Sunday, June 25, 2017

"On Fire" Allow God to 'CUSTOMIZE' You for Your (Future) Husband

You can't be a godly wife if you're not living a godly life- Lauren DeMoss

“Set up signposts to mark your trip home. Get a good map. Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back. Come back, dear virgin Israel, come back to your hometowns. How long will you flit here and there, indecisive? How long before you make up your fickle mind? God will create a new thing in this land: A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!”---Jeremiah 31:21-22(Message)

So...

As I was praying for the "On Fire" women last week and on Sabbath (yesterday), one word kept coming to my spirit.

CUSTOMIZE

Customize: to modify or build according to individual or personal specifications or preference

And, as I gave it some thought, something that a couple---two people who were virgins when they got married---said to me came to mind.

The husband: "I didn't really care what the size of my wife's breasts were. I had never seen any before so I was excited no matter what."

The wife: "I don't know if my husband is what the world considers to be 'good in bed''. I've never been with anyone else, so he's the best I've ever had, literally and regardless. I'm doing just fine and even better than that!"

THIS IS HOW GOD WANTED ALL OF US TO SEE OUR (FUTURE) SPOUSE.
SATISFIED WITH WHAT WE HAVE BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING TO COMPARE THEM TO.

Satisfy: to fulfill the desires, expectations, needs, or demands of (a person, the mind, etc.); give full contentment to; to put an end to (a desire, want, need, etc.) by sufficient or ample provision; to give assurance to; to answer sufficiently; to solve or dispel, as a doubt

"The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works."---Psalm 145:15-17(NKJV)

Unfortunately (and double sigh), a lot of us were *super disobedient* (I Corinthians 6, Hebrews 13:4) by violating others and allowing them to do the same to us by having sex without God's blessing or permission. And real talk, that's a part of the reason why some of us are still single now; God needs to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), cleanse our hearts (Psalm 51:10) and make us new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). And, for every time that we disobey God's boundaries and "return to our own vomit" (Proverbs 26:11) via biblical compromise, sexual sin and/or not guarding our hearts properly (Proverbs 4:23)...it simply extends the time for us to get BACK to where he wants us to be. First, as it directly relates to living out our purpose in life, but also as it relates to being *just the kind of woman* our future husband really and truly needs.

Rinse and repeat: DISOBEDIENCE IS A *COLOSSAL* WASTE OF TIME.
Always keep this in mind: EACH OF US WAS ONLY MADE FOR *ONE MAN* UNTIL DEATH.

We must *never* forget that the Garden of Eden was the blueprint for humanity, and as one of my favorite in verses (which is so fitting for the name of this blog) in Scripture says, "A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them" (Joel 2:3--NKJV).

Not only that but...

But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers---never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season."---Jeremiah 17:7-8(Message)

"[Wisdom] is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her."---Proverbs 3:18(NKJV)

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise."---Proverbs 11:30(NKJV)

Verses like these remind us that even in this fallen world, we can still have our own "little pieces of Eden" if we're just willing to be obedient. After all, as the late Dr. Myles Munroe once said, only many levels, Eden wasn't so much a place as it was an atmosphere.

And so, if you want the state of bliss that Adam and the Woman once had (Genesis 1-2)...
Doesn't it make sense to do all that you can to follow their model? *Even now*?

Check it:

"Now the Lord God said, 'It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.'

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every [wild] beast and living creature of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name. 

And Adam gave names to all the livestock and to the birds of the air and to every [wild] beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.
 

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh.
 

And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
 

Then Adam said, 'This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man.'
 

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence."---Genesis 2:18-25(Message)

Timing is the Father's Business. What we'll get is the Holy Spirit to lead us..(Acts 1:7-Message)...

Adam didn't decide it was time for him to have a wife.
The Woman didn't either.
GOD. DID.

As for the kind of woman/wife that God had in mind for Adam? She was one that God was going to make to be "suitable, adapted, complementary" to Adam. She would be the very best sort of help for Adam, as it related to supporting/assisting him in his relationship with the Creator *and* supporting/assisting him in taking his purpose to the next level most of all. That said, it's SUPER-ARROGANT (and a bit self-delusional) for *any* of us to think that we know that we're best for someone else. ONLY GOD KNOWS THAT.

That said...

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When you look at the following parts of God's first matchmaking project...
Doesn't "customize" make perfect sense?

"Now the Lord God said, 'It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.' "---Genesis 2:18(AMPC)

"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh."---Genesis 2:21(AMPC)
 

"And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man."---Genesis 2:22(AMPC)
 
"
Then Adam said, 'This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man.'"---Genesis 2:23(AMPC)

If God had wanted Adam to have a plethora of women to choose from, he would've provided that. No, what God did was declare that it was time for Adam to have a wife and then he *customized her* to be just what Adam needed. He designed a woman for Adam who would be suitable, adapted and complementary to him...*in every way*. So much in fact that when GOD BROUGHT the Woman to Adam (not when Adam pursued her but God brought/presented her), Adam confirmed that she indeed had been customized by praising her for being a part of him. Even though he was asleep through the customizing process, he awakened to a woman/wife who was "built according to his personal specifications and preferences".

Now, remember this was before sin and so Adam's specifications and preferences were right in line with God (Amos 3:3); it wasn't about his carnality or flesh (James 1:14-15) more than his spirit man (although I'm pretty sure that the Woman was a WCW for sure!--I Corinthians 2:14). This is reason one billion why we are not supposed to settle for *anyone less* than a man who has a relationship with the Most High (2 Corinthians 6:11-18, Genesis 14:19). They need to "see us" through the eyes of the spirit more than anything else!

The reason why it's *so important* to keep all of this in mind is because you need to stay focused. Since you're designed for ONE MAN ONLY, be careful about how you interact with men during your season of singleness (Ecclesiastes 3).

That said...

It's graphic, but God's Word is graphic about sex (Proverbs 5 and the entire book of Song of Solomon, for example), so I have no shame in my game.

Our vaginas? They are remarkable!

As a doula, I've seen my fair share of babies come out of them. *Entire heads!* And yet (for the most part), we as women have the capability to get our vaginas back down to size.

Yet when it comes to the act of sex? We're not supposed to be caught up in a man's, umm, "size" prior to marriage. We're not supposed to have any knowledge in order to make any comparisons.

At the same time, God made us to be receivers in every way, *including sexually* (check out "This Study Will Make You Think Twice About Who You Are Getting into Bed With", "Semen Secrets: How a previous Sexual Partner Can Influence Another Male's Offspring", "The Problem With Ex-es: How Previous Partners Affect Your Offspring" and "Women Absorb and Retain DNA from Every Man They Have Sex With"). We are to be *customized*, even vaginally, *for one man*---from the moment we say "I do" until we are parted from our spouse by death. Things are supposed to fit perfectly. Our husbands are to feel like they were customized for us and we were customized for them. Like a key and a lock that fit together...perfectly.

Where am I going with this?

As I'm heading into (?!?) 10 1/2 years of abstinence, while I had *absolutely no clue* that it would take *this* long to heal and be restored (James 1:4) from the men of my past (among a few other things), I get now that God is *customizing me*. Not just when it comes to "down there" but even my health. I'm out of the HIV/AIDS testing window. My uterus is healthy. It's been so long since I've had sex that now my memories are more about having a general idea than detailed recollections. Spiritually I honor sex on a supernatural level. I am sooooooooo much healthier for my future beloved.

And the running joke as of late? I'm not small-chested by any stretch. On my father's side, generationally so, women are known to jump up a few cups in their 30s. My breasts jumped several cups at 32---once I *stopped* having sex. When people who knew me back in the day are like "What's...up?!" (LOL), I simply say, "My husband must be praying for a woman with full breasts." I mean: "As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love." (Proverbs 5:19--NKJV) God is CUSTOMIZING me.

And *please* don't get out of this that if you don't have big breasts, something's...not right. The husband I referenced at the beginning? His wife is on the smaller side of average in that area, but she has two things he really likes: gorgeous skin and a great backside. For him, she was customized.

When you're out here comparing yourself to other women...
When you're out here altering your appearance...
When you're out here letting people inside of you who don't belong there...
YOU ARE INTERFERING WITH GOD'S CUSTOMIZING PROCESS!

And, *of course*, this doesn't only apply to the physical...
God is not not that shallow.

Your purpose, your personality, your talents and gifts---the core and essence of who you are?
GOD CUSTOMIZED YOU TO BE THAT WAY---for his glory, your benefit and your husband's well-being!

When you're out here "taste-testing" dudes and acting married when you're not?
Again, you are interfering with the customizing process!

Your concern is not to keep "trying on guys"---physically or emotionally---until you get it right...
Your focus is to be embracing your individuality and refining it.

THE ONE GOD HAS FOR YOU IS GOING TO EMBRACE...YOU.
LOVE HIM ENOUGH TO GIVE HIM THE HEALTHY VERSION OF...YOU.

"And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man."---Genesis 2:22(AMPC)

In the Garden of Eden, first God BUILT UP Adam...
Then he MADE the Woman...
And only after that was she BROUGHT to Adam.

Build: to construct (especially something complex) by assembling and joining parts or materials; to establish, increase, or strengthen (often followed by up); to mold, form, or create

Make: to bring into existence by shaping or changing material, combining parts, etc.

Bring: to cause to come to or toward oneself; attract; to cause to occur or exist; to cause to come into a particular position, state, or effect; to cause to appear or occur in the mind; to persuade, convince, compel, or induce

Even now, right at this very moment, you are being shaped and changed---transformed, if you will---into the kind of woman who, once your combined with her husband, you will only *further* establish, increase and strengthen him!

Once GOD DETERMINES that the transformation process is done?
THEN he will cause your husband to be to you attracted as he brings you into his "wife position".

Why would/should you allow ANYONE or ANYTHING to interfere with that?!

Customize.
CUSTOMIZE.
That should be the goal!

If you know you're struggling with allowing God to customize you, hit me up (missnosipho@gmail.com) so that I can pray for/with you.

Satan doesn't want you to be your husband's perfect fit...
He'd rather have you be distracted and used by random men who aren't a part of your future.

Don't SETTLE.
Embrace this season of really and truly being CUSTOMIZED instead!


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"On Fire": (VIDEOS) A Man of God Is FLUENT in Godliness (DON'T. SETTLE.)

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Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands

"And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
 

For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
 

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.

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. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."---Ephesians 5:21-33(NLT)



Back when I was mentoring pregnant and sexually active teens...

Some of the young women I would meet identified themselves as being lesbian. I was in public school settings, so I had to be really careful about what I would say as far as my biblical convictions were concerned. My usual go-to statement would be "I hate there won't be more of you." And I meant that.

Here's what I mean...

Growing up, I had a "love uncle" who really struggled with homosexuality. He desired the lifestyle, but also loved the Word. That is indeed a predicament (Romans 7:15-20). He ended up dying, way too prematurely, do to an "illness" that we're still not really clear about.

And that's it. A great man. An attractive man. A man with a heart of gold. Dead.
No wife, no family, no legacy that's connected to having a wife and family. That's heartbreaking.

That's where my head was at when I would speak to the girls that I would affectionately refer to as "my daughters". Satan is the ultimate Liar (John 8:44), who seeks to steal, kill, destroy (John 10:10) and devour (I Peter 5:8)...however and whomever he can.

He hates me so much that he brought a HORRIFIC INFLUENCE into my life who introduced me to abortions. For several years, my uterus was a battlefield. Four casualties were the result (Psalm 139:13, Exodus 20:13).

And personally? I sincerely believe that some of the most called people on the planet identify as being homosexual. And, just like Satan worked overtime to get me to destroy my own seed, he appears to be working harder than ever to get so many of them to not create any at all. Let us *never forget* that GOD SAID that only a man and a woman, as husband and wife, are to be sexually intimate, in part, so that they can conceive children (Genesis 1:26-28, Malachi 2:15--NCV). Homosexuality (Romans 1, I Corinthians 6:9-10) directly opposes these things. I didn't make that up; *the Bible says it* (Colossians 2:8--AMPC, 2 Timothy 4:1-5).

Yet lately, there have been more and more women who either were practicing lesbians (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 5:16-20, Jeremiah 31:21-22--Message) or are still somewhat struggling with it who've been writing me via this blog about God's will, relationships and biblically-defined marriage.

As I was speaking with one of them this morning, Jackie Hill-Perry came to mind. I'm pretty sure some of you are familiar with her testimony of being a former practicing lesbian. She's married now. With a daughter.

However, it's *her marriage proposal*, that I want to share today because the reality is that all of us are struggling with something in the sense of who God called us (Romans 11:29, Psalm 82:6) to be vs. who we are acting like/being (Galatians 5:16-17).

One of the biggest struggles I continue to see are women who are choosing men they are unequally-yoked with; *even though the Word clearly says not to do that* (2 Corinthians 6:11-18). In fact, it even takes things a step further and says that we're not to intimately involve ourselves at all with people who say they are believers but live contrary to what that truly means (I Corinthians 5). In other words, when we claim to be followers of biblical truth (John 8:31-32), we are to act like it (James 1:21-26). People should see it via our fruit (Matthew 12:33).

GFor us single women...
A part of what comes with that...
Is waiting for a MAN OF GOD to marry.

NOTHING. LESS.

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Jackie's Hill's now-husband Preston's proposal of marriage (which automatically had me when I saw "Covenant" pop up on the screen) to her is the reason why this message has the title that it does. LISTEN. TO. WHAT. HE. IS. SAYING. Godliness just flows...effortlessly.

I got my start as a poet, so his gift/talent alone gets to me on one level. Yet the fact that he has such a heart for God is what really stands out. A woman can truly trust a man who submits under the authority of the Most High (James 4:7). Anything less is...spiritually-dangerous. To put it mildly.

No matter where you struggle lies...make some time to watch this...
It's a standard raiser.

And if you've already made the personal commitment to not settle...
Let this by the confirmation that you made the right choice.
BECAUSE YOU DID.



SO GOOD! Really!

And, if you want to see their wedding, here ya go:



Oh! Just one more thing...

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Words to live by!


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"On Fire": (MUSIC VIDEO) Your VIRTUE Is a Part of Your BEST (Guys Know That Too!)


I'm worth more than a random hook up. Not alot of 36 year old woman can say they were with one man since 19 and are now single.

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"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."---I Corinthians 6:9-10(NKJV)

"There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never 'become one.' There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body."---I Corinthians 6:16-20(Message) 

"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” ---Revelation 21:8(NKJV)


These days...

When people want to have conversations that pertain to sex outside of how it's *biblically-defined to be acceptable* (across the board), I don't debate it (Colossians 2:8---AMPC). Usually, I just provide Scriptures and then simply say, "So, are you saying the Bible is wrong?" It's pretty much a moot issue after that. In the wise words of Charles Spurgeon, "The Word of God is like a lion. You don't have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself." Selah. And amen.

However, even though the Word is *crystal clear* on its stance concerning fornication, homosexuality (Romans 1) and having sex with anyone who isn't your covenant partner (actually, remarriage is the true definition of adultery; interesting how the Seventh Commandment says "Do not COMMIT adultery", right?--Exodus 20:14, Matthew 19:1-12, Romans 7:1-3), and even though the Word also instructs that we're not to have close relationships/interactions with people who claim to be believers yet violate these biblical boundaries (I Corinthians 5)---so many people are dishonoring God, themselves *and* their future spouse via sexual sin.

That said...

When I was going through the initial stages of my own sexual detox, two things really helped. Actually, three.

1) The book Sacred Sex: A Spiritual Celebration of Sexual Oneness in Marriage (Tim Alan Gardner)
2) Working with a porn ministry (*that* will make you see sexual sin in a TOTALLY different light!)
3) And, interestingly enough, a song by Mya



Before watching the video, if you're someone who doesn't listen to "secular" music or watching music videos make you feel some type of way, feel free to skip it. Unfortunately, the Church doesn't take on the topic of sex---the blessed side or the "please wait" take---not even close to as much as it should so...inspiration had to be pulled elsewhere.

I'm providing the heads up because...

I remember a woman writing me a few years ago about how offended she was by something I posted on here and *even more* how offended she was that I didn't post her comment about being offended; that she would stop reading the blog if I didn't pull what I posted.

First thing that came to my mind: "You have some serious sensitivity and control issues. I'll be praying for your future husband, for sure." My point? I grew up on all kinds of music. No apologies or regrets. If you didn't, the bottom line of the song is found in the hook:

But oh no I can't let you
Get the best of me
Even though deep inside
Something's dying to see
How you flow out them clothes
Then you put it on me
Feelings coming on strong
I know that it's wrong
I can't let you get the best of me


The BEST of her...
The BEST of you!

Growing up, I was a pretty big Beverly Hills, 90210 fan (minus the fact that, in hindsight, they didn't handle cultural casting or race issues *nearly* as well as they should have; still, I'll catch reruns from time to time). If y'all used to watch it too, then you remember the super couple Donna and David; that Donna was a virgin (well, until her senior year in college anyway). One time, when she was speaking to her priest about wanting to have sex with David, he said something that stuck:

"Your virginity is a gift." 

(Keep that in mind please, virgins. Biblically, you're not the "strange" ones; those of us who didn't wait are!)


Another way to look at it is:

"Giving a man your body is giving him some of your VERY BEST."

Best: of the highest quality, excellence, or standing; most excellently or suitably; with most advantage or success

Synonyms: finest, first-rate, outstanding, perfect, terrific, cool, optimum, premium, primo, super, beyond compare, greatest, highest, incomparable, matchless, number 1, out-of-sight, paramount, second to none, supreme, unsurpassed

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"Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]."---James 1:17(AMPC)

***sigh***

Can you just imagine what this world would look like if everyone had waited until marriage to have sex *and then* remained with that one person until death?! Frankly, I don't know if Satan would've been able to pull off 75 percent of what he has. *Of what we've allowed him to have*.

Meanwhile, when GOD came up with the BEAUTIFUL GIFT known as sex, in his mind and according to his plan/desire/will, ONLY AFTER a man *paid vows* (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Job 22:27, Psalm 50:14), both to him and to you, ONLY THEN, does God release you---with joy and pleasure (Psalm 16:11)---to be one with your husband (Genesis 2:24-25, Matthew 19:4-6, Hebrews 13:4) and to have PLENTY of sex (I Corinthians 7:1-5--AMPC)!

NOT. ONE. MOMENT. BEFORE.

In part, because...

Your body is a gift.
Your body is a part of your absolute best.
ABSOLUTELY NO ONE IS DESERVING BUT YOUR HUSBAND. 

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There's something else to this...

Several years ago, I met a guy who's all kinds of fine. Too young for my liking (27 now; I'm 43) but eye candy nonetheless. He's also smart, cultured, ambitious, sweet and community-service-driven. Overall, a great catch on many levels. He's also a self-professed atheist.

Or at least, until last week, he was...

It's kind of a long story, but over the past several months, God has made sure that "Mr. Fine" would meet all kinds of people. People who would make a really HUGE impact on his life.

Adding to that...

A few weeks ago, Mr. Fine asked if he could take me to lunch. There he said something that really moved me. He told me that he had been so used to hypocritical Christians (including some that are in his own family), that my abstinence commitment impressed him...and helped him to consider "giving God a try". Last night, he called to wish me "Happy Belated" as he told me that he gave his heart to Christ!

Proverbs 31:10(AMPC) says, "A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls."

Virtue is valuable.
Virtue is precious.
VIRTUE IS EXPENSIVE.

God doesn't only look to us to live virtuous lives for us for his glory.
God doesn't only tell us to live virtuous lives to honor our future husband.
God also tells us to live virtuous lives to be a light and witness to others!

Believers Are Salt and Light

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."---Matthew 5:13-16(NKJV)

Sexual sin comes with some pretty severe consequences...

I Corinthians 6 tells us that it can prevent us from inheriting the kingdom of heaven...
Revelation 21 says that if it goes non-repented, hell is the penalty.

Please don't allow this world, the one that is FILLED with NOTHING but LUST and PRIDE (I John 2:16) to deceive you (Matthew 24:4). GOD TAKES SEX VERY SERIOUSLY!

As a single woman, use your virtue (sexual purity/abstinence) as a way to shine light in the world as you further prepare for your husband. When people ask me if I would consider a past sexual partner, honestly, the answer is "no". I call doing that "regifting" (LOL). Not everyone feels that way and most certainly, after repenting (I John 1:9-10) and confessing (James 5:16), a couple who has sinned against one another can be healed/restored. I will say this, though: I don't know ONE COUPLE who had sex with each other prior to marriage who do not DEEPLY REGRET IT and end up having some "Wow...where did *that* come from?!" consequences (Galatians 6:7-8) transpire as a result. CHOOSE WISELY. Besides, just imagine what your wedding night will be like if you wait---no "reruns" (LOL). Just this: Anticipation. Joy. Excitement. Peace. God's blessing and rewards for your holiness and faithfulness!

And, as a married woman (someday)...just remember that what you are giving your husband is YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST. NO MAN DESERVES THE BEST OF YOU BUT THE MAN WHO IS GOING TO GIVE YOU THE BEST OF HIM: A MARITAL COVENANT.

It took me a while to really "get this" yet what I've realized is that participating sexual sin is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Since the Word PROMISES us that for every temptation, an escape is provided (I Corinthians 10:13), one of those is having a renewed/transformed (Romans 12:2) mind. When you see your good stuff as being THE BEST, while you have moments of missing sex (or wanting/being super curious about it if you've never had it before), it's not enough to give someone who doesn't deserve it..."it".

Whether you personally like Mya or don't, she was onto something with that song.
No matter what, *no man* but your husband should *ever* get the BEST OF YOU! EVER.


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW


"On Fire": How Much of a 'HOME SANCTUARY' Are You?

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"A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands."---Proverbs 14:1(NLT)

Great lead quote...
NO WONDER Satan lies and tells women that homemaking doesn't need to be a priority...
He is THE LIAR (John 8:44) and thief (John 10:10), after all!


So...

Random question. How many of you know women who keep an immaculate house? It's clean. It's comfy. It smells good whenever you walk into it. It's...basically the kind of place that you immediately want to take a nap in once you walk into it because it's so...warm and inviting. It even feels safe.

Me? I only know a handful of women who get down like this. Thankfully, my mother was one of them. Aesthetically, the homes (we moved...more than once) that I grew up in we all of the things that I described. Plus, my brother and I *couldn't wait* until Saturday night because it was pretty much the only time we could eat anything that even resembled junk food. Translation: my mother cooked every night.

Where am I going with this?
A few different directions, actually.

For one thing, when it comes to doing things that are based in the Word, more and more, I'm getting out of calling myself "traditional". No, the more appropriate word for honoring Scripture is *biblical* and, as it relates specifically to how God defines womanhood and femininity (I Peter 3:1-6)? Being able to make a house a home is certainly not exempt.

Just look at how some of the verses in Proverbs 31 describe how a *virtuous woman* (Proverbs 31:15) keeps her home:

"She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household’s food from a far [country]. She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks."---Proverbs 31:14-15(AMPC)

"She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet. She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made]."---Proverbs 31:21-22(AMPC)

"She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat."---Proverbs 31:27(AMPC)

This defines things that she did for her actual *house*...
I also like the way she took care of her *home*:

"The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her."---Proverbs 31:11-12(AMPC)

"Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying], 'Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all. Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised! Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]!'"---Proverbs 31:28-31(AMPC)

These are the verses that jump out at me that define the "Proverbs 31 Woman" as being a homemaker. This doesn't mean she wasn't somewhat industrious/enterprising too. Check it:

"She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard."---Proverbs 31:16(AMPC)

In fact, one of my favorite entrepreneur wives is Caleb's daughter, Achsah:

"Then Caleb said, 'Whoever attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife.' And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife. Now it happened, when she came to him, that she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, 'What do you wish?' So she said to him, 'Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water.'

And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs."---Judges 1:12-15(NKJV)


To me, it's a reminder that since Proverbs 18:22 tells us that a wife is to bring FAVOR to her husband, even as single woman in preparation for marriage, we need to have our stuff in order. Debts paid. Credit history/scores straight. Clear about what our individual purpose can---and should---bring to the table.

This is *extremely important* because I know far too many wives who basically thought that so long as they were cute and liked having sex, there wasn't too much more they needed to offer a man/their husband. Yet their professional/financial life are in so many shambles that...in many ways they proved to be more of a *liability* than an actual *asset*. And that? That directly contradicts how the Word says that a wife should be.

That brings me to another reason for this post...

Not too long ago, I went into the home of a man who remarried...not too long ago. Everyone who knows me knows that I STRONGLY STAND with the Bible on how divorced people are to address their relational status (click here, here and here, for starters--I Corinthians 7:10-11, Romans 7:1-3, Matthew 19:1-12, Malachi 2:14-16). This isn't about remarriage, though.

Anyway, I remember when the husband first got engaged to his second wife. Some fellas I know said that from a *physical* standpoint, she was an "upgrade". Eh. Maybe. Beauty's in the eye of the beholder, though. Right? ;)

Yet when I walked into their house? I actually asked another guest if the couple were planning on moving or something. I was told "no". That kind of threw me because I knew they had been married for a while, and no matter how physically beautiful his wife may be, nothing about the house felt like a home. Pretty much at all. It was cold, messy and not very inviting.

To me, it was symbolic...

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Home: a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household;  the place in which one's domestic affections are centered; any place of residence or refuge

Synonyms: central, familiar, at ease, at rest, in the bosom, in one's element

(As far as "in the bosom" goes, that's biblical too. Proverbs 5:19[NKJV] says this about a man's wife: "As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times, and always be enraptured with her love.")

Probably most of us have been to a single guy's house before. Even if it did happen to be clean, what usually is the takeaway? That it needs a woman's touch, right?

As I'm preparing myself more and more for my own future husband, something that I am petitioning the Lord about (I John 5:14-15) is to become the kind of woman who *adds so much more* to his life! I don't want him looking at me and thinking, "I mean, I love you and I'm glad that I can now have 'legitimate sex' but...that's about it." No, I want my husband to have documented evidence, if and whenever needed, that my being in his life has blessed him beyond measure! That there is not one category where he can't say, "Hallelujah! Shellie being here has changed everything in the best way possible!" HIS. HOME. INCLUDED.

That brings me to this...

I believe I've shared before that I really like something the last boyfriend I will *ever* have in this lifetime once said to me: "Shellie, a woman should be her man's sanctuary." Does that sound sacrilegious? It shouldn't:

Sanctuary: a sacred or holy place; an especially holy place in a temple or church; any place of refuge; asylum

Some of us need to be reminded of the fact that it shouldn't only be our husbands who see us as a  "sacred or holy place". I Peter 1:16 commands us to "be holy" because the Lord is holy and I Corinthians 6 states this:

"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."---I Corinthians 6:18-20(NKJV)

And, as far as being "a place of refuge"? *double sigh*

Refuge: shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.; a place of shelter, protection, or safety; anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape

There are far too many husbands I know who feel as if their wife is ANYTHING BUT...
To them, she's actually more like this chick:

"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman."---Proverbs 21:9(AMPC)

Scripture says this.
SCRIPTURE. SAYS. THIS.

If you are already this kind of woman (James 5:16), that could explain a lot of the reason why you're not yet married! A wife is to make a man want to come up, not prefer to be anywhere else but!

And that's kind of the main point of all of this...

A verse in Scripture that I really like a lot is "He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 113:9--NKJV) Barren does just mean "not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile". It also means "unproductive; unfruitful" and "lacking" and remember what James 1:4(AMPC) assures us: "But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing."

Proverbs 3:33(NLT) tells us this: "The Lord curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright." There are MANY wonderful things that come with being single. MANY. Yet this blog is specifically for women who desire marital covenant. Therefore, *never forget* that this is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11 & 14) of preparation. In the areas where we all are lacking in what it needs for us to truly feel at home first (some women are always out in the streets because even they don't really feel at home...at home) *and then* provide our husband/family with a proper-biblically-defined home---spiritually, physically, emotionally AND literally/tangibly, this would be the time to do it!

How are your finances?
Is your house (and car, guys seem to really pay attention to that) clean?
Are you a calm or dramatic kind of woman?
Can you do more than boil water?
Are you thriving in your purpose?

Does your house feel like a home?
Would a man feel like you are a safe place for him...right at this very moment.

God knows what he's doing, and how he's choosing to do it, AT ALL TIMES (Psalm 18:30-31).
Psalm 37:23 tells us that a good man (and woman's) steps are ordered.

Rather than looking at this as a season of wanting a man and not having one...
Choose instead to see it as a time to make your lifestyle a "home sanctuary" for "him".

Proverbs 18:22(AMPC) says, "He who finds a [true] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord" and as a wise man once said, "This means SHE'S ALREADY A WIFE when he finds her."

Clean.
Sign up for a cooking class.
Take a business or finance course.
Deal with any emotional instability or relational drama you might have (please).
GET/STAY. ABSTINENT.

Have fun making more of your house a home! Even now.

My family lives in South Africa. When my mom came to stay with me a couple of years ago, it was HIGH PRAISE hen she told me that she got why I liked being in my house so much; that it felt very "homey". When a *woman* can feel at house in your home? Especially an elder woman (Titus 2:1-4)?! That's saying something!

Bottom line...
Be at home with God...
So he can make you into the ULTIMATE HOME SANCTUARY for your husband?

Amen? Amen!


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW   


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"On Fire": (VIDEOS) Don't Propose to Your Future Husband. DON'T. DO. IT.

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"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. "---Genesis 2:21-25(NKJV)


OK so...

We haven't watched a video in a while, right?
Let's check out a few.

Starting with setting the standard. There are some women in my life right now that I'm seriously considering going on a fast for because it doesn't take much spiritual discernment at all to know that they are doing ALL KINDS OF SETTLING in their relationships. Just being with a man who does not display *the spiritual fruit* (Matthew 12:33, Colossians 3:12-17) of being a man of God is a form of settling. Real talk.

That said, let's start this video series off with some by the late and still so great Dr. Myles Munroe:

The Qualities We Need in a Man ("Don't marry a man who decreases your value but INCREASES your value"):



The Character a Man Needs in a Woman BEFORE Marrying Her (HELPER,INCUBATOR,PROPHETESS,RECEIVER :


There are ALL KINDS OF GEMS up in those videos! If you want to finish right...START RIGHT.

And then the proposal...

I just read an article this morning about the trend of women proposing to men being on the rise. Yeah, well...whatever. If even a tiny part of you is considering it, DON'T DO IT!

The Garden of Eden shows us the blueprint for how GOD DESIGNED marriage to be (courtship too!).

HE DECIDES WHEN A MAN NEEDS A WIFE.
HE CUSTOMIZES HER FOR THE MAN.
HE BRINGS HE TO THE MAN.
ADAM TELLS HER WHO SHE IS IN HIS LIFE.

And so, since a man is to be the head of the home (if you want a biblcally-grounded and spiritually-stable home, that is!---Ephesians 5), then allow "your Adam" to *tell you* that he's ready to receive the gift that God brought him!

That said...

I like these two proposals because they are intentional, thoughtful and very thorough.
When A MAN IS READY, he tends to show it!

First groom-to-be said this:

"In life, we encounter many people. Sometimes it's by chance. Sometimes it's by destiny. What we have to do is when you meet someone who is placed in your life by destiny, try and see what the Lord is, purposely put them in your life for. Once we realize his purpose, we have to take this thing head on and really see exactly what he is saying to us. You're not on this journey alone. The Bible says 'I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.' I would say when you have someone who is destined for your life, and you realize what the Lord is saying, then it may be time to make an investment." 

And then followed that up with:

"I always told you when I do it, I was gonna do it right."

IMPATIENCE CAN CAUSE US TO MISS OUT ON SO MUCH! LOVE. IS. PATIENT.


This next one is just...precious. I like how the groom-to-be told his fiancee's BROTHER that he would be in his life FOREVER:


AND THEN...after things are in decent order...the wedding!

These are all Christ-centered (as every wedding *should* be) and so there was something that especially stood out to me in each one:

In the first one, I especially like how the officiant said,"This is not heaven yet....there is always hope for those that are in Christ Jesus. KEEP ON PRAYING." Indeed, marriage is not a *fairy tale*; it's a MINISTRY. And since we've been focusing so much on the heart lately, I also like how the bride said, "I will invite you AND ONLY YOU into my heart." I also appreciate that the groom said, "I promise to honor and respect you, when we're together and when we're not." Selah. And amen!


In the second! Oh, just goosebumps all the way around!Purity ALWAYS pays off because purity prior to marriage is ALWAYS God's will! This couple started off kissing and then stopped for three years. They also did not say "I love you" until their wedding day (there's some wisdom in that in the "guarding the heart" area). One thing that the groom said was "Physical intimacy is really special when you are man and wife" and something that the bride said was "When we took that leap of faith, God responded hugely." Amen! I also like the part when the groom says, "I honestly don't remember how it feels...it's going to feel right. You are one with Diane." I believe he's also the one who said, "You do everything with YOUR WHOLE HEART." Beautiful.


This next one starts off with a very valid point: CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY. I say that because the officiant shares this: "Nate was in a bible study with some of Jenna's friends...and they were compelled that Nate should meet Jenna. They told her, 'We found your soul mate.'" They spent 40 hours together their first week of meeting each other.


Beautiful. ALL OF IT.

And what these videos are a reminder of is:

1) God needs your obedience, not your suggestions, on how to bring you to your husband.
2) We are designed to help while men are created to lead.
3) Holiness is ALWAYS rewarded.

Don't rush things...
Trust the process.

When a man is ready and when he knows that God has brought you to him...
He'll blow your mind! With his character and heart most of all!


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW   

Monday, June 12, 2017

"On Fire": The 'Fully Heal From Your First Love' Project: Ladies Share Their Biggest FL Regret


 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."---Psalm 147:3(NKJV)


I mean...

Really, the quote says it all. Right? It really does affirm why I LOATHE boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. If someone can find where they originated, *please* hit me up! Ugh.

Anyway, onto getting some resolve and healing from our first loves...

As I've shared before, my first love took (count em') OVER 20 YEARS to really, fully and *finally* get over. Literally. I was sexually abused growing up, so he wasn't technically my first sexual experience, but he was the first one I *chose* to give myself to. The second chapter of my first book walks through the beginning stages of the journey. I also think since he was my first (and quite possibly my second) pregnancy, and according to this video right here, who you conceive a child with remains a part of your DNA for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, that plays a part in it too. SEX MAKES PEOPLE ONE (Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 6:16-20--Message), y'all. Don't just "choose wisely" in the common sense sort of way. CHOOSE BIBLICALLY and that's marriage (Hebrews 13:4)!

Anyway, because I had given my first love so much of myself, even 14 men later, there was a part of me that believed that when it was all said and done, we would end up together. Partly because every few years we would reconnect and explore the possibility. Mostly because since he was the first man I had invested so much of EVERYTHING into, I couldn't truly and fully imagine moving on to someone else.

It wasn't until two years ago that I really could. UGH.
And that's why I'm doing this project!

There are SO MANY MARRIED COUPLES I deal with who are in trouble, in part, because they are not "all in" with their spouse because either they are not fully over their first love or they haven't FULLY FORGIVEN (Matthew 6:14-15) their first love. I DO NOT WANT YOU TO BE THIS KIND OF STATISTIC.

So, let's get started, shall we?

I asked the woman who participated in this project to answer a few questions. Five, to be exact. What I'm going to do is share some of their answers (with pen names) and explore overall resolves.

Ready?

Share the biggest lesson you learned from your first love:

"If anytime in the relationship you feel something's not right, TRUST YOUR GUT.  Because 9 times out of 10, IT'S NOT."---Ashley

"The biggest lesson I learned from my first love is that..just because you're fully committed to someone doesn't mean that they are committed to you. The 'I love yous', 'I want to marry you' mean nothing unless there's follow through. My first love and I were together off and on for almost three years and he still wasn't sure whether or not he wanted to marry me. He didn't want to make 'the wrong choice' (PRAISE GOD for rejection). I was all in...but he wasn't. Spending substantial time before the Lord will help (the Holy Spirit is called the HELPER for a reason) weed out the counterfeits and be OK with whatever His answer is (you'll know). It's for your own good."---Katherine

"I have learned that someone can deeply love you and still decide to betray you with the goal of ending the relationship to protect themselves! It's like war in love!"---Margo

"My first love was a woman...I learned that God is love and He can not exist in a homosexual relationship. The relationship was not covered by God and it lead to so pain and lower self-esteem."---Diane

"If you're sexually-involved, God can't bless it. No matter how great the sex is or how happy you are with the intimacy. I didn't really believe that until it about killed me to leave my first love alone."---Lisa

"If you love him more than God, he's not your first love. He's your idol."---Melissa

"If he's not God's best for you, it's a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME. And if you're not working towards marriage, then he's not God's best. Boyfriends are nothing more than emotionally-draining placeholders if you ask me."---Rebecca
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OK...

What jumped out to me the most about these answers were phrases like "fully-committed", "betrayal" and "sexually-involved"---MARRIAGE TERMS. As a result, something that I discern (Proverbs 2) God is using this time for concerning a lot of us is *reprogramming our minds*.

We're not supposed to be *fully-committed* to ANYONE but our husband. A boyfriend has not earned that right by God and so we shouldn't release that kind of power to them.

How did a *single man* betray a *single woman*? Any couple who is not at the very least engaged who decides to be exclusive are *robbing themselves* of the freedom of singleness. There are waaaaaaaaaay too many men who marry women due to breaking under the pressure or complying to an ultimatum instead of *CHOOSING* to be with a woman because GOD REVEALED to them that they are actually ready. Singleness should be about *focusing on oneself*. And later, as the SPIRIT LEADS, coming to the conclusion, without stress, that someone is the one for you. 

I have heard FAR TOO MANY women say that their boyfriend "cheated on them" yet when I ask, "Were you having sex with your boyfriend as well?", most they say "yes" and I follow that up with "Actually, shouldn't you be more concerned about the fact that YOU were unfaithful to GOD?", that tends to catch them off guard. A single person's "faithfulness" needs to be to God first and and foremost and *definitely* before any human being.

That said...

Personally, I don't trust people who say "I have no regrets." Regret means "remorse" and remorse means "deep and painful regret for wrongdoing; compunction". Wrong means "not in accordance with what is morally right or good" and "deviating from truth or fact; erroneous".

And you know what?

Fully committing to someone you are not in covenant with?
It's wrong.

Doing things in a relationship that go against biblical instruction?
It's not morally right.

Believing that you should "act married"---emotionally or physically" when you're not?
It deviates from Scriptural truth.

And when we don't make the time to *really ponder* (Proverbs 4:26) these facts, what happens is when end up spending (and usually also wasting) FAR TOO MUCH TIME being hurt, angry (Psalm 4:4) and/or bitter (Hebrews 12:15) at the person we gave our heart to rather than being REMORSEFUL for allowing them something that wasn't rightfully theirs to begin with.

In other words...

Can you imagine how much more quickly we would heal from this kind of heartbreak...
If we focused more on repenting to God for not properly guarding our heart...
Rather than being mad at the guy who didn't really know what to do with it?
BECAUSE GOD HAD NOT YET EQUIPPED HIM?

A great read, on a lot of levels and for a lot of reasons, is "Staying Married Is not About Staying in Love" (it's not!). Something that the author brings out in it is that in the Garden of Eden, it was God who gave the Woman away to Adam; he was her father, after all (Genesis 2)!

In the spiritual sense, things shouldn't be ANY DIFFERENT, even now!

When Christ said "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:6--NKJV), it is only when GOD JOINS US to a man that we are to give our all to that individual. ANY TIME before that, we are acting prematurely and being spiritually irresponsible with our minds, bodies and spirits.

While that might be a hard pill to swallow, think about it beneath the surface. Owning your part in the matter? That takes the power from "him", puts it back onto you and then you start to detach all the more from the guy!

Now for the record, I'm not saying if you were mistreated, lied to or taken for granted that it's "OK" simply because you shouldn't have gotten that deeply involved in the first place. What I am saying, though, is your FUTURE HUSBAND doesn't deserve to be mistreated, lied to or taken for granted because of battle wounds that you're still carrying around due to a PAST BOYFRIEND who received "rights" that he didn't even deserve in the first place! Feel me?

Oh, and to Diane...

I appreciate your courage to share that your first love was a homosexual relationship. Trust me, there are others. We are living in a time when Romans 1 should be taught more. Not so much from the aspect of what it speaks on homosexuality (and it's *quite clear*) but HOW things get to that point:

"Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
 

So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved."---Romans 1:21-27(NLT)

What manifested this? IDOLATRY.
I Corinthians 10:14 instructs us to *flee idolatry*.

The moment we place ANYTHING or ANYONE before God...
It's not "love", it's an idol (Exodus 20:3).

And you know what? 
A first love OR even the fallout concerning it?
If we're not careful, it can become an idol!

And so, the focus for this week (if you'd like me to pray for you email missnosipho@gmail.com)?

It's concerning how to humble ourselves enough to actually deal with regret so that we can take *personal ownership* for a past first love or relationship in general. If you *know* that you've put more energy into what someone did to you than accepting that you allowed them into a space that God did not permit them to have to begin with (which can actually happen even if you've never been in a relationship with the person; I know many women who "fell in love" with a guy who never was interested in them. Then the women wanted to act like the guy was the one who did something wrong. Nope.).

If you know what is you, ask God to provide you with divine wisdom (James 1:5) about how to own your part, FULLY FORGIVE THE GUY (you can't be forgiven by God if you don't forgive others--Matthew 6:14-15), make peace (Romans 12:18) and set up *appropriate boundaries* (not walls but boundaries--Proverbs 4:23) moving forward.

PRAISE THE LORD that he loves us and our future beloved enough to want us to be able to love "him" with a WHOLE HEART. If some things need to be healed and restored, use this time to walk with the Lord (Amos 3:3) so that he can show you just how to do that.

So that...

One day...
Your first love will be nothing more than a faint scar, distant memory and a lesson learned...
Someone who can't even begin to hold a light to your future husband!


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW   

Sunday, June 11, 2017

"On Fire": How to Handle Prayer Concerning 'Him'

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"God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him."---Proverbs 28:9(Message)


If you're on the devotional list...

Then you know that I talk about marriage, sex and the Sabbath A LOT. Those are my "calling lanes" (Romans 11:29). And, within those messages, something that I sometimes mention to spouses is how it is of the *utmost importance* to adhere to this particular set of biblical instructions:

"Now as to the matters of which you wrote me. It is well [and by that I mean advantageous, expedient, profitable, and wholesome] for a man not to touch a woman [to cohabit with her] but to remain unmarried.
 

But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband.
 

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights (goodwill, kindness, and what is due her as his wife), and likewise the wife to her husband.
 

For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights].
 

Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire."---I Corinthians 7:1-5(AMPC)

Sex not taking place in marriage (when two people are physically able) is JUST AS TOXIC as people who have sex when they aren't married (Hebrews 13:4)! Just because it's not stated, that doesn't make it any less so.

And, what we see here, is that the ONLY TIME when it's biblically-permissible to *not* have sex in marriage is when a husband and wife *both agree* to fasting and prayer (as the New King James Version states) or unhindered prayer as the Classic Amplified states.

As far as what the purpose of prayer and fasting are, this article sums it up pretty well:

In Scripture we see several purposes for fasting. It’s part of the discipline of self-control; it’s a way of sharing that we depend on God alone and draw all our strength and resources from him; it’s a way of focusing totally on him when seeking his guidance and help, and of showing that you really are in earnest in your quest; it’s also, at times, an expression of sorrow and deep repentance, something that a person or community will do in order to acknowledge failure before God and seek his mercy.

We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There’s nothing magical about fasting. It’s just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have canceled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfill that priority.


Amen. I really like the second paragraph because if you're not big on eating or you tend to manipulate fasting as a way to lose weight, you're actually missing the point of doing it at all. Fasting is about sacrificing the flesh; that looks different to different people.

Anyway, usually when I'm dealing with couples who are in dire conditions, the commonality is that they A) are not having sex and/or B) are not having devotionals together and/or C) THEY ARE NOT PRAYING TOGETHER. And fasting? Most look at me like I'm crazy when I even mention that (Matthew 17:20-21)!

Yet look at all of the things praying and fasting does! And when you add to that the following Scripture, it's no wonder that prayer and fasting should be made a TOP PRIORITY: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 17:19-20--NKJV)

In marriage...
Sex is EXTREMELY godly and intimate...
So is prayer and fasting.

The article "Our Wedding Night Changed Our Marriage" co-signs on this point:

Of all the things we did wrong, there is one thing we did right. I wish I could say I brought it to the marriage, but I didn’t. Nancy did.

Let me paint a picture for you.

On our wedding night after we left the reception and finally made it to our hotel room, Nancy made a request of me that God has used in our marriage since that day.

As we got ready for bed, Nancy went into the bathroom to change. I changed in about 30 seconds and waited for her sitting on the side of the bed. An eternity later, she emerged from the bathroom looking like an angel. She walked over to me, took my hand, sat beside me on the bed, looked into my eyes and said, “We need to pray.”

In case you were wondering, that was the last thing I thought my new bride would say to me in that moment. But the real surprise was that I looked her back in the eyes and said, “OK.”

We knelt by the bed in our hotel room, held hands and prayed a prayer we both knew and were comfortable praying together: The Lord’s Prayer.

Since that first night many years ago, we have prayed together almost every day. Through all the ups and downs of life and marriage, praying together daily is the glue God has used over and over to keep us close to Him.


In fact, while in the grocery store today, I "ran into" (Proverbs 16:33--AMPC) an older married couple who were so cute that I got why the Holy Spirit wanted me to talk to them. They've been married (whew!) 69 years and when I told them I was a marriage life coach and loved seeing people like them, the wife smiled and casually said, "We just talked to Jesus a little while ago."

Random? I think not.

So, what does this have today's post?

A HUGE MISTAKE that singles make is 1) acting married before they actually are and/or 2) not praying nearly enough for their future spouse and about their future marriage. Yet there is another article that I checked out that brings up some pretty stellar points about how to do that *responsibly* (Galatians 6:5--Message).

Image result for prayer for future spouse

The article "3 Cautions Before You Start Praying Together" shares these awesome points (excerpts):

I don’t think there is anything wrong with quick prayers over meals or in public. What I’m talking about in this post is couples that spend long periods of time praying together alone.

If you are in a newer dating relationship, here are some cautions to think through before you start praying together alone for long periods of time.


Praying together can build spiritual intimacy before your relationship is ready.

Praying with someone you are dating can be a powerful way of building spiritual intimacy. After praying together alone, many couples will feel a deeper connection to each other. Early on in a relationship this could make a couple feel like they have a deeper connection than they really do.

For the same reasons couples should avoid physical intimacy before the right time, they should avoid spiritual intimacy. It can muddy the waters and lead you to see the wrong things in each other at the wrong times.


Praying together can be used to deceive, manipulate and even woo.

Is your prayer life the same in public and private? Hopefully so. But for many Christians it can be a struggle to keep a regular private prayer time. This is a hard truth, but God is more interested in our real, authentic relationship with Him than how well we’ve learned to keep up appearances. And at the risk of sounding like Judgy McJudgerson, let me warn that some people use the trappings of spiritual depth to win a person’s heart.

Beware of people who seem to be proud or boastful about their own spiritual life. They may be showing you what they think you want to see.


A person’s private prayer life is much more important than their public prayer life.

Like children eager to do adult things, sometimes in relationships we feel like we are ready for more before we are. We sometimes need wisdom and counsel from others to determine what we are ready for. We simply can’t trust ourselves to make decisions in a vacuum.

I recommend saving prayer together until later in the relationship. Let your spiritual intimacy from praying together grow with your relationship, not be the reason your relationship grows. Praying together could build spiritual intimacy before you’ve had a chance to determine if this is a person you want to build that intimacy with.


So good!

Prayer is precious. It's sacred. And, it's *extremely intimate*.

If you are beyond just getting to know someone and YOU BOTH are interesting in cultivating a long-term future together, when should you start praying together? Like *seriously praying together*? I discern when YOU BOTH receive confirmation from the Lord that it is within *his will* that you be together (I John 5:14-15, James 1:14-15). When YOU'RE BOTH putting forth the *intentional effort* to build a future TOGETHER (translation: when he mentions wanting to be with you in the way that you want to be with him), praying together should be a part of the foundation.

Yet *before* then?
Intimacy, in this manner, doesn't need to be created *with* him...
It needs to be strengthened between you and God *concerning* him.

The author of the prayer caution article is so right that so many people can use prayer as a way to manipulate. Real talk? There are people who struggle enough doing that by praying to God period let alone praying with someone they are attracted to!

As a single woman, as it relates to your future beloved, you need to use your time of prayer to:

Seek God concerning his will for your life
Ponder how "he" fits into your purpose/destiny (or not)
Ask God for revelation about if "he" is a part of it (or not)
Petition him for wisdom about the Lord's divine timing
Desire strength to let "him" go if he's not God's will for you

See, a part of the beauty of being single (and there is A LOT of it!) is that intimacy with God can grow in an uninterrupted way. We can devote this time to hearing from God about what he wants for you *and you alone*. That way, you can discern things better (I Corinthians 2:14)...once "he"---and the counterfeits (Matthew 24:4)---comes along!

So, don't choose to see this as a time of being lonely...
See it instead as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with God...
So that you can know how GOD wants your spiritual intimacy to look like with your FUTURE MAN.

Pray *for* "him"...
Even fast as led...
Yet be *extremely cautious* about the intimacy of praying *with* "him".

United prayer between a man and a woman is very special...
Only GOD'S CHOSEN MAN for you is truly worthy.

And you'll know that by hearing from GOD first...
NO DISTRACTIONS.


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW