Monday, August 30, 2010

"On Fire": Where "Wanting It Now" Can Get You

"Let all things be done decently and in order."---I Corinthians 14:40 (NKJV)


Yeah. Here's the PSA (Public Service Announcement) for the week, my sistahs. ;-)

When I was younger, my great-grandmother used to live with us. Looking back, it's cool to have a grandmother (of traditional grandmother age...I know some people who are my age and are already grandmothers, geeze!). There were some great things about her. She is the one who taught me a lot about cooking, for instance. Oh, but when the Word says that to a hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet (Proverbs 27:7), King Solomon...you said a mouthful and ain't never lied (LOL). A bitter woman can be dangerous...and contagious.

Granny was old, so she had been through a lot. Some of it was of her own doing. Some not. Oh, but she had a lot of baggage as a result. That said, there were a lot of "Granny, if you were still alive, I'd tell you how WHACKED OUT that was" sayings that she had. Today, I'll just share one: "Cop a feel, make sure it's real." And yes, that was meant exactly as it reads. I guess she was "before her time" because today, I checked out a commercial with the exact same premise:

http://www.dimewars.com/Video/This-Cell-Phone-Commercial-Is-So-Out-Of-Order--Says-Signing-A-Contract-Is-Like-Marriage-Before-Smashing-.aspx?bcmediaid=d6b619c7-d8b8-42b0-bcb2-62e8bb760fb3

Wow. Just wow. And yet, how many of you reading this are virgins? PURE VIRGINS? Yeah. A lot of us could have produced this commercial, right? This commercial is a lie. A funny lie, but a lie nonetheless. It's implying that we should "test out the merchandise before making a purchase" when the truth (John 8:32) is that a lot of women are settling by not waiting; not just when it comes to sex, but all that the Lord has in store for them. That man wasn't deceived because he didn't have sex with his, er, wife before marriage. HE WAS DECEIVED BECAUSE HE DIDN'T KNOW HIS "WIFE" AT ALL.

Last week, semi against my better judgment (simply because a "test tube baby" is not in my future), I went to see "Switch". I like Jason Bateman. That's all I got for you on that (LOL). Yet, as a woman who is at the age where some folks would say my clock is ticking (I thought the Word said that timing was not my OB-GYN but GOD'S BUSINESS-Acts 1:7-Message), there were some "think on these things" gems in the dialogue. The one below is the one that I will be praying about concerning all of you in this season (Ecclesiastes 3):

In response to why Jennifer Aniston's character decided to be ARTIFICIALLY-INSEMINATED (and just the sound of that alone tends to creep me out more times than not...to artificially sow?!? No thanks.), "I'm tired of thinking about how it's supposed to go. I want it now." She was referencing "marriage before the baby carriage". She was growing weary of waiting for things to be in DECENT ORDER. She wanted what she wanted right away. In case you want to see the movie, I'll leave the final outcome out of this. It's fictional, anyway and we know the Word says that those who fear God deal with all of reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18).

Yet, what I do want to focus on is this:

Just last night, I was talking to one of the "On Fire" women, online, about how so many women are mistresses. Some seem to be doing well as a result...others not so well. Do you know what the Holy Spirit had me write? The ones who seem to be doing OK now? That is not a sign of success, so much as sucSEX. Stay tuned for the reaping season. Indeed, God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7-9) and adultery, he does not condone (Hebrews 13:4). As a wise man once said, "When a man marries his mistress, he leaves the position vacant." HMPH. *wink*

My point? This is not the season to "pull an Aniston" (LOL). This is the time to hold on, for dear life, with all of our might to the following:

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."---Galatians 6:7-9 (NKJV)

The world teaches us to "seize the day" (look up the definition of "seize" sometime). The Word teaches us to "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) When it comes to the promise in Galatians, do you know what stood out to me? That we are not to GROW weary. None of us really just "wake up" and make "haste makes waste" decisions. Becoming weary is a process. Jennifer Aniston's character didn't just decide one day to partake in artificial insemination. It, too, was a process. SHE GREW WEARY. She grew "impatient or dissatisfied with something". THINGS ONLY GROW WHEN YOU FEED THEM. Don't feed your flesh and its impulses. Feed your spirit with all of the promises of God. When Abba, our Father, said that he can do exceedingly above all we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)...he meant it. The King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16) is excessive. He's extreme. He's powerful. He's superlative. He surpasses us in every way.

When you are tempted to "rush things along", more times than not, that is the Enemy getting you to pull an "Aniston". He wants you to feed your impatience so that it grows to, well, ultimately a place of confusion. Even in a scripted film, because she took matters into her own hands, there was confusion. ADONAI IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION (I Corinthians 14:33). He does not create bewilderment...demoralization...embarrassment and turmoil. No, it's when we allow our weariness to take over that that takes place.

For some of you, this is a crucial time. A VERY CRUCIAL TIME. You're tempted to move out of your logic rather than stand on God's faith. DON'T. That commercial link enclosed above? That's the world's way of trying to get you to fear the process and to the Lord, the world's way of thinking and operating is foolishness (I Corinthians 3:19). GOD DID NOT GIVE US A SPIRIT OF FEAR (2 Timothy 1:7). OUR CREATOR DID NOT GIVE US AN ATTITUDE OF ANXIETY (Philippians 4:6-7). When that comes, you know the source. The Liar (John 8:44) is trying to get you off track.

GET BACK ON TRACK.

The Word speaks of the need to "count the cost" before attempting to build something (Luke 14:28).

Don't rush the process.

COUNT THE COST.

Then "pay up"... in patience.

One of the main things you'll get?

"Love is patient."---I Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)

Hmph. Funny how that works out.


Love to you,

SRW




Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention: Mate Selection: Can They (Properly) Parent Your INNER CHILD?

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.’”---Matthew 18:1-5 (NKJV)

“A mother should mentor her daughter and nurture her son.”---Gail Masondo


Inner child: the childlike aspect of a person's psyche, esp. when viewed as an independent entity; the part of the psyche believed to retain feelings as they were experienced in childhood; one's original self that revels in play


"Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."---Matthew 13:18-23 (NKJV)


Last week, I saw something really unfortunate. It was a teenager, in public, yelling and cussing at her “boyfriend”, over the phone. It went on for so long that finally I asked her what her name was to strike up a conversation about how downhill (fast) her “relationship” was going. Long story short, I know who her parents are and she was “obnoxiously surprised” when her name revealed that fact to me. Her name is not a common one. Names have connections.

King Solomon was once inspired to pen that, “A good name is better than precious ointment” (Ecclesiastes 7:1-NKJV). The Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) revealed to me earlier this year that we are living in a generation of “children telling on their parents”, meaning that it doesn’t really matter, adults, what you choose to omit in the stories you tell re: “I don’t know what’s going on with my (adult) child(ren)”. There are secrets in every family and a lot of the brokenness that we see right now is because a lot of children aren’t being and/or haven’t been “trained up in the way that they should go” (Proverbs 22:6); while a lot parents boast of having their children in church or even church school, Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV) has not been adhered to: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” For one, a lot of children weren’t even raised with a father in the home…and if he was, he was an unhealthy representation of one. Yeah. Not having a good father figure? It can tend to make a young person pretty angry. Oh, and then of course there’s this:

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”---Proverbs 13:22 (NKJV)

I can’t tell you how many sermons I’ve heard with the last part of this Scripture quoted. Oh, but what about the first? A good man leaves an inheritance for not just his children, but his children’s children. An inheritance isn’t just money; although, there are more than enough people that I know whose parents actually made choices that put them in debt rather than left them with an inheritance. This should not be so:

“Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?”---2 Corinthians 12:14-15 (NIV)

Using your children’s social security numbers because of your bad credit…”borrowing” money from their college funds…abusing child support money for your needs…not teaching your children how to be financially-stable individuals? It’s stealing (from the quality of their lives) and it’s wrong. So many people want to become parents and don’t understand the Lord’s mercy in his “no” or “not right now”. Each Scripture serves a purpose (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and we all should keep this one in mind when it comes to bringing children into the world: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1-NKJV) It’s a harsh word, yet it’s a biblical one. A parent is a teacher. You will be held in stricter judgment because of the kind of teaching that you did…or are doing…or didn’t do.

