Single & Married Ladies – Faith for Your Future

20170616_211036.jpgHi Ladies,

God wants you to be happy, prosperous, and productive. And you must have faith in Him and in His intentions in order to receive the many blessings that He has in store for you. Notice the big “V” on the shield in the picture – it stands for Victory. You are destined to be victorious – over the enemy, and in everything that you strive for in God’s Will for your life. And fortunately for most of us ladies, marriage is well within His Will for us. If a husband is something whose arrival you earnestly desire and have prayed about, then keep your faith that your spouse is coming!

Faith.

Hebrews 11: 6 – “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

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

Hebrews 11: 1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Romans 5: 2 – “We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Ephesians 6: 16 – “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

As these verses indicate, faith is essentially a demonstration of our belief and trust in God, and it is required of every Believer. Our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the catalyst that converts hopes and dreams into faith that they will manifest in our life. And faith is the shield that covers and protects us from the arrows of destruction, disappointment, depression and other negative emotions unleashed by the adversary.

This process is aided by the presence of the Holy Spirit. We will gain the strength to withstand delays or frustrations by drawing upon Him for the power to overcome. When facing problems, if we turn fully to Christ, we will learn the reality that He provides comfort and guidance to strengthen our faith. 2 Corinthians 1: 5 states “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” We may go through, but we will also get through.

The end result will be a deeper relationship with the Father, which is exactly what He wants you to have before He places you into a binding lifelong tie with a mate. A strong, unshakeable faith in Jesus is the necessary firm foundation upon which to build an enduring marriage. The way to establish that foundation is to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” according to Colossians 3: 2.

As your faith deepens, God’s presence will expand and establish you on an even more solid footing in Him. Your complete surrender to the Will of our Father will actually move you forward on the pathway toward reaching your goal. Rather than futile stressing about quickly receiving your desire, spend time in prayer. Read and study the Book, learn to identify the voice of the Lord no matter what you hear around you, and submit to His leading. This is a prerequisite for your personal spiritual growth. And it is essential preparation for a godly marriage.

Your faith will show you who your ordained spouse is, and what God has to say about him. Your faith leads you to accept God’s Vision for your life, and allows you to step out to attain it. Your faith helps you to understand our Father’s Will, and to know whether or not a particular man is part of that Vision. Your faith is the catalyst for your actions, and sets your steps ahead on a firm path. Your faith will keep you emotionally, spiritually and mentally calm and serene as Christ works out His plans for you. Faith is what it’s all about!

So, trust in your Lord and Savior to meet every need that you have in your life, and do not give in to despair. He knows you better than you know yourself, and He knows how to satisfy your true desires.

Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – Paths and Choices

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Hi Ladies,

Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established.” -Proverbs 4: 26. This verse has particular importance as you travel your pathway toward fulfilling God’s purposes in your life, as well as toward marriage. The wedding day is only one of numerous choices and forks in the road that you must decide upon as you journey on your lifelong walk with the Lord. And it is not a final destination, only a goal that will recede as you encounter new ones which Christ will set out for you to attain.

Some key marital decisions to make are:

Do I actually want to get married? Am I ready to get married? Who is the right man, the spouse that God intends for me to spend my life with?

But other equally important considerations are:

What is my place in the Body of Christ? Am I a Teacher, a Preacher, an Evangelist, a Prophet, an Apostle? Am I moved to help unwed mothers, teens, elders, or the poor, or sick, or unsaved, and how does God want me to minister to them? Do I have a career that He is calling me to, and am I drawn to study and work toward achieving that as a goal? Do I have interests, capabilities and talents that I know the Lord has placed in me and wants me to develop? And what must I do to utilize them?

It’s easy to see the difference in these lists…much more time must be given to the second decisions than the first. Meeting, identifying, and marrying your husband is a task that is fairly simple compared to the other matters that our Father ordains for you to pursue. In fact, most of the work on the marriage front is intended to be done by the male anyway. You primarily need to listen for the Lord to confirm his status when he arrives.

You, as a godly woman, are the Lord’s sublime design, and there is a man somewhere searching just for you. In the original order of things, the male looks for the female – he is the seeker because woman was taken out of him bodily and he is incomplete without her. As a Believer and an integral component of the Body of Jesus Christ, you will be an irreplaceable blessing to the right guy. He’ll be charmed by and will love you, both for who you are and Whose you are, and for the fulfillment you’ll bring into his life.

But as often occurs, we ladies have our own plans and schedules, and you may become restless, impatient, or anxious as you wait on our Father to cross this marriage goal off your list. Our tendency is to step in and try to give God a little assist. Perhaps you’ve spotted a man you’re interested in and view him as a likely groom candidate. Maybe there’s a way to bring yourself to his attention, or to be proactive in pursuing an encounter. There’s a choice to make now…Is it time to sit back and wait, or instead is it time to be decisive and to make a move?

Probably not! When we most crave to plot our own course, and charge full speed ahead in attempting to establish a relationship, it’s actually time to sit down, calm down and pray. Consult the Author and Finisher of our Faith (Hebrews 12: 2). Ask Him for clarity about the actions you’re contemplating, and the reasons behind them. And seek His guidance on what, if anything, you should do.

When you’re certain that you are not trying to control, unduly influence, or chase down a fellow, you can then proceed in the manner in which God directs. Until then, however, settle back and wait. A godly pearl does not raise herself up on dainty little feet, and head off in search of someone to give herself to. She knows she is God’s precious gem, and understands that her good man will find her because he is already searching for her.

You can trust that God will show him where you are! Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – Tare Detection Too

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Hi Ladies,

Let’s continue our examination of Wheat versus Tares. It’s important to keep in mind that what may look like a wall of stone between you and your heart’s desire may instead be a wall of protection. Not everything we search for or beg God for is in our best interest or is ready to arrive yet in our Father’s timetable.

If we maintain focus on the goodness, the Wheat that the Lord has planted in our life, we can much more easily discern the bad, the tares, that the enemy will bring before us. His goal is always to derail us from following the path that God has set us upon, but our task is to study the wheat so we won’t be lured or trapped.

MORE WHEAT:

Goals. The vision God has given you for your future, aside from marriage, should be your primary pursuit in life. Have you determined what yours is yet? Are the options that you’re considering leading you closer to your goals? Are you growing and developing your mind, meeting career milestones, and serving the Body of Christ? Our Father brings fulfillment, not only in the spiritual arena, but in everyday practical aspects as well. When you’re mindful of your ultimate direction, you will be better able to evaluate the questionable choices and possible derailments that the enemy puts on your pathway.

Divine Destiny. Our divine destiny manifests every day if we’re willing to let it. And it doesn’t necessarily come wrapped in halo glow, or with angels singing in the background. The seemingly simple affairs of living are also under our Father’s complete control, and we must focus on the wheat that is growing there.

Consider your job. To reap its rewards, you’re called to work at it to the best of your abilities. Even if you aren’t especially enthused about it, commitment and diligence are required, while you also apply your brilliant mind to determining the steps necessary to obtain a better one. If you need to take classes or learn new skills, go ahead and get started. Developing your God-given talents will bring personal fulfillment, improve your mental and emotional outlook, and keep you from becoming solely preoccupied with the marriage goal. And as a single, your freedom to pursue self-improvement is an invaluable gift from the Lord.

God’s Blessings. Every circumstance you encounter, when viewed through the eyes of our Creator, is designed ultimately to bless you. If you’ve sown the seeds of faith, obedience and action, your fields will then be full of wheat. Your guide for reaping these treasures is the Holy Bible and the promises it contains, which you can only fully access by taking time to read the Book for yourself. There are too many promises in Scripture to be listed here, but a great start is to read Psalm 112, which covers many of the blessings that the Lord has granted us.

Psalm 119: 105 calls the Word of God, “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” When your way forward is lit by the Lord’s sovereign Word, positive results will abound and you will receive the rewards of what you’ve cultivated in your lives, a thousand-fold blessing.

Whenever a new circumstance or opportunity arrives, to identify where it came from, you need only ask if it aligns with God’s Word and with your Spirit. If you are vaguely troubled or ill at ease, that feeling of discomfort is a signal that something is amiss. A warning may be sounding which must be recognized and acknowledged.

This is particularly important in evaluating those potential grooms who will come across your path. Only God’s true blessing is to be honored, not Satan’s dangerous counterfeit. And only by utilizing the tare detection methods He has given you, and by exercising prayerful discernment, will you be able to tell the difference. Be prepared to obey what you hear the Lord saying, regardless of your opinion of His instruction. Even if you don’t like what He says or agree with Him, our Father always knows best!

Have a blessed week… Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – Tare Detection

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Hi Ladies,

If your situation seems to be going endlessly around, whether you’re awaiting marriage or another request made to the Lord, remember that our Father has other areas He wants you to focus on in your life. We’ve been considering Jesus’ parable of the tares (Matthew 13: 25-40) because people and situations that look like the real thing not always are. And even when the wheat and tares matured, the sower could only tell the difference if he was thoroughly familiar with wheat, and its appearance and attributes.

Weeds come in innumerable varieties, but only wheat looks and functions like wheat. It would have been a waste of time for the farmer to try to identify every type of corrupt plant springing up in his field.  All he had to do was be able to recognize the good crop.  We too must recognize the goodness, the blessings, the Wheat in our lives that must be cultivated and encouraged to flourish, no matter what we are waiting on God for. This is the key to tare detection for all the choices we face.

WHEAT:

Salvation. It is a requirement that your husband-to-be must be a genuinely saved follower of Jesus Christ, as you yourself are also a redeemed member of His Body. A potential husband may look like wheat and smell like a rose, but if he doesn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord, that appearance is deceptive.  What you have instead is a thorny bush designed to do you harm.

Faith.   Hebrews 11: 6 – “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”;  2 Corinthians 5: 7 – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”;  Hebrews 11: 1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”; Romans 5: 2 – “We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Prayer. Having a strong prayer foundation is essential for learning to discern wheat.  I Thessalonians 5: 17 instructs us to “Pray without ceasing.”  The intention here is not that you walk around all day distractedly muttering prayers under your breath.  Instead, the goal is to cultivate a constant awareness of God’s presence.  Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He is always with you, not just when a problem arises.  You are to be so immersed in our Lord that He is your first thought in any situation.  And it is He who’ll provide the discernment you need about a marital partner.

Gratefulness.  Regardless of marital status, and no matter what is going on in any area of your life, gratitude will bring far more joy than sulking or complaining ever will.  Being grateful for your blessings, instead of focusing on what you haven’t yet received, will keep your thoughts directed on God.  Rather than concentrating on problems you perceive, you’re instructed to appreciate everything that He has already done.  A grateful happy heart allows you to hear His voice much more clearly, and makes identification of tares far simpler.

Right Focus. Almighty God, our Lord and Savior is our right focus.  Ephesians 6: 7 advises that we “with goodwill render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” which means that everything you do should be for His glory.  Don’t be swayed by the reactions or opinions of others from always giving your very best efforts to whatever endeavors the Creator has appointed to you.

But although you may truly believe that God “causes all things to work together for good…” (Romans 8: 28), in distressing situations, you might sometimes forget this.  Like the Israelites in the wilderness, we often cry out in dismay when facing trials, without recalling that our challenges are not challenging to the Lord who has rescued us from troubles many times before.  He has not changed, and He can still handle every concern that arises.   When you keep your focus on our Father and not on circumstances, you’ll be able to detect any tares being sown by the voices of discouragement, anxiety and doubt.

Continuing next week…Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies –In a Quandary?

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Hi Ladies,

Have you ever had days when you’ve looked around and wondered what God was doing? No surprise since there’ll be a million questions swirling in your head while you await the arrival of the man God’s designated for you to marry.  But, I AM, the Sovereign King has already ordained what will happen in your life, and we’re going to chip away at those questions, one by one.

We’ve mentioned the psychological tares of attraction to money or looks in a man, but maybe those aren’t your criteria at all. Instead, prestige or status may matter more, or as one lady said, “Anything as long as he’s a preacher.”  We all have non-negotiable areas in our evaluations of the opposite sex, and they’re not necessarily weaknesses.  Instead they form your core values, and God will honor them in the husband He’s designed for you.

My own non-negotiable, besides strong Christian faith, was intelligence. It didn’t matter what college degrees my husband possessed if he could keep up with me mentally.  But I would not deal with any guy who was an idiot by my standards.  So, the Lord blessed me with a spouse who matches intellectually, and with the criteria of faith and brains present, I was willing to overlook “flaws”.

This type of innate preference is a “bent” or trait God Himself puts into your personality. However, it’s crucial to prayerfully identify those seducers and temptations that you may also be enticed by.  They are not the same as the values that God has implanted within you that make you who you are.  Instead they’re traps which Satan will recognize and try to place in your path.

Possibly for you, wealth actually is non-negotiable, and you will never be happy with a man with limited earning potential. Your guy could be below average in height or appearance and thirty years older, but that wouldn’t be a problem as long as he can afford you.  Or maybe spectacular handsomeness, however fleeting, is an absolute essential for your groom – if such is the case, then hunker down and wait for God to deliver.  You’ll be happier foregoing marriage altogether, rather than settling for a husband who will be struggling financially for the rest of his life.  Or walking down the aisle with a guy who is physically unappealing, no matter what other attributes he may possess.

Your decision to avoid such entanglements is an honorable choice, if you don’t jump ship and hitch to a non-believer just because he meets your surface requirements. With such a choice, you will have crossed the line and fallen sway to a seducer.

The difference between wheat and tares is subtle but real, and Satan’s goal is always to tempt you away from God, and from your faith. If any choice leads you in that direction, it’s the wrong one.  An excellent way to be certain that you’re rightly discerning Father’s Will is when you experience perfect peace about the decisions you make.

  • I Corinthians 14: 33 – “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace…”
  • Philippians 4: 6.7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Such peace comes from God alone, from His guiding our steps. If you attempt to obtain your goals in some other way, such as marrying for them, the results are likely to be both unpleasant and unfortunate.  But remember I Corinthians 10: 13 – “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

Stay prayerful about every person and situation you encounter, and with God’s leading, you won’t be seduced by tares, but will be able to spot them as they sprout up among the Lord’s wheat.

Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – Don’t Be Seduced!

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Hi Ladies,

I love flowers, don’t you? So here are some more beauties that have nothing to do with today’s topic of men and godly relationships.  They’re just here to remind us of the goodness of the Lord.  Last week, we discussed “tares” that can come up when you’re evaluating men, and there are just a few more things that our Father has to say in the Bible about this.

SEDUCING SPIRITS

“Tares” are the deceivers, the deceptions lurking among all the good things in your life that will arise to attempt to lure you away from holding firm for God’s promised mate. They’re dispatched by the adversary to disrupt and confuse, to divert and tempt you into doubting God and His Word.  And because tares look just like wheat until they fully reveal themselves, the tares you’ll face will also look like just what you’re asking for.

In the King James translation, I Timothy 4: 1 speaks of “seducing spirits” – “in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”  Other versions refer to these tempters as “deceiving” or “deceitful” spirits.  Their assignment is to pull you away from God’s best.  They will deceive you into thinking that there are no tares around you, or that the tares are good and are from God.  Their aim is to bring destruction into your life.

If you’re seeking our Father for clarity about your spouse, it is essential to understand your own set of seducing spirits because the enemy will try to use them against you. But when you know where the mines are, it’s far easier to avoid them. So, try to identify which aspects of a potential husband are a special temptation for you.

Maybe you’ve always been attracted to luxury and wealth, but the Lord intends for you to have faith for His provision in this area.  Along comes the Believer you’ve been praying for, and you’re delighted with him in every way, except that he’ll never be rich and doesn’t even want to be.

So, what’s the enemy going to do? He won’t send out a penniless guy to attract you, but will dispatch the glossy attorney with a big Mercedes.  Great catch – lucky you!  ‘Lucky’, but not ‘blessed’ because this enticement will certainly be a committed non-believer, and if you allow your preferences to influence you, you will be embracing a deception.

Or perhaps you’ve always had a weakness for handsome guys, or tall muscular ones, but none of those around you are Believers. For some reason, all the available Christian men seem to be puny or plain.  Under the sway of your attraction criteria, you’ll readily dismissing suitors without consideration, while awaiting the one who has the superficial attributes that you crave.

As time passes there may be fewer options waiting around to be discarded. The enemy sidles in to whisper that you may have tossed your chosen companion out with the rejects, and that you’ll still be hoping for his arrival years after he’s come and gone.  But never forget that the devil is a liar!  Such a scenario can’t and won’t happen if you’re on the path that Jesus Christ has set out for you.

When you’re in touch with our Father’s leading for your life, you can never miss His plan, especially in perceiving and receiving your proper mate. Our Creator knows exactly who you are, where you are, and how to get His designated fellow to you. Just get out and about, and on with your life.  Proceed with friendliness and kindness to pursue the purpose that God has given you, and He will handle the rest.

That’s it for now…Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – Flowers, Not Tares!

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Hi Ladies,

Satan, the adversary of every Believer, specializes in sowing tares, instead of the beautiful bounty of colorful joy depicted in this photo. Our Father brings blessings and love, but the enemy seeks only to destroy. So what exactly is a “tare”?  Dictionary.com defines it as “a noxious weed”.  In Matthew 13, Jesus recounts the story of the tares that grew up so entangled with the wheat in the field that it was impossible to separate them out until they had fully grown and revealed themselves…just like the tares in our lives.  They start out looking like wheat until time and closer inspection reveals their true nature.

In the arena of marriage, substitutes, counterfeits, and bogus blessings are all part of the enemy’s arsenal, which will be deployed against you when you become serious about marrying your chosen spouse.   You must stay prayerful and vigilant to be certain that you haven’t strayed from the path that God has appointed for you, because often when we are most confident that we’re going the right way and that His plans are finally becoming clearer, the enemy’s distractions will begin to arrive.

For example, you’ve now become interested in a particular guy, and are beginning to envision a future together, but men suddenly start turning up everywhere. They’ll be smiling and interested, flirting or just making casual conversation, but with that certain gleam in their eye. It may have been ages since a male even glanced in your direction, but when one finally does come along, another will too.

Or maybe you’ve committed to remaining celibate while you wait on God for your husband. But suddenly opportunities for intimacy are plentiful, tempting you to change your mind, to make an exception ‘just this once’.

Or perhaps it’s a job opportunity. You’ve submitted resumes to firms all over the city or even the country without a single response.  Then at last when a company calls, two or three others will contact you that same week, eager to get you in for an interview.  Most of us will shrug, mutter something about “feast or famine”, and stolidly set about trying to talk to them all.

Or the Lord has given you a book to write, a ministry to start or to nurture, or a career goal that excites and invigorates you.   But now irresistibly intriguing TV shows, or web surfing, Facebook, Twitter, or I-phone games entice you to postpone what you should be doing in favor of idle entertainment.  Days disappear like smoke while you accomplish nothing.

What exactly is going on here? Why is this happening now?   The answer is simple – when God is preparing to release a major blessing to manifest into your life, Satan’s ploy to counteract it is to derail you with a decoy.  Sometimes he will send in his fake just before the Lord dispatches the real deal, enticing you to give up waiting too soon, or to compromise.  In other instances, he’ll scatter the counterfeits around so thickly that you will have trouble identifying which is which.  But, just as in Jesus’ parable, when the devil sows his weeds in among God’s blessings, you must use prayerful discernment to tell them apart, and patience to separate them out.

Deceptions are one of the enemy’s most common weapons against us, and he makes them beguiling and attractive. Just as he himself, far from being a horned red demon with a pointed tail and pitchfork, was one of our Creator’s most beautiful angels, so too will tares be presented to you.  The corruption inside is masked behind an enticing façade.  As 2 Timothy 3: 13 warns, “But evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Understand that Satan will attempt to lure you in your areas of weakness, or where there is unconfessed sin in your heart. James 1: 13 notes, “Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” The temptation you’ll encounter is only a trap from the devil.

More next week…Joy and Shalom!