Along the way

All of us have things we can teach from the lessons we’ve learned living our lives. Many have made lists of various styles. A few have written books about the lessons they have learned along life’s journey. Writing a book is beyond my ability and discipline. An essay is more than is needed for this format. So, in keeping with one of the lessons I have learned, I will give you a list that simply sets forth a few lessons I have learned in living my life. There is no particular order of priority to the list.

1. Be thankful and give thanks every day for all the

promises, gifts, and blessings you’ve been given, both

opportunities and challenges.

2. Appreciate deeply the lives, service, ministry, and work

of others. Treasure the life of others.

3. Give earnest and sincere attention to the interests and

well-being of others as though they are as important as

your own. As much as is in you, feel their pain and sorrow

and laugh with them when it is good. Seek opportunities

to do them good and be to them a blessing.

4. Give earnest and honest attention to take care of your

own soul or you will get lost in your life. Your soul is the

most precious treasure that you have.

5. Never be ashamed of who you are. You are God’s child.

Don’t back down, give in, or give up.

Never compromise who you are or bring shame upon the

one whose name you wear.

6. Good leaders are good followers. Always listen for what

you can learn from others. Be confident in yourself but

never think you have nothing to learn. Accept that

you can be wrong and learn from others.

7. What you do for others, how you treat them, are the keys

that will open another’s heart.

8. Never give up the hunger and thirst for learning. Don’t

lose the wander of discovery. Always

seek what can be known. Never stop growing.

10. Trust in the Lord. Put your life in his hands and never

look back.

11. To love someone and like someone are not the same.

When you like someone, you enjoy their companionship.

When you love someone, you will seek for their well

being, whether you like them or not. Like them or love

them, engage and invest in others.

Finally, and most of all. Love the Lord God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. Seek his righteous kingdom above all else. Follow Jesus Christ with all your heart. Don’t judge those who do walk your way so you can teach them to walk with you and follow Christ together.

Mike Mobley

Liberty!

“The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave” (Patrick Henry, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, 1775 addressing the Continental Congress).

By his sovereign will, God chooses to act or not to act. Man devises his forms of government but God determines whether it will stand or fall. He allows the nations of men to run their course and to rise and fall. At times, he wills to intervene for his purposes. Other times, he chooses to not intervene for his purposes. His glory is the design of the sovereign almighty God.

God has blessed the American people with a liberty that allows us many freedoms. We should always be thankful for the blessings of his sovereign will. The greatest of these blessings is our religious liberty.

Our religious liberty grants that government cannot interfere with anyone’s expressions and practice of religion; that I cannot interfere with your expression and practice of religion; and, that you cannot interfere with my expression and practice of religion. The only restriction would be if the expression and practice of religion violates the order and security, well-being, of society, such as a criminal act or any act of violence in the name of any religion.

So, why? Why should we care? Why does it matter? Why should we, subjects of the kingdom of God, care anything about this nation of men? Why, when the politics and injustice sickens our stomachs and turns us away? Why, when the irresponsible greed and self-serving spirit angers our hearts and troubles our souls?

God’s people will always be peculiar to the world. At times, they have been denied the liberty to worship and serve God and to express their faith, love, and hope for God. At times, their very lives have been threatened and taken. All of that is true still today in various part of the world. In America, we have this liberty to live for God but forces in our nation that do not like it, even hate it, because they hate God, are working to silence us. The legal and political implications of this struggle are for other discussions. For now, let me say that if we do not care enough to oppose it as citizens, we could lose our liberty and would find it more difficult to remain faithful.

When you care about something, you take care of it, fight to keep it and protect it. Caring about our religious liberty pours out of conviction and trust, loyalty and love. We believe in the right of our religious liberty and treasure it for the precious gift that it is. We stand and we move and we do what is necessary to promote our religious liberty and prevent those forces that would subvert and pervert our liberty.

So, let us renew and nourish our love for God, our commitment to each other as neighbors, and loyalty to Christ who teaches us the life that right and good and true in all arenas of our lives. And we should renew our commitment to our Lord’s church which is a divine blessing to any nation. It is the representation of God’s kingdom on earth, of God’s presence among his people.

“Strengthened by their courage and heartened by their value [valor] and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died” (President Ronald Reagan, Normandy France, at 40th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1984).

Mike Mobley

The journey is not done

I want to express my congratulations to the graduating high school seniors. You have completed a long journey of hard work and personal growth. Now you will transition to the next stage of your journey— a lifetime of individual responsibility and learning. You will become capable of taking care of yourself and helping others to carry the burdens of their lives. You will pursue your own interests, goals, and passions. Never forget that God is your first interest and passion; that above all you will seek God’s will and grow your relationship with him. So, love God with a holy love, follow Christ with a loyal and honest faith, and walk in the Holy Spirit.

May the Lord richly bless you and firmly keep you in his heart and his hands.

Mike Mobley

The wander of life

C. S. Lewis wrote during the early and mid 1900s. I believe that what he wrote is still relevant today. Narnia is the story of what he believed is the true nature of life. A major theme of his writing is that Christianity is the true reality and the modern world view is soul killing.

