It’s Your Turn!

March 17, 2010 at 1:08 am (Announcements, Love, Marriage, Purity, Singleness) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We’ve spent the last week or so sharing purity stories (in case you hadn’t noticed)…each of us has been walking a path that the Lord has used to teach us the price and value of purity.

Lauren shared that purity in our lives reflects our relationship with the Lord–we’re not supposed to daydream about other lovers, but we’re supposed to love the Lord purely!  She also shared that meeting the “perfect” man wasn’t a signal to lay down her arms and give in–it was actually just a stronger call to keep fighting the battle–even protecting her physical purity during her engagement so that she could give herself entirely to her husband on her wedding day!  And as a married woman, she shared that the same love that inspires “keeping” as a single woman, inspires “giving” as a married woman.

Megan shared the power of God’s redeeming love as the basis for all purity.  With that in mind, pride doesn’t lead us to true purity.  She expressed that purity is far more than physical boundaries–that it begins with a pure mind and heart and humility!  She also shared how God’s powerful love can redeem even our mistakes and sanctify them for our growth and use them for our blessing!  As a wife and mother (with a fifth on the way!), a pure mind and heart are no less important now!

Amy shared that an invaluable secret to protecting “chastity” is godly accountability–particularly parents!  Contentment is an act of trust and the foundation for trust is knowing and understanding God’s character–that He is good and gives good gifts.  Even when “Mr. Right” entered her life, the Lord still had growth planned for her!  And even after her marriage, she has learned that contentment is still an act of trust!  The day we trust the Lord is only the beginning of a life of trusting.

Sarah shared the struggle of learning to balance preparation and training to be a godly wife and mother with the commands to guard her heart and keep her daydreams focused on the Lord.  One day she came to her parents.  “For my entire life you have been grooming me to be a wife and mother.   What am I supposed to do, erase 16 years of brainwashing from my head?”  She also shared the struggle of balancing a godly friendship with the teasing of “helpful friends” and her own desires for a godly husband.  She also shared how we can tend to trust “good things” that the Lord provides, instead of simply trusting the Lord.

Ana Marie shared the importance of filling our lives with the right things–nature abhors a vacuum, and where there is nothing, usually there is plenty of room for stumbling!  She shared the value of a tender conscience and also the power of confessing even motives to her father.  She also shared how necessary it is to guard our brothers–hearts and eyes–in worship to the Lord.

Abigail shared the danger of creating “high ideals” that are often founded in pride instead of in scripture–since they set us up for failure!  God doesn’t promise us our ideal–no matter how we behave.  He just commands us to obey Him.  She also shared the importance of understanding that both marriage and singleness are pure–and glorify God when submitted to Him.   And she shared the the call never changes–regardless of circumstances, pressures or temptations.  Purity must start and end in love–love for the Lord first and then love for His people–all of them.

Now it’s your turn!  We want to hear how the Lord has convicted you and how you’ve responded to the call to purity!  Leave your thoughts and/or post a link(s) to your story in the comments below!

Blessings!

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Women of Wisdom:A Scarlet Cord of Hope

December 2, 2008 at 10:52 am (W.O.W.) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

scarlet-cord

Adapted from Joshua chapters 2-6

Once upon a time a beautiful little Canaanite girl lived in the middle of the bustling metropolis of Jericho, unaware that her home had been promised to another people—by Almighty God Himself. As she grew up she discovered that her beauty earned her first attention, then praise and finally money. Soon she was selling herself to the highest bidder in order to gain independence, stability and a secure future. In her heart of hearts, her happily ever after must have been to finally find someone in whom she could trust—someone who cared for her, would protect her and would provide for her. And each night that she settled into the arms of a paying customer, she must have known she was betraying herself, deceiving herself, living an empty lie. Her beauty could never buy her peace.

Then one day she overheard the rumors—that a slave people had escaped from Egypt accompanied by signs and miracles, had wandered in the wilderness for years and had finally crossed into the land of Canaan, bent on possession. Within days they would arrive at the massive gates of Jericho. The people’s hearts melted with terror, but Rahab’s heart stirred with something more—fear, reverence, hope? Could the powerful God who rained down plagues on the Egyptians and led his people by a pillar of cloud find it in His heart to be merciful?

She knew the two men who had come to her home on the city wall were foreigners and she knew they had come to spy out the city, to measure its walls and to plan its defeat. Perhaps she longed to ask them more about their God—His power, His leadership, His purpose. She also knew they had been spotted, suspected and would soon be traced to her house and arrested. “Hide here,” she whispered breathlessly, shoving aside sheaths of flax from her rooftop. That night she met the soldiers at the door. Trembling between her torn loyalties—her girlhood home or the conquerors God had sent—she became a traitor to the world that had betrayed her and told a lie that could cost her her life. “Yes, those men came here—I didn’t know who they were. They left already. If you hurry, you may catch them yet!” The Lord’s protection stretched down from heaven on the trembling pagan woman as the soldiers listened to her words, believed her lie and left her house in peace.

Sitting in the pale starlight on the roof of her home next to two spies from a foreign country, gazing out across the land promised to someone else, Rahab made her declaration. “I know Yahweh has given this land into your hand.” She gathered her breath and forged her way onward. “We’re all melting in terror after all the things we’ve heard about your God. I know He is the God of heaven above and the earth below.” Then with a last leap of trust, she cast herself on the mercy of God Almighty. “So I beg you to swear to me by Yahweh, since I have protected you, that you will deal with me in truth, that you will save me and my family.”

Had she any reason to trust two strange men? Had she any reason to take the word of men? Hadn’t she been viewed as an object? A beautiful face to be purchased by a few coins. “Deal with me in truth,” she pleaded. “Swear by Yahweh.” Sitting cold and tired on the roof of her house, flax prickling into her legs, tears welling up in her eyes, she had forgotten about being beautiful, about independence or wealth. She sought only one thing—security. And she sought it in the right place. Gazing down at her from on high, God saw her humility, her reverence and her trust and in that moment she was beautiful to Him. When she cast herself on His mercy, she shone will the pure beauty of the saved.

“We swear,” the spies whispered huskily. “If you keep your family in your house and tie this scarlet cord from your window, we swear to protect you when Yahweh gives this city into our hands.” With a few hurried directions, Rahab lowered the men by the scarlet cord, looped it up through the window and left it to hang. Her hands were trembling as she let the end slide through her fingers. What if someone saw the rope and asked her about it? How would she explain to her family why they must stay in the house? What if the Israelites killed her by mistake? What if the spies felt that the word they gave to a foreign woman was worthless? Would the God who had sent them to destroy the land take any notice of her? Would He protect her?

The King’s men returned fruitless in their search for the spies, yet Rahab was never questioned. On their heels came the Israelite army, crossing the Jordan River on dry land and beginning a series of daily marches around the city. For six days Rahab stood watch by her window, her fingers brushing the scarlet cord, waiting, hoping, trusting. On the seventh day the men raised a mighty shout and screams erupted from around her. The ground began to quiver, then shake as a mighty roar swallowed out the Israelite shout. And then the world was ending, crashing down around her in a furious uproar as the clashing of steel signaled that the Israelites had rushed in to attack. Cowering in a corner, she heard voices and dropped her hands from her face. The floor underneath her was cool and firm, the wind rustled softly at the window, tugging at the scarlet cord. She leapt to her feet and rushed to the window, her heart beating furiously as she realized that only her house still stood. Only her house of the entire wall of Jericho, built to defy the largest armies—only her house stood firm—because she trusted in Yahweh.

Voices again and the door crashed open as the two spies rushed in, followed by Israelite soldiers. In a blur of tears and debris, Rahab and her family stumblingly followed them out of the ruins and down to the Israelite camp. As she watched the smoke rising from Jericho and heard the command of the Israelite general to spare no one, no animals and to burn everything, her heart quieted within her. Hadn’t she found Someone to care for her, to protect her, to provide for her? Someone in whom she could trust? Yahweh, Almighty God of heaven and earth had heard her plea for salvation and had reached out to her—a Canaanite harlot.

Rahab’s story goes on to picture the ultimate redemption—from a life of sin, self and destruction, God rebuilt a lasting legacy. She married into God’s chosen people and became the great-great-grandmother of King David, whose seed, it was promised, would rule the nations with a rod of iron. But even more importantly, would bring redemption to every tribe, tongue, people and nation—all those who put their trust in Him: Jesus, the anchor of the scarlet cord of hope.

wow

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Return to Me

August 5, 2008 at 1:36 pm (A Slice of Life, Poetry) (, , , , , )

A couple of years ago I was reading through the book of Isaiah the prophet, arguably the most evangelistic (good-news communicating) book in the Old Testament. In it we see God’s purity and His hatred for sin, but at the same time His immense love for His people and His faithfulness to His covenant with Abraham–as well as an overwhelming number of references to the coming Messiah, the ultimate good news. Through Isaiah, and many of the Old Testament prophets and even through Jesus our Lord, God continually pleaded with the stubborn hearts of Israel, calling them to return to Him and escape the punishment that was due them because of their idolatry. Meditating on all that I was reading, I began to see God’s heart: His faithfulness, His holiness, His offer of mercy…that He desires for none to perish, but for all to come to have life in His name. We cannot begin to fathom the depth of God’s love, especially for those of us who believe.

The same offer is made to stubborn hearts today: turn from your idolatry to serve the Living and True God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom He sent to take away our sins. God’s heart didn’t change between the Old and New Testaments, as some claim; His plan has only been revealed more fully in His Son. As I meditated on the truths I was mining in my study, I wrote this poem, based almost entirely on verses scattered throughout Isaiah.

 

Stop your foolishness

Bowing before a block of wood

Your idol—though not from a tree

Will burn up just as quickly

Return to Me

Listen and receive My redemption

Consider all I have done

Consider all I have made

Are there any like unto Me?

I know of none

Return to Me

Know the shortness of your breath

Cease to do evil

Learn to do good

Seek Me while you may find Me

Call upon Me while I am near

Return to Me

Seek Me day by day

Delight in the Lord your God

I was pierced for your transgressions

O turn and be saved!

I am the only Redeemer

Return to Me

Return to Me

For I long to have compassion on you

Your sins though crimson

I will make white as snow

I will wash them away

I will forgive your transgressions

For My name’s sake

Return to Me

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