A common issue among young women I disciple is the belief that in order to be happy they need to find a husband, a man who will meet their needs and fulfill their expectations. This focus is not only self-centered and unrealistic, but it blinds them to the joys of the life they currently have and leaves them feeling frustrated and depressed. It is also an affront to the Lord who loves them and longs to have an intimate relationship with them.
Having been single, married, and single again after the death of my husband, I can speak from personal experience that what makes both singleness and marriage happy is a close relationship with the Lord where He meets our needs and pours His love into us and through us to others.
Pastor and author Chip Ingram says this,
If you must be completed by another person, you will find that whatever they have to give you will never be enough. Only God, through His Son and through the Holy Spirit, can provide what each of us needs to be complete. When we are whole and secure in Him, then we can approach a relationship in a healthy way.
In a devotional entitled “Satisfied Singleness” Steve Arterburn says,
No matter what your situation, God’s will for you right now is to be satisfied in Him, and to trust His plan for you at this time in your life.
God created us for relationship, first with Him and then with those He brings into our lives. If marriage is a part of His plan for us, we can trust Him to get us ready and to bring the one He’s chosen for us, in His time. In the meantime, we can enjoy His love and share a meaningful life with Him.
Did the disciples of Jesus ever abandon Him?
They sure did and it is recorded in John 6:16-17
After Jesus fed the 5,000 He saw that they were ready to take him
by force and make him king, so He went higher into the hills alone.
His disciples went down to the shore and waited for Him.
He didn’t come and when it got dark they pushed off for Capernaum.
Then a storm hit them. They were about 4 miles out. Jesus walked to them.
They were afraid. He said – “I am here! Don’t be afraid.”
They let Him into the boat and immediately the boat arrived at their destination.
1. Why did His men abandon Him?
2. How did they think He would get to Capernaum?
1. They left Him and went in their strength.
2. A storm hit them very hard.
3. They were in danger.
4. Jesus came to them where they were.
5. They invited Him into the boat.
6. They arrived at their destination immediately.
1. When we leave Jesus we get frustrated.
2. Storms come to make us realize we need Him.
3. Then at the right time He shows up to rescue us.
4. When we get Him into the boat with us we arrive at our destination.
1. Beware of striking out without Him.
2. We can live without Him to our detriment.
3. We can go to work, clean the house, talk to friends, watch TV,
eat food, and many other daily activities without Him.
4. We need to get Him into the boat BEFORE we push off.
1. Wait for Him. They were impatient.
2. Invite Him to join you in your daily life. They were just going
on a short trip.
3. Say, “Come, Lord Jesus, please join me and take charge as I begin
this task,go here, meet with this person, make this phone call,
or make this decision. I wait on You to give me what
I need – courage, love, kindness, joy, or humility”
Psalm 27:14 “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” NLT
Take Him with you constantly at the beginning of a thing and
you will arrive at your destination much more quickly than if
you strain at the oars for hours.
Yield to Him and depend on Him. He is the LORD!
I enjoy listening to those who are gifted debaters debate about why there is a creator. I enjoy the way in which they develop a philosophy that can be used to explain creationism. I appreciated their brilliance. They serve a great purpose in the Body of Christ. I am speaking of people like Chuck Colson, Glen Sunshine, Ravi Zacharias and many more.
Regardless of my ability to traverse the intellectual assaults on our faith, when the debate is concluded I think we can make a case that those who participated will walk away still believing as they did before the debate. They both may believe that they won.
There is a saying that talk is cheap. I do not mean to degrade the value of those who are apologists for the Gospel but I believe that the best expression of our believe system is a life lived. Let me explain.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to India where I was with pastors and fellow Christians who impressed me equally, not for their rhetoric but for the life they live each and every day.
I had the privilege of teaching our SALT material to 197 pastors and their wives. It was a very impacting time for both participant and teacher. As we were preparing to leave, our Host Bishop Jacob Marineni, founder of GTSSS, (Gospel for Tribals Social Service Society) came to where we were packing and he brought with him a pastor and his wife who had just completed our conference and they wanted to pray for me and our team. Bishop Jacob wanted to first tell me about this couple.
This couple lived in one of the over 1 million villages in India, one that had not heard the Gospel message. They accepted Christ and returned to their village to start a church. They knew it would be difficult but that did not deter them. Living with them was the father of the pastor. As they went about sharing Christ in their village radical Hindu’s came to their home and began to harass them. They threatened and told them that unless they stopped telling the village about Jesus they would kill them. The threats did not stop them and one day the radicals came to there home and beat both the husband and wife. They beat them so severely that they believed they would die soon, so like Paul before them they were left to die. These radicals also found the father of the pastor. He was hiding under a bed and they proceeded to jump on the bed and crush this man. Again they left believing they had finished them all off. There would be no more talk of Jesus in their village.
BUT our God is able! In Genesis chapter 50 verse 20 we read: ” … what you meant for evil God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
What has happened in this village is truly miraculous. Today this couple is pastoring a church of 300 believers!A life lived changed the entire village. I said please pray for me and my wife. Pray that we would be willing to go through whatever it takes to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let me conclude with a question, “How about you?”
I recently spoke at a women’s retreat. The title of the retreat was “Reflections of God’s Beauty”.
I Peter 3:3-4 says; Don’t be concerned about outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
To have a gentle and quiet spirit, we must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without Him our spirits are dead and our hearts are hard. He brings life to our spirit and gives us a new heart.
Ezekiel 36:26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
So, if beauty comes from within, it has much to do with the condition of our heart.
Jerwmiah 29:13 says: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. When our hearts are filled with hurt, resentment, bitterness, and/or unforgiveness, it’s cluttered and we cannot seek God with all our hearts and are NOT able to be a true reflection of God’s Beauty.
So, what is in your heart today that you need to eliminate in order to reflect God’s Beauty? Maybe you have a need to forgive someone, repent from holding on to a sinful habit, or maybe you are withholding love from someone God has placed in your life that isn’t so easy to love. Be bold before the Lord today and pray: Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. Be a reflection of God’s beauty today.
You know the 10 commandments. Which one do you think God used the most words to communicate?
Wouldn’t it be one that really mattered to Him? It is #2.
“Don’t make, worship or serve an idol.” Exodus 20:4-6
The apostle Paul was very encouraged with the believers in Thessalonica because,
“You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9
God is a jealous God and desires our worship and service. Consider three ways we can commit idolatry:
1. If we seek the acceptance and approval of people then acceptance becomes my idol.
Young men join gangs to get acceptance.
2. If we want to control all the people and circumstances in my life then my being in control is my idol.
Addictions to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, work, and entertainment are expressions of control.
3. If we have a standard for how everything is to be done my way, then my standards become an idol.
I just want everyone to do things “right”, the way I do them.
Living for these idols causes us to replace God and become god.
It is all about getting acceptance, being in control, and setting standards for others.
We live for these things instead of living for God and His acceptance, allowing Him to be in control, and letting Him set the standards for us and others.
Are there idols in your life today?
Are you living for a spouse, child, or someone else’s acceptance?
Who or what are you trying to control?
Who are you judging because he/she is not living up to your standards?
Is it time for you to turn from these idols and serve and worship the only true and living God?
Is it time to let Him be God and stop trying to be god?
“Nothing so defiles and entangles the heart of man, as the impure love of things created.”
Thomas A Kempis – The Imitation of Christ
Today I was reading the Bible. I was in the letter that Paul wrote to the church at Colossae. I was struck by the verses 15 through 17 in the first chapter.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together. (NLT)
In Chuck Colson’s book “How Now Shall We Live”, co-authored by Nancy Pearcey they determines that there are three things any worldview must answer:
- Creation-Where did we come from, and who are we?
- Fall- What has gone wrong with this world?
- Redemption- What can we do to fix it?
Christianity is not only a religion but the basis for our worldview. Again in Chuck Colson’s book we read:
The term worldview may sound abstract or philosophical, a topic discussed by pipe smoking, tweed-jacketed professors in academic settings, But actually a person’s worldview is intensely practical. It is simply the sum total of our beliefs about the world, the ‘big picture’ that directs our daily decisions and action.
I agree with this assessment. Your life will look very different if you believe that we arrived on this planet simply by time and chance. On the other hand, if you believe you are the product of a loving Creator who has given purpose to your life, you will live an all together different life.
I believe that we are not wandering generalities with no direction but that we have been sent to planet earth with a plan and a God-given destiny that He wants us to fulfill. This plan begins with understanding that indeed you were created by God! That He wants to live productively through you! He also wants you to understand that, according to the scripture, you were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms139 :14) and again, according to scripture, He has a plan and purpose for your life – a plan with a future and hope (Jer. 29:11).
Let me conclude by asking again, “Do you believe what God says?” Or have you bought into the worldview so prevalent around you?