Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday's Soul Stirrings -- Joyful Obedience

We had a missionary speak today in church. What a blessing it was. He was talking about the love that God bestows upon us. His text was:

1 John 3:1 "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."

Now he used the NIV which uses the word "lavish" instead of bestow as the KJV does. (And then later he explained/corrected "lavish" by using the KJV word "bestow." Interesting . . . I'm just sayin'.)

Nevertheless he gave a great illustration. He told the story of when God asked him to give $1,000 toward the offering that would pay off the mortgage of the church he was pastoring at the time. He was flabbergasted because he did not have $1,000.

He did have however several prized chess sets.

After hemming and hawing (read as: arguing with God), he decided that he would obey and sell his chess sets to raise the money God was asking of him. The sets brought in $800 and he managed to scrape together the other $200 to give for the special offering.

Not long after his gift to God was made, he unexpectedly received a check for $987. Amazing. But it doesn't end there.

It took seven years (interesting for those of you who know anything about the number seven as it relates to the Bible), but God restored to him very similar chess sets (seven, I think) through other people, all unrelated to one another.

He was obedient and God bestowed his love toward this man once again. And yes, I dare say, he did it lavishly.

Now, I can't say that everything we give up to God will be given back exactly as it happened for this particular missionary, but I can tell you what Luke 6:38 says:

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

What amazing promises 1 John 3:1 and Luke 6:38 are.

I was challenged to bring to mind what it is that I hold so dear that I am reluctant to give it/them back to God. What is it that you are reluctant to give to God? Your children? Security in a paycheck? Control over your own life?

I'm not into the "prosperity" angle that seems so pervasive in televised Christianity today, but I do believe the Bible is true and I look forward to the creative ways God will bestow his love toward me when I am obedient.

And I want to be willing to give whatever it is to God when he asks. I will be blessed and more importantly, it will be an act of obedience.

Because, above all, I want to be joyfully obedient.

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