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UPDATE:  I fixed comments so you don’t have to fill out a name and address.  Sorry! :)

Quite some time ago, I asked you girls some questions about a project that was and remains heavy on my heart.  Now that most of the edits are complete on Cute Shoes, it’s time to begin committing thoughts and research on this next subject to screen. I’m officially working on (as in I’m almost complete with an Introductory Chapter) a submission package in hopes it will find a publishing home.  (Wink, wink, David C. Cook friends:)

This book- complete with Bible study application- is about coming clean and  allowing the sometimes terrifying yet always liberating  light of God’s Word to invade the dark abyss of conscience.  It’s facing the secrets we all keep and embracing the freedom that comes from telling the truth.  It’s finding a community of believers with whom you are safe. (And yes, I realize that is easier said than done and therein lies a big part of our problem.) It will be a guide to living a fully disclosed life through the refining power of the Holy Spirit.

My first invitation is for you to respond to the following poll:

Now, I’d like to repost the original questions I asked and encourage you – if you feel compelled –  to answer them now if you didn’t get the chance in the past.  Please note that I intend to pull quotes from these responses to include in the book so you must answer anonymously in order for those to be used. 

Seems a little counter-productive for me to be writing a book on confession and telling you to be sure to remain anonymous, doesn’t it?   I’m really not trying to offer you a beer before I give you an AA brochure.  It boils down to permissions difficulties if I know your name.  Crazy, huh?    

With that said, here are a few questions to consider:

1. Do we try to keep our secret from God?  (There have been times I mistakenly thought if I didn’t word the issue to Him, it somehow didn’t exist.) Or perhaps we are just in denial with Him about the way it truly affects our relationship with Him and others.

2. Do we always have to tell it? Is there a time we can confess it to God, stop it, release it, process it through Scripture and then walk away?

3. What are we afraid of? Who are we trying to protect by holding on so tightly?

4. To what lengths are we willing to go to keep it? Will we become a habitual liar to keep people from knowing we lied once?

5. What does it feel like when we do some truth-telling? To lay still and let God open us up and do a little secret-otomy. We know we can trust God to still accept us, but can we trust what people will do to us with the information? Can we handle it?

6. What kinds of things do we lie about? S*x, Infidelity, Money, Abuse, Addiction?

7. Does our secret even have to be something “big”?  If who we claim to be doesn’t add up to who we are in reality, does that make us a pretender? I love the meaning of the word conscience – it means, “to see throughout, transparency”. Is there consistency between our hearts and our hands?

 

Obviously there are many other facets to this topic and I welcome any and all of your thoughts.  I’ve been particularly vulnerable in this area because of my role as a minister’s wife and as a woman’s minister myself.  God has done a great work on me and my heart’s prayer is to be able to outline concise steps to living a completely disclosed life. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Lisa

I’ve shared with you that I’ve been taking a little break. A mental vacation of sorts from any and all optional obligation. The beginning of the year through May was crazy busy with different teaching opportunities and at the time, I kept telling myself if I could just make it until summer that I wouldn’t read anything but my daily devos, Beth’s Esther study, and maybe some good fiction during the kids’ summer vacation.  The thoughts of mindless days beside the pool with nary a deadline in sight were what kept me going. It’s not that I didn’t love what I was doing – I just got a little overwhelmed and a lot scared about the pace. My sufficiency issues run deep and I’m also prone to be one who – when a thing seems to be snowballing out of control – will slam the brakes altogether in hopes of a do over. I thought coming to a screeching halt would set things aright.

That hasn’t worked out for me so much.

I’m not trying to be dramatic and there is certainly nothing wrong with me other than I’ve discovered I’m a little heartsick. When I began asking the Lord to show me why exactly, He brought to remembrance this passage in Pilgrim’s Progress when Christian is climbing Difficulty Hill and sits down to rest in the Arbor but falls into a long sleep instead. When he continues on his journey, he doesn’t realize for quite some time that he has left his Scroll (The Word) behind. He is greatly distressed when he has to backtrack to locate it. Here’s what happens next:

“He went thus till he came again in sight of the Arbor where he sat and slept; but that sight renewed his sorrow the more, by bringing again, even afresh, his evil of sleeping unto his mind. {Rev. 2:4; 1 Thess. 5:6-8.} Thus, therefore, he now went on, bewailing his sinful sleep, saying, O wretched man that I am, that I should sleep in the daytime! that I should sleep in the midst of Difficulty! that I should so indulge the flesh as to use that rest for ease to my flesh which the Lord of the hill hath erected only for the relief of the spirits of pilgrims! How many steps have I taken in vain! Thus it happened to Israel; for their sin they were sent back again by the way of the Red Sea; and I am made to tread those steps with sorrow, which I might have trod with delight, had it not been for this sinful sleep. How far might I have been on my way by this time! I am made to tread those steps thrice over, which I needed not to have trod but once: yea, now also I am like to be benighted, for the day is almost spent. O that I had not slept!”

