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Living Single Part III

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The fear of being alone (again) is not a good reason to stay in a bad relationship.

Don’t Ignore the Signs

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A couple weeks ago, I bought a salad. When I began to eat it, I knew something wasn’t right. It didn’t taste right. It didn’t even smell right, but I continued to eat the salad instead of returning it back to the restaurant or throwing it in the trash.

Nothing happened to me immediately or on the same day. (It’s the same way with sin. Sometimes we don’t feel the consequences or effects of sin immediately). But the day after I ate the salad, I began to have abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and chills.  All of these things were happening because there was something in my body that shouldn’t have been there and it needed to come out.

A lot of times as Christians, we do what I did with the salad. We know something isn’t right or good. You’re not sure what is wrong, but you continue to stay in that relationship or you continue to do what you know isn’t good or right only to become sick – physically sick as well as soul sick and sin sick.

I should have taken heed to the signs – the smell and taste – because what I allowed to go in my body could have killed me. I experienced food poisoning, but the sin that we continue to do with our bodies is poison that can lead to destruction or even death.

If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away (Proverbs 1:17, NLT).

My prayer is that we do the same as that bird. If we are unsure or uncertain about something – if something doesn’t feel right or seem right, then just stop, pray, fast and ask for wisdom and understanding until God reveals what it is.

Don’t ignore the signs.

Do Good

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No matter how BAD it gets, make up in your mind that you are going to trust in the Lord and do GOOD.

Use Me

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You’ve been used long enough by the devil (through people).

Now it’s time to let God use you.

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for HIS pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

He Would Never Hurt You

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I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Some years ago, I asked God, Why?

Why did YOU allow this? Why didn’t YOU stop it?

Not only did I blame God for the things that people did to me, but I blamed him for the things that I did to myself. I thought that this shouldn’t have happened and that shouldn’t have happened. I was upset and hurting.

And when I was finished speaking, God spoke.  

I would never hurt you.

I was reminded of the man who was blind from birth. It would have been one thing if he had been born with sight and then one day he lost it, but he entered the world in that condition. Sounds unfair, huh? The scriptures didn’t mention his age, but he wasn’t a child anymore.  He was now a man. Therefore, he had been in this state for a long time. I’m sure he probably thought that because he was born this way that he would always be that way.

He didn’t see Jesus, but Jesus saw him (probably begging). And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth (John 9:1). The disciples immediately thought that either the man did something bad or his parents did. Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? They were looking for someone to blame because it had to have been someone’s fault.

But Jesus told his disciples that the man nor his parents sinned, but this was allowed so that the works of God and the power of God could be displayed. God wanted to show others what He can do. He wanted to show others what it looked like to be free.

I’m not telling you that I understand everything, or that I have things figured out, but I do know this. Even if it was my parents’ fault or my fault, God is still going to get the glory out of what I’ve been through. It doesn’t matter what that woman did or what that man did because there is a man called Jesus.

In the very near future, God is going to show others (through you and me) that what they thought was impossible is possible.  It is possible to be free from habits, addictions, sicknesses, wrong thinking and even people that you thought you could never get free from. God’s plan for you is good and people will know His goodness by what they see Him do in you. It is going to build their faith. It is going to give them hope. Some won’t believe, but some will and they are going to ask, How did it happen? And then they will know that they can be made whole, too.

The neighbors and they who before had seen him that he was blind said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he. Others said, He is like him. But he said, I am he. Therefore, they said to him, How were your eyes opened?

He answered and said, A man called Jesus.

 

[Scripture reference: John 9:1-11]

God Will Not Disappoint You

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disappointed: sad or discouraged because someone or something failed to fulfill one’s hopes or expectations

Have you ever thought you were getting a job or a promotion only to find out that you didn’t get it?

Have you ever met someone who you thought was ‘the one’ only to find out that he/she wasn’t?

Do you feel like you always get excited about something only to be disappointed – again?

God told Moses what to say to the Israelites, but he was afraid that they would not believe him.  They will say, The Lord has not appeared to you  (Exodus 4:1).  But Moses obeyed.  He returned to Egypt like God told him to.  Israel accepts Moses as their leader and he was okay with that.  Pharaoh rejects him and he was okay with that, too.  Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go  (Exodus 5:2).

But after Pharaoh told Moses no, he told the taskmasters and their officers to no longer supply Israel with straw to make bricks.  Not only did Israel have to find their own straw, but they still had to make the same number of bricks and they were beaten (Exodus 5:16).

Now Israel rejects Moses. They didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore.  May the Lord look upon you and judge you. For you have caused us to be hated by Pharaoh and his servants. You have put a sword in their hand to kill us  (Exodus 5:21, NLV).

This was not okay.  It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.  He did exactly what God told him to do and now they were angry with him. Moses went back to God.  Not only did he tell God about how the people were being treated after his meeting with Pharaoh, but he also told God that He didn’t do what He said he was going to do.  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people and You have not delivered your people at all  (Exodus 5:23).  Moses was disappointed and he felt like God had lied to him.

Jacob also experienced disappointment.  His uncle, Laban, had two daughters named Leah and Rachel.  When I was younger, I was told that Leah was the ugly one and Rachel was the beautiful one, but that’s not what the scriptures tell us.  In fact, the scriptures only speak of one part of Leah’s body that was flawed or less beautiful than the other parts.

Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance (Genesis 29:17, AMP).

There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face (NLT).

There was no brightness to Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful shape and was lovely to look at (VOICE).

Jacob loved Rachel (Genesis 29:18).  He loved her so much that he served her father for seven years just so that he may have her as his wife, but on the day of the wedding feast, Laban gave Jacob his eldest daughter, Leah, and not Rachel.  Jacob didn’t know this until the following morning.  Can you imagine how he felt?  He asked specifically for Rachel, but instead he was given Leah.

What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?  (Genesis 29:25).

Now, Jacob was tricked by his uncle and I know that some of you think that Jacob deserved it because he deceived his own father.  Despite everything he did, God loved Jacob (Malachi 1:2, Romans 9:13) and He loves you and me, too.

I know Jacob didn’t want Leah and he was disappointed that she was now his wife.  Maybe he did feel like he deserved what happened to him because of what he did to his father and brother, but what we fail to realize is our mistakes and our plans don’t change God’s plan.  Your mess-ups can’t mess up God’s plan.  I know Rachel looked better.  It appeared that she had everything that he wanted, but what he wanted was barren, empty and unable to produce children (initially).  It wasn’t what was on the outside of Rachel, but what was on the inside of Leah that God needed.

This was God’s plan: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life  (John 3:16).  And guess whose lineage Jesus was born through?  It wasn’t through Rachel.  Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brethren (Matthew 1:2).  Judah was Leah’s mother.

For some people, it feels like you’re always getting disappointed, but your disappointment didn’t come from God.  It came from the people and things you placed your hope in. Despite what Laban did, Jacob kept serving because he knew what he could have and he wanted Rachel that much.  And Jacob served seven years for Rachel  (Genesis 29:20). Do you know what God has promised? Do you want what God has promised?  If Jacob can serve someone who lied to him, we can continue to serve Someone who cannot lie.

God did exactly what He told Moses he was going to do to Pharaoh, BUT Moses had to continue to do the things that God told him to do.  Don’t stop doing what God told you to do.  Put your hope and trust in what God said.  We don’t always understand HIS plan, but He knows what He is doing.  So, before you go to God complaining about what He didn’t do, what is it that you haven’t done yet?

Maybe you prefer ‘Rachel’ (not necessarily a person, but a thing or a situation), but God gave you ‘Leah’ because Leah will put your faith to work.  Maybe you’ve been comfortable for too long and God gave you Leah to push you out of your comfort zone.  It is out of Leah that the promise will come.  God will give you favor because of Leah.  And one day, you will realize that if it wasn’t for Leah, you wouldn’t have prayed as much as you did.  If it wasn’t for Leah, you would have still been serving yourself rather than serving others.  Rachel would have only drawn you away from God, but Leah brought you closer to God.

God is not keeping any good thing from you.  I know not receiving the thing you were hoping for made you feel like a failure.  I know it hurts. I know it made you cry, but what you thought was a disappointment was really a blessing.  No one likes the feeling of rejection.  No one likes to be told no, but the promises of God are still yes and Amen.

Believe that God is good, believe that His plan is good, believe that He only gives good things, and this time you will not be disappointed.

Those who hope in ME will not be disappointed  (Isaiah 49:23, NIV).

Be Careful Not to Fall

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Simon, a Pharisee, invited Jesus to his home.  Luke tells us about a woman in the city that was a sinner (7:37).  Although she wasn’t invited to Simon’s home, she went there to see Jesus.  I’m sure there were other teachers and rabbis in that city, but there was something different about this Jesus.  Maybe she heard about the widow’s son who was raised from the dead or the centurion’s servant that was healed or the leper that was cleansed.

She didn’t carry any water or towels with her to Simon’s home, but when she arrived, she immediately began to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and dry his feet with her hair.  Simon didn’t say it out loud, but he thought to himself, If this man was really a prophet, he would have known who and what manner of woman this is that is touching him. She’s a sinner.  Jesus did know everything about this woman, but he didn’t treat her like the others.  Her sins are many  (Luke 7:47).

Have you ever for a moment thought you were better than someone else? I know I have and I can only imagine the looks this woman got by these ‘religious folks’.  I’m sure everybody in that city knew her business.  They probably thought she wasn’t ‘worthy’ to touch Jesus.  This does not pertain to all  Christians, but like certain Pharisees, we sometimes only teach or preach to impress others and not to help others.  We study to teach the word, but we never study to become the word.  Like the rich young ruler, we are so proud of ourselves. We’re proud that we don’t commit adultery, kill, steal, bear false witness, cheat or dishonor our parents, but we still lack one thing (Luke 18:20-22).

This woman was an outcast.  She was rejected and shunned by religious leaders. No one really wanted her there.  Sometimes we are just like Simon.  We know other people’s sins, but we don’t see our own.  We’re like the blind that have eyes yet cannot see.  We know how to look clean on the outside, but refuse to become clean on the inside.  And even if we ‘don’t do the things we used to do’, we sometimes forget what we once did or who we once were.  We forget how long we were slaves to sin.  This is why God told the Israelites that if they forgot  and left a sheaf while gathering their harvest in the field to not go back and pick it up, but to leave it for the poor, the stranger, the orphan, the widow and the fatherless.  This was a reminder to them that they were once slaves in Egypt.  This was His way of humbling them and reminding them what HE did for them (Deuteronomy 24:19-22).

I think sometimes we forget that we were saved by grace and not by goodness.  Trust me.  Our good is not good enough.  I believe that, as Christians, we have an opportunity to be like a gate or a door for others to God, but at times we have only let certain people in while shutting out others.  Forgive us, Lord.

This woman, to me, was more pure and honest than Simon and his invited guests.  Yeah, she was probably a mess, but she came to Jesus because she was tired of that mess.  She wanted change.  She wanted something different.  Her tears were tears of repentance.  She submitted to Him.  She honored Him.  She worshipped Him.  She anointed His feet with ointment, which wasn’t cheap. It cost her something. All Simon did was open his house, but this woman opened her heart.  She gave Jesus all and her faith moved Him.  He had to forgive her sins.

Well…now they were mad that Jesus forgave her sins.  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgives sin also?  (Luke 7:49). Have you ever taken a medication that is supposed to cure one thing, but it can harm something else?  When Jesus forgave her sins, she wasn’t just free from her sins, but she was free from the effects of sin. They really didn’t understand what had just taken place.  Had they understood, they would have been rejoicing with her.  Had they understood, they would have repented of pride and repented for their thoughts.

I think one of the reasons why people get angry when God does something for someone else is because they think God should have done it for them instead.  They behave like the eldest son who got angry when his father celebrated the prodigal son’s return.  They feel that because of the things you’ve done in your past that you don’t qualify for a party (Luke 15:28-30).  You’re not good enough.  You don’t deserve a husband or a wife.  You don’t deserve that promotion.  You don’t deserve to be blessed.  And sometimes they get angry because they don’t understand what the father told the eldest son.  All that I have is yours  (Luke 15:31).

I know the body has many  parts, but let us not forget that we are one  body in Christ.  Let us be careful of how we treat one another.  Let us not look down on one another because although you may be standing today, it may be you that fall tomorrow.  Be careful.

Let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation) ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12, AMP.

So be careful. If you are thinking, “Oh, I would never behave like that” – let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12, TLB.