Thursday, January 26, 2017

An Ounce of Prevention: Loving Someone Means Putting Their Purpose FIRST

Love is conditions:

"May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose."---Psalm 20:4(NKJV)


Lord knows...

I have all kinds of love for The Little House on the Prairie. For so many reasons, but two of the main ones is that Michael Landon, as Charles Ingalls, is BEYOND FINE *and* he and his wife Caroline are such a wonderful BIBLICAL EXAMPLE of what it means to remain in the BIBLICAL ROLES to create MARITAL ONENESS.

Anyway, I've probably seen just about every episode close to a dozen times at this point. One that I'm watching right now is entitled "Doctor's Lady" and I'm being led to share it because well...if you've never seen it before, I don't want to give everything away but the gist is this: It's such a wonderful reminder that TRUE LOVE IS SELFLESS. Meaning, when you really love someone, that means that their purpose, their needs and their future are strongly taken into account and consideration. It also means that you're not so selfish (Philippians 2:3, I Corinthians 13:5--NCV) that you'll stand in their way of progress if life reveals that while the two of you may care about each other, *but you don't truly complement one another*, that you'll love them enough to...let them go (and vice versa). After all, the Word doesn't say that God gave Adam someone to love; it says he created someone who "I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him." (Genesis 2:18--AMPC)

For instance, I know a couple who love one another, but the guy desperately desires children (to conceive and birth his own children) while the girl wants any and everything BUT kids. He's determined to change her mind and she's like "I mean...I *guess* I can give you ONE. Maybe." She's not doing that because of her desire for kids. She's doing it to keep a man. No child deserves to be some relationship's...glue.

Another example is from my own life. When my first and I were on our "Let's really get this resolved, one way or another" tour, I so respect how he was like "Shellie, I'm always going to love you but you deserve more than I can give you." He's right. Praise the Lord that my self-esteem has gotten to a place where I agreed with him and didn't think "I mean, we love each other. I'm willing to go without...a lot just to have you."

See where I'm going with this?
Sometimes, there's not only protection in rejection but God's blessing too.

Anyway, when you get a roughly an hour or so, check this episode out...



Little House on the Prairie - S01E17 - Doctors... by LittleHouseonthePrairie

If you're currently seeing someone, pray about whether or not you're loving them unselfishly...

And either way, ask God to reveal to you what your purpose is and who will TRULY COMPLEMENT IT.

I've shared this quote before. It's one of my favorites because there is SO MUCH TRUE to it:

http://m.likesuccess.com/quotes/21/1039379.png

REAL LOVE IS CONTINUAL BECOMING...

Pray for God to bring someone into your life who will help you to become ALL that he wants you to be. And, that you'll do the same for him. Also, pray for the strength that if you're not that for someone you care about, that you'll let them go. True love requires sacrifice. Just ask God. And Christ. (John 3:16)

His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"On Fire": Rethink 'Missionary Dating'


http://www.courtshipchallenge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/img_6520.jpg

"And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him."---I John 5:14-15(AMPC)


Last night...

I checked out an article entitled "'Missionary Dating' Isn't Just Unbiblical, It's Selfish". It caught my attention because I'm not a fan of *traditional* (bookmark that) missionary dating either. Plus, the writer shouted out one of my favorite books of all time---The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. It's a classic.

Anyway, the gist of the piece is that we need to be really careful about dating someone who already doesn't have a relationship with God. One, because the Bible warns us about unequally yoking ourselves (2 Corinthians 6:11-18). And really, that should be enough. Whether we choose to see it this way or not, we're already committing a "low grade form of idolatry" (kind of like having a low grade fever---I Corinthians 10:14) when we'll do ANYTHING that the Word speaks against, even if we claim that our motive is good (Proverbs 21:2&8--Message).

Another problem with missionary dating is that, no matter what pop culture may tell you, God is clear that a wife is supposed to SUBMIT to her husband (Colossians 3:18). Why would you want someone to lead you when you started out the relationship *leading* him? It's usually just a set up for him to be resentful and you possibly being pretty bossy. Kinda like when a couple gets married and the husband moves into the wife's home. You have *NO IDEA* how many times I've seen that blow up, pretty much for the same reason. They get in a fight and all of a sudden the wife is on the "Get out of MY house" tip.

However, I do want to present something to think about *and* pray over concerning this topic...

