Sunday, September 30, 2012

Your Maker Is Your Husband

Have you ever noticed that there are certain truths that just seem to resonate in your soul? It’s like you know instantly its true and it’s for you! Tonight we are going to talk about one of my favorites…

Isaiah 54:5: For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.

I learned the tender mercy of God as my Husband in my first marriage. Being unequally yoked, young, and naïve in so many ways, I quickly came to a crossroads. I knew that without immediate action, I would allow bitterness to consume me.

I had a friend serving as a missionary in the Philippines who used to write me the most edifying letters, and when she saw that I was starting to complain and grumble about my marriage she called me out. She told me straight up that my marriage was my cross and that I had to choose whether or not I wanted to be a disciple.

I prayed a lot and I cried a lot, but I knew I wanted Jesus, and if Jesus came with the cross I was willing to carry that cross because I could not make it on my own. God directed me to Isaiah 54 and I lived there for a little while.

When was the last time you read this chapter? I strongly encourage you to read through it today. Look carefully at His profession of devotion to you:
V  With great mercies I gathered you
V  With everlasting kindness I have mercy on you
V  I will not be angry with you
V  My kindness will NEVER depart
V  Nor will My peace be removed
V  I am your foundation
V  I make you steady and sure, with varied jewels
V  I am protecting you
V  I am teaching your children
V  In My righteousness you will be established
V  You will be far from oppression
V  No weapon formed against you will prosper
V  You will judge your accusers

Does that take your breath away? It should…and look at how it closes…

Isaiah 54:17: This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me," Says the LORD.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Love of God vs. Love of World

1 John 5:3:
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.
And His commandments are not burdensome.
James 4:4:
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
1 John 2:15-17:
Do not love the world or the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—
is not of the Father but is of the world. 
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it;
but he who does the will of God abides forever. 
Galatians 1:10:
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men?
For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Proverbs 18:24:
A man that has friends must show himself friendly:
and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Absolute Surrender

Psalm 139:19-22: Oh that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?  I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

Impenetrable Protection

God is your very Present Help in time of need, your Strong Tower, your Fortress and Refuge. Read Ephesians 1:17-23; Colossians 1:16-18, 2:14-15

Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Irresistible Call

Drawing us into His very embrace…can illicit only one response in us…. In love we relinquish all, lay it down for good in absolute surrender.

Ladies, I am talking about right now giving God His unhindered way in you.

This is a willful abandonment of self because we know the greatness of our Lord.  

It has to start here….

The greatest love of a man is his love for his friends (John 15:13); the greatest love of God is His love for His enemies (Romans 5:8-10); the highest Christian love is that a man will lay down his life for his Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ—“I have called you friends.” Our Lord here connects the highest human love with the highest Divine love, and the connection is in the disciple, not in our Lord. The emphasis is laid on the deliberate laying down of the life, not in one tragic crisis such as death, but in the grey face of actual facts illumined by no romance, obscured by the mist of the utterly commonplace—expending the life deliberately day by day because of my love for my Friend. This is the love that never fails, and it is neither human nor Divine love alone, but the at-one-ment of both being made manifest in the life of the disciple, The supreme moment of the Cross in actual history is but the concentrated essence of the very nature of the Divine love. God lays down His life for the very creation which men utilise for their own selfish ends. The Self-expenditure of the love of God exhibited in the life and death of our Lord becomes a bridge over the gulf of sin; whereby human love can be imbued by Divine love, the love that never fails ~ Oswald Chambers

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Life of Love

To Jesus, friendship is an expression of love - another way to demonstrate what cannot be defined.

He says we are to live a life of this love!

Matthew 22:37-40 tells us that love is what fulfills the law.

If we love God and we love each other we are in full compliance with Christ’s perfect law.

John 13:34-35 tells us that we would be living testimonies of Him by loving each other.

Romans 13:8 tells us that we are to owe no man anything except this love.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Draw Near To God

Song of Solomon 5:16: This is My Beloved and this is my Friend….

Friendship is a two way street. It requires reciprocity – a big word for give and take.

What is the Lord giving you right now?

What are you giving to Him?

Isaiah 45:3: I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

You see, precious sisters, even in this, your darkest hour, He has a treasure for you.

You are being perfected.

His love will very soon be shed abroad in your heart,
 transforming you into His likeness.

Commit that scripture to memory….
treasure will be brought forth from these dark hours you are going through.

There is hidden manna for you.

There is hope to be meted out when you need it most….

Run into His secret place….He is waiting for you.

James 4:8: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you….

Sunday, September 16, 2012

He Lays Down His Life

He lays down His life for us.

I see this same love, this deep bond of friendship everyday on the mission field. I live in a war zone. On March 2000 when a bomb was dropped over our compound I saw this scripture come to life. I ran to the foxholes only to find they were full. I was confused and afraid and started to panic. A split second before the bomb landed, a brother pushed me to the ground, saving my life because that bomb landed only 40 feet to my right.

My friend Ruth, heard the sound late… as she saw me running she thought, “I wonder if anyone told Rick?” With no thought for herself, she ran from her tent to his. As she opened the zippered door, sure enough he was seated at his desk oblivious to what was going on. As Ruth tried to explain the bomb exploded. God in His infinite mercy spared them both…for you see Ruth would not have made it to the fox hole in time, her course was on the direct path of the shrapnel – it sliced through her tent and furniture like a hot knife goes through butter. His tent was the only one shielded by a large tree that stopped an array of deadly bits of metal from reaching them.

Her willingness to lay down her life for a friend saved them both.

The men of the chaplaincy corps are devoted to Jesus, and as such, count their lives worth nothing if only they might finish their race with joy (Acts 20:24)

How much more does our God love us….protect us…provide for us?

Ladies, He is the most Faithful Friend!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A True Friend

John 15:14: Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

God created man to be His friend. If we are the friends of Jesus we have deliberately and carefully to lay down our life for Him. It is difficult, and thank God it is! When once the relationship of being the friends of Jesus is understood, we shall be called upon to exhibit to everyone we meet the love He has shown to us. Watch the kind of people God brings across your path, you will find it is His way of picturing to you the kind of person you have been to Him.—“You are My child, the friend of My Son, now exhibit to that ‘hedge-hoggy’ person the love I exhibited to you when you were like that towards Me; exhibit to that mean, selfish person exactly the love I showed you when you were mean and selfish.” We shall find ample room to eat “humble pie” all the days of our life. The thing that keeps us going is to recognize the humor of our heavenly Father in it all, and we shall meet the disagreeable person with a spiritual chuckle because we know what God is doing, He is giving us a mirror that we may see what we have been like towards Him; now we have the chance to prove ourselves His friends, and the other person will be amazed and say—“Why the more I poke her, the sweeter she gets!” and will tumble in where we tumbled in, into the grace of God. ~ Oswald Chambers
The God of the universe calls us friends….let that sink into your heart this afternoon.

God is a true friend.

V  Not afraid to tell you when you are making a mistake

V  Proverbs 27:6: Faithful are the wounds of a friend….

V  Interested in your holiness, not necessarily your happiness

V  Proverbs 27:17: Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

V  He loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17)

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.  Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Best Friends

God has designed us to crave company. We desire friends, just like Anne of Green Gables did.

Shannon is my best friend. We are very different in our expression but virtually indistinguishable in our passion.

Here is what I mean by that:

§  Shannon is an extrovert. She radiates and thrives in a crowd. Others are drawn to her because of the confidence, boldness, and beauty she exudes.
§  I am an introvert; I get lost in a crowd.
§  Shannon is a natural leader; she speaks with authority, is brimming with vision, and is decisive.
§  I am a worker; I have the privilege of coming behind and building the vision into a reality. I find all the critical paths, collect all the supplies, prepare the budgets, and give shape to her dreams.
§  We are an awesome team…
§  BUT both of us have spent long seasons in the fires of affliction. We have learned the same lessons at the feet of Jesus.
§  We both love Song of Solomon and share some life verses.
§  We can spend hours fellowshipping over a passage or praying together
§  Our consuming passion is Jesus. He is our all in all and makes two radically different people on the outside united in the heart – like two peas in a pod.

God delights to give your friendships like the one Shannon and I share. But first and foremost He wants to be your best friend!

John 15:10-21: If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.  If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Members of the Body

Wes used to always tell me he thinks I have the most beautiful hands in the world. As we courted he loved to hold my hands, to caress them, to study them, and to compliment me. It was very sweet!

But if my hand were severed from my body and given to him, he would be horrified! The beauty of my hands lies in their association to the rest of my body.

So too, God, in His tender mercy, has given us a place of significance and honor in the Body of Christ.

V  1 Corinthians 12:18: But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.

V  1 Corinthians 12:20-27: But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you;” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,  but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kindred Spirits

Do you have a best friend?  I can’t help but think of Anne of Green Gables and her quest for a bosom friend. She described her as a kindred spirit, a trusted confidant that would share in her triumphs and defeats, her joys and sorrows, her laughter and her tears, and would partake of her secrets and her proclamations.

Life was meant to be shared. God’s desire is for us to have friendships like this….first with Him and then with others. We are likened to a BODY, not a vehicle with individual parts that could easily stand alone and be of use, but a BODY.

We are an organism fully reliant on each of its unique and invaluable members.

V  Your hearts needs the lungs to provide oxygen so it can function and your blood vessels and arteries to carry out the work.

V  But it also needs your stomach, liver, and pancreas so it can get the nutrients necessary for survival!

Every member of the body is intertwined and dependent….God did that on purpose!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Secret Place

Proverbs 25:2, 14: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter…. The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.

Lest you think this doesn’t apply to you, the Scripture declares we are kings and priests for our God.
We are his Royal priesthood and will rule and reign with Him.

Revelation 5:10: And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

If you think I am over-spiritualizing and romanticizing the scriptures….
Jesus said this secret place was real too!

Matthew 6:6: But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Your shadow is that secret place where you and Jesus hang out together.

Take advantage of that;
He longs to hide away with you,
to refresh you
and to speak to you.
The question is: “Are you listening?”

Proverbs 3:32 His secret counsel is with the upright.

John 7:17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority

Deuteronomy 29:29: The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sweet Somethings....

Intimacy with your Maker ushers us into a deeper and richer relationship; one of intimate daily instruction. As we choose the better portion, the same one Mary chose, and sit at His feet, worshipping Him for who He is, receiving His love and grasping for ever deeper revelation; then Jesus pours Himself into us.

Not just once, not just for big things…but continually and for all things!

You see, my precious sisters, when Jesus is speaking to you, it is not “sweet nothings.” He is purposeful and intentional – so it is imperative that we come to a place of radical obedience. Obeying without question or hesitation, trusting that He knows what He is doing and is worthy of our complete and immediate submission. He is intricately weaving the scriptures together and showing us step by step how to follow after Him.

This intimate instruction is His great pleasure!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Heaven Of His Presence

Our entire being was created to partake of Christ, we are vessels designed to hold Him.
Trying to fill our lives with anything else is vanity!
We desperately need Jesus to permeate all five of our senses…
to saturate us with His love  and to transform our relationship
to one of intimate adoration so that our ears will be tuned in
to receive His intimate instructions.

This type of oneness and dependency is not popular.
Women fear it  - but sincerely, it is the most freeing way to live.
There is NOTHING to fear!

The more we yield to His love the more we can literally experience what Andrew Murray calls, “the heaven of His presence.

Just saying that makes my heart yearn for more time away with Jesus:
more walks on the beach,
more sunsets,
more candle light prayer vigils,
more worship under the starry African sky….
where do you meet with Him?

Protect that secret place, hallow it, and don’t let anything rob you of your time with Him.
We make date nights with our husbands and our best friends . . .
I think we should make date nights with Jesus too!

God’s love still beckons us to come away, to enjoy Him, to rest for awhile – will you come?
This not a day off or a break from life…it’s a new and living way of life.
This is exchanging old for new;
flesh for Spirit;
depression for expectation;
and my messed up life for His perfect life!

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain!