Thursday, July 29, 2010

"On Fire": Ezer Kenegdo

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It’s not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper who is like him.’”---Genesis 2:18 (GMLT)

Hey Ministers-in-Training,

Are you waiting to be called to a fast? ME TOO. I thought it would’ve happened by now. I simply haven’t felt a release from the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) yet. HOWEVER, I do have a bit of an assignment for us. You’ll need a fresh journal for it.

In my own personal quest, curiosity, desire to have a “Back to the Garden of Eden Covenant”, I have been spending quite a bit of time researching the origin of things; the original translations of Scripture…what may have been lost over time as people play, what I call, the “Scripture Gossip Game”: one person tells one thing about a verse, someone else tells another and so forth…until we end up losing clarity of what the verses of the Bible really meant.

This week, the two words that the Comforter has been having me focus on are “make” and “helper”. This is why the message is entitled in the way that it is. EZER KENEGDO (pronounced Ee-zur Ken-egg-doe/dough) are the two words in the Hebrew Language for HELP MEET; yet, my research has shown me that it’s pretty hard to directly translate. And because of that, I believe, a lot of wives (and wives in training) are not fully cognizant of the miraculous role that they are to play in their marriages.

An ‘ezer is something we all need. Yahweh ‘Ezer is Hebrew for “Lord our Helper”. That, right there, should give us a lot of peace…and clarity of purpose because the Lord basically said he would make someone, not just comparable to Adam, but also someone like the Lord himself…someone to do something similar to what he does. Have you ever looked up the kind of help that Yahweh ‘Ezer provides? You might want to do a study on it some time. I know something that I have been “on pause” about this week is how the Lord is referenced in Psalm 33:20 and 115:9-11: A HELP AND SHIELD. A shield protects, eh? Other studies stated that ‘ezer can also mean “to rescue” or “to save”. TO RESCUE AND SAVE.

Moving on…

Kenegdo? My research tells me that it basically means to be equal, counterpart or alongside.

Put these two would together and if there was a simplified way of explaining the role, it would be LIFESAVER; someone who can be alongside Adam in the role of protecting, rescuing, saving…HELPING. That would be a lifesaver, indeed.

OK. Now, we all know (or at least should) that no one is a person’s Savior but Christ. Any kind of implication of being a “human savior” is not what these two words are trying to convey…nor am I. However, based on all of this information, I do want you to take note of how POWERFUL a wife is. How PIVOTAL her role is. The PURPOSE for why she was created in the first place.

And why you need a new journal.

As I’ve been dialoguing with a lot of women, both married and single, regarding marriage, one thing that doesn’t seem to be focused on nearly as much as it should is the SPIRITUAL RESPONSIBILITY that a female covenant partner is to have. Yet, I think Ezer Kenegdo explains it brilliantly. When the Lord gave us dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-31), that was not just a role for Adam; that was an instruction for mankind: MAN AND WOMAN. The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, decided that it’s not “morally excellent”, “right”, “honorable”, “favorable”, “RESPONSIBLE”, “healthful”, “BENEFICIAL”, “advantageous”, “CLEVER”, “sufficient”, “financially sound or safe” (hmph), “in good standing” for a man to be alone.

However, to be good for a man, you must be good for yourself (eh hem).

Hmph. No wonder King Solomon reminded us that when a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). No wonder covenant marriage, the bond between a MAN and a WOMAN (Matthew 19:6) is attacked in the relentless manner that it is. Anything that’s “good” in the site of the Lord, the Liar (John 8:44) works overtime to defile. And so, with all of that said, here’s the journal project for this week:

1) Seek the Lord on what areas you can improve as an Ezer Kenegdo. Cause the truth is, whether married or not, you are a woman. The Lord can use you to rescue, to save, to help, right now. Also, take a moment to see how you’re helping. I often say that because we’re created to help man, we’re either helping him to heaven or helping him to hell. Love is godly help. Lust is demonically-based assistance. In this life, there are wives and there are prostitutes (I Corinthians 6). Which are you?

2) Focus on the word “make” for awhile. Some of us long to be joined to our covenant partner. Yet, because things are done decently and in order (I Corinthians 14:40), we must understand that before things can be given, they must be made. In context to this message, one definition is “preparing in a certain way”. Another (and I love this one!)? TO BE ASSURED OR CONFIDENT OF SUCCESS. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 3:14 (NKJV): “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.” A covenant is certainly El Berith, the God of Covenant’s, doing. For some of us, the “delay” is that he is not yet confident of the union’s success…yet. There’s some more “making” that has to be done. Yes, I’m sure this is the case when it comes to the man and the woman, but to be honest with you, lately, at least as it relates to me, because the Bible says that the unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord so that she can be holy in body and spirit (I Corinthians 7:34), I’m not too concerned about what my future partner is doing. That’s not to be my priority right now. I want the Lord to be confident that I will be a successful woman…a successful wife will follow.

I want you to know that you all remain in my prayers. If there is something you have as a specific request, feel free to let me know. In the meantime, be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6-7). More and more, I’m coming to see that Elohim has things far more under control than I tend to give him credit for AND that he has more faith in me than I can wrap my mind around...most days.

After all, he created me to be an Ezer Kenegdo. Who wouldn’t be proud of that?!?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention: "Thieves in the Temple: The Truth About Sexual Sin"

“Marriage is honorable in every respect; and, in particular, sex within marriage is pure. But God will indeed punish fornicators and adulterers.”---Hebrews 13:4 (JNTP)

“Sex without love is violence.”---Eric Jerome Dickey


Head’s up: Certainly, this is more of a “preventative measure message” for those who are single (and no matter what, you are single if you are not married). However, I would encourage married people to read this, too; especially if you had sex before marriage. It’s not going to be the most comfortable ride, but it may provide some clarity on how to confess (James 5:16), pray and be reconciled re: your relationship now.

“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.”---I Corinthians 2:13-15 (NKJV)


Several weeks ago, I was talking to someone about her daughter who is a young, single mom. She said something that was, what I call, “commonly jarring”. In reference to her daughter’s relationship with her “baby’s daddy”, the mother said, “I’m praying that he can get himself [spiritually] together. They’ve already had sex. Why not try and work it out?”

Let the games begin.

On this side of abstinence, I can’t believe just how…blasphemous (bold, irreverent, nervy, out-of-line, profane, sacrilegious, ungodly) I find premarital sex to be; how blasphemous I was in the partaking of the act. I mean, I’ve always known it was wrong. My Mama told me that. Yet, just yesterday, my mom and I were talking about how much of a disservice many of us are doing to those around us re: how sex affects, not just our bodies, but our minds and hearts as well. How beautiful it is within covenant. How destructive it is without.

