Obedience – A Christian Perspective on Why We May or May Not Be Obedient to the Holy Spirit.

The thing about being obedient is when we are, we may never know what it would have been like if we did it out way. But I am less willing to miss out on what God’s plan is for me than I am for my own plan.

Question – Are you one of those people who hears from the Holy Spirit? Or, are you one of those people who think those people are nuts or may be schizophrenic who think they hear from God? I am the former, and have found certain Christian “friends” being concerned I was schizophrenic and laughing at me when I mentioned it once years back when in one of my “becoming Catholic” classes.

Running a few days back, at the end of mile 1, I hear, “2.”

Psyche – My psyche psyched me out. I turned around and kept it at 2 miles only, having my rationales as to it being better for me than 4 miles because that is too much, I can’t do that, I am likely not that hydrated, and so on. At the end of the 2 miles, though, I thought maybe I was supposed to have run for 2 after the first – kept going. I didn’t want to. It was a lot, and I hadn’t run 4 miles in years. The most I’d run since I started running again was just over 3 recently, and I’d only run just under 2.5 on the beach which is where I was at the time. I did not want to run that hard – it is very hard to run on the soft sand of the beach.

I walked around and played at running more, questioning whether or not I was to have run more. Back and forth in my mind the craziness continued, and when it did, I remembered I heard someone say that failing to be obedient causes confusion. That’s where I was. My justifications were not louder than the still small voice. The knowing. The, you got here early today – there is no sun now due to the haze when it is normally already strong at this time. You have plenty of hydration. You were prompted by God, so you KNOW that when that happens, you are able.

It’s a matter of being lazy and not wanting to put in the effort b/c it’s hard – that’s the truth of it all. But I remembered too that I’d recently felt the need to push myself more too b/c there is something that is driven out of us, me, when we pursue more and work harder – the laziness, or unwillingness or complaints of the difficulty – all the lack, insecure, lazy, weak mentalities that hold me back at times. What I wanted really was to conquer. And, as I kind of ran back and forth, to and fro for awhile while decided what I would do, thinking I’d still need hydration which I did not, still looking for an excuse not to do what I figured I was being prompted to, I found I’d already gone about a mile in the deciding – and only 1.1 more miles, I can do that, I figured. Then, I ran on.

4 miles under my belt that day on the beach, the soft sand. It was a good accomplishment, and OF COURSE, I felt really good afterwards. Grateful.

What I know, is yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I do believe I said that a time or two as I ran, but even more, when I know the Lord asks or prompts me to do something I might not want to do, A. it is for my own good, and B, I can complete it because He has called me to it.  I had no excuses. I love knowing that!

The worry for me, besides it’s challenging and I’ve not been at this terribly long – the working to strengthen my knees and legs still – is hydration. The main part is the heat. Typically, in Florida, if you are out after 8 a.m., it’s too late, for me, to exercise. Given I’ve been out a lot past that recently, it has been hazy some days which makes it easier, but it still compounds an already challenging feat whether you are hydrated or not. It takes the wind out of me to keep on keeping on during the drudgery of the sand. I did get to a point, however, recently, where I ran the two miles like it was nothing. I liked that! Milestones are great!! And, I love to achieve them and celebrate them. It’s good making progress!

So, I ran and I guess that’s when it dawned on me – I recalled how interesting it was that I got up so early that day – I’d been resisting getting up before the sun for pretty much all of the summer, but that day I was up, and I was out early, and hydrated. Though I was early enough for the sunrise at 6:30ish, it never shone b/c of the haze, and it continued like that for almost the whole hour I was out there.  That’s when I realized God knew I could do it. He got me up early, got me out there, made sure I was hydrated enough and told me to go for 2 miles when I wanted to stop at 1. I insisted that the 2 was what I would stop at. After getting back from the 2 miles, however, and not needing water was when the debate in my mind started, and the lack of obedience ran me in circles literally. If people knew what went on in my mind sometimes :)! Ha! Now some know:)

Well, I am so grateful to have done it because not only did it remind me of how important it is to be obedient to stave off the crazies and confusion over making the right decision, but it reminds me that God is in the small things of my life – in my training, helping me still to “strengthen my knees that they do not become lame.” Finally, it reminds me that He can be, and is, TRUSTWORTHY:) He is my Father and my best-friend. I am always being helped more by His promptings and guidance, just like a good father will try and do.

So, the take-aways then – Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit – He is always leading us for what is best for us. Following brings obedience which always brings a blessing. Blessing brings joy. Joy brings peace. Peace brings happiness and sharing that that brings help, hope and joy to others, I hope.

My take-away, however, as I walked from the beach that day, after I got another prompting when I went to the water afterwards, I didn’t listen. I do not know why I keep “failing this test” even after I just had an assignment and “knew the material.” I think it’s my ego, the feeling of just wanting to be in control and do it my way, whatever it is, I felt very sad afterwards because I feel it dishonors the Lord. It puts me above Him, my ways above Him when His ways are so far above my ways I cannot even see.

I left with the take-away that I hoped that “sorrowful” feeling I’d felt from that most previous incident really leads me to repentance – to remember that in all my ways He is leading me and guiding me in all my ways, and what an honor it is that I have listening ears, and He actually communicates with me. It is awesome! I think sometimes, oddly, it’s still a way of A. yes, asserting me in my life, of giving me control over me, but B. too, making sure it is Him and I can actually hear and trust Him. Whatever it is, I can trust Him and making an effort to listen more faithfully and honor him – I am reminded now. It takes slowing down a minute to obey because sometimes I am going so fast, and may use that as an excuse of not having time to “catch up” to be obedient to what You said, but it is just another excuse, and I am not prone to lies or believing them. Just be honorable and follow through 🙂

The thing about being obedient is when we are, we may never know what it would have been like if we did it out way. But I am less willing to miss out on what God’s plan is for me than I am for my own plan. “For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are His ways higher than our ways.”

I left praying, tearfully, that I had “sorrow unto repentance” so I may follow His word, even the little promptings I get, in following of His good plan for my life – the big and the small, and the small are sometimes more of what I love the most because they are often so tender and intimate.

In that, I have to pause, remember, and take heart, for He is loving and trustworthy.

Holly

Giving out of My Poverty

This vlog includes a time when I was living in England when God blessed me moments after I gave all I could, 5 measly pounds. 5 pounds in the tithing bag showed up to me in a 150 return over the next 3 months! He always has shown up in my need. Thank you. Faithful God. https://youtu.be/dh2CHsohvgw

Finding Faith, Finding Joy: Accepting the Responsibility of My Faith Brought Me Joy

 

Here’s an large excerpt from my video story – it’s much of it! It’s long, but it’s worth listening to to hear how God showed up for me one night like never before, amazing! I felt for the first time He is truly impressive with how He had to have orchestrated every single event to occur to bring all to pass the way he did. He planned this for a span of over a year to culminate just after my most earnest prayer, and in 10 or 15 minutes, every major prayer request was met.

This came on the heels of my second lowest point while living in England, and after coming to my faith senses that afternoon in terms of owning my responsibility in my relationship to God and the personal responsibility I have to myself, and to God, for my life and success. The wow moments were too big to comprehend, so I just went with them, rolling with the blessing, and received them all, acting the part,  amazed, but unable to comprehend what truly happened because it was too big to get, but God worked it all out to build my faith, supply every need I had over the next months that followed and provided me with a great new friend who would only help me develop my faith even more, Joy.

It was my turn and my time to act. It was upon me this time. It was well time for me to take an active role in my life, making the decisions that would benefit me – carrying me through to the next level, and not leaving me in this low-down, deep place on many levels. This may seem like a “duh” moment for a lot of people.

