We had such a great weekend. We spontaneously did go and meet new Baby Bella. She is so little. We enjoyed seeing Jill & Doug as they adjusted to the new life of parenthood. We obviously had a blast with Pop & Yaya (Tyler's parents). We also had the opportunity to spend some time visiting Grandmother & Granddaddy & Mama (maw-maw). A blessed weekend & a blessed Father's Day. Tyler Jr had Mama write a note to dad for Papa's Day & daddy started to cry. That's always fun when you can make a grown man cry out of joy. :) Just thought I'd share a few pictures with you and then we will dive in to this mornings devotion.
SO CUTE! - So, there's Tyler Jr, Mama, Papa & Baby Bella... - I know Baby Bella is super cute IF you can get your eyes off of the DOLL BABY Tyler Jr! And his 2 little teeth. What a little ham! For 7 months, you would've thought he knew what it meant to say "Cheeeeeze!" I can hardly stand it! He's so cute. He is definitely Mama's little man. His Papa isn't too bad either! ;)
(left) Another Doll Baby picture of my boy. Cuter than a Gerber baby in Mama's opinion. He was sitting on Pop's Tractor!
(right) Daddy & Jr riding the bike at Pop & Yaya's. The boy had such a good time. Of course any time that everyone just focuses on him is a good time! He definitely didn't lack on the attention this weekend!
Alright... there is a little insight into the life of Tyler & Amy McCart (and family). LOVE life! Before diving in to our verses for today...I read something interesting in the notes of my Bible...a specific call out to the young men out there, check this out: "...invaluable chapter that one realizes that it is first of all intended for young men. It is the mother's God-given task to provide youth with this information..." So, single men... if your mother did not teach you about this Proverbs 31 woman, it is now YOUR responsibility to study who she is, to study & know what she is all about, and if you are willing to wait for & believe for this Proverbs 31 woman, she can be YOUR WIFE! She can be all you ever wanted, needed, dreamed of. She can be the woman who you never thought was possible to be in existence... designed specifically for you, not only to meet your needs but to be SOOO much more than that. To excel, to stretch you, to make you look good among city leaders, to be more than a wife & mom doing dishes, cleaning dirty faces & doing laundry, but a LEADER, a business woman, and like David, a woman after God's own heart. Young Men, I challenge you to study this woman. She is there for you if you want it. But FIRST, would you recognize her if you saw her? If not, it is time to know, to learn who she is! And ladies, it is time to become this woman! Last but not least....moms, it is never too late to begin teaching your boys what to look for in his future wife... begin teaching him today! Small but true, slide in those truths about what his wife is going to be like. Let's go ahead and dive in this morning....
Proverbs 21:3 - To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Proverbs 31:29 - Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.Where do I believe the Lord wants us to be? Where are we suppose to get too? I believe Proverbs 21:3 is taking us to a place of fullness. A place complete in every aspect. A place of love & devotion. In the Hebrew, the word "sacrifice" breaks down as some of the following words: sacrifices of righteousness, sacrifices of strife, sacrifices of dead things, the covenant sacrifice, annual sacrifice, thank offering. Those are what we are looking at as far as "sacrifice". Not that they are not "acceptable", but there is something even MORE ACCEPTABLE. I believe, MORE pleasing, MORE complete, MORE full.
I believe Proverbs 21 is trying to take us to a deeper place. I believe Proverbs 21 is trying to take us to a place free of sacrifice, free of trying to "prove our love" or "commitment".... I believe that Proverbs 21:3 is trying to take us PAST the place where Abraham brought Isaac to the alter, where he was about to "sacrifice" what was most precious to him out of obedience (See Genesis 22). Abraham was proving to the Lord that HE was the most important. That HE was the truest source of his love. That above ALL else, Abraham was committed to his Father. The familiar story you know, Abraham continues in obedience, in faith that he will leave with his son ALIVE... all the while he binds his son, lays him on the alter, wood ready, knife in hand and just before Isaac is sacrificed, a ram appears in the thicket. Love has been proven. Faithfulness has been proven. I believe that is where Proverbs 21:3 is trying to take us. Past the sacrifice of your favorite food, past the sacrifice of chocolate, of TV, of internet... past the sacrifice of your love or passion. I believe Proverbs 21:3 is trying to take us to a place where our love has been proven. Where it is evident that ALL has been on the alter, and that our true love & focus is our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
I believe it is a place where we are in tune...a place where "our thoughts become agreeable with His will, so our plans are established and succeed" (Proverbs 16:3 amp). I believe the ultimate goal is to be in a place where during your quiet time with the Lord, during YOUR time of study and YOUR time of listening to his voice, you are able to get out your planner and plan out your day. As you write down what you feel like you need to accomplish, you ask the Lord, "Is this what you would have me to do today? Am I missing anything? Am I on track to accomplish my assignment and why I was put here? Are my daily tasks what YOU would have me do Lord?" And then, there, as you quiet yourself and listen, in your mind you hear His voice.... at first you go back and forth within yourself thinking... "Is that just me? Am I thinking that? Are those just my thoughts?".... but you continue to allow yourself to be quiet and you hear, "I am pleased. You are beginning the process of allowing Me to lead your life. You are beginning down a path where you will experience blessing beyond what you could plan. As you put Me first, as you listen to Me, I will line up what you could not have imagined. Continue to listen. Continue to seek Me. I will direct your steps. I will take you to places you never even dreamed. Continue. Continue in Me."
What about our Proverbs 31 friend? It tells us she has arrived to that point. She is past the point of sacrifice. She has proven her love, her devotion, her commitment. It says she has excelled them ALL. Who has she excelled? My Bible lists out the women whom our Proverbs 31 woman has surpassed..... it is quite an extensive & impressive list...
- Miriam, the one who led a nation's women in praise to God (Exodus 15:20-21)
- Deborah, the patriotic military advisor (Judges 4:4-10)
- Ruth, the woman of constancy (Ruth 1:16)
- Hannah, the ideal mother (1 Samuel 1:20, 2:19)
- Shunammite Woman, the hospitable woman (2 Kings 4:8-10)
- Huldah, the woman who revealed God's secret message to national leaders (2 Kings 22:14)
- Queen Esther, the woman who risked sacrificing her life for her people (Esther 4:16)
So....what can be your take away from today? I really think it boils down to a deeper passion, a deeper love. Where you go past the point of sacrifice. Sacrifice may be required in order to get there. As YOU listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to YOU, yes He may reveal an area of sacrifice that is needed. Maybe a love that you have that IS greater than your love for the Lord. An addiction that you have that is exalted above your walk with Him. The way you dress? You like to look pretty and right now showing off your "goods" has been a greater priority than dressing in a modest trendy fashion. Your association? You love the people you hang out with, you love the parties, the fast life, the feeling of importance? Maybe the drugs, maybe the alcohol... or it could just be as subtle as an addiction to having to always KNOW what is going on in your Facebook world.... or having to be in the "know" with your blackberry messenger contacts? Only YOU know what it is for you. It may take sacrifice for you, and it may not. As you listen, you may just hear the Voice drawing you in, saying, "Come. Just come as you are. Just come. Come closer. Draw nearer. Just come."
Draw nearer to a point that your love has been proven... that as Proverbs 21:3 talks about, you are past the point of sacrifice. Your daily actions have been directed. You are walking & living in FULLNESS. You are in the CENTER of where the Lord wants you to be. You are on the path to pursuing what you were put on earth to pursue. You are walking in your calling! You are living in the center of your PURPOSE. Draw near to the Lord today. Come.