The Joy of Obedience

I like the word joy.  It brings a smile to my face just saying it…go ahead and try …”JOY”…aahhh, sweetness.  Wouldn’t you know it though, obedience doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so smoothly.  I don’t feel like partying when I hear that one!  Who wants more joy in their life?  We all raise our hands.  Who’s interested in becoming more obedient?  Cue the crickets.

When I say obedience, it conjures up the same feelings I tend to get when I hear words like, selflessness, humility, sacrifice or surrender.  No smile appears on my face, rather I often feel a sense of dread, like I need to brace myself, or even fear, wondering what’s this going to cost me?  My self centeredness is showing again.  Anyone out there know what I’m saying?

As a child I had a healthy fear of Dad and I can remember, especially during the summer, he would leave us kids with a fairly lengthy list of chores that needed to be done by the time he got home from work.  Even then, knowing there would be consequences if it wasn’t done, I would delay that obedience until the last hour, when my brother, sister and I would scramble around in a frenzy to do what we had been told and hopefully get it done enough that we avoided punishment.  We got it done, maybe our feet were dragging & it wasn’t our best work but it was just enough to avoid the wrath of dad.  I guess that’s called half-hearted obedience.

Looking back, I can clearly see that although I may have been checking the list by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin, my attitude was missing the mark by a mile.  My heart was in the wrong place, I wanted to do what I wanted to do and only begrudgingly obeyed to avoid discipline.  This may have worked for Dad some days but half-hearted obedience doesn’t work with our Heavenly Father because He cares more about the heart motive than getting the check list complete.

In chronological years, I’ve been an adult for quite a while now and would like to say I have this obedience thing down but truth be told, adult me, still struggles with self centeredness that keeps me from being obedient with the right motivation.

Last weekend, I had a wonderful time at a women’s retreat in beautiful Lake Tahoe, my new sister friend Becky who was attending decided she wanted to follow the Lord in obedience and get baptized.  So awesome!!

For her, this was a brave step and a bit scary, ok, a lot scary!  She didn’t want to be the center of attention, didn’t want people gawking at her, she felt insecure and to be straight up honest, was feeling so anxious that she almost didn’t see her obedience through.

Some prayer and an encouraging friend helped and we waded in to the water. Becky went under the water and I tell you what, she came up out of the water with a mega watt smile brighter than the sun itself.  The joy in her was so evident I thought a heavenly dove was going to descend.  Just looking at her made my heart swell with joy!

There was a whole crowd of ladies on the shore cheering her on and celebrating her public proclamation of faith and we all broke into song and had a great time together praising God.  It was truly a beautiful God moment.  A moment that would not have happened, had Becky let her fear and insecurity speak louder than her desire to please her Heavenly Father by simply obeying.

This is what I am learning but have certainly not mastered.  Obey scared, obey anxious, obey with questions, obey without any assurance of the outcome, but obey.  Obey, because you love Him so.  There may be some pain and discomfort in the obeying, but Becky and I agree there is unspeakable joy on the other side!!

“If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15







I’m In Love!

Falling in love is hands down the best thing I’ve ever done! If the truth be told, I think I’m falling more in love every day 🙂     Oh, How I love Him, let me count the ways…

  • There is not a day that goes by that He doesn’t do something to show me He is thinking of me.
  • He loved me even when I didn’t believe I was loveable and saw beauty in me that I was blind to.
  • He encourages me and talks so tenderly.
  • He is patient and gentle with me and yet challenges me to be better.
  • I feel so protected in His arms and my heart is safe in His embrace.
  • He knows me so well and knows exactly how to speak to my heart.
  • He has come to my rescue countless times.
  • He is strong yet gentle and I simply can’t get enough of Him!
  • One of the sweetest things He does, is sing songs to me while I sleep.
  • In this crazy, sometimes scary world, He is my safe place to fall.

I could go on, but let it suffice to say, He is simply AMAZING in every way!  Really, what kind of man would go to such extremes to win my heart?  Jesus, I am so in love with you ❤

The Least Of These

My friend asked me a couple of days ago, if I’d accompany her to the Union Gospel Mission this weekend to help out.   I hesitantly said, “yes” and to be real about it, my heart is not prone to this kind of service.  It’s way outside of my comfort zone and a matter of fact it freaks me out a bit! But, because I love my friend, I agreed and off we went this morning, not knowing at all what I was about to get myself into or how far outside my box I would be required to step??

