November 21, 2017

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapters 14 and 15 – Love Always Hopes, Love Always Perseveres

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Love always hopes

What does it mean that love always hopes?  In 1 Corinthians 13:7, we find four things that love “always” does. Love is not just an idea…it is an action.  The third action in this verse is that love always hopes.  Love is always hopeful.  In the Greek language, “hope” is from elpidzo, meaning ‘to hope or wait for salvation with joy and full confidence.”  This word, hope, is used 32 times in the New Testament alone.  Hope expresses more than a wish or a desire, but a confident belief in the unseen.  Hebrews 11:1 says,”Faith is being sure of the things we hope for and being certain of what we cannot see.”  Faith, hope and love are often connected in the Bible.  In Colosians 1:4-5, they are combined again: “We heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in Heaven.”

Just as God is called “Love,” Jesus is called our “Hope.”  He is the Hope within us. And the hope that will be seen by others around us.  If we are living in such a way—with such a hopeful attitude—then we will reflect the way of Jesus and bring glory to His Father.

Part of showing love is hoping, and part of hoping is seeing the good in others. If we treat others as they should be treated, then we have a part in helping them become who they should be.  As moms, we are always encouraging our children and showing them that there is hope in such a hard world.  If you have ever been in a job loss situation, what got you through?   Was it hope in Jesus, believing that at some point He would rain blessings down on you if you could just hold on long enough.  Hope holds on long enough.  Have you ever had a horrible medical diagnosis, maybe one that was a sure death sentence? What if you went ahead, planned your funeral, told your kids goodbye and moved away? That, to me, is life without hope.  Hope believes that Jesus has a miracle that is waiting just for them.

What about when you accepted Jesus as your Savior?  You had hope that His death would save you from all your sins and that you would live eternally with Him in Heaven. Without hope, where would we be? I’ve known many alcoholics and addicts.  They cling to the hope that one day they will be clean and stay sober.  Hope helps us bear the unbearable, my friends.  To a Christian, hope is the knowledge that we are being changed for the better as we trust in God’s promises.

The Bible is full of examples of men and women who hoped in God’s promises.  The patriarch Abraham is a model of hope for believers.  When he was 75 years old, God promised to bless him with many descendants, as many as there were stars. Abraham believed what he heard. Yet he had to wait another 25 years to see his hope fulfilled. Never once did he doubt God Almighty.  His hope wasn’t in his own ability to have a child at this old age, but he trusted an unchangeable God—the same God we worship today. Hebrews 6:19 describes this hope as “…an anchor for the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.”

You may be thinking to yourself, “How did Abraham stay hopeful for that long?” And perhaps, “How can you stay hopeful for what you need?”  The Bible says that Abraham was a friend of God.  He was also His servant. He stayed obedient and God gave him what he needed. You can do it too.  How you ask?

1. Submit yourself to God.  He is the source of your hope.  He alone.

2. Strengthen your faith. Let the previous blessings that He has given you remind you of the Blesser.

3. Trust His timing. Sometimes He answers our prayers and gives us what we hope for quickly and other times He allows us to wait. Through faith and patience, Abraham’s hope was fulfilled.

4. Thank God today.  Though it is hard to rejoice as we wait for hopes to be fulfilled, rejoicing opens the heavens for blessings to rain down. (Romans 5:1-5)

Have you lost hope? You can have it again, you know. Right now, turn to Him Who is able to do so much more than we could or would ever ask and ever hope for, and rest in Him. He knows and He never goes back on His word.

Love always perseveres

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Persevere defined, means to bear up under pressure.  It’s a military term meaning that an army must hold a vital position at ALL costs. In fact, love must mean perseverance or you shouldn’t say it unless you are willing to give all, to develop, to protect and keep that love.

When we say “I love you,” it not only means forever but it means also that we will fight anything that would get in the way of that love lasting!  Anything else is not love.  At the end of the passage above, we see love stand against overwhelming opposition as it bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things. Perseverance is the unending climax of love.  It is always on high alert and never stops fighting for the relationship.

Oh yes, the father of lies has his say and we may have some obstacles thrown at us; well… let’s say we will have some lies thrown at us.  And lies will be whispered to us like, “Love shouldn’t be this hard!” or “Love should be effortless!” or “Love is tolerance.”  Friends, this is a recipe for disaster and very un-loving relationships.  Love doesn’t just let people do what they want to do, and love doesn’t just care about happiness of the other person. Love has to make some hard choices sometimes and has to say hard things.  Our society leans more towards “God just wants me to be happy.” and gives up at the first sign of trouble. I want to give you some examples from Scripture of real, persevering love. We will start with Hosea.

  • The book of Hosea was written by the prophet and it tells a larger story of the Israelites unfaithfulness to God. It begins with Hosea marrying a prostitute and she becomes unfaithful to him, of course, and leaves him. He goes from house to house to find her and buys her back for 15 shekels of silver and some barley, a large amount. His love for his wife was a persevering love, never giving up.
  • Next is Stephen. In Acts chapter 7, Stephen is attempting to reason with the Jews and persuading them to trust in Jesus as their Savior. We all know how this ends— with them dragging him out of the city and stoning him to death.  As he is breathing his last breath, he cries out to the Lord, saying,”Lord, do not hold their sins against them.”  Even in dying, Stephen showed persevering love by reaching out to those who were killing him. He was more concerned with their salvation and knowing Jesus as their Savior than he was for his own life.
  • Then there is Jesus.  Jesus went to the Cross because He loves you with a persevering love like no other.  He took the sins of all mankind on Himself, so that we would be forgiven through our faith in Him.  And God your Father loves you with an everlasting love. Nothing you can do or say will ever separate you from Him.  There is no sin so great that can’t be forgiven.  If you are here today and you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, I encourage you to ask Him in your heart today. Tell Him you know you’re a sinner. Confess it to Him and ask for His forgiveness. It is free. You will forever be changed and will live eternally with Him. Oh, yes—there will still be some trials and things you won’t like, but He overcame this world. Romans 8:35 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” The love of Jesus perseveres through any hardship that may come your way!  No matter the circumstance you find yourself in, there is nothing that can separate us from Jesus.  His love perseveres through it all.  And this should be our example to follow…to love others in the same way.  So now when you say love, you mean that you will fight to the end for them!  As Jesus did for us….

Let us pray:

Lord, we praise You and thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to die in our place, so that we may live with You forever.  Oh Lord, we, on our own, cannot love as You have commanded, and without first loving You, we cannot love like You ask us to love each other.  Please give us the desire and fill us with the kind of love that only You can give, that it will be overflowing from us to all who know us and may we never grow tired of spreading the good news of You.  If we love each other, then we want the world to have what we have, and that is You. And for those who have accepted You today for the first time, may we keep discipling them and may they truly begin to walk closely with You.  How exciting to finally be alive! Be with us as we carry the message to this dying world.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen

16 Day Love Challenge – Chapter 2: Love is Kind

Luke 6 35

Kindness.  Just seeing the word makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?  It makes you smile.  If I asked you to share a time when someone was kind to you, what comes to your mind?  We read at the beginning of Chapter 2 that “Kindness can be described as having the qualities of being friendly, generous and considerate.”  But is it really that easy or simple?  Let’s not dismiss this attribute as elementary, sisters.  We are challenged at the end of the chapter to ask God to show you where you have been unkind.  If you will, take a moment now and ask God; “Lord, am I truly and consistently kind?  To everyone?”

When we look in the Bible, there are MANY directives given to be kind or show kindness.  We see in Galatians 5:22 that it is one of the many fruits of the Spirit—evidences that we are being led by the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.  In 2 Peter 1: 5-9 we see that kindness is one of several qualities that will help us to be more effective and productive in our knowledge of Jesus.  In Ephesians 2:6 and 7 we are told that “God raised us up with Christ” in order to show us the “incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” We are directed to be kind to women, children, the poor and the oppressed, so there must be more to kindness than just being “friendly.”

When I looked up the word, “kindness” again, I saw the same definition—friendly, generous, considerate.  Then I looked up the word “kind.”  The fourth definition was “forbearing or tolerant.”  Here we go… here is where we are shown the difference between just opening the door for someone and truly taking on the nature of God.  In Luke 6: 32-35 we are shown a challenging passage that, like our passage in 1 Corinthians 13, exemplifies the true actions of a loving person.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?
Even ‘sinners’ do that.
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?
Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners’, expecting to be repaid in full.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them
without expecting to get anything back.
Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High,
because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (NIV)

