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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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teach them to obey

“… and teach them to obey all that I have commanded you.”

As I sat soaking up the the last minutes of lecture in Perspectives today, I almost didn’t hear these words, “We don’t teach to learn, we teach to obey.” My mind rewound and replayed and something clicked.

I don’t think obsessive is too strong a word to describe the fascination the West has with education. We are greedy about our learning. I’m smack dab in the thick of things, too. I want more in my brain, sometimes just so I can come up with something in conversation to trump the thing someone else said. It’s ugly, really. If you’ve ever seen that clip from Portlandia, it’s something like this and I’m not a bit proud of it.

We want knowledge because there’s something elite about it, something powerful.

and this was never how God intended knowledge

It was not a bad thing for Adam and Eve to know things about the Lord, about the garden, about their place in it. In fact, It delighted God for humans to grow in understanding because it produced praise – the lifestyle kind – where their knowledge resulted in actions full of love. The more they knew of God, the more they wanted to know of Him and please Him. We all know that came to a bad end, but it’s important to remember that our pursuit of knowledge hasn’t always been bittersweet. It was once only beautiful.

“… and teach them to obey all that I commanded you.” These are Jesus’ well-known words from Matthew 28. He is not asking the disciples to go out and form institutions where they teach people to learn. Learning for the sake of learning is a lame movement. The only thing contagious about it is our own greed for more. Learning to obey means letting knowledge sink down deep where it won’t grow stale – where it turns into obedient actions full of love.

When we learn to obey, we know our Master in such a way that our greatest delight is to please Him. When we teach to obey we are teaching that following Christ means conforming to His image (not knowing about conforming to His image).

How dismal the Gospel would be if it was only about knowing. How glorious that, through our obedience, God sanctifies us. I don’t want to just learn the Gospel and I don’t want to teach others to just learn the Gospel.

I want to obey and teach others to obey, that God would be glorified and that our supreme delight would be in Him.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

6 comments on “teach them to obey

  1. Jenna says:

    Wow, you totally hit the nail on the head with this one, lady….there was just a conversation about this tonight…thanks for the confirmation through His Word! Wow and Amen

    1. Caroline says:

      Jenna! I’d love to hear what your conversation produced! God is serious about loving us and if we’re serious about loving Him it will always produce obedient acts of love. And THERE we find joy!

  2. Casey M Groves says:

    This is great Caroline! I just preached a sermon yesterday on Cause / Action / Reaction; Jesus is the cause, knowledge is the action, and doing his will is the reaction. It comes from Colossians 1 where Paul says that he is excited about the church’s “faith and love that spring from hope (in Christ). Keeping your faith strong and your love sacrificial is a matter of being “filled with the knowledge of his will” (vs. 9-10) If you only hear about something but don’t KNOW it, then your faith is weak and you will not love as you should.
    Sorta like the ol Brian Regan…
    “when’s that baby due?”
    “what baby?”
    “huuuuhhhuuu”

    Acting without knowing…

    1. Caroline says:

      Aw, wish I could have heard that! I know this post was light on Scripture, but it’s in every passage. From the beginning, God has been about mission – about drawing His creation into right relationship with Him, which means obedience. There is no way around it and we wouldn’t want there to be… that’s where ALL the delight is! I also really like this article on Psalm 40: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/psalm-40-obedience-better-than-davids

  3. Pingback: Lovers | blogbyv
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