Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Obedience. Does It Really Matter?

                               From our Autumn Cottage kitchen...

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."   ... Hebrews 10:31


One morning 18 years ago at Autumn Cottage while getting dressed in our bedroom to go shopping, this thought came: "No. Stay home, instead." There was just a tad of insistence about it.

Hmm. I started to argue,"But I need to buy _____", then stopped. I decided to put off shopping until the next morning. 

An hour (or so) later, the kitchen phone rang and when I answered it, a woman from church spoke to me in a whispered voice. She was at work--and contemplating suicide. 

God helped me talk her out of it. I hung up the phone then thought, "Oh! this is why I was supposed to stay home."

Probably a year later, Tom and I were visiting with a close friend of mine and her husband. As we drank our coffee, my friend criticized her husband a few times and the rest of us, I could tell, began feeling uncomfortable. I thought, "When ____ and I are alone, I need to tell her why dissing ones husband in public is a bad idea."

But then a thought came. "No. Wait awhile. Someday the timing will be better."

So a month passed, my friend and I chatted lots of times and I nearly forgot about the incident at her house. But then one morning while we visited in a coffee shop, she began listing her husband's negative traits and I heard, "Now," inside my head. "Speak to her now about her criticisms from a month ago."

And so I asked God to help me say things correctly and-- feeling like I was risking our friendship-- took the plunge. My friend received my words graciously, with much humility, even apologizing to me, but I told her that her husband needed the apology more than I did.

So that afternoon when my friend's husband arrived home from work, she sat upon their bedroom floor and apologized for all the years of criticism. And then? Her husband began to cry. He'd paid one month's rent on an apartment and had planned to leave her and their children the next day.

He changed his mind and all these years later, they're still happily together.

Some Christians believe their obedience--or disobedience--only affects themselves, not others, and that God will just get someone else to help somebody in need if they flake out. 

Sometimes, yes. Many times, no ... and I feel gambling with our disobedience  is never worth the risk.


"When I say to a wicked person, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.

But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself."   ... Ezekiel 3:18, 19

These verses are one of the reasons I don't just write 'fluffy-headed' posts here in my blog. The responsibility is too great for that. My desire is to stay in tune with God so that my words will be timely, especially for anyone who's searching ... or sinking.


Dolores said...

I think I'll start listening to that voice in my head more often. Especially when it tells me to be quiet! As Dr. Phil says, "never pass up a good chance to shut up".

Robin in New Jersey said...

Debra, I am presently lamenting that I didn't listen to the Holy Spirit prompting me to go visit an elderly lady in my church several times in the last 3-4 months. She passed away on Monday and I am kicking myself for not listening. Lesson learned.

Debra said...

Dolores--how wild! I was just thinking before I read your comment about how I think God has me writing more than speaking aloud because when I write, I take the time to consider what I'm saying. When I speak to people, ack. It's iffy. I still can majorly blab what I shouldn't have! Dr.Phil often has good advice, doesn't he?

Robin--oh, I'm so sorry. But I, too, have done that before and it's always such a painful lesson. But I like to think that the people who we didn't visit would be pleased to know that we changed our ways for the better because of what our experience with them taught us. It does help heal the hurt, I've found. (Please don't kick yourself too much. Lessons are valuable and the departed do forgive us, I believe, especially since they see and understand everything so much clearer now.)
Thanks, Ladies! Debra

Terri Cheney said...

Yesterday we got lost on the way to a favorite destination. It took us some miles out of the way but we both bit our tongues and didn't argue over it. As it happened a few minutes after we arrived so did another couple and in about 15 minutes we were all started chatting. Our conversation lasted at least a half hour, possibly an hour. It didn't seem like the conversations had a lot of import but who knows. After the other couple left, John and I started praying. He began his, "Thank you God for delaying us so that we could meet and talk with these people..." and I knew he was quite right to be grateful for that 'chance' encounter. We spoke of many things that rested on this couples hearts: death of a parent, a worry over a child, the struggle to do the right thing even when we don't feel it's our bliss...Something was said yesterday that will resonate and echo and grow like a seed planted in dark soil. I feel this sincerely. Thank you God for the encounter with strangers!

Elizabeth said...

A very good post Debra, as always. The older I get the more I have learned to listen to that small voice. I try to look at delays and such as God's plan!

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

What a great post! Really enjoyed reading it. God bless~ Lisa :O)

Debra said...

Terri-- thanks for sharing your story! Life looks very different when we think outside of the box and stay open to opportunities, right? :)

Elizabeth--yes! That still, small voice will have us doing all sorts of crazy--but wise--things, won't it? :)

Lisa--thank-you! And I'm glad you're still reading here--you're one of my longest-time readers! :)

Thanks, Everyone... Debra

Anonymous said...

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee!

Jammie J. said...

Life is a dance of timing... and God always knows the best "when." I really enjoyed this post.

Anonymous said...

Debra, what an awesome post. It reminds us that our God is an awesome God and we should always keep our ears tuned to Him! Thank you for this wonderful post!

Debra said...

Anonymous--those old hymns really were wonderful, weren't they? Deeper than they appear, even.

Jeanette--(great to see you again!) and yes, I've found that God's timing is usually as important as the thing, itself, that He's asked us to. Rather a scary thought sometimes!

Susan--you are so welcome. If only we listened and acted accordingly all the time, right? Something to aim toward, certainly and oh, the responsibility!

Thanks, Ladies! ... Debra