The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 5

Rebekah-Eliezer

Rebekah ~ Ready, Willing, and Able

This chapter begins with a discussion of the Godly characteristics of a single woman.  Many of her qualities are a good example to us of a woman of valor (Proverbs 31).  In the Bible account Isaac was nearing 40 years of age, and Abraham sent his trusted servant to find a wife for him to continue to carry on with the promises that God have given to him to be the father of many nations.  What were the qualities that the servant looked for? What characteristics did Rebekah display, which can be embraced by our single women today?

Rebekah’s purity: She was a virgin – “No man had known her.” (Genesis 24:16)

Rebekah’s busyness: Rather than looking for a husband, languishing, moping, or mourning over the lack of one, Rebekah stayed busy serving her family and others. (Genesis 24:15-24)

Rebekah’s hospitality: Her home was open to those who needed her care. (Genesis 24:25)

Rebekah’s energy: Abundant energy is generally a sign of happiness, and Rebekah’s happiness empowered her with energy enough to serve other people far beyond the minimum.  Rebekah ministered to the maximum! pg 55-56

Before continuing, let’s look at God’s plan for single women.  God calls his special servants to a life of:

Purity: A single Christian woman is to remain “holy both in body and spirit.” 1 Corinthians 7:34

Ministry: A single Christian woman is to live her life in a way that reflects her complete dedication to God.  As one who is unmarried, she has the privilege of undistracted service to God and caring for “the things of the Lord.” (I Corinthians 7:34) Every day a woman is single is another glorious day to serve God wholeheartedly and without distraction.  Her singleness is a “green light” from God to go all out in service to others. (pg 56)

Checkpoint On The Journey

Is singleness a reality for you today dear woman of God? Although you may desired to be married, let not your longing slay your appetite for living. …Accept and thank God for what “is” given, not allowing the “not”  given to spoil it. (pg 56)

We also find a Godly characteristic of Rebekah in her willingness “to go.” Abraham then sent his 85-year-old servant on a 500-mile journey, back to where his people lived to find a wife for his son.  Rebekah was willing to go on that long journey to become Isaac’s wife upon being chosen by God. She followed the calling of God to move away from her family, just as Sarah followed Abraham wherever God was leading him. This is a characteristic of a Godly woman.

Let’s consider Abraham’s qualifications for a Godly wife:

She must not be a Canaanite.  (Genesis 24:3) No, she wasn’’t to be a wife of a godless people who might lead Isaac and his offspring away from the true God.

Do we struggle with the thought of marrying outside our own faith? God instructed His servants to marry within their own belief system, their own tribe, their own people.  Marrying outside of God’s way of life invited strange idolatrous customs to enter into their households. Those who did not take devoting their life to God seriously suffered serious consequences.

She must be from among Abraham’s own family. (Genesis 24:4)

She must be willing to follow his servant back to the land of Abraham and Isaac, a woman willing to forsake all – in faith –for the glorious future God had ordained. (Genesis 24:5) (pg 57)

How would you describe your devotion to God? Are you willing to forsake the worldly ways (I John 2:16) and follow God’s calling to take up your cross and follow Him, no matter how long, no matter how difficult it may be?

““And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.””

~ Luke 9:23

As a woman of God, you have a powerful influence on those around you.  One single match can be seen up to two miles away in complete darkness.  How much are you allowing your light to shine at this point in your life?

Notice that Abraham’s servant Eliezer spoke with God beforehand, entreating Him concerning His choice for Isaac,.  Eliezer was not focused on outward appearance or material wealth, but only asked for Godly characteristics and stamina for her to be able to make the grueling 500-mile journey and to flourish in a difficult nomadic life.

Women of God, what’s on your checklist?

Single or married, are you focusing on Godly characteristics, rather than on beauty or affluence? Pray about your desires and adjust your standards to match the qualities that God desires in women, not what the world’s call to modern feminism consists of.  Degrees, high job status, and total independence are not what God holds in high esteem; rather He looks for a true servant’s heart and a meek and gentle spirit. He looks for your dependence on Him to make the facing of life’s challenges more fruitful.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.””  

