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Posts Tagged ‘obedience’

Love is something too big to understand and grasp. Even when we think we have love figured out, she blows our mind.

Love is the one thing sought after and fought for. Love defies logic. Love makes a person crazy.

Love is all consuming. Love feels deeply. Love is seen, heard and valued. Love is cherished and treasured.

Love fights for the heart. Love goes after the heart. Love is honey to the soul.

Love is affection. Love is faithful and committed. Love forgives and covers over a mountain of wrong with grace.

Love is the exhale in fear. Love is peace in anxiousness. Love validates worth. Love says you matter.

Love is a choice. Love holds boundaries of security. Love protects. Love has no question, but the action of love speaks volumes over words.

Love chooses to keep believing and trying. Love works towards trust and healing.

Love risks, even though….

Love lays down life for another. Love is not an option. Love is obedience – a choice – a command. Love is surrender.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

What is LOVE to you?

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One step….

One step is all we get.

One step is all we can really handle.

I am a visionary by nature. I see the big picture and get so frustrated with the steps to get there. To a visionary, every step is the one that should be right before the big picture. It usually is far from it.

I need steps.

Steps take courage. Steps take risk to not only just step into, but to believe and trust that the step is okay – that it’s necessary.

Steps require obedience and courage to know I’m not finished. Steps let me know that who I am right now cannot handle the right weight of what is to come. Steps get me there. Steps ready me for the value of the weight.

I have been stuck in Joshua the past couple of days. Joshua is a man of surrendered steps. Joshua was Moses’ successor to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land. He has some big steps to fill.

I have just shaken my head and smiled at how awesome God is to only give Joshua what he can handle. God only gave Joshua each step. Joshua had the choice to obey – he had a choice to surrender and trust, and he did! Without knowing the how or what of anything, Joshua stepped up.

The first several chapters of Joshua are laced with steps. In chapter one, God told Joshua that he must obey and follow after me before any next step can happen. Joshua agreed. God then told Joshua to order the officers to tell the people that they were to pack up and get ready to leave in three days. He had no other information than that. He just said okay.

God then gave instruction on how to advance and the exact order that needed to play out. No other explanation. Joshua obeyed.

In chapter two, Joshua sent spies into Jericho to scope it out. He waited days to hear the report. Joshua did not move until they returned.

Chapter three, Joshua is given one step at a time to cross the Jordan. Everyone was to wait three days and followed the instructions to only go when they saw the Ark of the Covenant pass by. Not before then. Why not? Joshua did not ask.

Chapter four, all pass through the Jordan on dry land unharmed. Twelve Israelites representing the twelve tribes obeyed Joshua as he commanded them to gather twelve stones as a reminder of what God had done for them.

No one moved without the command of Joshua. Joshua did not move without the command of the Lord.

One step at a time. No more. No less. That was the necessary enough.

One step takes courage and risk. One step takes surrender and obedience. One step at a time crosses Jordan’s and conquers nations.

I am learning to surrender to my steps.

What one step are you taking today?

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There is something about a person of quality that always captures my attention. I am continuously drawn to good character in people. Good character makes the difference in this world. Good character makes one different.

I have been drawn to the character traits of Joseph this weekend. I am referring to Mary’s husband, Joseph. Frankly, I don’t think he gets enough PT (playing time) in conversation and talks. Joseph is a man of unbelievable trust and faith in God. His obedience brings me to silence.

So often, I breeze over Joseph’s part in the story of Jesus. Joseph plays an extraordinary part in the introduction of Jesus.

Mary is often credited with the crucial “yes” of bringing Jesus into the world, but Joseph carried a weighty “yes” of obedience as well.

Joseph was described as a “righteous man.” He was. When Joseph discovered Mary was pregnaunt, he made no specticall, but honored Mary and treated her well. That’s character. When the angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream, he listened and said yes.

Joseph chose trust and humility. His obedience changed the world.

I don’t know if Joseph really understood the magnitude of his yes long-term, but it changes the way I look at obedience.

When Joseph said yes to the angel of the Lord, scripture was fulfilled. Every time Joseph obeyed the words of the Lord, Jesus was protected and saved, and scripture was fulfilled.

I don’t know how the words of the angel truly impacted Joseph, but he trusted those words enough to find out. The angel of the Lord described the baby in Mary’s womb as, “the one who would save the world from their sins.

Umm..what!? What did that even do to Joseph’s heart? That is a big deal. What would that even look like?

Joseph obeyed. The world was changed. I wonder if he just shook his head as the life of Jesus unfolded. What was his response when word started to spread about the miracles he was doing, and the words of truth that were piercing hundreds of people?

Joseph was a man of character. His life of obedience and trust brings me to my knees. His yes mattered so much. I have no idea how far my obedience to God will go.

Trusting in the truth of God matters; obeying that truth goes further than we will ever see.

Any decisions you might be on the fence about?

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I have really been enjoying my time spent in Abraham’s story this week. I am still marinating on all of the truths my heart has seen and heard.

Abraham’s story has shown me new levels of trust and authentic following after him. God intiated an invitation, with Abraham, into a relationship of trust. He invites me into the same.

Abraham had his days of backsliding and doubt, but he wrestled through and trusted his friend.

I’m sure I could spend weeks unpacking more of his story in me. I really appreciate your thoughts and heart journeying along side of me. Thank you.

As I have been camping out with Abraham, I’m wondering where you are. Who have you been camping out in the bible with lately? What have you been marinating on?

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As I grew up I loved spending summer days fishing down on the river with my brother. We would grab our poles and tackle box and head down to the river. I loved it. We would spend hours fishing for whatever we could. Kevin always had a goal in mind, but I was excited to catch anything!

Kevin would load me up with some bait and remind me how to cast. I would always act like I knew what I was doing, but secretly appreciated his reminders. I would wade out in the shallows to find some rocks I could stand on.

I would usually stand for a while wondering why I never felt a bite. I frustratingly watched as Kevin would pull in one fish after another. He would have four catches to my…still waiting moment.

I watched my brother throw cast after cast trying to figure what he was doing. One time I finally swallowed my pride and yelled to him, “how are you catching so many!?” He yelled back to me, “You always have to aim for the deepest part of the water.

What? I thought fish just swam in the water! Fish are found in the deep. Once I started aim for the deep parts, I finally felt the fun of fishing!

Jesus had the same advice for Peter. Jesus was teaching a crowd of people on the shore one morning. He told Peter to push out into the deep waters to fish. After some deliberating, Peter swallowed his pride and cast his nets into the deep water. He caught so many fish that the boat began to sink.

God is about the deep. The deep is where he is found the most within our own hearts. He created our inner most being. God cares about the deep.

Psalm states, “deep calls to deep.” I know personally, I am drawn to the depth of another person. I love and value of what someone shares, or experiences, in the deep parts of their hearts. I can also tell when someone is offering knowledge out of a deep place. It means more to someone. That is true for me as well. I share more passionately about things that I feel deep in me.

I am learning that depth is the place where I want to offer from. In my deep down, is where I want to know the intimacy with Christ.

I  am learning that this growing desire of my heart is because deep is where Jesus lived life out of. He always offered out of intimacy he had with the father. Jesus said what the father said, and did what the father was doing. He did nothing on his own. This offering can only come out of the deep intimacy he knew with the father.

I want to encourage you with the same words my wise brother shouted out to me many years ago, “Always aim for the deepest part.

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A couple of years I went through this season of life that was so lonely. It technically should not have been a lonely season. I lived with seven other girls in a tiny apartment. I also served a long side some incredible people who loved the Lord. I still shake my head at some people I have had conversations with.

I was lonely.

I would spend HOURS at Starbucks. I would start and finish five-star notebook journals in six week. My thoughts would overflow with rich words and ponderings. I would often be writing until the lights went out. Even then I would get home and keep going.

Even though I was lonely, I knew the richest time of intimacy with my Savior. I couldn’t seem to capture his words fast enough. I knew the confiding of his heart into mine. It was sweet purity.

My listening has seemed to shift since that time. My season of loneliness changed and so did my time to listen. I miss it. My days seem more dry then overflowing. I hear him whisper to me, “listen.

I have been drawn to the story of Samuel. Samuel was a man who just knew how to listen. His heart was ready to listen to God. John Maxwell describes Samuel to be a man who, “learned to hear His voice, heed His words, and speak His truth.” I want this kind of listening in me.

I know that there is no coincidence to who I am being drawn to in the bible, or what thoughts seem specific in my mind. I am finally recognizing, today, that God is speaking.

Samuel learned to listen to God. He stayed close to the arch of the covenant. He heard his name being called, and learned to listen and respond. Samuel learned to hear the Lord’s voice and say, “Speak, for your servant hears.

God has something to say. I know he speaks. Like David states in psalm 63:2, “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.” I have known the intimacy of his voice. I miss listening. I miss the sound of him. It’s time for me to start that discipline again.

I desire his intimacy. I desire for people to say, “she has been with him.” I desire to be a woman after his own heart. That takes listening.

So Lord, “speak for your servant is listening.

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Have you ever had one of those days where life is good? Have you experienced those days where you have a smile on your face and joy is not scarce? Ever felt like life was going great and that you finally hit a good stride, when something happens. In the middle of your good time of life, you get that dreaded phone call, or read that unwanted email that changes everything. Maybe you might’ve heard those stomach grabbing words of, “I have to tell you something, or I need to talk to you.” In one instant you lose that seemingly solid ground of good life.

I have been reading and rereading the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was in one of those great places in life. He was finally in a place where life felt good and was making sense. Abraham had a great relationship with his wife, and Sara was loving life finally being able to be a mother. Abraham finally had a son in his old age, and was excited that he could say he still “had it.” Isaac was the promise God talked about as the new convanent. Life was making sense. Life was good.

One afternoon, God called to Abraham. Abraham answered back presently as he always did. But God had a request that changed everything. God told Abraham to take is son, his beloved son, and go up to the mountain of Moriah and sacrifice him.

I can picture Abraham’s heart sinking. I can imagine his head lowering slowly as the joy he had finally gotten to know, disappearing in a matter of seconds. Life changed in an instant. Joy turned to unknown sorrow. I wonder if Sara caught a glimpse of her husband’s demeanor change as she washed clothes that day.

Abraham obeyed. The next morning, he gathered up wood, packed his donkey, grabbed two servants and Isaac, and left.

Scripture states that it was a three day journey up to the place God had instructed. I am sitting here trying to imagine the tears and pleads Abraham must’ve had with God in those sleepless nights. Did he sit next to his son, staring at his face, while Isaac slept by the fire? What would he tell Sara? How could he come home Isaac-less to a woman who had been hoping for him her whole life?

Abraham felt every step taken on that journey. Each step filled with more heaviness and grief as Moriah appeared. I wonder if He tried bargaining with God for his son. I wonder if he sent everyone else a head while he wept, or maybe walked with clenched fists.

They finally reached the place God had instructed Abraham to go. He told the servants to stay back while he went up to worship. Abraham loaded Isaac up with the wood and they began walking. Abraham then built the alter with the wood. Against every part of his being, he grabbed and bound up his beloved son and placed him on top of the wood. Eyes filled with pain and tears, he raised his dagger to fulfill the request of his master.

In that moment God yelled out, “Abraham! Abraham!” At this point I think I would’ve puked. I would’ve dropped to my knees with sobs of thankfulness unable to even answer. Abraham’s heart was broken in obedience never to be the same after that day.

God provided the sacrifice needed. That day Abraham became even more of the man whose faith was “credited to him as righteous.”

God calls us into a life of obedience and sacrifice. The things he is asking us to offer are painful and full of grief. God will always fight for his rightful place in our lives. God asks for our prized possessions and our most beloved things. He will most often ask for them when we are not ready to give them up.

Abraham did not understand the request for Isaac, but he obeyed and trusted God. Abraham felt every part of sacrificing Isaac. As hard as it was  to give up Isaac, Abraham called it worship. Even though Isaac was given back to Abraham, I bet he never looked at Isaac the same way. Isaac had become his living sacrifice. It required everything from Abraham. This truth is no different for us. Sacrificing is hard, but worth God being where he needs to be.

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