Love’s Sacrificial MindSet

By Carol Hind 

I am honoured to have been asked to write this guest post. It’s been a long-held desire of mine that God use my writing to speak into the lives of His people, particularly women in the Body of Christ, so when the invitation was given, I immediately asked the Lord what he wanted me to say. Out of the blue, a story came to mind. I’d not read it for a while and hadn’t really considered it to be particularly inspiring, so God’s prompting took me by surprise.

I therefore trust this post will provoke you and speak to you wherever you are at in your relationship with the Lord. I pray it will not just be another post that you read (hopefully enjoy) and then forget—but that it will challenge, even change you.

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A Disturbing Narrative

There’s a story in the Bible, which grabs at my heartstrings whenever I read it.  I’m troubled by the tragedy that unfolds, by the unnecessary waste of a young life, by the foolishness of a man’s vow, by the fact that our sovereign God did not intervene to save this young woman.

I’m referring to the story of Jephthah’s daughter.  Have you read it? If not, or should you need to refresh your memory, it can be found at Judges 11:29-40.  In order for you to fully appreciate the message of this post, you will need to be familiar with this disturbing tale.

A Devoted Daughter

Now I’ve often heard about the special bond between a father and his daughter. It is not something to which I can relate, since I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my biological father. However, having walked with God for some years now, I believe I’m beginning to enjoy a similar bond with my Heavenly Father.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jephthah’s daughter loved her father very much. She was obviously watching and waiting for this mighty man of valour to return home from war.  As soon as she sees him, she runs out to meet him. She’s overjoyed at his safe return. She celebrates his triumph in customary fashion, with tambourines and dancing.  Alas, her love and devotion for Jephthah becomes her undoing. Her love for her father costs her life.

Now let’s apply this scenario to ourselves on a spiritual level. Do we love our Father God to the extent that it costs us our lives? I’m not referring to a literal death here. I’m referring to the demise of our old way of thinking and living, which runs counter to God’s commands, his word and his will. I’m referring to our constant challenge as believers. Do we identify with Jesus and learn obedience by the things that we suffer, or do we choose to follow our own path, do our own thing? Do we pick up our cross as dutiful disciples, or do we deliberately dodge the path of personal pain and sacrifice? Can we identify with Paul’s following statement?

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Do we love God with ALL of our heart, soul and strength as He requires? Have we crucified our flesh with its affections, appetites and desires, as His word demands? (Deuteronomy 6:5; Galatians 5:24).

Whilst I reflected on the various elements of this story, I wondered: where was Jephthah’s wife? I imagined her busy at home, tidying up, or preparing a special home-coming meal. And then I remembered Martha. Martha, who hadn’t chosen the ‘better part’. Martha, who became preoccupied with serving food instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Are we like this? Too busy with our personal business, or too busy ‘serving the Lord’ to sit at his feet, to make him a priority in our lives?

If this is the case, may I remind you of Jesus’s words in Matthew 10:38-39? (See Amplified Bible). May I remind you that to be his disciples, we are required to lose our lower life (the life focused only on earthly quests and concerns) and pursue the higher (God-quality and spiritually focused) life?

God’s Measure of True Love

Now, with regards to our relationship with the Lord, we learn from Revelation 3:16, that He prefers we are cold, rather than lukewarm. Fellow Christian bloggers and readers, let us not be deceived into thinking we are ok because we go to church, participate in Christian activities and believe in God. Don’t forget, the devils also believe! So let me ask you—are you guilty of loving God with your lips, whilst your lifestyle declares otherwise?

Jesus revealed in no uncertain terms that there will be those who are convinced they are in the right place with God, working his works etc., but the Lord will turn to them and say: I never knew you; depart from me. And let’s not forget the five foolish virgins who found themselves shut out from the marriage feast, to whom the same damning words were spoken: I do not know you!

Are we paying heed to these stark warnings? Do we take them seriously?

The ‘S’ Factor!

God requires an intimate knowledge of him. Relationship. Not words. Not unfulfilled intentions.

It can be easy in this age of grace to become careless. To be like the prodigal son, to avail ourselves of the rich resources of God’s Kingdom (his love, forgiveness, grace) and squander them selfishly, without care or consideration for the high price paid for us to enjoy our inheritance.

Wake up daughters of Zion! Wake up to the fact that the only life worth living is in our Father’s house, under his protection, submitted to his rules and regulations.

Wake up to the fact that we have an enemy, who hates us, and seeks to deceive and destroy us 24/7. Those suggestions that we can take God’s resources and use them for our own ends, where do you think they emanate from? Satan of course! Embraced and endorsed by our selfish inclinations, by our own carnal appetites and agendas.  We don’t even have to commit terrible sins.  Just not be fruitful.  Just not be concerned about the issues on God’s heart. Just be too busy with our personal dreams and desires to care about the needs of our neighbour, to participate meaningfully in the work of God’s kingdom, to fall on our knees and pray.

Daughters of Zion, I speak to myself and I speak to you all – wake up!

Love’s Mature Outlook

Moving on, I’d like to focus on another admirable quality of Jephthah’s loving daughter.  She is not bitter with her father, or about her fate.  How about you?  Have your experiences of life caused you to become angry with God, resentful about your experiences and negative about your future?

Dear reader, I suffered many years of spiritual malaise because of wrong attitudes. I carried around in my heart an ever increasing record of offenses and was both inwardly and outwardly hostile towards those who hurt me. Yes, life can be unfair. However, spiritual maturity, faith and trust in our Father God, enables us to overcome and carry on with the right attitude.

