Friday, December 31, 2010

Marriage: A Ministry

Many, many times I listen to ministers begin each and every sermon with,"I would like to thank this or that...blah-blah... and I count this being here as an honor and a privilege to minster to you this morning..." And indeed, as I thought about it, it is an honor to be chosen to preach to God's people. God in as much trusts that speaker to say what He has given the speaker to say. This person has studied, prayed and is well equip to say and pray the way God has instructed him/her to do. The speaker has taken his position seriously and is not just saying what he thinks sounds good just to increase CD sales and to get a hefty love offering in the end. He/she is not just pulling at the heart strings of emotion for the majority of the congregation to run around the church and be all out of breath to trick them in believing that the church service was really good only to try to make account of the words spoken and it was all fluff and nothing to sustain them for the week. Yes, the person takes the matter of being a spiritual teacher extremely serious because he/she knows that judgement for this person is quite different and nothing to make light of.

So then, who among you would take lightly the position of spouse? Is it not also a privilege that God has given to you the honor of being that close to one of His sons or daughters? You have good intentions in the matters of the heart and consider the other first before yourself. You take the time to listen and are patient as you react in love with all that you say and do. Would you count it as an honor and a privilege that this person was specifically chosen for you to bless? Isn't it just as great? Won't God be just as pleased in seeing that you have made this one person as happy as a minister could do with a congregation?

So before you ask for the moon, sky, and stars, look to see how you have managed your own house. Is it in order? Have you practiced the basic building blocks of Christianity so that it is like brushing your teeth and having your morning coffee? Can you allow someone else to have the last word? Can you smile in the face of adversity and walk away without retaliation? Can you give up a prized material possession if it means getting a fellow saint out of debt? Do you hear God and do specifically what He asks of you or do you at least come close? Bottom line: Can He trust you?

Bitter

I recall in the Autumn months when I used to live in Utah, there was this abandoned apricot orchard that my brother and I discovered. A neighbor suggested that we gathered as much fruit as we can because she was used to canning. She had her son come with us and it was the first time my mother made apricot preserves. But before we actually got the product she instructed us which of the fruit we should pick. We, as children, enjoyed going to the orchard to have our fill of the apricots. We didn't pick the hard ones because experience taught us that the hard ones weren't as sweet and delicious. So we left those. We also learned not to be so tired and reconcile to the fruit on the ground because it was more than likely spoiled or the bugs weren't finished with it. I recall the ick dance when picking those apricots from the ground. I thought it would be easier and they looked fine from the top. It was where the ground connected with the fruit when I turned it over did I see the rot or the grubs from the dirt enjoying the spoils We learned that the best of the fruit were usually high up in the trees. So without proper equipment or instruction as to why we should wait for particular seasons and at the best time, we forged ahead eating until we were full.

With the instruction of my mother (Proverbs 15:32 KJV), we learned what color, size, and how far we should go up the trees. She had us bring baskets, buckets, and for us to watch out for each other with a reason as to the dangers that could happen if we didn't do as she had instructed us to do. While she prepared for a huge harvest, we thought about the fun we were going to have getting as many apricots as we could; we even challenged each other who would have the most.

How odd and very applicable this is to the Christian views of dating. Before coming into the knowledge of the truth, did we not just forge ahead and do as we felt like doing justifying the use of our feelings and emotions until we were filled? We tend to gravitate toward those that look appealing rather than waiting for instruction as to who and what to look for. if it is too hard to reach for the best of what God intends, do we settle for what seems to be easier?This would be the same in dating or trying to rush the process to get married. If you have read any three of these blogs you can see what the type of person that didn't listen to instruction and forged ahead to taste the fruit that wasn't ready. This person could have still been angry at any given situation, had issues, grudges against another believer, or even had unresolved problems with God. This is not the fruit by which we would pick to eat; however, it has been seen over and over when the believer doesn't go beyond what is seen. Just because there is a nice package doesn't mean what is inside is necessarily what was needed. That is also the fruit that looks good enough to eat but wasn't pruned or it was shaded for too long or it got most of the pesticide - for whatever the reason, it looked good but tasted awful. What happened to that one?

To that lazy individual that just wouldn't even make the effort to get the proper tools to reach the best of the fruit - you deserve what you get. You know who you are. God told you what your calling was and what you had to do to achieve it but instead this believer says he/she is waiting for God to do it for  them. They are waiting for that miracle to come and ring the doorbell. They are standing on the scripture of Peter finding the taxes in the mouth of the fish. Supernatural miracles. Its even cute that they are using a verse to substantiate their laziness. And that will happen! Someone will listen to this carnal way of thinking and believe it is cute because of that one verse used out of context. Jesus was with Peter and told him what to do. Peter was obedient. Stop falling for that same scam! Jesus told Peter to do what Peter was initially called to do - fish. If Peter was called to fish and never fished or only fished when he was hungry, Jesus would have never called Peter to be a disciple. If you recall, Jesus called those who were already doing something.

But back to that one horrid tasting piece of fruit. The one that looked to have the right color, the right kind of firmness, and seemingly in the right place; why would it not taste as ripe and delicious as all of the rest? Have you ever met someone like this? They are sitting right next to you in the congregation. He or she smiles at other members and labors in the ministry, yet upon lengthy conversation you find that he or she has issues with certain people or certain areas of the city or in understanding the Word or something else. What happened and could any of this be missed while dating or forging ahead to marriage? Of course it can. To the frustrated person who quarrels at home and smiles in church; you know who you are (1 Corinthians 3:2-3 KJV). That root of bitterness is difficult to find because of justification as to why you have those feelings. There is no getting around it when challenged with the Word of God. If you use the commandment of love in all that you do, bitterness is uprooted miraculously because the Word sustains life and eradicates darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV).

That fruit that is found on the ground and is nasty when turned over... recall that the flesh was made from the dust and if it is that which you would much rather wallow in then you cannot be surprised at its effects (Galatians 6:8 KJV). It is carnal thinking that produces carnal results. If there is not one thing that I have continually repeated in these blogs is, if you don't like the product you much change the seed or the ground that you are sowing the seed into.

Recall the instruction that was given to myself and brother (Proverbs 10:17 KJV). We were told to take tools, given something to carry the fruit in, where to go and how high. We were told to leave the fruit that had fallen alone and if its too high, don't try to reach it so we won't fall. Question: when mature in Christ, is there a place thats too high for you to reach? Then why do so many of us settle for what seems to be the easiest without hardly any effort? Selah.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's Your Sign?

Truly, I believed the asking of this question was so passer, I didn't believe it was worth discussing. How can a Christian even use the zodiac as a means of conversation; and if it is used how could the other party still enjoy the date? Really?!! You wanna know my sign?!!!

