Sunday, December 30, 2012

"On Fire": The "On Fire" Theme Word for 2013 Is BEAUTIFUL



"O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners!"---Song of Solomon 6:4(NKJV)

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others."---Sam Levenson


Well...

As we prepare to enter into 2013, as I prayed about the "On Fire" women, the word that the Spirit (John 4:24) gave me was simply "BEAUTIFUL". Oh, but it comes with a bit of a twist.

In a lot of the marriage counseling sessions that I partake in, there are two things that tend to be pretty consistent: One, the wives want their husbands to fill voids that God did not create a husband to do ("make me feel pretty", "make me feel special", "make me feel loved"). A husband doesn't come to *make* love; he comes to protect and help nurture the love that a woman should already feel for herself. (Mark 12:30-31) Remember, I John 4:8&16 tells us that "God is love" and a man is not God. If you don't love yourself, that is something that *God* and you need to work out *way before* your husband arrives. Otherwise, you are going to attempt to make a god out of "him" and not only is that a form of idolatry (Exodus 20:3), but it's also extremely unrealistic (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) and unfair. The second thing that tends to be a constant is that women do not *listen for* a man to *see her for who she really is* BEFORE she gets married.

That's what I like so much about Song of Solomon 6:4. The Shulamite woman's beloved was a lot like Adam (Genesis 2:23) and Boaz (Ruth 3:10-11) in the sense that he recognized her as being *his beautiful one*. As beautiful as Tizrah (which we'll get into in just a sec), as lovely as the birthplace of Christ and as awesome as an army full of banners. The Shulamite woman did not have to manipulate, nag, beg, convince or compromise who she *naturally was as a woman* in order for her beloved to see her in that manner. *Just by being herself*, he did it *all on his own*.

OK, but being that "beautiful" is the "theme word" for 2013, let's spend some time at Tizrah for a moment. When I read that, in my mind I thought, "And just how beautiful *is that?*" 

If you're not familiar with Tizrah, according to the Torah, the first time that the name is mentioned is in Numbers 26:33. Tizrah is a woman who happened to be one of the daughters of Zelophehad. Her name literally means "she is my delight". So, that said, let's stop there for a moment.

Biblically, there is something very *relevant* about the word "delight". As most of us know, Psalm 37:4(NKJV) states "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." The New Century Version of that same verse puts it this way: "
Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want." Hmph. It's "amazingly sad" how often we put the "cart" before the "horse" isn't it? The Word tells us *clearly* that in order to get what we want, there has to not just be a serving of the Lord but an *enjoyment* in doing it and if a lot of us are really honest about where we are in our walk, we'd have to admit (James 5:16) that just this alone shows that we are our biggest hindrance when it comes to getting what our hearts so long for. Yet, there's something deeper and bigger to that word "delight" and so I decided to dig a bit further.

Delight: a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture; something that gives great pleasure; to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly

So, challenge #1 for 2013: Whatever it is that you purpose to do that will serve God, make sure it's something that you actually *delight* in. Sometimes, we are so "churched" and "religiously indoctrinated" that we think that we have to do ministry in a way that is traditional, but remember that the Word tells us that when we sow sparingly, we reap sparingly and when we sow abundantly, we reap abundantly; that it's not simply a "giver" that God loves but a *cheerful giver* (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). If you are not a big "God server" or if you are finding yourself to be a bit drained or even miserable when it comes to the kind of serving that you're currently doing, then that's your cue to seek some divine wisdom (James 1:5) on where you need to be so that you can serve God in a way that will bring you a high degree of pleasure, satisfaction and enjoyment. Take it from me, ministry can be some *really hard work*; however, when you're where you're supposed to be, it can also bring forth a lot of joy. In basically every facet that I serve in, I have joy. My areas are a good fit. God takes my personality, schedule, views, background...*everything* into account (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP).

Let's keep going...

OK, so the Shulamite woman's beloved said that she was as beautiful as Tizrah, which basically means that she was as beautiful as she was a delight...*to him*.

Challenge #2 for 2013: There is nothing *more beautiful* than a happy woman. If you are someone who is waiting on a guy to make you happy, then you are not just someone who is going to be disappointed a lot, but you're also going to be someone who is going to get on a man's *last* nerve sooner than later. There is a working peer of mine who says one of my favorite things about the physical beauty of a woman (for the sake of the blog, I'll clean it up a bit-LOL): "The most beautiful woman in the world is somewhere getting on a man's last nerve." Indeed! Physical beauty is fleeting (Proverbs 31:10). Therefore, find what makes you have pleasure and satisfaction within yourself. Make it a priority to get pampered. Create a budget that includes manis/pedis and manicures. Set goals as it relates to caring for your human trinity (mind, body and spirit). Find ways to *delight in yourself*. When you can look in the mirror and make your own self blush from your progress in how you are able to *recognize your own beauty*, you will radiate in a way that will make a man, your man, *the one* also say that you are as beautiful as you are delightful (in his own way).

Let's keep going...

So Tizrah was one of the five daughters of a man who had no sons. Those five women are pretty well known and honored, especially in Jewish culture, because they "bucked the system" in the sense that since their dad had no sons to pass down his inheritance, it went to them (Numbers 36). When I prayed about what the Spirit wanted me to see in that part of the story, this is what he gave me:

Challenge #3 for 2013: Don't wait on a man for you to get certain things in this life. You know how some of us can be: "I'll get a house when I get a husband" or "I'll travel the world when I get a husband" or "I'll start my dream job when I get a husband". I *love* that Zelophehad’s daughters were not discredited, even as single women; that they had an inheritance in store for them regardless of their status. The Most High (Genesis 14:19) is still the God of inheritances even today. Just as King David once prayed, "O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot" (Psalm 16:5-NKJV), we can be at peace with the same kind of resolve. An inheritance is defined as being "portion; birthright; heritage". Your name speaks (in part) to your birthright. I Peter 2:9 tells us that believers are of a royal priesthood; that speaks to your heritage. And as far as your portion, well, this is the "lane" that we all should be in: "'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'" (Lamentations 3:24-NKJV) Being that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord (James 1:17), what a blessing it is that we can know that his portions for us are *good and perfect* as well (Psalm 84:11).

And we're still going...

If you read all of  Numbers 36, you will better understand what transpired regarding the daughters and their inheritance. Basically, it was imperative for them to *choose wisely* when it came to their husbands because if they chose out of their own tribe, the inherited land would leave their family's lineage:

"Then Moses gave the Israelites this command from the Lord: 'These men from the tribe of Joseph are right. This is the Lord’s command to Zelophehad’s daughters: You may marry anyone you wish, as long as the person is from your own tribe. In this way the Israelites’ land will not pass from tribe to tribe, and each Israelite will keep the land in the tribe that belonged to his ancestors. A woman who inherits her father’s land may marry, but she must marry someone from her own tribe. In this way every Israelite will keep the land that belonged to his ancestors. The land must not pass from tribe to tribe, and each Israelite tribe will keep the land it received from its ancestors.'

