Tuesday, April 27, 2010

LIWD :: day 60 :: The Mom Maneuver

Another form of maneuvering is to become the guy's "mom."  Insecure females all too often deceive themselves into thinking that because they do so much for a particular young man, they will surely win his love.  Wrong!  It is easy for a man, whether he is young or old, to let a woman sacrifice for him.  Why?  Most men are used to the sacrifices of a woman.  Good ol' mom has been sacrificing for him since the womb.  Sure, the young man will say, "Thanks," but young men do not marry their mothers!  When a woman does something nice for a certain guy, he usually does not spend the rest of the day thinking about her unselfish service (he may be accustomed to receiving).  The woman may begin to feel used.

Some women prepare meals, sew on buttons, and wash the guy's clothes -- all things a mom would do -- assuming all this is practice for their future together.  Inevitably, the man she has served so unselfishly may fall for a girl who can't bake or sew and thinks you take all the clothes to the dry cleaners that "fluff and fold."

Most men are used to the sacrifices of a woman. 

I don't know if I fully agree with todays devotional.  I mean, I absolutely think you shouldn't be doing someones chores for them just to win their affections.  When Jackie says the womans service was 'unselfish', I completely disagree.  If you are doing things for a man in the hopes that he will love you or date you or reciprocate your feelings, you are being selfish.  This is not a case of doing something for someone out of the kindness of your heart.

I have been that selfish, naive woman before.  I've done a guys laundry, cleaned his room, made him dinner...all so that maybe, just maybe, he would begin to look at me in a different light.  This plan failed miserably.  Attraction is not something you can force.  Either he likes you for you and wants to be with you or he doesn't.  A clean car or a homemade meal isn't going to change that. 

If the guy you are spending all this time and energy on isn't taking the time to get to know you or reciprocating your feelings, it's time to take a step back and look at what's really going on.  You can force someones feelings.  You are only in control of yourself.  He may not be the one for you. 

Rather than spending all that wasted time and energy on a guy who just simply isn't in to you, why not use that time to glorify God?  We are all stewards of our Lord and Savior.  If you can take your zeal for cleaning or cooking or sewing or whatever it may be, and help someone who really needs the help -- just because doing so would honor God -- you will be so much more fulfilled.  Will you turn your attention from that cute guy to your Savior?

Monday, April 26, 2010

LIWD :: day 59 :: Imitations

There are many imitations of a true pearl, but with years, the shiny pearl paint cracks and wears off and all that is left is an unattractive bead hanging on a string.  God's Spirit, however, produces true inner beauty, as you confess your sin, avoid displeasing God's Spirit, obey even the slightest of His promptings, and give the Holy Spirit full control of your life.  Pearls of godly character take time to develop, but how blessed is the woman adorned by them.

You can settle for an imitation necklace of fake pearls by trying to simply cover over ungodly character, or you can allow the Holy Spirit to use the sands of singleness to create the real thing.  If you want a cheap imitation, a modeling or charm school will be sufficient for what you seek.  But if you want genuine pearls, you must allow the Holy Spirit to perform a special work in your life.  Determine to string lovely pearl "necklace of virtue" as a treasure for your Lord.

"Providing lasting pleasure
potential beyond measure,
the rarest of treasure,
a reputation of virtuous character."

...if you want genuine pearls, you must allow the Holy Spirit to perform a special work in your life.

Have you ever met someone who was so beautiful, so attractive, but then once you spoke to them, or got to know them a little, thought how ugly they were? I have.

The way you hold yourself, the way you convey yourself to others shows your true beauty...or ugliness, as the case may be. We are all capable of being ugly people...just as we are all capable of being beautiful. I am lucky to have a few friends who truly brighten the room when they enter into it. Their love for Jesus shines so brightly in everything they do, I can't help but smile when they are around. Do you have anyone in your life like that? Someone whose inner beauty is so great that it flows out of their pores? I long to be that someone.

So, how do we do that? How do we become someone who radiates beauty from the inside out? Someones whose light is infectious? Someone whose smile brightens a room? It won't come from working out, or dressing up, or styling our hair, or doing our make-up. It won't come from focusing on what others find appealing. It won't come from trying to please this world.

It will come if we forsake ourselves and our selfish wants for our Maker. When we can truly give ourselves, our lives and everything that comes with it, to our Savior and let Him rule our lives, we will start to shine His light. When we forsake our will for His, when we do what is pleasing to Him and not the way of the world, only then will we truly become beautiful on the inside.

You can primp all you want. You can spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on beautifying your outward appearance, but it all means nothing if you are ugly on the inside. Where is your time spent? Are you obsessing over that zit? Or are you trying to overcome your malicious tongue? Are you spending an hour every day on perfecting your curls? Or are you spending an hour every day in His word?

I know I'm not perfect and I know I never will be. But I know an hour spent with my God is much more gratifying than an hour spent primping.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

LIWD :: day 58 :: Behavior Patterns

Part of reckless abandonment is realizing how much our culture has affected our behavior patterns.  You want to be Christlike, but your lifestyle is a reflection of Vogue magazine or Cosmopolitan rather than a new creation in Christ.  A.W. Tozer said, "A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to 'accept' Christ without forsaking the world."  Ruth had to forsake the familiar and comfortable in order to receive God's best for her life.


One single was persecuted, not by non-Christians but by Christians, because she chose to spend her summer studying at a Bible Institute rather than playing in the sunshine with her friends.  They actually accused her of thinking she was bettter than them because she planned to study the Bible intensively for eight weeks.  Unfortunately, our self-centered culture in America has penetrated the Church so much that a young woman not only has to choose against the American culture, but sometimes against the more subtle, worldly Christian subculture tainting the Body of Christ.

Part of reckless abandonment is realizing how much our culture has affected our behavior patterns.
'The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is christians - who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and get on with another lifestyle - that is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.' I've quoted this in past posts, I know, but it so aptly fits todays devotional.
It's so easy to seperate God from the rest of our lives. It's so easy to 'put God away' when it's not convenient for you to christian. Proclaiming the love of Christ isn't always easy. Nonbelievers make it difficult. Other believers make it difficult.

Sharing Gods love takes courage. It takes will. It takes strength. It takes compassion. It takes Gods help. He will give you the courage, the strenght and the compassion...if only you will ask for it. We might seem odd to our friends when we speak out for our God. It may make us unpopular to forsake the way of the world for His will. That's a risk I'm willing to take...how about you?

Friday, April 23, 2010

LIWD :: day 57 :: Consider...Your Friends

When Ruth told Naomi, "your people shall be my people," she understood that she would not be able to grow closer to the God of Israel if she remained among the Moabites (her own people).  Ironically, God called Moab His washbasin (see Ps. 60:8; 108:9).  One rinses dirt off in a washbasin.  Ruth chose to leave the washbasin and head for Bethlehem which means the "house of bread."

Even today there exist "Moabites" who will undermine your growth if you spend too much time with them....  Realizing that one's friends drive you either toward or away from God, you may need to find a "new people" who will encourage your growth and not hinder it....

...When a woman stops growing spiritually, the lack of progress can often be traced back to a friendship that undermined her commitment to Jesus.

Take a moment to think about the spiritual depth of the girlfriend who influences you the most.  Is she daily becoming all that Jesus desires?  If so, her growth will challenge you to grow.  On the other hand, her apathy may ultimately be contagious.

...one's friends drive you either toward or away from God.

They say you can tell alot about a person by the people they surround themselves with.  I'd say that's true -- to a point.  We tend to hang around with people similar to ourselves simply because that's who we have things in common with.  They like the same things we do.  They have the same sense of humor.  The same sense of adventure.  They get us.

I'd be naive to say that my friends don't influence me.  I'm not saying that I would do something just because someone else is doing it or because someone told me it was a good idea, but I value the opinions of my friends...and they do have an impact on my decisions.

That being said, I try to surround myself with people who I respect.  As I've grown closer to God, I have found myself 'weaning' away from certain friends, or groups of friends, as the case may be.  These aren't bad people, they just are going in a direction that doesn't align with the direction I want to go.  I have become closer with friends who are followers of Christ.  They encourage me in my walk.  They tell me when I'm going in the wrong direction...even when I don't want to hear it.

I'm not saying that, as a christian, you should only be friends with other believers.  Not at all.  You can be an encourager to them.  You can be one of the steps that leads them to Christ.  I just believe that you need to be careful that you are not following the lead of your unbelieving friends.  Make sure that your sights are set on God and that these friends are not leading you off course.

There are times in my life when I am weak.  When I am easily swayed.  It is those times that is especially important that I surround myself with other believers.  There advice will line up with Gods word, leading me to where I need...and want...to be.  Whereas my unbelieving friends will lead me to the ways of the world...they may not have bad advice, but it won't be what God wants me to hear.

I don't think it's necessary to cut people out of your lives necessarily...just make sure the people whose advice you are heeding are speaking from the love of Christ and not from the world.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

LIWD :: day 56 :: Prayer Divinely Explained

Prayer is the effusion of the heart in the presence of God: "I have poured out my soul before the Lord."  said the mother of Samuel.  (1 Sam. i. 15.)  The prayer of the wise men at the feet of Christ in the stable of Bethlehem, was signified by the incense they offered.

Prayer is a certain warmth of love, melting, dissolving, and sublimating the soul, and causing it to ascend unto God, and, as the soul is melted, odors rise from it; and these sweet exhalation proceed from the consuming fire of love within.

This is illustrated in the Canticles, [Song of Solomon] i. 12, where the spouse says, "While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof."  The table is the centre of the soul; and when God is there, and we know how to dwell near, and abide with Him, the sacred presence gradually dissolves the hardness of the soul, and, as it melts, fragrance issues forth; hence it is, that the Beloved says of his spouse, in seeing her soul melt when he spoke, "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness, like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrh and frankincense?"   (Cant. [Song of Solomon] v. 6; iii. 6.)
- Madame Guyon

Prayer is the effusion of the heart in the presence of God.

Prayer is much more than just a conversation with God. Prayer is a way of growing closer to the our Creator. Prayer is way of praising our Savior. Prayer is a way of glorifying God. Of letting Him know that He is the center of our universe. That He is the center of our lives, our souls, our hearts.

When we pray, we thank God for all that He has given us. For the air we breathe, the ground we walk upon, the sun shining down on us, the rain that feeds the earth around us, the love of friends and family, the food in our bellys, the jobs that pay our bills, the beds we rest in, the phones we use to communicate with, the computers that occupy our time and simplify our lives, the tvs that entertain us...the list goes on and on.

When we pray, we ask God for forgiveness for all the wrong we do. For the snide remark we made, for the malicious thoughts we have, for the lust we feel, for the little white lie we told, for the gossip we helped to spread, for the anger we felt, for the foul language we muttered...again, the list goes on and on.

When we pray, we ask God to bless us and our loved ones. For financial stability, for health, for contentment, for patience, for peace, for love, for esteem....and once again, the list goes on and on.
When we pray, we acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. We acknowledge that He is the Almighty, the Creator of All, that He chooses to be with us, that He is to be revered, that He deserves our praise. When we pray we are bowing down before God and giving Him the respect He deserves.

I hope that when I pray, I am praying selflessly and truly honoring my Lord. How about you?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

LIWD :: day 55 :: The Place of Rest

You don't know what tomorrow holds, but you do know who holds tomorrow.  Say this with the psalmist:

O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I  involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.  Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.  O [substitute your name], hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever (Psalm 131).

The place of rest that the psalmist found was a result of the choice he made.  This quietness of soul did not come naturally to him.  He chose to put his hope in God.  Are you trying to involve yourself in matters that are too great for you?  Can you see into a man's heart?  Can you know the future?  You know Someone who does know men's hearts and the future.  Patiently rest against His chest.  He will bring you the peace you need.... 

By an act of your will you must choose to trust God regardless of what happens.

The opposite of faith is fear.  Lately, I find myself repeating that over and over.  A good friend of mine, is preparing to begin a new chapter in her life.  She's at a crossroads.  She needs to find her place in this world.  She's being pulled in several directions.  These people want her here.  These people want her there.  Her mother wants her to do this.  She wants to do that.

This friend of mine often asks my advice.  My advice rarely changes. 
'Pray about it.'
'But then what?' she inevitably asks. 
'Listen and obey.'
'How do I know it's God talking to me?'

Easy question, hard answer.  Discerning Gods voice can be tricky.  It's something you feel in the depth of your soul.  If you are praying over your career, and suddenly doors seem to fly open in one direction, I would say that is God.  If you are praying over a move to one town over another, and there's no affordable living in one, I would say that is a sign from God. 

When I saw Beth Moore speak last September, she spoke of discerning Gods voice.  You can read my take on her talk here

To discern the voice of God you need to take away your biases.  Rather than praying that God brings you this job, pray that He will show you the job He wants you in.  Rather than pray that God will pave the way for you to move to a certain city, pray that He will lead you to where He intends for you to be.  By praying for His will, rather than your own, you are ensuring that you will be going the path He intends you to be on.  This may not be the path you would choose for yourself, but it will be the path that is best for you.  He knows better than you do.  He knows what the future holds for you.  He has plans for you. 

I'll choose to follow my God wherever He leads me, how about you?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LIWD :: day 54 :: Contentment

Whether married or single,...the key to your enjoying this moment deals with your inner contentment....


Whether married or single, one must learn that it is Jesus who strengthens you to walk in the most dismal or delightful of circumstances.  True contentment is learned.  You are not born with it and you cannot buy it at one of Kmart's blue-light specials.  Your classroom for learning is your daily life.  Every shattered dream or unfulfilled expectation serves as a perfect opportunity to learn contenment.  These circumstances are your classroom assignments for learning the mystery of contentment.  Learning contentment will require complete dependence upon Jesus, for difficult circumstances without the strength of Jesus can rob you of potential contentment.  Do not be deceived into thinking you do not need Jesus' strength to face the good circumstances as well as the bad.  When the sun is shining with no clouds in sight, you may assume that you can securely bask in the sunshine without any prospect of rain; however, this full feeling can easily breed a tendency to ignore Jesus.  "Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'"  (Prov. 30:9a NIV)

Every shattered dream or unfulfilled expectation serves as a perfect opportunity to learn contentment.

Contentment can be hard.  I think that gratefulness and contentment go hand in hand.  Whenever I notice myself being discontented with things in my life...or starting to whine and gripe about all that is wrong...I try to think of things I am thankful for.  It helps if these things are connected, but it doesn't necessarily have to be so.

I hate my job...but I have a job and I love my career
I've buried myself in a mountain of debt...but I have a roof over my head and food in my belly
I don't have a car...but cycling is great exercise and I live in the sunshine state
I miss out on family outings because I'm so far away...but I'm surrounded by great friends

Sometimes the silver lining is very evident...sometimes you have to search for it.  If you have trouble finding the silver lining, ask God to show it to you.  Lay your burdens at His feet and ask Him to help you through. 

If it feels like everything in your life is going wrong, make a list of the things you are grateful for.  Do you have friends who love and care for you?  Do you have shoes on your feet?  Clothes on your back?  Food in your belly?  Oxygen in your lungs?  A roof over your head?  Money in your bank account?  Is the sun shining?  There are so many little things we take for granted. 

God has gifted us with life and then with a Savior to cleanse us from our sins.  Look for the silver lining next time you feel a dark cloud looming overhead.

Monday, April 19, 2010

LIWD :: day 53 :: Maximizing Fellowship With God

As a single, you have a wonderful opportunity to use your time to mazimize your fellowship with God. When you love someone, you give them your heart, the center of your being. God asks for no less. He desires a totally devoted heart (deepest devotion), your soul (what you think and what you feel), and your might (your strength and energy).

Many women today are devoted, all right! They have devoted themselves to developing a love relationship, but not with the Lord. They erroneously seek for love in sensations and promises. the world's version of love is soemthing they want to "fall into." Meanwhile, "true love" escapes them. True loves can only be found in undistracted devotion to Jesus Christ.

To love Him like this, you must know Him intimately... It is a personal, intimate knowledge. Do you have a devotion to God that causes people to marvel at how intimately you know Him? do you know God in a way that causes Him to be an intimate, personal part of your being as you may desire a husband to one day be?

As a single, you have a wonderful opportunity to use your time to maximize your fellowship with God.

Every day, in my morning prayer, I ask God to radiate His light through me. I long to make my heavenly Father proud. I long to rightly represent Jesus in all that I do. As much as I long for these things, I often fail miserably. Lucky for me, our God is a god of second chances...and third, fourth...etc.

So how do we gain this personal, intimate knowledge of God? It's actually quite simple. How do you get to know anyone? You spend time with them. You learn all about them. You tell them all about yourself. You share your hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations. You talk to them. You listen to them. You heed their advice. That's what God wants, no, deserves.

He has done so much for us, from creation to His death on the cross. The least we can do is live for Him.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

LIWD :: day 52 :: What's Your View?

..."I [Naomi] went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. ...the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighy has afflicted me?" (Ruth 1:21)

Would you be devoted to a God like Naomi's? In Naomi's bitterness, she no longer referred to God as "the Lord" as she had in verses 8 and 9, but with a title that can cause one to feel alienated and insignificant -- "the Almighty." Though Ruth clung to Naomi as a mother she did not accept her mother-in-law's view of God for herself. ["If we think of Him (God) as cold and eacting, we shall find it impossible to love Him, and our lives will be ridden with servile fear."]

Your past experiences, present circumstances, or your parents' devotion or lack therof may cause you to have an incorrect view of God. But nothing and no one can give you a clearer picture of the true God than slipping under His wings and discovering for yourself Who God really is, the refuge for which you long. He desires for you to come again "into the garden" and walk with Him in complet fellowship. This is the fullness of devotion.

