Saturday, June 28, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) IF A MALE BIRD KNOWS TO PREPARE A HOME...WELL...

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I have never *ever* liked it when...

A man moves into a woman's home.

I don't just mean shacking. I mean when a couple is engaged and it has been decided that after wedding/marriage vows have been taken, the man will move into the woman's house. In fact, I find it to be so disturbing that I once lost a dear friendship by speaking up against it. Being that a part of a man's role is to be a provider, it sends a very conflicting message for the woman to provide the dwelling place. The abiding place. The physical covering.

So, what if you are currently a homeowner? I mean, that means you have real estate, right? Sell it. Rent it out. Bless a family in need by allowing them to stay there. But to move your husband into it? Yeah...talk about a *really slippery slope* when it comes to learning how to respect him. As a man. As a husband. As the provider.

That said...

I was recently watching an episode of Iyanla Vanzant's Fix My Life. As she was talking to a daughter's boyfriend who lives with her in her mother's house (whew!), Iyanla brought out a bird's nest.

Hmph. It's amazing what nature does so well than humans seem to "miss the memo" on.

As she was talking about the fact that there are species of birds where *the male builds the nest*, I did some research and "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) the straight up testimony of the male bowerbird:

"To attract a partner, the male bowerbird builds and decorates an elaborate nest, which can take weeks to assemble. The bower -- a structure woven around a sapling that looks almost like a wooden tent -- is carpeted with moss and decorated with flowers, colorful insects, fungi or even dung, depending on each bird's design sensibilities."

That intrigued me enough to go look for a video on dude (LOL). Boy...sometimes it really does sadden me what we as women will settle for that female *birds* (BIRDS) will not:



I mean...

DO YOU SEE ALL OF THAT TIME, EFFORT AND ENERGY THAT THE MALE BOWERBIRDS PUT INTO ATTRACTING A MATE? 

I have said on many occasions that since Ephesians 5:25-33 tells a man to love his wife as Christ has loved the Church, and since Christ said upon leaving this earth that he was *going to prepare a place for us* so that where he goes, we can go also, why should we expect any less from our husbands (John 14:2-3)?

I promise you, that video is definitely worth (almost) six minutes of your time.

It's also worth a couple of more minutes to pass it along.

To some single women *and men* that you know.

Luxuriant,

SRW

Friday, June 27, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) 'A Man's Dying Wish: His Marriage'


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The copy for this story is moving...

The video, no doubt, is as well...

However, the main reason why I'm sharing this is due to how *gracious* the bride/wife appeared to be. Clearly, she was making it be more about meeting her groom/husband's needs than her own pain re: losing him. It's a nice example of what a helper (Genesis 2:18) is to be (S-C-A-P):

Rowden Go Pangcoga and Leizl Pangcoga got married on June 11, 2014. 10 hours later, the groom passed away.

The couple originally planned to get married on July 8, the groom’s 30th birthday, then cancer struck. Pangcogo was diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer in early May, his last wish was to marry Leizi, the love of his life. Too sick to leave the hospital, the hospital staff brought the wedding to Pangcoga’s bedside.

Footage of the wedding preparation and ceremony hit the web on June 18, and it is heart breaking. The three-minute video features the bride getting ready, the tears of Pangcoga’s mother Lorelei, and the smiling face of the couple’s two-year-old daughter Zakiah Rowzel acting as the flower girl.



Love is not selfish (I Corinthians 13:5-NCV). This means that love is *self-less*.

Just a reminder. In video form.


Luxuriant,

SRW

Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) 'Wait Until Marriage to Have Sex'

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A spiritual brother of mine got married on Father's Day weekend and...

Being that we've known each other since college, we know a lot of each other's history. Including sexually. So, being that he was the first one to jump the broom, I asked him to share a couple of paragraphs on the difference (to him) between single sex and married sex. Here's what he said:

As a recently married newlywed, here are some thoughts on the difference betweensex before marriage and sex during marriage. 

No matter the connection you THINK you feel before marriage with someone, the simple feeling of being relaxed and comfortable with the person you are married to is unmatched.  When you know beyond the shadow of a doubt there is a commitment that is spiritual, legal and truly consensual (no ulterior motives, no games, no trying to figure out if one or the other is using sex for leverage, etc), sex becomes much more intimate.

Another thing about sex within marriage is that you learn your limitations, but you also find that you can explore together as frequently and as risqué as you like.  Hebrews 13:4  (NKJV) reads “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled…”  That’s real talk.  He gave us sex within marriage to enjoy in a way we cannot enjoy outside of marriage.  You can replicate the physical feeling.  You can’t replicate the spiritual intimacy.