I wonder what life would be like if we all were taught to memorize, out the gate (since birth), the following Scripture: “Don’t you know that your bodies are part of the Messiah? So, am I to take parts of the Messiah and make them parts of a prostitute? Heaven forbid! Don’t you know that a man who joins himself to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? For the Tanakh says, ‘The two will become one flesh;’ but the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Run from sexual immorality! Every other sin, a person commits is outside of the body, but the fornicator sins against his own body. Or don’t you know that your body is the temple for the Ruach Hakodesh who lives inside of you, whom you received from God. The fact is, you don’t belong to yourselves; for you were bought with a price. So use your bodies to glorify God.”---I Corinthians 6:15-20 (JNTP)

I am pulling this from the Jewish New Testament and so for those who may not know, “Tanakh” is the Hebrew word for the Hebrew Scriptures which were divided into three divisions: the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings…or as some Christians would consider to simply call it the Old Testament. “Ruach Hakodesh” is a Hebrew word meaning, “Divine Spirit” or “Divine Inspiration”…the Holy Spirit. I have mentioned many times before that I love how the Message Version translates I Corinthians 6:16 as well: “Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.” If for no other reason, the Holy Spirit dwelling within you makes sex a spiritual mystery. And here is where I will begin this message.

When it comes to teaching the purpose of sex in marital covenant and/or the reason why it should remain there, I think that one word that should be focused on more is TEMPLE. Our bodies are temples.

Temple: an edifice or place dedicated to the service or worship of a deity or deities; any of the three successive houses of worship in Jerusalem in use by the Jews in Biblical times, the first built by Solomon, the second by Zerubbabel, and the third by Herod; an edifice erected as a place of public worship; a church, esp. a large or imposing one; any place or object in which God dwells, as the body of a Christian

And, while the following definition refers, specifically, to those of the Mormon faith, I think it’s fitting for this message: “a building devoted to administering sacred ordinances, principally that of eternal marriage”

We are a place where the Lord dwells. I wonder how many of us really get that.

While Christ was on the earth, he spent a significant amount of time in temples; especially to teach (Luke 19:47, Luke 21:37). Already that provides some perspective, doesn’t it? The Amplified Version of John 14:26 tells us, “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you” and Luke 12:12 (NKJV) states, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

The Holy Spirit dwells within us to teach us, as I Corinthians 2:13-15 states, SPIRITUAL THINGS. He’s inside of us to comfort us, counsel us, help us, intercede for us, advocate for us, strengthen us…and be our standby. That, right there, should already give you a clue as to why the Liar (John 8:44) wants to “get in” any way that he can. Why would you think the devil would want you to learn (or retain) anything? Especially anything that would build up your spirit man (Romans 8:9).

More and more, Yahweh Hoseena, the Lord our Maker, has been showing me how little what the devil does re: me has to actually do with me. In the Lord’s eyes, we are tools; in Satan’s we are pawns. I can only imagine how the Liar must feel about something as sacred, as precious, as powerful…as holy (I Peter 1:13-16) as the Holy Spirit living within me. And so, it would only make sense that he would do what he could to try and drive that spirit out; to desecrate my temple.

And so, being that the Holy Spirit dwells here and yet, obviously, he doesn’t mind dwelling (teaching) while two married people are engaged in a “spiritual mystery moment” (I Corinthians 7:5)…should it not be a given that sexual intimacy, between two covenant temples, is an act of worship? It’s not taught and/or reiterated nearly as much as it should be, but it was Theotes, the Godhead, that created sex. None of us would know about it---including the Liar himself---if they had not introduced us to the concept (Genesis 2:24-25). So, being that husbands and wives are strongly consulted (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to not deprive one another from the act…being that sex, in some ways, similar to baptism (I think), is an outward display of a personal commitment…being that it plays a significant part in making “two one”...being that two can put ten thousand to flight and two can withstand the attacking of one (Ecclesiastes 4:12)…being that SEX IS SPIRITUAL and “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), yes, sexual intimacy must be treated with reverent honor and adoring regard. One definition of “worship” is “the reverent love and devotion accorded to a sacred object”. Another? “The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed”.

Hmph. I wonder how much sex would change if every time it took place, it was honored as a ceremony of expressing godly love. After all, when people get married, they have a ceremony, right? A solemn rite takes place. Why would that be a “deeply earnest” experience, but the ability to (fellas) enter into the temple of your wife not be seen in the same light?

The fact is, it should.

Many years ago, the artist Prince wrote a song entitled, “Thieves in the Temple”. Being that sex is an act of worship when it comes to marital covenant, you can best believe that the Liar is going to do all that he can to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) that beautiful and PURPOSEFUL experience. He doesn’t support anything that El Berith, the God of Covenant, has joined together (Matthew 19:6).

And so, in walks fornication and adultery.

Matthew 21:12-17 speaks of a time when Christ went into a temple and drove out all of those who were using it for the wrong reasons. “And He said to them, ‘It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (verse 13) Now here’s the thing about a thief: it is someone who steals (something that the Eighth Commandment---Exodus 20:15 tells us not to do). However, a thief usually does it “secretly” or “without open force”.

When I public speak on sex, I sometimes say, “When a couple goes away on their honeymoon, what do you assume happened?” Prayerfully, those folks had sex…and plenty of it. And why should it be a secret? They didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t steal anything. It’s a rightful act for married people. So, if you’re currently engaged in a sexual relationship that you are covering up, yeah…you have a thief (or perhaps even thieves) in your temple. The Liar probably has you calling it, “keeping the relationship private”. The truth (John 8:32)? You’re rolling around in darkness. Remember, Adam and the Woman were naked…AND NOT ASHAMED. And we are called to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14):”Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” (John 8:12-NKJV) Darkness is not a part of a disciple’s life. Sex is nothing to be on the “hush hush” about when it’s within the Father’s will and design.

What the Lord revealed to me today is that when you engage in sex outside of covenant, it’s a lot like being one of the “false teachers”, in the Church, that the Word warns us about:

“But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.

They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”---2 Peter 2:12-17 (NKJV)

I have a friend who hates it when I say, “In the Bible, when it comes to sexual activity, you are either considered a ‘prostitute’ or a ‘wife’.” But him not liking it doesn’t make it any less true. However, I see why this is the case in a different fashion now. Some prostitutes have sex for money; others “willingly use his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way”. Either way, “A prostitute is as dangerous as a deep pit, and an unfaithful wife is like a narrow well.” (Proverbs 23:27-NCV)

A couple of months ago, a spiritual sistah of mine (thanks Candice) purchased an “I Love My Husband” t-shirt for me. I am not (yet) married, but he who finds a wife finds a good thing, right? (Proverbs 18:22) How much can a man trust me if I don’t care enough to submit to the Lord’s will for my life? EVEN NOW, IF I ENGAGED IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY, I AM BEING AN UNFAITHFUL WIFE. I am not keeping myself holy and sacred for my future husband.