Again, a good parent leaves more than a financial foundation for a child to build upon (some of y’all’s grown children are with you now because you didn’t teach them then); an inheritance is also a legacy; ”something, as a quality, characteristic, or other immaterial possession, received from progenitors or predecessors as if by succession”. A good man leaves a good legacy. And yet, look at the state of affairs right now. It’s like we’re living in an “Ezekiel 16” generation. I would encourage you to (re)read all of it some time, but in the context of this message, I am led (Luke 12:12) to focus on this part. The subject heading? “More Wicked than Samaria and Sodom”:

“Indeed everyone who quotes proverbs will use this proverb against you: ‘Like mother, like daughter!’ You are your mother’s daughter, loathing husband and children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children; your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite…When I bring back their captives, the captives of Sodom and her daughters, and the captives of Samaria and her daughters, then I will also bring back the captives of your captivity among them, that you may bear your own shame and be disgraced by all that you did when you comforted them. When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters return to their former state, then you and your daughters will return to your former state. For your sister Sodom was not a byword in your mouth in the days of your pride, before your wickedness was uncovered. It was like the time of the reproach of the daughters of Syria and all those around her, and of the daughters of the Philistines, who despise you everywhere. You have paid for your lewdness and your abominations,’ says the Lord. For thus says the Lord God: ‘I will deal with you as you have done, who despised the oath by breaking the covenant.’”---Ezekiel 16:44-45 & 53-59 (NKJV)

There is a direct correlation between how a child is raised and the adult that they become. Yes, there are other factors that play a significant part (I am living proof), but a lot of what we see now is because of what was done, or not done, by all of our parents…back then. We need to take ownership for that, and those who know they have sinned against their children by not setting a good, the right example (James 4:17), IN WORD AND DEED (I John 3:18), this Scripture certainly applies: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24-NKJV) What the Comforter revealed to me is that some people need to apologize for not being in covenant when they created their children; for being so selfish to put their lusts ahead of their children’s holistic need for both a father and a mother in the home. Some people who are single parents now should use that as the motivation to remain sexually pure (Hebrews 13:4) and not partake in pornea (Greek for “fornication”) until, if the Lord so chooses, to unite them with a husband or Ezer Kenegdo (Hebrew for “wife”). I know as a woman who terminated four pregnancies due to my own brokenness and selfishness, it helps to motivate me not to “return to my vomit” (Proverbs 26:11). My past children matter enough to not put any other children in harm’s way. A child being raised without both parents? It puts them in harm’s way. Just Google the stats. They support this point.

However, this devotional isn’t so much about parenting in the sense of what should have been done. At this point, for a lot of people, repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10) is really the only route to take because none of us can undo the damage that’s already taken place. That’s Yahweh Rophe’s, the I AM who Heals, job. This message is actually a preventative measure that the Lord revealed to me as it relates to my own future; how I can break some generational curses and how I can be a good mother when it comes to leaving a good legacy for my own children’s children (should the world last that long…for real!).

This weekend, I watched a movie that I’m still unpacking because parts of it left my heart so inexplicably heavy. It was called, “The Bastard of Carolina” and it was about a young girl whose stepfather physically and sexually abused her. The choices (her birth father and the second stepfather) that her mother made in men definitely came out of extreme brokenness. Indeed, when you look through a shattered mirror, you cannot see your whole image. HEAL FIRST. (Psalm 147:3). Yet as I watched the resilience of that poor child’s spirit, as I thought about my own past abuse and the “common denominators” in my DNA…as I pondered (Proverbs 4:26) over how to bring all of the abuse to an end so that my future seed doesn’t have to pen an “Inside of Me: Lessons of Lust, Love & Redemption” book, I heard Ruach Hokodesh (Hebrew for the Holy Spirit) say something that I don’t recall ever hearing before: “If you wouldn’t pick a man to father your inner child, then he’s not good enough to be your husband.”

STOP. THE. PRESSES.

Of course, I’ve heard a variation of that from man: “If he’s not good enough to be the father of your child, then you shouldn’t sleep with him.” But what the Holy Spirit said penetrated me quite a bit deeper. Just this morning, I was talking to one of my “love brothers” (shout out to Joey Richey-Proverbs 27:2) and he said something that will preach a sermon series all unto itself. Recently someone complemented him on his hair (he currently wears it in twists). His response? “Someone who understands how my hair grows actually twisted it.” Someone who understands the origin of his hair pattern could style his hair in a way that complemented it best. His hair stylist added an additional pearl of wisdom: “It’s ‘single stranding’ the double-strand twists…that’s what makes it whole.” Indeed, a threefold cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12)! (LOL)

My point? It’s really difficult to know how our children will be…especially before they get here. Oh, but most of us can remember our own childhoods. What we got. What we didn’t get. What we needed. What we lacked. All of us came from the seed of childhood. Adulthood is our harvest season. If you are single right now or you know someone who is, please make sure to read this or to forward this to them. If you are looking for a clear answer from the Lord about the character of a person (James 1:5) as it relates to the potential of being a covenant partner, what I think I am to encourage you on right now is please don’t focus so much on how they are treating you as an adult. Ask the Lord to provide some clarity and discernment (Proverbs 15:21) on how they would treat/are treating your inner child.

I love the lead quote that came from my mom. Titus 2 certainly supports it. You wanna know why a lot of young men treat women like crap? Why a lot of women can’t keep a house or cook (because really ladies, that’s not sexist. YOU shouldn’t want to live in filth and have to waste money eating out all of the time!)? Were they mentored to do so? Just the other day, I was listening to single mothers on the radio talk about how much they hate potty training their sons; how…boys use the bathroom differently and it’s a man who should show them how. They’re right. A father should mentor his son. A mother should mentor her daughter. A godly man should train up a boy. A godly woman should train up a girl. It can be very difficult to do this thoroughly when parents are in a position where they have to “double-up on duties” because the other parent isn’t there to do their part: the nurturing:

Nurture: to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster

A father should be supporting and encouraging his daughter to be chaste and discreet. A mother should be supporting and encouraging her son to be sober and sound in faith. Spiritual focus, clarity and purpose should be what fosters a person into greatness. There are more articles than should ever exist on the fact that a lot of children from single homes become single parents. A lot of children from alcoholics and junkies have addictive habits. A lot of abusers come from abuse. Yet, you see what’s happening, right? People are doing the exact opposite of what the Holy Spirit revealed to me. Rather than evaluating what they should have had as children and picking a mate to meet areas where they lacked, people often end up selecting someone just like the person who left them with voids. Looking for an “inner child nurturer” tends to be last, if not non-existent, on the list of mate selection/potential.

For instance, with me, being that I was a child of a substance abuser, the last thing my inner child needs is to date someone who isn’t sober-minded; I need someone to be an example of self-control. Because I was sexually molested, the last thing my inner child needs is someone who would sexually defile my temple (I Corinthians 6:16-Message) even now as an adult; I need someone who will want to shield me away from any kind of sexual harm. Being that I was verbally abused, how a man talks to me is vital. My inner child needs to be in the presence of a man who isn’t struggling to edify, compliment or verbally support me. Yep, if I can’t entrust him to nurture the most vulnerable parts of me…if any part of my spirit man (I Corinthians 2:14) senses that he wouldn’t be a good father to “little Shellie”, then there’s no way “big Shellie” should put herself in the position to submit to him (Ephesians 5:22). The Word calls us to “support the weak” (Acts 20:35). It is a mission in this life as believers that all may learn and all may be encouraged (I Corinthians 14:31).

Please believe that nurturing is pivotal to a child’s development. While one parent is being a mentor, “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher” in certain areas that would pose extreme difficulties for the other parent (meaning there are some things that only a man can fully and effectively teach another man or a woman can only fully or effectively teach another woman), the nurturer is there to support; to “bear and hold up” and “uphold by aid and countenance”. The nurturer is also there to encourage; “to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence”, “to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.”, (love this!) “to stimulate spiritually”…to applaud, cheer, comfort, excite, fortify, inspire, praise, rally, reassure, refresh, restore, revitalize, rouse, stir and strengthen. IN SELECTING A COVENANT PARTNER, SINGLES, A “NURTURER” (of your mind, body and spirit), is what you should be looking for.

