THE BAD ATTITUDE OBEYER

One of the devil’s favorite techniques is to tell me to obey God and then he gives his own definition as to what obedience looks like.
This puts us me a bind. If I try to “obey” the devil’s description it would mess up my life; I but, if I don’t “obey” I feel that God is angry with me. The devil has his own take on forgiveness, turn the other cheek, or integrity.
Today I’d like to talk about the obedient, bad attitude, son.
You might ask why I find this topic comforting. Well, obviously, I like to remember that God sees my obedience as a good thing even when I’m not all that “pumped” to do it. Which is most of the time.
Matthew 21:28 One day a dad went out to work and asked bad attitude son to help. “No way” was his reply. Then he asked the good attitude son who replied ” in a minute dad.” Then the bad attitude son showed up and worked hard all day and the good attitude son never showed up. You figure it out, which one did the will of his father?
The devil suggests that it is hypocrisy to obey when I don’t want to or can’t see how it would work or don’t feel worthy. (See my blog on the definition of faith under the category WORD DEFINITIONS.) It is enough to have a picture of God’s principles in action and then to move your body members in accordance with this picture. Romans 6:19  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
In fact those things that I don’t want to do, but do, because he asks me to, THESE PROVE LOVE MORE than obedience that comes easily.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s OK to enjoy serving the Lord, but don’t wait till it all comes natural and just bubbles out of you. I can teach and propound on God’s word and help his struggling children apply his wisdom to their situations with no struggle and with great enjoyment. However when I fast, pray or knock on doors, then the Lord knows how much I love him because it feels like wading through mud. I have learned not to judge others or be bothered by their judgment of me when I find some obedience easier or harder than they do.

I remember when, by grace beyond myself, I had managed to fast for 30 days.(Not an eat at night fast) I ran into someone who said, “yeah, I do that all the time, it’s fun isn’t it?” I had to run to the Lord, who assured me that he was aware that I hadn’t found it fun but that he appreciated it because it was a sacrifice. (I did find it beneficial.)
2 Samuel 24:24 Neither will I offer offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.

BITTER AT MYSELF FOR HURTING OTHERS?

It is so painful when I see that my sinful choices have caused others pain and grief.

It hurts even worse when, after I repent, they choose to stay bitter, destroying their own lives further.

We may understand why they cling to bitterness because it feels, to them, that they are somehow making me pay for my crime, that they are protecting themselves from further hurt, that forgiveness would be tantamount to saying that what I did to them was trivial.

I remember a young man who was wasting his life in drugs and sex and talked his girlfriend into the same life. He then went on to find freedom in the Lord Jesus but she went on to die from the drugs. He found it hard to accept forgiveness, since, if he had not pulled her in, she might have still been alive and nothing he could do would bring her back.

I’m sure the apostle Paul can relate, when he affirmed that ” everyone should realize that I Paul am the worst sinner that ever lived ” He had killed Christians, they were dead, no hope of bringing them back. He could have wallowed in self-contempt and we would be missing much of the New Testament and the western spread of Christianity.

I can assure you that God not only forgives me but he loves to bring good from my evil for his glory. He loves to help me bring healing into the damage I have done, if the other’s freewill allows it.

Here is an important question. When I sin and others are caused pain and loss—1.Who is sinned against? 2.Who is the victim of the sin? 3.Who stands to be blessed by the event?

Psalms 53:1-4 KJV  Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

So WHO IS SINNED AGAINST? I did NOT sin against the person hurt, I sinned against God, that is why he is justified in forgiving me and I are justified in accepting that forgiveness, whether the other is able to forgive or not. Psalms 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

WHO IS THE VICTIM?: I am the one damaged by my sin unless I run to God for mercy.

2 Corinthians chapter one 1-7. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

WHO STANDS TO GAIN?: The one hurt will find that the suffering caused is a blessing to them, if, of course they flee to God for strength crying out help! thanks for this! Show me your will!
If the one hurt is truly damaged, it is always because of his sinful response to the pain inflicted. This is not an excuse for me to sin so others may grow but rather a focus of prayer that God might have mercy on me and on them to turn the hurt into beauty.
 My sins sent my creator to the cross and yet I have been forgiven, cleansed, adopted and married to the very one I offended. I must ask for forgiveness from God and the offended ones. If they are not ready to grant it, I still need to accept God’s forgiveness and still seek to make amends, get the help to quit sinning and be ready  to reestablish relationship and move on with wonder-filled gratitude!

Quiet christians

Lois and I recently lost three family members, a beloved aunt of Lois’ went to be with the Lord.  I lost and aunt and Lois lost a brother to cancer. Although it is hard to have someone die, especially when not very old, there is great comfort if we know for sure that they had a close walk with God and are now in his presence. This would be true for one of the above. Another attended church a lot but never gave clear witness or tried to reach out to me and share what God was doing in their life. The other is reported to have said the sinner’s prayer but there is no evidence since then of a walk with God.