I think I’ve told you in the past my favorite devo book is called Daily Light for the Daily Path. Each day has a morning and evening reading of topical scripture strung one after another. Such a wonderful book and it never fails the topic that comes up is dead on. So, as if reading this part of Pilgrim was not enough, my devos for the last three days have been all over being watchful, being awake, being alert for the time that the master will return. Of not being lazy. Of not growing weary in well-doing.

Okay, Lord. I think I get the point. I love you for remembering I am dust and being willing to send the quadruple affirmations I so need.  Thank you for missing me enough to call me back to deep study.  Thank you for commentaries and key word study bibles and blueletterbible.org.  I’ve missed you all so.

I never cease to be blown away by my God, but He put a thought on my mind that I can’t quite get rid of and I wonder if it applies to any of you girls, too. “Lisa, your calling isn’t in the walk. It’s in the run.” And that’s when it hit me. He knows me. He knows I thrive in chaos. He knows when I’m busiest and most obligated, I am happiest and most productive. The long sleep may be what my flesh craves, but my individual Spirit was created to ‘go nimbly’ up Difficulty Hill. That may seem like no big deal to you, but that little piece of self-revelation was just what I needed to wake me from the slumber of the seemingly delightful yet deceptive Arbor.

“But who can tell how joyful this man was when he had gotten his roll again?” I can tell because in some small measure, I’m feeling it with him. There’s no time for grieving lost days or thinking how much farther down the road I would be had I not slept. Today, the smile on my face comes from knowing there is a God in Heaven who has asked me to participate in what He is doing in the lives of people here on earth.

And He doesn’t mind pushing me out of bed to get me rolling again.

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” ~ Ephesians 5:15-16

Lisa

Yesterday, I had a phone conversation that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Some of our dearest friends on this planet, Bruce and Ruby Pritchard, lost their treasured 18 year old daughter Kaci in a tragic car accident. Dear God, I can barely type it. This family took us under their wings in our first pastorate in North Carolina and ministered to us much more than we ever did them. Most of you have a Kaci in your life – a vivacious young woman who loves family and Jesus and for whom the world is full of promise and opportunity. We love this child so much and to think she is gone is more than I can put my mind around. This is my favorite picture of her and the boys taken a few years back. There was never a darlin’ girl who enjoyed my kids so much. The affection was completely mutual.

My favorite devotional is called Daily Light for the Daily Path. It is simply a stringing together of like verses and my ritual is to pray through each of the scriptures each morning and then journal what resonates with me. Reading yesterday’s entry, He proved once again that His Word never falls upon us accidentally:

“God raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:6) Do not be afraid;…I am He who lives, and was dead. (Rev. 1:17-18) Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory. (John 17:24) For we are members of His body. (Eph. 5:30) He is the head of the body, the church , who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. You are complete in Him, who is head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:10) As the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release from those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14-15) This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this moral must put on immortality. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written; ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:53-54, 58)

These words are balm and I would ask that you would pray them into the gaping wounds of this family and those who love them.

Also beyond coincidence, just two weeks ago I discovered Natalie Grant’s song, Held, on an old WOW cd I found in the car. Can you believe I’d never heard it? I’ve cried every single time it has played. Now, it not only speaks to my heart but from it.

Bruce and Ruby, Stephanie, Bryce, and Ryan, family and friends: We love you so much and grieve deeply with you. May the God of the Universe gently, tenderly hold you in the palm of His sovereign hand.

There have been all kinds of happenings this week and if I were a more dedicated blogger, each would have its own post. As it is, my brain is fried and the thoughts of putting to screen any series of coherent thoughts is just not working out for me at the moment. So, how about a random list of stuff that you can weigh in on if you feel so compelled?