In preparation for this blog, I started the 16 Day Love Challenge a little early. Even as I was reading about patience (yep, I need to work on that…), God was convicting me about “kindness.”  He showed me two areas that needed improvement—how I spoke to my husband and how I dealt with customers at work.  Now don’t get me wrong, I try very hard to be a submissive, loving, supportive wife (AND a godly, cheerful, positive person at my job!).  But with my husband, sometimes I can be…critical. <Ugh. Anyone out there with me?>   There are times when, instead of seeing and recognizing what my husband does right, I pick out the small detail that is not to my liking and make some kind of comment about it.  Often, after it comes out of my mouth, I think “Why did I say that???”  Well, for the past several days I have been HIGHLY aware of what comes out of my mouth, because those little, tiny, nitpicky things have a tendency to wear someone down.   (And you know what, sisters?  We reap what we sow.  Do you have relationships that have a problem with criticism?  Do an honest check to see what you are sowing into it….) Not only have I tried to bring every thought under submission to God, but I’ve been happier…as has my husband.   I work part-time at a cute shop in town that sells cupcakes, and it can get rather busy.   I am the only person that works during my shift, and so a line to the door of often impatient customers can raise the stress level a bit.  There are many times when a customer wants to take a LONG time figuring out what just the right cupcake will be, and wants a description of the ingredients/frosting/sprinkles, etc. for every cupcake!  (Did I mention the line of customers behind him/her is to the door?  And they are being audibly impatient?)  Needless to say, I have a tendency to then become impatient and try to rush the customer along.  Is that showing love to that person?  NO.  I am being neither patient nor kind to those types of customers.   So I prayed to be more loving (patient and kind) to the difficult customers that came in the door.  It made for a much less stressful shift!

Let’s accept the challenge to exemplify “kindness” today – not only to those that are kind to us, but especially to those that are not!  If we do, our “reward will be great!” (Luke 6:35)

Let’s pray:

Kind father, THANK YOU for loving me!  Thank You for your blessings, and for every good and perfect gift that comes from You, especially for Your Son Jesus, and the hope we have through Him!  Show me where I can be kinder to those around me, and help me today to show the true love of Jesus in my actions.  Help me to give kindness as generously as You have given it to me.  In the name of Your Son we pray.

Amen.

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapter 1 – Patience

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To Walk or Stay

I have a friend who is struggling with a situation in her life. The enemy is trying his best to steal, kill, and destroy all that she has. In the midst of this, God is reaching out to her and asking if she will walk in patience with Him. Will she give Him the time needed to turn this around?

We understand patience when the context is to be patient with our loved ones or others. But to be patient with God for the purpose of giving Him time to turn our situation around—this is asking a lot of a person, especially when they are looking back as a witness on the destruction of something that was once so promising.

I wonder if this post has found you in a place where God is asking you the same question: “Do you have the strength (patience) to turn to Me and let Me walk you through this?”

One of the most powerful things I have learned in my walk with God is that my trials tend to unmask my weaknesses. Once my weaknesses are revealed, I am left with a decision to make.

Will I walk away from the person and the situation or can I stand still and let God work to save my relationship?

In my pain and anger, I feel walking away would be the easy decision. After all, I have been hurt by this person and have a right to walk away. Entangled in my thoughts of leaving, I hear God’s voice softly speak to my heart.

The thing I LOVE about God is the fact that He is not demanding. He understands the hurt we have been through. He gets that our hearts can only take so much. So He gently asks us, “Will you walk away or can you stand still and wait for Me to turn your situation around?” James tells us why we should consider God’s request:

This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear,
slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man
does not achieve the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

Our anger (though understandable) will not achieve the righteousness God is looking for. He wants to develop Righteousness in our character and will use our trial as the vehicle to use when we are willing. Standing still means we are willing to not only be patient with Him, it says we are willing to recognize our weaknesses and walk through them -one by one.

Facing our unrighteousness can be tough. Sometimes this reveals where we are wrong in the situation. Facing ourselves means we are putting a Holy mirror in front of us. God’s Holiness reveals the areas we need to change. But God gives strength to those who are willing to be patient with Him…

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

God’s Word tells us that if we will wait on the Lord, He will renew our strength. We will mount up with wings like eagles. God spoke to my heart once again as I read this verse. Mounting up with wings is a promise to those of us who choose to walk in patience with Him to the end. The wings represent flight, or an easy flow of things. Once we overcome one of our weaknesses, the road ahead will be so much easier to navigate. Our character is strengthened and our relationship has the chance to turn around, as God is now able to use us as His vessels.

To the one who is reading this post and facing a trial of your own, I ask you the question: Will you walk or will you stand?  I pray you will choose to stand and let God turn your situation around.

