A Side Note on Obedience…

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart,” Ezekiel 36:26.

First, let me apologize for falling behind in posting scripture and prayers for the 21 day prayer challenge.  I have been extra busy the past couple of days.  But, I am almost finished with days 5 and 6.  I will post them ASAP.  Now, onto the reason for this post.

If you are doing the 21 day prayer challenge or if you have been following my blog you have probably noticed that I have been praying for obedience and submission to authority for my family and for myself.  I have struggled in the past with rebellion and in general I don’t like being submissive.  As I was praying for my sons and husband to submit to God’s authority and the authority in their lives I felt God pulling at my heartstrings.  He was asking me if I am willing and obedient in my own walk with Him and in submission to the authority in my life.  I had to stop and think about the state of my heart and my actions.  Here are some things I reflected on:

  • Do I willingly submit to ALL of God’s commands?
  • Have I given every area of my life over to Him and His will?
  • Do I submit to my husband as the head of my household?
  • Do I show respect to the authority that God has placed in my life?
  • Does my attitude reflect one of willing obedience or rebellion?
  • If I am outwardly obedient do I still harbor negative thoughts and attitudes about the authority in my life?

I realized that God has placed every authority in my life for a reason.  The people over me may not know more than I do or be super spiritual but they were chosen by God to be in charge of me in some aspect of my life.  While I may not agree with God’s decisions (gasp!) or with His thinking or timing I know that He  always has a plan and He loves me.  He wants the absolute best for me and I have to be willing to be broken in spirit by submitting completely to His will in order to be made whole. 

I believe that I have made a heart change and that God has taken my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh.  I believe that His Spirit is within me and He is helping me to choose His will over my desires.  Just this past Friday (the 4th) I was on my way to pick up Connor from preschool and I got pulled over!  Now, I hadn’t been pulled over in YEARS prior to this incident and I was a little upset and a lot angry.  I didn’t even realize that I was speeding, to be truthful, and I guess I should have been paying better attention but I was in a hurry to get Connor and get back to my grandparents’ house for lunch.  Though I prayed for favor while the officer was running my license I wasn’t given any.  In fact, I received a $100 fine and a 4 point ticket!  After graciously accepting my punishment and going about my way again, I made a conscious effort to not let my emotions get the best of me.  I prayed for God to keep me under control and to see the positive in the situation.  I trusted that God would bring something good out of this yucky situation because I believe that His word is truth and that is what His word says (Romans 8:28). 

Well, today is Sunday and I went to church with my cousin and my parents this morning.  It was a great service all about God’s strength in our weaknesses.  I prayed for God to shine a light on my weaknesses and to show Himself to be strong in the areas I need it most:  finances, obedience, controlling my emotions, etc.  After service, my dad handed me a $100 bill and told me to pay for my ticket.  WOW!  Wouldn’t you know it?  I didn’t take my eyes off of God because of the anger and disappointment I felt.  I kept my trust in Him and expected good things to come.  I continued to pray for favor and provision.  God is faithful!  He showed me favor in the eyes of my dad and He showed me provision through my parents’ finances. 

Obedience to God and submission to the authority He places in our lives is key.  Without obedience we will never walk in the freedom that God intended for us!  I don’t know about you, but I choose to walk in freedom and in victory and the more I think about it, obedience doesn’t seem so bad…

 

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We Will Follow

My family is still being separated. Even though C is well enough to go to school his cough is not gone yet. I’m still getting over a cold and so is Blake. Since Bob has no immune system right now we still have to stay away from my parents. This is hard on all of us. We are used to being together all the time and it’s been a couple weeks now since we have seen each other. I want to be of more help to my mom right now. She needs me. I feel helpless and I know she is feeling alone. Even though things seem to be going wrong this must be part of Your plan, Lord. Our failed plans highlight our dependence on You; we can’t depend on anyone but You, God. We will continue to trust You in this storm and look to the blessings ahead. Hold our hands as You guide us through the unknown. Light our way and steady our feet. We won’t make it without You.

God, you are weaning us from all other dependencies. Our security rests in You alone. Not in other people, not in circumstances. We depend only on You. Even though we feel like we are free falling into the unknown our faith tells us that Your everlasting arms are underneath us, holding us up. Though we don’t know the path You have chosen for us, Your word lights the way. While we cannot understand why we must go through these trials we know that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. You have Your reasons for allowing us to feel pain. Our suffering is not in vain. You are working everything for good because we love You and have been called according to Your purpose. You have good plans for us, plans to prosper us, plans to give us hope and a future. Even though we may feel so alone we know that Your unfailing love surrounds us driving out all fear. We know that Your presence follows us wherever we go, comforting us and giving us peace that surpasses all understanding.

Lord, search us and know us. Our hearts and minds are set on You. Take our anxieties and leave us peace. Our trust is in You alone and we will not be shaken. You are our God and we are Your people. We will not be discouraged because You are with us and You will never leave us. We will not fear or be dismayed. You drive out our enemies before us! Goodbye cancer and sickness! Bob and grandma have been healed by the stripes of Jesus! You must flee! Bob and grandma are dead to sin and alive unto righteousness and no weapon formed against them will prosper!
We raise the cross high above the storms in our life and step out of the boat to meet our Glorious Savior! The swells may rise but we will not be overtaken! We will overcome by the blood of the lamb! God, You lead us to victory, it is our final destination! Whatever road You lead us down we will follow with unwavering faith and unshakable trust. We will faithfully speak Your praises and patiently endure our trials. We will be content in every situation that arises as we wait for You to deliver us. Because deliver us You will!!

We Will Follow

My family is still being separated. Even though C is well enough to go to school his cough is not gone yet. I’m still getting over a cold and so is Blake. Since Bob has no immune system right now we still have to stay away from my parents. This is hard on all of us. We are used to being together all the time and it’s been a couple weeks now since we have seen each other. I want to be of more help to my mom right now. She needs me. I feel helpless and I know she is feeling alone. Even though things seem to be going wrong this must be part of Your plan, Lord. Our failed plans highlight our dependence on You; we can’t depend on anyone but You, God. We will continue to trust You in this storm and look to the blessings ahead. Hold our hands as You guide us through the unknown. Light our way and steady our feet. We won’t make it without You.

God, you are weaning us from all other dependencies. Our security rests in You alone. Not in other people, not in circumstances. We depend only on You. Even though we feel like we are free falling into the unknown our faith tells us that Your everlasting arms are underneath us, holding us up. Though we don’t know the path You have chosen for us, Your word lights the way. While we cannot understand why we must go through these trials we know that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. You have Your reasons for allowing us to feel pain. Our suffering is not in vain. You are working everything for good because we love You and have been called according to Your purpose. You have good plans for us, plans to prosper us, plans to give us hope and a future. Even though we may feel so alone we know that Your unfailing love surrounds us driving out all fear. We know that Your presence follows us wherever we go, comforting us and giving us peace that surpasses all understanding.

Lord, search us and know us. Our hearts and minds are set on You. Take our anxieties and leave us peace. Our trust is in You alone and we will not be shaken. You are our God and we are Your people. We will not be discouraged because You are with us and You will never leave us. We will not fear or be dismayed. You drive out our enemies before us! Goodbye cancer and sickness! Bob and grandma have been healed by the stripes of Jesus! You must flee! Bob and grandma are dead to sin and alive unto righteousness and no weapon formed against them will prosper!
We raise the cross high above the storms in our life and step out of the boat to meet our Glorious Savior! The swells may rise but we will not be overtaken! We will overcome by the blood of the lamb! God, You lead us to victory, it is our final destination! Whatever road You lead us down we will follow with unwavering faith and unshakable trust. We will faithfully speak Your praises and patiently endure our trials. We will be content in every situation that arises as we wait for You to deliver us. Because deliver us You will!!

Patience is Key

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.  Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him,” James 1:12.

As I read this verse this morning I heard God say, “Patience is the key.”  

What is patience?
Patience is:
  1. The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.
  3. Quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care.

What are some synonyms of patience?:

  1. Composure, stability, self-possession; submissiveness, sufferance. Endurance, fortitude, stoicism imply qualities of calmness, stability, and persistent courage in trying circumstances. Patience may denote calm, self-possessed, and unrepining bearing of pain, misfortune, annoyance, or delay; or painstaking and untiring industry or application in the doing of something: to bear afflictions with patience. Endurance denotes the ability to bear exertion, hardship, or suffering.  Running in a marathon requires great endurance. Fortitude implies not only patience but courage and strength of character in the midst of pain, affliction, or hardship: to show fortitude in adversity. Stoicism is calm fortitude, with such repression of emotion as to seem almost like indifference to pleasure or pain. 3. indefatigably, persistence, assiduity.

My thoughts on patience:

  • Patience is a choice
  • Patience is a state of mind & being
  • Patience takes practice
  • Patience takes courage & strength
  • Patience takes persistence & hard work
  • Patience is perfected in the midst of trial & tribulation
  • Patience is the absence of complaint
  • It is the ability to overcome adversity
  • It keeps you going in spite of pain
  • Patience feeds on hope
  • It is the “fight” within all of us
  • Patience sets its sights on the prize
  • It succeeds against all odds
  • True patience does not exist in the absence of pain or hardship; it is in the midst of pain & hardship that true patience is birthed
  • Patience is fighting the good fight of faith without complaining
  • Patience is enduring in all circumstances with a good attitude
  • Patience is thanksgiving with perseverance
  • Patience is overcoming whatever life throws at you with a smile on your face
  • Patience is choosing joy over sorrow and hope over fear
  • Patience is seeing the single ray of sunshine breaking through the storm
  • It’s looking at that mountain in your life and saying, “No matter what it takes, I won’t stop until you have been cast into the sea.”

God, when I am weak, You are strong.  I can’t do this on my own.  I can’t get through a single day without Your presence.  You are the strength of my heart.  You are my peace and joy.  Lord, carry me.  Never let me go.  Renew my mind.  Quench the thirst of my spirit.  Satisfy the hunger of my soul.  Fill me up with Your word.  Breathe new life into me.  Carry my burdens and fill me with Your peace that surpasses all understanding.  Make my heart light, give it wings to soar above the adversity in this life.  Make me fix my gaze upon You alone.  My patience is being perfected.  Do not give up until You have completed the good work You have started in me.  I will hang on.  I will push through until the end.  Your faithfulness and love will bring me to the finish line.  I will see Your glory.  I rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, and persevere in prayer Lord because my trust is in You and I will not be shaken.   

Stepping Outside of Myself

My parents got my family an iPad; they are too good to us!! Bob says it’s because I’m one of his care takers through the transplant but I think its because he and my mom want to face chat with the boys. Either way, I’m thankful for their generosity. I downloaded a few games for my boys to play; coloring, drawing, and some educational ones too. They love it! Unfortunately, as with all things they both love they fight over it. So today I had, had my fill of arguing and I put the iPad away; waterworks and mass hysteria commence here. Once the screaming and pleading stopped and I occupied them with other things I thought we were in the clear at least until tonight; I was wrong. Connor doesn’t forget anything, ever. His mind is a steel trap; for better or worse. He began to beg me to play. He would whisper in my ear so as not to let his brother in on his plans, “Mom, can I draw when Blake goes to sleep?” “Mom, when is Blake gonna take a nap? Is it time?” On and on with the questions. I just couldn’t handle anymore and apparently he couldn’t either because he just broke down. “Mom! Why is it taking so long? (he pleaded through tears)”. That’s when it hit me. I had a total “aha moment”, an epiphany. Not so long ago I had a melt down with God similar to the one Connor just had with me. I asked God the same thing, “Why? Why is it taking so long?” I questioned his ways, his timing, his plan just as Connor questioned mine. Funny. It’s so obvious to me that I know better than Connor. There is no doubt. So why was it not so obvious to me that God knows better than me? Was I annoying and frustrating to God when I had my melt down? Did he feel his heart breaking when I cried out to him in my pain and ignorance just as I felt mine breaking from Connor’s pain?

I’m sorry Lord. I’m sorry for my doubt. My impatience. My bad attitude. I’m just so sorry. I know that you know better. Your ways are higher than mine. You love me and you are not allowing me to feel pain for no reason. I trust you and I promise to do better next time.