Tuesday, November 24, 2015
"But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God...For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God."---I Corinthians 11:3&8-12(NKJV)
Although I don't watch any Shonda Rimes shows...
As a woman and on some levels, especially a black woman, I keep up with her accomplishments. No one can doubt that she has made quite a mark in the entertainment industry. However, as I caught some of her interview with Oprah on SuperSoul Sunday, I thought to myself "Hmm...maybe that's why it seems like rarely are couples healthy on her programs." (Y'all tell me if there are some because from the few times I've watched Scandal and from what I know about the others, I can't really think of one.)
Here is a clip that helps to put what I'm saying into perspective:
Before I go deeper, let me say this: If you, like Oprah and Shonda, don't want to get married...OK. I mean like *for real, for real* OK (LOL). Christ was single. Paul was single. And they were beyond ultimate in what they did for the kingdom of God. HOWEVER, being single, from a biblical perspective, means *living single* all the way around. For instance, if you don't want to get married, ever, you don't need to engage in sex...*ever*. Sex is made for marriage (Hebrews 13:4).
Yeah, what I'm learning more and more is a lot of people are actually saying "I want the benefits that come with marriage without so much of the responsibility." That's not a declaration of singleness but one of spiritual immaturity (Hebrews 5:12-14). However, if you do so choose to remain single, this is important to keep in mind:
"I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband."---I Corinthians 7:32-34(NLT)
If you're a believer and especially if you're a disciple (John 8:31-32), declaring that you are called to singleness means that your sole focus is on holiness---*body and spirit*. It's an admirable lifestyle *and discipline*. No wonder it's considered to be a spiritual gift (you can read more about the spiritual gift here).
However, the point of me sharing this particular post is because as a woman, a bible believing and following woman, I encourage you to really pray about 1) if you are *called* to marriage (Matthew 19:11-12-Message) and 2) to really ponder (Proverbs 4:26) a huge part of why *the Word* says that women are here on planet earth. I Corinthians 11 is clear. *Woman was made for man*. It's simply a spiritual sentiment and resolve that is echoed based on Genesis 2:18(NKJV): "And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'"
Not only does Paul speak of woman being made for man but it not being...God's best for women to be independent of man *nor* for man to be independent of woman. That also is clear in the Garden of Eden being that the only human relationship we saw in there was marriage. Marriage is beautiful. Marriage is purpose-filled. Marriage is...miraculously and supernaturally divine (Matthew 19:6).
I was given a "parable reminder" of this when I read an article last week about an engaged couple who decided to nix their wedding ceremony and reception in order to put those monies towards a Syrian refugee family (you can read more about it here). A couple *like that*...man, they are a billboard for the beauty of marriage!
Yeah, I'd venture to say that aside from the fact that we've allowed to world to influence us *way too much* (James 4:4, I John 2:16), a lot of women don't want to get married and even cringe at reading verses in the Word like I Corinthians 11, not because of marriage but because of the kind of men they either have witnessed or dated. 'Cause looka here, have an encounter with *the right godly man* and it is a complete and total honor to be made for him, in order to help him, in order to further the kingdom.
And in walks a video that an "On Fire" woman (thanks Ms. Mona!) shared with me just a few minutes ago. And interestingly enough, I see no wedding ring (LOL):
Something that really stood out to me, aside from his flat-out passion for God, is the fact that he kept saying "on fire" and in my mind I was like "How can you NOT love men and marriage and the fact that you were created to be a vessel, in part, to help a man, when you see one who is so ON FIRE FOR GOD like this one?!?"
Please check the video out. He is a "God hype man", for sure!
Men like this make me immediately stop what I'm doing and pray for their divine helper.
And then I saw another more recent video of his that had me be like "Yeah...I'm gonna pray for him often." The title is "Ladies what does it cost me to take your clothes off?" It's raw and real. Super raw and real:
HE. IS. GOING. IN.
We have to remember that Genesis 2:18 defines us as "helper" and John 14:26 defines the Holy Spirit as "helper" as well. In fact, the Amplified Version takes it a step further sharing all of the ways that the Holy Spirit helps: "Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby". Ask any man who is in a healthy and spiritually-sound (which includes biblically-based) marriage and he's going to be quick to say that his wife, at some point, has been all of these things both to and for him. In many ways, that's what Proverbs 31:10-31 is all about! Giving praise to a woman who is so mighty as a wife and a mother.
Satan can't stand the fact that man was given the gift of a woman...to help him reach a higher level in God than he could ever reach alone. So, he does whatever he can to "steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10) the relationship dynamic.
He's such a Liar (John 8:44), though. And why should we care what a liar has to say? The fact that on June 17, 1974, God said "Shellie, I am birthing you to be a woman and to help men become better men", and perhaps one especially being a husband? I'm humbled. I'm thankful. And I'm super honored!
You are a woman...
A part of the reason why women were created was for men.
Don't focus on how much the world has a problem with that...
The world has a problem with pretty much all of what the Bible has to say.
Focus instead on being *the right kind of woman*...
For the *right kind of purpose*...
