Can I Come In?

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish

Devotion: When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

Don’t Tell Me What to Do

“He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.” Proverbs 19:16 (NIV)

Flying through the air on amusement park rides has been one of my favorite things to do for as long as I can remember. There is a healthy fear mixed with excitement as you experience the feeling in the pit of your stomach of being suddenly twisted or turned straight up in the air and just as suddenly shot downward.
Each ride is a bit different but one rule applies to all of them: pay attention to the instructions so you will not get hurt.
Last weekend my family and I were at a large amusement park and decided to ride a huge ship that swung forward and then backward between two giant metal beams. As it picked up speed, the ship got higher and higher in the air while swinging back and forth. Heavy bars held us in place in our seats but the instructions were very clear: do not stand up under any circumstances. Stay seated at all times. This was important because, even though we were “pushed” into our seats as we swung upward, the same was not true as we came downward. Standing up could have thrown us over the bar across our laps and caused major injury or even death.
Everyone was excited to ride and obeyed the rules – except one girl. She repeatedly stood up as the ride came down.
The man operating the ride could not have been clearer with his instructions. He repeated them as we stood in line, when we were getting on the ride, as we were seated and during the entire ride. He used a microphone to make sure that everyone heard him. His message was simple and consistent: “Do not stand up under any circumstances. Stay seated.”
But the young lady refused to listen or obey. She looked at him as he repeated his message but still chose to stand up with each swing.
Finally, after repeated warnings, the frustrated operator shrugged his shoulders as if to say “I’ve told her and told her. I have no other recourse than to stop the ride early” and that is exactly what he did.
Today’s Scripture could have been written with this young lady in mind. But the truth is, at one time or another we all fit into that “You can’t tell me what to do” category don’t we. We are warned by the Spirit when gossip creeps into our conversation or when we think one tiny lie isn’t a big deal. We can feel Him nudging us to speak to someone who is hurting or to send a note to encourage. It’s our choice whether or not to listen and obey. It’s not that we don’t recognize His voice; it’s simply a matter of choosing to obey or disobey His instructions.
The ride operator gave us instructions that were designed for a reason: to keep us physically safe. The same is true for the Spirit placed in each of us. His instructions, if we follow them, will help us to grow in our walk with the Lord and keep us spiritually safe.

Father, I choose today to follow Your instructions in my life. Please help me to listen as You speak to my heart and to obey. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Have you ever been given specific instructions but chose not to obey them?

Was the outcome positive or negative?

Journal a list of 10 specific instructions found in Scripture that pertain to you spiritually.

Beside each one, write down why God is specific in what He says and list ways you can obey His instructions.

Proverbs 19:16 (NIV) “He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.”

John 10:4 (NIV) “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

Proverbs 19:27 (NIV) “Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

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Copyright 2013  Nancy E. Hughes