I recall the zodiac being such the rage back in the day. I considered it fun as well - course this was before I found Jesus as my Lord and Savior. People were getting such a kick out of it. I recall statements such as,
I know people like that. They seem to all be like (this sign or another).
Oooh, I had a dream and it means according to my sign...
I have to keep playing this number because the newspaper said it would be lucky for me.
Oh I couldn't go anywhere with him, I know my sign isn't compatible with (some other zodiac sign).
That's how those (place sign here) act. They are always arguing about something.
Such and such sign are so creative.

And so forth and so on. Even at my young age, it all started to sound silly. I was reading the paper looking at the classifieds or something and happened upon the horoscope section. I stopped for a moment to see what mine was. I learned of what my sign was as a child when my parents were studying the same fad. When my parents studied - they studied! I am talking books and books on the matter. I recall books on astronomy and the zodiac. I tried to read what the fascination was, but it was as interesting as an anatomy book on the procedure of cardiac surgery. Aaaarrrggh! As I looked through the other signs and the months those signs fell on, I came upon mine and began to read what my day was supposed to be like. It was vague at best and had absolutely nothing to look forward to. I then sought what it said for the next day and the next. Not because I became obsessed, but to see if there was any validity as to why someone would continually do this to map what their day would consist of. After a few days, I thought I would lose interest, however, just that fast I sensed almost a compulsion to get the paper just to see for the fun of it. I actually had to resist not to see what would be there. Why? What would the temptation be? There was nothing there in those days I looked, why now did I have to see if something would be different? And there it was. I understood how something so simple as a fad that comes in and out of style like anything else had become a habit to some people - a lack of resistance to error (2 Peter 2:18-19 KJV). Error then matured into something else  - hence all of the books my parents bought.

I believed it was necessary to write about this matter for the body of Christ to recognize this as being a spot or wrinkle. It is a matter that needs much prayer. I recently spoke to a believer, and in our conversation she casually mentioned a zodiac sign. I stopped and stared at her but said nothing as she continued to speak. We had developed such a friendship that she knew the expressions on my face and my silence meant more then the words I spoke. She then paused and said, "what?" While I used as little expression as I could not believing that she could be so casual about a matter and also be such a lover of Christ, her reaction was just as astonishing to me, "it is all for fun." It was not just this simple statement but the pitch in her voice of which I have heard in other believers. The pitch has the distinct implication of, there she goes taking it too far again. What's the matter with this Lenora, ho-hum (an audible sigh)!

I have learned to not say anything and allow God to be God. Would He take matters too far when He states a case using His Word? Believing that the prayers of the righteous avails much, I stay on task.

What does this have to do with dating? Well, as casual as a conversation that I had with my friend, I didn't find this out about her until well into two years of the friendship - two years! Most people date for about a year and before that year is complete, their minds are made up to marry. Many things are found out after the wedding. What is your resolve? It is why I am writing so that you might not do a Sarai thing and try to reason with what the Word might mean then what it actually is. There is no need to create wrinkles when generations passed went through what they did for us to live a easier simpler life. Just be quick to listen!

When does looking for a sign from God become wicked (Matthew 12:39 KJV)? When there is an understanding that we walk by faith and not by sight. So why would any of us use the system of the zodiac to determine the path we should take in this matter or that (Proverbs 3:6 KJV)? Why would it even be used for fun? How is it appropriate in conversation? When would a believer state the zodiac sign of his birthday and would the birthday be his natural birth or when he was born again into righteousness? Would this be pleasing to God or is it disrespectful in the conversation that is called fun?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Out of Your League?

What does that mean? Is there ever a person that would be out of your league? Before going on with this blog, think about that for a moment. It has been said too often out there in the world, but have you incorporated that foolish thinking into your lifestyle? And what does God think about that way of thinking? Who is really out of your league? Does this feeling impede your Christian maturity? Is God pleased with you for categorizing people in a way that He doesn't? Did He need you for that?

Understandably the way women feel about this question as opposed to men are two different components. Women still have to realize like it or not that there is a double standard. As my mother would tell me, "if a man pees in the street, he can zip up his pants and still be called Mister. If a woman pees in the street she will be known as the woman who peed in the street." Instead of fighting so much to be equal with those that have sown wild oats, cheated and mistreated others - let's just be pleased with being women who can do and get paid for a lot more than we use to. We don't have to prove that we can walk around shirtless and pee standing up too. With that out of the way, let's see who is out of a woman's league -if there be anyone.

Women have been intimidated by other women because of the way we treat each other. It has either been because of stereotypical views of people in certain socio-economic status or because of experience and just not taking the chance of possibly being hurt, misused, or berated. Oddly enough these same feelings are also towards men and relationships only in reverse. Women would prefer that 6 figure income and riding in a Benz rather than the pizza guy in a Fiesta. She was taught at a young age with Cinderella. Even the washer girl can get the prince. Then it is further propagated with the film "Pretty Woman." Is it possible for a hooker to get a man from Wall Street and he fall in love with her? Really? So a woman can live any sort of life and still come out smelling like a rose? How many women fell for that myth and now single with extra mouths to feed and still waiting for that Wall Street mogul?

Men have a different outlook on a woman who went and got the education, worked the career, and lived the life style she labored for. He either has to raise the bar in his own life or come to terms and accept a woman who is less than what he would really like to have. Know this acceptance will back fire to the point of him not only hating himself for compromising his dreams but resenting the woman he settled for. It would be a miserable life and it is up to one or the other to ask enough questions to see that the hopes and dreams of the other is being fulfilled - that's in a marriage.

If a man or woman decides to try to date someone who is not in the same socio-economic class, get ready to get your feelings hurt. The reason for this is the same as a pigeon trying to be an eagle. There will never be a way for the pigeon to get the same height, swoop to catch the same sort of prey, or be disciplined to stay with the same mate for life. The principles just aren't there. The thing with people, if willing, he/she is able to be taught and continue to be determined to get there. There is a saying that you can take the girl/guy from the hills (ghetto, trailer park, street, gutter) but you can't take the hills (ghetto, trailer park, street, gutter) out of the girl/guy. That's not the Word; yet if you believe that sort of saying, you will never be set free from those fears of always being out the league of another. Recall that what is impossible to man is possible with God.