Zelophehad’s daughters obeyed the Lord’s command to Moses."---Numbers 36:5-10(NCV)

Those women were told by God via the messenger Moses that they could marry whoever they wanted *so long as the man was from their own tribe*; that in order to keep their birthright, heritage and portion, they had to marry someone again, *from their own tribe*. Hmph. Sounds a lot like this, doesn't it:

"O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.'

Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate', says the Lord. 'Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters', says the Lord Almighty."---2 Corinthians 6:11-18(NKJV)

First up: stay with believers (Mark 9:23), with light (Matthew 5:14), with those who are in a relationship with Christ (I John 4:1-3)...with those who walk in agreement with the fact that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:20). *These are the people who Adonai considers to be his sons and daughters. You are to marry a man within that kind of tribe*.

Yet, there is one more qualifier on this:


Tribe: any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc.

Challenge #4 for 2013: There is the family of God and then there is being a woman who is really *suitable* for her husband (Genesis 2:18-AMP). Some women are so consumed with getting a husband that they don't even make it a priority to know if they are actually *compatible* to him. Some of that is about him being a Christian (actually, a *disciple*-John 8:31-32), sure. However, do you see how another part of the definition of a tribe is "a community of customs and traditions"? What tribe do you come from? What kind of customs and traditions, even outside of your faith, do you partake in and adhere to? In other words, what makes you tick and what kind of abundant life (John 10:10) do you *individually* (Psalm 33:15) subscribe to? That's really important to know *before* you link your life to another. Your lifestyles need to be...congruent. Spend some time knowing *what tribe you come from* so that when the time comes, you can pick from not *a tribe* but *your tribe*.

And finally, Challenge #5 for 2013: The theme word for 2013 is beautiful, right?

Beautiful: having beauty; having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind; excellent of its kind; wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying

Yeah. Well. I'm pretty sure that it goes without saying that if *you* don't think that you're beautiful, it's kind of ridiculous (and hypocritical) to expect someone else to. Yet, the bigger point here is that look at how much "beautiful" and "delight" have in common. They both speak to pleasure and satisfaction and here's the thing: One of my absolutely favorite verses in the Bible is right here: 
 
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end."---Ecclesiastes 3:11(NKJV)

You know what this shows me? BEAUTIFUL IS A PROCESS and it comes into *full fruition* in its time. And here's the other point: When it comes to how we see ourselves, our lives, the world and yes, God's customized "love story" we don't have to "make it happen". GOD MAKES IT HAPPEN. All we have to do is acknowledge him as being our Creator and then follow his instructions *as he gives them* (Proverbs 3:5-6) all the while having the *total and complete faith* (Hebrews 11) that *he will make things be of great pleasure and satisfaction* for us.  This is why Psalm 16:11(NKJV) states "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" and Psalm 145:16(NKJV) tells us "You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing."

And doesn't *that* take a load off?  Far too often we are trying to do what's not our job and ignoring what actually is: Manifestation is God's job. Obedience is ours. When we obey the Creator of what's beautiful, he manifests beautiful things in our lives; things that will delight our senses, things that are excellent, things that are wonderful...things that are *very pleasing and satisfying*. So many women try to "make up" a beautiful relationship rather than allow time to cause it to become beautiful. 

Good word, Divine Spirit. I hear you.

OK Ladies. That's the last message for 2012.

Here's to *really receiving* this "spiritual forecast". 

Come rain or shine (Matthew 5:45), in God's time, know that he's out to make you and everything around you...

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!

tmm,

SRW


Sunday, December 23, 2012

"On Fire": EXCERPT OF THE DAY


The entire article is *stellar*, but I wanted to share this part as a teaser:


"If you feeling rejected is about the other person’s behavior / feelings which belong to them, they’re not rejecting you.

If you feeling rejected is about this person not being or doing what you expected, wanted, or needed in spite of you engaging in people pleasing behavior, they’re still not rejecting you because you weren’t being you anyway. How can somebody reject who you are and were, if you weren’t being this anyway? It’s like being angry at someone for not accepting a misrepresentation of you.

If you feeling rejected is about you deciding that this person has the power to determine your worth or giving away power to get them to love you or because you don’t want to basically own your own and step up, they’re still not rejecting you. You’re giving this person the power and it is you who has decided that the meaning of whatever they’ve been and done is a negative indicator of your worth, but self-worth like self-esteem has the word ‘self’ in it for a reason – because it comes from you so you actually have a choice about how you choose to value you and you don’t have to give people power that they don’t have a right to. Have you noticed that you can’t go around telling people what their worth is? And that’s not because of your own worth; it’s because it’s not your place and you don’t have that power and neither does this person who you’ve granted this level of authority to.

If you feeling rejected is based on a foundation of false beliefs, they’re still not rejecting you because if you were being more realistic and truthful, that rejection would change, shrink, and possibly even disappear. Even what you might feel is a ‘small’ element of distortion can cause rejection to hang around for a long time. If there’s high self-blame, you’re not being truthful. Fact. If you were, you’d own your own and let them own theirs.

The impact of rejection is wholly and solely driven by what happens between the event or a person’s behavior / what they say and your interpretation and any judgment(s) that you make about you.

What makes rejection take on a life of its own is feeding it with our judgment of ourselves. We could kill a rejection stone cold if only we’d pour some reality and self-compassion on it."---Give Yourself The Gift of Self-Compassion: Stop Judging You & The Rejection Will Subside

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"On Fire": A God FedEx for Those Standing Under the Mistletoe Alone...





 "Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart."---Psalm 10:17(NKJV)


Those who know me...

Know that I'm not the "Christmas on crack" (LOL) kind of gal. There are a lot of reasons for it. I'm a deep thinker and researcher and that pretty much sums it up. However, I remember a few years ago, when I interviewed a Jewish woman who was married to a Christian man (they observe what they call "Chrismahanukah"), she said, "I don't get a lot of the paganism behind why and how Christians observe Christmas, but if it's going to be the one time of the year when people are going to act like they've got some sense and be peaceful towards one another, I'm definitely down for celebrating that."

ME. TOO. ;-)

And so, while my head is spinning as I'm doing 90 million things to get this calendar year behind me, I tend to have the Hallmark Channel on. It makes me feel...safe and honestly, I can't say that about *most* television stations these days.

Anyway, last Saturday night there was a Christmas movie on and there was Santa in all of his glory (LOL). The movie was actually called "Santa the Matchmaker", I believe and although it was mostly serving as background noise, there was one part in the movie that I haven't been able to get out of my head. As a matter of fact, as I've gotten to know some of you "On Fire" women personally over the years, when I think about what Santa said (and *trust me*, Santa *rarely* moves me-LOL), I find myself getting a bit emotional.

When Lacey Chabret's character was a little girl in the movie, she looked at her parents and how they loved one another and made a Christmas wish to have a "Prince Charming" of her very own. Now, we know that the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), tells us that "Charm is deceitful" (Proverbs 30:31), but I'm learning that a lot of people haven't gotten that memo yet (2 Timothy 2:15-AMP); therefore, I get the sentiment behind her wish, for sure. She wanted real, lasting, healthy love.

DON'T. WE. ALL?

OK, so fast forward to her being an adult. She's in a relationship with a guy who, let's just say is married to his job and not really courting her. As Santa tries and put her together with the man who he believes truly deserves her (because sometimes forces will move you from where you *are* to where you *should be*), there's a scene where she tells Santa (not knowing that he is Santa, of course) about the wish that she made as a child for true love.

In response, Santa simply said, "All wishes are granted, but some take a lot longer than others."

Boy, if we could swap out the jolly man with the white beard and replace him with the "Ancient of Days, with the white garment and hair of wool" (Daniel 7:9, Revelation 1:14), it was like the Spirit of God (John 4:24) came right into that movie and said those words himself...in this way:

"My daughters, if you delight yourself in me, I will give you the desires of your heart. Some of them simply take longer than others." (Psalm 37:4)

Personally, it's been *years* since I've had someone to stand under a mistletoe with me. And it's funny (although on some days, not so funny-LOL) because back in my FB days, I told people that when it came to being united with my beloved, I believed that I was in my "eve before Christmas Eve" season and now, even with nothing but faith in sight (Hebrews 11, James 2:14-26), I now feel like it's Christmas Eve. I can't explain why. I just feel that way.

Yet, I also know that to God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8) and what that basically means is that he is timeless. And so, my "Christmas Eve" may take longer than I would think (or on some days, even would like). I'm also willing to bet that some of you would like "a man of your very own" to keep you warm this holiday season as well and you're not sure what season you are in when it comes to having him.

However, as sure as I am typing this, I want you to hold onto the fact that if you have prayed for a husband---a deeply spiritual man to be your best friend and who will do all of the things that the "husband series" entails---that God has heard you. And not only that, but there are a network of women who are all "touching and agreeing" on the very same thing. You can take comfort in that because we know that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and that his Word says,  “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:19-20-NKJV)

Some answers are just so big, so blessed...so mind-blowing, that they need a bit more time that others. A lot of us have seen the divorce stats and we have family members and friends who are basically miserable in their marriages. Allow God the time to continue to fashion your heart (and "his" heart) individually (Psalm 33:15) so that your Father can grant you a *customized covenant*. Remember, God can do exceeding above all that we ask or think through the *power* in us to believe that he can...and then to obey his directives as he guides us closer (Ephesians 3:20, Psalm 37:23).

I so adore the lead verse for this message.

Sometimes, it's when we feel the loneliest and the most broken that our prayers are the most beautiful to God because they convey *humility*: a lack of pride, a meekness and awareness that our help comes from God and God alone. And "On Fire" women, it is during those times that you have to hold Psalm 121 close to you; you have to remember that "He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber." (verse 3)

If your heart's desire has been a covenant partner, God hears the prayers of the humble and not only that, but he prepares their heart...to receive his absolute best.

"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow."---James 1:17(NKJV) 

"The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness."---Psalm 145:15-17(NLT)

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."---Psalm 16:11(NKJV)

BIG LOVE to you,

SRW

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY





OK...

That quote? COM-E-DY. And just in time for Christmas. ;-)

Anyway, if you;re wondering if you have some "relax, relate, release" moves that you need to make in time for 2013, here are some clues to get you pointed into the right direction:

"What you learn though as you become aware of your relationship habits and harness your pattern is that if you don’t address your self-esteem and your beliefs about love and relationships, your perception of what love encompasses becomes very destructive.

It becomes the acceptance of crumbs.

You convince yourself that you’re in what you deserve and that if it wasn’t what you deserved, you wouldn’t be in it in the first place or you could leave, as if you have no power or options.

You believe that the magnitude of pain that you experience is in direct correlation to the amount of love you have, hence the more pain you feel, the more in love you believe yourself to be.

You convince yourself that you’re not good enough to expect or get more and that a better relationship will elude you.

You believe that because you have such poor experiences and that time is passing that you must ‘settle’.
    

You become obsessed with getting attention from these ‘special’ people and aren’t concerned with the quality of attention so you end up with drama, either sought out or thrown in your direction. Not all attention is created equal!

You become codependent. The very person who is on one hand the very source of your pain also appears to be the sole source of your happiness. You can’t seem to function without them and you believe it’s because of your love when in actual fact it’s because of fear.

You think that familiar ‘butterfly’ feeling that you get around these people is excitement and passion when in actual fact, when you have a habit of being with the same poor partners, it’s familiar fear.

You expend so much mental energy thinking about him/her, what you think they feel and do, what you think you do and feel, the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s and betting on potential that you lose sight of the reality of them and become obsessed and infatuated with an illusion.

Many of the dysfunctional things that happen in poor relationships are easy to bag and tag as ‘love’ and ‘passion’ but it’s important to remember that reality becomes distorted in poor relationships because it’s far harder to stick around when your feet are in reality – people in poor relationships often end up on a whole other planet from their partners!"


You can read all of the article here.

Good stuff. Get. Free.

tmm,

SRW

Monday, December 10, 2012

"On Fire": A Godly Husband PROTECTS


"The Woman: Then you must protect me from the foxes, foxes on the prowl, foxes who would like nothing better than to get into our flowering garden."---Song of Solomon 2:15(Message)


Protection. Hmph.

The New Century Version of Proverbs 19:16 says, "Those who obey the commands protect themselves, but those who are careless will die." I know that a lot of times, when we read a verse about death, we tend to immediately go to the loss of physical life. Yet, more and more, I'm learning that since love is life, ministry is life, healthy relationships are life (abundantly-John 10:10), verses like that one in Proverbs can also apply to those categories as well; that when we don't obey God's commands in order to *protect* love, ministry and relationships, they too can die. Over time...sometimes in a very steal, then kill and then utterly destroy kind of way.

While sitting in countless marriage counseling sessions, one thing that I am learning is that God was *so serious* when he said that sex is for married people (Genesis 2:24-25, Hebrews 13:4). There are a lot of couples that I work with who have some pretty horrific (meaning almost non-existent) sex lives (I Corinthians 7:5) and a big part of it is because they have some severe intimacy issues that stem from a lack of trust. And do you know a big part of the reason why they don't trust each other? *Because they had sex before marriage*.

I know that it's a bit hypocritical, but personally, I get why a lot of the "whoremongers" (LOL) look for virgins after they have slept with everyone who would allow them to. If a guy was raised with any kind of premise about not having sex with anyone but his wife (Hebrews 13:4) and a girl *allows* him to compromise that with her (because if you weren't raped, you did allow it which makes you not a victim of his...kind of more like a victim of your own choosing), already there is a part of him that is like "She can't be trusted." We are created to be helpers (Genesis 2:18) and as I oftentimes say, "If we're not helping a guy to heaven, then we are helping him to hell."

There's a particular guy I know that almost every woman that I know (of) has had a crush on at some point or another and I remember once saying to him, "So, which one are you going to marry?" He looked at me like I was speaking broken Chinese or something (LOL): "Any girl who has allowed me to see her naked, I'm not marrying." In his mind, it was as simple as that. But you know what? I get. 

The thing that I find to be fascinating is that we don't take on this same mentality. Being that we are told in Ephesians to *submit* to our husbands because it is *fitting* to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22), if we also were raised (or came into the knowledge of) knowing that we are to wait and give ourselves to our beloved (Song of Solomon 2:16), then when we are *uncovered* by a man who we are not one with (Matthew 19:6), why is it that oftentimes we try and *push him down an altar* rather than run for our lives? Literally. A guy who is not *protecting us* while we're dating/being courted by him is not an ideal candidate to entrust our well-being to in the long run.

