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ORDINARY OBEDIENCE IS EXTRAORDINARY

BREAD

17 Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. 18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 1:17-20 (NIV)

3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. Deuteronomy 6:2-3 (NIV)

22 But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)

2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, show yourself a man, 3 and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” 1 Kings 2:2-3 (NIV)

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:51-52 (NIV)

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)

23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:23-24 (NIV)

13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV)

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

BUTTER

“Though salvation is not by the works of the law, yet the blessings which are promised to obedience are not denied to the faithful servants of God. The curses our Lord took away when He was made a curse for us, but no clause of blessing has been abrogated. We are to note and listen to the revealed will of the Lord, giving our attention not to portions of it but to ‘all these words.’ There must be no picking and choosing but an impartial respect to all that God has commanded. This is the road of blessedness for the Father and for His children. The Lord’s blessing is upon His chosen to the third and fourth generation. If they walk uprightly before Him, He will make all men know that they are a seed which the Lord has blessed.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Obedience is God’s love language.” Donna Evans

“Faithfulness rarely feels heroic; it feels much more like showing up and hanging in. It is a matter of going to our cell, whatever form that might take, and letting it teach us what it will. Availing himself (Brother Lawrence) to consistent faithfulness yielded the blessing of both proficiency and presence—the presence of God—right there in midst of the monotony of dirty pots and pans.” Margaret Guenther

“Obedience means marching right on whether we feel like it or not.” D. L. Moody

“Why in the world disdain the small? It’s always the smallest strokes that add up to the greatest masterpieces. Because the thing really is: Do we ever really know which mark we make — that will matter the most? The extraordinary things happen nowhere else but in the everyday and today can always be the beginning: That card you signed and sealed and put in the mail, the way you smiled and nodded to the white-crowned woman bent over the still-green bananas, the way you dug around in the dirt and left that seed or that gift of the knees and that prayer whispered for a stranger or that glass of water you handed to someone and winked because you just knew — You’ve got to remember: we don’t know when and how we are leaving the greatest marks on the world. It all matters. Believe it: Every tremor of kindness might erupt in a miracle on the other side of the world.” Ann Voskamp

“Our significance isn’t found in fame or fortune, but in knowing that we have been links in God’s chain. Our faithfulness to Him, even in obscurity, will yield results that can only be calculated in eternity…..Our only duty in life is to be faithful to all the work the Lord assigns.” Robert J. Morgan

“What will you do in these days of mundane faithfulness?” Martin Luther

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” John W. Gardner

“Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ.” A.W. Tozer

“Faithfulness stands at the heart of who God is and what He wants to do in and through us. It is rooted in commitment and trust. Trust is produced when we make a promise and then keep it, when we make a commitment and then honor it, and when we say something and mean it. Consistency, reliability, and proven track records are all aspects of faithfulness. Faithfulness means giving your best to any effort you undertake, whether it is a task or a relationship.” Michael Youssef

“A life well lived is simply a life filled with continual ordinary obedience in doing the next right thing particularly when no one sees, when no one is watching. No fireworks go off, no horns blow, no grand applause from an adoring audience. It is living the one life we have been given for an audience of the One Who gave it to us, for His pleasure for our good. Being a follower of sweet Jesus will always boil down to a matter of our faithful ordinary obedience. And will always lead to a life well lived.” BHY

“Love for God and obedience to God are so completely involved in each other that any one of them implies the other too.” F. F. Bruce

“Every revelation of God is a demand, and the way to knowledge of God is by obedience.” William Temple

“One word stands out from all others as the key to knowing God, to having His peace and assurance in your heart; it is obedience.” Eric Liddell

“Habits are to the soul what veins are to the blood. The very course of our life depends on them. Random acts of greatness pale in comparison to habitual acts of faithfulness.” Ann Voskamp

“Sometimes, heroism isn’t very glamorous.” Kelly Flanagan

“We’re pilgrims on the journey – Of the narrow road – And those who’ve gone before us line the way – Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary – Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace – Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses – Let us run the race not only for the prize – But as those who’ve gone before us – Let us leave to those behind us – The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives – After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone – And our children sift through all we’ve left behind – May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover – Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find – Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful – May the fire of our devotion light their way – May the footprints that we leave – Lead them to believe – And the lives we live inspire them to obey – Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.” Steve Green

HEART SAVOR

• God desires my ordinary obedience through His extraordinary power.
• Ordinary obedience comes without great fanfare yet it is priceless.
• Little steps in obedience culminates in a great life without regrets.