1. Miss California. This could really be a full-blown rant but I’m sure there is nothing I could say that you’ve not read elsewhere. However, have you ever watched the movie Tombstone? (If you watch it, see it on cable because it bleeps the bad words.) One of my favorite Doc Holiday lines in the film is, “Wyatt, your hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

And apparently neither does the hypocrisy of Keith Lewis and Shanna Moakler. According to this article on Fox News, several former Miss Teen USA’s and former Miss USA’s are filming a PSA to hail the diversity of California. Among the lines included are: “I believe when I express my opinion I have a responsibility to do it in a way that respects others who may not agree … I believe in love … I believe when two people with opposite views communicate with love and respect both points of view can be heard … I believe no one should be silenced if they are speaking from their heart with respect … I believe in the beauty of California.”

Are you stinkin’ kidding me? No one should be silenced but we will pressure you to resign your position and try our best to discredit you with photos taken in an underwear photo shoot? And if that isn’t good enough, then we’ll ‘respect you’ by photoshopping a few more to call your faith into question. But we, the Tolerant Ones, love you and agree everyone should have the right to express themselves. PUH-lease.

And let’s not forget that Katie Blair WHILE SHE WAS REIGNING MISS TEEN USA, was partying with THE REIGNING MISS USA, Tara Conner (who entered rehab for alcohol and drug abuse while being allowed to retain her crown) and the two reportedly kissed one another during MISS UNIVERSE’s birthday bash! I guess as long as they were expressing free love then we can celebrate them and put them in PSA commercials. Or of course, we could be like Shanna Moakler and strip down to nothing for Hugh Heffner. I know that’s a role model I want for my daughter.

Okay, so I said I wasn’t going to full-blown rant, but it’s too late now. It may sound fatalistic to say this is the sad condition of our United States of America and I really don’t believe the overall climate will ever improve. Personally, I believe these things – the utter collapse of any moral and financial structure – must come to pass in order to set up the return of Jesus Christ. For myself, I’ve concluded this is an exciting time to be alive because we are eye witnesses to His Coming Kingdom!

What has become urgently important to me is making sure I am teaching my children and calling on Christian women to be counter-cultural. That we preserve ourselves as a holy remnant. That no matter how much we are in the minority, that we are not afraid to speak out and be set apart from this current age. Our stage may not be that of Miss America’s, but we can not fool ourselves into thinking the days are not already here where these same defining questions will be asked of us and we will have to be ready to give account for the hope that is within us.

We are here for such a time as this.

2. See Number One.

As if I have time for any incapacitation whatsoever, it now appears I can add vertigo to the list of ghosts in my machine. After some quality internet self-diagnosis and advice from my FaceBook friends, my conclusion is either A: I’m having inner ear issues related to the floating death called pollen that is coating everything here, or B: I’ve Shredded too much and gotten dehydrated. That may not be the case, but it sounds like a good reason to take a couple days off from it. I finished through Day Ten and can I just say that even though Jillian is a beast, the woman can flat get results. I’ve already lost a couple pounds and several inches and feel quite a bit stronger – except for the fact I can’t stand up without falling over. She may kill me but dern if I won’t look buff in the casket.

In other news, I have to tell y’all the coolest thing we are doing as a family during our nightly devo times. I have struggled to find a family devotional that is appropriate for both Luke and me as well as the kids. I think I mentioned the other day that I’d been sent the Fireproof Bible Study to review and included was The Love Dare. As I began reading through it, I realized, “WOW! This could be so easily adapted for families!”

I don’t know if your crew is like mine, but can I admit that sometimes we need to reboot? Just shut it all down and start over? Our lives are crazy stressed and it is common for us all to be grumpy, impatient, and generally unloving towards one another. Luke and I have been re-writing the lessons in The Love Dare to apply to the kids – as well as ourselves – and tweaking The Dares. I can honestly say that after only a few days there has been a marked changed in the atmosphere in our home. Praise Jesus.

I’ve laughed my head off at the kids’ interpretations of The Dares. Day One’s task is simply not to say anything negative. We also added, ‘No Retaliation’. Apparently the boys think that is a license to be silently annoying until the point a brother/sister is ready to lose his/her mind. At the breaking point, the offender will sing-song, “Remember…Nooo Retaliatioooooooon.” Obviously, Luke and I are learning we are having to write a lot of qualifiers into The Dares.

