Monday, May 22, 2017
"You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married."---Isaiah 62:4(NKJV)
Whew! The month is already almost gone and I'm seeing that I haven't posted since (what?!) May 1. Marriage life coaching is taking a life of its own and, on some levels, I'm writing more than I ever have. For the past (whew!) eight years, this has been such a labor (mostly of--LOL) love, both spiritually and financially, that I honestly considered closing it out on my birthday next month.
As I was praying about it, because I am such a signs-and-wonders girl (Daniel 4:2-3) and "10" biblically symbolizes completion, pray for a sistah. I'm gonna try and ride it out until 2019. After that...we'll see.
In the meantime, though...
Some house-cleaning and an announcement.
1) For the ladies who signed up for the "First Love Project", I'll be rolling that out, on here, by the weekend. Stay tuned and thanks for your patience.
2) For ALL of the women who wrote me about how they can know if God told them who their husband is or not, I am honored that you would share such a "sacred space". Each journey is unique (Psalm 33:15) and so there is no "one size fits all" answer. I will say this, though. Proverbs 28:9 tells us that if we don't keep the law of God, even our prayers are an abomination while the Message Version tells us that God has no use for the prayers of those who do not listen to him. Scripturally, hearing requires obedience (James 1:21-27). If there are areas of your life where you know that you are spiritually-compromising, it's going to be very difficult to decipher between what is God, what is Satan and what is *all you* (I Corinthians 2:14). "Create in my a clean heart" (Psalm 51:10) is one of the most responsible (Galatians 6:5--Message) prayers that you can pray as you're attempting to discern (Proverbs 2) what the Lord has said to you about this. If you'd like prayer, hit me up (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3) Oh, some women have gotten upset, especially over the past couple of years, about...not mine but the Word's stance on divorce and remarriage (I Corinthians 7:10-11). If you are divorced and your spouse is still alive or you're contemplating marrying a divorced person, I am more than happy to pray for you; however, this blog is strictly for original covenant preparation. Meaning, I will never advise that a divorced person do anything that the Word says not to do. Romans 7:1-3, I Corinthians 7:10-11 and even Matthew 19:1-12 point out that marriage to another individual is not to be an option for those in a broken covenant. It's not so much a punishment as it is a consequence. Marriage is not about us so much as it us about reflecting Christ's love for and relationship with the Church (Ephesians 5). NO MATTER WHAT THE CHURCH PUT CHRIST THROUGH (JOHN 19), HE REMAINED IN COVENANT WITH THEM/US. This is marriage. You can read more on that here, here and here.
4) If you are currently in a state of...influx in a relationship due to sexual sin, shoot me an email (email@example.com). I want to add you to my prayer book (click here to watch a video about how sex affects women and read "Sex and Glue: The Emotional Bond of a Physical Act", if you haven't already, when you get a chance). Out of all the married couples I've worked with, the ones who had sex (period and/or with each other) prior to marriage? There's *not one* I know who doesn't profoundly regret it. NOT. ONE. If you really want God's best for you, you've got to clear out all areas of compromise or straight-up sin. Fornication certainly qualifies (I Corinthians 6:9-10, Hebrews 13:4). It's hard. I've been there. It's worth it, though. It really is.
5) After doing some praying for the "On Fire" women, as God would have it (LOL), rather that slowing down, things are going to transition...just a bit (Jeremiah 31:21-22). There will still be posts on here (at least a couple of times a month); however, I'm about to do a weekly sent-out message entitled "The Hephzibah Project". I've always liked the name because, in Hebrew, it literally means "My Delight Is in Her". It's only mentioned twice in Scripture. She's King Hezekiah’s wife in I Kings 21 and it's used in Isaiah 62 as God is speaking to Zion. Although a lot of people chop off Psalm 37:4 and run with it, this project is going to remind women who desire marriage that in order to receive the desires of your heart, you must strive to make sure that God is also delighted in you. This is a season when the women who are *committed to obedience* yet somehow feel forsaken and desolate are going to receive some words of clarity, comfort and encouragement; not on this blog but directly to their email.
To qualify, you need to be 1) sexually-abstinent (it can be two weeks or 10 years but it's something that you're committed to); 2) have current goals and ambitions that you feel are unattainable but you know you've been called to; 3) desirous of biblically-defined marriage; 4) willing to share some of your journey (with a pen name if you wish) with the other women on the mailing list from time to time, and 5) open to praying for the other women---especially if they have specific requests (Matthew 18:19-20). This is for women who truly want to please God, not just ones want God to bless them. Women who sense that they are on the horizon of some exceedingly abundant things (NOT JUST "MARRIAGE THINGS"--Ephesians 3:20-21) and are looking for some additional spiritual support about how to make it all come together. Because the more whole we are *as individuals* (James 1:4), the better we are prepared for when "he", our future husband and the priest of our home, arrives. This is for the women who want God to delight in them far more than they want to get what they desire. If that's you, also shoot me an email so that I can add you to the mailing list. Those will start rolling out on June 1.
I think that's it for now.
As always, if you have a question, comment or concern, feel free to drop me a line.
To the women who are led to join "The Hephzibah Project"...
Amazing how he shows up right when we're entering the depths of doubt, right?
I can't wait to see/hear what God will do through it!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Monday, May 1, 2017
"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man."---Genesis 2:21-22(NKJV)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones."---Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV)
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way."--Psalm 37:23(NKJV)
On the heels of the post right below this one, I just wanted to share a couple of other points if you sense that you need to shift your focus from "Who is my husband?" to "God, help me to pay closer attention to where and how you are leading me." *Husband or not*.
I've always liked that in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2), Adam and the Woman didn't have to do ANY hunting down or pursuing (or "courting manipulation"). All they had to do was have a relationship with the Most High, be in purpose and trust him.
And, at the right time, the Woman was *brought* (some translations say "presented") to Adam.
Brought: simple past tense and past participle of bring
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
The word "cause" is used quite a bit, so let's look at its definitions too:
Cause: a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect
Genesis 2:22(NKJV) says "Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man."
After God made the Woman from Adam's rib, "he was the One who acted in a specific way to bring about the results that would cause Adam and the Woman to come toward one another, be attracted to each other, get into a particular position for one another, bring each other to one another's minds and persuade and convince both of them that they were right for one another".
God did this...
My personal takeaway?
We don't need to be focused on who are husband is...
Nearly as much as who GOD is!
In the article "Lesson 48: Knowing God’s Guidance—Especially in Choosing A Mate (Genesis 24:1-67)", the author shares these points (excerpts):
If you’re single, it’s crucial to seek God’s guidance and to obey Him in choosing a mate, because except for trusting Christ as Savior, whom you marry is the most important decision you’ll make in life. The overall principle of our text is that
God will guide us when we walk with Him and are committed to His purpose.
Under that overall theme, I want to give five principles on how to know God’s guidance. These are not comprehensive and they are not a formula to plug into your computer. But I think they will help.
