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Women in His Presence

by Erica Salazar

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obedience

Checklists & Ladders

Myself and two other friends are going through very similar experiences that to the outside seem as if it is a hopeless cause.  Not all friends fully support or understand us in our calling to wait for our spouses to be restored to the Lord which then leads to marriage restoration. 

Sometimes they think we are misunderstanding God or not hearing from God correctly.  Sometimes they think it’s us not letting go.  Sometimes they think that our spouses don’t deserve us after what has happened and that there is someone better for us.  

When facing this type of doubt by other believers, it is frustrating.  

It’s frustrating because it is a HUGE step of faith and an act of obedience on our part to really TRUST God in the impossible.  We are very confident in conversations, but you have no idea the many conversations we have with God in our head and prayer closets. 

“Are you sure God?”

“Am I hearing you right?”

“Why is it taking so long? Are you sure it’s going to happen?”

“I’m tired of waiting.”

“Why is it worse?”

Deep down, we have more than enough doubt that tosses us around from time to time.  But to be honest, we have the courage to step out of the boat when Jesus calls us. 

The best peace that I experience comes from being focused on Him and this calling.  He tells me His truths about the situation and provides scripture and Bible stories to support what he tells me. In those times, it makes perfect sense.  In fact it seems crazy not to wait on the Lord to do His thing. 

Why would God ask me to do this?

  1. Realize no man can ever make me happy or complete…only God. 
  2. Seeking out another husband or a “better” one is a lie.  My original husband, living his life for the Lord is the best husband for me.  Until then…God’s got me. 
  3. Experience completeness in Him, not trying to be completed by him(spouse).
  4. Learn what crazy faith is.
  5. Get me focused on how God has to grow and refine me, instead of pleading with God to change my spouse. 
  6. So God can have my full attention
  7. Show me that I’m not in control of my life.  I can’t choose my path or the outcomes. All I can do is be guided daily by Him. 
  8. My favorite…what unconditional love truly is. 
  9. To experience laying down my life for someone else like Jesus did. 
  10. To show me what it feels like to be rejected, even when it was my best and I loved with all my heart.  This experience put a better perspective on what Jesus felt as he was rejected on this earth and still is today. 
  11. To realize, this life on earth is not perfect and having a spouses doesn’t make life perfect.  

I could go on and on about this growing list. 

In a way, this list has become a checklist of milestones.  A list that reflects the spiritual maturity that has occurred ONLY because I’m being obedient to the IMPOSSIBLE.  

A checklist that as I go down, makes me think I’m closer to the promise.  But, God reminds me it doesn’t work like that. Instead this checklist is more like a ladder I’m climbing up that gets me closer to Him. 

And for that….this crazy journey is VERY worth it! 

To God be the glory,

Erica

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A New Level Of Crazy

If you would have asked me two years ago if I was a mature Christian I would have said, “Yes!” But over the past two years God is drawing me into a whole other level.

As it is…..

To the outside, being a follower of Christ is CRAZY.

To the outside, believing that the Bible doesn’t need to change with the times is CRAZY.

To the outside, being conservative is CRAZY.

But, to the outside and inside the church, believing that God has spoken a specific promise about marriage restoration is even CRAZY to many.

In fact it’s even CRAZY to me.

But, God has definitely drawn me to a crossroad where I have to face a couple of crucial questions.

1. What is God’s character?
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

1. What does God desire?
Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2. What’s the truth about each person’s creation?
Psalm 139:13
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 51:6
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. But to I have to believe in the crazy.

3. What is God trying to teach me?
Hebrews 10:36
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

In order to persevere however, I have to go to a whole other level. In fact it’s a whole other level of CRAZY. It’s the kind of CRAZY that people will laugh at like Noah building the ark. It’s the kind of CRAZY that is impossible like Moses going to ask Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. It’s the kind of CRAZY that is unrealistic like Abraham and Sarah bearing children of their own.

If there is one thing I’ve come to realize though, these acts of obedience and faith in the Old Testament, made the way for the biggest CRAZY thing in the New Testament. The birth of a man named Jesus who sacrificed his life for us and then rose from the dead.

