Same Path; Different Destinations

During my daily 40-minute commute to work, I have quite a bit of time in the car to think, pray, and even preach (to myself).  The interstate I take branches into 5 different lanes and while I was driving along the other day, I had the most beautiful thought: all of these cars are traveling in the same direction and though we may be going to the same city, we all have different destinations within that city.  There were cars all around me and regardless of speed we had one thing in common: we were all moving forward in the same direction.  Our final destinations didn’t matter at that time because during that brief snapshot of our journeys we were all in the process of getting there.

 

Leave that Fruit on the Tree

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” — Genesis 3: 1-12, (NIV)

In Genesis 3,  the serpent challenged Eve with a question that led her to doubt God and what He had commanded about not eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She knew that she was not supposed to eat from it but she started reasoning and justified her decision to violate God’s command.  Her reasoning did not change the fact that eating the forbidden fruit was sin and introduced death into the world.  Fact will always be fact despite human reasoning.

 

The Comparison Game

I’m a Christian and I often struggle with what I call the comparison game.  Daily,  I have to shut down lying thoughts that try to tell me stupid stuff like:
‘you probably missed God because you are over 30 and single’

‘God is holding out on you; you’re missing something good’

‘you are wasting time waiting, you need to put yourself out there and make it happen on your own’

‘your friends are all married with children and you’re not; there’s something wrong with you’

‘did you really hear God, is He even with you?

The enemy is out to destroy my relationship with God, he wants me to doubt the Lord’s authority,  love, and concern for me and every detail about my life.  When things don’t arrive on my timetable, I can’t give into discouragement because what I thought was something good didn’t work out the way I had imagined or hoped.  More often than not, whether it was a relationship, a job, or an opportunity that didn’t work out, I can trust and believe that it wasn’t God’s best for me.  Rest assured, the Lord will always come through with the upgrade.

I’ve settled on this– if the Lord thought so much about me that He didn’t think twice about giving me Jesus- His one and only perfect Son to secure my eternal life, how much more willing is He to give me good things that would enrich my earthly life?

 

Unpack Your Bags Now Instead of Later

I realize that God has graced me in my single life to work out a lot of things before I get married. He’s disciplining me to be a godly wife not just in the spiritual things, but in the practical things because honestly, if I can’t manage my own laundry by keeping my hamper empty, why would He add my husband’s and children’s clothes to it?

Seriously, there are a lot of things that I want to overcome; whether it’s being too emotional at times, overly analytical, or healing from past hurtful events.  These and other issues are areas the Lord is growing, pruning, and maturing me through because frankly, I don’t want to expose my husband or my children to a bunch of emotional baggage.

There’s so much more on the table than we realize.  God loves us–there’s a purpose for every season and every challenge that you and I encounter.  We can’t waste time looking at other people around us and measure our life by what they present on the surface.  Don’t assume that everyone who is married has “arrived” and overcome everything that you are trying to master and overcome as a single person. Prayerfully, they are continuing to grow in their relationship with their spouse by the Lord’s leading.  Let God measure your progress and set your standards.  Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.

 

Submit to The Lord

As a single woman with a desire to marry God’s best one day, the temptation to believe that I’m not where I need to be will always be there.  Unless I deny these thoughts access into my mind, I will constantly second-guess and doubt God, His provision, and His plan for how He wants me to live the life He’s given me.  That doubt will lead me away from His guidance and further into my own pursuit of what I think is right.  That’s a dangerous place to be.  I can’t lead or submit to myself but with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can submit to the Lord and He’ll lead me to where I need to be.

When you are waiting on and serving God, you don’t have to worry about time.  Trust the Lord, He made eternity and is not limited by measurable time on a calendar. Don’t compare yourself to others around you, just keep moving forward to your final destination.

~KP

 

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It’s Christmas

Merry Christmas good people! This is my favorite time of year! Christmas time is the best time, hands down. This time last year, I was preparing to take the GRE and finishing up my application for my internship (which I am ace-ing  btw, praise the Lord!).  Also, I was terribly sick and let me tell you, taking a computer-based standardized test with a head cold is no bowl of grapes.

Anyway, enough about that; let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this post.  Get ready to smile.

This Year and Beyond…

I can say with confident faith that I am working out the plan that the Lord has given to me.  Honestly, it feels great to say that. I am moving forward in the process of perfection and that’s a good thing.  Please don’t misunderstand– I don’t intend to sound arrogant or prideful, but you need to know that your words either carry faith or fear.  You must learn to confidently speak faith statements with boldness regardless of your current perception of yourself, your ability (or lack thereof), or past mistakes.  You have to speak your destination before you get there.  The choice is yours.  Furthermore, learn how to celebrate yourself.  When others around you (especially those who you consider closest to you) refuse to give you that well-deserved pat on the back; give it to yourself.  Or, better yet, believe the Lord to surround you with people who will give you that pat on the back when you need it.  Trust and believe, He will do just that; He’s done it for me.

I suppose it’s the sense of completion that accompanies the end of the year which causes us to take an inventory of ourselves.  To do so is perfectly fine and good; however, don’t paint yourself into the proverbial corner with a brush dipped in comparison.  As long as your rubric of success and value is drafted according to your perception of those around you, you will always be disappointed, sad, and even discouraged.

Believe it or not, we all decide what we want others to see.  I don’t know anyone that excitedly runs to the phone to call 50 people to yak about their latest epic failure nor can I think of anyone who chooses to fill their twitter feed or Facebook profile with tweets and posts about their deepest fears and shortcomings.  We each have our own brag box filled with successes and triumphs.  Usually, that is what we willingly share with others.  I can almost guarantee you that for every 10 brag boxes on the living room coffee table, there is at least one old, busted, dilapidated, shoebox shoved in the back of a closet somewhere filled with our past heartaches and disappointments and most of the time, we avoid showcasing it when company stops by.

Moving Forward

With all of that being said, this Christmas, let us take time to enjoy this holiday for what it really is; a celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Take time to refocus and clear your vision for the budding new year.  Start some new traditions! Whether you are by yourself or with family, remember you are never alone.

Get excited about your future, it looks awesome! I love you all; Merry Christmas!

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On the Matter of a Mate

Excellent excerpt from the book, Ministering to Your Family (Chapter 1, © 1986), by Kenneth E. Hagin and Kenneth Hagin Jr. Reprinted by permission of Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Inc.


On the Matter of a Mate

In what areas can you exercise faith? What can you believe for?

First, you can believe for everything the Word of God promises you or provides for you. But you can’t believe beyond the Word. Why not? Because “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Faith is based on what God’s Word says, and you cannot believe beyond your knowledge of God’s Word. If people try to do this, they will get in trouble.

For example, years ago I met a denominational pastor who received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues and was kicked out of his denomination.

With no church to pastor, he had gone into business for himself in a large city, and he started attending the largest Full Gospel church in that city. This man was unmarried and was probably between 35 and 40.

He told me that a beautiful woman sang in the church choir, and because “you can have what you say” and “whatever you desire, just pray and believe you receive,” he was going to pray and believe he was going to get her for a wife.

However, I can’t find where the Bible says, “I promise John that he can have Mary for a wife.” Mary may not want to be his wife—and John may be just as well off without her anyway!

So I asked the man, “Have you ever talked to this woman? Have you ever had a date with her?”

“No,” he replied.

Sitting out there in the congregation while the choir sang on Sunday mornings, this man had seen the woman, was attracted to her, and thought because “you can have what you say,” he could just say they would be married and it would come to pass.

But under what conditions will it come to pass?

“Well, if I believe it strongly enough,” some will argue.

No, faith must be based on God’s Word. As we have seen, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. And the Word of God says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).

“Whoso findeth a wife” implies that you have a part to play, all right, but you must be open to the Lord’s direction, and you must realize that you cannot go against another person’s free will.

