Monthly Archives: March 2014

03/31/14

Obedience {pt 1}

“His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’ — John 2:5

The story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding feast is a familiar one to those of us who have grown up in church or attended Bible studies. It is the first of His miracles as He begins his ministry. Verse 11 tells us that this “was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” And we wonder in amazement at His power and how He uses it to bring about faith in others, but there is another message here too.

Jesus’ mother Mary is also present at the wedding feast, and she is the one who brings it to Jesus’ attention that the wine is gone. Jesus asks, “Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” (v. 4), but Mary turns to the servants and tells them, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Do it.

Whatever He says. Do it.

She understood, as we should, a valuable principle of His voice and His character. God does not speak simply to be heard; He speaks to be obeyed.

I have shared with you over these last few weeks the riches and promises that I have learned as my small group went through Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. The study is done and we have discussed the text backwards and forwards, but there was still a few truths I was compelled to share.

He has revealed truths about how to hear His voice and distinguish it from others. He has shared different aspects of the character of His voice- it is persistent, it is personal, it brings peace, it will challenge you, it exudes truth, and it comes with great authority. And finally, He speaks for us to better know Him, to understand His will and His plan, and finally (and perhaps most importantly) to be obeyed.

Obedience. Personal responsibility required.

He speaks; we obey. It really is that simple, but it’s not simple is it? When He speaks, ACT! Don’t think on it. Act on it! We must be committed to a heart of obedience.

Priscilla expounds on this idea- “When God speaks to you. He is asking you to make a commitment. Not just to be willing to obey, but to actually follow through. Actually obeying His voice lays the groundwork for Him to continue making His will known to you- not because He relishes playing the role of controlling father-figure, coldly demanding your compliance- but because He desires to bless you with His most special gifts, including deeper intimacy with Him. He knows what is best for you, and He only requires that you obey in order to experience it.” (pg 182)

That hit me right between the eyes. Because honestly, I had to take a hard look at myself and my obedience meter. I had to ask myself–  Jamie, how often do you think you ask God’s opinion when all the while you know full well that you are sticking to the plan you have come up with on your own?

Hmmmm mmmmm. More often that I thought.

This is a dangerous game we play; this act of disobedience. And this is one of the main reasons that hearing His voice can become so difficult. He is not going to do a whole lot of speaking into the life of those who are dedicated to disobeying Him. And once we have practiced that pattern of disobedience, we become more and more desensitized to His words, to His moving, to His stirrings in our Spirit. “So even when He is speaking, that hardened and dulled heart of the rebellious doesn’t sense His holy prodding or pick up cues from the Scripture. They easily discard any conviction from Him and misinterpret His written word in order to justify their chosen course of action.” (pg 183)

Oh, what a dangerous game! What a slippery slope to a hardened and dulled heart that is no longer softened to His stirrings.

Scripture says “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” — James 4:17 NLT. It is sin! It is a sin to know what He is speaking and then to ignore and not do. It is a sin unto our Holy Father when we choose disobedience.

So, what does obedience look like?

True obedience is wholehearted, all-in mentality, a willingness, an accepting heart, and most importantly, an utter and total confidence in God. That He is love, and He is good. These are not simply character traits of God, they are innate; His very being. And to those who wholeheartedly obey Him, He makes this special promise– “I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” John 14:21 NLT. Priscilla explains that the Greek for the word “reveal” here means: to exhibit, to appear in person, to declare.” I don’t know about you, but I want in on that blessing! I want in on that revealing! 

The second part of this wholehearted and trusting obedience is timing. How do we obey? When? Priscilla weaves us in and out of the truths in the story of Abraham. Oh what great truths are hidden there!

Can’t wait to share more with you…

Have a blessed day!

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03/26/14

Small Moments Missed

“…making the most of every opportunity for the days are evil.” — Ephesians 5:16 {NIV}

{the following is an excerpt from Ann Voskamp’s amazing & inspirational blog, A Holy Experience. This post is titled “One Simple Secret to Effective Time Management this Week”… don’t we all need a little more of that?!? And as usual, Ann puts it in a way that impacts us all. She has a beautiful gift.}

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“When I turn  down Creamery Road, I pass, yeah, surprising —  the old creamery. Pass the the creamery that’s now abandoned, the window eyes all punched out.

How did they all look, those silvery pails of milk that once lined up by the door, their tins lid hats pulled on tight, so not one white drop spilled.

But isn’t as much milk lost through a pinhole here, a pinhole there, one little drip lost after another — as in the knocking over the whole silly pail?

That is what follows me all the way home:

A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.

I unpack the van, haul in the door with baggage of my own. I’ve messed things up today and focused on the unhelpful and ugly instead of the beautiful and beneficial.

I don’t know why I waste time with worry in a life that’s too short to lose.

Regret and crying over spilled milk only pokes more hole in the pail.

Wwalking in the door. The house is so full of life.

I put bags down on the counter.

Hope shows me her knitting. The stitches feel like hope.

The boys explode raucous over this game of chess by the fire — yep, the likes of us make even chess into a rowdy, contact sport here. Then sit with Shalom for a moment with all these strings and knots of her own that she’s determined to make into something warm. The hands on clocks are always bound hands: You are the only one who gets to decide what you’ll do with your time.

Stir soup. Bank lasagnas away in the freezer. Watch Mama slip her silver needle through the weave, minute thread flashing, tying through it all. Mind the moments and life will take care of itself.

I don’t want to lose a full life by letting the minutes leak away.

‘A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.’

How we spend our time now — determines what gift we’ll get to unwrap for all of eternity.

There’s no time for fleeting distractions… and there’s time to turn everything quiet and simply focus on his eyes, the depth of his eyes, when he’s telling me what happened, and to make that call and answer her big question and get that one card to the mail and laugh at the 1,983rd knock-knock joke before that last kid walks out the door.

The best use of time is to freely love.
The best way to love is to spend time.
The best time to love is always right now.

And Grace? Grace is strong enough to carry not only what you’ve done, but what you never got done, the things that can weigh heaviest of all.

I could catch the moments, the milk of the moments all here, the graces falling, His saving grace catching me — once again,

…these gleaming pots right full to the brim.”

 

May your heart be blessed today in the middle of your week. Wherever you are, whatever you are dealing with, His grace is strong enough to carry not only what you have done, but what you never got done too. Those big, big things that weigh the heaviest of all. Remember that life’s little moments and the simple ways we choose to spend our time determines the gifts we enjoy throughout eternity.

What a sweet thought…

Blessings for you today!

xoxo

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