Tell it like it (really) is…

Your husband.  He is many things to you.  Be honest, how often do you concentrate on the unmet expectations? Those two words together–unmet expectations– are harsh; yet, the unspoken reality in which we operate often. At service on Sunday, the pastor was talking about some great stuff for couples, but within the scripture God took my mind away on a soul journey. I love it when that happens!

In Song of Solomon friends ask the bride”what’s so great about your husband?”  We may never be asked that directly, but we often get in crowds in which opportunity arises to share just how we feel about our mate.  You have so many reasons to be offended and irritated every day–am I right? But, will you linger there, or praise God for the goodness–the expectations your mate is meeting?

Song of Solomon

Others

9 What is your beloved more than another beloved,
O most beautiful among women?
What is your beloved more than another beloved,
that you thus adjure us?

The Bride Praises Her Beloved

She

10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
distinguished among ten thousand.
11 His head is the finest gold;
his locks are wavy,
black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
beside streams of water,
bathed in milk,
sitting beside a full pool.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spices,
mounds of sweet-smelling herbs.
His lips are lilies,
dripping liquid myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold,
set with jewels.
His body is polished ivory,
bedecked with sapphires.
15 His legs are alabaster columns,
set on bases of gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as the cedars.
16 His mouth is most sweet,
and he is altogether desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.

Can you imagine the bridge of love if you spoke this over your mate?  Start today—read this to him.  Tell those girlfriends–“This is MY beloved and this is MY friend, O daughters—ALL MINE!”

Freedom in the Potter’s Hands

Your self-identity comes from a collection of beliefs that you hold about yourself.  You may have formed thoughts and patterns about who you are from your family, your life experiences, and activities you’ve participated in through the years.  As a social worker and parent, I’ve found layers of complexity within the journey of self-identity in others and myself.  However, there are two basic and fundamental truths that break through the complexity and offer freedom.

Psalm 139: 14

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Does your soul know that you were created in God’s image and fearfully and wonderfully made?

Anything in your soul that tries to convince you that you are less than, that God is holding out on you, or that you are not worthy is an attack from the enemy.  His main goal in life is to attack your identity and confuse you.

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
‘How clumsy can you be?’  Isaiah 45:9

Before Jesus began His ministry, God called Him to fast and pray for forty days in the wilderness.  During that time, He was tempted by the enemy.  How?  The enemy tried to attack Jesus’ identity–who He was.  The enemy knew if he could cause identity confusion and create confusion of God’s purpose for Him,  he could destroy Truth.  Jesus used scripture to overcome the lies.  Interestingly, so did satan.  The enemy knows scripture and twists the meaning so we can compromise and rationalize.  It was the same trick in the garden with Adam and Eve.  Eve compromised when she heard the words of the enemy rationalizing and compromising. Perhaps she thought “this one time wont hurt”.  “One time” can be a lifetime of hurt and pain. The enemy knows this.  Here we are thousands of years later falling for the same, obvious tricks.  Would God call you to deal with your identity before a ministry?  We’ve got to take hold of these truths and know our enemy so we will not give up or be overcome when the enemy attacks.

God calls us out of such trappings.  He begs us to run into Him were it is safe.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe.

Today, practice the simplicity of knowing that any argument that attacks your inheritance from Jesus Christ is from the enemy.  Whoever or whatever builds you up, encourages you, and speaks life into your soul is from God–the Truth.

Don’t try to reason.  It’s a soul thing.  We are not to understand the mysteries in their entirety this side of heaven.  Like a trusting child headed to play embrace this truth:

The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

God desires for you to know who you are in Him, to walk victoriously, and even in the most challenging times embrace His love, truth, and joy.

Live out your life in the fullness of Jesus’ love.  Does your soul know this very well?

“I’m a child of God and I’m His business not yours.”  Joyce Meyer

I loved this quote from one of her messages!  You must cling to who Jesus says you are–not the opinions of man.

Well rooted and enjoying the fruit!

Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot,
but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit.

Proverbs 12:12

Are you well rooted in God’s love and Word and bearing fruit? Maybe your fruit is seen in the care of your children, a ministry, marriage, or a job God has called you to. Maybe God is producing fruit in several of these things combined! Whatever your fruit, enjoy it, nourish it with God’s Word, and praise God for it!  Don’t wish for your neighbors’ loot and fruit!  It would not work in your beautiful garden that God has prepared just for you.  The greatest joy is living in the center of God’s will for you and encouraging others to do the same!  Praise God for your fruit and encourage others through sincere love and joy.

Receive and Experience Freedom

I am constantly reminded through God’s Word and messages of how He desires to mold us into His image.  This molding takes a lifetime of grace and truth.  A dear friend of mine suggested a book called “The Cure”.  I watched a video attached to the study and it said something like this–

We can be taught a message and decide to believe it or not.  We can receive a message and experience life in the truth of what we’ve learned. (that was my take away)

The older generation grew up hearing messages.  The younger generation of today wants to receive and experience.

I got to thinking–what messages have I heard that are lies about who God is?  I want to receive His truth and experience His grace and freedom.

In preparation for Bible Study on February 23 with Woman of Worth Mentoring Ministries, our family read the two chapters together–“Lies about God” and “Lies about Satan” in the book Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free.  My 9-year-old took the time to write out the lies and put the Truth next to it.  I’m constantly drawn to the fact that God should not fix my problems (one of the lies about God)!

Isaiah 45:9

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
‘How clumsy can you be?’

At times we are called to humble ourselves under the authority of a situation in which God is molding us to be more like Him.  Humility actually means to come under, or posture yourself under something so that you can learn and grow. What is God showing you?  Joyce Meyer, after working with a harsh co-worker, realized that God was showing her how SHE acted when exhibiting these behaviors to loved ones–her husband.  It was a wake up call. She grew. She prayed often for God to change others until He finally shared that SHE was the one who needed changing.  Ouch!  She said she cried for three days!  It was hard work.

The lies we convince ourselves of are dangerous.  Believe in the Truth of God’s Word and be set FREE!

008

From “give me” to “make me Your servant”

The prodigal son is a parable we often hear and know by heart.  When a teacher uses the parable in a study, sometimes, we can be closed-minded, thinking there is nothing else that could be learned.  Yet, I’m always amazed at how God’s Word is truly living and active.  We hold in our hands the life and breath of God.

Laying in bed last night, I listened to Joyce Meyer.  I can’t tell you the title of the sermon–I just clicked and listened.  I was pretty much open to any message from His Word.  As she began to share the prodigal son she highlighted three parts:

1. Give me  (‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’)

2. After he squandered his money, he found himself living in a pig sty until he came to himself/came to his senses

(“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.”)

3. Make me your servant (“make me like one of your hired servants”)

From this position the Father can bless and show you glorious things!  “He is able through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”   Ephesians 3:20

We often walk around with a “give me” attitude.  It’s subtle and sometimes very obvious. What will I get out of this relationship, job, position, sport, hobby, trip, ministry…  Lord, give me _______________.  After a long search and efforts focused on “give me” we find ourselves in a position or situation in which we may ask “How did I get here?” or “Why did I believe this was what I wanted?”  There are many verses in God’s Word in which He gives us over to ourselves until we “come to ourselves” and realize we need Him.  The prodigal son realized that he must be made a servant.  When we come to Jesus with hearts healed and hands wide open, we will find ourselves in the center of His glory and will.

Lord, make us Your servant.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone.  A day in which we love intentionally.  Proverbs 5:19 says “Be exhilarated always with her love.”  There are so many ways in which we love!  Can we love big and intentionally through the year?  Can a spouse, on purpose, write love notes, make plans for alone time, take a chore or duty off the person’s plate, call just to say I love you, affirm, lift, and encourage daily? Not just out of duty!  Maybe you start there, but pray for your love to be exhilarating!  I believe we are capable of this.

Can our love extend beyond our home to include others through words of encouragement, a gentle hug, a smile…..  I believe we can, and that it would make a difference.

Move from “give me” to “make me your servant” and love intentionally today.  Begin first with Jesus and allow Him to fill you with His love for you.  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Take care of you in the presence of Jesus so you are filled to serve.

A Fresh Encounter

Sometimes in our Christian walk we become apathetic, complacent, or in automaticity.  Status quo seems good enough.  In some cases, we are exhausted or burnt out, so we hesitate to long for much.  Longing brings disappointment.

After hearing a great sermon on “A Fresh Encounter With God” by Charles Stanley, I realized how commonplace I had become.  Most of us are comfortable with the word God.  “God be with us.”  But, when the name of Jesus is spoken in such a way that His name is conveyed that we encountered Him–He healed us, spoke to us, nurtured us– folks fidget or become unresponsive.  Why?  Why do we resist drawing close to Jesus?

There is no magical way of encountering Him.  He lives inside of you when you said, “Yes” to Him.  He is there waiting to answer and for you to encounter Him–

Encounter defined: to come upon or meet with, especially unexpectedly: to encounter a new situation

The simplicity of encountering Jesus is this– making time for Him.  He competes with your music, family, friends,  job, hobbies, fears, worries, entertainment, ………

How can we encounter if we don’t meet with Him in silence and reverence?

I pray a FRESH encounter with the One who loves you most—JESUS

Charles Stanley’s Sermon:

http://www.intouch.org/magazine/content/topic/a_fresh_encounter_with_god#.UvVasMRDtAo