When we arrived and got the run down, we learned we’d be cooking, serving a warm breakfast and then those who came for a meal would have an opportunity to hear the Word of God.  So, I put my hands to work and got to cookin’.  I was in charge of baking some blueberry muffins and cooking the sausage 🙂  I thought to myself, this I can do!

I stayed in the background keeping busy with serving food and cleaning, but it didn’t take long to quickly hear and see the devastation in these people’s lives…homeless, living on the street or in their cars, one veteran survived war but it has left him with wounds you can’t see with the eye, one suffers from mental illness, there were physical ailments, those in abusive relationships, struggles with addiction, a mom dealing with the terminal illness of her child and this is what I gleaned in just a few hours with these “strangers”.

Surprisingly, I can say, I really enjoyed being there!  It felt great to serve along my brothers and sisters in Christ, but more importantly what struck me is that Jesus was there…He walks with these people, His heart is for them.  I have a feeling that if He was here in the flesh today, He probably would’ve been there with me at the Mission this morning.  I would find Him on the streets with the homeless, I would see Him listening and maybe even cooking up a warm meal.  I think I walked today where Jesus would walk.  I think I need to walk there more often.

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:37-40

A Baby Changes Everything!

A young girl told by an angelic being that she has been chosen to give birth to the Savior of the world. I can only imagine what that was like to absorb! I am sure there must have been fear about what her fiance’ would have to say about the news? In a moment Mary was informed she was an integral part in God’s plan to save you and me and her whole world would never be the same.

What is most amazing was her response, “Be it unto me Lord, according to your word”.  In short, whatever your plan is Lord, I trust you.  What a great response to such a life altering plan.  Although, I would want that to be my response, I would put quite a bit of money on the fact, it would take some time for me to come around.  Maybe, that’s why God had an angel deliver the news, I would think that would be a big attention getter 🙂

Baby Jesus came and He changed everything, not just for his parents Mary and Joseph, but He changed everything for us.  He made a way for us to know Him, to have relationship with Him and to have eternal life, all of these indescribable gifts in one little baby destined to bring hope to all mankind!

And the real kicker, He will be called “Immanuel” God with us.  He came to be with us in this life and the one to come.  God wants to be with us…during the joy, during the pain, in the laughter and through the tears. He is with us!

This Baby changed everything!!  As we celebrate the birth of this world changer this Christmas, I pray that we are very mindful of His life changing gift and the fact that He is always with us, cause He wants to be!  Sounds like a reason to celebrate!!

Merriest of Christmases to you and yours!

The Perfect Gift

The other day, while driving in my car, I was listening to Bing Crosby on the radio, as he sang the words of that famous little drummer boy, “I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum That’s fit to give the King…”. The lyrics got me to thinking…imagine with me that you are on a journey to meet the Baby Jesus, the long awaited King and Savior of the World. Of course besides the overwhelming joy and honor of being part of such a momentous occasion, my mind can’t help but jump to another detail…what gift do I bring to the party? I would want to have the perfect gift and I am doubting I would find it in the latest advertising pages or on-line store…The pressure!

As I was thinking about what I might possibly bring to this once in a lifetime event, on my mind wandered…”it’s kind of like figuring out what to get my dad for Christmas”!! He has always been the hardest person on my Christmas shopping list to figure out. I mean what do you get a man who has everything? Well at least everything that’s in my budget to buy. (I do think he still holds out hope that one day; I’ll be able to afford him a Lexus and an early retirement.) It has taken me awhile, but I have figured out over the years that it is not the most expensive gift or the newest gadget that really impresses my dad. A matter of fact, I have noticed that a gift given in thoughtfulness, from the heart means everything to him and what really blows my mind is that he appears to get more joy from simply having us close than anything that may be under the tree.

In that moment driving down I-5, my heavenly father reminds me…that’s what I want you to bring me…I want you to come close, spend some time and share your heart.  Simple, I know, and odd as it may seem to some of us…YOU are His favorite gift. I pray that we would all come closer to Him than we are today and that we would realize in a deeper way the joy that comes when we give the gift of ourselves.

Merry Christmas!