Yellow Ribbon Round Your Tree
Lynn Cowell

"…Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord..." Numbers 15: 38b & 39a (NLT)

Have you seen yellow ribbons around your community serving as reminders of our men and women serving in the military? I love to see them. It is so important to remember and pray for those who serve to protect our country each day.

Reading Numbers 15 today, I discovered the Lord used a similar means to help His people remember. Numbers 15:37-41 reads: "The Lord said to Moses, 'Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the Lord your God!'" (NLT). Put a tassel on your clothing to remember.

Recently, my daughter Mariah and I set aside some time to watch a chick-flick together. We were in the last few minutes of the movie, wrapping up the plot, when I looked up at the clock and thought, "I need to go and pray for my husband Greg. He needs me to pray for him right now." Then the other part of my mind said, "You can't, the movie is almost over. What would Mariah think if you got up and didn't finish the movie with her?"

I sat and struggled for about 15 minutes, going back and forth between wanting to obey what I believed the Lord was asking me to do, and wanting to finish the movie. I had already invested two hours building up to the finale and I wanted to see how the movie ended!

I was struggling with my own desires, just like the Lord talked about. Finally, I got up and went to pray for Greg. I only hoped that while I sat and struggled over obeying, I hadn't missed something important the Lord had in mind. (In Numbers 14:40 the people obeyed too late and missed out on the blessing of the Lord!)

Following my own desires and obeying the Lord is something I struggle with everyday. So, like the Israelites, what "tassels" can I put in my life that will serve as reminders to obey in all areas, whether big or small in my own eyes?

Sometimes I write out verses on index cards, carrying them with me as reminders of what the Lord is currently trying to teach me. I have a friend who writes verses on her bathroom mirror with dry-erase markers. Another friend has his Blackberry alarm go off at 10:30 a.m. each morning to remind him to take a few minutes to pray. Like the Israelites, we need something to draw our minds back to the Lord in the middle of our busy days. Maybe it's time to make tassels the new style!

Dear Lord, today help me to set aside my own desires in order to follow You. You know that I am prone to follow my own way, so cause me to be reminded to obey You, and obey on time! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

God the Builder: Surrendering to God's Building Power in Your Life by Wendy Pope

Visit Lynn’s blog

Application Steps:
What can you do to bring to mind during the day the areas that you need to obey in, or things that the Father is teaching you?

Ask your friends for ideas of how they remember the Lord during their day. Ask a friend to hold you accountable for following Him in an area of your life and not follow after your own desires.

In what area in your life are you following your own desires? The way you spend your time? The way you spend your money? The way you relate to your family?

When you feel the Lord prompting you to do something, do you follow through in His time table or your own?

Power Verses:
1 Peter 2:11, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." (NIV)

© 2009 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always have a battle as to whether God is asking me to do this or that? I am not sure. I want to be obedient so much of the time I have a lot of confusion in my thinking. But I really loved this and I trust that I will know and follow God's leading today and every day. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous rk said...

As much as we all sin and disobey God,He should of designed us to get an automatic high voltage-but low ohm- shock every half hour or so to remind us of our sin,that would be better than tassles,that would be a great way to stay away from satan and his lies.
God bless1

Blogger Unknown said...

That story really relates to me. As I read I thought of the times the Lord has placed the thought of doing something for someone on my mind and I fail. Every time I travel I ask the Lord to give me the chance to talk to someone about Him, and so many times I'm so afraid to say the name of the Lord I miss out. Then I thought of the fact that I need reminders to keep God an integral part of my days. Thank you so much for the reminder.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Years ago, I made a promise to pray for our pastors each time I was stopped at a red light. I still use that mechanism to lift people in prayer. It's a short way to "shout out" to Jesus, and it also keeps me from getting frustrated at the red light.

Blogger wendell said...

I think we have to remember that through Christ, we live under GRACE, NOT the LAW! Yes, there are times we need to lock ourselves in the closet and pray. We are also called to pray without ceasing! That means we can pray wherever we are. Sometimes I deal with Christian guilt that I will be punished, or my prayer won't be answered if I don't follow what I think is the rule. God doesn't call us to have this guilt! I can sit with my child, watch a movie, and pray at the same time! God is not going to strike me down or not answer my sincere prayer about my loved one because I didn't run out of the room to pray in my closet when I am spending quality, godly time with my child!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this! Right now I am struggling with the fact that the church that I once belonged to I left because I just didn't want to go any more. Now, I feel in my heart that the Lord has not moved me, but I have moved myself. My husband hasn't led us to another church so we have not been going to a church on a regular basis. I just talked to the new pastors of the church and she was telling me that she believed that the Lord had sent them in place of my former pastors, answering my prayers. Although I believe that it could be true. I have been scarred by that church so badly that my desire to go there is absolutely stunt! I have been praying for the Lord to help me, if it is his will for me to go, but it is so hard. Please pray that the Lord will strengthen me in that area.If it's his will. Also, I like that light idea. I hope that you won't mind if I use it. Very creative! Thank you all for your amazing journeys with the Lord, it is truly blessing my soul each and every day.

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