Tag Archives: faithful obedience

Small Beginnings

Today my daughter received her college acceptance letter. What an exciting moment celebrating her invitation into the biochemistry program she desires to begin her journey toward a career in pathology. Yet when I think of this new journey she is about to embark upon, I am reminded of a recent fortune cookie statement – “All great things had small beginnings.”

This interest she has in pathology was something she developed as a young child watching Dr. G: Medical Examinerwith me. This seed then blossomed over years of schooling and research. As we celebrate today as a family, we recognize it was small things that led to this great thing. It also will take a lot of study and sacrifice to reach the end goal; lots of small things that will lead up to the great things. 

With social media today, we are shown a lot of great things, but we do not see the back story. We see the grand vacation photos, but not the overtime hours or intense saving with a budget that went on to offer a great opportunity with no additional debt. We see well-behaved children and fancy dinners and homes decorated to look like the homes shown in magazines. We do not see the small beginnings; we do not see all that has led up to this very moment.

It is truly a blessing to look back on all the small beginnings of life and see how God has moved. It is awesome to look at how God used our faithful obedience, our struggles, etc. all for His good purpose and for His glory. May we give Him praise as we remember the small beginnings. May we stay focused on what matters, remembering that the social media posts we see are only showing us what someone wants us to see. May we stay humble, remembering that God is in control and every great thing is only great because He has paved the way and opened the doors. To Him be all glory, honor, and praise.

“He is your praise and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awe-inspiring works your eyes have seen.” – Deuteronomy 10:21 [CSB]

Why Did You Ever Send Me?

Moses had the great task of bringing God’s people out of Egypt. He had to deal with the hard-hearted Pharaoh and the stiff-necked Israelites. The first meeting with Pharaoh caused the Israelites more burden and they were not happy with Moses—they actually wanted God to judge him for making them a stench. Moses responds by turning to God at this point and he asks why—“Why did you ever send me?”

How many times in life have you asked God why? How many moments in your life did things not make sense? When was the last time you thought God was doing a certain something, but the situation was very different? What about when you believe God wants you to respond to a particular calling or command, yet after you pour your energy into obediently following in faith, you find yourself making someone a stench—or even becoming the stench yourself?

Life is not easy, and we do not always understand what God is doing. We cannot see the big picture. We cannot think or imagine like God. We are commanded to act in faithful obedience. We are often quick to ask God why, perhaps because we are upset with the results. Yet God is not finished yet with us. There is a bigger picture. We miss out when we focus on the quick results we can see with our human eyes. We miss out when we forget that the true fruit of obedience, the true blessing, is having a relationship with God. Walking side-by-side with the Lord was our purpose from the very beginning. Though sinners, through the blood of Christ, we can again walk side-by-side with the Lord. Today, rejoice in His presence and enjoy this great blessing. Remember it is never in the why… the answer is always the Who. 

“Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?” – Exodus 5:22 [ESV]

March 7

March 7. Here it is again. I am sure I am not the only one with a day. A day is only a day in your eyes. As the world sees the day, it is very different from your vantagepoint. A day is filled with scars, with unanswered questions, with tragedy, with depth, with decisions, with memories that don’t quite add up. Today is my day.

When this day first became my day, it was a moment when my life forever changed. I had such dreams of what could be in my life; however, I found that life isn’t a Hallmark movie and what I had hoped would be my prayers answered and my white picket fence and my happily ever after became something different—something raw, uncontrollable, unsatisfactory to my plans. It was a day that began a long journey trying to process what was truth, what was the new normal, and what fears needed to be overcome to navigate the new waters. It took years to heal many of the scars, some of which went unnoticed for a long period of time. It required me to let God into the broken areas, to freely move, to reveal to me things I never wanted to see—so that He could repair—so that He could make new.

This was 2004. Every year since, I have celebrated this day. I rejoiced this day not because of what was lost and because of what I so desperately wanted to be truth back then. I rejoiced this day not because I lost my white picket fence and had to face reality. I rejoice because through the years I have been blessed to see God move again and again for my family. I have seen Him move mountains in my life. I have seen Him part waters when there was not a way to pass. He has provided me strength, comfort, and He has protected and provided for my family at every turn.

Today it was hard to celebrate. As I drove to the office knowing that this day was again another end to a season, I cried out the Lord. The brokenness and heartache that I felt back in 2004, has long since faded. I am not that same person. And the pain I felt that day is very different than the pain of today. It was strange as I was on my morning drive to consider that God knew even back in 2004, what would happen today. He knew when I was putting my hand to the plow, that this day would come.

