Saturday, April 27, 2013

"On Fire": Is "He" Your Best Friend? (Are You Absolutely Sure?)

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Celebrity relationships, to me, tend to be...well...celebrity relationships. 

However, in the midst of looking for something else last evening (Proverbs 16:33-AMP), I peeped something that Justin Timberlake said about his wife Jessica Biel that I really liked simply because it just sounded... super healthy:

“'Every once in a while I can catch a glimpse of her when she doesn’t see me looking, and I have this moment where I’m like, "If you never make a good decision … if you only make bad decisions for the rest of your life, you made one really good decision,"' he said, adding, "It’s nice to marry your best friend. It suits me.'"

*So many people* marry any and everyone *but* their best friend. And here's the thing: When you're a believer and/or disciple (John 17), your "friend standard" is to look like the following:

"The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray."---Proverbs 12:26(NKJV)

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."---Proverbs 17:17(NKJV)

"Make no friendship with an angry man and with a furious man do not go. Lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul."---Proverbs 22:24-25(NKJV)

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."---Proverbs 27:17(NKJV)

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up."---Ecclesiastes 4:9-10(NKJV)

As a Christian, you are to choose your friends *carefully* and once you do, you are to love them *at all times* (there is no I'm-their-friend-this-year-but-not-the-next foolishness). You are not to create a relationship with an angry person. You are to be open to sharpening your friend's countenance *and allow them to do the same for you* (if you can "dish it", be mature enough to *take it*-Proverbs 27:6) and you are to lift one another up. This is the *foundation* of a real and true friendship.

And when it gets to the point and place that someone is your *best* friend (and for the record, you can't have "five best friends"; hence the word BEST), it should look like this:

"Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt."---I Samuel 18:1-4(NKJV)

A *best friend* loves another person as their own soul. Not only that, but they are willing to establish a covenant (Amos 3:3) with them. And if you're really and truly loving another soul as your own, then you DAILY declare this kind of blessing upon their lives both in your words and in your actions (I John 3:18):

"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."---3 John 1:2(NKJV)

That's what makes Deepak's quote so relevant. Being that God is love (I John 4:6&18), you are not in a *real love relationship* unless it helps to heal you (and you help to heal them-Psalm 147:3). You are not in a *real love relationship* unless it helps to renew you (and vice versa-Romans 12:2). You are not in a *real love relationship* unless it brings you closer to God (and they do the same-Ephesians 5).

And how do you know...*how do you really know* that has happened? It is when your soul is prospering. It's when "the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect" is growing. So many people I talk to, whatever it is that they are in, it's not a love relationship with their best friend because the spiritual part of them is not going from "glory-to-glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18). It's actually worse off than before they got involved in (or is it entangled with?) the person and that's simply not how a love relationship, especially one that is meant to become a marital covenant, is supposed to be.

So was Justin saying all-a-dat? Um, you'll have to ask him (LOL). But as you're processing the kind of relationship you want or you're in, make sure that "he's" youre *absolute best friend* and the Word, which is God (John 1:1), makes it *crystal clear* what that is supposed to look like.



tmm,

SRW


An Ounce of Prevention: "Looking Past the Pain and Finding Freedom in Forgiveness" (Video)

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"Be a scholar of the past rather than a victim." Yeah that's good stuff right there. My mom sent this to me a little while ago. It's *great* food for thought:


tmm, SRW

Friday, April 26, 2013

"On Fire": Are You a "SPLIT GIRL"?

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


Last night...

I went to see a documentary entitled Girl Rising. As I sat in there, one of the things that I thought about is just how much I wish I had brought one of my "love nieces" along.  The amount of things that we take for granted in America, including education, continues to baffle me. Yet, pride comes before destruction and the United States is *quite prideful* (why do you think churches tells us to pray for it so much?-Proverbs 16:18).

Yet, as I was listening to different girls' stories and I was processing the statistics of what a lack of an education will leave a female child vulnerable to, there was a particular phrase that caught my attention. It's the reason why this message has the title that it does.

There was one young girl in Ethiopia whose mother was a widow. In that culture, many girls marry early so that they will have a home that at least has basic provisions for them. Well, when a grown man came to offer money for her, there was a line in the narrative that stayed with me: "If she marries him, she may become a 'split girl'." Even the narrator asked "What is a split girl?" Basically, it's a girl who may find herself having to share her body with more than one man. (Or it's the foolery that you see when you put the phrase in Google and notice the images that immediately come up...geeze.)

