Just sign up through Goodreads at this link and look for the “5 Things” book give away!
Just sign up through Goodreads at this link and look for the “5 Things” book give away!
Each week, until the official “release date” of Nov. 11th, I am sharing an excerpt from my new book
“Boaz’s mother, Rahab, was a prostitute. Imagine that.
Right there in the lineage of Christ is a woman that no one
would expect to be there. Would anyone believe that a man
like Boaz, who the bible teaches in the book of Ruth, loved so
purely and was such a respected man in the community—and
yes, a man who loved the Lord God so faithfully—would be
the son of a prostitute?
The fact that Boaz’s mother, Rahab, was a prostitute
points us to God’s grace, mercy, and unconditional love
already. What a glorious message of hope for guys and girls
everywhere. No matter the upbringing or lack of instruction
in spiritual things, even to the point of your home life being
the exact opposite of what God desires it to be, God can and
will redeem it when you put your faith in Him. When Rahab
trusted the God of Israel in the book of Joshua, Chapter 2,
God turned her whole life around. From a life in the sex
industry to finding herself in the lineage of Jesus Christ is
such a beautiful picture of the way God works. His redeeming
love makes old things in your life pass away, and all things in
your life become new.
One of the main reasons I have used the disciplines found
in the life of Boaz is that Boaz was a one-woman man. He
loved Ruth like every woman wants and needs to be loved.
This is a man that foreshadowed Jesus, the one who was to
come. He loved Ruth the way Jesus would love us. These are
disciplines that every girl needs to know so she can watch for
them and wait for them to be demonstrated in a guy’s life.”
Men of God, I am a fan. God created men to be the head of the household and I am so thankful for that plan. God has designed men in His image and can equip him with all that he needs to fulfill this role. Guys are designed to be more than the sum of a survey. However, he has been
so dumbed down through media, music and even some faith based relationship experts that he just might trip over the proverbial bar that has been set at about his knees. If one more person says that inappropriate, unethical, lustful, rude, thoughtless, ungodly behavior in men should be understood,
I am going to scream. Furthermore, if the suggested response to these bad behaviors is that the girlfriend should change something to accommodate his behavior because he is “hardwired” like that,then we need to flip on the switch of the Light of the World in order to expose the ridiculousness and foolishness of this claim. There are legions of people who want to fight for every guy to be strong and faithful. Girls need to see guys stand firm and be strong in spirit and character so that one day he will take his place as the head of the household and on the front lines of protecting his family.
There are guys who can, and will, count the cost for building the tower and find that he does have what it takes to finish the construction of it and there are legions of girls who will cheer for them throughout the entire construction process. The truth is everyone is “hard-wired” for bad behavior. It’s
called sin. Romans 3:23 says everyone has missed the mark that God intended for people. He also teaches that the way people used to think and be motivated must be offered as a sacrifice to him, so that your new desires and motivations are controlled by the Spirit of God. You need to surrender to this
plan of God in every area of your life.
This “hard-wired” excuse runs pretty thin. If guys are lusting after girls, it does not mean his girlfriend should start dressing cuter, lose some weight, or workout more so he won’t be tempted to lust. A guy is solely responsible for his choices. Every individual is responsible for their choices. If lust has taken him captive, then he must repent and stop lusting. God says, “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” Matthew 5:28 (nasb). So, by the mercies of God,don’t buy into this spineless philosophy that it is his girlfriend who needs to adjust when he has been caught in sin. Reject the lies that her expectations are too high when she wants faithfulness and integrity in his life.Rebuke the lies that a guy’s bad-boy, “hard-wired” behavior should be tolerated and understood.
If a guy is a born-again Christian, his behavior is weighed and measured by the plumb line of God’s word alone, not a result of anyone else’s survey, opinions or cultural norms. There are guys who don’t want God to find them lacking in the spiritual maturity it takes to build a healthy relationship into a lifetime marriage. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to live out God’s commands on your life. Call me crazy, but I think guys and girls want that. God placed within everyone, at creation, the need to be like him because everyone was created in his image. Both have specific needs, and how gracious and
perfect is God to also create within them the ability to meet those needs for each other.
Last week I decided to mow the lawn. It really is one of my favorite outdoor, work-related tasks. Especially, since it is a riding mower and not the push kind I grew up using – even though I preferred that chore over all of the other options Dad would assign my sisters and me. Mowing is a wonderful time to have mental recaps of your day, your week, or your life and assess what you need to start doing, stop doing or continue to do. Seriously, there have been many a worship service in my spirit while riding that lawn mower. Clearly for me – mowing takes on a grander purpose than getting the grass shorter.
This particular day brought amusing memories of my past “incidents” while mowing, as well as realizing some not-so-good habits I have developed when I mow. The Lord brought a spiritual parallel to my mind with each one I meditated on. I decided to take pictures so you could see what I am talking about – and if you relate at all to the spiritual implications.
Years ago I observed a challenge to mow between the trees so I could keep my line straight. I thought briefly about whether or not my mower would fit, but just decided to plow on through because getting off and measuring whether or not it would work was just going to take too much time – and I was in a hurry to finish. The mower came to an abrupt stop as it wedged between the two trees. Motor running, but can’t get anywhere. Had to turn the motor off and go get Ricky, my rescuer, to un-wedge it so i could finish.
We have lots of trees in our yard, so limbs are always falling in the yard after bad weather etc.. Every now and then, when I mow, I will stop the mower and get off in order to move the big limbs. It is SO inconvenient when you have to do that! My usual considerations are:
a. Can I just mow OVER it? This choice has resulted in massive sounds of struggle under the blade cover and dodging things that blow out afterwards. I tend to believe our mower can crunch up more than it actually can. Therefore, the need for belt replacements in the middle of my project have been often. Ricky, my rescuer, now stocks belts so he can replace them when needed.
b. Oh, I better go AROUND this one. Too lazy to get off and move it, my decision to just go around it leaves the yard unfinished and unkept – being that big ole limbs are still cluttering the yard. But, I just don’t have time for that!
Unbeknownst to me – there was a place in the sidewalk in our backyard that was quite a bit raised because the grass and dirt had sunk a bit. I was just going a little too fast to notice, so when the blade cover “encountered” this portion of the sidewalk it nearly threw me over the front of the mower. I held on tight and long enough to look back and see if any of the mower parts were on the ground behind me. Kept on mowing.
That time when I decided to ride the mower UNDER the big double wide, woven hammock because it was a shorter route AND it looked like it might be fun. The gear shift of the mower grabbed one of those ropes and brought my mower straight up in a standing position! My back was on the ground and i was looking up at the front of the mower above me. I started yelling for help, but the motor was still running and no one could hear me. Finally, I turned off the mower blade, rolled over to get off of the mower and went in to get Ricky, my rescuer. He turned off the motor and righted it to its intended position and made sure I was alright.
Well – because God used a day of mowing to teach me about myself – I have been served papers from heaven. They are not comfortable to read, but doing business with God is ALWAYS good.
What about you?
I suppose when any element of your life is causing stress, angst or certainly unrest, you should try to re-group, re-evaluate or remove it from your life – if that is an option. Facebook has, apparently, been that to some. But, in these moments of deep reflection prompted by recent events in friends’ lives, I would like to say “Thank You!” to Facebook for allowing me to share in the joys and heartaches of people I know and love. Maybe College Ministry provokes a love and appreciation for the status updates, pictures and group messages. But, anyway, just wanted to share a little bit of my thanks.
Thank you for giving me a venue to:
* Know a young man is having surgery at this very moment so I can fast & pray for him.
* Hear about another young friend whose mom just died, so I can write her and tell her I love her and am so sorry she lost her mom.
* See when babies are born, and what they look like and how they are loved on and cared for by so many people. It restores hope and joy to this heart of mine.
* Watch love bloom between a guy and a girl and see their AMAZING moment of proposal and acceptance and remember when I met them while they were in college and didn’t even like each other. 🙂
* See pictures of beautiful weddings that show so much creativity and sacrifice by those who want that day to be the best day ever. And those smiles….priceless!
* Celebrate when friends of mine, or their children or their grandchildren get saved and baptized! I love the pictures AND the videos.
* Cheer right here in my chair for those who are displaying talents and skills and achieving goals that they had set for themselves. And even if they didn’t win, make it, get in or even come close – I loved watching them try to do something that was extraordinary.
* Keep up with all of my immediate family and extended family. I love them so much and I feel like it hasn’t been so long since I saw them, even though it has been a very long time and some of them live a very long way from me.
* Hear how God is at work in peoples lives and read their posts that have scriptures that are encouraging and correcting and even rebuking. But, that’s what God says His word will do.
* Be aware when someone needs encouragement or help or food brought to them or a ride somewhere. Though, I have dropped the ball so many times in meeting those needs when I could have – how nice that someone met those needs. Hope to be like them when I grow up.
* Laugh out Loud when friends post funny conversations, videos of mishaps and mess ups and just feel a full face smile when they have “Throw Back Thursday” pictures, even when I have no idea who the other people are. I know one person – and that makes it really fun.
There are so many other reasons that I enjoy Facebook – as cheesy as it sounds – but, I will just enjoy these reasons for a little while. Because, clearly, I am a creeper.
#1 ‘What does a woman who has been hurt in the past by men do? If it’s almost impossible for her to trust a man to lead her? Even Godly men can and have failed her.”
Answer: The first response that came to my mind regarding what you should do after being hurt is to forgive. While that may not be the answer she wanted to hear, Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.” clearly commands that we must forgive, if we want to be forgiven.
The other thought that comes to my mind & heart is how huge the price we pay for sin. See – she feels it is impossible to trust a man to lead her, which entangles her in the web of the enemies lies. The enemy knows that the design of God for marriage is that the husband is the leader, so it is tempting her to sin by not wanting trust him to lead. So, when Godly men sin, when they have “failed” to live up to the standard of holiness and integrity that he is called to do, it causes someone to stumble. And scripture has a pretty strong word about that. “Jesus said to his disciples, Offenses will surely come, but woe to the one they come through!“
You keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Learn about His character and the way He teaches you to love and what that looks like. Start with the whole chapter of 1st Corinthians 13. Pray for healing, then walk in the freedom that the Holy Spirit brings. Don’t listen to the whispers of the enemy trying to keep you bound to a hopeless future. Live out your life with purpose and intention to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others, love people and learn how to be friends with guys in your life. God has raised up some great men of God and they want to be like Him and the want to love like Him. Wait for one of those while you are serving Jesus.
#2 I am incapable of giving a guy my heart because even the most awesome guy I have dated has cheated on me, etc. How will I be able to love someone if God put him into my life? (Because I am now cold-hearted towards men)
Answer: It is devastating when trust is broken. (See answer above regarding sin and consequences) But, that deep wound is not too complex for an omnipotent God. He is the restorer of all things. He restores beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3), he also renews your mind, when you offer Him your life as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:2) – so the “cold-hearted” feeling you have, as well as feeling “incapable” of loving again is just not true in God’s design of things. In Ezekiel 37 we see a valley of dry bones which represents the lost hope of God’s people. However, God tells Ezekiel that when he speaks Gods Truth to them, that they will be restored to life and recognize that He is God. Sure enough, when Ezekiel speaks to the bones their breath and skin and muscles are all restored and it says they stood up as a mighty army! This can be you, precious friend. You are not destined to stay in the valley with a hopeless, incapable ability to love a man and have an enduring marriage. Listen to the Truth and walk in it – even if you don’t feel it. Walk in the knowledge that God is faithful and He will always keep His promises.
#3 How do you go about speaking about past relationships with your significant other?
Answer: Very carefully. If you have asked the Lord to forgive you, then you are waking in the purity that His sacrificial blood was spilled for. So, it not for forgiveness or to be redeemed that you would share any of the issues of your past. However, I feel that any issues that could have a direct impact on the future of your relationship, especially a marriage – should be shared with the discretion that the Holy Spirit allows. For example – if you have had multiple sexual partners, or engaged in any behaviors like sharing drugs and needles and any other narcotic that could impact your health in the future. These should be shared while you are still at the friend level in order to give grace to the one listening. It allows them to determine if these issues of your past are “deal breakers” for them or if they can pursue you with peace and joy at how God has set you free from those issues. James 5:16 says to “Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” Listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His prompting about when and how much should be shared. He is always right.
#4 Being a Christian who has messed up in regards to purity how do you come back from that?
Answer: By the power of an almighty God that has shed His redemptive blood for you enables you to “come back” from that and anything else that you have done that falls short of God’s glory. “For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.” (Hebrews 9:22) I hope that you will find more help in the answers already given. Should you have something that is unresolved, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Next week: Physical intimacy
Isaiah 40:28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Emphasis is mine)
1. How to wait for the person God has for you?
Answer: I know what you are asking, but my answer is going to “re-direct” you. The way “wait” for the person, is to wait for God. Think of a “waiter” in a restaurant. Why are they called that? My thoughts are because they are “waiting” for whatever it is you need them to do for you. They come when you need them, they replenish, refill and try to do everything they can to meet your needs while there. I think this is a beautiful illustration of what we do when we are “waiting” on God to do or respond to our petitions & the desires of our heart. You SERVE him – that’s how you “wait”.
It’s not an idle wait – it’s an active, hopeful, energetic wait. So my encouragement to you is to focus your “waiting” on the one who knows everything you need & hope for. Be about His business and obeying His call on your life. THAT is when waiting gets really fun.
2. What are some good ways to be patient when waiting?
a. Drink in all the truths of Gods word – memorize the principles, stories, verses that will equip you to live a Godly life – one ready for any occasion to give a reason for the hope that is in you. Missions & Ministry!
b. Study the characteristics of a Godly man or woman that scripture teaches & that we learned about in this “True Love” series and practice them all the time. You do not have to wait for marriage to be a great man or woman of God. BE that now.
c. Love people – just give your life away.
3. How would I go about waiting on a girl who may not exhibit some of these traits? (These were discussed in the Bible study session)
Answer: I am hearing you say you want to wait on a girl that does not exhibit all of the Biblical traits and disciplines a wife/woman should have. If this is a correct understanding – I am thankful you are waiting. Refer to my previous answer in #1 about HOW to wait. But, included in your “waiting” for God, should be to pray for the girl to mature and be strengthened in her walk with Christ. Remember – no man or girl is going to be perfectly mature in all aspects of their disciplines. What you
want to see is a life lived out in pursuit of these. She is faithfully keeping her eyes on Jesus and fighting through her weaker areas in order to have them refined by Gods workmanship.
Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, But I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”
4. How can I be sure a man’s heart is truly in pursuit of my heart? I want to wait on the man whom God has saved for me, but how can I be sure I’m not missing out on the right man?
Answer: Your only assurance is to observe the fruit of the Spirit in his life and look for the Biblical disciplines we talked about in our study of Boaz & Jesus. Watch for these & see if they are exercised authentically & continuously, not just toward you, but toward all people. Marrying someone always involves a measure of faith. NOT blind faith, but a faith in what you see in his life now & will have to trust that will be what
you see 14 years from now.
Now regarding “the man God has saved for me” & not “missing out on the right man” – there is some conflict built in here. If God has indeed saved someone in particular for you, He is faithful – He would not relinquish His selection for you, and therefore, your fear of missing out on him is unfounded. However, my encouragement to you is that you be diligent, prayerful & watchful for a man that God would send into your life. See that he is living out the disciplines of a man following after God’s heart. At the same time YOU need to be developing your faith walk as well. Don’t let fear entrap you –
Psalm 27:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
This passage is in the middle of a chapter about God’s provisions when dealing with an enemy. But, the principle is a truth of His character and a promise to us. So “delight” in Him and the desires of your heart may just begin to look like His.
