Sunday, August 28, 2011

"On Fire": Features Week (or Two...or Three)

"So Jesse sent for his son and had him brought in. His skin was tanned. He had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, 'Get up and anoint him. He is the one.'"---I Samuel 16:12(NIV-Reader's Edition)


It never ceases to amaze me just what a week can do and this past week has been *filled* with some *very interesting* conversations. Guess I shouldn't be surprised being that the entire world was created in one (Genesis 1&2), huh?

Anyway, it was after having an email conversation with an "On Fire" gal (hey TH!) that I was inspired to do this: a prayer campaign that I will be focusing on thru most of the month of September. The "9th" month of the year. The number that symbolizes "FINALITY".

It was a trip because she and I were talking about to-be-husband features. It wasn't really a *planned*  conversation. It just kind of played out that way (Proverbs 16:33-AMP). And it was...revelatory how *one feature* caused us to look at things in basically polar opposite terms. She said she wouldn't mind being with a short man because she talks too much for a tall husband (she has joking...kinda-LOL). I, on the other hand, would love a tall husband...kind of for the same reason. I have a strong personality. I think a man's height will remind me to "reel it in" at times. *At the appropriate times*. She associates a short(er) man with being a buddy. And she really wants her husband to be that. I associate a tall man with protection. And I really want my husband to be *that*.

And that got me to thinking...

I'm assuming that everyone on here is desiring a *husband*. Yet, sometimes, I wonder if that's being too general. Too broad. Not specific enough. Not that we're not to trust God to bring us *just what we need*, but I kind of wonder if some of us may not even know some of the signs of when he will arrive because we are asking for a "husband" but not necessarily for the *features* that he needs to have:

Feature: a prominent or conspicuous part or characteristic; something offered as a special attraction; countenance

Countenance: appearance, especially the look or expression of the face; calm facial expression; composure; approval or favor; encouragement; moral support; [obsolete] bearing; behavior

Yeah. Things are never really as simple as they seem, are they? Wanting to explore the *features* that you desire and more importantly *need* in your future covenant partner is pretty important!

Now, I did a bit of research (thanks, AGoodHusband.net!) and I think these 10 traits that *all* women should want in their husbands:

*Respect the Sanctity of Marriage
*Be Her Sounding Board
*Show Respect and Withhold Judgment
*Know When to Make It Be About You
*Work Hard and Work Smart
*Be a Leader
*Be Affectionate
*Care About Her Well Being
*Be Generous and Fair
*Think Like a Team

And yet, because the Word, which is God (John 1:1), tells us that Adonai fashions our hearts *individually* (Psalm 33:15), I think there are some that are less general. These are the ones that I will be praying about for the next few weeks. Until I get a release. That God will reveal to you the features to look for. Until *you* get a release.

I'll explain just a bit further...

You know, when I was looking for a Scripture to support this, I was beyond excited to see what the Comforter (John 14:16-AMP) led me to. I Samuel 16 speaks to when David was selected...destined...*anointed* to be the future king. If you read through the story, first Samuel thought that Eliab was the one. Jesse (David's father) then brought about Abinadab. And then Shammah. Samuel was told something by God that even in our "husband waiting period", we should keep in mind (and TH, this part may just trip you out-LOL):

"'Do not consider how handsome or tall he is. I have not chosen him. I do not look at the things people look at. Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart.'"---I Samuel 16:7(NIV-Reader's Edition)

We tend to look for physical features. Adonai looks at the heart features. Paul was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to reiterate this in 2 Corinthians 10:7(NKJV): "Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s."

That said...

If you keep reading on, you'll see that who God picked was the one that (please catch it) *Jesse didn't even consider presenting*. The youngest. A shepherd. I love that the Scriptures made sure to mention that although he wasn't an initial contender, he was tanned. And *fine* and had handsome features. You know, "handsome" doesn't just imply that someone is "good looking". It also means that someone is "skilled", "gracious" and "generous". It's someone who has an appearance suggesting "good health and strength"...it's someone who is "liberal" and "pleasant".

THIS WAS DAVID'S COUNTENANCE. This is what made him worthy to be anointed. This is why he was considered to be THE ONE.

I wonder how many of us are in our own "king selection" and overlooking certain contenders. I wonder how many of us are tempted to quit because we keep bringing to God our own versions of "Eliab", "Abinadab" and "Shammah" and God keeps telling us, "Nope", "Uh-uh", "Try again". I wonder how many of us don't even see the man God has for us and it's all because we aren't looking for/at the right kind of features.

If this is you, *please shoot me an email* (missnosipho@gmail.com). There is something special that I want to shoot over your way (Clear Response Fasters, I haven't forgotten about you. It's in the process of being...processed!). A way to hone in on your own custom husband features. Ways to know. Ways to leave the counterfeits alone.

OK. I've done my part. I look forward to you all doing yours, us "touching and agreeing" (Matthew 18:19-20) and seeing the *miraculous* that comes forth from it!

ml',

SRW



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"On Fire": SITE RECOMMEND (FOR YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN): ToMyFutureSpouse.com

"What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call."---Liz Carpenter


My (primary) love language is Words of Affirmation (you can check out yours here). Also, I *love* stationery (you can find a cute custom stationery site here). And, as of this year especially, I've been getting back into letter writing. *Hand letter (and mailing) writing* (you can use your own photos for stamps here). Aside from it being thoughtful and yes, as the author of the lead quote said, "a lost art", it wasn't too long ago that I read that it's also becoming quite necessary. *Legally necessary*. Sadly, we are so used to using keystrokes rather our handwriting our signatures that more and more people are getting away with hacking into people's email accounts and committing crimes under an innocent victim's email addy. SMH.

Anyway, I'm bringing all of this up because I thought it was fitting that one of the "On Fire" gals (thanks Lauren!) would hip me to a cool site...that solicits letters from single people to (get this) THEIR FUTURE SPOUSE. The site is "tomyfuturespouse.com" and you can find it here:

Most of us know that Proverbs 18:21(NKJV) tells us that, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." That said, I can't help but to wonder how many people are *bitter* about their current situation when it comes to where they are in their marital preparation and a lot of it is because of the *doubtful words* that they use. To others, to themselves, to God...doesn't matter. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, regardless. Even when it comes to our requests (or fears-2 Timothy 1:7), there are times when our tongues must be tamed (James 3:1).

And so, to keep your head above the "When will I *ever* get married?" worried waters, I recommend that you *make the time to submit your own posting to the site*. If there was anything (preferably positive...oh, and *realistic*-Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) that you want to say to your future marital covenant companion, what would it be? SPEAK *LIFE* TO YOUR SITUATION. *Even now*.

A wise man once said, "The Internet is not written in pencil, but in ink." You never know where putting those words into the atmosphere will lead you...or how it will bring him...just that much closer!

ykl,

SRW

Monday, August 22, 2011

"On Fire": BOOK RECOMMEND: "Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His"

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."---James 5:16(NKJV)

"Are you living for the things you are praying for?"---Austin Phelps


OK...

If you're FB friends with LaDrena Bolden, she is currently doing a prayer marathon (LOL) for men on Facebook. Feel free to join.

As we were discussing it via email, I recommended a book that she may want to make the (single) ladies privy to. It's called "Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His" by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer. The title itself is...soul catching, but it was this part that really caught my attention:

She Prayed. God Answered.

I spent two years dating the wrong man before I got together with my husband. No tragic story or anything. The first guy just was not a good match for me. I remember praying, "Lord, I'm not good at this---I will be happy to remain single if that's what You want. I trust You. So if You would like me to marry, please choose him for me and let me know loud and clear. "

God gave me so much more than I ever dreamed; ten years later, I am still amazed.---Andrea

"Depend on the Lord; trust him, and he will take care of you."---Psalm 37:5(NCV)

There were three steps here:

1) She was willing to let *what was clearly not working for her* GO.

2) She surrendered her will so that *God* could do the picking.

3) She was willing to accept that God's best may be that she remain single.

Hmph. Kinda reminds me of when Solomon asked for wisdom and was given *so much more* because of it (I Kings 3). Sometimes, it's not about how God's responding so much as what we're praying about. Sometimes, we need to ask him to show us *how to pray*...which brings me to the next part of this particular chapter in the book:

Are you worried? Sometimes you may not realize you are. Unfortunately sometimes worry can trigger your actions even when you aren't aware that it is happening. Maybe you have been striving for a boyfriend because you're worried that you'll be alone, or that others will make fun of you, or that you're unlovable. Worry is the opposite of trust. 

Take out a piece of paper, and write out all of those worries. Don't filter your thoughts, but instead just write them down as they come to you. Your list may look something like this:

*I'm worried I'll be the only one at school who has never gone on a date.
*I'm worried because I'm not outgoing enough to get a guy's attention.
*I'm worried that I'll end up with a loser if I don't strive for someone better.
*I'm worried that because of the mistakes I've made, there won't be someone for me.

Now take your list and hold it before God. Read over those things, and consider what Jesus would say if you could see Him by your side and hear Him. What does He want you to do? He wants you to trust. 

This is what I think God would say to you: 

Trust Me, Beautiful One. At the right time, you will go on a date with the right person...and before then, I will be here to love and cherish you. 


Trust Me, One I Love. You don't need to worry about getting the attention of someone special. Trust Me. Become the person that I want you to be. 


Trust Me, Woman of Worth. You don't need to strive. I have a good plan, a beautiful plan. 


Trust Me, Shining Beauty. I have washed your mistakes away. I see you as beautiful and pure. I have someone in mind for you---your future husband who will see you the same way.


A Prayer for My Future Husband

Lord, right now I pray for my future husband. I can't see him, I don't know him, but I trust you hold him close to your heart. I thank You that You love him and watch over him and that someday I can join you in doing that. 


Lord, I pray my prayers will open heaven's gates and send down Your strength to him today. I pray he will learn to trust You as he never has before. I pray he will turn to You in prayer, trusting You to make a difference. I pray he will also trust that I'm out here, waiting for him. I pray these things in Your Son's name, amen.


A Prayer for Me

Dear Heavenly Father, for so long I've worried about finding the right person. I've worried that I'll never have someone to love me. I've worried I'll be left out. I've feared I'll be alone. Sometimes those worries have led me to bad decisions. Always those worries have taken my mind and heart off Your plans for me and put my attention on the present situation. Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for my worries. Forgive me for all of the desperate acts they have led me to. Your Word says that perfect love drives out fear. I want to know that type of love. Help me to realize Your love for me in ways I've never known before. Help me to trust.


I know, Lord, that many of the motives of these prayers have been about my future husband, but I also thank You that I am changed in the process. I know that the closer I am to You, the better prepared that I am for a relationship with my future husband. I know the more I depend on You, the better bond You can build with me and eventually my husband and me. I thank You, even now, that You'll be the third strand in our relationship. 


Until the right time when my future husband comes, I want you to have my whole heart, Jesus. I know that your love is perfect. I trust that. Amen.---"Pray for Trust", pgs.81-84

Other than the fact that we're actually instructed to pray to *God* (Matthew 6:5-15) in *Christ's name*, there are some dead-on recommendations here. And, because I am a *huge supporter of and believer in* Proverbs 16:33(AMP), that even so-called accidents are of God, I'm sure this is a *on time* book shout out.

There's also a new blog on the blog list. Big ups to Brandy Mayo as she sets out on the quest, "A Year Without a Man". Check it out when you get a chance.

tmm. gdl.

SRW

Friday, August 19, 2011

"On Fire": Vengeance *Ain't* Beautiful. It's Simply the Lord's.

"You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord."---Leviticus 19:18(NKJV)

So...

These tag lines are getting more and more ridiculous in advertising, ain't they? A couple of weeks ago, I read that Always has a commercial airing...elsewhere featuring transvestites. The tag line? "Some people *wish* they had a period." (I know, right?!?)

Yesterday, I saw an ad for Nivea that featured a clean-shaven black man holding a faux decapitated head with *an afro* and facial hair that he was about to throw like a shot put and the tag line? Well, lucky us. There were two of 'em. On top: "Look like you give a d--n." And in big letters down below: "Recivilize Yourself".

Oh, be careful little eyes what you see. Oh, be careful little ears what you hear. Oh, be careful little feet what you do.

Remember that song? Or at least the picture of the monkeys acting out the lyrics back in the day? Yeah. Truth is timeless.

Oh, but it's the one that I saw this morning...one that I've just noticed the tag line to although I've seen the pic and the movie trailer...let's just say more than I'd like to, that inspired this blog for today. It's for Zoe Saldana's new flick, "Colombiana": "Vengeance is beautiful."

Now, I'm assuming that most of the women (and men-hey fellas!) following this blog are believers (Mark 9:23) and disciples (John 8:31) and so, some red flags have gone up, almost immediately. Vengeance is not beautiful. What it is, though, is the Lord's. In Psalm 94:1(NKJV), King David was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17-AMP) to proclaim: "O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs—O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth!" OK, and some of you may read that line and be like, "But the Lord is beautiful so in some way, if vengeance belongs to him, wouldn't it be as well?" Eh. *Everything belongs to the Lord* (Acts 17:24) and no, not everything is beautiful thanks to the influence and effects of sin. What *is* beautiful are people who live remembering to surrender, *fully*, to the fact that everything belongs to Adonai, though. And when someone does that, *no matter what was done to you*, you can *let God handle it*. COMPLETELY.

Just this morning, I read a disturbing story re: vengeance. A 28-year-old guy gave his (now ex) 24-year-old girlfriend herpes, *consciously* so that "no one else would want her". The woman described the experience as being a "life sentence" and "soul destroying". Yeah. I bet there was a season of really feeling that way too. God is the ultimate "white out" (LOL), though (Isaiah 1:18). She is recently had a baby with her new partner (yeah, I peeped that they didn't say "husband"-*sigh*). Life continued. She was able to love again. The ex? He's currently serving a 14-month jail sentence because the judge said that he committed "a betrayal in a relationship in which you professed to love." (*Wow*. Can you imagine how many people would be locked up right at this very moment if the *worldly judicial system* (Hebrews 13:4) honored the Seventh Commandment ("Don't commit adultery"-Exodus 20:14) based on that *exact same logic?!?*

One day, perhaps, we'll get deeply into the difference between *justice* and *vengeance*. That 24-year-old young woman sought *justice* in reaction to an act of *vengeance*. JUSTICE IS SOMETHING THAT INVOLVES SEEKING AND RECEIVING WISE COUNSEL RE: AN UNLAWFUL ACT. VENGEANCE TENDS TO BE AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE TO A WRONGDOING. And the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), so when someone *lets their emotions dictate to them* (because you *always* give them permission to) that "hurt or injury" should be done to someone else in direct response to what was done to them...interestingly enough, *the spirit* motivating the avenger is *the exact same spirit* as the initial victimizer (John 10:10). Evil is evil. Motive is just...denial in details.

Actually, that's something that I tend to tell myself re: my own temptations (I Corinthians 10:13) fairly often: that the same spirit that will rape and murder a child (for instance) is the *exact same spirit* that wants me to fornicate or lose my temper. Yeah. The devil like to play dress-up sometimes. Or is it "dress *it* up"? That's why discernment (Malachi 3:17-18) is *so* needed. And necessary.

You know, vengeance doesn't have to be so extreme. It comes in many forms. And, I'm not sure who this message for, specifically. I just know that it is for someone because I honestly don't recall this being addressed on "On Fire"...at least *this directly* before. What I do know is that I'm confident in saying that all of us have been hurt (or harmed---yeah, there are some differences in the two. Check it out sometime when you get a chance) and sometimes, there's a greater temptation to go this route: "infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been harmed by that person" rather than to simply *choose to believe* that we serve a God who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). Our hearts. Our wounds. That spending a lot of time seething over a wrong done to you is doing just that: *spending a lot of time* (James 4:13-15). Time that could be spent *moving forward*.

The lead verse for today tell us to *not take vengeance* and to *not bear any grudge*. Ephesians 4:25-27(NKJV) further elaborates on this: "Therefore, putting away lying, 'Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,' for we are members of one another. 'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." Holding stuff in...for days on end *or* plotting out plans of retaliation? You see what it does, right? GIVES PLACE TO THE DEVIL. And when we do that? No one "wins". Continual pain and torment are the result. That Zoe movie trailer? She was spending countless hours making people pay for something that happened to her *as a child*. You know, I spent a lot of my own minutes, hours, days, months and years wanting my molester to pay for what he's done to my life (Matthew 18:21-35). I have grown decades worth since releasing him two years ago. Pain holds you hostage. Especially when it comes to emotional and spiritual development. *Trust me* ("Healed Without Scars" is a good read for those who can relate). Zoe saw her parents murdered. Now she's on a killing spree. I was harmed as a child. I aborted four of my own children. See how that lack of forgiveness (including *self-forgiveness*) thing translates? And yes, forgiveness is an *antonym* for vengeance and we know what the Lord says about *that*: "'And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.'" (Mark 11:25-NKJV)

Which is kind of an ah-ha moment, isn't it? When we're so focused on what was done *to* us, we lose sight on what, by letting it go, God can do *for* us.

Now what is beautiful is you. Too beautiful to hand your mind, heart or soul over to something as...foul as Satan and the positioning he has for you.

Whatever it is, take it to God and here's the real catcher: LEAVE IT THERE.

You know, a lot of people quote the "cast your cares, he cares for you" part of I Peter 5:6-8. Casting is *hard work* and it would actually be a lot easier to do if they remembered what came before it: "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time..."

Let it go. LET IT *ALL* GO.

The devil is a Liar (John 8:44). Vengeance isn't beautiful. *Forgiveness is*.

tmm,

SRW

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"On Fire": DOWNSIZE. FOR AN UPGRADE.

"So why are we sitting here, doing nothing? Let's get organized."---Jeremiah 8:14(Message)


"If you have clutter, you need nothing more. Until you have less."

This is what the Lord, through the power of the Holy Spirit, gave me to say (Luke 12:12) today. Clutter in your home. Clutter in your car. Clutter in your relationships. Clutter in your human trinity (mind, body, spirit). Clutter in your scheduling. Clutter in your life.

It makes sense if you look up what clutter means: "to litter or fill with things in a disorderly manner"; "to run in disorder; move with bustle or *confusion*"; (check it) "to speak so rapidly *and inexactly* that distortion of sounds and phrasing result". Some synonyms include "cause mess", "chaos", "disorder", "HOLY MESS", "LAWLESSNESS", "pandemonium", "scatter" and "untidiness". Some of the antonyms are "calm", "CLARIFY", "clean/clear up", "EXPLAIN", "harmony", "order" and (amen!) "SEPARATE".

I get the sense that what God is telling us is that a lot of us are hoarders and 1) don't realize it or 2) need to *confess it* so that healing can come from it (James 5:16). After all, a "hoarder" is someone who has "an accumulation [of something] that is *hidden* or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc." And yet, here's the thing: I know some sho 'nuff hoarders and to be honest with you, the "pack rat spirit" is in my bloodline as well. It's a generational curse that I've been breaking, in categories, for quite some time now. Anyway, a lot of the hoarders that I know, in the physical sense, are older black people. I've done some digging (Matthew 7:7-8). For many of them, it's due to the fact that they actually were living in the presence of grandparents or great-grandparents who were first-generation freed slaves...that had nothing...once they were freed. And so, there's a psychological stronghold that these people have, even all of these years later, that *whatever they get*, they need to hold onto...*just in case*.

"Just in case...of what?" That's often a question that they can't answer.

A lot of women are the *exact same way*.  Some people, right at this very moment, are going through some *major transitions* re: what Paul spoke of in Romans 6:15-23: GOING FROM SLAVES TO SIN TO SLAVES OF GOD. They are realizing the *pure wisdom* in one of my absolute favorite Bible verses: "You were bought with a price. Do not become slaves among men." (I Corinthians 7:23-NKJV) And so, since they have lived in such a "flesh slave mentality" for so long, although they don't want to be bound to their past (including past choices) any longer, being that a "slave to righteousness" requires that one move out of their own way and allow faith to guide them (Hebrews 11:1&6)...they're hesitant. To walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). And so, they hold onto stuff. Phone numbers. Momentos. Memorabilia of a career that's been laid to rest. Clothes that were too small for them 10 years ago. People who were too (LOL).

God is a God of order (I Corinthians 14:40). For a lot of us he's saying, "Now, where are you going to put *anything (or one) else* with all of that confusion (I Corinthians 14:33) in your life? My blessings are not to be *stockpiled*. They're to be *received*, *embraced*, *cherished* and *maintained*. I've heard you. Your requests have definitely been made known. MY REQUEST OF YOU: DOWNSIZE FOR YOUR UPGRADE."

Hmph. Sounds like a modernized twist to Luke 14:11(NKJV): "For whomever humbles himself will be exalted and whomever humbles himself will be exalted." Yeah. A lot of us pray and then claim Philippians 4:19(NKJV) in our "in the meantime": "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" and yet, many don't really seek or ask God (James 1:5) to *define* what a need is for them. For some, this blog entry *is* supplying what they need right now: the revelation or confirmation that it's time...*past time* (Ecclesiastes 8:5)...to let some things go. FOR GOOD. Persons, places, things and ideas. They all apply. Individually (Psalm 33:15).

If you *need* some additional tools to begin, I came across a cool life organizer earlier this week. It's called, "The Life Organizer: A Woman's Guide to a Mindful Year" by Jennifer Louden. I love some of her catchphrases for things: "time monsters", "minimum requirements" and "shadow comforts".

You know, next week will be the 10-year anniversary of R&B singer Aaliyah's tragic death. "Trying to soar while being weighed down" is the greatest lesson that I have learned from her. WORDS. TO. LIVE. BY.

Are *you* ready for an upgrade? Downsize.

tmm,

SRW

Saturday, August 13, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention: Purity Videos and Purity Clarity

Well...on this first video...

Guess I missed the Selena Gomez bit (LOL). Either way, this is a nice testament to *why* I Timothy 5:22 is such a *pivotal* step leading us to Hebrews 13:4:  

We all may not to be able to marry as *virgins* but we certainly all can marry being *pure*:

Pure: free from anything of a different, inferior or contaminating kind; free from foreign or inappropriate elements; clear, free from blemishes; free from moral taint or defilement; clean, wholesome

This next video is from author and pastor Joshua Harris. It's good too:


THAT SAID...

I  also "happened upon" another video that...is not for the, um, super-conservative crew. It *is* two married people and they *are* addressing something that I think needs to be discussed. However, due to the nature of the question and the other videos next to it that are not nearly as...beneficial, I am going to post the name of their site (www.blackloveandmarriage.com) so that you can reference it there, and include some of what the husband said in response to the question (breathe in, breathe out): "My Wife Told Me She Was a Virgin But I Found Out..." Yeah, I'll let you go to their site for the full question...it references another kind of sex, though.  And let me just say this: IF "SEX" IS IN THE WORD OF THE ACT THAT YOU ARE PARTICIPATING OR HAVE PARTICIPATED IN, YOU ENGAGED IN A FORM OF SEX.

THAT SAID, here is an excerpt of what the husband said in response to the question (I loved how the wife calls sexual manipulators "mind freaks"-LOL) and I really hope that *the virgins* on here catch it:

"Ladies, if a guy ever asks you 'Are you a virgin?' or if you've had sex before, they're asking you not if you've been penetrated vaginally. They wanna know if...you've been penetrated vaginally, of course, but if you've given a blow job, a hand job...all of that. And the reason why they want to know all of that is because, again, if you're thinking that your wife is a virgin...you see, a lot of women want to hide behind the old claim that, 'We were just fooling around. We were just messing around.' What is that? Does that mean a kiss? Does that mean a pat on the butt? Now days 'fooling around' means [This is Shellie: he's talking about...the other kind of sex. The kind that we haven't mentioned on here mostly due to SEO formatting] ....we need to be extremely clear that if we're about to get married and you're telling me that you're a virgin, please define what your virginity is for me. I mean, if you haven't been penetrated vaginally, that's one thing. But if you've done everything else?...I need to know because in my eyes, you probably won't be a virgin."

Virgin: a person who has never had sexual intercourse; an unmarried girl or woman; pure; unsullied, undefiled; first

In his eyes, he's saying that you're *lying* and a lie of such a magnitude, going into a marriage, is never a good idea. Many people *drown* in the *denial* of this fact.

Which leads me to the final video post for today. It's a three-part series from a Christian husband that *fully supports and endorses* waiting until marriage:



The teaser, "Yes, we are the only mammals that *face one another having sex*." Good for him. For knowing (and stating) that. I tell the girls that I mentor all of the time that a lot of the "animal positions" that we as humans mimic, we must keep in mind that animals have sex *out of instinct* not out of love. Anyway, all four videos are worth making time for.

GOD. IS. SPEAKING.

AND...INTERVENING.

Lech Lecha,

SRW

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"On Fire": Get (the) "Ruby Slippers"

"Seek and ye shall find..."---Matthew 7:7-8(NKJV)


Earlier today, in preparation for a devotional that I am penning about roles, I came across a quote on femininity by a woman by the name of Indra Devy. Her words of wisdom? "We must keep both our femininity and our strength." Indeed we do. INDEED. WE. DO.

One does not (and should not) come at the expense of the other.

Which is why I'm so excited to recommend a book to you that the Comforter (John 14:16-AMP) led me to.

You know how Amazon.com has that awesome "Surprise Me!" feature when you're contemplating purchasing a book on its site? Oh, to *my surprise* when the Lord made certain (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) that I would land on this particular couple of pages when I "happened upon" a book today (and yes, I'm going to type it out because I found it to be *just that awesome*):

El Shaddai: The Great Cultivator

In Sunday School, I was taught that El means God and Shaddai means Almighty. But the title means more than "All-powerful One". The first time God promises to make Abram fruitful, he identifies himself as El Shaddai. Job, a contemporary of Abram, says it is the breath of El Shaddai that gives him life. Isaac blesses Jacob with El Shaddai's blessing to make him fruitful. When Israel blesses Joseph, he chooses a blessing of El Shaddai. A Hebrew lexicon will show you that Shaddai comes from the root shad, which means "female breast" or "of woman" or "of mother". One of the core names of God is rooted in womanly activity. God is revealing that he can accurately be called one who nurses, who makes fruitful, who sustains. God is like a mother, like a woman. As El Shaddai sustains all aspects of life, he does it with all-mighty energy: cultivating the blessings, cultivating the curses, cultivating fertility, cultivating people. 


God is like mothers, but mothers are also like God. Mothers cultivate life like El Shaddai. In this metaphor, women have an experiential edge over men, our bodies are made with specific capacities for fertility and life giving. As friends of mine have explained, the building and growing of life in their wombs is unlike anything they've known. This experience is something that God's soul knows in a more profound way. He doesn't birth Adam and Eve; he created them ex nihilo, but God says the intimacy he has with all humans is more like a woman with her baby than a man with his baby. Men do not have the chance to feel their baby's life unfolding and growing. 


From the very first pages in Genesis, God cultivates life in other ways. He prepared the first garden specifically for his two image bearers and then handed them the keys. He wanted them to cultivate the land that he had already cultivated for them. And God asked them to work with each other, having already begun a relationship with each of them. When they blew it, he kept cultivating. We botched up Eden, so he's cultivating another place for us: "In my Father's house are many dwelling places...I go to prepare a place for you."---"Finding the Feminine in the Sacred", pg.154-155

Yes, what a *wonderful* chapter title! In this season, and within this blog, it's time to find the feminine...in the sacred 

FEMININITY SHOULD BE SEEN AS SACRED.

First of all, I was stoked that the author, Jonalyn Grace Fincher, started off speaking my *absolute favorite language*: Hebrew. Secondly, I love how she parallels God's love for us with a mother's love for her child. It's like the moment I had my "Ah ha! God, the Father is a Spirit (John 4:24) with masculine qualities and God, the Holy Spirit is one with many feminine traits." After all, Christ himself said that a HELPER would be sent to us (John 14:16) and how is the Woman described, first and foremost, in Scripture? As a HELPER (Genesis 2:18).

*A relationship with the Holy Spirit shows women how to be as they were created to be.*

I look at the world today and I see *so much* of how the Liar (John 8:44) is manipulating things. Case in point: how about I recently read an article that there is an overseas "Always" commercial featuring transvestites and the tag is: "Some people wish they had a period." *I know, right?* People have to be *very careful* about being envious of what they don't have (and what they weren't born with as well). According to James 3:16, nothing good, healthy or lasting comes from that. I also recall looking at some of the "wedding pictures" from the homosexual couples that got married in New York recently. God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:40) and so, for the life of me, I can never understand how so many people are fighting for the right to romantically love the same gender and yet, almost always, there still seems to be gender roles that are played. One looks like "the man" and the other looks like "the woman". *Playing a role instead of living their roles*.

What I've had to make sure of, in my own life, is that I don't do this...just in a more cryptic fashion. You know, when you look up the word "feminine" words like "sensitive" and "gentle" are referenced. Again, praise the Lord for the insight of Indra to remind me that my strong *personality* does not have to be forsaken. However, praise the Lord for reminding me that I can (*and should*) have a gentle *character* as well. That, again, because God is a Spirit and *both man and woman* were made in the image of the Godhead (Genesis 1:26-28), it is indeed godly to be *born a woman* and to embrace not *acting like you're one* but actually *living like it*. It's *godly* to be "soft" and "tender" and "dainty" and "ladylike". It's godly to be "maternal" and yes, in its proper context (no matter how much women try to fight it), the "weaker vessel" (I Peter 3:7). It's godly to be revered as *Eshet Chayil*, "A Woman of Valor"...the formal title of the (biblical) poem known to many of us as "Proverbs 31". Something that, after a bit of research, I discovered was the actual eulogy that Abraham wrote for Sarah.

SEEK. AND YE SHALL. FIND.

Yesterday, while checking out some of the latest additions to Ted.com, I saw a four-minute video that really had me...disturbed. It's called, "The Demise of Guys?" and I truly implore all of you to check it out when you get a chance. The findings are quite...an indicator that Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), and quite angry with the masculine seed. It even goes into how a lot of men cannot connect with women *as they were created to do* because of something called "arousal addiction". Hmph. No wonder God had me post that book, "Becoming a Man of Prayer: A Seven-Week Strategy Based on the Instructions of Jesus" last week, huh? He knew that video was coming. He knew that the feminine side of the Godhead would be needed to *help* our men...be restored. By living out our example of what it is to be *the opposite of them*: WOMEN.

You know, Jonalyn used the word "cultivate" quite a bit in the copy that I presented. To "cultivate" is to "prepare". To "cultivate" is to "work on". To "cultivate" is to "promote", "improve" and "develop". There's no telling (and I wonder how many of us have actually sought God out to discover-James 1:5) how many women are not brought (Genesis 2:22) to their husbands yet and it's because...they're not fully-mature women yet. They have lost sight (or use) of their *femininity* and God is like, "I don't support homosexual unions in the natural *or the spiritual*." (Romans 1). A man is to act like a man and a woman is to act like a woman. According to I Corinthians 6:7-11, we *cheat* our fellow brethren when we do otherwise.

It's kind of another blog for another time that "sexy" is not a synonym for feminine. I'm sure you get where I'm going with that, though. Porn is a 15 billion dollar a year industry...fully of sexiness. AND NO REAL OR LASTING COMMITMENT. And definitely no covenant. There's a time and place for being sexy (Hebrews 13:4). Femininity never clocks out.

Yeah. This was a long book recommendation. However, if you're looking for something to read right now, I am all for you picking up a copy of "Ruby Slippers".

It's time to be restored.

Click your shoes while turning those pages.

I'm sure, in time, it will lead you back home...

Back to your full feminity.

Lech Lecha,

SRW


Monday, August 8, 2011

"On Fire": Real Women Want *Much More* Than a QUICKIE.

"Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment."---I Corinthians 7:3-6(NKJV)


OK...

So...those of you who've been riding this out since the Facebook days, may remember a blog that I penned entitled, "Reppin' Like a Mascot". It's in the archives. Anyway, it was basically me fishing through the garbage of a lot of Drake's lyrics in his song, "Best I Ever Had", in search of some kind of substance.

Alright. This (R&B?!?) Miguel dude? He disturbs me. It was just a couple of days ago that I saw his video, "Quickie" (because I had VH-1 Soul on while I was getting ready to leave my home) and I was like, "WHAT?!?" It gave me the same kind of icky feeling I had when I saw Kelly Rowland's "Motivation" video. Like I get what's luring folks in. And the spirit *ain't good*.

Anyway, I'm not going to even attempt to dignify his message by posting the video. It's just more of the same. SIN. ALWAYS. IS. However, the chorus (?!?) of the song, did inspire me to put out a quick PSA for our spirit (wo)man:

I don't wanna be loved
I don't wanna be loved
I just wanna quickie
No bite marks, no scratches, and no hickeys
If you can get with that, mami come get with me
I don't wanna be loved
I don't wanna be loved
I just wanna quick fix
Up in your mix miss
Send me your wishlist
I have you addicted
So mami come with this

Eww. I know, right? Yet, somebody on here thinks it's the jam. *This I know*. I used to think Usher's "That's What It's Made For" had a good hook too. Yeah, fish get on hooks. It *kills* them. Usually. Yet, what really caught me re: his, er, message was that he didn't want to be loved. He just wanted a quickie.

I thought about that. COVENANT MARRIAGE BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN (can't believe that's having to be distinguished so much now-Genesis 2:24-25-SMH) is to supposed to last until death parts them. And yahasey min (Hebrew for "sexual relations") is a *celebration of that covenant union...in the physical*. In other words...

Married people don't have quickies.


Now, I'm not going to get into the context of the actual acts that they do (Hebrews 13:4). Or how long it takes for them to do it. That's their business (wink). But the *spirit of the act* is not to "hit and quit". They are there for one another---mind, body and spirit, for the rest of their lives. Again...

Married people don't do quickies.

And for some reason, when he said, "I don't want to be loved", it was like a goat (Matthew 25:33) serenading me (some of y'all will catch that right off-LOL). Fornication is not about expressing love. It's a selfish act to appease the flesh. And the flesh never has the spirit man's best interest at heart. *Ever*. 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV) tells us, "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Philippians 4:8 gives a great formula for making that happen.

My main point is this: Do you see how Paul was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to pen that wives (and husbands) are due *affection*? They are *owed* "fond attachment", "devotion" and "love". As ministers-in-training, so that we can be thoroughly-equipped wives (Proverbs 18:22) when we are *brought* to our husbands (Genesis 2:22), this is something, especially on our weakest of flesh days (2 Corinthians 12:9), that we should keep in mind. God withholds *no good thing* from his children...*from those who walk uprightly* (Psalm 84:11). No...the rules that he puts in place are to protect us. Today, I am reminded that it's to protect us from the "quickie spirit". So that we can experience a love, in every room of our (future) homes, that will last. And last. And last.

Yeah. Miguel dude, thanks. For reminding me, yet again, why I quit sexual sin in the first place.

*Real women* want more than just a quickie.

Step ya game up, son.

SRW




An Ounce of Prevention: "Raising a Husband" (by Velour) and...

So...

Nicole should start her own blog in a minute (LOL). Lately, she's been sending quite a bit of information over this way. One that I received, last night, was entitled, "Raising a Husband". I didn't agree with *everything* (when it's not a Word-based piece used in context, more and more, that's hard for me to do); however, there were some real gems within it. Take these two paragraphs, for instance:


"If you've 'got yourself together' (so to speak) and are ready for marriage, a man is either on the same page and ready and prepared to be your partner---or he is not. An adult cannot form a partnership with a child (even a child in the body of an adult). A true partnership is two people on the same level in a balanced relationship working together toward a common goal or goals that will benefit both. If you're 'settling' for someone who isn't on your level, that isn't a partnership. If you're sacrificing a fundamental desire for a stable marriage, healthy family, and children who have the best chance at thriving just to be in a relationship with someone that you 'hope' may turn out well someday, that isn't a partnership. You're being ripped off, investing your whole being into a relationship that gives no returns and no guarantee of a return. After all, there is no guarantee that 'potential' will *ever* realize.


Your male duckling may *never* transform into a man. What then? 'Potential' can't put food on the table. A 'potential' adult can't meet the emotional needs of an adult. A 'potential' man can't help you raise well-adjusted children---because emotionally, psychologically, he's a child himself. A daddy who was a 'potential' success isn't a good example for your children on valuing education and setting and achieving career or business goals. A man who had the 'potential' to be a good partner won't help you set a good example for your children on what a healthy relationship between a man and a woman should be like. Do you want to raise emasculated, needy, emotionally-troubled sons, daughters who are miserable because they are drawn to or find themselves in relationship after relationship with damaged, needy, troubled men---or do you want children who are most likely to thrive in every way due to the positive example set for them by thriving parents? *Does this person possess all of the important values I want to pass down to my children?* is a question every person should ask themselves *before* entering into a relationship with someone and constantly thereafter.

Yep. Good stuff. The two words that stood out to me, most, were PARTNERSHIP and POTENTIAL.

Partnership: the state or condition of being a partner; participation; association; joint interest

Partner: a person who shares or is associated with another or others as a principal or contributor of capital in a business or a joint venture, usually sharing its risks and profits; special partner; a husband or wife; spouse

("shares" and "joint" jump out at me there as well. So many women are in relationships where they are not *sharing* in a *joint* anything. They do all of the work and call it being in a relationship.)

Potential: possible, as opposed to actual; capable of being or becoming; a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed

OK. I can just about guess what some of you are thinking. All things are *possible* to them that believe (Mark 9:23), right? Yes. However, here's the clincher: TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN *GOD'S POWER* TO MANIFEST THINGS MORE SO THAN THEIR OWN. *You* can't change a man and honestly, only God will *if* the man desires for him to. Interesting that one of the times when *capable* comes up, in the Amplified Version of the Bible, it is in reference to how God always provides us a way of escape from temptation as a way to make us "...capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently." (I Corinthians 10:13). And *develop*? Romans 5:4(AMP) tells us, "And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces the [habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation."

None of us are perfect and one area where the author of "Raising a Husband" and I *may* differ is that rarely is a single woman ready for marriage and waiting on a man. God is *way too strategic* in his timing for that. He makes *everything beautiful in ITS time* (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Nah. Chances are, if you desire to be married and you aren't yet, the/a man is not holding you up. There is still internal work that needs to be done. ON YOU (on us) AS WELL. However, what I appreciate about how all of this plays out is that the Word shows us how to see if a man has moved from *potential* into preparation for *partnership*: HIS *APPROVED FAITH* AND *TRIED INTEGRITY* WILL MANIFEST A *MATURITY IN CHARACTER*.

Maturity in character is what makes a man a worthy contender for a marriage partnership. Shoot, that applies to women as well. A lot of women are actually attracted to (and attracting) men who are mirror reflections of where they are in their own journeys. Due to the kind of work that I do, do you know how many cute high schoolers I see? I'm a grown woman, though. Next. ;-) I'm sure you get what I'm saying. If *you're* mature, you tend to be attracted to mature. Physically, spiritually, relationally and otherwise. And, the only time there is an exception to this is when God assigns you to be an example of spiritual maturity to someone and then...you still don't need to be dating those men. You are to be *praying* (James 5:16) for them. You need to be allowing God grow them up. OH, AND LIVING YOUR LIFE, AS A SINGLE PERSON STRIVING FOR WHOLENESS, IN THE MEANTIME. You need to discipline your mind, body and spirit to not try and manipulate potential into a partnership. Mothers raise sons. Wives don't raise husbands.

Indeed, indeed.

OK, I'm done. For now. As I've found myself saying, to a few people, "God IS Moving".

Buckle up. *Follow directions* (Proverbs 3:5-6). Enjoy the ride!

Lech Lecha,

SRW









An Ounce of Prevention: "Saying 'I Love You' Means..."

“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another…”---I Thessalonians 4:9(NKJV)
 

“Love is the magician that pulls man out of his own hat.”---Ben Hecht



Do children sing memory verses anymore (Proverbs 22:6)? Just the other day, out of nowhere (relatively speaking), I found myself singing a song that I learned in the first grade:

“Beloved…Let us love one another…For love is of God, and everyone who loveth is born of God…and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God for God is love…So beloved, let us love one another. I John 4, 7 and 8. Mmm.”  (We always ended it with “Mmm”. Who knows why!-LOL)

Yeah. I was in the first grade some thirty odd years ago. Speaks *volumes* to the fact that we really do need to *honor* what we take into our vessels. You never know when stuff will pop back up. To either bless you. Or haunt you. Indeed, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17-NKJV) Sometimes, when it comes to the struggles that we experience in life, it’s not so much what we’re *doing* as what (and who) we’re *listening* to.

Anyway, that song has been playing, on repeat, in my mind, since the Divine Spirit brought it back into my psyche. And do you know the part that has resonated with me the most? “For love is of God”. LOVE. IS. OF. GOD. One definition of “of” is “used to indicate possession, origin, or association”. Love is something that is within God’s possession. God is where love originates. Love is in association with God.

I tend to do more prayer journaling than “on my knees” petitioning. Do you know what I penned on this past Sabbath (Exodus 20:4-8? The day of rest? The blessed and hallowed day of rest?

“When you say you love someone, it means that you see the God in them. And you act accordingly.”
 
Yeah. It’s so simple. And yet, the war that goes on between our flesh and our spirit (Galatians 5:16-17) tends to make it so much more complex.

TRUE Love Is Continually Becoming. Like God.

You know, there’s another love quote that I have enjoyed for quite some time now. When I was on Facebook, it was actually on my profile:

“As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming.”---Leo Buscaglia

“Becoming” is defined as “suitable, appropriate, proper”. Real love is about supporting someone in *continually* striving to be and do what is suitable, appropriate and proper. I feel led (Luke 12:12) to even break down those words and so, let’s do:

Suitable: such as to suit. SUIT: to make appropriate, adapt, or accommodate, as one thing to another; to be or prove satisfactory, agreeable, or acceptable to; satisfy or please

Appropriate: suitable or fitting for a particular purpose, person, occasion, etc.; belonging to or peculiar to a person; proper; to set apart, authorize, or legislate for some specific purpose or use

Proper: adapted or appropriate to the purpose or circumstances; fit; suitable; conforming to established standards of behavior or manners; correct or decorous; fitting; right; strictly belonging or applicable; belonging or pertaining exclusively or distinctly to a person, thing, or group

True love is continual becoming. True love adapts one thing to another. True love sets one apart for a specific purpose or use. True love (please catch it) *conforms to established standards of behavior or manners*. Speaking of manners, remember, “Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.” (I Corinthians 15:33-AMP) Oh, and because *true (John 8:32) love* does this *continually*, this means that it doesn’t transpire just when we *feel* like it. *True love* happens “without interruption or cessation”. It is “continuous in time”. It is “recurrent” and “repetitive”. It is “ceaseless” and “permanent”. It is “enduring” and “persistent”, “dateless and timeless”, “unending” and “unwaning”.

A great introduction to this kind of love is what we get from God…who *is* love (I John 4:16). In Jeremiah 31:3(NKJV), Adonai said to the families of Israel, “’Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’” I really dig the following verse as well: “Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!” (verse 4) God’s love is true love. For one, because God is true. Jeremiah 10:10(NKJV) defines him as “the true God” and I Thessalonians 1:9(NKJV) refers to him as “the living and true God”. His love is also true, though, because it is *everlasting* (another word for *continual*) and with his love, he builds and rebuilds.

Rebuilds what you may ask? Yeah. This is where it gets really good. And clear.

TRUE Love Reminds Us of Who We’re Created to Be.


Remember how the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13) had me pen that when we say we love someone, we are essentially saying that we see the God in them? OK. Y’all know I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Garden of Eden lately and while I’ve referenced a portion of these verses *quite a bit* this year, today, I’m going to display them:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves; and let them rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the animals, and over all the earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the earth.’ So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. God blessed them: God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.’ Then God said, ‘Here! Throughout the whole earth I am giving you as food every seed-bearing plant and every tree with seed-bearing fruit.  And to every wild animal, bird in the air and creature crawling on the earth, in which there is a living soul, I am giving as food every kind of green plant.’  And that is how it was. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good. So there was evening, and there was morning, a sixth day.”---Genesis 1:26-31(The Complete Jewish Bible)

Family, before sin, this is what we were created to do. This is who we were created to be. We were created to rule the earth. We were created to be blessed in a way that causes us to be fruitful and multiply. We were created, not just to fill the earth, but to subdue (to conquer and bring into subjection) it. We were created in such a way that when humankind was made, God saw that his handiwork was not just *good*, but *very good*. And a big part of that is because we were created in the image of the Godhead to be their likeness. We were created in a “form” to be the “representation” of the Godhead. We were created to be their “similarity”. We were created to be “an imitative appearance” of them. We were created to have others say, “You know, you and the Godhead are a lot ALIKE”.

And being that God is love, this means that we are to love like God. Because if we’re not loving like God, it’s not love at all.

I did a quick check on how often “love one another” appears in the New King James Version of the Bible. It’s 21 times. And what did I learn as I read through those verses? Well, first, it’s not a suggestion; it’s a commandment (John 13:34). It’s how people can tell if you’re a *true disciple* of the Lord. Or not (John 13:35). True love is kindly affectionate and gives honor to other people (Romans 12:10). It serves (Galatians 5:13) and bears up others (Ephesians 4:2). It considers others (Hebrews 10:24). It covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8). It is the proof that God abides in us as love *perfects us* (I John 4:12). And if it’s real love, again, it does this…continually.

If we put all of this together, when we say that we love someone, what we *should* mean is that we are going to honor them by serving them. We are going to take them and their needs into consideration. We are going to cover a *multitude* of their sins. Let me pause here for a moment. Some Hebrew commentary on what it means to cover sin is:

“The second Hebrew word that means ‘to cover’ is kasah. The primary meaning of this word is ‘to cover for clothing or secrecy.’ It also means ‘to cover over, conceal.’ Proverbs 10:12 says that ‘love covers all offenses’. A leading biblical commentator says that by love we will ‘overlook the offense that is given us, and cover it, and by this means strife is prevented.’ The sin thus is not removed, but merely concealed.”

In other words, love seeks to keep the peace. And it’s that last Scriptural definition that will close out this message. When God’s love is abiding (remaining, continuing, staying) in us, it does what it needs to perfect us. The only time we see ourselves in a perfected state is in the Garden of Eden.

TRUE Love Perfects Us


I recently reflected on the many times that I *thought* that I loved someone (or was loved by them) and based on what all of this says, I realize that it was nothing but lust (I John 2:16). And not just a sexual kind, either. Often, I simply had an “overmastering desire” to want to either make them be what I wanted or to become what they desired. God was rarely in the picture. At all. How arrogant (Proverbs 16:18). And dangerous. 2 Samuel 22:31 tells us that it’s *only* God’s way that is perfect. It’s *only* God’s way that is proven. And, as King David exclaimed in Psalm 18:32, it’s *only* God who can make *our way perfect* as well.

We all know that *only Elohim* is “entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings”. However, even in our sinful state, by surrendering to God’s will and way, we can have a life *and experience the kind of love* that is “exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose” and is “accurate, exact, or correct in every detail”. A kind of *true love* that will cause us to “behave wisely in a perfect way” (Psalm 101:2). A kind of love that is the fulfillment of the law because it converts the soul (Psalm 19:7). A kind of love that “…prove[s] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2-NKJV)

As I was looking for a fitting quote for today’s message, I laughed when I read one that said, “Love your neighbor. And pick the right neighborhoods.” You know what? There’s some real wisdom in that. Our goal should be to love everyone for the purpose of showing them a reflection of the Godhead. However, in intimate relationships/friendships, we really should strive to give and receive love from people who want to be perfected…who want to be used as tools by the Lord to perfect. Us.

Satan ain’t up to nothin’ new. He’s not *nearly* as creative as we try and give him credit for being. In the Garden, he told the Woman that she could be wise like God, if she did opposite of what God told her to do, which was *not* to eat of the Fruit of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3). Now he tells us that we can have a great love experience so long as we do what lust demands rather than what Adonai requires. Lust is impatient. Lust is demanding. Lust is manipulative. Lust is selfish. Lust is carnal. Lust takes us even further from the Garden of Eden---our original and intended state. Lust leads to death (James 1:14-15). DO NOT BE DECEIVED, MY BELOVED BRETHREN (James 1:16-NKJV).

And so, this week, before you say those three words, “I love you”, I encourage you to reflect back to the Garden of Eden and the quality of life we were created to have. What *continual commitments* are you willing to make to help to rebuild the human trinity (mind, body, spirit) of the lives that you intimately touch? How much are you willing to surrender of yourself (your ideas, your plans, your expectations) so that the people that you care for can be perfected? In God’s way. And his time (Acts 1:7-Message)? In what areas have you realized that lust, not love, has gotten the better of you?

Oh, there are so many ways to take God’s name in vain. Matter of fact, I love how the New Century Version of the Third Commandment says, “You must not use the name of the Lord your God thoughtlessly; the Lord will punish anyone who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7)

God is love, right? We must not use “love” thoughtlessly, either.

The outworking of love? It’s defined by this:

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.  For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”---I John 3:16-23(NKJV)

Bottom line, if you say that you love someone, *mean it*.

Strive to see the God in them.

And then act. Accordingly. Continually.

Selah. And amen.
 

©Shellie R. Warren/2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"On Fire": Concubines. Still. Exist.

"You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men."---I Corinthians 7:23(NKJV)


Aaaaaaaand we're off...

There's a throwback Winans song entitled, "Don't Be Deceived". The first verse and chorus went as so:


The devil told Eve she could eat from the tree
She wouldn't surely die
She told Adam it's alright and they both took a bite
And lost their lives
Now he tells you do what you wanna do
And God will understand
Now you feel justified
To do your thing on the side
And saying prayers (this is Shellie, that is soooo biblical. Check out Proverbs 28:9)


Don't you be deceived
(Don't you be deceived)
You can't do your thing
(Then make-believe)
Don't you be deceived
(Don't you be deceived)
Don't you listen to the devil, no

Oh, and don't get me started about when they "go in" at the end about how we've gotta live like the Bible says (LOL). It'll preach! Anyway, I thought about all of that today as I was told, by the Divine Spirit, that it was time to put some pieces together to manifest this particular blog.

Piece One: Judges 19, in the New King James Version, it's entitled, "The Levite's Concubine". Honestly, I'm still processing why the Comforter (John 14:16-AMP) led (Luke 12:12) me to that place. For now, what I do know is that as I was cross-referencing translations, the word "concubine" kept holding my attention. In the New King James, she's called a concubine. In the Amplified, she's defined as being "of inferior status than a wife". And the New Century Version? Yeah, you wanna know what she's called? A SLAVE. (Bookmark that!)

Piece Two: On the X3Church.com site that I blog for, there's been an interesting discussion taking place this past week based (partially) on an article that I came across. It's called, "Stayover Relationships" and apparently it's becoming more and more of the (not right) thing to do. Now, even rather than shacking up, which doesn't have a good success rating, by the way (did you know that roughly 70 percent of couples are doing it now?!?-Matthew 7:13), people want to keep their homes and stay over at each other's 2-3 times a week. Trust me, nothing's new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). *Most* of the guys from my past life, I did that with. It's not a relationship. It's lazy. Selfish. Oh, and did I mention that it's cheap? I'm telling you, I'm loving that Summer's Eve "Hail to the V" commercial more and more. Here we are, sitting on a million dollars, and won't *at least* demand a hotel room. Yeah, I'm "SMH" for real! ;-)

Piece Three: Some of you may notice that Dictionary.com provides, for our convenience and viewing pleasure (LOL), a Word of the Day. Well one day, this past week, the word was "overslaugh". Are you familiar with it? It means "to pass over or disregard (a person) by giving a promotion, position, etc. to another instead.

Now let's put it all together and see what God is really saying to us. Today. About this matter.

Recently, I was having a conversation with a young woman who, long story short, was contemplating giving up her college education to live with a guy who is not pursuing his...well, much of anything. It was like deja vu on *so many levels* because while I never dropped out because of a dude, I was definitely *put out* because of one. Due to my *horrific* G.P.A. As I was listening to her go on (and on and on) about how much they loved one another and she had to do what's best for her (yeah, she was cosigning on dropping out), in my mind I was like, "All of this because of some sex?!?" I almost had forgotten how powerful it could be. Well, is. *Even when it is used for evil and not for good*.

Now, some who may currently be in her predicament of entrapment may say that when you are in a sexually immoral (I Corinthians 6:18) relationship, it's not *just* the sex that keeps you there. Yeah. Well. I've counseled a lot of people and I've slept with more than my fair share (that would/should be *only one*, by the way...again) of guys and I've confidently drawn this conclusion: if you're not having sex with someone *or* (please catch it) masturbating while fantasizing about someone, it tends to be soooooooooooo *breathe in* oooooooooooooo *exhale* ooooooooooo *breathe in again* ooooooooooo *exhale one more time* much easier to leave a guy alone---to see the *truth* (John 8:32) about who he really is so that you can leave him alone. Or at least use more discretion and discernment (Ecclesiastes 8:5) in deciding if he's *God's absolute best* (James 1:17) for you (here's a good run-by list to check out too: Ten Ways to Marry the Wrong Person). The sexual science of two people becoming one (Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 6:15-20)...it works! You can one yourself to the king, lord and priest of your home OR a bonafide jerk. Sex will bond you either way. AND, it will either enlighten you...or cloud your judgment. Hmph. You know how the Word, which is God (John 1:1), says that we can't be lukewarm (Revelation 3:16)? OK, if marriage is "hot" (and marriage, done the right way, from what I've seen and heard, it *absolutely is*!) and a hooker/john situation is "cold"...stayover relationships would definitely get the big "W" for warm! Lukewarm makes God feel really icky.

Yet, here's what I'm really hoping you'll catch. Biblically, a concubine is inferior. She's nothing more than a slave woman. Now check out Dictionary.com's definition of the word:

Concubine: a woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married, especially one regarded as socially or sexually subservient; mistress; a secondary wife, usually of inferior rank; a woman residing in a harem and kept, as by a sultan, for sexual purposes

One of the definitions of "mistress" is "a woman who has a continuing extramarital sexual relationship with a man". Yeah. Let's get free some more! "Extramarital" is usually used in reference to adultery (Exodus 20:14), but it actually means "pertaining to sexual relations with someone other than one's spouse". When you sleep with ANYONE who is not your covenant marital partner (Malachi 2:14), you are caught up in an extramarital affair.

As I thought about all of this, do you know what immediately came to mind? One of my favorite scenes from "When Harry Met Sally" (you can view it here at starting at 4:17):

Sally: "I'm thinking, I'm supposed to be over him...and then he says, 'I have some news.' Her name is Kimberly. He just met her. She's supposed to be his transitional person. She's not supposed to be the one! All this time, I've been saying, that he didn't want to get married. But the truth is, he didn't want to marry me. He didn't love me."

Sally? She used to (eh hem) live with Joe and he never made a commitment. Now he's not with her and he's marrying someone else.

I just love how Isaiah 1:18(NKJV) starts off by saying, "Come now, let us reason together." Do you know a conversation that Adonai and I used to have re: my sexual past? "Shellie, these guys aren't using you. YOU ARE USING YOU. If you are not a man's wife, you are *nothing more than his concubine*. And yes, concubines, like wives, often give everything to a man. The difference is there's not commitment. There's no covenant." Thing is, in this day and time ('cause the culture in biblical days was a bit different), women *choose* to be concubines by not adhering to God's Word re: purity (I Timothy 5:22) and yet, is it not amazing that a lot of them end up upset and/or bitter (Proverbs 5:4) when they *do all of that work for nothing*? JUST. LIKE. A. SLAVE.

The Word tells us that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). The lead verse for this message *instructs and commands* that because we were bought with a price, that we are *not* to be slaves among *men*. This, in this context, means that we are not to be concubines. We are not to settle for being treated as inferior. We are not to be secondary wives.

We are in a season where a lot of women, if they don't take heed, are about to have "overslaugh" personally defined for them. Because they are not following God's directives, because they would rather "act now and repent later" (2 Corinthians 7:9-10), they are going to experience, firsthand, what it's like to be passed over for a wife position. To see the man that they enslaved themselves for move on to someone else. Yes, *and marry her*.

'Cause here's what a lot of us don't want to adhere to: the moment that you settle for sex outside of covenant? That's the moment that you *let* a man treat you as no more than a concubine. And when *you've decided* that it's OK to be treated as an inferior person, that's *exactly what he's going to do*. The double whammy? When you do that and he marries you anyway, unless there is a *complete and total transformation and heart change* (and YOU can't do that...only GOD can), even as his wife, a part of him is seeing (and often treating you) as no more than a concubine.

I'm a *big advocate* that how a relationship starts, it usually speaks *volumes* to its ending. You see the divorce rate, right? If you do some digging, I'll bet a lot of those women were concubines...and are divorcing because they don't want to be treated that way anymore. It's another message for another time that "checking out" is not that biblically easy. Matthew 19:8 tells us that because of a *hardened heart*, divorce (Malachi 2:16) was permitted. Proverbs 28:14 tells us that a hardened heart falls into calamity. Calamity is "great misfortune or disaster", "grievous affliction; adversity, misery". Yeah. Sin comes with a price (Romans 6:23). Whether it's in the beginning or end of a relationship. This is why we are to choose wisely...

ON THE FRONT END.

Again, like a plague, an abundance of overslaugh is upon us. It's something that can be avoided, though.

You have two choices: CHOOSE to be a WIFE. Or CHOOSE to be a SLAVE.

Often the  same work: but a *totally different status*. 

Only a *wife* brings a man favor (Proverbs 18:22).

A concubine? Well, from what I've checked out in the Bible, nothing but problems. 

Which may explain why a man rarely (happily) marries them, eh? Just a thought. ;-)


Lech Lecha,

SRW


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"On Fire": No. Nasty. Surprises.

"Fear-of-God is life itself, a full life, and serene—no nasty surprises."---Proverbs 19:23(NKJV)


I don't know...

Take it up with our Father (LOL). Lots going on in the spirit realm. I guess you can chalk it up to this being (what? I can't believe it!) August. The eighth month, with "8" biblically symbolizing *new beginnings*.

NEW. BEGINNINGS.

Anyway, one of the "On Fire" sistahs, Nicole (thanks girl!), hipped me to a site on yesterday. It's actually on the blog list to the left of this page now. It's called the "Good Women Project". I dig it. Then, as God usually does, because our steps are ordered (Psalm 37:23), another "On Fire" gal (hey Lauren!) let me know that the founder is a Christian. A Christian also by the name of "Lauren". Then, I was referred to some more personal information about her via her wedding announcement website. I just *love* how Lauren "cliff noted" the journey. You can check it out yourself here: "Make It Mad Love". PLEASE MAKE TIME TO READ IT. Sometimes we're so busy walking the path that we forget it's actually, really and truly going to lead us somewhere (Proverbs 3:5-7). *Good*. IF WE CHOOSE TO OBEY THE DIRECTOR OF THE COURSE. Oh, and Lauren's soon-to-be has a cool blog as well. Amazing how God does that. How he brings people together who actually *complement one another*. Not just where they *are*, but as my mama says, a covenant partnership that will be a blessing, mutually, to where two people are *going*.

As I read and reread their love walk, the word that the Comforter (John 14:16-AMP) kept bringing into my spirit was "surprise": that we serve a God who is FULL OF SURPRISES.

Surprise: something that surprises someone; a completely unexpected occurrence, appearance, or statement; to present with something unexpected, such as a gift

Synonyms: amazement, astoundment, awe, epiphany, eye-opener, fortune, Godsend, marvel, miracle, phenomenon, RARITY, revelation, START, unforeseen, wonder, wonderment 

I won't lie. If you look up the word "surprise" there are some...unsettling definitions as well. I was led (Luke 12:12) to leave those out because the lead verse for today says that *when we respect God* in how we live, there are *no* nasty surprises. And, as cool as all of the synonyms are, "rarity" and "start" are in all caps because...well, that's what God, through the power of the Divine Spirit, told me to do. To hone in on those. Especially. 

And so...

Be on the look out for RARE. STARTS. 

And embrace them as GOOD SURPRISES.


I'm done. For now.


Keep me posted. God. Is. Moving.


Lech Lecha,


SRW

Monday, August 1, 2011

"On Fire": "Plant a Seed into a Man" Week

"I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting..."---I Timothy 2:8(NKJV)

"We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts, for it is impossible to live one way and pray another."---William Law


I know, right?

Sooooo much going on, but this will be brief (no...for real!-LOL). In the spirit of dealing with breaking out of complacency, I am actually in the process of interviewing some married (and divorced) men re: what single women should know about the male species. More specifically husbands and marriage. One of my closest friends since college almost immediately responded to me with his list. It's *stellar*:


-Know what God expects from both of you. Play your position. This is a supported-supporting relationship.
 

-Expectation Management (this is not a fairy tale).
 

-Sacrifice: Expect to make some and this will be your new norm. If this is unappealing; don't get married.
 

-Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. God gave you two ears and one mouth. Often you wish to speak without listening.
 

-Don't internalize everything you hear. It's not always about you.

OK, that last one is a *dead on echo* from "The Four Agreements". Anyway, yeah, honestly, if that makes you mad, you probably needed to read it (and reread it). I've been marinating and pondering (Proverbs 4:26) on that "expectation management" since he sent it. STEL.LAR!

Anyway, the blog about that will come whenever I am released to post it. In the meantime, though, as I've been reading some of them, something that the Lord, through the power of the Divine Spirit, has placed upon my heart is to encourage more men in my life to pray. More. Most of us know that James 5:16 tells us that the prayers of the righteous have *much* power and yet, sometimes, I wonder if we *really believe that* (Mark 9:23). Because if we did, perhaps we'd be worrying less, pressuring less, manipulating less, *spiritually compromising* less, ultimatum-ing less. SETTLING LESS. We'd *really* take "it" to God and *leave it there* until/unless he tells us to do otherwise (Proverbs 3:5-7).

I believe that our prayers have power. Power to inspire the men in our lives to pray more so that their lives, in turn, can be rejuvenated. Spiritually. After all, we're *ministers-in-training*, right? And then walks in a book by the co-author of one of the books that I credit with my spiritual transition: "Real Christianity". His name is Bob Beltz. The book?


I'm going to be sending copies to some men in my world. I'm encouraging you all to do the same. People perish for the lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) and with these days and times, if there's *any place* where the men that we know and love need to be (further) educated, it would be in the area of prayer. By the ultimate man: Yehoshua, the Christ.

That's it. I'm done. Til next time.

Lech Lecha,

SRW