focusing on obedience to God

Category : God, Jesus, bible, faith, taking action

Things are rushing these days.  I’m trying to juggle a new job, volunteering opportunities at my local church, writing opportunities (both for R3 and a book I’m working on), and most importantly a wedding.  Yes, that’s right; I got engaged over the holidays.

Which brings me to obedience.

Because so much is going on I need to streamline my life.  I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions.  But I wanted to try something new.  (Although I’m still not doing a New Year’s Resolution!)  I think God has a lot of things he’d like me accomplish, and to do that, I need to be organized.

So I’ve decided to identify four words that will define my 2010.  The first three revolve around productivity / work / scheduling / time.  But the fourth one, the most important one, is all about faith.

And, in case you haven’t guessed already, that word is obedience.

I want 2010 to be fully focused on God.  I want to be obedient in an intentional way I haven’t been before.  Sure I’ve been thinking about this word for a while now.  As you can see from the R3 post called the miracle of obedience.  I’ve even given talks focusing on what it means to be obedient.  But I’ve never tried to fully live it out, consistently, in all things.

That’s scary just saying that out loud!  Truth be told, I like my rebellion.  But all things must come to an end.

Which brings us to Mary…

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.  Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

This is the only time in the entire Bible Mary gives a command.  (thanks to Erwin McManus for pointing that out).  Locally she’s speaking to the servants at the party.  But it applies directly to us too.   As I wrote a few days ago, the servants didn’t question what Jesus was doing (something that surely was crazy), they just did it.  They filled up giant containers of water that must have weighed hundreds of pounds (which was a lot of work without forklifts or running water.)

Through their obedience Jesus performed his first miracle.

Which makes me wonder, what miracles will he perform through my obedience?  What about yours?

away in the manger

Category : God, faith, hope, taking action, trust, worship

  

We’ve all heard the story of Jesus’ birth.  We know that he was born into a family of humble origins.  That he was born in a manger because his parents couldn’t find a room.  We know that Mary was a virgin, and that it was through a great leap of faith she had Jesus.

But whenever I hear this story, I find myself thinking about Joseph

Often we hear this story told from the perspective of Mary or the Wise Men, or even Jesus.  And those are all good ways of looking at this story.  But I think sometimes we lose sight of Joseph’s profound faith.  Remember, he was well within his rights, by Jewish law, to have Mary put to death for adultery.  They had been pledged to be married, and instead she was pregnant. 

Yet he didn’t. 

Instead Joseph trusted a dream he had was from God.  Joseph trusted that God was doing something special, and that even though he didn’t understand, he would act in faith.  All of this means Joseph must have been quite a man to have put his faith in God like that, especially in an honor and shame culture.  After all, Mary knew she hadn’t “known” anyone.  Joseph, on the other hand, had to take her word for it (and of course, the message he received from God).

It would have been easy for him to begin believing the rumors that must have been swirling in such a small community.  You can’t keep secrets like that in a small town.  Yet Joseph remained faithful to both God and Mary.   

There are many times I hear about a tragedy or some extreme act of heroism and I would like to think I would have acted the same.  I’d like to think that when push really comes to shove, I’d be willing to trust God over everything.  But would I?  Would I be able to marry someone who said they were pregnant, but the child was God’s?  Would I believe God spoke to me in a dream?  Or would I believe the snide comments being made by my neighbors?

I will never know.  But I think there’s a really good chance I would have chalked that dream up to a bad slice of pizza.