I wrote about this woman who was upset when speaking to me after church services before. We were headed to the parking lot to leave the building when she burst with angry ramblings of how men in the church we were attending act as if the women should be falling to their feet or that the women were too uppity for them so they went to other churches to find wives and brought them back to the church they are currently attending. I was fascinated with her findings - even though her emotion seemed to be pinpointed on one man. As she continued on, I couldn't help but to be pleased that our pastor saw what women were going through and had the foresight to teach them what they needed to know so they could be aware of the wolves that come to a church and prey on women who seemed desperate to do anything to be married. So with this new found knowledge, instead of her being pleased that God has kept her from the derelicts and dregs of society, she is pouting not to have been hooked up with one? Huh?

One of my favorite passages in the bible is the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-22 AMP). It is absolutely intriguing to me how Jesus said that the certain man was doing well with all he knew of the Word but the one thing he could do was sell all he had and give to the poor. Would that also be as profound if Jesus told this certain man this while in the midst of poor people? This man with all that he has is walking amongst those without and still pleased with himself in knowing all that he does about being the righteousness of God, yet the one thing asked of him, he simply walked away grieved because of what? Was the Epitomizer of righteousness asking him too much to do? Would this deed be too much in order for him to make it to heaven? Was the task out of his league?

And so the question be posed again. To women, would she be engaged in a relationship with a man who has less than she has? Would he be ambitious enough to meet her standard? Would she be able to live below what she is use to? Does God call her to do this?

And does this apply to men in asking this same question again? Would he engage in a relationship with a woman who has less then he does? Boaz did it in pursuing Ruth, King Ahaserus did when marrying Esther, and King David with Bathsheba, all of which are in the lineage of Jesus. It is quite interesting when the double standard is in the different direction and in Christianity - isn't it?

Be as it may, it doesn't take from the scripture, be not unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14 AMP). As long as there is an understanding of his vision and she is anointed to be not any wife but specifically his wife - being out of anyone's league is only in the mind of a child. Selah.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Obligated

Every time I think I went over a topic to exhaustion, something else arises to where I begin wondering whether I touched on that point enough or not and if I did, is it understood to the point of it being common sense then anything else? Well, to some of us, most of these topics are common sense but only because of the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us while we are persistent in walking in love in all that we do. If you didn't know where that common sense came from, now you do.

With that, let's understand the concept of obligation. To be obligated to someone is to be indebted to that person. It is a bill whether it being an actual, tangible document, or just an understanding that when it is time to collect on the debt, the person collecting is expecting payment at the point of asking. Let us all understand right out of the gate that the Word tells us to owe no man anything but to love him. With this in mind, there should be an immediate plan to get out of debt and stay out of it, just to be pleasing to God. Now, let's put this in the perspective of dating for those interested for the purposes of marriage. Can one be obligated to the person interested in dating? Yes. At one time, that question would only apply to women, yet these days women have learned a few things. They can and have made men be in debt to them as well.

We know that when there is a date, the process is for the man to ask the woman for some of her time. She can graciously accept or deny his invitation. Upon acceptance of the invitation, the man would have planned something relaxing for the purpose of conversation and for each other to see the demeanor of each other's behavior. Usually people go to lunch or a casual dinner. For some reason people are more at ease during meal time and are less likely trying to keep appearances. Dinner and a movie being such a common date, practice has made keeping a good impression a more difficult task to break. Be as it may, it is still an invitation and him paying for the bill is not a means for him to collect on later. Her companionship for the evening in the venue of it being pleasant conversation makes whatever the cost worth while or, if he is a gentleman, he could believe that he got the best of the deal.

There is an undisclosed understanding that after so many dates, the woman must allow her interested party to have sexual favors because of payment on so many dates. If she feels that this is the direction of the date, even if he states in being a Christian (more so if he does), she should cut the evening short and never try to gain this man's interests again. This would also apply to the man. As Christians, we understand the purpose of dating. It does not involve sexual activity. If there is temptation in that direction, then the invitation should not be given nor accepted. If you are truly walking in love, why would you intentionally plan to ruin someone else's walk in love and purity?

Now about some women, gentlemen, there is a slight and quite cunning difference. The women have learned that men also come to church to find that virtuous woman. If he sees that she is volunteering in services to the point that the church officials are counting on her for multiple tasks, she knows that she might have the attention of a number of potential suitors. Here is what men don't see. They don't see that some women are tired and only take on the position for the attention of male suitors. Once the invitation is made, she works for the officials for as long as she needs to. Eventually, her male interest will ask for her to step down because it is taking too much attention away from him. When she does and concentrates her attention on him, he thinks he has a prize. She then does the care and work for him that she did for the pastor. She reminds him of the bills he needs to pay for and the other incidentals that he would normally forget about. He likes this personal attention. It is like having an assistant. Hey... that's what a wife is.... she is the helper.... she assists the man. Why not make her your wife?

And as suggested, he does. Does that mean she liked doing all of those little things for him? Did she like doing it for the pastor? Will she continue to do them after the vows are made? Is she obligated to do it or does she get pleasure in assisting her husband? What if he sees something in her that he doesn't like? He has accepted her assistance all of this time without proposing. Is he obligated to stay with her because of all the work she invested in him?

Question: When does a woman feel obligated with helping her husband? Answer: When she is not anointed to be a wife. As non-romantic as this may sound: dating is for the purpose of interviewing a wife. If you don't know how to conduct an interview, you aren't spending enough time with God and have no business dating.

Question: Should a woman ever feel guilty to pay for a date when she was the one asked? Answer: Only if she knew that the one asking had special designs other than those that are pleasing to God. In this case, go dutch treat and deny any other pursuits from him.

Jesus paid the debt for any sins committed. There should be no other obligations that anyone has on a true believer; whether it be financial, social, physical, or spiritual. Jesus said, it is finished!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marry A Woman Like Your Mother?

Exactly where is that written? I have heard fathers say this to their sons, but if we are to be set free with the truth (John 8:32 AMP) - we can only be so with the Word. In the bible,  Solomon's mother talks to him about women and what types there are in the  three chapters of Proverbs. She doesn't tell him to marry a woman just like her. David tells Solomon about women throughout the book of Proverbs, and he doesn't tell him to marry a woman like his mother. So where did this come from? Could it be fear based? (Proverbs 6:20-25 NIV)

Well, if you realize the way people think and why certain folk do what they do, you can see where fear is laced in where it does not belong. A man marries a woman who has certain qualifications to meet his needs. While some are completely satisfied with the "Suzy Homemaker" type for the purposes of raising children who are well rounded and healthy, other men enjoy having the proverbial "eye candy" to be envied. Then there are those who aspire to have it all - Suzy Homemaker and the eye candy (I wrote a blog on a woman being schizophrenic for her man - it fits here) all in one. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way because with children comes weight gain and when he can't have what he wants, he tends to look elsewhere - but that's an entirely different blog altogether. I am focused on a man trying to find his mother in a wife. Now when you read it that way (or even say it again and again), you can hear how sickening that sounds.

