Wednesday, April 19, 2017
"I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him."---Ecclesiastes 3:14(NKJV)
For those who decided to partake in the "first love project" (the post right under this one), I got you covered. There were quite a few responses, so I'm getting everything in order. If you're reading this and still want to get in on it, shoot me an email at email@example.com. Trust me...the sooner you can get your heart whole, the easier it will be to discern who God's best is for your heart---and your life.
Which brings me to the title of this message...
Last Friday, while having a conversation with my mom, she said something that was so funny. And little typical of her. See, she has a wheat allergy. If any of you do, then you already know that makes eating options...challenging, to say the least, because so many foods have some level of wheat in them.
Anyway, for the most part, my mom eats well. But sometimes she rebels and has something she knows isn't good for her body...even if her taste buds believe otherwise. Her latest rebellion? A Krispy Kreme donut.
My mom lives in South Africa. By way of New York (native), Nashville (career) and then there. She's been there for 20 years now. Over the course of that time, she's watched a lot of things from America come that way (a double-edged sword), and so sometimes when something that reminds her of home makes its way, she tries it. This time, it was that particular kind of donut.
It was her review of it that had me be like "Yeah...that's PERFECT for the 'On Fire' gals."
"You know how Krispy Kreme donuts usually smell and taste so good? I had one recently and...it wasn't. It just wasn't the same." We were Skyping, so I was laughing at her face all turned up in disappointment.
Personally, I'm more of a Shipley's girl myself but I got the point...
I made me think of how I felt when I went on my "get my heart pieces back" tour a couple of years ago. So many of them were just like that Krispy Kreme donut for my mom. Here's what I mean by that:
There could be all kinds of reasons why the donut didn't live up to my mom's expectations...
Maybe due to the changes in her diet, her palate is different.
Maybe her memory...embellished a bit.
Maybe it was just a bad donut.
Or maybe, just maybe, she doesn't like donuts as much as she used to...
Maybe she's changed.
When Isaiah 27:14(NKJV) tells us "Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!", there are a few things to keep in mind. We need to remember that one definition of heart is "center of emotions" and Jeremiah 17:9 tells us our hearts have a tendency to deceive us, which is why we need to guard it (Proverbs 4:23). One way to guard our heart is to really *make the time* to think about our past---past "loves", past boyfriends (because sometimes those are not one in the same), past sex partners (same here) and even past crushes or "personal delusions" (because there is NOTHING like being in a relationship by yourself. It happens more than a lot of us would care to admit!).
Sometimes, we're so busy pining over the past and/or wanting someone from our past *or* someone in the present to be like someone from our past, that we think we're being *rejected* when really what's happening is that we're being *spared*. Not because something is "wrong with them" either. Personally, I'm proud to say several men from my own past are good guys who are doing some amazing things. It's just that when it comes to my personal relationship with God and what he has called me to do, they are not my fit. I am not theirs either.
When you don't accept this and you still try and force things, it's a lot like my mom with that Krispy Kreme donut. Your mind and spirit may be saying, "Yeah, that's probably not a good idea" while your heart is on some "But it was so good *last time*..."
First of all, *was it?!* Was it really?
Second of all, have you taken into account that you were a different person back then?
One of my favorite quotes from my mom is "God gives us someone for where we're going, not where we are. And the only one who knows where we're headed *is* him." (Revelation 1:8). No wonder we're supposed to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7) even when it comes to matters of the heart and our journey towards our beloved (Genesis 2:22). If you only want someone based on who you were or are now, you may choose *very poorly*.
Case in point. Fairly recently, I "ran into" (Proverbs 16:33--AMPC) an ex. Back when we broke up, I was so upset with the Lord and the guy (pretty much in that order) that I spent all that time with nothing really to show for it.
Oh, but the woman I've become? As I was talking to the guy, it was like having an out-of-body experience. I see how we became friends. I have no clue how we became a couple, though. And while I will always care for him and want the best for his life, I get now that he's like that Krispy Kreme donut---my memories were telling me one thing but my tastes have changed. Interacting with him is just not the same experience. Anymore. And if I tried to force it to be what it was simply because of how things used to be or because I am still freakin' single and abstinent or even because there are parts of our interaction that I miss...it would probably just make us both sick. And waste even more time.
This is the kind of post that ain't for everybody, but for some...things really will "click".
That lead quote? It's all kinds of an "ouch" but it's true...
Some men are nothing more than the memories of a Krispy Kreme donut...
Let 'em go.
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Monday, April 3, 2017
"Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life."---Proverbs 4:23(AMPC)
I say it at least a couple of times a week now...
I *hate* (one definition of hate is "unwilling", by the way) boyfriend and girlfriend relationships.
1) They're not biblical.
2) They put people in the position to be sexually-compromising.
