The July 12th program of Issues After Dark: Ladies Night with Donna with Dr. Lois Evans (www.loisevans.org) as our special guest was a wonderful as well as enlightening program. Unfortunately, the program disappeared into the netherworld of cyberspace and we can do neither re-air or podcast. As I result, I am sharing some excerpts from Dr. Evans’ book (excerpts the publisher allowed me to “clip” from the ebook) however, if you want the rest, you will have to purchase the book. In fact, you should purchase this book for your personal library and personal edification. I guarantee you will be blessed by Dr. Evans’ wisdom and spiritual insights gleaned from the Bible book of Esther as well as her personal experience. Any statements or questions in italicized bold print are my own; everything else is from Dr. Evans’ book. Be sure to check out her website (share it with any first ladies you know) and check out my essays in the Reading Room.
May God bless you as you trust Him in this season of your life.
SEASONS OF A WOMAN’S LIFE
Study from Book of Esther coupled with the life lessons of Dr. Lois Evans
For who knows whether God has called you to the Kingdom for such a time as this?
“Whatever their age, whatever their responsibilities, women want to know, Will it always be like this?”
But besides learning about life’s seasons from my own walk with God, I’ve also learned many lessons from the biblical story of Esther. God had an important plan for Esther’s life, and He led her through a specific process of preparation until she was ready to fulfill His will. Only after He had prepared her properly was she able to say yes to His will and to see that she had come into the kingdom “for such a time as this.” What do I mean by seasons? We often think of the word in terms of spring, summer, winter, and fall. But I like to think of our life
Season of Seed Planting: Lord calls us to Himself. We commit ourselves to His service, and we enjoy communion with Him. This often takes place while we are still single, before we meet the man God has chosen for us. While we are single, we can devote ourselves to building our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, cherishing Him as our First Love. The King’s court is made up of single and married women.
Season of Growth, which encompasses lessons in obedience, service, and preparation. Just as Esther was taught to be a proper wife to a great king, we also grow up in the King’s court being tutored in self-discipline, sacrifice, and serenity. That is God’s way of preparing us for our particular future in Him.
Season of Harvest. We are finally ready to step into the primary responsibilities for which we have been prepared. During this season, we learn to be content without becoming complacent; we learn to say yes to God’s direction, even when it means stepping out of our comfort zone. And we learn the blessings of fulfillment as we
Our first priority as women is to maintain a vital personal relationship with God. Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” This “fear” is awe-filled respect that flows out of an ongoing relationship with God. Our jobs, careers, and degrees must never overrule our daily intimacy and interaction with our Savior. An ongoing awareness of His Presence and a devotion to His Word will give us stability, confidence, and direction as we pursue the various ministries God calls us into during each season of our lives.
The second priority for us as Christian women in this quickly changing society is our commitment to our families.
PART ONE: THE SEASON OF SEED-PLANTING
Esther 2:5, 7
CHAPTER ONE The Call
The first seed that should be planted in the heart of a godly woman is the seed of God’s call.
LISTENING FOR YOUR CALL:
“How does one learn to listen for the call?”
“How cognizant are we of this fact, that no matter the course of the day or our lives, we are his child?”
OUR HIGHER CALLING Many women are satisfied to be saved and on their way to heaven, not realizing that the Lord has a divine purpose for them on earth.
“How might we get to this place of not realizing that the Lord has a divine purpose for us in this life?”
In order to effectively respond to our calling, it is essential that we walk with God on a daily basis and that we build ourselves up in His Word. This will prepare us for the unknown, unpredictable, and unexpected events that will surely come along in our service to Him. Every one of us who is called by God to serve is also called to “be diligent to present [himself] approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Many women are satisfied to be saved and on their way to heaven, not realizing that the Lord has a divine purpose for them on earth.
THE SMART BLACK BOOK: In order to effectively respond to our calling, it is essential that we walk with God on a daily basis and that we build ourselves up in His Word. This will prepare us for the unknown, unpredictable, and unexpected events that will surely come along in our service to Him. Every one of us who is called by God to serve is also called to “be diligent to present [himself] approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
SUBMITTING TO OUR SEASONS When I think about women and their calling, I am often reminded of the Proverbs 31 woman.
Whatever your season, whatever your call, please don’t be willful. And don’t try to do anything in your own power. His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). It’s true that these aren’t popular ideas in our culture. Listening to God, waiting for His call, allowing Him to be your strength, and choosing to fulfill your season can put you in a lonely position. However, nothing is more rewarding than being in God’s will and experiencing His peace.
The call means that there is a divine purpose for your life that is bigger than you are.
CHAPTER TWO The Commitment
As a child growing up, I knew that our family had few worldly goods, but we had a healthy, disciplined home life. Like most young people, I didn’t always like the discipline, but I saw and respected the good example set by my parents and their friends. In those years of growth and development, I didn’t realize it, but the Lord had planted another seed in my heart—the seed of commitment. And before I even thought about it, it was beginning to sprout.
God will only use us to the degree that He can trust us. Commitment—which follows our response to His call to salvation-is a commitment to follow Him, not only as Savior, but as Lord. We commit ourselves to become His disciples. And through discipleship we commit ourselves to God’s purpose. Then, as we learn to follow Him, listen to Him, and obey Him, He reveals to us our gifts, talents, and opportunities.
Only those who are committed to God’s purpose will come to know, understand, and experience that purpose.
Making a commitment does not mean that no storms will come up along the way. In fact, it probably means that they will. But when storms arise, we can look to our source of strength for the sustenance to make it through. I love the words of the prophet Habakkuk, recorded in his book in chapter 3, verses 17 through 19: Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Habakkuk’s circumstances were certainly gloomy, but in spite of the realities, he decided to rejoice in and trust an all-knowing God. Then or now, that is true commitment.
When our commitments lead us into storms, if we want to have Resurrection Power for Today, we have to put three principles to work: R.P.T.—Rejoice, Pray, Trust. And we have to speak the Word of God into the situation. In Matthew 4, during His temptation, Jesus—who wrote the Word—used the Word on Satan, and Satan had to flee. If the One who wrote the Word found it necessary to use the Word, how much more should you and I put the Word to work in our own lives? And in order to use the Word, you have to know the Word. Whatever the problem you face, whether at home or at work, with family or friends, or even enemies,
Rejoice that God has allowed you to trust Him.
Pray the blood of Jesus on whatever satanic powers may be at work.
Pray without ceasing. You can’t always close your eyes, but you can pray without ceasing. It is your spiritual oxygen. You can’t stop breathing physically and expect to live—no oxygen produces death. In a similar sense, prayer keeps spiritual oxygen supplied to the body to keep it productive and alive.
Trust the One you pray to because you are praying in the name of the same Jesus who said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”
Finding Him in a Secret Place: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. —PSALM 91:1 That’s the same secret place Jesus was talking about when He said, “When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6) Communion is intimate fellowship and rapport with Jesus Christ. We have to have intimate fellowship. At the cross we were bought with a price, and at the point of salvation we were introduced to the One who bought us. But to know and understand all the benefits of the price paid, we have to read the directions and get to know the Manufacturer really well. We have to fill out the lifetime warranty form so that we can access the Manufacturer anytime there is a need. We have to find out how to call on the One who bought us and how to read His directions for a godly life. We have to build an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. If we want to reap the full benefits of our life in Christ, we have to know Him. We can only know Him by spending time in His Word, in prayer, and in meditation. Communication with Him does not happen by chance. It is a decision of the will.
There are seasons in life where it seems that we are at a standstill. The seminary years were like that for me. In such a season time feels like it is moving slowly or not at all. Whatever we’re passing through, we wait for change—we wait for young children to grow, wait to find a new job, wait until the discomforts of menopause pass, or wait out illness with our parents—and we feel stuck. What should we do? Should we generate more activity, or should we look into Jesus’ face and trust Him to make the path clear? Although stirring things up may momentarily relieve our frustration, as God’s children, we are supposed to allow Him to work out every aspect of our lives— in His time. During a season when we are awaiting change, it is easy for Satan to get our attention because we are not used to being quiet. We go through the motions of mundane daily activity, we find nothing to do that is stimulating, and we question God. Meanwhile, the world screams, “You must do this; you must do that. God never intended for you to be still at this time. If you continue to wait, the world will pass you by.” The Lord has a different message. In Isaiah we read: But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
To wait on the Lord means to be patient and quiet while He is at work. We wait in His presence in that secret place to which He has called us. In that place He will help us understand the importance of patience, the value of rest in Him, and the eternal significance of staying in the center of His will. There is nothing wrong with wanting more out of life, but there is everything wrong in wanting more simply to gratify ourselves: “More for more’s sake.” You always know when more is too much because it invariably takes you outside of the will of God. How do we know when we are outside the will of God? We know when we start manipulating the Scriptures, trying to interpret them according to our likes and dislikes. We know when we forge forward, determined to have our way.
Does God feel our heartaches? Is He aware of our rejections, adversities and loneliness?
Not succumbing to the lies of the devil is a choice; not listening to God is a choice too.
Other believers play a vital role in our lives, too.
–Making Communion part of our lives:
The Persian King had a rule that a woman had to go through 12 months of prep time before she could enter his presence.
“Think about the importance of prep time; God’s holding pattern”
The King of the universe has also set a specific time period for communion with Him in each of our lives before we are adequately prepared for His purposes.
Spending time with the Lord is not an easy task in this frenetic world with all its hectic schedules and relentless demands. We need to schedule in our God-time, or we will never get it done—because nothing takes top priority over our Top Priority.
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” —JEREMIAH 33:3