Wednesday, March 15, 2017
"On Fire": Do You REALLY BELIEVE What God Promised You?
"Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.'"---Luke 1:39-45(NKJV)
I penned a devo that has brought me to the conclusion that I am going to stray away from saying that Christ was single. In the physical realm, to one human woman, he may have been but there is TONS of evidence in the Word that he was indeed married---married to the Church. Literally:
"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, 'Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.'"---Revelation 21:9(NKJV)
If you're not on the devotional list, if *ever* I would encourage you to shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that I can send one of 'em to you, this one would be it! Marriage plays SO MUCH MORE of a spiritual and ministry purpose than, even most of the Church, teaches. I discern that reading it will provide you with more than a couple of "ah ha moments"!
As I was praying for the "On Fire" women this week, three things came to my spirit.
1) DO NOT COVET OTHER PEOPLE'S SITUATIONS. For one thing, that is breaking the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17). A quote that expresses how people do this well is "Trust God's timing, don't seek something simply because you see others with it." A lot of women probably do not think about what they are *really saying* when they make statements like "Everyone else has a husband or a baby. I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't." Is *that* a healthy motive (Proverbs 21:2&8-Message) to be in a relationship? No. It's not.
2) As I continue to work through the healing of my own past (Romans 12:2), a verse that I try to keep before me is "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright." (Hebrews 12:14-16--NKJV) Not only is peace *paramount* (Romans 12:18), not only is this verse a CLEAR WARNING about fornication, but peep the part that's underlined and in bold: BITTERNESS IS A TROUBLEMAKER. To be bitter is to be "hard to bear; grievous; distressful". To be bitter is to be "causing pain; piercing; stinging". To be bitter is to be "characterized by intense antagonism or hostility". Guess what else bitter means? This: "resentful or cynical" and "hard to admit or accept". The Message Version of Ecclesiastes 7:18 is one of my favorite verses is "It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it." If you're not willing to accept the season that *God* has us in (Ecclesiastes 3, James 1:4), it can indeed start to make you cynical and yeah, *bitter*. And look at what the Word says about that kind of woman: "There are three things that make the earth tremble---no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress." (Proverbs 30:21-23--NKJV) Rinse and repeat: THE EARTH CANNOT ENDURE A BITTER WOMAN WHO *FINALLY* GETS A HUSBAND. If you know you're dealing with bitterness in your life, God may be keeping you single for you and your future husband's sake! That's something to really ponder (Proverbs 4:26) and pray about (I Thessalonians 5:17). Psalm 84:11 tells us that God withholds no good thing. If you're bitter, being married could be a bittersweet experience *and that* makes me think about this verse: "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20--NKJV)
3) This final point connects to the lead Scripture for this message. It's a verse that a wife shared with me years ago and one that I revisit as a "faith gut check" (Hebrews 11) from time to time. It's some of the words that Elizabeth said to Mary after an Angel of the Lord came to Mary to tell her that she would be carrying Christ. "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." I like this for a few reasons too. 1) It's a reminder that we're not only blessed once we get something; we are blessed the moment we *believe* that we will!; 2) Mary had a season of being told she would conceive (without having sex, which makes this a miracle and something that ONLY God could do! God can do what seems to be impossible in your life as well!--Matthew 19:26), a season of growing the child and a season of birthing him. If you've never read the Message Version of Romans 8:22-29, check it out sometime. A line in it says "That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy."; 3) It's also a reminder that while the Word does indeed tell us that "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us" (2 Corinthians 1:20--NKJV), just because we want something (or one), that doesn NOT automatically mean God promised it (or them) to us. *Desires must be surrendered, completely, to the Father*: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15--NKJV) Whatever it is that you want (especially if you are becoming frustrated about it), are you *sure* God promised it to you? Because if you are, waiting isn't something to be/get upset about. The Word says that we are to become *more joyful* in our expectancy! This is what a big part of "walking by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7) is all about!
This reminds me. If you were one of the women who partook in the "future husband project", I've figured out what to bless you with. I'll be ordering it the first of the month. Luke 1:45 is involved. ;)
For any other "On Fire" woman, if you'd like prayer concerning any three of these points, feel free to shoot me an email. Because what we can be sure of is that there is power in agreement (Matthew 18:19-20) and "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (I John 5:14-15--NKJV) No matter what, *that* you *can* believe!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...