Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: "The Divine Matchmaker" (Joel Johnson, Casey Johnson)

Hook, line and sinker. I *so dig* how this dude went through all of this *just to court her*...

"It took Joel months of prayer to wade through the ocean of intense feelings that he had for Casey. But he did not falter in keeping his vow to God; he was resolute in his decision not to pursue Casey until God clearly guided him to do so.

After four months of mitigating his heart's overwhelming sentiment towards her, Joel, with the grace of God, finally subdued his will. For the first time in months, Joel's will, concerning this subject, was deeply and truly ready to do whatever God wanted without waver. Two weeks later, in January, he heard God speak to him and the Holy Spirit guided him to pursue Casey. Joel eagerly responded by following God's leading with a brave heart!

A few weeks later in Houston, Joel asked Casey out to lunch. Casey accepted. Lunch lasted seven hours. Two days later, January 27th, after traversing through a whole day of prayer and a sleepless night, Joel invited Casey out to coffee at Barnes & Noble. They walked around the store pursuing various portrait and photography books, but most of the time they spent talking and, more than they ever had before, laughing. Joel invited Casey to sit. They sat on the floor side-by-side, leaning against a tall, oak bookshelf. As Casey and Joel looked through one particular book, which was filled with various pictures of lions and their cubs, Joel, finally, built up enough courage to ask Casey the question that he knew would lead him to defining his feelings for her. And so he asked, 'What do you think the process of leading up to a wholesome and godly courtship looks like?'

She said, 'Oh?' and then thought for a second or two. She then answered, 'Well, it would have to be a friendship that is centered around God.'

Joel agreed and then asked her if she would like to enter into that kind of friendship with him. He nervously waited for a reply. She said, 'Yes.' Joel spent the next two days in a state of chemical imbalance.

Joel and Casey's friendship grew. They become closer...and closer...and closer...until they become best friends. Joel's heart grew more and more fond of Casey. And who could blame him? He had discovered the most wonderful, beautiful and enchanting woman in the entire world. Once again, Joel sought God for his direction and guidance concerning Casey's and his relationship. One day, as he was praying in a field, he asked the Holy Spirit, 'Do you want me to court Casey?'

The Spirit replied, 'What do you want?'

Joel was momentarily stunned by the Holy Spirit's lively retort, but Joel began to thoughtfully and earnestly search the depths of his heart. What he discovered in his exploration was that there was nothing in the world that he desired to do more. He exclaimed, 'Yes! Yes, I want to court her!" He felt a great peace run over his heart like a strong and steady stream. That very day, Joel planned where and how he was going to ask Casey to court him.

On the morning of May 17th, Joel surprised Casey by cooking breakfast at her apartment and then whisking her off to Dallas for the day. They walked and talked for hours through what seemed like endless gardens at the Dallas Arboretum. In the center of the estate, Joel spotted a very curious-looking tree. It had an unbelievably thick branch that jutted, nearly horizontal, out from its lower trunk. The branch was only about two feet from the ground and had two drooping bows in it. Joel thought it seemed like a perfect place to sit. So, he asked Casey if she would like to join him. She did and they talked some more and laughed much, much more.

In the midst of their conversation, Joel asked Casey what she thought the definition of a courtship was. After some thinking, she defined it to be a relationship with the possibility of marriage. Joel agreed and then, trying not to show his over-enthusiasm, asked her if she would like to enter into a courtship with him. She said, 'I would very much like that.'

They embraced and then prayed, dedicating their courtship to God. Throughout the ensuing weeks and months, Joel and Casey grew incredibly close. They began to care for each other more and more and more and more...until they feel deeply in love. One year and two months after Joel discovered the flames of a heart wholly devoted to Christ, flickering in Casey's eyes, he got down on one knee, and for the very first time, he told Casey that he loved her. He then asked her to marry him. Casey replied...

Joel had stopped reading. My eyes were filled with tears as he tenderly asked me to stand. Joel then got down on one knee and pulled a little black box from his back pocket. (This was the kind of black box that houses a very particular piece of jewelry, one that I had dreamt of receiving since I was a little girl!)

My mind could not help but wonder what the ring looked like. It was an astonishing feeling, the anticipation I felt in my heart, waiting for that little black box to open. The words I had longed to hear my entire life were now coming out of Joel's mouth, 'Casey, will you marry me?'

I must have drifted into a different world because I stood there lost in his deep blue eyes. I was soaking up the moment when I detected a hint of concern in his gaze. I then realized I had neglected to answer him! While I was engrossed in the moment, with my head in the clouds, I had just left him there on his knee in suspense as to what I would say...I think he got a little nervous!

After realizing this, I shouted, 'YES...YES, YES, YES, I will marry you!'

He quickly jumped from his knee, whisked me into his arms and spun me around. We danced one last time on the beach as we told each other over and over again how much we loved each other. After all, it was our very first time saying it.

Sorry to cut into the romantic flow of the story ladies, but I (Joel) felt it necessary to interject a thought here.  Some people are shocked to hear that the first time I ever told Casey that I loved her was after I proposed to her. The reason I never said it before was I didn't want to say those words to any woman I was romantically interested in without a commitment attached to it. I had seen too many relationships move too fast and then end in heartbreak. I had also seen the words 'I love you' used to manipulate other people's feelings. Usually it's the girl who feels the man is making a commitment, but he is really only using the words to get what he wants from the relationship. When I said the words 'I love you' I wanted them to have weight and to really mean something. I wanted them to be attached to the commitment that I would spend the rest of my life with the woman who heard me say them. I wouldn't, and couldn't, use those words unless I truly meant them."---"The Proposal", pgs.22-24

It's a *really good story* complete with tuxedos, white dresses, plane flights, etc. *And that's just the proposal!*. I just don't have the time, today, to type out any more of it out. I'll just leave it at this: A godly man is a good man. He simply loves...*differently*. AND our choices speak to the kind of love that we *truly* desire. Much more than our words. Because when we really want a godly man, we will love *ourselves*...differently.

You can cop this gem here.

Don't settle. *You don't have to*.


An Ounce of Prevention: QUOTE OF THE DAY


Nothing else needs to be said:

"Just because a man has sex with a woman, it doesn’t mean that he’s spent even a second of his time deciding whether or not he wants to be with her or have a relationship in the future.

In other words. a man’s not going to ever 'see your worth' just because you’ve slept with him. And more to the point, it is NOT the Physical Attraction a man feels for a woman, and getting close to her physically, that makes a man really 'feel it' for you and want more.

Sex does NOT equal a relationship for a man.

...What makes a man 'see your worth' and end up FEELING so strongly for you that he wants a real relationship is something other than sex and PHYSICAL desire and ATTRACTION."

If you want to read more on this, check it here.

A message for the New Year is coming later this week. If you have prayer requests in the meantime, feel free to shoot them to missnosipho@gmail.com. Praying, in the meantime, for a year of honesty, clarity and non-compromise for all!



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention: QUOTE OF THE DAY

"It’s tempting to lie to yourself, especially when it allows you to stay in our comfort zone."---Lori Deschene


And I wonder how many of us think about this quote in relationship to the *promise* found in I Corinthians 10:13(NKJV): "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." That some of us need to be delivered from lying to ourselves. From making false statements. From accepting deceit.. From embracing untruths. *Just because they make us feel comfortable*. Just because we are content with things or us being as they are. Simply because we are scared of stepping out on faith (Hebrews 11)...towards the unfamiliar...the more-than- adequate...the above and beyond what's sufficient.