As I've been continually healing from my own sexual past, there have been some guys from "way back then" who have grown and reached back out and honestly, perhaps had we not had sex before, I would consider them. But like Janet Jackson once said, "But I'm not, so I can't and I won't" (LOL). I don't fully trust a man either who basically said, "I don't care what God thinks, let's do this" nor do I think he should fully trust me to submit to him in the way that he, as a man, deserves. A guy who makes flesh sacrifices for spiritual reasons is the kind of man that I believe will truly protect me:

Protect: to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc.; cover or shield from injury or danger

HOW CAN A MAN PROTECT YOU FROM SATAN'S ATTACKS IF HE IS ACTUALLY ALLOWING SATAN TO USE HIM TO...*ATTACK YOU*?

I think that is a part of the reason why I was drawn (and led-Luke 12:12) to the lead verse for this message in Song of Solomon. In the Bible and even in other forms of literature, foxes aren't usually considered to be "good things". A woman by the name of Ruth Weston once said, "A fox is a wolf who brings flowers." And most of us know that we are warned to stay far away from "wolves" because they can be deceptive (Matthew 7:15). What I like about the bible verse and the quote is that it reminds me that a man who can defend and guard me is a man who has *keen discernment* (Proverbs 2):

Discernment: the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding

Discern: to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend; to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate

You know, there's a lot to be said for a man with discernment:

"Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding walks uprightly."---Proverbs 15:21(NKJV)

"Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father."---Proverbs 28:7(NKJV)

"Where the word of a king is, there is power;and who may say to him, 'What are you doing?'He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful; and a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment, because for every matter there is a time and judgment, though the misery of man increases greatly."---Ecclesiastes 8:4-6(NKJV)

A GODLY MAN IS A DISCERNING MAN.

A DISCERNING MAN KNOWS THAT ONLY BY FOLLOWING GOD CAN HE REALLY AND TRULY PROTECT A WOMAN.

A MAN WHO FOLLOWS GOD *PRAYS* ON HOW TO HONOR THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO DWELLS WITHIN HER TEMPLE; HE DOESN'T *PREY* ON HOW TO DESECRATE IT.

Oh, it looks like we're gonna have another song dedication in this one (LOL) because although a man should be able to protect you from thieves and financial ruin and hurt or harm caused by the outside world, I'm realizing that if his *character* (Colossians 3:12-17) is about being godly, then protecting you will naturally be about making your mind, heart and soul a top priority. He will *fight* to keep all three safe:


Above all, he will fight for your honor in order to protect it. And isn't *that* biblical?

"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered."---I Peter 3:7(NKJV)

I recently read a quote that said something to the effect of, "Don't be afraid to raise your standards because those who really want to be in your life will rise to meet them." Definitely words to live by.

You are a daughter of the Most High (Psalm 82:6).

Don't put yourself at risk.

You are precious and you *definitely deserve* to be protected.

tmm,

SRW

Friday, December 7, 2012

"On Fire": EXCELLENT QUOTE OF THE DAY


*Or at least the chapter has ended and it's time to do something NEW*. Anyway, here's the quote for today:

"You were not the only person in this relationship. Yes it would be handy if they’d come back and be debriefed for 24 hours in a holding cell but that’s not going to happen and how about you debrief you?

Experiencing a loss (and yes that includes breakups because it’s the loss of your hopes and expectations that were tied up in the relationship), a betrayal or just something that’s very painful, takes time to work through but feeling all of your feelings and processing what happened is actually an opportunity to get to know you further and gain self-awareness in a positive way. Knowing you better helps you to make better decisions and to also live your life more authentically and in turn, pain can turn into growth because you are able to find that sense of resolution within you."


*Great article on seeking closure*. You can read the rest here.


tmm,

SRW




Monday, December 3, 2012

"On Fire": What a Healthy Woman Sounds Like



I was talking to someone recently and they were like, "You have some really high standards" (i.e., unrealistic expectations). Personally, I realize that actually when you have *godly standards* they simply look different from how the world *settles*, but when I did ask the Spirit to give me a "parable form" (Matthew 13:13) of what I think a healthy women in love with God *then herself* and then someone else would sound like, wouldn't you know it...an oldie-but-a-goodie! It's because her *phrasing* is healthy thanks to lines like, "Can I lay with you...*as your wife*? Can I be your friend 'til the end?"

It's a great song to push "reset" in your psyche to.

Enjoy!

SRW

Saturday, December 1, 2012

"On Fire": A Godly Husband PROVIDES



"Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women."---Esther 2:9(NKJV)


OK...

Is this song *really* from 1989?!? That means that I was in the 10th grade (or maybe the latter part of the 9th) when it came out. *Where is the time going?!?*

What's a real trip about it is that when I was looking for a quote for this particular message, do you know that I couldn't find one on *providing*? Whenever that happens, the first thing that I tend to think about is how certain things about how life is supposed to go, to the world, is becoming less and less relevant. Kind like chivalry. But that's another message for another day.

Anyway, there are probably a lot of you that remember the lyrics to the song "Soul Provider". For me, one of the "trigger verses" is "You don't understand, naw, the full intent of my plan." It's followed by the chorus, ":Baby, I want to be your soul provider. Baby, I want to stay that way for the longest time. Baby, I want to be your soul provider. Just say you'll let me, darling I will."

Now, Michael Bolton is literally bolting out that he wants to be "her" *soul provider*:

Soul: the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part

Provide: to make available; furnish; to supply or equip; (law) to arrange for or stipulate beforehand, as by a provision or proviso; (archaic) to prepare or procure beforehand

Alright. Let's stop here for a moment. According to Mr. Bolton, he wants to be a man who furnishes and supplies for "her" soul; for the principle part of her life that is the *spiritual* part of her...what is distinct from the physical part. *That* is what the intention of his plan is. Hmph. It makes me think of what C.S. Lewis once said: "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." And trust me, to the Lord, the soul is a *really big deal*. So much in fact that in the New King James Version alone, some variation of soul is mentioned a whopping 344 times.

You know, it was King David who was once inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to pen, "O my soul, you have said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You." (Psalm 16:2-NKJV) When you put it into the context of this message,  it reminds us that when it comes to our soul, the spiritual part of us, we also are to declare that the Spirit (John 4:24) is Lord (master, chief, ruler) over it. Therefore we understand that whatever good comes to us is of God (James 1:17) and that would include the mate that *he selects* for the purpose of assisting in *providing for our soul*.

GOD HAS *NO DESIRE* FOR US TO ONE OURSELVES TO SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT MAKE PROVIDING FOR OUR SOUL AN INTENTION OF HIS PLAN FOR MARRYING US IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Which brings me to the lead verse for today.

Something that the Spirit has been using *a lot* of 2012 to do in my own life is to get me to see *just how much* I am a part of his royal priesthood (I Corinthians 2:9) along with how much I am a child of the Most High (Psalm 82:6); therefore, I am to carry myself with a certain level of awareness, a certain kind of protocol.