~ I Peter 3:3-4

Imagine the want ad that Eliezer would write to find Isaac’s new wife:

Wanted: The Ideal Wife

Must be physically strong and healthy,

energetic and able to work hard.

Must be friendly and industrious,

kind and compassionate,

generous and love to serve –

and Devoted to God.

After Eliezer’s prayer to the Almighty, he sat down by a well at the time of day when the women of the town came to draw water. Weary from the long journey, he and his ten camels needed water to refresh and sustain them.  A young woman came with a pitcher on her shoulder to the well and offered him a drink of water.  Hospitality is one of the Godly characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman.  Not only did she offer Eliezer water to refresh him, she went on and watered all of his camels!  No small chore to do for anyone, especially a stranger.  How many draws of water from the well would you think she would have to perform to water ten camels?  A camel can drink up to 25 gallons of water after a long journey! Yes, Rebekah went the extra mile in service to a stranger. Then rather than leaving the exhausted stranger, she serves yet again by inviting Abraham’s servant Eliezer to her home to  find rest after his long journey.

Able

How much do we judge the other’s person’s character by our first impressions? Eliezer’s impression was definitely positive when it came to Rebekah.  Yes, he noticed that she was willing to work with her hands, drawing water for him, as well as his camels, and she also came at the appointed time.  Yes, she was on time! She didn’t drag her feet when the work was to be done.  The Proverbs 31 woman works willingly with her hands.  We see her rising up early to feed her servants!  She had servants, why didn’t she have them wait on her first? I find this remarkable.  Her attitude and willingness to do menial tasks.

“She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”

~ Proverbs 31:15

We also see this in the case of Sarah.  When the messengers came to recount the promises to Abraham, he asks Sarah to go ahead and make cakes for them.  We don’t hear Sarah complaining, “Why are you asking me? We have servants? I’m the master!” No, we see her heart of servitude, just as we see with Rebekah.

“And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.”

~ Genesis 18:6

Checkpoint on the journey:  Do you think hard work is degrading? Do you think hard work is to be done by other people, not you? Do you dread rolling up your sleeves and working hard on some necessary task?  Here in God’s word  God praises the enchanting Rebekah.  So, if your are tempted to disdain your work, allow God’s thoughts about yet another remarkable – the Proverbs 31 woman – to correct your thinking.  She “willingly works with her hands….she girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.  Strength and honor are her clothing.” (Proverbs 31:13, 17, 25) God values women who work hard to serve Him, and the people He puts in their lives.” (pg 60)

“But I’m not strong.  I have a disability.  How can I strengthen my arms, when I’m weak?” you might ask. We might not have the physical strength to do hard labor, such as one who is aged, illness or debilitating disease, but our strength can be one of encouragement, support, a beautiful smile and being there for someone in distress.  There are so many ways in which we can strengthen our arms to do even these things.  A prayer of intercession made for someone, a card sent to someone sick in the hospital or a phone call is a menial task to some, but worth great wealth to God, and it will also mean more than you know to someone who is suffering through a difficult trial.

Willing To Go

When Eliezer states to her family the reason for his visit, to find a wife for Isaac, her parents ask if she might stay just a few more days (Genesis 24:55) with her family before leaving, but she said she would willingly go immediately (vs 58).  Even though she would probably never see her family again, even though she did not have time to prepare, even though life would be stressful as a nomad’s wife, she willingly went with Eliezer to meet her new husband.  That was an act of faith.

Take a serious inventory of your own life of faith.  Is there any act of faith you are postponing – even for “just a few days”?  Any decision you are putting off?  Any step of faith you are delaying?  Waiting may be easier, but the harder path of true faith is the path to greater blessing.  Delayed obedience is in actuality disobedience, and delayed action delays God’s blessing.  Every step of faith is a giant step toward the center of God’s will, and God’s abundant blessings. (pg 63)

So, what can we learn from our first encounter with Rebekah? We can challenge our spiritual and physical lives whether we are ready, willing, and able to perform the work God puts before us.  Let’s be ready and willing to receive the blessings God has for us as well for a job well done! 🙂

Next Chapter:  “Rebekah ~ Tests of Faith”

To Read Previous Chapter Posts See Below:

Chapter 1 “Eve ~ Remarkable Creation”

Chapter 2 “Sarah ~ First Steps in Faith”

Chapter 3 “Sarah ~ Advanced Steps in Faith”

Chapter 4 “Sarah ~ Rewards of Faith”

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S.A.D. ~ Let There Be Light!

