I slept soundly and woke up refreshed on Sunday morning when my alarm went off at 5.30 a.m. That was the time I had to take my crock pot out of the fridge and turn it on so that the roast could cook for 8 hours and be ready for our big family lunch after church.
It was wonderful being up so early on a Sunday morning and I felt the expansive pleasure of having four whole hours ahead before I needed to leave for worship practice.
After breakfast, I sat down on the couch with a second cup of delicious black coffee. The clock ticking was the only sound in the still sleeping household. I opened my Daily Light and began to read...and God began to speak. No I didn't hear an audible voice, but just as surely as I had felt him pointing out the stones I was to step on, I felt him now, speaking through his word, and a particular verse that leaped off the page. I don't usually bombard with so many scripture verses, but I feel compelled to pass these on:
26 Dear child, I want your full attention;
please do what I show you. (Proverbs 23:26, The Message)
The Message version seems very appropriate. My Daily Light had the NIV version had simply said, "My son, give me your heart."
I was reminded of God saying to his people through the prophet Malachi, to bring the whole tithe into the store house. God was telling me to hold nothing back, to give him all of my heart. I looked up the book of Malachi and God continued to speak:
Malachi 2:11 (New International Version)
11 Judah has broken faith...by marrying the daughter of a foreign god.
"Yes, Lord," I acknowledged, "I have broken faith with you, so often."
Malachi 3:7 (New International Version)
7b ... Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
God was telling me to trust him (as tithing is all about trusting and I don't really think that this passage is about money as much as it is about obedience and trust.)
11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.
Through this verse God reminded me that if I take steps that are sometimes counter-intuitive and trust him, then the fruit will result, and my land (a metaphor for my life,) will be a delightful land.
Through all of this back and forth conversation with God I was writing in my journal and I had two blog post written in quick minutes. I was amazed that the fruit was already evident.
When I finally went upstairs to check email, there were several from Susan, and in one of them she said that she had a draft blog post waiting to be used whenever I needed it over the next few days of transition to England. Now I had three posts. God was demonstrating his principle of fruit and blessing following obedience.
We rarely sing hymns any more at church, but that morning, Cheryl had chosen the hymn by Edward Mote, The Solid Rock.
As we sang out the third verse and the refrain, I smiled at God's continued demonstration of intimate involvement and mentoring in my life and thought of the stones Susan had seen planted in my pathway:
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Post Script: God blessed me with yet another post on the topic of "What if," by a regular reader. It will be posted on Saturday! :)