Despite the dreariness of the day, I’d discerned some bit of distant light I could see outlining and circling some bits of the Channel in the most elegantly fascinating way, and I was able to finally grasp from some recess of hope and personal responsibility within myself that I had to myself and to God that, “He’s not done with me yet.” This was in echo from a verse that I suspect the Holy Spirit brought to my mind that I’d often hear in church from a pastor at my church there, Josh, who used to often say, “God is the same today, yesterday and forever.” The verse never quite made sense to me when I heard it, like what’s so special about that verse that you always repeat it, I wondered? For me, it was the difference between darkness and light, and that day, I got the light.

God, I feel, orchestrates everything in my life to my benefit it seems sometimes. I know that sounds a bit egocentric, but I feel like it’s just true. I see it happen all the time it seems. I am incredibly fortunate that is for certain. I bet if we all looked around, earnestly, we’d be seeing blessings everywhere bounding in our favor too. I hope so.

Deciding to believe was exciting to me. Acting on that belief was another whole story. Head and heart had to align. Spirit had to help. This was a real different scenario. Belief: It seemed burdensome to me. In itself it implies responsibility. Ugh. What more? What was it with me and responsibility? It required that I do my part for once, and not only to walk forward and do what I could do to achieve whatever I needed to, but to believe in all the words of God that I’d ever known that would lift me out of the muck and mire that was my life at the time. I had to believe in what I’d heard. I was not excluded in the benefits and love of God for any reason. “God wishes for all of us to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth in Him,” 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us. His word was the truth, liberty from faulty thinking.

Coming to know God, truly, and letting Him in is what has changed my life finally, and continues to change my life to this day.

Since that day in the park when I decided to truly apply the word of God to my life, I have been being transformed mind, body and spirit when applying it. It can’t help but to work. It empowers me to this day. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” I believe it. It makes sense to me because it’s what I’ve lived, it speaks the truth to me reading it, dividing and discerning what needs division and discernment.

That night, I viewed with my own eyes the orchestration of miraculous events that God made happen. I was literally led along this path that took me into the answer of all of my prayers, but more importantly, and ever so wonderfully, God led me to know that He had heard me, that he was with me, being my helper, my guide, and my Father, a good Father, who showed me that I could trust Him and that He would take care of me. He sure cares. Amen.

I delved into a depth of intimacy that night with God having a messianic encounter with Him unlike any other experience I had ever previously had. I had been delivered from doubt into this awesome divine faith which brought forth from me this earnestness I had never before experienced to such degree. It was incredible. It was tangible in me. I could literally feel my prayer inside of me building up – a literal surge from within me, the internal depths of who I was, God coming up in me to reach me, having connected with me maybe in that very instant. I didn’t know that earnestness existed within me, but I liked it, a lot. It was connected.

I have learned that God wants to show Himself real to me, to all of us, but I, we, must Trust Him. That is one of the things I wanted and needed from Him was for Him to show Himself real to me, as a Father, and he has, time and again, amazingly, and he has continued, too.

God is for everyone! “I wish that none will suffer, and all will come to me. “Everyone who has ears to hear, let him hear.” God is a life changer, and He is real. This is my hope for everyone: is that they come to that relationship with Him where they know him truly, personally, lovingly. It’s impressive how He works to get to know us, to tell you He’s there and listening to you and hopeful for you, in you, to hear Him and see Him and know Him. “He longs to give us every good gift,” Josh used to tell us often, and God also longs to love and be loved by us all, I say. That is His gift, and it’s free.

I had decided God was for me, and there was hope in my heart in that and for me, but that night at church, I was there only in body for the most part. I remember little of what Pastor Robert said that night because I was running my options through my mind continuously, frantically. The reason I went to the park that afternoon had to do with me feeling uncomfortable where I was living and wanting to leave.

So, when I was in church that night, I was trying to figure how I would get out. Would I go home, back to D.C.? There were only two months left before I’d be leaving anyway, and Aunt Judy wouldn’t mind if I came early, I thought. I was going to move to Florida to live with my Aunt Judy after I’d spent Christmas back in Washington with everyone. I could just go back to D.C. or go there, Florida. I needed to get out of where I was though, I thought. That wrongful living space was not going to work at all. Where was I going to find a place though to live for just two months and have to have all the upfront money, etc? It wasn’t worth it, nor was there a likelihood of this even happening. I’m just going to do it, I thought. I’m going leave. This is too much pressure.

Then, it hit me – the fact that I remembered I was supposed to be there until the end of the term. Not only had I given my word I’d be there at least until then, but God had confirmed for me, for weeks on end, that I was, indeed, supposed to be there, and stay there, until the end of the term, and after that I would be moving to Florida. That was all very clear. Very well, then. I would stay, but what was I to do about the living space, the arrangement in which I currently found myself? What would I do? Where would I go? How would it work?

All of this was running through my mind throughout the sermon of which I don’t think I caught ten minutes of that night. Then, at the end of the sermon, there was a prayer and then a suggestion given up by Pastor Robert. I just remember feeling so incredibly humbled and surrendered. I thought how much I wanted to be a part of Pastor Robert’s family – just the love and salvation part, being connected to God, truly. They were all so good and connected to God. I looked over to my right where I saw Pastor Robert’s youngest son and his wife, and thought of Pastors Robert and Virginia and how lovely and surrendered they are, and, though I had been smitten with their older son, Josh, I did not necessarily want to be a part of their family as his wife, but as their equal – as God’s daughter – in that love relationship – in the love of God always – in His family. I wanted that connection.

I humbled myself in prayer. It was as if by no intentional purpose, it just happened upon me. I realized it, feeling so closely connected to God in that moment as I have never been before. It was awesome. The humility had impressed itself upon me, Him, his truth and warmth – I was so deliberately earnest in my prayer and I loved it. It was a first seemingly, at least in feeling alone. I was praying for that somehow too – the truth –to be connected to the love of God – to know for sure that I was being guided and that God would take care of me and provide for me all the things that I needed. To really let go and let God, and to be surrendered to Him in His truth that He would provide every good gift for me.

In my prayer, I felt God was the truth – that that God would somehow provide for me because I did know the truth, and that was that He wanted me there, and that was Him and not me that made that decision well clear. I was trying to escape. However, I do not ever recall thinking maybe He wanted me in that situation still where I’d currently resided. All’s that I knew was that I was very uncomfortable and wanted to be out of there tout suite, so that is for what I prayed. I knew I was supposed to be in England, but I wanted out of where I was. So, that is for what I prayed.

I turned it all over to Him. I told Him that I knew He wanted me to stay there, in England until December, and that I believed that, and, then, in some sort of knowingness, in that, I was able to trust Him. I gave it to Him due to the fact that I earnestly felt like He was in control. I was finally believing and trusting Him. He was running the show, so He needed to help me, and He would. I asked and sincerely hoped in Him that He would do it, and take care of it in His power and time and ability, to have me in a new place – the perfect place, a place for two months that would be good for me, that would be with a Christian housemate, that would have furniture and no down payment, and have the option for only a two month lease, and…it would be affordable, and…for it to be ready by the end of next week. It was a lot to ask, but my part too was being faithful and trusting, and I think that truly began that night.

“You have not because you ask not,” Jesus told us, along with: “Ask anything according to my will, and it will be done unto you.” God loves our faith too. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

I finished praying and felt pretty good. Trustful. After the sermon, Pastor Robert, as he sometimes did, requested from us that we go around and introduce ourselves, or to say, “Hi” to ten new individuals, and I attempted to do so. I didn’t quite make it to ten, or maybe I did, but I did work my way from the back of the church up to the front of the church saying hello and introducing myself to as many as were apparent. Then, as I approached the front and thought to get a prayer with Pastor Robert, he walked away from me, seemingly deliberately so like he was told, “Don’t talk to her!” I kept moving right along. I finally just took a seat upfront, waiting, even trying to discuss with those next to me, but they weren’t having it either. So, I just sat there feeling a little dumb as I was striking-out with people conversation wise, left and right.