* * * * * * *

Here are a few more verses to further encourage you:

And let us not lose heart in doing good,
for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.
Galatians 6:9

And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly,
encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.
1 Thessalonians 5:14

Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.
For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.
Psalms 37:7-9

Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk
in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
showing forbearance to one another in love,
Ephesians 4:1-2

Esther – Chapter 8:7-8

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Oh, how I love this scripture, sisters!  We looked at it when discussing our “beauty regimen” in chapter 2 and now, as we revisit it, we see those “fruits” are also the proof of the Holy Spirit living and working in you! (But first, let’s get back to Esther….)

Things are FINALLY looking up for her, Mordecai, and the Jews!  Haman is gone, Mordecai and Esther have been redeemed and in verses 7-8 we see that the estate of Haman has been given to Esther.  Moreover, another decree is now being written in the King’s name on behalf of the Jews which not only allowed the Jews to protect themselves, but also to destroy anyone that attacked them AND plunder the property of their enemies.  This decree we see is sealed with the King’s signet ring and signifies the irrevocable nature of the new decree.  Hooray!

Darlene then compares this seal to the seal, or mark, of the Holy Spirit, which is given to us when we become a child of God.  Let’s look at the Scripture she provides: 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (NIV)

My Study Bible gives this further explanation regarding the seal of ownership: “It was both the first installment on a loan and a guarantee of its complete payment” (Quest Study Bible).  So if the Holy Spirit is a deposit and a guarantee of future payment – how amazing will the payoff be??  How exciting!!

The Holy Spirit is vital to your life as a believer!  Darlene provides a sampler of Scriptures to discuss the role He plays in our lives.  We see:

  • that He is a counselor (John 14:16)
  • that He will convict the world in regard to sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11)
  • that He is a guide into all truth (John 16:13)
  • that He glorifies Jesus (John 16:14)
  • and He testifies about Jesus (John15:26)

Think of the Holy Spirit as the ultimate Guide to help you navigate your way in this life and help you enter Heaven with as many rewards as possible!  In fact, different versions of the Bible will translate “Counselor” in John 16:7 as “Advocate” or “Helper.”  (For an incredible, in-depth study of the Holy Spirit and His role in your life, may I recommend “The Helper” by Catherine Marshall.)  But just like Jesus, the Holy Spirit will not work in your life against your will. We must choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit.  Example: My GPS will give me the correct directions to reach my destination, but if I don’t turn it on, or if I ignore its instructions, it can’t help me!

How do we know if the Holy Spirit is guiding us down the right path?  How do we know that He’s working?  Well, that brings us back to Galatians 5:22-23, the first Scripture mentioned today.  When you see a tree, you know what kind of tree it is because of the fruit that is hanging from it.  Likewise the “fruits of the Spirit” are evidences that can be seen in our lives that we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us.  The more we allow the Spirit to shape our lives, change our thinking, and mold our behavior, the greater the evidence – the greater the harvest of fruit!

So…. How are YOU doing??  I’d love to know!  Is there a fruit that is your favorite?  And which one do you need to cultivate more often in order for it to grow in your life?

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father – You are a kind and gracious God!  Thank You for redeeming us from our enemies.  Thank You for sealing us as Your children and giving us the Holy Spirit, not only as a promise for the future, but to help us in the present!  I ask You to help me listen to the guidance that Your Spirit longs to give me and help me to blossom into a beautiful, fruit-filled tree for all to see!  Thank You for Your blessings, Your goodness, Your grace and Your love.  May I be able to show those qualities to someone who needs them today.  In Your Son’s name we pray.

Amen.

 

Esther – Chapter 5:6-8

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Waiting.  I’m going to admit something that probably only my family and closest friends know – I’m not the most patient person.  In fact, I quit praying for patience, because God answered my prayers by putting me in positions that required me to be patient.  (You understand that is how it works, right?  If you pray for something like patience – you will not wake up with an unbelievable measure of patience – you will be placed in situations where your patience is going to be developed.  God is concerned with your character, not your convenience.)  God, however, is not fooled – He continues to place me in situations to develop my patience, because it is in my best interest.   If I appear patient, it’s because I work on it every day.

Is it hard for you to wait? More importantly – did you know that you will often have to wait for the Lord?  Did you also know waiting would test your strength and courage?

