“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'”  (Mark 2:27, NIV)

We need to challenge the thought that God’s laws and commandments are designed to spoil the joy of living, in the same manner that Jesus challenged the thought that God created humanity to obey a predetermined set of rules that are independent of our benefit.

All of God’s laws and commandments have two distinct purposes: To provide for us; and to protect us.

From the day that Adam and Eve were in the garden, humanity has resented limits or boundaries without seeking to appreciate the benefits.  It is akin to resenting traffic laws without considering the benefit to order and safety that such laws provide to both motorists and pedestrians.

As our heavenly Father, God wants only protect us from unnecessary trouble and grief so that we might have life, and have it in all of its abundance.

We were not created to keep “the rules.”  The “rules” were created to keep us.  Therefore, obey the Lord with faithfulness, joy, and thanksgiving!  – Luther

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“Then he said to the man, ‘Hold out your hand.’  So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one!”  (Matthew 12:13, NLT)

Oswald Chambers reminds us: “God does not give us overcoming life — He gives us life as we overcome.”

The first task in our partnership with God is obedience.  Too often, we say to God, “Show me, and I will go,” when God is saying to us, “Go, and I will show you.”  To do the latter is to live by faith in God.  To do the former is to live by common sight and human insight alone.

Today’s scripture illustrates for us the way in which our heavenly Father works — which is the same as it was centuries before in the call of the “father of the faithful” — Abraham (who was previously named Abram): “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.'” (Genesis 12:1)

It each case — including our own in our day — the great work of God begins with our personal commitment through obedience.  Stretch out your hand.  The overcoming power of God has never been nearer!  – Luther

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“But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”  (Matthew 7:26-27, NLT)

Most of our personal calamities or failures occur for lack of obedience to Jesus’ teaching.  It is not because the calamity is God’s “payback” for our disobedience; rather, it is because we have ignored God’s blueprint that we discover, frequently in tears, that our own designs are inadequate for the stresses of life.  In this instance, we are responsible for our choices.

It is helpful to note that in Jesus’ parable, both houses are beat upon by the rains, and assaulted by the floods.  However, only the house built on a solid rock is able to withstand the events that test our foundation.

When the next storm of life arrives, will your life’s foundation prove adequate?  Jesus says, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” (verse 24)  – Luther

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