Discouraged Woman

I hear these comments especially during this time of year…“What’s wrong with me? The things that normally make me happy aren’t.  I feel more anxious and can’t enjoy the things I used to.  I also feel that all my energy is drained, and the little things that I could stand all the sudden are giant catastrophes in my mind.” Are you feeling this way and just can’t seem to find the lift you need during these cold winter months? “Without the long days of sunlight, our bodies can succumb to what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)” 1

What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D)?

“Seasonal affective disorder seems to develop from inadequate bright light during the winter months. Researchers have found that bright light changes the chemicals in the brain. Exactly how this occurs and the details of its effects are being studied. “*2

There are different ways in which we can combat this seasonal mood disorder, which can be easily found by researching through web pages, the most researched is that of outdoor sunlight.  Today, however, I want to talk about another S.A.D. which can be just as debilitating, even more so.

Spiritual Affective Disorder (S.A.D)

This disorder is the most debilitating of the two for it can occur all year, not just in the long dark days of fall and winter, but also throughout the summer and spring months.  Although this is not a physical condition, its remedy also can be found in rays of sunlight, but in a spiritual sense.  It can also cause these very same symptoms.  I know. I often catch myself not getting enough spiritual sunlight throughout the year, and it can cause depression, hopelessness, moodiness, and low energy levels.

The lack of Bible study time, prayer, meditation is a lack of sunlight, pure spiritual sunlight.  These are the remedies God gives us to battle the daily blues, give us renewed energy, and helps us fight the onslaught of negativism that the world throws at us each and every day.  It’s not only the sorrows of the world that can get us down. Satan, who is the prince of the power of the air, the father of lies, who inhabits darkness will try to hurl negativism at us at every turn. (Ephesians 2:2, John 8:44) He convinces us (lies) that what we really need is to combat this disease is to go watch more of our favorite television shows, get more involved in sports, spend more time on social media networks….. more and more and more to the point that we squeeze out the time we so desperately need with our God, the true source of sunlight.

Do you also believe Satan’s lies? I do more often than I’d like to.  I have to shake myself out of that deceptive thinking and just “Do It!” Make more one-on-one prayer time, make myself read more of God’s word, listen to more sermons, print out verses and paste them throughout the house to remind myself of God’s promises.  It works!  Why? Because the cure is the same as the physical S.A.D., more pure sunlight. We must, however, make the choice, and we DO have a choice, unlike what Satan would have us believe.

What does God say in His word about Light?

1 John 1:5 “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

Psalms 119:105 Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet

Reading God’s word or listening to it is a source of light:

Psalms 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Meditation on his word during the night as David did brought light into his nights.

Psalms 63:6 “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.”

What kind of light does God say to put into our minds to cause us to find a cure for our troubled minds?

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Philippians 4:8 Whatsoever Is True

The Bible, the source of light is 1) true, 2) just, 3) pure, 4) good.

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

 James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

 Psalms 12:6 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Therefore, let us remember when the long days of winter seems to cause us to become disheartened, troubled, anxious, and feeling devoid of spiritual energy, the cure is the same…plenty of Light!  One day, there will be no need of light, for God will be its Light!

Revelation 21:23 “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the Light thereof.”

In conclusion, let’s all take in the Light that God so freely gives to us when we’re feeling the effects of lack of sunlight in these cold, dark days of winter (S.A.D.)…..for that matter all our lives!

Let there be Light!

Sunshine

1 Mayo Clinic Staff

2 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/con-20021047

Yes, there is a devil, and he is the prince of the power of the air.  Read more about our adversary here “Is There Really A Devil?”

Is There Really A Devil?

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The Anxious Mind ~ Lessons From Solitaire

Solitaire

When I woke up this morning, my mind was already racing.  What if this happens?  What if that happens? What if, what if, what if?  Do you ever have those kinds of mornings?

