Monday, January 16, 2012

Heart Song: How & Why I Wrote "Path of the Blessing"

This Heart Song, I want to share with you my story of how and why I wrote my book "Path of the Blessing."  Here is an excerpt from my book taken from the preface:

Here I am, sitting at my computer staring at the blank page before me, praying the Lord would lead me as I walk this path that I am on and currently that includes this preface.  I have never written a book before, but don’t count me out just yet, what I know of the Lord is that he always uses the most simple. 

  I am a wife to my husband of 18 years and mother of two wonderful little girls.  I know who I am in Christ and not afraid to live that out; strong, courageous, bold, confident lover of God’s Word.  I am a “girly girl” loving fashion and jewelry, I love shopping (ok I know that that sort of fits in with fashion, but didn’t want to leave it out), I love going out on “dates” with my husband, I love eating out at really fabulous restaurants, I love being in charge when called upon and I do rise to the occasion.  I love to pray for people and see the Lord set people free. I love worship and I love feeling His presence like a ray of sunshine through a window on a cool day.  I love Jesus.

   I am passionate about the Lord and his Word but I must admit, I didn’t always feel that way.  I grew up in the church and was saved at a young age.  Being raised in a Conservative Baptist denomination I was like any good Baptist girl and was taught to know the Word.  As I grew older and had moved on to a Non-Denominational church, I realized that I knew the Word, but struggled to read it or even desire to read it.  I had absolutely no passion for the Word until one evening, when I was 29 years old.

   My husband and I were watching a show called “30 Days” and it was about a person experiencing something that they wouldn’t normally experience for 30 days through the lens of reality TV.   That evening’s show was about a Christian man living with a Muslim family for 30 days.  As I watched, I saw how the Muslim family was very devout with their prayer times and reading of their scriptures.  It got me thinking, here is this family who is religiously praying to a god who isn’t the One True God of the Bible and reading scriptures written by a man.  They are so incredibly adamant about their faith, waking to pray even in the earliest hours of the morning. I then thought, what would happen if the body of Christ, who worships the One True God, who is intricately active in and throughout our lives, would be as devoted to their faith as the Muslims?  What would happen if I sought the Lord through his Word daily expecting to hear from him?  After all, this is what the Muslim’s were doing every day motivated by religious duty instead of motives of relationship.  What would happen in my life if I were so devoted, seeking the Lord motivated by relationship, not religion?

  I started to get really fired up inside as I watched this show and as I talked out my thoughts with my husband.  After that night, a passion ignited for the Word like I had never experienced.  I prayed and still pray, “God, let this passion for your Word never die out in me.” 

  For the past nine years I have been an avid studier of the Word, at times writing bible studies and storing them away not knowing who is going to ever listen to them, but me.  During one of those times I was seeking God on where to read in his Word next.  (I hate putting God in a box, forcing myself to read through a whole book of the bible if it feels like an obligation.  So I read his Word in a random fashion, reading a whole chapter or just a verse, pausing to listen to what God is saying personally to me.)  The story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob kept coming to mind and I admit, I wasn’t quite sure what the story of their lives were. 

   So in September 2010 I sat down and started reading, and as I read, it was as if the story of blessing through the life of those families was lifting off of the page.  I almost envisioned it like an unending red ribbon of blessing flowing through the lives of these families. I started to write down some of my thoughts, and then realizing that I had quite a few thoughts I went to my computer.  I wrote down how they lived, why they were blessed, who was blessed, what did this all mean in relationship to God and why in the world did God lead me to this story; down this path?

   At first the note taking seemed overwhelming, there was so much to be told here.  Was this another bible study that was seemingly just for me?  It just seemed too massive for that to be true. 

  Then my notes turned into sentences, and my sentences turned into paragraphs, then thoughts that would be interjected, then personal stories.  What was happening?  I was starting to actually have a book. 

  My personal hope is that all believers get a passion for the Word, and seek the Lord out for themselves, igniting their own fire within.  Maybe my book, The Path of the Blessing will inspire you, and who knows, maybe the Lord will lead you to write a book of your own.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What is the Value of a Woman?

It amazes me how many Google searches find my little blog when instead they were hoping to find a site involving the sex industry.  Here is my keyword search record and number of times those phrases were searched from Google, (excluding the legitimate searches):

hot christian women 7
hot raven haired women 2
raven hair girls 2
raven haired girl 2
hot raven girl 1
hottest raven haired chick ever 1
hottest raven haired women 1

Were they looking for a porn blog site?  Were they looking to purchase a girl to sell for sex?  Either way, this isn’t it.

It’s time we start to value the people around us.

Proverbs 31:10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. (KJV)

As I researched this topic, I found this verse and I wondered what it meant by a virtuous woman.  Does this mean only the virtuous women are valued far above rubies? Is this verse exclusive to only virtuous women?  What if I don’t fit into that category, am I not valuable?

In Strong’s Concordance, the word translated as virtuous in this verse is the Hebrew word  חַיִל (chayil) which not only is used for the word virtuous but also used to represent many other words.  This Hebrew word also means strength, ability to acquire wealth, efficiency, power, force and army (especially warlike).

