Thursday, January 9, 2014
“He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son.” Gen. 24:7
One day there was a beautiful girl who lived a pretty mundane existence. She dreamed of the day a wonderful man would enter her life and sweep her off her feet. She was old enough for marriage, she was still a virgin, but there were no worthy men in her town. The highlight of her day was drawing water at the well.
She was a good girl. But where were all the good men?
On one ordinary day (or so she thought), she set out to fulfill her ordinary duties, just like she did every other ordinary day. She put her heavy water jug on her shoulder and made the uneventful, arduous trek to the nearby well. A stranger was at the well, and he was staring at her.
The man approached her and asked her for some water. She noticed the man was traveling with ten loaded-down camels. The man looked exhausted, like he’d come a great distance.
She was a little shocked at the offer that came out of her mouth, “Yes, my Lord, have a drink. I'll draw water for your camels, too, until they’ve had enough to drink."
Her name was Rebekah.
She had no idea she’d just said the very words the stranger prayed to hear.
You know how the story ends. The man, Abraham’s servant, brings her back and introduces her to his master’s son, Isaac. Rebekah and Isaac would marry. She would be the mother of Jacob, who later became Israel.
Rebekah shows us the lengths God will go to, to make sure you end up with the right guy. It’s easy to pass over some of the details in the story, but let’s review to see just how many things had to line up for Rebekah to get her guy:
· Abraham’s servant was willing to go to a “distant land”, via camel-back, to find a girl from the family of Abraham. Tall order, considering he had no GPS, address, phone #--just the name of a family and a town.
· The servant would need to convince the girl to leave her family, move so far away she would likely never see them again, and marry a man she’d never met.
· The servant was not allowed to bring Isaac, the future groom, with him to help with the selection process (no pressure or anything!).
· Rebekah had to be at the well at the very time Abraham’s servant was there, and she had to offer to water his camels.
· Rebekah had to be willing to leave all she’d ever known to marry a man she’d never met. And she only had one night to decide!
So many things had to line up in order to make this marriage happen. But, with God all things are possible.
I’m still amazed at the events God orchestrated in order for me to meet my husband, Matt:
· In 1983, Matt’s dad’s brand new car dealership failed, causing his dad to look for a new job. (At the time, this looked like a disaster. But if it never happened, they wouldn’t have 3 awesome grandchildren today—Chase, Skye & Ryder!)
· Soon after, his dad found a great job in Texas; unfortunately, it would require that Matt change schools his senior year. This led to a very unhappy Matt! (Matt was given the option to stay and live with his grandparents his senior year, but in the end he knew it would break his mom’s heart. So, he made the right choice and moved—and he met me!)
· His mom and dad, after making the move to Texas, needed to find a church. After much prayer and many, many visits to various churches, they discovered the church my dad pastored, Bethel Temple. One Sunday, my dad introduced me to a very tall, skinny, and super cute 17-year-old guy named Matt Stewart.
And the rest is history.
Ladies, God will go to great lengths to make sure you meet your man. If you’re already married, you know that’s true. If you’re not married yet, and that’s the desire of your heart, then take some lessons from Rebekah:
· Be faithful right where you are. Keep doing those ordinary, mundane tasks. While you’re going about your business, God can bring the guy right to you! God is in the business of divine set-ups! (Gen. 24:7)
· Choose a pure lifestyle while you’re waiting. (Gen. 24:16)
· If this new relationship requires great change, trust the advice of your family. (Gen. 24:50, 51)
· Trust God when the door opens. Be willing to leave your old life behind to embrace the new. (Gen. 24:58)
I can’t wait to hear your “How I Met My Guy” story one day! And that day is coming!
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
|Bishop Anne Gimenez|
“Age is irrelevant.”
That’s what Anne Gimenez, the 81-year-old Bishop of Rock Church in Virginia Beach, co-founder of Washington for Jesus rallies, and co-founder of 400 churches around the world, said to me this morning as she was getting her makeup done to appear on The 700 Club. This stunning octogenarian had something to tell me, and I was anxious to hear the story I knew would follow. She proceeded to tell the following, which I have done my best to paraphrase:
I’m getting to the place now where I believe age is irrelevant. If God speaks a word into you, then you’re here until that word is fulfilled.