I sometimes will run to my Solitaire game to soothe the racing thoughts.  This morning, I felt particularly anxious and went to play a few games to settle my mind.  I found that I had left my Bible program running and forgot to close it down the night before.  So, I closed my Bible program down and turned on one of my calm-me-down avenues, Solitaire.

Do you ever have this continuing feeling when playing Solitaire that you are beginning to win and then all of the sudden get stuck? “There’s nowhere else to turn!”  This is my first game mind you.  “Okay, so this is how it’s going to go today,” I mumble to myself.  Normally, I quickly go to the next game.  This time I didn’t.  Stop! What if I’m a little more patient for once and try moving some upper hand cards to the lower hand and patiently move around a few more, patience, patience….and more patience.  But this takes time! “I don’t have all day!,” I’m thinking to myself; but I continue to try something new, being patient instead of my normal let’s move on, maybe something might work.

After about five minutes, the cards fell into place and I won the game.  Usually at the end of the game if all the cards are used, I quickly go to the next game, before finishing to place all the cards on top the Aces; but this time I waited.  Just to test my patience, one by one I placed the cards one on top of the other on their matching Aces.  Wow, that took patience on my part. I couldn’t believe how impatient I was when I took a good look at my attitude.

Victory in Solitaire

Then comes the glory celebration where all the cards start bouncing around joyfully until every card haa their say.  Once again, I didn’t want to wait, but go on to a new game, not celebrating in my victory, but this time….

I sat there and waited and pondered…

Is this the way I play out my life, so impatient? Do I take the time to stop when I’m frustrated, wait with patience and see if I can slowly work through some issues, not giving up before I go on to the next game in life, opportunity, or relationship?  And when I do win, i.e.,  life situations do work out, do I sit back and relax and enjoy the victory?

Wow, what an eye opener! What I really needed that morning was to first go to the Bible program I had left open the night before and check out some important verses about patience, longsuffering, faith and hope. These are a few things I’d like to hone in on.

“Rest in the LORD and wait patiently….” ~ Psalms 37:7

Have you ever found yourself in situations in life when you worried unnecessarily and things actually turned out for the better?  How many days have we wasted in our lives in worst case scenario thinking, when all the time God had things worked out for us concerning our difficulties or for those we love, preparing their hearts for a deeper relationship with Him?   Remember God knows the heart of men and has a plan for each and every man.  Trusting in ourselves to work out every situation in our lives is pretty prideful when it comes down to it.  After all, can’t stop the rain from falling or add one cubit to our stature, can we?

Just a little more patience….when we think we can’t endure any longer, then many things work out even better without our efforts.  Why? Because God still hears our prayers.  He, however, has a timetable that we cannot see.  He desires to build in us longsuffering and patience, to learn to wait on Him.  Those are the treasures of heaven, the spiritual aspects of love that He desires most to give to us, His children.

Also, when God does work out situations we think are impossible, do we then take the time to thank Him and rejoice? Or do we quickly go on to the next game, the next worry ASAP, like as in my Solitaire game? There are many things for me to ponder this morning after this short game of Solitaire.

Here are some verses I think about to help me when I get into a “I have to do it myself, and if I worry hard enough and long enough, I can make it happen,” attitude:

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” ~ Psalm 27:17

“I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.” ~ Psalm 52:91

“Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.”  ~ Proverbs 20:22

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  ~ Psalms 84:11

“O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.” Psalm 34:9

“The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” Psalms 34:10

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalms 46:10

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  ~ Romans 8:28

My brethren, count it all joy when you have various trials, knowing this; that the trying of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.  ~ James 1:2-4

Sometimes it seems impossible to fix the trials we are faced with or have the solutions to help someone else with theirs, but how difficult is it for God?

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” ~ Mark 4:39

When difficulties encompass us and we fill like we are surrounded by situations over which we have no control, i.e., storms of life, and we become filled with anxiety, let’s remember that we need not go through it alone if we call on God.  We need not let fear and anxiety overwhelm us. We don’t have to play the game of Solitaire.  We need not be all alone.  We have the Bible program continually running in our minds, which contain precious and true promises.  It’s our choice.  He is continually with us if we include Him in our life to give us strong, firm, faithful promises to calm our anxious minds.

Tempest Painting

If He can say to the wind, “Be still,” He can also calm our hearts and do wonders in our life and in other people that we love. We have to remember He did allow the waves to engulf the ship before He spoke these words, as sometimes circumstances in life feel out of control; but let us wait patiently on Him.  Be still and let Him do His work. Then we can remember to rejoice in the victory God will give to us!

Calm Sea

Prayer:  “Dear Father, We know there are things in our lives we have no control over and sometimes cause us to become anxious and lose faith in Your goodness to help.  Please help us to bring to mind the words which You have given for us to comfort us in these times.  Help us to know that You Who have created all things will work everything out for our good and those we love if I only we wait on You.  Please open our eyes to see the treasures You may be creating in us or those we love, that of patience and longsuffering while we wait on You. Help us to remember to not forget to be grateful to those who help us gain the victories in this life, especially you Father.  We thank You for this day and we ask You to please fill us with Your spirit of faith and trust in You.   In Jesus name we pray.  Amen”

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

 

Published in: on January 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm  Comments (1)  

Planted By The River ~ Fruit of Self-Control

Tree Planted By The River

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.” ~ Psalms 1:3

This beautiful verse in Psalms says that Christians are likened to trees planted by the rivers of living water, not wild but planted. God calls us out of the world, and He plants us. The water that God provides is His spirit and nourishment is through His word, allowing our roots to grow deeply.

There are many fruits that are expected on this tree. One of the fruits is self-control. If you lack this essential fruit, this post is for you, myself included! If we are to have self control, we must remain near the source of living water.

Satan has us so very distracted today that, like the trees in fantasy movies, we can pick up our roots and follow our own hearts desires. We go where we should not wander to solve our difficulties on our own. The danger is that we walk away from our life source, the only true source of wisdom and strength to solve any difficulty in our lives and minds.

Walking Tree

Yes, we live in a fallen world and oftentimes Satan feeds us the lie that because of the troubles of the world and our significant trials, we need more than that water.  We need…. well let’s imagine some addictions to soothe our troubled minds – sugar ladened treats, alcohol,  entertainment void of God’s moral laws, romantic novels which take us where we shouldn’t venture, an itching ear to hear the latest gossip, celebrity soup, on and on.  We’re bombarded by thoughts of taking a “break today” to avoid the craziness.  Yet, oftentimes it’s not to the living waters for a cool refreshing drink to sooth a disheartened or wearied soul that we run to. We can pick up our roots and wander over to the nearest feel-good location to empty our minds of pain or sorrow and fill it with what the world wants to us to focus on.

Where’s the first place we go for that relaxation? Do we use the spirit of self-control to find it, or are we drawn away by our own lusts and enticed by the relaxation of the world?

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” ~ James 1:14

Sugar Addiction

Oftentimes we don’t choose the difficult situations in our life; yet there are times when can cause our own troubles by trying to find peace in all the wrong places because of our own lack of self-control.  We live in a fallen world and there will be plenty of trials in our lives.  Christ forewarned us concerning this, but He has given us living water available 24/7. He has promised that He will be there for us.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

Remember, we’re planted.  We need to stay there.  The problem is that it takes self-control to stay there, where we were planted.  Therein lay the catch.

What to do? What guidelines does God give us to help us with self-control? One of the first things we can do is simply to ask Him for it. God says we don’t receive because we don’t ask or we ask for the wrong reasons:

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” ~ James 4:3

For instance, we can ask God for the spirit of self-control so that we don’t overeat, but we may really want to lose weight just to look good to be accepted by the world’s standards, to look like that model in the women’s magazine and to draw attention to ourselves. Or is it our prayer to ask God for self control to be healthier so that we can serve others?  The truth is, in fact, is that we need self control to glorify God being moderate in ALL things, not just food. We are here to represent our betrothed Jesus Christ, to let His light shine in us with the fruits of the spirit, one of them being self-control. We have a symbolic engagement ring for all to see, the way we conduct our lives.  Do we represent and honor the One to whom we will wed? (I Titus 4:15)

Another thing to consider is when we do beseech God for the spirit of self-control, do we then totally ignore God the rest of the day, going about our own business, not bringing to mind the scriptures and taking every thought into subjection the rest of the day? We need to bring to mind His words throughout the day, where God’s spirit can remind us of the verses concerning how to utilize self-control in our daily lives. David meditated on God’s law day and night. (Psalms 119:48, 148) He was called a “man after God’s own heart.” Do we want to be the women after God’s own heart? (Acts 13:22)

Let’s ask God with a pure heart and let His spirit fill to help us make decisions in our life based on the spirit of self-control in all things.

Let’s not forget the tools God has given us to draw closer to Him, stay close to river of living waters: prayer, study, meditation on His word throughout the day. (I Titus 4:15, Philippians 4:6) When life gets tough and you feel like running to unhealthy or ungodly ways of coping, go somewhere quiet and relax and ask God to hide you under His wings and shelter you. (Ruth 2:12) Ask God then to fill you with His spirit, the spirit of self-control. Then we can make the decisions in our lives that won’t draw us into an addictive lifestyle.  Place scriptures cards around your home in plain sight to remind you of His promises and His way of life.  Listen to CDs of sermons while driving to and from activities. Place your Bible where you habitually sit and relax. Stay planted by the riverside. Make God’s living waters a priority, so that your roots can strengthened and let them stretch deeply into the soil that God has planted you in. Soak up the pure living water throughout the entire day.  Only then can we find real peace and joy in life and bear the fruits of the spirit, and one of them self control.

 I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

Our lives are important to God and He has a plan for each and everyone of us, to become literal sons and daughters in His family.  He gives us of His very own spirit, so we can be grow up with His characteristics, one being that of self-control.

To find out more of God’s purpose for you, please see our booklet “What is Your Destiny?”

What Is Your Destiny?

Published in: on December 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Surviving Spiritual Storms ~ In Search of Food

Hungry Children Philippines

Man-kind, (including children), shall not live by bread alone, but by every word the proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
 ~ Matthew 4:4
 
Our children need God’s word as much as we do. God compares His word to physical food, which we all need to survive.  I am reminded, especially right now, how much our bodies require food for survival. I see the violence and looting in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda in the Philippine islands as people try desperately to supply food and provisions for themselves and their children. This greatly saddens me.

Let me say here that my heart and prayers go out to the hundreds of thousands of people without food and supplies there at this time.  I am so encouraged and strengthened, though, by the brethren there who are such a great light, displaying  hope and faith in God, sacrificing for others while they are in need themselves and waiting for His provisions. The Philippine people are struggling day by day to survive.

 We need God’s spiritual provisions also. The Bread of Life, God’s word is that provision.  This is so important!  It is given for our survival spiritually.  Is God’s word that important to us, that we would sacrifice our time and efforts to search it out?  His words give us the strength to survive the spiritual storms of life and become a light to others in the process.  (I Peter 3:15)

God tells us that we are to keep His word in our hearts at all times.

Meditate on God's Law

Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make you way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

We are admonished by God to teach our children His ways. (Deut 11:19-21) We can accomplish this in many ways. For the young children, coloring Bible pictures and lessons, reading  Bible stories, play-acting roles of Bible characters are great ways to stir interest.  As they grow we continue to teach them, in hopes that they may become like the Bereans, searching the scriptures daily for their ‘spiritual food’ for themselves and being ready with an answer for the hope that lay within them.  (Acts 17:11)

Do we have the same desire for spiritual food as we do for physical food? If we do not have the time throughout the day to study God’s word, we may not survive spiritually. Can we trade some of that “me” time for time with God? How important is that favorite TV show anyway? David said that he longed to meditate on His word, that it was His heart’s desire day and night.

Psalms 119:97  “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. ”

Woman Reading Bible

I don’t know about you but I have a long way to go.  I want to crave (hunger for) God’s word as much as physical food. My heart’s desire is that God would give me strength to do just that.

Our “spiritual” survival in this ‘evil and adulterous generation” depends on it.  God desires to give it to us. We must ask for it as Christ said…”Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11) Requesting it isn’t all that is needed.  We must pick up that spiritual manna and ingest it, letting  it become part of our and our children’s lives, (Exodus 16:4)

Picking Up Manna In Wilderness

Ingesting God’s word is, indeed, our admonition, but as I said, we are also commanded to feed our children that same spiritual food, teaching them to seek it out themselves as they grow. So, in regards to that, I’d like to put a plug in for Sally Clarkston’s “Mission of Motherhood ~ Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity.” In it, she speaks of a method of teaching her children to have a strong desire to read and study His word, so that they in their hearts will be fed spiritually throughout their growing years.

“ARTS “is a way which she taught her children God’s Word.  Here is her plan.  Perhaps you can use some or all of the points.  We used a few of these points. I’ll explain how we did if afterwards.

A. R. T. S

A – Ask a simple question about the passage to spark interest before reading the story.  For example, I might ask, “What is the greatest treasure in all of the world that you would like to own?  What would you give to have the treasure?” before reading the story about the pearl of great price.

R- Read the passage enthusiastically and with interest.

T- Talk about this passage.  Sometimes I give a list background on the story.  Or I might ask the children what the story meant, how the people in the story acted, or what God was trying to communicate.

S- Supplication.  Close the time by praying together.  Often the prayers relate to the passage:  “Lord, help us be more compassionate to others, as the good Samaritan was.”

The little formula got us through years of short devotions.  As the children began to mature and needed more substance, we began to offer them incentives for reading through the Bible for themselves.  We would promise a special date for an ice cream cone or dinner with Mom or Dad when they had read through the Old Testament or New Testament.  We memorized passages of Scripture together by repeating the words out loud each morning at breakfast.

Next, we began to show the kids how to use the concordance in their Bibles to study the topics that were relevant to their own lives.  For instance, when they were caught in immature arguments, I would have them look for three verses that addressed the issue of how to speak to each other or the dangers of an uncontrolled tongue.  Then I would have them write a paragraph about how these verses applied to the situation with their offended brother or sister.  By learning to search through the Bible for themselves, they became familiar with using it to give instruction for their life questions and issues.” (from Mission of Motherhood)

There are many ways of teaching our children God’s word, as the idea above, but one thing is for certain: we need to show the example of the love for God’s word and ingest of it ourselves daily.  This is the most important of all the methods that can inspire our children to desire the Bread of Life themselves.  God help us all to take in of the wonderful provision of spiritual food that God has provided for each and every one of us everyday.

PRAYER: “Father, you have called us to raise up your heritage, our children, to love You and do Your will, to feed them the Bread of Life.  We humbly beseech you for the strong desire to take in spiritual food as much as we do hunger after our daily physical food.  We ask that you help us teach our children Your word, to encourage them to feed their hearts on Your word and not on the food of this world, that they may be strong through the spiritual storms of life that may befall them. We know that You hear every prayer, and we thank You for hearing our request, for You are always near, and we await your power and strength to do so.  We love You and thank you for providing us with daily bread, our daily spiritual manna.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.”

If you desire to know more concerning God’s plan for mankind and our need for His Daily Bread, please see “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”  and “The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Replacing Sin With the Bread of Life” for a wonderful articles on the blessing of His word.

“You Deserve a Break Today”

We live in an “Age of Entitlement.”

Open Hands

The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident….that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Pursuit of Happiness

The question I have today is how do we define happiness? The overriding mode today is that of “relativism,” morality and ethics defined as whatever makes us “feel good.”  We are living in a world that expects to “feel good” every hour and every minute of every day. If we happen to experience an uncomfortable feeling, we try to fill it with a quick fix. We quickly fill those moments with any of a myriad of distractions…food, a form of entertainment perhaps even something as praiseworthy as increasing knowledge can be used to ease our discontentment.

Mom's Time Out

Do we grumble or complain if we don’t get our “me time” when the kids go to bed or after a long hard day’s work have a chance to unwind from the stress of the day; because, after all, “We deserved a break today.” You may feel deprived, angry, or discontent because life just “wasn’t fair” to you today.