So you could certainly say that ALL girls, women young and old alike, fall into this description.  We should really read this verse with all of these definitions in mind:
Who can find a strong woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Who can find an able woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Who can find an efficient woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Who can find a powerful woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Who can find a forceful and warlike woman? for her price is far above rubies.

This is how women are meant to be and be viewed.  We are not objects, we are meant to be valued far above rubies.  So what about you?  Do you value the mothers, the sisters, and the daughters in your life?  If you are reading this as a woman, do you see yourself and value yourself this way? –God does!  Jesus is our mediator and because of His death and resurrection, His grace covers all of our sins.

Romans 3:23-25
23 Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God's glory. 24 The free gift of God's grace makes all of us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. 25 God gave him as a sacrifice to pay for sins. So he forgives the sins of those who have faith in his blood. (NIRV)

What is the value of a woman?  Take a moment and think about this and write down how YOU ARE a virtuous or חַיִל (chayil) woman.  Then start seeing yourself that way and encourage others around you to see the women, young and old, that way too.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Time to Let Go of the Guilt

Don’t you just hate that feeling of guilt that seems to haunt you after a bad decision was made?  Did you know that God isn’t the one holding that bad decision over your head?  The enemy of our souls wants us to live a life of failure and guilt but it’s up to us; it’s our choice to hold onto our guilt or let it go. 

Here’s an excerpt from my book Path of the Blessing where Sarah and Abraham were visited by angels appearing as men with an unbelievable message.  It’s a great example of God’s character.  (This account is found in Genesis 18)

While the "men" were eating they asked where Sarah was.  Sarah was in the tent and was standing at the entrance to the tent behind the Lord.  She was overhearing their conversation. She heard the Lord speak of the promised blessing of a son.  In fact she heard him say that about this time next year she will have a son. Now the timeline of when the promised blessing of fertility, a son, was becoming more specific.  Instead of a broad promise of Sarah birthing a son someday, now the Lord was revealing even more detail, more of what the path of blessing would look like.

   When Sarah heard what the Lord said, she laughed to herself (just like her husband had earlier!) and thought to herself, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?" -Basically saying, Ok, now that I am old, now is the time you have picked for me?! Yah, right, like that's going to happen.

   The Lord, hearing this (notice she had said these thoughts in her head) said, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."  I absolutely love how the Lord responds to Sarah.  He doesn't get impatient with her because of her unbelief.  He doesn't just get up and say, "forget it! This woman doesn't have enough faith to believe for this, she doesn't deserve it." He also doesn't become offended that she is laughing, almost mocking at what he is saying.  The Lord simply says, "Believe it, because you are certainly going to have a son, in fact at the appointed time next year it will happen. …So….why are you laughing?"

   Appointed time, did you catch that?  The Lord had an appointed time for this promise to manifest.  The Lord had promised years ago that they would be blessed with fertility through the manifestation of a son.  It wasn't by chance when it would happen.  It wasn't just a random pregnancy that if Abraham and Sarah would just try hard enough it would happen.  No, it wasn't anything they could make happen.  It would only happen by God's specific, appointed time. 

   They could not start on their path of blessing by their own doing.  They had to wait for the Lord to reveal when and where in life that they would find the start of that path.  They had already tried to start on that path 13 years earlier with Ishmael.  Only to realize, it was the wrong path, a path they wanted to go down, but was not the true path of the promised blessing that God had been speaking of.  If only they had been patient to wait for the appointed time.  Now, with some course correction, they were back on the right path, and ready to step onto the path of blessing.

   Sarah makes me laugh a little at her response to the Lord.  She lied and said, "I did not laugh." But he (God) said, "Yes, you did laugh.”  Funny that she would try to cover her tracks so to speak and say she didn't laugh.  Thinking that she could trick God.  Didn't she notice that he had also heard her thoughts?!  -and yet she lied about laughing. 

   Maybe she was hoping that if she ignored the fact that the Lord had heard her thoughts, then maybe he didn't really hear her laugh.  I think she was embarrassed.  I hate to say it, but there have been times in my life that I have said something out loud, realizing I shouldn't have said it, and then hoping that no one really heard or paid attention to what I had said.  I've even had times, just like Sarah, where I've even gone as far as trying to cover up what I've said by denying it.

   But what's great here is that God has the final word.  He simply says, "Yes, you did laugh" as if to say, "yes, you did it, but let's drop it."  He doesn't say to Sarah, "Yes, you did laugh and now you are lying about it."  He doesn't condemn her; he just confronts her and then drops it.  Allowing her to mull it over in her own mind what she had said. 

   I love that about the Lord.  When it's hard to believe that we are about to step onto a specific path of blessing, and we doubt that it could happen after waiting for so long, we laugh about the possibility and in the process allow sin to come in. God says, "Admit your sin, your unbelief and move on because nothing can stop what I've appointed will happen." Then he drops the matter as if the whole conversation of doubt and sin never happened.  That's called grace.

   What area of your life has a guilt hold on you, maybe it’s time to repent and move on.  Or maybe you’ve repented long ago, but the guilt of your sin is still present.  Let God’s grace wash over you, believe me, that once you repent, God has totally dropped the matter.  He did it for Sarah, he will do it for you.