Category Archives: OBEDIENCE

PRAYING FOR OTHER PEOPLE.042518

Latin Teenager Praying

My relationship, my spiritual relationship, with God is based on the six great themes of the Bible: love, humility, gratitude, trust, obedience and service; all of which are founded on the underlying concept of surrender.  All the themes, one way or another, are brought to life, they’re empowered by surrender, to God and to other people.  In a supernatural way, this is the attitude of Jesus that flows through us when we surrender to Him.

When I pray, I usually begin by ‘praying through the themes’ one at a time, as they relate to me and my relationship with God.  Every time, I see something new about how I should love God; humble myself before Him; be thankful for all the ways He blesses me; renew my trust in Him as it relates to all my other relationships, my cares and my troubles; confess my failures in obedience and renew my commitment to do His will and not mine, to have His attitude and not mine; and as my act of service, to deny myself, die to myself, and follow (surrender to) Him; so He can use me for His purposes in this world today.

So I was praying for my son today, my youngest son Ian, who is a freshman in college and is going through some major, life-changing events and decisions that will affect him for the rest of his life.  It is a challenging time, but a truly exhilarating time, to be alive in his world.  He has asked me to pray for him, which I am always happy to do.  I do pray for him every day anyway.  Today, I started a new practice, of praying for Ian the way I pray for myself.  It opens all kinds of new doors for me to think about in praying for him; not just about what he should do or not do; but also about all his relationships, with God and with others, that I can meditate on and consider how God is moving and working in Ian’s life and the lives of those around him. (They may need a little prayer too!)

There’s a limited amount of time to ‘really’ pray (like this) for all the people that are close to me; so I think I’ll need to spend more of my ‘unstructured’ time (formerly known as leisure time, ha!), when I’m driving down the road, or waiting in the doctor’s office, or waiting for an appointment, praying in this way for others.  God only knows what the results might be, for them and for me.

 

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LOOK IN THE MIRROR; WHAT DO YOU SEE? 053016

Homme en pleine reflexion devant le miroirRomans 8:1-4: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not follow their sinful nature, but follow the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the sinful nature, God, by sending His own Son . . . condemned the sin of the sinful nature, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not follow our sinful nature but follow the Spirit.”

That’s the ‘Perfect Law of Liberty’ that James talks about in Chapter 1:22-25, speaking of the man who hears God’s Word but doesn’t do it, he says, “He’s lying to himself.  He’s like a man who looks at himself in a mirror, and as soon as he turns away, he forgets what he looked like.”

The ‘Perfect Law of Liberty’ is the same as the ‘Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus’ that makes us free from the law of sin and death.  The Perfect Law of Liberty is the law that is followed by people who hear God’s Word and do it.

True obedience lies in doing what the verse says, “Don’t follow the sinful nature. Follow the Spirit of Jesus.” That’s obedience. from Out o’th’ Bushes, © 2016, by Tex Tonroy.

WHO DO YOU TRUST? (REALLY) 042716

Eroded beach with house, Pititinga, Natal (Brazil)

So we were talking about obedience; and we were talking about ‘building your house on the sand’ as a metaphor for ‘basing our lives on principles and practices that shift and change’.   We should touch on another aspect of this obedience.  If, as we alluded to earlier, obedience is about doing what God tells us to do; then what about the First of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before (besides) Me.”  We’re back to that question about who or what do we worship (or serve)?  Who do we really trust?  Who do we really turn to when we’re in dire straits with nowhere to turn?

Well, I’m good about saying that ultimately I trust God; not my job, nor my employer, nor my network of friends and relatives, nor my piddly bank account or my credit cards.  But do I really?  I say that; but every time I get in a bind, I’m steadily calculating where I’m going to go to stay afloat for another few days or weeks.  Funny thing is; usually something “falls out of the sky” that I was completely not expecting, so clearly that it just had to be God.  It’s happened over and over so often that I just can’t deny that God really has delivered me from evil or destruction or punishment when I didn’t deserve to be delivered.  God’s mercy.  (You know ‘mercy’: that’s when God loves you and takes care of you, even when you deserve to be punished.)

Problem is, we all have been in that position, when to our logical mind it looks like there is a logical man-made explanation for how we got out of that trap; and we don’t give the credit to God.  Somebody comes by and says, “You know that just couldn’t be God; that was your boss, or your rich uncle, or just the luck of the draw.”  And the sad thing is we let it slide and agree by omission.  We don’t say, “You may think that, but I know it was God.”  Just so you’ll know, nobody else may think a thing about it, but God didn’t miss it.  The true miracle is that God still loves me (and you) anyway.  Some people go for years, running in the bushes, worshipping those idols of ‘other stuff’ taking care of them, growing more and more calcified in their position of trusting something else besides God, acknowledging something else besides God is our real god.  (Often it’s our selves.)  The really sad part is that we’re not only worshipping idols, but we’re getting more and more used to trusting in “the house on the sand”; getting closer and closer to the time of ‘great was the fall of it”.  That’s dis-obedience and the fruits (the results) of disobedience all rolled into one.

In case somebody didn’t get it; trusting in something else besides God to take care of you is not only 1] building your house on the sand (basing your life on shifting, shaky stuff); but it’s also  2] worshipping idols; serving other gods than the One True God.  That’s disobedience of the first order.   That’s the exact definition of what Jesus was talking about when he said, “Everyone who hears My words, and does NOT do them is like a foolish man . . .” Only an idiot would do that.  I guess if you want you can join me as a ‘recovering’ idiot.  You know, like members of AA talk about being a ‘recovering alcoholic’.  We never completely grow out of it.  We have to get up every morning, turn ourselves over to God and say, “One more time Lord, I’m turning myself over to You; I’m dying to myself so You can live Your eternal life in me.  I love You.”  From Out o’th’ Bushes, © 2016, by Tex Tonroy

OBEDIENCE 101.022116

White lighthouse tower on St. Anastasia Island“I have no right to say I believe in God unless I order my life as under His all-seeing Eye.”  Disciples Indeed, Oswald Chambers.