An example would be on Random Act of Kindness Day. Each kid was assigned another for whom they would have to do something nice. {Boy Two – the fabulously witty one – asked his assigned brother, “Would you like Roses or Carnations, darling brother?” He’s funnier accidentally than I could ever hope to be on purpose.} Here’s where another qualifier comes into play. Boy Three – The Stinker – was in a foul mood this morning so we’ve now added that if you are being unkind to a sibling, you have to do forced Random Acts for the person you’ve wronged. His list currently includes making his sister’s bed two days in a row and cleaning my toilet.

Man, I love this.

Okay, it’s time to gently lay the computer aside and try to do household chores that don’t involved bending over, turning my head from side to side, or getting up. So basically, I’m going to sit on the couch and catch up on movie watching. And write in some more failure clauses into the Love Dare: Family Edition that will benefit my inability to do housework.

I’m sunk if the kids start getting the point in all this.

Y’all have a Happy Tuesday!


It’s a quiet morning at home and I’m sitting in my living room listening to a wonderful summer storm. The thunder is a low constant rumble and the rain is coming in bucket-sized drops. I’m no fan of violent weather, but a benign slow soaker can soothe the stress right out of me. It reminds me of being at my great-grandpa’s house as child in the same type of skies. His house had a metal roof that would multiply the crash of angry clouds. Pop knew I was scared so he would stick out his dentures and all other manner of ridiculous things to make me laugh until the storm had passed. He was wonderfully, hysterically crazy. I never doubted that he delighted in me and I loved him better than life. He’s been gone for 15 years and I still miss him so badly I could just cry my eyes out.

Nix that. The tears have come. Good thing I haven’t gotten out the mascara yet today.

I wasn’t planning on waxing nostalgic. I actually wanted to share something profound that Jillian Michaels said in the 30 Day Shred Video. Y’all may have heard a thing or two about it around the web. I could share how sore I was the first few days but honestly, who can tell that tale better than Melanie? The girl is a comedic genius and I bow at her feet. Today, that is. On days 2 and 3 of Shred, I could barely bend my legs to use the bathroom, much less pay homage to Big Mama.

So back to Jillian. (Can we all agree she has an evil smile? It never quite travels to her eyes. It’s like she knows we expect one but can’t quite convince herself she can do it. Or wants to. Scary.) On Level One – which I’ve ventured past once only to quickly return – she made a statement I loved. In convincing us that the hard work was necessary in order to see changes she said, “You can’t phone this one in.”

That statement completely resonated with me. How many times have I practiced a phoned-in faith? Wanted to get big spiritual results with minimal effort? Believed there could be huge gain with no pain? I heard David Jeremiah on Moody yesterday say something to the effect of, “Many of the men and women of faith with whose names we are familiar have been completely crushed in order for God to use them mightily. I had always hoped I could be the exception.” Amen, my brutha. I would totally high five you if I could get past your security guards.

I’ve got this on my mind this morning because during my time with God, I asked Him to do something in me that will probably hurt. My prayer went something like, “Lord, I want you to help me change (a personal issue). But, can you please do it gently?” And in a way only He can speak, He said, “For you to be truly changed may require my shaking you up so badly that you’ll never want to go back. “

And then I might have said something like, “Okay then, I take it back.”

Okay, not really. But I wanted to. That is until I realized I was just phoning it in. Wanting to be different without any sore muscles involved. Of falsely believing I can transform into some spiritual giant while sitting on the couch eating Kettle Cooked Lay’s Potato Chips. (Oh my word, those are the best.)

So I resolved my prayer with this thought: It may hurt, but I’m better off shred. The end will justify any temporary discomfort and hopefully, prayerfully, I’ll be one buff warrior when it’s said and done. I ask that for myself, and I hope you don’t mind if I do the same for you as well.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
~2 Corinthians 4:16-17

…that I love Jesus and can hardly get over that He didn’t just save me, but gave me a ministry that keeps on saving me? If He didn’t give me opportunity for working out my salvation, I would be a shriveled up wreck. Of course, I still am at times, but not one without hope or a confirmed direction when I need to get back on track. I’m horrified of less-traveled roads, but I’ve not walked one yet that didn’t thrill me. Who ever dreamed God could be so much fun with a side order of roller coaster terror? I can’t tell you the number of times lately I’ve screamed through a grin at the things He’s allowed me. Is there someone out there today that needs to know that God isn’t just flat out mad? That He laughs and will get one out of you eventually even if He has to scare you to death to get one?

I need to quit now before I have me a spell.