And yes, I get why the Comforter gave me the lead Scripture that he did. Indeed, all things do work together for good (Romans 8:28). Do you see how much Elohim thinks of children? That Yeshua would actually say that we would need to become as children in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven? No matter how old you are, 2 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV) tells us, “’I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” Yet, as I watched my goddaughter play a few days ago, I noticed a certain boldness, a certain faith, a certain innocence…a certain trust that she had for her mother. CHILDREN ARE BEAUTIFUL. The Enemy hates beauty. Children are attacked, seemingly from the womb, because they tend to be so bold…so faith-ful…so innocent and trusting. Steal, kill and destroy, right (John 10:10). That’s the Liar’s (John 8:44) agenda…his mission…his plan. He knows that their humility brings forth a certain level of elevation, a certain “clout” with Adonai (Matthew 23:12). So, he tries to break a child’s spirit as soon as possible.

What I now see is that marriage serves a certain purpose in restoring what was lost, in childhood…if we let it. Christ was our “second Adam” (I Corinthians 15:45); he came to restore what was lost. Ladies, in many ways, our husbands can be our “second father” (in context)…he too can restore a lot of what’s been lost. The nurturing that we may not have received, in allowing the Lord to bring us (Genesis 2:22) to the right man, we can be nurtured, even now. Fellas, you may not have had the ideal mother supporting and encouraging you, either OR your mother may not have had all of the help she needed so that she could nurture you thoroughly. The Ezer Kenegdo that the Lord gifts you with can be given the ability to fill a lot of those voids (they don’t call ‘em “life savers” for nothin’!).

Wow. Brings a whole new meaning to “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matthew 18:5-NKJV), doesn’t it? And with that, a new perspective on, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6-NKJV) Perhaps that's another purpose behind "leaving and cleaving" (Genesis 2:24), huh? So real healing, from the past, can take place (hmph). Oh, if we only honored the mission of marriage and the supernatural purpose that it serves…in ways we can’t even fathom in the now (Ephesians 3:20).

Yeah, I hear you, God…and I see you, Satan.

If a man doesn’t make “little Shellie” feel safe, then “big Shellie” has no business being with him. My past doesn’t have to dictate my future, but it can certainly serve as an effective guidepost.

Truly (John 8:32), to be loved is to be nurtured.

Selah. And amen.

©Shellie R. Warren/2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"On Fire": SELECTIVE Memory

"BEHOLD, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them...Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."---Isaiah 42:9 & 19 (NKJV)



Funny. At first, I thought the operative word for this message was going to be "new". Yet even as I am typing this, the word that the Comforter (Luke 12:12) is actually leading me to is "BEHOLD". Hmph.

Behold: to observe; look at; see

Synonyms: consider, contemplate, discern, examine, note, notice, observe, perceive, peruse, scrutinize, study, survey, spy, view, watch, witness

That said, in this season of my life, one of my favorite verses in Scripture is actually in the signature of my Yahoo emails:

"
If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed."---Proverbs 29:18 (Message)

If people people can't BEHOLD...consider...discern...notice...perceive...view what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves. As I was praying about the "On Fire" women, especially those participating in the "17-Day Mistranslation Fast", a conversation that I had with an ex some years ago came to mind: "Shellie, you're not in love with me. You're in love with the MEMORY of me." I was in love (love?!?) with "an impression retained". And you know, the thing about that is just because I retained a certain thought...that doesn't mean it was accurate.

What the Comforter revealed to me in my prayer time is that a lot of you are not moving fully forward because you are basing your decisions on "selective memories"; mental impressions that you have retained about how you thought your life should go, who you thought you should be with, what you thought you should have. YOU ARE HOLDING ON TO MENTAL IMPRESSIONS RETAINED THAT ARE NOT SPIRITUALLY ACCURATE WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT ADONAI HAS PURPOSED FOR YOU (Psalm 20:4). The Lord is trying to do a new thing, but you are not beholding of this fact. You keep talking about what YOU THINK rather than asking him about what HE KNOWS (Jeremiah 33:3).

I'm sure some of you have noticed that I am getting further and further away from just calling Abba "God". It's so...generalized (I'm also getting away from calling help meets "wives" and physical oneness "sex"...whole 'nother blog for another time, though). In this season, as you are "seeking to find" (Matthew 7:7-8), it is my prayer, sincerely, that you will call on Jehovah ("He Causes to Become") El Roi...the God who Sees All. Amazing how so many of us claim Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV): "
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." We claim that we serve a Father who has a good future in mind for us and yet, we live our lives like we are not sure. We find more comfort in basing our lives on the familiar...on our past feelings/thoughts/ideas/plans/wants....selves.

I observe Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (September 9-11) and so I'm sure that new things are on my mind because a new year, in my world, is approaching. But really. Isn't each day new? Amazing how our bodies are designed to take in food and remove what it doesn't need....only a daily basis. Yet here we are, holding on to people/places/things/ideas from not just days or months but...years ago. Our minds were "wired" to release what is not needed from season-to-season (Ecclesiastes 3) as well. For a lot of you, it's time to LET THOSE MEMORIES GO. It's (re)defining you...incorrectly.

You thought
you were to have a certain career. You thought you were to be married by now. You thought you were to live in one city while the Lord has another country in mind. Why do you think Paul said, "I die daily" (I Corinthians 15:31)? If you are a true disciple of Christ (and trust me, this is some straight-up "preaching to the choir" right here!), it ain't about what YOU THINK. As I was telling a male friend of mine not too long ago, while it's not an absolute, life is teaching me that men often say what they mean, while women say WHAT THEY FEEL. We often think what we feel. FEELINGS. CHANGE (Jeremiah 17:9). The Lord does not (Hebrews 13:8).

Yet when I asked the Lord about how/why so many of us get caught up in this particular hamster wheel, he said, "It's because you have a selective memory. Too often, you use your past to dictate your present and how you see your present tends to mold your view of your future. YOU NEED TO LET IT ALL GO. Your flesh-based memories are clouding your spiritually-enlightened perspective." Indeed. Spiritual matters can only be spiritually-discerned (I Corinthians 2:14).

Hmph. Perhaps that's why the Lord made it a point to tell us that our transgressions couldn't be further apart from one another (Psalm 103:12), eh? Perhaps Jehovah El Roi knows that we need to really accept that so that what we've done doesn't have to have as much bearing as it seems to on what we do. OUR THEN DOESN'T HAVE TO (INAPPROPRIATELY) INFLUENCE OUR NOW. And so, my prayer, right now, as you all are reading this, is that you will CHOOSE TO BEHOLD. Don't do a lot of moving around or contemplating at your own will. Just focus on beholding what the Lord is trying to show you.

You know, several months ago, around the time that we were all talking about the Promised Land, one of my prayer partners and I were talking about those in the Bible who "spied" on the new place they were about to enter. We wondered if "spying" was the right thing to do (Numbers 13). But in this sense, how can you "spy" on what's yours? On what has already been promised to you? In this context, I believe the "spies" were being used "to search for or examine something carefully"; "to be on the lookout; keep watch". THEY WERE SENT OUT TO BEHOLD.

The Lord has told us, through his Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), that "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9-NKJV) We love to quote it, but how many of us really get it? Some stuff you haven't seen. Some things you haven't heard...yet. In the meantime, your focus should be to simply "love on him"---"him" being the Lord---and watch how he blows your mind. BEHOLD HOW HE BLOWS YOUR MIND.

And so, "On Fire" sistahs. I have no (personal) promises for you. No "money back guarantees" (good thing this ministry is free, eh?-LOL). Serving God is not a gimmick. However, what I CAN assure you is that when he said he could do exceedingly above ALL that you could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), this means that if you are being discouraged by not having what you think you should...when you think you should...even now, he's "topping it". AND when the Word says that the Lord's promises are "Yes" and "Amen"...that ALL of his promises are (I Corinthians 1:20), my encouragement to you would be to focus on what he said you could have...rather than what you wish he would give. As sure as I'm typing this, I know some of your desires are based on "selective memory" rather than Adonai's ordained will AND BEST for your life. Remember, former things COME...TO...PASS. What God does lasts forever (Ecclesiastes 3:14). If it's "phasing out", that's the Lord's cosign that it needs to so that the new...the good...his absolute best can come in.

So what things are not making sense to you right now? He's God. You're not:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. "---Isaiah 55:8-11 (NKJV)

The heavens are higher than the earth. WHAT HE DOES IS OFTEN "OVER OUR HEADS". He's not worried. Don't you be (Matthew 6:25-34).

Don't think about things.

BEHOLD THEM.

Love to you,

SRW




Monday, August 16, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention: WHY Man Should Not Be ALONE

"And the Lord God said: 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet [Ezer Kenegdo] for him.'"---Genesis 2:18 (JPS)

"You only require two things in life: your sanity and your wife."---Tony Blair


"Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."---Matthew 13:18-23 (NKJV)


I don't know. Perhaps it's because we are almost upon Rosh Hashanah (September 9-11): the Jewish New Year (which I observe); what is considered to be "harvest time". I haven't figured it all out yet. What I do know is that for awhile, with most of these devotionals, Matthew 13:18-23 is what I will begin them with. Hearing the Word is one thing; having it truly resonate is something entirely different (James 1:22). Indeed, for many (because the Comforter told me---Luke 12:12), this is the time to, "Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12-NKJV) BREAK UP FALLOW GROUND. Break up inactive ground. Break up uncultivated ground. Break up "undeveloped but potentially useful" ground. SO THAT THE WORD OF GOD (John 1:1) CAN TAKE ROOT. Nothing grows until it takes root.

As I've been preparing to go back into an "official classroom setting", there have been two messages that have been marinating in my mind. I thought I would be doing one before the other...and I thought I would be doing them...later. Tomorrow is not promised (Proverbs 27:1). For one, it would appear that the time is now.

As I was pondering (Proverbs 4:26) on my "first-but-will-now-be-my-second" message: "Godly Men: the Ultimate Endangered Species", the Comforter led me back to one of my favorite places in the Bible: the Garden of Eden: the Pre-Sin Season. The lead verse for today is one line that has ministered to me in a myriad of ways over the course of time. As a friend of mine and I were discussing a couple of weeks back, that's the beautiful thing about the Bible: it's so multi-dimensional. However, this time when I read "'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet [Ezer Kenegdo] for him'", the two main words that jumped out at me were "good" (or rather "not good") and "alone". However, let's spend one second setting up "Ezer Kenegdo": the man's wife.


What Is a Wife?

I think that I have mentioned in a couple of devotionals before now that "Ezer Kenegdo" is pretty much how I will refer to wives from here on out. It's the Hebrew word for "wife" and I like how it translates. It's very similar to a rescuer, a saver...or more specifically, a LIFESAVER. If that bothers you traditionalists (LOL), we can even look at the term "help meet" for some additional clarity and support:

Help: to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist; to save; rescue; succor; to make easier or less difficult; contribute to; facilitate; to be useful or profitable to; to relieve or break the uniformity of; to relieve (someone) in need, sickness, pain, or distress; to remedy, stop, or prevent; to be of service or advantage

Meet: to come upon; come into the presence of; encounter; to become acquainted with; be introduced to; to join at an agreed or designated place or time; to be present at the arrival of; to come to or before (one's notice, or a means of noticing, as the eyes or ears); to come into the company of (a person, group, etc.) in dealings, conference, etc.; to face, eye, etc., directly or without avoidance; to come into physical contact, juxtaposition, or collision with; to cope or deal effectively with (an objection, difficulty, etc.); to comply with; fulfill; satisfy; to come into conformity with (wishes, expectations, views, etc.); to encounter in experience

OK, if you all have been reading these for awhile, then you know the whole "He who finds a wife" movement where men are supposedly needing to break their necks to get the attention of a woman of interest irks me just a bit, right? Touchy I know, but it's kind of like how I hear about how the rapture is taught to many: no strong biblical backing but masses of people are falling for a traditional mentality rather than the Word of God. When King Solomon was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to pen, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22_NKJV), yes, because of what an Ezer Kenegdo does, I believe that fact is true; however, it was more of a contemplative statement than an actual directive. When a man finds a wife, he does find a good thing. Yet, look again at the word "help meet". Actually, let's focus on the "meet" part. She comes into the presence of. She is introduced to him. She often notices BEFORE he does. And yes, this would be biblical:

"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."---Genesis 2:21-22 (NKJV)

Some versions of the Bible say that Adonai "presented" her to the man. Either way, I don't see where Adam played much of a role in the initial process. HE WAS ASLEEP. I can't stress how much it bothers me how often "find" is abused. I also can't express how much I adore the quote, "The best love story is your own." Folks love the story of Boaz and Ruth. He did not "find" her in the way dating/courtship is often taught. Lord knows that King Xerses didn't "find" Esther that way, either. Yes, there are Jacobs along the way. There are also "Moses men" who do one of my favorite definitions of "find": "to come upon accidentally". Indeed, he was on the run (Exodus 2:15-25) when he encountered his wife, Zipporah and it seems like her Daddy played a bigger role than she or Moses did (hmm, kind of like our Abba, eh?). Indeed, Jean de la Fontaine was onto something when he said, "A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it."

To be honest with you, I've had a few men "find" me in the way that people, especially church folks, say that men are to find women. And, to be really honest with you, it didn't go any better than when I went out to "find" others. We don't see the future the way the Lord does (Jeremiah 29:11). We see only as much as he's willing to reveal (Jeremiah 33:3). Bottom line? There is no "courtship formula". Each person, and each couple's love story, is different. Truly, our hearts are fashioned...individuallyand the Lord considers ALL OF OUR WORKS (Psalm 33:15) when it comes to manifesting things for us (Romans 8:28). What we need to be advising people is to acknowledge the Lord in all of their ways so that he can direct them (Proverbs 3:6)...yes, even and in some ways, especially when it comes to courtship and "mate finding"; cause to be honest with you again, I don't want a man "finding me" by simply thinking I'm his wife and me being so flattered that he approaches me as such. No thanks. I have enough self-esteem (now...finally) that I don't need a man to affirm my worth...not in that way. I would MUCH RATHER BE BROUGHT TO HIM because that means a couple of things: one, the Lord believes that I'm the one for him, and two...the Lord believes that it's time. The way that Adam and the Woman's love story breaks down: it was the Lord who decided that Adam needed a mate; NOT ADAM (Genesis 2:18). It was the Lord who put Adam to sleep; NOT ADAM (Genesis 2:21). It was the Lord who created the woman from Adam; NOT ADAM and brought her to Adam (Genesis 2:22). The Lord, not Adam did all of this.

The ultimate matchmaker, El Berith, the God of Covenant, is.

These days, it's almost as if people teach that apart of Adam's curse, toiling in the fields for his provision (Genesis 3:17-19), is how he is to receive his wife as well. WIVES ARE GIFTS. Gifts from God are freely given and as James 1:17 tell us, "comes from above". Why does a man need to convince a woman that they need to be together? Why does a woman need to make it wearisome for him to do so? "A man's gotta work for my heart" is what I hear women often say. He has to "toil" for it? WHY? That's not a gift. That's...something for another day and time to discuss (LOL).

Anyway, I'm bringing this all up to say that a lot of "marriage buildings" crumble when the foundation is not solid. That said, I think that when it comes to something as miraculous, as divine, as spiritual (Matthew 19:6), as purposeful as marital covenant (Malachi 2:14), to be quite honest with you, I believe the less flesh involved, on both parts, the better. We shouldn't be teaching our young men to "find women" or young women to "wait until they are found" so much as we should be teaching them to "seek God". Yeah, I know. "Seek and ye shall find", right (Matthew 7:7-8)? Indeed, but there is no gender contingency on that and besides, let's focus more on this kind of seeking above all:

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."---Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

Adam walked with the Lord. I believe that's why when he saw the Woman for the first time (on God's time so we don't need to be trying to manipulate that, either), he 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 2:23-NKJV) I think his praise of her was two-fold as well. For one, the Word says that both male and female are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). A GODLY MAN IS GOING TO NOTICE A GODLY WOMAN. HE WILL SEE THE REFLECTION OF THEIR FATHER IN HER. And two, how interesting that it's documented that he speaks of her being a part of his bones (his support system) and his flesh, the physical part of him that was "in the flesh, present and alive before one's eyes; in person".

Now, here's where it really got good for me. Whywould the Lord say it's not good for man to be alone? Why would Adam be considered alone? Who's alone when they're with El-Shaddai, the God who is All-Sufficient?

My mother and I have really interesting chats (as I'm sure you can tell by how much I reference her in these devotionals). One thing we discussed recently is that we get why marriage, at least in the way we know it to be here, will not be in heaven (Mark 12:25). We believe it's because the Lord doesn't care for drama (I Corinthians 14:40) and because of our disobedience and/or the consequences of sin (death), if he allowed marriage, there is a propensity for plenty of it. Does the man live with the first wife or the third? Does the wife stay with her current husband or the one who died? Yeah...just nip all that in the bud so that heaven can run smoothly (LOL). Yet, it's obvious that the Godhead has a lot of respect for marriage. After all, they created it. So why, in the perfect world that Adam was living in, would the Lord decide to make him a "lifesaver"? Why did the Lord say it was because he didn't need to be "alone"? Who needs human help when they have the physically-intimate presence of Yahweh 'Ezer, the Lord our Help?

From a literal standpoint, yes, for the Lord to give instruction for man and woman to make more of their kind, there needed to be a man...and a woman (Genesis 1:28). However, the first chapter speaks to human beings, both man and woman, while the second speaks to the creation of the Woman. I'm saying that to say that I'm still, as my mother says, "unpacking" two lines in this story:

"The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed."---Genesis 2:8 (NKJV)

"Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man."---Genesis 2:22 (NKJV)

There was a garden (Genesis 2:4-5). The Lord put Adam in it and brought the Woman to him...by bringing her to him, which causes me to believe they were somewhere else, first. Perhaps the Lord gave the instructions to "be fruitful and multiply" to both of them, separately, before placing them in the garden. Yet, I think it's what the Comforter revealed to me about the word "alone" and why it wasn't "good" for Adam that may be a bigger piece of the puzzle. Just as Christ told us that there will be no marriage in heaven way before Judgment Day, I believe the Lord used the same kind of foresight when he decided to give Adam a help meet. And, I believe he allowed Adam to notice that there was not one like him (Genesis 3:20) before he created her for a similar reason.

SIN WAS COMING.


Why Have a Wife?

I know we like to romanticize the notion that marriage would have been in the Garden, even if there was no sin, because, after all, the Ezer Kenegdo came before the serpent...and the fall. Yet, you know, after rereading what Christ said about how heaven will be when we get there, I'm not so sure. That's something I'll have to ask him (if I still care by then) when I get home. For now, the reason why I'm pondering it is because, well, Adam came and was in close relationship with the Lord. They, Adam and the Woman, could have been created simultaneously, right? And then I think about what "alone" means: separate, apart, isolated, solitary, only...without aid or help. Again, when you are one with Adonai, why would you be considered "alone"? I mean, while on this earth, was Christ considered "alone"? Certainly not. Why is that? It's because he said, "I and My Father are one."(John 10:30-NKJV)

OK. Now what was the instruction that Elohim gave Adam and the Woman after she was created and Adam praised her as a gift that was a part of him?

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."---Genesis 2:24-25 (NKJV)

Christ was one with the Father; however, the Word also tells us that he was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Other than Adam, who, before sin was without flaw? No one. Yet, who else saw Adonai while living on the earth? The Bible tells us that Enoch "found favor in the presence of God, and disappeared, for God took him away" (Genesis 5:24), but it doesn't make it clear if he actually saw God for himself while on the earth (I mean, we're supposed to be in the presence of God ourselves even now, right? We don't actually see him, though). The only other man that I recall seeing Adonai is Moses. Exodus 33:11 tells us, "So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." Yet, I believe this speaks to their level of closeness because just a few verses up (Exodus 33:20-23) the Lord told Moses, "'You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.' And the Lord said, 'Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.'"

So where am I going with this? After rereading the creation of man and woman and after pondering all of the above Scriptures, I believe that because the Lord knew that sin was coming and it would bring about a certain level of separation between himself and Adam, he decided to give him some help. I mean, again, look at what the Hebrew word for wife is: Ezer Kenegdo. What did a perfect man need with a lifesaver?

Hmph.

Then I thought about how the Liar (John 8:44) has been attacking marriage ever since Adam's Ezer Kenegdo came onto the scene. I was just telling some of my friends this week that the rate of divorce, both in and out of the Church, even once people take into consideration how the Lord feels about it (Malachi 2:16), continues to baffle me. I mean, if anyone had the "right" to get a divorce, it would be Adam and Eve, right? The two people who brought sin into the world (whew!) found a way to make it work. Yet...look at us now. Years ago, I wrote a devotional entitled, "Ribless". The Word doesn't tell us which rib was taken from Adam to create the Woman. What I do know is that I have a surrogate grandmother right now healing from some broken ribs. HEALING FROM SOME BROKEN RIBS. Who bruises or cracks a rib and decides to have it taken out? It may currently hurt, excruciatingly so...but it's a part of your support system. Oh, if only the marital covenant was esteemed in this way. Things happen, but the wife is considered a part of a man's spiritual support system. Sin brought about a certain level of separation between God and man. Adonai himself told Moses that no man could see him and live. A woman was created to give a man help in his sinful state. Ecclesiastes 4:11-12 (NKJV) tells us, "Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken", and Matthew 18:19-21 (NKJV) states, "'Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.'" There's a certain power in unity. I personally believe that a big part of the reason is because sin takes from us and in areas where I, for instance, may be really weak while another believer may be very strong. Put us together and we are even stronger against the wiles of the Enemy (Ephesians 6:12). Touching and agreeing? It's sin-shattering. Very. That's why the thief (John 10:10) is always bringing about separation.

Yet marriage offers a different twist to the unity concept.


Why Enter Into a Marital Covenant?

The Word speaks of Yahweh and Yeshua being "one". The Word also speaks of the man and his Ezer Kenegdo becoming "one". NO OTHER RELATIONSHIP ON EARTH IS DEFINED THIS WAY. No other relationship comes even close to the "oneness" of Yahweh (God), Yeshua (Christ) and Ruack Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit-I John 5:1-12). No other union serves this purpose:

"And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth."---Malachi 2:15 (AMP)

This is why the Word says, "Let each man have his own wife and each women have her own husband. The husband should give his wife what she is entitled to in a marriage relationship, and the wife should do the same for her husband. The wife is not in charge of her own body, but her husband is; likewise, the husband is not in charge of his own body, but the wife is." (I Corinthians 7:3-4-JNTP) This is not some archaic law. This is a directive that speaks to the ONENESS of the relationship. His body is her body. Her body is his body. They are one in the same. They should honor one another as such. This is also why the Word tells us, "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body,of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:28-33-NKJV)

A husband and wife becoming one is a great mystery (check I Corinthians 6:16-Message). Christ and his relationship with the Church, on a lot of levels, is as well. However, personally, I think the beginning of Ephesians is what I call a "standard directive" (kind of like the Proverbs 31 woman). I know far too many men who do not "love their temples" (I Corinthians 6:19). Yet, when you are married, I think this is saying that because your wife is a part of you, you shouldn't do anything to yourself that would harm her. In other words, what you do to you DIRECTLY AFFECTS her. Love yourself, love your help meet, love your Creator (of the both of you) enough to nourish and cherish such a precious gift as covenant. Husbands, LOVE your wives as Christ loved the Church. Wives, RESPECT your husband as the Church is supposed to honor Christ for loving us in such a special way. I think far too many women miss the parallel. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church AND we are to respect our husbands as the Church is to honor Christ as well. A lot of wives and many churches could use a tutorial series on that alone. What did Stephanie Mills say? "I've learned to RESPECT the POWER of LOVE?" That'll preach. A few times over.

Plain and simple, there is a certain spiritual restoration that comes with the uniting of a man and his wife. Even Christ himself said that if we can grow into the largeness of marriage, we should do it (Matthew 19:12-Message). In this world, it's not good for man to be alone...to fight off the attacks of the Enemy. Perhaps now more than ever.

No, I'm not saying that the Gift of Celibacy doesn't have its place. Paul wrote most of the New Testament and he had it. It's not recorded anywhere in the Bible that Christ was married (and again, I venture to say that his kind of "oneness" didn't require it) and so obviously, there's something very special to be said for those who are called to singleness. A PURE STATE OF SINGLENESS (no continuous struggle with sexual sin falls into that category, by the way).

AND there's something to be said for the power of marital covenant. Again, just look at how much the Enemy brutalizes it: the Lord says it's not good for man to be alone and yet over 50% of marriages end in divorce? Yeah. I would call that a demonic attack for sure. After all, the Enemy doesn't want anything created in the image of Adonai to have good things because he knows that's an indication of one's relationship with the Lord. GOOD ONLY COMES FROM THE GOD. Being that a wife is what brings favor to her husband, with that comes life. How do I know? Because the Word says that with favor a man is surrounded like a shield (Psalm 5:12) and that kind of favor is for life (Psalm 30:5). A WIFE AIDS IN EXTENDING A MAN'S LIFE IN A WAY THAT HE CANNOT DO ALONE. An Ezer Kenegdo, indeed!


The Attack on Covenant

You know, as I've been on the quest to learn the names of God (because he's far too vast to limit to just one. I mean, even I have three!), I am also starting a journey to memorize the Hebrew/Aramaic (sometimes Greek) names of the things that he creates within his perfect will. Next on the docket? Sex. Due to its original purpose, the physical act of oneness between a husband and his wife, and because of the way the word is abused to the point of having NO REVERENCE WHATSOEVER, I am going to start incorporating the Hebrew term for "sexual relations" as well: yakhaséy mín (by the way, the Greek word for "fornication" is "pornea" which also means "uncleanness"...IN WALKS PORN. Amazing how watching people fornicate is controversial, but fornicating is not; using sex to sell things is "all good" but buying sex via prostitution is illegal. Sin is so senseless...and contradictory). SEX DESERVES MY RESPECT. Just yesterday, I was talking to someone about how much we need to teach about the purpose of yakhaséy mín. I wonder how much marital beds (Hebrews 13:4) would change, for the better, if people saw "physically becoming one" more as a way to reflect Elohim's covenant than just a physical release or pass time (some of y'all have actually described it to me that way); if we really got that Paul was inspired to pen that a husband and wife should not deprive one another (I Corinthians 7:5) because it was an instruction of the Lord to be one flesh in every way...and that "becoming" is a process. Each sexual moment of intimacy just furthers a married couple "becoming"...like the Godhead (wow...and exactly).

This is why the Enemy doesn't want married people to be physically intimate with one another. This is why the Enemy wants single people sexually abuse each other (and ourselves) as much as possible. Again, it's not good for man to be alone. A wife brings a man favor (Proverbs 18:22). An Ezer Kenegdo is revered as a lifesaver (that's why single fellas, you need to have spiritual vision more than physical eyesight in selecting a mate. LOOKS CAN KILL!). So, in walks the Liar with his counterfeits: live-in girlfriends/boyfriends, mistresses, prostitutes/pimps, casual sex partners, "ex recycles" (people you've been throwing out and picking back up for years). A covenant partner supports the Lord in saving and supporting the quality of your (spiritual) life. A prostitute? A lifesaver? Not so much:

"For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell."---Proverbs 5:3-5 (NKJV)

Wife = Life

Prostitute = Death

There is a full-on attack on marital covenant. There's not an attack on sexual immorality. Again, refer to Proverbs 5, see what is the only biblical out for marriage (adultery-Matthew 5:32), and you'll see why. Death. Hell. That's exactly where the Liar wants us to end up so he sends the counterfeit spirit of assistance; he sends men and women under his demonic influence to feed into our lusts (Proverbs 11:6), the counterfeit of love, to cause us to think that we don't need marriage (life). We have all of the benefits (sex) without the responsibility (covenant). That would be called spiritual immaturity , ignorance and arrogance. The result of that? Death (James 1:15).

No wonder the Lord has been "cool" with me saying that "Divorce is the new abortion." Would I be here typing this had Adam and Eve called it quits? If they had not been "fruitful and multiplied" (something that ONLY those IN COVENANT were instructed to do)? Probably not. And what's an abortion? In this context it's "anything that fails to develop, progress, or mature, as a design or project". GROWING INTO THE LARGENESS OF MARRIAGE. TWO BECOMING ONE. Growing is a process. Becoming is a process. Marriage is a process. Covenant on this earth? Because of sin, because of the attack on love (because where love is, God is-I John 4:16), it's a process.


Marital Covenant: A Foresight Response to Sin

It's not good for man to be alone. It's not good for man to be "separate, apart, or isolated from others". SIN IS WHAT SEPARATED ADAM FROM THE GODHEAD (Genesis 3:8-11). Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV) says, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." Christ came so that we could have a sacred kind of access to the Father. We know that we have wisdom (James 1:5), forgiveness (when we forgive others-Matthew 6:12-14), grace and mercy at our disposal (Hebrews 4:16) no matter what our relational status is. But as I read more articles of people claiming they don't need marriage... and people committing adultery with other people's covenant partners... and folks using masturbation and porn as poor substitutes for yakhaséy mín (because after all, to have "sexual relations", you need to be able to relate to someone else) ...I see that the Enemy "gets marriage" more than most of us do. When Adam lost a certain kind of access to his Creator, a certain kind of intimacy, Elohim, in his foresight, love and provision, provided him with some help: "He's not going to be as close to me as he used to be. He's gonna need it."

This should make husbands really love their wives. Adonai gave you help before you officially needed it (cause after all, there's "company" and then there's HELP!). He's always a few steps ahead. And, this should cause single men to bump this up their prayer request list. A WOMAN WHO THE LORD DID NOT BRING TO YOU, ENGAGING WITH HER INAPPROPRIATELY, IS NOT BLESSING YOU. IT'S CURSING YOU. THE LORD DOESN'T BRING PROBLEMS. HE BRINGS SOLUTIONS.

A wife, in many ways, aids to the solution of man's separation due to sin. She doesn't replace his relationship with God. How could she? Oh, but the right woman? She definitely enhances it...in a way that a man can't do on his own and the wrong woman never will. Again, the Lord created a suitable helper for Adam. My mother used to often say, "God gives us someone for where we're going, not where we are...and only God knows that." "A quick fix chick" is just that. A quick fix and she won't last. Lust never does. Oh, but a woman who has a relationship with the Lord? The Word describes her as a woman who is far above rubies in worth (Proverbs 31:10) because you can't put a price tag on her (eh hem, you can on a prostitute, by the way). How does the old saying go? You can't buy good help these days? (LOL) When it comes to serving the Lord, you don't have to. SHE COMES AS A GIFT.

Yeah. Until yesterday, I don't know if I really saw an Ezer Kenegdo quite this way, either; that Adam didn't have her just because he wanted someone who looked like him to frolic around in the Garden of Eden with. But because the Lord, in his perfect wisdom, knew that the time was coming when a series of wrong choices would tempt Adam to feel as if he were "abandoned", "detached", "forsaken", "lonely"..."unaided" and "unassisted". My brother and I are very close. He lives on another continent now. We're still close, but it's different. A pale comparison, but I think you get my point. Adam still had an intimate relationship with the Lord, but sin brought about a distance. It was different. I have some "love brothers" here to help fill the void of my brother being gone. I believe they are gifts from God. Adam was given Eve. On a larger scale, I believe, to do the exact same thing.

Yes, no matter what the Liar has been telling you, if you are a man, a wife is a good thing and if you are a woman, being a wife is a good thing. It's a helpful thing. It's a spiritually supportive thing. It's a godly thing. It's one of the greatest weapons against warfare on this earth and something the Enemy wants us to separate ourselves from. There's LIFE in marriage. He is the destroyer of life (John 10:10).

Why is it not good for man to be alone? Cause the Enemy is out to devour us (I Peter 5:8) and we need all of the help that we can get. Just as the Godhead is united as one but serve different purposes, so does a husband and a wife. Oh, but to live without my Creator? I couldn't. To live without my Savior? I wouldn't. To live without the Comforter? I shouldn't. How could I possibly choose between the three?

Women, to live without an Adonai-appointed protector?

Men, to live without Adonai-appointed favor?

Well...I live a great life as a single woman. Everything has its season (Ecclesiastes 3). I'm assuming that the Lord is still creating me. When the Lord deems fit for my status to change, I will fully embrace that my future husband has been "spiritually awakened BY GOD" to accept the fact that: "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17-NKJV) I'm laughing at the application of Scripture...but there's truth in all humor, my friends. Unity is needed. Agreement is imperative (Amos 3:3). COVENANT IS VITAL. Even something as perfect as Theotes, the Godhead, finds a need for "three in one". Humans knocking the privilege of having a covenant as well? Pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18).

If you know where your HELP comes from, when it comes...accept it.

Good help is a lifesaver.

And you wouldn't need it if you could do it all...alone.

©Shellie R. Warren/2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The 17-Day Mistranslation Fast

Yeah...

I knew that the Ezer Kenegdo "get a new journal" message was a set up. ;-)

Well, it's not even 5am, my time, and I am up...online...penning this...because the Lord said to. I've been waiting on Theotes, the Godhead, to call us to a fast for quite some time now. Now. It's time. However, let me say that this is a fast for those who are really seeking some answers. Some of you won't feel the need to go on this, at least right now. SOME OF YOU...NEEDED THIS LIKE...YESTERDAY (LOL). Go to the Lord about it before joining in. However, those who do make the sacrifice...oh, great revelation is in store...freedom is on the way...breakthroughs are coming!

For those of you who are on my devotional list (and if you're not and want to sign up, hit me up at missnosipho@gmail.com), I'm sure you have sensed a transition since I've been on FB hiatus. My search, for truth, has gone deeper. It's really been a trip (in a good way...the best kind of way)! Well, one of the things that has happened is that I have done more research into the Aramaic and Hebrew translations of Scripture AND I have been making it a point to use the authentic words for the Godhead: YHWH (God), Yeshua (Christ) and Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit). After all, I've never really been big on "nicknames" (LOL). The definition of "nickname" is "to cut off". I think there's something to be said for that in approaching the throne room...

Anyway, that's not the point of this email. THE POINT is that a little while ago, the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) reminded me of one of my favorite verses in Scripture since a spiritual sister introduced me to it a couple of years ago:

"Indeed, you are blessed because you have trusted that the promise Adonai has made to you will be fulfilled."---Luke 1:45 (JNTP)

This blessing that Elisheva (Elizabeth) spoke upon Miryam (Mary) was conditional. Mary was blessed because SHE TRUSTED IN THE PROMISE THAT ADONAI MADE TO HER. THAT IT WOULD BE FULFILLED.

If I could speak a blessing upon all of you, it would be Psalm 20:4 (NKJV):

"May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose."

Yet, here is where the "it's time to be a big girl" part comes in. The Lord promised Mary that she would birth the Savior (Matthew 1:18-25), yes. However, it wasn't just about her having a baby. It was about her fulfilling her purpose. HER PROMISE WAS ATTACHED TO HER PURPOSE. All godly promises are.

There is a different kind of Bible that I have purchased recently, because the Lord led me to it (and you should be led, by him, when it comes to going out into "deeper theological waters"...trust me!). I have enjoyed studying how there are certain words that, because they were challenging to translate into the New King James Version and/or because certain words are so similar, have made some verses of the Bible read a bit differently than they did in the original text. Just one example:

"A people who have no LEADER shall fall; but in a multitude of counsels there is deliverance."---Ecclesiastes 2:4 (original Aramaic text)

"Where no COUNSEL is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors, there is safety."---Ecclesiastes 2:4 (NKJV)

The Aramaic word for "leader" is "medabrana". The Aramaic word for "counselor" is "melkana". According to the author of the Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text, because the words looked so similar, there were mild mistranslations...probably due to ignorance or haste in translating the Scriptures, more than anything else.

What the Comforter revealed to me is that many of us have MISTRANSLATED OUR PROMISES. Also, due to our ignorance about what we have requested or our haste in wanting them to manifest, we have "translated what the Lord has told us incorrectly". He may have told us that we are getting married. We translated that to mean "right now". He may have told us we were going to have our own business. We quit our job within that week. He may have told us we were going to have a baby. We assumed that meant by birth.

Things have gotten lost in translation from the perfect God to our imperfect ears and it's causing us to live our lives with one understanding when, being open to some additional information, would change things drastically. The Bible says that "But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:25-27-NKJV)

Some of us, and on some level, I'm sure ALL OF US, have mistranslated OUR WILL with ABBA'S WILL. We have purposed in our mind to "carry, move from one place, position, etc., to transfer" into one space when, in this season, the Lord is calling us to some place different. It may even be something similar like "move"... but he means to a new house while you thought it was a new city (or vice versa). Or, "learn" and you thought that meant enrolling into a four-year program when he meant taking some side classes or perhaps even traveling the world for awhile. Truth is, sometimes our flesh is so in the way that we can't hear all of what the Spirit is trying to say to us. Satan, the Liar (John 8:44), is betting on this because he knows that "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."

And so, the fast is as follows:

1) For the next 17 days---17 biblically-symbolizes "spiritual order"---depending on the day you read this (meaning if you see this today, it will start at dawn tomorrow...if you see this a week from today, it will start at dawn the following day and will run through for the next 17 days following that day), you are called to a TOTAL MEDIA/TECHONOLOGY FAST. No television, no FB, no Twitter and only for work and EMERGENCY PURPOSES ONLY, a computer or phone. No movies (in or out of the home). No magazines. No books (even if they are by Christian authors) other than the Bible. No music of any sort. OF ANY SORT.

2) The only liquid that you will consume is water. Water biblically-symbolizes the Holy Spirit and to know the will of God for your life, you need to consult him. You will need an OUTPOURING of him.

3) The NEW JOURNAL that you have prayerfully purchased by now for the "Ezer Kenegdo" post, it will be used for this as well. On one page, list requests you have made to the Lord. On the other, list promises he made to you. Oftentimes, there is a BIG difference. I'll give you an example: I've asked the Lord for a covenant partner; however, I was told, by the Lord, that I would have a son named "Perez" (I would have never picked that name on my own). Because the Lord does things in order (I Corinthians 14:40), I know that he desires for me to be married before having a child...IN THE PHYSICAL REALM. Yet...here's the clincher: I'm not married yet, but being sensitive to the Spirit has revealed to me that THE SPIRIT OF PEREZ is manifesting in many ways...NOW. For one, I have started a t-shirt line with his name in it based on a Scriptural promise the Lord has made me and the definition of his name ("Breakthrough"). It is the Lord's will that Perez's purpose manifest now. How/when he will make himself known in the physical sense...only the Lord knows that...for now. Another example? I asked the Lord for another chance re: my past abortions. I thought that would mean that I would be pregnant in my early 30s. I was told at 32, based on Isaiah 54, that I would have more children than women with children. I didn't know HOW he was gonna pull that off (LOL), yet now I mentor teen moms...and their kids (and sometimes, their moms-LOL). All this to say that Jeremiah 33:3 has become very precious to me in this season of my life. It doesn't say "Yell at the Lord what you want and you will get it." It says "‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’" A lot of times, when we're impatient about something, it's because we don't KNOW about it. This is the time to really seek his will about his desire for your life. This is the time for your promises to line up with your purpose. ONLY HE CAN GUIDE YOU IN THAT WAY.

4) Make it a point to journal everyday and to do it...AT DAWN. Psalm 46:5 (NKJV) tells us, "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;God shall help her, just at the break of dawn."I'm thinking about 5am, no later than 5:30, you should be up praying about promises, purpose and how the two are to "marry one another" in this season of your life.

5) KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT re: what the Lord gives you...for now. We hate it when people tell our secrets. I'm sure that's an Abba trait; that it's in our spiritual DNA (LOL). If you are seeking some CLARITY on something, ask the Lord to lead you to ONE PERSON ONLY to bounce what you have been given off of. However, one thing I have learned, at least in my own walk, is that I often repeat what "Thus saith the Lord" because I wanted VALIDATION not CONFIRMATION. That's not walking in faith. That's having low spiritual self-esteem. Ask the Lord to provide you with Scripture to support what you believe you are hearing in the Spirit. He'll provide it for you. But don't get a lot of flesh involved right now. That's what led you to this fast in the first place...I'm pretty sure.

6) After doing "4", research what PURPOSE means and what BIBLICAL PROMISES are. In your life, in this season, see how they match up. A lot of Adonai's promises are conditional. Are you fulfilling your conditions? He is gonna do his part (2 Timothy 2:13). DO YOURS.

7) Post the following Scripture up somewhere for the next 17 days: "Then Miryam said, 'My soul magnifies Adonai ; and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior, who has taken notice of his servant girl in her humble position.' For---imagine it---all generations will call me blessed!" This is how Mary responded to what Elizabeth said to her in Luke 1:45. These are the verses that followed (Luke 1:46-48-NJTP). SWAP OUT MIRYAM'S NAME FOR YOURS and make sure to read/recite this everyday for the next 17 days. It's a great affirmation, for one, yet as you speak the Word, I think you will notice a shift. Some of us are not being HUMBLE SERVANTS. We're being spoiled brats. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord (James 1:17); however, let's all get free here with the truth (John 8:32) and the truth is that he doesn't OWE US ANYTHING. Impatience about GIFT? Yeah...a bit ridiculous. Understandable. Still ridiculous.

Well, that's all I've been given. I know so many people who are always trying to go on some kind of food fast. The Lord knows what the spirit needs...and when it needs it. This...will tame the flesh and mature the spirit man. Of this, I am certain.

As always, if there is something that you would like for me to pray for you, please let me know. The Lord will have me doing an interceding project for those who join in and so, I would love to get the names to my missnosipho@gmail.com account.

Excited to see/sense what the Lord is about to do for you ladies.

As his promises take you deeper into your purpose.

Love to you,

SRW

Monday, August 2, 2010

"On Fire": ISH!

So...

Talk about mud on my face...er, kinda. (LOL)

As I said in my book announcement, while online this weekend, I noticed that there was a whole lot of wedding stuff going on (whew)! As I was reading some of the info, I must admit that there's basically one thing that I have basically always taken issue with (until now). It is often said at the end the marriage ceremony right before the kiss AND when marriage announcements are made re: celebrities by their publicists, etc.: "We now pronounce you man and wife" or "So-and-so are officially man and wife".

I read it so much on yesterday, that I decided to spend some time researching why that was the case. I mean, really...how is it that the woman, from day one, is a "wife" and the husband is...well...just a man? Is there really anything as "just a man"??? After some "seeking and finding" (Matthew 7:7-8), I'm starting to think not. I'll explain.

First of all, when a couple is joined in holy matrimony, "man and wife" is Scriptural:

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."---Genesis 2:24-25 (NKJV)

" Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband."---I Corinthians 7:1-3 (NKJV)

And, quite frankly, that should be enough. It really should. Yet, the Lord knows his daughter. He knows that I take "study to show thyself approved" to extremes, at times (2 Timothy 2:15), and because this was of such great interest to me...this was certainly one of those times. What I discovered brought about MUCH CLARITY in this season (Ecclesiastes 3).

OK. Let me first say that if there's one thing that El Berith, the God of Covenant, has impressed upon me to pray about re: the "On Fire" sistahs in this season, it's that they will ADHERE TO ANY WARNING SIGNS on the front end re: their men of interest. Now, this won't apply to all of you; however, for those it does, if after reading this, there is a sense of conviction/guilt/fear/hesitation/reflection/pause/FLASHING YELLOW (YIELD) LIGHT BULB MOMENTS, you really need to take some steps back and seek the Father (Jeremiah 33:3) on if you should be moving forward or not with the man you are seeing.

The confirmation on this came in a news story that I checked out several days ago. A woman who was a marriage counselor had her life come to a devastating end when HER HUSBAND stabbed her to death late last month. Horrific, indeed. Yet, this is what really got to me:

1) She (sigh) met her husband at an anger management class that she taught.

2) The couple (sigh) just met last year and were married last December.

3) Her husband (sigh) had been released last winter from prison on charges of burglary and theft.

Said someone who worked in the same building as her: "'I think she was trying to help him,' Wairegi said. 'But by the time she realized this was a problem, I'm sure it was already too late.'"

Yeah. I'm sure it's easy to judge her...now. We're always filled with so much wisdom...in hindsight. Sure, it seems like someone with an I.Q., even in the double-digits would know better than to get involved with a man like him, right? Yet, here's the thing about a warning...about "to warn, give notice, or caution". A warning from the Lord serves this purpose...it's filed under this definition: "advice, or intimation to (a person, group, etc.) of impending evil, possible harm, or anything else unfavorable".

A woman marrying a man she barely even knows with a history of crime and violence? Yeah. She had some warnings. Oh, but being intimate with a man who wooes you into "danger", "impending evil", "possible harm" or anything that is UNFAVORABLE? To not "pump the brakes" with that guy as well? When it comes to your spiritual safety, it's just as reckless.

Warning signs?

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."---Ephesians 4:30-32 (NKJV)

Your future husband should not be bitter or full of wrath and anger (and remember, the Bible says that anger should be resolved by the end of the day---Ephesians 4:25-27). He should not be loud all of the time (hence, the word "clamor"...HMPH) or speak evil (things that are morally bad). He should be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. If he's not? That's a warning sign.

"Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."---Colossians 3:5 (NKJV)

Your future husband should not ENGAGE IN FORNICATION (with or without you), uncleanliness, (carnal) passion, evil (morally bad) desire (porn? masturbation? that's a problem!), or wanting what the Joneses have. That last one is a form of idolatry. A man that cannot be content (Hebrews 13:5) with what he has and where God has him in his current season? That's a warning sign.

"If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself."---I Timothy 6:3-5 (NKJV)

Your future husband should share in the same DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION as you do. The same way that counselor thought she could help the man she was counseling as his wife? Many women think they can "convert" their boyfriend after jumping the broom as well. You are not his Savior. That is a choice that he has to make for himself. A man who is prideful and obsessed with arguing and being right all of the time? Especially about things that are not based in biblical truth? That's a warning sign.

"Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."---Titus 3:1-7 (NKJV)

Your future husband should RESPECT AUTHORITY (government, federal, his parents, your parents, his pastor, etc.), be peaceable, gentle and humble towards ALL MEN. He should also have a reverence for the power, influence and spiritual positioning of the Holy Spirit. If he doesn't, that's a warning sign.

"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there."---James 3:16 (NKJV)

Your future husband should not be a jealous man or a selfish man. If he is, that's a warning sign.

Which brings me back to the whole "man/husband" thing. Do you know what the Hebrew word for "husband" is? It's "ish", the title of this message. Do you know what it translates to mean? MAN AND HUSBAND. The words are actually interchangeable. Now, just to be thorough, another Hebrew word for "husband" is "Ba'al" but it also translates into "lord", "master", etc.; and, at times, to "god" and we know that we are to put no other gods before Adonai...not even our husbands (Exodus 20:3).

Once I saw this and sat and absorbed what it meant (wife is "’ishah", by the way)...once I went and looked up synonyms for "husband" (assistant, collaborator, companion, date, friend, gentleman, monogamist, participant, partner, playmate, sidekick, teammate), I realized something that I hadn't quite thought about, in this fashion, before: just as I am to be a wife when my future husband arrives (Proverbs 18:22), my Abba expects him to also be a husband. Which basically means, he expects him to MAN UP...to be a man.

It's not a guy in a relationship that should have the qualities of being a good friend, gentleman and monogamist (meaning, in this case, abstinent until he can be with his wife). When it comes to ranking status with our Heavenly Father, he's not even considered A MAN until he has these things on his character resume. This actually sheds new light on what Paul, a single man, meant when he said that he put away childish things (I Corinthians 13:11) when he became a man. HMPH...this also could shed light on why he was entrusted, as a single man, to impart so much wisdom on marriage (I Corinthians 6-7). He didn't have to "be a husband" to know what it took to live as one. ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS BE A MAN. A GODLY MAN.

Aight Ladies. If this ain't straight from the throne room, I don't know what is. Yellow lights tell us to slow down. If you decide to speed through them, it's risky at best...often quite dangerous...deadly at worst. This may be a season when you are tempted to be anxious. BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING (Philippians 4:6-7). Make your requests known to God, leave them there, and let him work it all out. If it's a green light, trust him. If it's red? Still trust him.

If it's yellow...slow down, remain prayerful, ask for elevated wisdom and discernment (James 1:5) and yes...still trust him.

After all, if you're gonna enter into a covenant as a wife...might as well have a man, right? ISH!

Speak, Lord. Thy servant heareth.

Selah. Amen. So be it.

Love to you,

SRW