Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Keep on Crying Out.........He Hears Us!

In my Quiet Time for 10/17/06 I was led to Psalm 120-121. I thought someone out there may need this word of encouragement as I did. Recently this passage was brought up in an email by a friend and again God was saying I need to blog about these two encouraging Psalms.

I call on the LORD in my distress,
and he answers me. (Psalm 120:1)

When we cry out to Him in our distress; He hears us to the extent of responding to us with an answer. I wonder how many times we miss His voice because we don’t stop long enough to hear Him. Yes, cry out in your distress but then wait for His response. I didn’t say your troubles would be over because He would speak them away. I am saying that when we seek Him out as our help He will be found. Believe. Believe that He hears and helps.

After writing the previous paragraph I had questions for the Lord. I asked the Lord about the times that I had cried out for the Lord and waited for His response and “felt” only silence. I knew that silence more often than not is a result of living in un-confessed sin or tolerating a lifestyle of sin. But there have been times that I have been walking in sweet fellowship that I cried out and still felt the sting of “silence.” I sincerely asked the Lord to answers my question not only for me but for others. It was about two to three hours later while I was reading, “He Speaks to Me” by Priscilla Shirer that God answered. I heard Him whisper, “Here is the answer to your question.” Glory! I love Him! Have I told you how much I love You, Lord? I do love You!

I want to share with you what He shared with me through Priscilla. “Trust that in His silence, God is speaking to you. He wants silence to make you desperate not for a solution to your problem, but for more of Him.” “We know that we are becoming spiritually mature when God is silent and, instead of asking why, we humble ourselves before Him and persevere in prayer. It is a mark of maturity to believe that even though God may be silent, He is still in control.” Priscilla used the passage in Matthew 15:21-28, where the Canaanite woman continued with perseverance in seeking Jesus’ attention to her problem despite Jesus’ ignoring her, insulting her and giving her reason for not helping her. (I can almost imagine Jesus interceding for her before the throne, “keep asking, you have the faith;” all out of her physical sight and hearing.) She continued to petition Him for help because she knew He was her only hope. If you are crying out from your distress and hearing nothing, persevere in prayer believing God is hearing and is responding whether you are hearing or not. HE HEARS US!

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—

Where do you lift your eyes for help, man, the stars alignment, therapists, TV, food, books? Your help comes from the Lord. He alone is your help. You look for your help anywhere else but Him and I guarantee your foot will slip.

3 b he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

Take comfort that He does not sleep on the job. We are His job, His creation. In fact He tells us that we are His delight and treasure. If you knew that an enemy was stalking your child. Or that the difference between the abundant life and mediocre life was at stake with your children would you sleep? Although our earthly bodies may give out eventually no matter how hard we fight, His will not! He is continually watching over His own. He watches over you personally. He is watching over you right now. Yes, right this very minute He is watching over you. The Holy Writ tells us that, “He…shall neither slumber nor sleep.” These are two different words in the Hebrew. The first one means that He not only doesn’t sleep, He won’t get drowsy either. He remains completely alert. Isn’t it nice to know we can’t bore Him to sleep? The other word means to be slack, slow, growing old, stale or hardened. He isn’t slow or slack when it comes to us and our circumstances. Our cries do not cause Him to grow old or weary. He cares about us; “watches” means that He attends to us. So continue to pour out your heart to the Lord.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

The LORD promises to be our shade. Working under the heat of this life can be tiring. The “heat” can really take its toll on us. His answer is to give us shade, relief from the “heat”. He provides Himself as our shade from the distress. What a loving God we serve. All other relief we seek from the heat is temporary at best and only hits the surface. His relief is eternal and penetrates deep to the soul. Now this is how this is all coming together. When you are laboring in the heat and you need rest and refreshment you SEEK out the shade. You go to it! You have to stop long enough to go rest in the shade. It is in the shade you glean what you need to persevere. When you are laboring in the “heat” of your distress, you need His shade. You need to rest in Him so that He becomes your strength and then you can persevere. But you must seek Him out as your shade. His shade is His presence and His Word. God promises us that when we seek Him out as our “shade” we will not be harmed by the externals of life. God invites us to take refuge in Him; soak in these verses:

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings Psalm 17:8

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

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed Psalm 57:1

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

7b he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

This is important, He doesn’t just watch over “us” but our lives! Wow!! This is what stopped me and caused me to really ponder then write. I think this is huge, and if we can grasp it, it will cause great faith and growth. You see when we cry out in our distress and the answer is no, wait or be still… anything but a definite yes. We can trust that He is watching over our lives and not just our current situation. He continues to move us along His bigger purposes and plans and not just moving us out a particular circumstance. There is so much more at stake than what we see with our eyes. This is why it is by faith we must walk and why it is impossible to please God without faith. His purpose and plans for us are bigger that just today’s sorrows or even this seasons hardships. It’s about a life purpose and plan…His! Yes He is watching over you now, but it is about more than what we are experiencing here and now it is about the whole, the life. The here and now is only important when seen in the bigger picture of the whole life.

So while you are in the shade consider what the bigger purpose and plan may be. Ponder His heart and mind towards you and your life. I am!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bragging on Our God!

Jon and I know a sweet couple that has grown very dear to us; Lisa and Chris. Lisa and Chris had planned way ahead to attend a Marriage Retreat. They had made all the arrangements and were very excited about what God had in store for them. Chris is in the military and a few weeks before the retreat was told that he would be going to Iraq. Now more than ever they wanted to go on the retreat. Chris was soon told that having a weekend off would me a miracle. Just what our God does best!!. Lisa and Chris sought out all those that would pray in agreement with them for this weekend…well let me let her tell you in her own words:
“God used this marriage retreat in a mighty way and in more ways than I could have imagined. Satan must have known how much it would benefit our relationship as well as our Christian walk. He tried so hard to keep Chris from going on this retreat, but thanks to all the prayers that were constantly being lifted up on his behalf; Satan was unable to triumph. I praise God for this seemingly small victory in our lives that will carry on for years to come!”
Praise God from whom all blessing come! He is still the God who performs miracles. He is big in our midst! How can you help but walk before Him in love? Offer up your applause on our Great God’s behalf.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Our ladies at Jackson Park are having a Mentoring luncheon this Sunday and I am excited. I was reminded of this blog and in light of upcoming events want to republish it. It will do me good to be reminded of God's ways for women in the Church.

I have been in ministry for 26 years. I'm going to confess that for all those years I have seen very little of Titus II operating within the local church. I haven't seen older men teaching and encouraging the younger men in the ways of LORD nor have I seen younger women teaching and training younger women. I can only count one who sought to mentor me intentionally, an older woman whose name was Carolyn Badry. One of the greatest things she ever did for me was to challenge me to read. What Happens When Women Pray, by Evelyn Christensen. She even loaned me her copy! At another time, maybe I'll share how that alone impacted my life and created miraculous events that still awe me to this day. I'm not saying that there weren't others that I learned from. There were a few, but what I learned from them I learned at a distance, by watching.

I personally didn't grow up in a Christian home. I was completely clueless when it cam to parenting and marriage in general much less in the ways of God. I fumbled and stumbled throughout. I learned too much the hard way. Oh, how I longed for someone to come along and walk with me, teaching, training and encouraging me. Listen, I know now that there was no one that would have had all the answers or would have been perfect. That wasn't what I needed or even wanted. I needed someone who loved the LORD and His Word so that it overflowed to me. Someone who knew Him longer and deeper than myself and who would share a few tips along the journey.

I wonder how many other women were looking for the same things. I also wonder if the ways of God had been practiced within the Church, if we'd have the problems we have today reaching out to the younger generations. I wonder if the divorce rate would be what it is today in the Church if Titus II were applied. What I have seen in most churches is a caretaker mentality, (just take care of ME!) Not at all the picture Christ gave us for the Church.
Ephes. 4:15-16 (NKJV)
…but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Every one of us must be doing our share in edifying the body of Christ. A lot of the talking I’ve heard has been full of everything but love; critical, slanderous, malicious or empty and shallow. We are all called to continue to grow in Christ; and to do our part in helping others grow in Christ.

We have seen that we are all called to love the Church through edifying the Body. We have also seen that God specifically has told us to whom and what we women are to speak in love. We share Woman to Woman and Man to Man. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out the wisdom in doing this God’s way. God also gave us some starting points:

Titus 2:3-5 (NKJV)
…teachers of good things -- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands…

The question that comes next is how. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with love for the Lord that I can’t contain myself. I love how He loves me. I love how He knows me. As I was reading Titus II again He whispered two different verses to me. At first I responded with, “okay, Lord I will look at those later.” Then I realized He was still teaching me about Titus II. Read the following passages and then I’ll share what the Lord was saying to me.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen

Deut. 6:6-9; 20-25 (NKJV)
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
"When your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you?' then you shall say to your son: 'We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; and the Lord showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.'

The Lord was saying that we make things much harder than they need to be. In the great commission He says that we are to, “Go.” Now a more accurate translation is, as you go. As we go we are to make disciples and teach them how to obey. As we go we are to intentionally share our faith and then continue to share our faith in discipling. In the Deuteronomy passage we see it in reference to parenting, in our case think spiritual parenting or mentoring if you prefer. We intentionally look for the opportunity to share with love as we are sitting, walking, etc. My mentor Carolyn Badry didn’t walk up to me one day and say, “I want to mentor you” or, “I want to teach you a few things.” She invited me into her home and just talked. She shared books with me that had meant something to her and helped her to grow in the Lord. She prayed with me when she knew there was a need. She encouraged me to exercise my gift that I didn’t even know I had; by asking me to teach her class. She edified me and I am forever grateful.

I see three steps in Deuteronomy. Step one: We love the Lord and His Word so much that we become one with Him and His Word that it over flows from us so that others notice it. We can’t share opinions or lead in wrong paths we must know, live and share His truth. Step Two: We intentionally look for the opportunities to share with younger women and we do so diligently. Step Three: When we are asked questions we willingly share our own experiences and encounters with the Lord, the victories and the failures. All we do, we do out of sincere and genuine love for them and our precious Lord and Savior Jesus the LORD’S Christ.

I have challenged the older to seek out the younger but you who are young in the ways of LORD, newly married or a young parent can seek out the older, wiser woman. I recently had a young woman who God has challenged to lead the women of her church to email me and ask me to mentor her and give her guidance. How thrilling for me!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Titus II. Maybe those of you who have mentored would like to share ways you have intentionally mentored others.