Before I got sidetracked, I meant to tell you how much fun I had this past Saturday. I had the joy of speaking at a women’s tea for New Liberty Baptist in Ringgold, GA. They did one of those fabulous luncheons where a woman hosts and decorates each table differently. Seriously. I don’t know how many different ways there can be to theme a table scape but it appears you wonderfully creative girls out there have no where near exhausted all the possibilities because every one was completely unique to any I have seen before. I could just kick myself for not having a camera.

Wanda, my precious new friend and contact for this event had the greatest idea. Her theme was, “Through the storms of life, with God, you can dance in the rain..” She had a darlin‘ rubber rain boot as her centerpiece with a spring arrangement and get this – the fabric from a hot pink disassembled umbrella as the foundation. Who would have ever thought of that? Certainly not this girl! I just couldn’t take my eyes off all the details.

I also can not overlook how cool God is in making connections. It turns out that the girl who was asked to introduce me is my second cousin! What?! I had no idea she went to church there and she had no idea it was me coming to speak until a couple days prior. Is that not a hoot? I loved seeing you, Jenny, and your beautiful, grown-up Kelly! I hope we see one another again outside of a funeral or reunion. :)

I can not even begin to communicate how much I enjoy these frou frou get-togethers. It still amazes me that a guy’s idea of a good time is offing Bambi, gutting her, and dragging her lifeless corpse to a grill to enjoy with his buddies. No, thank you. Chicken Salad and Quiche will serve us girls just fine. And I have to give a shout out to the men who served us. Y’all, they had on matching white aprons WITH THEIR NAMES EMBROIDERED ON THE BIB. I’ve never seen such awesomeness in my life. You guys have set the new high bar for every other group of church men out there. I need a picture of you to blow up as poster boys of servanthood. You were spectacular and I know we all appreciated your loving on us so extravagantly.

New Liberty: THANK YOU. It is humbling to me to know the amount of prayer that you put in to bringing in a teacher and that in some miraculous way, God gave you my name and you extended this invitation. I loved every minute with you and I pray God’s Word will be an abiding one to every single lady there. You can believe me when I say He road tested that message in every figurative and literal way. May it change us all.

Okay, so now I’m off to clean out my closet. I would show you a before and after, but you would judge me. Oh, you say you wouldn’t, but trust me. It’s just that bad. There are not two of my shoes within a foot of one another in the bottom of that thing and I’m certain I’ll find several Christmas presents hidden in the top that never made it to their intended recipient. Oh well. Maybe I’ll have a head start on this year.

Y’all have a wonderful Monday!

….but aren’t we all?

Every Easter, the brutality of Jesus’ death and the celebration of His Resurrection seems to bring about a different primary emotion than the one before. I remember feeling particularly melancholy last year and really having to remind myself that there was no need to dwell on the events of Friday because I was and am living eternally in the victory of Sunday.

The past few days, melancholy has given way to indignation. Not towards a person or race, lest you misunderstand me, but towards Satan who seems to never have much trouble finding those who will do his bidding. I’ve been pondering the injustice of the Holy Week and the Jewish establishment who broke all of their own laws to destroy the One who had never violated a single one. I’ve been thinking about the alliance between the chief priests and the hated Romans who found a common bond in wanting to see this Man dead. Their motivation? Convenience and Control. Perhaps the saddest thing is that all involved truly believed they were justified in doing whatever necessary to maintain both.

Things haven’t changed much have they?

The thing I will never get over, and I mean never, is that not once did Christ open His mouth to defend Himself. The only time He spoke was to confirm that He was who He claimed to be. Had he reminded the crowd of the laws being broken, had He called on them to rescue Him, had his earthly father been alive to begin a Maccabean-inspired revolt (pure speculation here), then no doubt all Hell would have broken loose. And I do mean that in the most literal and spiritual of ways. But instead, His silence assured His death while sealing our eternal life.

It occurs to me that if we follow a desirable command, our response isn’t obedience but compliance. If you say to me, “Lisa, come to the table, it’s time to eat!”, I’m totally there with no argument whatsoever. There’s willingness at work in my response. But God saying, “Lisa, this thing is unfair, it doesn’t make sense, and it will hurt like crazy but for your good and My Glory I’m asking you to do it anyway”, requires obedience – not compliance. And God never said, “Comply with my commands.” He said ‘obey’ which implies I may not always want to do what He is asking.

