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As a teen and young adult I got really tired of the church telling me to do something with the “because I said so” and the “be good” reasoning. I still battle that desire to live inside the rule box.
I’m going to rant now- How about telling me the whole truth? The truth is that God actually set up marriage as a covering and a protection for women. Instead of trying to scare me with STDs and pregnancy! How about teaching me who I am in God? How about making me confident to know that I am worth marrying? How about telling me that any guy who would sleep with me outside of that covenant doesn’t actually respect me at all, no matter what he says? How about teaching guys HOW to respect women? How about teaching them how to be real men instead of guys, punks and dudes? How about teaching them who they are in God too?
Rant over. Rational blog to follow in 3, 2, 1….
There is a rampant identity crisis in this world. I’m not the only one who struggled with identity. And honestly, I don’t blame my parents or the churches I went to for my lack of identity. It’s not their fault, because they did not know what they were doing. They did their best with what they had and they loved me the best way they knew how. I had some very wonderful people in my world, truly. And I’m grateful.
But the fact remains that the world at large lies to kids. They do one of three things: The world scares the crap out of them and scars them for life, traps them in a ruled filled box, or tells them to do whatever they want. Not one of those things are actually Biblical, my friends!
Moses spent a lot of time telling the Children of Israel the importance of passing on what they learned about God and from God to their children. But they didn’t do it. So after Joshua died, the children of Israel went through a crazy cycle (Read Judges) of doing whatever they wanted, then crying out to God. God would send a deliverer, and then they’d stick with God for a generation. Then they’d start the cycle all over again.
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Training up doesn’t must mean to tell them do this and don’t do that! It means we need to show them how to make good decisions and why it matters. Most importantly though, we NEED to know who we are in God and we NEED to teach the next generation who they are in God. It is ESSENTIAL that they know because how you see yourself colors every decision you make (and the ones we don’t). Your identity feeds your perspective.
Before I really understood how much God adored me, I was willing to take what I could get. I coasted along living on crumbs. I don’t do that anymore, because I am the daughter of the Most High God. He has a good plan for me and I expect Him to do good things for me. I expect that when I screw up that He will it around for my good. Because that’s who He is and what He does! He’s a good God who restores and reconciles and regenerates and resurrects! And He is absolutely in love with us! With me! With you!
Here’s an intro to your identity in Christ:
Ladies, you are the representation of the beauty of God. You are the daughter of the most high. Zephaniah 3 says that God sings over you with joy. On the cross, you were the joy set before Jesus that made all that suffering WORTH IT! You are adored! So don’t settle for anything less than full respect and love.
Gentlemen, you are the representation of the warrior side of God. Sorry to tell you but having sex does not make you a man. Sorry. But it doesn’t. What makes you a man is you being responsible and respectful. Genesis 1 tells you that you are made in the image and likeness of God. You were created first to be a leader, a guardian and protector. It also means you have the power to create and sow good things! That’s who you were made to be. Don’t settle for being an immature boy or a guy who plays around, be a man.
Today’s Deep Thought: When your hope is based on God’s promises, you can be assured that you will not be disappointed because not a single one of God’s promises will fail!
The last thing Joshua said to the Israelites was, “Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the LORD your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!” Joshua 23:14 NLT
Hebrews tells us: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 NLT
Paul said: “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5
Hope=A joyful and confident expectation of good.
Faith=Being convinced (absolutely persuaded) that God is who He says He is and, therefore, will do what He says He will do. Also known as trust, belief.
Even if you don’t see how God is going to do it, God sees the beginning and the end.
Even if you can’t wrap your mind around it or begin to understand it, God knows all things.
Even if you have no money, God is your provision.
Even if you’ve been waiting sooooo long, don’t give up. Those who persevere receive what they were promised.
Even if it looks impossible, God still does miracles every day. He has limitless resources. LIMITLESS! And He’s got more planned for you than you can possibly imagine. Imagine that!
Even if you are the least likely, ESPECIALLY if you are the least likely candidate, God loves using those people! (David for instance. Or Mary. Or Galilean fishermen and tax collectors working for the Romans. The list goes on and on).
When God promises something, He delivers. So, stand on His word! Speak the scripture out loud! Remind God of His promises.
Faith praises God NOW for things that have been promised but have not yet arrived. We praise NOW because we know that God ALWAYS keeps His Word. Always.
“Listen Your watchmen lift their voices; together they shout for joy! When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.” Isaiah 52:8
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Waiting for something from the Lord is not like waiting for a doctor appointment or even for the weekend to get here.
Isaiah 52 says that the watchmen were shouting for joy while they were waiting and watching. That’s how we should be waiting.
“But Jill, it’s been a month. A week. A year. A decade.” I hear you, believe me! But think about this: Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for Isaac. Caleb and Joshua waited 40 years in the desert to enter the Promised Land. I received a promise from God 10 years ago. I’m still waiting too.
We can choose to cross our arms and pout OR we can do what the Word says and rejoice while we wait! Hope is a confident and joyful expectation of good. Are you expecting good? What are you speaking? Choose to speak the Word over your situation. Pray scripture over your situation and believe God.
Then use your faith and start praising and thanking Him for the victory BEFORE you actually see it. Seeing it happen is actually the reward of your active faith. See Hebrews 11:6.
Look I know it’s hard to speak joyfully over a lingering sickness. I know it’s hard to believe when the circumstances look bleak. I have my days where I want to throw in the towel on situations. But those moments are the very ones that Hebrews 11:6 and Isaiah 52:8 are referring to. In those moments, choose to thank Him. Choose to praise Him. And choose to believe.
What’s the alternative? Complaining and murmuring? Waste of time; see Numbers 11:1 and Exodus chapters 16-17. Giving up? Then what? You want to wait all that time just to quit and die in the desert? Waste of time; see Numbers 14:34, 32:13, Deuteronomy 2:7, 8:2-4 and Joshua 5:6. You want to do it your own way? Waste of time; see I Samuel 13.
Consider this: The only difference between the generation who died in the desert and Caleb is that Caleb believed God.
“Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him: “You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.” Joshua 14:6-12
You’re going to wait no matter what. God’s timing is God’s timing. He is always on time, never early and never late. He has very specific reasons why He does things when He does. Maybe you’re not ready for what you’ve asked for. Maybe there are things in your heart that need to be worked out. Maybe He’s using your situation to teach others and allowing you to have an amazing testimony. He’s a good God, so why not choose to rejoice while you wait? Happy Friday!
(Scripture from the NKJV today)
Today’s Deep Thought: Being trapped sucks. But if you pay attention, you might just learn something.
I need to go through a guarded gate to get to work. There are 2 gates to choose from. 95% of the time I go through the one gate. But yesterday I felt like I should go to the other one, but I brushed it off and pulled into the turn around like I do most days. I was the third car in line so I was waiting my turn. From where I was all needed to do was shoot across the 4 lanes and into the gate. It was 6:50 am, so I was exactly on time. Then I notice the traffic beginning to get squirrely and start to back up. Took me about 30 seconds to see the problem, an accident blocking the middle lane about 50 feet beyond the gate.
I was literally across the street from work and I couldn’t get there because the accident was backing up the traffic in front of me. No one was letting people over. People were honking and screaming and flipping each other off. It was then I realized I should have listened and gone to the other gate.
I decided that the easiest way to get out of this situation is to just turn left into the closest lane and then flip back around and drive to the other gate. Simple right? Wrong. The one car in front of me was determined to shoot across 4 lanes of dead stopped traffic to the gate. So I can’t go forward or turn left. I can’t back up because there’s a line up behind me. Trapped!
How many times does this happen in our lives? We get stuck in a situation that we can do nothing about. We get trapped by circumstances that may or may not be our fault. Sometimes we blow up! Sometimes we want to quit! Other times we can see the problem and the solution but can’t fix it, so we have no choice but to wait it out.
No matter what it seems like at the time, God’s not trying to frustrate or torture us when we are forced to wait. He knows that waiting is a process that produces fruit in us. Romans 5:3-5 says, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance,and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
God loves to bless His children. He desires to prosper us. He wants to give us the desire of our hearts. But He’s much more concerned with our heart attitude and our character than giving us things. That’s why the waiting is necessary. It shows us our heart attitude. It reveals areas that we need to work on. It shows our maturity and character. It shows whether or not we REALLY trust God.
In the case of my delay yesterday, I had to wait for about 15 minutes for the person in front of me to cross the road. It was a little like Frogger. I don’t like Frogger because I never actually made it off the first board. But I digress. About the 10 minute mark of my 15 minute wait, I lost it. I was calling everyone around me names. Obscene ones. Then I looked up at the sky and asked God how He was able to make it even a single minute without destroying us, because people are really stupid. Now normally I pray and praise on my commute so that this does not happen. But not today. I have to admit I shut my ipod off about that same time, saying now is not the time for “O How He Loves Us” by Kim Walker-Smith & Jesus Culture. It was actually the perfect time for that song, but again I digress.
Anywho, the person in front of me FINALLY went I was able to turn left and go around to the other gate. I pulled into one of the lanes and waited my turn. When I was the next car I had to wait again for this lady to walk across in front of me. Then I noticed the man walking with her. My favorite guard! He’s friendly and cute and seriously has THE BEST smile. He could brighten anyone’s darkest day with that smile. I pulled up at the exact time he was taking his post in my lane. I may or may not have swooned.
Then I hear God say, “Don’t curse what I have blessed. My delays are for your good. They are for your protection.”
I felt stupid for blowing up over something so stupid as a traffic delay. I threw a fit like a toddler and swore like a sailor for absolutely no reason. Ridiculous.
The point of all this is that when you feel trapped, remember Romans 5:3-5. Remember that you are in process. Know that God sees the whole picture so you can trust His timing. Know that if there’s a delay, it’s for your protection, not your harm. He’s not trying to keep something from you. He’s making sure you are ready to receive the good He has in store for you. God has appointed times and seasons for everything. See Ecclesiastes 3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%203&version=NKJV
PS: I want to clarify something. I’m not saying God caused an accident so that I could see the guard with the great smile. God doesn’t work that way. If you think He works that way, you’re wrong. He doesn’t cause bad things. Bad things happen all on their own. But God will take those bad things and turn them for our good. If I had listened and gone to the other gate in the first place, I’d have been to work on time and there would have been no issue. But I didn’t. I got trapped because I didn’t listen. Then God used that bad situation to teach me something, and blessed me anyway. He turns things meant for harm around for our good (Romans 8:28). He’s still good, even when we’re not.
“If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.” -2 Timothy 2:13