With the *right kind of GODLY MAN*.
A man who is ON FIRE for God...
And can use you to set him even more AFLAME. For the Lord!
Hey, this isn't called "The 'On Fire' Fast Movement" for nothing...
Thank you, Mr. Marcus Rogers, for your sho 'nuf reminder of that!!!
Thursday, November 19, 2015
After posting the blog that's right underneath this one regarding hearing from God about your husband, it was interesting, the responses that I received. I also discern that it was very much so God that the women reached out because time is precious and we all need to make sure that 1) if we're on God's path (Proverbs 3:5-6) we will remain on it; we will stay the course and 2) if we're not, if our emotions are leading us far more than we think that they are (Jeremiah 17:9), we are able to be rerouted. Sooner rather than later.
So, when I was praying for the women who asked me to pray for them (as well as the "On Fire" women in general), the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:12) led me to three main points to share.
God is not going to tell you to marry someone else's husband. Aside from the fact that if you happen to be caught up in an affair, that is coveting (Exodus 20:17), fornicating (Hebrews 13:4) and yes adulterous (Exodus 20:3), no matter how unpopular the message may be, a divorced man is someone else's husband. Just last night, I penned a devotional on the difference between "join" and "separate". The Word says that *no man* is to separate what God has joined. Matthew 19:8(NKJV) goes on to say "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" and I Corinthians 7:10-11(NKJV) goes on to say "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife." And then, there are two articles that I recommend you check out to further drive the point home (although honestly, the Word should be enough). One is "The Role of Marriage in the Kingdom of God" and "What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate, Part 1". Divorced people need space for God to bring healing to their relationship. They can't do that being married to someone else.
It's important to keep in mind the purpose of a husband. One of the main ones being this:
"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, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."---Ephesians 5:25-33(NKJV)
Being that a husband is supposed to spiritually cover you and bring you closer to the Lord, there's an article entitled "10 Qualities Your Future Husband Must Have" that's worth checking out. I like it because it talks about what to look for in a man *before* he's your husband. I'll just share the list sans the explanations:
Strong moral code
Good relationship with his family
Understands the sanctity of marriage
Respects human life
Hard work ethic
Shared life goals
Honors your femininity
Knows his purpose in life
Now, I'm not saying that at the time you heard who your husband is that he will automatically have all of these qualities. What I am saying, though, is that as the two of you grow closer, these characteristics will manifest *before* saying "I will" to a proposal, let alone "I do" at a wedding ceremony (Matthew 12:33). God is not going to set a standard for marriage and husbands and wives and then tell you to marry someone who is going to encourage you to contradict all of these things.
While we're here, some of you may ask "What about Hosea and Gomer?" Good question. In the Bible, there are several couples who were "unequally yoked": Moses and Zipporah and Boaz and Ruth are two who immediately come to mind along with Hosea and Gomer. However, one thing that all three of these couples have in common is the husband was the believer and the wife was not. Being that a woman is to submit to her husband (Genesis 3:16, Ephesians 5:22-24 & Colossians 3:17), it makes a bit more sense why those three were permitted. *The husband was able to lead his wife to the Lord*. Also, when it came to Hosea and Gomer specifically, Hosea was a prophet who was instructed to marry a prostitute so that the world could see what God's covenant/relationship with Israel was like (Hosea 1). Hosea is the exception, not the rule. It takes *an extremely strong relationship with the Lord* to link up with a non-believer. Besides, being that the Word says not to (2 Corinthians 6:11-18)...it's really best not to. Just ask anyone you know who did!
Hearing from the Lord is not going to come at the expense of his Word's instructions. Ever.
One article that's cool to check out, in general, is "7 Ways to Distinguish God’s Voice from the Circumstances of Life". One point that I want to share, specifically as it relates to this message is this:
Remember: God’s primary desire in speaking is for eternal purposes
We limit God to this finite world when we fail to remember He is an infinite God. When we are trying to discern God’s voice through the circumstances of life we should consider how what is happening around us fits into God’s eternal plan to save a lost world from destruction and to mold His children into the image of His Son.
God’s primary activity will be in these areas of our life. I’ve always been able to see how God’s specific plan for me lined up with His desire to invite a world to know Him. If what I sense He is asking me to do would help people know Him or know Him better it is much easier to recognize and affirm the voice of God in my circumstances.
Something that a lot of people have lost sight of (because they see marriage as an end result rather than salvation) is the fact that marriage is to make two people more godly. Period. Of all of the purposes that it serves, that it the top one. One article shares this point about becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24-25):
Being of one flesh is more intimate than being of one soul, one mind, and one heart, because marriage accomplishes what no other relationship can accomplish: man and woman becoming one in the concerns of the flesh...
Marriage is the arena in which all we discover on the way to becoming "like G-d" is put into practice. To be devoted to a relationship means to be devoted to the other person's needs, more so than to your own. It means taking on the other person's needs as though they were yours. In so doing, two people merge into one.
