When My Obedience Looked Like Disobedience

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Every week for over a year, I have met with a small group of women  from my church for a time of prayer.   On a week morning we gathered together in our church’s counseling room, chair bumping into chair, and we shared one another’s burdens and we prayed for our church. We prayed for the lost. We praised our God.  We wept together.  We rejoiced when the pleas to God had been answered.  It has been a huge blessing in my life.

But then I had to stop going.

The Lord began tugging at my heart with a burden for the shut-in of our church, for the sick, for the stragglers who visited, then were missing.  I wanted to do something for them that would be helpful and practical.  The Lord brought to my mind the thought of cooking or baking for these folks and periodically taking meals or treats for them to enjoy.  But with an already full schedule,  each day obligated to this or that, how would I ever accomplish this?  I began to pray and seek God’s direction.

One day my husband and I went on a little afternoon excursion away from home.  We had time to sit and talk and share our hearts.  I poured out to him the burden God had given me, and the frustration of not knowing how I could serve others from my home and my kitchen when every day was so full.  God gave him such wisdom and it was so clear to him as he said,

God has given you a burden to use your home to serve Him.  You need to focus your ministry out of our house.  You can pray in our home as well as at church.  Ask others to join you, if they’d like.  You all could pray and then cook together.  It’s what you love to do, and God is the One who has placed that burden on your heart.  Do it!

I felt as though a burden had been lifted off of me, and I knew at that moment that this was exactly what the Lord wanted me to do.  But that meant that I could no longer attend the morning prayer meeting at church.  My next thought was, “What will my friends think?  It looks so unspiritual to stop going to prayer meeting!”  But I knew that my not going to this morning prayer time was in obedience to what God was asking me to do.  When I shared this with my prayer group, they rejoiced with me, as I should have known they would!

It’s so easy to think that I have to do it all. It’s easy to put the guilt on myself and worry about what others will think if my obedience looks like disobedience.  But God’s Word says~

The fear of man brings a snare. Proverbs 29:25

I could’ve let my fear keep me at our weekly prayer time (not a bad thing) but I would have missed out on the blessing that this step of obedience has brought!  From the very first morning when I began this new cooking ministry, I had absolute peace that I was obeying God!  My heart was filled with the joy God gives AFTER we obey.  We want it before the obedience, don’t we? After all, it would make it a little easier!  But no, we obey, then God gives joy!

It was truly hard to say “No” to that weekly prayer time in order that I could say “Yes” to this burden of baking, cooking and visiting our church folk. Another wonderful thing is that some of the ladies have been able to join me.  We stop and pray for each person we’re taking a meal to.  We cook and stir up delicious food, and then we deliver it.  It has been wonderful…even if it did start out looking like disobedience!

Do you ever feel like you’re responsible for doing it all?  There’s freedom in listening to God’s directives and obeying Him.  He gave us gifts to use that will never be contrary to His Word.  Are you serving Him in obedience?  There’s no greater joy!

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I Recognize That!

 

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Floured hands are not the best way to answer a cell phone.  Ask me how I know!
One day my cell phone was ringing, and not knowing who it was, I ran to answer it, flinging pie dough into the bowl and the counter, and also leaving a trail of flour with every step I took.  It was a telemarketer (how do they find me even after I register my number on the “Do not annoy call” list?).  Grrr.

It was then that I started using a different notification and ringtone for each group of people in my life so I could determine, just by the sound, if this was a call that really needed my immediate attention.

My husband’s notification has an ukulele song.  My daughters have a harmonica (they know why!).  My parents and sisters have a nostalgic kind of song. My close friends have a catchy little ditty.  Everyone else gets a standard ring.  Now when I’m driving down the Interstate at 70 MPH, I know who is calling just by the sound, and I know whether this is an urgent call that is worth digging sideways into my purse to find my phone!  It’s all by the recognition of the notification that I know who’s prompting me to answer!

The Lord used that simple irritation and example to show me that I was not recognizing the Holy Spirit’s promptings in my heart throughout the day.  Oh, I start off right – I get up and have my Bible study and prayer time and give myself and my day to the Lord first thing and I hear from Him then.  But after I finish, I get going on my schedule and it seems the later it gets in the day, the less sensitive I am to the Spirit’s prompting and directing my heart and my life.  Pretty soon, I’m not aware of His conviction, His leading, or His speaking to my heart because I’ve tuned out the recognition of His Spirit.

But what if I stayed sensitive to His promptings all day, just like those notifications on my phone?  What if I was aware and recognized His nudging to witness, His conviction of sin, His warning to not speak that word of criticism?  I could “pick up that call” and be directed so that I might avoid the sin, or share the Gospel with a person who is lost.