Nicely said...

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To add to that...

Here's a good video on why we all should wait until marriage for sex:



It's some good stuff. Watch it. Pass along. Especially to men who are not quite convinced that single sex is doing nothing for them in comparison to what married sex can and will.

Luxuriant,

SRW

An Ounce of Prevention: '8 Signs You're Not Ready for a Relationship'

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Before we get into this...

Let me just say that one sign is not that you've haven't been in a relationship for a while. In fact, it was after reading one article that had the following (very relevant) point that I felt I should share another article, in its entirety, on the topic:

You're spending more time pursuing love than pursuing your interests.  I realize that in order to meet men you need to get out there and be sociable, whether "out there" means the local ski club or the local web scene and I'm all for that. In fact, I highly recommend it. But if you're not actively pursuing your own interests at the same time, then there's a problem. If you're thinking to yourself right now, "The only thing I’m interested in is meeting a man," then you're in the deep. The Absolute Best Place To Meet Mr. Right

As I've said before, the best way to meet the right Mr. Right is by doing things and going places that you'd do or go to anyway, even if there was no chance of meeting a man. So, if you find yourself on Saturday nights obsessing over and constantly tweaking every word on your online dating profile then you're wasting valuable time that you could be spending pursuing your own interests. If you don't have any interests then you aren't very interesting and that means that you're hoping a guy will add interest to your life. He won't because he won't stick around long enough to.




John 10:10 doesn't tell us that Christ came to give us an abundant life that starts after marriage. It says that we are to live abundantly, period. So, what about you, *as a single woman(*, shows that you are living life to the fullest? Even without a man? If you can't list five things, that's also a clear sign that you are not ready for a relationship.

Here are some others (per the second article)...

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

One of the most asked questions I get is “When do I know I am ready for relationship?” There is no cookie cutter answer 8 signs you're not ready for a relationship to this, but as always I will give my perspective based on what I have been through and past suggestions that have been successful. I want to stress we all have a love tank that needs to be filled, but we don’t have fill that tank through the opposite sex in the confines of an romantic relationship. The need for companionship often leads to developing unhealthy habits that only delay having a healthy relationship partner. When you can be happy alone, then you are ready for a relationship or marriage. Here are my 8 signs you are not ready for love:


1. You struggle with insecurities. Insecurities only make our relationships worse and not better. You will always have those situations where arguments and problems blow up because of insecurities. In some cases of insecurities you are only seeking the relationship because of your insecurities because it makes you feel better about yourself. I discuss this topic deeper in my blog “9 ways to overcome insecurities” click here.
 

2. You have not healed from past pains or bitterness. When we refuse to heal and forgive we allow the person in our past to have control over us. When you forgive you release that pain and the control it has over you. Holding anger from a past relationship will only make you bitter. I discuss this topic deeper in my blog “Healing before Love” click here. If bitterness is your issue read the blog “10 steps for overcoming bitterness and resentment.”
 

3. You have not taken responsibility for the part you played in the failure of your past relationships. We always hear people say “it was not my fault” or “he did this or she did that” the truth of the matter is that we are all participators in our pain- there are no victims. We have to always look ourselves in the mirror and ask the questions, what is wrong with me. And how can I improve to make my life better? I think we rarely see this type of deep introspection, but we often see the victim mentality. Good or bad your past relationships can make you a better person if you allow those experiences to inspire growth.
 

4. You don’t love yourself. Often people don’t understand what this truly means. Loving self doesn’t mean, “ I am doing me” or “It’s all about me”; that is simply an immature and selfish thought process. Loving self means you understand your self-worth and you do things daily to improve who you are and the lives of others around you. When you love yourself, you treat people kind and you seek a mutual oneness with those connected to you. When we seek relationships without loving self, our self-worth is tied to the connection of another person. Our self-worth goes up and down depending on how the person with whom we’re connected feels about us. So, when your relationship partner puts you down you believe what they say. Develop a health self-love before seeking relationships.
 

5. You’re selfish and have a critical spirit. Selfish people can’t love unconditionally, period, so this is something we must be mindful of. If you are selfish, you only love in the moment and once that moment is over, you are gone. When things are hard, difficult, or not your way, you bounce as well. A critical spirit is based in pride. When we are critical, we kill the spirit of other people. Work on these things before seeking a relationship.
 

