Sunday, September 2, 2018

Blessings Follow Obedience ~ God's Unending Supply

"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land."
Isaiah 1:19
(KJV)

If you've read these devotionals for very long, you may have noticed that God often uses my stumbling failures and spiritual insufficiencies as inspiration for the writing you read.  Humiliating mess-ups are pretty common in my spiritual life, but oh, the lessons God teaches in those moments! Later, I tend to look back and analyze those lessons, and they often turn into blog posts.

Recently, I was in the midst of a season of worship and praise, on my knees, pouring out my gratitude for the many blessings God has bestowed.  Tears flowed as my thanksgiving lifted to the throne of grace, and all at once I heard His gentle, still, small voice say, "Child, your obedience unlocked the blessing."  I began to carefully ponder His words, and my mind went back to the many things that have changed in our lives over the past few years.  Each of those changes was a direct result of our obedience to His call—each one of those changes was in direct response to what He told us to do.  It has all been "for His name's sake."  Not one, single change has been easy.  Every one of them has required a level of self-denial that I didn't know existed.  It has taken a complete, wholehearted surrender to God, and our decisions have not always been understood.  What I am finding is that following Jesus has always seemed radical to those who are not taking the same path, and His approval immeasurably outweighs the acceptance and applause of man.

As time goes by, and we are continually amazed at His—not scant, but abundant provision, the enemy has been planting seeds of doubt in my mind concerning the continuance of God's blessing upon our lives.  I keep wondering when the bottom will fall out and fearing that God's resources will run out and concerned that we will fall into a state of lack and insufficiency.  During all this doubting, God led Kevin, Zach, and me to start studying the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Joshua as material for our times of family worship.  Since the very beginning of these radical life changes, God has always reckoned our journey to that of the children of Israel's deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, their wilderness experience, crossing the Jordan River over into the Promised Land, etc., but He showed us to dig deep and really delve into the details of their story to find the particulars of the parallels between their experiences and ours.  It turns out there are many.  We have finished Exodus and are now digging into Deuteronomy, and it has been downright amazing to see such marked similarities.  There have been many moments when our hands have raised and our tears freely flowed as He highlighted our journey through the reading of theirs, and we worshiped Him for the mighty works He has wrought right here in our lives.  

As we have studied and pondered these similarities, God has been showing me that as long as the Israelites were obedient to Him, He rewarded that obedience with blessing.  Once they made it to the Promised Land of Canaan and continued to walk in obedience, they never felt lack again.  No longer did they have to feel the sting from the cruel hand of their taskmasters across their backs or experience meager provision.  God became their Provider, and His provisions never ran out!  When they were thirsty and there was no water, He made it flow from a rock.  When they were hungry, and they had no food, He sent manna from Heaven and quails for them to eat.  When they faced enemies, He fought and victoriously won their battles, without them having to lift a finger or "fire a shot."  When they needed direction, He led them by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day, and later, as they followed 2000 cubits behind the Ark of the Covenant.  Miracle after miracle after miracle He performed on their behalf, and He never ran out of resources.  The only thing they had to do to keep unlocking and unleashing God's miraculous, overwhelming blessings was to walk in total, unreserved obedience.  As long as they did that, the blessings unceasingly flowed.

As God has pointed this out to me, He is sending assurance that He has not changed.  He is still the same God whom they served, and if we serve Him wholeheartedly and do every, single thing He asks, regardless how it defies human wisdom and how counter-cultural it may be, we will get the same, exact results they did.  
His arm is still not shortened.  
"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear."  Isaiah 59:1
He still cannot lie.
"God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?"
Numbers 23:19
There is still nothing too hard for Him to do.
"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?"
Jeremiah 32:27
All these years later, not one word of His promises has ever failed.
"Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant."  I Kings 8:56

As I sought the Lord in prayer for further assurance (yes, I seem to always need extra~I continually marvel at His patience with me), I opened my email to find exactly what I needed from God.  You may remember that I interviewed a precious blogging friend named Karen Del Tatto back in June of 2016.  Many of you probably already know her and are familiar with the outstanding way God uses her and her writing. I had just finished praying for that added assurance, walked to my laptop, and opened email to find Karen's post called, "The Great Rewarder: How To Spur On Obedience" in our inbox.  As I read, I could not believe my eyes.  The Holy Spirit spoke straight to my heart through her words, and it was all the confirmation I needed.  How I thank God for the dear blogging community and all of the amazing friends He has brought into my life through it!  Iron sharpens iron, and so many of you do that for me every time I read your words.  If you've never met Karen, I hope you will stop by and subscribe to her blog.  You will instantly recognize that her writing is anointed, extremely edifying, and Holy Spirit inspired.  He steadily uses her to minister to my hungry heart.

We don't have to look back to Bible days to see the mighty hand of God at work.  If we want to see Him move in ways that are "exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think," all we have to do is lay our lives on the altar as a living sacrifice and be willing to do ALL that He asks, no matter what that happens to be.  Obedience will unlock His blessing in ways that are so far above what we can ask or imagine, and as long as we continue to walk in that same level of obedience, the blessings will never cease to flow.  


27 comments:

  1. Hello Cheryl, What a blessing to read your post of hope and comfort..I came in from church and Randy and the neighbors was into it and law was called and I had cried all trough church as my nerves are the worse they have ever been..I could not even eat lunch and came to computer and read your message of hope and comfort..I really NEEDED that TODAY!! I want to really love,serve and obey My Savior..I ask for your prayers and I beg God to hold each of you and supply all your needs..You are a special blessings..I may have to read this one over and over..Keep up the good work..Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. Oh, my, bless your heart, what a trial. I am so thankful you were able to find comfort and encouragement here, my friend. Keep looking to Jesus, He will never leave you alone, no matter what you are going through. Surely He sees it all, and His heart is moved with compassion over your pain. I am praying for you and love you very much.