3) They encourage individuals to "act married" when they're NOT married.
4) They oftentimes leave folks emotionally-devastated, fearful and bitter.
5) They teach people more about how to divorce than how to remain together.
6) They trivialize marriage.
7) They rob people of the opportunity to build a true friendship.
8) They apply *way too much pressure*---across the board.
9) They influence people to "demand" what they did not *earn*.
10) They're spiritually-irresponsible in a lot of ways.
Did I mention they're not biblical?
No one needs a "test run", sexually or emotionally, before getting married.
FRIENDSHIP is what should be the focus and priority for single people.
As I was praying about the "On Fire" gals, as it relates to this topic, "first loves" are what came to mind. I shared on my post a couple of years ago entitled "Do You Have All of Your HEART PIECES (Back)???" my journey towards getting over a man whom I loved (based on what I knew about love at the time) for two decades. Even though I had dated other guys, slept with other guys and had a few boyfriends since him, there continued to be a part of me (a part that was bigger than I thought) who was comparing other guys to him and holding out hope that we would end up together.
For one thing, he was the first person *I consented* to be sexually-involved with (remember, I was sexually molested by a family member).
Another reason is because I got pregnant by him (and aborted---click here to read about how someone you conceive a child with becomes a part of your DNA for the rest of your life, whether you carry the child to term OR NOT).
Another reason is because he was someone who was just as attracted to me and loved me back just as much (that's rare to find).
As I've been healing, in some truly superhuman ways, from my past relationships (if you're not abstinent, *get abstinent*. It's a life-changer!--I Corinthians 6:16-20--Message), something I realize is that if you don't *really, truly, fully and completely HEAL* from your past...you won't be in the best possible state for your future. And since past loves tend to be HIGHLY-INFLUENTIAL on us (who in the Bible did you know who "got together and broke up"?!), if we don't do the self-work and ponder (Proverbs 4:26) how it influenced and impacted us...we can end up choosing a life partner out of brokenness, not wholeness (James 1:4).
So, I'm pitching an invite to participate in a way to heal from your first love by doing this:
1) Share the biggest lesson you learned from your first love.
2) Share the greatest regret you have from your first love.
3) Share how your first love has affected how you view love/relationships now.
4) Share how the ending of the relationship impacted you.
5) Share the qualities you want/don't want that your first love had.
I don't mean the "first love" like your first crush in elementary school...
I mean the first love that had you honestly believing there would be no one else. THAT GUY.
The Word says, "Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]." (James 5:16--AMPC)
As you confess (shoot them over to firstname.lastname@example.org), I'll be praying. With some of y'all's permission (feel free to use an alias), I will post some of the confessions and provide some tips on how to make sure you have all of your heart back. Those who participate, there will be something special in store.
God really is making sure that we are WHOLE-HEARTED WOMEN *before* marriage...
My prayer is that you will take advantage of *every opportunity* he bestows.
Oh, and I'm a signs-and-wonders gal (Daniel 4:1-2), so I created a picture quote (including the quote) from a heart-shaped bowl of raspberries because the health benefits of that fruit include: a healthy heart, a boost in fertility and balanced moods. I thought that was pretty cool!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Sunday, April 2, 2017
"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.'"---Genesis 2:21-23(NKJV)
And THE LORD caused...
And THE LORD took...
And THE LORD brought.
THEN Adam praised GOD'S WORK.
This past week, I read two quotes that stuck with me:
"Trust God's timing, don't seek something simply because you see others with it."---Godly Dating
"Don't underestimate the way your actions can change what's 'meant' for you."---Rob Hill Sr.
They're both powerful in their own way...
The first one because I get emails all the time of single women who are upset about not being married. And, what they compare their anxiety to (Philippians 4:6-7) is being tired of being "always a bridesmaid", tired of going to yet *another wedding*...tired of their friends getting married and having children. Tired of being the only one who isn't.
It's understandable. We're all human. Yet do you know a commandment that isn't preached about nearly enough? COVETING: "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s." (Exodus 20:17--AMPC) It doesn't only mean "to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others" but "to wish for, especially eagerly".
Is there something wrong with wishing? Is there something wrong with "wanting", "desiring" or "longing"? No. Yet being *eager* about it? Eager means "impatiently longing" and the Bible *never* recommends impatience. Ever. Love is patient (I Corinthians 13:4--AMPC), remember? Patient ain't an easy word, either:
Patient: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like
Did you peep the part about NOT COMPLAINING and NOT BEING ANGRY?
If you can't master being patient with God...
How can you even possibly get close to being patient with a husband?
The steps of a good person are ordered (Psalm 37:23)...
We are to follow each and every one God places before us (2 Corinthians 5:7).
A quote (by Bill Hybels) that I've been rocking with for a minute now is "God is no more intimidated by childish demands for instant gratification than wise parents." It reminds me of two Scriptures:
"For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."---Matthew 6:8(NKJV)
"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”---Luke 11:11-13(NKJV)
Should you feel bad for wanting what you want? No. Yet according to Scripture it is important to 1) seek the Lord about if your desire(s) line up with his (James 1:14-15, I John 5:14-15); 2) pray about God revealing your truest motives (Proverbs 21:2&8--Message) and cast your cares, *all of them*, on him (I Peter 5:6-7). Casting means "to hurl". It's not easy sometimes. It *is* biblically required, though.
And that Rob Hill, Jr. quote? It'll preach! Louder than a lot of us want to hear...
If you know you're doing things that are contrary to Scripture, don't assume that it will not alter your future. In other words, be careful about living by the motto of "If it's meant to be, it will be" while you're out here doing whatever you want. Whenever you want. It wasn't "meant to be" that Adam and Eve sinned. *Their choices* (Genesis 3) led to that outcome. And it changed things. *A lot of things*. Drastically so. We're *still* dealing with the consequences of what they did. Choices can be just that powerful.
If you know you're compromising yet you want to be in something as GODLY as marriage? STOP.
You don't need to "come up with ways" to meet or marry your future husband.
On the days when you struggle with believing that, go back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). Back to where marriage began. Where *God* decided that it was time for Adam to have a wife. Where *God* made her, just for him. Where *God* brought her to him too.
Adam wasn't going through over-the-top extremes to capture her heart.
The Woman wasn't playing hard to get---or any games.
Both individuals were in God's will, trusting God's way---and timing (Acts 1:7---Message).
And that's what makes the picture quote up top so...beautiful...
There are a lot more people out here who simply want to "get married"...
Than people who want to look like GOD is the One who put them with someone.
God is holy (I Peter 1:16).
WHAT HE DOES IS HOLY.
RELAX (Jude 1-2--Message) and let God do his thing.
Between him, you and your future husband, he's the ONLY ONE whose work is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Out of the three of you, he's the ONLY ONE who should be putting you and yours together!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Something that I think we need to always remember when it comes to sex before marriage is 1) waiting until AFTER our wedding is a biblical instruction; 2) God does not OWE us sex (or a husband) and 3) there are very clear consequences that come from fornication. I Corinthians 6:9-10 tells us that it can keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God and, if it goes unrepentant, it can lead to...let's just say a very uncomfortable afterlife (Revelation 21:8). Sexual sin is serious. Just because the world makes it seem like it's "no biggie", make no mistake about it. The Word takes it *very seriously* (I Corinthians 6:16-20).
I haven't checked all of this out, although I have seen Insecure before (and was *floored* to find out Yvonne Orji was a virgin in real life!) and I've seen her talk about it on a radio interview before. Plus, a male friend of mine who is a believer hipped me to it, so I'm going to take him at his referral.
If you're a virgin, there is MUCH VALUE in your gift. HOLD ON TO IT.
If you're currently abstaining, one of the consequences of not being a virgin is withdrawal moments. Trust me, I know. God never intended for us to stop having sex once we started. Yet there are rewards for repentance (I John 1:9-10) and mind renewal (Romans 12:2). Trust the process.
If you're having sex, there's no way around the fact that it's a form of idol worship (Exodus 20:3); anything that we put above God is just that. I Corinthians 6:18 tells us to *flee sexual immorality*. There's no time like the present!
Anyway, watch the video and share with others...
Virginity is beautiful. And purposeful. And of God...
It really, really is!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I'm a quotes girl...
A "movement" that goes by the name Godly Dating recently shared this:
"They're interested, but did God say they were eligible?
We have to pray before we make decisions."
I can't tell you how many counseling sessions I have sat in with couples who are currently bearing the fruit of the reality that they did not make building a spiritual relationship, following biblical instruction and making sexual purity as much of priorities as they should have. When you don't and you decide to get married anyway, this is what tends to happen; the "sand" part:
Building on a Solid Foundation
“'Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.'
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority---quite unlike their teachers of religious law."---Matthew 7:24-29(NLT)
Matthew 19:6(NKJV) says "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” This means that God is involved with and a part of biblically-defined marriage (Genesis 2:18-25). This means that when two people who are courting each other honor God and build on *his foundation*, they are able to withstand...*anything*.
That's what's so cool about that quote...
Entertaining the notion of dating a guy just because he's interested in you is a *very low bar*.
A woman who knows her worth (I Corinthians 6:18, I Corinthians 7:23, Proverbs 31:10) really does ask GOD "Is he eligible?"
And here's the deal. Words have life (Proverbs 18:21) and a truly eligible bachelor isn't just a single man (and ANYONE who is NOT MARRIED is "single" by the way---act married when you *are* married). Look at all of what the word "eligible" means:
Eligible: fit or proper to be chosen; worthy of choice; desirable; meeting the stipulated requirements, as to participate, compete, or work; qualified; legally qualified to be elected or appointed to office
Have you asked God if the guy is the one GOD has chosen for you?
Have you asked God if he's worthy of the position?
Have you asked God if he meets all of the requirements to court and then marry you?
Have you asked God if he's legally qualified (if he's married or even divorced, he's not)?
*This is what it means to be with someone who is eligible.*
Just something to think about....
"Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.'"---Luke 1:39-45(NKJV)
I penned a devo that has brought me to the conclusion that I am going to stray away from saying that Christ was single. In the physical realm, to one human woman, he may have been but there is TONS of evidence in the Word that he was indeed married---married to the Church. Literally:
"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, 'Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.'"---Revelation 21:9(NKJV)
If you're not on the devotional list, if *ever* I would encourage you to shoot me an email (email@example.com) so that I can send one of 'em to you, this one would be it! Marriage plays SO MUCH MORE of a spiritual and ministry purpose than, even most of the Church, teaches. I discern that reading it will provide you with more than a couple of "ah ha moments"!
As I was praying for the "On Fire" women this week, three things came to my spirit.
1) DO NOT COVET OTHER PEOPLE'S SITUATIONS. For one thing, that is breaking the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17). A quote that expresses how people do this well is "Trust God's timing, don't seek something simply because you see others with it." A lot of women probably do not think about what they are *really saying* when they make statements like "Everyone else has a husband or a baby. I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't." Is *that* a healthy motive (Proverbs 21:2&8-Message) to be in a relationship? No. It's not.
2) As I continue to work through the healing of my own past (Romans 12:2), a verse that I try to keep before me is "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright." (Hebrews 12:14-16--NKJV) Not only is peace *paramount* (Romans 12:18), not only is this verse a CLEAR WARNING about fornication, but peep the part that's underlined and in bold: BITTERNESS IS A TROUBLEMAKER. To be bitter is to be "hard to bear; grievous; distressful". To be bitter is to be "causing pain; piercing; stinging". To be bitter is to be "characterized by intense antagonism or hostility". Guess what else bitter means? This: "resentful or cynical" and "hard to admit or accept". The Message Version of Ecclesiastes 7:18 is one of my favorite verses is "It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it." If you're not willing to accept the season that *God* has us in (Ecclesiastes 3, James 1:4), it can indeed start to make you cynical and yeah, *bitter*. And look at what the Word says about that kind of woman: "There are three things that make the earth tremble---no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress." (Proverbs 30:21-23--NKJV) Rinse and repeat: THE EARTH CANNOT ENDURE A BITTER WOMAN WHO *FINALLY* GETS A HUSBAND. If you know you're dealing with bitterness in your life, God may be keeping you single for you and your future husband's sake! That's something to really ponder (Proverbs 4:26) and pray about (I Thessalonians 5:17). Psalm 84:11 tells us that God withholds no good thing. If you're bitter, being married could be a bittersweet experience *and that* makes me think about this verse: "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20--NKJV)
3) This final point connects to the lead Scripture for this message. It's a verse that a wife shared with me years ago and one that I revisit as a "faith gut check" (Hebrews 11) from time to time. It's some of the words that Elizabeth said to Mary after an Angel of the Lord came to Mary to tell her that she would be carrying Christ. "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." I like this for a few reasons too. 1) It's a reminder that we're not only blessed once we get something; we are blessed the moment we *believe* that we will!; 2) Mary had a season of being told she would conceive (without having sex, which makes this a miracle and something that ONLY God could do! God can do what seems to be impossible in your life as well!--Matthew 19:26), a season of growing the child and a season of birthing him. If you've never read the Message Version of Romans 8:22-29, check it out sometime. A line in it says "That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy."; 3) It's also a reminder that while the Word does indeed tell us that "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us" (2 Corinthians 1:20--NKJV), just because we want something (or one), that doesn NOT automatically mean God promised it (or them) to us. *Desires must be surrendered, completely, to the Father*: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15--NKJV) Whatever it is that you want (especially if you are becoming frustrated about it), are you *sure* God promised it to you? Because if you are, waiting isn't something to be/get upset about. The Word says that we are to become *more joyful* in our expectancy! This is what a big part of "walking by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7) is all about!
This reminds me. If you were one of the women who partook in the "future husband project", I've figured out what to bless you with. I'll be ordering it the first of the month. Luke 1:45 is involved. ;)
For any other "On Fire" woman, if you'd like prayer concerning any three of these points, feel free to shoot me an email. Because what we can be sure of is that there is power in agreement (Matthew 18:19-20) and "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (I John 5:14-15--NKJV) No matter what, *that* you *can* believe!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...