1. A Soul That Longs for More
- Sometimes the God of the universe pauses in the midst of all his creation to touch the heart of one person.
- But we are often afraid to venture past our comfort zone. Outside our comfort zone, though, is where we experience the true awesomeness of God
- You don’t need perfect circumstances to be a woman who says yes to God. You don’t need the perfect religious attitude or all the answers to religious questions. You simply have to surrender all that’s clamoring for attention in your heart with the answer God is longing to hear spill from your lips, “Yes God”
- Women who say yes to God will see life like few others. They are drawn in and embraced by a love like no other. They don’t have to wait until the next time they’re in church to experience God because they sense God’s presence all around them, all through their day. Instead of merely walking through the motions of life, they pursue the adventure of the moment-by-moment divine lessons and appointments God has in store for them. They expect to see God, to hear from him and to be absolutely filled by his peace and joy – and therefore, they do and they are.
- A woman who says yes to God isn’t afraid to be honest with God
- A holy God in the middle of life’s mundane activities will change your life. But you might not always feel happy about the changes. I can’t let you think that being a woman who says Yes to God means everything will suddenly be happy ever after
- Being a woman who says yes to God means making the choice to trust him even when you can’t understand why he requires some of the things He does. It also means that once you’ve said yes to God, you refuse to turn back even when things get hard.
- God absolutely loves to take ordinary people and to do extra ordinary things in them, through them, and with them
- When you look at your everyday circumstances through the lens of God’s perspective, everything changes. You come to realize that God uses each circumstance, each person who crosses your path, and each encounter you have with him as a divine appointment. Each day counts, and every action and reaction matters.
- You won’t find the full blessing until you give walking in obedience your full attention. Obedience, however, is more than just “not sinning”. It’s having the overwhelming desire to walk in the center of God’s will at every moment. Don’t stumble over feeling you won’t be perfect or that you are sure to mess up. Saying yes to God isn’t about perfect performance, but rather perfect surrender to the Lord day by day. Your obedience becomes radical the minute this desire turns into real action. Radical obedience is hearing from God, feeling His nudges, participating in His activity, and experiencing His blessings in ways few people ever do.
2. Hearing God’s voice
- Everyday God speaks to us. Sometimes He invites us to draw close and listen as he reveals Himself, His character and His direction. Other times He calls us to participate in his purposes. Still other times He simply whispers to remind us of His amazing Love for us.
- Many Believers are missing this vital element in their relationship with God.
- How do I know if God is speaking to me? How do I discern whether it is His voice speaking or just my own idea? What if I feel God is telling me to do something that doesn’t seem to make sense?
- There’s no magic formula for being able to discern God’s voice. We can learn to recognize it the way we recognize the voices of those close to us; by knowing Him, and when we know Him, we can tell if what we’re feeling led to do is from Him or not.
- There are five key questions that would help you determine if what you’re hearing from God or not
1. Does what I’m hearing line up with Scripture?
- simply read the Bible and know what it says
- Write down a journal with the verses you like
2. Is what I’m hearing consistent with God’s Character?
- God will not say things that are inconsistent with who he is
- The fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control. These characteristics in a person’s life are the evidence of Christ at work.
- We can’t obtain the fruit of the Spirit by trying to get them without His help. We must know Him, love Him, remember Him, and imitate Him.
3. Is what I’m hearing being confirmed through other messages?
- When God is speaking to me about a particular issue, I cannot escape it. Around every corner there’s a sermon or a Bible Study lesson or speaker’s topic or conversation with a friend that is consistent with what I’ve been hearing from God with my time alone with Him.
- Do you spend time alone with God? We shouldn’t wait to hear from God just on Sunday mornings or during a weekly Bible Study, or when a speaker comes to town. These are places to confirm what we’ve heard in our time alone, where we are personally studying God’s word, learning more about His character, and listening for his voice. We shouldn’t be doing all the talking. God wants us to pour out our hearts to him, and then he wants to respond to us.