LOVED WITHOUT MEASURE

BREAD

3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

17 “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV)

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 (NIV)

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11 (NIV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 (NIV)

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12 (NIV)

12 “‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” Joel 2:12-13 (NIV)

BUTTER

“Yes, there are graces to which we have not attained; places of fellowship nearer to Christ which we have not reached; and heights of communion which our feet have not climbed. At every banquet of love many baskets of leftovers remain.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“God’s love is always supernatural, always a miracle, always the last thing we deserve.” Robert Horn

“Jesus was truly free. His freedom was rooted in his spiritual awareness that he was the Beloved Child of God. He knew in the depth of his being that he belonged to God before he was born, that he was sent into the world to proclaim God’s love, and that he would return to God after his mission was fulfilled. This knowledge gave him the freedom to speak and act without having to please the world and the power to respond to people’s pains with the healing love of God. That’s why the Gospels say: ‘Everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all’ (Luke 6:19).” Henri Nouwen

“There is something contagious about a heart of love. People who are selfless with their love can make giant waves in this world where those who cling to selfish desires cause only ripples. In fact, those who have hearts of love view the people around them as being most important. A heart that bears the marks of God’s intimate love is not a selfish heart. When we look directly into God’s heart of love, we are transformed forever. The selfish desires that once dominated our heart’s landscapes vanish in an instant, replaced by a desire to lavish love on others. As God begins to transform our hearts through His grace and kindness, we become vessels willing to reciprocate this type of love. Something happens inside of us. We begin to realize the twofold effect of loving God and loving others – not just friends and family, but others who cross our paths every day. Hardened hearts begin to melt beneath the warmth of Christ’s love overflowing from our lives. People who we never thought would let the name of Jesus roll off their lips suddenly praise Him because we have taken the time to love them the way God has commanded us to love. Once we learn how to abide in His love, our feelings of jealousy, greed, and anger die a quick death. A true champion extends grace and kindness because he knows the transformation that has taken place in his own heart, and he realizes those who receive God’s love and grace have no other course of action but to give God’s love away.” Michael Youssef

“For the love of God is broader than the measures of man’s mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.” Frederick William Faber

“Wherefore it follows that God created the whole world for the manifestation of his love and goodness to the rational part of the world. Therefore there will doubtless be a time wherein God will fully manifest his love to good men, to those that answer the end of their creation. But reason tells us that they that fully enjoy the love of God must be exceeding happy beyond compare: for how happy are men sometimes in the love one of another. How much more happy, then, must they necessarily be in the enjoyment of the love of him who is infinitely greater, better and more excellent than any creature.” Jonathan Edwards

“Be not dismayed, but go to Him who is the God of all comfort, who comforteth all those that are bowed down, and He will give you a word which shall heal your wounds, and breathe peace into you spirit.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“God’s desire to communicate happiness to the creature entails a willingness to experience loss to the sake of the beloved. It is exceeding congruous for God, a being of infinite goodness and love, to give to the creature the highest sort of expression of love—which is expensed for the beloved. Therefore through the mission of the Son, God reveals a love that suffers in behalf of the beloved. Now I can clearly and distinctly conceive how the giving of Christ is the perfect expression of love, as the greatest expense in a lover. For the incarnation expresses the love of God in a way that is exceedingly noble and excellent and agreeable to the glorious perfections of God.” Jonathan Edwards

“The love of Christ both wounds and heals, it fascinates and frightens, it kills and makes alive, it draws and repulses. There can be nothing more terrible or wonderful than to be stricken with love for Christ so deeply that the whole being goes out in a pained adoration of His person, an adoration that disturbs and disconcerts while it purges and satisfies and relaxes the deep inner heart.” A. W. Tozer
“The love for equals is a human thing–of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing–the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing–to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy–love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.” I echo that. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.” Frederick Buechner

HEART SAVOR

• As God has loved me a sinner, I am to love others.
• Biblical love does – it is an action not simply a feeling. It always has the best interest at heart of the one beloved. It is self-less. It is to esteem, relish, honor, respect, prize and to be devoted to and it is rooted in the mind and the will. It is not of the flesh rather from above.
• Biblical love is only possible through the indwelling power of the Spirit. My flesh will fail me every time.

