Saturday, December 25, 2010

"On Fire": Inamorato

"Then He said, 'What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.'”---Luke 13:18-19 (NKJV)


I was just telling an "On Fire" gal a second ago, via email, that I love it when Christmas falls on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11, Hebrews 4) because (sigh) at least every seven years, the world observes the Fourth Commandment...by default. And so, since this is the time when our culture chooses to observe Christ's birth and because the Sabbath is the day that Adonai *specifically* blessed and hallowed, I encourage you to take this petition of King David and apply it to your own heart: "Open my eyes to see the miracles in your teachings." (Psalm 119:18-NCV) You may be surprised what he shows you on this special and sacred Christmas Shabbat Day. ;-)

Personally, my prayer for all of you today is simple and somewhat inspired by something my mother said on yesterday. Ladies, if you don't have a "Titus 2 Older Woman" (shoot, more than one, really) in your life, please make it a point to get one (some). There's something to be said for knowledge, no doubt. Oh, but there is so much more to be said for wisdom.

So anyway, my mom was telling me about a women's group that she participated in on last weekend. In it, single ladies, a lot of them *our age*, were talking about a variation of what the last blog was about: creating back-up plans when it comes to being in a relationship due to "man famines" across the land (they, in South Africa feel the same way many of us do right here in America). What my mom said to them in response, as she often says about spiritual revelations, "flesh and blood did not reveal" (Matthew 16:17): "There may be a famine of men in *the world*, but there is everything you need in the *kingdom of God*." Amazing how the Word (John 1:1) has a "prescription" for all that ails us:

"The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied."---Psalm 37:18-19 (NKJV)

Hallelujah! In the days of "extreme and general scarcity". In the days of "extreme hunger", the upright shall be satisfied. When you make a commitment to *consistently* abide in the Word of God (John 8:31), you are considered one of Adonai's disciples. And as a disciple, "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh." (Luke 20:21-NKJV) Those of you who hunger *now* are blessed. And you shall be filled. Those of you who weep *now* are blessed. And you shall laugh. It's coming. IT. IS. COMING.

Last year, one of the married women who "peeks in" on this blog said that she understood why I was (still) single because I (probably) wouldn't be as passionate about this movement if I were (already) married. Yeah. Well. When it's time to "pass the torch", I won't have *no problems* throwing it far from me (LOL). However, yes, I get where she's coming from. Ladies, this is *just as much* of a faith walk for me as it is for those of you who are still awaiting your "relational status transition". In some ways, quite frankly, it's even harder because the Enemy doesn't want me to encourage us all to keep our "eyes on the prize". Real talk? I can remember *many* Christmas mornings that I awakened to someone in my bed (or some bed) and...I liked it. To be held and cuddled and kissed...to be kept warm during cold weather is...a wonderful life. And yet, in sin, like the two-hour movie, it never lasts. It's always a temporary existence. A fantasy. More and more, on this side of relational purity, I see that when it comes to things done outside of God's kingdom, the moment you engage, you have set a time clock on the relationship. It's beginning only to bring about an inevitable end. And usually, one some level, one way or another, a hard, taxing, emotionally-debilitating, broken, bitter end. A nightmare.

For a few years now, I have been holding on, tightly, to Ecclesiastes 3:11: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end." Usually, I'm either focusing on the "beautiful in its time" or the "no one can find out the work that God does" part. However, today, as I am as King David once instructed, mediating on my bed and being still (Psalm 4:4), the section that the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) is honing on in is "He has put eternity in their hearts." Matthew 19:6 says that what God has joined together, no man should separate. What I am seeing is that as I am waiting on God to make my future covenant union beautiful, he is putting *eternity* in my heart. He is putting within me, the desire...the knowledge...the wisdom...the commitment...to have the next man in my bed be the absolute last. Until death parts us or Christ's returns (these days, whichever comes first!).

And in the meantime, I wait. I wait for God's will. I wait for God's timing. I wait for God's especially-appointed (and anointed) son. I wait for God's best. My inamorato. That was the word the Holy Spirit introduced to me a couple of weeks ago. It means "a man who loves or is loved; male sweetheart or lover". It comes from the Italian word, "innamorare" which means "to cause to fall in love". TO CAUSE TO FALL IN LOVE. 


Psalm 10:17 (NKJV) says, "Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear..." Hmph. I wonder how many of us look at our romantic love journey in this same fashion. That in Adonai-ordained love experiences, he is truly the one who *causes* it to happen. That he is "the reason or motive for some human action". That he constructs the "principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which a person or group is dedicated". That he is the "executive producer" of an effect. My mom served as an executive producer for a lot of projects. They are the people who are responsible for many of the business and legal issues surrounding an endeavor. Take an LP, for example. The talent that you hear wouldn't be possible if someone wasn't behind the scenes making sure that contracts were signed, fees were paid, studio time was available, etc. There's so much that goes into a successful album that no one really knows about. A successful marriage is no different.

I love it when the Comforter brings a "random" word into my psyche. I didn't know anything about "inamorato" before recently and yet, I love...I adore that the word means a man who is loved *and* loves...simultaneously. It can't be unless I love him *and* he loves me. At the same time. And, I love...I adore that its origin comes from something---in this case a Spirit (John 4:24)---that causes it to happen. I don't make my love affair happen. GOD DOES.

And right now, what do I have to base that upon? My faith (Hebrews 11:1 & 6). The lead verse for this message says that Christ defined the kingdom of God as a mustard seed that a man puts into his garden...and it grew...into something large.

"And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
 

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not cast it out?'

So Jesus said to them, 'Because of your unbelief;  for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.'”---Matthew 17:18-21 (NKJV)

So, what am I saying? I dunno. You tell me.

Some of you may need to repent of your unbelief. Some of you may need to purpose, today, at this very moment, to plant a "mustard seed of faith" into your heart's garden. Some of you may need to go on a prayer and fasting mission. *Some of you need to cast some demons out*.

Whatever the case may be, what I do know for sure, is that if you're reading (and receiving) this, you can be at peace in the midst of this "world man famine". You can know, without question (or fear or doubt-James 1:2-8, I John 4:18) that your Executive Producer is at work, at this very moment, doing things behind the scenes that you know *absolutely nothing* about. That when it's time for your gifts and talents to go to work, he will call for you. Until then...just stay open. Open to the miracles of his teachings.

There are so many "On Fire" women who had *no clue* this time last year that they would be united this time this year and yet, here they are. Married. Miracles, especially inamorato miracles, happen every day. It's not about what you *see*. It's about who you *know*. It's not so much about what you do. It's about what you surrender over to the Spirit of Elohim. It's about what the Godhead allows.

Enjoy today. It's a preparation step for what's to come. TAKE. IT. IN. FULLY.

They don't call it a "leap of faith" for nothin'. Walk ye in it with joy...and expectancy.

And see how big your God is and the love he has in mind for you becomes.

How full you will be...in the midst of this famine.

Besides...look at two other "kingdom of heaven" comparisons. Look at the *character* of the man...and the merchant. Give all you have to God. And then watch the *great lengths* your Beloved will go through for you:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."---Matthew 13:44 (NKJV)

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."---Matthew 13:45-46 (NKJV)

Love to you,

SRW

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"On Fire": God Doesn't Need (or Even Want) Your Back-Up Plan

"There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand."---Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV)


I love my "love brothers". I really do. In so many ways, they are healing me from my "past male spiritual violators" (*and* teaching me how not to be a "present female spiritual violator") in preparation for my union with my Beloved.

With two in particular, there's kind of this ongoing joke (although usually when I say it, I don't see anything funny). When I learn a new "Ooo, that's gonna make me da bomb wife someday!" lesson, I will follow it up with "Where is my husband?!?" Hmph. One of them got me good yesterday when he said, in a text, "Looking for you. Be still." Iron does sharpen iron (Proverbs 27:17). Ain't no doubt about dat!

In some ways, it would seem that "Sit down somewhere!" would be the current heavenly theme as well. Although it comes with a bit of a twist: "Sit down and don't DO ANYTHING, either" is what's more accurate. I heard it through a movie that I checked out earlier this week, "Nice Guy Johnny" when one of the main characters said, "Some things can't be compromised. They must be supported." Then I heard it LOUD AND CLEAR via a special gift that a spiritual sistah sent to me a couple of days ago. There's a line in it that says, "Waiting and not being sure was better than action she couldn't believe in." (Oh, please believe a devotional will be coming out of that, for sure!) And *then* I heard it again via another movie (yep...been checking out quite a few on my laptop as of late) that I just got around to seeing: "The Back-Up Plan" (Jennifer Lopez).

If you haven't seen it, basically, she's a lot like a lot of us (minus following the "On Fire" blog...oh, and actually existing-LOL). She's attractive. Accomplished. Ambitious. And single. And older. And wants to have children. AND SO SHE TAKES MATTERS INTO HER OWN HANDS BY CREATING---NO, CONJURING UP---A BACK-UP PLAN. It pseudo backfires, though, because on *the very day* that she finds out that she's pregnant from artificial insemination (a name that personally, to me, should cause reason for pause off top), she meets the guy...that she never thought she would meet...which is why she came up with a back-up plan to begin with. According to her, "I never met the right one. I was afraid I'd miss my chance."

Yeah. Well. See...

Here's the "funny" thing about "chance". On one hand, it can be an "opportunity". Oh, but on another, it can be a "risk" that ends up turning into a "hazard". When it comes to serving the Lord and doing things his way, you will never end up in the latter situation. And yet, because we serve our intentions rather than his direction, so many of us do. As it relates to the mission of "On Fire" here are some possible scenarios:

*We're afraid that we'll never get married and so we settle for the guy who pays us the most attention.

*We're scared that our relationship will end if we set some boundaries so we keep on fornicating.

*We're anxious about our clicking clock and so we try to force marriage so that we can enforce motherhood.

And where does fear and anxiety get you? Into straight-up chaos! (Perfected) love casts out fear (I John 4:18), remember ?You have *no idea* how many wives I listen to/counsel re: how they regret the timing and/or motives in which they jumped their broom(s); how much they encourage me to do just as my "love brother" instructed and "BE STILL" because while women need to be prepared to be a wife (and you can't ever get bored with that preparation, trust me!-Proverbs 31:10-31), MEN ALSO NEED TO BE PREPARED TO BE HUSBANDS.

Now that I do premarital counseling (um, yeah, Paul was single too-I Corinthians 6 & 7), one thing that I  require of couples upon completion is to be (re)baptized together...as a couple. My reason? Because a lot of marriages are failing because people are entering into covenant as "their old single self" rather than "their new married self"...and it's not working. Effectively. Like so many things in this culture, a lot of focus is placed on what the woman needs to do (or isn't doing) and yet, we cannot (nor should) do all of the work to make a marriage work. Just our part. It's a collaborative effort in every way and something that the Lord is showing me in this season of my journey is that while if I were completely ready, I'd be married, the focus right now needs to be on me praying for my Beloved to become further prepared...to embrace the *awesome responsibility* that comes with covering his lifesaver (Ezer Kenegdo)...that comes with being my "spiritual bodyguard" so-to-speak.

Adonai is a trip, ain't he? Just when you think you have nothing to do, that you are becoming bored with the process, he comes up with something else to focus on...to "grow up in". Truth is, when I take his assignments seriously, I don't have time to come up with any back-up plans, man-made miracles...colossal catastrophes...MISTAKES. Cause really, when does God come up with something and then say, "OK, I need y'all to 'back me up' on this"? He doesn't need our *approval* just our *obedience*. For our benefit. Not his sake.

Easier said than does sometimes. This I do know. I asked him about that too. Through the power of the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP), this is what I was given to share.

A lot of times, in church, if you're going to a biblically-sound church, you will hear the leadership speak of the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Exodus 3:6). In the Hebrew it translates into "Elohei Avraham, Elohei Yitzchak ve Elohei Ya`aqov". Oh, but there is another name for him that I believe is especially for his daughters. Abba Father is also the "God of Sarah, God of Rebekah, God of Leah, God of Rachel". In the Hebrew, he's "Elohei Sara, Elohei Rivka, Elohei Leah ve Elohei Rakhel". When you're in doubt about the delivery/method/timing of the Lord's counsel, especially as it relates to your future covenant, this is who I believe you should spend time with.

*The God who gave the barren woman, Sarah, her son, Isaac." (Genesis 17:15-27 & Genesis 21:1-7).

*The God who, by serving a stranger, blessed Rebekah with a covenant partner." (Genesis 24)

*The God who heard Leah's cries of feeling unloved and blessed her with children (Genesis 29:32).

*The God who heard her sister, Rachel's as well and blessed her with Joseph and Benjamin (Genesis 30:22 & 35:16-21).

Dare I say it? Sometimes we focus so much on what the Lord did for *the men* in the Word, that we fail to forget the miraculous loving power that manifests for his daughters as well. I venture to say that for whatever you are feeling right now, good or not-so-good, you can find a woman in the Bible who could relate. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). And speaking of "back-up plans gone awry", the next time you're tempted to "do things your way", you might want to check out (again) the story of Sarah and Hagar (Genesis 16). We're *still* dealing with that decision today. Again, the Lord does not need our help...just our obedience. Our humility. Our trust. Our faith.

OUR TOTAL SURRENDER.

I'm willing to bet some good money (that's how confident I am) that some of you are tired of waiting and are tempted to DO. SOMETHING. I mean, *do* do something...but not as it relates to getting a man. Take a class. Start a business. Buy a house. Get out of debt. Break a bad habit. Pamper yourself. *Forgive yourself*. Do "those kinds of something". However, in this season of waiting, with everything in me, I know the Lord is beckoning you not to present to him a "Cain offering". Don't give the Lord what you want by doing what you want to do and then expecting him to bless it (Genesis 4:3-5). The Lord doesn't want "some thing". He wants *the best parts* of us and that is our obedience. Indeed, to obey is better than to sacrifice. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. (I Samuel 15:22) Besides, you don't want to "get a man". You want to *have a husband*. You can cause the former drought. It's the Lord who can bring forth the latter rain (Deuteronomy 11:13-15).

You don't want the "back-up plan". You want the Lord's absolute best for your life.

The ones he knew about before you even knew...about you. Let alone some desire for a husband.

Besides, the plans that you're still *guessing* about? Be sure your Father already *knows*.

"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you."---Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NKJV)

Love to you,

SRW

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"On Fire": Stanley and Corrine

"This is how God has cared for my family. God made a lasting agreement with me, right and sure in every way. He will accomplish my salvation and satisfy all my desires."---2 Samuel 23:5 (NCV)


I just love babies. Oh, and old(er) people.

I don't know. Babies are just so "new and innocent". Old(er) people are just so "old and innocent" (LOL)...in a really peculiar kind of way. The circle of life really is something. We come into this world depending on so many and if we are blessed to reach a certain state, we exit in the exact same way. Perhaps that's why James 1:27 tells us that true religion is taking care of orphans and widows. Hmph. I'll have to really give that some (more) thought.

Anyway, it is this love for the elderly that I'm sure caused me to take notice of a couple walking into Whole Foods earlier this week. What's really a trip is that I had just told my "love brother" about a film that referenced the male love interest saying to the female one, "I will carry you." He was saying that due to the fact that she was in Stage One of Parkinson's (Disease). The couple who was talking into the store? Now, I am a Michael J. Fox fan through and through (THROUGH AND THROUGH!) and so due to his physical state, I have done a bit of research on Parkinson's. I could pretty much tell that the wife, Corrine, was in Stage Four. That's a bitter (bitter) pill.

And yet, they were so sweet. So tender. So innocent. SO COMMITTED.

I basically stopped my love brother in mid-sentence to go and "tend to them". And because this is not about patting myself on the back (Matthew 6:1), I'll just say that my full intention was to make their load lighter in some way. I pray that I did.

Anyway, my purpose in blogging this is that while I was sitting with Corrine as she waited for her husband of 33 years, Stanley to go and get the car, I found out some things. I discovered that she was 75 and in a couple of weeks, Stanley was going to be 86. I found out that they had children (three, I believe) and that they met while selling the Yellow Pages years ago. And, I found out something that I wish more people realized: the power we have to continue in this life or begin to fade. My mother is a chaplain. I used to visit nursing homes. I have a great-grandmother now in her 90s and I have been by more deathbeds than I would care to speak of. I know the signs.

As Corrine spoke of having a full life and being tired (she's had Parkinson's Disease for 15 years now---whew!), I knew that probably this was my only time engaging Corrine (they did ask for my mailing address, though, so...we'll see!) and maybe her last Christmas with her family that, as she spoke of them, brought her frail body a sense of joy...and hope...and relief.

I told Stanley that I would bring his "precious cargo" to the car. When I saw him looking for us through the glass windows, I went to the side of the table to help Corrine up. All she kept saying was, "Now, don't let me go. I will fall flat on this ground if you do." You would've thought she was made of glass, the way I grasped on to her after processing that she was being quite literal.

As I walked away from Stanley and Corrine, as they were on their way to her doctor, I was full. Because of three reasons:

1) Sometimes we can be so busy being selfish that we don't realize the word/confirmation/lesson/blessing that the Lord has for us when we choose to pay attention. When we choose to serve. At a moment's notice.


2) That marriage...that marital covenant really is about holding one another up...in times of great need. Whether it's convenient...or not.


3) Stanley and Corrine have been married for 33 years. That means that they married when she was 42 and he was 52.

It's that last one that I'm really going to hone in on as it relates to this blog message for today.

Now, I'm not sure what their story was before meeting one another. Honestly, I'm not sure if it's really all that relevant or that matters in the here and now. What I do know is that they married at an age that many would consider "late in life" and yet, do you know what the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) told me?

"That's what a mature married couple looks like. Trust me, you want that."

Indeed, there are couples who divorce for far less reasons than a life-debilitating disease. And yet, at the same time, the reasons seem to be far more. Far more trivial. Far more selfish. Far more fickle. Far more (spiritually) immature. Indeed, as Christ said in the Message Version of Matthew 19:11: "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life."

Mature enough. MATURE. ENOUGH.

I was talking to a married girlfriend of mine about it on yesterday. She and her husband got married when she was 22 (I believe). I'm sure, if, as the old folks say, the Lord shall tarry, they too will be walking wrinkled hand-in-hand someday YET she also says that she doesn't really prescribe young marriage to the masses. "I know the Lord was in our courtship because I [now] see how little people at that age know," she said.

Indeed. Think of you at 22. Even if you wanted to be married back then, do you really think you were ready for it?!? How "I can't wait to ask Adonai about it someday" (if I still care by then...and I may not) odd for modern medicine (cause Abba Father can do *all things*-Hebrews 11) to tell us that birthing children would be ideal in our 20s and yet...more and more (and I have a boatload of people in my life who agree) it seems that *at least 30* is best...because you really do have so much that you don't know...and should...before entering life-lasting marital covenant (Matthew 19:6).

That's what was playing "on repeat" in my mind as I gave Stanley and Corrine more thought. As my mother says, "God doesn't give you someone for where you *are* but where you're *going* and no one knows that but him." For almost half of Stanley and Corrine's marriage, she's been battling Parkinson's. I'm sure that was the *last thing* on their mind on their wedding day and because more and more I believe in Elohim's perfect timing, I get that because the Lord sees ALL OF TIME (Revelation 1:8), I'm sure he used some of Stanley's 20s, 30s and 40s to prepare him...mature him...mentor him to cover Corrine in the way that I have no doubt that he does just by watching how he held her and talked to her. Truly, it would appear that his prayers are not hindered because he dwells with her with understanding (I Peter 3:7). And, as I looked at Corrine, all limbs shaking uncontrollably , it is without question that the Lord also used her 20s and 30s to prepare her...mature her...nurture her into being able to receive a love like her husband's.

Hmph. I'm willing to bet good (good, good) money that when Corrine was 36 (my age) that she was not on her knees, praying, "Lord, please bring me a man who will be with me through 15 years of a debilitating disease. Who will dress me. Who will feed me. Who will still be there when all of my motor skills have gone awry." If anything, she probably prayed what many of us do: "Lord, bring a man who will love me."

But don't you see? God sees love...in it's totality. Not just the wedding day. Not just the wedding night. Not just the long vacations, positive pregnancy tests and family holidays. He sees the health scares, the seasons of absence, the miscarriages and loss of family due to impending death. HE SEES ALL. True love always does (I Corinthians 13:4-8).

The lead Scripture? It's an excerpt taken from, what the Bible entitles, "David's Last Words". I love how David speaks of Adonai's care for his family and how the Lord honored his covenant agreement with him. Yet, even in his last words, look at what David said and the order in which he said it: "He will accomplish my salvation and fulfill all my desires."

I don't know if you have an engagement ring awaiting you this holiday or if, like me, you...probably...don't (LOL). That doesn't make the Lord any less caring about where you are and what you need. I love that I Peter 5:6-7 commissions us to FIRST humble ourselves under God's mighty hand and THEN to cast our cares upon him. Yeah, I'm sure he gets that we would like to kiss someone under the mistletoe this year but any *boy* can do that. It takes a real *man* to walk you into a grocery store...when you can barely stand. On your own. Sometimes we need to learn how to stand on our own *now* so that we will be better at learning how to lean on someone else *later*. It's really hard to use a crutch when you've never known how to walk to begin with. *wink, wink*

My thoughts and many prayers go out to you, Stanley and Corrine this year.

Thank you for another lesson about El Berith, the God of Covenant's, perfect time...and purpose.

For you and me (and y'all) both.

Love to you, "On Fire" ladies. HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. (Romans 5:5)

SRW

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"On Fire": Read Esther. Again. Wednesday, December 8. All of It.

OK,

So this is probably the shortest blog you will *ever* see on this site. ;-)

I am actually in my own meditation time and so I don't really have much to say for corporate purposes right now. However, I did want to make you all privy to the fact that on Wednesday, December 8, historically, that is the day that Esther was officially made queen.

A time when it's bitterly cold. On this side of the hemisphere. A time that I'm sure most of us were not aware of...as it relates to this. Sometimes miracles happen when we least expect them. When we don't see (or feel) them coming. When it's not "the most popular time" for such things to manifest.

A great article that I read as it relates to all of this is by a woman by the name of Marsha Hoehne. It's entitled, "The Miracle of Marrying the King". I recommend that you check that out too. More and more, as I pray for others and myself, I am realizing that covenant is so much more than being in love and being with someone. It's really about joining forces against the Enemy. I'll share more about that in my "Stanley and Corrine" blog...later.

Remember, "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) I'm not sure what all of you are praying about, at present, but I'm sure the Lord had me put you onto this info for a reason, season and magnificent purpose. If not now. Later.

His words never return void (Isaiah 55:11).

Enjoy!

SRW