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Thanksgiving

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Enter into his gates with thanksgiving
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Psalm 100:4

Women: You are Gate-keepers

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Women: You are Gate-keepers

Part I
Women, you are the gate-keepers. You keep the gates to the most unique resource in the world – you. You keep the gate to the most blessed place in the world – home. God has commissioned you as the daughters and mothers of the world to be absolutely diligent about yourself and the happenings around you. Your presence sets the stage for all of life.

You have the unique power to influence the world as only women can. Do not fear to share your giftings in appropriate ways to appropriate persons. Do not fear to speak and live with the authority of your God. You matter as only you can; as a unique creation of your Heavenly Father.

Ladies, you are not wall flowers. You are beautiful, but remember that beauty is vain. Do not sit around and wait for some prince charming on a white horse to…. You know the story.

This is not the perfect world of I kissed dating good bye. This is the real world of men and women and sin and sadness, joy and laughter. In this world you are very important. You keep the gates. With courage and candor, with joy and gladness, you have the privilege and responsibility to keep the gates of life. Guard yourself first – your body, soul, and spirit.

You (in this culture) make the final decision about dating and marriage. If you say, ‘no’, the answer is no! Be wise. Be sensitive. Be discerning. Choose God and the best response in every situation.

Give us as men opportunities to prove ourselves. We should earn the privilege of your company. We should be totally trustworthy. We should consider it an honor to have the blessing of your presence for a discussion or for dating. Keep the bar high.

Get to know us before you dismiss us. So many young men are being turned down when they wish to date. Why is that? Are you able to make decisions about us before you really know us? At least take time to know who we are and what we are about.

At the same time, do not give attention to men who do not display Godly behaviors. Naughty boys can be fun but they don’t typically make good husbands. Don’t reinforce our wrong behaviors. Ignore us when we are foolish. Don’t give us the attention we crave if we are doing bad things. Just so you know, you have every right to expect men to be honorable gentlemen. You have every right to expect our best attitudes and behaviors at all times. That is the gate that you keep.

Part II
God did design for us to be together. It is together that we are the image of God. The masculine and the feminine together complete God’s plan for His creation. Whether married or not, we all need the perspectives that are native in both genders.

As men, sometimes we need some refinement – it is OK for you to address that. Don’t take charge. Don’t be a controller. Don’t be boss. Don’t be Jezebel. Don’t be disrespectful. Make sensible suggestions. Most men will listen. If they don’t, you know what to do.

Above all, be Godly. Godliness is the most powerful gate of all. Pattern your lives after the Godly women of the Bible and history. Be one of those women today. You may be a wife and if God wills, a mother. You will raise sons – another generation of Godly men to be accepted by another generation of Godly women to continue the work of God’s Kingdom here on earth until He comes. There is no more honorable task on earth.

You are the keeper of the home. You set the tone for the home. Your joy is the contagion that fills the home with happiness. Your contempt is the contamination that floods the home with sadness. Keep it joyful. Keep your heart close to the Master and your gratitude will bless all who enter your doors.

Women: You are Gate-keepers – Part III
Since you keep the gate, your submission must be voluntary. God has given you the power. Submission is relinquishing that power to God. That does not mean passivity. That does not mean submission to authority that is not Godly. That is also a gate that you keep. Wisdom is the word. Wisdom sourced in God who gives liberally to all those who ask.

If you are single, do not despair. Singleness is a blessing – Discern carefully about marriage – is it what God has for you or not? God needs women to be wives and mothers. He also needs women who can put all of their energies into His Kingdom work.
Are you married, seek not to be unmarried. Are you unmarried, seek not to be married. If God presents you with the opportunity, weigh it carefully and choose God’s best for you.

Marriage is not the time for you to capitulate to a husband. Marriage is the time to be joined in a wonderful, mutual life of caring creativity. It is a time to be fulfilled as a wife and mother, aunt and grandmother.

You are the Daughters of Promise. You are also the mothers of promise. You are Eve. You are Sarah. Every man is born of a woman. Your caring nurture is our first taste of life. Your ribs were our home. Your body was our nourishment. Your heartbeat was our song. Your love was our security. Love us and then release us. We now need to seek the “rib” God has chosen for us.

Part IV

We grew up as your little boys but, we are destined to be great men of God. Like Hannah with Samuel, turn us over to Godly men to grow us into God’s servants. That is where we get the dynamism of God’s strength to be men. When mothers hold on to us too long, we get confused. Leave us go. We will grow up. It will tear at your heart but, we will come back to honor you. I promise.

You are absolutely irreplaceable. God has made you for His purpose and His glory. As men, we are honored to be the recipients/observers of that glory. You have no equal. You have no challengers. You have no rivals. We are dazzled and mesmerized by your grace and beauty. We submit to the beauty of a part of God’s heart that He has not placed into us.

As men, we must be ever worthy of your notice. We struggle to understand you. In many ways, we never will. God has put into your heart, parts of His heart that we do not have. You will always be an enigma, a puzzle to us. You will always be a challenge to us. You will always be a fascination to us. That is OK. Real men love that about you.

Require integrity of the men in your life. Many will rise to the challenge. A friend told me that he did not know how to be a man. His girlfriend told and showed him. He is a great husband and wonderful father with a family of obedient children. You say, it should not be that way. I understand. I agree. But what are we going to do? Turn down all these men and then what?

The current dating/courting scene is confusing. For about two generations now, Dads have done well in raising their daughters as princesses. There is a problem. For every princess raised, we need a Dad to raise a prince. Somehow we missed that step in the process.

What to do? Men can learn. We can be slow but we can learn and we need your help. Enjoy the challenge. This is not your fault. Understood. But we need to work from where we are and here is where we are.

Study the Godly women of the Bible- The prayerfulness of Hannah. The faithfulness of Ruth. The courage Of Esther. The devotion of Mary. The vision of Deborah. The industry of Dorcas. The faith of Lois and Eunice. The determination of the “great” woman of II Kings 4 and the amazing woman of Proverbs 31.

See how God used these gate-keepers in unbelievable ways to bless their world. These women had dignity and courage. God made these women strong. He also gave them a song. Their songs told God’s story in their lives. Their songs were God in their lives. Do not allow their bigger-than-life experiences to discourage you. Just be faithful in the place God has called you to be. Use His strength. Sing His song.

If you marry, marry a broken man. You will never be sorry. As men, we are dangerous when we are not broken. We are wonderful after God has broken us. It is not your job to break us. But, it is also not necessary for you to allow us to misuse you. You are not a door mat. You are not a tool. You are not a toy. You are allowed to say no when ‘no’ is called for. Say no gently and firmly. Do not be our mothers. You are our wives, not our mothers. Love, claim and defend that vocation with all of your heart.

If your marriage is struggling and your husband does not heed your appeal, get help. Seek help until you find the needed help for you, your husband and your family. You say, it should not be that way. Understood. But if it is, then be the keeper of the gate of your family. It is not wrong to do that.

You are the bride and men need to be the bride groom like Jesus is. Jesus earned the right to be the bridegroom by suffering and being willing to suffer for His bride. So must men be willing to be like Him.

In ancient Israel the daughters were busy, working with men to build the walls. And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs. Nehemiah 3:12

Together we are the image of God. You need us and we need you. You can count on us to join you as you join us and together we are the keepers of the gates.

The Song of Hiawatha

“As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto the man is woman;
Though she bends him, she obeys him,
Though she draws him, yet she follows;
Useless each without the other!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Holy Spirit – Faith or Experience?

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Holy Spirit – Faith or Experience?

It is because of our trusting in experience that we see the steadfast impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief.

Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible triumphant belief.
Oswald Chambers

We love experience. Experience is wonderful. We are impressed with experience. It moves us. Sometimes too much.

Faith is steadfast whether we have the experiences we want or not. Faith will produce experience that God has for us. God’s Holy Spirit will give us the experiences we need as gifts from God. Faith is steadfast in the absence of experience

John Baptist longed for the experience of freedom and life. Abraham longed for observable experience. We are not different but, faith is called for. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Trust God no matter the experience you may be going through.

Are you trusting in experience or is your life an ‘absolute hymn of praise’ to the Father? That hymn is a song of trust no matter the circumstance or experience.

Trust His Holy Spirit. That is His call on your life today.

If We’re Honest

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If We’re Honest

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide

I’m a mess and so are you
We’ve built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do

Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re honest

Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not
Living life afraid of getting caught

There is freedom found when we lay our secrets down at the cross, at the cross
So bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
If we’re honest

Francesca Battistelli

Revival or Persecution?

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Revival or Persecution?

Either we reset the clock with revival

or

God will reset the clock with persecution.

Teaching and Change

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Teaching and Change

In the revival under Jehoshaphat:

Also in the third year of his reign he sent his leaders, Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.
8 And with them he sent Levites: Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah-the Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, the priests.
9 So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the LORD with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.
10 And the fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.
II Chronicles 17:7-10

In the life of Jesus:

And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.
Mark 6:34

Teaching is a Spiritual gift:

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,
and some pastors and teachers
Ephesians 4:11

Teaching is God’s way to change lives and build His Kingdom.

Fighting for the Heart XI. Components of Healing

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Fighting for the Heart XI. Components of Healing

Not all people need to be dealt with the same way – I Thessalonians 5:14-15
Now we exhort you, brethren:

Warn those who are unruly,
Comfort the fainthearted,
Support the weak,
Be patient with all.
See that: None of you repays evil for evil, but always
Seek to do good to one another and to all.

Use discernment in working with people. People are not a one size fits all situation. Each person is unique and each has unique problems and gifts.

God’s Word is clear that we have different responsibilities to different people; just as Jesus did.

This passage is especially explicit that we are not to allow people to hurt each other. No one should repay evil for evil – no getting even! So much more we should not allow anyone to repay evil for good. False accusations do that. Encourage all to do good to each other. Overcome evil with good!