When we hear the innkeeper
Said there was no room
We think, “How cruel could this man be?”
Joseph, looking for lodging
Came by this innkeeper’s door
With his very pregnant wife-to-be
Yet, the expectant couple
Was not invited to enter the inn
For shelter or food or comfort
Just sent to the barn
Where the animals lived
Did that man know this baby’s worth?
We snicker and sneer
Say how could the innkeeper
Not make room for our Lord and Savior
Could he not show
Some human decency
To a woman so close to labor
But that man did not know
What we have found out
About the one who blesses and keeps us
So rather than focus
On the innkeepers answer, ask yourself
Do you have room for Jesus?
You might say, “Of course,
He’s the head of my life
Jesus is who I live for”
But if you check your schedule
Or just check your checks
It might reveal whom you really adore
We all have a choice
Day after day
To spend time in communion with God
To find excuses not to
Seems to be so easy
Though finding room for Him seems to be hard
So, the next time we hear
The story of the innkeeper
Maybe we won’t be so quick to judge
The most this man could have known
Was from five books and prophets
We have 66 books to teach us
That if we make room for Jesus
In our daily lives
He will catch us whenever we fall
So, when you hear Jesus knock
Asking for room in your heart
Will you be faithful and answer His call?
Do you have room for Jesus?
I was awakened from my nap by a rather boisterous thunder boom. I groggily sat up in my bed and looked out the window just in time to see a flash of lightning that didn’t look to far from my house. I jumped up and hurried out of the room to make sure that anything that wasn’t plugged into a surge protector was unplugged from the wall, especially my precious laptop that has been charging while I was recharging.
As I sat on my couch, I turned on the new to see the local weatherman, Captain Obvious, telling me there were severe thunderstorms. The lightning was striking what seemed to be inches from my condo and every single thunder clap shook my whole house. So, I did what any sensible thirty-four year-old would do, I called my mommy. She laughed at me and told me that she was eating dinner and it was just a thunderstorm. I played down how scared I actually was in the moment. There are a couple of trees near my window and I started thinking, “What if one of these trees crashes through my window?”
It was just me and my cat, Joy Bella, huddled on the couch waiting for the storm to pass. Then, the power went out. It went out in such a way that I was sure lightning had struck my electronics despite the surge protector, so I called my mom again. She assured me that the power would come on again very soon. When I hung up, I had a moment. All I could think was, “This would be a good time to have someone here with me to comfort me.” I mean, I couldn’t leave the house because the weather was so bad. Then, the storm brought cold weather and thoughts of how nice it would be to snuggle up with someone I love. That same thunder and lightning that were scaring the mess out of me would have been romantic in a different circumstance. And, there I was again thinking, “Lord, why don’t you want me to have someone special in my life?”
A little while later, I picked up my guitar and started playing some new songs I had written. I soon forgot the lonely feelings. Then, during my quiet time, I read Romans 9 and the last verse really touched my heart, Romans 9:33 (The Message), “If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.” It was as if God was saying, “My Love, I know you are seeking me and I know that sometimes you feel lonely. But I’m here. And, as long as you look for Me, you will find Me. I am not standing in the way of you being in a relationship. I just want you to enjoy our relationship. Enjoy the moments when it is just you and Me. Everything will work out in the best way possible because I love you.” He is not IN the way, but I can find Him ON the way in every moment that I feel scared and alone, or joyful and excited. He is always there, and if you look for Him, you will find Him; not in the way as a stumbling block, but on the way as everything you need. Ms. EV
Have you ever been in a situation where your lips say one thing, but your heart says another? It happens to me all the time. Other people may not be able to tell when you are being genuine, but God is not fooled. I often hear people say, "God knows my heart." It is an expression that is usually used as an excuse for not going to church, not paying tithes or not confessing sin. Indeed, God does know our hearts, so why do we act as if we can fool Him as easily as we fool other people?
When I returned from summer vacation between my first and second years of law school, I had lost 200 pounds. I hadn't discovered a miracle diet and lost weight, but I had gotten a divorce and got rid of the person who was weighing me down. Some people said, "I can't believe you two got divorced, you were the happiest couple I knew." That's because I was the best actress they knew. But, God wasn't fooled by our carefully choreographed public appearances. God knew we were unhappy. We weren't just unhappy on the days we fought, but also on the days we pretended to make up. God knew what was going on in our hearts. And though, my mouth asked God to fix me and fix him and fix our marriage, in my heart, I wanted out and God knew it.
It is impossible to hide your true feelings from God whether they are about another person, a task God has assigned you to, or how you really felt when you were doing something that no child of God has any business doing. I am not advocating divorce; there were very serious issues that led to my divorce. What I am saying is to not hide behind empty words, so that you can fool the crowd. God knows how you really feel, so don't try to mask what your heart says. Ms. EV
Even though growing up, all I ever dreamed of was becoming an attorney, I very quickly realized that it was not the career for me. Because my life had been so geared toward that goal, it was then that I really had to start listening to God’s promptings. And, I was not always great at listening. Nonetheless, when you are faced with the fact that you no longer have the one consistent desire that you have had for most of your life, the best and safest place to turn is to God. So, I prayed. Lord, show me the right career. Lord, give me the financial stability and freedom that I need. Lord, bless me with a family of my own.
Each and everyday, I would pray to God for what I wanted. There is nothing wrong with asking God for your desires. He encourages us to ask, to seek, and to knock. I truly believe that my current career is where God wants me to be. However, the road is not always easy. Every year, as with almost every other industry, the game is changed. There are more and different demands, sometimes with less incentive and one really has to examine the true motivation behind the work.
Last year, in the midst of anger, I made a decision to give up a source of income. Before I notified my superiors of my decision, I prayed and sought after God because I have learned not to make rash decisions out of anger and not to make any decision before I pray about it. Though I made the decision, it took two months of praying and listening before I announced the decision. And, I feel that I listened and it was the right thing to do.
Still, the enemy wants to cause confusion and second guessing. As I said, this particular venture was a source of income; not a significant amount of income, but something extra. I realized that the time I was spending on this job could be spent pursuing the passions that God has placed in me, which would lead to a more joyful and peaceful existence created by a blissful balance of work and play. I started to record music, continued to write, and took on some catering and coordinating jobs, which are all things that I love to do. But, the things that I love to do aren’t replacing the little extra that I was making.
I thought that there would be another opportunity that would not take up much time, but provide me with extra income; however that does not seem to be a possibility anymore. So, the devil wants me to start questioning whether or not I made the right decision. And, I give him credit because he is good at his job. He knows to throw in, “Now, you’re not just a lonely spinster, but you’re going to lose what little luxury you could afford. The only thing that made being alone bearable was that you could afford to treat yourself.”
I will admit that I was letting him win. Then, I went and grabbed some of my notes that I keep around the house when I need inspiration. The first two things I read didn’t seem to speak to the current issue, but then I saw a quote that I copied from my dad’s “Courageous” calendar. It said, “I used to ask God for all kinds of things; now, I just ask for God and He takes care of all things.” The beauty of being His child is that I know He will provide. I do not need to seek the provision; I only need to seek the face of the Provider.
I know I listened. Even though, I thought I was making a decision because of hurt feelings, when it came down to it, I believe that God allowed things to become uncomfortable, so that I would free myself up to be used by Him. I know that God is faithful and He knows my every need and He has NEVER failed me. So, I choose to ask for more of Him, to seek Him, and to knock at His door, knowing He will take care of ALL things! Ms. EV
As Christians, the Bible is our operating manual for daily living; however, at times, it seems that there are some areas in life that are not covered by the Bible. Some might argue that there are gray areas and that everything is not in black and white. Others might say that everything you need to know is contained within God’s Word. Other than Pray While You’re Prey, the Bible is the only book that I have read from cover to cover more than once. I do not always read it in the same order or in the same manner, but it is chocked full of great wisdom and guidance for living.
The Bible is very clear about some issues. For example, it very clearly states that premarital sex is prohibited (1 Corinthians 6:13; 18). But, what about dating? A few years ago, I got into a pretty heated debate about what the Bible says about dating. My opponent’s position was that Christians should never date casually and that all other socializing with the opposite sex should be done in a group setting. My position, at the time, was, “Show me where it says that in the Bible!”
The only courtships that have given me some insight into what a Christian relationship should look like before marriage are Jacob and Rachel, Ruth and Boaz, David and Bathsheba, and Mary and Joseph. I learned from Jacob and Rachel that a man should be willing to labor and wait for me for however long it takes. I learned from Ruth and Boaz that a man should be kind and willing to provide for a woman and that a single woman should not be waiting for a man to take care of her, but willing to work. From David and Bathsheba, I learned the dangers of tempting a man and falling into a lustful relationship. And, from Mary and Joseph, I learned that if you trust in God first, you can face any relationship crisis together.
Nevertheless, I still do not see any verses that cover the “Rules of Dating for Christian Singles.” It would be very helpful if it were like the Ten Commandments; a step-by-step list of do’s and don’ts. So, what do we do if there is truly a gray area that is not specifically addressed in the Bible, like going out with a friend of the opposite sex that you have no intention of marrying, or what career to pursue or any other daily life challenge that does not have a black-and-white answer? And, I really mean no specific answer; this is not about poking loopholes in the Word or taking things out of context to fit our own agendas. This is about wanting to live a Godly life and not being disobedient.
What I have learned in the time since this argument is that God’s Word is called the Living Word for a reason. If we have a question about how the Bible addresses an issue, the best person to ask is not a pastor or a doctor of divinity, it is God. That is one of the most awesome characteristics of God, we can ask Him questions and He will answer. It is not generally like an answer in the movies, where a thundering voice breaks through the sky. For me, it is usually a still, small voice from within urging me to pursue a particular course or I read the Bible and I see the answer I need in a verse that I have read several times. The words of the verse do not change, but what it means to me at that moment in time does.
So, what about dating? Well, based on my own tendency to turn what should just be a friendship into a fantasy relationship, I choose not to casually date (see Dating). Nonetheless, each of us has to ask God for ourselves what His best plan is for us. If everything was clearly listed out in the Bible, we might put more faith in the book than in the Author. Again, I am not saying that the Bible is up for interpretation, some things are very much in black-and-white, but when it comes to our daily living in modern times, we need to seek God’s guidance, which will NEVER contradict His Word. Then, it is just a matter of whether we follow where He leads us or not. Ms. EV
There is a rumor that when I was little I got kicked out of a dance class because I was a little bit of a brat. I can neither confirm nor deny this story. Nonetheless, I always wondered what kind of dancer I would have been had I been instructed in dance. The elementary and middle school years were not pretty when it came to rhythm. As a pretty lanky girl, it was difficult to get the arms and legs moving on the same rhythm.
Then, there was high school and musical theater. I discovered that I could learn choreography, but it took me a lot longer than other people; however, once I knew the dance I could rock it out. In college, I had to learn to step with my sorority, which completely exposed my lack of rhythm, but at the club (yes, I went to the club), I was a dancing machine. Of course, the kind of dancing we did back then did not really require any high level of skill. Although I am pretty sure that it contributed to my current knee and back issues. Even though I may not be the most skilled dancer, I love music and I love to dance. I have started choreographing dance numbers for theater, my cheerleaders, pageants and church. I might not look cute doing the moves, but I know what looks good when other people with skill perform it. There is one place though where it doesn’t matter that I am not a prima ballerina or a whiz at contemporary jazz. That is when I dance before God.
Every year at Vacation Bible School, the music includes dance moves. It gives me the most jubilant feeling to teach the choreography to the children. To watch them laugh, be free, let go and just dance before God. There are the exuberant fast songs and the expressive slow songs. And, when I teach them the dances and we perform them, I understand why David chose to dance before God. Once you forget about how you look and just start giving sincere praise to God, dancing is so liberating!
Then, as you fully surrender, the greatest Dance Partner, the Audience of One, can join in with you. He can move in and through You, leading you into the most intimate worship. I am learning a song called, “Dance With Me,” by Jesus Culture, and it reminds me of how beautiful it is to just dance before God. You do not have to have any training or talent. All you have to do is just praise Him in your own way. This kind of praise that yields to the movement of the Spirit can break down walls and strongholds in our lives.
Give it a try. Put on your favorite praise music, whether fast or slow, old or new, gospel or contemporary, and just ask God to be your dance partner. Whether you are joyful or feeling downtrodden, open yourself up to praise Him and don’t hold anything back. These types of intimate moments can happen in your house by yourself or in a church full of people, but I am challenging you to allow them to happen, you will not regret the closeness that you feel to the Master. Say, “Won’t You dance with me, oh, Lover of my soul to the song of all songs?” God will never deny you the opportunity to grow closer to Him. He will embrace you and lead you in the dance. Ms. EV
I like to bake desserts in my spare time and for your next event (shameless plug for EV Catering). My favorite thing to bake is cupcakes, but the hard part about cupcakes is pouring the batter into the cupcake pan without making a mess and wasting batter. After watching several episodes of “Cupcake Wars” on Food Network, I noticed that the professionals use ice cream scoops to get the right amount of batter quickly into the cupcake liners. So, I decided that before I baked my next batch of cupcakes, I would get a scoop.
As much as I love cake and cupcakes, I do not like frosting, so when I am baking for myself, I usually leave it off or use very little. However, when I am baking for a client, I have to frost the cupcakes and they need to look professional, so, in order to do that, I have tried several different piping bags and methods of making the frosting look beautiful and appetizing. I know that it tastes fantastic; however, many people eat with their eyes first, so it needs to look fantastic. So, in addition to my cupcake scoop, I also set out on a mission to find a new cupcake decorating tool.
I recently had an order to fill, so when I went to get ingredients I looked for my new baking toys. I was a little dismayed at the prices of the items though. In the aisle, as I scanned up and down, back and forth for something in the right price range, I stopped and prayed. I asked God to help me find what I needed. I took one more stroll down the aisle, and all of a sudden, I see not an ice cream scoop, but a cupcake scoop. It was priced perfectly. I moved on to the aisle with the decoration tools. The same scenario played out. I found what I wanted, but it was way more than I was willing to pay. I stopped, and I don’t even think I said a whole prayer, I think I just said, “Ok, God, here we go again.” I turned around and I spotted a cupcake decorating tool. I did a little mini-shout right there in the store. I used both of these new tools for the order, and my prep time and decorating time were greatly decreased, I was less frustrated, and the cupcakes were a “huge hit,” according to the client.
Why am I going on and on about cupcakes and baking tools? It is not about those specific items. It is about the fact that I love and serve a God who cares about every detail of my life. If it concerns me, it concerns Him because He cares for me. In fact, He said I could cast all of my cares on Him because He cares for me. A lot of times, we think that we are bothering God with the “little things” in our lives. I can attest to that. There are people dying and suffering and hungry and unsaved, so why would I bother God by asking Him to help me find baking tools? Because the God I serve can handle the sick, the wounded, the hungry and the lost, and He can still care about everything that concerns me.
I have found that when I stop asking God about the smaller details of life, eventually I star leaving Him out of the bigger details in my life, and then, I just start getting all sassy and independent. God wants to communicate with us and be our companion. He has called us friends. And, I don’t know about anyone else, but I tell my closest friends even the smallest details of my life because I find beauty in that level of intimacy with friends, even when the details seem silly. God wants to be involved in ALL things in our lives from buying baking tools to buying a house; from choosing furniture to choosing a future spouse. The fact that we talk to Him and listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit shows our trust in Him. So, include God in ALL things. If you have a real relationship with Him, there is no area of your life that about which He does not care. If you really tap into an intimate friendship with God, it will be the best relationship in your life. Ms. EV
About Ms. EV
When you have elevated values, it is not about being snobby; it is about living victoriously!
© Toni L. Wortherly and Ms. EV's Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Toni Wortherly and Ms. EV's Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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