Rachel or Leah

leah rachel“And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moved upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28

How many of us know single (never been married or divorced) women and think?

• “Poor girl. She will never be happy until she finds Mr. Right”.
• “Who can I match her up with? That biological clock is ticking.”

How many of us know married women without children and think?

• “What a waste.”
• “What a selfish couple.”
• “Poor couple. We better start praying for the flood gates of children to pour on them.”

How many of us know married women with children and think?

• “Wow. How wonderful!”
• “When’s my turn?”
• “I’ll never be happy until I get there.”

In the book of Genesis (Chapter 29 to 30) we have the story of two sisters, Rachel and Leah, who for different reasons were married to a fellow named Jacob. As the story unfolds you get a picture of two women married to “The Ideal Man” but still missing something. Rachel the younger of the two sisters is loved incredibly by her husband. She was loved so much that her husband waited and worked fourteen years for her at her father’s estate. Despite this incredible love between the two, Rachel’s heart yearned for something more that she did not have with her husband: a child.

Then there was Leah the older sister who loved her husband dearly but whose love was not equally returned. She bore with her husband not one, not two but six sons and one daughter but still did not have receive the returned love she had hoped for from her husband. Leah was fruitful and yet her heart was broken and still did not receive what she desired the most: the love of her husband.

Often when we hear the story of Rachel and Leah, we hear the story of the barren woman whose heart was tormented by not having children. We are reminded of Rachel’s cry to God to receive the gift of children and the answered prayers. Married women without children are charged to cry out to God as Rachel did and ask for our wombs to be filled. On the other hand, we don’t often hear the story of Leah who was not barren but was VERY fruitful and yet still not happy. Seven children later and her heart still hurt. Both women had something that many of us aspire to attain: a spouse and children. Yet in each woman’s story we see that despite having the husband and/or children, neither was completely fulfilled and ended up turning to the only source of life and fulfillment the universe can provide: God the Father.

APPLICATION QUESTION:
Who do you think is most fulfilled?

• The married woman with children who is unloved by her husband.
• The married woman without children who is loved by her husband.
• The single woman with children.
• The single woman without children.
• The married woman with children who is loved by her husband.

ANSWER:
The woman (married or single) with or without children who has the love of the Lord.

“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Philippians 4:12

A happy single woman is a happy married woman.
A happy childless woman is a happy mother.

God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I (-insert your name-) confess and repent of my heart of discontentment and idolatry of a husband and/or child. I confess and repent of my seeking life in your creation (husband and/or child) and not seeking life in you the creator. Holy Spirit fill me with your fruits of the spirit, heal me, and fill the holes that only you can fill. In your name and blood I pray Christ Jesus of Nazareth. Amen

Photo Credit: Google

The Challenge: A Personal Story

woman in shadowOnce upon a time,
there lived a young brown girl, captivated by the world of beautiful faces and things. Mirrors, magazines, and friends were a constant reminder of “beauty”. Oh how she loved them.

Then entered FB, the queen of “beauty”. Close up…applause…long shot…applause…side shot…applause.

“I like FB” she thought.

Daughter?” He called.

No answer.

“Daughter?” He called again.

“Yes” she answered.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“What do you mean?” she answered.

“Do you remember this? ‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.’” He asked.

“Hmmm” she sighed.

“I challenge you Daughter to die.” He said.

“Die!” She yelled.

“Yes, I challenge you to die to your world of beauty and replace each personal ‘beauty’ shot with a Kingdom shot of Godly content. I further challenge you to truly die to yourself and become nameless.” He declared.

“This is a major sacrifice? What will my friends and family think? They won’t know it’s me. Will they still ‘like’ me?” she thought.

Delete…”what’s going on?”…Delete…”are you okay?”…Delete…no applause.

Weeks Later

“I’m a little sad. This was a huge sacrifice and I get nothing. It’s so quiet around here.“ she thought.

Still Later

“I guess the quiet is not so bad, time to dig in and spend time with the Lord.”

Prayer: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Complaining “God’s Ignoring Me!”

God's Ignoring Me!