...nothing and no one can give you a clearer picture of the true God than slipping uner His wings and discovering for yourself Who God really is...
It's hard to praise God in the face of despair. We don't always understand God's plans. Scratch that...we rarely understand God's plans. We often can't make sense of why things happen. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? It was too soon for my mom/dad/sister/brother/husband/wife/friend/child to leave this earth. Why now?

What we often fail to take into consideration is free will. While it's easy to remember that we are in control of our own actions, we oft forget that so is everyone else. God does not interfere with free will...ours or anyone elses. He might speak to someones heart, and if they are listening and obey, they may follow His divine will, but it is still ultimately their choice.

It is important to remember that while we may not understand, or agree, with everything that is going on in our lives, God is still there. God is always there. God has always been there. God will always be there. He can use the bad in your life for good. So long as you believe in Him, and in His truth, you will reap the greatest reward possible...eternity in heaven.

Friday, April 16, 2010

LIWD :: day 51 :: Distractions in Prayer / Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael was born December 16, 1867, in Millisle, Northern Ireland, the oldest of three sisters and four brothers. She was raised in the Presbyterian church.

During her adolescence Amy showed signs of a great poetic gift. In 1885 she had a mystical experience that set the course of her spiritual pursuit.

Amy's passion for missions was ignited in 1887 when she heard China Inland Mission founder Hudson Taylor speak. Five years later, God's words "Go ye" were all the confirmation she needed to set her course for foreign lands. She was rejected by C.I.M. because of her frail health, but in 1893 she served the Japanese mission as a "Keswick missionary," and in 1895 she departed for India. Miss Carmichael soon formed the evangelizing "Woman's Band" and took in her first "refugee."

In 1900 she moved to the infamous Dohnavur where she eventually founded the "Dohnavur Fellowship." In 1903 Amy's Things as They Are was published, launching her career as a prolific writer. In 1916 she founded "Sisters of Common Life," a spiritual support group.

Miss Carmichael was crippled by a fall in 1931; four years later, she became bedridden. She remained thus until her death on January 18, 1951, and was buried at her beloved Dohnavur.

Distractions in Prayer

Sometimes nothing helps so much as to turn from trying to pray, and instead, to read on the knees of the spirit some familiar passage from the Bible, for those words have a power in them to effect that of which they speak. Another sure way into peace is found in a literal obedience to Colossians 3:16. Turn a psalm or a hymn into prayer, read or repeat it aloud, for to speak to oneself deep down in one's heart, using words that one knows and loves, is often a wonderfully quickening thing to do, and nothing more quickly and gently leads one into the place of peace, where prayer is born....

Sometimes we cannot find words...do not be afraid of silence in your prayer time. It may be that you are meant to listen, not to speak. So wait before the Lord. Wait in stillness... And in that stillness, assurace will come to you.... You will know that you are heard; you will know that your Lord ponders the voice of your humble desires; you will hear quiet words spoken to you yourself, perhaps to your grateful surprise and refreshment.

Do not be afraid of silence in your prayer time. It may be that you are meant to listen, not to speak.

I love to sing. I love to sing praises to my Lord and Savior. I never feel as close to God as I do when I'm singing His praises. I often feel overwhelmed with emotion when I'm singing out to Him...eyes closed, arms raised, heart open.

Sometimes I can't find the words to portray what I long to say to God. I know that God knows my heart and that even when I can't formulate the words...He knows...but still, being able to convey the words to God helps to fulfill my hearts desires. So I'll turn on my itunes, put it on shuffle and ask God to read my heart.  More often than not, when I am fully seeking God, a song will come on that perfectly portrays my hearts emotions.

One of my favorites right now is The Stand by Hillsong United. The words are so powerful. I tear up almost everytime I sing these words out to my God and Savior.

So I'll stand
with arms high and heart abandoned
in awe of the One who gave it all
I'll stand
my soul, Lord,
to You surrendered
all I am is Yours

What song...or verse...does that for you?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

LIWD :: day 50 :: Devotion

...It is hard enough for a single woman to keep her focus where it should be without friends making insensitive comments [about not being married]. How much better it would be for the Lady in Waiting if she were encouraged to pursue her undistracted devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ, instead of being made to feel like she does not quite measure up....

Much too often people view a single woman as though she should be pitied rather than envied. Nothing could be further from the truth. A Lady in Waiting has the advantage of being able to develop her love relationship with Christ without the distraction that a husband or family inherently bring to one's heart.

This has been God's plan from the beginning. He tenderly created woman to love Him and to experience the blessedness of fellowship with Him. In those first days, Eve communed with God in indescribable fellowship and oneness. When God came to walk in the cool of the day, there was no fear; only love. Eve had only positive feelings about God. She loved Him and knew He loved her. She enjoyed Him and devoted herself totally to His pleasure.

A Lady in Waiting has the advantage of being able to develop her love relationship with Christ without the distraction...
It's easy enough to say that God is the center of my universe...but do my life choices actually reflect that? How often do I choose facebook over God? Or tv? Or going out with friends? Or scrapbooking? Or work? Or whatever it is that seems to occupy my time?

I find it hard now to spend time daily with my Savior...how much harder will it be when I have a husband? And then, even more so, once I have children?

As a single woman, I am blessed with an abundance of free time. Even if I don't always feel that way, it is absolutely true. Too often, I am too tired or too busy or, just plain, too lazy to make time for God.

Doing this devotional has definitely helped me to make more time for God. But it's not enough. I need to be daily in my bible. I need to have daily heart-to-hearts with my Creator.

I long to have a more intimate relationship with my Jesus. It's up to me to make it that way. He's already there, arms open, waiting for me to come to Him. All I have to do is make the room in my life. I think I can make God my number one priority...can you?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

LIWD :: day 49 :: Spiritual Eye Wash

In order to have "eyes of faith," you may have to use a spiritual eye wash to remove the debris that the enemy has dropped into your eyes. The Lady of Faith will have times when her secure eyes of faith begin to blink into an anxious twitch of insecure, sensual sight.  She can admit her insecurity to her heavenly fiance and He can calm the twitching eyes.  Spending some quality time in the Word is the best "eye wash" for "eyes of faith."

...A Lady of Faith...can only be content in this trying situation if she has her "eyes of faith" properly focused on the ultimate relationship -- with her heavenly Bridegroom.  Datelessness is a common type of debris that irritates the "eyes of faith," but the eye wash treatment -- quality time with Jesus and reading His Word -- is always effective.


One young lady faithfully attended her church for years.  Often she needed reminding that "he's just not here yet."  God brought her Boaz from across the country to where she was in Florida....  Many tears of faith had washed away the debris that often caused her to doubt if whe would ever get married.

Spending some qualtiy time in the Word is the best "eye wash" for "eyes of faith."

No one is insusceptible to sin.  We are all human.  We are all flawed.  We all have out achilles heels.  We are not perfect.  We have weaknesses.  We can only do our best. 

For me, doing my best means living my life in a way that would put a smile on Gods face.  I often...very often...fall short.  But when that happens, my Savior picks me back up, dusts me off, and I try again.  He gives me a clean slate every time I fail. 

His unrelenting love and forgiveness pushes me to try harder each time.  I'm still learning how to live for Him.  I'm going to make mistakes along the way.  With my bible in hand, and my Lord in my heart, I will focus my life on Him.  When I feel myself starting to waiver, going in a direction that is not following His directions for me, I need to stop.  I need to take a time out and speak to my God.  Ask Him to redirect my heart, to align my will with His, to set my focus on His horizon. 

I am happier when I know I am walking in Gods light.  I am more fulfilled when I am following His plan for my life.  I want to retain this happiness and fulfillment, so I will keep my eyes on Him and when I fall, because I know I will, I will turn to Him to guide back to His path.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

LIWD :: day 48 :: Meditative Reading

There are two ways of introducing a soul into prayer, which should be pursued for some time; the one is meditation, the other is reading accompanied by meditation.

Meditative reading is the choosing some important practical or speculative truth, always preferring the practical, and proceeding thus: whatever truth you have chosen, read only a small portion of it, endeavoring to taste and digest it, to extract the essence and substance of it, and proceed no farther while any savor or relish remains in the passage: then take up your book again, and proceed as before, seldom reading more than half a page at a time.

It is not quantity that is read, but the manner of reading, that yields us profit.  Those who read fast, reap no more advantage, than a bee would by only skimming over the surface of the flower, instead of waiting to pentrate into it, and extract its sweets.  Much reading is rather for scholastic subjects, than divine truths; to receive profit from spiritual books, we must read as I have described; and I am certain that if that method were pursued, we should become gradually habituated to prayer by our reading, and more fully disposed for its exercise.
- Madame Guyon

It is not quantity that is read, but the manner of reading, that yields us profit.

I am, by nature, a speed reader.  I skim things.  If a novel catches my interest, I can easily finish it in a day or two.  In my speed reading, I do tend to miss out on small details...and sometimes big ones.  I often have to go back and reread to figure out what exactly I missed.

Slow, meditative reading is something I'm working on.  It takes focus.  It takes effort.  I desperately want to jump ahead, but I know I'm getting much more out of it when I take the time to fully read every word and pay attention to even the most minute details.

I am currently reading Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy by Mark Galli.  I've been reading it for just over a month now.  It's a small book, from cover to cover, it's less than 150 pages.  I have found that by meditating slowly through this book, I am really able to connect with God through it.  I am able to really grasp what Mark is speaking of.  I am able to bypass my snap judgement to his words and really hear what he's trying to portray. 

While this book may be light in size, it is definitely not a light subject matter.  The liturgy is a powerful subject.  I have been reading one to pages at a time, allowing a day or two to pass while I reflect on what I've read, and then rereading those pages before going on. 

I've never read a book so slowly before...but I've also never gotten so much out of a book.  I don't necessarily agree with everything Mark writes, but by meditating on it, I'm able to sort through what I feel God is saying to me through these words.

Monday, April 12, 2010

LIWD :: day 47 :: Prayer Partner

Do you have a prayer partner? Or do you only have someone with whom you have regular pity parties? If you do not have a prayer partner, ask the Lord right now for such a gift. A prayer partner can help you pray for others....
...Praying regularly with someone (or a small group) is such a vital part of your service to God. To intercede on behalf of someone else's need is a privilege. When you intercede with a partner, the "duet" of harmony before God can change your world. Matthew 18:19 (NIV) describes this harmonious duet: "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for; it will be done for you by My Father in heaven." That little verb agree refers to harmony. Do you have someone with whom you can prayerfully approach God in harmony? Rather than searching for a life-partner, look for a prayer partner. Together you can particiapte in God-given prayer projects. Together you can discover how you can take your concerns for othes and turn them into prayer projects.

When you intercede with a partner, the "duet" of harmony before God can change your world.

I will admit that I do not pray in groups very often. I do pray over every meal with whomever I am dining with...usually the boyfriend. I do call upon friends to pray over things that are heavy on my heart...but we don't necessarily pray together so much as we pray unitedly.

Prayer is a powerful thing. It allows you to unburden your heart. It allows you to grow in your relationship with Christ. It can bring you peace. It can bring you hope. It can bring you understanding. It allows you to clear your heart of any guilt, and any sin, that may be weighing on you. It allows you to start afresh with Christ.

God listens to all prayers. He may not respond in the way you would like, but He always listens and He always responds. Sometimes His response is immediate. Sometimes it may take awhile. Sometimes His response is silence.

Praying with a friend forces you to be honest and realistic. A godly friend isn't going to support you in a prayer that you both know isn't of Gods will. In voicing your burdens to a friend, you can both delve into the issue at hand and seek Gods will. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18.20)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

LIWD :: day 46 :: The Prayer of the Heart

Let all pray: you should live by prayer, as you should live by love.  "I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that ye may be rich."  (Rev. iii. 18.)  This is very easily obtained, more easily than you can conceive.

Come all ye that are athirst to the living waters, not lose your precious moments in hewing out cisterns that will hold no water.  (John vii. 37; Jer. ii. 13.)  Come ye famishing souls, who find nought to satisfy you; come, and ye shall be filled!  Come, ye poor afflicted ones, bending beneath your load of whretchedness and pain, and ye shall be consoled!  Come, ye sick, to your physician, and be not fearful of approaching him because ye are filled with diseases; show them, and they shall be lealed!

Children, draw near to your Father, and he will embrace you in the arms of love!  Come ye poor, stray, wandering sheep, return to your Shepherd!  Come, sinners, to your Savior!  Come ye dull, ignorant, and illiterate, ye who think yourselves the most incapable of prayer!  Ye are more peculiarly called and adapted thereto.  Let all without exception come, for Jesus Christ hath called ALL.
-Madame Guyon

Children, draw near to your Father, and He will embrace you in the arms of love!  Come ye poor, stray, wandering sheep, reurn to your Shepherd!

I talk to God frequently throughout my day.  I pray when I'm happy.  I pray when I'm sad.  I pray when I'm frustrated.  I pray when I'm excited.  I pray when I'm angry.  I pray when I don't know what to feel.  I pray when a friend is struggling.  I pray when I see an ambulance or firetruck answering their call of duty. 

For me, talking to God...telling Him how I'm feeling...brings me closer to Him.  I know, that he is omniscient.  I know that I don't have to voice my feelings for Him to know what they are.  He already knows.  But I believe He wants me to tell Him.  He wants me to bring all that I am to Him.  He wants me to take my frustrations, my fears, my hopes, my dreams, my aspirations, and lay them at His feet.

Leaving my frustrations with God helps to take the weight off.  This world is hard.  I can't handle it on my own.  With God things are so much easier!  With God all things are possible.  Let Him take the weight off your shoulders.   Let Him carry your burden. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

LIWD :: day 45 :: Single Hours

The perfect time to make the most of every opportunity is while you are single. Every believer should use time wisely as Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV) says....

Rather than staying home worrying about another "dateless" Saturday night, realize how much valuable time has been entrusted to you at this point in your life. Rather than resent your many single hours, embrace them as a gift from God -- a package that contains opportunities to serve Him that are limited only by your own self-pity and lack of obedience.

...Countless single women stay home rather than travel alone into the unknown. They not only miss out on being encouraged by others, but also are not exposed to new relationships when they remain at home tied up by cords of fear and feeling sorry for themselves.

If a single woman allows the fearful prospect of meeting new people and new challenges to keep her at home, she may find herself bored and lonely while all the time missing many satifsfying and fulfilling experiences....

Are you busy serving Jesus during your free time, or do you waste hours trying to pursue and snag an available guy?

Rather than resent your many single hours, embrace them as a gift from God...
I wouldn't say I waste my time pursuing men...but I definitely waste it on other things! A friend mine recently wrote of what distracts him from God on his blog. You can check it out here.

I often find myself running out of time. I didn't have time to read my bible today. I wasn't able to fit in any quiet time. While I try and try to justify these excuses...and, really, that's all they are - excuses...I know that if I really wanted to, I could - and would - make time. So what's stopping me?

Am I afraid of where God may lead me? Am I afraid He may want me to break off certain relationships? Am I afraid He may want to break me of certain habits? Do I not want to grow closer to my Savior? Is facebook really more intriguing than my all-encompassing God?

Deep down I know that God is the most important part of my being...or at least He should be. When I put other things over Him (work, friends, boyfriend, facebook, laziness...etc), I am submitting myself to idolatry. I can say all that I like that I don't idolize my laptop...but what gets more of my time? God or my beloved dell? Sad to say it's the dell.

This is really something I need to work on. And it's hard. Shut down the computer. Turn off the tv. Open my bible. Focus on God. Much easier said than done. But I do long for a deeper relationship with my Savior. So as hard as it may be...as much will power as it may take...I will put my God before my electronics...and everything else in my life. How about you?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

LIWD :: day 44 :: Cause and Effect

When you marry, you do not choose blessings or curses for you alone; you choose for the generations after you.  If you choose to wait patiently for your knight in shining armor, you will be blessed by the heritage that a prince brings.  If you choose to run eagerly ahead of God's plan and marry a man with no conscience toward God, you will reap the life's course he follows, but not alone.  Your children's and grandchildren's lives will be directly affected by the man you marry.


God warned His people in Deuteronomy of the long-term effect of their choices....

Deuteronomy 28:2, 15 and 32 show that God has always desired to bless His people, but He will not force them to do what is best.  In His Word He has often warned us to wait, to be careful, and to trust Him.  He will not make us wait.  his heart of love begs us to listen and obey so He may bless us and the dear ones who will one day look to and follow us....

You must choose to wait patiently for God's best.

I am, by nature, a selfish person.  I live in the now...and don't worry much about what the future may hold.  Sure, I have my hopes, dreams and aspirations...but I tend to focus more on what I'm doing right now and the immediate future.  Because of this, it takes effort for me to rely on God's timing.

I know that God knows better than I do.  I know that if I rely fully on Him, go where He leads me, do what He tells me...that He will take care of me. 

But it's so hard!  It's so hard to rely on the unknown.  It's so hard to live in the now when you don't know what you're working towards.  That's why it's so important to keep my eyes focused on the Lord.  Even though I don't know, He does.  He knows.  That's all that matters.  I just need to trust in Him and in His plans for me. 

It might not be easy...I will most likely face trials and tribulations in my pursuit of Him.  But He will take care of me.  I trust in Him.  I trust in His plans.  I will hold fast to that trust, and where He leads, I will follow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

LIWD :: day 43 :: A Lesson in the Interior Life

By rejoicing in Him, however, I do not mean rejoicing in ourselves, although I fear most people think this is really what is meant.  It is their feeling or their revelations or their experiences that constitute the groundwork of their joy, and if none of these are satisfactory, they see no possibility of joy at all.

But the lesson the Lord is trying to teach us all the time is the lesson of self-effacement.  He commands us to look away from self and all self's experiences, to crucify self and count it dead, to cease to be interested in self, and to know nothing and be interested in nothing but God.

The reason for this is that God has destined us for a higher life than the self-life.  That just as He has destined the caterpillar life to die, in order that the butterfly life may take its place, so He has appointed our self-life to die in order that the divine life may become ours instead.  The caterpillar effaces itself in its grub form, that it may evolve or develop into its butterfly form.  It dies that it may live.  And just so must we.
- Hannah Smith

God has destined us for a higher life than self-life.

It's hard to give praise in the face of despair.  It's hard to be thankful when we are enduring through trials and tribulations.  It's hard to be positive when we are going through hardships.  It's important to remember all the gifts God has blessed us with...regardless of how much we don't deserve it. 

Be thankful.  For the roof over your head.  For the shoes on your feet.  For the food in your belly.  For the sun in the sky.  For water in the ocean.  For the stars that twinkle.  For the rain that nourishes the ground.  For the love of friends.  For the leaders in your church.  For the smiles of strangers.  For all the little things.

We tend to get caught up in our little worlds and forget about the awesomeness that is our God.  He created this whole majestic world in which we live...down to the smallest pebble, the tiniest flower.  He then chose to create each and every one of us, in all our complexity.  How can you not praise such a God? 

I know I need to make more of an effort to step out of my own complacency and thank God for all He is.   How about you?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

LIWD :: day 42 :: No End to the Wait

Take courage, single friend.  You are not alone in your wait; neither are you alone in the feelings and struggles you encounter.  many godly women have waited and won.  Many women have lost hope and compromised.  Wait patiently and win triumphantly the future your Father has planned for you.  It will always be designed with you in mind and is worth being patient to discover.

Ruth was a wonderful example of a Lady of Patience.  Ruth did not allow her circumstances or lack of male companionship to cause her to be impatient.  Instead she concentrated on developing companionship with her heavenly Father and chose to let Him bring a husband to her if He saw fit.  Concern over the ticking of her "biological clock" did not make her fearful of the future. Instead she concentrated on being a lady of character, not on getting a man.  She took one day at a time, knowing that God was not bound by circumstances nor her age.  She used the wait to become the woman God wanted her to be.  At the end of this personal preparation God chose to provide her with a husband.

Many godly women have waited and won.  Many women have lost hope and compromised.

I, for one, do not want to settle.  Yes, I want to get married and have kids, but not with the wrong person.  Doing things ahead of Gods timing will only end in distress.  I'd rather wait another 20 years to be with my godsend than settle for someone who is not the one He has chosen for me. 

Why set myself up for disappointment?  If God wants me to be married, He will put the man for me in my life.  My job is simply to wait.  So wait, I will.  I know that God knows better than I do...despite how I may act sometimes.  Putting my trust completely in Him is easier said than done, but I know that doing so will work out better in the long run. 

When I try to do things on my own, they rarely go exactly as planned.  God doesn't have that problem.  So long as we follow Gods instructions, His plans will go off without a hitch.   So I will wait and obey.

Monday, April 5, 2010

LIWD :: day 41 :: Compromise

Marriage to a non-Christian brings pain to the believing wife.  As women, we long to be known and loved for all we are.  A man who is spiritually dead can never know the very intimate spiritual part of you that is your heart. He would be blind to much of what you would try to share with him.  He could never know and understand you fully. 

Be careful when you begin to think that you are "in love" and you "just can't live without him."  Think again.  Think of the loneliness you will feel when your husband will not attend church with you.  Think of the angry bickering that may take place between the two of you because he can never understand the depths of your spiritual awareness and, consequently, your convictions.  If you do not think about this now, you may one day think, "Before I couldn't live without him; now I can hardly live with him."...

Please consider a greater consequence than being unhappily married to a man who does not know your Lord....  Will it be worth the compromise when your children look up at you and ask why daddy doesn't love Jesus?

...you may one day think, " Before I couldn't live without him; now I can hardly live with him."

 I grew up in a home with one parent who was a believer and one who was not.  My father does not understand our faith.  He does not understand our commitment to our churches.  He does not understand our relationships with Christ and why He is so important to us.  He doesn't listen when his wife or children try to explain why we believe what we believe.  He doesn't try to know the Jesus that we know.

In high school, he told my mother I was in a cult...in reality, I was part of a weekly bible study called hi-ba (high school born againers).  The phrase 'born again' scared him.  More recently, he told me Jesus was going to get sick of me because I spend too much time speaking His name and listening to christian music. 

It's hard knowing that my dad isn't going to go to heaven.  It's difficult knowing that my dad isn't open to knowing my Jesus.  It's hard now, but it was incomprehensible when I was growing up.  What do you say when your child asks if daddy's going to heaven?  Do you lie and say yes?  Or do you tell them daddy's going to hell because he hasn't accepted Jesus Christ as his own personal Lord and Savior? 

Why set yourself up for unnecessary hardships?  Don't waste your time dating someone who wouldn't be an ideal mate for you.  High standards are not a bad thing.  Take the time to make a list of the characteristics you want...no, need...in a mate.  Pray over and hold fast to it.  You won't regret it.

40 = 77 ??

The other day after I wrote one of the last (or so I thought) of the LIW devotionals, I flipped a little further into the book.  The back cover of Lady in Waiting boasts of a 'Forty-Day Meditational Journal'...why then, are there 77 'Meditations for the Heart'?  Just curious....

Since I am enjoying this devotional, and blogging about it,  I will continue on for the added 37 days -- so I hope you like it too!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

LIWD :: day 40 :: Take the Radical Route

Does it seem too unrealistic for today's woman to set her sights on a knight in shining armor?  ...A single friend (a modern Ruth) wrote a letter in which she admitted that her high ideals often made her feel like the "Lone Ranger."  She said, " So often I meet women who don't want to go to the deeper, more radical route of separation from our culture in seeking after God's standards."  Do we lower our standards because we seem out of step with all our peers?  Does the woman in Proverbs 31 seem obsolete?  Maybe for the "cosmopolitan" woman she is obsolete, but not for the Lady of Conviction.  God has the best in hand for those who seek Him.

Ruth's choice to wait for God's best resulted in her union with a Boaz rather than a Bozo.  Ruth not only married a man who was a "pillar of strength" (Boaz), but she also was blessed by the privilege of bearing a son (Obed) who would be part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.  Ruth's wise choices resulted in her experiencing God's overwhelming goodness.

"...women...don't want want to go to the deeper, more radical route of separation from our culture in seeking after God's standards."

I've definitely been guilty of lowering, or bending, my standards when it comes to dating.  'He doesn't go to church, but he says he believes...and he's so nice!' or 'he doesn't really have any direction in his life but he's so much fun!'.  Oftentimes we get lonely and choose to settle.  We decide that maybe this characteristic isn't an end-all...maybe I can live without that....

When you are truly following God's plan for your life, there is no need to settle.  There is a need to wait.  And trust.  And wait.  And believe.  And wait. 

Waiting may not be easy, but it will be worth the reward!  If God desires for you to be married, He has someone out there for you.  They may be in your lives now...they may not.  God isn't going to orchestrate your relationship until you are both ready.  Don't just sit around, tapping your foot, waiting for your godsend to arrive!  Use this time to grow in your relationship with Christ.  Mold yourself into a woman that any godly man would be blessed to have! 

Friday, April 2, 2010

LIWD :: day 39 :: The Umpire Has the Final Word

...Your lack of contentment is because of pride.  Pride can be described as an excessively high opinion of what one deserves.  When a single's life is not moving in the direction she wants (husband, career, children, house, etc), the arguing often begins.  Whith whom is the single woman arguing?  It is none other than the umpire, the arbitrator: Jesus.  "And let the peace of Christ rule [arbitrate, umpire] in your hearts...."  (Colossians 3:15).

The struggle with the Umpire is not limited to the single women up to bat!  Every woman who has descended from Eve must learn to trust the call of her heavenly Umpire.  The trouble from the beginning was a woman not listening to the Umpire, but reaching for a life on "her terms."  Why would a woman argue with such an all-wise Umpire?  "Pride only breeds quarrels"  (Proverbs 13:10a NIV).

...Exchange your pride for Jesus' strength so you may accept whatever assignment the Umpire has for you from this moment forward.  Dating is not a reward or a prize for living for Jesus.  A Friday night without a date is often a night of "being spared" by an all-wise Umpire.

Why would a woman argue with such an all-wise Umpire?

We live in a society that breeds independent women.  We teach our children to follow their hearts, to find what makes them happy, to pursue it all costs.  Often God is left out of this equation.  As a result, we are breeding a selfish society.  Everyone is looking out only for themselves. 

I'm not saying we shouldn't be independent, that we shouldn't be able to handle our own.  I just think we need to rely on God.  I know that when I try to do things without His help, it's usually a struggle.  But when I turn to Him, he opens doors for me...or turns me around to the direction He wants me to pursue. 

Life is hard.  God can make it easier.  Don't let your burdens weigh you down.  Give them to Christ.  Let Him carry them.  He'll lead you.  He'll show you the way.  I'm not saying that life with Christ is a walk in the park...just that He can help you through.  Things are much easier when you have a helping hand.  Let God lend a hand in your life.  Let Him take the reins for awhile and see the difference He can make.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

LIWD :: day 38 :: You Must Move In / Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith
Hannah Smith is the author of the popular classic, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, which was published in 1875. Its spiritual secrets of walking with God have been a great source of spiritual strength to many generations....

The search for God finds its greatest hope as we look within, deep into our spirit, where Christ lives. Smith gives us a series of clues for developing our inner life for receiving the "Divine Seed" and preparing our spirit for ultimate union with Christ.

You Must Move In

A large part of the pain of life coms from the haunting "fear of evil" which so often besets us.  Our lives are full of supposes.  Suppose this should happen, or suppose that should happen; what could we do; how could we bear it?  But, if we are living in the "high tower" of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives.  We shall be"quiet from the fear of evil," for no threatenings of evil can penetrate into the "high tower" of God.  even when walking throught he valley of the shadow of death, the psalmist could say, "I will fear no evil"; and, if we are dwelling in God, we can say so too.

But you may ask here how you are to get into this divine dwelling place.  To this I answer that you must simply move in.  If a house should be taken for us by a friend, and we were told it was ready, and that the lease and all the necessary papers were duly attested signed, we should not ask how we could get into it -- we should just pack up and move in.  And we must do the same here.  God says that He is our dwelling place, and the Bible contains all the necessary papers, duly attested and signed.  And our Lord invites us, nay more, commands us to enter in and abide there.  In effect He says, "God is your dwelling place, and you must see to it that you take up your abode there.  You must move in."

"God is your dwelling place, and you must see to it that you take up your abode there.  You must move in."

The opposite of fear is faith.  When you fear the unknown, you are not putting your faith in Christ.  It's easy to say that we trust in God, that we know He has our back, that we believe He will take care of us -- but how often do we try to take things into our own hands?  How often do we get caught up trying to figure things out for ourselves? 

I don't know about you, but this is something I struggle with often.  Maybe it's pride.  Maybe it's my following the ways of the world.  Either way, it's just an excuse.  I know that God is the be all, know all, do all.  I just need to act as such. 

It's scary to put everything into someone elses hands...even when that someone else is God.  Hebrews 11.1 says, "Faith is the evidence of things unseen; the substance of things yet hoped for."  To put your trust in the unknown can be a daunting task, but all things are possible through Christ who loves us.