6. You are fresh out of a relationship. This is a huge one! I see this far too often. Give yourself time to heal before rushing into a new relationship. I’ve been in a relationship with a woman who was not ready for a relationship, because she was not healed from her last one. Even before we got serious, I knew it was a bad idea and God even warned me, but I moved out of my human emotion. When we make emotional decisions, in most cases, it leaves us heart-broken. Rebound relationships may numb your pain, but will delay your healing. Give yourself time to heal. The longer the past relationship, the longer you need to take to heal. Learn more by listening to me discuss the issue. Click here
 

7. You can’t be happy alone. The ability to be happy alone is a prerequisite to being ready for a relationship or marriage. I discuss this deeper in my audio series. Click here.
 

8. You’re still dealing with your ex. Don’t pursue relationships with people if you are still dealing with your ex. It’s kind of sad that I even have to discuss this one, but of course we know people do this all the time. Make a decision about your ex before creating something new.


A man is not to "fix your life".

A man simply *adds to it*.

Feel me?

Luxuriant,

SRW

Monday, June 23, 2014

"On Fire": QUOTES OF THE DAY

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An Ounce of Prevention: '9 Signs You've Met the One' (According to a Christian Guy)



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This list is pretty thorough...

What I feel led to add is that meeting "the one" means that they feel you are the one too. Therefore, this (S-C-A-P) list will cut both ways. 

We want God's choice for our live, but recognizing who God wills for our life is not always the easiest thing. My must have a passion for Him most of all and the person we should be attracted to should be a person that loves God above a relationship.

Here are some obvious guidelines that are helpful as well:


1) You’re Not Chasing the Relationship’s Potential

 

Many people have romantic relationships fraught with obstacles. On a basic level, the relationship is satisfactory, but there always seems to be something standing in the way of true happiness: a stressful job, an annoying ex, a distasteful habit. Both people feel that once the obstacle is removed, they’ll be truly content together. Unfortunately, relationships don’t work that way. Once the problem is resolved, another one pops up. 

And—surprise!—the couple is still unhappy.
 

What people may not realize is that if they are waiting for true happiness in their relationship, then they are in the wrong relationship. Landing a better job may make life easier financially, but no amount of money will help two people who just aren’t a good fit for each other.
 

The truth is, a happy, well-adjusted couple doesn’t have to chase what could be or should be. A good relationship just is.

2) Who You Are Is Good Enough
 

You know you’ve met the one when your partner loves you for who you are. We know it sounds pretty cliché, but like all clichés, it’s true. “The One’s” admiration of you is so powerful that it’s almost as if he or she is awestruck by your very presence. He takes great pride in the choices you’ve made. She finds you smart, sexy, fun to be with, and so on. You never have to try to impress “The One” because you’ve already done that by just being you.

3) You Manage Conflict Well

 

Let’s say we have two couples that have been together for the same amount of time. Couple A fights regularly. Couple B has never argued in the history of their relationship. Which couple do you think a relationship counselor would say is at greater risk?
 

That’s right: Couple B. Upon closer examination, you’ll find that someone in the relationship—perhaps both parties—isn’t being forthcoming. Someone’s needs and wants aren’t being voiced and therefore aren’t being addressed.
 

Couple A, on the other hand, makes it a point to bring up topics that are bothersome or dissatisfying within the relationship. This couple regularly engages in respectful, healthy conflict—without insults or throwing things—and comes out the other side a stronger couple that gains a deeper understanding of one another with each conflict they resolve together. How much a couple fights isn’t the issue, unless they don’t fight at all. It’s how a couple manages conflicts that determines how well the relationship works.

4) The Mundane Is Suddenly Interesting
 

If you’re spending time with someone who really is “The One,” then you probably want to pay attention to even the smallest details of his or her life. Specifics from his work interest you, stories about his childhood hold your attention, and even old photos or home movies fascinate you.
 

When this happens, then this person is likely much more to you than a ship passing in the night.

5) There’s Minimal Drama—or None at All
 

Like we said above when we talked about conflict, even the healthiest relationships deal with their share of arguments. So when we say that there’s not a lot of drama in your relationship, we don’t mean that the two of you never fight.
 

But when you do, you do your best to fight fair. You admit when you’re wrong, you listen to each other, you acknowledge one another’s good points, and you apologize when you cross lines. It’s not that you have to be perfect, but if this person is “The One,” then you are at least trying to make your conflict work for your relationship rather than against it.
 

