Friday, May 27, 2011

The Night Before the Step of Faith

"Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, 'Abraham!' 'Here I am', he replied. Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering...' Early the next morning, Abraham got up and saddled his donkey." 
Genesis 22:1-3

I wonder what it must have been like. 
The night before, God tells Abraham to go sacrifice, aka kill, his precious son...and then Abraham has to go to bed.
That had to be one crazy night! 
I can imagine that night was a night of an epic battle between spirit and flesh...heart and head...seen and unseen....
Faith versus sight went head to head during the night. 
Thats probably why it says he got up early the next morning....because he wasn't sleeping anyway!....
...or was he?...

Abraham was obviously a man of stellar faith, but he was also human. 
Did he simply take God at His word, no questions asked, and sleep like a log that night?
Or did he plead through the wee hours of the night for God to choose, or to find another way?
But, here's the the end, no matter how he spent the night, it's what happened when the sun crept above the horizon that matters:

He loaded his donkey. 

When it was time to move, he moved. 

When it was time to step out in faith, he stepped. 

He may have been bright eyed and bushy tailed, or he may have been baggy eyed and sleep faith he began the journey. 

Maybe it was in those wee hours that God, in His sovereignty, also began the journey of a certain ram up a specific mountain called Moriah. 

Maybe it was in those wee hours that provision had already begun making its way to the exact place and time of need.

The night was that time in-between time where we wrestle with the choice to remain on the path of faith,
where we seek the face of God for a glimmer of understanding, 
where we live through the discomfort of the necessary alignment of our flesh with His perfect unsearchable will...
where we see the near daybreak of the realty of what we must do, and we wonder......

Can I really load that donkey? 

Because that, well that makes the trip real. 
That puts feet to the command. 

Early the next morning. Early the next morning. Early the next morning.

Abraham didn't know exactly what God would do or would not do.
But I am sure he rested in the fact that he knew God...and that was enough. 

He had only to release his faith and he knew God would do what needed to be done because only God really knew what that need was anyway. 

So Abraham did what he knew to do...he loaded the donkey.

How will I choose to emerge from the night in-between the call/the command and the step out in faith? 

Will the doubt of the in-between time be victorious and cause me to sleep in? 

Will I get distracted when my feet hit the floor?
Will I prepare and load the donkey for the specific journey of faith to which He has called me?

Will I focus more on my lack of rest than on my position of being just outside the circle of obedience? 
Will I care enough to plunge into that obedience regardless of what my flesh may say or likely experience?

Who God is. 
THAT is my strength, my focus, my drive.

"Here I am."

I have only to step out in faith. 
To obey.

Time to wake up and load the donkey.

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Who God is.THAT is my strength,my focus, my drive.He is enough...enough for me to step out in faith n obey. #forhisglory

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Obedience is not a word that is looked upon fondly in our culture these days. It is delicately omitted from wedding vows, and other conspicuous places because of it's supposedly burdensome nature.
But as I talked with my tween son the other night, who was so heavily burdened with the lack of his own disobedience, the Holy Spirit gave me a fresh perspective.
Frustrated with himself, Alex shared with me rather feverishly how he had declared that he was restricting himself from all he things he enjoyed most, things, that by the way were not wrong or evil things...but all the same he was no longer going to allow himself access to those things because every time he got so wrapped up in them, he tended to disobey.
So, he figured, if he removed those things, took all the fun and joy away, then he would be able to obey.

This, my friends, is the picture of living in the law.

We realize that we need to obey, but are so distracted when we try in our own strength, that we come to the conclusion that we must remove everything we hold dear or find joy in, so that obedience is all that's left to do.

What a distorted perspective we have!

Obedience is not the barrier that is dropped to separate us from all the things we enjoy!
No! God intended it to be the doorway to all the joy and treasures that He has awaiting you!
Obedience is the access point to the fullness of God!
Obedience is our joy!
Obedience is our privilege!

Before you guffaw at this claim, hear me out.

When the Holy Spirit points out an area in which He is asking you to obey, it isn't to keep you from something, it is to open the doorway to a new and fresh spiritual experience, a new and fresh fullness of Himself so that your very burden of trying to BE good enough can be lightened as you realize that in CHRIST already are!

This, my friends, is the picture of GRACE!

1 John 5:3-5 says, "This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."
The victory of overcoming the sinful patterns of my life, whether they are in thought, attitude, or action, is the gift of the Holy Spirit to me...if I am willing to unwrap OBEDIENCE.
What use or good is a gift left wrapped, bow and paper in tact, on the shelf?
It only gathers dust.
The person to whom the gift was given has knowledge of the gift, but they can only experience a shadow of the joy and purpose for which the gift was intended to impart.
It has to be opened by way of obedience.
Maybe you don't know HOW to open the gift...maybe it is a strange and unfamiliar package that you are unsure of how to navigate.
Well here is your hope: YOU KNOW the GIVER! His HOLY SPIRIT lives in you. You are able because He is able.

Obedience is NOT fulfilling the law or commands through your own efforts, ideas, structures, maintenances or rituals.
For what good is obedience if it is driven by the root of bitterness?

Obedience is NOT trying to be holy or achieve holiness.
For what good is obedience if it is inspired by the root of pride?

Obedience IS fully embracing Christ in the midst of all the imperfection and sinfulness of my flesh that is continuously clamoring to lure me elsewhere.
Holiness is Christ. So as I embrace Christ, I will bear the fruit of holiness...I will find myself walking in obedience even when I am unsure of how to place one foot in front of the other.
How? Because it is Christ at work in me.
It is His love that compels me. It is His grace that inspires and humbles me.

"With an abundance of natural strength we are useless to God. With no strength at all, we can hold on to Him. And with His strength flowing through us, 'we are more than conquerors'(Rom 8:37)...I cannot please God, but there is no 'I cannot' in Christ. 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me'(Phil 4:13)" -Nee

Understand today that obedience is not something God simply wants FROM is what He wants FOR you.

God desires for you to RECEIVE all the riches of His grace, all the blessings of His love, all the fullness of His power, through the doorway of Holy Spirit empowered obedience.

"Now what I am commanding you to do today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." Deuteronomy 30:11

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Obedience is not a barrier. It's the doorway to the fullness of the gifts of our limitless God, who empowers u thru His grace.