Cultivate A Friendship Circle

Jephthah’s daughter called upon her friends and shared her sorrow. They mourned with her.  Do you have good, genuine, spiritual friends whom you can call and depend upon when needed? Who will pray for, and support you if, or when things fall apart?

Now don’t be discouraged if you don’t have such supportive friendships. There’s always the help and counsel of the three Godhead members to fall back on. In fact you should be pursuing close fellowship with them anyway. I believe your relationship with each (Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), is vital to your spiritual health and strength. Your relationship with them should not be superficial.  But deep. Strong. Like Paul’s—so that you are convinced in your heart that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love.

The Heroine’s Finale

As mentioned at the beginning, the story of Jephthah’s daughter always tugs at my heart.  I usually take issue with God about it. Why did he allow her to die?  It seems so harsh and unfair. I’ve never really gotten an answer. However, I do acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than my thoughts and ways.  We are not qualified to judge.  Yet isn’t this how we can feel about the things we face in our own lives sometimes—about that false accusation, that persecution, that sudden catastrophe? Unfair!

Jephthah’s daughter may have lost her life but she made history. God saw to it that she was inscribed within the pages of the Book of books. There are those seeking to make history, to make a name for themselves, to make it according to worldly standards but in doing so, lose their own lives—whether literally, mentally, or spiritually.

Dear readers, let’s make sure we aren’t so foolish as to gain the whole world, yet lose our own soul.

Let’s remember we are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price. Let’s ensure that when all is done and dusted, our names appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

© Carol Hind – March 2017

To see more of Carol and seek further advice please go check out her blogs and communicate with her 

Blogs:

https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com

https://apurposedrivenachiever.wordpress.com

CHILL! And Take A Step Back

You want to do this, you want to do that. You wish you could have this, you wish you could have that. You plan to have this, you plan to have that. However, have you ever considered what God has wanted, wished and planned for you?

I know I KNOW, it’s easy to get caught up in our own minds and start creating dreams and goals that we want to achieve that we sometimes end up forgetting to talk to God about them. Although, come on, let’s be real for a minute, at times it’s truly hard to consult God because we are afraid of the answer. We want to achieve our set goals so badly that deep inside we don’t want to hear God denying them. Oh how quickly we are to forget that God has better plans for us not of evil but to give us a future and a hope. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

We all know how much we can get caught up in the thought that we know what’s best for us. Although, it is God who knows us better than we know ourselves. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Let’s understand this right here in a more simple sense. Our thoughts small, God’s thoughts BIG! you see the difference. What we think is good for us is actually a tiny bit good, what God thinks is good for us is BEYOND good, even exceeds our own understanding.

Now, this brings us, yes, to the song I have decided to include in this post and finally mentioning its purpose now. I love this song “background” by Lecrae because it talks exactly about what I have mentioned, it’s an inspiration for this post. We need to play the background in order to do Gods work in us, not to do our own will but Gods will. If we do it on our own we will think we have achieved all we can, when actually we have achieved nothing. So, let’s take a step back…chill down a little and let God be the superstar. Stay blessed!

The joy from God will give you a happy peace 🙂 a lovable peace ❤

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We Are Not Crazy

Something I have started to notice and has began to bother’s me is the way social media these days displays how women should act in a relationship. Viewing us as eye candy for men and high maintenance, instead of the partners that we should be. Teaching young ladies that we are supposed to be crazy, jealous and very demanding in a relationship. Moreover, telling us that “THIS IS THE NORM”. Well, have I got news for you! It ISN’T! This type of fake reality is disrespectful to women and here we are sitting and allowing this unwanted label to process.

The lord created us, women so that men wouldn’t be lonely, we are helpers, not stress-causers. Have we forgetten that God has already purposed how women should act even in a relationship. We are not meant to be quarrelsome “Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman.”
(Proverbs 21:19). This is why the rates of breakups and divorces have increased, it is not in our nature as women to fight and be angry all the time. It is also up to us women and mothers to teach the younger generation of women. We shouldn’t leave them to believe what social media says because that is the platform for the devil to decrease the value and potential of a woman. Even the bible tell us, women, what to teach the younger generation of women “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”(Titus 2:3-5)

Ladies, we are not crazy and we don’t need to accept this label from anyone. What started out as a playful joke on social media has become the true reality in how relationships are managed in our society today. Yes, I’m also talking from experience, seeing all those social media jokes about crazy, jealous girls and the words “How girlfriends be like” (is this ringing a bell to anyone else), Afterwards I would ask myself am I a crazy person? Am i the jealous type of girl? then i would start to imagine how I would be in a relationship in the way social media perceived women as a guideline. This was an obvious mistake because it led to a lot of stress and worry of how I wasn’t like the “typical girl/girlfriend”. I wasn’t skinny, I didn’t like showing too much skin, I didn’t like a lot of attention and I was definitely not the jealous type. See this is were it all begins, social media had got us thinking that there is something wrong with us that we need to be like all the other girls.

But, I want to thank God because He showed me that being different in this corrupted society is exactly what I need to be. WE are not crazy, WE don’t have to show skin to feel accepted, and We don’t need to listen to the voice of social media. We are strong women, We don’t need attention from men, We don’t need acceptance from this world. We just need acceptance from God and He wants us to be different and look to Him. Not to get caught up with how the world wants us to run but by how He wants us to run. At the end of the day He is the one who has already destined our lives and who we are going to be with forever, so just wait upon Him. Stay Blessed!

WE are strong, NOT weak, WE are sane, NOT crazy