rise up!

Proverbs 24:16for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

I’m in love with the scripture Proverbs 24:16 though the righteous falls seven times she’s going to get back up! I’m going to fall and I’m going to rise up today, tomorrow, and every time I fall because I am the daughter of the One True King! My Dad is teaching me to never take it laying down and when (not if) I mess up then I’m going to get past it.  It doesn’t need to define who I am.

I have been reading “Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl” by Lysa Terkeurst.  This really has me excited!   She writes, “Becoming more than a good Bible study girl means I separate my shortcomings from my identity and let Jesus be the only measure of my worth.

Rise up ladies!

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tantrums

Why is Saul so angry?  Why is Saul so jealous?  God made him great, God made him a king (1 Samuel 9) but he wasn’t content with God’s will.  He was full of jealousy, rage, and pride.

1 Samuel 22:7-8  He said to them, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today.”

Saul was throwing a fit and throwing his authority around as well.  What he wanted, a dead David, and his men honoring him, wasn’t going well for him.  He felt like no one was faithful to him, obeying him.  He had resorted to bribes and threats.  During his tantrum he even resorted to demanding the guards to kill the priests of the Lord (verse 17).  I’m stunned!  These are the priests who serve God!

Just as my children are gifts from God.  Just as I’m yelling at my boys because they just aren’t listening and I am so tired.   Just being kids.  I have had to talk myself out of throwing a tantrum because I’m not getting my way in my own house.  Not being honored in my own house!!  Many times I’ve ended the day knowing that my behavior was bad.  My children saw me focused on myself and what I wanted.  They weren’t trying to dishonor me.  They weren’t devising plans against me.  I just felt like their were because “I felt”.

I’ve ended days knowing that I didn’t go to God first in prayer before making decisions. I should be looking to David’s example in 1 Samuel 22:5 But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

In the midst of his storm he took the time to see what God wanted him to do.  I was so surprised!  I wasn’t surprised because David was asking God what he should do.  I was surprised because  God asked David to leave the safety he had found in the stronghold and to go to Judah.  It would be easier for Saul to find him in Judah!  But David trusted God.  David trusted God so much that he even told Abithar to stay with him, don’t be afraid.  1 Samuel 22:23  You will be safe with me.

With the group of misfits following David, I’m sure they had their own way of doing things.  I don’t this this group was experienced in taking or following orders but because David remained close to God they remained close to David.  Even some whose lives were in danger remained close because they knew being in the shadow of David meant they were in the shadow of God.

After thinking about this chapter I’ve concluded in prayer “may I draw closer to God, become humble so that my crazy, wild sons feel safe, so that my house feels safe because we are in the shadow of God”.  Safe even though we are imperfect.  Even when our behavior is good or bad.

Psalm 36:7 How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

 

God’s will

1 Samuel 3:19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. (NIV) In the Message version it say that God was with him and Samuel’s prophetic record was flawless.

There have been moments when I’ve been listening to a woman or man of God preaching God’s Word and I’m hanging in anticipation for the next word. I am just feeling emotional, excited, and feeling God’s hand upon me and I can’t wait to soak it all in. Those are moments I know that God was there, I was listening, and changes are going to be happening.

We all have our favorite speakers from Beth Moore to Christine Caine to Priscilla Shirer. We find opportunities to listen to them speak, read their books, share their messages with other women. When someone is walking in the will of God it’s just exciting to hear them talk.

Samuel was growing up in a time very similar to ours. The leaders, the authorities or lack there of, the religious people around him, they all did as they saw fit. Israel had no king and no one was looking to step up and lead God’s people back to God so all the people did as they saw fit. We know what that can look like. Greed creeps in, selfishness, idolatry, dissentions, corruption, and the like.

Samuel is even surrounded by priests, born into the ministry, who should be his example of godly men and we are told in verse 12 of chapter 3 that they were wicked men and had no regard for the Lord. Eli, their father, even knew of their behavior and failed to restrain them (v.13).

God notice that Samuel is different. Samuel is ministering before the Lord and the Lord is taking notice. In a time when the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions (v.1). God sees and when God is ready He makes sure that not one of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. Changes were going to happen.

Like Samuel I want to make sure that I am in God’s will and doing His will and not just what I see fit. (John 6:38) Jesus tells me “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” because (Mark 3:35) “Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother”.

That is a great lesson for learning to keep your faith even when it seems like no one else is and it seems like God is not answering prayers for a while.  Stay in God’s will.

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2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

I’ve seen so many posts, on Facebook, in the past few days that represent fear. Fear of Muslims. Fear of Terrorists. Fear of allowing Syrian refugees of coming to the United States. Fear of those in Muslim attire.

We’ve seen this before. This isn’t new. History is full of horrible events fueled by fear.  Jews, Irish, German, Japanese, Blacks, Whites, Catholic, Protestants, Italians, Muslims and Christians. Fear, and fear leads us to hateful actions towards each other. 

I have to be honest. As I type this out I see my three beautiful sons sitting at the table acting like little goof balls. I love them and because of that love I too am a little afraid. I don’t want them to ever feel pain. I couldn’t imagine the horrors some mothers are facing. I also know that I cannot live my life in that fear.

I must trust God and He gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pray

Deuteronomy 4:7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him?

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.

I am so grateful to be able to teach my children about prayer. After watching “War Room” we made a prayer wall in our home. There is a box of pencils and post-it-notes near the wall so that we can write out our prayer requests and post them on our wall. There are a few posts where we wrote scripture out to remind us of how to pray, how to treat each other, and how great our God is.

Every night we stand or kneel in front of our prayer requests. Some of those requests have been there for a while, reminding us to remain faithful in those prayers. However, some of those prayers have been answered, reminding us to praise God. I’m so grateful for those reminders. I need to be reminded of how God has been near us, near me when we pray. We need to be reminded.

Father, thank you so for being near me when I pray.

bitterness of soul

1 Samuel 1:10 ” In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord”

I have seen this phrase so many times throughout Scripture (Job 3:20, 7:11, 10:1, Isaiah 38:15).

I look back on my own life and the times when I’ve had that bitterness of my soul too. We all have. When we have had longings and desires that we thought would never come true.

I remember as a young girl, wanting so much to have a relationship with my mother. At such a young age I didn’t realize that her addictions kept her from being able to meet my needs.

I didn’t have a relationship with God as a young girl so when I cried out I didn’t know who I was crying out to, I didn’t know who I was going to find comfort from. God was still there, God was still listening.

As a woman, age of 36, was another time that I cried out. Just like Hannah I had the bitterness of my soul of wanting a child. Scared that I was too old. I remember that deep longing as I cried out to God asking him to please grant this one wish. And this time I did know God. This time I knew that God was there and that He was listening. I knew who I was crying to.

After looking back at my life I know, the good and the bad, the times of joy and the times of anguish, it was all for my good.

Isaiah 38:17-19 so that “The living, the living -they praise you, as I am doing today”.

Today I am able to look back and see that all has been for the good. And just as Hannah was faithful to God, I too am going to be faithful.

Relationships

Some of the most important relationships that have brought me closer to God are mentor/disciple relationships.

I have had some women come into my life that I just want to draw closer to and spend lots of time with. Women who seem to know just what I need to hear, who wrap their arm in mine and we walk together. I’ve also had wonderful women in my life that left me asking God what did I need to learn and could I please learn it quickly!

I see this happening with Naomi and her daughter-in-laws, Orpah and Ruth. Orpah and Ruth were in the same situation, both of them were looking at the same future with Naomi, but handled it very differently. One would run back to her gods and the other would hold fast to her God.

Just like Orpah, there have been times when I’ve faced a situation that looked impossible, stressful, downright unpleasant, and I’ve accepted an out. I didn’t trust God.

But Ruth, she had a heart of dedication. Through Naomi she came to know God for she said “your God my God”. Looking at her resolve to remain with Naomi, Ruth went so far to say “Where you die I will die”. Ruth was so determined that she was willing to leave everything behind her, everything she knew and put herself under the direction of Naomi, even to the point of death.

I recently watched the movie “War Room”. As I watched the relationship with Elizabeth and Ms. Clara develop, their relationship again reminded me that these are the relationships that God wants us to have with each other. Relationships where we are devoted to each other and we draw each other closer to God. No matter how difficult life gets.

I am so grateful to have these relationships in my life. Women who draw me closer to them and call me closer to God. These relationships bring me joy and laughter but these relationships also challenge me to draw closer to God so that I can also be there for another woman with prayer and scripture.

If you don’t have these relationships in your life today I pray that you read through the book of Ruth. I pray that as you study these relationships out you yourself begin to pray to either find a Naomi or that Ruth for your life. Devoting yourself to finding a mentoring relationship or to be a mentor.