Wednesday, December 23, 2015
He pretty much had me at "Contrary to popular culture, we were not made to be in long-term relationships; we were made to be in lifelong marriages." (AMEN!) And with that said, here's a nice roughly eight-minute soul food for thought video:
"My darling, everything about you is beautiful, and there is nothing at all wrong with you."---Song of Solomon 4:7(NCV)
Being that a lot of y'all are in social media, you probably caught the video that's been making its way through the media about the groom who broke down in tears as his bride was walking down the aisle earlier this month. It really was precious. I liked this picture that was featured on the bottom of the article too:
It reminds me of a something that one of my favorite wives said about her husband on their wedding day. As he was crying throughout the ceremony, she didn't have one tear. When people asked her why, she said "I knew he was my husband for almost 10 years. He was the one who was in shock, not me." ;-)
Anyway, as I was thinking about...grooms who are overcome with emotion on their wedding day, first I wanted to share a video that an "On Fire" sistah (thanks Annette!) sent me last week that actually inspired a devotional:
HE. IS. PREACHING. No doubt about it! And I adore where he's coming from because it echoes the Garden of Eden's way of "courtship" and marriage (Genesis 2:18-25). God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, told him who his wife was. Just as with Adam, he didn't pick. His wife Deborah didn't either. Can you just imagine how much the divorce rate would plummet if we *all* followed that formula (you can read another great and thorough piece on the Bible's stance on divorce and remarriage here)?!?
Yet honestly, out of all of the info that I've "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) within this past week or so, it's the picture at the very top of this post that really got to me. It's *just a picture* but as they say "A picture is worth a thousand words". And what I like so much about it is, *look at the look on the groom's face*. Look at how enamored he is with his bride!
She's not a size 6.
She's a pretty woman to me but is not a "typical" kind.
People may have never thought to pair them up in a dating line-up.
However, she looks thrilled and he looks...really in love with her...
Which more and more, I'm defining as being "in God" (love) "in regards to" (with) her.
And that got me to thinking about that Scripture in Song of Solomon up top and the way that the New Century Version translates it. The Shulamite woman's beloved was *so into her* that he said EVERYTHING about her was beautiful and NOTHING at all was wrong with her.
Is that realistic? No.
All of us have flaws and something wrong with us as well (Romans 3:23, I John 1:9-10)...
Yet what moved me about the sentiment is when a man can confidently declare something like that about a woman, when a man can be overcome with emotion about a woman, when a man can gaze at his bride the way that groom is at the top of this post...that is an example of what love is designed to do and how it is designed to operate. *True love sees us as God creates us to be, not as we currently are*.
I'm pretty sure that's a huge part of the reason why the Word says that "love is longsuffering" (LONGSUFFERING--I Corinthians 13:4) above all else and that patience is required in order for perfection and completion to transpire (James 1:4). If you're not willing to look at who you love as someone you're willing to spiritually support until they become all of who God created them to be and they are not willing to do the same thing for you...*is it truly love at all*? I doubt it. Love sees beauty. Love supports growth. Love is committed to the process of spiritual transformation without harming in the process (Romans 13:8-10). And then it celebrates all of the manifestations along the way.
And that's why today's message has the title that it does...
First up, we know how the Word defines beauty in the eyes of God. I Peter 3:4 defines it as being "a gentle and quiet spirit". A GODLY MAN IS GOING TO BE DRAWN TO THE KIND OF WOMAN WHO HAS A GENTLE AND QUIET SPIRIT. TO HIS SPIRIT MAN, THAT IS GOING TO BE TRULY BEAUTIFUL TO HIM...BECAUSE IT IS BEAUTIFUL TO GOD.
A Hebrew word for gentle is "rak". It also means "tender, delicate, soft".
A Hebrew word for quiet is "shaqat". I really like it's meaning which is "to be quiet or undisturbed".
As far as what our spirit is, one author broke it down like this:
The spirit is the element in humanity which gives us the ability to have an intimate relationship with God. Whenever the word “spirit” is used, it refers to the immaterial part of humanity that “connects” with God, who Himself is spirit (John 4:24).
The part of us that has the kind of intimate relationship with God to where we are connected to him in such a way where we are tender and undisturbed, where we are peaceful and not anxious *about anything* (Philippians 4:6-7, Proverbs 17:27), can you not see why a godly man would look at that kind of woman as the best kind of help (Genesis 2:18) for him?
And when a woman lives with that kind of calm and understanding of who God is and who he has created her to be (Psalm 139:14), she's going to be beautiful regardless! And her *right man* is going to celebrate it:
Celebrate: to make known publicly; proclaim; to perform with appropriate rites and ceremonies; solemnize
During the week when a lot of people will be thinking about the birth of Christ (Matthew 1 & Luke 1), call it an occupational hazard (LOL), but I'm more in the lane of thinking about just how much a marriage between a man and his wife is to reflect Christ's marriage to the Church and how when John 14:1-6 talks about Christ going to prepare a place for his bride and I Peter 5:4 talks about God's children receiving a crown of glory and Revelation 1 talks about Christ coming in the clouds---all of this speaks to him CELEBRATING HIS BRIDE and HIS BRIDE HONORING HIM!
We can take it a notch further if you'd like (LOL)...
Christ is coming as a "thief in the night", right? I Thessalonians 5:2 and 2 Peter 3:10 tells us so. Just like even Christ doesn't know when he's coming back (just the Father--Mark 13:32), have you ever thought about that in parallel to your own marriage journey? That the man God has for you may come at the time *and in the way* that you least expect it?
You can be like the five wise bridesmaids who were prepared or like the five foolish who were not (Matthew 25:1-13). My prayer is that we'll want to be like the five wise ones. Filled with the Holy Spirit. Striving to be truly beautiful. Enjoying our intimacy with the Lord. So that whenever "he" comes, he will have an expression on his face similar to the guy up top. So enamored. So mesmerized. So...ready to celebrate his bride/wife!
Welp. That's what I got for today, y'all. ;-)
If you have yet to check out the video that I posted at the end of the last blog, please make time over the Christmas holiday. It's...so how God designed marriage to be. It ministers to me every time I watch it:
And here they are a few months ago:
And looka there...he's *still* celebrating her!
If Christ, *of all people*, is preparing to receive you...
How much more should you future husband?
HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD HE CELEBRATE YOUR BEAUTY?
AND YOU BE WORKING IN THE MEANTIME TO BE FOUND...
THE TRUEST FORM OF BEAUTIFUL?
Friday, December 18, 2015
I don't even remember the context in which I heard it but somewhere this week, I heard a woman say "Life is already a struggle. You are not a struggle that I choose for myself." She was saying it in reference to a relationship that was not working out for her. And you know what? It really resonated.
As I've been praying for myself and the "On Fire" gals, one thing that I am seeing more and more when we really get out of the world's system of dating and get into the Garden of Eden formula for marriage---when we allow ourselves to be brought to the man God has for us who already has a relationship with the Lord and has surrendered to the Father concerning his purpose and calling in this life and therefore trusts God with the woman *GOD CHOOSES FOR HIM* (Genesis 2:18-25)---we don't have to struggle either. Especially internally.
That's not to say there won't be challenges and even tests. Psalm 7:9 tells us that God tests our hearts and James 1:2-8 tells us that trials test our faith. Yet when there is a lot of drama and confusion? The Word tells us that God is not the author of that (I Corinthians 14:33). Staying in those kinds of relationships...*is a choice and oftentimes a pretty counterproductive one*.
So that's why I'm led (Luke 12:12) to share a few videos that are centered around God writing the love story rather than people merely "winging it" on their own. If you're in a relationship, ask yourself if you and "he" would be able to speak of God working as much as these couples do. And if you're not, prayerfully, these will help to set---or raise---the standard for your own future relationship. AND remind you that every relationship is unique. Just like you are! (MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE WEDDING AT THE END. WHEW! THOSE VOWS!)
Genesis 2 shows us how God wanted marital unions to be...
It truly is beautiful when God writes your love story.
Friday, December 11, 2015
Although I personally think...
That oftentimes we make breaking up with someone *so much more tragic on our own selves* than it has to be, I still felt it was one that Ms. Badu's quote needed to be shared because I appreciated how she said that if you keep...not accepting that someone doesn't want to be with you by trying to be with them anyway, eventually you will *hurt your own self enough* that you will stop.
You will stop not listening to what he said.
You will stop not accepting the reality of things.
You will stop humiliating yourself.
Trust me, I've been there.
I would know.
Being that this is the time of year when a lot of people reevaluate their relationships and sometimes that leads to accepting that it's better to end it, I wanted to share a bit of food for thought about break ups.
Have you ever wondered why they aren't referred to as "break offs" more often? Indeed, when you're going through one, whether you're the initiator or not, there is usually not something that is even remotely pleasant about the experience. Just the very definitions of break are...hard to take. One is "to smash, split, or divide into parts violently; reduce to pieces or fragments ". Another is "to infringe, ignore, or act contrary to (a law, rule, promise, etc.)". Another is "to lacerate; wound". And still another is "to destroy or interrupt the regularity, uniformity, continuity, or arrangement of; interrupt". There's also one that simply means "to stop".
Then I looked up the word "up". One of them is "to, toward, or in a more elevated position". Ah! And that made me think of the quote that says (paraphrased) sometimes things have to become completely shattered so that you can rebuild. And in the case of a break up, *rebuilding yourself*.
Break ups can be hard (which is a part of the reason why the Word tells us to "guard our heart"--Proverbs 4:23) yet when we choose to look at them from another definition of up, which is "above the horizon", oftentimes they are the best things that could ever (EVER) happen to us. Because the split, the ignored promise, the interrupted arrangement, the stopping of the relationship could be the very thing that could end up elevating you in position!
I'm not sure if whoever came up with the term "break up" meant it in this fashion but I just wanted to share it as food for thought. If you sense that a break up is on the way, stay above the horizon of your feelings and embrace that an end is always connected to a beginning.
Another thing that I'll certainly vouch for is sometimes a break up is *absolutely* the best thing to EVER happen to you. You won't grow, develop...ELEVATE any other way. And besides, a husband is an upgrade from a boyfriend. The sooner you let who is less than what you deserve go, the sooner you can get to who you were created for.
Go through the break up.
For what's next.