Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Slight Delay

Hello, beloved.

As I serve as the hands and feet of Jesus today in Denver, Colorado, I am thinking of you all.

Praying that your day be filled with His endless joy and peace as you carry out your routine.

I’ll write to you on Friday, after this slight delay. 

Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!!!

Secrets to Wise Dating

Dating image

I have many single friends. Beautiful, intriguing, and creative single friends.

They often look to me as a source of “wisdom” when it comes to this whole dating idea. Maybe because I’m married – very happily married. Or perhaps because anyone who knows me well also understands the gruesome pain I endured as my former spouse walked out of our marriage and into the arms of another woman.

In the aftermath of that pain, the Lord guided me into making exceedingly wise decisions in evaluating what it would mean to date another man. In particular, the need to examine my own heart emerged during this time, requiring tremendous humility. Praise be to God that this humility is available through the grace of Jesus Christ.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

I learned a lot. And I finally saw the red flags, the ones my young nineteen year old heart ignored because I was set on being married. In the past, Jesus wasn’t included in my love life. However, today He is my love life. This is the single biggest difference between choosing a healthy, sustainable relationship versus settling for less.

Today, I am speaking solely from my heart. These are my opinions about dating relationships. Ideas that were birthed through prayer, scripture, and my own personal experiences. Thankfully, God equipped me with the wisdom to make some great choices, which I am abundantly enjoying the fruit of today. Here are a few points of wisdom I have developed through my own journey concerning dating:

1. Get healed. Focus on inner healing as preparation to offer 100% of yourself, rather than looking for someone to fully complete you. Have you endured a traumatic experience in your past (divorce, death of a parent or sibling, any form of abuse and neglect, unhealthy romantic relationships, porn addictions, drug or alcohol abuse, etc.)? We all generally have something we are dealing with.

If we haven’t allowed Jesus to fill the voids within us, then the person we date will soon become our “temporary fix.” Almost like a savior of sorts. This is dangerous territory that quickly spirals individuals into unhealthy habits. People cannot heal us; Jesus heals us. Marriage cannot complete us; it compliments us. Marriage is a full-time ministry. Any issues that remain unsettled before you wed will undoubtedly peak up their ugly little heads, demanding countless hours of time and energy that could be spent elsewhere.

Get with Jesus and get your life together before you involve another person. This is loving and very wise.

2. Know what you want before you set out for it. Proactively list out the things most important to you (and to Jesus) in your future companion. Don’t date anyone you could not marry.

Months before I even knew Keith, Jesus and I sat together and wrote out my “non-negotiables.” These were the very characteristics that we (Jesus and I) felt were most important in my future husband. I trusted that if God welcomed this activity (of planning in faith), He would be faithful to provide the man that would possess them. And He did. Here’s what I originally wrote down concerning my future husband:

The Non-negotiables

    • He must deeply love Jesus.
  • He’s open to global missions and enjoys travel.
  • He’s respectful and kind to his parents (especially his mother).
  • He’s committed to working in excellence and being a provider.
  • He’s trustworthy (doesn’t lie) and transparent.
  • He’s open to learning new things (being disciplined and challenged by Christ).
  • He would treat me extremely well (zero-tolerance for abuse, referring to me in profane words, or belittling me as a woman).

What’s most important to you? And what’s most important to Jesus?

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

3. Date with the intention of being married. We can often hear dating described with terms such as courting, becoming more than friends, seeing each other, going out, or going steady. No matter what words are used, the implication is that an intimacy will be developed between two people. However, if you are not really ready for commitment, then what’s the real motivation behind pursuing an intimate and romantic relationship?