FOLLOW HIM WHO IS THE WAY

BREAD

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV)

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 (NIV)

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Matthew 19:27-30 (NIV)

2 “The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them. 7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:2-11 (NIV)

26 “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:26 (NIV)

2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6 (NIV)

BUTTER

“I have continually to mourn that I follow at such a distance and learn so slowly to imitate my precious Master.” Hudson Taylor

“When the Bible speaks of ‘following Jesus’ it is proclaiming a discipleship which will liberate mankind from all man-made dogma, from every burden and oppression, from every anxiety and torture which afflicts the conscience. If they follow Jesus, men escape from the hard yoke of their own laws, and submit to the kindly yoke of Jesus Christ. But does this mean that we can ignore the seriousness of His command? Far from it! We can only achieve perfect liberty and enjoy fellowship with Jesus when His command, His call to absolute discipleship, is appreciated in its entirety. Only the man who follows the command of Jesus without reserve, and submits unresistingly to His yoke, finds his burden easy, and under its gentle pressure receives the power to persevere in the right way. The command of Jesus is hard—unutterably hard—for those who try to resist it.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“My chains fell off, my heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.” Charles Wesley

“We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by ‘looking unto Jesus’. Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! Let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.” C. H. Spurgeon

“I arise today Through God’s strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak to me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me, From snares of devils, From temptations of vices, From every one who shall wish me ill, Afar and anear, Alone and in a multitude.” St. Patrick

“Most of us get up in the morning saying, ‘I am going to make something of my life, and I’ll follow Jesus too.’ But I just want you to know that we can’t have it both ways. We have to have the formula right. ‘Follow Me,’ Jesus said, ‘and as you follow Me, I will make something of your life.’” Joseph Stowell, III

“To be rebuffed by a loved one causes pain not to be compared with the cruelties inflicted by an enemy. So your indifference and unresponsiveness to My call brings anguish to My soul, indeed, deeper grief than the crimes of the reprobate sinner. I have laid My rod upon the sinner, but I have laid My hand upon you. And I have put My arm around you to draw you closer, but you have been impatient and irritable as though I sought to interfere with your liberty. I am able to give you greater liberty than you will ever find by seeking to be independent of Me. I seek not to interfere with your happiness, but I do require that you relinquish your will; for I cannot bless you as I desire until your will is yielded up and you accept Mine in exchange. As you love Me, you accept My will as your own, and the caliber and extent of your love for Me may be accurately measured to the degree that you accept My will with a peaceful heart. You can best sing ‘My Jesus, I Love You’ when you can truly sing ‘Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow.’ For whoever does not take up his cross daily to follow Me cannot be My disciple.” Frances J. Roberts

“Costly grace is the Gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son. ‘Ye were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the incarnation of God.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Never dread any consequence resulting from absolute obedience to His command. Never fear the rough waters ahead, which through their proud contempt impede your progress. God is greater than the roar of raging water and the mighty waves of the sea. ‘The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever’ (Psalm 29:10). A storm is simply the hem of His robe, the sign of His coming, and the evidence of His presence. Dare to trust Him! Dare to follow Him! Then discover that the forces that blocked your progress and threatened your life become at His command the very materials He uses to build your street of freedom.” F. B. Meyer

HEART SAVOR

• The sheep follow the Shepherd. They recognize His voice and His ways.
• If you are earnestly pursuing the will of God, He will shut the door if it is not one you are to enter. Just look at Paul’s life when he wanted to go east rather than west. God will make His way clear if we are willing to listen and obey.
• Though perhaps excruciatingly difficult, God’s good and pleasing and perfect will is always the BEST place to be.

