>Brick in the Head

>Have you ever had God just pick up a brick and throw it straight at your head and say “Now do you get it?” I would have to say this happened to me today, just a moment ago.

I sat down and was watching a little David Jeremiah on Turning Point and his sermon was on prayer. I’ve been doing a lot of praying, but sadly what I realized was that the majority of my prayers were focused on me. I mentioned others and their requests, but mainly, honestly, I was primarily focused on me.
ME, ME, ME, ME and ME.

As David Jeremiah so kindly pointed out, God did not design prayer to be me focused. It’s primary purpose is for interceding for others.

“The LORD restored the fortunes of Job
when he prayed for his friends,
and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.”
Job 42:10

Who does Jesus pray for? (me)
Who does the Holy Spirit pray for? (me)
Who am I to pray for? (not me)

I have just realized I need to do a Willy Wonka reverse in my prayer life. I need to focus on praying for others and interceding for others and just mention my own request. I know that God has heard plenty from me… and as I look through my journal I can see that they are quite repetitive. So my focus shall be complete intercessory prayer. Yep, this will be a No Whining Allowed prayer zone.

As for my own requests I shall do as the Scriptures commands me.
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch
Psalm 5:3

I shall watch.
I shall indeed shut up and trust that others are persevering in prayer on my behalf as I myself persevere on behalf of them and even if no other saint were to remember my name, the Holy Spirit never forgets me and my High Priest ever lives to intercede on my behalf. The prayers that I shall pray considering myself will be praying back to Jesus the prayer that He prayed on my behalf in John 17. And I will keep watching for Him to fulfill His word in me and I’ll keep praying for others and watching for Him to fulfill His word in them.

 “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation;
the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:41

The word watching in the Greek means to give strict attention to, be cautious, active, to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one.

In Revelation 3:2-3 it is the same word used for wake up.
‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain,
which were about to die ;
for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 
So remember what you have received and heard ;
and keep it, and repent.
Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief,
and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.”

I don’t know about you but God can throw all the bricks at my head that He wants if it is what I need to stay awake, to wake up, to keep watching, to remember what I have recieved and heard.
How easy it is to slip into selfishness… even in our prayer life, or maybe especially in our prayer life.
And is that not the goal of the enemy of our souls.
To keep us so self-centered that we are not God-centered.
To keep us so selfish that we can’t be selfless.
To be so focused on meeting our own needs that we can’t clearly see the need of others.
To be so consumed with talking to God about ourselves that we don’t shut up long enough to hear Him tell us the need of another. You know He’ll do that, if He knows He can trust you.

“Be of sober spirit,
be on the alert.
1 Peter 5:8
In the words of Wyatt Earp, ο»Ώ”I don’t think I’m going to allow you to devour me today, Devil.”
Nope I think I’m going to be alert and watch. I think I’m going to pray with expectancy to see what God is going to do in the lives of the others that I am praying for. God wants to use me to help complete what is lacking in another believer’s faith. What a priviledge.  
“ο»Ώas we night and day
keep praying most earnestly
that we may see your face,
and may complete what is lacking in your faith?”
1 Thessalonians 3:10
I challenge myself to spend the rest of this week lifting up others. Praying for my friends. Praying for my church. Praying for THE CHURCH. Praying for my enemies. Praying for my family. Praying for strangers. Praying for our nation. Praying for others. 
May God’s will be accomplished in every prayer according to His Word.
ο»Ώ
  

>Humility or Humiliation

>This week has been a trying week… as is painfully obvious from most of my past posts.
I am still not sure if it is to be a week of humility or a week of humiliation.

The week began with Monday bringing driving school.
Wednesday was the whole realtor freak out thing.
And now today… I have to go to THAT doctor. Ladies you know the one.
Then Saturday I get to look forward to going to driving school… again.
Thank God for Sunday!

I shared in my last post that I would give more info into my “blessed time” at church Wednesday night, so here it is, it concerns what I face today… you know… THAT doctor.

Yes, the ob/gyn today. I hate going to see this doctor.

I walked into church visibly not okay… like I said, I just don’t have the time or energy for games concerning putting on a face of fine when all just is not fine. One of my most favorite persons ever came up and said, “You look like you could use a hug.” And my answer, “Yes! I could use a hug”
And I got a hug πŸ™‚

This broke the ice for the conversation to begin… you see my day was not going good at the moment and then I knew that tomorrow would not be better because of where I knew I had to go.
So as I shared what I had to look forward to today, another of my favorite persons ever, replied “I always take myself out to a nice lunch on this day so I know I got something to look forward to.”
To which I replied “Oh I know I just feel so violated”

Then the mention came of the leg position and we know inside we are crying out “No! No! Knees together! Knees together!”