This is one of the reasons why it baffles me how much we rush fornicating relationships into a covenant. I was also telling someone yesterday that when I was molested, it would have been very unhealthy to remain in a close spiritual/emotional/physical space with the one who was abusing (abnormally using) me. He took advantage of my temple. He had an authoritative role, which made him a false teacher. I’ve been one as well. The Bible refers to the Church family as “brothers and sisters” (James 2:15). Marriage is what makes a brother and sister, husband and wife. I wrote a piece a couple of years ago called, “Spiritual Incest”. When you engage in fornication or adultery, you are sleeping with your spiritual brother or sister. You violate them. You’ve trespassed into their temple. You partook in spiritual incest. You were the victimizer and victim of sexual abuse. Now why should marriage be the “cure” for that?’

Why would such a destructive thing not be treated in a similar fashion, spiritually, of those who have been sexually violated in other ways? There needs to be repentance and forgiveness, yes. HOWEVER, there also needs to be distance. There needs to be counsel. There needs to be a realignment of boundaries. There needs to be healing. I think a big part of the reason why the divorce rate within the Church is as high of that within the world (very, very sad) is that we “force” two broken people together thinking it will make them whole. Again, sex is not just a physical act, but a spiritual mystery.

And yes, I am more than aware of what Paul said in I Corinthians 7:8-9 (NJTP): “Now to the single people and the widows I say that it is fine to remain single like me; but if they can’t exercise self-control, they should get married; because it is better to get married than to keep burning with sexual desire.” But I am also aware that people do not read these two verses together nearly as much as they should.

A couple of years ago, when I took a Spiritual Gifts Test, I laughed (and took a huge sigh of relief) when I saw that I tested very low in the Gift of Celibacy. A Paul, in that way, I am not. You see, Paul was not saying that if you’re in a relationship where you’re fornicating, you should hurry up and marry the person to “right your wrong”. ONLY REPENTANCE DOES THAT (Luke 13:3). He was saying that if you are not comfortable being a single person and not having sex, marriage is probably for you. Because after all, IF YOU DON’T DESIRE TO GET MARRIED, YOU MUST NOT WANT TO HAVE SEX, EH? SEX IS FOR MARRIED PEOPLE ONLY.

Yet, we must remember what Christ himself said about marriage:

“But Jesus said, "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it."---Matthew 19:11-12 (Message)

Sex is a part of marriage. The truth is that not everyone is mature enough to have sex…but if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of sex, do it.

Earlier this week, I wrote a note to the women who are a part of the “On Fire” movement that the Comforter led me to start awhile back. I was telling them about how shook I was once I really got that it’s not good for man to be alone. FOR A MAN TO BE ALONE. A man is someone who is not a boy…he is someone who is mature. Paul said in I Corinthians 13:11 that when he was a child, HE UNDERSTOOD AS A CHILD, but when he became a man, HE PUT AWAY CHILDISH THINGS. I have enclosed the link to the note below. You might be surprised what some of the synonyms of “childish” are:

http://onfirefastmovement.blogspot.com/2010/07/on-fire-man-of-god.html

One is “marked by or indicating a lack of maturity”; to be “puerile”. To be “puerile” is to be “childishly foolish”, “immature” and “trivial”. I Peter 2:11 (NKJV) states, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” It’s a rough word but Proverbs 30:17 (NKJV) tells us, “The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.” If you were raised that fornication is wrong (and if you are a parent now, THAT IS YOUR JOB TO DO—Ephesians 6:4), as an adult, the Word says that is something that you should not be departing from (Proverbs 22:6). CHILDREN REBEL. ADULTS ADHERE. Spiritual maturity tells us that we have a mission to present ourselves as honorable before the nonbeliever. Cause really, why would they honor sex if we are dishonoring it? And for a lot of us, DISHONORING THEM BY HAVING SEX WITH THEM.

Thieves in the temple.

Fornication is a spiritually immature act. Marriage is not for people who fornicate. Marriage is for mature Christians; disciples who abide in the Word of Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God (John 8:31). The truth is that there are a lot of marriages that are suffering right now and it’s because, I believe, they did not receive this kind of counsel. They were in a sexual relationship and their counsel, in effort to also “keep the sin hidden” advised, “Well, if you can’t keep your hands off of each other, just get married so that it will be right in the sight of the Lord.” LUST IS NEVER RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD (I John 2:16). NEITHER IS A LUST-MOTIVATED DECISION. The lead verse for today says that the Lord punishes fornicators and adulterers. There is a reaping that comes even if/when you marry the person you engaged in fornication with; there is a reaping that comes if/when you marry the person committed adultery with. God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7-9). His Word accomplishes just what it pleases (Isaiah 55:11).

Some people are wondering what is going on in their marriages right now. They are simply in their reaping season. The Word tells us that fleshly lusts war against the soul. War is “active hostility”, “contention” and “conflict”. Psalm 19:7 (NKJV) tells us that, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” One of the Lord’s commands?

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.”---I Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NKJV)

Nonbelievers do not know God. So they act like it. One of these actions is to partake in lust. But do you see how the Word says that when we do, we take advantage of and defraud our brother? AND that the Lord is the avenger of such acts? To “avenge” means “to inflict a punishment or penalty in return for” an action; in this case, a choice that is not within his will.

That’s not to say the Lord cannot restore (Joel 2:25). Psalm 34:22 (NKJV) tells us, “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.” I know of several couples who had sex before marriage and are being restored. However, restoration is a process. To “restore” is “to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition”; to “reestablish”; “to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor”. Psalm 127:1 (NKJV) states, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” When I think of the FEW people in my world who WAITED until marriage to have sex with one another, this verse comes to mind: “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” (Proverbs 13:4-NKJV) You think it’s easy to desire someone, to perhaps even be engaged, but choose to wait to fulfill the Lord’s purpose for sex? IT. AIN’T. It takes lots of self-control…lots of hard work…lots of diligence. Yet, when one takes the “lazy way out”, by doing things Satan’s way rather than the Lord’s…indeed, they do “labor in vain”; they put energy into something that often ends up being “ineffectual” or “without real significance, value or importance”…because when you put the gift before the Giver (Romans 1), that’s always the end result.

When you see your errors, it takes time to correct them (Acts 1:7—Message). When you build your house upon “the sands of sin”, storms come and…sometimes you separate…or file for divorce. THE FOUNDATION WAS NOT SOLID OR STABLE. We are called to be founded on the rock (Matthew 7:24-29). The Lord and his teachings are the rock by which everything we do should be built. To build on the wrong foundation, and then not honor the Lord’s Word (again) enough to try and get out of covenant (Malachi 2:14)? Hmph. Bold, at best. Actually, bold, at least. You went into it wrong. A part of repenting is acknowledging that and letting HIM make it right; however HE deems fit.

“Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.”---Hebrews 13:4 (Message)

This Word tells us that we all, single and married alike, should honor marriage and guard its sacredness. It deserves our high respect…our public esteem…our courteous regard. When something is “sacred”, it is to be “secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right”. Sex is for marriage. It deserves all of this as well…especially from those who claim to be disciples of Christ.

In the past few days, I have seen three of my past sexual soul ties. One said to me, “You look taller.” (That would be called “obedience”, playa-LOL). Another, who I was so bound to, I loathed…for years, spoke to me and I spoke freely (“Hey, how are you?”…and meant it!-LOL). The final one? He came up to me and asked why I had not reached out to him in awhile. I simply said, “I don’t talk to anyone [intimately] who partook of the forbidden fruit.” To him, it didn’t make sense. TO HIM, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO. We’re not in covenant and to me, it shows that I am healing and taking my marriage preparation very seriously. Finally.

I pray for my friends who fornicated before marriage. I sincerely do because I love them. But my mother used to often say that “Discernment prevents experience from being your teacher.” I DON’T WANT THEIR TESTIMONY. I’ve had “thieves in my temple”. It has taken A LOT OF WORK to restore it. On my wedding night, I want to be able to present my body as “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God”. That is my reasonable (covenant) service (Romans 12:1). I don’t want to waste one day without the Holy Spirit dwelling within my temple, teaching me how to love, esteem and serve (gasp! YES, SERVE), my covenant partner. It’s only in acknowledging God, that we get direction, right (Proverbs 3:6)? Why do you think people who choose to be without him are called, “lost”.

And so, if you are a single person, I really hope you will make the choice to value your temple, soberly, starting now. If you are in a relationship where spiritual incest has occurred, again, marriage doesn’t fix that. REPENTANCE DOES and I don’t know any crack heads that go into rehab by hanging out with their dealers (I’ll leave that right there). As I often say, “What wives do for commitment’s sake, when girlfriends do it? That’s called ‘settling’.” Your “Jacob”, at the very least, needs to become “Israel”, first (Genesis 32:24-30). YOU CAN’T DO THAT. ONLY YAHWEH GO’EL, THE GOD WHO REDEEMS, CAN. Move out of the way. Get your own self healed (and your boyfriend can’t do that, either).

If you’re married, especially if it’s troubled, and you see your testimony in this message, all I’m really led to say lust is impatient; love is not (I Corinthians 13:4). Again, it’s a bold move to decide that you can sin against the Lord and be forgiven but someone who sinned against you should not (Luke 6:37). Divorce is an ultimate example of non-forgiveness. CHOOSE WISELY. Restoration takes time.

And to all of us, let us remember, daily, that we’re not just a shell. We are the place where the Holy Spirit dwells. WE ARE HOLY GROUND. Thieves take things of value. That’s what demons do, too.

Don’t let ‘em. You’re much too royal (I Peter 2:9) and Adonai’s plans are much too big (Ephesians 3:20) for that!

©Shellie R. Warren/2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On Fire: A Man of God

"But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."---I Timothy 6:11-12 (NKJV)

A little earlier this evening, I was listening to one of my all-time favorite songs: "I Gotta Be" by Jagged Edge. I love it partially because it takes me back to a time in my past that was actually pretty cool. Another reason is because it reminds me that in the midst of all of the STRAIGHT UP FOOLISHNESS on the airwaves right now (I can't believe there is a song out right now called, "Got Them Chickens Speaking In Tongues"...WOW!), it's nice to know there are still some really sweet love songs in existence. I also love how the song outros: "You make me whole. You make me right. Don't ever wanna think about you leaving my life."

Gee. What a sweet thing to say.

And then, it dawned on me. WHAT A MANLY THING TO SAY.

Today, it just hit me...like a ton of bricks (and the Seventh-Day Sabbath will do that to you, I promise): when the Word says that it's not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18), do you know that I never even considered that this meant not just a man...but A MAN OF GOD!

Let me explain what I mean. Earlier this week, I was reading Hebrews 11 from my Jewish New Testament Bible. I found myself pausing at these passages:

"By trusting, Avraham obeyed, after being called to go out to a place which God would give him as a possession; indeed, he went out without knowing where he was going. By trusting, he lived as a temporary resident in the Land of the promise, as if it were not his, staying in tents with Yitzchak and Ya'akov, who were to receive what was promised along with him. For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God. By trusting, he received potency to father a child, even when he was past the age for it, as was Sarah herself; because he regarded the One who had made the promise as trustworthy. Therefore this one man, who was virtually dead, fathered descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, and as countless as the grains of sands on the seashore."---Hebrews 11:8-12 (JNTP)

It was a man of God who trusted in God to be able to give great promises and the gift of a child. A MAN OF GOD WHO TRUSTS IN GOD. OK, now check out the definitions of "man": "mankind"; "masculine"; "an adult male distinguished from a boy or a woman"; "a male servant"; "AN ENLISTED MAN"; "an enthusiast or devotee"; "manly character or courage"

It's not good that a MAN should be alone. It's not good that someone with masculine qualities, a male servant, an enlisted man, a devotee...someone who has manly character and courage...it's not good that HE should be alone. Amazing. And while I'm sure some of you have caught this before now, I'm just now realizing a step that I've missed in praying for my own future covenant partner. He needs to not just be a man. HE NEEDS TO BE A MAN OF GOD, FIRST. It's that person that the Lord wants to have a helpmate...most of all. It's someone who, as the lead verses tell us, flees things like the love of money (which is the verse right before the one listed); someone who pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness. A MAN OF GOD GOES AFTER ALL OF THESE THINGS. Not only that, but he fights the good fight of faith and lays hold of eternal life.

The truth (John 8:32)? Some of the men we have been praying about, travailing over, waiting on, pinning for...they are not men of God. That has been the hold up. Now, only El Roi, the God who Sees, knows if the man that you desire will become that man and you are most certainly welcome to ask him (Jeremiah 33:3). But what the Lord has shown me is that some of my praying has been putting the "marriage carriage" before the "horse" so-to-speak. I've been looking at things like...is he of physical age? Does he have a job? Is he a Christian? Does he want to be married...at least someday (LOL)? But Adam didn't just have these things on his personal resume. He was more than just "some man". He was Adonai's man. They had a close and personal relationship. So much so that Abba looked at his son and said (relatively-speaking), "You are my firstborn. You are amazing. But even with all that we have, even with all that I have entrusted you with...you need some help. I am proud of who you are. I will now make a helper comparable to you."

Yahweh Bara Kal Ha'arets, the Lord Creator of the Ends of the Earth, made who Adam called "Woman" because she defined comparable. She was "worthy of comparison". She was "similar" to him. She was "as good as" him. She was "on par". She was "proportionate". She was "akin", "alike", "interchangeable", "kindred", "matched", "parallel", "relative"...UNIFORM to him. To be uniform is to be "identical or consistent, as from example to example, place to place or moment to moment"; "without variations in detail" and "constant, unvarying and undeviating". ADAM WAS A MAN OF GOD WHO HAD A WOMAN UNIFORMED TO HIM. SPIRITUALLY, SHE TOO WAS A WOMAN OF GOD WHO WAS WITHOUT VARIATIONS IN THE DETAILS OF HER COMMITMENT TO THE LORD. SHE WAS CONSTANT, UNVARYING AND UNDEVIATING. This is why he could call her "bones of his bones and flesh of his flesh" (Genesis 2:23). She was taken out of a man of God. She reflected his relationship with their Father.