In my opinion, “social dating” without leading to commitment is an absolute waste. A waste of time, emotions, financial resources, mental space, and the very heart God faithfully entrusted to you. Shouldn’t we be faithful stewards (managers) in every area of our lives? Here are four steps I would suggest to anyone that is serious about seeking a committed relationship:

  • Know what you want beforehand and begin praying for the person. This immediately establishes ‘Jesus as Lord’ over the entire relationship.
  • Establish a solid, respectful, and maturing friendship long before you pursue a romantic relationship in courtship.
  • Before you become an official couple, engage in honest and open dialogue. Seek to understand the other person’s intentions and motives in desiring a relationship with you. Never make assumptions in this area, beloved. Then seek to understand the Lord’s intentions with the relationship (individually and through praying together).  Remember, God will never misdirect you if you are actively including Him in your relationship. He will tell you to continue pursuing it or to walk away. Even if it hurts, we must listen to Him. It will save years of devastating heartache.
  • Surround yourself with a loving and God-fearing community. It’s extremely wise to have friends and family that will hold you accountable in your relationship. Actively surround yourself with people who have healthy and mature relationships.

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

 

Photo provided by: welovestyles.com

 

 

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What's Your Damascus?

Humility Photo

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” Galatians 2:20-21

Paul, initially known as Saul of Tarsus, has the ideal pedigree as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to reach both Jewish and Roman audiences.

He is a “Hebrew born of Hebrews,” a Pharisee, and one who has advanced in Judaism well beyond many of his peers. Saul has influence, authority, and education. Yet, even though he has studied the Hebrew law and knew ancient prophecy, I find it ironic that he (as Saul) makes no real impact on the kingdom of God. He does everything correct from an outsiders view, but internally he is clueless.

Saul didn’t know God, he just knew of God. And it’s no secret that God isn’t impressed with his ritualistic tendencies, which includes his persecution of thousands of newly-converted Christians who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. As human beings, we place such an emphasis on performance (doing what’s externally acceptable by religious law) that we forfeit the true motive behind following Christ (which is to be in a loving relationship with Him). Instead, if our hearts first seek to love Him, then  all the external actions will follow suite.

“You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. ” Galatians 5:4-6

One remarkable display of God’s sovereignty is shown when Saul has his dramatic conversion experience on the road to Damascus. God removes Saul’s physical ability to see, so He could in fact truly see – with the spiritual eyes of God. For three days Saul dies to his flesh, literally as a blind man. But after those three days, Saul is resurrected as a new creation and given the name Paul. Just as Christ is resurrected after three days. Profound parallel between the two.

In order to see Christ for who He truly is, Saul needs to die to himself, just like we do. Often we see Jesus through our own lens, distorted from life’s accumulated trials and disappointments, disabling us from having the eyes of faith to see Jesus for who He truly is – A Faithful Provider, Redeemer, and Savior of all mankind.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy peopleand his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19

I find it ironic that once Paul is stripped of every inkling of his earthly influence and authority (after becoming an ambassador for the very one he initially hated – Jesus), he is given an authority that exceeds his qualifications. God Himself appoints Paul as the author for over half of the New Testament in His holy Word. Talk about an honor. To me, this is mind-blowing: starting as the most influential and powerful leader in the religious community, he initially doesn’t even make a dent in impacting nations for Christ. Then, once he lays everything down and chooses to fully follow Jesus Christ (even being willing to partake in Christ’s sufferings) God Himself gives Paul more authority than he could have ever imagined. I am sure people look at him as a complete loser. He leaves his prominent position in the world, to follow after someone that many rejected. He forsakes the approval of man, and dives in for the approval of Christ. Isn’t this the same for many of us?

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

People thought I was a nut case when I resigned from my position at the bank. I had left a robust income and an executive title on the table, for what? To follow Jesus to the shores of Western Australia and serve as a missionary. But, I’m not living my life for man; I’m living it for Christ. Even today, people still wonder what in the world I am doing with my life. Indirectly questioning why I don’t return back to the bank, make more money, and pursue the American dream. I’ve had it all before, and it just wasn’t fulfilling.

But, once I tasted a life fully surrendered to Jesus, I just couldn’t go back.  As King David proclaimed in Psalms 34:8 stating “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. ” Life becomes an adventure to experience with Jesus every single day. 

What about you? How is God moving in your life?

“Those who know your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. ” Psalm 9:10

Photo provided by letsgrowleaders.com
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