Beating A Dead Horse?

Today is Sunday, the tenth of July, 2022, in the fifteenth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,495

Time is short, this morning, as I slept later than usual, so I’m moving on to the devotional. We are going to our house church, so I have to be done in less than an hour.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, strengthen in us all that comes from you and is eternal, all that is good and right and genuine. Let this shape our outward life and help us triumph over need and death. Help us to wait quietly, even when we don't know the answers to our questions, because we are certain that the outcome will be good and life-giving, to the glory of your Spirit and your name. We entrust ourselves to your hands. Stay with us, that we may receive your calling for our lives. Stay with us, so that in all our work and activity we may be aware of your guiding Spirit at work in our hearts. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
(Psalms 95:6-7 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the presence of God, who stays with us, that we may be aware of His guidance in all our work and activity
2. that I am part of "the people of his pasture"
3. for a pretty good night's sleep
4. for the desire in my heart to be obedient to the "greatest commandments"
5. for the commands of Jesus to love

I’m sharing a piece, one stanza of one of Daryl Madden’s poems, this morning, because of the important message of that one stanza. If all people who call the name of Jesus would simply do this, what a change would come in our world!

If Jesus is our first
Thought before we act
We’d be more kind and loving
And peaceful that’s a fact

You can check out the rest of that poem, as well as others, at the link on his name, above.


And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
(Mark 15:33-39 ESV)


Today’s word, from Pray a Word a Day, is obedience. That’s not a popular word, in recent days, as the idea requires submission. And I’m not talking about the “submission” to which people eagerly refer when giving their misguided advice about husbands and wives. I’m talking about submission to any authority.

But here’s the thing. Oh, wait. First the quote. Again, not a Scripture reference, although I’m sure one could have been found.

“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience?” ~ Elizabeth Elliot

The problem with this is that there are too many differing opinions on what it means to be “obeying in the thing that lies before us today?”

However, there is merit in looking at some of the examples of which Mrs. Elliot is speaking.

Abram (his name had not yet been changed) left his homeland. Saul/Paul turned from his destructive ways and began preaching the Gospel. Mary agreed to be the mother of Jesus. Jesus obediently went to the cross.

“Seemingly small,” Elizabeth??? Hah!

Now, here’s the thing. In order for us, today, to be practicing “obedience,” . . . Oh. Wait, again.

The Greek word that is translated “obedience,” hupakoe, literally means “attentive hearkening.” The word doesn’t appear in the Old Testament, not in that form. I looked up various occurrences of “obey,” and the general meaning of the Hebrew word was the same.

NOW, here’s the thing! In order for us, today, to be practicing “obedience,” we essentially have two things to do. (There he goes again!) You know. You’ve read it here so many times, you’re surely weary of seeing it. But, apparently, not enough people have read it or “attentively hearkened.”

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:28-31 ESV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:34-35 ESV)

Remember Daryl’s poem from up there?

If Jesus is our first
Thought before we act
We’d be more kind and loving
And peaceful that’s a fact

These are the “seemingly small act[s] of obedience” that could change the world.


Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)


These acts of obedience, besides showing the world who the true disciples of Christ are, also help us to grow, inwardly. We cannot afford to be lethargic (I confess I have been guilty of this, from time to time) about our Christianity. Because of the actions of some, the word has different meanings to different people. Right now, in the US, the word “Christian” is definitely suspect. If you don’t understand why, you are not paying attention. You are not “attentively hearkening.”

It is more important than ever for us to be obedient to those commands of Jesus. Once again, He has told us that those are the only ones that matter, because, if we obey those, we have fulfilled the entirety of the law and prophets. Paul agrees with Jesus, and tells us the same thing.

So, please. “Just do it.”


Father, I just pray that Your people would all “attentively hearken” to the commands of Jesus, so that our world would change. I’m weary, Father. Really weary. But I must continue. I must continue to grow inwardly, and not be lethargic about what it means to be a Christian.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.