This level of CRAZY really requires me to dig deep in prayer. It requires that I believe in prayer. It requires that I believe my God speaks to me. It requires me to trust His voice. It requires me to be patient. It requires me to look at Him and not the circumstances. It requires me to look at me and learn how I need to change. It requires me to go against any bit of human logic and lean on the wisdom and truth of the LORD. This level is hard. It’s not easy. But, it is maturing me and bringing me closer to Christ. Ultimately, it’s a whole other level of CRAZY that I actually enjoy and brings the most peace. So being CRAZY for Christ is exactly where I want to be.

To God be the Glory,
Erica

Week 3: Threshing

The past two studies, focused on the action of planting, sowing, and harvesting. This study is a little different. It takes us to the Judges 6 where we find Gideon threshing wheat in the wine press.

Day 1: Consequences

Read Judges 6:1-2 and Judges 6:10

1. Because the Israelites had done evil in the eyes of the Lord, how long were the Israelites in the hands of Midian?
2. Reflect on anything you feel has you and think about whether or not it is an outcome/natural consequence to sin.
3. Where did the Israelites seek shelter and why do you think they chose that environment?
4. What would be some advantages and disadvantages of that location?
5. How have you tried to adjust to an uncomfortable or unwanted situation?

Day 2: Looking Down on the Impossible

Read Judges 6:3-5

During this seven year period, their harvest was being attacked.

1. Who was attacking them?
2. What were they attacking and doing?
3. Was this year round or for a season and how do we know that?
4. Based on the description, list what shows this to be an impossible hopeless situation.
5. If you notice, the Midians are attacking the Israelites food source. What might this force the Israelites to do?
6. Although the Midian’s goal was to “leave no sustenance” somehow each year the Israelites were able to sow and had livestock available to kill. How do you think this was possible?

Day 3: Breaking Point

Read Judges 6:6-10

1. The Midians were attacking the Israelites’ Harvest for seven years. Look back on verse 4-5 and list what the Midians would do. How did this affect the Israelites emotionally?
2. How did they react to this low point?
3. Reflect back on some of your low points where you cried out to the Lord.
Read verses 8-10
1. How did the Lord respond?
2. How would you describe the tone of the prophet?
3. What does the prophet remind them of?

Day 4: Gideon Threshing in the Wine Press

Read Judges 6:11-14

It’s interesting that the prophet is talking to the Israelites and scripture does not show or say their response. To me, it’s kind of like a mic drop: speechless. There is nothing to say to that.

However, It shows us that Gideon was not with them. He was separated from them because he was trying to save wheat by threshing it in the wine press.

Even though, the Midians were attacking the harvest, somehow Midian has salvaged some. And some how, the past seven years despite the fact that the Midians aim to leave no distance or sheep, is, or donkey, they have been able to eat because they are still surviving.

1. What did the angel of the Lord do under the tree? I find this interesting because Gideon is working hard while the angel sits.
2. In verse 12 the angel of the Lord then appears to Gideon and the first thing out of his mouth is that the Lord is with Gideon and calls him a valiant warrior. How would you respond if you are going about your business doing normal work and someone came up to you and called you a valiant warrior?
3. Notice in verse 13, Gideon responds but makes no mention of the label he has been given. In fact, describe in your own words his response?
4. It’s interesting, the first thing he mentions is what the prophet had told the Israelites. But rennet, Gideon wasn’t there. The prophet of the Lord had to remind them who their Lord is. Gideon on the other hand knew. It fact, it’s as if he had been dwelling on it as wondering where is there miracle. Gideon knew God’s character so he is wondering why has God abandoned them? Have you ever prayed for a miracle that falls inline with God’s character, but frustrated that you aren’t seeing it? Have you ever cried out to God, “Where are you in this?”
5. The angel of the Lord does not respond like the prophet did stating the reason why. From scripture that comes later, to me this shows that Gideon was obeying God.

Day 5: The Calling

Read Judges 6:14-19

1. In verse 14, what was God’s directive to Gideon?
2. Who looked at Gideon and how would you feel if that was you?
3. Describe the conversation between them in verses 15-18.
4. Why do you think Gideon wanted a sign that it was God he was speaking to?
5. Think back to the beginning of this chapter. How would you describe the availability of food and livestock.
6. Reflecting on that and Gideon’s immediate desire to give an offering, what can we learn from Gideon here?

 

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