The Christian’s Goal: Obedience


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In the beginning, God created…” Those first 5 words found in the Bible, still bring me to a place of awe every time I pause to reflect on them. They were penned thousands of years ago, and are the explanation for, and the foundation of our existence and purpose. All of creation is God’s and those words scream out to His glory.

In Genesis 2, after God created Adam (and before He created Eve), we read in verse 16, “And the Lord God commanded the man…” We also see just a few verses later in Genesis 3:11, God ask Adam, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

It’s interesting to me that from the beginning, obedience was the one virtues of Paradise that God valued in our relationship with him. In fact, it is the one conditional requirement for mankind that enables us to experience Paradise. Nothing is said of love, grace, faith, humility – it is obedience that covers all. Equally supreme to the authority of God, is the demand of obedience, and it is that one thing that decides our destiny.

Turning to last chapter of the Bible, we read in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life.” Don’t miss this – from beginning to end, from Paradise lost to Paradise regained, God’s plan is unchanged: it is obedience that gives access to the tree of life, to His favor in our life, and to the fullness of a relationship with Him.

God’s love for us is vast, His mercies are new every morning, and His grace is sufficient and made perfect in our weakness. Do not copy the patterns and customs of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind as you reflect on God, His word, and your obedience.

On the journey together,
Pastor Rich

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Before there was Christmas


2014-12-03_9-02-58I’ve been reflecting back on several passages this past week, that in some way have become commonplace for me as a Christ-follower.  There are those passages that I’ve memorized long ago, or that I read or hear about frequently, that somehow have lost their place in the priority of my thinking.

According to one source, there are 8,674 different Hebrew words in the Bible and 5,624 different Greek words. When you string all those words together to form different sentences and ideas, and then apply them to all the different life circumstances and ministry opportunities, it is easy to see how one’s mind can loose sight of it all!

But this morning I was gripped by a thought from one of those earlier passages I read in life, which come from some of the first words in the Bible, in fact they are the 10th, 11th, and 12th words, in Genesis 1:2. In the beginning, the earth was formless, it was empty and in darkness: 2014-12-03_8-41-12

The words, formless, empty and dark really struck me this morning. Those words and the idea of them, left me feeling a little down for a moment. There have been times when I felt in the dark, or empty inside, or that things were formless and out of control. But then it dawned on me, even at that time, God was there!

When things were formless, empty and dark, God was there. His Spirit was there hovering over the waters. In John 1:1,14, it says that Jesus was there too! What a great reminder that in every circumstance, in every life situation, we never need to be in despair because God is there!

You know, one of the things I love about Christmas is the reminder that we are never alone. God sent His Son into this world, to save us from our sin, yes. But He also sent His Son out of His love for us and the desire for a relationship with us. As I head into the Christmas holiday, I’m grateful for the reminder that I am never alone, that God loves me, and has a plan for me in this life and the next.

Wow, what a gift – I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

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