Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Following Instructions

For any of you who don't know, I'm reading through a Chronological Bible this year, along with some other girls, under the leadership of Wendy Pope. This morning, in response to our reading in Leviticus she asked the following question: When you receive exact instructions from the Lord do you follow them to the last detail even if He asks you to do something you don't understand or doesn't make sense?

As I've spent some time thinking over direction the Lord has given me in the past, I'd have to say I think I'm pretty good at following "exact instruction" when the Lord speaks to me. Just to give a few examples, in the past I have specifically felt Him call me to pray for certain people; to send my son to Public School and trust Him; to move to a new church; to work in the kitchen and serve food at a Ladies conference; to teach Sunday School, facilitate a Ladies Bible Study and to send gifts of money to certain people or ministries. I have to admit, I find those times easy to follow because God's Word to me is so clear, there is no area for doubt and my heart just thrills to respond.

Where I struggle is more with the inclusive instructions, that we as Christ-followers are all called to obey. Loving my neighbour. Honouring my parents. Respecting my husband. The 'doing good', trusting completely, surrendering fear, releasing doubt, rejoicing always, pray without ceasing and the list just goes on and on.

The Bible, God's instruction Book, gives us direction for all areas of life including marriage, parenting, buisness, finance, aging, worship, and loving. We need to receive His guidance with the joy of the Psalmist who wrote, "I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word" Psalm 119:16.

I know it is a common joke to hear how men never use an instruction manual when assembling an item. Many think they can handle it on their own. God has provided the "instruction manual" for our heart, soul and mind, yet, from Sunday to Sunday many never open His Word for direction or encouragement. God's Word has wisdom and reason that guides us for our best interest, keeping us under His protection and love.

On our own, we cannot begin to follow His instructions 'exactly'. We need God's strength to enable us to obey. Living by God's instruction is a challenge. It can bring both trials and suffering as well as blessings. However it doesn't have to be guess work, but God's work as we allow Him to move our hearts in accordance with His will.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105

"Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go: keep her, for she is thy life." Prov. 4:13

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Lori said...

I enjoyed your post today, Joy! I struggle too with surrendering fear, and releasing doubt, plus everything else you mentioned! :)

The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to change the people of God...As we dig into God's Word we will grow more like Christ.

Have a great day!
Lori - Mesa, AZ

Wendy Blight said...

Hi, it's Wendy Blight. My story was on Renee's blog yesterday and I saw that you stopped by her blog and commented. Then I stopped by your blog and LOVED it...especially the name, "Pondering in His Presence." So often I rush through my quiet time in the morning, and you have encouraged me to ponder just as Mary pondered all that the angel had spoken to her.

Also, Wendy Pope is a dear friend, and I have been praying for her and for all the women she is shepherding through the Bible this year, so you are one of those precious women for whom I have been praying. She is such a wise and wonderful teacher.

Blessings to you and thank you for encouraging me today not only with the title of your blog but also the wonderful post on following my instruction manual!



On Purpose said...

I agree its the instructions that don't seem complete or all there when presented by Him...thank you for being such a "Joy" to know. Love you my friend!

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

I am guilty of not following His instructions to the letter at times I am sure! It reminds me of when my kids were small and I would be telling them what I wanted them to do. Sometimes they would start off to do the job before I had finished giving the instructions! I think we may sometimes do that also with God. We THINK we know what He wants us to do but we have not waited to hear the whole thing before we start off on our own. At least speaking for myself.

God bless you!


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Well where's the dang comment link on your most recent post? I wanted to tell you about my experience with "face down" prayers. I was one of Beth's "Raleigh Girls" where she first presented her thoughts on the Psalms of Ascent. At the conclusion of the weekend, she sent us home with homework, with the explicit instructions about getting "face down" with God. After walking through 15 days of homework and prayer, we sent her our many thoughts about the experience. Out of that was birthed some of her work in that study. here's my point. It was strange at first, but girl, I'm a face down girl for life! I don't care who's home. If I waited for everyone to leave, I'd never pray. Usually, I do this at night, with the door closed to my bedroom. If anyone comes in, they either just walk around me or sometimes join in or sometimes just say, "don't bother mom, she's praying."

I'd rather them "see" that then just about anything else. I believe such pursuit stays with those who witness it in truth and spirit. All this to say, and I realize that there has been "much"...get the nostrils to the carpet, and when that hurts too much, put your forehead on your clasped hands.

I have a feeling we might need the practice for heaven, don't you think? Now, fix the comment thingy or something.