Due diligence in this area is essential. If I had not monitored this account closely over the years, they would have surely “twenty-dollared” us to destitution and our cable bill would be hundreds of dollars by now. The cable company is the only gig in town or at least it was. They count on people to not go through the hassle of haggling or changing to another company but enduring the painful price gouging and constant increases willingly. If it were up to me, I would pull out the television and rip the phone cord out of the wall giving my wireless company my internet business. I have a great relationship with the company and receive excellent customer service. But alas, my family likes to watch television and we have had the same phone number for almost twenty years so my husband is somewhat nostalgic. My point in all this is that the world does not operate on system of loyalty. Trickery, foolishness and gimmicks plague our society and in the church of today. Yes, I am irritated with the cable company and researching making a change. However, when I dove into the Word of God this morning, I am reminded that God is faithful. When we choose to trust the Lord and depend on Him, He chooses to bless us. No gimmicks or tricks. The only requirement is obedience. He is faithful in all things and when I am faithful I can trust in His Reward.
Trust and obey…for there’s no other way… to be happy in Jesus… but to trust and obey. I can hear the old hymn playing in the recesses of my mind. In the midst of my frustration, the Lord is reminding me that He is faithful. God is always faithful. When we decide to trust and obey Jesus, suddenly things fall into place despite the world filled with the enemy’s tricks to rob us of God’s Blessing. The only requirement to be blessed, protected, provided for and well-kept in the Lord is obedience. Maybe you are thinking today what about grace, why must I obey the Lord to be saved? That is not what I said, I said to be blessed one must obey. To be happy in Jesus, we must trust and obey.
Deuteronomy 28:1-14 (TLB)
“If you fully obey all of these commandments of the Lord your God, the laws I am declaring to you today, God will transform you into the greatest nation in the world. These are the blessings that will come upon you: blessings in the city, blessings in the field; many children, ample crops, large flocks and herds; blessings of fruit and bread; blessings when you come in, blessings when you go out. The Lord will defeat your enemies before you; they will march out together against you but scatter before you in seven directions! The Lord will bless you with good crops and healthy cattle, and prosper everything you do when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you. He will change you into a holy people dedicated to himself; this he has promised to do if you will only obey him and walk in his ways. All the nations in the world shall see that you belong to the Lord, and they will stand in awe. The Lord will give you an abundance of good things in the land, just as he promised: many children, many cattle, and abundant crops. He will open to you his wonderful treasury of rain in the heavens, to give you fine crops every season. He will bless everything you do; and you shall lend to many nations, but shall not borrow from them. If you will only listen and obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, he will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall always have the upper hand. But each of these blessings depends on your not turning aside in any way from the laws I have given you; and you must never worship other gods.
This is the kind of life that God has designated for His Children. We are to be blessed. Blessing is an ordination or inheritance. It is not a get-rich-quick plan. It is not a gimmick or trick. It is simple and straightforward sometimes making it impossible to understand. By grace, we are saved. Salvation cannot be earned or bought simply accepted. This does not impact God’s Blessing on our life but makes it possible. The rest is up to you and I. We can call Him Savior but do we make Him our Lord? How obedient are you will to be? Obedience is not doing anything for ourselves but rather follow directions. I have children that excel in this area and those who choose their own path. I can try to help those who seek their own way with wisdom and experience but until they decide to follow my advice there will be consequences and circumstances that come with their poor choices. We are God’s Children. Deuteronomy 28 begins with “if you fully obey…” and it ends with each of these blessings depends on…” obedience. When things don’t turn out in our life according to God’s Promises, it is not because the Lord withheld anything from us. He cannot lie or change His Mind but rather we chose something else. Maybe we didn’t want to wait for the “harvest” abandoning our field for immediate gratification. Perhaps the world enticed us causing a delay or substitution. Once we are saved by His Grace, we now have access to every single blessing in Deuteronomy 28 if we trust and obey. Sadly, many doctrines and religions do not teach obedience leaving many frustrated people who think God doesn’t love them like others, or maybe that He is not real after all.