If there's one thing the Bible shows us, it's that there are all sorts of ways to become a couple. Moses and Zipporah's story is nothing like Isaac and Rebekah's and theirs is nothing like Boaz and Ruth or Joseph and Mary. My point? Although there are certain things NONE OF US are supposed to do (like have sex outside of marriage---I Corinthians 6) because the Word speaks against it (with NO exceptions), because the Bible also tells us that our hearts are fashioned individually (Psalm 33:15), why wouldn't our journeys be as well?

The reason why I am personally such a fan of Adam and the Woman is because the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1-2) shows us EXACTLY what life was supposed to be like before sin entered into the world. So, if there's any guideline that we should follow, it would be that.

Adam had a relationship with God.
Adam had an assigned purpose from God.
GOD DECIDED that it was time for Adam to have a divine helper.
GOD BROUGHT the Woman to Adam.
Over and out.

So yeah, even the "Genesis formula" shows us that a man should have a relationship with God BEFORE being in a relationship with a woman.

Image result for missionary dating quotes


Yet there is one thing that I want to encourage every woman reading this to consider...
It's the actual definition of missionary.

Missionary: a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work; a person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others; a person who is sent on a mission

Mission: a group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to conduct negotiations, establish relations, provide scientific and technical assistance, or the like; the business with which such a group is charged; any important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed; an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation; a sending or being sent for some duty or purpose; those sent

Being that I am big on words and their definitions, when you look at what being a missionary really and truly means, can we say across the board that missionary dating is wrong? Dating someone who doesn't have a biblically-based (if you claim to be a bible follower) relationship with God is wrong/unhealthy/counterproductive. However, what happens when you DON'T self-impose a spiritual assignment but God actually does calls you to it? What happens when you're sent, by God, for the purpose of cultivating a relationship with someone? What happens when that is your calling and mission?

Look, before you get all excited and aggressive (LOL), two points:

1) God will not call you to do ANYTHING that contradicts his Word.
2) I'm not implying that God is calling you to "save a man" and then make him your husband.

What I'm saying is that there are so many articles out here that talk about "missionary dating" while leaving out one very important point. That a definition of missionary is *seeing what God is assigning, purposing and calling you to do* in ALL of your relationships.

See, the mistake that far too many of us make is we see something (or one) that we like (or want), go after it *AND THEN* ask God to bless what we're doing. Yet based on the definition of missionary, that's not what being a true missionary is about.

If you're going to be on ANY KIND OF GODLY MISSION (and marriage should be revered as *nothing* short of that that), you need to WAIT UPON THE LORD (Psalm 27:14 & 37:34, Isaiah 40:31) to do what a missionary does.

Wait on God to assign you.
Wait on God to call you.
Wait on God to send you.

Because what you can be sure of is what God assigns, calls and sends---it's a part of his will and what's a part of his will, it will honor his Word, it will bring him glory and it will not cause you to compromise your value as his daughter or a woman in order for it to manifest.

This takes the pressure out of traditional missionary dating because the problem with it is that usually the person is the one trying to do the "saving" rather than allowing God to do it. It also removes the drama because the focus is not about trying to get someone to "be yours"; the focus is being used by God to bring forth whatever he desires.

If it's witnessing, so be it.
If it's friendship, so be it.
And if it is marriage, God will do the work---not you.

So, traditional missionary dating? Nope. I'm not a fan. At all really.
However, going to God about what his will is FIRST and then following through with what he calls?
Yeah, I'm all about it.

Dating or otherwise.
Pray openly, y'all.

Seek HIS WILL over your own.
Including when it comes to your heart (Psalm 4:23).


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"On Fire": Are You Waiting on GOD or 'Him'?




"And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You."---Psalm 39:7(NKJV)


Honestly...

This quote kind of says it all (LOL). I adore it and can sooooo relate to it. But just in case things need to be made a little bit clearer...let's hit it.

Desiring God really has some to be one of my favorite resources. In the article "Wait to Date Until You Can Marry" (which will already preach!), the author shares these points:

Why Should Anyone Date?
The spiritual war for our hearts is real, and the stakes are high, so it’s critical to ask why we think we should date in the first place. Why did I have a girlfriend when I was twelve (and thirteen, and fourteen, and even eighteen)?


For many of us, we just want to be happy, to belong, to be valued. We imagine our deepest needs being met in the intimacy of being with a special young man or woman.

We all want our hearts to soar for someone or something. The romance and mystery of marriage seems to hold the highest earthly peaks of pleasure and friendship. We long to be known and loved, to belong with someone, in someone else’s story. We also want someone to join us in ours. And we all want our lives to count for something. We want to contribute something significant to a meaningful cause. We want to make a difference. We don’t want to waste our lives.


What Would I Do Differently?

If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t have dated in the tenth grade (or the twelfth, or even my first couple years in college). I would have waited to date until I could marry.

The breakthrough came for me in beginning to understand the major differences between dating and marriage. A dating couple may feel married at times, but a dating couple is never a married couple. Understanding the distinctions between the relationships will protect us from all kinds of pain and failure in dating.
 

“Life is never mainly about love and marriage. God has so much more in store for you than any relationship can offer.”

The greatest prize in any life, regardless of our relationship status, is to know Christ and be known by him, to love him and be loved by him. The great prize in marriage is Christ-centered intimacy with a spouse — knowing and being known, loving and being loved by a husband or wife. The great prize in dating is Christ-centered clarity about marriage (or toward marriage). Romantic intimacy is safest in the context of marriage, and marriage is safest in the context of clarity. If we want to have and enjoy that kind of Christ-centered intimacy, we need to get married. And if we want to get married, we need to pursue clarity about whom to marry...


Many of us date because we’re trying to fill those needs in love. If you asked us, we might say we’re “pursuing marriage,” but a lot of us aren’t even close to marriage — in age, finances, maturity, education, stage of life. We’re really in pursuit of the happiness, belonging, and significance we think we’ll find in romance.
 

Wait to date until you can marry each other. My advice — take it or leave it — is wait until you can reasonably marry him or her in the next eighteen months. It doesn’t mean you have to marry that quickly. The important part is that you could, if God made it clear this was his will and his timing for you. You won’t find eighteen months anywhere in the Bible, and so you should not treat it as God’s law. But you can test — with the Lord, your parents, and close Christian friends — whether that seems wise and safe for you and your heart. 

Counter-cultural? Yep. Just what we are supposed to be (I Peter 2:9-10).

Personally, I discern (Proverbs 2) that this writer is spot-on. It's a new perspective on what we're biblically-instructed to do: GUARD OUR HEARTS (Proverbs 4:23). I have witnessed so many women be just as reckless with their heart as others are with their bodies. *Both are to be reserved for their husband*. Being a virgin or abstinent and still all "emotionally caught up like you're already someone's wife" in a man is still being irresponsible. Adding to that, why be in ANY kind of dating situation where you're going to be giving more of your time, effort and energy into someone if you BOTH are not 1) desiring marriage; 2) pursuing God about who to marry and 3) prayerful about marriage?

See, what a lot of women do is treat dating like a crap shoot. I have no better way to describe it really. They see a man that they like/want and immediately they go into "Could this be my husband?", and if they spend any kind of time with him, then it moves into "Lord, I want him to be my husband." And since they have already put their heart out there (please remember that the heart has the tendency to deceive--Jeremiah 17:9), then all of the focus goes into thinking he's the one, treating him like he's the one and expecting him to reciprocate.

ALL OF THAT DRAMA...
Written and produced by oneself!

And so, they think that just because he talks to them, maybe even spends time with them, that it's a "sign" that there's a future. When, as a wise man once said, "Some people are so far gone when it comes to the art of politeness than they mistake it for flirtation." Because so many women want a man, they mistake that MANY men come into their lives to be *nothing more than a friend*. As a result, they not only become disillusioned, but they end up missing out on a good friend too.

All because they are waiting on a man...
A man THEY DECIDED was the one...
Rather than waiting on God...waiting on God to tell them who the one REALLY is.

And what does this have to do with the lead quote?
Simple.

Yeah...some guys are selfish jerks.
They just keep women emotionally hanging.

HOWEVER...more fall into this category...

We as ladies need to accept that if we were putting our focus in the right place, we would know that when GOD DECIDES if/when someone is right for us and we need to get married. Therefore, we wouldn't find ourselves feeling like some book on some guy's nightstand.

Case in point...

Remember a couple of years ago when I shared that I went on my "Get Your Heart Pieces Back Tour"? Something that my "first love" used to *literally* keep on his nightstand was my first book Inside of Me. Yet no matter how many conversations we had about marriage, he was always on some "I love you. I'm always going to love you. But marriage...?"

For years---literally 21 of them---I waited on him. Sure, I saw other people. Even slept with other folks. But a part of me still thought we'd end up back together (virgins...KEEP YOUR VIRGINITY!). I wasn't looking to God about if my ex was his will so much as I was waiting on my ex to "get his act together and see the light".

