Questions Answered #2 WAITING

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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?
Answer:
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 3:12Not 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”

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Questions & Answers from Collegiate Students

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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.

PRAYER

 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. 

  • Pray she will obey the commands of Christ as a follower of Christ. Or that she will come to know Jesus Christ and give her life to Him by faith.
  •  Pray specifically that she will mature in her spiritual gift(s) from God as seen in Ephesians 4:7, 11-12 and I Corinthians 12:4-11 and in Romans 12:4-8
  • Pray for her to develop the nature & character traits in Proverbs 31

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.

Oh, Just Writing a Little Book…

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“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’

  Oh man – what a guy.Image

PASSION

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Passion –  Why was Jesus’s last week called the “Passion of Christ”?

According to the Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words-

Passion = “a suffering” or “a passive emotion,” is translated “passions” ; see AFFECTION

How can one word mean “a suffering”   “passive emotion” AND  “affection”?!   

In view of this, I came up with a definition:  “When your will has a strong desire for one thing so much, and the focus is so intense,  that tremendous personal sacrifice, surrender or risk is inevitable.”

     Look at this “passion week”  briefly in Luke 19

  • triumphal entrance to Jerusalem  – emotions are high and excitement is at its peak  (Exhiliration)
  • Jesus sees illegal activity in the church, clears the people out and overturns the money tables. (rage)
  • His authority is called into question by religious leaders (20:2) (Social rebuke)
  • Jesus rebukes the Jews with a parable (20:9-18)
  • Plot is organized to take Jesus’ life    (physical threat)
  • Last supper:  talk of blood and broken body  (warning of violent death)
  • Pleading prayer to avoid this pain, but a desire to do God’s will.  So much so that his sweat is blood droplets.   (anguish)
  • Betrayal  
  • Peter denies him, while he is being  questioned (rejection of a friend)
  • Guards mock and beat him  (physical harm and emotional bullying)
  • Witnesses are paid to lie about him in a court of law.  (hate)
  • Found guilty and crucified.  (death)

 LOTS of  “passion” being demonstrated here –

So who was the Messiah’s Passion directed toward?

  1.  His Father 

          and

 2.  YOU!

Everything the Father sent Him to passionately do and passionately experience was because of a passionate love for you.

So, maybe you CAN demonstrate all of the definitions in the Vine’s Dictionary –

God’s AFFECTION for us, was such that he would SUFFER all of these attacks and all of this pain in a PASSIVE way, in obedience to His Father’s will – so that we might be rescued, redeemed, saved from an eternity without Him.

          “God demonstrated his love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Today it causes me to consider….what are my passions directed toward?  What am I desiring so desperately and where am I so intensely focused that I am willing to risk losing elements of my life,  surrender things I own or sacrifice what I value – in order to obtain?

That’s all I have….


At the Mercy of our Minds 2

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#1 was REST

#2 is GOD’s MENU

Let it be known – THIS is an area that I have NOT mastered…just like the #1 issue of REST.  These are issues that I am developing in my life so that my MIND and BODY will go the distance He designed it to.

Doesn’t it make sense that The Creator of our bodies would Create food that would sustain those bodies in the most profound and healthy way?!  IT WORKS!  Until we perverted it: we stripped it of it’s nutrients, we buried it under processed flour, we drown it in oil, grease etc.  THEN we have taken the stripped, processed and colored products we created and put them all together for new products.

Seriously – it’s no wonder our bodies are reeking with every disease, disorder and dysfunction.  And our MINDS/BRAINS are the victims of this indulgence, this pleasure.

So what if we decided to eat ONLY what GOD produced, and however we decide to cut it, slice it, melt it, squeeze it or cook it etc. – it still kept its original content.

I tried it for 1 year…it felt like “home”.   I am headed back there now.

My MIND was clearer.   My heart and blood sugar levels – stabilized.  My vision improved so much I quit wearing my little Wal Mart “readers”.   WHY was I so surprised?!

GOD’s food, GOD’s rest and our OBEDIENCE works.

That’s all I have…

At the MERCY of our MINDS

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WHY are Christians experiencing so much depression?  Panic Attacks?  Anxiety?   Fatigue – mental, physical & spiritual?

This is a series of what God has been teaching me.  There is no way to write it all in one post – so, I am going to just write about one point at the time…

My first breakthrough principle was REST

1.  GOD said…commanded…that we take a WHOLE DAY to rest.  HE modeled  that for us – and i KNOW it wasn’t because He was tired after all the creation events over the other 6 days.

Genesis 2:1-3  “Therefore, the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.  By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

Exodus 16 – Teaches us that God’s desire for us to observe a Sabbath continued in his plan of providing MANNA for the Israelites – no manna would be given on the Sabbath.  But, a double portion on the 6th day.  THIS WAS A TEST – would they work to gather on the “rest” day?  He rebuked those who did…and observe this – the manna they gathered on Friday was sufficient!  It was enough, it was good and still fresh.

* So, not only was it modeled for us by Holy God, but reinforced for his people along their journey.  And this is all BEFORE the 10 Commandments were given.  This was just walking out what HE knew was best for us.  (Mark 2:27  “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.)

** What have we done with this?   W have surrendered this God-ordained principle to the ways and pressures of the world.   What would it take for us to re-claim ONE DAY, EVERY week,  that is set aside for nothing but rest.  Turn off T.V.’s, stop projects and….wait…wait….turn off cell phones!? for just 1 day.

Hebrews 4:8 -11  “For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”

The Biblical Illustration that I go to most often as confirmation of God’s design is when Elijah seemed depressed, fatigued, paranoid and hopeless –

I Kings 19     God gives Elijah SLEEP & Food – twice.  That is what God instructed him to do in this depressed state he was in.   THEN, God spoke to him and encouraged him that what he THOUGHT was the case (“It is only me that is doing your work, I am alone), was indeed not true.  There were 7,000 more, ready to do battle for the Lord.

WHAT do we do  now?  HOW do we re-claim what God clearly required of us?

Will we continue to pay the price of disobedience to this commandment with our minds.    What a tragic trade.

Keep your mind on His provision of manna…it will always be sufficient.

That’s all I have, right now.

Hookers and Haters

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I don’t like being Hated.

So after two mission trips recently, to London and Las Vegas, my heart cries out with questions to this people that we came to love –

“Why do you HATE Christianity so?!”

“Why do you HATE hearing about a Savior and Redeemer?!”

“What happened to you at church that has created this vitriolic hate for His church?”

I have had all kinds of responses in my life as I have shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ:  disinterest, not ready for that, don’t believe it’s true, maybe later, no, thank you, even a door or two shut in my face.    But, I have never encountered, in such mass,  the ‘in your face’, cursing God, Jesus and me.  Some even yelling or speaking with such force,  ‘I hate everything about Jesus, God and His church – and don’t even think about telling me what I am doing is sin and quit sending people to try to tell us how to live! ‘

Then I am reminded of the precious words of Jesus himself.   He lovingly drew His disciples in and gave them the “tough love” speech.   If we are His disciples, this speech is for us as well.

John 15:18  “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”  

vs 21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

So, why did it blind-side me in London?   Why was I not ready for it in Las Vegas?  Why have I not desperately needed to search for these truths before the last couple of years?!   I am broken at my mediocrity,  while another layer of dross is removed from my life.

But, wait – there is good news!

The hope is in this wonderful band of believers that God has raised up in these spiritually dark places.  His church is alive – Oh yes!  They are piercing darkness with the Light of the world!    I listened as ministers, laymen and students spoke of the prayers they have prayed for YEARS on behalf of their city and their hope endures and their faith is unfaltering!   I beg God to give me that kind of perseverance…I want THAT!     The kind of HOPE and FAITH that the believers had in Hebrews 11 – who were ALL given a promise, but, NONE of them saw it happen, and they stayed UNSHAKEABLE in their resolve to make God known.

In Las Vegas I  heard Annie Lobert, founder of Hookers for Jesus.  Thank you, Annie,  for loving girls that are trapped in sex trafficking and prostitution with the love of Christ.  Thank you for seeking them out to tell them of the transforming grace of God.  For breathing into their lives the Hope of Glory that you found in Christ Jesus when you were trapped in that lifestyle years ago.  May you be strengthened in God’s Word and hold fast to its principles, walk in its power and rest in its promise.   Don’t listen to the naysayers – especially if they are critical from the comfort of their offices.   Light can’t pierce darkness when it only stays where there is light.

That’s all I have…