- God calls us by name. he wants to have a personal relationship with each of us. When we invest in spending time alone with Him, He will speak to us, and what we hear from Him in these Quiet Times will be enclosed in other places.
4. Is what I’m hearing beyond me?
- The beauty of doing things beyond you is that we will know it was by Go’s doing and His alone. And to him we give all glory. It can only happen by God’s divine intervention.
- If God is calling you to do something you feel is beyond you, you are in good company. God has a history of calling people to things that were beyond themselves.
- Don’t look at your inabilities and dwell in insecurities. Look at Almighty God. See this call as the opportunity to watch Him work in you and through you.
5. Would what I’m hearing Please God?
- See if what you’re doing pleases God, then even if what you thought you heard from Him wasn’t His voice, you still please Him.
These five questions are your starting place. The More you practice listening for God’s voice, the more it becomes a natural part of your daily life. And here’s the best news of all: God wants you to hear Him. He wants your faith to grow. He’s told us so over and over in Scripture.
Listening for God’s voice and communicating with Him does not always come naturally to us. We have to seek it by asking for the desire to want God more than anything else. To ask for the discipline to make my relationship with him top priority. To ask for discernment to know the difference between my own thoughts and God’s voice. To ask for clear direction at each crossroad in my life. To ask for my relationship with God to be characterized by sheer delight rather than a sense of duty.
3. When Obedience Becomes Radical
- When I look back to my life I discover that I was filling myself with the world’s perspectives and influences. While God wanted to be my strength & fill me with Himself.
- Ex: TV as a time waster – God may not ask you to turn off the TV, but he may ask you to do something else (there’s nothing bad about watching TV, shopping, Hanging out with friends, …, it just might be that God wants you to better use your time)
- God has already worked out all the details of what your obedience will accomplish – and it is good. We need not fear what our obedience will cause to happen in our life. We should only fear what our disobedience will cause us to miss. The sooner this truth resonates in your heart, the quicker you can make peace with a command from God that you don’t fully understand.
- God is not interested in half of our heart. He wants it all, and he wants to remove the things that stand in the way of that
- Now we are all messengers who are called to prepare people for Jesus’ second coming
- God wants to teach us that when we tightly hold onto the things of this world, we not only lose the desire to give, but we lose the ability to receive more as well
- As we are purified by God. His reflection in our lives will become more and more clear to those around us
- God wants to know if we’re willing to give up what we love to Him who loves us more
Live in expectation of experiencing God and hearing His voice
Record these times in a journal, look for answers to the prayers you’ve prayed
Understanding from the steps of obedience God has called you to take
- It is hard for a well-meaning soul that desires radical obedience to God to live in a body made of flesh. Our flesh is pulled by the distractions of the world, lured to sell our soul for temporary pleasures, and conned by Satan’s evil schemes.
- Worldly wealth screams that if only you could do more to have more, then ultimate happiness could be yours, and our right to be right seems to supersede the sacrificial call of God. To remain in him and enter the secret place, I simply have to close my eyes and make the choice to be with God. How?
Sometimes it’s because I’m in a desperate place. I pray, “God I’m here, I need you right now”
Other times I need to be with God because I’m feeling pulled into something I know is not part of his best plan for me (ex: buy something, a relationship, or even a particular eating habit that is unhealthy) Whatever it is, I don’t have to be rendered powerless by this pull. I can pray, “God I know you’re more powerful than this pull I am feeling, I am making the choice to walk away. I will find my delight in you and look forward to feeling your fullness replace the emptiness the desire is creating.”
Still other times I simply know I need a fresh filling of God’s Spirit In me. I go to this secret place and simply talk to God. Then listen for his voice 1. Sometimes he provides direction and instruction on something that needs to be done 2. Other times I sense him warning me of something coming 3. Still other times he simply lavishes me with his love
- Obedience is the key that unlocks this secret place with God
4. You Never Know How God Will Use You Until You Let Him
- It is in the small acts of life that God can be reflected very beautifully – taking a meal to a new mother, welcoming a neighbor with an invitation for dinner, or even just smiling at strangers as we pass them on the street. As I pause to help others I am reminded that we are called to notice the people around us and to bring a touch of hope into their lives.
