Monday, August 3, 2009


Why is following the rules so difficult?

Have you ever heard someone comment "Oh he has to do everything by the book!" or "She is such a stickler for the rules!" if following the rules were something sinister.

By and large rules are made for our good, to protect us, to keep us from harming ourselves or others. As children we see rules as barriers to fun or to keep up from doing what we want, but hopefully as we grow up, we realize that rules were made not so much to fence us in, but to shield us from harm.

But, in order to keep the rules, you must KNOW the rules!

In our neighborhood, we have covenants. These covenants were established to maintain the integrity of our neighborhood and to enhance our property values. When anyone purchases or builds in our neighborhood they are provided a copy of these covenants at closing. One can either choose to live here and abide by them, or choose to live elsewhere.

Yet maintaining those covenants is one of the most difficult tasks the homeowners' association has to deal with.

Case in point. A few years ago, a new neighbor decided to build a fence and construct a shop. In order to build or construct anything in our neighborhood, the covenants require that the homeowners' association issue a permit. In turn that permit is presented to the county to obtain the necessary permit to begin construction. Without the neighborhood permit, no county permit can be issued. Or I should say SHOULD be issued.

Unfortunately for this particular neighbor he was issued a county permit with out first obtaining the neighborhood one. He began construction of his fence. Problem was he was in violation of the covenants on two points. #1, he failed to get the neighborhood permit, and #2 he was building the fence on the line instead of the appropriate number of feet from the line. When this was realized by a board member, a stop work order was issued.

Naturally the homeowner was none too happy. However, he prepared the necessary paperwork and submitted it to the Board. Everything was approved except for the fence. It was still in violation of the covenants and the board had no authority to grant an exception. That could only be done by a 2/3 vote of the homeowners. He chose, instead, to tear down the fence and re-construct it.

I felt really bad for him, but the bottom line was that he could have avoided all the hassle and expense if he had just done one thing. Read the covenants! He had no one to blame but himself. Yes, the county was in error in granting him a permit, but the responsibility for his knowing and abiding by the covenants was his.

As believers we too have rules to abide by. God gives us His word to live by. He has outlined for us what we are to do and not do, how to treat others, how to share Him with others. He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He demands obedience. Yet we cannot obey if we do not take the time to open the book and see what He expects of us. I think sometimes we think if we just lay our Bible around where we can see it or carry it with us to church on Sundays, somehow we will just absorb it. But that's just not the way it works.

I used to tell the children in VBS that it's like a can only get out of it what you put into it. If you take the time to "input" God's word into your life, He will be sure to bless it and multiply it in your life. He has promised that His word will NOT return void. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven and returns not again but waters the earth and makes it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and seed to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth [the Bible] shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing where to I sent it." Isaiah 55:8-11.

God's word is not meant to be a stuffy rulebook, but it is His guidebook and instruction manual to help us navigate our way on our journey. Don't leave home without it sure to open it and READ it!!!!!!

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