God brings people together (Genesis 2:22) with salvation in mind. *For both of them*. That's why Satan works overtime to mismatch pairs, to get people so lustful/covetous (Exodus 20:17) to be married that this ends up happening: "And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." (Psalm 106:15) That's why we have to be careful that the world and all of its lust and pride-filled agendas (I John 2:16) does not influence us to the point that we are romanticizing what we want to hear rather than actually listening to what God is saying (Proverbs 28:9-Message)
"God, who is going to make me more like you? God who is going to keep me from disobeying your Word? God who is going to make me better with them than I am apart?" That is the prayer that all of us should be praying concerning who our future husband is because that is a prayer that is within the Father's will for our lives (I John 5:14-15). In asking that question, you can better trust the answer that you receive. When God chooses to give it to you.
As we're all praying about this particular area of our lives, hopefully this has provided even more clarity.
James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Marriage is a gift.
It's not a right.
It's not something God owes.
It's not something we should automatically expect to have simply because we want it.
It is something that comes with a lot of responsibility.
It is something that we have to trust God to give us---if and when he sees fit.
It is something that is divine.
Hearing about if/when you'll receive a husband...
Is basically hearing "Daughter, I know just the one who will bring you closer to me than you've ever been."
Anything less is...deception (Matthew 24:4).
Hearing comes by hearing the Word of God...
To hear who your husband is...
Listen to the Word, wise counsel from others and pay attention to your character and "his".
Don't listen to or follow your heart...
It has a way of tricking us...
Emotions usually do.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
"That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.' But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets...When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means."---I Corinthians 2:9-10 & 13-14(NLT)
"Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened."---Matthew 7:7-8(AMPC)
"Jesus said to him, 'If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."---Mark 9:23(NKJV)
If you're not someone who tends to pray early in the morning...
I recommend that you at least try it for a week. I am a huge (HUGE) fan of Psalm 46:5(NKJV): "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn." Plus, there is something that is just so...intimate about spending time with the Lord while (your side of) the world is relatively quiet. It tends to bring forth a different kind of peace and calm (Proverbs 17:27), which ultimately brings forth a healthy dose of stability and resolve.
Anyway, this morning, one of the things that I read during my prayer time prompted me to do a bit of studying (2 Timothy 2:15-AMP). One of my favorite authors on marriage penned an article basically saying that God doesn't tell us who are spouse is; that we should look for the character of a person rather than rely on the specifics of the individual.
Immediately, I was like "Eh. Yes. And no."
"Yes" in the sense that YES, we need to care about the character of a man (Colossians 3:12-17), probably much more than most of us do.
"No" in the sense that 1) there are many Scriptures that speak to God telling us things and 2) I know far too many happily married people who've told me that they heard *clearly from the Lord* who their spouse was: sometimes immediately, sometimes eventually. Yet they did hear.
Plus, being that James 1:5 tells us that we can ask God for wisdom, how is a spouse omitted from that promise? Proverbs 4:7 tells us that wisdom is the principal thing and if there's one thing that we definitely (DEFINITELY) need wisdom about, it's who is God's best---or as Genesis 24:14 depicts, who is the appointed one---for us. In marriage.
So, I did some more digging on the topic...
And I was led (Luke 12:12) to a few good things to keep in mind.
Here are excerpts from a few articles on the topic...
In "Does God Tell You Who to Marry?", writer Angie Wyatt says this:
"When it comes to marriage, hearing God is tricky because it involves another person’s will. We should never use hearing God to impose our will upon another person. If you heard God about an area of your life that intersects with another person’s will – such as marriage, getting a job, applying for school – then I encourage you to keep the matter to yourself. Don’t tell the other person."
So true! Although as a believer who strives to be a disciple (John 8:31-32), of course I'm a believer that all things are possible when we believe. However, at the same time, I'm also riding with the Message Version of Ecclesiastes 7:18 which tells us that a man who fears God deals with ALL OF REALITY, not just a part of it. And you know what? The reality is that God gives all of us free will to make our own decisions. So, when people say "If it's meant to be, it will be", my eyebrow tends to go up more times than not. It wasn't "meant to be" that Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3). They did that due to their free will. So, while God will reveal to us his will for our lives, that doesn't always, automatically or necessarily mean that we will follow/honor it. So, if God does tell you who "he" is, it's best to start praying now for him to be sensitive to the Spirit so that 1) he will receive that revelation from the Lord and 2) he will obey it if/when he does. Plus, in the Garden of Eden, although the Woman was brought to Adam, her husband (Genesis 2:22), she didn't tell him who she was. *He told her*. So yeah, if God does tell you who your husband is, it really is best to keep it to yourself. The timing of when you're ready to know that kind of information may be *very different* than the timing of when "he" does.
In "So God Told You He Is Your Husband?", writer Keciah Bailey says this:
The man God has chosen for you will know you. That man you are longing after – surrender it to God.
God would not put you in a position to become distracted by a man that is oblivious to your feelings or, as was my case, your existence. He simply would not have you go through that. It is purposeless and fruitless and not consistent with the loving, purposeful God that he is. Why would he give you such details, causing you to watch, wait and wrestle needlessly? Our emotions and our feelings are valuable to God. You deserve much more than to be caught up in some man who isn’t nurturing or returning those feelings. AND God is a jealous God. He will not share your attention with a man who isn’t even noticing you.
God loves us women so much, he did not bring us into the world until everything was prepared for us. He will first prepare and equip a man for you, then present you to him. He will never present the man to you for you to chase him, convince him or drop hints to him. That is out of alignment with his word and his way.
There was no divine revelation, you simply have a crush.
Ouch (LOL). If you click on the link, she's talking about a man in church who she "felt was her husband"...like other women in the church did. I will say this: Women romanticizing over someone happens enough that what Kechiah said certainly needs to go on record. I do not, however believe or even discern that her conclusion is a flat-out absolute. Again, this speaks to timing. Sometimes you may know/God may tell you first because you are in the position to know or there are some specific things that he wants to prepare you for. God told Samson's mother about Samson before his father Manoah knew (Judges 13). Mary knew that she was going to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit before Joseph knew (Luke 1). And something that both of these men had in common is, upon receiving the information, they were caught pretty of guard. That doesn't make what God told the women any less valid...just because the guys were not emotionally prepared at the time. Yet what I will say is her first line is a real winner. THE MAN GOD HAS CHOSEN FOR YOU WILL KNOW YOU. And as time does its thing, intimacy between the two of you, especially spiritually, will move forward not back. It also needs to go on record that God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). 20 women can't be one man's wife. Watch (quietly) how the guy responds to "other women knowing he's 'the one'". It will speak volumes. About him.
When you get a chance, check out "A LOVE STORY: by sarah nelson". She walks us through her entire journey of knowing and she knew at age 13! I'll share her journal entries about it here:
Journal entry to my future husband 11/11/03 (age thirteen):
I wonder if I know you right now, at age thirteen. That would be so weird to look back and see what our relationship was like at this age. I may not even know you until college.
January 21, 2004:
I had a dream the other night. It was abut my wedding day. I saw everyone’s face. Including yours!
January 25, 2004 (three days after I turned fourteen):
I think that God has revealed who you are to me. It is hard to think of getting married to you if you are who I think you are. But I think that God is molding my heart to first love you as a brother and a friend so that one day I can best love you as my husband.
July 26, 2005:
Ian, you broke up with your girlfriend a couple of days ago and I was completely shocked! During the time that you two were dating, the Lord was doing an incredible work in me regarding my faith and trust in Him. When you guys first started dating, I was beginning to doubt that God had truly spoken to me. Then I finally came to the realization that He is in control and He can do whatever He wants and if what He wants is for you to get a girlfriend to see if I still trust Him, than He will do so. Since I have to come to the realization that it is OK for God to work this way, He has broken you two up.
June 23, 2008:
We just went on our first date and you kissed me and told me you were in love with me. Instead of returning the compliment, I asked how you knew and your answer was “Because I can’t imagine living life without you.”
September 3, 2009 (two days before our wedding):
I can’t believe that I’m already here—writing a real letter to my real husband-to-be! You are the love of my life and I am so grateful that the Lord brought us together!
She also has some pearls of wisdom regarding God and his timing (Acts 1:7-Message, Ecclesiastes 3:11):
I think the moral of our story is to trust God and let Him work out the timing. We’ve all tried to get ahead of God at one point or another, and not just when we think it is “of Him”. Whether you know, or you don’t know, or you wish you did or didn’t know; ask, listen, and then trust God. I was so certain and yet still worried about this for five whole years of my emotional teenage life! It’s not worth it. God designs the most beautiful scenarios and then we spoil them with our impatience. Just don’t do it.
Indeed! Ask any guy you know, married or single, and they'll tell you that one of the most unattractive things in a woman is impatience. It's annoying. It's pushy. It's aggressive. It's pressuring. It's selfish. It's controlling. And there's nothing loving about it. I say that because I Corinthians 13:4 tells us that "Love is patient" and impatient is the opposite of patience.
There are sho 'nuf some twists and turns in "“I Asked the Lord to Make It Clear!”. Writer Lola Akindele speaks of God telling her that her husband Dayo was the one while she was a Christian and he was a Muslim (he's a Christian now).
At the end of July 2010, I had just come back from a holiday with my sister and friends and I was also rounding up my dissertation for my masters program. I was ready for the next stage of my life and I prayed for God to reveal my future husband, as I didn’t want to be lead astray by some of the guys in my life who had shown interest at that time.
I decided to do a week of prayer and fasting for God to please lead me to my future husband and to give me a discerning spirit throughout the whole process.
Matthew 17:20-21 tells us that some things *only come* by prayer and fasting. It can never hurt to fast for revelation, confirmation and clarity concerning who your husband is.
None of them could understand or accept my views on having no sex until marriage (even though they said they were fine with it at first). I had made this decision when I was 13 at my old church, KICC, after reading Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo’s book, “Let’s Talk About Sex” and it’s a decision that God has allowed me to keep, by His Grace.
So this time, I really needed God to bring the man that He had already destined for me to be with and not someone who I wanted to chose with my own reasoning.
A godly man (and prayerfully that is what you want in your husband) is to cover you. How does he show fruit of doing that (Matthew 12:33) if he's *uncovering you* while the two of you are dating? God telling you that someone is your husband and you're sleeping with him? Don't trust that. There is definitely some "static in the lines" when it comes to what you're *feeling* (Jeremiah 17:9) and what you're *hearing*. Hearing and obedience go hand-in-hand according to Scripture (James 1:21-25, Proverbs 28:9-Message).
We eventually started speaking, and when I asked why he had decided to contact me after so long, I learned that for some reason, after such a long time, he just felt an inexplicable urge to send me a message on the morning that had turned out to be my last day of prayer and fasting.
And thus began the start of something good. Until the night after our second date, when we were speaking on the phone and I asked him which church he attended. It was at this point that he went silent on the phone. He then said he had something to tell me, something that he had wanted to tell me face to face. I urged him to go on and that’s when he finally told me that he was a Muslim!
I honestly felt like I’d been slapped in the face by a mighty wave of shock and disbelief. Nevertheless, I simply informed him that we would just have to be friends and that as a believer in Christ, there would be no way that our relationship could go further towards the road of marriage.
Daniel 4:2-3 speaks of signs and wonders that God will reveal. Interesting that Dayo "popped up" right after her fast. The bigger point is God is not going to tell you to compromise his own Word to get a man and the Word tells us to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:11-18). If you're contemplating marrying an unbeliever, *as an unbeliever*, that's a form of deception (Matthew 24:4): self-deception.
And then the angel spoke to me. It said that God has seen that I’ve been worried about Dayo being a Muslim, but that I shouldn’t worry about it because in the Lord’s own time, He will bring Dayo to Christ and that the Lord has called for us to be together as husband and wife.
I was shocked, afraid, amazed and glad all at the same time. I couldn’t even speak and the Holy Spirit instructed me to write everything down that the angel had told me. I also wrote down the date and time that it happened and told my family about the visitation.
I was so happy. I had no clue when Dayo’s salvation would take place or when our wedding would be but I trusted in the Lord and even bought my wedding dress and started making wedding plans.
After this, for the next two years, every night at 3am, I would be awoken by the Holy Spirit...
I wrote and documented everything down, sharing the Lord’s messages with my family but not with Dayo, as the Lord had said that I was not to reveal these things to him. That He himself would reveal Himself to Dayo so that all of the Glory would go to God and not to any man.
This part reminds me of the movie Heaven Is for Real. I like that when the cynical members of the church asked the pastor if he really believed that his son saw heaven, he said "I believe he saw the heaven that God showed him." All throughout the Bible, angels came and spoke to people so...not gonna raise an eyebrow here. God reaches us as he chooses to and we're all different. The main point here: YES, JOURNAL WHAT YOU RECEIVE FROM THE LORD. It can help you throughout the struggling times.
It was fantastic being so close to God and knowing that He truly does care about the individual lives of His people. However, it was also a very hard period in my life, when my faith was tested time and time again and when I was receiving words of doubt from certain people around me and even threats of being disowned because of my relationship with Dayo, I would cry and ask God ‘why is this happening to me? Why couldn’t I just be with a good man from church, where I would have none of these complications’.
But God is so faithful. And He always has a plan...
I knew that for certain, when God decrees a thing, it will surely come to pass. Exactly 3 months after this, on a Friday, Dayo informed me that he had finally finished reading a book called The Shack, that I had given to him almost 18 months previous to this time, which helped him to understand the God Head and the dynamics of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Don't confuse faith with presumption. *Presumption is telling God his will. Faith is believing what he told you*. In other words, don't tell God who your husband is; that is being presumptuous. However, when he reveals who he is to you, stand in it. Remember, James 1 tells us to ask in faith. It also tells us not to doubt, though. Doubting makes people unstable.
I can only give God the glory because it’s all by His doing. His plans for us will never fail and His pure love for us goes beyond anything that we could imagine.
I am truly grateful to God for blessing me with a man who, despite not being a Christian before, still respected my love for Christ and my views regarding no sex before marriage – a view that even my ex Christian boyfriends could never accept.
God has blessed me with the man of my dreams and brought me my true prince. In fact, at a time when I questioned God about His decision to bring me a Muslim man instead of a Christian, and I was beginning to feel envious of typical young ladies who found their husbands in Church, God’s exact words to me were: You have your prince in Dayo.
I truly bless the Lord for His faithfulness and I thank God for the encouragement and support of my close friends, my siblings, my father and especially my mother, because God revealed things concerning Dayo’s salvation to her and her support throughout it all has been an incredible blessing.
If God tells you who your husband is, more times than not (most times than not), godly people will come and confirm it. One way or another. If everyone around you is doubting/questioning/providing Scripture to challenge you on your stance and you know these people have a relationship with God, *listen to them*: "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise." (Proverbs 12:15-NKJV)
My prayer is that each and everyone of us will never leave the path that God has laid out for us, for when we are in right standing with the Lord, He will surely speak to us and direct us in our lives.
And for all the women and young ladies who are trusting in God for their future spouse, my prayer is that we will always put it into the Lord’s hands. He will surely tell you if He does not agree with you being with a certain individual but the choice will always be ours to either follow His perfect will for our lives or not.
One sign of knowing that God did tell you something, including who your husband is, is he will encourage you to stay the course. One way or another, you will constantly hear "My grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9) and you will be content in that (Hebrews 13:5). I say that because when God has provided you with information, *if it's really of him*, he will provide you with the strength to stand and not waver. You will not be told so-and-so is your husband one month and then so-and-so is the one five months later. *That's not a revelation. That's a hallucination*. Much like the person who is so *thirsty* for water in the desert that they think they see water...when it's really just a figment of their imagination: a mirage: "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." (2 Corinthians 10:5-NKJV)
Something that all of these women have in common is that they discourage desperation, they encourage having a strong relationship with the Lord and they all speak to the importance of patience, prayer, wisdom, accountability, faith and respecting/submitting to God's timing.
All of this said...
I guess I didn't give a clear "yes" or "no" about if God will tell you, huh?
My discernment says this: "God will tell you. If you need to know."
And how is that helping (LOL)? Because God's understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5). Based on your personality (Psalm 33:15), your relationship with him and your level of spiritual maturity (Hebrews 5:12-14), he determines how to approach you. Yet if you do believe that he has told you, I'm sharing all of this information because they serve as "guideposts" along the way.
Just know that God is not going to tell you something that is going to pull you further way from him nor is he going to tell you to "go off script" (the Bible) once you receive certain information. *If you really did hear from the Lord, regarding your future husband or anything else, fruit of spiritual growth will be a clear indicator. Because when God is involved in something, it's always for the purpose of making you more like him*.
If you do feel like you've been told who your husband is, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd like to have prayer for and with you concerning it: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20-NKJV)
And be patient in the meantime...
Use this as a time to prepare for "him"...
Not declare it to "him". (I've learned that from personal experience!)
In closing, from one more writer and her article "I Believe God Told Me Who My Husband Is":
You want the foundation of your relationship to be the Word of God which never fades away! The word that God spoke to you, He’s able to speak to him. Be patient. When he receives that word, he’s now bound to that word which God spoke. That will create a much greater covenant than your looks could ever create. And yes he will be attracted to you physically but you don’t want that to be the only thing that sends him your way. You want to make sure that he knows that he knows that he knows you are his wife from the Lord!
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
While doing some praying for the "On Fire" gals, "awake" was the word that the Spirit (John 4:24) gave me.
I immediately knew what God was referring to. So many single women are out here trying to "shake men awake", in the spirit realm, when it comes to marriage, and all they're doing is frustrated themselves. Oh, and annoying the fellas in the process.
And I discern that a big part of it is because more focus is put on Proverbs 18:22 ("He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord") being the "anchor text" for dating/courtship rather than Genesis 2:18-25. THAT is where God's *perfect will* for mankind is revealed:
"Now the Lord God said, 'It is not good (beneficial) for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [one who balances him—a counterpart who is] suitable and complementary for him.' So the Lord God formed out of the ground every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. And the man gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper [that was] suitable (a companion) for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made (fashioned, formed) into a woman, and He brought her and presented her to the man. Then Adam said,
'This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.'
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed or embarrassed."---Genesis 2:18-25(AMP)
In God's perfect will (and don't you want his *perfect will* for your marriage?--Joel 2:3), he puts the man to sleep---*after the man cultivates a relationship with the Lord and begins to operate in his God-instructed and God-ordained purpose*---and *then* God begins to fashion and form the woman that he has in mind for him:
Fashion: to give a particular shape or form to; make;
Let's keep going...
So, according to God's perfect will and original plan for marriage...
*After* a woman is formed and fashioned to suit the man that *God* has in mind for her *while the man is asleep* (meaning not always or necessarily "conscious" of what God has going on), GOD then brings and presents the woman to the man.
What does that mean exactly?
Bring: to carry, convey, conduct, or cause (someone or something) to come with, to, or toward the speaker; to cause to come to or toward oneself; attract; to cause to occur or exist; to cause to come into a particular position, state, or effect; to cause to appear or occur in the mind; evoke or recall; to persuade, convince, compel, or induce
God causes the woman to come towards the man with the words/instructions that he gives.
God causes the woman to be someone the man is attracted to---spiritually, most of all.
God causes to the woman to get into a particular position or state.
God causes the woman to appear in the man's mind.
GOD DOES THE CONVINCING THAT SHE IS THE RIGHT ONE FOR THE MAN.
When a woman tries to do that, it makes me think of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and how all of that drama went down (Genesis 3). The serpent, through deception (I Timothy 2:14), convinces her to eat the fruit God told Adam *and then her through Adam* not to. And then she hands it to Adam. Yeah, don't convince a man to take you. That's not your job and if you're moving ahead of God's will, you may just find out the hard way that you weren't the right one for the guy in the first place.
Present: to furnish or endow with a gift or the like, especially by formal act; to bring, offer, or give, often in a formal or ceremonious way; afford or furnish (an opportunity, possibility, etc.); to introduce (a person) to another, especially in a formal manner; to bring before or introduce to the public
(Yeah, you see that to be presented isn't to be sneaking around and/or hiding, right? You can come out in PUBLIC!)
OK, "formal" sure is showing up a lot. Let's look that up too...
Formal: being in accordance with the usual requirements, customs, etc.; conventional; marked by form or ceremony; observant of conventional requirements of behavior, procedure, etc., as persons; ceremonious
I remember reading an author saying that God was the first Father to give his daughter away when he presented the Woman to Adam (dig that!). That definitely would explain one side of the "formality" of being presented to a man.
Another that's awesome is being in accordance with requirements and being observant of conventional (in this case, "biblical") requirements of behavior/procedure.
In the spirit realm, by allowing God to present you to the man he has for you, it means also allowing him to show you what his standards are in the dating/courtship process. (One of those would be *abstinence until marriage*---Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message)
This all makes me think of a quote that I recently read from an author named Shannon L. Alder: “Chasing a person doesn’t give you value or build values in you. You earn your value by chasing morality and practicing dignity.” To allow God to bring you to your husband is a moral and dignified approach to dating and courtship.
*And then* comes the word "awake"...
Awake: to wake up; rouse from sleep; to rouse to action; become active; to come or bring to an awareness; become cognizant (often followed by to)
*God* put Adam to sleep.
*God* also woke Adam up.
And because all of God's works are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), Adam was awakened---*he became active and aware* at just the right time. At the time when he wasn't wondering who the woman was who was standing before him. He immediately declared her as his bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh...*as his wife*.
The Woman didn't tell him who she was...
She followed God's leading (Proverbs 3:5-6)...
And then Adam awakened, became aware and *told her*.
I know that I know that I know someone is in a situation where they were looking for some clarity regarding it. Prayerfully, God's original and divine blueprint had shed some light (Psalm 18:28).
God had a plan for you and yours before you were born...
Adam and the Woman's love story provided oodles of insight.
We tend to make things more complicated than it has to be...
Let God form and fashion you...
Let God bring and present you...
Let God awaken "him".
Watch how simple (not always easy but simple) your own love story can become.
Amen. And amen.
Monday, November 9, 2015
"...because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.'"---I Peter 1:16(NKJV)
"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love."---I John 4:8(NKJV)
It's been a while since I've checked out the "Kisses from Katie" blog. But when I did this morning, it really did warm my heart. *I had no idea that she got married earlier this year*:
For so many reasons, it makes me smile---giggle even---to read about this because a woman with a missionary's heart like Katie, I desired to have a covering...in human flesh form. That's why I was even happier to see her pen this in her February 10 post:
I imagined marriage would be good. Wonderful even. But I did not even begin to understand that it would be this holy. I didn’t know that I would melt under this man’s gaze that is so full of the love of the Father for me. I didn’t imagine the way his delight in me would be my daily reminder of the way my Father delights in me. My husband’s love is just another way God has chosen to pour our His extravagant love on me, another constant reminder that He rejoices over me, and over each one of our daughters.
MARRIAGE COULD BE SO HOLY.
Not only *could* but *should* when it comes to the standards that we set...
Based on the ones God has given us (Ephesians 5, for instance).
OK, but bookmark that for now...
Perhaps a part of the reason why I was "late" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) when it came to taking in Katie's news was because I needed to also see her post from just last week---close to nine months since being married. I'll share excerpts:
This year has been different.
For months before marriage God spoke to my heart of new things, prepared my soul to cling to His promise, “Behold, I am doing a new thing.” This seemed obvious. Of course, marriage was new, learning to share leadership in our home was new, having someone to share everything with was new – and so wonderful! – nearly everything felt new. What I did not perceive all the months of these whispers was that God was also speaking of something much deeper, much more subtle, much less obvious. Apart from anyone’s eyes, deep in my insides, God was going a new thing in me. In the depths of my heart, in a hidden place that the outside world could not see or understand, My loving Father was tenderly peeling back the layers, revealing to me my very truest, deep-seated beliefs about Him and carefully chiseling them away to replace them with truth.
For the first time in years, opposition in our lives was not coming from outside, but from within these walls. No one was deathly ill on our doorstep. Ministry seemed to run fairly smoothly. The presence of friends was true and constant. And in this season of calm, within our home, deep wounds were on display – mine and theirs. Old woundedness, occurring long before God knit us together as a family, began to surface and just kept surfacing in this season of new. The newest thing of this season was the work God was doing invisibly, in our hearts...
I remembered His promise, spoken for months. But this new thing, it was not only beautiful, it was difficult. What new thing was He really speaking of? Couldn’t I see it? And so I sat in my wondering and my waiting and my pleading, and God spoke to me the same words again and again, “I am not done yet.” And I fought to believe it. But this was my way through the sea, my stream in the wasteland, my lifeline. When in my heart I felt that I might be truly done, He was still at work in the hearts of my people, and He was not done yet.
He was not done with me...
In the quiet, in the waiting, in the asking and believing and sometimes even faltering, He was our stream in the desert. His strength became our strength when being strong seemed a thing of the past. His love endured when I wondered if mine would give out. His faithfulness endured through the waiting, through the changes, through the challenge.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up! Can you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland to give drink to my chosen people, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”
In the last weeks, we have seen immeasurable growth, joy and heart change in our children that does not compare to anything we have experienced before as a family. The Spirit’s work is evident and I feel the Lord’s hand heavy on our home. Of course in reality, it has been all along.
His words ring true in my ears and in my heart, these words He has spoken over me long in preparation. I look at our people, our home, that He has so faithfully and so constantly poured into and He opens my eyes, I perceive it. He has done a new thing in us and He is not finished.
One is the statement she wrote that's in all caps. One thing that can't be said enough is the fact that *marriage is of God* (no matter how much the world tries to make a mockery of it---Genesis 2:24-25, I John 2:16) and as the two Scriptures at the top state, God is love *and* God is holy. This means that love and holiness can in no way exist without one another---not if love is true.
The Hebrew word for holy is "qadosh". May of 2014, I penned a piece on holy meaning special. Holy also means consecrated which means "to make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicate to the service of a deity" and "to devote or dedicate to some purpose". So yes, Katie is so right.
Marriage is not something God owes anyone.
Marriage is not something that is automatically a right just because it is desired.
Marriage is not something that is created for us to "go off script" (not follow the Word) with in order to suit our agenda.
MARRIAGE IS HOLY.
When we allow God to bring us (Genesis 2:22) to the one that *he* has in mind for us, the purpose is going to be holy. It is going to be scared. It is going to be set a part for *his service*. It's going to be devoted and dedicated to him. Whether it comes in the form of a marriage like Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18) or Hosea and Gomer (the Book of Hosea). Marriage is about *one man* and *one woman* being joined until death (Matthew 19). A piece of paper doesn't diminish the "one flesh" process (Matthew 19:6). This is why it is soooooooo important to allow God to choose and to make sure you are clear about what his biblically-based standards and expectations are *before* marriage. The world may deceive people into thinking that they can take on a "do over" approach, but short of death, God does not. One spouse until death (I Corinthians 7:10-11). God's Word and stance on marital covenant is crystal clear.
Holiness is not easy. Not by a long shot...
Holiness is God's goal for all of us, though.
So yes, even in the dating (preferably courting) process...
It is extremely important to ask yourself...
Before anything else...
"Does this man I have feelings for make me feel holy?"
Does he treat me like I am holy ground?
Does he honor me as if I am sacred?
Does he act as if he is fully aware that I am set apart for a special purpose?
If a man is not honoring you as holy now...
If *you* are not honoring him as holy now...
How do you expect your marriage to "all of a sudden" have two people acting holy in it?
Which brings me to the second point...
Did you peep that in Katie's marriage blog, you could hear the joy and excitement leaping off of the page while last week's post was a bit more...somber? It reminds me of something that one of my favorite videos on marriage states (paraphrased): "Marriage is one of the greatest tools of sanctification." Marriage is designed to make you more like Christ and the best way for that to happen is for you to be tested (Psalm 7:9), for you to be challenged and for you to spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:12-14). When marriage's rose-colored glasses are taken off, we are able to better see that it's used so that we can truly see what it means when it compares a husband and wife with Christ's love for the Church. We send Christ through *a lot*. He has never left us or forsaken us (Hebrews 13:5). Divorce has not come up one time. *It's not an option*. Because in marriage, divorce is not designed to be (Malachi 2:16).
Here's an example of what I mean: I remember once hearing a husband say that it was only after getting married that he saw how selfish he actually was. Yeah, a lot of people get married because of the warm-and-fuzzy feelings that they get; how their flesh responds or reacts to a person. They are in no way prepared for the way their spouse will put up a full-length mirror on their character and reveal to them all of the areas where brokenness is and changes are needed, though.
However, when you marry someone who honors marriage as being holy (and again, that's all the more believable based on how they treat you during the dating/courting process), the "growing pains" are so much easier to bear because you don't only have someone to love you but to pray for and with you, to fast for and with you, to stand in the gap for you...to bring holiness into the crevices of your life and spaces in your home where it is most needed.
MARRIAGE IS HOLY!
And if you desire to be married (Matthew 19:11-12-Message), the goal should be to be with someone who can help to make you holier with them than they were without them. You might be surprised who God chooses your "holiness teacher" to be. You might be even more surprised how much more "in holiness" you need to go. Yet again, marriage is not about "soothing your loneliness" more than building your spirit for the sake of further building our character and ultimately God's kingdom!
I'm about as thrilled for Katie as I would be for myself...
That she has a man walk her through her next levels in ministry and the Lord.
Let it serve as a reminder to us all...
That marriage is not about "getting a man"...
Marriage is about coming together in a covenant that will bring honor to God.
THROUGH FORGIVENESS (Matthew 6:14-15)...
And yes...*through holiness*.