Friday, December 15, 2006

A Perfect Pearl

Hey Guys! I read this wonderful devotion this morning and was so very touched by it! I hope it blesses you too!"

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

"Knowing God and having Him reside within you is a treasure of infinite value to that of a perfect pearl. The collector would readily sell everything he had in order to possess this one matchless pearl. Your relationship with God places an immeasurable value on your life. The treasures of God's wisdom and knowledge are available to you through Christ. His love now fills you. His incomprehensible peace surrounds your heart and mind. When Jesus dwells in your life, everything available to Christ dwells within you.

Paul was comparing our lives with the clay pots commonly used in his day. The contents of earthen vessels, not the containers themselves, were of great value. The jars would become chipped and broken and would deteriorate over time, but nobody thought of the jar-they were interested in its contents. Paul noted that our great possession is that which God has placed within us. When people focus on us they see a frail, imperfect, and deteriorating vessel. Nothing that comes from our flesh is worthy of praise. Our bodies are aging and losing strength. Only as we allow God to fill us and renew our inner self will people see a treasure of immeasurable worth.

Don't focus on outward appearances and physical strength, for these deteriorate. Rather, allow the Holy Spirit to convince you of the infinite treasure that is within you because of God's presence."

--Devotion taken from, Experiencing God, written by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Embracing Your Field of Singleness

I would like you to be free from concern. For an unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.
1 Corinthians 7:32a, 34

Personally, I am going through a season of struggle. During this time, I had a dream. A dream that in reality opened my eyes to what I had been denying myself of doing.

In my dream, I saw myself standing in front of a young man who was asking me to dance. Our surroundings seemed unfamiliar. The only thing that separated me from grasping his hand was that I was tightly holding onto a basket filled with many different unusual items, things that I can’t seem to remember. Consequently, I was not at the place to allow him to lead me. I had to make a decision. Let go of my basket...or hold onto it. Ultimately, I made the choice to let go and cling to my dance partner.

After I awoke, I wasn’t completely sure of its meaning. It was during one of my quiet times with the Lord that He revealed its meaning to me. I was flipping through the Psalms trying to find one to read when my eyes fell on this sentence: “Their hands were set free from the basket.” This is what I read that morning...I was so amazed at the significance of my dream!

The Lord says,
“I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Marimba. Hear, O my people, and I will warn you-if you would but listen to me, O Israel! You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

I was bewildered! The Lord was telling me that He wanted to dance with me. But my problem was that I had an idol in my life--a basket I was tightly holding onto. It was at that moment that I chose to let go of my “foreign god” that I was able to allow the Lord to lead me and take me places where I never dreamed of going.

Thus, I’m now in the process of releasing myself from the tight grip of my basket and making the choice to cling solely to Christ. For me, marriage was my idol. Now I’m coming to realize the blessing of embracing my singleness. I’m learning what it means to marry contentment. Now I know that He has me in this “field” (season of my life) for a reason.

When I think of the “fields” God has each of us in, I think of David. Where did David go after he was anointed King of Israel by Samuel the Prophet? He went back into his field. He chose to remain where God wanted him until the time was right to receive the promise God had whispered to Him.

Girls, the same with us, our focus should not be on the promise of marriage, but ultimately on embracing the field, the mission, the call God has for each of us at present. We are being issued to go out and make a difference! We truly need to learn to find true satisfaction and fulfillment in Christ alone. Girls that is when God will be able to move us from a field to a throne, all in His perfect timing...

Dancing with Jesus

The lights slowly dim as the orchestra begins to compose its soft, peaceful melodies. The young couple stands facing each other. The man extends his welcoming hand, the woman graciously takes hold of it. Step by step, he leads. She follows. He leads. She follows.

In life it is the same way. Each of our relationships with Christ can be compared to a dance. The man leads, and the woman in response, follows. We, as the Bride of Christ, must in the same way surrender our impulse to take charge. Each of us must learn to submit, surrender, and die to the urge to control.

An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. 1 Corinthians 7:34b

For several weeks I have felt very distracted; so distracted that my aim and desires have been turned to other things instead of being solely placed on Christ alone. I have wanted to take charge of the situation.

I have to admit, that lately I have felt like I have been walking through a valley, partly because circumstances have not turned out the way I would have guessed. My mind is constantly wondering. My heart continuously asks questions. My soul yearning to know why I have to walk through this particular “valley of the shadow.” But I am realizing that it is during this time, more now than ever, that I have felt His rod and staff comforting me (Psalm 23). Even when I still see that there is only one set of footprints in the sand, I know that it is because He is still carrying me.

My dance with Jesus is taking place in a valley. He is teaching me what it means to truly trust Him--what it means to have hope.

Sons and Daughters of the True High King, He beckons you. Will you draw near? Will you take His hand and choose to let go of everything that is keeping you from true abandonment? Are you willing to sever every enslaving bond that is dragging you away from Him? Are you prepared to fight for intimate fellowship with your Maker? Are you ready to surrender every area of your life to His leading?

Close your eyes... and prepare yourself for a dance that will carry you across barren wastelands, through valleys, and over grueling mountaintops. This dance requires a trust that never lets goes, a faith that chooses to believe, and a heart that continually surrenders.

Dear Child, seize His hand. Follow the rhythm of His steps. Allow His voice to blur out all the other enticing distractions that constantly seem to scream out your name. Allow His face to cloud anything that may try to lure you. Fix your eyes on His.

A song that has blessed me immensely during this hard time has been Marc Schulz’s song, He Will Carry Me.

I call, You hear me
I've lost it all
And it's more then I can bear
I feel so empty

You're strong, I'm weary
I'm holding on
But I feel like giving in
But still You're with me

And even though I'm walking
Through the valley of the shadow
I will hold tight to the hand of Him

Who's love will comfort me
And when my hope is gone
And I've been wounded in the battle
He is all the strength that I will ever need
He will carry me

I know I'm broken
But You alone
Can mend this heart of mine
Your always with me

And even though I feel so lonely
Like I have never been before
You never said it would be easy
But You said You'd see me through the storm

Guys and girls, dance with Jesus. Give into utter abandonment. A place of complete surrender. A journey with Christ by your side. And know that He will get you through.

What about you? Where are you dancing with Jesus right now? Is the Lord leading you through a barren wasteland, a valley, or up a mountainside? Are you choosing to allow your circumstances to make you more like Christ? What life lessons is Jesus teaching you at present?