But this day was different. In 2004, I didn’t have a real choice of anything. I had to get up off the floor, dust myself off, and press onward. It was either that or wallow for a time. But this day was a choice, a step forward that I have taken even knowing some of the brokenness that would follow. Sometimes we can see truth and we know it is truth, but we don’t want to receive it and be bold in faith. Sometimes we see truth but ask why God won’t change things so the truth could be different. Sometimes we are faced with the option of trusting God, stepping forward, letting go, and trusting that out of the brokenness He is still making all things new.

As I neared the office, and continued to seek comfort in Him, knowing that after today, so much of what was a huge part of my life is going to be changed, even seeing glimpses of those changes these past few weeks, Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust in You,” began to play. The lyrics reminded me of the battles over the years, reminded me of how things often make little sense when I’m faced with a road to take. It was in that car ride to work that I could continue to do what I’ve done each year on March 7th—celebrate Him! Not everyone will understand what I feel on this day. Not everyone will know all the hours of prayer leading up to this day. Not everyone will be excited for this day.

Even still, I rejoice. I rejoice in knowing that God is still God. I rejoice in knowing that He has a great plan, beautifully orchestrated. I rejoice in knowing that He is still Lord of my life, my Savior and King. I rejoice in knowing that He will still see me through these murky waters. Long ago, He gave me this calling to preach His Word. Following in faithful obedience to this calling led me up to this very day, and this very decision. As 1 Timothy 4:16 says, I must keep watch on my life and keep watch on my teaching and then in doing these things, may the hearers be saved. May I continue to be faithful to His calling upon my life. The Word will go out as He leads!

As this day, March 7thslowly ends, I question my verse for this season. The verse, 1 Chronicles 4:10, speaks of blessing and enlarging the ministry—praying that there would be no pain or harm allowed. None of these words make sense to me today. This doesn’t seem like the season I’m currently navigating; it seems like polar opposite. But so often, we do not know what He has planned. That is why it is called faith.

This is not a devotion. This is not a sermon. This is not a Bible study. This is not a poem. This is my day. This is my heart. This is my reality. May this testimony point to the One who is greater than I, to a Father who has never left my side, a Savior who paid something I could never pay, the Spirit who continues to reveal to me that I have a lot of growing yet needed.

Look to Him. Draw near to Him and watch how everything changes!

Why Try

We all like to understand things. Some of us like to understand more than others. I remember when I was young and would take apart our VCR (remember that?) and see if I could put it back together. I learned how the VCR worked so well I was able to fix ours from time to time.

When it comes to life, we are to walk by faith. This means that we won’t always know what is going to come our way. We may not even understand some of it. But even so, we are supposed to press onward in faith. As today’s verse says, “The LORD directs our steps.” Since He directs our steps, there’s no reason to understand everything. We don’t need all of the whys because we know the Who and we can trust the Who, knowing that all the whys are for our best.

Today, understand that no matter how many times you dig into the Word, you won’t have all of the answers. But it’s okay! You may not understand everything along the way, but you will be walking with Him through it all. That’s so much better.

“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [NLT]

Lasting Foundation

The Bible says that the godly have a lasting foundation. The foundation that is lasting is the one that is built on the Rock, Jesus Christ. We know that we have a choice. We can build our life on sinking sand or on the Rock. We can choose.

The Bible also tells us that if we build our house on sinking sand, it will surely not withstand the wind and chaos of life. But if we build our house on the Rock, it will not matter if the wind blows, the streams rise, or the rain pours down, we will not fall (see Matthew 7:24-25).

To build on the Rock, one must hear the words God speaks and put them to practice. It’s that simple. Faithful obedience. As you continue to hear the Word and allow it to guide your steps, you will be built on Him. When the storms of life come, you’ll have a lasting foundation because your foundation is the foundation of Christ Jesus.

“When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.” – Proverbs 10:25 [NLT]

Deeply Written

When I want to save something to remember, I will write things on my hands or take photos with my phone. As well, I am a frequent user of sticky notes on my computer. Doing these things keeps me on track to remember what needs to be remembered.

The Bible speaks a lot about remembering God’s commands. Long ago, the people had their own ways of remembering Scripture. Even their culture was built upon remembering what God had done, as they continued to meet for prayer. They invested time in passing down the sacred text. Even during meal time, they remembered.