I have my ideas where this disgusting concept came from and it has a lot to do with those intellectual types that decided to agree with Sigmund Freud. He with his theories of the id, ego, and super ego also had a theory about the Oedipus complex. When put in a textbook and giving it the label of theory it becomes more plausible and less disgusting - I suppose. However, if looking at it from where fear got its place, we can see that if men look for women like their mothers, they are less likely to be left alone, have someone there who is nurturing and cares more about him than he does himself. This will please his mother and keeps peace in the house. The problem arises when he doesn't know why he is not sexually attracted to her but stays married for the sake of the children. He doesn't know why he doesn't have a desire to go home like he use to being over thirty and feeling like a "little boy" staying out all night with the fellas. Mom should.... I mean, the wife should understand.

I was watching Maury Povich and knowing that there was going to be some overly dramatic display of domestic turmoil, I watch trying to understand why don't these people get it. Many times I have signed off the show believing that these people must be paid to do this, but when I see a man cry or a woman discover that the lie detector showed her husband made a mistake by marrying her, there is no actor living or passed away that could make that expression and cry on cue the way these people have. It was still a quandary as to why would the same, if not worse, family situation keep existing. Many of the guests come on the show and say they have been watching Maury Povich for years, yet as guests are requesting the same thing that so many others did before him/her. Was it an aspiration or is it seen as a normal thing to have such horrific drama in a marriage or relationship? Maury's show has evolved from being a variety of topics one may be interested in to just getting the results to a DNA test or lie detector findings. In an interview Mr. Povich's replies consisted of where the ratings held the most fascination - hence the reason for the migration. From a man screaming, why doesn't his wife keep her legs closed to another beginning her confession with, "you know I love you - right?" Why not ask, where did it go so wrong? And then you see the spawned woman get up and bend over her once beloved man and point her finger in his face scolding him as if he were a bad boy. Who wants to make up to that and have sex later? Really? Ew?

Even if it was fine for boys to grow up thinking they were going to marry a woman like their mother, once upon a time - this is a new day and a completely different age (Proverbs 5 NIV). Too many mothers are single and struggle trying to teach their sons to be men. They just can't do it. Women are not men! As many women that would argue with what they did to raise successful sons all by themselves, let's see what the sons struggled with in trying to keep their masculinity in tact. For men these days to marry women like their mothers would mean they would have to be uncomfortable in their own houses and eventually leave for their wives to be truly like their mothers - single and alone. Its like seeing the handwriting on the wall that there will be a few divorces before the realization in maturity for him to know he was better off marrying the one that he was attracted to for the similarities in interests rather than the similarities in his childhood.

Mothers have their role in every man's life where he remembers her reassurance about the big exam in school or his first speech in front of so many people. He can recall coming home to the wonderful smells from the kitchen and all of his clothes neatly folded in his drawer and ironed in his closet but she will never know him like his wife - never, ever! Men have to realize that when it comes to his wife there are just some things he desires that his mother doesn't need to know about. Its a man thing. A man cannot get the help he desires if he focuses on marrying a woman just like Mom (Proverbs 7:1-5 NIV). Selah guys!





Friday, November 5, 2010

What Kind of Help Are you Looking For?

I don't have vast experience like so many others, but God has made me privy to learn so many things without experiencing them. He has placed me at events, in line with crowds of people, and at specific areas, to hear and witness conversations or statements that have either been a travesty or has left me asking God for clarity as to why a man would do such things to bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.

I know what I went through as a married woman and would never tell a woman not to marry. With the right person, marriage is a wonderful institution. However, having written that, God did give us good sense to make sure that the person we have committed and submitted our lives to have practiced the love of Christ for quite some time so when the tests come the act of doing as the Holy Spirit does is not foreign to him/her.

A man was at home caring for his children while his pregnant wife was out with some friends. They were struggling financially having just bought their first house and trying their best to make it a home. While his wife was out enjoying the company of her friends, she saw in a residential area, some people had discarded rolls of carpet foam. The wife knew that her carpet was in her house still rolled waiting for her husband to be able to afford the carpet batting. She stopped the car and opened the trunk to haul four rolls of carpet batting in the car. When she brought them home, her husband wasn't upset that she was hauling the heavy bails in her condition. He praised her for thinking about the family and making life easier for him. He often encouraged her by saying that back in the day women used to have babies and keep on working to provide for the family.

Another man praised his wife for being able to work a night shift as a nurse, come home cook meals, wash clothes, and keep a clean house only to get up after a few hours of sleep to do it all again the next day.

This third man who doesn't look at all pleasant but has a pleasant disposition married a homely woman. He is happy with her. She birthed him four children. He does the cleaning, laundry, cooks and provides for his family all throughout their marriage. She has a comedic personality and he is fine with it.

Which of these three situations (all are true) would you fit in? Do you see yourself here or have you been there? How do you think these marriages fared? What has happened to the health of the men? What has happened to the health of the women? Can you speculate? Is it obvious?

The bible calls the woman the weaker sex and yet in Proverbs 31, she is anything but weak (1 Peter 3:7 AMP). How would you use these verses and be pleasing to God? Can you abuse her ability to be able to help you knowing that God formed her to enjoy the abundant life as well? What  does a man expect from his wife? What is the wife willing to do?

In those three scenarios, none of the marriages fared well. The first marriage ended in divorce. No matter what, he was always expecting her to go beyond what she was able to do when he wasn't willing to do the same himself. His health, if he listens to the medical professionals, is not what abundant life consists of. His wife raised her children and went back to school and established a career.

The second scenario, the husband went home to be with the Lord. His wife continued with the regiment that he trained her to do and was told on her job that she needed to go to a doctor because her face had twisted. She was so busy doing her regular schedule, she didn't listen nor did she realize that she was having a stroke. She is on meds and believing God for a total recovery. Though she makes reference back when she was married missing her husband, she has no desire (according to her) to marry again.

And lastly, the third marriage sustained the growth  of their children and they are still together after over 50 years. She may tell jokes about her husband amongst others, but she seems submissive to him in private. He watches over and seems genuinely concerned about her health and well being. I don't know what she has done for him other than birth his children, but it isn't for me to know. Health wise, he seems the picture of it. She has had some falls and a few surgeries.

What does this tell you?

