Category Archives: Obedience

One Another

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Recently, I looked at all the “one another” references in the New Testament. Because there are so many, I realized that God clearly cares about this.

What would happen if we – Christians, followers of Christ, born-again believers – actually regarded one another as outlined in Scripture? Would we . . . could we . . . change the world?

From the NKJV, here’s my list.

  • Mark 9:50  Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.
  • John 13:14  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
  • John 13:34  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
  • John 13:35  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
  • John 15:12  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
  • John 15:17  These things I command you, that you love one another.
  • Romans 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members  of one another.
  • Romans 12:10  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
  • Romans 12:16  Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
  • Romans 13:8   Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
  • Romans 14:13  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
  • Romans 14:19  Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
  • Romans 15:5  Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
  • Romans 15:7  Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
  • Romans 15:14  Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
  • 1 Cor. 11:33  Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
  • 1 Cor. 12:25  That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
  • Galatians 5:13  For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
  • Galatians 5:15  But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
  • Galatians 5:26  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
  • Galatians 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
  • Eph. 4:2  With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
  • Eph. 4:25  Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
  • Eph. 4:32  And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Eph. 5:19  Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
  • Eph.5:21  Submitting to one another in the fear of God.
  • Col. 3:9  Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
  • Col. 3:13  Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
  • Col. 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and  admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
  • 1 Thess. 3:12   And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
  • 1 Thess. 4:9   But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
  • 1 Thess. 4:18  Therefore comfort one another with these words.
  • 1 Thess. 5:11  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
  • Heb. 3:13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
  • Heb. 10:24  Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
  • Heb. 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
  • James 4:11  Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
  • James 5:9   Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
  • James 5:16   Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
  • 1 Peter 1:22  Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
  • 1 Peter 3:8  Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender hearted, be courteous;
  • 1 Peter 4:8  And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
  • 1 Peter 4:9  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
  • 1 Peter 4:10  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
  • 1 Peter 5:5  Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
  • 1 John 1:7   But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
  • 1 John 3:11   For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
  • 1 John 3:23   And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
  • 1 John 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
  • 1 John 4:11   Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
  • 1 John 4:12   No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
  • 2 John 1:5   And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.

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De-Conform

different

To all the wordaholics reading this, I am well aware that de-conform is not a word. I made it up for this blog post. Wordaholic, for that matter, isn’t a real word either. Just let your OCD tendencies slip a little for the sake of literary license, okay?

I read Romans 12:1-2 in The Message Bible, and this is what it says:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I know, I know. I’ve caused you more grief by using a paraphrase instead of an actual bible translation. Live with it. But don’t miss my point.

Which is to de-conform.

Remember my last post (click here) about the crowd-following bridge-jumpers? The whole de-conforming thing fits right in. Read the two verses above again and get a small glimpse of what the Apostle Paul is saying here. In a nutshell, THINK! Use your brain.

In a world gone berserk – come on, let’s call it what it is – going against the culture is unpopular, and can even get you in trouble if your attention isn’t fixed on God. But when you ask Him, hear Him and include Him in your life, He’s going to give you some pretty specific instructions. He will change you. He will bring out the best in you.

I had the opportunity to pray with and speak into the life of a young woman today. The details of the situation are hers to share, not mine, but the amazing and completely God thing about it all was that because I put aside my own comfort zone in order to do what the Holy Spirit directed me to do, this young woman got something she would have otherwise missed. It had nothing to do with me, except that I was obedient. It had everything to do with her receiving a gift that the Lord wanted to give her.

As it says in the above passage, readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. I clearly recognized God’s direction in that moment (believe me, I don’t always), and I acted on it immediately. As a result, a precious woman was blessed. How awesome is our God!

So, what does de-conform mean? (Again, my own word, so my own sort of definition.) Rather than chugging along with the crowd, I am striving to hear the voice of my Father so that when He tells me to move in a different direction, I won’t even hesitate. It’s a process. But He is so patiently teaching me, waiting for me to catch up, nudging me along, and scooping me out of the ditches when I stumble. Oh, He is good!

I don’t want to be a photocopy of everyone else. I want to be what God wants me to be – a reflection of His Son, Jesus Christ. I want to be obedient and faithful and true to what He has for me to do. To say. To be. Holy and acceptable to Him.

