Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Recently, we started looking for a house to live in. We have been living with my parents for the past couple of months while my husband got situated at his job. Once he was established, we began the tedious job of house hunting. We were looking to rent.

In some ways, we felt we should wait a little while longer. In other ways, we decided it was time.

I was crying out to God; that He would show us His will. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that something big is about to happen. I just know. Sometimes I know things. I can’t explain it except to say it’s a God thing.

While I know this, my heart was still longing for a home. Some place my family and I can work in, live in and be a family in. So, I began looking on Craigslist. We wanted something in our price range (we were going for cheap so we could spend a good portion of our income on marketing).

Sundays after church became our day to drive around and look at properties. We called and left messages, we emailed, we drove by and we visited. Nothing. We received one email reply, which was spam. I was becoming discouraged. I cried out. Lord, do you not see me here? Asking for your grace and mercy?

This past Sunday we were on our usual pilgrimage. We applied for one two-bedroom house. It was small, but it would have worked.

We looked at my notes and we saw a phone number with a rent amount of $650.00 next to it. No additional information. We figured it wouldn’t hurt to call. The lady answered the phone and told us the address and to come on by. She was waiting for another possible tenant to show up.

When we arrived at our destination, our son took one look and said, “I’m not going in there.”

I replied, “Oh yes you are. We will not be rude to these people. We told them we wanted to look at the house and we will. We can always thank them then leave.”

The house looked to be in bad shape. The driveway was buckled from a tree root. The fenced in front yard was overgrown and miscellaneous junk was lying about, including a baby playpen with wood in it. To top it all off, six or seven people were sitting on the small front porch, pretty much looking like they had just stepped off the set of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

My husband later told me he wanted to put the car in reverse and back up. I’m ashamed to say we pretty much all felt that way.

We approached the group of people, which was quite intimidating. By the outside of the house, we had very little expectations for the inside.

When we walked in the door, my husband described the experience as such: It was like when Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz left her world and entered this grand world of color. It was amazing.

I was confused. I expected to see a run down dirty house and what I was seeing was the complete opposite of that, by a long shot. It took me a little while to catch up to what my brain already knew. This house was beautiful. I glanced at the kitchen and didn’t really see it. I could see the gleaming hard wood floors but, again, I didn’t really see them. When I peered into the bathroom and my mouth dropped at the oversize tiled shower with an overhead as well as a side showerhead, I began to get it. This house is not what I expected it to be.

The landlady leaned over and whispered, “What until you see the master bedroom.”

I looked at the front bedroom and office then found my way through the hallway to the master suite. This room was huge. The walk in closet was big enough to be an office. The master bathroom had a giant Jacuzzi. French doors with stained glass opened up to the horrible back yard. We laughed.

I suddenly found myself wanting to see the kitchen again. Wow! Brand new cupboards, new dishwasher, disposal, everything is new and beautiful and gleaming. I couldn’t get over the difference between what we thought we were going to see and what we actually saw.

We will be moving in this coming weekend. The people who were supposed to come never showed up. It was like God set this gem of a house in the midst of chaos and said, this is for Darlene. I want her to be blessed, because I love her and want the best for her. I know that God did this for me. To know that He loves me that much has brought me to tears many times over the last few days. We serve a wonderful God who plans to prosper us and to give us a future.

Don’t over look what God may have for you because it doesn’t look like your expectations. It may be something much much better.

Friday, July 6, 2012

God's Divine Favour

Have you ever gone through something hard and wondered, Lord, for what purpose am I enduring this hardship?

I have. In fact, quite a few times. For instance, my husband and I have had the opportunity (I am using the word “opportunity” loosely here because I believe in looking at everything from a positive side of view) to witness up close and personal, several pairs of husbands and wives in an intimate, prolonged setting.

Yeah, it wasn’t always pretty. But, I learned a thing or two. I believe if you grow through it and learn from it, then it must have been worth it.

My husband and I believe in the very near future we will have a couple’s ministry. This time of learning has been invaluable and we’ll be putting together our material for speaking at couples retreats, valentine’s dinners and conferences very soon. We’re looking forward to it.

One of the things God has brought to our attention has to do with submission. Ladies, stay with me here. Guys, your turn is coming up, so don’t go anywhere.

I know. Submission is a hard word. Some would venture as far as calling it a bad word. Let me tell you something. It’s not. Submission is an awesome thing. It’s a Godly thing. And if you don’t do it, then don’t ask for anything else to do. Just sayin’. He isn’t going to expand your territory until you learn to submit to the authority in the territory you are in right now. Want to lead worship? Want to head up a women’s Bible study? Then learn to submit to your husband.

I know that was a hard sentence to grasp, so let me say it again. He isn’t going to expand your territory until you learn to submit to the authority in the territory you are in right now.

Yes, your home is a territory. Yes, your husband is your authority figure. If you are not submitting to his authority, you might as well not pray the prayer of Jabez. Or at the very least, leave the line out about increasing your territory. God will not give you more until you can handle what you have.

Husbands, the same goes for you. If you are not loving your wife like Christ loved the church, if you are not taking care of your territory, yes, your wife and children are your immediate territory, then don’t ask God for more until you do. If you care more about the family dog’s well being than the mental or physical stability of your wife, then God will not bless you for ministry. Your efforts will be fruitless. Your ministry will not be blessed. David was not allowed to build the temple, both because he was a man of war and because he did not have his house in order.

The things we have seen and heard over the past ten months or so make us cringe and shake our heads. And we wonder why the family is in such a sorry state.

In Christian homes, we have seen husbands treat their wives like they are dirt. We have witnessed men that are too proud to change and accept they can do wrong. We have seen men dismiss ideas their wives have because no one could know more about the subject at hand than they do. Pride, wasn’t that the sin of Satan?

Wives do not trust their husbands’ judgment and won’t honor them. They hide financial information from them; they are cunning and proud and refuse to defer to their husband’s good judgment. Wasn’t Jezebel this type of woman?

Ladies and gentlemen, husbands and wives, if you want to increase, if you want more, then learn to operate in the territory you have been given.

This type of behavior is happening in laymen’s houses, pastor’s houses, deacon’s and elder’s houses. I can assure you, the increase that has occurred has been by the sweat and sheer determination of such offenders of the faith, because God will not give increase if we are not taking care of what we have been given.

I love these words by Charles H. Spurgeon regarding Psalm 127. “God's blessing on his people as their one great necessity and privilege is here spoken of. We are here taught that builders of houses and cities, systems and fortunes, empires and churches all labour in vain without the Lord; but under the divine favour they enjoy perfect rest. Sons, who are in the Hebrew called "builders", are set forth as building up families under the same divine blessing, to the great honour and happiness of their parents. It is THE BUILDER'S PSALM. "Every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God", and unto God be praise.”

Psalm 127:1 “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”

Are you experiencing God’s divine favour? Do you want to? Then learn to live the way God has called you to live. Wives, submit to your husbands. Husbands, love your wives and be willing to die for them.