Today, we need to be intentional when it comes to guarding God’s Word. We need to keep it ever before us, not so as to protect the Bible but to drown ourselves in His Word and treasure it. To have God’s Word written deeply in our hearts, we must be constant in the Word. Wake up reading it. Go to sleep reading it. Have it posted and spoken around our home. Have it playing in our ears. Today, ask the Spirit how you can write the Word deep within your heart, where it will be a source of life and a treasure everlasting.

“Obey My commands and live! Guard My instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” – Proverbs 7:2-3 [NLT]

Serve Enthusiastically

Growing up, I was taught the value of hard work. I am very grateful that my parents instilled this into me, and I hope that my children learn this as well. In Romans 12:11, we read, “Never be lazy, but work hard.” The verse continues to say, “Serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Wow! This is more than simply getting the job done.

Serve the Lord enthusiastically. Cheerfully. There should be excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness. ENERGY. Energy people around you can feel. This enthusiasm is contagious. This enthusiasm points to our Father, the One we are serving.

This enthusiasm is in high demand; it’s hard to find.  It’s something special that is not on display everywhere you turn. Too many people get caught going through the motions. Friends, don’t get in a routine. Don’t lose your joy for service. Ask Him where He wants you to serve. Pour yourself into it. Remember that you are not alone. If you are doing what you were designed to do, the enthusiasm will be there. Keep walking in faithful obedience and as you grow where you are positioned, your excitement will be contagious.

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]

Your Responsibility

The world tries to tell you that you are only responsible for yourself, and sometimes that even isn’t something that is taught. But the Bible speaks about an integrity the world does not understand. We have a great responsibility, as well as many responsibilities along the way. If we want to live for Jesus, we must be intentional. If we desire to walk in faithful obedience, we cannot ignore our responsibilities.

In Deuteronomy 22, we read about someone coming upon their neighbor’s wandering sheep or goat. The verse tells us that the person should take it and return it to its owner. This speaks of an expectation that consists of going above and beyond. It might require you to go out of your way. It might require you to spend some extra time to get it done. Part of you may justify just keeping the sheep, clinging to the phrase, “Finders keepers.”

Going the extra mile glorifies God. Not ignoring the opportunity to help bless someone glorifies God. Don’t ignore these opportunities that come your way. Consider this opportunity to be a gift. Go the extra mile and watch what happens.

“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.” – Deuteronomy 22:1 [NLT]

The Trap

Boundaries are important. The Bible speaks out in warning of any alignment with non-believers. We read of not making treaties with outsiders. We read about not aligning with those who are non-believers, because if we marry a non-believer it is likely that we will be drawn away. Deuteronomy 12 warns us not to fall into the trap. This trap causes us to be led astray to worshiping other gods.

The Bible tells us to be careful. We read these words often. We must be able to balance our time between people strong in the faith and people who do not know Jesus. We must surround ourselves with these strong, faithfully obedient men and woman for support, encouragement, and accountability. But we also must be able to reach the world by building relationships with those who have not received Christ.

As you go through your day today, remember that there is a trap waiting. Be mindful of the way you spend your time. Make sure you have strong Christians in your life, people who are walking in faithful obedience and who will point you to Jesus Christ, desiring for you to grow deeper with Christ. Also, make sure you are building a relationship with some non-believers. Through your actions, may they be able to see Christ.

“Do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’” –  Deuteronomy 12:30 [NLT]

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there.” – Deuteronomy 18:9 [NLT]

Hold Tightly

To hold tightly means you hold firmly. You cling to something or grip something, usually in attempt to not let go. I think back to when my children were small and I would hold their hands tightly as we crossed the streets. I remember walking up a high staircase and holding the handrail tightly in hopes that I could safely navigate the heights. When the wind is blowing hard, we hold tightly to our personal items as we try to get from the car to the house without losing anything. We use all the strength we have so we can keep a hold of these things.

In Deuteronomy 11, we read about “holding tightly to Him.” Do you hold as tightly to God, with the tight grip, in an attempt to not let go when the winds get high? Do you hold as tightly to God as you climb the high heights? Do you cling as tightly to God’s hand as you cross the streets of life?

The Bible tells us we are to walk in God’s ways and hold tightly to Him. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. To walk in His ways, you must hold tightly to Him. Abide in Him and He will abide in you (see John 15). His power working through you will give you all you need to walk in faithful obedience. Today, realign yourself to Him.

“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the LORD your God by walking in His ways and holding tightly to Him.” – Deuteronomy 11:22 [NLT]