As I thought about the fact that a lack of education makes girls susceptible to marrying before they are ready, having unwanted pregnancies (or dying in childbirth because of their age or birthing conditions), going into sex trafficking, being a house slave, contracting a sexually transmitted disease, becoming a victim of sexual assault, being killed for speaking her mind/personal beliefs, it was *pretty big* what the Spirit (John 4:24) relayed to me in response: 

"Shellie, what's really sad is that in the spirit realm, because a lot of my daughters are ignorant about their own purpose, the kind of relationship that they are to have with me, what and who their body is truly for, why I created women in the first place and the kind of character traits that they are to have as young ladies, they are not much different than the little ones with no education in the world. Many of my daughters, spiritually, are 'split girls'. Going from job to job, man to man, spiritual resolve to spiritual resolve. Broken. Confused. Lost. When Hosea 4:6 says 'My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge', that's not what's in a textbook in a classroom. That comes from not studying the Word to show yourself approved." (Psalm 82:6, I Peter 2:9-10, I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message,  Colossians 3:12-17, I Peter 3:1-7, 2 Timothy 2:15-AMP)

And the tripped out thing about Hosea 4:6 is that while a lot of people know the first line, they tend to not read/quote the second one: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge...

For many people, there will be mercy (Psalm 86:15) for the decisions that they made based on the little that they did know at the time that they made them. OH BUT FOR SO MANY OTHERS, there will be grave consequences (Galatians 6:7-8) because *they chose to remain ignorant*. A lot of the knowledge that I have come upon as it relates to marital covenant and the purpose of yahasey min (Hebrew phrase for sexual relationships between a husband and wife) vs. simply "sex" is not because I just "happen to know it". One, I am called (Romans 11:29) to that particular purpose and two, I devote *a lot of time* to studying the issue. I have no desire to be divorced, to abort another child, to abuse yahasey min, to not be joined to the man who is God's best for me or to be a "split girl"---teetering between light and darkness (Revelation 3:16)...I have no desire to be ignorant or worse, to reject knowledge. I've lived like that before. It's a very degrading kind of existence.

And so, as we come to the end of another week and are on the cusp of a new month being that May is the fifth month of the year and "5" biblically symbolizes grace (Hebrews 4:16), I want to encourage you to take out some time to really think about and ponder on (Proverbs 4:26) if you are spiritually knowledgeable about who you are, in God, *as a woman*.

Do you *know* your purpose?

Do you understand marital covenant and why sex , of any kind,  is*only* for it?

Have you found yourself being a "slave among men" due to your lack of spiritual insights on relationships?

Are you clear about what you are to be doing in this season of your life?

Is there some kind of voice within you telling you that what you're doing with your life is by no means enough?

There is a girlfriend of mine who is participating in the spiritual breakthrough fast that starts today and the person she is fasting for...let's just say that he is so emotionally unstable (in this season) that when she shares with me some of the things that he says and ways that he acts, all that I find myself saying to her is "He's bored with his life." Is it that simple? To a large degree, "yes". I know that from personal experience because the clearer I become on why I am here, the less time I have to settle. *Literally*. There's just not enough hours in the day to...waver between being in my lane and coveting what others are doing (Exodus 20:17), settling for a boyfriend rather than preparing for my beloved (Proverbs 31) or pleasing men over pleasing God (I Corinthians 2:4-6).

I have been appreciative of the purpose of Myles Monroe for some time now because it's *big* when someone devotes their life to helping other people figure out what they are supposed to be doing with their own. If you feel like you are living as a "split girl"---divided between your poor decisions and your true destiny, serving a guy rather than honoring the Father, working a job instead of fulfilling your life's purpose (Psalm 20:4), a good book to help put things into better perspective (Psalm 18:28) is one by Dr. Monroe:

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You can get it here.

Also, as the Spirit would have it, I also "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) a pretty cool article entitled "Life on Purpose: 15 Questions to Discover Your Personal Mission". I like how the author phrased "purpose" to be one's *life mission*. After doing some soul searching, the author came to these conclusions:

Here are some of my values and goals:

What matters most is my connection with myself, being present and feeling blissful.

What I value most is having meaningful relationships with people. Being able to connect with people on deep levels.

I plan to be financially independent, and have control of my time and location. I plan to work only on projects and causes that I connect with. I plan to acquire my finances without violating my values, goals and personal mission.

I plan to travel and live in different parts of the world. Experiencing different cultures, documenting them in photographs and sharing them with others.
    
