Today's Word for Pastors...

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 
Romans 13:12

Today's Preaching Insight...

Obedience is 100%

Have you ever made a decision to obey God as a way of life? I'm not talking about obeying once in a while but in every area to the best of your knowledge and ability. Or do you find that there are times when you struggle to do what you know is right and in keeping with His principles? There may be times when it is easy to discern between what is right and in keeping with God's will and what is wrong and not a part of His plan. In fact, you may actually obey Him at crucial junctures because you want His best. Other times, you may feel as if you are being pulled aside by disobedience simply because you did not do your homework in prayer and the study of God's Word.
Solomon admonished us to "catch the foxes." He went on to explain that it is the "little foxes that are ruining the vineyards" (Song 2:15).

Often the smaller decisions bring about the biggest consequences. A decision to tell a little white lie is very costly because it leads to sin and usually the next step, which is deception. The enemy is very keen. He knows better than to tempt a seasoned believer to flat out disobey God. Obvious sin always draws a response. Friends and family members usually speak up when you are involved in something that leads to shame, failure and a damaged testimony. You may falsely believe that something perceived as being insignificant is much easier to disguise. It may be for a season, but at some point God pulls the covers back, and the truth is revealed about what you have done.

Too many people reach the point of being shattered, broken, hurting, lonely and discouraged before they seek God's help. A Christian counselor who works with corporate executives once told me that if he can be brought into a conflict before it escalates to a serious level, he usually can show people how to solve the problem. But this rarely happens because most of us are very reserved and will not freely expose what we are feeling and thinking until much later. By then the conflict is threatening to spiral out of control. Jesus knows our hearts, and He makes it clear from page one of His Word that obedience to Him should be our central focus. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and suffered the loss of everything they knew as right and good.

However, just as you can track disobedience down through the generations, you also can trace the benefits of obedience. God provides a perfect contrast between the two in His Word:

"If you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. … But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country" (Deut. 28:1-3, 15-16).

The only similarity between obedience and disobedience is that they reflect the type of lifestyle we have.

(To read the entire sermon "God Delights in Obedience" by Charles Stanley on Preaching.com, click here)

Today's Extra...

Conversion

Australia is the only country in the world to have a picture of a convicted forger on its currency. Francis Greenway came to Australia—as many early settlers did—as a convict. He had been convicted in England of forgery. Once in Australia, he changed his life. He began to use his hidden skills as an architect. Some of the most beautiful buildings in Sydney, Australia, were designed by him; and they put his picture on the Australian 10 dollar bill. They believed he had changed.

Jesus always believed that people could change. He also helped them to change, just as He will help you to change.

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