In May of 2013 I almost died—I was in the hospital with severe heart arrhythmia, and the medication they gave me took my heartbeat from 120 down to 40. No one was monitoring me at the time. My assistant happened to be there, and she ran for the doctor. In those moments, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Next year you will travel around the world.”
I almost laughed, "I can't go around the world, Lord! I'm dying!" But I believed Him . . .
Since then, I’ve spoken in Korea & Japan. In a few months I’m going to India & Liberia; I also have an invitation to preach in Singapore. While in Japan, I spoke to 5,000 women, and all over the room the ladies were baptized in the Holy Spirit. The same thing happened in Korea. When I spoke there, it was 4 in the morning (my time). I should have been tired! But, as I was preaching, I’d never felt such an anointing. I actually stopped and thought, “This is so powerful—Lord, am I supposed to move to Korea and start a ministry?” (She smiled and laughed at the thought.)
If the Lord speaks a word to you, your job is to believe it and take action. Faith requires action. I could have said, “No, God, I just want to stay home.” But, I didn’t! I’m so glad I said, “Yes!”
I returned to my desk completely inspired by her testimony.
Just yesterday, I read the story of 99-year-old Abram who got a word from the Lord that he would have a son, a name change, and would be the father of many nations. The Bible says, “Abraham believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness.”
Then, there’s the other side of the coin—two young boys, Samuel and David, each got a word from the Lord that they would do great things one day. They believed the word from God, and everything God said came to pass.
As Bishop Anne said, “Age is irrelevant.” But at any age and at any stage of life, believing God is of utmost importance. What has God spoken to your heart? Will you believe and take action?
Friday, October 25, 2013
At 7:45 AM on Monday, Oct. 21, I sat down with Alan & Lisa Robertson. Along with being the guest segment producer for the 700 Club, I also manage the "In the Green Room" segments for CBN.com. I rarely produce these web segments myself because my mornings at work are very busy. However, I LOVE Duck Dynasty and I love pastors & pastors' wives so this was a couple I wanted to interview myself! They are just what they appear to be on their rare appearances on the show--warm, funny, godly, down-to-earth, genuine and just good people.
Later that morning, they appeared on The 700 Club. They were on the show to talk about their family's latest project, The Duck Commander Devotional. If you are fans of the show, you'll love the book because each day the devotional is written by a different Duck Dynasty cast member. Missy, Alan, and Phil are probably my favorite writers so far. . .
Alan preached in the Regent University chapel that afternoon, and he was one of the best speakers we've ever had--I'm sure his church misses him being in the pulpit every Sunday.
For CBN.com, we cut the interview down to 4 minutes. This is the uncut version.
By the way, Lisa told me that she and Alan will be in the Christmas episode--so, make sure to watch!
Friday, October 11, 2013
This morning Matt and I visited a very sick friend, Ray Bell, in the hospital. His wife Linda is a dear friend of mine, and I want so desperately for her to have more time with him on this earth. I've rarely witnessed two people more perfect for each other. Ray & Linda fell in love the first time they met and are still in love today.
Last night Ray had a vision of Jesus. The Lord told him to come on home. He saw Linda’s mom and dad (both deceased) standing behind Jesus, waiting for him with happy faces. At 6 am this morning, Ray told Linda that he was done fighting, and he was ready to go home. She thought he was talking about their house, but after he shared his vision of Jesus with her, she knew what he meant by "home." He wanted her to call all his loved ones and say his last goodbyes. We felt very privileged to be on his “loved ones” list and to pray with him and his family, perhaps for the last time. Only Jesus knows.
Being in ministry, we’ve met with several people over the years that are hovering between this life and the next. When you walk away from those precious encounters, you can’t help but evaluate your life. The Bible says our life is “a mist, a vapor”. This life is so temporary. Am I living for what really matters? Am I taking people in my life for granted?