Next week – “The One”
I recently taught a 3 part series at our La Tech BCM on the subject of “Loving”. During the 1st Session I gave the students an opportunity to write down questions that they wanted to have answered about relationships/loving/or anything they wanted to know about. These next few posts will be my attempt at answering those questions.
1. Is it appropriate to pray together when you are still dating? Does it develop a spiritual intimacy that should be reserved for marriage?
Answer: Prayer will develop an intimacy with God. Praying together gets messed up only if it is made to be a part of your “dating package” requirements. Prayer, in its purest form, is like breathing – it is a moment by moment conversation with your Savior. Scripture teaches us to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus prayed everyday, alone (Mark 1:35), with others (Matthew 19:13), and for others (John 17:6-26). So, it seems to me, that when you are dating someone or not, you pray together because you pray already.
2. Why do you think we should pray with a boyfriend/girlfriend? Or is that meant for marriage?
Answer: See previous answer to Question #1. I am curious as to where this philosophy of “prayer only being meant for marriage” comes from? There is no Biblical precedent that I know of for this being an issue for marriage only. We need each other to be praying for each other! I think the mistake here, is making “praying together” a checked item for dating, like it is a spiritual standard of behavior for a special relationship. You don’t have to pray with each other at all – there is no command of scripture for you to pray with your girlfriend, fiance’ or wife, but, there is a command (and examples) that you should PRAY – all the time, anytime, for people, for yourself, in your closet, with a few, for a lot, with boldness, with humility, & in Jesus’ name. This should keep your prayer life vibrant and active, organic and constant.
3. How can I make my prayer life better when praying for my future spouse & the men that are friends in my life? Is there scripture to support specifically what needs prayer?
Answer: Jesus gave us an example of how we should pray in Matthew 6:5-13 Examine those elements & make them a part of your specific prayer time. You also have been given a huge measure of grace in approaching the throne of God to ask & receive in Hebrews 4:14-16
On a more “can I ask for a specific thing regarding a wife/husband” – there is an example of that in the passage I referred to in our recent Bible study about Abraham’s worker that was commissioned to go find a wife for Isaac (Abraham’s son). Brother ‘Abe’ gave some general directives about who to look for and where etc., but the worker then asked God for some VERY specifics regarding his mission. Read in Genesis 24:12-14
** I am not suggesting that you do it this way, but I am just pointing out that it has worked in some cases. 🙂
4. What is one way to pray for a woman? How?
Answer: Pray the scripture.
Stay tuned for your next set of questions… “Waiting: How long, How etc.?”, “The One”, “Getting Over Past Hurts” and so many more great questions.
“When a Man Loves A Woman”, “A Man Worth Waiting For”, “The Man You Want to Marry”, “The Man SHE Wants to Marry”, “5 Disciplines Every Man Should Have – And, Every Woman Should Wait For”…..
All of these “titles” have been ones I have used in teaching this series over the last 7 or 8 years. I have no idea, right now, what the final title will be – but, what I DO KNOW is what I want to say in the content…it’s what God has given me through His Word.
Having listened to, participated in and heard about so many different marriage/relationship “things”, I have found some of the advice shallow, short-sighted and just a bunch of psycho-babble. Particularly regarding the expectations of the men/husbands/boyfriends AND what the women should do/can do/ought to do in response to these expectations.
GOD’S WORD is so clear and so powerful and so equipping and so enabling and so living – that I decided to go there to find what is REALLY expected of God’s men. Just pure principals & precepts from their designer. Motivated by this – I am in College Ministry so I felt it imperative to lead, teach and equip the young men coming through our ministry what is REALLY required of them. The “bar” has been raised by the God of the universe and NO ONE can enable this kind of life except through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So – I write. I won’t just teach it anymore, but i will have it to hand out for any that might want it. Maybe help some other great, wonderful young man – or a confused and “about to give up knowing what to do” husband of many years.
The power is in His Word…and the life of Boaz – the “kinsman-redeemer’