I just sat there waiting for another housemate figuring he’d be awhile. Then, I looked to my right and saw a pretty woman, about my age, whom I’d not previously seen. “I’ll talk to her,” I thought. “Introduce myself, and, say, hi”. So, I did.

Upon my going over to her and making my introduction, she identified me as being who I am – that is, she indicated that she recognized me from the internet, that I’m a teacher, etc. I was perplexed for a moment still not knowing how she would know these things about me because I wasn’t online like that, and then I recalled as she finally mentioned the housemate situation – she remembered me from the site photo I’d posted online along with my profile for the accommodation request I had filled out over a year prior to that, when I was still in the U.S. looking for an accommodation over there. Wow. Okay. That was amazing.

How bizarre. I’d never seen a photo of her though, because I guess she hadn’t posted it, but she was the one who’d contacted me originally. We’d chatted on the phone then, and she sounded great, but the place where she and her housemate, Karine, lived was too far for me to get to work on time, and the bus route would not have gotten me to work when I needed to be. So, because I didn’t have enough money for a vehicle and no bus accommodation working for my advantage, I had to say “no” as being the answer at the time.

I think now of the orchestration of events of our lives. God is so lovingly amazing with his worth and working things out to our good and benefit. His timing is also perfect. It’s amazing. I know I keep using that word. His transitions are miraculous, really, how He knows all this. These aren’t chance meetings. There are no coincidences. God is in orchestration mode all the time working it out in and for us. For His will to be accomplished in us! For Him to know us and make us known to Him, for Him loving us and us loving Him.

When Joy informed me of what she had, I found it quite amazing, all of it, putting it all together. I barely took any time to express deliberately the amazing connection that was occurring, the divine connection that God was creating, had created, had been creating, all this time, His will, coming together, bringing us together, His two daughters (once again over a year later) who’d prayed for Him to help them in her own need in her own way and He quickly made it happen. His expediency is impressive too! Actually, impressive is a word often used by me to describe God. God is incredibly impressive to me!!

From there, in my desperation, and the poor interpersonal skills I had, I quickly made mention of my need, again, for the same thing. I pounced on the opportunity to share with her again my need for a housemate. She, interestingly, also informed me of the same thing! I loved it. She said that she had just been praying that afternoon for a Christian housemate – and here I was. Wow. She expressed that she’d gotten “Holy Spirit tingles” about it all as we were talking, and to her that was the recognition that it was okay that we’d be housemates. How fantastic was that!?? Wow!

She was more mature than I was in terms of Godliness and knowingness and recognizing appropriately what was going on instead of going through all the motions as I always had, and felt I was. I was just desperate feeling, and on top it of it all, not allowing it in. It was inconceivable in some ways what’d transpired, really, too much to make understood. Not knowing how, I just bumbled through it all. I was like a new-comer to all of this. Oh, the God of the universe just so clearly answered our prayers and needs, and also reunited us over a year later to bring us together once again and to make us housemates, after all, and He’s had this planned out for over a year? Oh, okay…J Wow. God is so amazing.

God uses everything, doesn’t He? We had to have had that first meeting in order to have had this second chance to occur in order for us to have had our needs to be met over a year later, when it was more appropriate and timely for us both. Wow. I couldn’t have seen that one coming. I had no intention of working on a room mate as I “helloed” everyone I passed by. God was ushering me along to get me where he wanted me – to talk to Joy – I love it! Also, he was using Pastor Robert as a conduit to get me, us, together, again. It was great!! What a God. What a Father. God is such a good dad, helping, coming to our rescues, yet again, knowing, and allowing for all of this to come to pass, resting us in Him, for us to see that He is trustworthy. Amen.

Trying to act wowed, when it was really too much to take in and comprehend is where I was when interacting with Joy. I didn’t know how to respond other than to say wow and act surprised and wowed, but it was a wow. It was amazing. I wasn’t realizing the will of God in any of it at the time. I was dumbfounded!. I would have been profoundly overwhelmed and expressive in gratitude and solemnness if I really thought about what was happening between us. Totally cool and awesome it was, but how do you comprehend that, truly? Overwhelmed would be a more fully appropriate feeling to consume all of what was about to happen. Awe-inspired. All that God does is amazing. How resplendent really.