- There’s no end to what God can do with you – if you let Him
- Nonbelievers can do that and call it “good”. Radical obedience is choosing to exchange what is “right” for God’s righteousness
- “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32)
- The truth is the name of Jesus that causes us to pause and redefine ourselves. The truth is the love that compels us to embrace the calling to be Jesus’ ambassador. The truth is the freedom to sour above this life and learn to live beyond ourselves and our circumstances.
- Some people think that worldliness is limited to external behavior – the people we associate with, the places we go, the activities we enjoy. However, worldliness is also internal because it begins in the heart and is characterized by three attitudes:
1. The carvings of the sinful man – preoccupation with gratifying physical desires
2. The lust of his eyes – carving and accumulating things, bowing down to the God of materialism
3. Boasting of what he has and does – obsession of one’s status or importance
God Values self-control, a spirit of generosity and a commitment to humble service
- Satan has no tricks up his sleeve. He still has nothing better to tempt us with than worldly things. Physical, emotional and psychological pleasures.
- Nothing in life is certain. Circumstances roll in and out like the ocean’s tide. The unknown can sometimes seem so frightening as we ponder all the tragic possibilities that we know can and do happen to people. We catch ourselves wondering what the next page of life might hold. We can’t stop or control the things that roll our way anymore than we can stop the water’s edge. But we can make the minute by minute choice to let our souls rest in God.
It would surely be wonderful if life was so prettily packaged. Every time we had trouble in our life, we could then see the good that came out of it. But there are plenty of times when God, in his own sovereignty, does not open our eyes to what he is doing. He wants us to trust him, no matter what is happening. We walk by faith not by sight. “Yet all these, though approved because of their faith, did not receive what had been promised. God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
- God is using all of your experiences, both good & bad, to develop your character to match your calling
5. What Keeps us from saying yes to God
- If someone is quick to find fault in something good someone else is doing, that person is usually wrapped up in his or her own self-centered outlook
- Becoming a woman who unashamedly says yes to God is going to cause you to be different from many of your family members & friends. You will examine life’s circumstances with a different expectation. You will understand that just because life is busy doesn’t mean you have to rush about without God. You understand your responsibility is to obey God and he will handle the outcome. When you start to fret or worry, you know how to get swept into God’s assurance rather than swept away in fear.
- That is why some people might criticize you. Then you should ask, “Is this person criticizing me active in pursuing a relationship with the Lord?”
- Our flesh seeks the approval of others, is swayed by Satan’s voice of condemnation, and looks for the comfortable way out. God’s Spirit in us opposes Satan and the world’s way and offers an unexplainable peace that transcends the circumstances around us.
- There’s no condemnation from Jesus, only conviction. Condemnation leaves us feeling helpless and worthless. Conviction invites us to make positive changes in our lives
- There are things in my life, little and big, that fall short, don’t meet my expectations and cause grumpy feelings inside my heart.. Usually this happens to me when the busyness of life has crowded out my quiet times with Jesus. When I have not spent enough time allowing the Lord to refuel and refill me, I forget that this is not my real home. When my soul gets down, these places can be distracting and difficult. And sometimes the reality is we feel hurt and discouraged.
- When we find ourselves in these hard places, we make the choice to worry or worship. When we worry, we lay at night and ponder Satan’s lies. We have pity parties (Negative thinking, doubt, and resignation). But when we worship, we turn our focus off of ourselves and back into God Almighty. In my worship of him, my soul is safe and comforted and reassured and at peace.
- We are to die to our self-centeredness so we can have more of Christ in our hearts and minds. The focus of our hearts and minds will shape our decisions and actions that follow.
- Our attention is like a magnifying glass – whatever we place it on becomes larger and more consuming of our time and energy
- God is watching me with a smile on his face; it’s not my perfect performance that captures his attention. Rather it’s my complete dependence on him that he notices.
