Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding Beauty in Humility

Psalm 149:4 - For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with victory.

When I first read this verse I was overwhelmed by the thought that God takes pleasure in me! He finds joy from my life as I seek to honor Him! That thought alone reminds me that He is the only one I should be concerned with impressing. It goes on to say that I will be made beautiful with success if I remain humble. That is my heart's desire - to remain effective and efficient to reach success in the areas God has called me to. I want to be made beautiful radiant of victory in Jesus.

Lord, help me to always stay humble. Rid me of any pride and cleanse my heart. May I be marked by my humility and submission to you. Thank you for taking pleasure in me. My heart is so encouraged to know that I delight you in the way I honor you. I love you more than words can say.

Monday, November 7, 2011

At Just the Right Time

Galatians 5:16, 6:9 - I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. ... And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap a great harvest if we do not lose heart.

Paul's advice to the Galatians is so timely. Lately I've been reflecting on the desires of my flesh, especially in the area of romantic relationships. I had a rather startling encounter at our graduate student boat cruise where a very forward and rude guy wouldn't take hints to leave me alone, which is unfortunate on a boat where there are very few places to hide before being found. Although it's actually quite laughable now, it made my sympathetic to the girls out there who put themselves in these situations by going to bars and end up settling for any guy who gives them a second glance.

More than anything it broke my heart for the girls who sell themselves short because they are conditioned to use their bodies to get the affection they were created to crave. They pretend they can be just as tough as guys and be physically intimate without forming any other connection, whether emotionally or mentally. Yet this is a lie from the pit of hell that has invaded our society and goes against the very way God designed us to live. God is the only one who can fulfill the desire for intimacy and affection that He created in us. This is something I've experienced so purely in my life. But it's easy to get discouraged and forget that Jesus is my ultimate lover. I tend to grow tired of doing what is right in this area of life. Yet experiences like these remind me that surrendering the pen to my love story is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Verse like this one remind me that at just the right time I will receive the blessing of earthly romance.

Lord thank you for caring about every detail of my life. I trust your perfect timing. Help me to see the purpose behind your timing in connection to my calling. Help me to be willing to wait even longer if it means that my life purpose in empowering young women to find their value in you is enhanced by my singleness. Give me the strength to continually walk in the Spirit. I love you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Distracted by the Details

Mark 8:21 - So He said to them, "How is it you do not understand?"

The disciples were blinded by their physical needs at times unable to see beyond the here and now. Jesus was trying to share a spiritual principle with them and they were caught up in the fact that they forgot to bring bread again. Jesus was trying to teach them not to worry about the little things, because God would provide, just as He did for the multitudes. God would take care of the details, if they would just walk in obedience and remain faithful to their calling. By surrendering the details to God, they would be free to see and understand the spiritual principles along the way.

I know this can be taken to extremes where we fail to plan or notice any details because we think God will take care of them. That's not what I think God is speaking to me right now. My tendency is to get caught planning every detail that I end up planning details that God never intended to happen, thus forfeiting His beautiful details that I failed to surrender control of. I never want to be distracted by details that I miss the very thing God's calling me to in that moment. I have a past tendency to do that and it can easily creep back into my life. I pray this time it would be different.

Lord, I surrender control of the details to you. Give me the discernment and strength to know how, where, and when to get involved. Correct me where I am wrong in stepping out of bounds. Please send a check in my spirit so I know if I'm trying to regain control of the details. I love you with all my heart and I want to honor you in every detail of my life.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Available at the Right Time

Mark 1:18 - They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

All of Jesus' disciples were in the midst of doing something when Jesus called them. They were all busy living their lives, not simply waiting for the next thing to happen. They weren't sitting around doing nothing so that they could be ready when God called them to do something. No, they weren't idle, instead they made themselves available when the time was right. They weren't too caught up in the dailyness of life that they couldn't pause for an interruption.

We don't always see things the way God does. We tend to see certain things as a waste of time when we could be doing something more significant. Yet it's out of the dailyness of life that Jesus calls us to even bigger things It's not a matter of waiting around for a big assignment but rather being available and open to interruption when a big assignment comes along. I tend to get impatient in the dailyness of life, so much so that I often try to step ahead of the Lord. I also don't like interruptions, which is why I try to do things on my own terms and time schedule. God has been teaching me to let go of these tendencies, yet sometimes they creep back in.