I want to recognize God’s Spirit in my life greater than I want to know when I’m getting a really important phone call.  I’m asking Him to help me to be sensitive to His whisper and nudging in my heart, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.  It’s even sweeter than that loving text from my husband, and I think you know how much I like those!

Are you recognizing the Spirit’s nudging notifications in your life today?

Lovingly,

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Give It Away

 

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To a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ a Bible is a really precious Book, and your own personal Bible becomes a treasure as you read, study, underline, mark, highlight and make notes.  You know just where your favorite verses are.  You even know which side of the page it’s on! The worn, jagged pages welcome you, like an old friend, each time you sit down and open  its cover.

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In 2015 my husband presented me with a new Bible for Valentine’s Day.  How sweet!  I knew I needed it.  My current Bible was literally falling apart, but I had put off getting a new one because I hated the thought of parting with what had become my dearest earthly possession.  Now, here laid its replacement, all stiff and unmarked with pages sticking together like staticky socks on knit pants.

Reluctant, but appreciative, I began using the new copy of God’s Word.  It wasn’t long until I realized that I had become dependent on my old Bible.  Because I was so familiar with it, I didn’t need to really know chapter and verse.  I could locate it because of its highlighted color or placement on the page.  I had become a bit of a lazy studier.  Now with a new Bible, I was forced to search and dig – which of course was a really good thing!

It was then that I realized that I must not get into the lazy habit again.  Now instead of holding onto my Bible until it was falling apart, I decided to use it for a couple of years, and then give it away.  I would offer it to my daughters, or a young believer.  Perhaps they could learn from my notes and be encouraged with a relatively new copy of the Scriptures.

At a ladies’ retreat this spring, I encouraged the ladies to share their Bibles with others.  Were you at the retreat?  Did you feel the Lord encouraging you to give your copy of God’s Word to someone?  Have you obeyed?

Yesterday I took my own counsel and gave away my Bible Valentine’s present to my older daughter.  It’s only a year and half old, but it’s time to mark up another one.  Time to dig again – so that I might grow spiritually.

Don’t hoard God’s Word or become lazy as you read it.  Share your copy of God’s Word with someone else so you can be a blessing to them, and also challenge yourself in your study of this Treasure!

To whom have you given your Bible?  Have you been a recipient of one?  What did it mean to you?

Lovingly,

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The Danger of Telling God, “No!”

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I’m helping out a little in our Sunday school program at my church and am teaching a  class of the sweetest children.  It’s always amazing to me how the Lord takes the simple lessons I’m teaching them and drives home a truth that I need to hear.  It happened again last Sunday.

We were all reading in I Samuel 8 about the children of Israel demanding a king.  God told Samuel to warn them about what would happen if they had a king ruling over them.

  • Their sons would be his warriors, his servants, his captains, his weapon makers
  • Their daughters would be his maids, cooks, bakers
  • Their fields would belong to the king
  • The king would take their servants, their sheep and donkeys
  • They would regret their choice, and will call out to God, but He will not hear them

Then my whole class read verse 19.  After hearing the dire consequences the Israelite’s  response was:

Nay; but we will have a king over us!

 

I had the children repeat the Israelite’s response with me.  First we stood, folded our arms and stomped our foot while saying, “NO!”  Then we pounded one fist on our other hand while saying, “WE WANT A KING!”

I talked to the children about their stubbornness in demanding something from God, even though they knew it was not good for them!  Then the arrow came to my own heart.

How often I do the very same thing!  When I read or hear the danger of sin in my life and I choose it anyway, I am behaving just like the king-demanding-Israelites, and God will give me what is not good for me in order to teach me and discipline me.  Gossiping, slandering, being lazy, proud, or uncaring for the lost will all bring the consequences God warns about in His Word.  Bitterness, anger or being deceitful are full of dangerous consequences. Having a faithless heart in God’s plans, worrying, planning and scheming my own actions are also sinful choices. It’s me pounding my fist into my palm and making demands that God lovingly warns about.

It’s my choice – will I heed God’s loving warnings and go His way, or will I stomp my foot in defiance and foolishness only to reap the costly consequences?   The danger in saying “No” is that God will let me have my own way. But He loves me too much to let me go on stubbornly and sinfully disregarding His directives.  He knows what is best for me!   It may look like things are good for a while when I go my own way, but eventually I will reap from my sinful choices.  God will not be mocked.

“Oh Lord, help me to lift my hands in surrender and say instead, “YES, I WILL OBEY!”

If there’s any area in your life not surrendered over to the Lord, hear His loving warning and obey.  There are also blessed consequences for obedience!

Lovingly,

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