All The Single Ladies

I am a helpless

romantic

 

and I long for a special man

for every woman

 

a prince for every princess

who longs for a prince

 

But even more than this

 

I long for you, single women,

to know your groom Jesus first

 

I long for you to want Him

more than any man

 

I long for you to know Him

and love Him first

 

before you find your Mr. Wonderful

 

I long for you to be so grounded in Truth

and the Truth-Speaker, Jesus,

 

that no human man

could take His place

 

No groom will match

the One who chose you first

 

And no romance will compare

to the one you can have with Him

 

If you can only see it

and hear it

and feel it

 

If only you can KNOW it

 

That is what I long for

for you

 

What a gift our Groom is

to the whole body of Christ

 

He gave everything

for us

 

and He is unswervingly faithful

and true

 

This is love,

 

True Love

 

– Susie Stewart

 

 

This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

– 1 John 4:10 (VOICE)

 

I made you. I am now your husband. My name is the Lord Who Rules Over All. I am the Holy One of Israel. I have set you free. I am the God of the whole earth.

– Isaiah 54:5 (NIRV)

 

And then I’ll marry you for good—forever! I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness. Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go. You’ll know me, God, for who I really am.

– Hosea 2:19,20 (MSG)

 

Now is the time for joy and happiness.
        He deserves all the glory we can give Him.
    For the wedding feast has begun; the marriage of the Lamb to His bride has commenced,
        and His bride has prepared herself for this glorious day.

    She had been given the finest linens to wear,
        linens bright and pure,
        woven from the righteous deeds of the saints.

– Revelation 19:7,8 (VOICE)

 

You’ll get a brand-new name
    straight from the mouth of God.
You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand,
    a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.
No more will anyone call you Rejected,
    and your country will no more be called Ruined.
You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight),
    and your land Beulah (Married),
Because God delights in you
    and your land will be like a wedding celebration.
For as a young man marries his virgin bride,
    so your Builder marries you,
And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,
    so your God is happy with you.

– Isaiah 62:3-5 (MSG)

 

Harvest

Our hearts are soil

and God has provided

all that we need to harvest that soil

 

with love

and righteousness

and goodness

 

 

by allowing His Spirit

to cultivate in us

all for His Divine purpose

 

May the soil of your heart

and mine

not become hardened

and parched

 

but may we be soft

and plantable

with Living Water

and the seed of God’s Word

firmly planted

 

We can be assured of a harvest

bountiful

and huge

bringing glory to the Master Gardener

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.

– Hosea 10:12 (NLT)

 

Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

– Galatians 6:7 (MSG)

 

For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

– 2 Corinthians 9:10,11 (NLT)

 

And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

– Luke 8:15 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

Secret

I know a secret….

 

it’s one I want to spread

to anyone reading this

 

Paul shared what he had learned

and I listened

 

for I myself needed what this secret offered

 

and all of us do

 

It’s a secret

about how to be content

 

and not just content when things are pleasant

but content in any circumstance

 

How can that be when I’m not happy?

When things are not going as planned?

When I suffer and I don’t know why?

or

All is stripped away?…

 

What then?

 

How can I be content

when important things

important people

important well-being

keep me happy

enable me to do what I do things

are stripped away

 

What then?

 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

 

So there

I said it

 

The secret is out

 

and it has been

since Paul penned those words so long ago

 

and it was known in the hearts of many of his predecessors

 

Joseph in a prison

David on the run

Ruth in a foreign land

Hosea with a wayward wife

Noah on a rockin’ boat

Moses with an overwhelming job

Esther in a palace of pressure

Jonathan with relatives closed to truth

Abraham never able to settle down

Isaac with work piled high

Jonah with a task unbelievable

and the list goes on

 

and the stories go

that each one came to find

that trusting God

and following God

and surrendering to God

is where you find contentment

 

in the messes

and the inconveniences

and the hardships

of life

 

and we each have our head-kept lists

of why discontentment is an option

 

and then we remember the secret

to being content

in any

and all

circumstances

 

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

– Susie Stewart

 

 

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

– Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

 

I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

– 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 (NLT)

 

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9,10 (NLT)

 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

– Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

 

Photo taken by Arik Stewart

Romance

Admittedly

I’m a romantic

 

and when I heard the words to the song recently

 

about how

 

She is his life

and She is his whole world

 

it sounded so beautiful

and so

 

well,

romantic

 

but I thought about

how my stance has changed

since I was young,

a young romantic

 

Truth be told

when I met Mr. Wonderful

and started dating Mr. Wonderful

and married Mr. Wonderful

 

he was my whole world

 

I could barely think of much else

 

I loved God too

but I cared more about seeking Andy’s attention

than seeking my God

 

But of course

 

earthly affections do not completely satisfy

they don’t completely fill you

 

and when a person is your whole world

you can’t help but be disappointed

 

it’s inevitable

 

because that’s not how it’s meant to be

 

No one fills and satisfies

a soul’s longings

 

even for romance

 

like Jesus

 

He’s the heroic groom

for His bride,

His follower

 

And as I’ve gone through the ups and downs

of life

I am thankful to have gone through them

with Mr. Wonderful

 

and yes, I’m thankful for romance

in my marriage

 

but

 

my love for my Savior

my focus on His affections

my longing to do His will

to do what I do out of love for Him

has surpassed all other loves

 

I’ve come to realize

that He has been pursuing me

romancing me

loving me

all this time

even since the womb

 

And when I focus on Him

other relationships in life pale in comparison

 

but then all is as it should be

 

and I am free to love people

without expecting them to be God

 

 

– Susie Stewart

 

IMG_0003_3

 

…Then I gave you My divine promise to always be your Beloved, and I entered the sacred covenant of marriage with you. I wed you, and you became Mine.

– Ezekiel 16:8 (VOICE)

 

As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you;

as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

– Isaiah 62:5 (NIV)

 

For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.

– Isaiah 54:5 (NLT)

 

I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.

– Hosea 2:20 (NLT)

 

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for His wedding
or a bride with her jewels.

– Isaiah 61:10 (NLT)

 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

– Revelation 21:1,2 (NLT)

 

“Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness.

– Jeremiah 2:2 (NLT)

 

The marriage covenant of a husband and wife is to be a beautiful representation of Christ and His beloved, the church.  The earthly relationship should never overshadow the Divine.

– Susie Stewart

 

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her…

As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”  This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.

– Ephesians 5:25,31,32 (NLT)

 

Photos taken by Bob Karraker