As a disciple (John 8:31), as believer (Mark 9:23), life is to be more than adequate and sufficient. Those kinds of words often speak to settling; not opening oneself up to receiving the absolute best that the Most High has in mind for his children. And in this case, his daughters.

Something that I have been speaking, with much intention this year, is that I want to pick out of my *purpose*, not my *pain*. If we are still wrapped up in lies about our self-worth or value, how can we trust the choice of anything healthy...including a husband? Many of us need to spend time learning *our truths* (who we are, what we were called to do, the kind of life the Lord wants us to live) before we join our lives to someone else's reality. We need to step out of our comfort zone so that we can be prepared to receive the *boundless* abundance (John 10:10) that Adonai has for our lives. Besides, what should be be afraid of? No child of the King goes out of their *comfort zone* without the *Comforter* (John 14:16-AMP).

Just something to think about. Truthfully.


Friday, December 16, 2011

"On Fire": Is He Selfish? Do You *Really* Feel Safe and Secure?

Later this weekend...

I will be penning a devotional on selfishness. As I was doing some research on the topic, I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) a quote that really stayed with me:

"The one who loves the least, controls the relationship.”---Dr. Robert Anthony

I've seen the commercials for "Braxton Family Values" quite a bit and it always tickles me when Toni's little sister, Tamar (initially I was like, "Wow! Her mom named her 'Tamar' (?!?) and then I saw that in Hebrew that it means, 'Palm tree; upright') says, "Ohhhhhhhhh!" (LOL) That's how I felt when I read the quote by that self-help author because I have seen that manifest in my own life *and* in the lives of a lot of the women that I know. They *claim* what they want in a relationship and yet, they remain with a man who is not giving them that. And usually, not what they need, either. And still...they remain. Day in, day out. Month in, month out. Until it turns into years. *And then*, they stay because it's been years. Hmph. I think I have quoted before one of my favorite lines from the urban classic film "Love Jones" several times before: "All we have are all these years." It's a vicious (and on many levels, counterproductive) cycle. You keep trying to show that you are worthy of a commitment and he keeps on letting you do whatever it is you think you should do to prove that.

Gee. How generous of him (wink).

And so, in the hopes (Romans 5:5) and prayers that a lot of women won't go into the new calendar year in a relationship that is controlled by someone who doesn't love them in a healthy and *productive* way, I am also enclosing an excerpt from an article I read entitled, "How to Identify Selfish Men Before It's Too Late":

"Whatever happened to a 50/50 relationship? One where he does the same or more for you, does that exist anymore? I say they do, and if you are not in a relationship that is 50/50 right now, then you are doing yourself a great injustice and wasting away your youth and beauty on someone who possibly will never change. At least not for you. He may learn a valuable lesson when your gone, if he does that’s a good thing but the next woman he is with will be the one who benefits from your suffering.

Most men learn their lesson when the woman they’re currently with is gone and he finally realizes exactly how much he actually loved her. We’ve all heard the expression, 'You don’t know what you have, until it’s gone', right? In order to ensure that we don’t meet that same fate and suffer heartbreak again (yes, men suffer heartbreak too) we learn as much as possible from our last relationship and attempt to change. Now it may take three or four break-ups for us to get it right, but eventually we get it.

Now as for the guys whom haven’t learned this important lesson, currently they are in relationships with women (or girls) who as I stated above overlook the obvious, for now. For those of you who have been through relationship blues with selfish men and seek desperately to avoid this situation in the future I’ve created a list (Thanks to JuJu) to help you identify and hopefully avoid men who are selfish and not ready to change. For those men that haven’t changed yet, you may want to bypass him for now because he’s still a work in progress.

When first going out with a man in an attempt 'to determine if it may become something more, here are somethings you should look for and their absence should be noted and carefully scrutinized later:

 4) Does he go out of his way to make sure you are safe and secure?

Would he drive to your work place late at night just to walk you to your car to make sure you are safe? Does he ask you before hanging up after a late night talk? Are the doors and windows secure? If he does these things it’s because he cares and you are important to him. He puts your well being ahead of his own which shows total unselfishness."

There are quite a few on the list (and the making love one, I'm sure you know I don't endorse pre-marriage), but it was "4" that really hooked me. I know women who are driving up and down roads to see their men. I know women who are on the phone all night long during the work week with their men (when it's convenient *for him* to be on the phone all night...if *he* has a meeting the next day, he's off). I know women who are investing more than they are ever receiving a return on from their men. And I'm really and truly at a place now of asking myself (and them as led), "Does that really make you feel like he can take good care of you? THAT HE CARES TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOU?"

There's a couple that I know that, upon their first Christmas together while courting (they're married now), the guy and I were discussing what he should get his then girlfriend. Do you know what he decided upon? A house alarm. Do you know what that made me think? "Now that's *a man* right there!" She wasn't too long into her property and he wasn't comfortable with it being unprotected. He was showing signs, in their courtship, that he would be *proactive* in making her feel safe and secure. He didn't leave her house and be like, "Lock up, OK?" He *made a concerted effort* to care for who he cared about. *Love that!*

Now, that doesn't mean that we don't have moments when we need to look at ourselves as well (there's a good read on that here). A matter of fact, if there is a *blaring lesson* that 2011 has taught me, it's that I need to ACCEPT things (and people) for what (and who) they are. Meaning, not be so selfish as to try and make it (or them) be something it (or they) are not. Or to even assume that they should be. However, the *beauty* in singleness is that when it comes to pondering (Proverbs 4:26) a potential mate, when there are things going on that are *clearly unacceptable*, I don't have to go through the processing that a wife does. I can get out of the relationship. Amazing how often we as single women tend to commit as if we are married before we actually (and that would mean *officially*) are. And then we act shocked and betrayed when the guy we are "committing to" knows better than to do the same: he knows not to act like a husband *until he is a husband*.

And you know what? GOOD FOR HIM. That's a pretty smart thing to do.

Anyway, it's the Sabbath and so I'm gonna chill out for the rest of the evening. Oh, but I do hope that the quote will give you something to think about. The objective of a spiritually prosperous relationship should be, among many other things, *progressive mutuality*. Therefore, no one should be feeling *controlled*. Oh, but again, that quote is a winner! What kind of selfish acts, at the hand of your significant other, have *you* working overtime to make your relationship work? And when you think about it...is the relationship *working*?

You know, there is another quote that I dig by Oscar Wilde that says, "There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.” Keeping trash in your house will only stink up the place. Keeping things that you don't really need only clutters it. Fear is also a form of selfishness and also a *really poor motive* (Philippians 2:3) for remaining in a relationship that you know you need to get out of: fear that you won't get someone better (suited for you) or fear that he will. Are you staying out of fear? Even if it's just fear of the unknown?

A wise man once said that true wisdom is not in having the right answers but in asking the right questions.

Here's to finding the ones that you are needing in order to get the love that you desire.

Rather than the kind of relationship that controls (or has been controlling) you.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: "Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen" (Candice Watters)

Good lookin' out, Lori!

Hook, line and sinker right here...

"Even if a couple doesn't acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior, even if they're not aware of the creation mandate, they can still partake in the goodness of marriage. Even in a day when women don't need a marriage for the same practical reasons as they once did, social research reinforces the truth that God created marriage for our good. One of the best collections of evidence is The Case for Marriage by Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher. What they and others have discovered is in the natural realm reinforces the timeless wisdom found in Scripture:

Ecclesiastes 9 says, 'Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.'