So if you two are dealing with constant drama, where one of you is trying to create high emotions to manipulate the other or where there’s constant turbulence without some sort of resolution, then be careful about fully committing to the relationship at this point. High drama is a definite red flag when it comes to long-term relationship success.

6) Your Friends and Family See What You See
 

If the people who love you the most are begging you to get away from someone, then that person’s probably not the one for you. On the other hand, if the people you trust also see what you see in this person and encourage the relationship, then that’s a good sign that you two may belong together.
 

Of course, sometimes your friends and family may choose someone for you whom you haven’t chosen. They may push for a relationship that you have no interest in pursuing. In these cases, it’s not always wise to follow their advice.
 

But if you’re falling in love with someone whom the people in your life want you to be with, then there’s a good chance that this may be the real deal.

7) You Know How to Make Them Happy
 

When there’s a deep connection between two people, they each know what the other wants and needs. So ask yourself this question about the person in your life: Do you know what it takes to make him or her happy? Think about minor, moment-by-moment issues, like where that person likes to eat and what kind of back rub he or she enjoys.
 

Additionally, think about larger matters as well: Do you know how to help her relieve stress? Can you get her to talk about her dreams and visions for the future? When she’s struggling at work or with a family issue, can you help her come through the storm and find the sun again? And, just as important, does your partner know how to do this for you as well? If so, that’s another reason to believe that you’ve found “The One.”

8) You Have the Same Life Priorities
 

Opposites may attract, but they rarely make for a good long-term relationship. Compatibility really is key when it comes to creating a deep and lasting connection between two people.
For example, if you want to begin preparing for the future and building toward certain life and career goals, but your partner mainly wants to make enough money so that he or she can party this weekend, then you two are probably working with fairly different priorities.
And the opposite it is true, too: If your priorities match up well, then you two have a much better chance of long-term happiness and fulfillment together.

9) You Respect the Person Deeply
 

Mutual respect is crucial for a healthy relationship. Without that respect, there’s simply no way to create and build a secure foundation so that you can enjoy all of the benefits of a deep and strong relationship.
 

But when you respect your partner and he or she respects you, the relationship has a strong chance at thriving, and all the aspects of your connection blossom. The communication improves. The commitment deepens. The trust multiplies. The satisfaction level goes through the roof.
 

And that all begins with a mutual respect that emerges because you like each other and because you appreciate the way you live your individual lives.
 

So as you try to figure out whether you’ve found “The One,” take a look at this list. If you can check off each of the above items, then you owe it to yourself to allow the relationship to become all that it can possibly be.

Let me say this: If you are dating or courting without healthy physical or emotional boundaries, it's going to make letting the man lead (and trusting you to follow) very challenging. A part of respecting a husband is being with a guy who respects your mind, body and soul before getting married. Just ask most of the people who are now divorced.

Luxuriant,

SRW

An Ounce of Prevention: '7 Ways To Tell If You Are In A God Ordained Relationship'

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If something is God-ordained...

It is GOD-APPROVED, which means you have GOD'S PERMISSION.

This about that as you go through this (S-C-A-P) list...

1 – You are Equally Yoked Christians
 

The operative word here is Equally yoked.  By this I mean you are both Christians for starters and are both in a similar place in your walk with Jesus.  If one of you walks closely with Him and the other barely knows Him, you are not Equally Yoked.  You must have a strong Spiritual connection with one another.  You must view and worship God in a similar fashion. You can talk openly about God and can spur each other on in your faith and walk with Christ.  You should be able to pray together as a couple and pray for one another when you are apart.  This prayer should come naturally and without hesitation.  I cannot emphasize enough how critical this point is.  It’s not enough that both of you believe in Jesus Christ.  If you are not equally yoked spiritually, your relationship will unravel quickly.

In Voddie Baucham’s book, “What He Must Be,” he states that the man must lead in the Word.  To do so, he himself must be deeply rooted in the word before he can lead his wife in this area.  I have outlined this book for single women to use as a reference guide for choosing a Godly mate and for men to strive for as God’s standard for them to follow.

Ephesians 5:25-26: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…

If you are not Equally Yoked because one of you is not a Christian, your relationship is not ordained by God, because this is blatant disobedience to God’s Word.  If you are not equally yoked because you don’t connect spiritually or one of you is more grown than the other, particularly the woman, you should prayerfully consider taking a break and seeing if time apart will bring the other person to a closer and deeper relationship with God.  If not, then it is not a match.  MOVE ON…  Regeneration and transformation is evidence of a Spirit led life yielded to Him.