The only comfort I find is in knowing that Jesus didn’t want to do what God asked either. The proof is in Mark 14:35-36, “And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” Ultimately Jesus obeyed. Somehow He was able to proclaim, “It is finished!!” rather than, “This isn’t fair!”

And that is the place where I rest and the point of all my rambling: Sin and pain and injustice were the required mix for this to be an act of obedience rather than compliance with a more desirable scenario. And at the time Jesus was walking this thing out as an example to us, no one knew. No one yet understood the price being paid. And so in essence, even though the first glory was a private one between Father and Son, God was fully satisfied by His Son’s willingness to endure the most horrific death imaginable rather than one relatively quicker and less painful.

When I am tempted to cry foul, like Christ, I have to look through the injustice to see what obedience I’m being called to on the other side. Even if no one knows the cost, God does. And I have to believe the more it hurts and the more it goes against everything natural in me to do what He has asked, the more it glorifies and satisfies Him when I am sanctified by acting in accordance with His commands. If the thing isn’t hard, it really doesn’t count for much, does it?

So, let’s decide. Obedience or Compliance? Lord, please make us to understand the refining value of the one instead of expecting the ease of the other. And, may it be that we experience a full measure of joy in both.

Praying you and your family experience a wonderful celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. He is worthy!!!

Hosanna!

Every Easter, the brutality of Jesus’ death and the celebration of His Resurrection seems to bring about a different primary emotion than the one before. I remember feeling particularly melancholy last year and really having to remind myself that there was no need to dwell on the events of Friday because I was and am living eternally in the victory of Sunday.

The past few days, melancholy has given way to indignation. Not towards a person or race, lest you misunderstand me, but towards Satan who seems to never have much trouble finding those who will do his bidding. I’ve been pondering the injustice of the Holy Week and the Jewish establishment who broke all of their own laws to destroy the One who had never violated a single one. I’ve been thinking about the alliance between the chief priests and the hated Romans who found a common bond in wanting to see this Man dead. Their motivation? Convenience and Control. Perhaps the saddest thing is that all involved truly believed they were justified in doing whatever necessary to maintain both.

Things haven’t changed much have they?

The thing I will never get over, and I mean never, is that not once did Christ open His mouth to defend Himself. The only time He spoke was to confirm that He was who He claimed to be. Had he reminded the crowd of the laws being broken, had He called on them to rescue Him, had his earthly father been alive to begin a Maccabean-inspired revolt (pure speculation here), then no doubt all Hell would have broken loose. And I do mean that in the most literal and spiritual of ways. But instead, His silence assured His death while sealing our eternal life.

It occurs to me that if we follow a desirable command, our response isn’t obedience but compliance. If you say to me, “Lisa, come to the table, it’s time to eat!”, I’m totally there with no argument whatsoever. There’s willingness at work in my response. But God saying, “Lisa, this thing is unfair, it doesn’t make sense, and it will hurt like crazy but for your good and My Glory I’m asking you to do it anyway”, requires obedience – not compliance. And God never said, “Comply with my commands.” He said ‘obey’ which implies I may not always want to do what He is asking.

The only comfort I find is in knowing that Jesus didn’t want to do what God asked either. The proof is in Mark 14:35-36, “And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” Ultimately Jesus obeyed. Somehow He was able to proclaim, “It is finished!!” rather than, “This isn’t fair!”

And that is the place where I rest and the point of all my rambling: Sin and pain and injustice were the required mix for this to be an act of obedience rather than compliance with a more desirable scenario. And at the time Jesus was walking this thing out as an example to us, no one knew. No one yet understood the price being paid. And so in essence, even though the first glory was a private one between Father and Son, God was fully satisfied by His Son’s willingness to endure the most horrific death imaginable rather than one relatively quicker and less painful.

When I am tempted to cry foul, like Christ, I have to look through the injustice to see what obedience I’m being called to on the other side. Even if no one knows the cost, God does. And I have to believe the more it hurts and the more it goes against everything natural in me to do what He has asked, the more it glorifies and satisfies Him when I am sanctified by acting in accordance with His commands. If the thing isn’t hard, it really doesn’t count for much, does it?

So, let’s decide. Obedience or Compliance? Lord, please make us to understand the refining value of the one instead of expecting the ease of the other. And, may it be that we experience a full measure of joy in both.

Praying you and your family experience a wonderful celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. He is worthy!!!

Hosanna!