One strange thing about life—while one person is in the midst of a painful trial another person might be in a time of celebration. That is the case with us. It’s our 25th wedding anniversary on Monday, and we are going to celebrate BIG tonight—our usual date night is going to another level! We’re eating at one of our favorite restaurants that we hit every 10 years—Ruth Chris Steakhouse. After that, we’re going to see a movie. We love going to the movies. I told Matt—no flowers and no card necessary. I just want to have fun with you.
You see, when I'm with Matt, I'm in my happy place. I'm home. I've told him before, the best thing about being married is that whenever change comes, we go through it together. If we move, you're still here. If the kids leave, you're still here. If we lost our jobs, we'd still have each other.
I’m so very grateful for the years we’ve had together. I don’t want to take my husband for granted. He’s my best friend, my love, my pastor, and my biggest supporter. Even this morning, he gave me another reason to love him. Before the crack of dawn, our dog got sick all over the stairs, and he let me stay in bed while he got up and cleaned the carpet. Then, he went ahead and steam-cleaned all the stairs. Now that’s a good man.
He’s also a wonderful father to our 3 children. I also realized this morning that I don’t want to miss out on one moment with my children. They are my joy and delight. Now that my oldest son is grown and gone, I’ve become acutely aware of how quickly this “raising kids” stage of life goes by. Oh, how fast it goes by . . .
Relationships are the only thing in life that matter, because they are the only things from this life that we take into eternity.
But the most important relationship on this side of Heaven is our relationship with Jesus. He is waiting with open arms for Ray. How wonderful that Jesus appeared to Ray, reassuring both he and Linda that it was ok to let go. The presence of Jesus is the ultimate home. One day He will welcome me home too.
Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice. *
*“Oh, I Want to See Him” by R.H. Cornelius (1916)
Friday, July 26, 2013
My mom is the full time caregiver for my dad who suffers from severe dementia. Mom keeps the atmosphere around the house happy—singing, taking dad for a swim each morning, praying, sharing meals, and going to church at least once a week. Dad moves at a snail’s pace, sometimes doesn’t recognize my mom, and rarely speaks. My active mother does her best at keeping a positive attitude, but she’s not perfect. Sometimes she gets cross with dad and scolds him when he won’t get in the shower, wanders around the house at night, or walks out the front door in the middle of the night. I rarely hear her complain; but at times, she does, and no one would fault her for it.
Recently, following several weeks of Dad not sleeping through the night, mom got into her bed and hoped this would be a night free of interruptions. As usual, she left the nightlight on in the attached bathroom and the light on in the hallway with the bedroom door open. In case dad got up, she didn’t want him to fall.
She noticed something unusual as she pulled the sheets back—the top sheet was white. Normally, her sheets were navy blue and sure enough, the fitted sheet and pillowcase were navy blue. She wasn’t sure how a white top sheet got on her bed. Had the maid done it? But, she didn’t own any white sheets and she had specifically told her maid not to change the sheets on her bed.
Mom, tired and baffled, lifted the sheet up to the light to make sure her eyes weren’t deceiving her. Sure enough, she could see the light through the bright white sheet. As she closed her eyes to go to sleep, she prayed that she wasn’t going blind!
In the morning, she woke up and realized the top sheet was navy blue. Knowing her experience was real, she wondered if somehow it was a message from God. She prayed, “God, what does this mean?”
Immediately, the Holy Spirit spoke to her. “Bonnie, this is how I see you. You are covered in righteousness and purity. I don’t see the times you are cross with John. I don’t see the times you get short with him or wish things were different. I see a beautiful, righteous woman who is filled with pure love. You are doing my work and it’s beautiful to me.”
As my mom shared this story with me, we both cried. I had to withhold myself, because I was at work when she told me.
She finished her story by reminding me of the verse in Is. 1:18, "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
This is how God sees my mother. If you know Jesus, this is how He sees you too.