Why Number Seven is Important by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

 Have you ever put off something you knew you were called to do?

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Because I was  a fatherless child, I desired to write a book to help people overcome father wounds. I wanted them to understand that God is their Father when their own father dies prematurely, like mine did, and that their heavenly Father also wants to be their dad when an earthly father lets them down.

creative writing

I started this book over twenty years ago but couldn’t get it finished. Other books jumped in front. A devotional. A book about women’s insecurity. Two Children’s books. Book projects at work. So it wasn’t about being undisciplined. It was more about God’s timing. It wasn’t time yet.

I believe my heavenly Father knew my life needed more flavor.

Writing seasoning.

Life seasoning.

And he wanted me to have a clearer understanding of who He is so I could better capture his Fatherly attributes on paper.

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Then in May of this year I felt an urgency to finish the book. The Holy Spirit was saying, “It’s time.” He placed fatherless people in front of me who desired to tell their stories. Then he said, “I want you to take a seat as I show you how to put this book together.” So for several months I took dictation whenever I could carve out a couple of hours. I felt like my Father in Heaven played back old home movies and narrated them as they flashed before me.

“Remember this day, Lisa? I was there.”

“Your sportscasting career. I’m the one who led you into it and at one point, I’m the one who took it away.”

“When you were down, I picked you up with a special song that I played just for you.”

I typed as fast as I could as he wove a story together that only He could tell.

And then it was completed and dedicated to: The Only Father I Ever Knew. What gathered dust for twenty years was completed in about three months.

Seven

As I thought about the order of my books, I realized this is Number Seven and it was completed in 2017. Of course. Seven is God’s perfect number. After creation, He rested on the seventh day. Weeks are divided into seven days. There are seven branches on the menorah, a fixture in Jewish homes today, but originated in the ancient tabernacle. In end times there will be seven trumpets, seven seals and seven churches. You get the picture. Seven is a special number to God.

So I don’t know where God will take The Only Father I Ever Knew but I am praying it will be used to encouraged all those who have father wounds. What I do know is it is time and I am overjoyed that it’s finished.

Heart in Clouds

I write this post today not to bring glory to myself but to glorify God and encourage you. If it seems like something has taken a long time coming, do not be dismayed or discouraged. God’s timing is perfect. It may take twenty years but don’t ever give up. Hold onto the dream. Keep praying for it to come to pass and when it’s time, it will happen quickly.

“I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly” (Isaiah 60:22).

Why Should We Eliminate Distractions?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10)

For months I had waited for this day.

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After a busy ministry schedule, I sat on the back porch of our first floor beachfront condo and tried to enter the presence of God.

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But there was a black cat staring at me from the grassy area below.

With hundreds of other condos at the facility, why did he choose mine?

I tried to ignore him but it was difficult with his gaze locked on me. I went back to prayer and reading God’s word. I desperately wanted to hear from my heavenly Father and for whatever reason, I hear his voice more clearly at the beach.

But then I was startled by the unexpected.

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A seagull relieved himself directly over our condo patio. The spray covered the porch and my clothes.

Disgusting.

Why were there so many distractions?

At that moment I realized the enemy of my soul was trying to steal this time that I had anticipated for so long. I immediately cried out, “Satan, you are not wanted here. You have been defeated by the blood of Christ. I command you to flee.”

When I looked down, the black cat had disappeared. I thought, Maybe he moved to the next condo. There was no sign of him… anywhere. So I cleaned myself up and at long last, I was able to spend the morning with the Lord.

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I had forgotten that when we enter the spiritual realm, there are both good an evil present there. We must bind evil and ask God to only hear His voice.

However, distractions aren’t only at the beach. They’re in our homes as well.

Cell phones buzzing.

Facebook notifications.

Laundry to do.

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Except for that morning cup of coffee, I try to give God first fruits when I spend time with him in the morning. What about you? I generally don’t turn on my cell phone until after I’ve worshipped, prayed and studied. Once we open the door to a distraction, more come pouring in, just like the seagull’s spray.

thiefAnd just as it says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy,” the Devil’s accomplished his goal when we allow distractions to interfere with our time with God. He doesn’t want us to draw closer to our Father. He hates it when we get a Word or receive strength for the day. His job is to throw us off track and feel defeated.

So tomorrow morning before you start your morning quiet time, remember to eliminate the distractions first. When you do, your window with God will be free of interruptions and you’ll be more likely to hear from Him in the still of the morning.

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Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_Krisdog’>Krisdog / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

#MeToo

Oklahoma

I was nineteen years old and a sophomore in college. It was our Spring Break and I spent the week in Oklahoma with my friend who grew up there. We made the rounds. That night it was “Drown Night” at Pistol Patties in Stillwater, an Oklahoma State hangout at the time. Pistol Patties was running a special: “Buy one beer, laced with Everclear; get one free until 8:00 p.m.” We arrived with an hour to spare and made up for lost time. By the time the special ended, my world and judgment were hazy.

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I remember my friends bringing over a handsome OSU student to meet me, as if I was the queen greeting subjects. I can still picture him. He had dark hair; a mustache and was wearing overalls (popular at the time). There was an immediate attraction; he asked me to dance and we spent the rest of the night getting to know each other. At about 11:00 p.m., my friend and ride, also inebriated, said to the young man, “I’m going back. Can you take Lisa home?” He agreed, but because I was not thinking in my right mind, I didn’t oppose the plan. “Home” was an hour away. Stillwater to Edmund, Oklahoma, where my friend’s parents lived.

The boy did drive me “home,”  but in order to make it back there was a stop at his dorm room along the way. Friends later told me I was lucky he was the only one who took advantage of me, and not a gang of other boys that night. The OSU frat boys were known for that, they said.

As I look back, I realize I was fortunate that something worse didn’t happen. I didn’t know the character of this young man or if he was really a student. I could have been drugged or killed.

I also realized that I put myself in this position. While what he did was wrong, I should have said goodbye to the temporary tryst, jumped into my friend’s car and never put myself in that situation.

But I didn’t.

cross on eye

I’d like to say this is the only time I compromised God’s pure plan for my life concerning sexuality, but it is not. Because of those wayward college years I understand God’s grace.

However, I didn’t comprehend the full scale of my sinfulness until many years later during a Bible study on Romans. The curriculum asked us to insert our names into a passage from Romans 1:21-25:

“For although Lisa knew God, she neither glorified him as God or gave thanks to him, but Lisa’s thinking became futile and her foolish heart was darkened. Although Lisa claimed to be wise, she became a fool and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave Lisa over in the sinful desires of her heart to sexual impurity for the degrading of her body with another. She exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised.”

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I traded my relationship with a Holy God for the idols of popularity with boys and for what I thought was love. Maybe you can relate to this story. It is never right for a man to take advantage of a woman, but often times we put ourselves in compromising scenarios. Over the years as a television sports reporter and a rededicated Christian, it sometimes took great willpower to honor my marriage and my faith while on the road. But I did by setting up guardrails in my life, saying “no” to invitations, and through prayer.

I wish I could have a “do-over” for the lost years, but what I love about my heavenly Father is that he sent his Son to shed his blood for me to cover all of the sins I committed. After I repented for the mistakes I made as a teenager and into my twenties, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says I became a new creation in Christ. The old was gone.

I am thankful I am no longer that person from college anymore. While I am still a sinner, it is now my desire to live up to my heavenly Father’s standard, not mine. Through His strength and guidance, I am able to do that.

Thank you Lord for your grace. Without it, I don’t know where I’d be.

The Importance of an Extended Quiet Time

 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).

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I remember when I was asked to speak to three women’s luncheons at South Padre Island. It didn’t take long for me to say yes, because the beach is my happy place. For some reason, it is the location where I hear the voice of God the clearest. It is where I find rest. The expanse of the water, beyond what my naked eye can see, waves crashing against the seashore with seagulls squealing overhead, all remind me of the greatness of God.

praying

After I speak to the groups about my faith story this week, I plan to take three days to lay my life before the Lord. I will ask him how to proceed with my writing, my speaking, Pearls of Promise events, church life, volunteer and paid work. Everyone should take extended periods of time to do this.

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You may have a plan for your life, but is it God’s plan? Jesus said he only does what he sees his Father doing.

What does the Father want you to do?

We only know that we are in God’s will when we take the time to listen to his instruction.

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Almost fifteen years ago, it was at the beach that God told me to make a radical change in my life by quitting my job so I could focus on seminary and my family. He called me to seminary and knew the road ahead would be too demanding for me. I was disobedient, and tried to juggle it all the following year. Trying to balance full-time and church work, mothering two small children and part-time school had unhealthy consequences. God knows best and that is why we must seek his direction.

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Jesus loved to be with people. Just read the Gospels. He constantly spoke to crowds and traveled with a dozen close friends. I enjoy groups of people as well and love spending time with my Christian sisters, but Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

You can’t hear the voice of God with distractions around you.

You can’t decipher his message with the television blaring.

You won’t receive God’s word for you as you speed past his presence.

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That’s why I am excited about this week. I look forward to sharing my testimony with many women and praying God will use my personal story to lead someone to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. However, I am also anticipatory about what my heavenly Father will say to me in the days that follow. The timing of this trip to the southern Texas coast couldn’t be more perfect.

Won’t you consider setting aside a period of extended time to meet with God about your life?

Leveling God Up

“You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you” (Psalm 118:28).

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It was only a few weeks before the Level-Up Conference and I was worried. The numbers weren’t where I anticipated and there was still a lot to do. In Moses-like fashion I asked God, “Are you sure you called me to do this?” I knew the answer but I just wanted my heavenly Father to pat me on the back and say it would be okay.

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With our marketing card in front of me, I prayed on my knees for our Level-Up team. Protect them from harm. Speak through them. Keep them well, Lord. It was then that I heard,

“When are you going to level me up?”

The thought came from left field so I knew God was speaking.

I had been focused on the team, and the people attending but forgot the main thing.

This event was about glorifying God and exalted Him through the program. I repented immediately and changed my prayer and my focus.

How can we lift You up through this conference, Lord? What is the best way to make Your name great?

This message from God was a turning point in many ways. First, through His adjustment, God confirmed the Level-Up Conference was His directive. I never doubted His call again. Once we placed the emphasis of the conference where it needed to be, a flurry of registrations came in and God placed His holy stamp on the event.

heart with cross

As I look back on Saturday’s conference, I am in awe of my heavenly Father’s work.

I am thankful to Him for giving me an amazing woman of God to partner with on this project.

I am grateful for how he provided a specific message to every speaker, and how he anointed each singer or musician.

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When our décor volunteer encountered a family emergency, days before the event, another friend stepped in to decorate the tables. What a blessing she is!

I am thankful for a sister in Christ who traveled from San Antonio to serve on the prayer team because she believed in what we were doing.

I only know a few stories but I am praising God for how he worked in women’s lives on Saturday.

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I am grateful for the Lord’s leading to the perfect venue and for the church employees’ spirit of hospitality while we were there.

Please forgive me for doubting your call, Lord.

Please forgive me when I don’t place you at the center of my life.

Thank you for gently redirecting my path when I stray off your path.

Before this conference even happened, God was already whispering information about the next event in my ear. I tried to block out the details. Not now. I have to get through this one!

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Today I say, “Yes, Lord. I am ready Lord. When and how? And most importantly, show me how to appropriately level You up.”

 

 

 

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