May 11, 2017

Deuteronomy 28:2 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.

This list of blessings is well known, and certainly seems attractive. A few of the things are so specifically agrarian that modern city dwellers might not relate to them, but even there the over-all meaning is very clear. That said, we have the stubborn tendency to overlook this verse; all these blessings are conditional. We want to wave a wand or say a few words and have everything turn out the way we want it to be, when God says the answer to blessing is obedience to Him. It is at times amazing how stubbornly we resist that! As John said, God’s commands are not burdensome, (1 John 5:3) but we resist them simply because they are commands. We can’t get it through our heads and hearts that God really is love, (1 John 4:8) which means that all His commands are expressions of love. We don’t like to concede that God’s smart and we aren’t, so we want to plot our own course rather than listen to Him for what He has prepared for us. His plans are always better than ours! When things aren’t turning out well for us, we need to do an attitude check first, and then see where we have failed to listen to God to obey Him. The first place to check is always priorities: what have we placed ahead of God? Any time something gets ahead of God in our heart, even if it’s a very good thing, it becomes an idol, and idolatry never works out well.

Some people assume that with my background, obeying God comes very easily to me. However, the big trap for me is taking God’s blessings for granted. I have spent far too much of my life essentially ignoring God, or perhaps treating Him as an accessory to my life. That has not worked out well! Knowing the Bible well is a good thing, but it does me very little good if I don’t apply it, put it into practice. (James 1:22) Having the Word of God in my head is not the same thing as having it in my heart. (Psalm 119:11) I am greatly blessed, but I desire a more fruitful ministry, seeing more lives changed. The answer isn’t to try to make it happen on my own, but to seek God more, to listen obediently to Him whether what He tells me makes sense to my intellect or not. Pride is the biggest problem, so I’ve got to let go of it more consistently. His plans are always better than mine, so I’d better be listening.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Sorry to keep needing such reminders! Thank You for Your plans for today. I ask for Your anointing as I teach this morning, that my students will be equipped as speech therapists and drawn toward You in the process. I ask Your presence and blessings on the evangelistic meeting I’ll be attending this evening. I pray that there would actually be seekers in attendance, rather than it just being a gathering of Christians. May Your will be done not only in the things that touch me directly but in everything, just as it is in heaven, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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