Category Archives: obedience

a history lesson

looking up

One of the special things most mornings bring is our reading, sharing together The Word and the Truths revealed to us as we linger over breakfast and coffee.  Some mornings though with schedules and appointments, the time is unable to be shared together, but we both know even if one of us is not physically present we are still share in this time.  Today happen to be one of those time alone mornings.  And what a sweet Truth God revealed to me in the stillness of my surroundings.  

For the last week or so, we’ve been reading through 1 Chronicles.  I know most will probably react with the same questions that have rolled through my mind.  “Why read through this book in the book in the Bible?”   Afterall, it’s nothing but long lists of genealogy and the basic recording of events from Genesis through the kings of Judah, and the exile and the people returning to Jerusalem after the exile. It reads a lot like a history book, an ongoing account of events.  In fact, much of what’s in Chronicles is repeated material from the earlier books.  So much so my mind keeps asking, “Why does all this need to be repeated over again?”  “Why do these people keep doing the same things over and over?”  “Why don’t they learn from their past?”  “Why? Why? Why?”  I know God does all this for a reason.  So the student in me wants to try to put all the facts and pieces together and figure out all the Whys.  I want to focus on the horizontal look at this panoramic picture of the Old Testament.

But today was different.  Today as the mind started to ask these same questions over again, the heart responded directly. The Lord was telling my heart to stop focusing on all the Whys and to look at the Who.  At this time was it really important for me to know who was reigning and who ruling?  Was it important to figure out who had absolute authority and why was this one overthrown, or that one dethroned?  Was it important to question why these people kept doing the same things over and over?  The Spirit told me to stop looking all across the pages – going backward and forwards . . .  from one commentary to the next . . .  and to look up.  

So for today, my answer was right there as I looked up.  Who was reigning and ruling?  – GOD.  Who has absolute authority? – GOD.  Always has and always will.  He has never been overthrown.  He has always been on his throne and always will be.   I was getting so caught up in looking at things horizontally, from the side-to-side, the back-and-forth, that I was forgetting to look up.

Today was different.  Today reminded me that recently I’ve become so caught up in all the hoopla of the worldly things going on in my life, the lives of those ones I love and care deeply for, and the conundrum of details that seem to surround me.  I’ve become caught up in all the horizontal details of life – all those nitty, gritty frustrations of the details of life that want me to take my eyes off Jesus.

Looking across, side-to-side, front-to-back is full of unknowns, of fears, what ifs, unrest, upheaval, distrust and discontent.  Looking across and around is mucky and off-center.  I can’t truly gaze if I’m looking horizontally.  He tells me to put down the hoopla of the world.  To not fret over the horizontal details of life that really do not matter – those details that want to pull me down, to pull me apart, to pull me away.  He tells me those things do not matter because He is on His throne.  He will not step down, nor will He be pushed aside.  He IS in control.

He has all my details covered because He knows my story.  Seeing all my details, He moves in His own time and at His own pace.  I need to stop looking across at all the earthly details and fretting over the earthly “kings” that change at the drop of a hat. He calls to me, “Daughter, look up to Me, your Heavenly King.  I have all the details of your life covered. Surrender them all to me and leave them at the foot of the Cross and at the foot of My throne. The one and only throne that has never or will ever change.”

Yes, today is different.  Looking up and over the page. I fix my gaze – I see the One that is unchangeable, full of grace and mercy and peace. Looking up is transformational.    

 


getting rid of the huisache

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Huisache (wee – sach) ~a native plant in Texas.  In the spring, it puts forth beautiful yellow flowers and when you look at the shrub it has nice green foliage, inviting to deer and birds.  One small problem, huisache will take over your land if not maintained and kept under control.  It seems that the more you try to mow it down or cut it down, the more it seems to spread. So in other words, the more you try to physically disturb it, the more it grows.   The problem is you have to get down into the plant’s root system.  Something we’ve learned about controlling the huisache at CHR is we have to be intentional in the fight. We fight the root of the problem by spraying the stems and leaves of each plant with a very strong and powerful herbicide and let it do its work.  Then he can come in and pull out the dead plant, root and all.

Seeing my husband working our land, reminds me of how God works in us. As “pleasing” as the huisache can look from a distance, once you get up close you see the thorns and you learn how it will methodically overtake your land.  Sounds just like the Enemy.  He made rebellion against God—which is the root of all sin—seem very attractive.

So just like with the huisache, I have to fight the lies, the doubts, the deception the Enemy whispers to me, desiring me to turn my eyes away from my Father.  I have to be intentional day by day, moment by moment.   I must keep my focus on knowing the Lord and believing in His promises.  Then, and only then, will I be ready and equipped to fight the battle against the one who wants me to turn away from God.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV


. . . be happy.

be happy

“I just want him to be happy…”

“Don’t you want him to be happy?” 

“Happy . . . happy . . . happy!” 

Happy. H.A.P.P.Y. Happy seems to be a word that has been thrown at me quite a bit over the last couple of years. At first my response was almost a too – immediate “yes” or maybe a “yes . . . but . . .”

One thing my own life has shown me is the more I try to be happy, the more happiness eludes me.  When I’ve made happiness the goal, I have fallen short.  Sometimes so short, that I’ve hit rock bottom.

God’s will for my life is not always the easiest place to be.  But the more I have sought Him, the more I have leaned into Him, the more I have surrendered to Him the less concern I have for my happiness.  Ironically … the more concerned I am about my relationship with my Creator, the happier I am.

If I make happiness my goal, God’s plan for me will be limited.

So as I contemplate those questions asked about happiness . . . whether it be my own happiness, or the “supposed” happiness of a loved one . . . an adult child, a family member, or a close friend . . .
my only answer can be ~ What am I really living for?  What are you really living for? 

Happiness . . . but at what cost?

 This is what the Lord says:

The man who trusts in mankind,
who makes human flesh his strength
and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed

The man who trusts in the Lord,
whose hope indeed is the Lord, is blessed.

Jeremiah 17: 5 and 7

 


the grass, the birds, the lilies and me

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If God so clothes the grass of the field . . . , will He not much more clothe you . . . ? Matthew 6:30

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  The problem is as much as I want simplicity, something inside me fights it.
I let the cares of the world come in to my mind and my heart. I allow myself to think I know better than Him.  And every time I allow this to happen, I push my Creator aside, losing that intimate place of close relationship with Him. 

How do I let the simplicity of the grass of the fields be my simplicity?  I set aside myself for Him.  I listen – receive His Spirit.  I am learning to rely on Him, not on my feeble attempts at “doing life.”

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“Look at the birds of the air . . .” Matthew 6:26.

I enjoy walking through the woods and the meadows at our country place.  The cacophony of sounds from all types of birds resonates through the ever-present stillness.  All you have to so is look up and the birds are there.  Are they dependent on me?   Absolutely not.  These feathered creatures, from the tiny little blue bird to the beautiful hawks that soar overhead as they intently watch our fields, follow the instincts their Creator places inside of each one.  He watches over every single one.

So why do I doubt?  Why would I think He wouldn’t watch over me?  Me.  The one he says He has known before I was created?  I want that freedom, freedom from worry.

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“Consider the lilies of the field . . .” Matthew 6:28.

We don’t have lilies in our fields, but we do have most of the beautiful Texas wildflowers one can find in the Hill Country.  The ever-changing landscape reminds me that these flowers always grow right where they are planted.  Not planted by our hands, but by the Hand of their Creator.  How many times do I refuse to grow right where God has planted me?  How many times do I not allow my roots to go down into His Ground?

Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him?
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

And just like with the grasses, the birds, and the lilies, this is not just a one-time thing for me either.  It’s a daily act. I need to stop and look again each day. Give myself up daily. Not just when I “need” Him, but give Him every single moment of every single day of my life.

Looking for Him in the little things, as well as the big things of my day.


on wings like eagles

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but those who wait upon the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint 
Isaiah 40:31

Funny thing . . . this verse has come across my path several times over the last few days . . .

Every time I read this verse, I’m reminded of the solitary eagle.  I can envision how he can soar to the great heights and depths, maneuvering through mountains, skimming over tops of forests and the water – all of his senses alive, on high alert. Waiting.

He can be very quiet . . . with an absolute resolute stillness.  There doesn’t seems to be a sense of restlessness or hurriedness to him.  Waiting.

Waiting expectantly to stretch his majestic, powerful wings.  Waiting to soar higher and higher, catching the upper air currents.  Soaring up high above the storms of life.

Unlike the eagle . . .

I run . . . I grow weary.

I walk . . . I grow faint.

I need to be like the eagle.  I need to learn to wait . . . wait like the solitary eagle.  I need to be silent like the eagle.  To wait on God – to be silent so He can speak.  To be expectant, with all my spiritual senses on high alert.  Not expectant of the world, not expectant of others around me, not even of myself.  My expectation must be from Him.

Then, and only then, will my strength be renewed.


red means stop

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Several Sundays ago, our pastor challenged us to look at red lights in a different way.  Getting around Houston, red lights are often considered an annoyance, an inconvenience. . . one more thing to slow us down, to keep us from keeping the pace of going with the flow. Instead we’d rather keep that accelerator pressed down all the time. In fact, I know I’ve even tried to time my speed so that I can make a line of green lights without ever having to stop. It’s GO. GO. GO.

On that Sunday, I was reminded that red lights are intentional.  They keep us from mass confusion, control our speed and create a sense of order.  So why is it that we don’t want to slow down?  Why don’t we want to take the time to stop, especially when it comes to finding time with our Creator?

It’s in those moments of STOP, those quiet moments of being still, my Father gets my attention, not just my mind, but most importantly – my heart.  It’s in those moments, He cherishes time with menot just the reverse.  He puts those red stop light moments in my path intentionally.  I have to choose to stop, to choose to be with Him.  So that He can soothe my heart, show me His Love, and reveal His graciousness and mercy to me. He can show me the prompting of His Will for me.  Then by faith, I can be ready to “go” when God sends me.

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call to Him while He is near.
Isaiah 55:6

Are you intentionally looking for the red stop light moments in your life? 


forgiveness . . .

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Forgive – so that today’s hurts don’t become tomorrow’s roots of bitterness.


do ~ love ~ walk

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Another day begins . . .

Does your day start off with the “short-list” and “long-list” of things to do?  Typically mine does!

Yet, how simple is it what God requires of us each day?

Three things . . . easy to understand.  But so often we make the daily living extremely difficult for ourselves by willfully forgetting a step or even thinking one or all of these actions don’t necessarily apply to a particular aspect or circumstance in our life.  Either way, we’re not walking in obedience or righteousness.  

Three simple verbs.

  • Do justly.  In every thing we do – every action, every decision we are to act honorably, morally upright, and fair.
  • Love mercy. Embrace and shower compassion, kindness, and forgiveness on everyone, even those who have hurt us.  Remember, usually mercy is undeserved.
  • Walk humbly. Lifting up Him whom has shown me mercy. Walking with Him, without pride and arrogance because without Him, I am nothing but emptiness and brokenness.  It’s not what I bring to HIM, it is how I interact with HIM.  

My daily “to do” list – is to be the Walk we share.  Not just on Sunday mornings, or in those dark times of pain and hurt.  Or when I “need” something.  Instead, every day He desires these close and intimate times with me ~ listening and talking and praying.

  Three things to do each and every day 

DO justly
LOVE mercy
WALK humbly

. . . and at the end of your day, no matter what your “short-list” or your “long-list” had on it, HIS list become the longings of your heart.


mouse trap

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Growing up, one of my favorite games to play with the cousins and friends was Mouse Trap.  Definitely a classic board game.  Building the elaborate Rube Goldberg’s like mousetrap was only half the fun . . . the other half was laying in wait, hoping to turn the crank trapping all the other players in the cage.

We were going through some old games the other day and discovered Mouse Trap hidden at the back of the cabinet. Taking all the pieces out of the pretty beat up box reminded me how much I had enjoyed that game not only growing up, but also playing it with my own kids.  But what really struck me was thinking how much this “kids” game is just like the “traps” we face in life.

Satan delights in taking something good, twisting and turning it in our minds and hearts, directing our focus on to something we want.

Something we want so badly that we elevate “it” above God.  We get so wrapped up in what we think is something we need, something we think we just have to have, right now – no matter what.  Our focus is sidetrack, going after the bait that’s been carefully placed, enticing us – laid out right there in front of our eyes.  We forget the many wonderful things our Creator, our Abba Father has so lovingly given us.  Once our eyes and heart become transfixed on satisfying our desire, Satan steps right in ready to meet that craving with what he wants us to have.  It’s never anything that is good for us. Never.

The cage is coming down on us, ultimately drawing us away from God.

Just like any good stalker, the enemy has been watching us carefully.  Watching.  Waiting.
Looking for those weaknesses, those times when we will say yes to his bait. He studies our emotions, looking for any vulnerability – loneliness, hurt feelings, fatigue, dissatisfaction, uncertainty . . .  anything to get our minds distracted away from time with our Father.   We get so caught up in the twists and turns, the enemy’s bait pulls us in, urging us to take the bait right now.

Doubt sets in.  His best scheme.

“Did God really say . . . ?”  – Satan wants us to question The Truth.

“Are you really saved?”Satan wants us to question our salvation.

We even begin to rethink God’s Word to justify our choices, to justify our sin.

But I don’t have to play Satan’s game.  He may be laying in wait, setting up a trap but I’m not helpless against his schemes.  I have an Abba Father who protects me, a Savior who intercedes for me, and the Spirit whose got my back and my front and my sides.

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. ~ James 4:7

 


not a random thing

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Remember . . . he was Mine before he was yours, and I love him more than you do.

Those were the words whispered to me in the dark, early morning hour.  Something woke me up and looking at the clock on our iPad the background picture was that of our prodigal.  What has become my habit through the years, whenever the face or name of those dear to me seem to come randomly,  I lift them to our Father because I know He knows them and He is the only who can bring peace.

I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.
2 Timothy 1: 12

When God calls you to pray for someone . . . be it one of your own, or someone else . . . it is not a random thing.  It is not something to be put on the “to-do list later”.  It might be that very hour, that very moment, in which that one is struggling or dealing with an all-important issue or maybe it’s in that very moment they are staggering under the load of choices they’ve made.  And standing in the gap at that moment may be God’s special provision and help to lead them to the road of deliverance . . . in that very moment.

Then later this morning while taking my mom and dad into town to do a few errands, we stopped in at their local favorite donut shop to have some coffee and a muffin.  While enjoying their Saturday morning ritual, I noticed I had gotten a text from my sweet man who’s deep in the mountains, several states away.  Cell service is pretty erratic, but he always sends a little something “sweet,” and always encouraging before he heads out.  His text read …”Growing Young” by Rich Mullins . . . listen to and pray . . . ” God had put our prodigal on my husband’s heart too.

Again . . . when God calls you to pray for someone – it is not a random thing.

So . . . we are obedient  . . . we pray . . . we relinquish into His hands . . .

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me
Psalm 138:3

“Growing Young” – Rich Mullins

I’ve gone so far from my home
I’ve seen the world and I have known
So many secrets
I wish now I did not know
‘Cause they have crept into my heart
They have left it cold and dark
And bleeding,
Bleeding and falling apart

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms
And be growing young
Growing young

I’ve seen silver turn to dross
Seen the very best there ever was
And I’ll tell you, it ain’t worth what it costs
And I remember my father’s house
What I wouldn’t give right now
Just to see him and hear him tell me that he loves me so much

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms

And when I thought that I was all alone
It was your voice I heard calling me back home
And I wonder now Lord
What it was that made me wait so long
And what kept You waiting for me all that time
Was Your love stronger than my foolish pride
Will You take me back now, take me back and let me be Your child

‘Cause I’ve been broken now, I’ve been saved 
I’ve learned to cry, and I’ve learned how to pray 
And I’m learning, I’m learning even I can be changed

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons

Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old 
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road 
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms 
And be growing young
Growing young
Growing young


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