1. To know God’s guidance we must be unswerving in our commitment to God and His purpose.
To know God’s guidance we must put aside our own will and seek the will of the God who has called us. That is the basic principle in determining the will of God in any situation--to empty yourself, as much as you are able, of your own will and to commit yourself to seeking and obeying God’s will. As you seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, He will reveal the specific steps you need to take as you need to know them. But if you claim to want to know God’s will, but you’re not willing to do it unless it agrees with your will, you’re kidding yourself. All you really want is God’s approval of your plans. But you’ll never know God’s direction that way. God reveals His will to those who are committed to doing it.
2. To know God’s guidance we must move out in obedience accompanied by common sense.
Sometimes we get super-spiritual about this matter of determining God’s will, especially as it pertains to finding a mate. In college I heard speakers say that we should just trust God for a wife. I felt like if I went to a Christian gathering to look for a Christian girl to date, I was really carnal! I bought that for a while. But I remember one time after I hadn’t had a date for about two years, I was on my knees pleading with God for a wife when I realized that He wasn’t going to bring her floating through the window like the old Hertz rent-a-car ads. The Lord was saying to me, “At least go where there are some prospects!”
That’s what Abraham’s servant did. He didn’t start hanging out at the local bars or discos in Canaan. He went where he could find a godly young woman from Abraham’s relatives, as Abraham had told him to do. So obey God and use the common sense He gave you. You won’t find a godly mate in bars. Don’t go there! You may find a godly mate at church. Go there! That’s not super-spiritual. But I think it’s biblical!
3. To know God’s guidance we must seek and expect it, while submitting to His sovereign ways.
So often we don’t experience God’s guidance because we get so caught up doing our own thing that we fail to stop and ask God to reveal His will to us. Or we get into our established routine, and it takes a catastrophe for God to get our attention so He can let us know what He wants us to do. So if you want God’s guidance, stop and ask Him for it, expect Him to give it, and wait long enough to listen to what He might have to say. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).
But what if God doesn’t say anything? Maybe you’re waiting for the wrong kind of communication...
The answer is that when you seek and expect God’s guidance, and remain submissive to God’s sovereign ways, He providentially orchestrates circumstances in such a way as to confirm His will.
4. To know God’s guidance we must apply God’s wisdom.
Look for godly character qualities above all else in a prospective mate.
Finding the right person depends on being the right person.
Seek the wisdom of your parents.
Marriage is the foundation for love; love is not the foundation for marriage.
To know God’s guidance we must: (1) Be unswerving in our commitment to God and His purpose. (2) Move out in obedience accompanied by common sense. (3) Seek and expect it, while submitting to His sovereign ways. (4) Apply God’s wisdom.
5. To know God’s guidance we must bathe the whole process in prayer and constant fellowship with God.
The longer I’m a Christian, the more I believe that finding God’s will isn’t a matter of some formula. It’s a matter of walking in constant fellowship with the Lord, taking everything to Him in prayer. When you know that prayer is behind your circumstances, then that which otherwise may seem to be a coincidence turns out not to be a coincidence at all. Your steps are ordered by the Lord. When you walk with Him and are committed to His purpose, He will work quietly behind the scenes of your life, leading you through potential hazards, not always leading as you might have hoped, but still leading, putting all the pieces together. The process becomes a beautiful blending of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty and of our obedient trust in Him.
Confirmations are awesome! And, this confirms a lot of what I posted on yesterday.
If you want your "towards your husband" experience to be like Adam and the Woman's...
As a woman, you need to follow God, as he *brings you* to your husband.
This means you need to trust him with your ALL...
This means you need to acknowledge him in EVERYTHING...
This means you are going to have to place HIS WISDOM above your own...
This means you're going to have to DEPART FROM EVIL...
This means you're going to have to TAKE ORDERS from God.
So many folks are out here trying to "negotiate with God" rather than DOING JUST WHAT HE SAYS---and it's costing them. And honestly, this is a part of the reason why so many women get shook up about who their husband is. Somewhere inside, they know their relationship with God is not where they want it to be and/or they know they are compromising his Word and/or they are ONLY focused on following what God says, so long as they think it will "guarantee them a husband"---not simply because God is sovereign (Psalm 18) and always knows what's best. And who is the best for us. At just the right time (Ecclesiastes 3:11, Acts 1:7---Message).
It's a new month.
On the calendar, the fifth month of the year: May.
"5" biblically symbolizes grace (Hebrews 4:16).
If you desire to be married, ask God to put you in the position to BRING YOU to your husband.
Then make the decision---no, COMMITMENT---to go wherever God LEADS you.
It will require walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)...
It will also bring peace because you'll realize that it's in God's hands and his way is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).
And since the Most High is FLAWLESS in ALL THINGS...
All you have to do is RELAX (Jude 1-2--Message) and TRUST HIM!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Sunday, April 30, 2017
"Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."---Philippians 4:5-7(AMPC)
Today is gonna be one of those "ouch amen" kinds of posts, yet I discern that if it's taken to heart, it can actually bring about quite a bit of peace (Proverbs 17:27).
The post about knowing who your husband is has brought A LOT of responses. Although each one is unique (because we all are), if there was a common thread in about 75 percent of them, it could be summed up in one word: "anxiety".
Before getting into what God is leading me to say about that, a few things real quickly.
1) God would not tell you that someone else's husband is your spouse. And, according to the Word (Matthew 19:11-12, I Corinthians 7:10-11, Romans 7:1-3), a divorced person who still has a living spouse is someone else's spouse. God does not contradict his Word or make exceptions. Believing otherwise? Therein lies deception (check out "The Role of Marriage in the Kingdom of God" and "Divorce & Remarriage: A Position Paper"). We are to be a stumbling block (Romans 14:13) for no one, covenants are extremely godly and none of us know/can predict the possibility reconciliation. If you're emotionally caught up in a divorced man, pray for the strength to get free.
2) God would not tell you to "hurry up and get married to make 'sin right". Translation? If you are involved in sexual sin with someone (check out "Sex and Glue: The Emotional Bond of a Physical Act"), *you are in a heart state of sin* and Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our heart---the center of our emotions---can deceive us (Matthew 24:4). Mark 7:20-23 says that evil thoughts, deceit, pride and foolishness can come from the heart too. In other words, when we're in a cycle of sin and trying to hear from the Lord, we often have, what I call "spiritual ear infections" (Galatians 5:16-17). Our flesh is all up in the way. If you want to really see what God thinks about the person you are with, as it relates to the long-term, *repentance* (I John 1:9-10) and a time of ABSTINENCE (Psalm 51:10, Romans 12:2) are what you need right now---NOT MARRIAGE. I read a tweet by singer Jhene Aiko last week and she's exactly right: "Remove sex from a relationship and you'll discover that a lot of people aren't as good a match for you as you thought." A guy by the name of avid Alan Campbell also brought up a good point: "Emotional attachment to sin does not make sin OK." They're both right. In order to hear clearly, sexual purity *DEFINITELY* helps (I Peter 1:16).
3) I Corinthians 14:33 states that God is not the author of confusion. This means he does not create it, including the circumstances that bring it about. And since God is not the designer of confusion, if you're confused about a person, place, thing or idea, that tends to be a *red flag* not a "marriage sign". Confusion means "disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos". It also means "lack of clearness or distinctness". The Word? It is VERY CLEAR. Black and white. Non-lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-16). Oftentimes, we find ourselves in "confusing situations" because we're not sure what the Word says on a matter. Or, we don't want to believe that it applies to us (see the intro to "14. Not to Abolish But to Fulfill (Matthew 5:17-20)"). If you're confused about what is going on in a situation, ask yourself why? Better yet, ask the Lord to reveal to you why (James 1:5). A time of prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:20-21) may be needed...just so that you can *get still* (Psalm 46:10 & 77:6) and settle your mind, body and spirit down.
With those main points out of the way, in my prayer time, "ANXIOUS" is what God told me to write a bit about. Actually, an example of what can happen when we are anxious. It can *literally* make us delusional:
Delusional: having false or unrealistic beliefs or opinions
One of my absolute favorite Scriptures in the Bible is the Message Version of Ecclesiastes 7:18: "It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it." Being realistic means "interested in, concerned with, or based on what is real or practical" and "resembling or simulating real life".
In the article "Anxiety Is Often the Cause of Delusions", the author shares this:
Delusions are beliefs that you hold despite considerable evidence to the contrary. They're this feeling that you know a fact to be true even if others have more proof that the fact is actually false. It would be like believing without a shadow of a doubt that TVs have little people inside that are acting for you.
Delusions are linked directly to psychosis, but not all delusions are that extreme. In fact, anxiety commonly causes delusional thinking, simply because of what it's like to deal with anxiety.
This all makes me think of false pregnancies; women who want to be pregnant *so badly* that they can trick their body into creating symptoms. *We can want things SO MUCH, we can *create* situations that, in real life, actually don't exist*.
And in the spirit realm, some people can mistake delusions for "walking by faith" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
So, how can you tell the difference?
That's a book's worth but since this article and Philippians 4 both tell us that anxiety is *NOT* a good thing, then the first thing I would recommend is being honest with God and yourself about just how ANXIOUS you are to be married in the first place:
Anxious: full of mental distress or uneasiness because of fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried; solicitous; earnestly desirous; eager
Eager: keen or ardent in desire or feeling; impatiently longing
Eager. A lot of us are WAY TOO EAGER about getting married...
If you know that you can relate to that:
"But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."---James 1:14-15(NKJV)
"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."---James 1:4(NKJV)
We're human and marriage is godly. That said, is there something wrong with wanting to be married? *Of course not*. However, if you're at the point where you're *eager* and *impatient*? You're entering into an emotional state of anxiety. And so, looking for signs of who you husband is doesn't need to be the focus right now; *prayer does*.
We know this because Philippians 4 tells us that the "spiritual prescription" for anxiety---eagerness---is prayer. Not just "God, who is my husband?" and "When am I getting married?!" prayers either. The Word tells us that we are to pray *with thanksgiving*! When's the last time you pondered (Proverbs 4:26) what was good about your single state and THANKED HIM for those things?
I'm a signs and wonders kind of girl (Daniel 4:1-2). Always have been.
Yet I have seen how anxiety can create delusions.
If you're anxious about having a husband...
Focus more on getting to a peaceful state *with yourself* and the Lord.
Things will get *SO MUCH CLEARER*...
About your season of a single woman (Ecclesiastes 3) and who God is TRULY bringing you to (Genesis 2:22).
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
"I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him."---Ecclesiastes 3:14(NKJV)
For those who decided to partake in the "first love project" (the post right under this one), I got you covered. There were quite a few responses, so I'm getting everything in order. If you're reading this and still want to get in on it, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Trust me...the sooner you can get your heart whole, the easier it will be to discern who God's best is for your heart---and your life.
Which brings me to the title of this message...
Last Friday, while having a conversation with my mom, she said something that was so funny. And little typical of her. See, she has a wheat allergy. If any of you do, then you already know that makes eating options...challenging, to say the least, because so many foods have some level of wheat in them.
Anyway, for the most part, my mom eats well. But sometimes she rebels and has something she knows isn't good for her body...even if her taste buds believe otherwise. Her latest rebellion? A Krispy Kreme donut.
My mom lives in South Africa. By way of New York (native), Nashville (career) and then there. She's been there for 20 years now. Over the course of that time, she's watched a lot of things from America come that way (a double-edged sword), and so sometimes when something that reminds her of home makes its way, she tries it. This time, it was that particular kind of donut.
It was her review of it that had me be like "Yeah...that's PERFECT for the 'On Fire' gals."
"You know how Krispy Kreme donuts usually smell and taste so good? I had one recently and...it wasn't. It just wasn't the same." We were Skyping, so I was laughing at her face all turned up in disappointment.
Personally, I'm more of a Shipley's girl myself but I got the point...
I made me think of how I felt when I went on my "get my heart pieces back" tour a couple of years ago. So many of them were just like that Krispy Kreme donut for my mom. Here's what I mean by that:
There could be all kinds of reasons why the donut didn't live up to my mom's expectations...
Maybe due to the changes in her diet, her palate is different.
Maybe her memory...embellished a bit.
Maybe it was just a bad donut.
Or maybe, just maybe, she doesn't like donuts as much as she used to...
Maybe she's changed.
When Isaiah 27:14(NKJV) tells us "Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!", there are a few things to keep in mind. We need to remember that one definition of heart is "center of emotions" and Jeremiah 17:9 tells us our hearts have a tendency to deceive us, which is why we need to guard it (Proverbs 4:23). One way to guard our heart is to really *make the time* to think about our past---past "loves", past boyfriends (because sometimes those are not one in the same), past sex partners (same here) and even past crushes or "personal delusions" (because there is NOTHING like being in a relationship by yourself. It happens more than a lot of us would care to admit!).
Sometimes, we're so busy pining over the past and/or wanting someone from our past *or* someone in the present to be like someone from our past, that we think we're being *rejected* when really what's happening is that we're being *spared*. Not because something is "wrong with them" either. Personally, I'm proud to say several men from my own past are good guys who are doing some amazing things. It's just that when it comes to my personal relationship with God and what he has called me to do, they are not my fit. I am not theirs either.
When you don't accept this and you still try and force things, it's a lot like my mom with that Krispy Kreme donut. Your mind and spirit may be saying, "Yeah, that's probably not a good idea" while your heart is on some "But it was so good *last time*..."
First of all, *was it?!* Was it really?
Second of all, have you taken into account that you were a different person back then?
One of my favorite quotes from my mom is "God gives us someone for where we're going, not where we are. And the only one who knows where we're headed *is* him." (Revelation 1:8). No wonder we're supposed to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7) even when it comes to matters of the heart and our journey towards our beloved (Genesis 2:22). If you only want someone based on who you were or are now, you may choose *very poorly*.
Case in point. Fairly recently, I "ran into" (Proverbs 16:33--AMPC) an ex. Back when we broke up, I was so upset with the Lord and the guy (pretty much in that order) that I spent all that time with nothing really to show for it.
Oh, but the woman I've become? As I was talking to the guy, it was like having an out-of-body experience. I see how we became friends. I have no clue how we became a couple, though. And while I will always care for him and want the best for his life, I get now that he's like that Krispy Kreme donut---my memories were telling me one thing but my tastes have changed. Interacting with him is just not the same experience. Anymore. And if I tried to force it to be what it was simply because of how things used to be or because I am still freakin' single and abstinent or even because there are parts of our interaction that I miss...it would probably just make us both sick. And waste even more time.
This is the kind of post that ain't for everybody, but for some...things really will "click".
That lead quote? It's all kinds of an "ouch" but it's true...
Some men are nothing more than the memories of a Krispy Kreme donut...
Let 'em go.
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Monday, April 3, 2017
"Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life."---Proverbs 4:23(AMPC)
I say it at least a couple of times a week now...
I *hate* (one definition of hate is "unwilling", by the way) boyfriend and girlfriend relationships.
1) They're not biblical.
2) They put people in the position to be sexually-compromising.
3) They encourage individuals to "act married" when they're NOT married.
4) They oftentimes leave folks emotionally-devastated, fearful and bitter.
5) They teach people more about how to divorce than how to remain together.
6) They trivialize marriage.
7) They rob people of the opportunity to build a true friendship.
8) They apply *way too much pressure*---across the board.
9) They influence people to "demand" what they did not *earn*.
10) They're spiritually-irresponsible in a lot of ways.
Did I mention they're not biblical?
No one needs a "test run", sexually or emotionally, before getting married.
FRIENDSHIP is what should be the focus and priority for single people.
As I was praying about the "On Fire" gals, as it relates to this topic, "first loves" are what came to mind. I shared on my post a couple of years ago entitled "Do You Have All of Your HEART PIECES (Back)???" my journey towards getting over a man whom I loved (based on what I knew about love at the time) for two decades. Even though I had dated other guys, slept with other guys and had a few boyfriends since him, there continued to be a part of me (a part that was bigger than I thought) who was comparing other guys to him and holding out hope that we would end up together.
For one thing, he was the first person *I consented* to be sexually-involved with (remember, I was sexually molested by a family member).
Another reason is because I got pregnant by him (and aborted---click here to read about how someone you conceive a child with becomes a part of your DNA for the rest of your life, whether you carry the child to term OR NOT).
Another reason is because he was someone who was just as attracted to me and loved me back just as much (that's rare to find).
As I've been healing, in some truly superhuman ways, from my past relationships (if you're not abstinent, *get abstinent*. It's a life-changer!--I Corinthians 6:16-20--Message), something I realize is that if you don't *really, truly, fully and completely HEAL* from your past...you won't be in the best possible state for your future. And since past loves tend to be HIGHLY-INFLUENTIAL on us (who in the Bible did you know who "got together and broke up"?!), if we don't do the self-work and ponder (Proverbs 4:26) how it influenced and impacted us...we can end up choosing a life partner out of brokenness, not wholeness (James 1:4).
So, I'm pitching an invite to participate in a way to heal from your first love by doing this:
1) Share the biggest lesson you learned from your first love.
2) Share the greatest regret you have from your first love.
3) Share how your first love has affected how you view love/relationships now.
4) Share how the ending of the relationship impacted you.
5) Share the qualities you want/don't want that your first love had.
I don't mean the "first love" like your first crush in elementary school...
I mean the first love that had you honestly believing there would be no one else. THAT GUY.
The Word says, "Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]." (James 5:16--AMPC)
As you confess (shoot them over to email@example.com), I'll be praying. With some of y'all's permission (feel free to use an alias), I will post some of the confessions and provide some tips on how to make sure you have all of your heart back. Those who participate, there will be something special in store.
God really is making sure that we are WHOLE-HEARTED WOMEN *before* marriage...
My prayer is that you will take advantage of *every opportunity* he bestows.
Oh, and I'm a signs-and-wonders gal (Daniel 4:1-2), so I created a picture quote (including the quote) from a heart-shaped bowl of raspberries because the health benefits of that fruit include: a healthy heart, a boost in fertility and balanced moods. I thought that was pretty cool!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Sunday, April 2, 2017
"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
And 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.'"---Genesis 2:21-23(NKJV)
And THE LORD caused...
And THE LORD took...
And THE LORD brought.
THEN Adam praised GOD'S WORK.
This past week, I read two quotes that stuck with me:
"Trust God's timing, don't seek something simply because you see others with it."---Godly Dating
"Don't underestimate the way your actions can change what's 'meant' for you."---Rob Hill Sr.
They're both powerful in their own way...
The first one because I get emails all the time of single women who are upset about not being married. And, what they compare their anxiety to (Philippians 4:6-7) is being tired of being "always a bridesmaid", tired of going to yet *another wedding*...tired of their friends getting married and having children. Tired of being the only one who isn't.
It's understandable. We're all human. Yet do you know a commandment that isn't preached about nearly enough? COVETING: "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s." (Exodus 20:17--AMPC) It doesn't only mean "to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others" but "to wish for, especially eagerly".
Is there something wrong with wishing? Is there something wrong with "wanting", "desiring" or "longing"? No. Yet being *eager* about it? Eager means "impatiently longing" and the Bible *never* recommends impatience. Ever. Love is patient (I Corinthians 13:4--AMPC), remember? Patient ain't an easy word, either:
Patient: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like
Did you peep the part about NOT COMPLAINING and NOT BEING ANGRY?
If you can't master being patient with God...
How can you even possibly get close to being patient with a husband?
The steps of a good person are ordered (Psalm 37:23)...
We are to follow each and every one God places before us (2 Corinthians 5:7).
A quote (by Bill Hybels) that I've been rocking with for a minute now is "God is no more intimidated by childish demands for instant gratification than wise parents." It reminds me of two Scriptures:
"For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."---Matthew 6:8(NKJV)
"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”---Luke 11:11-13(NKJV)
Should you feel bad for wanting what you want? No. Yet according to Scripture it is important to 1) seek the Lord about if your desire(s) line up with his (James 1:14-15, I John 5:14-15); 2) pray about God revealing your truest motives (Proverbs 21:2&8--Message) and cast your cares, *all of them*, on him (I Peter 5:6-7). Casting means "to hurl". It's not easy sometimes. It *is* biblically required, though.
And that Rob Hill, Jr. quote? It'll preach! Louder than a lot of us want to hear...
If you know you're doing things that are contrary to Scripture, don't assume that it will not alter your future. In other words, be careful about living by the motto of "If it's meant to be, it will be" while you're out here doing whatever you want. Whenever you want. It wasn't "meant to be" that Adam and Eve sinned. *Their choices* (Genesis 3) led to that outcome. And it changed things. *A lot of things*. Drastically so. We're *still* dealing with the consequences of what they did. Choices can be just that powerful.
If you know you're compromising yet you want to be in something as GODLY as marriage? STOP.
You don't need to "come up with ways" to meet or marry your future husband.
On the days when you struggle with believing that, go back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). Back to where marriage began. Where *God* decided that it was time for Adam to have a wife. Where *God* made her, just for him. Where *God* brought her to him too.
Adam wasn't going through over-the-top extremes to capture her heart.
The Woman wasn't playing hard to get---or any games.
Both individuals were in God's will, trusting God's way---and timing (Acts 1:7---Message).
And that's what makes the picture quote up top so...beautiful...
There are a lot more people out here who simply want to "get married"...
Than people who want to look like GOD is the One who put them with someone.
God is holy (I Peter 1:16).
WHAT HE DOES IS HOLY.
RELAX (Jude 1-2--Message) and let God do his thing.
Between him, you and your future husband, he's the ONLY ONE whose work is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Out of the three of you, he's the ONLY ONE who should be putting you and yours together!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Something that I think we need to always remember when it comes to sex before marriage is 1) waiting until AFTER our wedding is a biblical instruction; 2) God does not OWE us sex (or a husband) and 3) there are very clear consequences that come from fornication. I Corinthians 6:9-10 tells us that it can keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God and, if it goes unrepentant, it can lead to...let's just say a very uncomfortable afterlife (Revelation 21:8). Sexual sin is serious. Just because the world makes it seem like it's "no biggie", make no mistake about it. The Word takes it *very seriously* (I Corinthians 6:16-20).
I haven't checked all of this out, although I have seen Insecure before (and was *floored* to find out Yvonne Orji was a virgin in real life!) and I've seen her talk about it on a radio interview before. Plus, a male friend of mine who is a believer hipped me to it, so I'm going to take him at his referral.
If you're a virgin, there is MUCH VALUE in your gift. HOLD ON TO IT.
If you're currently abstaining, one of the consequences of not being a virgin is withdrawal moments. Trust me, I know. God never intended for us to stop having sex once we started. Yet there are rewards for repentance (I John 1:9-10) and mind renewal (Romans 12:2). Trust the process.
If you're having sex, there's no way around the fact that it's a form of idol worship (Exodus 20:3); anything that we put above God is just that. I Corinthians 6:18 tells us to *flee sexual immorality*. There's no time like the present!
Anyway, watch the video and share with others...
Virginity is beautiful. And purposeful. And of God...
It really, really is!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I'm a quotes girl...
A "movement" that goes by the name Godly Dating recently shared this:
"They're interested, but did God say they were eligible?
We have to pray before we make decisions."
I can't tell you how many counseling sessions I have sat in with couples who are currently bearing the fruit of the reality that they did not make building a spiritual relationship, following biblical instruction and making sexual purity as much of priorities as they should have. When you don't and you decide to get married anyway, this is what tends to happen; the "sand" part:
Building on a Solid Foundation
“'Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.'
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority---quite unlike their teachers of religious law."---Matthew 7:24-29(NLT)
Matthew 19:6(NKJV) says "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” This means that God is involved with and a part of biblically-defined marriage (Genesis 2:18-25). This means that when two people who are courting each other honor God and build on *his foundation*, they are able to withstand...*anything*.
That's what's so cool about that quote...
Entertaining the notion of dating a guy just because he's interested in you is a *very low bar*.
A woman who knows her worth (I Corinthians 6:18, I Corinthians 7:23, Proverbs 31:10) really does ask GOD "Is he eligible?"
And here's the deal. Words have life (Proverbs 18:21) and a truly eligible bachelor isn't just a single man (and ANYONE who is NOT MARRIED is "single" by the way---act married when you *are* married). Look at all of what the word "eligible" means:
Eligible: fit or proper to be chosen; worthy of choice; desirable; meeting the stipulated requirements, as to participate, compete, or work; qualified; legally qualified to be elected or appointed to office
Have you asked God if the guy is the one GOD has chosen for you?
Have you asked God if he's worthy of the position?
Have you asked God if he meets all of the requirements to court and then marry you?
Have you asked God if he's legally qualified (if he's married or even divorced, he's not)?
*This is what it means to be with someone who is eligible.*
Just something to think about....
"Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.'"---Luke 1:39-45(NKJV)
I penned a devo that has brought me to the conclusion that I am going to stray away from saying that Christ was single. In the physical realm, to one human woman, he may have been but there is TONS of evidence in the Word that he was indeed married---married to the Church. Literally:
"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, 'Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.'"---Revelation 21:9(NKJV)
If you're not on the devotional list, if *ever* I would encourage you to shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that I can send one of 'em to you, this one would be it! Marriage plays SO MUCH MORE of a spiritual and ministry purpose than, even most of the Church, teaches. I discern that reading it will provide you with more than a couple of "ah ha moments"!
As I was praying for the "On Fire" women this week, three things came to my spirit.
1) DO NOT COVET OTHER PEOPLE'S SITUATIONS. For one thing, that is breaking the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17). A quote that expresses how people do this well is "Trust God's timing, don't seek something simply because you see others with it." A lot of women probably do not think about what they are *really saying* when they make statements like "Everyone else has a husband or a baby. I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't." Is *that* a healthy motive (Proverbs 21:2&8-Message) to be in a relationship? No. It's not.
2) As I continue to work through the healing of my own past (Romans 12:2), a verse that I try to keep before me is "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright." (Hebrews 12:14-16--NKJV) Not only is peace *paramount* (Romans 12:18), not only is this verse a CLEAR WARNING about fornication, but peep the part that's underlined and in bold: BITTERNESS IS A TROUBLEMAKER. To be bitter is to be "hard to bear; grievous; distressful". To be bitter is to be "causing pain; piercing; stinging". To be bitter is to be "characterized by intense antagonism or hostility". Guess what else bitter means? This: "resentful or cynical" and "hard to admit or accept". The Message Version of Ecclesiastes 7:18 is one of my favorite verses is "It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it." If you're not willing to accept the season that *God* has us in (Ecclesiastes 3, James 1:4), it can indeed start to make you cynical and yeah, *bitter*. And look at what the Word says about that kind of woman: "There are three things that make the earth tremble---no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress." (Proverbs 30:21-23--NKJV) Rinse and repeat: THE EARTH CANNOT ENDURE A BITTER WOMAN WHO *FINALLY* GETS A HUSBAND. If you know you're dealing with bitterness in your life, God may be keeping you single for you and your future husband's sake! That's something to really ponder (Proverbs 4:26) and pray about (I Thessalonians 5:17). Psalm 84:11 tells us that God withholds no good thing. If you're bitter, being married could be a bittersweet experience *and that* makes me think about this verse: "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20--NKJV)
3) This final point connects to the lead Scripture for this message. It's a verse that a wife shared with me years ago and one that I revisit as a "faith gut check" (Hebrews 11) from time to time. It's some of the words that Elizabeth said to Mary after an Angel of the Lord came to Mary to tell her that she would be carrying Christ. "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." I like this for a few reasons too. 1) It's a reminder that we're not only blessed once we get something; we are blessed the moment we *believe* that we will!; 2) Mary had a season of being told she would conceive (without having sex, which makes this a miracle and something that ONLY God could do! God can do what seems to be impossible in your life as well!--Matthew 19:26), a season of growing the child and a season of birthing him. If you've never read the Message Version of Romans 8:22-29, check it out sometime. A line in it says "That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy."; 3) It's also a reminder that while the Word does indeed tell us that "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us" (2 Corinthians 1:20--NKJV), just because we want something (or one), that doesn NOT automatically mean God promised it (or them) to us. *Desires must be surrendered, completely, to the Father*: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15--NKJV) Whatever it is that you want (especially if you are becoming frustrated about it), are you *sure* God promised it to you? Because if you are, waiting isn't something to be/get upset about. The Word says that we are to become *more joyful* in our expectancy! This is what a big part of "walking by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7) is all about!
This reminds me. If you were one of the women who partook in the "future husband project", I've figured out what to bless you with. I'll be ordering it the first of the month. Luke 1:45 is involved. ;)
For any other "On Fire" woman, if you'd like prayer concerning any three of these points, feel free to shoot me an email. Because what we can be sure of is that there is power in agreement (Matthew 18:19-20) and "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (I John 5:14-15--NKJV) No matter what, *that* you *can* believe!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Friday, March 3, 2017
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."---I John 4:18(NKJV)
In the wee hours of this morning, I received an email from someone who had written me a couple of weeks before. She graciously granted me permission to share (anonymously) share parts of it. Once you check it out, you'll probably understand, off top, why this post has the title that it does. Actually, I'm going to share a part of her initial email too so that everything is in its proper context:
I read your blog about 'God revealing our future spouse'. I'm a believer,a worship leader with a burning passion to do something for God and I have dated a few men in the past but God clearly spoke to me that It wasn't his will so I chose to obey and walk out of every relationship. There's this guy called [I pulled his name out] who is a man of God whose family is serving God. He was my bestie's schoolmate and She had always told me "[I pulled her name out], you would get married to [him] someday. You guys would be a perfect couple serving God", but I never even bothered to know who [he] was until recently; my bestie mentioned the same again.
So when she mentioned it this time, I had a different kind of feeling and when I checked out his videos (he is a musician who serves God), I had a strong feeling that he was the 'one' but I thought it was my flesh until God spoke to me the following: "He is the one from whose ribs I made you. I will use you both in future to carry my Word to nations. But as of now, I just want you to pray for him and his spiritual growth. I don't want you to approach him. I'm talking to Him as well. In this waiting phase, I want you to prepare yourself and I'm preparing him as well. At the right time, I will give him to you as your husband and your generations will be blessed. Until then, I just want you to pray and prepare."
I was so shocked! I just couldn't believe! I was thinking about my shortcomings and insecurities, but I get peace whenever I pray. I have already started praying for him and his family. My heart is filled with so much love for his family. And, after this revelation, I feel like a different person. Everyday I'm just getting closer to God and becoming a better person.
Now, this is the email I received this morning:
I know I'm bothering you so much but I have no body else to help me out in this. I'm going through this phase where I have started doubting if I really heard it from God or was it just my flesh speaking. I'm wondering if I am even in the right track because if it ain't from God then I would end up grieving God. Wouldn't I ?
God revealed so many things about him, his character and about our future, but I wanna know if it's really God speaking or just my flesh. I keep hearing this voice saying "I am no man to lie". When I pray, I feel so much at peace. But when I don't ,all these worldly thoughts come creeping in and I start thinking about all the impossibilities, my insecurities, the possibilities of getting my heart broken and I feel so disturbed that I wouldn't even pray. But the truth is I feel at peace only when I pray and God keeps reassuring only when I pray. Now I have even stopped praying for him. Please pray and confirm if it is from God because if it is then I'll continue praying for Him else I'll just stop praying for him, forget him and move on.
Let's start with this point. This woman is *extremely responsible* to want to make sure she's not being caught up in her flesh. So many of us are "quick, fast and in a hurry" to say "God said he'd give me the desires of my heart, this is what I want and so I know I'm going to have it" without taking this Scripture into serious and sober-minded account: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15--NKJV) Your desires---and your heart (Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:20-22)---can get you caught up in a sorts of foolishness if/when they are not FULLY SURRENDERED (Matthew 16:24) to the Lord. And, since Galatians 5:16-17 tells us that the flesh and the Spirit tend to be at odds with one another, praying "not my will but thine will be done" (Matthew 26:39) is a very Christ-like thing to do. Literally. So yeah, big ups to her on that.
Here's where my concern comes in...
If you read this, there seem to be three things that have popped up between the first and second email:
So, just a few weeks ago, your BFF and the Lord (in that order?) told you someone was going to be your husband. A few weeks later, you're freaking out? Usually, that's not really about wondering if something is from the Lord or not. It's about us wanting to see EVIDENCE that it is. 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us that might not always be what happens because we are called, as children of the Most High (Psalm 82:6), to "walk by faith and not by sight". I'm a huge believer that marriage is indeed a "faith-based union" and I've also seen a pattern of women who knew who their husband was *before* their husband actually knew who their wife was. However, since it is THE WIFE who is called to be the HELPER (Genesis 2:18), it's important, even as single women, to become "faith masters". And, the Word doesn't tell us to put faith in people; Christ himself said "Have faith in God." (Mark 11:22--NKJV) God cannot lie (Titus 1:2); it's not his nature because lying is of the devil (John 8:44) and God has no darkness in him---at all (I John 1:5). Putting faith in him, in spite of what you see *and* don't see, is essential to any believer's walk (Hebrews 11).
I will say this: It's interesting that it wasn't until *after* her BFF planted the seed that she started to hear all of these things. So, my first piece of advice would be for her to say to her friend/friends what the Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon once did: "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." (Song of Solomon 8:4--NIV) I know what it's like to hear something from God and all of the friends chime in with excitement and "prophecies". It can cause voices to become confusing, for sure---God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). If your friends have told you something they heard from the Lord about you, ask them to pray about it more than talk to you about it. If you've heard something from the Lord about one of your friends, seek him (Matthew 7:7-8) about whether it's your job to be "the deliverer" or simply "the intercessor". Timing is essential when it comes to sharing divine messages (Acts 1:7---Message)
Back to what she believes she heard from the Lord. I discern that one of the main reasons why God doesn't tell us as much as we'd like him to is because, just as the Bible tells us, his understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5). He knows that if a lot of us hear what's going to happen in the future, we'll take it upon ourselves of when that should be. And if it's longer than what *we* expected, we'll start trippin'. Let's not forget that the foundation of Christianity took THOUSANDS of years to transpire: the coming of Christ. We hear first mention of it after the fall in Genesis 3. A LOT OF STUFF HAPPENED between then and when Mary was told she would have a son and that she should call him "Yehoshua" (Luke 1). When God speaks something into your life, it's important to remember ALL of what Ecclesiastes 3:11(NKJV) says; not just the first part: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end." When he tells us what will transpire, it's usually to keep us on course. However, it's up to him how short, or long, something should take.
For the impatience that she seems to be expressing, there's this:
"All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning."---Romans 8:22-29(Message)
Remember, love IS patient (I Corinthians 13:4--NCV) and patience is not just about waiting. *So much more* is involved than that! Patience is "the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like". A whole lot of people got married, ignoring the importance and relevance of patience. Use your season of singleness (Ecclesiastes 3) to teach you how to love God, yourself and others...better. And more.
Matthew 6: 25-34 is crystal clear on its command. In it, Christ told us not to worry. Why? Because it adds *absolutely nothing* to our lives! Christ told us instead to seek FIRST the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and everything else will be added. What I LOVE about the kingdom of God is that it has these things in it: "...righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (Romans 14:17) Whenever I sense that one or all these three things are lacking, that's my sign that I'm spiritually out of balance.
Something that I found interesting about her email is that she said when she was praying, she was peaceful. That's pretty biblical: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7-NKJV) My discernment says, however, that God is using this time to grow her prayer life (I Thessalonians 5:17) and to mature her spiritually (Hebrews 5:12-14)---that it's not just about a guy. There's A LOT MORE for her to be focusing on than that!
Did you peep how one of the things she mentioned was ministering to the nations? That's speaking to discipleship (John 8:31-32 & 17:6-19). That's not going to start the moment she gets married. She needs to learn be (more of) a disciple NOW (there's a great article on what discipleship requires here). See, a lot of times we are guilty of being *far too one-dimensional* about what God tells us. Whether she marries this guy or not (because the guy has a "vote" in this too), based on what she believes that she heard, there was A LOT MORE that was said than she would be marrying him someday. If she's to "'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20--NKJV), she needs to be taking that *very seriously*; she needs to seek God (Matthew 7:7-8) on what that should look like when it comes to her lifestyle even now.
See, something a lot of us miss is when we do hear a word from the Lord concerning our future spouse, we'll start to make it a god; sometimes without even noticing. Our thoughts become so consumed with "him" that we forget about who made HIM (Genesis 14:19). God cares about what we care about---down to the last detail (I Peter 5:6-7); however, there is so much more to your life than who your husband is going to be and/or when he's going to show up.
Be honest. Are you praying *for* your future husband or *obsessing* over him? God doesn't give us gods to serve. That's breaking the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3). When something (OR ONE) becomes idolatrous for us (I Corinthians 10:14), what we're actually told to do is flee!
When you find yourself worrying or getting anxious over something (including some guy), one or all three of the following things need to happen:
1) You need to pray WITH THANKSGIVING for what God has already done
2) You need to confess (James 5:16) what you are truly worried about (usually it has more to do with your relationship with God and where your faith/trust needs to grow than anything else)
3) You need to repent (I John 1:9-10) for being disobedient. Worrying is an act of disobedient and it's a waste of very precious energy and time.
It reminds me of a cool article I read earlier this week entitled "Singleness Is God’s Best for Me Today". When you get a chance, check it out. If God wanted you to be married today, you'd be married today. Don't underestimate the time of preparation, though. Even when it looks like *nothing* is going on, something is. Do you think that when Rebekah went to offer Abraham's servant and camels some water that she knew she was days away from meeting her husband, Isaac? Her heart for others prepared her for that faithful---and fate-filled---day (Genesis 24).
Stop worrying. Pray and prepare instead.
The lead Scripture tells us that love DOES NOT involve torment. Yet a TON of women do just that: torment themselves over a guy! Torment is about mental affliction; it also consists of EXCESSIVE worry and stirring things up---basically creating drama where there is none. Satan likes to torment us through his accusations (Revelation 12:10). However, a lot of times he doesn't have to do a thing! We will straight-up torment ourselves!
Did you notice how it doesn't appear that anything has happened---or not happened---between email #1 and email #2 as it relates to the guy himself? But still, she is putting herself through all sorts of emotional roller coaster rides? Did you also peep how she said in the second email that if he's not the one, she'll stop praying for him and his family?
Two points, there...
One, Acts 20:35 tells us that it's more blessed to give than to receive. The Message Version of Proverbs 21:2&8 speaks of God checking our motives and how twisted ones will jack us up. She doesn't need to pray because she believes he's her husband. She needs to pray because he's a man of God and those kinds of men need prayer. If there's anything "good" that's come out of the self-tormenting, it's that she can get honest with God *and* herself about why she's spiritually-serving in this way to begin with.
Two, a practice that I recommend is when you find yourself in a similar predicament, ask yourself "What would God get out of this? What would Satan get out of this?" Satan would lust---because he loves nothing (I John 2:16)---nothing more than for a woman of God to stop praying for a man of God. Not just because of the power of prayer but because prayer is an act of submission. A wife-in-training (Colossians 3:18, Ephesians 5:22) needs to learn how to submit to the Lord (James 4:7) before her husband. Satan knows how prayer softens a person (I Peter 3:1-6). It would thrill him for her to be like "If 'he's' not my husband, what's the point?" The *point* is that he's God's children, regardless, praying---as the Holy Spirit leads you to pray (Luke 12:12)---*always* has a point. And purpose.
Another thing to remember about torment is that if you really and truly believe that God is the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8), there should be nothing to worry about. This includes worrying about whether a guy will choose you---or not. This includes conjuring up all of these tragic tales in your head of heartbreak. This includes wondering if you'll be put to shame if things don't turn out the way you thought that they would.
If you're being obedient to God, if you're not "going off script" in your service to him, if you're honoring his boundaries in relationships (which includes NO SEX---I Corinthians 6:16-20--Message), NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, you are a woman of honor and dignity. And if it's not "this guy", the RIGHT GUY will be blessed to have you. Keeping that in mind alone is a way to deaden any self-torment, right? I certainly hope so.
The picture quote up top is so on-point. It took me years to become a believer of it...
Just like Romans 14:17 is a "gut check Scripture", so is I John 4:18.
THERE IS NO FEAR OR TORMENT IN LOVE.
Whether it's love or you're "in love"...
If you're feeling that, go to the Source of Love (I John 4:8&16)...
About the root of those feelings.
Again, usually it has very little to do with a man or a relationship...
It's usually a self-worth or spiritual brokenness issue.
The sooner you work with God to heal from that (Psalm 147:3)...
The more stable and secure you'll be as a single woman...
And the better help you'll be to your future husband.
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...
Monday, February 20, 2017
"Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]."---James 5:16(AMPC)
There's an entertainment personality named Terrence J who some of you might be familiar with. He used to host BET's 106 & Park. Then he was a host on E! News Live. He's produced a couple of films. He's acted in them too (Think Like a Man and the sequel, for example).
Anyway, last week, he posted something about his girlfriend that helped to inspire this post: "I'm so genuinely happy. Man, can't believe God hooked me up with Jas. I hit the jackpot."
Sweet. Very. Mostly because life has taught me that when a man is at a point of PUBLICLY PRAISING a woman, he's emotionally on another level concerning her. And his intentions for her.
Clearly, it's in a man's spiritual DNA to praise a man---a woman he loves:
"And Adam gave names to all the livestock and to the birds of the air and to every [wild] beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
Then Adam said, 'This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man.'
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence."---Genesis 2:20-25(AMPC)
Whenever I hear people talk about what a woman should expect in a relationship from a man, a guy pursuing them is what usually tops the list. If y'all have been reading this blog even a little bit, then you know that I'm over here instead: "And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man." (Genesis 2:22--AMPC)
You don't have to *pursue* what's been *brought* to you...
Yeah, personally, I'm more focused on the fact that Adam acknowledged the Woman as being *his Woman*. To me, this is what we need to be listening for more than anything else...a man who sees a woman and "calls her out" in the best way possible. A man who says, "she's a part of me!"
And a godly man?
The best way for him to come to that conclusion is through prayer.
A statement that someone posted last week reminded me of this very fact:
"Imagine a boy praying to God that he marries you..."
How many women look/pray for a man who's a praying man?!
I mean, I know in theory we say that, but when you're on a date with someone or you allow things to get to the point of being in a relationship, do you listen for the phrase "I was praying this morning" or "I prayed about you" or "I prayed for you" or "I've been talking to God about our relationship"?
Because here's the thing about prayer...
As one author stated:
“Ask, and you will receive…” (John 16:24). We complain before God, and sometimes we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Our Lord said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3). Ask and God will do. Give Jesus Christ the opportunity and the room to work. The problem is that no one will ever do this until he is at his wits’ end. When a person is at his wits’ end, it no longer seems to be a cowardly thing to pray; in fact, it is the only way he can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. Be yourself before God and present Him with your problems— the very things that have brought you to your wits’ end. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.
To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.
As single women who desire marriage, is it important to pray for our future husband and our future marriage? *Of course it is* (read more about that here, here and here). And, as you're praying, you know what's equally as important? *Praying that your future husband is praying for you*.
I mean, praying about it *regularly* too, for a couple of reasons...
1) As you pray for this, it will change him to be more like God, change you to be more like God and help both of you to recognize the godliness in one another.
2) It will help you to see what kind of woman a godly wife really and truly is. Because as you *serve in prayer* in this way, it will spiritually reveal (I Corinthians 2:14) what God knows you *and* your future husband deserve in a spouse. And in a marriage.
When it comes to praying in general, a particular article recommends praying---not only these things for him, but that he's praying these things for you:
I believe that a relationship with God is the only way you can be fully human---fully yourself. This is the ultimate prayer for your future spouse: that they would become fully formed followers of Jesus.
Wisdom means “learning to live right,” so pray that your future spouse will make wise decisions on a daily basis.
I worked as a youth pastor for a number of years. It was disturbing how many guys wanted to marry a good Christian virgin, but didn’t see the hypocrisy that goes along with sleeping around or looking at porn. It’s such an ugly double standard...Pray that your future spouse chooses purity in their other relationships.
What you need to do: Evaluate what you want versus what you’re doing. By choosing impurity now, you’re stealing from someone else’s spouse and you’re cheating on your own future marriage. Choose purity.
Selflessness is the most underrated value of our generation, and to me, it’s the most attractive virtue. This isn’t about being less selfish---it’s about thinking about ourselves less. Pray that your future spouse will develop an others-focused mentality.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the 5 Love Languages---quality time, acts of service, gift-giving, words of encouragement, beard-stroking. And many many more, of course. Pray that your future spouse will love others the way they need to be loved. Pray that your future spouse will learn to navigate relationships in a spirit of understanding, grace, and love.
It’s pretty obvious at this point: The American dream is the world’s nightmare. It’s also a detriment to our spiritual walk- we cannot serve both God and money.
Scripture is very clear. In fact, the Bible talks more about money than heaven and hell combined. It’s so easy to settle into a 9-5, collect a paycheck, manicure the lawn, walk the dog, juggle the payments, and live in air-conditioned luxury.
Pray that your future spouse will never buy into that house of cards. Pray that they’ll never believe the lie that stuff will bring them fulfillment.
While most people settle for a career, Christ invites us into a higher calling – a vocation where our life speaks of who we are. Pray that your future spouse will enter the fullness of their calling – to do all they were created to do, and be all they were created to be.
What you need to do: Discover your giftings and strengths and spiritual gifts, and put them into action for a mission and purpose that extends far beyond your lifetime.
Chills. Can you sense how praying this for your future husband *and* praying that he's praying this about you can already make you esteem marriage, honor biblical standards and feel closer to him in the spirit realm (I Corinthians 2:14)?
Just think about it:
"God, please inspire my husband to pray for my purity tonight. I'm really tempted."
"God, please wake my husband to pray for my calling. I want ours to complement each other's."
"God, please ask my husband to praise for how selfish I can be. I want to do better."
We have to remember a promise that God has given us concerning prayer; something that Christ himself once said: " “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 18:19-21--NKJV) Marriage is spiritual. MARRIAGE. IS. SPIRITUAL. It's doing the relationship a *huge* disservice to think that you have to, or should, wait until you're united with someone physically in order for the union to hold value. Prayer can unite the two of you---even now.
Another awesome thing that happens?
In the article "How to Pray for Your Future Wife", the author shares this point:
“But wait,” you may say. “I don’t know who she is.”
But God does. He knows her name. He knows how you will meet her. He knows the moment you will propose. He knows the exact look (or how many tears) you’ll get in your eyes when you see her walk down the aisle. He knows every marital struggle you will face. He knows how, through marriage, you will learn to depend upon His grace even more. He knows precisely what He has in store for you and your wife.
Unfortunately, all too often, the average guy does not start thinking seriously about his future alongside one of God’s daughters until he actually meets her.
That is sad, both for the guy…and his future wife...
If you are growing in your love for Him, then you’ll want what He wants, and He wants certain things for your future wife even now. So why would you not go before Him now to ask Him to give her those things?
So ask Him, men.
Ask in His name (John 14:13).
Ask according to His will (1 John 5:14).
Ask (Matthew 7:7), and keep asking (Luke 18:1-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Let me assure you of one thing: if you start praying passionately for your future wife (or for anything else), all the powers of Hell will try to stop you. You will be tempted to distraction, discouragement or disappointment. The Enemy does not want you to pray. He wants you to remain silent, and he wants her, and you, to remain unchanged.
Don’t stop praying.
This is the woman who will share life with you, the one you’ll promise, before God, to love and honor until the end, and the woman with whom you will become one. God tells us to cherish our wives “just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29). The word “cherish” means literally “to keep warm” (like a mother hen keeps her chicks safe and warm under her wings). You are called to reflect Jesus to your wife and treat her as a precious gift of God. One of the ways that Christ cherished the church was by praying for her (John 17:20-26).
You don’t have to wait until you know who she is to begin cherishing your wife. (And you don’t have to wait to ask her Heavenly Daddy for her hand.)
If you have the desire to be honorable, masculine, Christ-like and, yes, romantic…then be the leader, man up, go before Him, get on your knees and fight for her in prayer even now.
That’s what women want.
How do I know?
I asked them.
Again. Chills. Only a spiritually broken woman who doesn't understand the true value of marriage is a woman who would want a man who does not have a relationship with God. "Want" (because we all can be, and probably have been, tempted---I Corinthians 10:13) in these sense of seriously contemplating marriage with a person who is not in communication with the Lord *and* honors the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (I John 5:8). For one thing, it goes directly against biblical instruction because we are told to not unequally yoke ourselves with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:11-18). Secondly, spiritually whole women want to be with a spiritually whole man. And, one example of that kind of individual is a man who prays.
So, that's my prayerful recommendation...
That as you're going to God about marriage...
You'll pray that your future husband prays for you.
On surprising levels, it will bring peace and clarity to your spirit...
I promise you that!
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...