Question: “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

In order for God to move and answer our petition prayers, a proper prayer foundation must be made. God isn’t simply a magic genie answering prayers upon command. No, He is a loving Father who takes our requests and graciously answers them in His timing and according to what is best for us. Often we think we know what is best for ourselves, even deceiving ourselves and others into thinking we know better than anyone else in the universe including the Creator. The following are eight questions every Believer should ask themselves, if they find themselves asking “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

Continue reading…HERE

Prayer: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Complaining “God’s Ignoring Me!”

why_me_godQuestion: “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

In order for God to move and answer our petition prayers, a proper prayer foundation must be made. God isn’t simply a magic genie answering prayers upon command. No, He is a loving Father who takes our requests and graciously answers them in His timing and according to what is best for us. Often we think we know what is best for ourselves, even deceiving ourselves and others into thinking we know better than anyone else in the universe including the Creator. The following are eight questions every Believer should ask themselves, if they find themselves saying “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

• Do you believe and accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the only path to eternal life?
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” John 14:6
You may have heard the story of the world religions sharing a “belief” in Jesus with Christians. The Quran states Jesus was born of a virgin, was a revered prophet, was a miracle worker, who ascended to heaven, and will return to earth but is not the son of God. Hinduism states Jesus is a God, was a Holy Man, and was a Wise Teacher. Buddhism states Jesus was an enlightened man, was a wise teacher, was a Holy man, and was a moral teacher. Baha’i states Jesus came from God, was born of a virgin, spoke for God, had a divine and human nature, and was crucified for the atonement of humanity. Yet the difference between the world religions and the Christians is that the Believers in Christ Jesus firmly believe and rightly know that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, part of the triune God, is the only deity that leads to the eternal life. There are no other paths or gods that will lead to heaven.

• Are you born again?
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22-23
Jesus shared a prophetic vision in Matthew 25 of “Believers” in Christ meeting Him at the end of the age and being shockingly turned away from the Kingdom of God. Jesus clearly spelled out it was not belief alone that granted eternal life, it was the ongoing demonstration of His character to others in need. The man and woman turned away were the ones who did not feed the hungry, did not give drink to the thirsty, did not give clothes to the naked, did not care for the sick, and did not visit the imprisoned. Their apathy to the needy was also apathy towards God. Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

• Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He (Holy Spirit) had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:14-17

Paul said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism”. Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him (Jesus) who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they (acknowledged) were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:2-6

And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He used to say, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 11:16

“For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5

Might you wonder why scripture references Baptisms in the plural and not singular (see Baptism of Repentance, Baptism of Water, Baptism of the Holy Spirit). There are many who have performed the act of the Baptism of Water but do not know Christ Jesus. They have performed the physical declaration of faith but have not followed through in the daily transformational process of sanctification. The Believer in Christ Jesus must have the Holy Spirit living within them. When the Holy Spirit lives inside of the Believer, you will see manifestations of God’s Fruit or Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control). The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not complicated and only requires a simple prayer between two Believers in Christ Jesus such as “Leah, I declare in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that you receive the Baptism and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit work within her and transform her daily into being your daughter. Amen.

• Do you have any unconfessed/unrepented sin?
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Johns 1:9

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

• Do you hold any bitterness or unforgiveness towards anyone?
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:24-25

• Do you believe in God’s will for your perfect health (or other request)?
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

• Do you agree with your prayer partner for healing (or other request)?
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:24-25

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:19-20

• Are you praying for God’s will or your own?
There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand. Proverbs 19:21

The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23

The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. Psalm 33:10

Lord, thank you for the universal Body of Christ and your revelations. Help us to examine ourselves closely, show us personal roadblocks, and help us to move into your perfect will of obedience. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen

Resources: IAHR; The Name of Jesus; World Religions
Related Posts: Answered Prayers
Photo Credit: Bing

Discernment: What do you Treasure?

Treasure ChartQuestion: What do you treasure?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Social media is an excellent tool for exchanging ideas, promoting projects, or promoting self. It very clearly magnifies what is most important to us. For some, its business and culture that are core values, for others its politics, for others it is God and His statues, and yet for others its family and friends.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37

Part of the Christ centered life is the ongoing evaluation of what matters to us…the most. God wants to ensure that He has our complete heart. He wants no competing idols. Though we may not be worshipping a golden calf like the Israelites (Exodus 32), we may be unknowingly worshipping the various idols of life.

In college and/or professional school many of us learned about the benefits of time management. Some of us even received presentations on the Time Management Pie Chart or what I call the Treasure Chart. The purpose of the chart is to help us identify where our time goes or Biblically speaking what we treasure. It’s a simple visual tool to help us identify what really is number one in our daily lives. For example, if our Treasure Chart shows that 50% of our pie is allocated to social media, 25% is allocated to school, 10% is allocated to sleep, 10% is allocated to socializing with Christian friends sans Abba focused, and 5% is allocated to God (i.e. worship, accountability groups/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer), we could clearly see that despite our strong feelings that God is number one in our lives, our Treasure Chart hints that our time may actually be skewed towards other things and not God.

Question: How do you identify what you Treasure the most?

Take an inventory of how you spend your time using the Treasure Chart
For instance, in one 48 hour period you spent 8 hours watching television, 4 hours gardening, 4 hours on social media, 16 hours sleeping, 3 hours eating, 8 hours clubbing, 2 hours cleaning, 2 hours working out, and 1 hour honoring God (i.e. worship, accountability/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer). Then simply divide the number of hours you spent on a particular task by 48 hours. That will be the percentage of time you spent on that particular task. The task(s) with the highest percentages suggest these are the tasks you value or Treasure the most.
Examine your use of Social Media
Look back at your postings over the last one to six months and examine if the majority of your picture and/or article postings on Social Media promote the Gospel of Christ Jesus, your “smokin” hot abs of steel, your incredible lifestyle, or political happenings.
Ask a Biblical friend and/or mentor
These individuals know you the best and live a lifestyle that is a walking billboard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are the Biblical counsel referenced in Proverbs 15:22. They will be honest and help steer you towards the Cross.
Ask God
You cannot underestimate the value of prayer and Bible study with God. Daily ask God for wisdom and He will answer as James 1:5 declares.

There are many more ways you can examine if God is the number one Treasure of your heart. The key is that you take steps to identify where God lies. Some of you are thinking, “We all spend more time sleeping, eating, and working in a day than we do Bible study or prayer. Does that mean sleeping, eating, and working are number one in our hearts?” NO! God actually values work (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Proverbs 31), as it is necessary for earning fruit to maintain the home and supporting the Kingdom. God also values sleep as it is another opportunity for Him to communicate to us (see Psalm 16:7). God is simply asking us to be aware of how we use our time and take the necessary steps to bring Him to the top of our Treasure list. One can work while demonstrating the Believer’s lifestyle of service and love. One can clean the home while meditating on God’s scripture or silently praying to God about the days ahead. One can use social media to share the Gospel of Christ Jesus via words of strengthening, encouraging, and comforting others (1 Corinthians 14:3).

God repeatedly declares that Believers should treasure nothing above Him, not even parents or children (Matthew 10:37). So the challenge to each Believer in Yeshua is to ask yourself, “What do I treasure?” and then the take all the necessary steps to make God number one. AMEN

Abba, we confess and repent of all the idols of the world we have placed before you. We lay the idols of work, of self, of husbands/wives, of friends, of children, and of materialism on the altar and thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth for sacrificing yourself for us. Holy Spirit come and transform us from the inside out. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. AMEN

Photo Credit: FE
Related Post: Pastor Joe

Prayer: God NOT Satan is the author of Sickness

confusedJohn 9:2-3 gives an exception to the Satan is the author of sickness concept toted by Healing Ministries. Confused? Let’s examine these Truths.

“And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind? Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:2-3

My wise father shared this verse with me during a time of trying to reconcile how dedicated Believers and families in Christ can be born with conditions like autism or bipolar, or receive a terminal diagnosis of cancer after retiring from 30-40 years of overseas mission work. There appears to be no specific spiritual roots or roadblocks. Like the man who was born blind, these individuals had committed no sin and neither had their parents. Yet, the man and these modern Believers were still beset with illness. So how does this shake up with scriptures on Healing like Luke 10:19 and Mark 16:17-18. These verses seem to contradict John 9:2-3. How can a Believer still be born with an “incurable” disease or receive a terminal diagnosis?

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Luke 16:17-18

The answer comes from John 9:2-3 as well as the concept of God’s Decretive Will. God, not Satan, was the author of this man’s condition. Up until that point it was assumed that the man’s illness was the result of the man’s sin or generational sin of the parents. However, Christ Jesus knowing the Father’s purposes revealed the previously unknown Will to man.

‘Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in Him.”’ John 9:3

God purposed or Willed this man to be born with a condition of Blindness with the specific purpose of displaying His glory and healing power through Christ Jesus. God Willed this man to be born with an “incurable” condition by man’s methods so that the world could see that nothing is incurable with the power of God in Christ Jesus of Nazareth.

‘So they were saying to him (Blind Man), “How then were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and annointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”‘ John 9:10-11

What is just as powerful is Yeshua’s revelation to the people then and to us today that there are exceptions. This man was born with a condition not because of personal or generational sin but because it was God’s Will. God Willed this man to be born with an “incurable” condition by man’s methods in order to display the Healing power of Christ Jesus.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

Amen

Related Post: The People God Uses
Related Resources: Can You Hear Me God? ; God’s Hidden Will ; Decretive vs Preceptive Will
Photo Credit: Bing

Dating & Marriage 101: What is God’s Will for Me?

relationship101If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:15

RC Sproul, Pastor and founder of Ligonier Ministries, superbly parses apart God’s preceptive and decretive will in order to help Believers determine God’s plan for their lives. God’s preceptive will is “revealed commandments of God’s published law/Bible” (i.e. not murder, not divorce, not covet, not steal, not commit sexual sin). God’s decretive will are the things that which are the sovereign, hidden things of God that will be revealed with time. These are things that will come to pass regardless of circumstances or human efforts. Pastor Sproul states that as Believers we can become preoccupied with knowing the hidden will (i.e. Is s/he the one?) that we neglect to honor and perform God’s revealed or preceptive will.

So YOU want to be married but are unsure if it is God’s Will for you to be married? Let’s examine what God has revealed on this topic in His Word.

1. Ladies, did your suitor find/pursue you (or was it the other way around)?

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22

2. Does your suitor authentically love God?

• Observe Sabbath – Deuteronomy 5:12
• Honor his parents – Ephesians 6:2, Exodus 20:12
• Avoid sexual sin – 1 Corinthians 6:13
• Tithe – Malachi 3
• Gives generously – 2 Corinthians 9:6
• Fellowships with other believers – Hebrews 10:25
• Keeps wholesome talk – Ephesians 4:20
• Keeps his eyes from sin – Psalm 101:3
• Humble – Romans 12:16
• Forgiving – Romans 12:17-20
• Fruitful (Fruits of the Spirit) – Galatians 5:22-23
• Godly love – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
• Keeps all God’s commands – John 14:15

God is not the creator of confusion; He gives us a sound mind and the Spirit of peace. If a suitor has found you and demonstrates authentic love of the Lord, then congratulations you have a fantastic Kingdom opportunity for a Godly marriage. If you are still unsure if this match is God’s divine plan for you, rest and wait on the Lord. If it is God’s secret or hidden will that you marry this suitor, it will be.

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.
Proverbs 21:30

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9

What about the married women of God who in hindsight have come to understand that it was God’s desire she have not married the unbeliever or baby Believer? Should she divorce or annul the marriage and start over with a Godly man who meets the above criteria?

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Luke 16:18

A sizeable portion of the Faith struggles with the concept of divorcing and starting over. God’s preceptive will is that the married not divorce, even in instances of spiritual immaturity. God forgives us for violating His preceptive will in marrying someone who did not meet His mark or for ourselves not meeting the mark in being a Spiritually mature mate. Yet in that forgiveness, He still holds us accountable to the covenant made in the marriage vows and divorce is not His plan. His plan is that the married individual who has received the revelation of their past errors in wisdom, learn from it and use it to show God’s love to their unbelieving or Spiritually immature spouse. And in turn convert the spouse to the Kingdom of God.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
1 Peter 3:1-2

Abba, we thank you for your revelation of truth. Help us to grow towards your perfect will for our lives. – Amen

Related Posts: Is He Marriage Worthy? ; Is She Marriage Worthy? ; Coincidence, Fate, Providence, & Signs: Is this Relationship Meant to Be? ; God Hasn’t Answered My Prayers on This Relationship
Resources: Finding Your Spouse in God’s Will; Divorce & Starting Over
Photo Credit: Bing