De-conform.

It’s a real thing.

 

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Shifting Gears

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I have to repent.

For years, I have stubbornly refused to use this blog as a forum to document my personal journey as a follower of Jesus Christ. Oh, I’ve posted smatterings, but I wanted to be careful to keep it generic enough to stay out of trouble, so to speak. I didn’t want the controversy or the potential criticism.

I don’t care anymore.

So, I repent. I am so sorry that I caved to the social correctness of the days we live in, despite the gentle coaxing of my Father to write what He wanted me to write. I tried to reason with Him, because He’s all over being reasoned with, right? Uh – no. I used the excuse that I had nothing of life-changing relevance to share. After all, who would listen to me anyway? Yeah, that didn’t go over so well with God either.

I’m shifting gears.

I’ve told the Lord that I want to write the words He’s given me, sharing the insights He’s revealed.

That’s scary.

Scary, because it means I am exposing myself in ways that I’m not entirely comfortable with. But then whoever said being a Christian was supposed to be comfortable?

Here’s the thing: life is short. Especially when you’re on the back end of middle age. I don’t have time to piddle around and make lame excuses anymore. I’m going to write what my Father tells me to write, in the way He wants it written. And I think He is smiling and heaving a great sigh of relief because I will finally use the gifts He has given me for the purpose He meant them to be used in the first place.

But this is hard. So hard. My brain is shouting at me, saying I’m crazy to even consider this. Well, Brain, get with the program.

We’re shifting gears.

Stay tuned.

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Words Have Power

Words

Writers are well aware that words have power. Choosing exactly the right words for any given sentence can be a painstaking exercise because you want your reader to experience the scene just like you do.

But the power of words reaches to even the furthest corners of our existence.

This morning, I read Matthew 5:21-22. Here’s what it says:

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” (The Message)

Strong words.

Think about the sixth commandment, which very clearly states, “You shall not murder.” For the vast majority, this is clear enough and we get that God did not intend for this to be a suggestion or a guideline. It’s a command. Period.

But not only does this “written in stone” law prohibit the actual deed of murder, it extends to thoughts and words, to unrighteous anger and destructive insults. Calling another person stupid expresses contempt for their mind, and saying that they are a fool attacks their character. The above passage in Matthew indicates that the speaker of such words is on the brink of hellfire.

Yet, how thoughtlessly we fling words around, giving little attention to their destructive nature, their power, and their ability to kill. The consequences not only do damage to the one(s) to which we refer, but to our own eternal life.

Lord, help us to choose the right words – words that pour life and love and encouragement into the lives of the people around us.

 

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Breaking Out

Desk

Yesterday, I prayed.

Well, I pray every day. But yesterday was different. Because I was desperate. You know, the kind of desperate when you’re at the there’s no way this is going to work without Divine intervention and if that doesn’t happen, I’m done. Yup, that was the motivation behind my pleading, whining, begging prayer. And I’m pretty sure that once again, God rolled His eyes.

There’s this story, you see, that I’ve been working on for what seems like a hundred years, but since I am not even close to that old, I might be exaggerating just a little. In reality, it’s been at least five years. My Word doc drafts only go back to 2009, so I know it’s been that long for sure. Some of the initial ideas have been on the back burner since 1990. Yeah, a long time.

The day has come to write the thing and get it out there.

There’s been a little issue with that. I got stuck in a boring part and couldn’t find a way out. Every time I sat down to work on it, I ended up staring into space and thinking that if I thought was dull, why in the world would anyone want to read it? So I’d close the file and do something else. Like crochet a doily. Or bake cookies. Or read Stephen King.

People would ask, “How’s the book coming?” and I’d smile and nod and act like it was all good. Ha! If they only knew.

Hence the prayer of desperation.

After I explained the situation to God (as if He didn’t already know), I asked Him for words. Yes, words. Words to get through the fog. Words to flow together in harmony. Words to excite and enthrall and elate. Words to create scenes. Word to write the story the way it needs to be written.

Then I sat in front of my computer for three hours, staring at a blank screen.

So, I cleaned up my office. Unpacked a couple of boxes (I know, I know, it’s been six months since we moved). Sorted my pens and paper clips. And all the while, that darn blank screen just glared at me. Mocking me. Taunting me.

Finally, in a fit of frustration, I pulled out my journal and started to write. And write. And write. I ended up with four pages of much needed revision and new ideas for said story. The plot fell into place. The questions got answered. And some very interesting twists appeared.

Did God come through? ABSOLUTELY!

But not until I actually picked up my pen, opened my book and began to write. He was there all along, waiting for me while I was waiting for Him. He just wanted me to go first. Then He joined in and we took turns coming up with a great bunch of pages – I wrote, He spoke, then I wrote some more, and He told me more. It was so fun!

I’m breaking out.

Breaking out of old writing habits that hardly ever work. Breaking out of trying to do this by myself. Breaking out of a box that I put myself in.

It’s going to take some serious work to get this story back on the right track, but oh, it will be worth it.

Now I’m kind of giddy!

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Err On the Side Of Caution?

We just spent the past three days at our church’s annual family camp. Along with the usual lake-side, rustic-setting outdoor activities, we had some awesome Holy Ghost breakthrough meetings with our pastor and the guest speakers he invited to share with us. Wow! We will never be the same.

I’ve had a few holes poked in my nice comfortable theological box. Much needed, I might add.

You’re familiar with the phrase, “err on the side of caution”, which means to act in the least risky manner in a situation where one is uncertain about the consequences. This is human nature. As a matter of fact, we’re even encouraged to take this approach to a give situation. It’s safe.

But what if God is asking you to take a risk? To ditch the easy way and try something new? To take a leap of faith, not knowing what the outcome will be?

I can see the expression on your face. You’re wincing.

What if God is asking you to err on the side of believing too much and acting on it rather than not having enough faith and questioning everything? Don’t you think He would far rather have you take that step and make a mistake than never take a step at all?

These are the questions I am asking myself.

And maybe you need to ask them, too.

I sat in those meetings at camp, knowing that the Holy Spirit was nudging and challenging me to take some of those risky steps. I could almost hear Him asking me what in the world would make me think He wouldn’t ask me to do something so completely out of my comfort zone that I would have to trust Him. Did I really expect the Lord to let me just relax in my easy chair for the rest of my life? Um – no. I guess not.

So, it’s time to find out what my next steps are.

I’m sure there will be opposition, because people will always try to stop you from doing what they don’t understand.

I’m sure there will be difficult days. That’s a given.

I’m sure there will be some stumbling along the way.

But I have no more excuses. I’m being pursued by Jesus Christ, who loves me and knows me like no one else does. He has work for me to do, and saying “no” isn’t an option.

 And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.  Joel 2:28-29 (NKJV)

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Here’s the thing about long weekends . . .

Today was BC Day. For all of my non-Canadian readers, B.C. stands for British Columbia, which is the province (not providence) on the west coast of Canada. Anyway, BC Day always comes along on the first Monday in August, which means we just had a long weekend.

But here’s the thing about long weekends: they end. Too soon. Every time.

I had big plans for this particular long weekend. I was going to work on The Bond of Seven and get at least three chapters done so Emily (my granddaughter) would stop asking me what happens next. Didn’t happen. I was going to write several blog posts. That didn’t happen either. And I was going to clean the house. We won’t talk about that. The bottom line is that I pretty much didn’t do anything I had planned to do.

But . . .

I spent a lot of time with my family. I read a whole book. I cleaned my bathroom. I went to church (awesome sermon). I read my Bible. I got some new friends on Facebook. I got a fair bit of work done at the coffee shop. I watched women’s Olympic soccer (sad loss for the Canadians) and I don’t even know anything about soccer.

So I didn’t do what I thought I would do, but I did other important things on this long weekend that ended way too quickly.

And then something our pastor said last Sunday came to mind. God’s agenda supersedes all the agendas of man. We need to function on the playing field He sets out for us.

I’m not saying it was necessarily God’s agenda that I do all the things I did or didn’t, but it reminded me that I need to be listening to what He is telling me. I need to hear His voice when He lays out His agenda for me. And then I need to obey, even when He is asking me to do something that may not fit into my plans.

God says, in Isaiah 55:8, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” (The Message)

 

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