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  2. Another lesson that is filled with inspiration. Cheryl your words go straight to my heart. Have a wonderful day!

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your precious words of encouragement, sweet friend. You continually bless me, and I am most grateful for your support and friendship. God bless you!

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  3. Very true words you have written here. I'm also reading Exodus right now (isn't it funny...we still seem to always be going through the same things at the same time! I just used a verse from Exodus on my blog today, ha, ha)and just find so much reassurance in it all, too. This was a great reminder that if we stay the course, the rewards will be great. :)

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    1. You are so right ~ that does seem to happen often with us! I can't wait to read your blog. I am a bit behind in everything, as usual, life just stays so busy, doesn't it? Thank you for your support, friendship, and encouragement along life's way. I am so thankful for you!

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  4. I am always inspired by your humble heart, Cheryl, and know that you are going through your own struggles and journey. I am thankful that you share your innermost feelings with us, through your words, and from the words from the Bible. God bless you!

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    1. Oh, dear friend, sometimes the road gets long, doesn't it? I have something ahead of me that is looming like a lead balloon, and I surely need your continued prayers for God's strength and help. Surely He is a very present help, and I know He is able to see us through. I am praying for you and so thankful for your support and kind words. God bless you abundantly!

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  5. Cheryl, your posts are always encouraging and uplifting. Scripture says obedience is better than sacrifice. Thank you for the beautiful and well written reminder that blessings follow our obedience. Thank you dear friend for your obedience in writing these timely posts. Have a wonderful day!

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend. I am most grateful for your words of encouragement. I love the verse you quoted ~ it is so true. Sometimes we make sacrifices in the name of obedience, and come to find out the sacrifices were not at all what God had in mind. The Lord just showed us that recently ~ that there is such a thing as disobedient sacrifice. Lots to ponder on that subject. God bless you today!

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  6. Indeed, God is the same...yesterday, today, and forever. What a blessing, and what a God we serve! Thank you for this perfectly-timed post, my friend. Your words were a precious reminder that the Lord always rewards obedience. Just today I found out something very disheartening about a place I support and because of what I found out I can no longer, in good conscience, support them. It's a hard decision, but one I must make and your post only confirmed it. Thank you, dear one.

    Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Oh, dear friend! I surely know how you feel in that situation. We have had to stop patronage of different places, also, for the sake of staying in alignment with God's Word. Sometimes, we have no choice. I am so thankful for people like you who stand up for what they believe in and follow Christ, even when it is not the easiest path. He stood up for us, and He made the ultimate sacrifice. So grateful for you and sending hugs your way!

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  7. We're so alike in so many ways... I too struggle with the anxiety of "what ifs", still knowing that He is sovereign. It takes us back to need to rely on Him and seek Him in obedience.

    I'm also grateful for you and the others in this blogging world that is a form of fellowship and encouragement.

    Thanks for being that to so many. Blessings to you and yours.

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    1. Thank you so much, brother. Your encouraging, understanding words are so appreciated. May the Lord richly bless you for all you do and for the blessing you are to us and so many others.

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  8. Oh dear Cheryl, this post went directly to my need today. I'll have to send you an email soon and tell you what's up. This really helped though. Our short shoestring budget has broken.
    Blessings,
    Laura

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    1. Oh, my friend! I am so grateful this ministered to you. Yes, please do email me. I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this ~ I can tell you that I surely understand and am standing in faith with you. Many blessings to you, too. May God meet your every need, in Jesus' name.

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  9. Hi Sweet Friend! I am so very humbled by your words. You always encourage me so very much. I appreciate you beyond what words can say!

    How interesting that the Lord has us in similar books of the Bible and is teaching us similar insights. I LOVE how He has knit us together even in our own personal Bible reading, and I LOVE how this post just added even more insights to the ones He had already shown me. Iron sharpens iron.

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart so transparently and for encouraging us all to fight the good fight and to reap the blessings that indeed God promises us.

    Sending you much love and gratitude.

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    1. Oh, how encouraged I am by your precious words, sweet friend! You are such a blessing to me, and I am praying much for you today. I love how God is leading us to similar insights at the very same time, too ~ oh, it just cements what He is trying to teach us both. Iron surely does sharpen iron. Standing beside you in prayer and faith today and sending much love your way!

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  10. Dear Friend,Please ask all to pray for Us here in N.C. as the huge storm is coming our way..And I am real scared..They say it could come right through the foothills and I am asking God to turn it away from Us..Thanks to all who will pray for Us..Said when it hits Us could be packing from 130 to 160 mile an hour winds or higher..Thanks for taking the request to God..Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. Oh, dear friend! I am not where I have internet access, just for very limited, short periods of time, but I want you to know I got this and will be praying. God is in control of the storms and He rides on the wind. Trust Him, and try not to worry. Love you so much. Keep looking to Jesus. Praying for you.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words of support! God bless you!

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  12. Cheryl,
    Thank you for sharing how God encouraged you and your family through your study of His Word and through Karen's post. It is an encouraging reminder. I pray God continues to strengthen you and your family in His Divine provision as you follow His leading.

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    1. God bless you, Dolly! I truly appreciate your prayers!!

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