When Esther was *chosen* to be King Xerses queen, one thing that we need to remember is that he was *pagan*. And yet, look at all of the *provisions* that he made for her. Do you know how many women I know who were so either ignorant about (Hosea 4:6) or desperate for (Philippians 4:6-7) a husband that they didn't even take the time to make sure that their *physical and material* needs would be met? It has been a running motto in my world for quite some time now that I am *quite clear* on what the curses were in Genesis 3 and it was *not* stated to the Woman that she would have to be out toiling in the fields in order to provide for her family. That is what was relayed to *Adam*. A husband that leads (Ephesians 5:22-32) is also a husband who is supposed to provide. Adonai said so.

Now that doesn't mean that I am not aware that I am to *help* (Genesis 2:18), but there's got to be something *there* to help *with*, right? It really is sad how many women are not wives, but are "mothers" that men can legally have sex with. That certainly was not how God intended for marital covenant (Malachi 2:14) covenant to be for any of his children. When God joins a relationship together (Matthew 19:6), he expects there to be some *decent order* (I Corinthians 14:40) about it.

And yes, I'm sure some people would debate that King Xerses was a king and so *of course* he had a lot to offer Esther. I get that. I'll say this, though: If you go and read Proverbs 31, what the Jews say is the obituary that Abraham wrote for Sarah (dig that!), that speaks of a woman who did not marry a "king" by the world's standards and yet, in order to be able to accomplish all that she did (especially in that time and culture), there had to be provision there so that those things to be accomplished. That's probably a big part of the reason why the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), tells us this: "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (I Timothy 5:8-NKJV)

A MAN WHO DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR HIS OWN IS WORSE THAN AN UNBELIEVER AND AS BELIEVERS, WE ARE NOT TO YOKE UNEQUALLY OURSELVES TO A NONBELIEVER TO BEGIN WITH (2 CORINTHIANS 6:11-18)

I don't know if we get how *serious* and *literal* I Timothy 5:8 is; that a man who does not *provide* is a man who has denied his own faith. It is the character (Colossians 3:12-17) of a godly man to be able to provide for his family and according to the definitions of provide, this doesn't just mean once he gets a wife/children but *beforehand* as well. And so, if you are in a relationship with someone who cannot even provide for himself *or* is very selfish in how he provides for you OR you are in a relationship with a man who does not make *soul provision* his *utmost responsibility* as it relates to being in relationship with you, you are in a situation that doesn't have God's full order in it.

AS YOUR "MARRIAGE MANAGER" (ECCLESIASTES 4:12), ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS THAT GOD IS LOOKING FOR ON A MAN'S "HUSBAND POTENTIAL RESUME" IS IF HE HAS *PROVISION EXPERIENCE* AND IF HE IS WILLING TO GO THROUGH *EXTENSIVE TRAINING*, BEFORE THE WEDDING DAY ON HOW TO BE A SOUL PROVIDER.

That is not something that a woman can prepare a man to do; that is something that is between him and his Creator. I was talking to a married pastor spiritual brother of mine last week about how biblical mathematics go; that since a part of being single is actually being *whole* then that's why *one whole man* and *one whole woman* can come together and still be *one* flesh (Genesis 2:24-25). It makes sense being that we are to be fruitful and *multiply*, right? (1x1=1) Oh, but when people are internally fragmented or they are not clear on what the purpose of marriage *really is* (here's a part of it: Malachi 1:15-NCV), then it's like two people with their own individual views, independent of God, which hinders true spiritual oneness. 1.5x1 does not equal one. 1/2x 5/8 doesn't either. I'm sure you get my point on that.

If you're really paying attention to this series, it's really calling us to a higher standard of living and expectation when it comes to covenant and preparation for it. That said, how *absolutely awesome* that even as a pagan man, the Scriptures tell us that King Xerses *readily* made preparations for Queen Esther. Indeed...

YOU CAN'T PROVIDE IF YOU AIN'T *READY*.

And perhaps, if you were looking for the bottom line to this message, that would be it.

If "he's" not willing, he's not ready.

If "he's" not able, he's not ready.

If "he's" not providing *beforehand*, especially spiritually, then it's a sign of how there will be a lack, even if it's just in his attitude, of provision on the back end.

All of God's daughters are worthy of helping a man who is a provider; especially a *soul provider*.

Love is a choice. Choose wisely.

tmm,

SRW

Friday, November 30, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY





Y'all know I'm a big supporter of the Baggage Reclaim website.

One of her latest offerings is about rebound relationships. I really dug this part:

"Aside from how emotionally debilitating it is to be in a rebound relationship living with the ghost of the previous relationship, whether it’s the effects of it or the imprint of this person who may even still be lingering in their lives, it’s not your job to make a person who is unavailable due to not being over their ex, available. That.is.their.job. If you participate in this hot mess, not only will you compromise you greatly and put you in the position of ‘campaigning’, but you’ll basically nurse them out of unavailability and prime them for their next relationship. Either that or you’ll nurse them until it becomes clear that you want them to be available and then they’ll move on to the next Buffer and keep moving until one day they emotionally implode.

Equally, you’d be better off fixing / healing / helping you instead of avoiding facing your own issues and using ‘potential’ as a way to seek validation in your attempts to right the wrongs of your past. I guarantee you if you continue down this path, you will wind up in a lot more pain than you would have done if you’d taken the personal responsibility that you already have for your own emotional well-being."


Good stuff, right? You can read the article in its entirety here.

tmm,

SRW

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"On Fire": A Godly Husband PREPARES


"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. "---2 Timothy 2:20-22(NKJV)


Earlier this week...

While prepping for this message, I happened upon (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) a Scripture that I didn't recall seeing before:

"Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house."---Proverbs 24:27(NKJV)

As I thought about the divine wisdom that King Solomon was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to share regarding that verse, it reminded me of what I have suspected ever since I found myself wanting to follow the courtship and marriage blueprint of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2); that *even now* a man needs to have just what Adam did *before* his Woman arrived:

A relationship with God
A clarity about his purpose
A career path

Oftentimes, when I speak on college campuses, I will tell the women who are trying to make those *students* husbands that college is one of the most important times in life for young men to figure out who the heck they are and what the heck they want out of life; that to pressure them into even contemplating marriage is a bit unrealistic and actually pretty unfair as well (the stats on the marital success rate of people under 25 is not good).

Yet, more and more, I'm seeing that *any women of any age* who pressure a man into marriage (and trust me, I've been guilty of it myself!-James 5:16) when he doesn't have those three things in place is just as out of order.

I remember when I was walking a particular journey with a guy and he once wrote me and said, "I promise to pray and strive to get into position for this life and for us." I promise you what I heard from that was "I'm going to marry you in a year." (LOL) Oh, what would our lives be like if we *actually listened* to what men said rather than what we wanted to hear? First of all, have you ever looked up the word "strive" before? It means "to exert oneself vigorously; try hard". OK, so he told me that *first* he was going to try hard to pray and *then* he was going to try hard to get into position *for this life*...and then he would get around to us. And in that order. What I should've done when he made that declaration was silently pray, believing in the power that comes with "touching and agreeing" (Matthew 18:18-20). Instead, I started referring to us as husband and wife to him and all who would listen. On this side of wisdom (Proverbs 4:7), I realize that it probably actually distracted him from doing what he said that he was going to do because when a man says that he needs to *pray on something* (and please make sure you settle for *no less* than a man who thinks in that way), it means that he needs to hear from God more than from you. It's hard to hear when there's a lot of background noise (especially when it's whining and nagging). My point in bringing that up is because "he" was telling me that he was going to prepare. And a lot of the preparation had *absolutely nothing to do with me*.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam had a relationship of God way before the Creator declared that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). In the Garden of Eden, Adam had clarity about his purpose in life and a job before the Woman arrived as well. And here's the thing that a lot of men and women continue to jack up:

MAN DOES NOT DECIDE WHEN IT'S TIME FOR A HELPMATE.

WOMAN DOES NOT DECIDE WHEN IT'S TIME TO BE A HELPMATE.

GOD DECIDES WHEN IT'S TIME AND TIMING IS THE FATHER'S BUSINESS (ACTS 1:7-MESSAGE).

This means that neither party needs to be pushing the other into marriage (or into doing what married people do-Hebrews 13:4). All that singles need to be doing is, because of sin, focusing on wholeness *and then* preparing themselves (and honestly, a lot of us don't even get the order of *that part* right!). Yet here's the point even about preparation: Adam didn't know if or when he would have a companion. God didn't speak about that as he was establishing a relationship with his son and delegating responsibilities. Now, one would "argue" that since Genesis 1:26-28 spoke of being fruitful *and then* multiply that if Adam heard that information (because it's not exactly clear that he was present for that part; being that he was created in the second chapter, I'm thinking probably not), he might have had a clue that God had something up his sleeve (if God wears sleeves-LOL), but the timing of such a manifestation and what that would actually look like was still a blur.

And honestly, I kind of dig that about God and his order of things (I Corinthians 14:40). A woman wasn't even on the radar as Adam was communing with God and getting settled into his career path. In other words, he wasn't a God-follower *to get anything*. He was a God-follower simply because he loved God. That is the kind of love that comes from a pure place. And as it relates to his career, he wasn't working to "support a family" (or these days to pay child support, to purchase an engagement ring that he can't afford or to answer to his girlfriend's ultimatum). He was working because it gave him purpose and pride in his manhood. It helped to solidify and establish him as an individual on this earth.

That is why I think the lead Scripture for this message and that verse in Proverbs is so profound to this "preparation point". First, *the Word*, which is Adonai (John 1:1), says that a man who *cleanses himself* is someone who is considered to be a vessel of honor, a sanctified man, a man who is useful for the Master...prepared for every good work. Marriage (and sex) is of God. Yes, it is a good work (James 1:17).

A MAN WHO PREPARES HIMSELF IS A MAN WHO CLEANSES HIMSELF, WHO ESTABLISHES HIMSELF AS A VESSEL OF HONOR, A MAN WHO IS SANCTIFIED AND USEFUL---*FOR THE MASTER* BEFORE ANYONE OR ANYTHING ELSE.

And according the verse in Proverbs, a man also prepares his outside work and makes it fit *for himself* and then he builds his house. He doesn't make it fit for his girlfriend's approval. He makes it fit *for himself* so that *he* can be satisfied with what he has done. *Then* he starts to build his house and even then, honestly, he is to do just what the Lord says: "count the cost" to make sure that he has enough (literally and spiritually) to finish it (Luke 14:25-33) and *allow the Lord* to build the house (because he does it in vain otherwise-Psalm 127:1). And *again*, those steps also have nothing to do with us as women. We come in to *help* what is already established not *build* what needs to be there to begin with.

"Miscarried marriages". As a doula, I experience all kinds of pregnancy journeys. Sometimes, when a woman miscarries, it's because she is under so much pressure and stress that her body can't contain both the stress and the baby growing within. I also do (pre)marital counseling. As I was praying about this message, the Spirit (John 4:24) was like "Do you know how many courtships are put under unnecessary pressure and so therefore a lot of what's supposed to be in place before the wedding ceremony is *miscarried*? It doesn't get to finish maturing because the two parties involved don't allow it to."  Miscarried. MIS-CARRIED. One definition of miscarry is "to have a miscarriage of a fetus". Oh, but another is "to fail to attain the right or desired end; be unsuccessful".

A MARRIAGE THAT LACKS A MAN'S PREPARATION TO BECOME A MAN OF GOD IS VERY LIKELY TO MISCARRY.

I just love the quote at the top of this message. It reminds us again of the power and purpose of "counting the cost"; that a man of God is not just thinking about marriage from the perspective of only the wedding day (as so many *brides* tend to do), but his last day on earth with his beloved as well. It also reminds us that if a man prepares to be a husband by first preparing to be a man of God, we as women can be at peace because a man who knows who he is in God is a man who is automatically going to be in a mindset of preparing for all that his Father has for him. Being a man of God *naturally* brings forth becoming someone who constantly desires to be "to put in proper condition or readiness"...for whatever God desires to bless him with. And the right kind of helpmate is a *blessing*.

Romans 14:13(NKJV) says, "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way." There are countless amounts of women who are men's stumbling blocks simply because they are trying to put *their wants* ahead of *God's will and timing*. For a man to prepare to be a husband, he has to prepare to be a man of God first. And again, that has *absolutely nothing* to do with us. A relationship with God is private, intimate and individualized (Psalm 33:15, I Corinthians 12:11).

Besides, there's another verse in Proverbs that I also haven't recalled seeing before that came *right before* the one that I already referenced. It says "He who gives a right answer kisses the lips." (Proverbs 24:26-NKJV) A man who has *prepared* for his wife is a man who is answerable to God to where he can get all of the benefits that come with having her. Giving God the right answers brings forth the reward of our presence. In other words, *we* don't have the "husband preparation study sheet"...*God does*. Let the student study. Let him take the tests. Support him in prayer until he passes.

After all, don't we have *enough* to prepare for on our own without bothering someone else, anyway? I'll answer for me and say, "Definitely." The truth is, a godly husband prepares but a godly woman knows that she has a lot of preparing to do as well; enough to not have enough time to tell a man all of what he needs to being doing.

That was good, Holy Spirit. Thank you.

tmm,

SRW 

 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY




I’ve seen it so many times in the stories people share where they emphasize how much their ex or partner loves them or really wants to do something because they kept saying it. Yes…but they also kept saying “But I can’t do this”, “But I’m not that”, “But you this and you that.” People with excessive use of “but” (cough) can end up being guilty of giving with one hand and taking away with the other, which basically brings you back to their status quo.
 

Many a person has had their expectations managed down by clever use of “but”.
 

“But…” doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is "shady" but what you do have to realize is that we communicate who we are through what we say and do, and also what we don’t say and do. No matter how much of a good game we talk, we just can’t help but show people who we are. It’s self-evident. We have “tells” and yes, we say stuff that completely contradicts something else we’ve said. Our jobs as individuals are to be naturally listening and watching as part of the process of being in reality.
 .