I Samuel 15:22-23 (TLB)
Samuel replied, “Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to him than in your offering the fat of rams to him. For rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. And now because you have rejected the word of Jehovah, he has rejected you from being king.”
We can learn from King Saul who would forfeit his throne to King David in an instant, because he did not understand that obedience is better than sacrifice. This didn’t change after Jesus died for our sins. Grace did not excuse us from obedience to God but empowers us to be blessed by God again. The sacrifice of sin is the access point to the Kingdom of God. Obedience gains entrance to the life of blessing, honor and power experienced by those who love the Lord and serve them with their life. God’s Favor is the blessing that I desire and it comes by obeying Him. Grace is available for the times I try and fail because God looks at my heart in each endeavor to decide my intent and motivation. The world does not foster such trust. With all the hidden gimmicks and lies people are fed day by day, such abundance and blessing is just too good to be true. God calls disobedience rebellion. He equates it to witchcraft and stubbornness to the worship of idols. I have rebelled against the Lord many times in my life and His Grace has proven sufficient for me. I am stubborn and still His Grace is enough to allow me on those times that I do get it right to experience the blessing that only can come from the Favor of the Living God.
Does this mean that now we can go ahead and sin and not worry about it? (For our salvation does not depend on keeping the law but on receiving God’s grace!) Of course not! Don’t you realize that you can choose your own master? You can choose sin (with death) or else obedience (with acquittal). The one to whom you offer yourself—he will take you and be your master, and you will be his slave. Thank God that though you once chose to be slaves of sin, now you have obeyed with all your heart the teaching to which God has committed you.
Obedience to God begins in our heart not our head. If we try to manipulate and use the Word of God for our own purpose, it is not going to work the same way. His Instruction always will lead you to a better life in the natural, but when we commit our heart to serving the Lord in careful and steadfast obedience out of love suddenly the blessings of God will begin to overflow in our life. It begins in the fruit of His Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” All these qualities lead to full and complete satisfaction for these are the very things we look for in the things of this world that leave us empty and disappointed. Placing our full expectation in Christ and deciding to trust and obey the Lord will produce the blessing and favor that leads to complete contentment and full satisfaction every single time. By choosing our Master and making Jesus our Lor4:3-4 d, we choose a life of obedience to Him. In doing so, we change the outcomes in our life forever.
Matthew 4:3-4 (TLB)
Then Satan tempted him to get food by changing stones into loaves of bread. “It will prove you are the Son of God,” he said. But Jesus told him, “No! For the Scriptures tell us that bread won’t feed men’s souls: obedience to every word of God is what we need.”
If we will trust God enough to follow Jesus just as His Word describes only a daily basis, we will be satisfied and content in life. Obedience to every Word of God is what we need, but the enemy tries to tell us to manipulate the Lord to release His Blessing. God doesn’t have anything to prove to us. He chose to love us and bless us when He created us. Read Psalm 139. God’s Intentions for His Children are clear. We became prodigal. We left the Father’s House, He never cast us out. To return to our Father’s House means to journey through life in that direction – to trust and obey as foreigners in this land on a pilgrimage home. You can only get there one way. There are no tricks to releasing God’s Blessing in our life. There are no gimmicks to getting His Favor. It is simply by trusting and obeying that we will endure to the end enriched and overflowing in every blessing that He has for us. God’s Best is for those who choose obedience. Is that you today? What is it that you desire of the Lord? Do you love Jesus? Really love Him enough to trust Him? Will you obey? See there is no other way. To be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey. The world will indeed try to make us compromise, substitute, give up and give in to all its lies and trickery. The enemy wants nothing more than to steal your blessing today because he cannot touch your soul. What are you going to do about it?
Proverbs 16:20 (TLB)
God blesses those who obey him; happy the man who puts his trust in the Lord.