Submission: It’s Not for Sissies

October 1, 2010 § 4 Comments

“Submit woman,” booms a joking, but attempting an authoritative voice. Then laughter quickly follows. We all snicker at the idea of submission, especially in our culture of individual rights. Who would ever lay down their own rights and their own desires for someone else?

The problem is that we have submission and oppression confused. Oppression is “prolonged, cruel or unjust treatment or control.” We see it in domestic violence cases or in countries ruled by ruthless dictators. Submission however is “the action of yielding to the will or authority of another person.” In other words the one who submits must choose to submit and cannot be forced to submit. Just as you can force a child to sit down, you cannot force a child to willingly submit to y

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our authority. They are sitting on the outside, but on the inside they are still standing.

So it is with us whether we “submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21), “submit to the LORD” (2 Chronicles

30:8), or “submit to the authorities” (Romans 13:5). We are not made to submit, but we are to choose to submit. The very idea rubs us wrong. We have rights and we do not want to lay down our rights for anything. There is the rub. As Christ followers, we are  to trust God and submit.

When we submit to authorities in our lives, we are not necessarily trusting in that authority to do right by us. Instead when we submit, we are trusting God. Here is where I typically knit my brow, put my hand on my hip, and say while I shake my finger, “It feels like I am trusting the one I am submitting to, not God. How is that possible?”

Romans 31:1 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Does this mean I submit to disobeying God’s law because an authority tells me to? No. Check out Daniel chapter one and see how four young men kept themselves pure before God, while submitting to Babylonian authority. What it does mean, is that we need to be like Christ Jesus, willing to lay down our rights for others.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”               Philipians 2:3-8

This kind of submission looks more like victory, this kind of submission takes guts.

Father God, thank You for loving me. Please give me the strength to lay down my rights, my way, and submit it You and thus submit to authorities in my life. Forgive me for my lack of submission. Thank You for Jesus, my example. In His Name I pray, Amen.

So are you a sissy?

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Timing is Everything

August 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

Have you ever looked back over a day or a month or a year and been in awe of God’s perfect timing? How He orchestrates our lives with such minute detail? Have you ever wondered what would have happened if – I was earlier, later, or went a different direction? Maybe things would be different, but most likely God planned it that way. He planned what seemed like random chance. He set in motion what seemed chaos, but turned into something amazing. Psalm 75:2 says, “You [God] say, ‘I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.'” God appoints the time. Let’s see how I experienced this in my life.

Last week I was at the Proverbs 31 ministries She Speaks conference. It is a conference for Christian women who feel called to speak, write, or lead in women’s ministry in some capacity. There I had the opportunity to meet with publishers, writing experts, and even a literary agent. I was only guaranteed one appointment. So I carefully and prayerfully chose three people with whom I wanted to meet. I was pleased to find I had appointments with my top two choices. However, I soon discovered that I could ask to meet with other publishers, if there were available appointments. My heart thrilled, but I hated rocking the boat. I watched Sheila, the sweet woman in charge of publisher appointments, running to and fro. I almost didn’t ask. However God was prompting me. So I asked, and waited patiently as Sheila double checked with the publisher if I could take the final slot of the day. The sweet publisher agreed to meet me at 7:45 PM.

So I met with the publisher. She liked my proposal, gave great ideas to make it better, and was not on time. So I ended up thirty minutes late to my peer writing critique group. Once again I had a decision to make. Do I boldly find someone to help me figure out how to get my writing critiqued, or do I just call it a wash and go back to my hotel room? Once again God stepped in and a friend helped me find Julie. She was in charge of the critique groups and because my appointment went late, she critiqued my article. That is important because she mentioned my article to the editor of the Proverbs 31 Woman magazine, Glynnis. Glynnis told me, (through Julie), to submit my article to their magazine for possible publication. It was God’s perfect timing. Only He could orchestrate that day so perfectly. Only He could turn a disaster (being 30 minutes late to a peer critique) into something encouraging. Only He could embolden me to “rock the boat” to set this chain reaction into motion. Only God.

The next time you are running late or someone is making you late, look to God. He knows. He is orchestrating your day for His purpose. Give your frustration, your anxiety, your anger to God. Rest in knowing He knows and has plans for you, even when you are late. You never know what God is setting in motion.

How has God surprised you with His timing? Tell me about it.

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The Beginning of Confidence…

July 21, 2010 § 3 Comments

Since my post on confidence was so memorable for some, and well liked by others, I decided to share the prayer I mentioned in the Confidence post.  My prayers don’t come out in correct grammar or with proper punctuation.  So please forgive me line editors.  Just know this came from the heart.  I tried to clean it up some.

Here it is:

Lord God; Heavenly Father; God of all creation; Merciful Father; Righteous Judge; all-knowing, omnipotent, Creator of beauty from dust and ash; Lord of victory in what appears defeat; gracious, abundant, overflowing Giver of life.  Rivers run at Your direction, mountains stand at Your word.  The earth and all it contains is held together by You; and You love me!!  You call me daughter.  You sent Your only Son to die for me!  If I was the only one to sin, You still would have sent Him.  Your ways are beyond knowing.  Your thoughts are too big for me to understand; and You desire me to know You.  Lord, You made me!!!  You created my in-most being.  You know me better than I know myself, and You love me!  You ask me to come to You.  You desire me to know You.  You made it possible for me to come to You.  How AMAZING!!  How indescribable!  How truly AWESOME!!  Oh Lord, fill my heart and mind.  Please keep my eyes fixed on Your love, Your wonder, Your majesty, and yet on Your desire to be with me, on Your desire for me to call You daddy!  Help me to run to You.  Help me to remember that in You and You alone can I be complete.  Help me to know that in You alone can I run this race.  In You alone can I be victorious, and in You alone can I be truly loved!!  Amen.

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The Budding Staff…

March 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I already mentioned about Israel’s rebellion in Numbers 16.  When three men raised up a rebellion against God’s leaders.  Not only did God allow the earth to swallow them alive, but 250 more were killed with fire from heaven.  Then the next day 14,700 people died from a plague when they accused Moses and Aaron of killing God’s people.  So Moses and Aaron, God’s men, God’s chosen leaders of His people are in a tough place.  You would think that the Earth swallowing people, fire from heaven and a plague that killed 14,700 people would be enough to establish God’s chosen leaders.  (As a side note, Aaron was the one who stopped the plague by making atonement for the people who were rebelling against his authority).

However God does more.  If I were Aaron I could only think of the conflicting emotions coursing through me.  If I am to be in this leadership position, why are God’s people constantly rebelling?  I seriously have to risk my life to make atonement for these people who are rebelling against me?  Why did you pick me anyway God?  Are you sure God you want me?  Why don’t these people I am to lead just get out of my way and let me lead them?  Can you see the hard position he is in?  Can you feel his angst?  He had to be having some doubts and fears.  The fear of God and His mighty power certainly had to be in the back of his mind.  However in the midst of this victory of sorts, when Aaron’s enemies have be defeated by earthquake, fire, and plague, as Aaron may even be grieving the loss of these people, God verifies His choice of spiritual leader.

This takes place in Numbers 17.  I can almost hear the irony in Moses’ voice as he tells each tribal leader to bring his staff to the Tent of Meeting.  Included in the staffs is Aaron’s staff.  So they leave the staffs in the Tent of Meeting in front of the “Testimony” or ark of the covenant.  God says the man whom I choose as Spiritual leader, his staff will sprout so that the grumbling about who is in charge will come to an end.  The amazing thing is Aaron’s staff not only sprouts and buds, but it flowers and produces almonds.  God established His chosen leader.  So do you think that God will not do the same now?  God confirms and establishes His leader in churches, ministries, homes.  I am praying that if you are a leader that you will be encouraged.  I am praying also that you will be a good follower.  That you will honor and respect the authority that God has put in  your life.  God doesn’t put an authority there to lord it over you, but to guide and direct you closer to Him.

May I bloom where He asks me to bloom and may I fertilize and encourage those leaders I am to follow.

Rebellion, Not again…

March 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

So why am I thinking about rebellion?  Those pesky stiff-necked Israelites did it again…Not long before Miriam and Aaron were speaking out against their brother, Moses.  The Israelites have already accused Moses for bringing them to the desert to die or not feeding them the right food or there is no water…Now in Numbers 16, we have Korah, Abiram, and Dathan.  They were supposed to be leaders of the Israelites as they served God in the tent of meeting.  So in today’s time they were like deacons or elders in the church.  However they were claiming that everyone of the Israelites were holy and so why were Moses and Aaron “setting themselves” above the others.  Their theory sounded good to about 250 other Israelite leaders.  So 253 men are standing against the leaders God had chosen in Moses and Aaron.  So what does God do about this rebellion?  How serious is rebellion to God?  Well, He had the earth swallow Korah, Dathan, Abiram their families and all their possessions.  “They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them and they perished…” Num 16:33  Then the 250 men were consumed by fire.  It gets better though…This act of God didn’t seem to scare the Israelites at all.  In fact the next day they accuse Moses and Aaron of killing the Lord’s people.  As if Moses and Aaron could have sent fire from heaven or cause the earth to swallow up three families…Regardless, the Israelites rebelled against Moses and Aaron and God was sick of it.  He told Moses and Aaron to get away from those assembled against them so he could do away with them, but what did Moses have Aaron do?  He had Aaron intercede for the Israelites by burning incense to make atonement for the people.  Num 16:48 says “He [Aaron] stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.”  However 14,700 people died because of their rebellion.

I’d say God doesn’t like rebellion.  I think he takes rebellion pretty seriously.  If He is willing to use the earth to swallow three families, send fire to destroy 250 men, and send a plague that killed 14,700 people and would have killed more if Aaron wasn’t willing to make atonement for the people, the God is clearly strongly against rebellion.  Oh, my rebellious heart angers God.  My rebellious heart hurts more than just me.  I can often lead others astray.  Look at Dathan, Korah, and Abiram.  Through their rebellion 14,950 people plus their own families were destroyed.  Rebellion is alive and well in me and it angers God.  Oh that I can honor those in authority over me and kick that rebellion out of my heart.

Not only did I realize my own rebellion, but I also realized how I as an authority figure need to stand in the gap when those under my authority rebel.  What I tend to think is they deserve what they get.  They need to learn their lesson.  Moses was just telling God how he couldn’t carry them all the way to the promised land.  If I were Moses I am not sure I would have sent Aaron to make atonement.  I would think that is what they get for rebelling against us.  Instead Moses over and over again intercedes for them.  He stands in the gap instead of getting angry and yelling back, he prays for them, makes atonement for them.  Oh that I could follow Moses’ example.  That I could stand in the gap for those who are fighting against my authority.  What a picture of Christ.  Standing in the gap for our sins as we spit at Him and curse Him.

Father God I pray that Your Spirit will fill me so that I do not rebel against You and the authority in my life.  Lord I also pray that when my authority is being questioned that I can stand in the gap for those who are rebelling against the authority You have given me.  Oh to be a picture of Christ for those I am in authority over and help them turn to You.  Forgive me my rebellion and my unwillingness to stand in the gap.  Thank You for the provision You sent to save us humans from the plague of sin.  Thank You for Your Son Jesus!  Amen.

To Blog or Not to Blog…

February 24, 2010 § 2 Comments

So I am blogging with the purpose to air my thoughts…Well, they may not exactly be MY thoughts…They are more than likely things I think God is telling me through His word, prayer, friends, church, and so on.  You get my point.  As I examine these thoughts I often have to re-think my own way of thinking…My own way of doing life…Hence the name of the blog.

So what am I thinking about lately?!  Well, mildew…Yes, I have been thinking about mildew…WHY?  So in my daily Bible reading have been reading in Leviticus, about God’s direction for mildew, skin disease, etc.  So I have been struck with the thought of exactly why would God care about mildew?  I mean seriously, we are talking about mildew.  Yes it is nasty and certainly it can be destructive, but seriously mildew?!  So why did God care to give the Israelites rules about mildew?  Here is where my brain goes…What exactly is mildew and what harm can it really cause besides staining things and even in bad cases destroying clothes.  There doesn’t appear to this lay person and no Hebrew scholar that there were Hebrew words for discriminating between mildew, mold, fungus.  I mean they all pretty much looked alike and there weren’t microscopes to say these look different to more than the naked eye.  So we know now that mold, mildew, fungus can cause LOTS of health issues…from allergies, to pneumonia, asthma, etc.  God was clearly helping the Israelites with health information they couldn’t otherwise know or understand.  God is saying stay away not because I am some distant God who doesn’t like the smell or look of mildew, but because I want my people to be healthy and strong.  I want to give them ways of determining if this is a bad kind of mold, mildew, etc or if it is something to just wash and call it good.  Seriously, think about how much of an advantage this would be for God’s chosen people!!!  God was saying I love you and I want to keep you healthy.  You don’t understand it now, but in the future others will see how I was taking care of you.

How true that is of us all…As children we don’t understand why we aren’t allowed to run in the street or touch the hot pan.  As pre-teens and teenagers we wonder why would my parents say I can’t date or why don’t they let me stay out late.  We so often don’t see the danger until we are in the middle of the fire…Hands charred, lungs damaged (sometimes for a life time).  I am praying for myself, my friends, my children, the kids at church that we can rest in knowing that God has put authority in our lives to protect us.  To give us a future and a hope.  We don’t always understand His rules or our boss’s rules or why our husbands don’t want us to do (fill in the blank).  But God knows.  He is using those things in our lives to protect us, keep us healthy, keep us safe, keep us in His perfect plan for us.  May I willingly and humbly submit to the authority in my life.  I may speak my opposition, I may respectfully ask why, but I have to lay my preference aside for His way of doing things.  Oh, what a way to live.  Oh what a God I serve!

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