Monday, November 19, 2012

"On Fire": A Godly Husband Is an EXAMPLE


"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."---Ephesians 5:1-5(NIV)


I mean...

After that quote is there anything else that really needs to be said?!?

Probably not, but y'all know me. (LOL)

Recently, I was sitting in a marriage counseling session. As the (ex) husband was going on about what the Word, which is God (John 1:1), says surrounding the reasons why a couple can divorce (adultery-Matthew 19:1-12-Message), I thought about the fact that we "cheat on God" on a daily basis (he did say that if we loved him, we would keep his commandments, right?-John 15:10, I John 5:2-3) and personally, I can only imagine where I'd be if he "divorced me" because of it. God hates divorce and a part of the reason why is because he doesn't do it (wow Holy Spirit!-Malachi 2:16).

You know, sometimes life can dish out *so much* that you find yourself realizing that when the Spirit said that he would never leave or forsake us, that of all of the things that God and his kingdom have to offer, that really is more than enough. To be loved in an everlasting way (Jeremiah 31:3) to the point that you don't have to worry about *ever* being abandoned by the Creator is...so comforting, so blessed, so divine. No wonder Hebrews 13:5 said that we should be content in just knowing that. Wow. Even God has moments when he feels like his love for us should simply be...*enough*.

As I was praying during the session of what to say, the Spirit brought the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) to my remembrance. Here was a father who wasn't perfect (*no man is*), who had a son who didn't appreciate what his father was doing. So, his son asked for his inheritance and abandoned (withdrew from and [gave] (oneself) over to natural impulses, usually without self-control) his father and went out and did his own thing. Only to return and be *celebrated* for coming back. He didn't immediately return...but he did eventually.

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
 

"But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry."---Luke 15:20-24(NKJV)

I shared with that couple that *real love* looks like that parable. People are human and humans make mistakes. There's simply no way around that and it's kind of well, crazy, to know that a perfect God loves us in spite of ourselves, yet so many of us are not be willing to love others who are just like us (humans and sinners-I John 1:9-10). Yet, the love that is displayed by the father in that story is so remarkable *and restorative*. When the child who left his father came back home, the father *had compassion*, he ran and kissed him. And he brought his son his absolute best. And yes, they partied...happily so!

*Even after the father had given some of his best*...even after being brokenhearted by his son, he still had more to give. His son had been dead in many ways and now he was alive (confession does bring forth healing-James 5:16). His son was lost and now he was found. To the father, that's really all that mattered. All of the other was simply...extra.

That's how God loves us.

And, that's the example that a godly man takes notice of (and shoot, a godly woman for that matter).

When I went to look up the definitions for the word "example" here are two definitions that I found:

Example: a person, action, thing, etc, that is worthy of imitation; pattern; a precedent, illustration of a principle, or model

It was a woman by the name of Catherine Aird who once said, “If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.” Now, I don't know about y'all, but most of the men from my "romantic life past" may have had a few things that I *really liked* about them (um, obviously), but honestly, I don't think that I ever thought about if they were the kind of men that I wanted to *imitate* or *pattern my life* after. And doesn't that within itself present the godly mandate of submission in an entirely new light?

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."---Ephesians 5:22-24(NKJV)

So many women literally fight GOD on this matter either by thinking that as helpmates (Genesis 2:18) that it's their role to change a man (it's not; it's also to be an example-I Peter 3:1-6) or being upset about the kind of husband that they have to submit to, when if you look at this from an "example perspective", if you picked a man who imitates, patterns himself after and models the Godhead, *what would be wrong with submitting to that*? If your husband is *truly godly*, wouldn't you *want* to use him as an example of how to live your own life? *Especially* since one definition of submit is "to subject to some kind of treatment or influence".

Most of y'all know that I work with a porn ministry. Oftentimes, on that platform, I will share that I believe that fornication can cause you to have multiple personalities. After all, if you are joining yourself to someone who you are not in covenant with who is not an example of godliness (and if he were, he wouldn't be having sex with you-I Corinthians 6:15-17), why wouldn't their personality traits and habits rub off on you? (Just one more reason why God does not want us to fornicate!-Hebrews 13:4) Yet, the more time that I spend abstinent, the more I am detoxing from my sexual past and the more that I am seeing who *Shellie really is*. The 80 billionth reason why sex outside of marriage is not God's best for you. It takes you away from you.

Now, please believe that a sistah is *all for* being naked and not ashamed (Genesis 2:24-25) with the *one person* who God has for me (LOL). Yet, don't you see? With *that one*, if I take this mini-series to heart, by choosing a *truly godly man* who strives to pattern his life after God in word and deed *in public and in private*, being with him, *in every way*, will only cause me to become more of who I'm purposed to be in the first place: my Creator. Remember that I Timothy 2:14(NKJV) says, "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." Women *need* godly husbands to pattern their lives after. We were created to help our husbands and so Satan guns for us in very cryptic ways. God knows *just what he's doing* when he put the boundary of submission in place. Yet, he didn't do it with the intention of us marrying men who don't have an intimate relationship with him, with men who influence us to go *blatantly* against the Word of God, with men who say one thing in "the light" and something else in "the dark"...with men who are not mature enough as disciples to *even consider* taking on the leadership role of a husband (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Whether you're in an *intentional relationship* now or you're praying about the one that is to come, this was a good word from the Spirit. *Please* be careful about who you choose to pattern your life after because according to the Word, if he's not walking in love, if he's not living a life of sexual purity, if he's not careful about what he says, if he's not a thankful person...if he's immoral, impure or greedy, if he's an idolator (which would include *putting you before God*), he's not the kind of example that God wants for you. 

That lead quote is so stellar.  

IF "HE", BY HIS EXAMPLE, IS NOT LEADING YOU CLOSER TO GOD, THEN "HE" (AT LEAST FOR NOW) IS NOT "THE ONE". PERIOD.

God is speaking. Choose wisely.

You know how patterns go. If he's not godly...*cut it out*.

SRW

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"On Fire": A Godly Husband Has (New Man) CHARACTER


"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."---Colossians 3:12-17(NKJV)


OK...

Initially, when I was doing some praying about some women I know who are trying to basically drag their boyfriends down the wedding aisle (whether literally, manipulatively or desperately-LOL) and I heard the Spirit tell me that I needed to do a spouse series, I thought that it was going to be on what a wife needs to be. Then the Spirit was like, "You have a pretty big blog talking about all of that. If these women knew what a husband's role *really is*, that it's not just to keep them company when they're lonely or be a warm body in their bed, perhaps they would see that they are not married because they are not ready and a part of the reason why they are not ready is because they have no real idea of what a husband's role in their lives is *truthfully* supposed to be. If they did, they would see men much differently, their standards would shift, and they'd loosen up that death grip on those guys that they call their boyfriends so that they could be more covenant-focused than relationship-driven."

Yeah. Well. ;-)

So, here we are. At the beginning of what I'm thinking will be a seven-part mini-series.

When I asked the Spirit where we should begin, he led me to the word "character":

Character: the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing; one such feature or trait; characteristic; qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity; reputation

Now before we even get into what the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), says about character, let's just look at the dictionary definitions. A man of character is to be honest, courageous and he needs to have integrity.

Honest: honorable in principles, intentions, and actions; upright and fair; showing uprightness and fairness;
gained or obtained fairly; sincere; frank; genuine or unadulterated

OK, let me pause here for a moment. So, those of you who are still struggling with ending the sexual part of your relationship, you see that an *honest* man (and woman for that matter) obtains things *fairly* and lives and *unadulterated* life (Hebrews 13:4), right? It was a *long and hard road* (by my choosing, by the way) for me to get to a place of *really accepting* that if a man is not faithful to God, if he doesn't honor his own Creator's laws about how to treat me, then he's probably not going to be the most faithful to me, either. After all, a man who has a problem with honoring authority is definitely not the kind of man that we should rush to submit to (Ephesians 5:22-24).

Courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery; the heart as the source of emotion

I really dig that second definition because while it doesn't take a lot of courage to have sex with a woman, it does take insurmountable amounts of courage to *love* her because we can see in just how God loved us enough to send us his Son (John 3:16), that *real love* does enable a person to face difficulty, danger and pain without fear. Why? Because of this verse: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." (I John 4:18-NKJV) I think I shared before that I am easing out of calling men in my past "past loves" because as I'm learning more about what love *really is*, they were more like men that I cared about and had sex with (which caused me to think it was love at times) who taught me some really valuable lessons. That said, when it came to my first "not God's best lesson" (LOL), he did a lot of running. Right when I thought he would commit, he'd disappear...literally for months and sometimes years at a time. Because he is the person who I gave my "conscious virginity" to (he was the one who I had sex with after being molested), I kept thinking that he just needed me to encourage him (i.e., urge him on), but as the Word shows us, when a person is motivated by the enemy of love, which is fear, they tend to live a tormented life. Torment is mental suffering. Torment is excessive worry or annoyance. Torment is agony and misery. When a person is in that kind of state, while you can *model* love to them, you really cannot do much more than that. God really has to get involved to do some spiritual heart surgery (Ezekiel 36:26) *to open them up* and my first lesson didn't even have a strong relationship with God; that made the odds of us succeeding just that much more difficult, if not close to impossible. A man who is "scared" to fully serve God (and a lot of men are) will be "afraid" to totally love you. That's a guarantee.

Integrity: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty; the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished; the quality of being unimpaired

I remember one time when I was talking to God about what he expects of a husband and wife and I said, "That's some really high standards" to which he replied, "Maybe now you'll see how so many people who are getting married have absolutely no business doing it. Marital covenant reflects the Godhead and we *do* exist by some really high standards. If you are going to claim to be the likeness of us, you have to have integrity." God doesn't expect perfection, but he does expect that we *honor* his moral and ethical principles and that we constantly work towards being whole individuals. A person of integrity shows up to work on time. A person of integrity doesn't cheat on his taxes. A person of integrity says what he means and means what he says. A person of integrity operates with a *sound* mind (2 Timothy 1:7). A person of integrity is going to tell *you* "no" when you want to have sex with him (outside of marriage). A person of integrity reads the Word and follows it to the best of his ability. A person of integrity takes his single life just as seriously as you should.

Reputation: the estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the public generally; repute; a favorable and publicly recognized name or standing for merit, achievement, reliability, etc.; good name

OK, on the reputation tip, this has a bit of a twist because honestly, people can be pretty fickle, lack discernment and therefore they sometimes cannot properly speak on what it means to *really* be someone who is worthy of having a good reputation. However, I will say this. There's one guy I know in particular who has a pretty good name when it comes to things that he does in the community, but as it relates to how he treats women, his name is basically mud. He's carnal. He's selfish. He's not reliable. The list goes on. Plus, if you add on the saying, "If you want to see a man's character, look at his friends"...well, that just really causes him to lose some points (LOL). A big part of living with discernment (Proverbs 2) and operating from a place of common sense (Proverbs 2:6-8 & 8:12-21-Message) is looking outside of what you want something to be and inside to what it *really is* (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message). Pay attention to his family. Pay attention to his friends. What are people's facial expressions when his name comes up? What does *God* tell you when you ask about him? Is he reliable? All of these factors play a role in a man's reputation.

And then there's the lead Scripture for today. Now, while we could definitely break down all of those words and make each of them be their own blog, I am led to simply share the definitions and *encourage you* to pray about how they are to manifest, via a man, in your own life:

Mercy: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence

A MAN OF CHARACTER IS COMPASSIONATE AND BENEVOLENT.

Kind: indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane; mild; gentle; clement; loving; affectionate

A MAN OF CHARACTER IS CONSIDERATE AND HELPFUL, GENTLE AND AFFECTIONATE.
                
Humble: not proud or arrogant; modest; courteously respectful; conscious of one's failings

A MAN OF CHARACTER IS NOT ARROGANT, HE IS RESPECTFUL AND HE CAN ADMIT WHEN HE'S WRONG.

Meek:
humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others; long-suffering, or submissive in disposition or nature


A MAN OF CHARACTER DOES NOT HAVE A SHORT TEMPER AND CAN SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY. 

Longsuffering: enduring injury, trouble, or provocation long and patiently

A MAN OF CHARACTER CAN ENDURE HARD TIMES...*WELL*.

Forgive:
to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve; to cease to feel resentment against


A MAN OF CHARACTER PARDONS OFFENSES AND DOESN'T HOLD GRUDGES.  

Love: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."---I Corinthians 13:4-8(NKJV) 

A MAN OF CHARACTER IS NOT TRYING TO *MAKE* LOVE BUT *BE* LOVE.

Peace: the state existing during the absence of war; a state of harmony between people or groups; freedom from strife; law and order within a state; absence of violence or other disturbance; absence of mental anxiety; a state of stillness, silence, or serenity; to become reconciled with 

A MAN OF CHARACTER IS NOT VIOLENT OR ANXIOUS. HE KNOWS THERE'S A TIME TO "BE STILL AND KNOW" (PSALM 46:10) AND HE RESPECTS AND HONORS THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION (2 CORINTHIANS 5:12-21).

Thankful: feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative


A MAN OF CHARACTER SAYS "THANK YOU" AND IS APPRECIATIVE (WITHOUT ANY PROMPTING). 

"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."---I John 3:17-19(NKJV)  

A MAN OF CHARACTER IS *SENSITIVE* TO THE NEEDS OF OTHERS AND IS NOT SATISFIED WITH SIMPLY TALKING ABOUT LOVE. A MAN OF CHARACTER *ACTS IT OUT*.

A lengthy list? Indeed. Yet, it's the foundation that all good husbands are "built" upon and so if you're in a relationship, know that the kind of "love house" that the Lord builds has this at its core (Psalm 127:1). And yes, it certainly doesn't hurt to run down it to see what areas you could use some fine-tuning in as well (I know that it opened up my own eyes to a couple of things).

I'll be back with Part 2 later within the week. For now, stay humble and prayerful. Seek wisdom (James 1:5) and be willing to do *just* what God tells you to with what is revealed. A good husband's not hard to find when you seek God on the kind of man that you are to be looking towards.

tmm,

SRW