Thursday, September 23, 2010

"On Fire": Kisses from Katie

"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 8:24-25 (Message)

"We must be willing to get rid of the life that we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."---Joseph Campbell


Do you ever have days (or nights) when you're just...full? That's me today. There are some things that the Lord has spoken that have brought about confirmation...others revelation. I don't think I will be real long with this (cause it's been a LONG week and I really just want to go to sleep!); yet, this woman is too remarkable not to put into your psyche...as soon as possible.

I'll get to her in a minute.

As I was meditating on all of the "On Fire" women these past few days, as I thought about another email about another one preparing to jump the broom (congrats, Nicole!), while one part of me was so thrilled that more Ezer Kenegdos are being brought closer to their HOUSE-BANDS (congrats to you as well, Miriam!), for those of us who remain, it was interesting the Word that the Comforter brought back to my remembrance:

"Then God said to the woman,'I will cause you to have much trouble when you are pregnant, and when you give birth to children, you will have great pain. You will greatly desire your husband, but he will rule over you.'"---Genesis 3:16 (NCV)

James 5:16 tells us that if we confess our faults we can be healed, right? My confession for today: I have been a hypocrite.

The girls that I mentor know me for saying that I don't believe in boyfriends (anymore) in the way the concept is taught (and adhered to) because you should live married...when you're married. There is a gift to singleness. It's a wonderful time to make life be about, first and foremost, the Lord (I Corinthians 7:32-34) and what he desires for you as a sole entity. This is the time for us to find out who we are in him. Well, what I have come to terms with is that, while I do believe that I am called to be a (pardon the pun) KILLA EZER KENEGDO (LOL) and I know that El Berith, the God of Covenant, gave me the heart to prepare women for marital covenant so that we all can live out Malachi 2:15 ("God made husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit for his purpose—so they would have children who are true to God."--NCV), there is something I realize that he is preparing me for...in a way I hadn't quite thought of before.

Do you see the curses that were given to Eve? She would have pain in labor? She would greatly desire her husband and he would rule over her? Well, check this: the Holy Bible from the Eastern Text actually translates the "desire husband" part as this: "...you shall be dependent on your husband." WIVES WILL BE DEPENDENT ON THEIR HUSBANDS.

Most of us on here? We are not wives...yet. What I had to ask myself is "Why am I trying to take on a burden that the covering of covenant (Matthew 19:6) has not been put in place for to protect me...yet?" Perhaps that's why sometimes, in wondering about my future as it relates to marriage, I get overwhelmed. I'm taking on a concern that I don't need to be concerned about just yet. I'm putting my dependence in the wrong place. Wow. Just wow. Yeah, that was a blow to my human trinity (mind, body, spirit) this week. It really was. To be so focused on the "curse" that I can't enjoy the blessing of being without the curse? Forgive me, Lord for I have sinned. Indeed.

Yet, Abba is merciful. Rather than berate me about it, he had a former editor (and current friend, thanks Kristin Whittlesey) of mine tell me about a blog. A blog from a single woman. A blog from a single woman who has (whew!) adopted 14 (thus far) African children. Talk about a Mother Theresa of our time. I won't speak for Katie. I'll let her blog speak all for itself.

http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/2010/08/teenagers-and-lesson-from-jacob.html

There's a lot of potential emotions that Katie may resonate within you. More than anything, what I do hope it will do is remind you that where you are today is just as much of a gift as where you will be tomorrow. You're just as beautiful in your Sabbath or Sunday best as you will be in your wedding gown. You see, what Katie did for me is remind me that my life is not "on pause". Even now, it is FULL OF PURPOSE. This is a time where I am being enlarged so that my future covenant can be just that more wonderful, that more miraculous, that more grand!

I don't know Katie. I don't even know if she desires to be married someday (I haven't read enough of the blog to see if she mentions that) yet I'm gonna make her an honorary "On Fire" gal, anyway. Let her be an example and reminder to us all that when you're not dependent on a man that means you're solely dependent on his Creator.

That's far from a curse. That is the greatest kind of blessing.

Kisses to you too, Katie. An inspiration, indeed, my sister in Christ, you are. I looked up the meaning of your name. No surprise that it means "Pure" (in Greek):

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."---Matthew 5:8 (NKJV)

Without question, Katie, YOU. HAVE. SEEN. HIM.

KATIE. IS. BLESSED.

Love to you all,

SRW

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

HAPPY "NO WEDDING. NO WOMB." DAY!!!


Christelyn Karazin, a warrior in your own right....this goes out to you!




It's 6:32am and I have a class to teach in less than an hour. A class in which, last week, only one girl raised her hand when I asked, "How many of you have a father in the home?" A earthly father, greedy enough to have sex and yet, too selfish to own up to the responsibility of what often comes from having sex (I always wonder why people are so shocked when pregnancy comes from sex...one of the purposes of sex is procreation) often baffles me because 30 minutes, if you're lucky, tends to have such long-term effects.

This is why I'm proud to be apart of the "No Wedding. No Womb" movement (www.noweddingnowomb.com) that's taking place, in cyberspace, today---a day that I didn't realize, until Christelyn brought it to the participating bloggers' attention, marks the 148th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Indeed, "There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact." (I Corinthians 6:16-Message) Indeed, "You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men." (I Corinthians 7:23-NKJV)

Indeed, "On Fire" ladies, let us all "touch and agree" (Matthew 18:20) that this epidemic of single home parenting be addressed with compassion, focus and fervency. Yes, let us all agree that it's time to get back to Elohim's perfect will for our lives: "God made husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit for his purpose—so they would have children who are true to God." (Malachi 2:15-NCV)

In honor of today, a piece that a wrote some time ago, seemed to fit, almost perfectly.

Have a good and purposeful day, y'all. It's gonna be a life-changing one!


“Crack the Code”

A couple of nights ago, I was talking to a male friend of mine. (Again single ladies, get some platonic male friends because they are lifesavers---and givers!) Anyway, we were talking about a recent event that we both attended where, for the first time since I can remember, I basically stayed up on the wall and watched the room move before me. It’s amazing how loud sounds, words, people, even energy are when you are silent.

Anyway (again), as we were both recapping the evening, he shared with me how one young lady he knew gave out her number to several random guys over the evening and was even in the midst of following up before she left. He was a little disgusted by it, but I was actually a little sad. I’ll tell you why.

As a single-and-almost-whole-woman (thank the Lord from whom all blessings flow!), I remember being the “give my number out”, “ask for yours”, “bat my eyes until they almost fell out of my head” chick. Now, I naturally have an aggressive personality and so already that can make “being still” a real challenge for me whether it’s personally or professionally. But, as I am detoxing all of the past men out of my psyche and spirit (head’s up, virgins, a man can violate more than just your body), I am coming to see that there was another reason why “sitting on the wall and watching the room” was such a challenge for me. In times past, deep down, I believed that if I didn’t make my presence known then no one would notice me and if no one noticed me then I wouldn’t receive the validation that I so desperately needed; the validation that I was “beautiful”, “special”, “worthy”, “valuable”. (Bookmark that!)

Do you know what cured me of that? First, knowing that I don’t need anyone’s validation, just God’s approval which immediately leads to the resolve of not loaning/sharing/giving out parts of myself---whether it be emotionally, relationally or physically---to those who don’t earn it; those who don’t take or make the time to “Crack the Code”.

Yep. That’s my motto for this year. In the Song of Solomon, there are several refrains in which the object of Solomon’s desire says, “….promise me…not to awaken or excite my feelings of love until it is ready.” (Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, 8:3). Maybe it was her wisdom that inspired Solomon to write the Proverb, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (4:23) Ladies, if you really believe that your lovin’ is good lovin’ whether it’s your time, your energy, your emotions or your body then you too will not be interested in giving people “sneak previews” or “loaners” unless they put in the work required to gain access to those priceless gems. I mean, really, why get all worked up, why get all hot ‘n bothered, why let some man have “the right of entry”, if he’s not ready? (And if he wants you to compromise your values for his needs…no, wants, then he’s not ready!) In other words, why give someone the privilege of you if they don’t want the responsibility that comes with it?

Girl, please. I am so off of that page these days and tryin’ to get into another book! (I’ve been told “Redeeming Love” is good. I think I’m gonna check that out!)

My final anyway: Last Christmas, I bought a friend of mine a safe. I got it for him so that he could keep his valuables in it. Even though I purchased it do you know that even I do not have the combination? Why? Because YOU ONLY GIVE THE COMBINATION TO PEOPLE WHO NEED ACCESS TO THE VALUABLES INSIDE. Just today, I was reading an article on how combination locks work. There was a quote that really resonated with me:

“Getting inside a lock is not always easy. If it were easy, it would defeat the purpose of using the lock in the first place!”

Bottom line, the easier it is for people get to the inner depths of your mind, body and spirit, the louder you convey that what you have is “easy access”; that it’s not of much substance, importance, significance, value.

As I left that particular venue the other night, I smiled to myself. Not because I have converted into a wall flower (I was born a social butterfly and I will die a social butterfly), but because I didn’t need anyone to see me to know that there was an inner glow that shines radiantly, and all who need to see it will ---in their own time, when and/if it’s meant for them to. Does the moon stop shining when you aren’t looking at it? Precisely.

Until then, I have no problem keeping my most precious “goodies” under wraps and guarded in the safe called “discernment”. I was bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23) and there are a special “combination” of principles, ideals, priorities and purposes that it will take to gain access to them.

Besides, I don’t need to “let you in”. I already know what’s inside and that it’s well worth the effort. Walk past the safe, try and pick the lock, do what you will. It’s iron clad now. If you really wanna know, “Crack the Code”.

Oh, by the way, God and I are the only ones who have the combination and I ain’t sharin’, so I guess you know what that means, right? Right.

©Shellie R. Warren

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"On Fire": What's Your TRADEMARK?

OK,

So, I'm starting a t-shirt line. Those who know me know that is no newsflash because if Shellie Renee' Warren doesn't love anything else, she loves her some t-shirts!

Why am I talking in third person? Who knows? (LOL) I'll stop. ;-)

Anyway, when it comes to the line, I won't be premiering it until probably January 2011. Please hold me to it, though. Being held accountable for what I say is something that I'm really focusing on in this new year (Matthew 5:37).

So why am I waiting so long to share my "new baby"? Because I'm learning more and more about doing things in excellence. For instance, there is a non-profit that I called myself starting a few years ago. Those of you who work in or run a non-profit know that people who are financially challenged find starting one of those to be, er, challenging. It's going to have a resurgence soon. However, what it has already taught me is that real witnessing comes in doing things decently (first) and orderly (second). Just as Paul penned in I Corinthians 14:40. Whatever we do, we are representing Yahweh (God), Yeshua (Christ) and Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit). We must make them look good. We must make them proud.

My real point in bringing all of this up is that as I was doing research on trademarking my t-shirt line's logo (I can't believe how expensive it is...WHEW!), I came up on a t-shirt that should be coming in the mail to me this week. Something else that I love is finding t-shirts that I know other people, at least in my world, won't be wearing. This one is a blue shirt with a simple "R" with a circle around it. You know what that is, right? It's the symbol for a registered trademark. I thought that was so gangsta! In the midst of trademarking a vision that Elohim has given me, I came to realize that I am a registered trademark.

And you know what? SO. ARE. YOU.

Trademark: a distinctive mark or feature particularly characteristic of or identified with a person or thing.

You are registered by the Father. You are of his royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9); however, what I encourage you to do this upcoming week is to spend some time pondering (Proverbs 4:26) what your trademark(s) really is (are). What makes you distinctive? What are your special qualities? What makes you someone "notable"? What are the "rarely special" characteristics that make you unlike anyone else on this planet? It may not be one thing...but the unique combination of traits that causes you to stand out.

See, what I am coming to realize, now more than ever, is that a lot of us "settle for less" because we don't treat ourselves as precious. I came across a Scripture today that actually made me internally chuckle and then pause and think. Most people know that I LOVE Matthew 7:6. I believe that we all should "not give what's HOLY (I Peter 1:15) to the dogs". However, even now, I think some of the women reading this need to cry out as King David did when he said, "Deliver Me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog." (Psalm 22:20-NKJV)

You are giving your power to dogs; to sexually brutish people (look up "dog" sometime) and it's a real travesty because your life is precious
. Christ's blood was shed for you. Yes, as the Word says: 1) you were bought with a price and so you should glorify God with your body and spirit (I Corinthians 6:20) AND you should not be slaves among men (I Corinthians 7:23). Don't you see? Abba Father sees you as dear and beloved...delicate and refined. HE HOLDS YOU IN HIGH ESTEEM. As a daughter of the Most High, "precious" is one of your trademarks.

Yet there's more. He fashions our hearts individually (Psalm 33:15) and he gives to each one individually as he wills (I Corinthians 12:11). And so, there are some things about you...your purpose...your (upcoming) covenant that is distinctive. It must be honored as such. First and foremost, by you.

I was just telling one of my prayer partners over the Sabbath that after recently hearing some of the "war stories" re: some of the marriages that I know that I desire for my single male friends to get to there "IN GOD'S PERFECT WILL" Ezer Kenegdo...the first time. "On Fire" sistahs, I want you to get to you "IN GOD'S PERFECT WILL" earthly covering...the first time...as well. There is a man out here who is also your "registered trademark"when it comes to being your distinctive male partner for life. Don't settle for less than him. And, in order to really know who he is, you really need to know who you are. Ask and it shall be given. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door will be opened to you (Luke 11:9).

Precious ones, the Lord's Word does not return to him void. It will accomplish just what it pleases (Isaiah 55:11). You are not a slave to this world...or to the men in it. THE WORD SAYS THAT. You are distinctive and precious. THE WORD SAYS THAT TOO.

This week, your assignment? Find yourself. Especially.

And when you recognize yourself, be good to you.

You...and all of your trademarks.

And like my t-shirt that I can't wait to wear---one that I know the Lord led me to that's just for me---ROCK YOUR INDIVIDUALITY WITH HIGH ESTEEM. You'll make your Abba...and your future husband proud.

Trust me.

Love to you,

SRW


An Ounce of Prevention: The Seth Spirit: Embracing What Elohim APPOINTS

“Adam had sexual relations with his wife Eve again, and she gave birth to a son. She named him Seth and said, ‘God has given me another child. He will take the place of Abel, who was killed by Cain.’ Seth also had a son, and they named him Enosh. At that time people began to pray to the LORD.”---Genesis 4:25-26 (NCV)

“Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour.”---Ovid


"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)


Today (9/18) was Yom Kippur. It’s a day that’s considered to be the most holy on the Jewish calendar because it’s devoted to the repentance of sin for the previous year. I was actually surprised that, as I pondered (Proverbs 4:26) penning a message about it, that Ruach Hakodesh, the Holy Spirit, (Luke 12:12) led me to Genesis. More specifically, two points in Genesis that aren’t really about the subject matter. However, as I’m, as my mother would say “unpacking them”, I’m realizing that Elohim is revealing two things even as I’m typing: 1) how to break out of being in a state of cyclic repentance and 2) how to recognize some of the blessings that come once repentance (of self and/or the forgiving of others) has taken place.


True Repentance

Of course, in honor of today, I do also feel led to encourage all of us to do what the people of Judah were told to many years ago: “‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’” (Jeremiah 25:5-6-NKJV) Sometimes you can’t quite put your finger on what’s about to happen. You just sense that something is. That said, repentance protects us from certain kinds of harm and do we not all need that kind of “insurance policy”? I love how Dictionary.com defines repentance as “to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent”. REPENTANCE BRINGS ABOUT CHANGE. Repentance is what transforms and converts us from (and I love this definition as well) “what we would be if we were left alone”.

The more I write today, the more I see what 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV) is all about (“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”) and why some of us remain where we are. It goes back to what I wrote about in the last message (“Love ‘Em to Death: When Your Enemy Is Your Mate”) re: what one of my married male friends said. When you “quit something”, that’s worldly sorrow. When you’ve been delivered, that’s a result of true repentance. We’re all grown here and so I’m gonna “go there” for just a minute. In my friend’s pursuit of being fully freed from homosexual activity (I Corinthians 6:8-10), he said that one of the things he asked the Lord was to get him to the place that even the smell of the environment would make him sick. Hmph. I wonder how many of us actually pray for our senses to become physically ill by the very presence of the sins that so easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1). I mean, how are you really (and I mean really) gonna get over something that still takes you under just by seeing it or hearing it or smelling it or touching it…or tasting it? No wonder the question was once asked, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3-NKJV) Break this question down modern-day style and what it’s really asking is, “Do we have such little foresight? Do we use such little caution to really think that living a moral life can actually happen by relying on the ‘animal nature’ (one definition of flesh) of ourselves?”

While talking to the teen girls that I mentor re: sexual wholeness, I often ask them if they have ever seen dogs have sex. I know the times that I’ve seen it, I personally kinda feel bad for the female canine. Is it just me or does it seem more like a rape---sometimes a gang rape---than a, um, “mutual exchange of affection” most of the time? Of course, then again, I’m human. Animals do things based on instinct. They have sex based on instinct. They’re not “in love”…they’re “in heat”. And that’s kind of my point. A lot of us make decisions that are also not based on the very gift that Elohim gave to humankind. Being that we are made in the image of Yahweh, Yeshua and Ruach Hakodesh (Genesis 1:26-28), we can actually think things through…on the front of an act. The presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (I Corinthians 6:19) grants us the access of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); one of those is self-control. In other words, you cannot expect to live a righteous life without having the presence of the Fruit of the Spirit in your life. It won’t happen. More and more these days, I don’t get into debates about what someone is doing or not doing (John 7:24). The Word tells us that the fruit tells it all (Luke 6:44). You can say, for instance, that you’re a loving person. Oh, but your actions will let me know the real deal. You can claim to have long-suffering. Oh, but your actions? Yeah. No wonder we don’t have to spend a lot of time judging people. They show us who they are. We show them who we are as well. You don’t need to eat an apple on a tree to know it’s an apple. If you learn how to discern (Proverbs 15:21) an apple tree…that should be enough (another lesson we can gain from the Women’s experience in the Garden-Genesis 3:1-7). Now it’s another lesson for another time that you must be spiritually mature to have keen discernment. It’s a learned skill. I think you get my point, though.

So anyway, as I was processing, “unpacking”, some of my own things to repent of so that I will not remain in some ways/things that I would be if I were left alone by Immanuel, the God who is with us, the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) led me, briefly, to the following verse in Scripture. It’s actually found in a place that if you were not patient, you might miss it: Adam’s family history:

Enoch walked with God; one day Enoch could not be found, because God took him.”---Genesis 5:24 (NCV)



Walking with God

Walking with God. Proceeding through, over or upon at a moderate pace…with God. When Amos 3:3 asks how can two walk together less then be agreed, is this not another way of looking at repentance, which is ultimate deliverance? How can you proceed through, over or upon something---whether it’s away from sin’s worst or to God’s best---if you are not walking with the Lord and agreeing that what he says and wants is what’s best for you?

“But I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’”---Ezekiel 20:18-20 (NKJV)

Some of us have a “non-lukewarm choice” (Revelation 3:16) to make right here and right now. I love how “statutes” is defined. It’s a permanent rule that has not been changed. The Lord, when it comes to the foundational truths of who he is, does not change (Malachi 3:6). I have mentioned before that one of my favorite books is “Real Christianity” by William Wilberforce. His bottom line message? The problem with the Church is that it’s more caught up in “Christian culture” than “authentic faith”. GOD’S LAWS HAVE NOT CHANGED. The Ten Commandments have not changed and him expecting us to keep them has not changed, either. I can only imagine what it must be like to be like Enoch, to be so close to the Creator that one day the Lord says, “I want you to be up here with me…right now.” You wanna know how to get out of your “hamster wheel of foolishness” (Proverbs 13:16 & 26:11)? Walk with God. Proceed with him. Keep his judgments by actually doing them. Hallow his Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). If you’re walking with someone, you’re headed in the same direction, correct? When we acknowledge that the Lord knows what’s best for us (Proverbs 3:6), that’s how we keep ourselves from doing the same things over…and over…and over again. The Lord tells me to forgive and I decide someone is not worthy of it (um, and how arrogant is that?!?-Matthew 6:14-15) and so I don’t? That’s when I break my stride and the Lord and I are no longer walking together. It’s a surefire way to get lost, too.

Today, I was watching a documentary on Hulu.com entitled, “Lord, Save Us from Your Followers” and yep, it’s pretty much about what the title says (good marketing, y’all). In it, there was a quote from Bono that really resonated with me: “Stop asking God to bless what you are doing. Get involved in what God is doing. Because it's already blessed." Is this not just another way of walking with Abba? I can’t even begin to count how many times I have found myself doing my own thing and been like, “Yoo who. Oh God, I’m over here. Check this out!” only to have the Holy Spirit say, “Um, Shellie, the fact that you have to call for us should tell you something. We’re not over there…for a reason. You need to be over here…with us.” The Liar (John 8:44) does not want you walking with God. Here’s another “watch the fruit” sign. Do you want a reality check indicator of those who do?

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”---Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)

Walking with the Lord grants you protection. Walking with the Lord gives you grace. Walking with the Lord grants you access to good things. When you live in accordance to what is (biblically) right (James 4:17), the abundant life that Christ desires for us to have (John 10:10) becomes, not a prayer request, but a reality.

OK, and so now that I’ve written this out, I get why the Comforter led me to Enoch. Now what about Seth? The Seth portion I think is to provide some peace to those who have, perhaps, had their own personal “Abel experience”; those who have walked with God, at least on some level, and yet have lost something dear to them and are not sure what to do next. This is for those who are tempted (I Corinthians 10:13) to break stride.


Grieving Your “Abels”

Something that I am learning, slowly yet surely, is that when you repent for the things you’ve done, it’s hard to see what other people do in the same way as before you repented. Your flesh looks at things from a sinful, selfish place. Your spirit man? There’s a different kind of response there. People who can’t forgive well, and by that I mean, really forgive (i.e., strive to resolve issues with the person they’ve harmed as best as they can-Matthew 5:23-25), can say that they’re spiritual all day long and it may be true; however (watch the fruit), which spirit they are operating under bears questioning.

Where am I going with this?

I can only imagine the grief that Adam and Eve went through upon learning that their firstborn son, Cain, had killed their baby boy, his own twin brother, Abel (Genesis 4:8). Whew! Watch what you name your children, y’all. Who cares if it “sounds good”? Names have purpose attached to them. Cain? In Hebrew it means, “A spear”. Abel? “Breath”. We exist due to the breath that Abba gives us (Isaiah 42:5-6). I find it so interesting that Cain slew his brother and his name means “A spear”, while Abel’s name meant “breath”. Cain was farmer; Abel tended to the flock (Genesis 4:2). Abel was a shepherd…like Christ (John 10:11). Yeah, the thief took real issue with Abel. There’s no doubt about it. And yet, there’s a line of dialogue between Adonai and Cain that I find myself hearing the Lord say to me, at times; to all of us, if we’re really honest about it:

“The LORD asked Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why do you look so unhappy? If you do things well, I will accept you, but if you do not do them well, sin is ready to attack you. Sin wants you, but you must rule over it.’”---Genesis 4:6-7 (NCV)

Another “fruit sign”? Discontented people can put their frustration on others all they want; however, the Lord tells us where our freedom lies (John 8:32). When you do things well, that is how you can protect yourself from the trappings of sin. Cain killed Abel because he did not do things well (Genesis 4:5). Jealousy of others comes when you don’t live out your best potential. Resentment comes when you don’t follow all of God’s instructions for your life (Galatians 5:19-21). Do you know how many people I have killed with my mouth because I had a “Cain spirit”? Here I was bringing things to the Lord and they seemed to be the ones prospering, whether it was their looks, their gifts, their relationships…whatever. However, bringing “something” to the Lord and sacrificing what he requires (Psalm 4:5) are two totally different matters. Those who know me know that these days I am boldly living by the adage, “Stay in your lane.” If we all just made it a point to learn how the Lord speaks to us and do what he says, sin wouldn’t take over us as much and/or as deeply as it does.

Anyway, it really must’ve been deep for Adam and Eve to continue to live out the consequences of their previous actions. Disobedience to God carried through their DNA and now the first recorded murder had transpired. Yet, this is where a breakthrough message comes in for some of you. There may have been something that you have “birthed”: a child, a business, a ministry, a creative project, a relationship and the consequences of some of your past choices (Galatians 6:7), or just the consequences of living in a sinful world, may have caused you to lose your “Abel”. For those who choose to remain in the Abba’s will, I am confident (Hebrews 6:9) in the Lord that there will be “Seths” coming.

The thing about Adam and Eve’s journey is that the story does not tell us where they were spiritually at the time of Abel’s death or really even Seth’s birth. However, the fact that Eve knew to praise the Lord, the fact that she knew that God, in spite of everything, had given her another son, as the Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text translates, “another offspring instead of Abel”, I’m led to believe there was some repenting and forgiving that took place. Repenting of their past sins and forgiving of Cain’s.

Family, some of us really need to let some things go because bitterness (Hebrews 12:15) and stagnated grief can do some really strange things. It made me smile (cause I though the stats were going to be much higher) when I read that roughly only about 16% of couples divorce after the loss of a child. I’m not married and the way that I loss my four children was due to my own hand (whole ‘nother message), yet as I am healing from the loss of some of my own “births”, I am encouraged by Adam and Eve for this reason: after death, life went on. The thing is, Cain’s envy and anger didn’t just cause Adam and Eve to lose one child, but two, because Cain was also sent away as a consequence of his actions (Genesis 4:16). Here are two people who brought sin into the world and now, they lost their twin boys. AND LOOK, THEY STAYED TOGETHER (hmph). Yet, what really got to me is that it seems that they kept on doing a lot of what they’ve always done: not just remained married but intimately so. I love how the NCV of Genesis 4:25 says, “Adam had sexual relations with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son.”


Some of us are in the season of “again”. We’re in a place of “one more time”. We’re at the crossroads of “as much again, twice as much”. Send that book proposal…again. Apply to get back into school…again. Forgive your husband/wife…again. Love someone who is not reciprocating…again. Cause you see, although divorce had not been “invented” yet (Deuteronomy 24:1-4), we all know couples that live separate lives…while together. Adam and Eve could have allowed their pain, from the past, something that cannot change, to affect/infect them so much that no yakhaséy mín (Hebrew for “sexual relations”) would have taken place; hence, no Seth. A child that was appointed.

Which brings me to my final point.



The Spirit of Seth: THE APPOINTED

I have always loved the name “Seth”. As a matter of fact, until the Lord told me otherwise, I had it on the list of names for a son. Yet, it wasn’t until today, when I looked it up, that I realized what its Hebrew meaning is: appointed.

Even in loss, if we choose to remain in relationship with the Lord, there are things that he will appoint to us. And, here’s the cool thing about an appointed thing: by its very definition, it’s “predetermined”, “arranged”, “set”:

“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)

Not only that, but it’s “provided with what is necessary; equipped; furnished”. The birth of Seth into the lives of Adam and Eve? First thing is that he had already been predetermined, by God, to be with them yet, what I really love is that, even in the loss of their twin boys, he was given what was necessary to help them to (further) heal and be restored.

On November 3 of this year, my late fiance’ Damien Ashley Bell, will have been gone for 15 years. I can hardly believe it…in some ways. Yet, I have to continue to live my life. I must not be, as I have in times past, bitter and fearful which usually leads to being cynical (cause the dudes since him have been, well, let’s just say he set a high standard). I must be open to loving…again. To trusting…again. “Again” takes faith…and hard work (James 2:14-26). I must believe (Matthew 19:26) that there is someone who, even before Damien died (funny how that works), was already given what was necessary to be my husband instead of, in preference of, him. I guess in some ways it’s odd to be talking about this almost 15 years later; yet, this must be when I am spiritually mature enough to process it. Actually, after looking up that “15” biblically symbolizes divine grace, I know that it is. We cannot determine when the time is right to do or not do something or have or release something (Ecclesiastes 3). Only the Lord knows that (Acts 1:7-Message). He reveals to us, through the Holy Spirit, as we are ready to receive.

As Yom Kippur closes yet again (where is the time going?!?), my prayer for each and every one of you will be:

1) That you will commit to walk with the Lord.

2) That you will repent and forgive. Fully.


3) That you will not be like Cain; that you will do things that God requires of you…well.


4) That even in loss, you will purpose to live your life…even if that requires stepping out on faith and doing some things…again.


5) That you will let your “Abels” go, whether it’s a spirit or the spirit has manifested through an actual person/thing/situation. I think we’ve talked about before how some women remain barren because the grief of the loss of the child they miscarried continues to “haunt their womb”. In God, with loss, always comes gain. When you’re open to it.


6) That you will look, expectantly, for what the Lord appoints to you. Sometimes we are so focused on what we could have had that we don’t see what he has for us. Already. In place. The “Seth Spirit” of things is fully equipped to handle who/what we’ve become as the result of who we were due to what we once had.


7) That you will continue to do what the last line of the lead verse says: pray to the Lord.


You know, I’m not quite sure why the Word says that it was after Seth that people began praying---petitioning, praising and thanking the Lord. I’m led to believe that a part of it was because Seth symbolized things being “set into motion” that we may not have seen coming; things that prove that we need to call upon the Lord for (Jeremiah 33:3)…differently for perspective and insight. I mean, to try and figure out how something is predestined? For our finite minds, that’s pretty complicated. Either way, what I do know is that if all that time ago, people needed to pray, how much more do we need to do it now?

“Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; and to You the vow shall be performed. O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come. Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, you will provide atonement for them.”---Psalm 65:1-3 (NKJV)

Atonement. AT-ONE-MENT. What a wonderful word to end such a blessed Sabbath day.

Family, restoration is upon us (Joel 2:23-25), in a myriad of ways, if we don’t try and decide how things should go. If we will just purpose to walk with the Lord. That said, from the bottom of my heart, here’s to you healing from your “Abels” and receiving your “Seths”; the things that God had in mind for you…all along.

More and more, I love how God operates.

Even before loss.

There’s gain.

©Shellie R. Warren/2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention: "The Warmer Guy"

Cold feet. That’s the best way to describe how I felt when my sweet, smart, loving, committed boyfriend of four years started bringing up the subject of marriage.

Believe me, not in my wildest Barbie and Ken doll dreams did I envision that my “almost proposal” would end with me having feelings of hesitation. Like most women in the early-30-something demographic, I remember at the age of 7 being awakened by my mother in the middle of the night to watch Princess Diana wed Prince Charles in that totally fanciful-borderline-unbelievable wedding ceremony. I also remember going back to bed thinking, “That is what I want someday.”

I thought someday would have been here by now. Several boyfriends, even more sexual partners and one late fiancé’ later, here I stand. Single. And, if you catch me on the right day, I’m even a little hot and bothered by it.

But, really now. Who can I blame? Like I said, I had the opportunity to go from “Ms.” to “Mrs.” I had a man who was totally devoted to me and making my wedded bliss fantasies come true (give or take a few thousand dollars). But, even with all of the love and time that he, I, we invested into our relationship, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it or my heart in it; something just wasn’t right.

A very wise man once said, “When in doubt, don’t”, but to be honest, that was not an adage that the women in my family adhered to very well. I come from too long of a line (on both sides) of “I’m in doubt, but I will, anyway” brides and as the therapist on the new HBO series, “In Treatment” once said, “We unconsciously repeat the patterns that were modeled to us in our childhood.”

So, I figured since I was cut from the same cloth then I was destined to wear the same kind of dress; one draped in fear, regret and repetition (most of the women in my family have also been married several times). If not now, eventually. Of course, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it at the time. I simply believed that if there was ring to wear, then that would also be the cross I had to bear. I mean, if he loves me, I mean really loves me, shouldn’t that be enough? My mind was telling me “Yes”, my heart was telling me, “Maybe”, but oddly, my feet were yelling, “Heck no!”

OK, but if that were true, what has all of this time been about? What good can come out of losing one of my best friends as the ticking clock bongs louder in my ear? What if I never get the chance at even an “almost proposal” again?

You know how when people have a near-death experience, they often say that their life flashes before them? I definitely think a broken heart qualifies. I say this because one day, in a daydream, in the midst of my tears and confusion (just because I didn’t want to marry him doesn’t mean that I didn’t love him), I saw my past loves flash before me. Only they were all in the middle of a large field and I had on a blindfold.

At first, I felt really disoriented. As I took a step forward, I could hear a voice saying something, but I couldn’t quite make it out. As I took a step backwards, I encountered a similar experience. I took a moment to be still and really listen to the background noise. I realized that these men were yelling “colder” and “warmer” at me based on the direction I moved.

It took me a moment, but it wasn’t long before I recognized the voices. There was the second sex partner I had my sophomore year in college. He was yelling “cold”. There was the guy who kept me on the down low for years. He was yelling “colder”. There was even the guy I fell in love with in my mid-20s. He was yelling “warmer”. But then, I heard the calm voice of my “sweet, smart, loving, committed boyfriend of four years”. Do you know what he said? “You are getting really warm now.”

And bam! I got it. He’s my “warmer” guy!

In this joy ride we call life the dating game is a lot like the “Hot/Cold” game that I played as a kid. No matter who the guy is or how the relationship ends, if you get still and listen, you will hear them say something that’s vital in getting you to your final love destination. If you are making decisions that are moving you farther away from the true and lasting love of your life, everything about the guy will be screaming “colder”, but as you mature, hopefully, you will encounter men of character and quality. The bad news is that they may not be your husband. The good news is that they very well could be bringing you one, two or ten steps closer to him.

Yeah, if you’re still ridin’ solo like me, that may not be providing you much comfort on those cold and rainy nights, but trust me: Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want when it comes to the “til death do us part” chapter of your memoir.

I understand how you feel, though. I don’t know where I am exactly in my personal love story at this time, either but I’ll tell you what. Since making the decision to do what’s best for me; to listen to my heart, mind, body and soul; to not settle for good when I can have the best, my feet are losing their chill.

And, everything is getting warmer again.

©Shellie R. Warren/2008

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"On Fire": NO WEDDING. NO WOMB. And...


Those who know me, even a lil' bit, know that I am SUPER STOKED about it being Rosh Hashanah--- the Jewish New Year. Yet, although I am not Jewish, this is the new year that I claim because there is an actual biblical basis for it and, yeah, contrary to popular reaction (Luke 6:26-Message)...(gasp!)...Christ was a Jew. Oh, how it seems that so many people "forget" that. *sigh...ten times over* Anyway, if you want to check out more info on the beauty of Rosh Hashanah, I read a really great article on yesterday about it here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-brad-hirschfield/rosh-hashanah-2010-libera_b_702705.html

And in the pursuit of "newness", I do have a message for you gals. However, I want to take a moment to address the clip art. Today, I came upon an article that featured a website that features a movement: "No Wedding No Womb". It's addressing the epidemic of fatherlessness and unplanned pregnancies, especially within the black community. I will be submitting an article to them on September 22 to show my support of writers/bloggers who will be unified on that day penning on the same issue: the importance of marriage before children. Shoot, just the title alone caused me to get on board. Ladies, please make the time to become a fan on their Facebook page, Tweet about them, forward it to other women...do whatever you can to show your support. Any voice of abstinence is a part of the solution to a horrific problem: people casting their pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6)...people not understanding the true value of their temples (I Corinthians 6:19). The marriage bed is pure (Hebrews 13:4). WE ALL MUST DO OUR PART TO HONOR THAT IN ANY WAY THAT WE CAN. For more info check out: www.noweddingnowomb.com

Now, on to the message for today.

I have moments when I really enjoy Hulu.com. For instance, when I finish blogging this, I will check out, for the first time "One Night with the King" (if you want to see it, here's the link: www.hulu.com/watch/149920/one-night-with-the-king). I just dig that there is some really random programming on it. Like the movie I saw yesterday, for instance. I would have never picked it out on a TV Guide schedule, but in my bed scrolling through options, being thankful that Lifetime actually has moments when the women in the movies aren't, er, psycho (sigh again), I watched "Perfect Romance":

www.hulu.com/watch/175372/lifetime-movies-perfect-romance

It was cheesy...and sweet...and predictable...yet there were a couple of parts of it that were profound. At least to me. The movie was about an overly-concerned mother and her desire to hook up her daughter. Yet, the guy that she picks for her daughter, isn't the right fit. 14 sex partners has taught me that in life, we all are puzzle pieces. We shouldn't "force our way in"...it just damages the big picture. We all have our own perfect fits. Waiting for the right "puzzle" is worth it.

There were two lines in the film that were good enough to pen. I don't recall who said it, but I'm sure you'll get the gist:

1) "I'm pretending to be something I'm not and it's driving me crazy."

2) "Want a man who wants the same kind of life as you."

Have you ever sat in church and heard the title of a sermon and it preached all on its own? To be honest with you, that's how I feel about these two points. Quite frankly, I'm not sure what else needs to be said. John 8:32 tells us that the truth makes us free. BE YOUR TRUE SELF SO THAT YOU CAN BE FREE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP. John 10:10 says that Christ came to give us an abundant life. FOCUS ON THE KIND OF LIFE THE LORD HAS CALLED YOU TO. ASK HIM TO REVEAL WHAT KIND OF MAN YOUR "CUSTOM BRAND OF FAVOR" (PROV. 18:22) WILL BE A COMPLEMENT TO.

Wanting a man? Having a marriage? Sistahs, let's aim higher than that. Since the Lord said that he can do exceedingly above all that we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), why not ask for more than just "a husband before I'm 50" (LOL)? Live your life. Don't fake what you want or who you are. Remember, all things...ALL THINGS work together for the good (Romans 8:28).

Adonai and I want your marriages to be a good thing. Here's to hoping you will wait for his perfect will (Romans 5:5).

Love to you. Send me your prayer requests if you have any.

SRW