I will buy my mom a house in Vancouver with a ravine in the backyard. That’s a dream of hers and I’d like to fulfill it.
    
Having a family is important to me. I desire a deep, loving relationship with my spouse.

To live everyday fully as if it was my last.

Now those are *her goals* but you might want to check out the steps that she took towards getting to them in her article because whether you're 20 or 40 reading this, ain't none of us getting any younger and going day to day, doing nothing new and not renewing oneself is simply a waste of time---time that is not promised to any of us (James 4:13-14).

Hosea 4:6 is a sobering Scripture. It doesn't say that people are "inconvenienced" for a lack of knowledge. No, it tells us that they are *destroyed* and what is it that Satan *only comes* to us to do? "Steal, kill and destroy", right? (John 10:10)

Children of the Most High deserve to live an abundant life, whole and complete (James 1:4).

You deserve to be a lot more than a "split girl".

tmm,

SRW


Friday, April 19, 2013

"On Fire": QUOTES OF THE DAY

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"On Fire": What Is "He" Influencing You to Do?

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This morning...

I was reading an article about 10 types of guys that you shouldn't want to marry that had some funny moments in it and it got me to thinking about revisiting some signs of a healthy relationship. Indeed, there are a lot of people who simply want to be *in a relationship* but "healthy" does not appear to be on the list of their criteria. That said, this list below is one that I found to be cool...and relevant (I'm just going to put excerpts in. You can read the entire piece here).

1) Respect your partner. One sign of a healthy relationship is mutual respect between partners. Respecting your partner means allowing her to have her own opinions and activities, no matter what you may think of them.

2) You trust each other. A relationship without trust is no relationship at all.

3) You can be honest.  Without honesty, there can be no trust in a healthy relationship. Don't lie to your partner, no matter how small or harmless it seems.

4) Spend time apart. A couple in a healthy relationship will feel completely comfort taking time to themselves every so often.

5) You feel safe saying "no." Understanding your partner's boundaries and having a partner who understands your boundaries is an important aspect of a healthy relationship.

6) You can express your thoughts without fear of judgment. Good communication is essential to any healthy relationship.

7) Accept the give and take of the relationship. A healthy relationship is not all about you.

8) Be there for the other person. Life gets rough some times, which may be why people seek out relationships with others.

9) Don't negatively influence the other person. Some relationships lead to the downfall of both partners, either because both wind up using alcohol or drugs or engaging in a life of crime. If you sense that your partner has some serious issues, ones that you cannot help fix, get [him] help, but don't follow [his] lead.

10) Feel confident and secure in yourself. Good self esteem is a part of any healthy relationship.

OK, the *entire list* is worth pondering (Proverbs 4:26) over, yet it was #9 that really caught my attention. IN A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP YOU ARE NOT NEGATIVELY INFLUENCED BY THE OTHER PERSON.

You know, there are a lot of people who write in to me to talk about how they want to make their relationship work even though the guy has no relationship with Elohim (the Godhead) and/or they are in a sexual relationship (outside of marriage) and/or he isn't personally responsible or accountable for the choices that he makes and/or he doesn't provide the kind of nurturing that is needed and/or he causes them to feel bad about themselves and question their self-worth and value...the list goes on and on. And yet, being that the one of the roles of husband is to *be a leader* and being that a part of being a leader means *being influential*, can we not see that when we are in a relationship with someone with those kinds of characteristics, it's not a sign to "try and make it work" but actually a *huge red flag* that it probably needs to come to an end? (At least for a season-Ecclesiastes 3)

Influence, by its very definition, is "the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others". The people you choose to have in your "inner temple" have the ability to affect how you act, behave and think. There are people I personally know who spent years abstinent, got in a relationship with a guy and now they're out of their purity streak (Hebrews 13:4). There are people I personally know who had clear career ambitions, got in a relationship and now, *as single women*, they've put their plans on hold for what "he" wants (married people "become one" not dating couples-Genesis 2:24-25). There are people I personally know who had a pretty consistent relationship with God, got in a relationship and now it's like "I fit God in when I'm not with 'my man'." (Exodus 20:3)

Being that "God is love" (I John 4:6&16)...being that GOD IS LOVE, let's revisit the nature of God for a moment:

"He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He."--- Deuteronomy 32:4(NKJV)

Being in a healthy relationship is being in a loving relationship and a loving relationship should *influence you* to be more like God. It should influence you to want to perfect flawed areas, to operate from a place of justice, to focus on biblical truth (John 8:31-32)...to live righteously and upright. Living righteously is about "acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous".  One definition of virtuous is "chaste". Proverbs 31:10(NKJV) says "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies."

A healthy dating relationship will progress to a state of courting a woman yet during that time, her virtue will remain in tact because a *healthy man* will see that the woman he is dating has a worth above rubies and he will want to preserve that until he has *God's blessing* (Matthew 19:6) to have her.

So, if you're in a relationship right now, take a moment to think about how the influence is affecting you. Is it *affecting* you for the better or *infecting* you for the worse? Because if he's not influencing you to be more like God, he's not loving you the way God wants him to and that's definitely something to think about...and reconsider.

tmm,

SRW


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "Devon Franklin and Meagan Good Speak on How and Why They Remained Celibate Prior to Marriage"

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So...

I'm actually finishing up a deadline and "happened upon this" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP). Good stuff, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin.

Per Mr. Franklin: "The desire for peace and harmony was also a part of the motivator [for being abstinent until marriage]. The other piece of it was this: 'If for some reason, my disobedience were to disqualify me from God's purpose on my life, would the activity that I was engaging in be worth it?'"

Per Mrs. Franklin: "God blessed me with someone who was celibate way before I got there." (Hope y'all heard that ladies!)

Pass the video along:


tmm,

SRW

Monday, April 15, 2013

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY

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The title alone caught my attention: "Don't Scratch the Loneliness 'Itch" with the Wrong Scratcher'". Classic:

"There’s nothing wrong with wanting a relationship but regardless of whether you’re in or out of one, you still have to be your own friend and you have to cultivate the things that you need, want and expect in your own life. Not all of these rest on another party. Having real connections with others is a very important part of your life and by having a healthy relationship with you and fostering healthy connections with others, it paves the way for moving closer to finding a romantic partner if that’s what you want.

Loneliness is one of those feelings where if you scratch the proverbial itch with the wrong scratcher, you will get temporary relief but the feeling will return until you scratch it with the right solution – healthy self-soothing. Until you’re clear on what you feel and why (try a Feelings Diary) and you address it in a healthy manner, the loneliness will increase not recede. This is why people who soothe their loneliness with crumbs feel worse not better, but they still end up bloated on the crumbs and believing that it’s all they can get / deserve.

Work out how you feel and why, make sure you know your own needs etc., and evaluate how you’re going to go about meeting those needs in a healthy manner. What does loneliness look like to you? Are you genuinely uncared for? Do you value the connections and life you do have? Is all of it about a romantic partner or are some of the things you’re feeling, thinking and needing about something else in your life? What is it that you miss and how can you drive this?"
 
A "feelings diary". Yeah. That's hot. Definitely something to consider. Sometimes we're "lonely" simply because we take our time for granted. If we really were proactive about self-improvement, we'd be shocked about the fact that 24 hours oftentimes feels like not nearly enough time in a day.

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Words to live by...

tmm,

SRW

"On Fire": Who Have You Been HELPING Lately?

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"And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'"---Genesis 2:18(NKJV)


So...

This weekend, I did my part to support 42 (for a lot of reasons) and I was not disappointed. It was so nice to see a story about black culture done with *so much dignity*. Anyway, as I was sitting through the trailers and in the film, there seemed to be a recurring theme: helpmates.

In the trailer for the upcoming Ron Howard (directed) biopic Rush, the race car driver Niki Lauda was in a car accident that caused him to be pretty badly burned. When he found himself doubting if he could race again, I really dug what the woman by his side said: "You drive don't drive with your face, you drive with your foot." (Stellar!)

And as far as Rachel, Jackie Robinson's wife in 42, that woman was a rock....in the most graceful and feminine kind of way. In both instances, I found myself thinking "Yeah, those women are made to be their husband's wife." I mean, I know women personally who would have been contemplating divorce in both circumstances and yet, these ladies were offering what a helpmate is supposed to give in the most challenging of circumstances: *good help*.  (Although interestingly enough, the main character in Rush married someone else later in life.)

That's a big part of the reason why Genesis 2:18 speaks of God creating someone *comparable* to Adam; not just someone that he could *love* but someone who was "a good match", someone he was "in class with" and someone who was "on par" with him.  Indeed, a lot of women in dating situations don't spend *nearly as much time as they should* asking the Spirit (John 4:24) if they are truly *comparable* to the guy they are interested in. If they did, it would either provide them with the faith (Hebrews 11) to be patient (I Corinthians 13:4, James 1:4) as God continues to prepare them both for marital covenant or the *courage* (Deuteronomy 31:6) to let him go if God reveals that they are *not* his suitable partner...for better *and* for worse.

That said, something that I've recently been thinking about is that in the wedding vow line of "for better or for worse" or "in plenty or in want" is that Woman/Eve fit the bill on *both sides of the coin*. She was Adam's life partner in the Garden of Eden AND when they were put outside of it (Genesis 2&3). She helped him...period. Good help provides good help. Period.

And yet, how can a woman be a good helper after jumping the broom if she's not getting good practice doing so as a single woman? So, as we enter into a new week, and a new day for that matter (Psalm 118:24), I want to pose one simple question:

                WHO HAVE YOU BEEN HELPING LATELY?

Help: to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist

And when I say "help", I don't mean some cryptic form of manipulation where you are doing things so that you can get something in return. After all, it was a wise man by the name of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who once said "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." There are a lot of selfish wives out here now because they spent their time as single women only focusing on what someone can do for them when the truth is that if you're going to be an Ezer Kenegdo, a lifesaver, it could do you and your future marriage *a whole lot of good* to get some practice being a good helper to others. 

So, this week....

1) Make a concerted effort to give what someone else requires in order to accomplish a task.
2) Provide what is necessary to satisfy someone else's needs.
3) Contribute to someone else's strength (especially in the area of one of their weaknesses).
4) Offer up your assistance to something that you will in no way benefit from (or get credit for).
5) Focus on cooperating with your family members, friends and co-workers *effectively*.

Bottom line, give aid to someone in your space. I promise you that when the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), speaks of the harvest being plentiful but the laborers being few (Matthew 9:37), a big part of that is because so many people are too self-consumed (Philippians 2:3), lazy (Proverbs 13:4) and/or greedy (Proverbs 1:9) to do something for someone else unless they themselves can get something out of it. 

And that kind of mentality isn't *helping* anyone.

tmm,

SRW

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"On Fire": Do You Trust Yourself? (Why or Why Not?)

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"All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in."---I Timothy 1:19(Message)


So tonight...

As I was doing a bit of writing and reading emails from some of you, "trust yourself" came to mind. I went online to see what kind of articles were available on the topic and I peeped this line from an article that was in Forbes magazine: 

"Trusting yourself is a learned skill. It requires a deep understanding and acceptance of who you are and what you represent."

OK, so trusting oneself is something that you have to *learn to do*. It requires understanding and accepting who you are AND understanding what (or in this case who) you represent. Spiritually, that would be Love (I John 4:6&18) and Light (Matthew 5:14).

Then I saw this on a website called Purpose Fairy:

"So how do you access this inner knowing, how do you get to this point where you can trust yourself, where you can access the truth? Well, silence is one of the ways to do so, silence can help you achieve that, and I honestly believe that this is something everybody can do. This is something we all can do but as long as we keep an open mind, for 'minds are like parachutes: they only function when open.' Lord Thomas Dewar
See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…we need silence to be able to touch souls.' Mother Teresa of Calcutta

By doing so, by setting aside 5 – 10 minutes every day somewhere where nobody will disturb you, 'the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself' Laurence Sterne. By taking time to be silent, not only will you be able to access the source of knowledge that lies within you, but you will also be able to tame your mind, and get to a point where you will be able to trust yourself completely, and from that point, your whole life will be transformed."

This author is onto something for sure. Although meditation is not a word that is used a lot in Christianity, it is indeed biblical: "When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches" (Psalm 63:6-NKJV) and "I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds." (Psalm 77:12-NKJV) One thing that happens when you *quiet yourself down* is that you are able to get into the space that King David once penned. You are able to "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) Being still reminds you whose *really boss* which puts you in the position of being better able to acknowledge that reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) and then follow God's directives (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Then an author on Refresher recommended these two points:

"Be willing to take risks, go for it, and make mistakes. So often we don't try things because we think we might fail. I love Michael Jordan's quote about this, he said, 'I missed 100% of the shots I never took.' While it can be scary for us to take risks in life, one of the greatest ways we can build our capacity for self-trust is to go for it...even if we fail. As we build up our ability to take risks, we also grow our capacity for courage, which in turn expands our ability to trust ourselves. 

Forgive yourself! This is a life-long process and is vital as it relates to self-trust. One of the main reasons we don't trust ourselves is that we haven't forgiven ourselves for mistakes we've made, pain we've caused, or regrets we have. These 'demons' from our past haunt us and we use them as evidence to not go for things and not trust ourselves. As we enhance our capacity to forgive ourselves, we heal from the past and breathe new life into our experience. This creates a genuine sense of enthusiasm for both the present moment and for our future. And, as we're able to forgive ourselves, we can let go of our attachment to being 'perfect' and having to do everything just right...which then allows us to trust ourselves more freely."

There are a lot of women who write me who really need to download these two points into their psyche. Indeed, one of the best things about Peter walking on water is that *he actually got out of the boat* (Matthew 14:22-33)!  How are you going to ever expect to live an abundant life (John 10:10) without being willing to take some major risks from time to time? 

That brings me to the second point...

A lot of people remain stagnant because they are literally obsessed with their past. It was Oscar Wilde who once said "No man is rich enough to buy back his past" but some people pay a pretty hefty fee by spending days that they will never get back pining over it. My aborted babies? I counsel couples and doula newborns and speak out against sexual brokenness as a way to give them a legacy. If I hadn't forgiven myself of those choices, not only would I not be doing those things, but honestly, I probably would have been successful at a suicide attempt. No joke. Satan is stealing a lot of people's potential by keeping them so consumed with what they've done that they won't take risks to get...well, past their past.

According to Psychology Today, one of the main keys to trusting yourself is this:

"Find people you trust: Surround yourself with them. The more you feel connected to and safe with the people in your life, the more comfortable you will feel with yourself."

All people need individuals to hold them accountable, who will be honest with them (Proverbs 27:6) and who will love them no matter what (Proverbs 10:12). Indeed, some of us don't trust ourselves simply because we don't know who to trust. If that is your personal testimony, ask the Spirit (John 4:24) to provide you with divine wisdom (James 1:5) on who is trust-worthy for you in this season (Ecclesiastes 3). I will continue to recommend the book Safe People until Christ returns to help people figure this particular point out.

And finally, Handy Life Advice had some real pearls of wisdom too:

"Second, take a look back into your past life experiences and analyze the reasons why certain events in your life didn’t go your way. At what point did you begin to realize that something was wrong? What did you do to fix the problem? Did you ignore all the warning signs? Maybe things didn’t feel right from the beginning? If you failed a class in your younger days, what was causing that situation? Was it a yearning for a relationship? Not being able to have freedom from your parents? Not having your own car? You weren’t accepted by the popular crowd?

Finally, listen to what your body is saying to you. Any kind of stress can cause your body to display illnesses. Be more aware of what is going on in your body. Body illnesses tell you that you have anger, guilt or resentment built up. People come up with all kinds of excuses to for why their life is the way it is. They do this to avoid facing the truth and dealing with the situation. In reality, the reason their life is the way it is, is because they created it that way."

Most of us are familiar with the verse in Scripture that says "As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." (Proverbs 26:11-NKJV) Take it from me, if you don't *make the time* to see why YOU have found yourself in the situations that you've been in (or are in), there's a pretty good chance that you'll remain in the cycle that continues to create a dissatisfying pattern in your life. It's not about what "they did". It's about what you attract, accept and settle for. And yes, your body, one way or another, will oftentimes let you know when something is just not right; when you are betraying some part of your mind, body and spirit.

When it comes to knowing if you really and truly trust yourself, it's good to keep in mind that trust is defined as being "reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence". If you're not sure if you trust yourself, take out some time over the weekend to jot down your strengths, abilities and the areas where you are sure that you have confidence. Then jot down why that is the case.

Then *and only then* should you write down your areas of weakness and the places where you lack integrity. Integrity is defined as the areas where you adhere to moral or ethical principles. So, if you know that you are not the best with money, then a way to build trust in that area is to save more. If you know that you battle with sexual sins, then you need to be single and have a season of "detox". If you know that you tend to not be the most honest person at work or in your ministry duties, then you need to confess that to someone who can pray for you (James 5:16) and focus on being someone more reliable in "the small things" before taking on more responsibilities.

Trusting yourself doesn't "just happen" any more than losing 15 pounds does. It requires daily commitment and a significant amount of hard work. But when you get to a place where you know your God and you know yourself, you'll be amazed what you'll be able to accomplish.

Life opens up to entirely new dimensions when you learn how to really and truly...

TRUST. YOURSELF.

tmm,

SRW


Friday, April 5, 2013

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY

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When I read this particular quote (below) and Proverbs 5&6 came to mind...hmph.  I mean, being that there's more "men sleeping with women" than men marrying them.

A wife is a helpmate. A adulteress is a gateway to hell.

Some men need their minds raised a few notches. Some of us need to stop being "notches on their belt" in order to help them out.

Anyway, here's the quote:


“Men's minds are raised to the level of the women with whom they associate."--- Alexandre Dumas Père

Definitely something to think about...and pass along,

SRW

An Ounce of Prevention: "A Crucifixion Type Love"

http://www.lifelovequotesandsayings.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/god.jpg 

Y'all know I'm not in social media so...

If you've already seen this...OK. ;-)

If you haven't, thank one of the "On Fire" women who hipped me to it in the wee hours of this morning. Being that I got my start in poetry, I *really enjoyed* this. A man can only love a woman when he truly understands how/why God loves him because it's through that love that his purpose, as a husband, is revealed.

Just about anybody can have a wedding.

This spoken word piece is why we all should wait for a *marital covenant*. Enjoy!


tmm,

SRW


Thursday, April 4, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "An 'On Fire' Woman Speaks on Her Quest for REAL LOVE"

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There are a lot of testimonies that I get from the "On Fire" women but there was one that I received in response to the "Love and Be.Loved" post that I was awaiting her permission to post. Her name I will leave anonymous but her words, I discern, need to be read...processed...pondered...felt...related to. Partially because I am a *huge believer* that confession brings forth healing (James 5:16), partially so that some of you won't feel alone and partially because I am *ecstatic* that she chose not to settle. Real love for God, self and then others means that you won't:

"It has been awhile since I reached out to you but this latest post on the On Fire blog broke me down (spiritually & emotionally) and at the same time it began my restoration.

In 2009, I thought I had found THE ONE for me and had even began marriage preparations. Everything appeared right but when I seriously sat still and listened with my heart & soul to what the Holy Spirit revealed, I knew I was making a flesh choice versus a spirit one and broke the engagement off a WHOLE year later.

What I know from looking back over the past few years and even further to when I started making relationship choices is this...

All my past relationship choices have been detrimental to me either spiritually, physically, or emotionally or all of the above.

I have tried to fill a void, a longing, a desire that stems from low self-esteem and from not knowing or acknowledging my self-worth. I looked to men to fill my Daddy void with their promises to never leave me. I looked to sex to make me feel in control and powerful in a relationship that demeaned my worth. I looked to food to soothe me and bring me comfort when I was alone. I looked to pleasing everyone even before myself to make me feel accepted. I stayed too long with men who did not hold me sacred or honor me just for the sake of not facing me or being alone. I always seemed to attract men who 'had potential' and I was going to help them be their all, even it is meant my own demise.  I tried to be their savior. 


In all this loving, I realized I could not love anyone else until I began to love myself.  In all this saving him/them from their demons I was losing my own soul. 
 

I settled for anything because I thought it was better than no thing.

I did not trust myself much less God to handle the affairs of my heart.

Besides the fairytale love affair I have read about and that is glamorized on TV, I personally have not experienced 'love right' in a romantic relationship. 

I use to feel like I was incapable of loving or receiving love. I was physically abused. The ones who claimed to treat me right simply because they did not leave a physical bruise said I was difficult. 


The truth of the matter is I just simply did not know what true love is.  Real love...yes ma'am - I am searching for the real love."

Talk about "beauty for ashes". I got some more "Love and Be.Loved" necklaces for those who have experienced less than what God desires for them.

Hit a sistah up.

And thank you, "you know who you are" for being willing to share. Our testimonies save us *and* those who hear us (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP).

tmm,

SRW

"On Fire": Are You "Coachable"?

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"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord."---Colossians 3:18-20(NKJV)


A few weeks ago...

I read a quote that was "sadly funny" to me. I phrase it in that fashion because unfortunately, I know a lot of women who treat their husbands in the fashion that author Laura Schlessinger speaks of: "Frankly, too many women treat their husbands as accessories instead of priorities."

And while I have wanted to pen a message on this topic ever since I read it (relatively speaking), it wasn't until I received a forward from my mom this morning (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) that I truly felt released (Luke 12:12) to do so. However, before I get into that, let's do a bit of reviewing about what the role of a (Christian) husband is to be in a marriage:

According to one article, he is to be the following:

An example.
A guide. 
A protector.
A provider.

According to another article, he is to be these things:

A leader.
A lover.
A servant.

And still according to yet another article, he's simply to be this:

A good and thorough leader.

That author introduced his piece by saying this: 

"The first primary role in the family of the man is to show loving leadership over wife and children. Oversight of all matters in the home, both physical and spiritual. Spiritual leadership in family home Bible studies and prayers. The wife is the manager of the home, but the husband is the manager of the wife." (1 Tim 5:8)

If there's one thing that all of these write-ups have in common, it's that a husband is to LEAD HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN. 

You know, there are a lot of women who claim that they want a husband but they can't even be corrected by their boss at work or graciously receive "the wounds of a friend" (Proverbs 27:6), let alone be led by a man. And perhaps that's a big part of the reason why God has been so *gracious* and *merciful* as to keep them single until they can receive true and lasting leadership. After all, being humble enough to follow a leader requires a lot of...spiritual maturity (Hebrews 5:12-14) and faith (Hebrews 11) in the Spirit's (John 4:24) "order of operation".

It makes me think of a song that one of my "big brothers" wrote once. In it, Shannon says "Don't get all emotional. Sometimes you need to be coachable." And ladies, that will preach! A part of the reason why you really have to allow the Spirit to bring you to the man he desires for you to be with (eh hem) *for the rest of your life* (Genesis 2:25, Matthew 19:6) is because when a man enters into a marital covenant with you, he is put into the position BY GOD (which means challenging it or bucking up to it is like challenging and bucking up to GOD), to be the leader of your home. 

A leader is not someone who always does what you like or agree with. A leader is this:

Lead: to go before or with to show the way; conduct or escort; to conduct by holding and guiding; to influence or induce; cause; to guide in direction, course, action, opinion, etc.; bring; to conduct or bring (water, wire, etc.) in a particular course

Based on those definitions, what is clearly evident is that the authors that I referenced earlier are "right on the money". A godly man who transitions into a Christian husband is *ordained by God* to go before his wife and children; to show the way to his wife and children; to guide his wife and children; to influence his wife and children and to bring his wife and children into a particular course. For me, this course comes immediately to mind: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14-NKJV)

Oh, and isn't this just one more reason to get off of the "missionary dating" bandwagon? You decided to marry a man who is not spiritually/equally yoked to you (2 Corinthians 6:11-18) and then want out once you realize that you should have "followed the formula" in the first place, that "reality check" (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) doesn't automatically absolve you of the consequences that come with breaking your marriage vows (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, I Corinthians 7:10-11, Proverbs 28:9-Message, Galatians 6:7-8). As a matter of fact, I was just talking to a wife recently about how...fascinating it is that so many divorced people *ignore* this verse in Scripture: "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery." (Matthew 5:32-NKJV) That's a part of the reason why this blog even exists: to prevent you from having to go through all of that kind of stuff.

And so, as we continue along the journey of wife preparation, I encourage you to seek the Father for some divine wisdom (James 1:5) on if you are indeed "coachable" and if you can indeed "follow the leader" because while we are here to HELP (Genesis 2:18) our covenant partner, that speaks to supporting him not running the show. A wife who runs her home is a wife who is totally out of her position. It's out of order, it leads to confusion and God is not the One who is the source of that (which only leaves to other options---us or Satan---and that ain't good...I Corinthians 14:33&40).

Which brings me to the email from my mom...

There is a book that came out late last summer. Perhaps some of you have heard of it, but I hadn't until today. It's called Unglued: Making Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions. According to the press release on the website:

Filled with personal examples and Biblical teaching, Unglued will equip you to:

Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships.

Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended.

Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication.

Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between.

Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

The more I counsel couples, the more I see that there is a HUGE MISCONCEPTION that walking down an aisle will miraculously uproot issues. If a man is irresponsible the day before his wedding, there's a pretty good chance (great even) that he will be irresponsible the day after it. And if a woman cannot humble herself (Luke 14:11) the day before her wedding, dressing up in some gown and throwing a big party is not going to change anything. When you're single, *this is the time* to grapple with the root causes of "why you do what you do" and learning how to make wise decisions when your emotions are trying to get you to do otherwise (Jeremiah 17:9) is something that will have you *way ahead of the game* when it is time to provide divine help (HELP NOT LEADERSHIP) to the leader of your home: your husband.


http://www.beliefnet.com/~/media/27D65054D92747AB9A4C32514FB345B8.ashx 

You can purchase the book here. It might even be a nice gift for some wives you know who have yet to really grasp this:

"Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman." (Proverbs 21:19-NKJV)

Or this...

"'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-27-NKJV)

*Covenant is serious*. Here's to learning how to be "coachable" so that your (future) marriage can win at the game of love and life!

tmm,

SRW