In any event, we were to be housemates, and I could move in in a couple of weeks I found out after I called her a day or two later. And, it turned out to be okay to stay in my other place longer because my housemate about whom I was concerned would be going on vacation and would be gone the whole time. Excellent. So, I was relieved by that. Also, I would be able to afford it. I did not need to put a down payment. I would be able to stay for only two months. It was going to be in a supportive environment, and it was fully furnished. What else? That was it! Perfect, God, just perfect. Check, check, check. You are so great. Thank you, Lord.

“God provides above and beyond what we could ever hope for or imagine.” He did. He had provided a place for me before I even left church that night, with every need met, and He gave me Joy who is great too. He is incredible like that.

You know what’s interesting too? Having seen all of the moves and the upheavals that I’d endured while I was there, I no longer wondered why. It was seemingly clear. Though I chose to move to or from a couple of different places for conveniences sake, I had experienced difficulties in others that led me moving from place to place. From a county ordinance, to a financial distress, to a stinky room, to an offensive gesture, I moved right along so that I could get finally get to be with Joy – where God had ultimately intended me to be. He sets everything up that is brilliant. I was finally able to reconcile why all the moves. Why things were “not working out,” they were working out. They just didn’t look that way. We know that looks can be sometimes be deceiving, so despite what the circumstances are, as long as we are walking with God, we should keep trusting Him for the best, because He’s working it out.

In all things, give thanks, I’m reminded of from I Thess 5:8. Things were working out, I just couldn’t see how when I was going through them. That’s where the trust bit comes in and the obedience to giving thanks in all things because God is orchestrating behind the scenes for our own good.

I learned a lot about God through this circumstance. I learned that he hears me. He responds and cares about me. The most important thing to me, and the sacred one, He is my holy father. I learned that I am important. I learned that God orchestrates things. That we ask and we receive, that we seek and we find, that we knock and the doors open wide when we ask according to His will. I learned that he directs our paths and meets our needs. He sets up meetings. He uses others to help us along. He orchestrates. I learned that he uses things that we may deem as bad or wrong to move us to another direction where He wants us to be because otherwise we might not go to where we need to go and we might stay where we need not be. I realized that He gives us Godly connections: friends that love us and help us along the way. I realized that I am His family, his loving daughter, the most important thing. I am his holy daughter whom he loves very much. And, I realize that He does it, He does it through His son, Jesus Christ, through the movement of the Holy Spirit in and upon us, and through us, along with the help of others he calls angels and I’ve called friends, as well as all the heavenly angels He has set up for us in heavenly places to cause us not to fall or stumble, and if we do, they assist us in getting up.

He loves us very much, and He wishes to show up for us and in us, but we have to invite Him first because as our father, a holy father, He is also a gentleman, and we need to ask Him in, to Help us. This then gives us a chance too to see His work, which I love witnessing, and to acknowledge Him and to thank Him as we build a real relationship with Him, the heavenly Father, and to get to know Him and Jesus and the Holy Spirit through all of our circumstances.

I have learned the lows are where real sincerity begins, for me. Through the trials we become close, centered, realize what we need and want, and are serious about going about it, about figuring it out. I have realized that this low in that time was for a purpose – to center me – to build me – to build a foundation for me, and that was on God. On Him I stand. He got me to trust and led me to believe, a God gift in deed. God was building me up by bringing me down. That day was foundational for me. The falling down, the picking myself up, trusting myself and God, then giving my pieces to God and trusting in Him. Then, He sorted everything out, marvelously. 🙂

More on the video and/or audio series.

Enjoy. Holly

src=”https://transparency247.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/joy-2.mp3″%5D%5B/audio%5D

If you want to watch on video, other Youtube options. Hope you can get past the looks on my face:)

Holly