We often have a “microwave mentality.”  We want our food…and we want it now.  I don’t want to wait an hour for a baked potato – I want it in 5 minutes. My popcorn package says 2:30, but at 2:10 the bag is out of there – I’m ready to eat!  How often are we like that with God? ” God – give me patience – and give it to me right now!”  We want to see evidence of God working in our lives immediately. We want proof our prayers are answered today.  But if we believe Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” then we must believe that in God’s timing we will see the proof that He is working in our lives.

In Esther 5:6-8 we see the setup that will be evidenced in the coming verses and chapters.  Esther has a plan to present her request before the King, but postpones her request until the banquet the next day.  We will see how the delay in her request is then timed perfectly with God’s plan for honoring Mordecai and saving the Jews.  If you look through the Bible you will see many more examples of God’s timing.  Think about Abraham: God called him to leave his country and follow him. He told Abraham that He would make him a father of many nations.  Do you know how long Abraham had to wait for God to fulfill that promise and send him Isaac?  Over 40 years!   What about David?  He was anointed King of Israel as a boy, yet he had to wait over 30 years to be crowned King – and many of those years were filled with despair and fear for his life from the reigning King of Israel!

Ladies, if you will allow me, I want to share something personal with you.  About two years ago I went through a fairly challenging year spiritually.  You see, I have felt the call of God very strongly on my life for several years, but I couldn’t quite figure out what He wanted of me. I began the year by again surrendering everything to God, and said that He could use me any way He wanted.  I prayed.  I fasted.  I studied the Scripture.  And I felt…nothing.  No urging.  No assignment.  There were things that I felt He laid on my heart to study, however, and so I did.  I poured myself into the Scriptures daily.  I was faithful to what He put in my path.

As the year progressed, I became discouraged – did God not want anything from me?   Was I not strong enough?  Did I not know enough?  Was I always going to be mediocre?  I felt as if I was in God’s classroom and He was calling for helpers – and no matter how often I raised my hand He picked someone else.  I felt this way for an entire year.  But then, one day, two women came into my small group who had serious issues: addictions, chaos in the home, doubt as to their worth in God’s eyes (one had in the past been suicidal).  And, through the Holy Spirit, I knew how to speak to them.  (They are still active friends in my life, by the way, and God is working MIGHTILY in their lives – praise God!)  I was amazed at how I responded!  And on my way home from church, God revealed Himself to me so strongly it felt like a punch in the chest – THIS is what He prepared me for.  I am an encourager – this is my primary gifting.  This is why He spent a year preparing me (and continues to prepare me) – “to know the word that sustains the weary” (Isaiah 50:4, NIV).  I learned about spiritual warfare and strengthened my prayer life so that I would be an intercessor, a watchman on the wall.   God sends me broken people – and it’s my job (and privilege) to care for them.

What is God preparing YOU for?  Will you reject this time of waiting because you need immediate proof?  Or will you ask God to strengthen you, to teach you, to grow you, to prepare you while you are waiting for His promises in your life to be fulfilled?

 

Let’s pray:

Lord, how great are Your promises, how great is Your patience!  Your timing is perfect and Your will is amazing.  Teach me, Lord, to wait for you!  Help me to see the waiting time as productive time.  Help me to see Your hand in my life.  Help me to be faithful to the small things You place before me, as You are faithful to even the smallest detail in my life.  Thank You, Lord, for Your incredible love for me, and thank You for allowing me to be used in Your service and for Your glory!  In the name of Your Son we pray.

Amen.

Ten Ways to Stick to an Exercise Program – #7 Progress Slowly and Be Patient

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Why does it happen every year?  Those New Year “Resolutioners” who start a new exercise regiment only to quit before spring arrives.  Research shows 60% of people who start an exercise program drop out within the first 6 months or even less. In my opinion, there are three reasons why people quit so quickly.

  1. They attempt too much too fast.
  2. Their schedule cannot handle that big of a change.
  3. They are not patient and want to see quick results.

When it all becomes overwhelming without seeing the desired results, they throw in the towel.  To stick to an Exercise Program past the first six weeks, you have to progress slowly and be patient.

HOW IS YOUR PATIENCE?

Patience. Who really likes that word?  I have to be honest; patience is not my best attribute.  When things are not going my way, my natural tendency is to become aggravated and quit.  However, when I think about the qualities of Jesus, I can’t help but think about how patient He is with me.  Where would I be if Jesus gave up on me so quickly?  He believes in me and knows what I can accomplish through Him.  Despite my weakness and failures, He never gives up on me.

What if you had the same patience with yourself that Christ has with you?  What could you accomplish? Could having patience with yourself be a way for you to stick to an exercise program and make it a habit? What would happen if you did not give up so quickly?

Galatians 6:9 says:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

 I WANT IT NOW

I definitely like living in a world where we can get almost anything, quickly.  When I  make up my mind that I want something my philosophy is “why drag out the process.” I have even said this to God when praying for certain things in my life.  🙂  Thankfully, He knew that I needed to progress slowly and not add too much to my plate at one time.  There were things He needed to teach me that would take time.  He knows every time how much I can handle at each stage of my life.

It is the same with exercise.  Killing yourself trying to get quick results is not the way to develop healthy habits that will lead to a consistent exercise program.  A new program must be designed with the right program at this stage of your life.

Don’t give up on yourself.  Results happen when you are consistent.  When you decide to be patient and progress slowly, you will find it is easier to stick to an exercise program.

In Good Health,

Crystal

Love Letters from God by Diane Meyers

My story is made up of many love letters written from my heart to God’s heart and from His to mine.  I open up to Him with a pen in my hand and a journal in my lap.  The Lord speaks to me through my writings and I am beyond excited to share with you bits and pieces of different letters I have from God.  I share parts of my story so that God’s love, power, grace, forgiveness, and perfectness may be showcased.  As you read, I pray the Lord grabs a hold of your heart and fills you with hope!

GOD,

Why is it that I still have no one to hold my hand through this life?  I don’t have any idea how I am going to have that family I have always desired so strongly to have with no husband in sight.  I know the truth that You are all I need…that You hold me by Your right hand.  I know that You will give me the desires of my heart.  I do not mean to sound ungrateful for these promises because I most certainly am NOT.  In fact, these promises have dried my tears on several occasions.  But there are several more occasions, God.  More occasions where I may know the truth but my dateless nights and single looking future have me believing otherwise.  How do I do it, Lord?  How do I constantly find hope and comfort and satisfaction in You alone and not in my desire to have a husband one day?  Please, Lord; open my heart to the truth You have prepared for me.  I so desperately need to hear from You.

Love,

Your discouraged single daughter, Diane

 

Dear One,

Your honesty is what I have been waiting for.  I was waiting for you to admit to yourself, and to Me that you put your ideals over My plans for you.  Until you give up control of your non-existent love life, I simply cannot work in your life to bring you My love.  I will bring you another love, the love of the man I have hand-picked just for you to hold your hand one day.  BUT, first you must accept My love in your life.  I know you have accepted me into your heart.  I know you have written down those truths and promises that I have given you in the past all over your bedroom and bathroom mirror.  I know you have stored them up in your house, but what does your heart look like?  Are they there, too, when you need them the most?  On a snowy night when all you want to do is cuddle up with a man and watch a movie, do you reach into your heart for My promise to be the one to comfort you when you are all alone on that snowy night; or do you reach to your phone to contact that not-so-good-for-you guy that you are willing to settle for if these lonely nights continue much longer.  The thing you are learning is when you choose Me over everything that tempts you so much as a single woman in this world, that is when I will make those promises shine through your life.  Surely then, you will feel them!  I will bring you comfort and you will grow even closer to Me!  There is nothing wrong with you because you are single.  You are single because I am still molding you into the princess I have created you to be.  There will be a man one day, someone who spots you out of a crowd because he sees that you are living a life reflective of what is in your heart.  Don’t waste these moments and miss out on a chance to fill your heart with My blessings from above—the very thing your husband desires to see.  There will never be a man who will replace what I am for you.  There will only be a man who will add to the beauty and love I have given you.  When you become discouraged, reach out your hand to Me; I promise I will always grab on and comfort you no matter what the pain is you may feel.

Love Always,

Your Knight in Shining Armor

 

Heavenly Lord,

Thank you for this time I have to grow closer to You.  You have opened my eyes to something huge!  I do not want a man to want me; I want a man to want what He sees through my heart: YOU.  I pray that I make the most of this single time to seek You.  Show me Your ways, guide me in Your truth.  Lord, I completely trust that when I get to my ‘aha!’ moment with You; the moment where I know and feel Your truth running through my soul, that is where I will be found in You-nothing else will matter.  This single life is all about teaching me to get to that moment.  No one else can bring me to that moment, not even a man.  I know You are my only Hope in this lesson of learning to feel You more.  I am sorry for sulking in this singleness.  I choose from this moment forward to embrace the time I have to grow closer to You.  Give me Your perfect strength to help me get through!  Thank you , I love you!

Love, Your Princess in training

©Diane Meyers 2013

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1.  Meditate on Psalm 25:4 and 5.  Shift your focus onto God and off of the desire to have a husband one day, even if just for a minute.  Journal this experience.
  2. Are you ready to be boldly honest with God?  He knows your heart more than you do, get out the honesty He has been waiting to hear from you.
  3. Let your heart’s desire to be living for and with God.  Get rid of all other hopes and dreams.  Let God fill your heart, for then you will find what His hopes and dreams are for you.

A Daughter’s Worth: Week 11 / Day 3 – Be Prepared to Wait on God

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Jordan Spring.
My jaw dropped when I saw that this is my topic for the week… The Lord KNEW that I was the one who needed to write about waiting on Him! I say that because I have been in a season over the last two-ish years, a season in which I have had to wait on Him.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart. Wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
I have known since I was 13 that I loved leading worship, but it wasn’t until I was 17 that I decided I wanted to go to ministry school to pursue it. I started researching ministry schools and Bible colleges that offered classes for worship leading. Meanwhile, my family started struggling with our finances. I found a Bible college in Texas that I was really interested in, but nothing seemed to work out for me to go there.
So I was back at square one, after spending what was supposed to be the first semester of my freshman year at home, asking the Lord where HE wanted me to be. I spent an entire day on my face, praying and reading the Word. I really felt peace in my heart that He was going to reveal to me where I was supposed to go.
The next day a friend of mine texted me and told me about this ministry school in Birmingham, Alabama. I immediately looked it up on the computer and requested more information. I got a phone call the next morning from a lady on staff and when I tell you I KNEW right then that I was supposed to be there, I am not lying. I had a PEACE and an EXCITEMENT in my heart that I had not felt about the other school. I found out about the school in February and made plans to go to school in August.
I made steps toward leaving home, but because of our financial situation, I was very limited to what I could do. I also needed a car, which I knew my parents could not afford. I continued to trust the Lord, and I trusted that He would send me to school when He knew it was the right time. July came around and I just knew that it was not possible for me to go to school the following month.  Thank goodness I listened to the Lord! He blessed me in the CRAZIEST ways for being obedient to Him.
During this semester there have definitely been times when I have wanted so desperately to be in school, learning more about my calling. But I trusted the Lord. And I would have never DREAMED that He would have GIVEN me a car through a precious friend!!! And that might have never happened if I had gone to school this past August.
I am still waiting on the Lord’s timing for me to go to school. I thought that all I needed was a car in order for me to get there, but the Lord has really revealed to me that I need Him to say, “okay, GO!” So I am waiting again this semester, not because I am lacking anything, but because I know that this is not when I am supposed to be there. And I know that when I do get there, it will have been SO worth the wait because it will have God’s BLESSING and His hand will be ALL over it!!
Pray with me~
Lord, thank You for loving us enough to keep us in “waiting room” seasons, because You know what is best for us. You know when we are not ready, and You open doors when we are. I pray we never stop trusting You just because we can’t see a way out of the waiting room. You are so good.

If you are interested in joining us in our GCH:decaf Teen Girls Ministry, please click the sign-up form button at the top of our webpage. Just follow the instructions on the form and hit submit. We’ll be happy to add you to one of our Online Bible Study Groups! Please email GCH_Decaf@girlfriendscoffeehour.com for more information.

Lady in Waiting: Developing Patience


Have you ever heard the phrase “Patience is a virtue”?  Well, curious-little-me decided to look up where that saying came from.  As it turns out, there is an entire list of 7 heavenly virtues (to counter the 7 deadly sins).  This list is derived from the Psychomachia (“Contest of the Soul”), an epic poem written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (c. AD 410). These 7 virtues include: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.

Aurelius made a pretty good list, but I think he plagiarized or perhaps he drew some inspiration from Galatians 5:22-23:  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness self-control; against such things there is no law.”

So how can we develop these virtues?  How can we develop the virtue of patience?

I believe that if we ask the Lord to help us develop the fruits of the Spirit (patience being one of them) then He will give us situations and opportunities in which we can develop our requests.  It’d be nice if He would just zap us down some “instant patience,” but that’s not how He works.  And what a blessing! He’s given each of us that opportunity RIGHT NOW! We can practice and develop our patience now in our singleness so we may glorify Him wherever He may lead us in the future.

I want to draw your attention to three points made by our authors:

  • Marriage is not a need.
  • Marriage is not a right.
  • Marriage does not complete a person.

As I write to you, I cannot tell you that I will ever get married.  To be honest, God may not have that in His plans for my life.  And I must be okay with that possibility.  Ask yourself if you are truly okay with that possibility.  Have you turned your desire for marriage and a spouse completely over to God?  This is a daily submission for me.  “Lord, go before me today, and carry me through.  I want to do Your will today; I want to live the life You’ve planned and be the person You’ve created me to be.”

God put a verse on my heart this week to share with you, dear Ladies in Waiting.  Romans 8:37-39:  “Now, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present (singleness) nor things to come (either more singleness or marriage), nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

WHAT A PROMISE!  Jesus is our Husband and absolutely nothing can separate us from His love!  Not even ourselves, our impatience, our earthly desires, or our temptations can separate us.  As we wait, let us focus on our love relationship with Him.  His love is never-failing and never-ending!


In love,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:
Heavenly Father, we know and trust that Your ways are higher than ours.  Help us to trust in Your plans and Your timing for the desires of our hearts.  Lord, make our desires to be Your desires.  Father, grant us a spirit of patience as we wait upon You.  Father, thank you for Your perfectly constant and completely fulfilling love.  We love you, too, Father.  In your precious Name, Amen.


Your Assignment:

I have two questions for you.  Answer whichever you prefer – or both!  

  • Do you consider marriage a “goal” for your life, and do you think it should be? As a Lady in Waiting, what should be our goal?
  • How are you developing a patient heart? Share your experiences and strategies with us!

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Our Next Single Women’s Online Bible Study

“Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul”

by John & Stasi Eldredge

Begins January 6, 2013

To sign up for this Online Bible Study, click HERE and follow the instructions. You will also be given a link to where you can purchase this bible study. We’re looking forward to studying “Captivating” with you!!
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Lady in Waiting: Consequences of Impatience

Ten years ago, I found myself single and pregnant. With fear strapped to my leg like a chain, all I could think of was a future as an unwed mother. My daughter’s father, my boyfriend at the time, proposed marriage and I accepted. Throughout the next few months I felt something nagging at my spirit. Something just didn’t feel right. I ignored it for a while longer. At one point I could no longer pretend that the feeling wasn’t there, and I had to face the truth. I was being impatient, I was grasping at the life I felt I should have rather than waiting to see what God wanted for me in this situation. I needed to check my motives, I needed to step back and pray about the situation, and I needed to trust God.

The marriage didn’t happen. We went our separate ways, and although my daughter doesn’t have a relationship with her biological father, I feel in my heart that the impatient decision I was about to make would have had much more dire consequences than living as a single mom. Thinking about what could have been scares me.

When you’re facing the possibility of making an impatient decision do you take the time to step back and look at the possible consequences. Do you seek God and inquire of what He wants for your life? I didn’t until it was almost too late. The bible is very clear in saying that our decision will affect our family generations to come.

Exodus 34:7

that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Is this a chance we’re willing to take?

Even if children are never involved, is the possibility of not being able to share your love of Christ with your spouse a life you desire? In order for a man to truly know our heart he must first know God, if he doesn’t know God, he will never truly know you.  An impatient decision can jeopardize the blessings God has planned for our lives.

 Deuteronomy 28:2

And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:

Deuteronomy 28:15

“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.

When a decision arises that needs to be made, take the time to seek God, listen for His voice and for His direction. And always remember that He protects our heart, He only wants the best for us, including our future husband.  Don’t take the risk, and wait for his blessing.

With Love,

Tonya Ellison

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 Lets Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, your words are clear, your warnings and your promises are plainly written. When we are facing a decision that we are going to make with an impatient heart, please Lord touch our hearts and minds so that we are not able to ignore your urging  Remind us that your promises and blessings are meant for our benefit. And that our impatient decisions will have consequences, consequences that not only affect us but those around us, consequences that will affect our futures. Instead I pray that we seek your will, and that we trust your plans. Thank you for planning our futures, thank you for protecting our hearts.  In Jesus’ name I pray amen.

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Your Assignment:

I refer to scripture a lot. I feel that the answer to every question, problem and possible impatient decision is held in that wonderful book. So, what scriptures do you go to when you are faced with a decision, when you’re unsure of what to do?

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Our Next Single Women’s Online Bible Study

“Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul”

by John & Stasi Eldgredge

Begins January 6, 2013

To sign up for this Online Bible Study, click HERE and follow the instructions. You will also be given a link to where you can purchase this bible study. We’re looking forward to studying “Captivating” with you!!