If I used paddles to revive a patient, I would then watch for continued heartbeat and breathing. In the absence of breathing, I would conclude that nothing much had come of the paddle cardiac shock.

I’ve always been puzzled by people that I know well and I am not sure if they are saved or not. It isn’t that I didn’t check, it’s just that their lives show no evidence in character growth to be more like Christ or in witness to what he is doing in their lives. Such a quiet , private approach leaves their loved ones hanging as to their eternal fate, besides what about,” let our light so shine before men that they see what we do and conclude that, after all, there must be a God.”  I remember a doctor in Anchorage who’s patients would switch to me in order to have a Christian helping them. I happened to know that he was a Christian but he kept it a secret in his working with others.

Do you feel that you are too weak and confused on what you believe to be helpful to others? Remember that those who “seem” to be the least are much more necessary than those who “seem” to be strong. Many struggling folks find it hard to listen to the triumphant testimonies on Christian radio and might find more comfort in your being real with them about the natural struggles of clinging to God in the midst of trials.

Shaky faith? If you can at least agree that there is nowhere else I can  go ? I’ve tried everything else and found no answers there, so I will cling to Jesus even when I can’t see anything else. I do know there is no other path that holds any hope.” Then share this truth.

Do you feel too shy to share? Then find other shy people and at least share that you struggle with shyness but that you do love Jesus. Then let the Holy Spirit speak through you and ask others to pray for you that you might find more boldness. Paul the apostle must have been shy and asked that others pray for him, for boldness.

Ephesians 6 18 -20 KJV Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Remember, it’s not about me it’s about the beauty of Jesus and the needs of those around me.

Poem by:
Griggs, Joseph

Jesus, and shall it ever be A mortal man ashamed of Thee? Ashamed of Thee, whom angels praise, Whose glories shine thro’ endless days?

Ashamed of Jesus, I never, I never will be; For Jesus, my Savior, is not ashamed of me.

Ashamed of Jesus! sooner far Let ev’ning blush to own a star; He sheds the beams of light divine O’er this benighted soul of mine.

Ashamed of Jesus! that dear Friend, On whom my hopes of heav’n depend? No! when I blush be this my shame, That I no more revere His name.

Ashamed of Jesus! yes, I may, When I’ve no guilt to wash away, No tear to wipe, no good to crave, No fears to quell, no soul to save.

 

Seventy times seven

No I’m not talking about forgiveness per se. Just talking about the very real human tendency to have to retake lesson 101 over again, especially when it comes to taking our hands off the wheel of our life and resting in our Lord’s driving skills He is invisible after all!

Allegory: ( A lady fell over a cliff and grabbed ahold of a branch sticking out from the precipice. The branch was slowly loosening and she was screaming for help, when she heard a comforting voice saying, “Be at peace my child, I am your heavenly father, trust me and let go of the branch and my great invisible hands are under you and will catch you.” She looked down and saw the jagged rocks waiting hungrily below and cried out, “Anyone else up there?”)Grand canyon pic

I drive-it goes badly-I take my hands off the wheel but as I approach a scary turn-I grab the wheel again-it goes badly. When will I ever learn?

Remember: the grain of mustard seed faith is “I can’t see how His way can work but I sure know that my way can’t!

I had a counselor friend who gave godly advice for a living. She was driving down the road near Anchorage and caught herself twisting her hair  (a sure sign that she was tense). She realize that she was worrying about her family and about things that there was-

Nothing she was to go and do about it right then.

So she apologized to the Lord and cast her care on Him. Not 5 minutes later she was back at twisting her hair and worrying. She then started worrying about her worrying and beating herself up over her beating herself up! She then chose the only reasonable response to all of this and started laughing hysterically at how ludicrous we humans are.

Thank you Lord for loving us even when we can’t remember to rest in that love for more than 2 minutes and thank you that that love is still there undiminished and that your love is greater than my heart!

I was talking to a brother today about Peter being his favorite apostle because he was so HUMAN and God used him. As humans we are made of dust and God is not surprised when you relapse after 2 minutes but he delights in our willingness to get back up and chose him again. Don’t you just like Peter, and benefit from his story. Jesus liked Peter and he likes frail humans such as we.

A salesman went with a friend to a peptalk by another  salesman who was very successful. The lecture was dull and contained few useful ideas and his friend was falling asleep but the man grew excited. “What’s wrong with you?” his friend asked. “That is the worst lecture I have ever heard!” The excited man replied, ” Yes and if he can make it then so can I.”

Who did you relate to in the above story? The excited salesman, the grumpy friend, or the boring lecturer? I related to being like Peter and the boring lecturer-that God can do great things through inadequate people who will obey. Dear friend, if He can use me to bless others, just think what He can do through you.