Waite and Gallagher say, 'The old adage, 'Two can live as cheaply as one' contains more than a grain of truth. Husbands and wives usually only need one set of furniture and appliances, one set of dishes, one lawn mower...This kind of pooling means couples can have the same standard of living for much less money and effort than can an adult living alone.'

Proverbs 18:22 says, 'He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.'

Steve L. Nook says, 'Masculinity is precarious and must be sustained in adulthood. Normative marriage does this. A man develops, sustains, and displays his masculine identity in his marriage. The adult roles that men occupy as husbands are core aspects of their masculinity.'

Matthew 19:6 says, 'So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.'

Waite and Gallagher again: 'The promise of permanence is key to marriage's transformative power. People who expect to be a part of a couple for their entire lives---unless something awful happens---organize their lives differently from people who are less certain their relationship will last. The marriage contract, because it is long-term, encourages husbands and wives to make decisions jointly and to function as part of a team. Each spouse expects to be able to count on the other to be there and to fulfill his and her responsibilities.'

Song of Songs 1:2 says, 'Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth---for your love is more delightful than wine.'

Waite and Gallagher say, 'Married people have both more and better sex than singles do. They not only have sex more often, but they enjoy it more, both physically and emotionally, than do their married counterparts. Only cohabitors have more sex than married couples, but they don't necessarily enjoy it as much. Marriage, it turns out, is not only good for you, it is good for your libido too.'

The goodness of marriage comes when we surrender to the timeless institution that was endowed with meaning and purpose before we were ever born..."---"Believe Marriage Is a Worthwhile and Holy Pursuit", pg.25-26

Funny. God's timing (Acts 1:7-Message). I *just* read an article on the decline of marriage in America. Just because people use it less doesn't mean it's lost its value. *Not by a long shot*. Anyway, you can cop this gem here.



Monday, December 12, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention: "10 Ways to Separate the Boys from the Men"

Yeah. I *straight* copied and pasted this. *In its entirety*. 'Nuf said:

Women do not know how to pick men. They pick the man of their dreams. Then they try to make McDreamy come alive in their reality. The reality is that it is estimated that 95% of women want to date the top 5% of men. Stop dreaming. Meanwhile men are willing to date darn near anybody who can twerk it right. So when you see a happily married couple and the wife is busted but the brother is a pretty boy, light-skindid with brown eyes, a brother that would be in your top 5%. Don’t say how did she get him? It wasn’t her. It was him doing something that you will never do. He relaxed his visual requirement a bit so that he could find some one that he thought he could build a strong marriage with.

Now I am not saying settle. I am suggesting that you date on your level. Find your level, date there. You are not perfect, neither will he be. Having the most money, has nothing to do with how successful one is in marriage. Anybody can make money. Go get your own money. Tall men sometimes make short kids. Pretty boys can’t fight and I have seen some ugly light-skindid babies. It is time for women to start looking at the CORE of a man. Look at what is inside of a man. His morals, his ethics, his judgment, his spirit. Stop looking at him or at his wallet or at his house or at his car and look in him. This is what you are looking for:

10. Look for a man that knows how to be “The Man”

This maybe a tad bit more difficult for some who don’t have the strong Father figure but I allow no excuses. If you don’t have a Father figure you know that right now, you have known that for some time. Go find out what a man is before you get into a bad relationship. Take some responsibility. (You know what, just keep reading  this article. This article shall meet your educational credit. Pop Quiz to come.) Example #1: Your car breaks down, he shows no concern, he does not offer to help. You bounce. Even the mechanically challenged man knows that the car is the man’s responsibility. A man that is the biggest ho on earth still knows that as a man he is in charge of safety. And I don’t care what level of dating you are on. If ya’ll just met tonight and your car breaks down leaving the club and you call him and he don’t show in prove, bounce. Example #2: You bring your man home for the holidays. Dinner is ready, you and momma are moving the other table from the living room into the dining room so every body can eat in one room. You and momma pick up a set of chairs and a table and carry it across the room in front of your man setting on the couch maxing and relaxing. He don’t move, he don’t eat. Food, you, nothing, it’s a wrap.

9. Look for a man that is looking for a woman

Not a skeezer, not a trick, not a ho. If he tries to hit it on the first date either he is not looking for a woman or he doesn’t think that you are one. If you want a relationship, don’t settle for dating, just be friends. Being friends with a man first and maintaining your respect will get you to a relationship a lot faster than the occasional sex you give up waiting for a title. (I think that I have properly set the tone now. Let’s continue.)

8. Look for a man that is not broken.

I didn’t say broke. I said broken, meaning, his spirit, his wallet and his heart. If he don’t have faith in GOD to get him back on his feet, if he don’t have a plan to fix his wallet and he is emotionally unstable (“Men Don’t Heal, We Ho” – A Book About the Emotional Instability in Men. Available now on an internet near you – http://www.RelationshipBeast.com) beat-your-feet. He can’t take care of you if he can’t take care of himself. I didn’t say broke, got to tell ya’ll twice sometimes. A man being broke is not an excuse for not giving a man a shot. Money can be made. It comes and it goes. The problem with a lot of you ladies is that you are so busy looking at a brother’s pocket that you miss the potential in him. He could be about to “GET MONEY”. Broke brothers stand up! I’ve been broke before, look at me now! LOOK . . . AT . . . ME . . . NOW!!!!!

Evaluate the man. An evaluation is about where he was yesterday, where he is today and where he will be tomorrow. Whenever I meet a sistah that is dating a brother that is broke the first question I ask her is, “Do you believe in him?” The second question I ask her is, “Did he have money and lost it some way?” The third question is, . . . look, you saw the shameless plug, get the book.

7. Look for a Mailman.

That Mailman thingy is a play on words. I am nice with these words. The reference to mailman here is in regards to a man that can deliver the required message to his family. Whether this message needs to be a positive message or a negative message. So when my wife came home and said that she had been laid off that day, I said “We will be fine, I hated that job for you anyway. Dang job stressing my baby out.” What I really wanted to say was “Do you have anything that we can sell or pawn?”

When my wife came home and said, “We are expecting.” I had news too, bad news. I had been laid off that day. Again, I told her, “We will be fine.” I deliver the mail baby! Word is bond son!

Sadly I must report that the words, “We can’t afford that.” Are quite popular at my house. But there are enough times where the words “WOW! Thank you!” are also uttered. Look for a man that can be responsible for maintaining a financial balance in the home. If I tell my wife that “I ain’t got it,” I know in advance that she was about to ask for it and my plan is already in motion on how to get it for here. She knows that.

 6. Look for a man that knows how to handle a woman

Ya’ll get out of line sometime with that mouf and that lose neck. Find that man that is not going to take the bait. The one that is not going to argue with you every time you want to argue. The one that can calmly say to you “Baby, when you are ready to have a conversation about your concern holla at your man.” Look for a strong brother that can put you in your place. (This means that you have to know your place – “10 Ways to go from Girlfriend to Wife.”) Don’t give me the, “I can’t find a brother like that.” There are brothers out there like this, he just may not be in your Top 5% and if you can’t find one, that means that you mustn’t be in the Top 5% either. (Let me just re-set the tone.)

5. Look for a man that knows how to let a woman be a woman.

If you have to be less of a woman to be with a man, wrong man. (Women, know what a woman is.) Look for a man that allows you to run the household. The problem with a lot of marriages today is that our roles are reversed, crossed or not well defined. My wife chooses the furniture – after I set a budget. My wife decides on what is for dinner – after I make suggestions. My wife is the Director of Child Rearing at the crib – I set the boundaries and the goals (and hand out “The Smackdown” on my son). Make sure that your womanhood and role is carved out in the relationship. I feel the need to provide more examples of this:

I went out and purchased a table and chairs for the breakfast nook when we moved into our new home – She did not talk to me for two weeks, I took the table and chairs back. I was minding her business.

I set a budget for some rugs around the house. She bought rugs that I didn’t like. She bought some rugs that she liked. I said to my wife “You stayed with in the budget?” My wife responded, “Yeap, go head on to your office or game room or somewhere.” She gets to make decisions too. Look for a man that knows what decisions are woman’s decisions. You define what are woman’s decisions to you. You gain this ability to decide by meeting all “10 Ways to go from Girlfriend to Wife.”

Final example, my son had been sick for a couple of weeks. The Doctor prescribed a stronger steroid. My wife said, “No more steroids for my son”. I said, “I trust the professional opinion of the Doctor that you chose.” I made my opinion known, she decides. She decides because that is the role that we carved out for her. I am a dominant man but I empower my woman.

4. Look for a man that does not mind helping out around the house.

True story: I wrote about 15 points for this article and decided that I didn’t like 7 of them so I cut ‘em. So I was down to 9 and I needed one more point. I took a break to go and put a load of clothes in the washer. BINGO!

Keeping up with the daily household chores is hard work. Especially when you have a full time job. Especially when you got them kids running around and it’s dinner time. If you got a man that gets off work and plops himself in front of the couch until dinner and then after dinner he plops himself back on the couch. What, you think he is going to change after you marry him? I know you think you can. I know you will try and sometimes succeed, but are you happy? You are in charge of finding a brother that is going to make you happy. If your man don’t want to help, he don’t care about you. Look for a man that can wash & fold clothes, clean the kitchen, sweep, mop, vacuum, change diapers and cook. If he don’t know one of those, he must commit to learning. (We are not dusting. We just not.)

3. Look for a Leader, he will lead your family and your marriage.

Woman, you are not the leader of the family. You are not the head of the household. Any marriage where the woman is the leader will fail. Any family where the woman is the head of household will fail. (Ladies, chill!!!! Let me do this. Don’t you want a man that knows how to lead you? Well, let me put this responsibility on them and my brothers will step up to plate. Additionally, men have to develop sons that are leaders. Men have to show their daughters what a leader looks like so she can go get one. Sistah, if you are leading the household, all of that is all screwed up! A boy cannot learn how to be a man from a woman. A girl cannot learn what a man looks like by watching her momma. Now, I have asked nicely for your participation. If you still don’t like it, I don’t care, it’s biblical.)

Families need leadership. A leader, leads in every way. A leader knows when to lead and when to allow others to lead. A leader has good decision making skills and families have a lot of decisions to make. When you are looking for your leader, look for some one that can lead even when times are tough. A man that can lead the family through bankruptcy, foreclosure, cancer, whatever. A leader, a good decision maker, the man, will make the right decision (with his wife’s input) on what house to buy, what car to get, daycare, private school, college. A leader, a good decision maker, the man, knows that if he makes the wrong decision, he will fix it. (Men, if you lose your respect, you can’t lead. You are disqualified homie.)

Leadership is not just about decision making. Leadership is also about leading by example. When my wife and I are arguing, I am OPEN to apologizing first every time. I lead us out of the argument. When my wife and I are arguing, I am capable of allowing my wife to have the last word. That woman needs to vent. I am still Man. She knows it or it is on in her life.

2. Look for a man that respects the institution of Marriage.

A marriage is not a relationship. A relationship is nothing compared to a marriage. A marriage is a union, an institution. When you get married, from that day forth, everything is different. My goal in writing these books and articles is to restore marriage to the pedestal that it used to be on! A person who is married has agreed to make some sacrifices and compromises that you don’t have to make as a single person. Marriage is hard work. The institution deserves our respect. Single woman, never advise a married woman to leave her husband. Advise her to go and get some advice. Single man, challenge your married brother to stay in the marriage and with his family. Some times a brother just needs another brother to tell him to stay and figure it out.

Look for a man that understands that there will be ups and downs in marriage and that he is responsible for leading you through those tough times. Look for a man that accepts the responsibility of the fact that the success or failure of marriage rest on his shoulders and his leadership. That’s right, I am putting ALL of it on the man. So if all of it is on the man that is a lot of responsibility right? So we need a woman who knows how to support her man.

1. Look for a man that will take pride in being a Husband.

The problem with marriage right now is that men don’t have “Being a Great Husband” as a goal in marriage. We have not been taught that, but it is something that we can talk about. Ask your man how important it is for him to be a great husband. When men get married, we have to change. We now have to be more man than we were before. We are no longer a boyfriend, we are a husband. Look for a man that understands that there are additional responsibilities that come with being a husband. Say to your man, “When we get married, I am entrusting my life to you.” Support your man and let him know that you believe in him. In my book I challenge all Husbands to “Be the Best Husband in the World”. Every day I walk up to Husbands and say, “I am a better Husband than you are.” In hopes of a Husband saying back to me, “No you are not”.

Now I did not say anything about a Christian man. You already know to look for a man that puts God first right? This guide is very detailed. All men are not going to have all of this all the time. Even I fall short on occasion but I know who I want to be.

Women don’t get all bent if your man is not all of these things or if he doesn’t agree to some of these things. I was only maybe about half this list when I got married, the rest I had to learn. So your man may have to learn. So some of these concepts will be being introduced to your man. He doesn’t have to agree today or agree publicly. He will agree one day, even if it’s only privately.

This list is not the end all, be all. It is my opinion. Is it perfect? Yes and No. Yes because I wrote it, no because you didn’t. You can post your opinion by submitting a comment right now.

Nothin' like the tone of a man to, as Savon said in "Love Jones", "Break it down so that it can consistently and forever be broke!" (LOL). You can read more of Steven James Dixon's stuff here. You probably won't agree with everything but what I dig about him is that he doesn't seem to care and there's enough pearls that it's worth stopping by from time-to-time for sure. Matter of fact, I think I'm gonna throw him up on the blog roll.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention: "20 Flags Mr. Right Is Mr. Wrong"

"A person who understands what is right learns more from just a warning than a foolish person learns from 100 strokes with a whip."---Proverbs 17:10(NIRV)

“It is what you don't expect... that most needs looking for.”---Neal Stephenson

So, I was just about to sign off for the day (well...night-LOL) and someone wrote in to ask me a question. In preparing to answer, I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) an article entitled, "20 Flags Mr. Right Is Mr. Wrong". For the additional copy click here. Below is simply the list. It's a pretty thorough one.

That said, ignoring warning signs are not an indication of utilizing wisdom. That's actually the epitome of foolishness. So, please process and then share this list with as many as you can. Better to adhere *on the front end*. One day I'll get a couple of wives on here to prove it. For now, you might want to read this piece write here: "Marriage Is Not a Cure for a Sex Addiction".

Here are the 20 warning flags:

Warning Sign #1: He doesn't treat his mother well.
Warning Sign #2: He doesn't have a steady job.
Warning Sign #3: He is possessive.
Warning Sign #4: He criticizes you.
Warning Sign #5: He has ever hit, slapped, or punched you.
Warning Sign #6: He is in serious debt and not trying to work out of it.
Warning Sign #7: He doesn't share the same religious beliefs as you.
Warning Sign #8: He has lied to you.
Warning Sign #9: You're not physically attracted to him.
Warning Sign #10: Your family/friends don't like him.
Warning Sign #11: He is going way too fast in the relationship.
Warning Sign #12: He flirts with other women.
Warning Sign #13: He uses drugs / is an alcoholic.
Warning Sign #14: For single mothers - your kids don't like him.
Warning Sign #15: He has a problem with pornography.
Warning Sign #16: He is constantly negative and bitter about life in general.
Warning Sign #17: He has children from past relationships but doesn't have much contact with them.
Warning Sign #18: He has any kind of criminal history that involves domestic violence or abuse.
Warning Sign #19: He doesn't meet all of the qualities you've dreamed for in a husband.
Warning Sign #20: You are having some doubts.

I know, right? It just keeps going...and going...and going. Glad God loves us enough to give us this much!


An Ounce of Prevention: "Does God Promise You a Spouse?"

All of it is good...

This part (to me), especially so:

"When we demand that God bring us a mate, we block His love from enhancing our social life. The anger that we harbor builds a wall between us and Him. If we are honest with ourselves, we realize that our demand for marriage is a refusal of God’s love because we want our selfish desires met. God will never stop loving us, but we ignore Him when we desperately seek a human being to make us happy. Furthermore, whatever we depend upon for our happiness will wind up controlling us. If we believe that we need a human spouse to be satisfied, then people, rather than God, will dictate our lives.

God is in control of everything, but He does not intervene just to make our lives easy. He had no intention of making a woman magically appear and fall in love with me. Instead, God wanted to use His power to mature me into someone who would initiate sacrificial love towards other people. I wanted to get love, while God was teaching me to give love."

You can read it all here.

There's also a good series on the same site for brides entitled, "Reflections for a Bride". It's an eight-part series and it starts here.

Good stuff. GOOD. STUFF.




On the subject of learning from one's mistakes, I will listening to a part of an online radio show a little while ago. I found this part to be really pivotal. And cool:  

"How many people do you allow you help you see? You only have two eyes. Two eyes often aren't enough when we've made a mistake. Because either we want to deny it, want to minimize it, wanna say, 'You know it's not really that big a deal.' OR WE EVEN JUST WANT TO SAY IT'S NOT A MISTAKE. Or, you're gonna spend your time in that really destructive backwards glance where you get a stiff neck 'cause you're spending so much time being consumed by the mistake you made. So the advantage of having someone else's eyes in the mix with you...you need someone to think about it with you....WHAT MIGHT THE LESSON BE?...So that you can look at your mistake in a more broader, more wholesome context."

If you want to check out the program, in its entirety, go here.

And with that said, if you're ready to stop *going back to your mistakes* (more and more, I am fascinated by people who *go back* to things), here are some cool excerpts from an article entitled, "How to Learn from Your Mistakes":

The four kinds of mistakes
One way to categorize mistakes is into these categories:

Stupid: Absurdly dumb things that just happen. Stubbing your toe, dropping your pizza on your neighbor’s fat cat or poking yourself in the eye with a banana.

Simple: Mistakes that are avoidable but your sequence of decisions made inevitable. Having the power go out in the middle of your party because you forgot to pay the rent, or running out of beer at said party because you didn’t anticipate the number of guests.

Involved: Mistakes that are understood but require effort to prevent. Regularly arriving late to work/friends, eating fast food for lunch every day, or going bankrupt at your start-up company because of your complete ignorance of basic accounting.

Complex: Mistakes that have complicated causes and no obvious way to avoid next time. Examples include making tough decisions that have bad results, relationships that fail, or other unpleasant or unsatisfying outcomes to important things.

The learning from mistakes checklist:

Accepting responsibility makes learning possible.
Don’t equate making mistakes with being a mistake.
You can’t change mistakes, but you can choose how to respond to them.
Growth starts when you can see room for improvement.
Work to understand why it happened and what the factors were.
What information could have avoided the mistake?
What small mistakes, in sequence, contributed to the bigger mistake?
Are there alternatives you should have considered but did not?
What kinds of changes are required to avoid making this mistake again?What kinds of change are difficult for you?
How do you think your behavior should/would change in you were in a similar situation again?
Work to understand the mistake until you can make fun of it (or not want to kill others that make fun).
Don’t over-compensate: the next situation won’t be the same as the last.

It's an "ouch!" word, but a Word nonetheless:

"You're not getting by with anything. Every refusal and avoidance of God adds fuel to the fire. The day is coming when it's going to blaze hot and high, God's fiery and righteous judgment. Make no mistake: In the end you get what's coming to you—Real Life for those who work on God's side, but to those who insist on getting their own way and take the path of least resistance, Fire!"---Romans 2:5-8(Message)

I'll be *the first* to attest to the fact that Adonai doesn't let us "skip a grade". We will remain, on some level, in the same space until we *really learn*. Look for the lessons of your past, apply those tools to your present, in preparation for blessed promotions in the future. IN.THAT.ORDER. (Psalm 37:23)



"On Fire": Shapeshifters Tend to Date Chameleons (and Vice Versa)

"We must break the cycle before it breaks us."---Angela Bininger

Redundant: characterized by verbosity or unnecessary repetition in expressing ideas; prolix

Unnecessary repetition. UNNECESSARY. REPETITION.

Repetition: the act of repeating; repeated  action, performance, production, or presentation

I've been giving this a lot of thought since revisiting a video from "The Onion" that I checked out during my FB days. It's witty. And familial. And...when I think about a lot of my past and a lot of people that I know in re: to their present, *quite unfortunate*. And revelatory:

If you're not familiar with the term (or don't have time to watch the tape) a shapeshifter is "The same person who takes different physical form." ALL OF THEM HATE COMMITMENT AND WOULD ALL SOONER SHIFT SHAPE AGAIN THAN TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS.

You know what's been a trip? For about the past 6-9 months or so, I've been hearing various *married sources*, both male (husbands) and female (wives), say that if you're in your 30s, especially if you're over 35, and dating someone for over a year and a *clear decision, through their actions (not words), towards marriage is not being made*, then it's probably not going to be; that *grown folks* don't have a reason to drag their feet on such an issue. Especially if there is a desire to start a family. That was just further confirmed when I read an article on issue re: dating myths with its #2 one being this:

2.The longer you date, the better you will get to know him/her. There comes a point where the economics idea of 'law of diminishing returns' kicks in. It always pains me when I hear that a couple has been dating for two, three or more years. I recall the time that a couple told me they had been dating for a very lengthy time. I asked them, 'What more information do the two of you need to have before you can make a decision?' They broke up soon after. (He ended up finding someone and is happily married; not sure what happened to her.)

Assuming you are not in a long-distance relationship, you can gather enough information about another in 3 - 6 months to know if you can make a happy life with this person or not. It does not mean you have to get married right away, but if you date properly - actively and not passively - you can get to know a person quite well pretty quickly. What I mean by actively dating is that your dates are not about fun or hanging in Starbucks but doing those things where you can see the person in real life situations so you can properly assess their personality and see what makes them tick.

The belief that living together to get a proper sense of another is falls into this myth. Your goal is not to examine every idiosyncrasy of another. Actually it will just give you plenty of reason not to marry another. As Rebbetzin Heller of Jerusalem remarks, given that every human being has faults and it is endemic to the human condition, deciding whom you are going to marry is just as much about deciding which faults you are willing to live with for the rest of your life.

So don't think you need years upon years to be a 1000% certain that this is the right one. Rather do those things necessary to allow you to see the true nature and personality of another person."

If you watch the video, one of the things that a shapeshifter has in common with other ones, no matter the type, is that they will do what they can to avoid making a long-term commitment. And do you know what amazes me? That *so many women* will remain with these kinds of people, anyway. Over and over again. And then when they look back on the *very precious time* that they spent on an investment that didn't bring about the kind of return they would've liked to have, they want to imply victimization from the guy, when it's often *self-inflicted emotional damage* that's been done. Because they didn't do the work that it takes to change the "I'm dating a shapeshifter" pattern.

And how does that start? STOP BEING A CHAMELEON:

Chameleon: a changeable, fickle, or inconstant person

It was Roy Disney who once said that, "It's not hard to make a decision when you know what your values are." Since "On Fire" has been...well...*on fire*, there are a lot of women who have written me saying that they are praying re: if the guy that peaks their interest is "the one". And yet, just in that quote alone, a lot of seeking can be eliminated, right?

If you value abstinence and the guy wants to have a sexual relationship, then, at the very least, the prayer should be, "Give me the power to leave him *completely alone* as I pray for his strength to live a life of sexual purity through his own personal convictions." Let the Woman talking to the serpent at the tree (Genesis 3) be a big enough indicator that you don't minister to demonic spirits. You speak Scripture, take your way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13) and *flee youthful lusts* (2 Timothy 2:22). That's not just the *act*, but the *spirit* as well.

If you value your time and the guy is not speaking in "we" terms re: *his* future, if he doesn't desire to be married any time soon, if you get a lot of words but no active follow-through (the Word, which is God [John 1:1], says that we are to love in *deed* and in *truth* [I John 3:18]), if you're not treated like a *top priority*, if you find yourself doing most of the work to make the relationship last (calling, traveling, giving, etc.), then, at the very least, the prayer should be, "Lord, please help me to stop acting like *I'm already this man's wife*. Until he is my husband, he deserves the same amount of time and investment as a friend would. And even then, if it's a *healthy friendship*. Help me to always remember that."

If you value your salvation and the guy you're dating does not make his personal walk with the *entire Godhead* (I John 4:1) his utmost area of personal accountability, then, at the very least, the prayer should be, "God, please help me to stop romanticizing something that your Word has made clear is not your will for my life. You said not to be yoked to darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). To ignore that would be to be partaking in a form of idolatry (Exodus 20:3). That does not please you." I think I've mentioned before that while I am more than aware that *a lot of the married couples* in the Bible were *initially* of different faiths (Moses and Zipporah, Boaz and Ruth, etc.), only one time do I recall it being the *woman* who was the believer and the *man* was the unbeliever and that was in the case with Queen Esther and King Xerses. The first point: she had a mission to save her people. Marrying him was a lot about that and two, no where is it recorded that she birthed a child. That said, I can't help but to wonder if some of that was because she was a Jew and mixing that heritage with a pagan was not something that God wanted to transpire. That's *Esther's* testimony and she was blessed in her obedience. However, sometimes---shoot, most times---*we* need to be *ever so cautious and careful* that we don't always the Liar (John 8:44) to deceive us into thinking that our "obedience" is actually an unnecessary *sacrifice* (I Samuel 15:22). Contradicting the Word to make a relationship work...*doesn't work*.

So, what does this have to do with a chameleon? Glad you asked.

Something that I have realized in my own life, when it comes to the *majority of men* from my past, is that one thing that had in common is that they were not ready for a commitment. Now, that doesn't mean that all of them did not commit on some level. *That means they all were severely lacking in some area to make a commitment last*. Where *my chameleon* tendency showed up was that I often put *my values* to the side to make the (so-called) relationship work. Or at the very least, *last longer*. What was of "relative worth, merit, or importance" (a definition of "value") to me, started going lower and lower on my priority list and yes, in doing that, I was being "changeable, fickle and inconstant". IN YOUR SINGLE STATE, *NO ONE* SHOULD BE SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU WOULD EVEN *CONSIDER* COMPROMISING YOUR VALUES. Now, I didn't say your ideas or opinions. I said your *values*. The moment that begins to happen, you start becoming what the person *wants*, often at the expense of losing site and focus on what you *need*.

This is how a woman can look up a year into the relationship with no real clarity on its direction.

This is how a woman can look up three years into a relationship and realize that she did eighty-percent of the work.

This is how a woman can look up five years into a relationship with nothing really to show for it. But another *boyfriend* to add to her relationship resume.

This is how a woman can look up at the end of the relationship with more regret than gratitude.

This is how a woman can look up and realize that she while she may have been (acting like) someone's *wife*, she never had a *husband*. 

Christians don't *play house*. They *get married*.

And this all doesn't just happen because she's been dating a man that won't change, but because she's going through all kinds of changes to accommodate that man---and his stagnation. Therefore, a shapeshifter can't really have a relationship with any woman *unless* she's a chameleon. Unless she's inconstant with who she is so that she can cater to the foolishness that he does.

Another calendar year is winding down. I've stated before that the root, biblically, for "11" is "dis" and "disassociate" is definitely a word that comes to mind. Something that I've been embracing, more and more in my own life, is to make the blessings that the Lord desires to bestow upon me *as easy for him* as possible. In other words, I don't want to be praying and then throwing up obstacles...hindrances...chameleon-like tendencies.

My prayer, deeply and sincerely, for the "On Fire" sistahs...is that your sentiments are the same.

Know your values. Don't *shift* from them. It's so unnecessary.

ykl, tmm...


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention: WORD AND QUOTE OF THE DAY

After reading this just now, the Word for the Day is COMMITTED:

"You can’t commit to someone that’s not committing – for you to commit to someone, they’ve got to commit to you, otherwise you’re uncommitted." 

Committed: to pledge or engage oneself; to give in trust or charge; consign; to consign for preservation; to pledge (oneself) to a position on an issue or question; express (one's intention, feeling, etc.); to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge; to entrust, especially for safekeeping; commend

Amazing how many women are in relationships all by themselves all because they don't understand the *pure wisdom* behind that quote. Amazing how many women *waste* days of their lives that they won't ever get back by not *requiring* a commitment (especially if you're past 35, a boyfriend for years is *not* a healthy commitment!). Amazing how often most of us overlook the fact that no where in the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), does it tell us that we should commit to a man before committing to the Lord, therefore (wow!) putting us in uncommitments because we're uncommitted : 

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."---Psalm 37:4-5(NKJV)

"Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established."---Proverbs 16:3(NKJV) 

"Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator."---I Peter 4:19(NKJV)


Amazing how devastated a lot of women end up being all because they entrusted their time, their heart, their plans to a *person* rather than the Lord. FIRST. He is the best gatekeeper, heart-tenderer, boundary-establisher, need-meeter, want-giver...MATE SELECTOR.

The cool thing about doing things in a decent order (I Corinthians 14:40) is that you can *be sure* that if you commit to Elohim, the Godhead is a male entity that will readily, totally and undoubtedly commit to you. With them you can be in a safe, sacred and secure committed relationship and with their help, they will go to the ends of the earth to make sure that your covenant partner *commits* to no less!

Well...I'm off to complete the piece of chameleons.

In the meantime...stay committed.



Monday, December 5, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention: TOXIC. REVISITED.

Well. NOW. (LOL)

Not sure what the Spirit (John 4:24) is up to in the sense of why this is on me so strong today, but...two words that he wants me to expound on are "TOXIC" and "CHAMELEON". I will try and pen the latter later tonight. We'll go with toxic for now.

According to Dictionary.com, when you're in something toxic it's defined as being "poisonous", "harmful", "deadly" or (and I love this right here!) "pertaining to or noting debt that will probably not be repaid". I know, right? Investing in things where you will not get a return? That is considered *toxic*.

So, let's start with a good read that I checked out earlier today, "How To Avoid Being A Toxic Person: 13 Simple Tips". It's a really good list. The only thing that I would add is *pay attention to the people around you who don't follow the things on this list*. You don't hang around individuals with the flu when you don't want to catch it, right? *Exactly*. Anyway, the quickie version is below. You can go to the link, though, for the explanations that the author provides for each one. *Definitely* something to think about. A few times.

1) Say Thank You
2) Say Only What You Mean
3) Clearly State What You Want
4) Say Something Nice To An Unknown Person
5) Don’t Gossip
6) No Regrets (in the context he's speaking of, I'll cosign it)
7) Pay Attention To People Around You
8) Help Somebody Around
9) Give Your Time To What’s Important
10) Let Go Of The Unneeded
11) Avoid Procrastination
12) Don’t Talk Bad About Yourself
13) Don’t Enter A Fight

Next up: "6 Types of Toxic Friends and How You Can Deal with Them". I'll tell you what: SET THE CAPTIVES FREE (LOL)! Real talk? A lot of times if you have these kinds of people in your personal life, it's because you share their characteristics. You'd be amazed how much my social circle changed when I stopped, for instance, being overly-critical. I mean, he who has friends must first show himself friendly (Proverbs 18:24), right? He who has *healthy friends* must strive to become (and remain) healthy too. On this one, I'll provide the "type" along with the first paragraph. Go to the link if you want to learn/read more:

1. The Promise Breaker

This friend constantly disappoints you or breaks promises, most likely because she herself was constantly disappointed during her formative years. Your friend is unable to stop herself from repeating that pattern. It is an annoying but comfortable pattern for your friend, and without psychological help, it may be hard for her or him to alter this pattern. You could abandon the friend and the friendship, or you could find a way to detach yourself by lowering your expectations for this friendship. If she promises to do something for you, even to meet you for a cup of coffee, you can say, "Sure," but protect yourself by knowing, in the back of your mind, that this friend "nine times out of 10" is going to cancel on you.

2. The Double-crosser

This negative friend betrays you big-time. It could happen when someone does something to hurt you, such as spreading a malicious rumor about you. Or it could be an emotional double-cross; for example, when a close or best friend stops speaking to you and you never find out why...

3. The Self-absorbed

Certainly the Self-absorbed is a tamer type of negative friend than the Risk-taker. Still, especially over the long haul, a friend who does not make the time to listen to you will eat away at your self-esteem. For you to feel good about yourself, and for your friendship to thrive, you have to be more than a sounding board. The Self-absorbed does not care; she listens to you only because she is waiting to speak.

4. The Discloser

When you say to this friend, "This is just between us," she nods her head but unfortunately that promise will last only as long as it takes her to get to her phone or e-mail. Although there should be an assumption of confidentiality and trust between friends, this friend can't help herself. Telling this person a secret makes her feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Like the game "hot potato," she has to pass the hot secret along to someone else in order to relieve the anxiety knowing the secret made her feel. There are also some Disclosers who simply have a big mouth. If someone you know has this personality trait, avoid telling her your innermost secret -- unless you don't mind if it's shared with the world.

5. The Competitor

A little bit of competition is healthy and to be expected. An appropriate amount of competition will motivate and stimulate. But too much competition between friends starts to destroy the friendship. One of the primary ingredients in a positive friendship is that one or both friends feel that they can be "themselves" and that they don't have to put on airs or impress one another. Competition implies a race in which one wins and the other loses; those conditions are quite the opposite of what someone typically expects in a positive friendship, especially a close or best one.

6. The Fault-finder

Nothing you do, say, or wear is good enough for this overly critical friend. The Fault-finder was probably raised by extremely judgmental parents who were also rearing equally hypercritical siblings. Being criticized during her formative years laid the groundwork for an overly critical adult. It's a hard trait to reverse, and your friend may even be unaware that she is so critical or that it annoys and upsets you so much. Before labeling this type of friendship as hopelessly destructive, you might want to see if your friend could recognize this excessively derogatory behavior and, with time and help, change that orientation. Otherwise, you may decide that you just have to accept this trait in your friend and realize that it reflects on her, not on you or your friendship.

And I'm sure you know what's next on deck: "Signs That Your Relationship Is Toxic". That article has 36 of 'em. These three really stood out to me: "Your thoughts, opinions, accomplishments, wants and needs are devalued", "You have changed things about your-Self to suit your partner, even when it's not your taste" and "You think it's up to you to make the relationship work". Oh, and an honorable mention: "You keep secrets about your relationship from others who love you because they wouldn't understand". Uh-huh. *Shady things* are kept in the dark. However, it is this article below that I *really dig* because it was written by a man for women when it comes to knowing if their relationship is poisonous and harmful:

1) Every conversation turns into an argument.
2) One or both of you have serious trust issues.
3) The relationship feels like a routine. 
4) The relationship brings you more stress than joy.
5) You frequently contemplate walking away.

And do you know what? So often people remain toxic, in harmful friendships or in poorly-invested relationships while saying that they are waiting to hear from the Lord on if they should make some changes. Yeah. Well. Here's the thing about that: if you research signs of how God communicates with us, one that *many* will list (such as this one) is the fact that he will use other people. And you know tickles me about *that very fact*? While typing this, in my inbox, I get the an article entitled, "The Right Decision Doesn’t Always Feel Good". In Twitter world, that's what: #CONFIRMATION.

The thing about poison is that based on the potency and the dosage, sometimes you can immediately spot it and sometimes...it just wears on you. Choose wisely. Toxic, internally or externally, is never a part of God's plan for you and your life. *Not ever*.



Sunday, December 4, 2011


Amazing how deception sets in...for *so many*...so easily...

All day, I've been hearing, "Fairytale. Now go and look it up" in my spirit. And so, I did:

Fairytale: a story about fairies; told to amuse children; an interesting but highly implausible story; often told as an excuse

Synonyms: absurd, bizarre, curious, dreamlike, fictional, flaky, imaginative, kinky, mythical, off beat, pipe dream, poetic, preposterous, shadowy, unreal, visionary, whimsical, wild

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. How many times have you heard a woman say, "I want the fairytale." They want childlike amusement? They want to live an interestingly unrealistic kind of life? *Really?!?* Oh, and I went and looked up the definition of "implausible" too:

Implausible: not plausible; not having the appearance of truth or credibility

So, they want to live out the kind of relationship that has no appearance of truth or credibility? Yeah. Whomever said that "Marriage is not a fairytale", they were speaking more biblical truth (John 8:32) than they probably thought. Bottom line...

1) Be sure in your prayers, you seek godly *understanding* re: just what you are praying for (Proverbs 4:7).

2) Be willing to accept the fact that what you say you want is not always what you really mean and so therefore...

3) Trust that when the Holy Spirit edits your prayer requests, that is an act of *mercy* rather than *rejection* (Romans 8:26-27).

Personally, I've never really been big on fairytales. *Now*, more than ever, I see why.

Yep. Marriage ain't a fairytale.What it *is*, though, is a union that is ordained by Adonai.

That's the truth and God grants us things based in truth.

Not fairy dust...and castles...and Prince Charmings (charm is deceitful, remember?-Proverbs 31:30).

Pray wisely.


Friday, December 2, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention: "Looking for Love: Marrying a Non-Christian"

Earlier today...

I sent an email to a spiritual sistah of mine re: her relationship with a non-believer. Here is an excerpt:

"I will say this: when it's of God, warnings don't come. PRAISES DO. You've been getting *a lot of warnings*. Externally and internally"...

Also, real talk, I've been consistent in saying that most of the people in the Bible were the classic definition of 'unequally yoked' (Boaz and Ruth, Moses and Zipporah, Esau and Ishmael's daughter). But you know what? Now that I think about it, only one time do I recall that it was *the man* who was not a believer (Queen Esther's case in marrying King Xerses and she was called to deliver an entire nation AND didn't have children...a part of me wonders if that was due to the bloodline of a woman marrying a non-Jewish man. HMPH.)."...

I'm not sure if God IS speaking. I think he HAS spoken on the matter, though. He's loving. He's patient. He's longsuffering. Just because he's not *pushing you*, that doesn't mean that he doesn't want you to move."

This urgency came upon me after reading an article from a woman who married a non-believer. Man, talk about a *very thorough red flag checklist* to consider. BEFOREHAND. This quote (featured in the piece) is a keeper: "Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener." WHEW:

"As they say, 'love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener'. I now realize we actually discussed very little before we married. We were more interested in the physical side of things, although I made sure that we didn’t go 'all the way'.

Here are some issues I now know I should have considered or that I would have had to consider if I were to marry in this present era.

    * A born again believer cannot share the most important part of her life – the spiritual part – that part of her that has been united with Christ – with her husband.

    * If Christ is not the center of your husband’s life, then who or what is? (In Bob’s case it was himself)

    * If your husband’s moral values aren’t based on the Bible, then what ARE they based on? What does HE believe about controversial issues such as abortion, divorce, drugs, euthanasia?

    * Even closer to home, what does HE believe about how children should be disciplined? (Bob said 'You smack them – then they can hate you.')

    * And speaking of the children, will your husband agree with your sending them to Sunday School, taking them to church, taking part in whatever rites your church practices; or will he say that children should not be brain-washed with religion, but should be allowed to wait until they are adult, and can then make up their own minds?

    * If your husband is not familiar with the idea of having a 'Quiet Time' – a time you spend in reading your Bible and talking to God – is he willing to give you the time and privacy you want for this?

    * If you going through a time when you’re not on speaking terms with God, how will you explain to your husband why you are down in the dumps, and don’t feel like talking? Because if you try to tell him, he won’t be able to understand, because in 1 Corinthians 2:14 the Bible tells us:
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (Bob’s reaction? 'What the #@*!* are you crying about now?')

    * And speaking about this verse; how will he react if you tell him 'I believe God wants me to join a church in a different suburb.' (Bob said, 'You only want to go to that suburb for its snob value.')

    * Come to think of it, how are you going to explain any of God’s guidance?

    * How will your husband react if, as you mature in Christ, the Lord convicts you to stop certain practices that you currently have no qualms about?

    * Will there be any disagreement about the way you celebrate Christmas and Easter? Not every Christian makes a fuss over Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. (Of course my grandkids preferred their grandfather, because HE knew that Christmas and Easter were meant to be exciting times, with visits to Santa Claus, and gifts from Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.)

    * Will you agree on, or argue about, things like Christmas cards (The Babe in the Manger or Santa Claus), playing Bingo, buying Lotto tickets, watching R-rated shows on the TV, etc.? (Bob used to put lottery tickets inside Christmas cards that said things like 'May The Prince of Peace Be With You At This Holy Time'!)

    * What if he wants to go to – or even take you to – erotic floor-shows, etc? Since you are Christ’s, He indwells you. So Christ goes wherever you go.

    * What if he buys you sex manuals that suggest that things like 'threesomes' are fun?

    * If you decline to watch television shows you find offensive, will your husband understand, or will he feel that in rejecting that show, you are rejecting him?

    * Has your husband had any involvement with the occult? Does he believe that astrology, fortune telling, ouija boards etc, are just innocent fun? Is he a member of a secret society?

    * What if his family’s life style is different from yours? (Bob’s people were lovely, but they always invited visitors to go to the local club and play Bingo, and the pokies. I don’t drink and I don’t gamble.)

    * If you believe in giving 10% (often called a 'tithe'), of your earnings to the church, how will your husband feel about it?

    * What will happen when your husband’s planned activities for Sunday are on at the same time as your church’s services? Who gets to use the car?

    * What do YOU see as being the respective roles of husband and wife? Does your husband agree with you? (Bob was VERY aware that God expected me to obey him, since I had promised to.)

    * When a major decision has to be made, who will have the final say, and on what principles will that decision be made? (Naturally I yielded to Bob. His criteria – whatever suited him best.)

    * One example of this could well be your children’s schooling. If you want to send your children to a Christian school, will your spouse: a) Agree to this? b) Be willing to share the financial burden involved?

    * How will your husband’s indifference to the Lord affect your own spiritual growth? (How greatly – and how adversely – this affected me will show up more in Marriage in a Minor Key. The over-riding phrase as far as I was concerned was 'bitterness towards God'.)

    * Are you quietly saying to yourself: 'I really love this person, and I know that he is a good-hearted person. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he comes to know the Lord'? Many people have been mistaken about this.

    * Does he say that, although he doesn’t believe in God, he’s happy for you to be as religious as you want to? Do you know what God’s word says about people who don’t believe in Him? Psalm 53 says:
The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. Do you REALLY want to marry a fool?

    * With so many homes these days not only having personal computers, but also having access to the Internet, will your husband agree with you as to what kind of information to download to your hard-drive? I’m not thinking only of obvious things like pornography. I am also thinking of material that is, by its very nature, anti-Christian., e.g. anything to do with the occult."

You can read the rest of this *great article* here.

The Lord got me clear a long time ago about the difference in praying and *preying* and sometimes, whether we realize (or is it accept?) it or not, when we want something that *clearly speaks against God's Word, will and way*, we will attempt to even (gasp!) *prey upon God* until we feel like he will give us what we want. Yeah. And here's the scary thing about *that*: "And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." (Psalm 106:15-NKJV)

When a relationship is unhealthy (i.e., in this case, *spiritually incompatible*), there is no "weaning off". Clean breaks are best. The waiting game is a dangerous game because more time only makes you more attached, which leads you to becoming less willing to do what's best for your soul and more desirous to do what your flesh (some people would say "heart") longs for. And flesh? It can't be trusted. *Ever* (Jeremiah 17:9)

Hey, but if you need more than mine, this woman and the Bible's take on the matter, feel free to get some more *Christian counsel* on the matter. There's safety there. And also according to the Bible, people *fall* without it (Proverbs 11:14) and that's usually because they are *too prideful* (Proverbs 16:18) to get outside of their own voice.

This is a good time of the year to clean (and clear) some things up.

I'll keep prayin'.