*This message was transcribed from Karen Loritts' True Woman '10 Indianapolis message.
Karen Loritts: Ladies, if you would, please stand with me. I have a Scripture I would like for us all to read.Let's hold hands.Join me together.
“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4, ESV).
Let's pray. Father, our desire today is to trust in You, our everlasting rock. Lord, these ladies aren’t here to listen to any of my stories. I am so inadequate. We are here to lift up the only true God and Your precious Word. Help us, Father, to hear from You, and then quickly to respond to what the Spirit of God is speaking to each one of us individually. We bless You. We invite You to do Your work today. In Your holy name, amen.
You may have a seat.
If you would come to our little, humble home in a suburb of Atlanta, in Marietta, you would notice several things as you first of all come into our kitchen. The way our house is situated, it's a big, wide open space. So our rooms go from the kitchen to the family room and into the dining room. We have a big, wide open space with lots of windows. It's a great place just to see fellowship going on all around.
But you would notice in the kitchen at the top of the cabinets there are several things that I have decorated our house with intentionally to give honor to God, to show my commitment to Him as a family, and then to show our responsibility. One of those is a big sign that spells out the word family. It sits at the top, and it oversees our kitchen. Then there are some things there in the kitchen that really shows every state that our kids were born in. There are towels and those types of things. So you see things about family.
In our living room, we have this huge collection of pictures: baby pictures, pictures from all our four children, their marriages, grand pictures, and then we have all these albums, albums of their marriages, when we had Mimi and Papa camp for our grandkids, so our family is represented in the collection of those pictures.
Another thing that you would see in our kitchen is another big sign that sits on another cabinet that overlooks the kitchen, and it says believe. That is represented because I have a collection throughout the house of not only Scriptures on the wall but crosses. I love to collect crosses, whether they are pop art, wooden. I even have some that are kind of funky that are made with twigs. I just love crosses that represent that my life began at the cross of Christ.
Then probably over a year ago I picked up this one little plaque, not as though I needed something else to put into our house. I got this little plaque, and it simply is stated trust, t-r-u-s-t. It’s a cute little plaque that says trust, and I placed it in my kitchen so I can see it when I'm going into the refrigerator—those days I do cook. I'm an empty nester. The days I do cook at the stove, but it really represents what I wanted for my life. I just wanted to trust God. That particular plaque has become an eye sore to me, and I'll tell you the reason why.
Last year my husband announced to our church that we are going to host a 10-day tour to the Holy Lands. And ladies, for three different tries Crawford has tried to get me to go to the Holy Lands. I already told him. I said, “I'm going to the Holy Lands. I'm going first class, and Jesus is going to be my tour guide. (Laughter)
I had no desire to go to the Holy Lands, and the only reason why I didn't want to go to the Holy Lands, let me be honest with you, I didn't like flying. If there was any other way to get over to the Holy Lands, I wanted to go, but I think I would need to take a plane to get over there, and for me, taking a flight . . . I’d try to help the pilot out. I am just not a good person to fly in a plane.
But he announces to the whole church, “We are going to the Holy Lands, and my wife is going with me.” (Laughter) Every time I saw that little plaque in the kitchen that says trust, I say, “Okay, God, okay, okay. You’ve got my attention, and now I'm going to really have to step up and trust You.”
So it got down to the time we were going to take off to go to the Holy Lands this past October, and I had everybody praying for me. It was terrible. Some of you like to fly, but I don't like to fly. If there was any other way of getting there . . . I just wanted God to beam me up and get me over there. But it was time to go, and I was having all my prayer partners to pray for me because I wanted to go. God had provided a free ticket for us to go, and there was no earthly reason why I shouldn't go. God called us to go, and I wanted to be obedient, plus that little trust sign grew eyes and was shouting at me, “Trust Me, trust Me, trust Me.”
So we went to the Holy Lands in October, and, ladies, let me tell you, if you have not gotten a chance to go, if you have an opportunity to go to see the place where our Savior lived and died, you'll look at the Bible a whole lot differently.
So I went to the Holy Lands. I loved it. I wasn’t squeamish on the flight. For 13 hours, it was a good flight. I knew people were praying, and Delta did a really good job to get us there. So I trusted Him. Then my husband announced that we were going to take this trip that had been scheduled two years prior to go to the Island of Fiji.
Now, I don't know what map you have looked at, but it’s kind of hard to find Fiji on the map.
It's like the end of the sentence. I mean, there’s no font. There’s not even a six-point font or eight-point font. You can't even see it on the map.
He says, “Karen, we have been invited by the former ambassador from Fiji, he's a believer, to come over and minister with another couple to families and leaders, and we are going to go.”
I got my prayer partners praying for me again, and that was a great flight over. We even went first class. God arranged that we went first class by these people. We went over there, 11-hour flight from California. It was a great flight, great ministry, hundreds of people received the Lord Jesus Christ, but for me, it was just seeing that God says when you trust Me, God works everything out, even the flight over.
So those were two of the things that God had put me through, but, you know, God has a way in my life of serving up exams. And one of His exams was, “Karen, I want to know, would you really trust Me?” So He serves up these things, I call crisis buffets. (Laughter) One of them was going over to Israel. That flight check, I passed. The other flight, it was going over to Fiji, and this next flight was coming into our life here this past February.
This year both Crawford and I turned 60. He is older than me. He turned 60 first in February, and I decided . . . our sons had put together this golf trip. He loves golf, and so they flew Dad down to Florida. The boys had a great three-day celebration with their dad and took him on this golf trip.
I wanted to do something on a small scale because he did not want anything big. When you turn 60, you’re supposed to do something, but he just wanted some friends. So several couples, we got together and took him out to his favorite Italian restaurant, and there in the restaurant we had a great, great time.
Crawford was a little slow coming in from parking into the celebration, and when he came in, we just picked up and had dinner. We were there about two and a half hours, and things were going just fine. After dinner Crawford and I got back in the car, and on the way home he turned to me, and these are the words that he said.
He says, “Honey, something awful has happened to our family.” I just looked at him and he started articulating that our family that very evening had come under spiritual attack. You see, our family was violated by someone we had loved and known for over 20 years, and it had split our family, our four children, just right in the heart.
Ladies, let me tell you, I have never been so broken and in such despair, so worried about our little family as I had been that night in February. I was so anxious. I looked over at Crawford and I said, “This is not happening. This is not real. How could this be? How could somebody do this to our family that has divided our children?” We have no idea how this has come about, how this person that we had loved had come into our lives . . . we loved that person . . . and they violated us.
As I'm looking at Crawford, I'm saying, “This is a horror movie.” I'm not really hearing what he's saying. I kept listening to him and looking at him, and he says, “Yes, honey, this is true.”
Ladies, let me just tell you what happened. The next several days, I really wish I could say I wanted to spank somebody, but I wanted to take my fist and punch somebody. I wanted to hurt somebody for hurting my husband and my four children. They had violated us.
It was not the Christian thing to do. I wasn't going to be lovey-dovey. I wanted to hit somebody and hurt somebody real, real bad because my children were crying, and I was tired of crying. The next several days I went from room to room to room crying out to God, “God, help me! Help us.”
I talked about the blood of Jesus. I did defensive prayers. I was battling for the very soul of our family. This wasn't right. This wasn't right, and I was tired of being sick and tired of crying. I don't know, probably buckets of tears I cried. And then you know what? There was that stinking little trust sign. That stinking trust sign stared me in the face. I felt like picking it up and (laughter) yeah, you've got it. But I felt as though if I had touched it, I would have leprosy, because God was trying to teach me something, and I dared not do it.
Ladies, hear me. God is a smart God. So, of course, when I read my scriptures, this is what He gave me. Proverbs 28:26. I don't know if it's in your Bible, but it popped into my Bible, and Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” Yeah, I was a fool because I was ready to do some damage. I wasn't going to be Christian about it. I was going to hurt somebody and then pray for forgiveness later. (Laughter)
Can I be honest with you? That was bad. That was bad news. But here’s the other part of the verse: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”
“He who walks wisely will be delivered.” Ladies, I want to talk about my deliverance. All of us know that God will deliver us. He can deliver us from any situation. He'll deliver us in the situation. We are seven months into this horrible, horrible, horrible family crisis, and I have no idea how He's going to deliver us, but He'll deliver us through it.
Let me just share just a few things, some of my ramblings on how God is working on Karen Loritts, because I want to trust God. God is a true God. God is a good God, and His Word is true. He says, “Walk wisely, and He will deliver,” and God, I need deliverance. I don't know what's going to happen to our family.
I don't know if you can identify with me, but God says if you want deliverance, you have to do at least these three things. Let me share these three things, some closing remarks, and I'll take my seat.
He says a true woman, a true biblical woman who wants deliverance, just not the same old stuff, but who takes a stand for God, God's going to take it to God's school. I've been always good at obeying God, but God says, “Karen, I need for you to trust Me in this situation because you are in the midst of this crisis.”
Let me just share with you these three things, and I’ll take my seat. If you have an outline, something to write on, write these three things, and I'll come back and put something more on it.
A wise woman, a true biblical woman trusts in the peace of Christ.
Secondly, she trusts in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And thirdly, she trusts in the presence of God.
If you have a Bible, turn with me to Colossians 3. She trusts in the peace of Christ. Let me read the verses in Colossians 3:14-17. It says,
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called to one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thanksgiving in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, given thanks through to God the Father through him (NIV).
There are several things from this verse. A wise woman who trusts in the peace of Christ, first of all, she has the peace of Christ. It talks about letting Him call the shots; let Him rule. God was not asleep when our crisis hit the family. One of the things I’m praying for God is, “God, I need for You to continually call the shots in our situation. I need for You who knows, the sovereign God, who knows everything. You were not blindsided; You were not asleep. You brought this into our lives so that we can trust You, but Lord, we know that You want us to experience Your peace.”
The second thing it says, the Word of Christ, God's Word is true. How many times, year after year after year have I sat and had devotions and cried and read and asked God and applied the Word of God. Now God says, “Karen, now it's time to go through the exam.” The Word of Christ.
I love what Psalm 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him” (NASB).
He says He's our strength, and He's our shield. The Word of Christ dwells in our hearts. It's soothing. It's comforting.
And lastly, from the Colossian’s passage, a true woman who trusts in the peace of God, she cultivates thankfulness. “Thankful, God? No, I'm not thankful. That day I could not truly say that I was thankful for the slice of crisis buffet that You served me.” I was angry. I was hurt. I was fearful. I had no idea how our family would ever be . . . In fact, one of our children says, “This is a defining moment in our family. We will never be the same.”
But I have to be thankful because God is not playing games with our lives. You are just not a pawn on a chess board. God loves you. God loves us. He has the best intentions for us, but He has to take you from one point to another to get you to be all that you said you want to be. And God, I want to be a woman that is true to the Word of God. How can I stand before people, how I pray for my grandchildren if I haven't seen God do some deep work in my life?
Cultivate thankfulness. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine.” My heart was broken. I had no joy. I was a complete mess, but Scripture says, “A joyful heart.” I choose joy, God. In the midst of a mess, I choose joy because You are a good Father and have a thankful heart. So I'm going to be thankful in the midst of it. Why? Because I'm going to trust in the peace of Christ on who He is, and what He says.
Secondly, a wise woman, a true woman, a truly biblical woman trusts in the power of the Holy Spirit. If I didn't have the Holy Spirit, I would have just melted away that day in February. My heart was breaking. My heart was literally breaking in so many pieces that there wasn't enough trash bags for me to pick up the pieces of my heart. It was like I was having a heart attack. But the Holy Spirit . . . God left the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit does a great job. He does a great job.
For all of us that are believers, at the moment of salvation, He comes and indwells us. But on a moment by moment decision of a will to Him, we surrender the power to control us. “Be filled,” Ephesians says. “Be filled and controlled.”
It’s a moment by moment experience, and to be honest, a lot of my time after those days of hearing this dreadful news against our family, against our children, was that I was acting really in the flesh. I didn't say any bad words, but I had bad thoughts. I really wanted to hurt somebody. I really wanted . . . you know, if I could have put some curses on them, I would have. At that time, I was standing out. The Holy Spirit was not controlling me.
“Be controlled.” In my confusion and weariness, I had to call on the Lord. “Lord, forgive me—and I named specifically—my heart, my anger, my bitterness against this person,” and I said, “Lord, You knew this all along. You’ve watched this. So I confess.”
The power of the Holy Spirit is not only being filled and controlled, but it’s also being fruitful. The Holy Spirit produces the fruit. We know in Galatians 5:22-23, those nine fruits. They come and tell us that they’re the believer’s source in God. The three say, “Love, joy, and peace.” Express love. Express and embrace joy. Express and experience the peace that only God could give.
You understand what I'm saying, Lord, when it says my love, sacrificially loving your husbands.
Some of you ladies have husbands that may have lost their jobs. I've seen this. Some in my circle of friends have lost their jobs, and I have seen women walking away from their husbands. They are not sacrificially loving their husbands, but when you are being fruitful, you love and express joy.
Those of you who are single, I understand that your heart's desire is may be to be married. But joy says when you are fruitful, that even though I'm always a bridesmaid and never a bride, I'm going to embrace joy and peace.
Is there too much month at the end of the money? God says experience His peace that He's able to do that.
The other parts of the things that we can experience, things that the Holy Spirit produces, is reaching out to others through patience and kindness and goodness, lovingly enjoying that prodigal child, showing patience.
You may have been the second or third or not even a choice of your in-laws to be a daughter-in-law. They love the other girl more than they loved you. A woman that is bearing fruit shows kindness and goodness. That person that has wronged and violated our family, goodness says that I still reach out to them in spite of what they have done to us.
The last part of the fruit that we see in Galatians as believers, we have good conduct, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, not being bitter, being considerate and disciplined.
For me, self-control is that I was out of control. I was out of control when word got to us, and seven months later, I'm seeing the fruit of my allegiance to God and what He's brought to me, and it's been hard, very, very hard.
So, God says, “You could trust Me,” and a godly woman, a true woman, trusts in the peace of Christ. She trusts in the power of the Holy Spirit to be filled, to be fruitful, but last, she trusts in the presence of God.
Psalm 37, a very familiar passage. Psalm 37, verse 3, 4, and 5 says,
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it (NASB).
Ladies, I am determined to wait on the deliverance of God. I'm saying that now, but I couldn't have said that even a month ago. It is hard waiting when you are going through something to wait. My questions, first of all: “God, why us?” We had sons in ministry, our girls are doing great. We have great grandchildren. Why? Why me? I'm driving down the street to my BSF class, studying the book of John, asking why, crying—I can't even see the stoplights—crying, crying, crying saying, “God, why us? Pick on somebody else.” (Laughter)
But God has a way. When He serves up a crisis buffet, He always says, “Wait 'til the dessert bar.” The dessert bar may come later, but it's coming. It's the good news of God. So as I'm trusting in the presence of God, God says several things from this passage in Psalm 37.
He says, “Trust in the lord and do good.” Cultivate faithfulness. Ladies, I have to tell you, even with all these things in my house, with the crosses, with the Scriptures on the wall, even with that trust sign staring at me and talking to me, I have to cultivate faithfulness. Don't run. Stay the course, and fight the battle.
Are you tired of fighting the battle for your husband? Are you tired of fighting the battle for some peace in your home, jobs, or whatever your crisis you are going through or that you will go through, are you battle ready?
I had to admit to God, “God, I thought I was cultivating faithfulness. I’m reading my Bible every day, loving my husband, speaking truth.” I was doing all the right things. The only thing God said was, “Wah, wah, wah.” (Laughter)
Cultivate faithfulness. Do you know, one of the scary things about this thing of cultivating faithfulness is that I had to be a big girl to my children. They look to us, the big people who have been walking with Jesus a little longer and to see “Do you really believe what you say you believe?” Cultivate faithfulness.
I had to fight the battle, pray those defensive prayers. I said, “No, no, no, God, we’re not going down this way. We are not going down this way. I'm going to get in the gutter with the enemy, and we are going to do it together.”
The next thing He says in Psalm 37 is, “Delight in Him and He will bless you.” Delight is to give great pleasure, and adore God. I love God. I adore Him. He saved me. He loves me. He continually puts up with me. So I need to really trust Him and show that delight.
A couple more things . . . He says, “Commit your way to God.” This is the hard thing for me; it could be a hard thing for you to take whatever stuff you are going through and lay it on the altar.
For me, what I needed to do was I needed to take our crisis and lay it on the altar and then tie that baby down because I kept going to the altar and taking it back off the altar. (Laughter)
The presence of God says, “Commit your way to God and lay it on the altar and walk away.”
“But, God, You need my little help!”
“No, Karen, I don't need your help.”
“But, God, if You did it this way, or, God, if You just hurt that person just a little bit (Laughter) . . . don't kill him . . . just a little bit.”
Commit it to God, and then last, I want you, if you mark in your Bible, it says in verse 5, “Commit your way to God,” and mark this, “Trust also in Him and He will do it.” Trust in Him, and God's going to act.
That was the message of that little trust sign. That trust sign, if it was made out of neon lights, it would have been flashing. Trust. It simply says trust, and He will act. Trust, and He will act. Trust, and He will act. Don't put any time on God.
Those are my simple things I'm walking through right now. I'm trusting in the peace of God. There is no peace other than the peace of God, peace of Christ.
Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit. Without Him, I would have melted away. I would have stayed in bed and not got out because it was just too hard to get up every morning and deal with what the crisis was going to be.
And then trust in the presence of God. Am I burdened still? Yes, I am still burdened. I have no idea where this will all end up. Has my joy been waning? Honestly, yes. I have a good face sometimes, but if you could see my heart, my heart breaks for my children. My heart breaks for the future of our family. My heart breaks for this other family. My heart is broken. But God's a good God, and according to the Word of God He says, “Don't be a fool, be a wise woman because you will be delivered.”
Do you want to be delivered? You have to trust and obey. You have to trust and obey.
Let me read to you what Max Lucado wrote about our great God. He says,
Praise to God! You are a great God. Your character is holy. Your truth is absolute. Your strength is unending. Your discipline is fair. You are a great God. The mountain of Your knowledge has no peak, the ocean of Your love has no shore, the fabric of Your fidelity has no tear, the rock of Your Word has no crack. You are a great God. Your patience surprises us. Your beauty stuns us. Your love stirs us. You are a great God. Your provisions are abundant for our needs. Your light is adequate for our path. Your grace is efficient for our sins. You are a great God. We even declare with reluctant words, “Your plan is perfect.” You are never early, never late, never tardy, never quick. You sent Your Son in the fullness of time and will return at the consummation of time. Your plan is perfect. . .bewildering, puzzling, troubling, but it's perfect.
Ladies, I commit to trust and obey God. I love the song that says, “Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”