What I want us all to realize is that, yes, there is sin on the earth and so we will not find a man who is perfect; we, ourselves, are not (I John 1:10). But the focus should not just be on wife preparation or even being in a marital covenant. It should be that we are joined to a man of God; that we will come along when El Berith, the God of Covenant, deems fit that our "Adam" is complete within himself and we are to be his surplus; not his void-filler. A spiritual complement; not a carnal deterrent.

Cause here's the thing as well: you did see how one of these definitions of "man" said that it was an adult male distinguished from a boy or a woman, right? One definition of "boy" is "a male child, from birth to full growth, esp. one less than 18 years of age". But another? "A young man who lacks maturity, judgment, etc." And how does the Word describe a boy who transitions into a man? "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."---I Corinthians 13:11-13 (NKJV)

Another indication of a man of God? He puts away childish things and he abides in faith, hope and love. BUT ESPECIALLY IN LOVE. This means he's someone who's abiding in God...because God is love (I John 4:16). A boy lacks maturity and judgment. Childish things are things that are weak, silly, foolish and frivolous. Other synonyms of childish? WHEW! Facetious, flippant, gay, idle, impractical, not serious, pointless, scatterbrained, shallow, unimportant and volatile. A MAN, ESPECIALLY A MAN OF GOD, PUTS AWAY THESE THINGS.

John 15:7 (NCV) tells us, "If you remain in me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it will be given to you." In preparation for marital covenant, I must admit that I, personally, have prayed many things...but not that my husband would be a man of God in the sense of him not being united to me until he has put away childish things; until he is not a boy in the sense of lacking judgment; that I would not rush to try and raise a spiritual boy just because I haven't had enough patience for the Lord to mature him into a man of God. A man who, according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, can be a complete man and lacking in nothing...if he spends time in the Word and applies it.

Yeah. Something new for the prayer list, indeed! I don't want to keep a guy company. I want the Lord to decide that it's not good for a man, A MAN OF GOD, to be alone...to be apart from me...to be without my help or aid. And, being the kind of woman that I know I am striving to become, if "he" needs some time to "catch up" so that he can "surpass" me (cause I have no desire or intention of submitting to a boy when I am a "WOMAN"---Ephesians 5:22), I need to really be cool with that. Finally, I'm getting there.

I remember a man telling me not too long ago, "You are a wife. I'm not ready for marriage." A godly wife is such a rare and sacred thing (Proverbs31:10) that I found it to be an odd thing to say. It's a prideful thing to decide you don't need any help (Proverbs 16:18). But you know what? I appreciate his honesty. Basically, he's saying, "You're a WOMAN and I'm still a BOY." I don't want to be any man's Mama but my son's. I will let my Father take care of his adult sons-in-transition-to-men-of-God business. FINALLY.

In the meantime, I will "wean off" of trying to do anything other than keep myself spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:13) as I pray for my future covenant partner...

...that he will continue to grow in the Lord so that when I do come, when I am presented---JUST AS A GOOD GIFT SHOULD BE GIVEN---it will be right on time; a time when a GROWN MAN OF GOD NEEDS A GROWN WOMAN OF GOD.

No more? Perhaps. But most certainly, no less!!!

Love to you,

Shellie

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"On Fire": Defective? Send "It" Back.

"My child, do not reject the Lord's discipline, and don't get angry when he corrects you. The Lord corrects those he loves, just as parents correct the child they delight in."---Proverbs 3:11-12 (NCV)

I love the secrets that Abba tells me. I have learned the oh-so-hard way that everything ain't for everybody and that sometimes people tend to battle with jealousy (Proverbs 14:30) even when it comes to "competing with God's love" because more times than not, they go to others for validation...even when it comes to the things that the Lord tells them directly. Ladies, rest assure that our Father's Word is very "purpose-specific". When it says in Jeremiah (33:3) that we can call on him and he will tell us things that we do not know...if he wanted us to call on someone other than him, you can best believe that the Scriptures would have said that.

Now, that's not to say that the Lord doesn't use the mouthpieces of others. OF COURSE HE DOES. ALL THE TIME. All I'm saying is that when the Word says that "He fashions their hearts individually" (Psalm 33:15) and "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills" (I Corinthians 12:11)...sometimes I think we need to be reminded that we are individuals; that spiritual sisters may have the same spiritual DNA, but we have distinctive things within us that make us special. He loves us the same...yet differently. For that reason, I am not going to share details on a gift that the Lord gave me...but I will explain the reason for bringing it up in the first place.

There are certain verses in Scripture that Yahweh-'Ezer, the Lord that helps, has been speaking to me. It's even been "popping up" in my jewelry collection. Well anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I "happened upon" a ring with a certain "returning verse" online and immediately, I fell in love. Now before I proceed, let me share a verse that bears mentioning, and remembering, daily:

"The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him]."---Proverbs 16:33 (AMP)

EVEN THE EVENTS THAT SEEM ACCIDENTAL ARE REALLY ORDERED BY HIM.

So anyway, I saw this ring...Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides, made provision...I ordered it...and it came in the mail last week. Of course, without question, I couldn't wait to put it on!

Yet yesterday, I noticed that the writing on the outer part of the band was starting to flake. It's a stainless steel ring with an engraved message on it with black paint (?) to make the verse stand out. Anyway, I shouldn't have a ring for like, four days and it already be messed up. Last night, I went to bed irritated. This morning, I was awakened with the Word "defective" in my spirit.

Something that's defective is something that's "broken", "damaged", "deficient", "incomplete", "insufficient", "lacking", "unfinished" or "unhealthy". So, if there's a spiritual parallel to this, it's that we're all defective...in some way...in some ways (I John 1:10). However, before I get ahead of myself, let me get back to the ring.

A year ago? I would've been so excited to have the ring in my possession that I would've tried to find a way to make it work. Either I would've taken it to a local jeweler...or tried to pull off all of the black paint (?)...or ignored the imperfections...or complained the entire time about it (Philippians 2:14)...or put it away while chalking it up to a useless-yet-sentimental-keepsake.

This year? Oh, it's going back to the manufacturer tomorrow. I already sent them an email about the issue stating, "I would love another ring, but if the next one is going to be like this, I would like a refund."

NOW, let's get to the spiritual message...although I'm sure a few of you can see where I am going with this. I've said it before and I'll see it again: what a lot of people consider to be commitment in dating is actual settling. Why? Because you are not in a marital covenant until you are married. Telling yourself otherwise, acting like otherwise doesn't make it so. That's called "self-deceit". Mark 10:6-9 clearly tells us that what El-Berith, the God of Covenant, joins together...that is what no man should separate; not the soul ties that people create through their own lust, impatience, fear or imagination.

Anyway, if you are single right now reading this, this is what I want you to consider re: the lesson I am learning thanks to my ring. I saw the ring. I love the ring. The Lord made provision for me to have the ring. But when I got the ring, it was...well...lacking. SO I SENT IT BACK.

When it comes to what the Lord gives, the Word tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17); that what God does, it's forever and nothing can be added to or taken from it (Ecclesiastes 3:14). In the context of this message, I believe that this means that the Lord is not going to give us a "defective covenant". Yes, we are imperfect people, but it is my belief that when people trust in the Lord's will and way, a human marital union can still have its own "slice of perfection" within it because 1) the weaknesses and strengths balance one another out AND 2) a threefold cord relationship (one that has the Lord's blessing on/in it) is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Yet sometimes the Lord may show us someone..."the one" before it's time for a covenant. More and more, I think the Lord doesn't do this for as many of his daughters as he would like because we are so (and pardon the expression but it fits) "trigger happy". We meet someone, hang out a couple of times and all of a sudden, we've already purchased our broom to jump. There's a time to plant a seed. There's a time to reap the plant that grows from it. Very rarely does this happen immediately back-to-back (Ecclesiastes 3).

And so, sometimes, we're so quick to try and make a relationship be in one season when it's not time for that (if you're so "in love"...why aren't you more patient?-I Corinthians 13:4). It's time to be his friend...you're ready to be his wife. It's time to just hang out...you're ready to get engaged. And because you're moving ahead of yourself, you may or may not notice that there are some "defects" in "him". If you do see it, there's a great chance that you're so excited about who this man could be in your life that you end up doing what I would've done a year ago with my ring. You a) try to use his friends/family to push him along...or b) try and "fix him" yourself...or c) ignore the imperfections...or d) complain the entire time about him...or e) get rid of him altogether and chalk it up to a total waste of your time.

Interestingly enough, the best thing to do (and I'm speaking to non-carnal relationships...if you're having sex with your significant other, you have other fish to fry first-Hebrews 13:4) is send him back to his Manufacturer. No joke. No one knows "him" like the One who made him. Our Father describes himself as the Lord, our Holy One, the Creator of Israel, our King (Isaiah 43:15). Since he fashioned our hearts individually, you can trust that he did the same thing for our man of interest. There is nothing that we can do that can top the Creator's handiwork...timing...or plan.

Yes, there comes a time when we may see something we don't like and we're disappointed. Before doing anything rash though, do something sensible and turn "him" over to his Maker. Let the Manufacturer tell you what can be done about it...if anything...as it relates to you.

Cause here's the thing about where I am now. Although I love that ring. Although I am irritated that I made an investment of myself and have to send it back. Although it's gonna probably take much more time to get a new one (if the manufacturer thinks it's best that I get that same model-ding!), I know that I paid the price to get the best deal. Why should I suffer just because I don't want to wait?

A LOT OF PEOPLE SUFFER BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO WAIT.

"And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You."---Psalm 39:7 (NKJV)

And so, while I'm pretty certain that this is one of those "individual messages" that's not for every "On Fire" sistah, I can't help but to pose a few questions to those of you who have an inkling about who the Lord has for you...but you sense some serious defects.

How are YOU going to handle YOUR situation? You have a lot of choices, but haven't you come too far now to take matters into your own hands? Haven't you done that in times past and it not worked out as well as you'd like?

We all have defects, but you don't have to settle. This time of being single is a time to be made whole and to expect (Ephesians 3:20) a whole person to be given to you. Before you compromise to the point of senseless sacrifice, send "him" back to the Manufacturer. The One who always knows what to do.

For the "product". And the one who made the "purchase".

Love to you,

Shellie

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"On Fire": Listen. Obey. THE FIRST TIME.

"But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward."---Jeremiah 7:23-25 (NKJV)

"All a man can betray is his conscience."---Joseph Conrad


Today. Whew, y'all. TODAY.

Today, I learned two costly lessons: one emotionally and one financially. As a matter of fact, they both wore me out so much that I don't foresee being on here long.

Long story short, for about a year now, the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) has been on me to cut down my cable. I've had the same deal for about eight years now and so every time that I consider it, the customer service agent works hard to talk me out of it. Basically, I had a "platinum deal". Cutting it down, because I got the deal such a long time ago (I liken it to a rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan), means that it's almost more expensive to get a lesser package.

ALMOST.

Then this morning, I woke up to my service being off...due to non-payment. I took my receipt from 6/25/10 and promptly went to my cable company (who soooooooo gets the side-eye from me right now!). After about 20 minutes of going through my payment history and billing cycle, due to (cause I work on speaking absolute truth these days) having a consistent past due of one month (meaning I have one month that I haven't paid for years now so I would just make sure to pay the current bill) and because my billing cycle has changed, I actually owed two payments in one month PLUS the past due.

Now, it's an entirely different message re: making sure you take care of things that are "past due" in life. I'm sure that is a huge reason why we are encouraged not to let the sun set on our anger (Ephesians 4:25-27) but long story short, after finally downgrading today and walking out of there paying the bill due, the past due, with another cycle due later this month...I realized one valuable thing: IT PAYS TO LISTEN THE FIRST TIME.

And then, as if that was not enough (whew!), the Comforter also told me that there were certain people I needed to stay away from in conversation today; that I needed to wait until the weekend. Again, I didn't listen. As a result, the conversation with a certain someone ended up taking out more energy than it probably would've had I waited. My mind ended up going back to places, emotionally, that I hadn't been with that person in quite some time. Again: IT PAYS TO LISTEN THE FIRST TIME.

So why didn't I listen? Because I was prideful, that's why. Psalm 25:9 tells us that the Lord teaches the humble his way. John 16:13 tells us that the Spirit of truth guides us into ALL truth. But the thing is, to be taught, to be led...you have to be willing to submit.

If that ain't a wife preparation lesson, I don't know what is!

I won't presume to put my lessons on you, but I'll speak for me when I say that when the Lord say that a man who finds a wife finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22), that leads me to believe that I must be a wife upon "his" arrival...that means that I've really got to get some things together. If I'm too prideful to take direction from Adonai, the One who created me, what really makes me think that I will compromise, (at times) concede...SUBMIT (Ephesians 5:22) to the son he entrusts me to?

Can you just imagine how frustrated my husband would've been knowing that we had to pay for cable...cable that we don't need...twice in one month? All because I listened to the customer service agent (someone who definitely has an ulterior motive) more than him? Because I respected her views...more than his?!?

Can you imagine how peeved he would've been to come home to my funky attitude which came as the direct result of being in the head space from someone I knew I didn't need to talk to at the time? Please believe that I was irritated enough that...he would've noticed. And it certainly wouldn't have been his fault.

The Bible says that a good (wo) man's steps are ordered (Psalm 37:23). You may feel like nothing is going on today in preparation for tomorrow...oh, but each day has a lesson...each day is a seed...each day you will see again...later...as a result of how you handle yourself within it. God is not mocked. We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-9).

And so, "On Fire" sistahs, I'm gonna get off of this thing, pray a bit and TAKE A NAP. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep this message in mind, but more importantly, the lead verses. Disobeying God hurts no one but us.

And what's scarier? It sends you no where...but backwards.

You've already been there. What's the point in that?

Love to you,

SRW

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"On Fire": Take Heed to Your "First Response" (It's All a Test)

***I’m dedicating this one to an “On Fire” lady in particular. May you find comfort as you serve…and wait.***


So today, I saw a commercial that I see all of the time, almost to the point of annoyance actually (LOL). But this time, I saw it…differently. Well actually, I heard it differently. It was the Clearblue Easy Digital Pregnancy Test commercial. You know, the one that tells you how 1 in 4 women misread their tests and that no other test on the market is more accurate?

Several “On Fire” notes ago, I shared some verses in Scripture that have provided me with, let’s call it, a spiritual epidural, as I’m feeling the “contractions” of an impending covenant’s arrival, without knowing the exact time of when it will actually manifest itself:

“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. 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.”---Romans 8:22-25 (Message)

WE ARE ENLARGED IN THE WAITING.

OK, so while I know the commercial was for Clearblue Easy, the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) actually led (Luke 12:12) me to entitle it after another pregnancy test because it’s a play on words. Indeed, there’s something in this message that I really hope you catch today. Before you contemplate another "First Response" to something.

PREGNANCY. TEST. When you are unsure if something’s changed within your uterus, you are advised to take a pregnancy test, right? Well, the Scriptures tell us that we observe a pregnant creation all around us. Basically, anything that Yahweh Hosheena, the Lord our Maker, has made, it would fall under that category. This means that marital covenant can be filed under here as well (Matthew 19:6). All around us, we are observing people “pregnant with covenant”. Some people are in the idea phase. Some are in the courtship phase. Some are engaged to be married soon. Whatever your case may be, if you are diligent to seek our Father’s direction (Proverbs 3:6) for you regarding this subject matter, you can be sure that you will find him…and it (Proverbs 8:17). Just because YOU may not know where you are, that doesn’t mean that ADONAI is lost (or even that you are). You must continue to choose to trust him (Jeremiah 17:5-10-Message). Remember, he is the end from the beginning (Revelation 22:13).

Today, it’s the word “test” that I want you to focus on most. And, the definition that I encourage you to put your energy in is “the trial of the quality of something”. In Matthew 19, Christ spoke to the fact that Moses was allowed to grant divorce in the case of adultery ONLY BECAUSE people’s hearts had become hardened. Whenever people tell me they are considering divorce, I refer them to Proverbs 28:14 (NKJV): “Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” I’m not sure why people think that when the Word says that what God has joined together, let no man separate, they think that doesn’t mean the MAN and WOMAN involved. A hard heart brings calamity. This means it brings grievous affliction, adversity and misery. Have you talked to a newly-divorced person lately? Ask them what their journey has been like. God's Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11). Anyway, a wise man once said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Look at what Hebrews 3:7-15 (NKJV) says on testing:

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath,‘ They shall not enter My rest.’

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’”

Did you catch it? The Israelites called themselves “testing God”. How do you test the quality of the One who made you?!? Yeah, El Shaddai, the God All-Sufficient, had good reason to be irritated. And here’s the thing: to even get to that point, it was a sign of a hardened heart…it was a sign of rebellion (which is simply the resistance of authority or control). The title of those Scriptures above, in the New King James Version is “Be Faithful”. Love for our husbands? That requires a level of faithfulness. Love for our Abba? That does as well. Psalm 31:23 says that the Lord preserves (to keep safe from harm or injury; to keep up; maintain; to keep possession of) the faithful. If you are tempted to “test God” (whew!) right through here because you are not seeing the kind of results in the way (or time) that you would like, I would encourage you, strongly, to rethink that. GOD HAS NOTHING TO PROVE TO THE PEOPLE HE MADE. ANYTHING HE DOES IS OUT OF LOVE, NOT FEAR, OF WHAT MAN WANTS OR THINKS.

But yes, being that we are sinful (I John 1:10) and he is not, he certainly has the right to test us.

Now, let me stop right here for a moment because the Comforter is leading me to. Some of you all claim to be in “I’m not sure what this is” status and it may be because you need to do some testing of your own:

Test all things; hold fast what is good.”---I Thessalonians 5:21 (NKJV)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”---I John 4:1-3 (NKJV)

God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:40) and if you are with a non-believer (2 Corinthians 6:14), I’m not really sure what all of the confusion would be about, anyway. The Word is pretty clear. MINISTERING to someone is one thing. MARRYING them is something entirely different. Make sure you’re clear on your calling and then make your call and election sure (2 Peter 1:10)…to you and him ("him" being the guy). Hmph.

Now, back to the Lord testing us. What is this movement called? “On Fire”, right? Check it:

“So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”---I Corinthians 3:7-17 (NKJV)

Psalm 12:6 tells us that the words of the Lord are pure. Like refined silver. With this movement, we are being purified by the Word of the living God. That said, straight up? If what you’re in, what you’re planning, what you’re contemplating isn’t based on the foundation of Christ, you already see what the Word says about it. Get your foundation, right. Secondly (and I am so preaching to the choir, here!), if you are doing what the Lord told you to do (and the Lord would never tell you to have sex outside of marriage, get involved with someone already in covenant, degrade your temple via mind, body or spirit to maintain a relationship, by the way), you don’t need to concern yourself by what the other person is or is not doing. EACH MAN RECEIVES ACCORDING TO HIS LABOR. You reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7-9). That is a spiritual science set into motion. You just must make sure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do; not what you WANT to do, but what the Lord TOLD you to do. And yes, the fire of trials will come upon you to test the quality of your work; if it’s about serving God or getting some man. If it’s about honoring the Giver of the gift or obsessing over the gift itself (Romans 1). Tests will come to check this.

Which brings me to the final point.

Today was an interesting day for me. Someone had spoken one thing about 7-3-10 into my life a long time ago, and about six months ago, the Comforter said, “We never said that. SHE DID.” (Words to live by, for sure) But I knew her heart was in the right place and I prayed to Abba today about just what I was supposed to get out of it all. It wasn’t what she said (LOL), but he did give me something…something very special and sooooooo right on time:

“I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. As it is written, ‘He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.’”---2 Corinthians 8:8-15 (NKJV)

For some of us? The test, right now, is not to quit. Because the truth is that some of us will have, what I call, a “King Xerses Experience” (“What do you want? I will give you up to half of my kingdom!” [Esther 5:6]); and then some of us…well, it’s more like Ruth. We’re gleaming and our Boaz is watching (Ruth 2:5. Yeah…lots of sistahs are praying for a “Boaz” and they don’t even realize all of the work that entails…no joke!). We don’t get to know the time when it transitions from us working to him not resting until he gets the answer he needs about being our husband. TIMING IS THE FATHER’S BUSINESS (Acts 1:7-Message). But when I tell you that those verses in 2 Corinthians might as well have been a dozen purple (rare) roses delivered to me…you can’t tell me that we don’t serve an awesome and thorough God! You can’t tell me that El Berith, the God of Covenant, ain’t payin’ attention!

Some of us must complete what we were doing a year ago. The same desire we had to start is what we need to hold on to so that we can finish. I love how the Message Version puts it:Our hearts regulate our hands. This isn't so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you're shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even.” (2 Corinthians 10:12-13).

Proverbs 16:11 (NKJV) says, “The Lord wants honest balances and scales; all the weights are his work.” The New Century Version of Psalm 9:16 tells us, “The Lord has made himself known by his fair decisions.” Indeed, we serve a fair and just Lord who is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14). Don’t let the Liar (John 8:44) convince you of otherwise. Whatever you are doing now, if it is in submission to Yahweh Elyon, the Most High, you can trust it to work out for your best…in your favor. After all, favor is a part of your birthright, right? (Proverbs 18:22) RIGHT!

The thing I that realized, in watching the pregnancy test commercial today, is that sometimes, when it comes to my "spiritual pregnancies", I tend to be like those “1 in 4”. I don’t know how to read the tests right, either. A lot of this year has been more about reluctant obligation than joyful obedience. I never really looked at it as God testing my quality. It was just more about how much work I’m doing without seeing any immediate results. Oh, but the Word has that covered too, doesn’t it?

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”---James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

And what is the first definition of “love”? PATIENCE, right? (I Corinthians 13:4).

And so, my special friend (in particular), I hope this caused you to breathe a certain sigh of relief. Indeed, if the Lord cares enough to know all of the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7), he certainly cares about your desire for covenant (mine too!). Remember, the Message Version of Proverbs 28:9 tells us, “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won't listen to him.” SPEAK, YES. But LISTEN as well. The steps of a good man (and woman) are ordered (Psalm 37:23).

And for the rest of my “On Fire” sistahs, we ain’t ON FIRE for nothin’. Tests are coming. Accept it; and make it easier on yourself by asking the Lord (Jeremiah 33:3) how to read them...correctly...before doing anything…first.

Love to you,

Shellie

©Shellie R. Warren/2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"On Fire": Blessed One.

“Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus called us by his glory and goodness. Through these he gave us the very great and precious promises. With these gifts you can share in God's nature, and the world will not ruin you with its evil desires.

Because you have these blessings, do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness; and to your goodness, add knowledge; and to your knowledge, add self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience, add service for God; and to your service for God, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; and to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and are growing, they will help you to be useful and productive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But anyone who does not have these things cannot see clearly. He is blind and has forgotten that he was made clean from his past sins.

My brothers and sisters, try hard to be certain that you really are called and chosen by God. If you do all these things, you will never fall.”---2 Peter 1:3-10 (NCV)


“By attaining godliness one shall be blessed with happiness and growth.”---Rig Veda



It’s a relatively-short one today. There’s been a lot coming out of me via the devotionals that I write (if you want to get on the list, hit me up at missnosipho@gmail.com) and so I’m pretty beat. But I have committed to pray for you all and when I did this week, this is where the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) led me.

Remember when I mentioned that it was time to go through Ecclesiastes 3, with the Comforter, to see which season you were in? I think I was led to these verses in Scripture for the same reason. Oh, how it seems that so many people want to get to the “love part” of their covenant preparation (if they’re preparing at all *sigh*) without taking all of the necessary steps/precautions/lessons before that. The lead verse for this message makes it very clear that so many things lead to love: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, service for God, kindness and THEN LOVE. And, in that order.

And so, as we gear up for another fast (more on that in a few days), what I encourage you to do is petition the Father (Matthew 7:7-8) about where you are right now in your own journey. The truth (John 8:32), on all levels, is that we all could stand to do some brushing up on these virtues. But, what I also know is that there is one of these that all of us overlook…in our individual lives…pretty consistently. Some of us are still not keeping our appetites in check (self-control). Others? We don’t know how to wait for pay day (a day most of us know the date of), let alone God’s answer concerning the entrance of our future Beloved (patience). I know a few women for a fact that could stand to be more kind (crickets) and…how’s everyone’s faith doing? You know where faith comes from, right? Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Devotional time is always a good (and beneficial) thing.

God is so full of light (Psalm 18:28). What I really appreciate about these verses is that they don’t leave us in the dark. At all. About where we are vs. where we need to be. The New Century Version of these verses opens up with the title, “God Has Given Us Blessings”…and he has. It’s not a man that makes us complete. It’s godliness that does. Again, a man? He’s surplus.

I’m not just sayin’ that, either. My truth? You couldn’t have paid me to believe that I would still be single at 36. But on this side of wholeness, you also couldn’t have paid me to believe that while I still desire to be married, while I currently hate it when it rains (that’s my most, um, “Song of Solomon” days-LOL)), while I’m not sure just what my Boaz is doing right now (“Dude!”)…I am more peaceful, more patient…more purposed than I have ever been in my entire life. Yes, to be a woman with peace of mind sans a man? THAT IS A BLESSING. Don’t let the Enemy take that kind of stability from you. Trust me, he’s very threatened by it (I Peter 5:6-9).

He’s such a liar (John 8:44). He’s such a jerk. Just know that the moments when you feel the heaviest…the times when you are the most tempted…the times when you feel like you’re at your wit’s end…that’s when he’s the most frightened of you. That’s when you’re closer than you think to your “exit”; he is trying to get you to “reroute”. DON’T.

I’m not really led to say much more than that. Just make sure to get out your journal and ask the Lord to lead you to where you are in your progression to love so that he can “fine tune” some things. Marriage is a long journey (Matthew 19:6). You need to be in pristine condition (“pristine” means “original purity", by the way!).

As for me, I think I’m in the “goodness” lane…at least this week. You know, learning how to love the unlovable. I think it was in “Pride and Prejudice” where I heard that it’s the most courageous who love expecting nothing in return. Hmph. Makes sense being that perfect loves casts out ALL fear…even fear of rejection (I John 4:18)…even fear of rejecting yourself…of not being as good to yourself as you should.

Yeah. I’ve got some work to do (LOL).

Love to you ladies. You are so blessed. More than you know.

Stay diligent. Be open to what the Godhead is trying to show you.

Adonai is faithful. El Berith is working. The Comforter is right here with you…even now.

All plans have a purpose. All steps lead to a destination.

Keep me posted.

SRW