Well it is saying something that I have outlived both of my parents. My Dad died really young of heart disease. I have outlived my mother by ten years!
This morning I awoke to my typical birthday weather, gloomy, drizzly but also unusually warm. The weather in my heart is good. I am looking for ways this year to please the Lord, my Lord Jesus, risen from the dead.
Instead of my typical morning devotions, I turned today to Thomas R. Kelley’s Testament of Devotion. This chapter is called Holy Obedience. He speaks of George Fox…”the insatiable God-hunger in him drove him from such mediocrity into a passionate quest for the real whole-wheat Bread of Life. The life that intends to be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening, is astonishing in its completeness.” He goes on to say “Self is emptied into God, and God in-fills it. In glad, amazed humility we cast on Him our little lives in trusting obedience, in erect, serene, and smiling joy. Nothing else in all of heaven or earth counts so much as His will, His slightest wish, His faintest breathing. And holy obedience sets in, sensitive as a shadow, obedient as a shadow, selfless as a shadow. Not reluctantly but with ardor one longs to follow Him the second half (of the way of obedience).”
Ardor: great warmth of feeling; fervor. intense devotion; zeal. burning heat. Do we follow Him with ardor?
“Self is emptied into God and God fills it.”
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.Revelation 3:14-28 NIV
So I come before You, my Lord, on this my birthday. Left to myself I am always poor, naked, blind, pitiful and wretched. I cannot do Your will without Your indwelling Spirit to empower me. This coming year of my life I want to reflect Your life-giving whole wheat Bread of Life. I want my life to delight You. I desire immediate obedience to Your slightest wish, faintest breathing. May my ardor for You be fanned into a flame. Amen.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God2 Timothy 1: 6a NIV
My family told the story that at my birth the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck. I was a ‘blue baby.’ They waited to see if I would “pink up.” When I recovered my father was so delighted he wanted my middle name to be Cherry! My mother made him compromise with Cheryl. Now I just want to follow God in obedience, full of His breath, doing His will.
Kelly wrote “holy obedience sets in, sensitive as a shadow, obedient as a shadow, selfless as a shadow.” What a tremendous image! A shadow, as in formed by the Son of God shining upon us, and we giving an outline that is totally dependent upon His light… He moves, shadow moves.
Oh to “be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening.” Sensitive to His every desire. Can I do it? Will I take up the challenge for the entire year or drop it after a month or two? I will take it up and pray to complete it with God’s help! Will you try it also?