Fast Wednesdays: Week of August 20, 2014 – “Repent and Receive the Fruit(s) of Obedience”

Greetings Beloved!

Last week I shared with you the topic of “Waiting.” I provided a study by Dr. Charles Stanley which gave some encouragement and things to ponder as we learn how to wait on God. Certainly* 1) We receive supernatural energy and strength and 2) We win battles which were two of his points that really caught my attention with details below. The scripture used is one of my favorite which I learned many years ago that has brought me much comfort: Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (I really encourage you to go back and review the study in totality if you did not have time to go through it or make a bookmark or note somewhere that you will take the time to go back and do it).

*1)  We receive supernatural energy and strength. Trying to manipulate circumstances drains our energy. Actively waiting on God is energizing. When we allow Him to strengthen us for the tasks we’re called to do, we can experience supernatural energy. Read Isaiah 40:20-31. What does this passage promise to the person who waits on the Lord? Describe a time when you waited on God and felt physically or spiritually renewed.

2)  We win battles. When we rush God’s plans or do things our own way, we end up defeated. But waiting on Him will ensure our victory and keep us from foolish and precipitous acts. Proverbs 20:22 says, “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the LORD, and He will save you.” The disciples were encouraged and excited after the resurrection of Christ. Why did Jesus tell them to wait before sharing the gospel with the world? (Acts 1:8) What was the fruit of their obedience? (See Acts 2, especially vv. 41-47.) Have you ever felt ready to act, and yet sensed God wanted you to wait? If so, describe your response and the outcome.

Consequently, my “Praise Report” this week, comes from the fact that God had been showing me, maybe for the last three or four years, something I should be doing. I avoided it at all costs and was just plainly disobedient. Well, the quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different outcomes…” kept running through my head and I FINALLY was obedient and did what God was telling me to do. I took the time, meanwhile, to repent for taking sooooo long to do what God was telling me! (Sidebar: How many times does God tell you to do something and you might even discuss it with others and they tell you “you don’t have to do all that” and even though what they say might make you feel better for your disobedience, you still know what God told you to do and you better get to it as you will not know PEACE until its done? Can I get an AMEN?).

Of course, once I literally began the task, miracles and things beyond anything I can think or imagine started happening and showing up!!! GLORY.

Sadly, “neither repentance nor obedience is very high on the American scale of values. A culture that exalts individualism, self-affirmation, independence and assertiveness has a hard time digesting repentance and obedience. Repentance is above all an acknowledgment of personal responsibility for sins. But we don’t like to admit to sin. Our court system, for example, promotes “not guilty” as the standard plea, even in cases in which the perpetrator acknowledges doing the deed or has been caught in the act.

We don’t even like to talk about sins. We admit to mistakes, failures and misunderstandings, but sins are too hard, too legalistic, too judgmental, too incapable of reinterpretation. If there is anything Americans don’t like to admit to more than sins, it is anything associated with the word “obedience.” Obedience means following rules, accepting authority, submitting to another. Obedience implies something external to ourselves which requires conformity on our part. Our existentialism-permeated culture calls that “inauthentic existence.” Authentic existence, we are told, is to accept no authority but one’s chosen values, goals and lifestyle. The American mind-set is epitomized in Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “I Did It My Way”– not society’s way, not the church’s way and certainly not God’s way.

Scripture:1 Samuel 15:22 Contemporary English Version (CEV) 22 “Tell me,” Samuel said. “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him.

Based on 1 Samuel 15:22, is Samuel saying that sacrifice is unimportant? No, he was urging Saul to look at his reasons for making the sacrifice rather than at the sacrifice itself. A sacrifice was a ritual transaction between man and God that physically demonstrated a relationship between them. But if the person’s heart was not truly repentant or if he did not truly love God, the sacrifice was a hollow ritual. Religious ceremonies or rituals are empty unless they are performed with an attitude of obedience. “Being religious” (going to church, serving on a committee, giving to charity) is not enough if we do not act out of devotion and obedience to God.

We all must know “Sin is a cloud, designed to separate us from God.” Last week, Wednesday and Friday I saw rainbows in the skies…its my sign that my season has changed and the importance of obedience in my relationship with God but also even with others is vital and that my clouds (SINS) have moved or shifted!

Song:
Keith Green – To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice (live)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzWyZxlwGKI

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the fruits of obedience which exceed anything I could think or imagine because you are God, the creator, who is always exceeding the limits my natural human tendency seems to place on things. Thank you for seasons, reasons, people, places and things. Teach me to stay focused on my purpose rather than circumstances or the opinions of people around me. Help me as I submit, in total obedience, to you. Amen.

Love, Joy and Peace, 
Debra J. Ellis

Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters (and some brothers) in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us, for various reasons, participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the blog continues to grow!

The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord, both chronologically and spiritually in accordance to: A God-Filled Life Titus 2:3-5 “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.”  Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (djf52055@gmail.com), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog in Word Press:  https://fastwednesdays.wordpress.com/

PICTURES:
1) A “plant” my friend, Karen gave me when I was grieving the lost of my nephew Fred last year…look at how it as grown and it gives me so much comfort!

2) A “plant” my friend, Janice, gave me when I was grieving the lost of my sister Sharon last year…
3) Orange tree with oranges, especially for my NORTHERN friends…should be ready for picking in a bit…yep, just when you arrive for a visit!

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2 Responses to Fast Wednesdays: Week of August 20, 2014 – “Repent and Receive the Fruit(s) of Obedience”

  1. Paula Dickerson says:

    Cousin Debra I love Fast Wednesday. Every week I am blessed and encouraged. I am especially touched today. I know God has been telling me things and preparing me to be ready. Thanks for your time and inspiration.

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