Monday, August 1, 2016

A Quilty Peek and An Amazing Sermon

I have thought about you, my blog readers, several times over the last few days. I have a yearning to write, to share my life, although I often worry about over-sharing and/or grammar.  Many issues hold me back from sharing, some right, some not-so-right, but when I do share it fulfills a need within me. I just love making connections through the written word.

I have had a great weekend! What a blessing to have a few quiet days while my girls were away. It truly filled my empty tank and I'm ready to face August and get some things done. It's just what I needed.

I spent the last four days working on this

It's a queen-size quilt I had hoped to make for my daughter and son-in-law for their wedding five years ago. Yes, five!  Over the past 4 days I pieced the top. I now have to add borders and a backing and then it will be sent away to be professionally quilted. I would love to show you the whole thing; it's pretty spectacular, but I don't want Ashley to see it until it's complete so a corner is all I can show you. I hate keeping secrets!!  It's one of those projects I can't even believe I've accomplished! Very fulfilling.

While I was working on the quilt, I listened to a message by Matt Chandler on YouTube.   He preached a message in 2014 entitled, "Motivations for Obedience." If you have the time to listen to it, click the link on the message title.  This message was timely in it's application for me.

The gist of the sermon is that our primary motivation to obey the Lord should be our love for Him. He then gave points and an illustration that went something like this.

So what keeps me from cheating on my wife? You would hope I would say that I love her so much I would never cheat on her. But if you’ve been married for any length of time, you know that your feelings of love can wax and wane. You may not always feel in love with her and you may be tempted by another woman. However, there are secondary motivations that keep me from cheating on my wife, as well. I only have a Master’s of Divinity degree which isn’t too valuable in the business world so if I cheated on my wife, I would also be out of a job. That’s somewhat motivating, but other men have given into temptation and were willing to throw away their jobs. 

I also have three children. If I cheated on my wife, it would potentially destroy my children’s lives. They would have issues for decades and probably have trouble in their own relationships when they became adults. I don’t want to do that to my kids. So when I’m in a desert place, so to speak, in my marriage, my secondary motivations are there to help me through it. The same is true in our relationship with the Lord. I should be motivated by my primary motivation, my love for Him, but sometimes I’m in a dry place and I’m not feeling it. Sometimes I need secondary motivations to help me through those times.

One secondary motivation is the fear of the Lord. God is in control of everything from the sub-cellular level to the exploding stars in the universe and everything in between. He is terrifying! In the Bible everyone who encountered an Angel of the Lord or experienced God himself fell on their faces and were terrified. We should be afraid of Him! We make God into this nice guy who wants to do nice things, but He is a Mighty God and He wants His children to obey Him. He will discipline those He loves. That should motivate us to obedience!

Another motivation is that the Lord brings things into our life that are for our benefit, our good. He does not give us things to harm us. What He asks of us, He asks because it will bring us LIFE- ABUNDANT LIFE. He is all about giving us things that bring us life, not robbing us, not taking things away from us that we think are good. (Me-our addictions, if we admit in our heads, we know are not life-giving, yet we hang on to them for their instant gratification. That’s death in so many ways. He came so that we could have abundant life – give up your own will/way and trust that He wants to give you life!)

Now, you don’t want to live in the desert place forever. I wouldn’t want to stay married to my wife just for the kid’s sake for the rest of my life. No, you want to get back to your primary motivation – your love for that person. When you are motivated by your primary motivation, then obedience is easier. If you are in a desert place, use your secondary motivations to help get you through it, but get calloused knees asking God to restore your primary motivation, your love for Him.

Isn’t that amazing! It seemed like perfect timing for my efforts in self-discipline during August.  I could certainly relate to his example! There's more in the actual video, of course, but I wanted to share the main points. I hope you will be motivated to seek the Lord, long for His love and live abundantly in Him!