Matthew 7:21, 24-27: 21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter . . .” 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. . . . 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. . . .” NLT

What is the “will of the Father”?  For us to do what Jesus says.  In John 5:24, Jesus said, “If you  [pay attention to] (heed, obey) what I say, and trust Him who sent Me, you have eternal life; you will never be condemned; you have passed from death unto life.”

But don’t just say the words.  God is looking at your heart.  He knows if your heart has been changed.

HOUSE ON SAND.033015.jpg

PRAYING FOR TOMMY.123115

Older man expressing pain or depression, verticalJames 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

I knew Tommy since I was a little kid.  We went to the same church together.  His daddy and my uncle were both deacons there.  He was five years older than me, so we weren’t close, but I knew that he was a ‘famous’ football player.  He played quarterback for our high school, and a time or two they went to the State Championship.  Later, my cousin Danny, Tommy and I sorta ‘grew up together’ in the oil business for the last 30 years or so.  We’ve had lots of ups and downs.  Tommy and his high school sweetheart Tanya were married for maybe 30 years and then got a divorce.  They had two kids.  Tommy had spells of drinking and running with some pretty fast folks.

But we were friends to the end.  Early last year he started having headaches and was diagnosed with a tumor in his sinuses which turned out to be inoperable.  It pressed on his optic nerve and he became blind.  He took a lot of treatments, and while they may have helped some, he wasn’t getting any better.  I went to visit him in November, the week before Thanksgiving.  We’re both old, but he didn’t look good.  His one eye was swollen shut and the other was staring.  He was sitting in a chair with a blanket over his lap.  We talked a some about old times, football and the weather.

I’d brought along my friend Loyde, and when we got ready to go, I said, “Tommy, before we go, we’d like to pray for you.”  He said he needed all the help he could get. So we knelt beside his chair, put our hands on him and prayed.  I prayed for him to be healed.  I prayed that the God Who raises people from the dead would raise Tommy up too.  Tommy prayed that God would give him courage.  At the end Loyde quoted James 5:14-15 and said, “We’re elders and we’d like to anoint you with oil and pray so that you too can be healed like this verse says.”  Tommy said, ‘Yes.’

About two weeks later Tommy died.  I don’t know why God didn’t heal him and raise Him up like new, as if from the dead.  I guess some might say that what we did was dumb, knowing that Tommy was terminal; but I’m sure that we did what God wanted us to do; and I’m just as sure that God’s will was done by us all trusting God to take care of Tommy.

 

VICTORY IN JESUS.112015

FulmineHad a flash of light this morning when I was thinking about how to have “Victory in Jesus”.  You can write this down in your book.  The way to have victory in Jesus to is to do everything you do with, for or about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, WITH ALL YOUR HEART! You probably already know that I use six themes to organize my thoughts about the Bible; for instance:

1] LOVE: Deut 6:5 says, “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” Jesus said, “This is the first and great commandment.”

2] HUMILITY: Being humble, not proud, is another key to developing your relationship with God; in Proverbs 3:34, Solomon says, “God scorns the scorners, but gives grace to the humble” (this is echoed (quoted) in James 4, and in 1 Peter 5); Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, the humble, for they shall inherit the earth.”

3] GRATITUDE: In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul says, “Give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!”  (‘In all things’ sounds like ‘with all you heart’)  In Romans 8:28, Paul says,  “God makes all things work together for good to those who love the Lord . . .”

4] TRUST: In Proverbs 3:5-6, Solomon says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart., and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

5] OBEDIENCE: In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul talks about Jesus.  He says, “Let Jesus’ attitude be in you.”  He says that even though Jesus is God, He gave up His heavenly position; He humbled himself and became a man; then He humbled Himself even more and surrendered Himself to be arrested, and beaten, and ridiculed, and spat upon; and He was obedient [to His purpose and to His calling] unto death, even death on a cross.  I don’t know about you, but for me, the degree and the depth of Jesus’ commitment qualifies as with all your heart.  And Paul says, “Let Jesus’ attitude be in (me and) you.”

6] SERVICE: Maybe it’s just me, but being a disciple of Jesus Christ is the best example of service you can do.  In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, “if anyone wants to be My disciple (My student, My follower), let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (‘Take up his cross’ means, as it says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ”, “I’m dead.”)  It means to “die to your sinful nature”. (daily).  ‘To die’ may not be with all your heart, but it’s plenty close.

With all your heart may not be the only way God wants us to do and be, but it’s certainly high on the list.  For me, with all your heart expresses the passion that comes with having the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord God Almighty, living in your own personal heart.

DON’T BE AFRAID, JUST BELIEVE.111715

Toned Photo of Tired Young Man sleep with Tablet Computer on the BedIn Mark 5:22-43,  is the story of Jesus, walking through town, “And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.   . . . [While they were going there] some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

How are you doing about this?  There is this lady in our community, a serious truster in Jesus, and her teenage son is in the depths of treatment for cancer.  Most faith-full lady I’ve seen in many a day.  She’s steadily sending progress reports on his treatment and condition; asking for continued prayer, praising God on the good days and on the bad.  Literally makes me cry when I think about what she’s going through.  We’re all still praying.  He’s struggling, but still hanging in there. In no small part because his Momma is following Jesus’ instruction to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”  She’s just not gonna stop trusting Jesus.