With Your Permission by Kenika

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I have this image in my head of a loving Father reaching out to us. With His outstretched hand He is bidding us to come. He is showering us with grace and love all with the intentions to draw us closer to Him. It’s so easy to make our relationship with God a ritual or a routine. But when we stop and think about how much He loves us, and how much He wants us, it’s a notion that is truly all consuming. There He stands, knocking and waiting. He’s such a patient and wonderful lover, father and friend. “He’s leaning in my direction” one songwriter said, and His only agenda is to bring us hope and a future. All He wants for us is the best and the end or conclusion that we come to is an expected one.

With all of that to consider, I wonder why everyone doesn’t embrace this monumental love? Though this kind of love is free and available, it will not be forced upon us. If we choose to completely ignore Him, He is such a gentleman that He will not overtake or overpower us in response. This measure of love requires a response. Reciprocity is the name of the game. He can love and love and love and love, but if we are not willing to receive that love, it makes what is available to us null and void.

We, the Church, are referred to as the “Bride of Christ”, so naturally I think of marriage to further illustrate what I’m talking about. Traditionally a groom-to-be will petition his potential father in law for the father’s daughter’s hand in marriage. Without the father’s blessing, there will be no wedding, or marriage, but with his blessing, all plans can proceed. The couple could be crazy in love, love is present and ready, but without permission to move forward, it has no standing. God’s love is present and ready but without our permission to move forward, it has no standing in our lives.

I want you to get the image in your head of a loving Father, calling you closer to Him. Calling you to higher heights and deeper depths in Him. Summoning you to where He is and the plans He has for your life, versus the ones you’ve made for yourself. There He is with every problem solved, every crooked place straightened, and every painful place healed. He’s waiting and watching to see if you will let Him come to you as He has made Himself open for you to come to Him. He patiently stands at the doors of your heart and mind, desiring to be near you and express His grand love for you. Imagine the solutions you’ve been seeking, the direction you’ve been desiring, the plans you’ve been inquiring of, and now know you are the one with the power to say, “With my permission, Lord come.”

 

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Purifying Our Hearts by Bombi

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“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”~Psalm 51:10 (KJV)

Psalm 51 is a prayer that came out of a time that King David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then murdered her husband Uriah. The prophet Nathan came to confront David. David’s heart had become contaminated and this contamination made a path for him to choose to sin and sin deeply. His sin created pain and death, ultimately the death of their firstborn son.

Has your heart become contaminated? You might be saying, “Well I haven’t committed adultery, and I sure haven’t killed anyone, I’m good.” Are you withholding love from God, your friends and family? If so, your heart could be contaminated. Maybe you’ve been confronted by the Nathans in your life, your friends and family have noticed a difference in you and can tell that you’re just not the same. Or maybe you’ve been able to hide it up until now and feel like not much damage has been done.

This is what God says about our hearts in Jeremiah 17:9-10 (MSG) “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”

God loves us too much to leave us contaminated. He desires to cleanse us and purify our hearts. Besides, do you really think your heart is working at its optimal level if it’s full of junk? I’ve come to find that the condition of our heart is critical to our walk, talk, and influence on this world. Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” In order to see God in our midst, our heart must be pure.

So how does God purify us? First and foremost by Christ’s blood.1 John 1:7 tells us that the, “blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Revelation 1:5 tells us that Jesus Christ has, “washed us from our sins in his own blood.” The blood of Jesus, it doesn’t get any purer than that. This is the precious blood of the most spotless and perfect lamb and man that ever existed.

How else are we purified? By water, or God’s word. Ephesians 5:26-27 tells us, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

What is “it”? Well “It” is His church, it’s you and me. His own word sanctifies, cleanses, and preps us so that we can be presented as the bride of Christ, ready and holy. No spots, wrinkles, or blemishes. He wants us and He wants us pure so we can come to Him boldly. Hebrews 10:19 & 22-19 tells us, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus… 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

God is calling you unto Him won’t you go to Him? “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22

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Pure In Speech by Sonya

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Being pure in speech is a vital part of our faith and this area is definitely an area God is refining me in. I have four children and I am constantly praying for the right words to say to my children and to my husband as well. We can so easily follow our flesh and speak words of discouragement to one another without even thinking. We can tear a person apart and encourage that person sometimes in one breath; especially to the people we love the most. Our words have the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”(New International Version) Also James 3:8-10 states it well “But no one can tame the tongue, it is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters this is not right.”

What we speak shows how we live for Christ. Our tongue speaks what comes from our heart. Therefore we have to look at the conditions of our hearts and what we store in them.

HOW DO WE STORE UP GOOD THINGS IN OUR HEART TO MAINTAIN PURE SPEECH?

4 Ways:

  • Be in God’s Word
  • Be in Good Company
  • Be a Good Steward of your Mind
  • Be filled with the Holy Spirit and Pray Daily

 

Be in God’s Word…

The truth needs to be embedded in your heart. I am learning that the more I am in God’s word the more I want to speak the truth and speak like Him. Also, the words penetrate my heart and fill me with wisdom. Matthew 15:18 says, “The words you speak come from the heart, that’s what defiles you.” (New Living) Therefore, our hearts need to be made right before God before we can even bring life to someone else. Before we speak, our hearts need to be filled with His truth because we speak from the heart. The heart really matters because Mathew 12:34 explains, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.“ Bath yourself in His word and watch your tongue speak life and truth. God’s word shows us how important our words are. Believe in the word in order to receive it!

Be in Good Company…

Surround yourself with positive people. Positive people will lift you up and encourage you. We are to eat the fruit of life and be in good company because bad company corrupts good character” 1 Corinthians 15:33. (New International Version) I know for me when I am around a certain family member that talks negatively to everyone I start to talk like that after a day of being with them, it is just contagious. Speech is contagious and being careful whom you choose to spend majority of your time with is crucial to how you talk and act. But if we surround ourselves with people that encourage, love and speak uplifting words, then we will want to be like that in our speech. You desire to speak words of life when you hang out with people that are optimistic and uplifting.

Be a Good Steward of your Mind…

As ladies we need to be careful what we think about and read and look at because we so easily judge each other on our looks and appearances and then point out flaws. Even if we don’t say it to that person we speak it to our friends. That is so dangerous when our speech turns into gossip and as woman it is like chewing bubble gum, very easy and seems natural to do that. Be conscious of what you look at and read about and what you put into your mind because our words can be the result of that. Keep your mind pure with Godly thoughts and fill your heart with good things and then you will speak good words and have good thoughts. What helps me is listening to worship music. Also, removing myself from environments that could cause me to talk a certain way that may not be healthy!

Be filled with Holy Spirit and Pray Daily…

This area is crucial because being filled with the Holy Spirit can guard me from evil. Asking the Holy Spirit to be your voice and praying daily that God will use your words to edify HIM is a huge part. For me I have to put scripture up to keep me reminded that the Holy Sprit is directing my speech NOT me! As I focus on that, I am reminded to say words of thanksgiving and all that I am thankful for and I am able to turn my attitude around right then. You can’t have pure speech on your own; you need the help of the Holy Spirit filling you up with His love and good fruit. Filling our minds and hearts with the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom.

Words have power and we can easily forget how much of an impact they make. We can’t take our words back either. It is like a tube of toothpaste, once you squeeze it out you can’t get it back in. The same is with words, once you say them, you can take them back so be mindful and use wisdom with your words. Proverbs 2:12 explains, “Wisdom will save you from evil people from those whose speech is corrupt.”

Mathew 12: 35-37 states it best, “A good person produces good words from a good heart, and evil person produces evil words from an evil heart. And I tell you this that you must give an account on judgment day if every idle word you speak. The words you say now reflect your fate then, either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” So know that our words will be judged and how important it is to have pure speech, because you truly are a reflection of Christ. Our prayer should be that our lips and heart beat one with each other. I encourage you to be a light by the words you speak and watch what God can do!

 

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Preparing For Love by Trish

Preparing for Love…What I’ve learned in My Season of Waiting

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Recently I was asked to be a part of a panel discussion on the topic, “Preparing for Love.” As I thought about what to share, I jotted down some of the key lessons God has taught me in this season of waiting.

For those who don’t know me, I made a decision at the age of fifteen to not date anyone other than my husband and to trust God for His best for my life. Within the last year, at the age of 35, my heart was captured and I officially became a girl in a relationship, a woman in love. The journey leading to this step of courtship included a 2-year pursuit of my heart. While this journey is penned from my perspective, it’s still only 50% complete as this reMARCable (incorrect spelling totally intentional…smile) journey includes the heart of an amazing man who too has a story of his own that led him to me. I also want to make it known that I’m not against dating at all! This was just my story and the decision to not date was what I felt was God’s plan for my life.

I’m continuing to learn and to grow as I walk out this season of intentional courtship. While I’m not married and not even engaged, I can honestly say that there is no one I would rather share this season with and although love is always a risk, this particular man was and still is more than worth it.

 

Lessons Learned

  • God Does not Tease

God does not dangle a promise or a desire in front of us to see how high we’ll jump. The desires of our heart are to be covered in prayer and believed for in faith. If it has not happed yet, DO NOT GIVE UP. Trust God that His timing is perfect!

  • God Can be Trusted

God created you so He knows you better than you what is best for your life. Trust that your heart is His priority and DO NOT compare your journey to someone else’s. While there are principles to be applied found in God’s Word for preparation, there is no “formula” to making love appear. “Trust in the Lord with all of heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

  • Become a Wife as a Single

The Bible tells us, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing.” This tells me there are attributes I must obtain now before saying, “I do.” This does not mean fulfilling “wifely” duties in its entirety, but conditioning my thoughts and behaviors as a married woman would. Govern your walk, talk and interactions as though you’re a wife already. This applies to spiritual matters (praying for your husband) and practical matters (physical preparation). Remember Esther prepared herself as queen long before the crown was placed on her head.

  • Guard your heart, but learn how to let the guards down when it’s time

I was taught how to guard my heart but was never instructed on how to let my guards down appropriately when the time had come.

While I believe we should not let our guard down entirely until we are married, I do believe there is a healthy way to let someone in at the right time. You just have to wait for the person you deem worthy of the risk.

Suggestion of someone worthy to see and know your heart: 1 Corinthians 13. If you meet a man who lives this chapter, you’re in good company for someone who truly understands what love is.

  • Maximize Your Single Season

If you’re not yet in a relationship, be intentional with your time and maximize the season you’ve been given. It often frustrates me when people say, “single people have so much time.” That is not the case. We are all given the same amount of time, 24 hours per day. However, our time is more flexible. With that in mind, create a bucket list of what you’d like to achieve while you have more flexibility with your time and finances.

I have a dear friend who once told me that, “waiting is not wasting time when you’re waiting on God!” Ladies, continue to trust God and know that He is faithful and He longs to satisfy the desires of your heart. Let your waiting season be one of the most exciting times of your life as you see God unfold His plan for your life and give you the love worth waiting for!

 

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