God’s playing tag and I’m probably it…

Caution to all those that love to read: I am not one of you…. but I confess that I have been reading a couple books recently that I actually…..enjoyed. I know. Shocking. In fact, I’ve finished them! Cover to cover. This is actually a HUGE accomplishment for me. Three books all around the same topic that have completely impacted my life and the way I view myself in the future. The first book was “Untamed” by Lisa Harper. This book asks the question, “Have you met the real Jesus – the One who is wild enough to set you free? Too many people settle for relating to Jesus merely as a comfortable friend and companion, when what we all need is an untamed Savior, a fearless champion tough enough to conquer our shame and compelling enough for us to follow him without hesitation.” It talks about how the wild side of Jesus can free us to live and love life with abandon. The second book was, “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn. This one honestly blew my mind. To sum it up in a sentence; it pretty much gives the low down on how we as women can better support the men around us whether it be friends, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, dad’s and grandpa’s in the ways that THEY need – not the ways we THINK they need. The third book was “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge. I think Captivating was the most interesting and surprising book for me to read, because it connected the dots between the other two books. Like, those three books together blend into one new, amazing outlook on life for me. I know that women get kicked around a lot. This isn’t a super “power-to-the-women” or “kick-the-men-to-the-curb” deal…. like, at all. This would be a “wake-up-people” God made us as a TEAM…… picture it as a three legged race. There are two people and some thing strong that binds them together, forcing them to work together in order to win the race {That strong something is the Lord… just in case you didn’t pick up what I did there… *wink*}

Three Books

 

 

PeonyFirst off, I’d totally suggest that you read at least one of those books this summer. {Fun fact – there’s a “Men’s addition” for two of those books: called “For Men Only” by: Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn and “Wild at Heart” by: John Eldredge, which are also fabulous…because I read those too…} Seriously, grab an iced coffee and go outside because each one of those books will totally encourage you in who God has made you to be and help you see the fact that our most important purpose on earth is not to please ourselves, is not to please the people around us but to simply bring glory to Him who made us. So then the thing that a person – man or woman needs to focus on first and foremost is their relationship with God and who they are in Christ. You can’t be looking at the people around you and comparing yourself with them – or even comparing your relationships with others. The only relationship that TRULY matters is the one you have with your Heavenly Father because He’s been there for you since square one. Anyways, what was cool, is that the BIGGEST lesson that I learned from reading those books was that God is in love with me. God’s always been in love with me. In “Untamed” the writer talked about how Jesus is the man who will always meet our needs. The people around us will fail just like we fail them, but Jesus never does. I know, I know that is one of thee most classic, cliche “Christianese” things to say but it’s actually SO true. God provides you with the things you need in order to bring Him glory. Think about it. God gave Deborah the wisdom to lead the Lord’s army into battle in the last minute. Read Judges 4. “She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell your enemy into the hands of a woman.” – Judges 4:9. God provided Esther with courage to talk to the King and save the Jews from slaughter. Read Esther. “…who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14. God was there for Ruth and gave her the humility and grace to go to Boaz when she was in need. Read Ruth. “Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me?” – Ruth 2:10. God spoke to Abigail and gave her for foresight and knowledge to make up for the wrong her husband had done and because of her immediate obedience God saved her life! Read 1 Samuel 25. “Then Abigail hurriedShe fell at his {King David’s} feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant…  Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you… Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request.” – 1 Samuel 25: 18-38. I could honestly go on and on about the amazing things God has done specifically in the lives of individual women recorded in the Bible.

TreeNotice how these four women acted with integrity and put their faith in what God had put on their hearts. They depended on His strength. In doing so, they brought glory to God and they did not try do everything on their own. When anyone – man or woman, takes the trust fall with God, you can guarantee that He will catch you. Even before the jump, God is with you – cheering you on in the ways that he knows you need. Look at those four women again. God was looking out for Deborah and preparing her for battle before God asked her to fight. God was also looking out for Ruth making sure that she was ready to meet Boaz in His perfect timing. Even still, God was with Esther when she was just a little girl living with her uncle all the way till she confronted the king, and God allowed Abigail to hear about her husband’s actions in His perfect plan. God was in love with Ruth, Esther, Abigail and Deborah. He met them where they were at. God is also in love with you. “I have love you with an everlasting love. Before time began, I knew you. For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for true love. All the time I was pursuing you – aching to embrace you in my compassionate arms. When the time was right, I revealed Myself to you. I lifted you out of that sea of despair and set you down on a firm foundation. There, I sang you a love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity. I infused meaning into your mind and harmony into your heart. Join Me in singing My song and together we will show others My true love.” – Jesus Calling.

“Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” – Romans 8:37-39 (The Message)

So, we know that God is always with us; leading us and protecting us from dangers too great to fight. We also understand that God will provide us with the things we need when it comes time to fight – just like he did with all the heroes in the Bible. Gideon, Sampson, David, and Daniel….. but God’s love is shown in more ways than protection and battle strategies. In Captivating, the author talked a lot about realizing the beautiful small things that God does to say, “Hey! I love you.” Think about things that you like to do for the people you love. Waking up a couple minutes earlier to make coffee and bring it to them in bed, bringing flowers when you come home from work, making their favorite meal for supper, racing home to record the football game because you know they’re gunna miss the first quarter. What about the supper simple things like cleaning up after yourself if you know they are a clean freak? Or shooting them a random encouraging text in the middle of the day if you know those little things mean a lot to them? Like, this list of simple “I love you” actions could go on forever. But has it ever occurred to you that God sends those simple “I love you’s” to you too? I’ll confess that I’m a super cheesy person that loves to watch a gorgeous sunset and wake up to birds singing. I enjoy a good thunderstorm and looking at flowers.

Logs

There is always a point where we doesn’t necessarily feel that close with God. It happens – just like any friendship; it has it’s ups and downs. What do you do when you are struggling with a family member, friend, co-worker or anyone that you love? You should be going after them and not letting them slip away. God says that He will never leave us or forsake us but we also have to be running to the Lord if we are not feeling strong in our relationship with Him. The easiest thing is to run away. Running away from anything is easy. I’d encourage you to start praying and asking God to open your eyes to the love signals He’s been sending you – and trust me HE WILL. I was reading in my devotional book and the other day God totally reminded me of these things, “I speak to you continually. My nature is to communicate – though not always in words. I’ll fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day. I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones. I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you. I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence. You can find Me in each moment, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear. Ask My Spirit  to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing. I rejoice each time you discover My presence. Practice looking and listening for Me during quiet intervals. Gradually, you will find Me in more and more of your moments. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.” I’m going to encourage you guys to truly look for God’s love in everyday this week. Cause we both know He’s there! Know that God loves you on SO many levels. He loves you enough to send small things your way to brighten your spirit. He loves you enough to go ahead of you and prepare the things you need to get by. Ultimately God loves you enough to never abandon you. So now you need to be doing the same to Him. Seeking the Lord all through out your day. Your relationship is not one way – any one way relationship will crash and burn. So that’s why you have to continually work at it and not get discouraged when it does start to slump. You got this. But more importantly, God’s got you.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

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