What To Do When They Disobey
When we arrived back in Florida the first week in August, I was a man on a mission: expand the Downtown Rio Coco Café into the adjoining 1000 sq feet space that we had been renting since June. There was much to be done: paint the walls, putting in a new floor, remodeling the bathroom, moving the espresso bar, ice machine, refrigerators, display case, and coffee shelves, arrange for the signage on the windows, and a host of other tasks. I had a plan and began to give directions to my staff.
We completed most of the work and opened on Monday September 21.
We still had much work to do on menus and procedures.
I began to notice that some of our staff were ignoring my words; others were followed, but only for a while. Some were just doing what they were used to doing, even though much had changed. By Wednesday, I began to feel very frustrated, and my tone of voice began to reveal that frustration.
It was then that I decided to take a walk outside. As soon as I got out on the sidewalk, I head a distinct voice say: “So now you know how I feel when you disobey me.”
I stopped in mid step. I heard Him say: “You are just like them when I give you my plan. You do what you want to do, and what you are used to doing.”
It took me a few moments to digest that and suddenly I began laughing. I got in the car and laughed all the way to the Airport Café.
God really showed me my own behavior. Since then, I have been reading parts in the Bible about those who were disobedient to God. Jonah for starters, who was told to go to Nineveh and instead ran in the opposite direction.
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
4 The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5 Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. 6 So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.” Jonah 1:1-6
There were consequences to that disobedience, and mostly to the crew of the ship he was on. God sent a fierce storm, and they lost their cargo, and almost their lives.
People around me suffer when I am disobedient to God.
Then there was Uzzah, who was escorting the Ark back to Jerusalem. King David had a new cart built to transport the Ark, but he must have forgotten Exodus 25:14: “You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them.” God had specific instructions on how He wanted the Ark to be moved, but David decided to do it his way.
6 But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it. 7 And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God. 8 David became angry because of the LORD’S outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. 9 So David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” 2 Samuel 6:6-9
Uzzah had good intentions in reaching out to prevent the Ark from falling onto the ground, but he violated a basic principle that God has established. David either was lazy or presumptuous in using a cart rather than the Levite carriers, and there was a price to pay. In a culture where idols of the so-called gods were made and rubbed for good fortune, God let the people know that He was different. I am reminded of Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
My often-casual approach to my relationship with God has sometimes resulted in severe consequences for me as well as others.
Then there was Ananais and Sapphira.
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. Acts 5:1-6
A few hours later Sapphira arrived, confirmed the deception, and she too was struck down dead.
9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things. Acts 5:9-11
This couple wanted to be known as great givers, people of real faith and generosity. They deceived Peter and the others, and the Holy Spirit called them to account. As we discussed these accounts in our Bible study group on Tuesday, many around the table said “I’ve done worst things that this- this week.”
All eight of us agreed. Whether it was ignorance, good intentions, or blatant deception, we have all fallen short and missed God’s mark. We have ignored His directions, and should have suffered the same consequences as Jonah, Uzzah, Ananais and Sapphira.
But we didn’t get what we deserved, but rather experienced the mercy and grace of God.
Once that happens, everything changes. Our level of gratitude soars, as does our love and affection for our Savior. As a result, our obedience grows, very naturally.
People who call themselves Christians are eventually called to account for their behavior. Listen what Jesus says about this:
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23
There is another reason why this thing called “Obedience” is significant:
It tells us where our hearts are at.
It is important to remember that once we have received Jesus as our Lord, and are part of His family, sin will not end our relationship with God if we handle it properly. The apostle John says in his first letter (1 John 1:5-2:6) that Christians will occasionally sin, and when we do, we are to confess our sins to God and receive the forgiveness He freely gives.
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 1 John1:8-2:6
If we find ourselves in habitual sin that we do not feel the need to deal with, then perhaps we are not members of God’s Family, and we need to get saved. Occasional sin does not mean that we lose our salvation.
Remember is it just Jesus, and nothing else.
Uzzah and perhaps Annais and Sapphira are with the Lord—they just took an earlier flight.
God knows what our thoughts are, and He gives us His Commandments so that we know what things are important to God. Occasional disobedience is natural for a follower of God- because the Bible says that our inherent sin nature will occasionally raise its head, and we will do what we want, what is good for ourselves, and what makes us comfortable. It’s not the others-centered living that God recommends. The more mature we become, the more we experience the Grace of God in our lives, the less we allow our own will to get in the way of what God wants to do.
Many times we learn these lessons by suffering the natural consequences of not doing what our Heavenly Father recommends. Other times we sense the “rightness” of God’s commands and they become part of our lives by a simple decision process.
When God directs us to do something, and we refuse, or delay, or eventually do it while grumbling, it shows us that there are more areas of our heart that God is going to deal with.
As we instructed our children, Obedience has three characteristics:
Immediate, Complete, and Cheerfully.
Remember, it’s all about what is going on in our heart. Ananias and Sapphira did not have it right in their hearts. They were all about outward appearances. As a result, they stepped over a line, and God took them out.
Luke connects this event to a manifestation of the power of God among the apostles which results in a major influx of people into the family of God.
12 The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. 14 Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women. 15 As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. 16 Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed. Acts 5:12-16
There is a connection present between righteous living and a release of the power of God. When God’s family dedicate themselves live their lives according to God’s standard of morality, and to do God’s work according to His principles of relationships, usually there is a definite release of God’s supernatural gifting through His people which touch and affect many.
Jesus spoke about this in His last conversation with his disciples before His crucifixion.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. John 15:1-8
The word “remain” is an interesting one in the Greek Language. “Meno” has the meaning of “to stay with, to wait on, to continue to exist, and to stand against opposition”. Jesus tells us that if we “stay with, continue with, stand with, and wait on Him”, there will be much “fruit” in our lives; Jesus will be very present with us and He will cause many supernatural things to happen.
How do we “meno” (remain or abide) in Jesus? He explains a critical element in the life of a Christian:
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. John 15:9-10
Abiding and remaining in Jesus means that you are living in obedience to Him and His commandments. This Obedience leads directly to “fruit”, which is the Greek word “karpos”. Although it is translated as “fruit from a tree or vine”, according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, “karpos” is that which originates or comes from something, an effect, or a result. It means a work, an act, or a deed; an advantage, or profit.
We are called to specific works of the Kingdom which God has prepared us for. He has given us His Authority to carry out these works, and a supernatural empowerment through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12 & 1 Corinthians 12) to accomplish things that will amaze the people around us.
If we really want to see God move in supernatural ways, we must commit ourselves to living for Him according to His ways, knowing His will for our lives and pursuing it.
My friend and pastor Craig Englert always says it this way:
“Faithful, Faithful, Faithful- Fruitful.
Faithful, Faithful, Faithful -Fruitful.
This is a time in our nation, as well as in our world, when we need God’s presence and manifestation within our culture.
We are the Holy Spirit’s containers. We are the ones that God has chosen to use to reach our world.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
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I turned 60 on September 30, 2020. Our daughter Moselle turns 20 today October 12th, 2020. Michael turned a year older on the first of September and my son Lukas on the 14th. Our wedding anniversary of 32 years happened day after my birthday. I have been officially wed more than half of my life.
On my 60th birthday, I felt honored. My family has become very good at honoring one another and for this I feel deeply grateful. Life and death are in the power of the tongue and written word. I have been a grateful recipient of words that have changed my life.
At my birthday party, I decided I would write 60 of my personal rules, beliefs or thoughts I try to live by or act out.
1.Be Intentional. It leads to every climax you can have in life
2) Have a daily quiet time
3) Commune constantly with the Designer Creator of the Universe
4) Stretch; a time to adjust not only your body but your attitudes/thinking
6) Time waits for no one
7) Constantly develop good habits, rules and goals for yourself
8) Serve with Love
9) Respond not react
10.Make your bed
11) Clear off kitchen counter and tables before leaving the house
12) .Put people before tasks if at all possible
13) Follow through...from thought to action
14.Do good deeds daily
15) Say kind words to strangers just because you had a good thought
16) .Acknowledge with your eyes
17) Resist the urge to depersonalize your moment with people
18) We usually have one good intersection or encounter with those around us. Make it count.
19) We will never take money, things or resources with us once this spectrum of life comes to a close
20) Take what counts into the next phase after this one passes
21) Ask questions
22) Doesn’t cost anything to pay attention
23) Speak less. And talk silently to the One that can actually transform lives
24) I am as much messed up as those around me
25) If I don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it
26) Don’t be half ass
27) When I turn 60 its ok to get more colorful in my language
28) Never start a sentence by saying “you should”
29) Smile at strangers
30) Speak all good thoughts towards others out loud
31) Be a life changer
32) Don’t let the opportunity for kindness slip through your fingers
33) After working out and before your shower and remove your sweaty work out clothes; check to see if you have a towel for drying
34) Look intentionally for someone to encourage. Words don’t cost anything, but you could save someone’s life
35) Get a massage as often as possible
36) Sing out loud between the humming
37) If you see something that reminds you of someone...buy it for them
38) Mistakes people make are not worth pointing out
39) Money is just paper that we use to do good
40) We can’t change anybody...it’s hard enough trying to change ourselves. And if we get busy trying to modify our flaws we will not have the time or energy to judge or modify others
41) Regulate daily
42) Find what works for you and stick to it
43) Mostly people just want to be heard or acknowledged
44) Not many want to hear what you have to say so don’t waste your breath
45) Enjoy the process. It will be over before you know it
46) This too shall pass
47) Don’t waste your calories on sucker food. Make every calorie count
48) Circulate, hydrate and don’t drink coffee before water in the morning
49) Savor & eat slow. You might choke
50) Always hope. It’s not over till it’s over
51) Never forget how effed up you are. It will help you better deal with your fellow effed up associates both near and far
52) Every effort is seen and felt by someone and even if it is by God and you that is enough
53) Put your green onions in the ground the moment you cut them
54) Learn something new every year (the bucket list of learning)
55) Honor your father and mother that your days will be long and blessed
56) Prioritize relationships. God, husband, kids, family ; the rest
57) Figure out what really matters and practice those
58) Live like there is no tomorrow
59) Do art daily. We are designed for Creativity by the Creator
60) Write a book..
“INTENTIONALITY…The key to INTIMACY...all input from you will be welcomed.
Special Prayers Needed!
Join us in praying for this upcoming election.
1) That all our citizens who have faith would vote their faith.
2) That righteous men and women would be elected.
3) That our country would peaceably resolve the issues.
4) That the evil will be overcome by our good deeds and righteous living.
5) That we would continuously pray for our country regardless which side wins.
Thanks for your prayers. They are effective.