April 28, 2017

Be Exalted

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I stand in awe of who You are
You have overwhelmed my heart
once again
My all in all, my everything
With abandon I have come
to meet You here

Be exalted
Be exalted
In my life above all else
Be lifted up

My eyes have seen
Your majesty
Filled with wonder
Now my soul must sing

There is only one true God
Who is holy
You are holy 

 

 Singer / Songwriter: Ben Cantelon (along with Mia Fieldes, Jason Ingram)

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Throughout the Bible, there are many, many, many records of those who truly exalted God in their hearts and with their words of praise and through their actions!

A few who quickly come to my mind are,

  • Jesus
  • David
  • Esther
  • Moses
  • Job
  • Paul

But one example that I just love is Mary, the mother of our Lord.  Oh, what a heart she had!  She is a great standard for having the right type of heart and life. Mary was so very humble!  (Check out Luke 1:38.)  Her pure and praise-filled heart for her God is shown in many ways.  One illustration is found recorded in Luke chapter 1.  Upon hearing her cousin Elizabeth confirm what the Angel Gabriel had told to Mary, she was filled with praise! Listen to these words of hers…

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.
He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
Luke 1:46-50

And she continues in her praise to exalt her God, the Almighty One.  But what does it mean to ‘exalt’ God?  One reference I checked, defines exalt as

EXALT‘, v.t. egzolt’. Low L. exalto; ex and altus, high.

  1. To raise high; to elevate.
  2. To elevate in power, wealth, rank or dignity; as, to exalt one to a throne, to the chief magistracy, to a bishopric.
  3. To elevate with joy or confidence; as, to be exalted with success or victory. We now use elate.
  4. To raise with pride; to make undue pretensions to power, rank or estimation; to elevate too high or above others.
  5. To elevate in estimation and praise; to magnify; to praise; to extol.

We can see through these definitions and practical usages of the word exalt that clearly it is to ‘raise…elevate…magnify…praise…extol.’  And it is easy to see how and why our God is THE One to be exalted!  As Ben Cantelon sings, ‘You alone and no one else, be lifted up!’

The following psalm suggests another important perspective to exalt that includes our own bowing down.

The Lord is king!
Let the nations tremble!
He sits on His throne between the cherubim.
Let the whole earth quake!
The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem,
exalted above all the nations.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name.
Your name is holy!
Mighty King, lover of justice,
You have established fairness.
You have acted with justice
and righteousness throughout Israel.
Exalt the Lord our God!
Bow low before His feet, for He is holy!
Psalms 99:1-5

Notice in verse 5 the difference between the two exclamations made: “Exalt the LORD our God!” is given in comparison to “Bow low before His feet.”  In studying this verse and looking at the Hebrew words used, I read that the word translated as “bow low” is one of the basic Hebrew words for worship.  Literally it means “to bow low” or “to prostrate” oneself before and worshipping a sovereign, a king.

Wouldn’t you say this could apply to how we can exalt God, figuratively, by not only by raising our voices in praise to Him, but also by humbly bowing low before Him in worship.  Truly,  at times, we are literally bowing before God as a response to His incredible and awesome greatness!  This physical act can help our hearts to humbly bow before Him.  But whether we kneel or are prostrate on our faces before God or not, we can exalt Him within our hearts as we recognize and praise, “Be exalted…in my life above all else, be lifted up!”

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

May our prayer and our praise be to always exalt Almighty God whether we be standing with arms raised in praise, or singing joyfully out our praises, or kneeling humble before Him, or flat out before Him in submission to Him!

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Psalms 34:1-3

Captivating: Chapter 12 – An Irreplaceable Role – The Power of a Woman’s Life

Mary responded, I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.    

Luke 1:38

IT ALL STARTS WITH AN INVITATION….  Invitations to the prom, the Christmas party, New Year Eve’s party, your best’s friend’s wedding, and even your own wedding.  Whether the question is ‘will you be my date’ or ‘will you dance with me’ or ‘will you marry me,’ things turn around upon your acceptance.

Just like a gentleman would ask you any of the above questions depending on where you are in life, so too does our God.  God does not bulldoze himself into our lives.  He invites us to the most important and irreplaceable role in this world; and everything depends on our answer.

