YPF Blog

19th June – Dani Taylor

Why Obey?

One thing that is clear from reading the Bible is that obedience to God is so important.

Another thing that is also clear is that human beings struggle with obedience!

We live in a culture that celebrates rebels and non-conformists. Our society is very individualistic and self-seeking.  Films, music and magazines often endorse a very ungodly lifestyle.

We have to have our guard up because their influence on us can be extremely subtle. It is so easy to start adopting their way of thinking without realising it. When we do, we start to drift away from obeying  God.

As a young person, I absorbed a lot of worldly values, and at university I just wanted to make my own decisions about how I lived my life. I believed in God and the Bible, but didn’t have a close relationship with Him.  I was envious of other people who were free to live however they wanted to and didn’t have all the do’s and don’ts of the Bible restricting them. I was very lukewarm and definitely had a distorted view of obedience.

Looking back, I can see that if you don’t value your relationship with God, you won’t value obedience.

It’s an upward spiral: when you’re obedient this helps to build your relationship with God.  The more you build your relationship with God, the more you want to be obedient.

The value of obedience is something you can learn the easy way or the hard way.

Some of the biggest and best blessings in my life have come from the times that I’ve obeyed God when I didn’t understand how my situation would work out. Somehow, God brought things together.

Equally, some of my biggest causes of heartache have been caused by times I didn’t obey. This could have been disobedience to the Word or to what I felt the Holy Spirit was telling me.

The place of obedience is the place of safety. When we sin, we come out of that place of protection that God has provided for us as a loving father. Although God is merciful when we ask for forgiveness, God disciplines us for disobedience and we have to deal with painful consequences as a result of our rebellion.

Ultimately, God lets us choose.

He has said He’ll lead us down the best pathways for our life (Psalm 32:8), but can only do that if we are willing to be led. In Deuteronomy 28, God lays out the blessings for careful obedience and the curses for disobedience. He then gave the Israelites a choice.

Unfortunately, they repeatedly chose to disobey and this had disastrous consequences.

I was speaking to one of the youth at an Urban Saints camp who was very clear in her commitment to God and remembered thinking to myself, “ Wow! She has this figured out at 18 years old! What a life she has ahead of her if she can hold onto it.”

What do I mean by that?

I mean if this young person can keep submitting to God, she has the assurance that God will direct her steps and she doesn’t have to carry the burden of trying to figure her life out. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

God has planned in advance good works for her to do.(Ephesians 2:10)

She can be confident that God won’t withhold any good thing from her.(Psalm 84:11)

Despite what may happen to her and any mistakes she makes, God will work all things out for her good. (Romans 8:28)

So, yes, what an amazing life this young person can have in God if she keeps putting him first.

And what a life you can have in God too if you choose to obey Him.

29th May 2020 – Adam Tomkinson-Davies

Sing it till you Mean It.

Disclaimer – This is the first time I have ever written a blog and I am more or less illiterate so I apologize if this is a bit shabby.

I decided to name this blog “sing it till you mean it” after a thought I had about where I stand with God when I worship.

So often in worship, I sing lines such as “I am who you say I am”, and then will still allow my feeling of self-worth to be defined by how many likes I get on an Instagram post. Or “I’ve seen you move the mountains and I believe I’ll see you do it again” and then still find myself anxious and lacking in faith in times when I need God to make a way. Sometimes I will not jump at the opportunity to evangelize to somebody after singing the words “burn like a fire in me”, or even thinking that I don’t deserve God’s forgiveness for my sins after singing the song “reckless love”.

So I was thinking, why do I even bother to sing out these statements when I don’t feel I have the strength to live them out in my day to day life?

My first thought on trying to justify singing these statements was a Bible verse from Psalms which reads:

Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.(Psalms 113:3)

The reason this verse came to mind was that it helps place into perspective my relationship with God as the King of Kings. Take a moment to reflect on this “The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens”.

When I read this my initial reaction is awe. That God isn’t just above me or this church or even above this world, he’s above the heavens too! To put that into perspective here’s a video comparing our world to some of the other entities in our universe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i93Z7zljQ7I

When you take a minute to think about that you realise how small and insignificant we are. That the equivalent to God caring for us is probably the equivalent to me caring about a single cell in my body – I probably won’t notice it’s there and could almost definitely live without it.

So surely we cannot ignore the fact that God deserves our worship not because we feel like it that day or the song we’re singing is a vibe. We should sing to him with everything we have because God deserves to be praised “both now and forevermore” simply because of who he is and because you cannot help but be filled with awe and fear and adoration when seeing a sheer glimpse of who he is.

And this thought makes me want to declare everything I can to God because not only does he already own it all, but he deserves it as the creator of all.

But obviously, we know that God doesn’t treat us like we are that insignificant, we know in our hearts that he cares for us beyond any measure we could ever understand. To the point where he’s taken the time to have a relationship with us so that we can live out our lives with fulfilment and wholeness through him. We know that he was that hungry for a relationship with us that he was willing to give up his son simply so that we could have the choice to get to know him. I know that he loves me enough to count the hairs on my head (and luxurious beard) and knows me far better than I know myself. 

And with that kind of relationship, when someone has gone through all of them lengths just to be with you, when someone has died for you, not just died, but been violently and gruesomely murdered for you (like how many other people have done that for you), doesn’t it make you want to change? Doesn’t it make you want to listen to the design that this person has made just for you to live a more wholesome life? Doesn’t it ignite something in you that wants to yell at the world that they can have it too? 

It makes me want to run towards God with everything I have and tell him I want to give him more. And that’s why when I sing in worship I’m going to do so in a way that tells God I want to want more, even when I fail to live out what I’m singing I will sing it again until I don’t fail. I want to sing a declaration over my heart that influences the decisions I will make in the future because that is what I want to do for my saviour. And I won’t stop this worship until I mean what I sing whether that is going to take a couple of decades or something that I will only achieve when I meet God face to face.

 

22nd May 2020 – Dani Taylor

Do you know God’s love for you?

The other day, I realised that I haven’t experienced the love of God in my life in the way I’d like to.

I thought there’s got to be other people who haven’t either, so that explains the choice of blog topic today

God’s love is one of the things that we learn about in Sunday school. We often hear about it in church. But I’ve realised that although it’s a message that I’ve heard about all my life, it’s something I mostly know intellectually.

Knowing about God’s love for you in your head and having a deep knowing on the inside of you that the Holy Spirit gives you (a revelation) aren’t the same thing, and they don’t produce the same results.

I’ve started to pray that I would have a revelation of the love of God deep inside me.

Why?

Well, it’s the foundation for the Christian life, the abundant life that Jesus spoke about.

How much or how little we know and experience the love of God, affects how we see God, how we view ourselves and how we relate to other people.

Maybe you read that and feel like you need a fuller experience of God’s love, too.

How do you know if that is something you need?

The Bible tells us that perfect love (ie God’s love) casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). If you find yourself feeling fearful, worried, insecure or anxious, then you need more revelation of His love.

What would change if we started to experience the love of God in a fuller way?

It would completely change our relationship with Him.

Imagine this scenario:

Someone you know comes up to you and tells you that a mutual friend had been talking about you.

Really? What did they say?” you ask, somewhat nervously.

Oh! They think you’re great! Just GREAT! Intelligent, thoughtful, funny, kind, creative, talented and honest. They absolutely love it when you spend time with them. It gives them so much joy. In fact, they really wish you could spend more time with them.”

WOW.

If that happened, how would you respond? I bet you’d start to invest a lot more time and effort in that relationship. You’d prioritise it- not out of a sense of duty, but from desire.

That’s the ideal relationship, isn’t it? Spending time with someone because of the pleasure we feel rather than out of a sense of obligation.

That scenario is a picture of how it is in our relationship with God.

It makes sense that as we start to understand the way God sees us, and the love He showed us when he sent Jesus to die for our sins, we’ll then love Him more in response.

When we have an intimate relationship with God, His life and love in us will help us to love other people with a divine love and He’ll give us the strength and power to live as His witnesses:

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:18-20.

That sounds good to me

Let’s pray:

Lord, please help us to receive a revelation of your perfect love for us. We know that we can be confident of an answer when we ask according to your will. Let us experience the love of Christ and understand the love that was shown for us on the cross. Amen

22nd May 2020

Hello and welcome to the YPF Blog! In addition to our weekly zoom calls and our Instagram content members of the YPF team will be writing blog posts to build you up and encourage you! Do keep an eye on the Instagram feed and the WhatsApp chat as we will notify you of new posts there!