By this time at least four other ladies had joined our conversation as we shared the emotional horrors of this day:
The multiple 2 hour showers (we discussed how it would really be best if they would just install showers at the clinic, then you could get one immediately before you go in and immediately after it’s over)
The nervousness (this is just not fun at all)
The uncomfortableness (you are left so vulnerable)
The embarrassment (and it’s just so awkward)
The emotional stress of just knowing you have to go…

I am sure that some of my emotionalness of the week has centered around knowing this day was in my very near future. Yes I know I am married. Yes I know this woman delivered both my children. But this is awkward nonetheless.

Not to mention I still have this hidden hope deep in my heart that one day God will just choose to reverse my tubal and just decide to begin knitting a life together in my womb. I even justify this thought with a “You know God that would really show the unsaved how awesome You are.”
Unfortunately I am coming to realize that sometimes decisions made in the flesh, without consulting God, come with consequences He sometimes chooses to not erase on this earth in this life…

Then there is the slight fear that something will be found wrong. You know this is a standard yearly biopsy. It is serious business and I have already faced cancer scares with this before…

Ugh not to mention the breast exam… I am only 34 and am already in the mammogram line due to already found lumps.

This is just not a good time at all…

Therefore, gentlemen, husbands, any future husbands that might be reading this… when this time of the year rolls around for your wife. Do something extra nice for her that week… something non-sexual please, because I guarantee you this is not a week that she is feeling free and sexy.
My husband came in this morning from work with ingredients to make a meal with one of my favorite foods. He’s a good man πŸ™‚

So how was Wednesday night at church a “blessed time”?
Laughter.
Plain and simple.
Just laughter.
Laughing about the issues of life that make us uncomfortable.
Laughing because as we share these moments we realize that maybe, just maybe, we are not the only crazies out there πŸ™‚
   

>See Told You I Was Crazy

>See I told you I was crazy…

So this morning was a beautiful time with my Lord. I studied through Luke chapter one some and then spent time in Isaiah 42-44 and then went to Exodus, it was wonderful. The Lord had me so full I was crying as I studied. How foolish I felt for ever doubting Him.

In Luke I was reminded how Christ was my horn of salvation. How He is the horn that I can grab hold of when I have sinned against God and against man and no one can fall upon me when I have grabbed hold of Him. He is my sacrifice and He is my High Priest who intercedes for me…

Then I go to Isaiah and I praise and thank Him for not leaving me undone (Isaiah 42:16). I read through these passages of Isaiah and look closely at “Thus says the LORD” and then I write down what the thus is that the Lord says and tears stream my face as I write “I have called you by name: you are Mine!”
You are Mine, exclamation point! Oh I think of my child or any child and the passion with which they grab something that is the object of their desire or their personal possession and say “This is mine!” And I am overwhelmed that my God looks at me and calls me by name and says, “Nicole, you are Mine!”
Oh don’t miss the exclamation point…

Then I open up to Exodus and begin working in Devotions From Exodus and writing on the third commandment of God “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” And then it’s “Oh God let me understand what this means. The totality of this command, because I do not want to take your name in vain. Make me aware of all that this means, for I want Your name to be treated as holy when it comes off my lips…”

Then the call comes that the house is going to show (oh have I mentioned the house is for sale). Oh yeh and did you read the Surrender post from yesterday? You might want to…

So I am immediately elated and confident.

Why you ask?

Well I have just had this amazing morning with God as I repented from my sins and was washed by His word and strengthened and encouraged and reminded solidly who I am in Him and to Him.

Not to mention that somehow since last Friday I have managed to clean the entire house including mopping the floors and rearranging the girls bed room to give them more space (you know space is what everybody on House Hunters wants, right?) All the laundry and dishes were already done. And on top of that Patrick and I had just went through the garage and the attic yesterday getting ready for a yard sale. The house was perfectly staged for a showing.
So this one had to be the one right?
Right?

Well we leave the house everyone all getting along, no yelling at the kids to stop making a mess, you know the “Don’t you see I’m trying to pick up here!?! And you are dragging out faster than I can pick up!”
(Or is that just me?)

Anyway, we spend all day away from the house 12pm – 4pm and no realtor. Then our realtor calls and discovers that oh the realtor that is supposed to be showing our house by 4pm is still in another city that is 40 minutes away.

So we go home.
Let the dog out that’s been in a kennel since 11am (because we had to get all the dog hair up out of the floor one last time)
Patrick gets his work clothes on and get’s to take the crockpot pinto beans by themselves to work, no cornbread because this realtor is now supposed to be here within the hour.
So Patrick heads to work.
And I cry on the way to church. Yes, pour pitiful me cries…

I have already forgotten that I am His.
I don’t know why God chooses to test me so quickly… but for some reason He does. I learn something and I get a pop quiz in 12 hrs or less.
I almost don’t go to church… almost keep going… almost plan to look for a quiet spot where I can attempt to convince myself that I am alone praying, but really I’ll just be having a pity party for one.
So I go to church… and truly have a blessed time.

(PS: Separate post to follow on the “blessed time”)

Would you be believe the lyrics of the closing song tonight was “I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours”
Coincidence?
I think not. There are no coincidences with a sovereign God.

So then I come home to discover that the realtor never showed.

Yep, tears again… ugh, see I told you I was crazy… a life of insanity… have I not been here before.
I know I have, because I sometimes date Scripture references in my Bible as God speaks to me on certain occasions with them and well I found one of those this morning in my study time… found, ummm most likely was led there by my ever-patient, long-suffering God.

“They quickly forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
But craved intensely in the wilderness,
And tempted God in the desert.
So He gave them their request,
But sent a wasting disease among them.”
                                                      Psalm 106:13-15

Out beside this verse I have written “Oh Father not my will but Your will be done” with Your will be done being double underlined.
The only thing that makes me feel even slightly better about this constant prayer I have of not my will but Your will be done comes from the fact that Jesus prayed this 3 times in the garden…
He is my example…
So if He prayed it 3 times then it must be okay for me to have to pray it at the very least 3 million times… right?
Right?

>Surrender

>I never knew surrender could be so free,
I never seen such meekness in majesty…
And now I sing freedom for all of my days,
it’s only by the power of the cross I’m raised…
The King of Glory rescued me…

I’ve had this song in my head for about a week now. I have noticed that I begin to sing it when I begin to try to take control of life again. Isn’t it mind-blowing how we can know beyond the shadow of any doubt how freeing surrendering into the sovereignty of God can be, yet we still find ourselves fighting it.

I know with all that I am and all that I ever hope to be that He is faithful.
I believe with all that I am and all that I ever hope to be that what He has spoken will come to pass.
I trust with all that I am and all that I ever hope to be that my past, present, and future are in His hands.

Yet still I constantly find myself in the same place as the father in Mark 9 as I come to God with my petition.

“But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “β€˜If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, β€œI do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:22-24)

Although my faith has moved past the “if You can” I still struggle with unbelief. Unbelief that I even deserve to have Him answer me with a yes to my request. I am fully sure of His ability. I know all things are possible with God. I know what He can do, it’s just the will do that I struggle with. So I too cry out, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

So many times my prayer, (or more accurately called pout, or as I shared before whine), is “God I know You can do this if You want to, so why haven’t You done it? Is it me? Am I doing something wrong? I don’t understand?”

I can have a petition before my God, then out of the blue an idea will come to me on how to fix it… and then I will get irritated because my response to my thought is, “Well great… Yep that sounded all good and all, but since it popped into my head I know You are not going to do it that way. So just strike that as not gonna happen.”

So many times I come up with what I consider to be a brilliant plan and then I just pass it on up to the Creator of the Universe and ask Him to put His God stamp on it and call it good… you know, “Dear God could You please submit to my will… k… thanks”

So many times, God whispers let Me help you, and I put my hand in His face and say, “No, that’s alright God. I got it.”

I mean really, is that the kind of attitude to have before a holy God?
I would think probably not… so then comes the thanking Him for the promise 1 John 1:9 and then immediately putting it into action.

How I wish that I could just always remember that I am to trust.
I am to surrender.
I am to submit.
Not my will but Your will be done…

Jesus came that we may have life and freedom. For whom the Son has set free is free indeed. This freedom is meant to free us from the worries of this world, so that we might rest in our God and just focus on worshipping Him. Not that worries won’t come, but they are not to consume or control us. This sweet surrender of our life is a freedom like none other. It is freedom that is full of grace and truth and hope when we choose to rest in it. It is a surrender into the incomprehensible sovereignty of a Most Holy Creator God. It is a surrender to the unknown by faith in the One who is slowly revealing Himself to us because we could not handle Him any other way.

β€œThe steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. β€œTrust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” (Isaiah 26:2-4)

I so look forward to the day that I will know as I have been known.
(1 Corin 13:12).

Until then I will keep praising and thanking Him for what He has allowed me to know and keep praying that He will continue to let me know Him more and more.


>Driving School Part 1

>I am home from my first 3 hour driving school class. It ended not so horrible…

I was fine for the drive down the mountain to class, was still good as I walked into the building. I was going to be a big girl. Then I turned the corner into the room. People! Lots of people. Standing in a line, well 2 lines actually. So I just jump in line and the woman in front of me informs this is the correct change line only. For once I was able to say, well I have correct change. So, whew, I do not have to change lines.

So now the butterflies are flopping as I stand there in this line among strangers and I am looking at the faces and the atmosphere in the room is one of ick. It’s not like a line at a concert or conference or sport ticket booth where everyone is excited and talking with each other (whether they know them or not) about how excited they are. It’s not even like waiting in the line at Wal-Mart or Target. It’s a line that no one wants to be in and no one wants to be seen in.
Then at this moment I am thinking about the great white throne judgment as people wait in line to pay their fine because they refused to accept Christ’s payment on their behalf…  Another moment where I am overwhelmed with the grace of my God.

So I finally make it to the front of the line and pay my class fee and then it’s time to find a seat. I have visions in my head of the day Forrest Gump got on the school bus the first time and heard “can’t sit here.” and “seats taken”. I scan the room and find an empty seat in the back and head to it with determination and turn to sit down and low and behold a face I recognize. So now the choice… pretend I did not see them and keep moving to another seat and hope they do not recognize that I was there… or stop and say hi and hope they offer me the seat next to them. I chose to stop and say hi and yes they did offer me the seat beside them.

So now we are filling out our information cards and then the panic comes that I will do it wrong and why yes I did… but it didn’t matter because I was called out in front of the entire room. So I am glad I did not try the duck and hide and head down approach earlier because my presence in that room was going to be made known.
The instructor asks, “do we have any level 2ers in here?” And my head goes down and my hand goes up… one of only three hands… and the others were in their part 2 phase. I was the only one here for part 1 of part 2. So he says “well ma’am let me see your paperwork. And you are filling out the wrong card. You need the blue one”. Now the instructor stands over me as I transfer my information to the right card and I almost forget how to sign my name.

Then this teenageish kid beside me goes “Whoa, what did you do to get level 2?!?”

Yeh…

Once the class finally got started it was actually quite informative. The instructor did not speak down to us and he tried to make it fun. During the course of the evening I learned some interesting facts. Here are some of them. Let me share my knowledge with you. After all these are highly paid for facts.

1) Alabama is ranked 5th in America for road rage fatalities
2) Alabama is ranked 2nd in America for fatality accidents per one thousand households
3) When you get pulled over and your licence is scanned the officer will know if you have traveled down I-10 because it is lined with cameras that constantly send info of tags to the government
4) Failure to yield to the right of way is the number one cause of accidents containing fatalities
5) One person every 8 hours and 15 minutes is killed in an automobile accident
6) Police officers for the first time in history are concerned for their jobs and ticket writing will increase in order for them to prove their worth to the county and state so drive carefully

I am thankful that driving school part 1 is now behind me… paying for our sin is just no fun at all.

>Speak Kindly

>So as I shared some of my overflow from my Sunday morning class I thought I would also share some of the overflow from my Sunday night class… Oh yes let me proclaim His excellencies!

On Sunday nights I currently am leading a Precept Upon Precept class from the book of Isaiah. This past Sunday we looked at Isaiah 40-41, the Lord has had me in Isaiah 40 for months. He just keeps pulling me back there to soak in His truth. And that is perfectly fine with me, Isaiah 40 is a wonderful place to be.

Isaiah 40 begins with “Comfort, O comfort My people“. You really cannot grasp the mercy in these words if you have not looked through and read the previous 39 chapters in Isaiah. In the first 39 chapters comfort is the last thing that the Lord is calling out for His people. You see they had already found themselves too comfortable as it was. So comfortable, that they had forgotten their God. They had forgotten His holiness. They somehow thought they were now above His law and no longer had to do more than go through the motions of religion and appease Him.
God, the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of hosts, then decides it is time to deal with his wayward children. The first 39 chapters sound very familiar as you read through them. You see it sounds just like our nation today. It sounds just like much of Christendom today. Read it sometime and see for yourself…

So the previous 39 chapters are filled with God revealing the wrath that He is going to bring on His rebellious children. Those who have forgotten that He is holy. Those who have forgotten that He is the Creator God, the One enthroned above the cherubim, the One who holds all the waters of the universe in the hollow of His hand, the One who breathes their very breath of life in their nostrils.

Oh friend, have you been there?
His child… yet somehow managing to forget how very big He is and forgetting that He is holy.

Then we turn to Isaiah 40 and we see how our loving Father will hand out His discipline, He will indeed remind us who He is, but then when the discipline is past, He gathers His children in His arms and tenderly holds them close to Him and says “Comfort, O comfort…” 

God then says, “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:2)

Not only does He forgive us, and cleanse us, and gather us into His arms, but he looks at the other children, those who did not stray in the way that we did, He looks at them and He says, now comfort, O comfort my child, speak kindly to this child of mine. Yes, she has received my discipline. She has paid double for her sins. She received it at My hand. She needs no more from you. You comfort. You speak kindly. She is My redeemed. She has repented. Her iniquity has been removed. I do not condemn her, neither are you to condemn her.

How merciful is our God.

I cannot even type this post that speaks of His mercy without tears brimming my eyes, because I know the great mercies He has shown me. I know the times I have fallen. I know the consequences I have endured from my sin. I know what He has forgiven… and not just forgiven, but chosen to take this broken vessel of clay and restore it, instead of trashing it. And then to take it, me, and use me to hold His righteousness, His holiness. To call me His treasure, to call me precious in His sight. Oh what do I know of this love?

I love this song I have added to this post, What Do I Know of Holy by Addison Road. It reminds me of myself, how just when I think I have a grasp on this Christian walk, just when I think I understand my God and I have Him “all figured out” He never fails to blow my mind and put me in my place and remind me that even after all eternity has passed I still will not have a full grasp of this God of everlasting endless love…

I know nothing of His holiness.
I just know I want to know.

Is He fire? Is He fury? Is He Sacred? Is He Beautiful?

Yes, yes He is…

>Mary’s Sweet Sixteen

>I am teaching through the book of Luke in our Sunday morning small group class. We are not even out of the first chapter yet and God has already overwhelmed me with Himself. He is such an amazing God. I love how God sends Gabriel to Zacharias with His message and how God picks up right where He left off 400 yrs before in Malachi. God has Gabriel speak to Zacharias as though He had just spoke through Malachi 4 days before not 400 years before.
Why shouldn’t He?
His word endures forever and it does not whither or fade and Zacharais was a priest, a man of the covenant and He was to remember the words of the covenant and to live them and teach them to others… so this message of God given through Malachi should have been right on the tip of Zacharias tongue and at the front of his mind as if it had of been spoken just 4 days before. 

As is should be with us… after all man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Then as we go further into the first chapter of Luke there is that wonderful message that Gabriel delivers to Mary as he is reminding her who her God is, “For nothing (not any word) will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37).

Once again words of truth that we should hold to, live by, and teach to others as though God just spoke them 2 days ago and not 2000 years ago… for His word endures forever.  

Then Elizabeth full of the Holy Spirit declared, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)

How could Mary help but respond with praise?
I call Luke 1:46-55 Mary’s sweet sixteen. I call it this because in her prayer of praise she gives us sixteen amazing facts about our amazing God.
So here it is:

 Mary’s Sweet Sixteen
1) He is Lord
2) He is my Saviour
3) He has regard for the humble state of His bondslave
4)He is the Mighty One
5) He has done great things for me
6) His name is holy
7) His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him
8) He has done mighty deeds with His arm
9) He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart
10) He has brought down rulers from their thrones
11) He exalts those who were humble
12) He has filled the hungry with good things
13) He sends the rich away empty handed
14) He has given help to Israel His servant
15) He remembers His mercy
16) He keeps what He has spoken forever
I adore this prayer of praise. Just remembering one of these sixteen can keep my mind steadfast and in perfect peace because I know that He is faithful and His word endures forever. So as the dreaded Monday quickly approaches, I encourage you to begin your work week with Mary’s Sweet Sixteen and may you too be blessed because you have believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken ο»Ώto you from the Lord…

>Things I Love Saturdays

>So I am sitting down for a coffee break after spending the afternoon doing a little housework. So what better time than this to blog for just a moment.

As I was looking through some of the blogs I am beginning to follow there was a link titled “Things I love Thursdays” You were to link up and share a thing you love.
(I don’t believe I linked up right or even commented right so sorry to my fellow blogger for my not so great an attempt. I am still so very new to all this blog stuff… and it’s Saturday not Thursday)  

I suppose my actual comment should have been under a “Things I love Saturdays” but I’ll love this on Thursday as well πŸ™‚

So the thing I love this Saturday… the way my husband finds me sexy while in an old t-shirt and shorts with no make-up on and my hair all slicked back in a messy bun while I’m barefoot mopping the kitchen floor and smelling like Murphy’s Oil.

I suppose if I was still in my feminist movement mentality I would be offended by the comment of my husband as he made known his attraction to me at that moment. However, today I am not offended, indeed it made me actually quite giddy. He even received an immediate kiss of promise. Yes, I do love this man!

I do believe that it’s the little random moments like this that make a marriage work. They keep it alive and thriving and growing and just flat out fun πŸ™‚

So the confession from this Christian housewife today… Yes, I apparently like my husband to think dirty while I’m cleaning.

Ladies, do we not want our husbands to desire us? I know I do. I want him to think of me as passionately as Solomon thought of his beautiful bride in the Song of Solomon. I want to hear him say to me “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret place of the steep pathway, let me see your form, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your form is lovely.” (Song of Solomon 2:14)  I want to know that I have made his heart beat faster (Song 4:9).

What makes my husband mine is that I didn’t have to do a thing to receive this comment. I was just being me. The beautiful maiden in the Song of Solomon was spotted by her love as she was out doing what she did… herding goats.
She didn’t have to dress herself up to be noticed by him. And I didn’t have to dress myself up and make my face and do my hair to perfection to be noticed today by my love… he just loves me. All of me, “But my dove, my perfect one, is unique:” (Song 6:9). He loves me from the inside out (even if it might have began from the outside in). He spotted me as I was out just doing what I do.

Not that I do not dress myself up for my husband, because I do. As a matter of fact it is one of my most favorite things to do. I love to look beautiful for him, as did Solomon’s beautiful maiden, “How beautiful and how delightful you are, my love, with all your charms!” (Song 7:6) I want my husband to be proud to have me on his arm and I love to have him notice when I have put forth the effort to look my best for him.  

So husbands… if there are any still reading this… go whisper some Song of Solomon in your wife’s heart this Saturday πŸ™‚

>Praying with Persistence or Shut Up and Trust

>How are we to know when to keep praying with persistence about the same thing or when to shut up and trust that God has heard us and move on?

As a parent I have kids who constantly are asking for stuff, to have stuff, to do stuff, to get stuff… always wanting stuff. My youngest who is seven at this time is dying for her own email account. We have told her to wait and we would set it up when we thought she was really able to handle one. However, even though we have already given her an answer which was to wait, she continues to constantly come to us and ask “But when?”
To which we have chosen to reply, “Every time you ask the time gets pushed back further.”

Hmmmmmm, now I wonder, is that my Father’s reply to me as well?

You see I ask for stuff, to have stuff, to do stuff, to get stuff… always stuff. It’s all reasonable stuff. Our house to sell. Foreign mission trips. Book sales. Ministry opportunities. Financial issues. Confirmations of prayers. You know good reasonable stuff.
And I have heard Him many times give me the answer, “Wait and I will give it to you when I know you are really able to handle it.”
However, I still find myself constantly coming to Him and asking, “But when?”

So I wonder is God looking at me and saying “Every time you ask the time gets pushed back further.”?

I try to justify my constant “But when’s” with the parable of the widow before the unrighteous judge in Luke 18:1-8, but my request are not going up before an unrighteous judge are they…

“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not lose heart,” (Luke 18:1)

So how do we know when to be persistent in prayer and when to shut up and trust?

I’m still working on this one, but I think when the prayer is actually a whine… it’s probably time to shut up and trust. If I am whining, have I lost heart? Is a whine even really a prayer request? I tell my own children, “Excuse me, but I don’t understand whine language, when you can address me in english, we’ll talk.”

So if I am whining am I really trying to emotionally manipulate God? (Like that’s going to work!) Am I really just doubting that He heard me or is going to do what He said He would do? Is it that I am not trusting that He has my best interest in mind at all times? 

“will not God bring about about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8) 

God is not going to delay in answering my request, even if and especially if the answer is wait. He will bring about His will quickly, as He said He would. Did you know that this word “quickly” is showed as only being used seven times in the Bible by the NAS Greek Lexicon?  In Luke 18:8, Acts 12:7, 22:18, 25:4, Romans 16:20, and Revelation 1:1, 22:16. The word is tachos in the greek and it means quickness, speed.

Perhaps what God is telling us many times, is wait, and when I answer I will answer with quickness and speed. You will have no doubt that it is Me. No doubt that your prayer has been answered according to My will to accomplish My purpose in you. So My dear precious one, My beloved, when I come with My answer to your request, will I find you waiting in faith…

So are we to pray with persistence or shut up and trust?
I think the answer just might be both.
A little phrase that I have coined… “when in doubt, pray about”

However, maybe, NO WHINE LANGUAGE ALLOWED πŸ™‚

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14)

>Interpretations of Grease

>As I was spending time with a dear friend and sister in Christ this week we ended up on a discussion about music lyrics and movies. We were at a public place where random music was being played and a lot of that music was songs we listened to growing up and we would find ourselves singing the lyrics before we even realized it.

Then our girls would say “what’s that song” and we would then move into diverting them with a, “well it’s just an old song that was out when we were growing up.” And we would move on not really wanting to encourage them in learning the lyrics themselves. After all they’ve already got “Baby, Baby, Baby, Oooooh” stuck in their head. They don’t need “Shot to the heart and you’re to blame, baby you give love a bad name” added to their minds rolodex.

After the song lyric discussion it moved into the movie realm and the movie Grease came up. We both remember watching that movie as a child and loving it, I have to admit I still enjoy watching this movie.
What I recall as I watched this movie as a child was that I just focused on the fun of it. The catchy songs, the silly things that made me laugh, like the pies in the faces and the pink hair. I really never caught on to what the whole concept of the movie was about.

Then I watched it as an adult that was now deep in the study of the Word and was now focused on being holy as He is holy and being a slave to righteousness and not the slave to sin that once had me bound. I watched this movie with these new eyes in Christ and sat there with my mouth open in the “Oh my word!” expression.

As my friend and I discovered, this movie was horrible. The message of it, the lyrics of the songs, we both recalled the shock of discovering what we had really been singing. Wow!

The verse “Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) comes to my mind.  

This movie takes this good, pure, wholesome young lady, everything that we are desiring our daughters to be, this young girl who stands strong through the ridicule of friends because of her goodness and then this movie brings her down and ends with a celebration of her degradation. The girl compromises her convictions, the truths in which she has been taught, in order to get the object her desire… a boy. She shows up at the end of the movie in tight black leather with a cigarette hanging out of bright red lips.

What hit me this morning in the shower is what the boy had showed up in at the very same ending…

When this young girl met her fellow, he was not with his peers. His personhood was not affected by the company he kept… he was himself. This is who the young girl gave her heart to. Then she meets him within his peers and he is different. However her affection for him has not changed, nor has his for her.

What happens when this young man lays eyes on this young lady again? Well first he becomes a confused fool, torn between what he wants and who he is supposed to be. The young girl refuses to be intimidated by him and stands her ground to not be less than who she is, no matter who makes fun of her. As we watch the movie we see this young man realize if he is to have the object of his desire, he must change. He begins to do so… little by little… he begins to become a man.

The problem… the young lady. Here in the end she grew tired of waiting and she compromised. She threw it all out the window in order to get what she wanted. She lowered her standards and now is pretending to be someone she is not in order to get what she wants.

However had she just waited, had she just continued to stand her ground, this young man was rising to the occasion. He was becoming a man in order to earn her trust, her respect.

The truth hidden in the songs and fun of Grease, the moral of the story you might say that I believe is written in between the lines maybe…

Young ladies wait.
If you will wait, he will rise.
Do not compromise what you know is right, stand firm, hold fast, if he loves you he will rise to meet your standard. His desire is to earn your respect.
Let him.

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9)

The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn