Thursday, June 23, 2016
"But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [ who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].
Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny].
For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God.
And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit].
But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.
But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]."---I Corinthians 2:9-15(AMPC)
Why *that* as the lead picture quote? Because it's a guideline for how to really hear from the Lord...
As I was praying for the "On Fire" gals the past few times, God put it into my spirit to do an official prayer call. It's not a project or fast per se, but if you are someone who desires marriage, the Word does tell us that where two or three are gathered in God's name, he is present (Matthew 18:19-20) *and* that if we ask what is according to HIS WILL (not our desires---James 1:14-15), he will grant those things to us (I John 5:14-15).
As I was thinking about some of the sessions and conversations I've had with married people I know, if there's one thing I am ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN we need to be "praying without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17) about, it's making sure that 1) our desire for a husband IS a part of God's will for our individual lives and 2) that we discern who "he" is based on our spirituality more than our physicality.
I have been rockin' with the lead Scripture for this message for a while now. I appreciate how it says that the natural man (or woman) doesn't see things in the way that the spirit-ual side of it does (Galatians 5:16-17). The flesh is lust and pride-based (and a lot of people make decisions based on those things--I John 2:16). The spirit? The spirit cares about pleasing the Lord and doing what is best for *this life* AND *the afterlife* to follow (there is no such thing as YOLO!---John 14:1-6).
In the natural, you may pick a man based on how he looks, what your heart says (yeah, be careful with that!--Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19), your biological clock or hormones.
BUT IN THE SPIRIT?
You care about someone who will bring you closer to the Lord, help you to fulfill your purpose and will follow the biblical guidelines when it comes to service, marriage and family.
Before ANY OF US get married to ANYBODY, we need to make sure our spirits are the priority, not our flesh.
It makes me think of two entries that two "On Fire" women sent me about why they will be good wives someday:
"I would make an awesome wife because I learning what it means to have a servant's heart. I recently just returned from a mission's trip in Kentucky and the Lord began to reveal to me that I really have a heart for people. A lot of my team mates mentioned about how kind and genuine I am and that really humbled me. This will be important in marriage because I know that there will be times when my husband will come home and will need a break from work or maybe he'll need encouragement. I won't be able to be so consumed with my wants and needs that I neglect his. In order to be a "helpmate" to him, I'll have to be mindful of him even when he's away. I have also learned that I am very adventurous! I love being able to try new things even though they may seem scary at first. In marriage, trying new things will be essential in order to keep things fresh! Men love a woman that they can go on an adventure with and I know my future husband will appreciate that!"---Alicia C.
"1 Corinthians 9:25-27 speaks on the fight for the eternal crown and the discipline to reach it. I love v. 27 (I initially read it on a shirt that was given to me), “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified”. The verse preceding that, says this: “…Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.” I recently read that we cannot fight the flesh in the flesh but must go to the spirit of God to help us. I love the way it was aptly stated here. I love exercising and that is one reason I enjoy that scripture because when I work out, my body is brought under subjection by the will of my mind. However, I’ve learned that bodily exercise profits the body well, but spiritual exercise brings about change and in a way builds spiritual muscle. Numero uno in being crafted into an awesome wife is fighting my daily battles in the spirit.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about summer, swimsuits, swimming, and sun. Yes, herein lies a little problem. I love Matthew 6:33…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the next verse where it says not to worry about tomorrow because today has its own trouble. I’ve been focusing on the wrong things. While today I have a myriad of things to study for and prepare for, I’ve been pondering on what swimsuit I should wear to the pool or beach and what would be considered too sexy or not modest enough. While the internal debate helped me come to a decision, it did not address more pressing matters that should have been prioritized first. I believe as was stated in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 about modest apparel and good works. I also believe that as Ecclesiastes 3 says, there is a time for everything. Focusing on swimsuits while I could have been edifying my mind was definitely not the right timing. The beautiful thing about that is that it brought me here and to writing this. Numero dos in being crafted into an awesome wife is: trusting God’s timing, prioritizing and maintaining modesty in my walk.
Lastly, becoming an awesome wife means nothing if one doesn’t love themselves enough to love one’s spouse. Walking out my life in love is sometimes the hardest thing to do. Love is a choice; deliberate and beautiful, simple and complicated. To make an awesome wife, I must love God, love who He has made me and love the man He brings into my life, for better or for worse till death do us part. To make an awesome wife, I must love like in 1 Corinthians 13. I must love like God loved be before He even knew me. And definitely, I must love the way Christ did, sacrificing his life that we may live. In all, love is the element that can make or break a marriage. To make an awesome wife, I believe I must love enough to die to my flesh and the pride of it so our love may live guided by the spirit of God."---Talysia E.
ALL OF THAT GODLINESS! It's awesome!
And *those* made me think of this man's vows (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7)...
Only someone in relationship with the Lord, who is in touch with his spirit, could say this (he may not be animated, but he's godly for sure):
Which leads me to the beauty of these vows (romantic and *thorough*):
Why settle? When you can have a husband who is *spiritual*?
Shoot me and email about your concerns about the natural vs. the spirit and we'll take it to the Lord together.
Marriage is a gift from God...
LET HIM BRING YOU TO A SPIRITUAL MAN (Genesis 2:22)...
One you will *only be able to recognize*...BY YOUR SPIRIT!
Sunday, June 12, 2016
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth---for your love is better than wine."---Song of Solomon 1:2(NKJV)
The picture quote is a bit...intense. By design.
One of the websites I write for had me do a piece on the health benefits of kissing not too long ago. According to research, here are some of 'em:
Reduces Your Blood Pressure
Relieves Cramps and Headaches
Releases Your Happy Hormones
Boosts Your Self-Esteem
Tones Your Facial Muscles
Kissing May Even Boost Your Immune System and Provide Significant Stress Relief
Wow! All that from a kiss, eh?
It also listed this as a benefit. And something to ponder (Proverbs 4:26):
Check Out Your Partner’s Compatibility
A kiss can be a powerful measure of your initial attraction to a person, so much so that the majority of men and women surveyed reporting that a first kiss could be a turn-off. Women, in particular, place more importance on kissing as a “mate assessment device” and as a means of “initiating, maintaining, and monitoring the current status of their relationship with a long-term partner.”
So, let's start here. When I told the Lord I would give abstinence a try (which basically breaks down to telling him I would be obedient, right?--Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:16-20--Message), I said this, pretty much verbatim:
"God, I'll do this abstinence thing for a year and that's probably not going to include excluding oral sex. If nothing happens after that, well..."
I'm a firm believer that the Spirit speaks to us in ways we're really hear, so this was basically the response:
"That's cute. OK."
God doesn't need to debate what he already knows. So yeah, be careful *telling God* what your future is going to look like, especially since he is the ONLY ONE who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8). Here I am, almost a decade later...with a couple of close calls but no...action.
And you know what? The more time I spend without physical intimacy, the pickier I've become. It's not that I'm the girl who thinks that kissing outside of marriage is "wrong". It's that more and more, I'm kind of like..."WHY do you deserve ANY PART of me of this isn't going to be PERMANENT?"
Well, there's that and then there's something that God told me a man would have to say in order to kiss me again. It's pretty specific, so I'm assuming that *only my husband* will be able to "crack that code" because he'd have to ask God...since I'm not allowed to tell him.
And so yes...
Since there are so many benefits to kissing...
Since it does intensify attraction...
Since the lead quote is right: you *won't* get to kiss someone for the first time again...
I just want to give us all something to think about.
I have two friends who started out kissing, then felt convicted and didn't kiss again for about three years. They just celebrated 13 years of marriage a couple of weeks ago (watch their wedding video here). But today, I'm going to share three videos from three couples who didn't kiss each other *at all* prior to their wedding day.
The first couple? The bride had me, hook, line and sinker when she said "[God] loved the thought of us before we even knew of each other." (If you're seeing someone, can you say that God loves *the very thought* of your relationship?) They waited *five years* to kiss one another for the *first time*:
Then there's another couple I adore because they took communion and prayed over one another during their ceremony (how much praying do you do with who you're seeing?):
And then this couple. I can't tell you how many times I've been to weddings when the men have seemed bored to tell you the truth. And you know what ALL of them had in common? Sexual interaction before marriage. This groom, though...he's emotional and the bride is overjoyed. Women deserve a man who feels *so blessed* to have his bride:
Listen, I know everyone is not going to go these counter-cultural extremes in their dating/courtship experience. I'm just using these three couples as a "spiritual commercial" to not take even something like kissing as casually as so many people, both in and out of the Church, seem to do.
Your mouth is just as sacred as any other part of you...
Kisses are to be special and exclusive experiences.
God NEVER wanted two sets of lips touching to be simply seen as...
"A kiss being just a kiss."
It's meant to be so much more blessed than that!
Friday, June 3, 2016
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."---Ecclesiastes 3:11(AMPC)
If you read the story of Isaac and Rebekah, you'll see that Isaac married Rebekah at 40 (Genesis 25:20) and had Jacob and Esau when he was 60 (Genesis 25:26)! God told him he would have children HOWEVER, it was 20 years between when he was married and when Rebekah conceived.
I'm pretty sure you can sense where I'm going with this...
But I have a "video parable" (Matthew 13:13) to illustrate it too.
Check out the story of Joanna Gaines, co-host of HGTV's Fixer Upper. She also knows what it's like to receive a promise from the Lord *and then* have to wait, sometimes with no other words from the Lord, until its manifestation. Oh, but when it happens...LOOK OUT (Ephesians 3:20-21, I Corinthians 2:9-10)!
AND THEN when he gives you a partner to share the journey with...*all sorts of awesomeness*!!!
Things don't always happen immediately after God calls you to something, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.
GOD CANNOT LIE (Titus 1:2).
TRUST HIM (Proverbs 3:5-6)!
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."---2 Timothy 4:2-4(NKJV)
Short 'n sweet on this...
We're living in a time when a lot of women are being *cultural* rather than BIBLICAL.
This man is married. Most reading this are single women. It's always wise to hear what a *godly man* says about being a good woman. Especially one who already has one.
If you feel some "push back" in your flesh while listening, seek and study the Word concerning what he's saying. There are all kinds of ways to have a hard heart---and a hard heart has a difficult time receiving biblical truth and correction.
I really liked his final point: A GOOD WOMAN SHOWS STRENGTH AND STABILITY IN HER TIME OF SINGLENESS!
Good soul food for thought in a time when *so many people* want to be married on their terms more so than God's.