"There is no exception to this rule; if a man loves not God, neither is he born of God. Show me a fire without heat, then show me regeneration that does not produce love to God." -- Charles Spurgeon

2 Corinthians 6:14-18: 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.”

Physical attraction is not enough glue to keep a marriage alive.  Look at all the celebrity marriages that are based on looks and attraction.  Jesus is the Superglue in any marriage!  If you don’t see Jesus in that person’s character, action, or spirit, you are fooling yourself and setting yourself up for a world of frustration and hurt.

Deuteronomy 22 tells us not to sow a vineyard with different kinds of seed or plow with an ox and a donkey together.  God wanted to separate His children’s practices from pagan practices.  In the same way, a Spiritual connection is achieved by equally yoking, sanctified believers planted at the same level, walking along the same path, direction, and speed.  This is critical in the context of marriage according to God’s Word.  He doesn’t want us to struggle by either being weighed down by someone’s lack of knowledge or overwhelmed by someone’s drive to push to the next spiritual level.  God’s sovereignty is greater than our fleshly point of view.  This spiritual connection becomes apparent during the dating/courting stage.  Don’t think marriage will suddenly cause a spiritual connection to magically appear between two different levels of believers.  Not to say that God cannot raise up and sanctify a once flailing believer for His glory, I am merely suggesting that we should obey His commands and precepts to receive His full blessings according to His promises instead of pushing the envelope and walk along the perimeters of what is acceptable in His eyes.    



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2 – You Are Both Marriage Minded
 

You both share similar goals about marriage; you are both ready for it.  The time frame should be within one to two years at the most.  If neither of you are ready for marriage, why are you dating?  Recreational Dating is not advisable for Born Again Bible Believing Christians; it only leads to sin, which dishonors God, then God doesn’t bless the union; which ends up causing long term issues in the marriage.  If only one of you is ready to get married, then you are incompatible and shouldn’t date.  This also turns into recreational dating for the one who isn’t ready to marry and a big waste of time for the one who is ready to marry.

When an individual is ready for marriage after spending quality time with God in worship, sanctification, and service, nothing pleases Him more than to bring a suitable mate for that individual in the covenant of Marriage.

In Genesis 24:1-23, Abraham sent his servant to seek a wife for his son Isaac.  He was very choosy by sending his servant back to his country to find a suitable mate for his one and only son.  Before meeting Rebekah, the servant said a prayer to God asking for wisdom.  Rebekah proved herself worthy when she served water to this servant and his camels.  She unknowingly showed her diligence and work ethic which was the sign he was looking for in finding “The One.”

 3– You Have Complete Peace
 

When your relationship is God ordained, it will be simple, uncomplicated, and should run smoothly.  It won’t be perfect, but will seem effortless.  Your schedules don’t collide.  You both have time to go to church, serve God, and enjoy time together.  Your lives converge easily without too much effort. Both your friends and families approve.  There is no drama, fighting, or constant bickering.  Peace will permeate your spirit when God ordains your relationship.    When you think about that person, you smile and thank God for bringing you a perfect and wonderful gift. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father…”  (James 1:17)

Genesis 24:40: But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father’s house.

God will send his angels to ensure you prosper in your ordained relationship.  This brings perfect peace.  But when you are constantly arguing and chaos/drama is a consistent theme, something is wrong.  When your lives are on opposite schedules and you can’t get time together, much less go to church or serve God together, this is a warning sign.  When close family members or trusted friends have issues with your mate, take heed.  If most arguments are not getting resolved and get swept under the rug; when you think about that person and get upset or stress out, it’s time to get out of that relationship.  Most people don’t see these issues as road blocks and think getting married will solve these problems.  It doesn’t.  Permanently chaining yourself to someone who doesn’t get along with you, will not miraculously make them get along with you better. God is a God of order, not confusion.  He is trying to warn you.  “Get Out!”

2 Chronicles 8:16: Now all the work of Solomon was well-ordered from the day of the foundation of the house of the Lord until it was finished. So the house of the Lord was completed.

If God has ordained our days, He will also ordain the placement of our mate in our lives in the proper order and time; according to His will.  If you are investing emotionally, mentally, and physically before getting a green light from God, you are not only being disobedient, but you are also hurting yourself and your future relationship in many ways.  Repent, part ways, and let Jesus mend your heart.  If you have a hard time letting go after knowing you are in the wrong relationship, you have other underlying issues like Codependency.  Partnership with a Codependent person is not advisable.  You are not yoking yourself in a healthy relationship.

4 – You Enjoy Being with That Person

 

Take away the iPhone, Facebook, Cable TV, games, and all media.  If you were stranded on a deserted island with this person with only a bible, would you have the adventure of a lifetime or does getting a root canal seem more appealing?  This is the true test of compatibility.  When you can sit with this person without distractions and physical intimacy and can laugh, communicate, connect, and enjoy yourself, you are on the right track, because you have the foundation of a Godly Friendship in place.

The thought of this person gets you excited spiritually and emotionally.  Out of all the people you know, this person is the first person you want to share your victories and trials with.  Their presence and their input is what you look forward to at the end of your day. You see Jesus in their countenance and demeanor.

Proverbs 25:11: A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

But if sitting alone with this person for two hours without media distractions makes you uncomfortable, you need to reevaluate your relationship.  If your communication often goes awry and ends in an argument or frustration, this is a red flag.  You have communication issues.  Again, marriage doesn’t cause two incompatible people with communication barriers to suddenly have a strong connection.  It’s either there or it’s not.

Proverbs 17:1: Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife.







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5 – Communication, Communication, Communication!

When it comes to Real Estate it’s Location, Location, Location!  But in a relationship, it’s Communication to the third power!  You must be able to speak freely both ways.  The best communicators are active listeners.  They are also great at articulating their thoughts and feelings through speaking and writing.  It’s best to find someone who can communicate at your level and listens intently to your every word.  After all, we have two ears and one mouth.  The bible tells us it’s better to listen before speaking.

Ezekiel 3:10: Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.

James 1:19-20: So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

After being spiritually connected, communication is the next critical item on the list.  You must be able to communicate with one another frequently, with ease, openness, and pleasure.  If there is a lot of miscommunication, arguments, and difficulty, it’s a Red Flag!  Again, this is another item that either exists naturally or not at all.  I understand that communication is a skill that can be learned and improved on, but when there are difficulties in a dating/courting relationship, beware!  Proceed with caution.  Don’t date/court someone to fix them.  This is God’s job, not yours!

6 – Majority Approves
 

Most if not all your friends and family must approve of your mate.  These are people who know you, love you, and want what’s best for you.  Sometimes we can get emotionally and physically caught up in someone and not see the “Big Picture.” This is where our friends and family come in.  Their opinions and insights count.  Obviously, be cautious of those who are not basing their opinions on biblical virtues.  But otherwise, trust them!  If a majority of them disapprove of your choice, God is trying to tell you something.  Don’t ignore their opinions.  They are God’s messengers for your protection.  Your relationship will not thrive in a bubble or a vacuum.  God did not intend that for any marriage.  If anything, your relationship is meant to be an illustration to the world of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and love.

Matthew 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

In biblical times and some cultures today, parents often chose spouses for their children.  This is not such a bad idea.  Who do you think would make a better judgment call, an emotionally inexperienced and hormonally driven 22 year old or a mature parent who has both Godly and Worldly wisdom and insights?  If you ignore the Majority Approves rule, you are guilty of disobedience and idolatry.

Before Rebekah agreed to leave with the servant, she needed her family’s wisdom and approval as a sign that God ordained it.  I’m sure if they didn’t approve, she wouldn’t have agreed to go.  “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you either bad or good.  Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the Lord has spoken.”  (Genesis 24:50-51)

Genesis 24:57-61: So they said, “We will call the young woman and ask her personally.” Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”  So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men.  And they blessed Rebekah and said to her:
 

“Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands;
And may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them.”
 

Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.

Here we see that Rebekah heeded her family’s approval before deciding to leave with Abraham’s servant.  She also proved her faith, readiness, and willingness by leaving her family at a moment’s notice and setting out for a new life in a far away land to marry a man she never met!  This took courage, faith, and preparedness; the kind that manifests after spending alone time with God.

7 – God Gives You a Supernatural Love for This Person
 

When God ordains a relationship, He gives you Supernatural examples to confirm His approval of your union.  It won’t take years or months.  Sometimes it’s a matter of hours or weeks to know you are in the presence of “The One.”  Now granted, if you met in high school, then it will take years, but when you are at an appropriate age, it doesn’t take long to figure it out if God is in the center of your relationship.  A man will be overcome with the desire to see the woman more often, while the woman won’t have time to fret over his intentions or feelings. 

Ladies, if you are sitting around fretting over some guy who isn’t calling you or wanting to spend more time with you, give it to God.  You could be wasting your precious time and energy on the wrong guy.  Instead of being fixated on Mr. Wrong, focus on what you should be doing, which is serving God.

1 Peter 4:8: And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Those who have met the right person will be given an extra helping of love for this person that will seem unconditional.
 

You can’t imagine your life without this person in it. Your love for this person becomes more Christ-like and pure. This love is not driven by selfishness or lust.  If it is, beware!  Lust doesn’t last.  It is only lighter fluid that dissipates over time.  The flame dies out quickly if Christ-like love is not the center or foundation of your relationship.  God doesn’t bless such a union.  Be Warned: the enemy will have a field day wreaking havoc on your relationship, instilling fits or jealousy, rage, and tumultuousness.

When deciding on a future mate, these seven factors should be the criteria in your decision making.  Emotions and physical attraction shouldn’t override these factors.  Otherwise, you will be on a slippery slope compromising in a relationship that God did not ordain. God’s blessings were bestowed on Rebekah as she faithfully waited and readied herself for her future mate.

Genesis 24:67: Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her.

The Takeaways:
 

1 – A Spiritual Connection centered on Christ and set apart by His precepts is a requirement in a God Ordained Relationship.
 

2 – Physical attraction and emotional connection doesn’t last and is not God’s main criteria in selecting a mate for you.
 

3 – God wants to bless you with a mate who will bring you closer to Him, not farther from Him. He will present the person who will bring you to a more intimate relationship with Him so He will be glorified through your union.
 

4 – Recreational Dating: leads to sin, doesn’t honor God, and prepares you more for divorce, not marriage.
 

5 – Communication either flows freely or it just doesn’t.  A communication blockage is a Red Flag!
 

6 – Majority Approval is a must!  God reveals His truth through our family and friends when we no longer listen to Him.
 

7 – Wait on God’s choice for you! When God ordains it, it will be exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ask or think!

Amen. And amen!

Luxuriant,

SRW

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"On Fire": Are You Looking with EYES or with VISION?

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Lord knows. LORD KNOWS...

I wanted to let this (cough, cough) "news story" pass. You know the one. The one about this guy:



Yes, yes. The blue-eyed Mr. Jeremy Meeks who currently has close to 88,000 "likes" regarding his Facebook mug shot.

Now before I begin, this is just one more example of how profound the quote "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is because while he is an attractive man, I peeped some of the other *criminals* that he was involved with and from a physical standpoint, someone else visually caught my attention:



Admittedly, I once had to go into "thug rehab" (LOL). And yes, I personally tend to like men with a bit more of an edge than Mr. Meeks. Again, physically.

OK, but let me stick to the point...

I'm not on Facebook and so I'm pretty sure a lot of y'all were reading the comments on Mr. Meeks and his mug shot (I repeat: MUG SHOT) way before I did. Here are some of them, though:

Carey Berry: Yes, he's a criminal. There is nothing wrong with LUSTING for a sexy man. Hell, half you men are JEALOUS and the women who have a problem with this need to worry about your OWN man or maybe that's the problem, YOU DON'T HAVE ONE!

սհրէնիկ սհահ: God bless America.

Yas LadyBird: rape me!!!

Katherine Monet: I would buy anything he is selling. He says he is no longer in a gang - enough for me. Gosh he is so edible! Hmmmmmmmm......delicious looking! Can we post his bail?

Victoria Costa: i would not mind uf he would kidnap me or something

Gabrielle Soffner: arrest me now. whhaaaa

Deb Collett: That's a Hottie for sure. Doesn't look no criminal to me!! Fine lookin strong sexy man to!!! The eyes melt a girl!!

Share Rashchupkina: He's hot. I always lust the thugs & killers myself, can't help what turns us on. Bad boys make my hips burn.

Elita Ali: Wow! I must admit, it's hard to look away from him. Omg! Beautiful!!

Veronica Valeria Lencina: Es perfecto!!! 

OK, did a chick really put "rape me" into the atmosphere? Pray for her right now.

Also...

I must admit that I did find it to be a bit humorous that a lot of *men* were the "voice of reason" and honestly, I think a lot of them might have been a bit...on the green side. Nonetheless, this fella brings up some really good points:

Mike Rawlings: You can't really stop the instant thing of finding someone physically attractive, but that is then overtaken by the other things about the person that could end up making you find them physically repulsive, so I don't judge on you at first thinking he's attractive. I do judge though that you still do even though you know what type of person he is and have no shame proven by willingness to comment compliments on here for all to see and effectively congratulating someone who only deserves beration. In fact you've all come here because you know its a picture of a criminal, so the instant attraction I spoke of earlier is actually voided here...so I take it back, I do judge you.

Finally; when would you girls (and some guys) stop commenting shamelessly about how you, for whatever reason, find him attractive? When it says "arrested for rape" or maybe "known paedophile"? You need to reassess yourselves, the values you hold and where you place your adoration. If I was a religious man I'd sum it up with the popular phrase "Y'all need Jesus'.


IF he were a religious man? (LOL) And while you might think that this message is about how shallow and superficial a lot of the comments were, I'm actually going to come from a bit of a different angle.

While again, I can see what the women are seeing about Mr. Meeks and because I know that every story has layers I really do hope that he gets his life together, as I was "taking in the hype", there were two things that I thought about.  One was a Scripture and another is a woman that I know.

Here's the Scripture:

"Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, "Thus says the Lord God":
 

'You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.'"---Ezekiel 28:11-13(NKJV)


This is referencing Lucifer and being that it talks about him being in the Garden of Eden, obviously after his "fall from grace" (heaven). Do you know anyone who is "perfect in beauty"? Yeah, me neither. I do know some fine men, though and so...I can only imagine.

And that's one point that I want to make. Something that is perfect in beauty can still be toxic, dangerous and downright evil. Not the gift does the wrapping make. So, if you're holding out for a good-looking man and you don't have a lot more on your list than that, please expand it. Reportedly, Mr. Meeks is married. We should ask his wife what she thinks about him. And his hype. (Update: Reportedly, she's *not* a happy camper: click here.)

Second point. I remember talking to a woman, well into her 40s now (and still single) about why she would have a pattern of turning down kind men while apparently gravitating to the ones she thought were "hot". She used to tell me "I can't be with someone who I'm not physically attracted to." I get that (trust me, I do!) but the ones that she seemed to think were 1) jerks and 2) total commitment-phobes. And here's the real clincher: For every kind, responsible, funny, professionally, relationship-with-God man that she shut down (catch it) *they are now married*. She's *still* single.

Looking with your eyes isn't going to get you the to the right man.

*Having a vision is*. And having a vision for your life means going to God about who will spiritually lead, who will physically protect, who will emotionally nurture---who will go beyond the "surface of the physical" and into the depths of your soul.

I used to have such low self-esteem that I needed a fine man to validate my worth. 

Some of them broke my heart, damaged my spirit and about took my uterus out.

Marriage and shoot, even sex, is far more about a spiritual connection than a physical one.

God knows you need to be attracted to your husband.

He also knows you need to be properly cared for.

Don't sacrifice the latter for the former.

A fine man ain't everything...

Even Mr. Meeks said it. From behind some bulletproof glass. And (presumably) he is one.

Yep, oftentimes good-looking men will even warn you about being with them.

Please take heed.


Luxuriant,

SRW

Thursday, June 19, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) 'The Order of Eden'

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Yeah...

I've been a fan of Dr. Monroe for a while. For some reason, he's been catching my attention courtship these past couple of days. He got me on this video when he said  "A woman should meet you in the presence of God." ALL OF IT IS GOOD THOUGH. It's well worth eight minutes. Especially when it comes to standard setting.


Amen! Shoot, I just said in a devotional earlier this week, it's not good for a MAN to be alone. A BOY needs to be, though. (So does a girl!-Matthew 19:11-12-Message) Anyway, I hope this puts a smile on your face as it did mine.

Luxuriant,

SRW

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: 'A Man's Major Need Is Respect'


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"However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]."---Ephesians 5:33(AMP)


Yep...

If you've never read the book Love & Respect, it's a real game changer.

And this is a nice complementary seed.


It's worth 10 minutes of your time. It's also worth the few seconds it will take to forward it.

Luxuriant,

SRW

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) 'How to Develop the Movie of Your Life'

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So...

As I've been talking to some of the women who are partaking in the latest "On Fire" project, many of them are talking about being conflicted when it comes to knowing/understanding/accepting what their true purpose is.

If you can relate, then I discern that you'll enjoy this clip. Devon is definitely a blessing when it comes to the topic of tapping into purpose:



If you want to cop his book, you can do so here.

Remember, the Amplified Version of Genesis 2:18 says that God made someone who was *suitable*, *adapted* and *complementary* to Adam. It's hard to know if you are that for someone if you don't know your own purpose and calling on this planet.

Luxuriant,

SRW