6. If it were easy it won’t be worth doing
- If our desire for obedience is born merely out of duty, we may be quick to give up. However, if our desire is born out of delight out of a love relationship that burns deep in our soul, it won’t be extinguished – no matter the cost
- A real sign of spiritual maturity is looking to God not for comfort and convenience but for purpose and perspective. When trouble comes, the complacent person becomes critical of everyone, including God. On the other hand, purpose and perspective lead to perseverance that is evident in those living a truly devoted life. The persistent person eagerly looks to handle trials and struggles in a way that honors God and allows personal growth.
- Our changed perspective helps us see God in everything. Satan wants to keep our perspective in a place where our heart is discourages and our mind is questioning God.
- “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. This does not mean that everything that happens to us will be good, but that God will work in and through every situation to bring god from it
- God always hears me when I cry out to him, and when he says no, it’s for my provision, my protection, and it’s a part of the process of growing me more like Christ.
Provision – how can he be our ultimate provider if we aren’t ever lacking and in need?
Protection – he wants to protect me from something worse that would happen
Part of the Process – In times where the road diverges in front of us, we can either fall away from God or fall toward him
7. Keeping Our Vision Clear
- Why is it that we can be so nearsighted when it comes to God’s plan for us? Why do we let what’s right in front of us distract us from the bigger grander vision God has in mind?
- To be radically obedient is to keep God’s vision clearly in front of us, to be so busy looking at what he wants, looking at him, that everything else becomes less important.
- How easy it is to obey partially. Obeying just enough to give the right Christian appearance is not the obedience God desires.
- What’s remarkable about radical obedience is that you don’t know where it will lead. You don’t know how God will use it.
1. Our call to obedience may challenge our pride. God hates our prideful attitude
2. God uses our experiences to equip us for our calling. God doesn’t waste our experiences in life.
3. Our obedience may inspire others to respond. As we respond in obedience, others will catch the vision and respond to God’s calling on their own lives.
- It’s hard to imagine anyone playing games in the shadow of the cross while the savior of the world looked on in the excruciating pain.
8. Giving up what was never ours
- God has special knowledge in our lives. He has blessings for the radically obedient that make the dime-store stuff we are on holding on to pale in comparison. The question is, do we trust him? Do we trust that He will bless us? Do we trust that His blessings are infinitely better than what he might first ask us to release?
- Trust. Isn’t that why more of us don’t offer all we have to God? We don’t trust that He really will throw open the flood-gates of blessing in return.
- Sacrificial giving is one of the few times God asks us to test Him. Leaving our comfort zone, however, is the very place God calls us to get out from under our own selfishness with our possessions and accept His invitation to become radically obedient with what we own. Then, not only will He bless us, but He will lavish blessing upon blessing on us
- We fear that giving sacrificially will make our lives empty, when in reality, withholding is what leads to emptiness. Giving, releasing, surrendering to God in this way, is what leads to more fulfillment than we ever dreamed possible.
- Understanding and discovering the beautiful opportunities of sacrificial living is so opposite of what the world tells us, and yet it is the only way to find the happiness and joy our hearts long for
- Sometimes, I just simply want to be selfish. But when I choose selfishness, I may be happy for the moment but I’m miserable in the long run. Yet, my lord, with his incredible patience, doesn’t leave me in my misery. I call out to him in repentance, and just like a connect-the-dots game, Jesus fills in the gaps between the dots to reveal a beautiful picture of Himself in my life. The more I practice his presence, the more I will explore His presence, and the more mature I will become.
- When we come to understand that we’re giving up what was never ours to begin with, we’re walking in radical obedience
9. Radically Blessed
- We can’t seek to follow God wholeheartedly if part of our heart is being pilled in a different direction. We can’t pursue the radically obedient life and still continue to flirt with disobedience in certain areas of our life. We can’t be both red and green toward God at the same time. It gets us nowhere. It’s confusing. It’s dangerous.
