Posts Tagged With: Obeying God

Be Prepared

be-prepared

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” General Sun Tzu

I keep a slogan hung on the wall above my desk where each morning it reminds me of how important it is to start the day out right. It is the Latin slogan “Carpe Diem,” which means “Seize the Day.”

Though I’ve not yet reached dinosaur status, I’m far enough along to note how the longer one lives the more time seems to accelerate. The exceptional brevity of this life is especially noticeable when we juxtaposition it against eternity. There’s a sense of urgency to make the best use of the smidgen of time we’ve been allotted to prepare for the real life that is yet to come.

There have been days when I felt so rushed to get somewhere, or to accomplish what needed to be done that I neglected my quiet time with God. I was just now mentally comparing that forgetfulness with taking off on 200 mile drive and forgetting to fuel up the car. Those days never went the way they should have. I was not plugged into my source for all things needed, and my focus was all wrong, because I began thinking horizontally instead of vertically. It doesn’t take very many days like that to understand the seriousness of approaching every day under God’s direction, with eternity in mind.

Living in a sin cursed world makes it so easy to forget who we are in Christ Jesus. I need to prepare for whatever each day holds by first consulting the one who already knows what lies ahead.  Whenever I start out right I am more joyful, at peace and confident. I get more accomplished, and can see great purpose and significance in everything He leads me to do. It’s the best way to really make the day count for something. Even if it’s your job to scrub toilets, you can do the best job possible and make them shine, because you are doing it for the Lord. Whether I am teaching a class, building something, or simply cleaning up my dog’s poop off the side of the road, it is for Jesus, and that gives it importance. What a tremendous difference our perspective makes! When I remember to pull into the spiritual fueling station of God’s word, I am more productive—I can really seize the day!

One of the things I’m reminded of each morning as I read my Bible and pray, meditating and listening to God, is that I am a child of a king. We will one day reign with Him. We don’t have to fear what may lie ahead. Besides, we know there’s a subtle and powerful adversary out there just waiting to try and trip us up. Since we know it’s coming, it is prudent for us to prepare to face temptation. Only a fool would go into battle against a Goliath like Satan without careful preparation, having some form of protection, and a weapon.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” SunTzu

In Ephesians 6 we are told of the gear we’ll need to do battle in the spiritual sense. Yes, you’ve heard of this before. It’s called “The Armor of God”. We first show up and then suit up. Verse 11 tells us: Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Let’s briefly review each piece of armor. And please remember that if any one of these are missing, that’s the precise place where you will be attacked. The devil is a seasoned warrior—he knows how to take advantage of the slightest weak area in our defenses.

The belt of truth. God’s word, the Bible is our sure source of truth. When we are grounded and founded in His truth we don’t have to fear. It is difficult to deceive someone when they know the truth. We ourselves do not deceive; instead we reflect the light of God’s glorious truth.

The breastplate of righteousness Once Christ justifies us in the sight of God and His righteousness has been imputed unto us, we guard our righteous status. We do not return to the filthy sinful ways of the world that we have been cleansed from. This requires remaining in constant contact with the water of God’s word which cleanses us daily. We need that daily cleansing because we are going to make mistakes.

Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, We must always be ready to share with others how they too can be reconciled unto God. We must carry the Gospel message of salvation to the world. We must be able to share with others the scriptures which pertain to how we are saved.

 

Shield of faith, Faith is the catalyst that activates God’s power in our lives. Power to resist temptations and power to live a joyful and peace filled life. Faith is our shield against the attacks of evil: Believing completely and then acting based upon that belief.

The helmet of salvation, We must first be saved, establishing our citizenship in the Kingdom of God, which includes a myriad of benefits. We must confess our need for God’s grace and receive the gift of salvation by placing our faith in Christ Jesus and in His work at Calvary and at the grave. Our response to salvation is then obedience to Christ (We did say He is now our ‘Lord’, right?). We do so out of love and appreciation.

The sword of the Spirit, The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, alive and active. It is sharper than any two edged sword. It penetrates even to the dividing of the soul and spirit, the joints and marrow, it judges (discerns) the thoughts, intentions and attitudes of our heart. God’s word is a very powerful weapon against evil, in defending righteousness. But never use it against God’s own people. We learn to skillfully use God’s word to build people up. (But there’s also a time to tear down.)

