obedience

What’s in Your House?

What do you have in your house? This was the question the prophet Elisha asked a widow woman who was grieving because she had just lost her husband and was living under the threat of losing her two sons to a creditor she owed. Her response was “nothing except a jar of oil.” Her house was literally empty as the creditor had most likely taken everything she owned to satisfy her debt, and the only thing left of any value were her two sons. She was filled with grief over her loss, filled with fear about losing her sons, and completely empty and drained of life as a result—and the creditor didn’t care. We live in a world that’s the same way, and the events, demands, losses, attacks will leave you the same way. If that describes you right now, you need to study the widow woman in 2 Kings 4, because her life turned around. Her life turned around because she knew where to go for directions. Because her husband feared the Lord, she knew that in a time of need she needed to go to a man of God, Elisha. There are men and women of God who can point you in the right direction and should ask you, “What do you have in your house?” The widow already had what she needed, she just didn’t know what to do with it. Elisha gave her specific instructions, “Go and borrow a lot of empty vessels from your neighbors, and get a bunch,” (my paraphrase). Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you and pour out into the empty vessels. Sounds strange, but here’s the point—when you have a crisis-level need and ask God for provisions, always be ready to follow His instructions no matter what.

The widow had what she needed already, she just needed to pour it out. As she poured out in faith and obedience, God poured in. She started out with nothing, but ended up with all she needed and was a witness to all her neighbors, the creditor, her sons, and to us. God is ready today to pour into your life, but you have to answer the question, what’s in your house? If you have by faith accepted Christ’s death on your behalf, the Spirit of God lives within you and you are the dwelling place of His Spirit—He lives in your house! In Him, you have all that you need. Follow God’s instructions in faith and obedience and let your life be full again.

Stopped by God

It never fails that when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere someone gets in my way. It doesn’t matter if it’s driving down the road or trying to get through the checkout line at the store, and it has even happened when I’ve been in desperate need of the restroom. Can you relate? And so that is just the way life is, right? But there is also a greater reality to consider, and that is the possibility of God getting in your way. Not only will God get in your way, but we’re told that in Acts 16 that the Spirit forbid Paul to preach in one place and didn’t permit him to go to another place. Paul was stopped by God.


Acts 16:6-10Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”


Please don’t think that God is not still stopping people and forbidding people from going into certain places and doing certain things. And it wasn’t like those in Asia didn’t need to hear the gospel as much as those in Macedonia. But this speaks to the intentionality of God. God can get you to where He wants you by closing the doors and by a series of what may seem like frustrating events. From my own experience, God can grab your tongue and hold it at the beginning of the most important interview of your life to stop you from going a certain direction. From my experience, God can put the brakes on your plans to move to another city even after you’ve placed a down payment on the house you intended to live in just by speaking softly to you through the reading of His Word. God can stop you by speaking through the mouth of a complete stranger or He can stop you by troubling your spirit and keeping you up all night over a decision you’re about to make.


What this Holy Spirit intervention tells me is that we need to become very familiar with the Holy Spirit’s voice and grow in our relationship with Him. It also tells me that when I sense God is getting in my way, to not force the issue and ignore His prompting just to create my own disaster. We often run into walls that frustrate, but in the greater reality, those are heaven’s guardrails meant to get you headed in the right direction. God has a way He wants us to go and it’s always towards Him and never away from Him. This very moment your life is headed in a specific direction, as is the whole world. If you’re not going God’s way, you should expect His grace-filled intervention. When Paul was forbidden to go one way, He anticipated God sending him another way. Like Paul, wait for God to show you the way, and then walk in it!

“Don’t ask me Again”

We are called to “pray without ceasing” and to “make our petitions known to God.” Phil. 4:6. But there comes a time when you need to stop asking God. When my kids were very young they would ask for something and keep on asking if they didn’t get an immediate “No.” Sometimes I would say “No” and they would keep on asking until I gave in or say, “Don’t ask me again.” That response usually carried a sharp tone they understood. I can hear our Father in heaven say to us, “Don’t ask me again!” But not because He has said “No” but because He has said “Yes.”
There does come a point when you can stop asking and just start doing what God has already placed in your heart to do. You have more freedom in Christ than the enemy wants you to realize and walk-in. I’ve been guilty of asking the same thing of the Lord over and over when I already knew what He had laid on my heart to do. If you know then you can stop asking, just get busy doing it.
Why do we keep asking? Many times we keep asking because we are over-analyzing what we know God has said. Sometimes we keep asking because it’s one of our greatest stalling tactics because we are scared to death. We might keep asking thinking some greater revelation is going to come. We might also keep asking because our faith is weak or we don’t want to move without additional information. But God isn’t going to fill in all the blanks for you. God intentionally leaves out information with His direction and instructions to build our faith and trust in Him. Why not just do what God has said?
Let me ask you, what have you been repeatedly asking God and deep in your heart you already know the answer? Stop asking God and do what He has said.

DISTINGUISHED

Distinguished! That word is usually used to describe someone whose clothing fashion sets them apart from everyone else. Their fashion may not be flashy, but it is classy and catches the eye of the lookers. Distinguished also describes someone who has excelled in a specific field of study and research. There’s nothing wrong with being distinguished. In fact, being distinguished is God’s desire for you and me. We should be distinguished spiritually, not in some way that draws attention to us, but in a way that draws people to Christ. What is it that sets you apart from others? What sets you apart from those you attend church with? In all reality, your strong faith expressed in surrendered obedience to Him is the only thing that will distinguish you spiritually. It’s not your voice or ability to speak or even your faithful attendance to the Lord’s house that sets you apart. Others can teach, preach, sing and serve, but a strong faith and surrendered obedience distinguishes you. Hebrews 11 is filled with spiritually distinguished people. God is faithfully calling you to a life of faith and obedience, and not just to set you apart, but this is God’s way of providing the abundant life He promised. Without faith followed by obedience, the abundant life will be a spiritual mirage and being distinguished will only be a dream. Look at what it says about Joshua’s counterpart in Numbers 14:24 “But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.” Caleb was distinguished because he trusted God when other men didn’t. Anyone can be different, but only a few will be spiritually distinguished. God is calling you to be among the few.

%d bloggers like this: