Obedience

God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.  Give me insight so I can do what you tell me- my whole life one long, obedient response.  (Psalm 119:33-34, The Message)

As I begin to write, I had to have a conversation with my 7 year old on obedience and respect.  She has an old iPhone that she has kept up with for about 4 years now.  No, she doesn’t have wireless service but she does get to use it like an iPod.  I have been very impressed at her ability to keep up with it and to not break the screen.

How does this relate to obedience?  Well, I had a conversation with her this morning about not walking around the house watching and listening to her “kid shows”.  I explained I don’t want to hear it today.  So, as I begin to write, she walks past my room with it playing.  Literally – all I typed before this happened was the word obedience.  I turned around and called her back and had another conversation about it.  (Side note:  I do like all the times she walks around the house playing and singing Hillsongs, “Oceans” at the top of her lungs!)

This week I made a step of obedience myself.  I have been praying about this for over a month.  Really? Yes really!  I sat around for the past month and prayed whether or not I would be obedient.  Sounds silly, stubborn, and disobedient – all at the same time – I know.  And, yes, I do and did deserve the same conversation from Jesus that I had with my daughter this morning.

It gets better than that prayer.

I actually called one of my life-long friends from seminary.  Fortunately, he didn’t answer the phone.  I called looking for him to give me permission to be reasonable and logical about this thing I was praying about…. bottom line I was looking for him to tell me (without him knowing) I was looking for him to give me permission to delay my obedience.  Think I will call him back today to apologize for something he has no idea he was almost a party to… Honestly, I don’t think he would have given me the permission or encouragement for me to delay my obedience.

My wife and I sat down that same night, held hands, and prayed.  Immediately, I did what I had been “praying about for a month.”  Two days later, God intervened in a situation to let me know He had heard me and was with me.  A direct answer to another prayer that has been ongoing for the past month.

Honestly, as I sit here and contemplate this week.  I can see all of the situations before me and see them all as layers connected to the same onion.  Obedience is the key to the layers being able to be peeled back.

This morning I am reading Rick Warren’s daily devotional and he also is writing on this same subject!  (I love how the Holy Spirit works through things I read to confirm His leading in my life).  The first paragraph reads,

God smiles when we obey him wholehartedly.  That means doing whatever God asks without reservation or hesitation.  You don’t procrastinate and say, “I’ll pray about it.”  You do it without delay.  Every parent knows that delayed obedience is really disobedience.

Well, you don’t have to hit me over the head…. but I do love the confirmation of God at work in my heart and my life.  For that, I am wonderfully thankful!!

Faith-filled living does require action.  And, oftentimes, that action is at the center of obedience.  So, today, walk in obedience and do what He is leading you to do.

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He speaks in the quiet

Seasons in our life come and go then they come back around again.  Every time we take the time to meet with God through His Bible there is a power there.  He wants to converse with us – but how much time do we really take and sit down and listen.

Our pastor challenged us with the amount of Social Media we partake in several months ago.  I had already cut out Facebook, Twitter, Instagram before his message.  I had grown so tired of the stuff I was reading on there.  And yes, this post will hit Facebook and there will be a few who may not want to see this pop up in their feed as well.  Weeks before the primaries in Georgia, I had kicked the FoxNews habit I have had for years!

It’s great to be free from the junk that was filling my mind and my time!  I have found a bit of freedom.

I mentioned power in the Word of God.  That’s true.  Everyday I pick up my Bible and read and those words come to mind just as I begin to read, “There is power in the Word of God.” I’m reading right now like I did when I was a new Christian.

My favorite spot right now is on the deck behind the house.  I read, pray, and listen.  Many times while listening I hear the birds and I am reminded that He takes care of the birds – how much more will he take care of us.

We all have our moments.  Moments when we are on top of the world, so to speak, when it comes to faith and believing.  There are times we find ourself running from our greatest fears or falling to some sin that just can’t seem to be overcome.  Then we hear the voice of the Lord, like Elijah did in I Kings 19:13, “What are you doing here?”  No matter where you may find yourself today, remember there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, Jesus.  If you find yourself hearing His voice asking that question… answer Him.  He is asking for a reason.  There is another place He wants you to be.

I believe every word he said to be true.  I believe that Jesus came to love me… just as much as he loves you!  I love to pick through my collection of music.  I rode the bicycle on the trainer tonight to The Kry.  I had to get off the bike and get on my knees and thank Jesus for intervening in my life.  Without him, I know, life wouldn’t have any meaning whatsoever.  Take a moment to listen to this song and read the lyrics below as you listen.

It all became clear to me
The day I believed it’s what is true
He was nailed to the tree
Cause I needed a Savior I needed love
Why would I be silent or ashamed
To sing about the one Who took my place

I believe in God and the Son He sent
That He came and He died and He’s risen again
Every word He said Every promise is true
I believe it…I believe it…

This I’ll sing loud and clear
As long as I’m breathing
My whole life through
While the world spins and whirls
No other reason to live at all

You may disagree but that’s OK
Cause I don’t really care what they may say
It’s like a fire burning inside that keeps
burning burning burning

I believe in God and the Son He sent
That He came and He died and He’s risen again
Every word He said Every promise is true
I believe it…I believe it…

I believe in God and the Son He sent
That He came and He died and He’s coming again
Every word He said Every promise is true
I believe it…I believe it…

I originally wrote this Summer, 2016.

 

 

Encouraging faith around the toilet

The past several months have been some of the best months I have experienced in a long time.  Why? Read on…

Over the past couple of years (and maybe more), I have struggled to see where God is, where I am in God, and where it is I belong.  I have sought the Lord.  I have prayed and read the Bible.  I have read devotionals.  I have talked with friends.  I have gone to church and attended Sunday School. I have attempted to teach a couple of times. And earlier this summer I went on a mission trip where I believe things began to change. I had about given up.

I’m in the midst of reading 1 Kings right now in the Old Testament.  While reading, 1 Kings 17 – 19, I read about Elijah: A man who speaks with the Lord, fed by ravens and angels, a man of prayer, used by God to raise the dead, prayed for rain in a little whose God is bigger tournament on Mount Carmel, and a man, when challenged, was afraid.

I can relate to Elijah… especially as it pertains to running from my fear.  When Elijah was challenged by Jezebel he ran in fear.  In 1 Kings 19:13, “And behold, there came a voice to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?”  I’m pretty sure I have heard that in my own spirit before as well.  There are a few other things that stand out to me this morning in the midst of his fear.

  1. The Lord was with him.
  2. He was not forgotten.
  3. God still had a purpose, work, and a plan with his life.
  4. There was nothing too big God can’t overcome.
  5. God wanted him to mentor someone else (Elisha)

God has been speaking to me lately in so many wonderful ways.  If you are new to faith in Jesus or are seeking to understand who Jesus is, I want you to know I don’t hear him audibly.  I see/hear Him as I read His Bible.  I hear him as I contemplate and pray over and through His Word (Bible). I hear Him speak to me through other Christians and circumstances in my life.  I personally love to have a spot where I can sit, pray, and read the Bible.  It’s our meeting place.  If you don’t have a place where you meet with God I encourage you to find a place and ask the Lord to meet you there.

So, what does this have to do with faith and a toilet?  I’m looking to tackle a couple of little projects around the house.  I met with a good friend last night to discuss some of those things he may help me with.  The toilet was on my list.  I had looked at this toilet a couple of times by myself.  (I really hate working on things like this).  The couple of times I had looked at it by myself I never saw what the problem was.  I just thought I was going to have to replace all the stuff in the back of the toilet.

Well, last night he pulled the lid off and I stood there looking at it from a different angle.  A new perspective so to speak.  Immediately, I saw what the problem was.  The little chain was keeping the rubber-flapper-deal from closing all the way which was keeping the water running.  BAM, problem solved!! Thanks Randy!!

Why couldn’t I see that before?  I don’t know.  But the lesson is that we need others in our lives so we can see life from a different perspective.  Randy and I have met together for years (almost once a week) to share with each other from the Bible, a book we are reading, prayer, and just to plain-ole talk.  We have taken a little break from that the last couple of years but God has brought us back to our meeting time in recent weeks.  I’m so glad He did.  I need fresh perspective in my life.  And I need to be able to share with someone else what God is teaching me.  Our meeting time is one of real encouragement.

If you don’t have someone you meet with I highly encourage you to find someone to share with.  Maybe you need to seek someone out who needs a friend that you can mentor.  Or maybe you need an Elijah in your life to help you grow in your faith and understanding of God.

Until next time… Roye

 

 

Walking into the presence of God

Walking in the presence of God

Walking in the presence of God

Walking with God is not always as clear as we would like for it to be.  But then, maybe we shouldn’t desire for it to be clear.  Walking with God is about trusting Him… trusting his Son, Jesus, to be who he has destined to be in our lives. And allowing the Holy Spirit to have total freedom to lead and empower as He desires.

Today, I went for a hike on a rainy day up Pine Mountain.  As I walked up the mountain, I thought of Moses and wondered what it was like for him to walk up to spend time with God in such an intimate way.  I’m no Moses but as I approached the clouds I asked God to surround me and let me walk with Him up there.  I didn’t descend the mountain with stone tablets or a specific word to share with His people, but rather an assurance He is with me.

GOD said to Moses, “Get ready. I’m about to come to you in a thick cloud so that the people can listen in and trust you completely when I speak to you.”  (Exodus 19:9, The Message).

Even though our lives don’t seem to make sense at times – or the outcomes aren’t as we planned – or the answer to prayer didn’t come in a way we wanted it to – He is with us.  I captured the moment in this picture.  I thought about how much this path represents life… my life.  As I reflect upon this afternoon,

Walking into the future is much like this path. I’m asking God to fall on me and my path as the clouds did today on the mountain. Totally enveloped by His presence.

Bloom where you are planted…

…but don’t be surprised if where you are planted is in a nursery.

I used to lead a landscaping company when I lived in Albuquerque.  It was a great experience and it was an awesome opportunity to work for my friend there.  I learned a lot during that time of my life.  While working there I would take clients to a local nursery to get a better idea of the plantings I was suggesting for their landscape.  Once the selections were made I would place the order.

Those plants I am sure were very content staying right there in the nursery.  They had plenty of water and the appropriate lighting necessary for their growth.  But there would come a day for those plants to be relocated to another location… possibly their permanent home. 

Israel was taken care of by God while wandering in the wilderness.  God lead them with a cloud by day and fire by night.  They went were he lead.  They grumbled and complained a lot.  Yet the entire time Joshua was being raised up to lead them on into the Promised Land and out of the wilderness.

God has used wilderness experiences in my life to get my attention that it was time to go somewhere else.  Now – I’m not saying that He leads everyone that way… that’s just how He has gotten me to make a move in one direction or the other.   

No matter where you may be today in your walk with Christ – you will always be walking toward greater maturity.  In order to do so that may mean you will have to step out of the nursery and into the wilderness for a bit.  But take heart God will be there in the fog and will lead with fire.  Bloom wherever God plants.

Where’s my mind?

It’s somewhere north of here!

There are a few songs I really like to listen to when I drive… especially when I am going through a contemplative season.  It’s that season again.  “Somewhere North” by Derek Webb is one of those songs. 

It’s a muggy night in Houston
And all the intersections are like full service stations
I’m on my way to a familiar place
It’s cold in Kansas City
And you can no more hear me than I can see your face
How I wish it was just you and me

We wouldn’t have to talk above the crowd
We wouldn’t have to talk so loud

Chorus
I give you my life and all I am
But what have I to give
So I hand you a candid photograph of this little boy
‘Cause I have nothing to my name
But I can give you that

I don’t miss the driving
Seems like forever
And I’m always driving in my mind
And wearing out the road that gets me there

And I’m driving till my eyes just can’t see straight
But I suppose that it’s getting late

Chorus

I may never find the sleep
I’ve lost all feeling in my hands and
Feet may touch the ground but
My mind’s somewhere north of here

I saw Derek Webb perform at Berry College with Joel and Jason last winter.  Webb was awesome!  I don’t recall if he sang this or not… I assume this song is about a relationship with a girl.  I have another take on it for my life and will write about it in Part Two.

Why all the fear?

I recall sitting in my bedroom on Walnut Dr.  It was summer.  I think I was 19 years old.

I knew what God was wanting to do with me at the time.  I knew what He was calling me to do.  I knew what He was preparing.  But I had this fear of stepping out and doing what He wanted me to do. 

Fear.  It’s an ugly four letter word.  One that I don’t like to face. 

So what happened on that day in my bedroom?  I had been praying about this thing on my mind.  I knew what God was telling me.  Yet I wanted him to write it out on the wall for me… send me a letter in the mail… speak to me audibly.  I just wanted authoritative proof that what was on my mind was really Him and not something I was making up in my mind. 

So what happened while in my bedroom?  Well, after I prayed I recall having this thought come to my mind. “Read Psalm 32:8-11.”  OK – cool – I will read it.  I did.  Before I read it I had no idea what it was going to say.  I wasn’t even sure if there were 11 verses in this Psalm.  I grabbed my NIV and started reading:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
       I will counsel you and watch over you.

Do not be like the horse or the mule,
       which have no understanding
       but must be controlled by bit and bridle
       or they will not come to you.

 Many are the woes of the wicked,
       but the LORD’s unfailing love
       surrounds the man who trusts in him.

 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
       sing, all you who are upright in heart.

Well, He didn’t have to head me over the head!  But I’m glad He did! After-all I asked for it!

Tonight I am reading in Psalm 32.  While reading this passage I am reminded of that particular evening.  Now I’m 43.  Guess what!  I still struggle with that fear. 

My friend James told me yesterday, “Don’t be afraid”  – among other things.  Sometimes I think if God would put that bit in my mouth and lead me on I will not need to fear… yet he says, “Don’t be like the horse of the mule…”  I guess I’m a jack ass 🙂 !  Just kidding… I’m a child of God that wants to be safe.  I need to live with “Reckless Abandon”.

Why all of the fear?