We must carry God’s word in our hearts and minds if we hope to be victorious over the adversary’s schemes. Every day we must fine tune our focus in the light of a close relationship with Jesus Christ. The more time we spend with God, seeking His presence, the more power we assimilate into our lives. God is all-powerful. We need that power in our lives. It is a rough, tough world out there. But we don’t have to face it alone. Here’s a handy checklist.

  1. How is my focus today?
  2. Are my spiritual eyes open and perceptive to the underlying causes and effects going on around me, and within me?
  3. Did I spend some quality time with my sweet Lord today?
  4. Did I read my Bible and take it into my heart?
  5. Did I speak with Him and seek His counsel, His wisdom, and His purpose for me today?
  6. Did I start out clean and fresh, asking God to forgive my sins of yesterday?

If I’ve done all these I’m ready to:

CARPE DIEM – SIEZE THE DAY!

 

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God’s Matrimonial Marvels

unity

He was less than attractive to look at, but one might say he was cute, if, that is, they were fond of pugs. When hearing Earnest Farnsworth preach, it was impossible to miss the passion in his voice. Accentuating this auditory indicator was his body language, with movements akin to the conductor of some grand orchestra. Right down to the drool on his chin, Earnest’s messages poignantly manifested his love for people, and for God. Oh he was a beautiful soul. That turned up little nose of his, though repulsive to the casual observer, became a beloved feature to those more astute, who knew him well. Many came to adore this man, whom strangers called ugly.

Some Christians have attempted to conceptualize the physical appearance of the Apostle Paul. Tradition has it that he was a slight man, and unseemly to gaze upon. Austerity marked him as a stern person. Yet, on the inside, he was one of the most magnificent souls to have ever lived.  He was so loved by the churches, that upon hearing they may never see his face again they were deeply saddened. “What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again.” Acts 20:38

What is it that resides on the insides, which can so negate these men’s deficiencies in physical aesthetics? What made them so appealing? Both were Christian men—men of God. But there are thousands of Christians who are ugly both inside and out. What makes the difference? Allow me to propose an answer: Perhaps the ugly souls are not really saved at all? My audacity in suggesting this is influenced by Jesus’ own words.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 21-23


“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14 KJV

Allow me to make another bold and audacious statement, but before labeling me a heretic, please hear me out. Those who are extremely beautiful souls, who shine forth with the love of Christ, are God. What? That’s right, I said they are God.

Yes, Father, Son and Holy Spirit “alone” are God, the three in one, and that is no contradiction to what I said just previous. Allow me to present to you the doctrine of sanctification, and of God’s Holy Spirit. Please follow through to hear the conclusion, that you may understand my daring statements.

Back in Genesis, God ordained the institution of marriage. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 NIV

Though a man and a woman are two separate individuals, when joined in marriage, spiritually speaking they are now one flesh. Two become one. This is a spiritual union. We will come back to this in a moment.

Often I hear preachers and teachers of the word speak as if they were not in Christ, while at the same time preaching Christ. I’ve done it myself, many times, but this morning the Lord set something new into my mind. We ask, “What would Jesus do?” Or maybe, “What would Jesus say in this situation?” Really? We don’t already know?    If we are in Christ we should know what Jesus would do, or what He would say, because he lives within us. “…But we have the mind of Christ.” 1st Corinthians 2:16 Either we believe the bible or we do not. That tired old excuse about different ways of interpreting was worn out before it even began. It is nothing more than a rationalization to disobey God.

On this last verse phrase, I was amazed that all translations of scripture were identical, with the exception of a few using “Messiah” in place of “Christ”. We are a part of Him!

In the past I’ve talked a lot about our relationship with Christ, and this relationship is a sweet essence in our doctrine. But there’s a difference between having a relationship to Him, and a relationship with Him. I have a relationship to my desk. I sit before it, and it serves me well. I care for it, wiping off the muffin crumbs and cleaning off the coffee spills. Every so often, I actually tidy up the entire thing, though you may doubt that if you were to see it. It would be rather odd to say, “I have a relationship with my desk.” It is not personal. It has no personage.

