tuesday april 29, 2008
Does He Believe?
I am currently in a relationship and don’t know what to do. I met the Lord a year ago and have been walking strong in faith ever since. Although, the more I learn about relationships the more confused I get. My boyfriend believes in Jesus, but he does not have a personal relationship with Him or read God’s Word. My concern is: do I continue to nurture the relationship in hopes that he’ll change? Or do I turn away and walk with someone who is a Christian living out his faith?
Thank you for your question. I wish I could speak with you eye to eye on this one. I would love for you to see in my face the love and concern I have for your heart – your life – your future. I am so excited for you – that you have chosen to embrace Christ – and live for Him. That's awesome! Truly awesome! I want to encourage you to read your Bible – daily. Your new journey with Christ is dependent on God’s lessons and His encouragement that He has written for you in His Book. Like a baby is dependent on milk to live and grow, you’ve gotta have God’s Word. If you are having a hard time studying your Bible, get in an e-group, or join a home group this summer when we have sign-ups. Even more readily available for you - the Teachings book is always out at the Vintage Info table. It has some excellent guidelines for how to study the Bible. Studying God’s Word is a sure way to learn truth and be able to discern what is right for your personal relationship with Jesus.
I want you to know that I am so glad you sent me this question. I have been praying about this reply – and praying for you! Many, MANY girls have asked this very same question. You are not alone.
As with my last entry, I am going to turn to the wisdom of Jackie Kendall, who authored Lady in Waiting, and I am going to share some verses with you from the Bible. I want to go back to your question – and what you said specifically…okay? You said, “My boyfriend believes in Jesus, but he does not have a personal relationship with Him or read God’s Word.” I am taking your words exactly. Those words, sweet heart, speak profound truth – and that truth is your pivot point. Let me share a verse with you:
James 2:18-19 “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”
Did you catch that? The demons believe in God, and the thought of Him freaks them out. They tremble at the thought of God. What we do with that belief – now there’s the key. The verses that follow in James remind us of what Abraham did because he believed in God. He was willing to sacrifice his only son – the son he was promised, the son he'd been hoping and waiting for all his life! And Abraham was ready and willing to do it! Ultimately, Abraham didn't have to kill Isaac. God provided a ram for the sacrifice - but Abraham was on GO, because his faith was not just about a head belief, but a life of acting on what he believed. God told Abraham that his faith had made him righteous. Great story! Check it out in Genesis 22! It is an amazing picture of what God did for us in sacrificing Christ on our behalf. So – back to your description of this young man. He believes, but he has no relationship with Christ. Being a believer in Christ is more than knowledge of Him in your head; it's your heart, soul, mind, strength in forward, follwing Him, motion. Really believing penetrates every aspect of who you are, and yes, that costs.
Here is something else the God’s Word says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?” II Corinthians 6:14
Now, this verse specifically says “unbelievers”, and you say your boyfriend believes – but belief as defined by James 2 is different from simple – base – head knowledge. Your belief has changed you, hasn’t it? Because you believe in Jesus, you are embracing Christ – changing your life to follow Him. A lot of people believe that Jesus existed, but that head knowledge has not penetrated their heart and changed them from the inside out. Does that make sense? Because you believe in Jesus, you live for Jesus. Now – back to II Corinthians. What does that verse say? What does God want us to understand about being yoked – or closely connected to unbelievers– as oxen who pull together in a harness? Don’t do it! Why? Great question! One that II Corinthians answers. Check this out:
“What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial (Satan)? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord”
II Corinthians 10-17
You have nothing, nothing, – N-O-T-H-I-N-G– in common with an unbeliever. You are completely juxtaposed as far as your God sees it. You will live differently in every way, shape, and form; as different as Jesus and Satan. Because God said so, you should not be with an unbeliever. These words in black and white may be glaring and harsh – but oh, how I don’t mean them to be. I do, however, hope they make a deep, deep impact. Girl, I have been there and done that. I dated someone who “believed” in Jesus, but did not have a relationship with him. I loved him. I would not break up with him, because I loved him. I married him, and I cried every day of that marriage until it ended in divorce one year later. As painful as breaking up may be, it cannot even begin to compare to the pain of divorce. Do not prolong this relationship in hopes of winning him over to God. End this quickly. God will bless you – big time – for your belief – for your act of obedience! His promises are sure!
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him – must believe that He is and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Jackie Kendall wrote, “Here comes the bride all dressed in … chains! ‘Hey wasn’t that supposed to be “all dressed in white’? The last word in the chorus was changed to ‘chains’ because she made the unwise choice of marrying an unbeliever. The chains symbolize what she has to look forward to as a believer married to an unbeliever. The Word of God speaks clearly about a partnership with an unbeliever. When a single woman experiences a prolonged period of datelessness, loneliness tempts her to compromise her conviction concerning dating a growing Christian. Her dateless state may pressure her to surrender to the temptation of dating an unbeliever. She may justify such a date in the guise of being a witness for Jesus. Many single women have been trapped emotionally with an unbeliever when it all began with ‘missionary dating’. Ponder this: every unbelieving marriage partner arrived as an unbeliever on the first date. As trite as it may seem, every date is a potential mate. Avoid dating an unbeliever.”
Do you love God? Do you? Love Him then, with ALL your heart, soul, mind, strength. Do not cling to this relationship like it is your all and all. It isn’t. God is your all in all. This decision is pivotal for you, sweet girl. HUGELY pivotal! Move in your faith. Turn. Embrace. Serve.
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” Jonah 2:8-9
I am praying for you. Please know that!
posted by laura lewis
wednesday april 23, 2008
Lady in Waiting
As I was reading Kemper’s blog I came across, "We, as men, were created to rescue, to pursue, to provide for." I also agree with this statement whether-old fashioned- or not that men always do the pursuing. The fall of Adam and Eve does come in mind when thinking about men as the providers. Is there any Scripture that explains how a woman should be in fact treated and the roles of her man in pursuing her heart?
Hey, Sweet Girl! Thank you for writing! Most of these words I have gathered for this response will not be my own (which is always a good thing). I would like to reference some amazing authors that will help us discover truth.
Your question is answered best in the book of Ruth. Ruth is the perfect model of a woman who is completely dependent on God for meeting her needs. She pursued God first, and He provided for her, beyond her happily-ever-after dreams. In the book Lady in Waiting ,best selling author and speaker, Jackie Kendall, draws her readers into God’s Book – specifically, the book of Ruth. Ruth is the epitome– the very God authored image – of the “Lady in Waiting”. Listen to what Boaz says to her when he comes to profess his devotion.“Then he said, ‘May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich. Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.’” Ruth 3:10-11
Jackie Kendall explains, “Ruth, single, young, widowed – must have experienced the lonely longings for the warmth of a husband. But she lived in victory over her desire to ‘man hunt’. Instead of ‘going after the boys,’ she sat still and let God bring her prince to her. She was a Lady of Security. Why do women tend to ‘go after the guys’? Why do women experience difficulty being still and waiting for the man to initiate and develop the relationship? You find the answer in one word: insecurity. An insecure woman has her world centered on something (marriage) or someone (Mr. Right) that can be taken away. Insecurity keeps a woman from experiencing consistent joy even within a relationship because a man cannot provide security, only God can.” Here’s something else Jackie wrote for us to consider: “Why do women feel they have to go after men? Many women have believed a lie. They think, ‘I must get the best for myself because God may not give it to me.’ What do you think would have been the outcome of Ruth’s life if she had chosen to believe this life?"
Now, in order to answer that, sweet heart, you need to read the book of Ruth. So, please, please, take some time with your Heavenly Daddy – who wants you to know His heart – not just this story – and read this book. And, sweet girl, don’t just read it to get through it like a novel. Pray first. Ask God to open your heart and your mind to teach you what He would have you learn. Take a pen in hand and have it ready to write out what you are thinking, learning or questioning. Use God’s Word to direct you deeper into what you are learning. I’m hoping you have a study Bible with a concordance and cross references that will take you deeper into the Bible and all God is showing you in the book you will be studying. Just for example of the depth and breadth to God’s Word – and how it unlocks more than what is seen or can be understood on the surface of one passage - Ruth 4:18-22 lists the descendants of Ruth. She married the man God brought to her, Boaz. They had children together, and these descendants are all listed in the last verses of this chapter. Now, if I just read this book as a normal text book, I might skip over those names and not think much of them except – that’s nice she had kids and grandkids – and sheweeeee those names are hard to say. BUT – since this book is the Word of God – we have to take note of cool stuff that we might miss if we didn’t consider it as God’s Book. THIS book is unlike any other. A study Bible is a fabulous tool that helps unlock some of those jewels that we might overlook. So – in my study Bible there is a note to go along with those verses that list the genealogy of Ruth. This note actually directs me to the book of Matthew where another genealogy is given – the genealogy of Christ. And low and behold – guess whose name is given? I’ll quote it for you. First it says in Matthew 1:1 “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Then the following verses go from Abraham, and then a whole bunch of other names from the descendants of Abraham right down to verse 5-6 which says, “Salmon the father of Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.” How’s that for a happily-ever-after story? Ruth is the great grandmother of King David, and Jesus directly followed that lineage. Ruth is related to God’s SON! We can’t even imagine what God has in store for those of us who are obedient.
Allow me to share this passage from Jackie’s book where she quotes Elizabeth Elliot the wife of missionary Jim Elliot and the author of Passion and Purity (another great book you may want to read!)“Elizabeth Elliot says she is often asked the question, ‘What can I do to get him to notice me?’ Note carefully the advice she gives. ‘My answer is nothing. That is, nothing toward the man. Don’t call him. Don’t write a little note with a smiley face, or a flower, or fish under the signature and put it in his campus mailbox. Don’t slide up to him in the hall and gasp, “I’ve just got to talk to you!” Don’t look woebegone, don’t ignore him, don’t pursue him, don’t do him favors; don’t talk about him to nine carefully selected listeners. There is one thing you can do: turn the whole business over to God. If he’s the man God has for you, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” Psalm 84:11. Direct your energies to obedience, not to nailing the man. God has His own methods of getting the two of you together. He doesn’t need any help or advice from you.’”
What powerful advice! Pursue God. This is our model for how we are to live, love, exist. What a relief we can leave everything up to Him! How good, how glorious, how amazing is our God! He does it all. He is all. Please, enjoy His story of Ruth, and please share with me what wondrous things you learn from and about HIM. Thank you for your question and this opportunity to learn with you on this journey we share!
posted by laura lewis
thursday april 17, 2008
Be Sure It's True
I've been dating a wonderful guy for about six months now. He loves God, treats me right, and we have an awesome relationship. But he hasn't said those three little magic words, "I love you" yet. I know that I shouldn't say it first, but people are telling me that he should have said it by now, and that I need to talk to him about it. He's naturally a 'think first, act later' kinda guy, so I've never really worried until people started talking to me about it. Should I be concerned that he hasn't?
So, this special guy hasn’t said that he loves you, huh? Well, actually, I think that’s very wise on his part. This is one of those times where I look at the rule by which we are basing our reasoning and actions and go: “hmmmmm….” I mean, think about it. Who told you that time was the determining factor for when those powerful words should be spoken into your relationship? Time is not the factor at all. Investing time in the relationship to get to know each other is wise, but that time, whether 6 months or a year, is not the factor that should determine when you say “I love you”. Love is a choice, one that requires great sacrifice from the man who is brave enough to embrace such a commitment to you.
If you attended the relationship series, or heard the messages on marriage at Vintage, then I know you heard this verse: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27
Paul goes on to teach that husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. Wow! What a commitment this young man will one day choose! What a huge responsibility for the rest of his life! Would you really want your boyfriend to say “I love you” if this commitment were not at the core of what he was saying? If this commitment were not at the core of his words, what would he really be saying if he said "I love you" and didn't really get the commitment aspect? That's a scary thought. Can't he communicate his interest in you, and his attraction to you, in other ways and in other words that MAY - one day - define more clearly the BASIS of his love?
You’re really pretty.
You are fun to be around.
You make me laugh.
You encourage me.
You help me think about life in a new way.
You help me love God better.
You help me want to live like a godly man.
You have changed me for the better.
You are so good to me.
You are interesting to talk with.
You challenge me.
You have beautiful eyes.
I really like the way you are around my friends and family.
You have so many qualities I respect.
I think about you a lot.
I like the way you make me think about tomorrow.
How precious are these thoughts of you! Wouldn't you trust his proclomation of love if he had already said and meant these other words first? And if he’s not saying these sweet things to you – about you, what is he saying? Is he discovering you, appreciating you, encouraging you with what he sees in you? What have you learned about him, about your relationship in 6 months, that indicates to you that there is a potential for further growth and commitment?
Love is such a powerful word, a word we throw around too lightly. This young man may be cautious for good reason, and for your good. He doesn’t need to be pressured, he needs to be respected.
There’s an old song that contains some vintage truth. Someone once sang it to me, so I’m going to sing it to you, okay? I’ll spare you the whole thing. Here it goes:
“Be sure it’s true, when you saaay, ‘I love you.’ It’s a sin – to tell – a lie. Millions of hearts have been broooooken, just because these words were spoooken.I love you. Yes I do. I looooove you. If you break my heart I will die. So, be sure that it’s true when you saaaay ‘I love you’. It’s a sin – to tell – a lie.”
tuesday april 15, 2008
Becoming Too Dependent
Question: How do you know if you are or if you are becoming dependent on your boyfriend or husband?
Reply: SO, how do we know if you are in fact dependent on your boyfriend or dependent on your husband? Let’s start with the boyfriend scenario. Thanks for the opportunity to think through this with you! Here’s a few ideas to think about.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when you always have to touch one another when you’re together.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when you share an account – email, cell phone, or bank.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when you have NO idea what your girlfriends are doing.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when he calls to ask you out, and you cancel any plans you already made just to be with him.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when don’t HAVE any girlfriends.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend, when you have to check with him for what you can do that day, that night or that weekend.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when you seek his approval over God’s.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when you’re with him more than you are alone.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when he knows your Facebook password.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend if you have to ask him for money.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when you have to ask him where you put your keys.
You know you’re dependent on your boyfriend when your friends tell you that you are.
That last one is where I’ll camp. Your Christian girlfriends should be a reliable barometer for whether or not you are becoming dependent on your boyfriend. Ask them – with an open heart – open mind- and see what they think. If you don’t have any girlfriends, well, there is another possible indication that you are indeed dependent on your boyfriend.
I was so guilty of looking to a boyfriend to "complete me" when I was your age. If I was not in a relationship, I was looking to be in one. And when I was in one, I was stifling as far as needing time and attention. I had no idea what my girlfriends were doing. I spent little time – if any – with my girlfriends. And I spent zero time pursuing God. The priorities in my life were all messed up, so my thinking, my actions followed suit accordingly.
So, who do you ask if you are at a party and you think you may have something stuck in your teeth? Who do you ask if your outfit looks okay? Who do you ask the hard questions about yourself? Wow, there’s a good question? But, I think I asked it the wrong way, cause I need to ask this for myself. DO we ask anyone the hard questions about ourselves? Questions like, do I seem dependent in my relationship? Am I acting different, and is that a difference that is positive or negative? We are blessed if we have Christ following girlfriends in our life who will walk around in our hearts, and LOVINGLY help us see what we might be missing – because we’re too close to the situation, or because we’ve been in it so long we’ve grown numb to it. Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted…” and Proverbs 27:9 reassures us that “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and pleasantness to the friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” If you have a Christian girlfriend, who better to ask about your life as she sees you living it out. “A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17 – and she’s probably still in it with you, watching you, hoping you find her again.
Now let’s think about marriage. Your lives will become so closely intertwined in a marriage, as God has designed it, that you will absolutely depend on one another. You will be his help mate, and he will be yours. The Proverbs 31 woman was all about meeting the needs of her household, and her husband was respected because of her good deeds. However, she – this vibrant Proverbs 31 girl – feared God, and lived this way because of His Word over her life. Read this chapter when you get a chance. God teaches us how to love, live and serve one another in a marriage in a way that honors Him, not replaces Him. Although in a marriage you will be dependent on one another, this dependence, on one another cannot ever replace your individual dependence on God. We, together in our marriage, are dependent on God in our individual walk with Him, and in the life He has joined us to share. The two become one flesh – and there is a physical and emotional dependence that grows in that bond. However, that bond is wrapped up and sealed by His Spirit. As we cling to our God for all we are as individuals, and all that we bring to our marriage, our marriage is blessed. My husband’s provision for me can only go so far, as well as mine for him. And I am so grateful for a husband who directs our decisions not to himself, but to our God, who is our ALL. Oh sweet girl!... for this and for so many other reasons, choose a man who loves God, passionately. Who do we really have to depend on – in life and in death? “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
Thank you for allowing me to think through this with you. How precious is your heart! Please pray about this. Pray about what God wants to teach you, and sweet, sweet heart, call your girlfriend.
friday april 11, 2008
When living in a microwave generation, it's not always easy to listen to God when he says, "wait". It's hard enough waiting on the other end of the phone during a call waiting conversation, so what am I supposed to do when Jesus tells me to have patience for something. Especially when it feels like I've already been pushed to my limits. Is my life going to stay on hold forever???
Wow, girl, where do I begin? I think I have started and stopped this reply five times now. I have so much to say, but I want to choose these words so carefully. I am sorry you have had to wait on this reply. However, I trust that God has been working on your heart during this silence between you and me. I know He has been working on mine. He is so faithful to help, and to guide, and to grow his children! Promise me you’ll think with an OPEN mind about what you are asking. I’m praying I will think openly as well – open to what God says, and not what I think. God will teach both of us something powerful as we seek Him and His purpose in our waiting. You’re all promised up, right? Okay – let’s hit it.
May I first direct our thinking back to Genesis? It’s always good to begin at the beginning. In Genesis 3 God is speaking to Adam and Eve after they had sinned. In verse 9, God called out to Adam and said, ‘“Where are you?’ He (Adam) answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’” Now God responds to Adam. “And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked?’” Wow! Did you catch that? What a question! Who told you that you were naked? Adam had not been taught by His creator to think that way about himself. So, he asks him a question that speaks to me and what I have learned – not from God – but from the Father of Lies… “Who told you to think that way?” Who is teaching you the rules by which you are living?
Now, think about what you are asking. What is hidden in your thinking? “Is my life going to stay on hold forever?” Sweet Girl, who told you that your life was on hold? On hold according to whose definition of what abundant life is all about? Who told you that life didn’t begin until you were married? If abundant life - as Christ meant for us to grip with all our heart, soul, mind and strength - is about being married, then sure – your life would be on hold. But, sweet, sweet, heart…that’s not what abundant life is. You’ve got it. You’ve got abundant life because you’ve got Christ. You are living abundant life right this very minute, NOW! The question is – what are you doing with it? You may say, “Yeah, but you don’t know my circumstances.” No, I don’t. But the God who loves you – who created you for His amazing purposes – to bring Him glory – knows your circumstances BETTER than you do, and HE will give you unbelievable satisfaction, and not in the ways you can imagine or even realize in the realm of joy and satisfaction – but, baby, He brings it – full, rich, and complete.
Do you trust God? Do you really believe that He is GOOD? I’m so glad I waited and prayed through responding to you. I had no idea what God had in store that would prepare my thinking and understanding for this reply. My LifeLinks group met last night – and this – this very idea of waiting on God, trusting that He is GOOD - was what our lesson was all about. God’s Word says He is good. Will we trust that despite our circumstances? Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed are those who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 119:68 “You are good and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” Another verse brought into the mix of our LifeLinks discussion was from the New Testament (Matthew 7) where Jesus is talking (a good time to listen in) and he says, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”
What’s amazing to me about this truth,is that sometimes I have what he’s given in my very grasp and I miss it. I’m so ungrateful, selfish, and in my skin – never satisfied. For example, the other night Kemper came home with a Wii for the kids. He wanted to surprise them with it, so at dinner he had them close their eyes and hold out their hands. Into Kamryn’s hands (our 7 year-old daughter) he put one of the controllers. Into Kaden’s hands (our 4 year-old son) he put one of the games. Then Kemper said, “Open your eyes.” They both looked at what they were holding. Kaden was amazed! A huge smile came across his face. He was thrilled because all he cared about was the fact that he had in his hands a Wii game. So much different from the perspective of the 7 year-old across the table from him! She started to cry – which I thought initially was sheer delight. But this was not delight. She wailed, “Is this all I get? A remote?” Wow! She missed it! She had no idea that her daddy was holding the source of her joy, and she possessed all she needed right then to embrace that gift. The rest he was sure to deliver. Cause why? He loves her. She could trust him to be GOOD to her. Do we trust that God – our heavenly Father is GOOD?
There’s one last passage from God’s Word that I want to share with you. Isaiah 40:27-31 says “Why do you complain Jacob (put your name in here)? Why do you say Israel (put your name in again), ‘My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God’? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; BUT those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Here is my understanding of that verse – and I’m explaining this to you only from my personal perspective as I am trying to grasp it in my waiting on God experiences. So, please press this explanation up tight against the full Word of God and really chew on it. When I am going through a struggle in life – “running” if you will, it is not by choice. I do not choose hard circumstances to endure. They come. God never said they wouldn’t come. I don’t choose those circumstances, nor do I know how long they will last, but even so, I have endured a few, and endured to the end of each one’s weight. And when the “running” through my struggle eventually slowed to a walking pace, I did not pass out from exhaustion, but held through it – breathing hard, feeling tired – but not fainting. The impact of Isaiah 40:31, did not rest only on the running, and walking, and not fainting – but continued in my heart and mind as I could not stop thinking about the wings of eagles. Because, in my understanding, that was not related to my ability to move through the situation, but the eagle’s wings soar high above ground level – giving me a greater perspective on where I had just been. I could see above it – not a God’s eye perspective – but high enough above the situation that I could appreciate where I had been and how much God had helped me to endure, to grow in my faith – my love – my life in Him. The strength to wait, to hope, to endure, to see above our circumstances comes from our GOOD and loving God.
So, let’s get back to your question. Is your life really on hold? Or are you missing the full abundance of where God has you right now? What does He want you to do with where you are right now? Look to God. He sees you. He loves you. He made you. He will not abandon you. He has promised you abundant life. You’re in that abundance if you’ve embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior, but you may be missing what that’s supposed to look like because you’re still reading and hoping in YOUR script for life and not God’s truth. You are precious. Your life is precious. Pastor Jerry asked this question once, and it still resonates with me. What would Jesus do if he were living your life for you today? God has given you skin and positioned you with it in the year 2008 in Buffalo, New York. Your possibilities are limitless today. Ask God what He wants you to do with it. And yes, baby, yes – you may have to wait many times throughout this journey– but every step or standstill moment is valuable and has purpose. Abraham waited for Isaac. Moses waited for the Promised Land. Rahab waited for her rescuers. Nehemiah waited for direction. Ruth waited for her kinsmen redeemer. Simeon waited to behold the Savior. Mary and Martha waited for Lazurus to be healed. Paul waited for his sight to be returned. John waited on the aisle of Patmos. We all wait for Him to return. We wait on a God that is so, so GOOD. Trust your God.
friday april 4, 2008
You Had Me at Hello
Question: When do you tell a guy how you feel about him? And what would you say exactly?
Answer: I love this question! This reminds me of Jerry McGuire. Did you see that movie? Remember how the girl, played by Renee Zellweger, started going on and on to her sister about how she loved Jerry? She didn't even realize he was there! Disaster! He overheard her, and of course it freaked him out! Those raw emotions would freak any guy out…initially. Because then, after he realizes that he does love her, he has to pursue her! He has to come profess his love to her after he’s hurt her deeply and realizes he may have lost her forever. And so, in front of a whole group of strangers – women no less – he begs her forgiveness and proclaims his love! So what does she say? Yes – that famous line (next to “you complete me”), “You had me at hello.” I love that part…(sniff, sniff).
What’s my point? Oh yeah! The fact is that too much said too soon – is... well, spooky. It will freak a guy out and send him running. It would freak you out, too, wouldn't it? Besides, the fact is that love really is a choice, as a wise person once told me. Think about that for a second….Love is a choice…Keep thinking….think… think some more… You CHOOSE to love someone. That gush you feel initially isn’t love...even after a few weeks, months…it may not be love...yet. Love is a commitment that you choose to make with all your heart – all your mind – all your strength, for all your life - forever. So when you choose to venture into a relationship with someone, he may be hot, funny, and good with his money (had to throw that one in – it rhymed), but what you may feel is basic attraction. Love is the choice you make once you have done life for awhile and examined the heart of this guy and walked with it awhile next to yours. So choose wisely what you say. You aren’t hurting the relationship by being cautious with your heart – by being cautious with your words; you are guarding it and respecting that sweet young man. Take time to recognize the difference between the passion you may feel, and the choice you are willing to make to love him apart from passion.
Now, in practical terms, I wouldn’t say a thing – and this is just my opinion – unless he said something first. And – just because he says he thinks you’re the bomb – doesn’t mean you have to say, “Oh, I think you are, too.” Say it if you mean it, not because he said it. Say, “Thank you; that is so sweet,” (add a little giggle to ease the tension). Especially when it comes to the “I love you” that gets tossed around so recklessly. If he says “I love you,” – you tell him flat out – that you take that so seriously. And if you are ready to embrace that commitment, because remember, it’s a choice; – you say it back, but I wouldn’t ever say it first. Let him profess to you. Men are the pursuers -(most men – not all). And that’s not old fashioned – that idea is just precious and plain lock and load fun!!! I love how my husband still pursues my heart! And I love letting him catch me!
And, Girls, we can also pursue, – we’re just sly and innocent about it. So the men we adore don’t really know that we are pursuing them, but they are caught up in it, like a bear in a waft of honey. When I was interested in Kemper, I found out what kind of perfume he liked. I didn’t wear it initially, but one day, when we were with my family, I had it on. He said, (sniff, sniff) “Who is wearing Knowing?” Hmmmm….everyone looked around, and I innocently sniffed my wrist…”Oh, is this it?” And I held my wrist to his cute nose…. “Yes,” he said, very satisfyingly. “THAT is it.” Oh, my!!!…hook, line, sinker. I’m actually tearing up right now! What a romantic I am! It was a cool moment for me. I can see it in my mind like it was yesterday. Anyway, I knew he was amazing, and I wanted him to realize that I thought he was pretty special. So I did little things like that, to speak my heart, gently, softly, without saying a word…just a silent “knowing”. Hehehe. Yep. I still wear that perfume. And it’s still my baby’s favorite.
This question goes along well with the last post “Guarded Heart”, so I appreciate it very much! I hope my answer helps. Thank you for asking, and for trusting me with your precious heart!
thursday april 3, 2008
Hi Laura! I have this uncontrollable guard up to every guy I meet. I find myself being attracted to a guy, one who is really great and loves the Lord immensely, but the minute I see any sort of attraction from them towards me, I freak out and cut them off. I get scared or weirded out. It drives me crazy!! And the thing is, I am sooo bad at communicating my feelings to guys, so it makes things even more confusing and frustrating! How do I sort out my emotions with this, as well as being able to communicate them?
Hey! Thanks for your question! Have you ever heard the saying, "Once bitten, twice shy,"? That might be you, my friend. Have you been hurt in a relationship before? That might be the reason you are "freaking out" when you see that there may be mutual feelings between you and this fortunate young man. Here's a story for ya. I remember when I first got braces, I was so excited about them! I smiled constantly! I know that's very odd, but for some reason I really did like them. However, my affection for them did not last. It was not long before a 7th grade boy, whom I absolutely adored, told me that I looked funny with my braces. Of course, I cried. And, from then on,I hated my braces. Every time I smiled or laughed, no matter who was looking at me, I covered my mouth. It became a reflex habit that was extremely hard to break even when the braces were long gone. Sometimes I still catch myself doing it!
So what does that have to do with your question? Well, here’s my breakdown, and take this with a grain of salt, because while I care a great deal, I am not a counselor. I am thankful that you trust me with your heart, and that you think I might be able to offer some guidance, so please know I am proceeding with much caution. Okay? I think that you are protecting yourself from being hurt, and I also think, to some degree, that is very wise. We should be careful about who we are close to. I love Psalm 1! God teaches us not to listen to the advice of people who do not love God, and not to hang out with people who are locked into sin as their way of life. The Bible tells us to get wisdom, and though it might cost all you have, get understanding (Proverbs 4). God’s Word is full of wisdom that we can plug into our every day situations, our relationships, and our purpose. What you need when you are on the cusp of a new relationship is wisdom. And wisdom is not based on feeling; it is based on truth. You may have fears that have a basis to them, and so when you are holding back, ask yourself why? Press the reasons for your fear up against truth - God's Word - to discern your steps, whether you move forward in the relationship or back. You may have fears that have no basis. You know what I mean? Like me with my braces - I covered my smile no matter who was looking at me, when it was really only one person that hurt my feelings. I didn't have to be afraid of everybody looking at my grin. I allowed that one person's cruelty to impact the way I felt and acted for two year's of my life! You may have good reasons for why you are not sure of moving forward with the relationship, so let your caution be the yellow light that allows you time to pause, pray, and seek God about your concerns.
3. Find God’s viewpoint in Scripture.
A dating relationship is nothing to go charging into recklessly. I love that you are being cautious. I think that’s brilliant! And besides that, - and this is just my opinion, -I think a woman’s heart is to be pursued, and a wise woman never lets that adventure end for the one whom she allows to catch her. As far as past hurts go, let them go. They are in the past. Move forward with the wisdom that you can glean from them as you learn God’s Word and His amazing love for you. Remember that all things will work together for good to those who love God. It is so, so true. Ask Him to heal you and make those scars His glory. And how beautiful, sweet girl, – as only He can make things beautiful – how beautiful His glory in you will be!!!
Thank you, thank you for writing to me!!!