Month: October 2008

Go Get Engaged…….

Engagement, it is an event most girls dream of. A life altering moment in time when a man pledges his love, faithfulness, and life to the one he has asked to become his wife. This arrangement signifies an amazing transformation in the lives and relationship of the couple who seal the exclusive pledge between themselves through the giving and receiving of a ring. In an instant, a young woman’s status changes from single to unavailable as she is thrust into a flurry of preparation for the day her promise becomes reality and she joins heart, soul, and body with the man she loves. While the change in status from single to engaged can take mere minutes, the process of “engagement” starts long before the question is “popped” and the ring is placed onto the finger of the “Bride-to-be.”

As I think about engagement, one thing that stands out is the process two people go through to get to the point where they are willing to “forsake all others.” When a woman proudly takes up the title of “Engaged”, bestowing upon her lover exclusive future rights to every aspect of her life, she become both a servant to and master of the other. As I approached my 28th birthday, very single and very much alone, I would have given all I had to taste the joy and wonder of a love as compelling as this. If you are a young lady and find yourself in the same shoes I did at 27, I want to encourage you with the challenge to “Engage your heart” in the one and only place where you will experience the love, joy, and peace you soul truly seeks and desires. Marriage might be right around the corner for you, or it may be years away, but regardless of the “when”, “right now” there is one seeking to woe your heart and your affections.

Jeremiah 30:21b says,
“I will cause him to draw near,
and he shall approach unit me;
for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me?
Saith the Lord.
And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
I want to draw your attention to the initiator of this amazingly divine and sacred dance between the God of heaven and the one he passionately loves and pursues, you! Lord states “I will cause him to draw near.” Do you feel unlovely, alone, worthless? Stop and quiet your heart and listen! In the stillness of your aching and troubled heart, do you hear his voice? Can you feel him pursuing you driven by a passion deeper than any ocean, unfathomable, unmeasurable? He is there whispering your name. Don’t let the world’s perception of love and your desire to find earthly love drowned out the voice of one who seeks your love, affection, and devotion.
How does the Lord cause us to draw near? By revealing the source of the aching void in our heart and soul, quenchable only through his pure and holy love. He reveals this void and need through testings and trials which burn away the dross leaving very little for us to hang on to or glory in. Stripped bare and exposed by our weaknesses, with little to glory in or become proud of we become acutely mindful of our desperate need for a love relationship with him.
As you travel the path the Lord has called you to, realize that the trials and difficulties you face as a single woman are one of many ways the Lord will reveal his love and power, compelling you to draw near to him. He desires to, and is at work bringing you to a place where you not only recognize your need to “engage your heart to him”, but are also filled with a driving desire and passion to seek, find, and experience the transforming and fulfilling wonder of the love of Jesus Christ in your life.
In the next few weeks I want to focus on “engaging our hearts to draw near to God”, and how exactly God seeks to capture and win our affection and what our responses should be to our suitor, the God of Heaven.
Please read Jeremiah 30:21b and look for other verses regarding the Lord as a lover pursuing us.
I would like to leave you with a thought and some questions:
*Would you pledge your life to a man you did not know or would you inter into a relationship with someone you knew nothing about?
*Do you truly know and understand who the Lord is?
*Is he a familiar friend or a distant stranger?
*What do you know/understand of His name and nature?
*If you are finding your relationship with him distant and strained, and if so,is it because you do not truly know or understand him?
This might date me, but imagine you were on “The Married Couple”, a popular TV game show where couples are asked questions about their significant other and then given points based on their answers which reveal how well they know each other. If it was you and God on that show together, how well would you do? Would your answers be correct? Would they be lifeless and canned, based on what you read or what your pastor or parents taught you about God? Could you give answers gleaned from personal experience and an active relationship with Him? Would your answers be uttered with the love and devotion of one who had a true understanding of who your God was?
Where is your heart right now? Who has your heart?
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Presuming upon the Future……

Presuming upon the Future

In his book Seeking the Face of God, Gary Thomas recounts the story of William Nelson, a general serving in the Union Army during the Civil war. As he reposed in comfort, in a place seemingly safe and sheltered from the dangers of battle, this man found himself facing the reality of death, when an errant bullet entered into his his body draining in mere minutes the days, years, and a future life which up to that point he had presumed upon. In that moment, Thomas asks that we ponder the one final and desperate plea this man made when he realized his life was seconds away from ending, “Send for the clergy man; I wish to be baptized.” Caught unexpectedly at the gate of eternity, this man realized he had but a few precious seconds to accomplish all that mattered most in his life, and at that moment, everything took a back seat to preparing his heart to meet his maker.

In Psalm 90:12, A chapter in my Bible titled “A prayer of Moses, the man of God”, Moses implores “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” , and in James 4:14 James warns “Whereas ye know not what be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth way.” The truth about life is that in lite of eternity, our days on earth are limited and few, but even more important, their number is not guaranteed. Death isn’t a respecter of persons coming only for those who accomplished their fair share of success, wealth, purpose, or happiness, It snatches the old and the young, the “important” and the “insignificant”, the weak and the strong, The only restraint death knows comes from the hand of God and as scriptures says “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Heb 9:27 only God knows the day and hour.