And so, I manipulated *my own self* into thinking that he was treating me like some book on his nightstand when really, I was the one who put---and kept---myself up there. And no, he wasn't reading it. Why? Because he wasn't interested. Why? Because...if I was really honest with myself, God wasn't telling him to be. I have enough faith in my ex that if he really knew he was "missing out on a good thing" to the point of me being his actual wife...he would've done something about it.

See, that's what a lot of single woman don't want to face...

That if a man is in relationship with God, God is talking to "him" just as much as, if not more than, he is talking to them. A man doesn't need your help to get him to realize who you are. The Woman didn't wake up Adam in the Garden of Eden. GOD DID (Genesis 2). Your husband won't need you to wake him up either. GOD WILL.

So does that mean that every man immediately sees who his wife is? NO. However, the research I've done and stories I've heard of men who "took awhile to get it" still have things in common:

An attraction
An interest
A connection---one that's beyond friendship even if it's not time to "take it there"

And when a woman who is emotionally healthy and stable is involved in this kind of scenario, the focus doesn't go on the guy. *It goes on God*. She waits on God to reveal to "him" what she's feeling AND (please catch it) she's open to the fact that it might not ever happen. She accepts that God may have someone else in mind. Because his ways are not her own (Isaiah 55:8-11).

That keeps the disillusionment, heartache and yes, drama down...
Because her hope was not placed in the guy...
It was placed in the Creator of her and the guy---GOD.

So, if you have your sights set on someone in particular...

Ask yourself:

Am I waiting on "him"?
Or am I waiting on God to bring his best "him" for me my way? Even if it's NOT "him"?

The answer to that question will reveal a lot...

And I'm willing to bet some money that it's time for more-than-a-few women...
To get off of some guy's nightstand...
HOPING he'll read their "book" someday.

Put your hope in God, not man...
Then watch...just you watch (I Corinthians 2:9-10)!

"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)
 



His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW


"On Fire": In 2017, Focus on God's Presence, Your Purpose and Your Peace



"And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth."---Malachi 2:15(AMPC)


So...

I kinda already gave the heads up that the posts would be more sporadic in this season (Ecclesiastes 3). I'm being led to be more in a season of prayer for the ladies who follow this blog more than anything, so if you have some prayer requests, always feel free to hit me up (missnosipho@gmail.com).

As this Sabbath day comes to a close and I was praying for y'all, the quote and a couple of articles that I discern tie in well with it came to mind (Luke 12:12).

Marriage is SO SERIOUS, y'all...

And while it might seem like God is not hearing you or maybe even forsaking you (never that, though!--Hebrews 13:5) as it relates to your desire for a husband, trust me! The more couples I counsel and the more people I see commit adultery (Exodus 20:14) by divorcing and then marrying someone other than who they already vowed to be with until death (the very thing the Word says NOT to do---Ecclesiastes 7:1-5, Matthew 19:1-12, I Corinthians 7:1-5), the more I praise God for his wisdom, mercy and willingness to NOT encourage marriage until I am ready. He's sparing us by doing that. He really and truly is.

This brings us to an article I checked out from the Desiring God website...
It was published on January 2 and the title is "Will I Be Single for the Rest of My Life?".

Click on the link to read all of it, but basically a woman wrote in to ask Pastor John Piper the following question:

“Pastor John, my struggle is singleness. I’m 28, an elementary teacher, and that’s not really a profession to meet single men. I know that with the age of Tinder and hookups, casual sex will leave me empty inside, and it’s not a lifestyle that I’m seeking. At the same time I feel alone as a Christian single. I feel the church only sees me as ‘serving’ material because I have ‘time to serve.’ In addition to the lack of men at church, I am an extrovert. I do have a life outside of my singleness and try to live as if my singleness doesn’t define me. Everyone tells me I’m attractive, outgoing, and have a lot going for me. Well, everyone but a Christian male. Which is hard not to take personally. How do I have hope in something uncertain? I’m not promised a life of marriage. How do I cling to the truth in a world lying to me about the satisfaction of ‘hooking up’? How do I not turn to the world when I feel like the church, Christian men, and even God himself, seems to have no place for me?”

I'm pretty sure A LOT of women can relate...
I'm only going to share a portion of his answer.

Now, my concern for Ashley — and many are like her, and we are all like her from time to time — my concern for Ashley is that the lie is already starting to creep into the way she asks her question. This is exactly the way Satan insinuated his lie into Eve’s mind in Genesis 3. And I don’t want Ashley to become another Eve in the garden. Here is what God said: “Now the serpent was more crafty [or subtle] than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’” (Genesis 3:1–2). Now, you see already what he is doing. God only forbad one tree. But Satan is insinuating the thought that God is stingy and forbad all the trees. Tragically, that seed of God’s stinginess took root in Eve’s mind and you can see it immediately.

The text goes on, “The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden”’” — and then she adds, — “‘“neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”’” God did not say that. God did not say, “You shall not touch this tree.” But Eve was already feeling the lure of resentment against God. God is withholding something from me in my life and I don’t like it. He is a stingy God. He is a narrow God. He doesn’t have my best interest at heart. So, when Ashley says, “I feel like the church, Christian men, and God have no place for me,” we may understand and empathize with the feeling, but alarm bells should be going off in her and our minds that the lie of Satan is taking root in the statement: God has no place for me.

So, in answer to Ashley’s question, “How can I not turn to the world?” even though she knows the world is lying, my answer is: Swim in the truth. Swim in the truth of God’s word and promise about you, Ashley. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free from the lies of the world and the devil. That is what Jesus meant when he said that in John 8:32.

Again, click on the link to read all of what Pastor Piper had to say...
For now, I'm being led to share three things about the truth...
BIBLICAL TRUTH AS IT RELATES TO YOUR SINGLE STATE RIGHT NOW.

ANY MAN who does not only enhance your relationship with God...
ANY MAN whose presence does not elevate your purpose...
ANY MAN who keeps you from biblically-defined peace (Romans 14:17)...
IS NOT GOD'S MAN FOR YOU. PERIOD.


Image result for godly man quotes

Again, God is awesome. Wise. Full of grace and mercy.

If you desire a husband, you have to hold onto the literal gospel truth that God withholds nothing that is good from us (Psalm 84:11). *Good according to his definition, not our own*. And because marriage is of God, if it's not going to prove to be "right; proper; fit", he's not going to grant it.

Sure, we can *make it happen* (Psalm 106:15), but don't you want marriage to be a gift (Ecclesiastes 3:14)? A GIFT FROM GOD? And since God does things in a decent order (I Corinthians 14:40), then first things first.

1) How much energy is devoted to being---and staying---in God's presence (Psalm 105:4)?
2) How much time are you spending on fulfilling your individual purpose (Psalm 20:4 & 33:15)?
3) How much intention is put into being a peaceful person----mind, body and spirit (Philippians 4:6-7)? This includes not being consumed by the desire for marriage or a particular person?

Don't forget that as a wife someday, you will be expected to HELP your husband (Genesis 2:18). Help requires effort. No, work. A good helper is going to encourage her husband to also stay in God's presence, fulfill his individual purpose and live in peace. She's not going to be the kind of woman that makes her husband prefer to live in a rooftop (Proverbs 21:9--AMPC) than be with her. She's not going to be the kind of woman who, in word or deed, pulls down her house with her own hands; she's going to build it up (Proverbs 12:14). She's going to be "the crown of her husband" (Proverbs 12:4).

Satan knows this is how a good wife is. How God intended for wives to be.
That's why he distracts so many of us into NOT PROPERLY PREPARING. Even now.

If you can't be in God's presence without going on and on about wanting a man now...
If you're more focused on getting into a relationship than being a woman of purpose now...
If you don't even know how to be at peace with the season God has you in now...
What makes you think that you're going to be a blessing to your husband later?!

You're already spiritually compromised.
You're already stagnant.
You're already agitated and anxious.

And so yes, what I'm led to encourage us ALL to do...
Is focus more on God's presence, our purpose and being in perfect peace.

Remember what the Word assures us of:

"And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him."---I John 5:14-15(AMPC)

If you've made your petition for a husband known...
It's past time to "walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).

First things first...

1) More time should be spent in asking God if a husband is indeed according to his will.
2) Once you receive that confirmation, you have to trust that *his will* manifests in *his time*.

And in the meantime, *waiting* means *preparing*:

"But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing."---James 1:4(AMPC)

God doesn't *owe you* a husband...
Marriage is a gift. Gifts are given at the givers discretion.

Yet what you do owe God is to live your life in the way that he created you...
To reflect the likeness of his image (Genesis 1:26-28).

If you really and truly believe that to be true...
Trust me, your life is PLENTY full. Even now.


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW