Day 270: Who is Hindering You? (Isaiah 10-12; Galatians 5)

“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” -Galatians 5:7

Kids are often really good at blaming someone else for the trouble they cause. Like when a three year old says his nine-month old brother broke the vase when the baby clearly couldn’t get out of the crib to do so. When we grow up, those childish habits grow with us. We blame our church or the fact that there are too many options when it comes to religion. We blame the government or the opposing political party. We say it’s our parents’ fault or the ex-boyfriend who ruined us.

But at the end of our lives, when we stand before the throne of our God and account for the way we lived our lives, the blame we cast on others will be useless. You can’t point fingers at someone else.

So, who or what is hindering you today? Look carefully through your life  – are there toxic relationships that poison your mind and mood? Do you blame your bad childhood for your poor behavior today? Do you follow others (even if it’s a pastor, your parents, or a friend) blindly without knowing what the Bible says about living righteously and faithfully?

You alone are responsible for your actions. You have the power and control over your life. Regardless of the influences around you, it is still up to you to choose how to live this life. You are running well. Don’t let someone else hinder you from obtaining the crown.

Day 269: They’ll Call You “Mama” (Isaiah 7-9; Galatians 4)

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I grew up around Isaiah 8:18: “Here I am and the children whom the Lord has given me.” This has been my parents vow – to raise God-fearing children so that one day they can give an accounting to the Lord for the souls He put into their care.

For a long time, being a mother was the only viable option for women. There are decades when home-making and child-rearing was a woman’s sole purpose in life – almost an art in a way. With the development of women’s rights, the suffrage movement and a wave of feminism, our generation grew up hearing that we could be anything we wanted to be, including the option to never be a wife or a mother.

Somewhere along the way though, we girls took that to mean that aspiring to be a stay-at-home mom was an old-fashioned option or something to be ashamed of. As if you don’t have ambitions or were never going to make a mark on the world. So, we put off having children – until we get an education, until our career is established, until our income can sustain a child, etc…We plan our families like we plan for major purchases – as if it’s a right we can exercise when it’s most convenient for us… if ever.

But raising children is a privilege not to be taken lightly. It’s an assignment from above. It’s the King of Kings entrusting you with His child on this earth – whether through adoption or natural birth. When He created you and wrote your story, He knew which kids would be yours and that you  would be the best mother for them. Yes, even if you don’t seem like the traditional mothering type. Because God knows you can do it. It’s the greatest calling a woman could ever have, because someday, you’ll stand at the throne of God and account for the children God gave you to raise. Will your children stand beside you?

Day 268: The Vineyard (Isaiah 4-6; Galatians 2)

“My well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes…What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it?” -Isaiah 5:1-2;4

Although these words were written in a prophecy to the people of Jerusalem a long time ago, they are also speaking to you today. You and I are incredibly blessed – we have everything we could ever need in this life, and so much more. First-rate educations, food in abundance, our health, family, friends, freedom, and the list could go on and on. We literally want for nothing (contrary to our complaints and constant need to have more and more stuff).

And yet, we make excuses as to why we can’t obey God. Maybe when we finish college, or get a good job. Or when you lose those 10 pounds, start a family or learn the Bible inside out…only then will you testify to the stranger in line behind you at the grocery store or say yes to that calling to move across the country.

But these excuses don’t cut it, and even worse, it breaks the heart of your God. He did everything for you, and in return, He only asks for your trust and obedience. Because that is the only way you will be able to do God’s work.

So, this is your motivation to stop hiding behind excuses and to start working on bearing good fruit in your life. Because what more could Jesus do for you that He has not already done?

Day 267: Habits and Choices (Isaiah 1-3; Galatians 2)

“For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” -Galatians 2:18

When it comes to bad habits, it’s easy to play the victim. Like blaming it on our personality types or the fact it’s just the way we are. If you’ve ever struggled with an addiction, you know exactly what I mean. It’s the worst when you think you’ve overcome – especially when you believe God set you free or healed you from the habit. Until the night it all comes rushing back and the self loathing you feel doesn’t come close to the destruction of your faith…. because you thought this time it was for real. You feel powerless and some days you may even lose your will to fight and just give in.

On one of those nights God lead me to Romans 6:12: “Don’t let sin reign in your life.”

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It sounds so simple. But even Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:19: the things we will to do, we don’t, but what we hate, that we do. The explanation is simple…its because we let sin live in us. We open the door, welcome it in and allow it to make itself quite at home in our hearts, schedules and minds.

I know you don’t want to hear it. Neither do I. Being a victim is easier in this case. But as Paul writes in Romans 6:19: the same way you presented yourself and your time to those bad habits, apply the same effort to live a holy life. Choose who you present yourself, your thoughts and your time to obey. You are not a victim. It’s not “just the way you are.”

