Monday, March 9, 2009

Preceding or Following?

Obedience has been my catch phrase for months. I sit in women's groups and tell my friends how God is calling for my obedience. I almost hesitate to say it one more time, because even I get sick of my repetition. I have to talk about it, though, because I find it amazing, and so like Him, that instead of crushing me into the jaws of, "I don't want to go there", He is courting me to His throne of grace.

I was speaking to a new and already dear friend of mine, yesterday, about a specific area of obedience creeping around the corner of my comfort. All that I can say is that God is using suburbia. I live in a typical neighborhood. We have an eight foot cinder block fence that runs around the back yard. It provides us with protection from the dogs getting out and the world getting in...a truly symbiotic relationship.

Each morning I sit in the yard studying and taking in the springtime; and each morning, breaking the coveted silence, I have heard a neighbor. The initial response has been wishing that I lived on an estate with no one for miles, but then I hear her words. Honestly, they are messy. There is so much distress and pain that I hear in each explicit phrase. Something is happening in her life, and God wants me to hear it. My heart is full for her, and yet, I hesitate to move toward her.

So, I have sat staring at this verse, listening to the broken silence. 1 Timothy 5:20, “The sins of some people are conspicuous and precede them to judgment, while the sins of others follow them there.” Isn’t that awesomely true? I have had messy. I have made it all by myself, sins to precede me like a parade traveling down the street and at the end there is me dejected and pitiful.

I have also had, “sin parades”, forced on me, which is like being shoved into the middle of someone else’s parade, perhaps riding a float. The truth is I am not that fond of parades.

I am told that I will walk into judgment, and whether my parade precedes me or follows me, it is going to show up; and, so will my neighbor’s. So, this catch phrase of obedience is in play today. How will I meet God and obey him? Can I bring my own package of baby wipes?

Reflecting on His character and His word gives me this thought: my act of obedience is to help my neighbor get as much of her parade behind her as possible. It will make it easier for us to run to the throne of grace on that day, don’t you think? That is really what we are doing for each other. Emptying ourselves out to become useful to Him, and in doing so we get to encourage each other to the Day of Judgment, without having to push aside the baton twirlers and tubas.

So, pray for me as I open a messy door. I, also, pray for the messiness and sin parades in your life. I pray that you will be in front of your parade, and uninhibited, running to the throne of grace.

My husband Dwight is SO talented and he is going to contribute to some of these posts. This is the imagery that he was given, titled "The Sin Parade". Click for a larger view. I think that he will follow a day behind, so watch for them.


  1. Tracy,
    Writing is definitely a God given calling for you. May the Lord bless this endeavor as He has blessed everything else your hand has touched. You are just the instrument...He does all of the work. That is the only formula for success. May He be glorified!

  2. Oh wow, I just saw Dwight's artwork. AWEsome...I seriously cannot wait to see the collaboration you two have going continue to manifest here and elsewhere. What a fascinating plan God is unfolding for you!

  3. Holy Cow! That is awesome Dwight. This is just plain fun!


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