I am not stating that relaxation is not a positive thing; but when we begin to feel we are “entitled to” happiness at all times, we open ourselves up to feelings of discontentment and unhappiness.  It is really an “aha” moment when we begin to understand that life wasn’t created just for our own pleasure and relaxation.

Does God have the attitude of entitlement? Does He expect that His creation will always treat Him right all the time and never disobey? He knows this is how children learn – you sin, you repent, you are forgiven if you are in the process of change.

His whole purpose in creating the earth was to raise a spiritual family.* He has a full time job, which He enjoys immensely.  He is love, and everything He does is out of love for His children. He is totally “other” centered, and he has called us to be “other” centered also.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” 

~ Philippians 2:4

Yes, we need a break, but is it “I deserve it” or “Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to serve You when I do work, and then I can rest in You.  Let me use my time of service to glorify Your name, and help me remember I’m serving You when I serve others, including my family and co-workers.” Then we can truly have a chance to enjoy the fruits of our labor, because we will have done it with a different outlook, a different attitude.

Godly Woman Praying

 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”

~ Matthew 25:40

“Blessed is every one that fears the LORD; that walks in His ways. For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” 

~ Psalm 128:1-2

It is a different attitude, a different orientation, i.e., other centered instead of self centered, that brings happiness. If we understand the mind of Christ, we can be content with the rest He affords us.  We will become less stressed, because we can then do it with joy and satisfaction. If we are discontent in that, we can ask God to give us a different outlook, which He is eager to give.  Let us ask God to show us where true happiness and rest lie, and be thankful for the opportunity to glorify His name, for which “He is entitled.”

To find out more about God purpose for creating humanity to become the literally sons of God, for which is His passion, download free book from:

http://www.freeebookse.com/United-Church-of-God-PDF2-280146/

Or write in for a hard copy at: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/what-your-destiny/

What is Your Destiny

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Psalms of a Woman

Woman of The Lord

The Virtuous Woman

Strong is she who knows she’s weak

….for on her knees her God she’ll seek

Wise is she who hears God’s word

….and puts to practice what she’s heard

Merciful is she who knows

….the grace of God, so kindness shows

Throughout the land, her virtue’s known

…reaping what she’s clearly sown

Her children rise and call her blessed

…this woman of the Lord

~ Diane Stewart

February 1994

 

2 Corinthians 12:10 “…..for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Proverbs 31:26 “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Proverbs 31:31 “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

 Luke 11:28 “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Psalms of A Woman

When those around us cause us pain and hurt, we can let those circumstances embitter us, or we can choose to think as God does.  We beseech Him for His Holy Spirit, the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, and temperance – the mind of God to deal with our trials.  Each time we do this, we become more and more like our heavenly Father, who even loved His enemies.   

At those times when we feel embittered, it puts a veil over our eyes and we can no longer see the sunrise for what it is, nor hear the birds, or the joy of the laughter of children.  Our minds are focused only on our anger or resentment.  Here is how I beseeched God to help me with this bitterness, anxiousness, despair, and I hope it may help you as well.

 

Give Me Eyes

 

God help me see the wonders

Around me everyday

Let me hear the laughter

Of children loud at play

Help me smell the fragrances

Of flowers petals bright

Help me see the starlight

Against the dark of night

Help me think of good things

And pure things in this life

To replace the anxious thoughts

So I have hope inside

I pray not to remember

Those who had caused me pain

But put in place a kindly thought

To bless them just the same

For when I dwell on darkened things

And where there is no light

I cause my feet to stumble

My days turn into night

But if I think on all You do

Your perfect will and plan

That I am small and you are Great

I’ll know I can’t, You can!

For nothing is too hard for you

No matter how despairing

You’re the One who guides our days

Your thoughts are ever caring

So, when no sense of things I make

And I have worries sore

To you I’ll lift my eyes on high

For you’re the Way, the Door

I’ll think on things those good and pure

Of positive and right

And ask you then to hold my hand

Then I will be all right

So, now Oh Lord I pray of thee

Please give me eyes to see

All the joy you send to us

All life was meant to be

 

~ Diane Stewart

1996