RIGHTLY IMPRESS YOUR CHILDREN

BREAD

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)

8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9 They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9 (NIV)

1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3 When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, 4 he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:1-7 (NIV)

6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV)

17 He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. Proverbs 10:17 (NIV)

4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:4-6 (NIV)

15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)

BUTTER

“But what does it mean to ‘love one another’? The answer: This is love, that we walk in obedience to His commands. John defined Christian love in terms of obedience to God. A Christian who truly seeks God’s best for his brothers and sisters can only do so by obeying what God has commanded him to do. Love undirected by God’s revealed will may easily degenerate into unwise, sentimental activity.” Bible Knowledge Commentary

“This is our first duty, we are to begin at the family hearth: he is a bad preacher who does not commence his ministry at home. The heathen are to be sought by all means, and the highways and hedges are to be searched, but home has a prior claim, and woe unto those who reverse the order of the Lord’s arrangements. To teach our children is a personal duty; we cannot delegate it to Sunday School Teachers, or other friendly aids, these can assist us, but cannot deliver us from the sacred obligation…mothers and fathers must, like Abraham, command their households in the fear of God, and talk with their offspring concerning the wondrous works of the Most High.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“We’re pilgrims on the journey – Of the narrow road – And those who’ve gone before us line the way – Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary – Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace – Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses – Let us run the race not only for the prize – But as those who’ve gone before us – Let us leave to those behind us – The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives – After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone – And our children sift through all we’ve left behind – May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover – Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find – Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful – May the fire of our devotion light their way – May the footprints that we leave – Lead them to believe – And the lives we live inspire them to obey – Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.” Steve Green

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” Robert Fulghum

“The majority of children acquire the characteristics and habits of their parents. What are they learning from us?” Billy Graham

“This is a passing world — a world that is passing away, and a world passing on its legacy, and the children are looking up and straight into us, asking the world what in this banged-up world are you all passing down to us?” Ann Voskamp

“Though salvation is not by the works of the law, yet the blessings which are promised to obedience are not denied to the faithful servants of God. The curses our Lord took away when He was made a curse for us, but no clause of blessing has been abrogated. We are to note and listen to the revealed will of the Lord, giving our attention not to portions of it but to ‘all these words.’ There must be no picking and choosing but an impartial respect to all that God has commanded. This is the road of blessedness for the Father and for His children. The Lord’s blessing is upon His chosen to the third and fourth generation. If they walk uprightly before Him, He will make all men know that they are a seed which the Lord has blessed.” Charles H. Spurgeon

HEART SAVOR

• We teach our children with words but foremost by example.
• God desires for us to pass on a legacy of Biblical love to our children.
• It is important to make God’s priorities our priorities.

THE HARBORED HOSTILITY OF BITTERNESS

BREAD

10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18 (NIV)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:5-10 (NIV)

5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8 (NIV)

26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV)

14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. James 3:9-12 (NIV)

21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 57:21 (NIV)

BUTTER

“Bitterness is a figurative term denoting that fretted and irritable state of mind that keeps a man in perpetual animosity – that inclines him to harsh and uncharitable opinions of men and things – that makes him sour, crabbed, and repulsive in his general demeanor – that brings scowl on his face, and infuses venom into the words of his tongue.” John Eadie

“Bitterness is a smoldering resentment. It is the end result of suppressed anger, and it defiles us. Anger must not be suppressed – it must be dealt with. If it isn’t it leads to more wrath and anger.” J. D. Watson

“The Hebrew word shalom is often translated ‘peace,’ but its full meaning has a deeper richness to it. Shalom is a sense of completeness and soundness and living well. It implies safety, good health, prosperity, tranquility, and contentment. Shalom means favor, fulfillment, restoration, harmony, and reconciliation. God is Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace. Shalom meets the human heart’s deepest longings and is the greatest measure of contentment. True shalom cannot exist in a heart that is void of Jesus Christ. Shalom cannot exist in a heart that is divided between a love of God and a love of the world. There is no room for peace in a heart that is harboring anxiety, distrust, greed, anger, or bitterness. The Messiah is referred to as the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6. Although the text translates to ‘prince,’ the original meaning of the word embodies the power of the king. The prince here has the full authority, delegation, and dignity of the king. Only when the Prince of Peace rules in our hearts and minds can we have peace. Until we submit to His authority and power, our peace will be incomplete.” Michael Youssef

“Do not drink the toxic combination of bitterness and revenge, that poisonous concoction that not only destroys the lives of others but corrodes the vessel that contains it.” Chuck Swindoll

“All the commandments of God are commandments of love tending to our real good and great happiness; far from being grievous to those who have faith and love, the practice thereof is life and peace. The world may think it a grievous burden; but this is a great mistake indeed. Sin is grievous. In hatred, envy, anger, revenge, pride, there is nothing but torment and slavery; but in love there is a sweet rest and pleasure. Thus a sinner always punishes himself, and is robbed of great peace and blessing, by transgressing the commandments of God.” K. H. Von Bogatzky

“No matter how just your words may be, you ruin everything when you speak in anger.” John Chrysostom

“When you cling tightly to bitterness, anger, resentment, and unforgiveness, elevating them above your relationship with God, they become “idols” in your life. For each idol you are willing to destroy, you will gain more than you lose. Each time you surrender something to God, you will remove another hindrance to a productive life of faith and prayer. Every idol that is demolished will bring you new treasures of grace and peace.” Michael Youssef

“Forgiveness saves us the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” Hannah More

HEART SAVOR

• Bitterness is suppressed anger – a harbored hostility of which I am to rid myself of.
• I am to watch my life against continued anger and bitterness as they will destroy the vessel containing them.
• I am to live a life of love as love never fails. Scripture states: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE

BREAD

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:19-26 (NIV)]

1 Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6 (NIV)

1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. 5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you. Psalms 42:1-6 (NIV)

27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:27-31 (NIV)

8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NIV)

2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

BUTTER

“Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! For God fails thee not!” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Other men see only a hopeless end, but the Christian rejoices in an endless hope.” Gilbert Brenken

“Seeking with faith, hope, and love pleases our Lord; and finding Him pleases the soul, filling it full of joy.” Julian of Norwich

“Discouragement wars against the very trait that faith and hope in God brings: courage. In order to stand up to the trials and tribulations of a fallen world, we must turn to God for courage and make a commitment to stand strong in our faith through Jesus Christ. God’s best for your life does not include remaining in a place devoid of hope, faith, and courage. Therefore, when facing discouragement, turn to God. He will bring the hope and courage you need to live victoriously over life’s hardships.” Michael Youssef

“At times you will feel as the Israelites did before I worked through Moses to part the Red Sea. They gazed with fear into a sea of hopelessness as their Egyptian enemies headed toward them. However, as My people discovered, hopelessness is just an illusion created by the enemy. The truth is, there is no such thing as a futile situation. I am the God of hope, even when everything you love and live for appears to be drowning. When you can’t swim any longer, I am your lifesaver. I am the author of your life who can rewrite and transform any tragedy to triumph. I am the one who will work all things together for your good even when it appears all has gone bad. When you don’t know what to do, be still long enough to allow Me to calm the storm in your heart and part the sea that seems to lie in the way of My promises for you. If you will wait on Me, you will witness My wonders!” Sheri Rose Shepherd

“The Lord will make a way for you where no foot has been before. That which, like a sea, threatens to drown you, shall be a highway for your escape.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“He is near to the broken, He is close to the weary of heart. In His Name is a refuge, Safety for the weak and discarded. There is help for the hopeless, For the wounded in need. In the presence of Jesus, There is power unleashed. Call upon the Name of the Lord, He’s our Defender, our Deliverer. A Shelter in the midst of the storm, Jesus, our Savior, He is King over all the earth. I will sing of my Redeemer, Testify to the touch of His hand, Lifted me from disaster, Set my feet on a solid rock to stand. God is our Refuge, our Strength and Salvation, A Mighty Fortress is the Lord Almighty. There is no equal, no power beside Him. Forever our Champion is the Lord our God. Our Savior, He is King over all the earth.” Lyrics to Defender (Call Upon The Name Of The Lord)

“‘He is my refuge and my fortress’ (Psalm 91:2). A refuge is a place safely out of harm’s way. A fortress is a fortified building that is virtually impenetrable by conventional means. Martin Luther wrote a wonderful hymn that says, ‘A mighty fortress is our God; a bulwark never failing. Our helper He amidst the flood; of mortal ills prevailing.’ What a statement about the magnificent power and protection of God! Does God care for you and me? Can we turn to Him in trust and faith when troubles and temptations threaten to overwhelm us? Yes – a thousand times yes! What greater proof do we need than that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place?” Billy Graham

“God delights in His covenant and so we are sure He will not turn back from it. It is the joy of His holy heart. He delights to do His people good. To pass over transgression, iniquity, and sin is the recreation of Jehovah. Did you ever hear God singing? It is extraordinary that the Divine One would solace Himself with song, yet a prophet has thus revealed the Lord to us: ‘The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.’ (Zephaniah 3:17). The covenant is the heart of God written out in the blood of Jesus.” Charles Spurgeon

HEART SAVOR

• As I look to Jesus and His prevailing power my despair gives way to hope. I am to fix my eyes on Him – trusting in Him – in so doing I will not be disappointed.
• God delights in doing His people good. We can be sure that whatever He allows in the life of the child of the King is for their good whether we can discern that or not. That is a promise of Scripture.
• Despair in a believer’s life demonstrates misplaced trust. We do not have the power in our flesh rather we are to trust in the One Who does – leaning not on our own understanding. Acknowledging Him in all ways and He will make our paths straight.

FOLLOW THE SPIRITS LEAD

BREAD

13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)

1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.” Isaiah 30:1-2 (NIV)

20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:20-21 (NIV)

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:25-27 (NIV)

26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27 (NIV)

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” John 16:12-15 (NIV)

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:12-17 (NIV)

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

BUTTER

“Guard your heart zealously – not to simply keep it in a particular pattern or habit by merely following rules or regulations – rather to keep to keep it responsive to each breath of the Spirit. He is to lead, we are to follow.” BHY

“There is to be communication of the Holy Spirit with the individual Christian in the present life, and in a sense the Holy Spirit’s communication carries with it the entire Trinity. In a sense the Spirit is the Trinity’s agent in communicating with us humans. If I am going to walk in this present life according to my high calling as a Christian, I need a strength higher than my own strength. I need the power of Christ. How is this power of Christ to be mine? It’s not enough just to imagine that I have this power. It’s not even enough to take the second step and reckon myself dead to sin and alive to Christ. There must also be a communication of the power of Christ to me through the agency of the Holy Spirit who indwells me.” Francis Schaeffer

“Sanctification is the mind coming more and more under the Holy Spirit’s control.” David Jackman

“The Spirit’s control will replace sin’s control. His power is greater than the power of all your sin.” Erwin Lutzer

“All the Holy Spirit’s influences are heaven begun, glory in the seed and bud.” Matthew Henry

“The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations – it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us.” Oswald Chambers

“The flesh is all about trying; the Spirit is all about dying.” Jennifer Dean

“Work designed for eternity can only be done by the eternal Spirit.” A. W. Tozer

“Recently I’ve made a truly liberating discovery. I am inadequate. My sense of inadequacy is not the effect of deficient intellect or poor training, nor is it a symptom of emotional disorder. It is the painful admission of what is true. On my own, I can make nothing of importance happen. I can help no one. But if I abide in Christ, if I present myself before God’s Spirit for searching and filling, if I study and ponder the Scriptures and live my life in brokenness before a grace dispensing community, I can transcend my inadequacy. I can find myself as I worship. I can struggle on behalf of others with the energy of Christ powerfully working in me. I have learned that an awareness of inadequacy is neither a curse to lift nor a disorder to cure. It is a gift to be received, a gift that is properly used can make me powerful and strong and clear and wise.” Larry Crabb

“In a command to ‘be joyful,’ self-discipline isn’t the goal. It isn’t an effective response or even a realistic one. We can’t change our hearts simply by telling them to change. We can, however, realize that our attitudes are off-kilter and ask Him to supernaturally change them. He holds hearts in His hand; He can certainly sway them with His thoughts and fill them with His Spirit. If we are going to be people who are always joyful, this is how it has to be. We can’t follow this instruction in the midst of trying circumstances unless we have a radical change of perspective and supernatural help. Biblical commands to rejoice – especially in suffering, persecution, and the intense trials of life – can only be fulfilled when we depend on Him.” Chris Tiegreen

“The Spirit brings order out of chaos and beauty out of ugliness. He can transform a sin-blistered man into a paragon of virtue. The Spirit changes people. The Author of life is also the Transformer of life.” R. C. Sproul

“In all the acts of the Christian’s life, whether it be the act of consecrating one’s self to Christ, or the act of daily prayer, or the act of constant submission, or preaching the gospel, or ministering to the necessities of the poor, or comforting the desponding, in all these the Christian finds his weakness and his powerlessness, unless he is clothed about with the Spirit of God.” C. H. Spurgeon

HEART SAVOR

• Jesus promises me that the Holy Spirit will guide me into all truth.
• I can do nothing eternal apart from the power of the Spirit within me. All other works are but dross.
• I must be responsive to the Spirit’s leading rather than the siren call of my own flesh.