As I read “Seeking the Face of God”, I was struck by the truth that often times we presume upon our future supposing we have years and even decades yet at our disposal and we live our life accordingly. Our priority’s are flipped upside down and we squander the day we live in assuming we have tomorrow in which to make it right. Thomas points out that “It is the only the denial of death that allows us to continue rebelling against God. It is only because we are presuming on some future time to set things right that we ever consider letting them go wrong.”

With balance and truth, we must consider this thought. As it is irresponsible of us to not allow the reality of our future and promised eternity to influence the present day in which we live, it would be just as irresponsible of us to stop providing for our family, caring for our body, paying bills, going to work……. thinking “what’s the use tomorrow I may die.” We have to place our dutys and responsibilities, our physical/worldly callings, as well as our spiritual calling in light of the fact that today may be our last opportunity to get “it” done, to do “it” right.

As a twenty seven year old single woman, I wish I had come across this truth. I have to confess that as I fought to trust the Lord, my focus was on a future I both longed for and feared. By this I mean I focused upon something I desired, expected, and presumed (most days) I would eventually get- Marriage. At the same time however, I was immobilized by a fear that kept me from gleaning all I could from each day the Lord gave me, fearing that one wrong choice or action would close that door of marriage forever. I was focusing on the future, but not far enough into the future and not upon a truth or calling capable of motivating, fulfilling, empowering, or convicting me like I needed. I had no idea if marriage was indeed a calling the Lord was going to grant me, but there was another calling he had given “Be ye holy, even as I am Holy” I Pet 1:16

If you are a woman, who like me looks(looked) for guidance and direction as you travel the uncertain road of singleness (or insert whatever season you are in) wondering if you are headed in the right direction, adequately preparing for what lies ahead, let me encourage you to take stock of where you have allowed your gaze to linger and fall upon. If your gaze is where it should be, upon “Eternity”, and reaching the place where you are prepared to meet Christ without any regrets or shame, all else will fall in line. If every decision, opportunity, fear, failure & triumph is viewed in the context of the death of my flesh and my transformation into the presence of Christ I can be confident I will respond, recover, and wisely make the right decisions. If I dare to ask moment by moment whether what I am doing prepares me spiritually to meet Christ or instead diminishes my impact for Christ and impoverishes my spiritual calling, then I will find the wisdom to make the right decisions and motivation to do what is not only best for me, but for others, and for Christ..

Our eminent death can empower us with great motivation and resolve or we can ignore the truth of the uncertainty of life, and find ourselves utterly shocked and filled with regret and shame when one day soon we realize heaven looms just minutes or seconds away.
Matthew 6:34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Learn to shed the cares, concerns, worries, and trifles that do nothing to usher you closer to the presence of God and the finish line he has appointed for you to cross. Ask for wisdom to discern between “the Needful” Luke 10:42 which can not be taken from you, and the trivial and hollow distractions that will blind you from seeking and finding the face of God where you can bask in the peace and power of his presence.
Phillippians 3:10
That I may know Him,
And the power of His resurrection,
And the fellowship of His Sufferings,
Being made conformable unto His death.


References:
SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD by Gary Thomas (Harvest House Publishers 1999)
Scripture quotations were taken from the KJV Bible

Watered any camels Lately?

I thought I would begin my first post by explaining where the phrase “Just water the Camels” came from. This challenge, by my mother, to become a keeper of camels was one of the turning points in my life as I struggled with the various trials common to young and older women alike who desire to be married, but also desire God’s best in their lives. Questions like: Why am I still single? What do I do with my emotions and desires? What am I supposed do do with my life right now, prepare as if I will get married, or assume I will not and just move on?…….

For today, here is my story of how I assumed the role and position of Keeper of Camels.

At the age of 23, my mother asked me to accept the challenge a woman thousands of years before me had fulfilled, and to pour my life into doing it with all my heart and strength. The woman was Rebecca, and my mom’s charge, taken from her life, revolutionized how I viewed my single status and the future ahead of me. Mom read the story of Isaac and Rebecca in Genesis 24, pointing out that Rebecca was preforming the mundane task of watering her father’s camels when her life was changed by a single decision and an act of humility and love. On that day her actions and the charachter that drove her to offer assistance to the stranger changed the course of her future.
The day Rebecca headed to the well to fetch water for her family, I am guessing she never entertained the possibility she was going down to meet the servant of her future husband, yet this is exactly what happened. By choosing to be a servant and by offering water to the stranger and to all his camels, Rebecca unknowingly became the fulfillment of a prayer uttered by another who was looking indeed looking for a spouse. She left with a bucket to fetch water and returned with jewelry on her wrist and future bride of a powerful and famous man in Biblical history.
After reading the story, my mom handed me a figurine of a camel, and challenged me to just “Water my camels.” By this she meant, to faithfully preform the daily tasks and jobs the Lord asked of me each day, believing and trusting that in His perfect will and timing, my Isaac would come.

I want to pass along the same challenge to you, asking you to discover and accept the “Camels” the Lord has entrusted into your hands today. Accepting the job of caring for and keeping them until the day the Lord takes them from your hands and gives you another position.