Stasi Eldredge takes us through the life of Mary, a teenager who is betrothed to Joseph.  The Angel comes to her and gives her the news that she is to have a child—not just any child—but the Son of God.  Imagine with me how it was… First of all, the message is being delivered by an Angel—a heavenly being with wings and full of light.  Secondly, Mary is a teenager who has not yet slept with her fiancé, Joseph, (or anyone else for that matter).  And thirdly, this child she is going to have is the Son of God. How is it going to happen?  This must have been a conversation to discuss with your family at length before saying yes, right?  But not so with Mary.   “Mary responded, I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true” (Luke 1:38).

Most of us have received invitations to do something for God.  But, unlike Mary, we have and still continue to deliberate over our answer.  We ask ourselves “Is this really God?”  “What if I fail?”  “I am too young or too old to go on a mission’s trip.” “What will my family, and friends think of me?” The debate within ourselves goes on and on until we convince ourselves not to do it.  We hide in the words: “I have prayed about it and my heart is at peace.”  Wait a minute!  Your heart is at peace for refusing an invitation to do God’s will?

What would have happened if Mary said “No.” to the Angel?  If she had told him that she was too young to be a mother or that she was afraid that if she got pregnant out of wedlock the elders of the village would throw her out of the village and stone her to death or Joseph will divorce me if he hears I am pregnant.  All these were valid reasons to say “no.”  But Mary chose to trust God and said “Yes!” to the most important and irreplaceable role of her life.  She said “Yes” to become the MOTHER OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.

My sister, you and I have an irreplaceable role to play in this world. God is waiting for us to accept that role so that He can use us for His glory.  You and I have the power to influence our world for God.  As our precious authors point out:

“There is much lifesaving that needs to be done yet, and someone needs to do it. Not in a pressure-filled, You’d better get to it kind of a way. Rather, an invitation. Your feminine heart is an invitation by your Creator. To what? To play an irreplaceable role in his Story. Isn’t that what your Lover wrote there? Some dream, some desire, something so core to who you are it almost hurts to think of it. The very longing is such a part of your being it’s scary even to give it a voice. You may not know the dream itself yet. But you know the longing to play an irreplaceable part. That is a good beginning.

Ezer is woven into the fabric of your feminine heart. You must live this out. What lives, what destinies are hanging on your “Yes” to God?”

My prayer is that we will all accept this invitation by our Creator in order to become who we are meant to be.  Our callings may be different.  Some of us are called to be mothers, wives, teachers, nurses, counselors, prayer warriors, leaders in the church or community, deacons, evangelists, preachers, caregivers, or whatever it is that you are called to do.  The most important thing to do is accept this invitation with faith and trust that God will prepare and equip us for this role.  Some roles may look like they are less important than others but in God’s eyes each role is equally important.  All we have to do is say YES and watch how God will use us.  WILL YOU ACCEPT HIS INVITATION?

In closing I would like to thank you so much for being with us for the past 12 weeks that we have been together on this journey.  It has been challenging and transforming but I have enjoyed every moment.  I hope your life is no longer the same because you now see yourself as CAPTIVATING.

I would love you to join us for the new study so we can take this journey even further with Lisa Bevere’s new book GIRLS WITH SWORDS.

LET’S PRAY:

Father, thank You so much for taking us through this Bible study.  You have taught us so many things throughout these 12 weeks and our lives have been transformed because we know how much You love us and how much You want us to know that we are Captivating and Irreplaceable.  May we live what we studied and be doers of Your Word.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

What is the role that God wants you to play and you have been putting off?

 

Be Blessed,

Jackie


Lady in Waiting: Wait – Ditches of Discontentment

 

“Then Naomi said, ‘Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today’” (Ruth 3:18 NIV).

Wouldn’t you want to have a mother-in-law like Naomi on your side to give you words of wisdom when it comes to matters concerning marriage?  Especially when the most eligible bachelor in town has told you that He would do whatever you want.

Waiting for what you want is difficult but it is the most rewarding thing any single woman can do in order to avoid discontentment.  So many of us have been led on by men who made promises which they knew they would not keep.

Jackie Kendall and Debbie Jones address ways that we as women have been defrauded by such men of ill intention.  The word to defraud means to excite physical or emotional desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled.

Many of us have fallen prey to men who have whispered sweet nothings to us and we have been led to believe that we are the center of their world only to found out later on that we were not the only ones these words were being spoken to.  I know of a man who called every girl “sweetheart” or “sweetie”.  When asked how many sweethearts he had he explained that he called his sister “sweetheart” so he considered every girl his sister.  Imagine the heartbreak of the girls when they heard that he thought of them as his sisters and not something more.

There is a recent type of defrauding that is going on called “friends with benefits” where boys and girls especially in colleges, or young men and women do not set any boundaries as to what they do in their relationships.  They even move in together and live as if they married.  The sad part about this set up is the emotions that a young woman puts into such a relationship.  I don’t believe a young woman can live with a man, share everything including a bed and say that such a relationship has “no strings attached”.  There are strings attached to this, where you like it or not, your heart is not detached to you when you are living in this environment.  A woman cannot be honest with herself if she says she is content living in this situation.  What happens when the man decides he is not ready to move this further and he is happy with the status quo?  Where does that live you?  Honestly which man wouldn’t be happy when he finds hot food on his table every time he arrives home from work or class, clean clothes nicely folded for him to pick and wear?  You literally wait on him hand and foot yet the only word he said was “let’s move in together” and not “let’s get married.”  The man gains everything at the expense of the woman who gives more than herself to play house with a man.

Unfortunately, this scenario is not only found in Hollywood movies but even among the Christian circles.  Many single women are falling into this trap which only leads to discontentment.  The Lord does not want us to sell ourselves short because we feel time is not our side.  Let us wait upon the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts.  Running ahead of the Lord will only lead us to discontentment and we will want to dig a hole and hide because we find ourselves in a situation where we wonder how we got there in the first place.

Naomi did not want Ruth to be overly excited and begin making orders for her “Vera Wang” wedding dress or choosing who is going to be her maid of honor or to begin planning a guest list.  She wanted her to wait and see how things will turn out with Boaz.  This is one woman to be applauded for having such wisdom.  Imagine if the other kinsman redeemer was willing to redeem Ruth and she has already told the world who she was going to marry!

When we are in a dating relationship, it’s so difficult to heed to the wise words of others; we seem to be walking on cloud nine and whenever someone says something we do not like we close our ears and words of wisdom enter through one ear and go out of the other ear.  It’s like all over sudden we are deaf to advise.  All we want to hear is how we look great together and how beautiful our children will be.  We only surround ourselves with people who agree with us and not those who want to tell us to slow down and concentrate on building a friendship.  It’s sad to hear “I told you so” when we come face to face with failed relationship.

As our writers clearly puts it:  “Another way a guy may defraud a woman is by emphasizing the future potential of the relationship rather than focusing on the present opportunities for the friendship to grow. This way of defrauding incites feelings in a woman that cannot be properly fulfilled at that time. This creates emotional turmoil for many women, making it difficult to wait with contentment. Postpone talk of a future together, marriage, or what kind of home you want, until engagement. Do not encourage talk of things that “might be,” but rather encourage words and actions that develop the present friendship.”

Let us not fall into ditches of discontentment by allowing every Jim and Jack to mess with our hearts.  Don’t become too desperate so as to fall prey to their schemes.   Let us guard our hearts because out of them springs of water will flow.  Let us wait for what God has in store for us for Proverbs 10:22 says “the blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.”

LET’S PRAY

Father, we thank you so much for you love us so much that you want us live a life that is full and content.  Jesus came that we should have life in abundance.  However, we also let the enemy use others to come and steal, kill and destroy the joy and contentment that you died for us to have.  Help us to take back this joy so that we may wait patiently for what you have for us.  In Jesus Name Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

A contented woman has the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing life on her terms. Are you a contented woman? (Read Judges 21:25, Luke 1:38, and Matthew 26:39.)

Be Blessed,

Jackie

___________________

For the “Lady in Waiting” Bible Study, you will need the book, your Bible, pen or pencil, a highlighter and a quiet place. You can order the book right through our website by clicking the “sign-up here” button at the top of our webpage; which is also where you can sign up to participate in this awesome bible study!