So that when you choose to go back to the habits, thoughts, addictions or sins you thought you overcame, you deliberately walk contrary to God’s law. Because you vowed to live differently. You wrote that law into your life. And then you yourself broke it.

But that’s where grace steps in. If the law was all that there was to it, this would be the end of your story. The end of mine too. But because Christ gave Himself for us, we can choose to escort sin out of our hearts and invite Christ to live in us. It’s a choice. One that you might have to make every minute of every day. Keep choosing Christ. Let Him reign in your heart, in your daily schedule and in your mind. Because sin can’t coexist with Christ in one heart. It’s a brutal truth. But it’s also a promise: that just as as sin came into your life, it can leave. Each and every single time. Because God is greater.

Day 266: I am my Beloved’s (Song of Solomon 6-8; Galatians 1)

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We often confuse emotional intimacy with sex. There are so many women of God who have given their virginity because they wanted to please the man they were with at the time but in reality, it was given in fear. If sex wasn’t part of the relationship, the men would find their pleasure elsewhere. Sex inside the boundary of marriage can be celebrated and freely given without thought of shame or judgment. It can be given with joy because everything leading to that moment has been based on our belovedness – mutual respect, affection, admiration, selfless service, and love.

Beloved becomes our identity in Christ. We are no longer the soiled doves of the enemy but the spotless daughters of the Most High God. We belong to Jesus as cherished treasures, free from the bondage of our old sins and our old selves. And as much as we belong to God, He belongs to us!

It is our heart’s cry to belong to someone we love, to be chosen and claimed. Who doesn’t want to hear that out of the billions of people on this earth, we are the one that man has picked above any other? Yet, God is telling us exactly that, even if we are single, we’re still chosen and beloved.

Sisters, if you go to your marriage bed not being a virgin, I pray that the man God blesses you with will show you the true love of Christ and there will be no fear. God’s grace and mercy has made us whiter than snow and if He can forgive us and not bring it as a charge against us (like the enemy does), so will the men He allows us to marry.

Download the full Song of Solomon study for free here! 

Day 265: Song of Solomon 4-5; 2 Corinthians 13

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I have never been good at flirting. I just don’t understand it and it makes me feel so uncomfortable. But, I have been in the presence of girls who are master flirts: with a few choice words, sultry looks and strategic moves, they can snag a guy’s interest like a flower attracting a bee. It is truly extraordinary to watch and recognize the power a woman can have over a man with words and looks.

But, sisters, how often we abuse this power! So much so that God has to warn men, through the words of Solomon, not to get entrapped by a woman’s beauty (Pr. 6:25), or the allure of her eyelids (Pr. 6:25), or her flattering words (Pr. 7:21). Now, when it’s your husband falling for these things (like in this passage!), that’s a different conversation.

Girl, your actions have the power to destroy a man – his heart, mind, purity, spirit, and even his life.

To seduce, means to attract someone to a belief or into a course of action that is inadvisable or foolhardy. Girls use a lot of different tactics to try to get a guy’s attention. And the eyes can be one of the most powerful methods of seduction. In fact, one scientist actually succeeded in making two people fall in love in a lab by asking them to stare silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes after answering  a series of personal questions.

You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart with one look from your eyes. -Song of Solomon 4:9

So, save that look (you know which one I’m talking about, girls!) for your husband so that someday he can echo the words of Solomon and know that that look has always been and will always be only for him alone.

Continue studying this topic in our Proverbs 7 study!

Day 264: Rise Up, My Love (Song of Solomon 1-3; 2 Corinthians 12)

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What a sweet invitation to come away with the man she loves. My love language is quality time and such an invitation would be like music to my ears.

We receive that offer daily through the gentle tugging of the Holy Spirit to spend time in God’s presence; to have that quality time with the Lover of our souls and be refreshed after the winter and the rains of our every day lives.

But like the little foxes in the vineyard (a place that is supposed to be ripe with fruit in the springtime), there are things that hinder us from spending time with Him. It’s there that we hear His voice more clearly, where the fears of this world melt away in the warmth of His embrace, and where our hearts are united with His in worship.

It’s there that we can be honest with our every desire because He’s placed them inside of us. Too many times, we hide them for fear of embarrassment. Our desires for marriage and sex have become tucked away in the deep recesses of our hearts and erotica/pornography became the outlet many women use to feel wanted, desired, and known.

Life is hard. Singleness is hard. But when we come away with our Beloved, we give every burden to Him and find our rest.

For a deeper study on the Song of Solomon and the single woman, click here!