We serve a personal God, who is intensely interested in every nanosecond of our lives. Paul speaks in relation to my audacious statements as being a former “mystery” that is now revealed. “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. “ Colossians 1:27 NIV

Christ uniting Himself to us is the mystery that was not revealed until after Jesus’ ascension to the Father’s side. He is our righteousness, and He is creating holiness within us. This was and is the only way we could overcome our sinful nature. He empowers and enables us to obey God in all things. God did however give a few clues in the Old Testament era, as to how He would change us back into people who are fit to be in His presence. One of those clues is found in Jeremiah 31:31-33.

Here is a key verse when it comes to sanctification. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 NIV

If we are really saved and are true Christians, then Christ is in us. We are Christ’s church. We are the bride of Christ, but we are still in the engagement stage of this marriage to Him. When Jesus was on earth, a pledge to be married was a serious thing, not like today. It was a prenuptial contract. Our wedding shall take place in heaven, and we now are being made ready by becoming holy, as He is holy. Holiness is a qualification for entering the kingdom of God. We are washing our robes in the blood of Christ.

But we have been sanctified, set apart as a holy people, a royal priesthood unto God. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1st Peter 2:9 NIV

But we are also, currently being sanctified, as in the process of becoming holy. “For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1st Peter 1:16. We are becoming holy (being sanctified). We are being conformed to the image of the Son of God. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Romans 8:29a

We’ve been set apart and joined to God through Christ. More specifically, we are joined to Him through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, or Spirit of Christ. If in marriage two become one, as God declares, then are we not one with Christ? “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” 1st Corinthians 6:17 There it is again, our spiritual union (marriage) with Christ. We become one with God.

Is Jesus God, or not?  I pray that you said, “Yes!” If so, and we have become one with Him, then we too, are, in a sense, God. But our union with Him has stipulations. We can only be godlike when we are in full surrender, submission, and obedience to Him. Our union with Christ is contingent upon our submission to His Spirit, who is constantly hoping to unite with our spirits, and have control over us. But he will not take control, we must give it, and surrender ourselves to the will of God. This is FAITH! Do we believe in God’s love or not? Do we believe that He is right in all that he says, and in every way that He leads us? This is what repentance means. We cannot be born of the Spirit until we have repented, agreeing with EVERYTHING God has said, says, or will say. It is a change of mind.

I agree that I am a sinner and in need of God’s grace. I need a Savior, and God has provided that Savior for me in His Son, Jesus Christ. I agree that Jesus is both God and man, that He was born of the Virgin Mary, that he lived and died a physical death on the cross. God placed all the sins of the world in Jesus, and then Christ died and carried our sins to the grave and buried them there. He arose on the 3rd day, was seen by many witnesses, and finally ascended to sit at the right hand of God’s throne in glory. Jesus, our Christ is alive forevermore! We must confess Him before witnesses, and be baptized into Him (Romans 6, 10:9-10) and in obedience to his commands. Yes, salvation is a free gift of God’s amazing grace. This is called justification. But if I am to dwell in His holy presence, I also need to be fully sanctified and made holy. The more I mature in my relationship, which is synonymous with, the more that I trust Him by submitting (obeying), then the more like Him I become. That’s where the beauty comes in.

Our hearts, our minds, and our souls are being fashioned into the most gorgeous creatures you could ever imagine. This is the beauty that made Earnest and Paul so attractive and lovable. It was their union with God, through their submission to God that made them so attractive on the inside. They shone with the glory of Christ, who dwelt within them.

A splendid truth concerning those who are saved and sanctified and being made holy, is that you are the elite, the elect, the chosen of God. You belong to an upper echelon and will one day even judge angels. There is no imagining how exalted your position is. Spiritually you are seated with Christ at the side of the Father. All enemies are being placed under His feet and you are a part of Him. But it is not by your own merits. Jesus has won all of this victory for us. We can accept no credit for simply doing our duty. But kudos anyway, for striving with every fiber of your being to become just like Jesus.

We too can blossom into stunningly winsome people, regardless of our external appearance. So what is your soul and spirit looking like today? Buff it up and make it shine by trusting Christ completely. When we say that we are trusting Him, it means we are obeying Him. We will make mistakes. But they better be mistakes and not deliberate sin! We do not consciously set out to disobey God. If so, then we are not united with Christ, we are still in our sins, and Jesus will say those horrible words we never want to hear. “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  If you still love that sin, then you do not love God with the type of proving love He commands. We love holiness, righteousness and all that is good, beautiful and glorious.

“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” Hebrews 10:26 KJV

In Matthew 18:3 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Becoming like children means that He is our Parent and we must be as a humble child and do as our loving Father directs us to do. When a saved soul sins, and they will sin, they will hate that sin just as God does. We won’t be able to stand ourselves until we confess that sin to God. This restores our fellowship with him. We must repent. In addition to the previous definition of repentance there is also this: “I hate my sin, and I never want to do it again!” This is true repentance and confession.

Sadly, we often hear only a partial gospel. “Get your free ticket to heaven.” Yes salvation is free. It is a gift from God. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Yet, this in no way eliminates our responsibility. The New Testament is replete with staunch warnings about our new lives in Christ and what the Lord expects of us. He saved us for a reason, for a divine purpose. One of those reasons is mentioned in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he has before ordained that we should walk in them.” Make no mistake, the redeemed are God’s passionate project. He is working in the world through us, the church. He’s also busy recreating inside us, working to shape you and I into glorious creatures. Let’s rejoice over this next verse: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 NIV Did you catch that? Glory, in us! Praise God!

We are to be obedient, and sin not. But when we do sin, even though we do not want to sin, we have forgiveness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1st John 1:9. The Lord is keeping us spotless, if we are truly in Him, united and joined to Him in the closest bond known to the human mind: marriage. We weep and mourn over our sin, forsake and confess it.

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking we can just take the free ticket to heaven and go on about our business without doing any changing. He will give us the power to make the changes that are requisite for our transformations. Come beautiful butterflies—let’s sing praises to God, who is still at work in you me, and who promises to bring that work to completion.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe in salvation by works. But I do not consider obedience a work. We must forsake our sin. How can one rationalize willful sin and explain away the following verses? “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8. NIV

This was written to Christians, saved souls, besides, it says “Whoever”.

I can’t wait to see your beauty unveiled in its entire splendor. We see only a small portion of that resplendent loveliness in this life; but it is enough to distinguish those who are truly being conformed to be like the one who is the most gorgeous of all: Jesus. He is the one who has made all of this possible. May Christ Jesus and God the Father be forever praised!

 

 

 

 

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What God Wants to Teach Us

Over the past two weeks I’ve been diligently seeking God’s will for the next phase of my life. I’m still praying over some aspects of what He is leading me to do. It is exciting to know that God has a plan for my future and for your’s as well. Jeremiah 29:11 states the following. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Whatever God has in store for you and I, we can rest assured that He is leading us towards great success! I’ve been doing a video series on godly success on YouTube. And because I’ve been so occupied with the other things God is leading me to do, I’ve neglected this blog. My apologies for that, and I plan to do all that is in my power to make it up to you. I have some excellent posts in the works. For now, I wanted to offer this 3rd video in the series, “Journey to Success”. Stay Blessed!

Journey to Success 3

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Victory in Inches

The Power of Increments

By the time the soldier was close enough to reach out and touch us, or kill us, it was too late. Infantry training for the U.S. Army taught me many things. Some of which had surprisingly far reaching applications. One of them is what I call the Power of Increments.

Learning how to look like a part of the natural outdoor landscape is what we were being taught that day. What we didn’t know was that a portion of the lesson included how to advance our position towards an enemy without being detected. While one instructor expounded on breaking up the outline of our bodies using real pieces of the outdoor environment, a well-seasoned Vietnam veteran, decked out to look like a bush was slowly working his way towards our group.

When he suddenly jumped to his feet to reveal himself, all of us jumped too—it was startling. But the interesting part was when yet another camouflaged soldier stood up a hundred yards away, revealing the position from which the veteran had begun. It was directly in front of us. This human bush had moved right up to us without anyone noticing. How could he cross 100 yards that are all visible without someone realizing, Hey, that bush is moving! As you’ve probably already guessed, he did it very slowly, inch by inch, or in very small increments.

“Gradualism…it can deceive and disarm an unsuspecting population, which is largely content and passive.”—Mark R. Levin, Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America

The human mind, unless trained to do so, does not recognize very small changes or exceedingly slow changes. It’s a tactic that our common enemy uses very well. Yes, I’m talking about the devil. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1st Peter 5:8

In 2nd Corinthians 2:11, Apostle Paul writes: “…so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. (NLT)

So here’s the important question each one of us needs to ask ourselves: “Am I familiar with the devil’s schemes?”

Another lesson the army taught us was that in order to secure victory against our enemies we must study them carefully—learn their tactics and battle strategies. We as Christians must do the same. Don’t be deceived, Satan is real and powerful, shrewd and cunning. But God is much wiser and much more powerful. That’s why we need to depend on Christ always, and learn the lessons He teaches well.

“If you know your enemy and know yourself you need not fear a hundred battles.”—Sun Tzu

It is fairly easy for Satan to get us to compromise just an itty bitty bit. If we were able to see where that compromise, combined with many future compromises would eventually take us, he’d never be able to pull it off. We’d say, No way, Hosea. I’m not going there,” or I’m not going to do that. But a minuscule compromise seems to be so inconsequential! To our finite minds it is easy to rationalize a very small act of disobedience. So we capitulate, giving in to it. What we need is a spiritually trained mind, with an inner spiritual eye that has been exercised to detect the subtle dangers. Truth is the fortress we need, and Jesus is the Truth.

As an example, let’s say it’s time to put our feet up for a little relaxation. We pick up the remote control and click on the big screen TV. What are we going to watch today? Are we aware of what the audio and visual stimulus is doing inside us? …So imperceptibly slow, creating microscopic changes in our hearts and minds? There is the hardening of our hearts, or callousing effect towards violence. The suggestions of what is normal and acceptable behavior in our society: Illicit sex, belittling of the parental role in families, on and on it goes. It is natural human response and pride to think that we are not being affected by it whatsoever—that we are above all that, and it will have no effect upon us because we know the truth. If that is what we think, we don’t know the truth as well as we thought.

The Spirit of Christ, however, dwelling within believers, trains our minds to be on guard for, and notice, those hazards and little changes. Along with the subtle suggestions to our minds. Many times the suggestion is subliminal and on a subconscious level. We cannot give the devil a single millimeter. “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Proverbs 22:3 (NIV)

Perhaps one of the greatest eye-opening books that demonstrates Satan’s tactics is C.S. Lewis’ The Screw Tape Letters. He writes: “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” There have been many other similar works as well.

What I call incrementalism is what one prominent preacher calls: gradualism. But no matter how many good writers and preachers we listen to, we must always begin with: God’s word. If that is, we are to ever grasp what we are up against, and learn to effectively win our battles.

Below are a series of questions for those of us who are fully committed to following Jesus, and to living a life that pleases God. If you can answer them, great! But we can always understand things a little better. The first step is to pray and ask God to help you understand more fully. The better we grow to know Christ, God’s nature, and His character, the better we will be able to detect what is not of God. Then, open your bible and look up scriptures that talk about the enemy.

  1. What is the devil’s end game?
  2. What motivates his evil works?
  3. What was his original sin and from what did such arrogance spring?
  4. If you wanted to deceive someone and get them to do something wrong, how would you go about fooling them into doing it?
  5. Besides what was discussed, what are some of Satan’s other tactics that he uses against God’s children?
  6. What can I do to be better prepared for Satan’s assault?

God bless you today and always as you continue growing to be more like Jesus. Never stop growing, never stop learning, and never give up! No matter how many times you fall, confess it and get back up! Hey, you’re looking good. ♥

 

 

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What My Dog Taught Me About God

Okay, I admit it. It’s the Christmas season and it seems my brain has decided to take the holidays off. Sooo, I’m simply recycling a post from one of my old blogs. I’d say, “Sue me” but I already spent everything on gifts.☺ You’ve heard about the mysterious ways of God so this shouldn’t be all that surprising.