- Now it’s time to respond. But what if:
- I don’t feel able to make such a commitment?
- I say yes, and then I mess up?
- I have times when I just don’t like being obedient?
- That’s not your voice sowing seeds of doubt; it’s Satan’s voice. He wants to keep you in doubt and confusion. He wants you to fail to fulfill the purposes God has for you and thwart the positive impact you could make in life of so many.
- You don’t feel able? – Good! Christ power is made perfect through weakness. Ask God for the strength and desire
- What if you mess up? – Grace! God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up
- What if you woke up in a bad mood and just don’t feel like being obedient? – Choice! Obey based on your decision to obey, not on your ever-changing feelings.
- When we ask God to continually give us the desire to remain obedient. He does. He will help us to want to obey him and will give us his power to do so. Remember that lasting obedience must be born out of desire not duty
- If your answer to this invitation is Yes, then get ready. You have not only signed up for the most incredible journey you can imagine, but you’ve also just given God the green light to pour out His radical blessings on your life:
1. A deeper relationship with God
- You will begin to live in expectation of hearing from God everyday. You will start to better understand his character and seek to be more like him. You will discover the depth of love that the father has for you that you never even knew was possible
- This will give you a feeling of acceptance and significance that you can’t get any other way
- Some people spend their whole lives chasing things that will make them feel accepted and significant. But the truth us this world only has packages full of empty promises to offer. (The new house, the fancier car, the latest gadget, the fastest computer, the sleek fashions, and everything else that seems so enticing won’t last). They will all wear out, break down, tear up, and become obsolete. In contrast, every investment we make in our relationship with God will only serve to reap rich dividends for now and eternity. No time spent experiencing God will ever be a waste.
2. A more adventurous life
- Daily adventure with God will add an excitement to your life that will change your whole perspective. No longer is your day just one humdrum task after another, but rather a string of divine appointments & hidden treasures waiting to be discovered
- Seeing life is like this opens up God’s storehouses of joy. The mark of a truly godly woman is one who reveals the power of God not so much in her doing than in her being. She has opened God’s treasure chest of joy and so filled her heart with gratitude and love that just being around her inspires you. She goes about the simplest of tasks, her everyday duties, and even the rough patches of life with such grace that you find yourself wanting to imitate her. She is full of adventure yet not worn out from the journey.
3. Depth of inner peace
- In our world of turmoil and uncertainty there is nothing more precious than peace. When we say yes to God, we know that our life and the lives of those we love rest in the certainty of his never-changing love for us. While we can’t control the circumstances we face, we can choose how we react to them. If you’ve settled in your heart to say yes to God and completely trust him, then you don’t have to worry about the future. You are not in charge of the outcome; you are simply responsible to be obedient. You will be blessed with the peace of knowing that God has a perfect plan and holds everything in His perfect control. What freedom this brings!
4. Personal Satisfaction
- Radically obedient people no longer have to strategize and manipulate things into being. Instead, they are blessed with opportunities that bring them real satisfaction according to God’s perfect design for them.
5. Better Relationships with people
- In every relationship with others, you will find things that you love, and things that get on your nerves. The radically obedient person is blessed with being able to appreciate another’s Christ-likeness and to give grace to their humanness. Whether a person is a believer or not, he is still made in God’s image, and God is crazy in love with him. When you are committed to radical obedience, you see everyone through God’s eyes of love
6. Meaning and purpose to life
- Our hearts search for a deeper meaning in life, and radically obedient people find it in loving the Lord, loving others he brings in our path, and continually seeking to become more like Jesus
7. Eternal perspective
- Life is about so much more than just the here and now, and the radically obedient person lives in the light of that perspective. Life isn’t about living to give our lives away and make a real impact in this world. It’s not about serving out of religious duty. It’s about delighting in our relationship with God so much that we want to serve out of an overflow of love and gratitude. Our time here is but a small dot on an eternal line. What we do now in this brief moment will determine our destiny for eternity. The radically obedient person is blessed with an eternal perspective