The Lord will lead and guide you. You have a right to claim His guidance because He has promised to guide you. But just to pick somebody out and say, “I’m going to believe God and she’s going to be my wife,” won’t work.

Another’s Will Is Involved

The woman you want to marry may not want to be your wife. That would work the other way around for women: The man you want to marry may not want be your husband.

Friends, you’re not going to be able to override another person’s will in the matter, so you may as well settle that once and for all.

God Himself does not exercise authority over human spirits. If He did, He’d make everybody in the world get saved today, and then we could enter into the Millennium.

We only have authority over evil spirits; not over human spirits. God has granted mankind free will to choose for themselves.

In the first meeting I held after leaving my last pastorate, an unmarried woman in her thirties asked me, “Brother Hagin, do I have the right to believe for a husband?”

“I believe you do,” I replied, “because the Bible says, ‘Whoso findeth a WIFE findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord’—and it would be a poor rule that wouldn’t work both ways.”

Will faith work here?

I told the young woman, “You can’t just pick out somebody and say, ‘That one’s mine.’ But you can ask God to lead you. You can claim a mate by faith and let God work out the details because you believe Him.”

Standing in Faith

For many months, it didn’t look like things were going to work for this young woman: No young man came into her life. Every time I saw her, I encouraged her to stand in faith. She would say, “I’m standing in faith. It’s going to work. I know it is!” She had certain ideals in mind. She said, “I’m not a minister myself, but I have been in the work of the Lord for many years, and I want to marry a minister.”

In the process of time, I saw her, and she had married a fine man—a minister. Her faith had worked.

I also remember two beautiful young women who attended a revival meeting I once conducted in Oklahoma. They had just graduated from high school with the highest grades in their class. Both were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit in my meeting. Some months later, when I returned to that church for another meeting, the Lord led me to minister a word of wisdom to one of the girls.

Afterwards, the pastor said, “Brother Hagin, I’m so glad you did that. You didn’t know this, I’m sure, but that young woman is engaged to be married, and we’re concerned about it. The young man has attended church here, but I’ll just be honest with you—I’m sure he pretended he got saved so he could marry her.”

Something Better

I hadn’t known these details the night the Lord had me minister to the young woman. She was sitting on the front row that night. I asked the congregation to sing because I didn’t want everyone to hear what I told her. I said to her, “The Lord told me to tell you this: ‘I’ve got something better for you. Don’t marry right now. I’ve got something better for you.’”

Two years later I was out in California in a campmeeting when a fine-looking young couple came up to me. The woman said, “Brother Hagin, do you remember me?”

“No,” I said, “but your face looks familiar.”

She told me her name, but I still couldn’t remember who she was.

“Well,” she said, “you’ll remember this: You called me up while the congregation was singing and you told me the Lord said not to marry then because He had something better for me.”

“Oh,” I said. “I remember that.”

“Well,” she said happily, “here he is!”

Then, she told me she and her husband were in Bible college preparing for the ministry. “Oh, I’m so glad the Lord arrested me and ministered to me,” she said. “I would have made a fatal mistake. We’re so happy. And we’re working for God.”

God did have something better for her. God can lead and guide us. We need to be open to the leading of God.

You see, we can believe God and exercise faith for anything that is promised in the Bible. But we must base our faith upon what God’s Word says. If we get into areas beyond the Word, we will get into gray areas—into dark areas. As long as we’re in the Word, we’re in the light. Then we’re on safe ground—sure ground.

Some may say, “I don’t know just what direction to take in life, so what shall I believe for?”

Well, trust God for guidance, because He has promised to guide you. Claim His guidance by faith. Say, “The Lord is guiding me. He is leading me. I may not see it this moment. I may not even know what to do at the moment; but, He is my Guide and I trust Him.”

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). God will guide you. But remember that He leads you just one step at a time.

Reprinted from the book, Ministering to Your Family (Chapter 1, © 1986), by Kenneth E. Hagin and Kenneth Hagin Jr. Reprinted by permission of Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Inc.