Dog Day Lessons

Among the myriad ways to procure an education, being taught by my dog was rather unexpected, if not mind blowing. Okay, maybe she is more the vehicle through which God was to portray spiritual truths, confirming my understanding of His word. And also draw striking parallels between my relationship with Him, and my love affair with an adorable, furry canine we call Gracie.

Right out of the starting gate, by all appearances, it was a day no different from others. Gracie, a Morky, stood in the kitchen on hind legs doing her usual pirouette that says, “Feed me daddy!”

“Wait till Daddy stirs peanut butter into his oatmeal. Don’t be so impatient, little Miss Princess.”

After preparing my own breakfast of coffee and jazzed up oatmeal, and then preparing Gracie’s mix of long grain rice, tuna fish and broccoli, it was time for the next phase of our routine: An early morning tryst with the Lord. My attention-demanding companion sits quietly until it becomes apparent that my special time with Jesus is finished.

The daily devotional I sometimes begin with addressed obedience, citing the old favorite hymn, “Trust and Obey.” The gist of the message revealed that this is the only way to true happiness. Prayer ensued. Lord help me to see the areas in which I need to trust you more. Show me my own heart clearly—anything I need to change. I want to be obedient in all things.

As the Spirit brought to mind yesterday’s foibles of faith, I sought forgiveness. And then I asked, Lord, why do I still do such dumb stuff at times? It seems like I forget you for two seconds and wind up responding to someone with the wrong attitude and words. Why can’t I be more faithful?

Before reaching for the bible, I glanced down at Gracie, who as expected was staring intently at my face, waiting patiently for her cue. At which time she will look like a tiny, flying Willenda trapeze artist leaping into my lap for a morning love fest. That’s when the incredible thought burst upon me: perhaps Gracie is more obedient to me, than I am to God. At least when I’m in the room. Aha! A ray of thought stabbed my mind.

In my presence Gracie is a little angel, most always obedient and doing just as I desire. But in my absence she likes to try digging a hole through a stuffed chair, or scratches her sides along the front of the couch, rubbing her fur off, requiring an extra vacuuming of the sofa and carpet. If you’re a pet owner then you’ll be familiar with the plethora of creative ways they can get into trouble, and Gracie is no exception there. But she wants to please me, just as I want to please the Lord, and whenever I’m around she does exactly as I want her to do.

But God is Spirit. He’s always present with me. His Holy Spirit lives inside us, and Jesus promised to never leave or forsake us. Not to mention His angelic army, who watch over those belonging to Him. So, I thought,
If I always bear in the forefront of my thoughts that God is with me, I should be able to become more obedient to Him. 

The following day, a Minister friend posted on a fellowship site an article titled, “Practicing the Presence of God”. It was as if God had directed him to write it just for me. That’s exactly what I needed to do: Practice God’s presence. Doing so, has been a tremendous blessing. And God used that little ten pounds of cuteness to teach me how to remain conscious of His presence with me. In fact, the Lord has utilized little Gracie in this way on several occasions.

Another aspect of the lesson that day was trusting God completely in every circumstance and situation. Does our little Maltese-Yorkie trust me? Yes she does, however, she can be forgetful too. Gracie doesn’t understand why she’s not allowed to do some things. There is no way to explain to her the dangers of snarling at pit bulls (she thinks she’s ten feet tall). She just needs to trust me on that, the way I need to trust God about things only He can understand. Things like, Don’t mess around with astrology. But reading our horoscope looks like harmless fun, right? Yet, after studying the ancient idols and false religions in the Old Testament, and then learning more about the enemy’s strategies, I now understand the danger. It opens an unseen spiritual door to evil. It is very real! Too bad Gracie is not capable of comprehending things on a deeper level. She’ll just have to trust me that it’s dangerous for her to run into the street, the same way I need to trust God on the issues I don’t yet understand.

I need Gracie to trust and obey me so that I can keep her safe and happy. God needs the same from me and for the same reasons.

I still love that old hymn. “Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.” Now if I could just need teach Gracie that song…

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