Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013 … Outcomes versus Obedience-Based Living?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 175

Passage of the Day #1: Daniel 3: 28 [Three willing to live an obedience-based life.] [NLT]  
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God."
Contextual Study for today’s passages above: Daniel, Chapter 3 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Romans 8: 28 [Truth; … but do we believe it?] [NLT]  
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

  Reference Passage #2: Romans 12: 1-2 [Truth; … but do we live it?] [NLT]  
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

My Journal for Today: Let’s get right to the application questions from Os Hillman today; and then I’ll get to God’s word on the matter. Hillman from his devotional entry for this date asks: ” Are you an obedienced-based Christian? Or are there situations that can move you based on the outcomes? God wants to know that we will stand firm on the issues that are important to HIM, no matter what the outcomes may be. God is looking for those who are radical in their obedience. Does this describe our commitment to Christ?”

Now let me present Hillman’s biblical support for such questions. In Daniel, Chapter 3, linked above for your review and meditation, Hillman uses the well known life story about Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, the three young Jewish friends of Daniel, who were renamed by the Babylonian king to be “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” And we know the famous story about how these three stood in obedience to God in the face of King Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into a fire for their beliefs but were protected by Jesus, Who came to them in the flames and kept them unharmed.

Do you see the immediate application on our application questions for today? Are we willing to live obedience-based lives, … no matter what the outcomes might be?

The Apostle Paul wrote a lot about this in His God-inspired letters, didn’t he? In one of his two passages, which I’ve copied above, we’re challenged to decide to believe and live, based upon Roman 8: 28, which flat-out states that, for Christians, everything which happens, no matter how cataclysmic, is for the good of God’s chosen ones. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed that, didn’t they; and they were willing to be obedient to God in the face of a fiery furnace to prove it, weren’t they? … What about you and me?

Then there’s God’s exhortation through Paul in Romans 12: 1-2 to live lives of “living sacrifice,” avoiding the temptations of Satan’s world, so as to worship our Lord with our living, looking to obedience rather than being influenced to live for selfish outcomes. … But do we?

Where do we set the boundaries of our belief and faith in Christ? Should we have any personal or worldly boundaries? Should our boundaries of obedience in life be anything short of those exhibited by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? I think not! But I think we all need to do another self-inventory to see, in our Christian living, whether we’re willing to walk-the-walk of obedience-based [Savior] living rather than to fall short in outcomes-based [selfish] living.

Personally, I’m challenged by these questions to set my boundaries much farther out in the direction of glorifying my God with my obedience than I have. … What about you?

 And to help us contemplate these questions, let me link you to one of my favorite hymns, on God Tube and the classic version sung by Faith Hill -  or a little more contemporary version with lyrics by Brian Littrell.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I surrender all! … Amen

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