Lewis believed that man has lost the wonder of the ordinary and the divine because he spends his time interacting with his own creations and not interacting with the natural that God has created and the supernatural. The world measures life by the value and function it puts on the material and ignores the natural and the divine. He believes that this is soul killing because it kills our sense of the presence of the transcendence, our sense of the presence of God. I believe to lose that sense will steal away intimacy with God which causes us to lose faith, hope, and love that are the core – the heart and soul – of our response to God and building an intimate relationship with him.

Christianity is the expression of your relationship with God. Christ teaches that your soul is the most precious treasure you have and an intimate relationship with God is the most precious gift he has given you. The greatest journey of your life is discovering the wonder of your soul and building your relationship with God. This is why believers are peculiar to the world. The world is so entrenched in a material reality that it can’t see God. Anyone who makes that their reality is left with something that can’t love them, can’t save them, and can’t support them through life’s moral battles.

It will take a lifetime to discover all of that wonder – but what a great journey that will be. For now… May your heart’s desire always be for God. May God be your first interest and passion. May your desire to know him intimately be so deep that the world can’t steal you away and turn your soul cold to God.

Mike Mobley

Life is a moral battle

“It won’t hurt anyone.” “I can do what I want.” “You can’t tell me what to do.” These are examples of the simplistic reasons we give, child and adult, for ignoring moral rules/laws. We think morality interferes with life, stops us from “having a good time”; that we are free to do what we want to do the way we want to do it without any concern or consequence.

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis lays out his theology about morality, among other things about the nature of Christianity. (Read it. You will enjoy it.) It is often used as an argument that man is a creation of God. Yet, it is also a powerful discussion of the beautiful meaning and practical function of morality in our daily lives.

Lewis believed that life is a moral battle and not the restless pursuit of the material. He believed that man was created with a sense that there is real right and real wrong in every situation, that morality is not a matter of opinion or simply a stated code of conduct or moral rules. Morality is what we ought to do because we have the will to choose to do it or not, to obey it or not. It is in that will where lies the battle.

Lewis says that in life we fight a threefold moral battle: 1) what happens between people, 2) what happens within the person, and 3) what happens between people and the overall purpose of life.

Christ teaches us that his morality and moral teaching helps us to direct our lives and live our lives in the way that functions best for our nature. And because we struggle, he encourages our will to follow him. Christ’s moral teaching:

1) instills in us a concern about the influence and impact our lives have

on one another and seek their best interests,

2) instills in us a concern about the influence and impact our lives have

on the image of God before the unbelieving and wicked world while it

stirs up our desire to glorify God and exalt his name, and

3) instills in us a sense of justice that treats all people as good as we

want them to treat us.

So, Christ promises us that God gives us his Spirit of perfect humility, perfect compassion, and perfect love.

Talking about morality can seem like an exercise in rhetoric. The Chronicles of Narnia story puts flesh and bones on it and allows us to see the heart and soul, the emotion and will, of living our moral lives every day. We can see the battles we face every day between virtue and vice. That if we want to “truly flourish” as human beings, we must do more than avoid harming others. We must cultivate virtues like courage, compassion, humility, love. We must work to limit vices like greed, cowardice, callousness, and egotistical pride. And that is the battle – our struggle between virtue and vice inside ourselves and in our dealing with the modern world. However, if we will fight this good fight, our lives will contribute to one another’s good and we will see our own good connected to their good. That is the drama of the Narnia story and the story of our own lives.

Mike Mobley.

Standing on His Promises

Fear is a natural response. Governments, broadcast and social media, individuals would exploit our fears to exert their control over us. God would cast away our fear and free us to worship, serve, obey, and love him. “Trust me and all my ways and I will lift you up and you will stand in my strength.” God’s sovereign will makes us bold and gives us good courage to move forward.

Fear hinders us from doing what we know to do, the right and good we want to do. Fear even drives us to what we shouldn’t do. Fear cripples us and we get lost in our lives.

Our God is the Sovereign creator and ruler of the universe. In his hands alone is the power of life and earth. He speaks and the future is moved up or down or backwards or sideways. He reaches out his arms and is your shelter in the storm. No matter how weary you are, he will lift you up and you will carry today’s burdens with strength of eagles. That is his promise.

The motive of God’s promises is his endless abundant loving and merciful grace. God’s Son sacrificed himself so we could become his children. The purpose for God’s promises is our fellowship with him together. God wants us to have access to him. He wants us to partake of and be filled with his divine nature. He knows that if we can manifest his nature we can stand and face this world and the circumstances and situations of our lives. So, his gift to everyone who will follow his Son? He gives us himself.

God has invested himself in us. What is the promise of this gift? He will not forsake us. He suckles us like a loving mother does. He holds us up like a loving father does. He will not give up on us. He lives with us every day.

I understand the temptation to be anxious and fearful will be on our heels all of our lives. Christ has promised us that, if we follow him, God works to establish us in his love and power. Why? Because the deeper our love for him the deep his strength is in us. Trust God and he makes you more than a conqueror of your life.

A final thought considering today’s situation. God has never taught us to be foolish. If you believe that caution is a better part of wisdom, and I do, then it is expected we follow wisdom.

Mike Mobley