Follow by Email

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Honor Takes the Form of Disobedience

We do chore packs at my house. It's a little plastic name tag holder that each girl wears with pictures of themselves doing each of their individual chores. As a chore is completed, the picture goes to the back of the pack.

My eldest was dillydallying one morning when she got a reminder from me to begin her chore pack. I got a "yes ma'am" followed by a happy skip out of the room. A couple minutes later, she reappeared with a huge smile and a nice tall glass of cold water to offer me. "Here ya go, Mommy! I wanted to honor you!" Pleased as punch with herself. Wow! That was really thoughtful of a 6 year old. How nice, you might say. Honor equals value. She knows I drink a lot of water and was showing me how much she valued me by bringing me a glass of water, unrequested.

Instead of feeling honored, I actually felt well... dishonored and disobeyed. I had simply asked for obedience. If she had done her chores first, then brought a glass of water, I would have been truly honored. I also could have expressed the joy that comes into my heart when I'm completely obeyed and then honored with a sacrifice on top of it. Now that would have been really wonderful! True honor to a fulfilled parents' heart after complete obedience.

 How many times have I gotten it backward with God? How does he feel when I begin to obey but choose to put if off to do a 'task' or 'work' of legitimate honor for him instead?

I Samuel 15 tells about King Saul. He was told to by God through Samuel to annihilate the Amalekites as punishment for what they did to the Isrealites when they waylaid them as they were coming up from Egypt. He was told not to leave one person alive and kill all the cattle, sheep, camels and donkeys. Saul came really close to completely obeying, however, he spared the Amalekites king, Agag, and the best of the sheep and cattle-everything that was good-in his eyes- he spared. God tells Samuel he is NOT happy with Saul and when Saul returns Samuel has some words with him. Saul explains to Samuel that he DID obey God and even brought back the best to sacrifice to him on the alter at Gilgal. Listen to Samuel's reply in I Sam 15:22,

 “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
   as much as in obeying the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
   and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
   and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
   he has rejected you as king.”

Works are wonderful if they come out of an obedient heart, not instead of an obedient heart.

Oh Lord! Help me to hear you today so I can obey! Give me the grace to see it to completion. I know you bless your children when we obey. How I long to be blessed by you and not by my own works. Fulfillment by my own hand is brief, but fullness in you lasts a lifetime. I feel my heart swell in my chest as I know you are doing a new work in my life. Thank you, Father, for loving me enough to change me. My day is yours...may my obedience honor you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Peace or Panic?

My hubby was supposed to teach Sunday school today. Well, he got stuck in Birmingham, so guess who got to do it? Yours truly! Which is so funny because I just found out about it last night! I love to teach. I really enjoy watching faces when they realize some truth about God that he has used me to bring. It may have been something that they really knew all along or heard time and time again, but at that moment it changes their life. Wow. What an honor to be a part of that! I usually have more time to prepare though. About 9pm I knew I needed to call my sweet friend to pray with me. She did and in that time of sharing with me she said that this would be not only an opportunity to share a piece of what God was doing in me through my morphing revelation of grace, but an opportunity for him to SHOW me his grace.  Well, I knew in my spirit that something was going to happen and I was going to have to depend on him to get me through the morning. We were both right!

I sat at the table in my kitchen trying to get my thoughts together and reading more and more words out of the bible and more and more words out of books and they started getting all jumbled up and I was chasing rabbits for about 2 hours. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said basically, "Go to bed, I'll tell you in the morning." The amazing thing was that I was OK with that! What is this strange peace? Where is my normal anxiety over "performance"? I've never gone to bed before a teaching and not finished the session, I would stay up until 5am if necessary, just so I could make things right! But see, today wasn't about me. It was all about HIM and what HE wanted to say through me, a willing vessel. So I did the most crazy thing I could possibly do at that moment....I went to bed and totally relaxed! Just after I closed my eyes and took a couple of really deep breaths- BAM! My 3 bullet points complete with scripture verses and stories! It was morning all right, 2AM to be exact! It took all of 20 minutes to write out and jump back into bed. God is giving me the grace to obey him. Ahhh! Trust. Back to basics.

Here's the kicker...This morning as I was typing out my points and inserting the verses via Bible Gateway, the power went out! It was 8:30am! I wasn't dressed! I had to leave at 8:45! Yikes! Peace or Panic? I laughed out loud-VERY FUNNY GOD! I chose peace. I chose to have grace for myself. I've never chosen grace for myself before! This is how GOD SEES ME!! He is giving me HIS eyes for myself! (Didn't I just ask him for this like....yesterday??!) I knew that even if I never printed out any of it to take with me, that he was in charge. If it's meant to be, it's really NOT all up to me! I just need to obey. Things ran like clockwork all the way to church. Singing and chatting with my girls. It was one of the loveliest church rides we've had in their short lives. He was with me.

The lesson went so well. The Holy Spirit spoke through me the entire time, not just in flashes or spurts. I believe that his point was made. I know that communicating is a gift God has given me, so when fear sets in I usually go into default mode and tough it out through my own merit. Today was different. Today was...dare I say.....easy? "For my yoke is easy and my burden is lite"-Matthew 11:30. The burdens I place on myself are dreadfully heavy and cumbersome. If I don't balance them just right, I'm off the road and in the mud, quick! My expectations for myself far outweigh his. I believe it was Beth Moore who said something to the effect of, "I'm my own worst enemy. Who needs the devil?".

I know everyday won't be like today. I'm just thinking I may have a few more of them than before. Tomorrow would be a nice start.

"You will keep in perfect peace those who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" Isaiah 26:3