Lord, help me to keep my emotions in check and to never rush ahead of you, especially in direction I'm not even sure you're taking me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Heart is Overwhelmed

Proverbs 2:8 - For He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.

I love spending time in God's presence because I'm always reminded of His sweet faithfulness in my life. Today as I was driving home I was thinking about how wonderful it is to be in a season of singleness. I don't think I ever appreciated it as much as I do right now in this season of life. There have been many seasons where I've had my eyes set on a certain guy out of impatience for God to fulfill the desire for marriage He's placed in my heart. There have also been many seasons of downright bitterness when I would hold pity parties in honor of my singleness. I would feel so incredibly sorry for myself and so upset that God didn't give me any opportunities to experience the exciting world of dating. Thankfully, I never acted upon these feelings, but rather turned my frustration to the Lord, who always redirected my focus back to Him and what He called me to in that season.

I cannot begin to describe how challenging and frustrating those many long moments were. Yet God so faithfully protected me. He protected me from my own desires, to the point that I'm sure it hurt Him to see me in such a state of bitterness and rejection. He protected me from ever having to experience a broken heart. He never allowed me to go any further than basic friendship with a guy, even when I so desperately wanted more. I am so very grateful for His protection of my heart and my emotions. I used to be so concerned with one day getting married without any real experience with guys. Yet as I look back on my life these last 5 years, I see how perfectly the Lord has been preparing me for future marriage. He has given me so many wonderful guy friends that I've learned from without having to date any of them. He's taught me how to interact and deal with guys because of my experience serving in ministry with them. Honestly, I could not have even come close to dreaming up this perfect preparation for marriage. I am so grateful for God's protection in my life in the area of romance. And I am so content with where He has me right now. I have no concern or worry for my future marriage. God has been faithful so far, that I have no doubt He will continue to be faithful in the area of earthly romance. My heart is overwhelmed by His perfect love for me.

Thank you Lord for not fulfilling every desire when I desire it. Thank you for your protection of my heart. Continue to teach me to guard my heart and learn how to be friends with guys without any future expectation. Be with my future husband right this very moment and prepare our hearts for each other. Please open his eyes before you open mine, so that I can be pursued solely by him and not by my own desires. I surrender him to you and pray that my eyes be opened to him in your perfect way and time. I love you with all my heart.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sensitive to the Spirit

Acts 14:9 - This man heard Paul speaking, Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,"...

Paul was so sensitive to the heart of the Holy Spirit. During his sermon in Lystra, he saw this man sitting who had no strength in his feet, listening to the Gospel message. He saw that he had the faith to be healed because he believed in the power and grace of Jesus Christ. I want to be sensitive to the faith of those around me. I don't want to miss an opportunity where the Holy Spirit is working. That man's faith wasn't only for him, but also for all those around him. Lord give me the discernment of Paul. Help me to see you working and join you in it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Refreshing Rest

Luke 9:32 - Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus' glory and the two men standing with Him.

Jesus and his disciples had been together for a couple years now. Their ministry was thriving and the crowds who followed them continued to grow. Jesus knew the cross was ahead of him and he began speaking about it to his disciples, who didn't understand the urgency of it. They didn't realize how little time they had left with Jesus. Because of their thriving ministry, any moments away from the crowds were used to rest - even moments when Jesus brought them away to pray. They could hardly keep their eyes open.

I've been in times of intense yet wonderful ministry. I look forward to being alone and able to rest. Often if my rest was interrupted I would be caught of guard and like Peter I would most likely blurt out something without thinking. This is not to say that rest is bad. God mandates us to rest and refuel in His presence. Rather, I think my rest is not the right kind of rest. Often it is rest that distracts me and takes my mind off everything God is doing in my life, like winding down by watching TV. God longs to give me rest that not only restores my body by also restores my soul. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what I need and when I need it because He can see things that I cannot see. If Peter and the others had found their "rest" in the presence of Jesus, they would have gleaned so much more from the transfiguration they witnessed. Their bodies and their souls would have been restored.

Lord help me to find rest in your presence and not from the absence of it. Change my perspective of what rest looks like. Thank you for the rest you have blessed me with this week in each moment spent with dear friends. Refresh my soul and renew your ministry through me. I love you.