Saturday, June 23, 2012

Complete Obedience

I had the blessing of going to a wedding today. It was a simple wedding and yet it was completely Christ-centered. So often a wedding can become about the bride and groom, when that is not what God's intention was. God's intention was that marriage be a display of His relationship to His bride, the church. I enjoy fancy weddings... I enjoy creativity in organization... but nothing can replace Christ-centeredness on the wedding day. It was a blessing to see two godly young people be united in marriage with plans to serve the Lord together along the lines of Bible translation. I believe that ministry as a couple is a vital part of marriage. The moment that the focus becomes on "us" and "our plans", we miss what the Lord is wanting to do in and through us. I am thankful for the reminder of that today.

I have been continuing my reading in Joshua and ran across this great little phrase about what Joshua did in Joshua 11:15.
... he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded...
Several years back, I was listening to a pastor on CD that was preaching to parents at a couples retreat and one of the things he said was that in regards to parenting is that "partial obedience is not obedience at all"! This is true in our relationship to the Lord. Partial obedience is not obedience. It leads us to think of ourselves higher than we ought to think and plays right into Jeremiah 17:9 in regards to the heart being desperately wicked, beyond what we can even know. May the Lord give us grace and help to be completely obedient like Joshua was... and may He give us the fullest of joys in doing so. It is a delightful thing to obey the One who knows how to gives His children only good and perfect gifts.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Bad Guys

On Sunday, Pastor Tim just mentioned as a side note something that he was pointing out to his children. You know... it is really amazing how God can speak through His Word to both the smallest of children and the oldest of adults. Anyway, he was talking about how we all see the 10 spies to the promise land as bad guys. We have gone so far from that point. These were guys that risked their lives for the sake of the people of Israel to bring back a report about the promise land. But, they lacked faith and trust in the Lord. Take a look at Numbers 13:27-33
Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “ We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
No doubt, their report was honest, but they had forgotten all that God had done up to this point and failed to trust Him for the next step. We do look at this guys as "the bad spies" and yes, they failed to trust the Lord, but so often, I think we don't see the same lack of faith in our own hearts. I like to think of myself as one who trusts the Lord, but there are so many areas in which I clearly have not trusted Him how I should have. I chose to lean on my own earthly wisdom without looking to the infinite power of God who made heaven and earth and all that is in it. He gives life and breath.

God, show me the areas in which I have not been trusting you and place in me a heart of trust resulting in full submission and obedience to whatever You desire me to do. Forgive me for my distrust and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Just Some Praise

So much has been happening lately and I have to say that I am so full of gratitude to the Lord. There is no way that I can remember everything, but I'd like to share several that come to the top of my head in no particular order.

Several weeks ago, one of the men at church was in a head-on car accident on a major highway. He ended up being air-lifted to the hospital. God was gracious and both he and the other man involved in the accident "walked away" without lasting injuries. He still has some recovery to do, but he is doing so well and was at church today. What a blessing from the Lord! It made my day seeing him at church.

Yesterday, a friend and her mom were driving on the freeway and swerved to avoid a car and ended up spinning a couple times... hitting the guard rail... popping three tires... etc. They both walked away from the totally destroyed car with bumps and bruises. There will be a recovery process both physically and emotionally/mentally, but the Lord was gracious in that no one else was involved in the accident and even the tow truck driver saw God's hand in the situation. God is so good and gave them hearts of gratitude to Him. Thank You, Lord!

We recently got back from visiting my sister and her family in Indiana. It was such a blessed time with them. It brought an incredible amount of joy to me to hear my nephew, Gabriel singing songs about the Lord. I think of that verse in 3 John about there being no greater joy than to see children walking in the truth--that is how I felt with my nephew. I can't even imagine the joy in seeing your own child praise the Lord--something to look forward to if the Lord should provide such an opportunity someday. God is so good--revealing Himself to little ones and receiving praise from them. I am humbled and grateful.

A man at church today came up to me about a minute before church started and handed me a 3x5 card and said, "If you were to ask me how you can pray for me, this is what I would tell you. I will pray for you in the same manner." On the card was written 2 Thessalonians 1:11 which says, To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power. You know, such a simple act that took a whole five seconds was such an encouragement to me. We had just read last night about speaking to one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. What a great example of that... taking the time to edify me. May the Lord give me a heart like that for others as part of His body. I praise the Lord for that man.

Mom and I went for a walk this evening and had the best time talking with one another. What a great woman she is! I am so thankful to the Lord for her and her words of wisdom. She is never afraid to tell me the deficiencies that she sees in me, but she does it in such an encouraging manner and it is so helpful to me. I am so thankful for her listening to the Lord's leading in that regard. I have many blind-spots and God uses her so often to help me. I am thankful to the Lord for her.

It's Father's Day today and though I don't have a specific event to talk about, I am so thankful for my dad. He often leads us to brainstorm in how we can lead conversations and activities in the ways of the Lord. He is a quiet leader, but a powerful one. He leads by example. I love seeing him in the morning with his Bible open. He is such a great example to me and I love him so much.

I'd like to echo the words of Psalm 150.
Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!