Tuesday, March 27, 2012

sentence tuesday

Always remember that in Jesus you are not fighting for victory, 
 you are fighting from victory. 
-Tony Evans 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lyrical Friday - Take You Back

It was a last minute, spontaneous get together with a friend last night. We had talked about meeting up and sharing our "war story" of a certain area of our lives with each other. And so I shared with her the details of a season in my life when I could not face God. At least I felt as if I couldn't. I had disobeyed Him and disappointed Him. I was angry at myself and assumed that He was angry with me as well. To make a long story short, though I had pushed away the Lord with my actions, He took me back. He knew the bitterness that I harbored and gently pursued me. He saw the condition of my heart and gently mended me. What was left of me was a beat up, broken and useless soldier. The "war" had taken a great toll on me, and gently healed my wounds and restored me. He was hurt by the error of my ways, yet He took me back and loved me.
I can look back at my war story and say that God satisfies the cries of His people, He will surely satisfy the cry and need of your heart. I look back and can testify of a throne of endless grace that radiates what's true. In that battlefield I learned that He is the only place that can erase all my faults. And knowing all these things, I can stand and say, "You take me back, always. Even when my fight is over and even when the pain is coming through, you take me back." God will always take you back.
Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her. 

Hosea 2:14
Jeremy Camp, Jeremy Camp

The reason why I stand 
The answer lies in you 
You hung to make me strong 
Though my praise was few 
When I fall and bring your name down 

But I have found in you 
A heart that pleads forgiveness 
Replacing all these thoughts 
Of painful memories 
But I know 
That your response will always be 

I'll take you back always 
And even when your fight is over now 
Even when your fight is over now 
I'll take you back always 
And even when the pain is coming through 
Even when the pain is coming through 
I'll take you back 

You satisfy this cry 
Of what I'm looking for 
And I take all I can 
And lay it down 
Before the throne of endless grace, now 
That radiates what's true 

I'm in the only place 
That erases all these faults 
That have overtaken me 
But I know 
That your response will always be 

I can only speak 
With a grateful heart 
As I'm pierced by this gift 
Of your love 

I will always bring an offering 
I can never thank you enough 

[Chorus Two]
You'll take me back always 
And even when my fight is over now 
Even when my fight is over now 
You'll take me back always 
And even when my pain is coming through 
Even when my pain is coming through 
You'll take me back always 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

sentence tuesday

I want the beautiful fruit of the Spirit to radiate outward, even more than my flat ironed hair, polished nails and bronzed cheeks. 
-Tiffany Myers 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lyrical Friday - Reason to Sing

Life can be likened to Miami weather. You see, in Miami, you can enjoy a nice walk under the sun and a few minutes later find yourself running for cover from the sudden pouring rain. Where did this rain come from? This happened to me yesterday. My Sister and I had planned for a day at beach. Early risers, we set out with our lunch packed, books in hand and plenty of refreshments. We arrived, set out the blanket, sat down and took in the morning breeze (that's when I snapped the picture above). Just as we are about to get in the water, BAM!, it began to rain. What?! Why!? As if by the sound of a trumpet, people grabbed their belongings and left the beach. And so did we.
The irony of it all is that my sister and I were just talking about what to do when metaphorical storms hit. Are we to make "lemonade" when life gives us lemons? Are we to "dance in the rain" when in a storm? My sister's answer, "Dancing in a storm will get you struck by lightning or swept up by a tornado. Seek refuge instead." We both agreed that those quotes are garbage and the most effective solution is to take refuge. I am reminded of Psalm 9:9, "The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble." My encouragement for you today, to you who may be oppressed and overwhelmed, is to seek refuge in God. In Him you will find peace and calm in the midst of a storm. In Him, hope will arise. In Him, you will have a reason to sing. 
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. Proverbs 14:26
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. 2 Samuel 22:2-4
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Reason to Sing, All Sons and Daughters

When the pieces seem to shatter
To gather off the floor
All that seems to matter
Is that I don't feel you anymore
I don't feel you anymore
I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to learn that you are still holding
The whole world in your hands
I need a reason to sing
When I'm overcome by fear
And I hate everything I know
If this waiting last forever
I'm afraid I might let go
I'm afraid I might let go
There is victory
You sing it over me now
Your peace is the melody
You sing it over me

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that you are still holding
The whole world in your hands
That is a reason to sing

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

sentence tuesday

No matter how dark and hopeless a situation might seem,
never stop praying.
-Billy Graham

Monday, March 12, 2012

like a tree

Matheson Hammocks Park 
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Psalm 92:12-15
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3
Thus says the LordCursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LordFor he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the LordFor he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear[a] when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:5-10 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

to: ALL // from: Paul

{photo credit}
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:6-10

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lyrical Friday - 10,000 Reasons

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; shout joyfully before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it; let the rivers clap their hands. Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord. Psalm 98:1-8 
Happy Friday! 
What is a blessing?
Here are a few words that describe a blessing: approval, adoption, acceptance, espousal, support, backing, patronage, championship, backup, admiration, appreciation, reward, reinforcement, boon, good fortune, mercy, thanksgiving, grace, orison, petition, prayer,  benison. Are these not words that describe our relationship with the Lord? Has He not shown is approval of us? He has adopted us as sons and daughters. He has accepted us into His family, His works and Heaven. Espousal, reward, good fortune, mercy and grace are just at the surface of all the benefits He gives us. He is our patronage, backup, support, prayer and petition. We are made champions, victorious and more than conquers in Him. Are we not blessed? It is only right that we would bless Him and His holy name. 
At times, blessing His name comes easy and rolls off our lips. But there will be dark times, where we can not even mutter a word, much less bless the Lord. I know the feeling. I have experienced that it is only in blessing the Lord that our battle will be won. We may not see immediate deliverance to our present troubles nor may our gloom be lifted right away but hope, strength and joy will arise in the midst of craziness. So continue blessing the Lord. Bless the Lord in your home, in your car, with a friend, in your congregation and anywhere else you may be found. No matter how far off you may be from the Lord, praise Him there. If your heart has hardened and you can't find it in you to bless His name, reach out to someone to cry out to God for you and with you. The Lord has been good, it may be that a change of perspective is what you need. Bless the Lord as you count your blessings. 
10,000 Reasons, Matt Redman 

The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
47 It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name. Psalm 18:46-49

Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:6-7
Blessed be the Lord, for He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city! For I said in my haste, "I am cut off from before Your eyes”; nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You. Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:21-24
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3
By this I know that You are well pleased with me, because my enemy does not triumph over me. As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever. blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. Psalm 41:11-13
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Bless God in the congregations, the Lord, from the fountain of Israel. Psalm 68:19, 26
Blessed be the Lord forevermore! Amen and Amen. Psalm 89:52

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Psalm 96:1-6
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. Psalm 103:1-6
Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure. Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Psalm 103:20-22
Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. Psalm 104:1-4
Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord! Psalm 106:46-47
The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord! Psalm 115:16-17
Blessed be the LordWho has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken, and we have escaped. Psalm 124:6-7 
Behold, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the LordLift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. Psalm 134:1-2 
Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle— My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. Psalm 144:1-2

*Read and meditate on Psalm 104

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Single and waiting for Mr.Perfect

Does your singleness feel like a game of hide-and-seek? "Come out, come out, wherever you are" is becoming more of a command than a silly script from a children's game. Have you searched high and low, near and far with no luck? Are you tired of waiting and Mr.Perfect is nowhere to be found? Can I get a witness?!

Let's first look at the qualities of Mr.Perfect: He should already come with built-in features such as love, romance, intimacy, adventure, humor and desire. Other qualities that Mr.Perfect will possess are gentleness, kindness, friendliness, approachable, graceful yet warrior-like, honest, and faithful. Now I ask you, upon reading this amazing list of qualities, can Mr. Perfect truly exist all in one person? Or is it OK to settle our hearts with an almost Mr.Perfect? I'm here to tell you that Mr.Perfect does exist. 

It may just be that you are looking for Him in all the wrong places. 
If you want good pizza, you don't go to McDonalds.
If you want running shoes, you don't go to the local supermarket. 
If you want to watch a live baseball game, you go to the stadium.
If you want a beautiful dress, you go to a boutique. 
If you want a hair cut, you go to a beauty salon. 
You catch my drift. 

If Mr.Perfect is who you are searching for, stop looking at the world and fix your eyes upon Jesus. Take notice, if I was to describe Him, you would jump on the wagon: "Single male, 33 years old, Christian, loves God, man of prayer, teacher of the Word, friendly, family oriented, loves children, loves adventure, traveling, carpenter, doctor, cook, fisherman, and all around good guy, self sacrificing and saving himself for his bride." Granted, the list describing Jesus is massive but based on these, any single woman in a right state of mind would yell out, "Hubba! Hubba! Bring it on." 

Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
For you will forget the shame of your youth,
And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
For the Lord has called you
Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
Says your God.
Isaiah 54:4-5

My beloved sisters, Mr.Perfect is not in hiding, nor is He too high or too low from your reach, nor too far but He is near. He is a thought away and a prayer away. He has known you before you were even conceived or even known in your mother's womb. He knew you by name. He knew what color hair you would have, how far apart your eyes would be, how long (or short) your legs were to be and even how fast your heart would beat. He knew that you would laugh, that you would also cry. He knew that you would long for love and intimacy. But He also knew that you would be a sinner and because you are not perfect as He is, a right relationship would be wrong and impossible. And so He did what no man would ever do and what no man could ever do, what only a perfect man should do; He took on your sin, your debt, and your punishment and removed it from you as far as the east is from the west. And because He is God, He has made you new. Because of His righteousness, you can now enter into relationship with Him. Mr.Perfect, the Gentlemen of all gentlemen, has initiated a pursuance of your heart... How will you respond?

My challenge to you, date Mr.Perfect! Yes, it is possible to do. Prayer is how we talk to Him, and His Word is how He speaks to us. He has proved His great love to us on the cross and daily as He loads us with benefits and blessings. We prove our love to Him through obedience, worship and serving others. The amazing thing is that we don't have to hide a good thing when we find it, and our relationship with Jesus is a good thing that is to be shared. And like any relationship, not everyone will approve but the best way to prove them wrong is by building a strong relationship that makes you a better person at the same time. So let's get working! You may be single in status, but I'll tell you what, betrothed in heart to the most amazing Mr.Perfect. And one day, you will See Him face to face and hear Him say: You are Mine and I am yours.

Off on a date with Mr.Perfect,
The Single Lily

Follow @whereismyboaz on Twitter

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm Still Single

Being single can be likened to a restaurant visit. You are hungry, and when you arrive, there is a waiting list. You wait out your turn; the host/hostess takes you to your table. They lead you to believe that your waiter/waitress will be right with you. Not fully understanding just how hungry you are; they leave you alone, with a menu of deliciousness, to wait even longer. The waiter/waitress finally arrives and asks you what you would like to drink. That's when you say, "I'm ready to order." They give you that look of, "Buddy, hold your horses! One thing at a time." Despite their efforts to only serve you a beverage, you place your order. What a surprise! You have to wait and wait some more. By now your hunger pain is more like an 8.0 earthquake in your belly. Your mouth waters at the thought of food. You look unto every plate that passes you and think to yourself, "Could that be my food?" Due to your level of hunger and impatience, you somehow start to believe that yes, every plate coming out of the kitchen is yours. What a let down when they pass you by. You look around and realize that everyone else has their food. Where is your food? Will it ever come? That all changes at the sighting of your favorite person (your waiter/waitress) coming out of the kitchen, walking straight to you, plate in hand [insert slow motion, dimmed lights and Barry White singing 'You Sexy Thing']. Oh Yeah, we do believe in miracles! Your food has arrived... I'll leave you two alone. 

Singleness is not the present day plague or famine; you will survive this! The cliche thing to say would be, "Enjoy your singleness." Who hasn't heard that one?! To this I say, how can anyone enjoy hunger? How can a place of loneliness and emptiness be of any good? My friends, I believe the game-changer for us is found in a new perspective. 

I once heard a story that goes a little like this: There were two young brothers. One was a pessimist while the other was a bubbly optimist. The boys' Father decided that it was his job to teach each boy a lesson: to the pessimist that life has glory moments and to the optimist that life is not always perfect. The next day when the boys arrived home from school, they found presents in each of their rooms. The pessimistic brother found a new TV in his room along with a brand new Xbox 360 with the latest games. The Dad was thrilled and eagerly awaiting a reaction from his son. To the Father's surprise, his pessimistic son looked down and moped around the room. He said to him, "Son, look at the new things I bought you. Isn't life great?" The son replied, "It's nice, but all these models will soon be old models and the games will not be the latest." The Father was a bit disappointed. He then goes to the room of the optimistic son. He had placed a rather large box in the middle of his room, about 5 feet tall and filled almost to the top with manure. To his surprise, he found his son in the box scooping the manure. He asked, "What are you doing?" The son replied, "With all this manure, there must be a pony in this box." (Thank you Therese Gomez for this story)

It is all about perspective. Rather than accepting your singleness as a plague, famine, disease, curse, or what not, accept it for what it is: a gift from God. Yes, it is a gift. Every season given to us is a gift from God. Singleness is a gift. Marriage is a gift. Widowhood is a gift. And what does the Bible say about gifts? James 1:17 puts it best, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." Our singleness is both good and perfect. Our singleness comes from the Father. And in our good and perfect Father there is no deceitfulness. Romans 12:2 reminds us that God's will is good, acceptable, and perfect. If, like myself, you find yourself single, you can stand on the truth that God's will is good, it is acceptable, and it is perfect. I pray you understand this. Singleness is acceptable. 

My challenge to you is this: pray for a new perspective. As you accept this good and perfect gift, search God's word for scriptures that will feed your hungry-single heart. Yes, I am still comparing singleness to hunger. Matthew 15:32 paints a picture of how Jesus cares for us in the single community along with oh, you know, the entire world, "Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way." I hope you get that. He 1) Has compassion for you 2) He has taken notice of your walk 3) He will feed you. May this be of encouragement to you as you wait. Accept God's gift joyfully for God cares for you, He has taken notice of what you lack and He will respond. Take courage. 

Off to get my breakfast on, 
The Single Lily 

Follow @whereismyboaz on Twitter 

follow me