Lift Every Voice

There aren't to many reasons why people marry. There aren't too many reasons why people come to church to find the ideal person with whom they would like to spend the rest of their lives. There have been entirely too many people that has allowed their eyes to make that call rather than hearing what the calling (Spirit led) has to say. It is the last statement that should create interest to this new generation of believers so that any unwanted cycle in "the family" can stop right now (Matthew 7:15 AMP).

During the dating process, initially, eyes are all a twinkle and we do put  on our best behavior; why this behavior isn't constant would be up to the willing participants of the date to see and make a quality decision afterward.

When I was in my late teens, I went on a date with this absolutely gorgeous man. I was elated that he not only found me attractive but was stammering in trying to get my phone number. He didn't know I was elated and the calmer I continued to stay the more nervous he became. I was intrigued. I did give him my phone number and we did go out on a date. To make a long story short - we went to the movies and I do recall the title but not one part of it did I see. He chose the movie and within 10 minutes was bored. He decided  to get close and start talking (really). Now? Talking? The movie started already. I politely shushed him and gestured for him to look at the film. He in as much had the attitude of sucking his teeth, turned his body around back to the front and within 5 minutes of quiet turned back towards me and said, "I paid my money too, I should be able to talk if I want to." He then proceeded with questions to get to know me better (truly). I thought, "in a movie?" I knew that we were going to be shushed soon. He allowed me to choose the seats and I don't like sitting in the back row. "Com'mon", I said, getting up to leave, stepping over people and disrupting them even more than him talking during the film.

You would think that was the first and last date I went on with that character. Would that I could leave it at that but like I wrote before, he was absolutely gorgeous!!! Though some of those tingles became watered down after the movie incident, what I saw and what I knew to do didn't come to an agreement until weeks later.

With the practice of walking in the Spirit so not to adhere to the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16 KJV), we tend to be more mindful of doing what is right in spite of what may look good. God sees what we don't. It's why prayer is imperative and needs to be on a constant (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 AMP).

I was driving on a busy street and stopped at a traffic light. I was the first at at the cross walk. While waiting for the drivers on my right to make their left turn, there was this first driver who got my attention, inadvertently. We made eye contact and apparently had the same reaction as he drove past - slowly. Again, I was calm and made the distinct sound of "ooh-ooh" to myself. The light changed and I began to drive. Clearly, I heard the audible voice of the Lord say, "watch that flesh." What? I didn't turn around, yell out of my window, screaming, "come back! I'll have your child!" One little calm sound - it was a little gravel-ish down in my throat... hm.... now that I think about it....well, it does explain a few things.

When reacting to something that has nothing to do with being led of the Spirit of God, there are consequences to be faced (Romans 6;22-23 AMP). It is the explanation of tests, trials, and being out in the wilderness when you think it is the enemy coming to terrorize you - it is actually the ramifications of what you did, said, or thought that got you where you are. Obedience to Christ has its rewards. Succumbing to the impulses of the flesh has its consequences. God said you choose.

My children picked up the habit of saying, "I promise to God" whenever they were trying to express to each other that they were telling the truth. They have since stopped saying that knowing that God said to let your yay be yay and your nay be nay. Yet what I found interesting that no matter how wide eyed and innocent they looked or clearly stating specific facts, it was still necessary for them to say, I promise to God in order to get what they were asking for. They all having a fear of God, so they did learn to manipulate each other by saying that or did it to prove that because it was said it must be the truth? Clearly, the ignorance of my children back then was put to the test when they heard an adult use the same phrase and didn't complete the what he promised. The adult has consequences to be faced, is facing, or is coming out of. Know that when you know not to do something like lying, the consequences don't get easier to go through.

In the dating process we are also quick to hear certain things that we find appealing. The man's vision is always really nice especially when his goal is to make a certain salary. A woman who likes to cook and keep her man pleased curls the toes of most whose intent in finding his good thing; yet will it overshadow testing every voice to see if it is of God (1 John 4:1-3 AMP)? Like what is written earlier, everyone puts on an impressive front to get what the aim is for. Look at the job interviews you have gone on, seen others go through, and may have conducting some yourself. They dressed in the right clothes, had the right answers and on the job they know that there is a probation period,. But if the interviewer doesn't go and do the homework of following up on the references, what the job performance was on the last position and how the workers faired with the applicant - then the product that is produced is the fault of the interviewer.

There is a man in my place of employment. He is mild mannered and is married with children. He gets along seemingly with everyone and is always smiling. Every once in awhile when I speak to him he might show tiny tendencies where the job is irritating him; however his complaints are few. Every once in awhile when I take a walk, I see him in the back of the building talking to an attractive woman or sitting on one of the park benches with some other female. He has walked another young woman to her car and has come extremely close to the face of some other woman different from the previous three. None of these women is his wife. He knows that his fellow co-workers see him, and it doesn't detour him from changing his behavior. What is his wife thinking while she is working? Is she concerned that her husband might be seeing others or does she believe that the mild mannered- ness in him is on a constant?

We as Christians are suppose to not only see what others do but go beyond that (Colossians 1:8-10 AMP). This can only come through relationship with Jesus. A man is only willing to listen to his wife because of the Holy Spirit on the inside telling him and he sought Wisdom early. A novice of Christ will remember Genesis when Adam listened to his wife and the fall of man occurred. Women have to look beyond the 6 figured salary and see why this man decided to make you his wife before taking the vows or accepting the proposal. If that money overshadows the obvious flaws in him, then you have the reward that the love of money brings - evil. Of course we can sugar coat the situation and state that we all have flaws. And we did - its just that the old has passed away and behold all things have become a new. So as we strive for perfection we state the positive and not the past or that we still abide in mistakes (1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Clean Heart

The Word says about a clean heart as in a request for God to create it in him. Would that mean that he, she or you and I don't have one to begin with? Would that our hearts be clean, what would be different in our lives? Would it be better or would it give other people the opportunity to take advantage of us? However in that passage, the speaker asks for the clean heart with a condition. He would like to teach transgressors the ways of God and convert sinners over to Him (Psalm 51:10-13 KJV). Could he not have done this with the heart that he has seeing that it is a will of his to teach the ways of God? Doesn't he already have a clean heart by faith or has he discovered something within himself that would not be pleasing to God (Romans 12:1 KJV)?

Have you ever seen beautiful people but when you get the chance to know them that the inside doesn't match the outward appearance? Have you seen the not so appealing people and then find that those people have a heart of gold and you regret missing out on the wonderful friendship you could have had earlier? But then there are those who are ugly on the inside and out. You know, there is a saying about being ugly to the bone. Have you met anyone that just seemed to have a complaint about everything but when you try to shed some light, even being determined to keep your joy no matter how hard that person tries to crap up your day... and still you couldn't spread not one drop of sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day for this person (Philippians 2:13-15 AMP)? Should you give up? Should you keep trying until you find that his grim look on everything starts to affect you (Titus 3:1-11 AMP)? What would this test be? Why did God give it to you?

There was this girl I worked with when I was a teenager in a restaurant. It was really my first job where I was making a steady paycheck. She wasn't liked by too many people and I figured she wasn't having all that great of a time in school. I had my friends there who were like everyone else to just stay away from the goofy girl with the big thick glasses. She spat when she spoke and this was not a good quality especially during the lunch break when the employees usually sat together. I would sit with her and my friends would call me over to them. I sympathized for her and said I would stay seated where I am. Sometimes, I might have had to change my drink because of food I had not eaten was floating in my glass, but I thought it was the right thing to do. This went on for a few months. I received a promotion to be the crew leader over the gang and even was trained do the scheduling of work hours. I deliberately changed some things because those that would not work were getting more hours then they deserved. But this girl expressed to me a vision she had in being an accountant when she graduates college. She said that getting on the register would be great experience for her. So I scheduled her training for the register and gave her more hours so she could meet that goal. I thought we got along well and I believed I helped build her confidence.

Thirty years later I saw this same girl (now a woman but still looking the same). I was going into a restaurant for a business lunch and there she was coming out of it. I said hello to her by calling her name. She turned and looked and said, "you have the advantage. Where do you know me from?" I jogged her memory by mentioning the restaurant name and who I was. She paused for a moment and said, "oh yes, I remember you. You were the one that slept with the managers to get your promotion. Yeah, good to see you again. I have to go my lunch hour is over." She was with someone and she left me stunned that she would say such a thing to me. I couldn't think of anything to defend myself because of the shock. Why... or how could she think that's what I did to get promoted? I sat with her spitty face when no one else did!!! They asked me out loud why did I sit with her, and she answered, "because Lenora is nice." I gave her extra hours when the managers wouldn't!!! I put up with her goofy butt when her own classmates talked about her. Yet it was those same class mates that weren't up for the promotion that talked about me behind my back. They weren't friends with her but they were around her long enough to spread gossip that she didn't defend me when she heard it. She believed it and all of these years later actually spoke it to me. Was it a waste for me to have even tried?

Just listen (or read) my reaction again. I didn't feel this way when I did those things for her as a teenager, but when she believed and said what her taunters said to her about me, my reaction was spitty face, goofy butt, and looked what I did for her. Was it that all along or did a weed grow somewhere trying to choke out the Word. Should there ever be a time where a Christian should be so shocked that the Word couldn't be thought of? Yet, there I was. I had to examine and evaluate some things myself so when I present myself, it will be acceptable unto God.

People can say the oddest things and they are more than likely the ones that are the closest to you. We still have to recall that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but principalities and evil spirits in high places (Ephesians 6:12 KJV). Having that understanding, we also must be aware of what we think, say and do. Just as someone saying something off of the cuff to us and it be in passing with them not thinking of how it is affecting you - you could have done the same thing and not realize it as well.

Ex-super model Cindy Crawford said in an interview that she never thought she was pretty. She felt awkward and gangly for so long. Even her sister didn't give her support. When she found that people called her mole a beauty mark, her sister said to her that the mole has to be on the other side to be considered a mark of beauty. Therefore in her mind, it being on the wrong side, it must then be a mark to show how ugly you are. How she went from one state of mind to the other is something between her and God, yet there she was.

In dating and later marrying the person we believed was perfect for sharing the rest of our lives with, we come to better know the other after the vows have been made. We find little things that we weren't privy to when the dating process was going on. Some of us dated because we were led of the Spirit to do so while others were following what is expected of us being the age we are and having the feelings we have. In those discoveries of the new characteristics of the other, whether we like those new things or not, it is a clear reflection of seed we have been sowing in our own lives. As much as we think that there can be wolves coming to church services to get a clean wholesome person for marriage, God is still not mocked (Galatians 6:7 KJV). That which a man soweth, he shall also reap. If you marry a treacherous deceitful person it could very well mean he/she gravitated toward you because they recognized something there that has been hidden from everyone else - everyone but God (1 Samuel 16:& KJV).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Should Christians Desire Marriage?

Why would there be pressure to get married in the Christian sect? I don't just mean any sort of Christian. I mean the born again believer, professing that Jesus Christ is Lord and walking in love in all that you do sort of Christian. Can that sort - our sort, be pressured into getting married when he/she is perfectly happy being single (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)? What is the matter with being single? Is every believer the type to marry? Would your life truly be better and more fulfilling as a married person?

Seeing that each and every one of us have our own finger prints, that is how many of us are different and treated as individuals in the sight of God. If you didn't know, try doing the same thing someone else did to be blessed. Don't you hear it all of the time, I did that why did he get a new car for what he did (or an award, or a pat on the back, etc)? The answer is because he did what God told him and you did what you saw him doing. God told him to do this or that because of what he had been through prior to that instruction. You don't know what that was. So how could you get the same reward?

Some married folk are best friends all the way until the end. They almost walk in each other's shadow and enjoy each other's company beyond that newlywed year. There are no separate vacations. No consideration what life would have been like if the clock were able to be turned back. There is no hoping that he/she would find something else to do so the talking would ceased. And there is no feeling that the sound of the other person's voice is like nails against a chalk board or crunching glass in one's teeth would be more pleasant than hearing that shrill. It is the hope that God won't call the other home without him/her. It is the anticipation of seeing him/her come in the house/apartment after a long day. It is the excitement to share some news that no one else would be as excited about but that person with whom life is shared with. It is the oneness that is undeniably what the Word speaks of. It is what most Christian people hope for when making the decision to marry. Never a harsh word, never a broken promise, never an argument - who wouldn't desire this?

That's easy to answer. It's the one who sees all of the other marriages that don't have what is described above and the participants don't have a problem being vocal and public about it. It's the fear that there is a Jekyll/Hyde sort of person that is being aloof until vows are made. It's archaic views of a man who had his mother cut his food for him until he moved out and now expects his new wife to do the same. It's the woman who plans to have continual shopping sprees on a blue collar salary. Its the idea of being trapped and not being able to get out if you choose to. In a nutshell, it is not trusting God.

The only time I desire for a person to be single (other than asking me for a date) is when he/she is teaching me from a Christian perspective how to be happy as a single person - in single ministry. There are other things more aggravating and this is right up there with the top ten. How easy is it for a married speaker to be sarcastic with the topic of overwhelming sexual desire when after their eloquent speech they can go home and be with their spouse? Though the person was single at one point, it is difficult for the current single person to relate with the ease of the speaker. Of course you are at ease. But another single person has over come the temptations and can discuss each and every topic with relevant testimony and backed with the Word - he/she will be heard. Being single, I believe is a progressive stage to get to where God would have you to be. It is not a place where you are to stay in.

A man who has been single his entire life passed the age of forty should be asked a plethora of questions. Not because of a lack of trust in God but because of his reasoning as to why he waited for so long. Where was he? What was he doing all of this time? Why is it important for him to marry now as opposed to all of those years prior when all of his other friends married? Was he afraid? And of what? Those answers should satisfy the curiosity but if it only brings more questions, then go before the Lord for peace about the matter (Colosians 4:6 AMP).

A woman who has been single her entire life passed the age of thirty should be asked just as many questions. Though she is made for the man and not the other way around, she may have very well waited because she would rather not have children. Is that a problem for you? She may have thought her career was more important to her, does she still feel that same way? She may have had a complex about men from her past. Does she still have issues with men? With sex? With intimacy?

Marriage is a God idea. I believe it is available for every Christian who desires to marry. To those who don't have the desire as of yet, it could be because you aren't ready for that aisle walk and the until death do we part commitment. There is such finality in making that promise. Just remember when those fleshly desires try to raise up and you think it is better to marry then to burn, recall what Paul said about trouble and try to practice temperance. If it is too hard for you to master, then marry - it is not a sin for you to do so because of it. You have your reward - sex. But if you are looking for the complete blessing that God has in a good marriage, put in practice the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your time of being single. Making love that foundation by which you can stand, then you can receive the whole abundance Jesus came to give.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Love Never Fails

I awoke this morning with a slightly different perspective on what I thought to be the truth (Proverbs 21:2 KJV). You know, it is like when you have said something over and over again and you think you understand it but then while walking that familiar path you turn the corner and found someone changed that dim street lamp and all what wasn't seen becomes clear (Psalm 119:105 KJV).

I have written about love before from a woman's perspective, how I understand what men think and from the Word of God. I wrote about divorce in a Christian home  and why God hates it. I wrote about seed being sown in a marriage on the analogy of a farmer sowing into good ground with the expectation of a harvest and how this applies to men being the leaders of the household. I even tried to make clear when a man speaks harshly to the woman of his children, she cannot truly believe that in spite of those brutal words that he is still and excellent father.

On the basis of marriage, there must be a sure foundation. This foundation is the practice of love. Love is clearly defined in the bible (1 Corinthians 13:1-8 AMP). There is no misunderstanding in interpretation of this biblical definition. Then a passage that takes the structure of Corinthians and solidifies it with God is love (1 John 4:16 AMP).

Now what? How can one easily tell another that you love this person with that kind of definition that you just read? How can love be blind? How can you fall in and out of it? How can you divorce with that understanding knowing that divorce is a failure of a marriage? How can one profess Christianity when there is no failure in God?

Who do you love (Revelation 2:3-5 AMP)?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Don't Like ....

Let's just hope that the finishing of that statement is something that is not human.

Even the world finds it ominous for people to use hate in describing someone. Its just too harsh of a word and two steps of causing someone harm, although there are still a few stragglers that use the hate word along with someone's name. The point is, we are not of the world and yet they have modified using the hate word with, "I just don't like so and so," and that is socially accepted. Is it acceptable with the church and in the eyes of God? Can we just not like someone and then quickly say afterwards," but I love such and such because the bible says I have to (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)?"

Oh lets be honest already! Haven't you said it before? I have and thought it was alright because I still added that I loved them. But when put to the test, would you comply? Would you bless that person if God told you to? Do you bless people that you like? The Word says to bless those that spitefully uses you. You know the ones you feel deserves punishment for the wrong they have done you yet you see them being blessed all of the time. There is a reason for that.... they have done a lot of Christian people wrong, but God is not mocked - just do what He tells you. You don't have to see their punishment.

Enough of that, instead let's put this wrongly used phrase in perspective. Hm, let's take a look at your body. Is it perfect? Are there parts that you cover up? Have you ever taken off all of your clothes and looked in a full length mirror? Do you like what you see? Did you use to? If you did, what happened? Why don't you like what you see anymore? Do you make fun of yourself? Do you call yourself names? Do you get depressed because you don't look as you would like? If God asked if you liked yourself, what would you say?

In becoming a Christian, it was a struggle. My only reference was a girl older than me in Junior High School. She was the best dressed girl in school - as a sinner! Every girl in the school wished we had her wardrobe. And she was pretty to boot! For a little while, no one saw her. We assumed that she moved, instead she returned looking like a beatnik! No one knew what happened to her and where are all of her clothes? She explained that she became a born again believer. I didn't know what that was - all I figured to do was get away from her before she had me thinking the same way. Oddly enough, it was during this same time, someone witnessed to my mother and invited her to their church. It was the strangest thing I ever saw. All of the praising and worshiping, with as many churches as I had been to in my life time I never saw such praise. I didn't understand until this same girl came to the Sunday School for teens. Oh I knew I was never going to be apart of what they did to her and they asked. I immediately said, "no. I like me just the way I am." I was doing all I could to convince my mother to buy me some blue jeans much less take away the clothes I do have. They could not convince me to become what they did to her. They all appeared sad. I didn't know why and no one explained it to me. All I knew, change was not going to take place here - no, no, no it wasn't. I said, NO!

Long story short, someone prayed. God made those changes once I understood what happened. It took years for me to see what others knew and kept to themselves. That girl gave away all of her stuff because to her, they were her possessions and the root of her personality. She liked being the most popular and envied by all. In order for God to make those wonderful works in her come forth, she had to get rid of the barriers that kept her candle from shining.

I didn't know how mean I was until one of the church members had a conversation with me about careers. She had already established herself and I was in my first year of college. We were discussing advancement, and I said something I had thought of but never heard myself say out loud. I knew how much I desired success, it had been in me for as long as I could remember. But when she asked me how I was going to get there, something as simple as an ordinary plan could have been sufficient. Instead of me saying that I recall stating something along the lines of, "oh I will get there, no matter what I have to do. Even if it means stepping on the throat of someone who gets in my way." With that last part, I recalled gritting my teeth. The conversation trailed like the last flickers of a light bulb needing to be changed. While any Christian listening could have felt uncomfortable, I had no problems with that statement at the time. It sounded ruthless and it was good to be that way for a career woman. But how good was it to be as a Christian?

That was the beginning of me discovering personality traits that I didn't like in myself, but it was only when I saw them in others and those that gravitated towards me. The very people I didn't like, I either felt sorry for or tried to avoid. I didn't think I was obnoxious, but an obnoxious person would say or do something I agreed with and so I listened to other things he or she would have to say. Those other things made me overlook the things I didn't like. People that knew me didn't understand why I would attach myself to someone so unlikeable, but that was okay I convinced myself that as a Christian we don't have to do the things that people understand. Eventually, if one changes and the other refuses to do so, we grow apart and develop new friendships while others stay attached for years enjoying the other's company.

These different friendships made me see what I know I didn't see as a junior high school teenager thinking I had it all together and knowing it all. I certainly didn't see things clearly as a college student about to embark in the corporate world with stilletos, a briefcase, and a quick wit to rip apart the strongest of men. It wasn't my marriage (and the failure of it), my children and their academic careers, nor was it the many people I have met along the way - but it was the combination of them all and using the Word of God. He allowed me to see in all of it my fallacies and the necessary changes I had to make. He showed me how imperfect I had been and how much more I needed to change.

With the inside far more spiritually healthier than it has ever been before, I took a look at the outside - what people have seen and how I am quickly judged. The stress of the years and struggling through school, a marriage, children, a career and not having ample time to do what I needed to for my physical body could easily be seen. Covering helped until my children asked for me to go with them to the pool gathering. That's right, wearing a swim suit. Yikes!!! Could I lose a few pounds, a questionnaire asked on a website? I chuckled to myself - a few?

And then it came back around full circle. Who can say what we like and not like about someone else? The personality traits that we would rather not be around as if people are clamoring to be around you. How can we judge what someone has on or the odd thing someone said and place them in a category, never having been there ourselves? It is a humbling experience when we look at ourselves first to make comparisons as to why someone acts or looks a certain way. It makes it easier to bless someone who doesn't like you when we see our own shortcomings first (Galatians 6:4-8 AMP). How dare I say who I like and don't like. How lovable have I been? Breaking it down in this manner, we can see the childishness that we still have to put away and keep practicing to do so until it is a life style change.

Jesus! What a difference those years have made! I saw who I was. Look at me now!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ladies, Could This Ever Happen To You?

Over the years of counseling and seeing the behavior of many couples, now and again I think about them and say a prayer over them, hoping that all turned out well and whatever the issue that was revealed never comes back. Usually the issue came from the root of selfishness. Once revealed there was a collective sigh of relief, but without the practice of the love God commands from us all, the issue will return and with a vengeance (Luke 11:21-26 KJV). Why? Because God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7 KJV).

Nevertheless, when writing this blog, I had to narrow the scenario to one to make it a clear vision for not only you but for men to view as well. It can be a warning or a means to have that discerning eye so not to fall in the same trap.

A young couple married and were so in love when they did. Nothing could come between them. They didn't wait to create their family and as usual with a couple of impatience, there comes financial difficulty. They had a plan where they would both work, but neither had an education further then high school. No longer do people say that their love will carry them through. It now sounds so hippy and relatively stupid - especially if your kind of love isn't the God kind of love (1 Corinthians 13:3-8 AMP). Be as it were, the economy got the best of them. Downsizing was happening everywhere and by this time they had five small children. He had been terminated from so many jobs but still managed to find something. She, had the plan to be a teacher but because of the children, decided to stay home and be a Mom. Money became so tight that there wasn't enough to pay the rent and car that they both (supposedly needed). He drove a kluncker and she had the new mini van for all of her children.

To keep both cars, he decided to do the only thing he could think of and move back in with his mother. His mother accepted him and his family but didn't like it at all. It didn't take long before he was in the middle of so many arguments between his mother and his wife. It got to be so tormenting for him that he pushed his wife out of his way and left them all there to sort it out for themselves.

The mother had a field day with her daughter in law so much so, without her husband to take the brunt of all of the nagging, she had to leave. She and her children moved to a shelter. She explained to whomever would listen that she didn't know why her husband left, but if he didn't return soon, she would be filing for a divorce. Her husband and she did talk on the phone to patch things up. They even sought marital counseling. At the end, the husband agreed for the divorce even though she was bluffing. His reasoning was that his wife was just a nasty woman. She never did anything. The reason why she never went to get that teaching degree was that she expected to be taken care of. She never had a plan for a career. Her career was in his plan.

She was embarrassed at what her husband revealed. She didn't care to hear anymore of it. She gathered her children and headed for the parking lot fussing all of the way. He watched her, not moving or caring that she was leaving. As she unlocked and opened the sliding door to place her youngest in the car seat, an inordinate amount of garbage spilled out. She continued to fuss as she buckled the child in with one hand, picked up the refuse with the other, and packed it back in the floor of the van. "What?" she exclaimed,  "everyone who has children has a little mess to clean up!"

Gentlemen, Did You Ever Think This Would Happen To You?

I went to a church service that I formerly attended years ago. The people looked so different. Some gained weight while others just looked so old. Some cut their hair really short and others just lost their hair completely. When I stepped into the building there were several that remembered me and extended themselves to give me a hug. Others I expected to give hugs and they avoided me completely. I saw married couples that came to services in separate cars and sat on the opposites sides of the church. The only couple that sat together was my son and his girlfriend and the pastor and his wife. I found it sort of sad as I scoped all of the people I remembered from way back when.

The purpose for me coming back to this ministry was because it was the place where my son and his girlfriend attended. He was going to the military and was asking for prayer from all of the members. They were sending him off with a going away party. I watched this particular couple. I remembered the man from those way back years how he expressed that he had to be married. It was upper most on his mind. He was not going to keep being single. He just isn't the type to do it, he would tell me over and over. He finally found the perfect person for him. After the pleasantries were over, there was a rockie beginning but both were determined to make the best of it. Illness of the both of them, financial turmoil, children from previous relationships and every other thing that could come against the marriage came. There were reportedly many arguments that had the pastor coming and going from home visits to appointments in the office. He was annoying to her and he made no apologies for the harsh words he said to her when she frustrated him.

They sat together during church services, but when the amens were said they couldn't get away from each other fast enough. If he was in front of the church talking to someone, she was in the back or outside. They came in their own cars. When getting to the party, they were on opposite sides of the room. They ate separately. They didn't make eye contact. I made the mistake to ask, why don't they sit together. There was a long pause and I was no longer getting eye contact from the person I asked. "Its just better this way. No one needs to hear about what bill hasn't been paid and what is the next thing about to be shut off." I said nothing else. It just seemed so sad to me.

When does a happy, joy filled relationship become a collaboration of convenience? How is it that both parties agree to marry for what ever the reason and then within a few years, wish the other never existed? What happened? Marriage being a happy occasion even though there is a lot of money involved in preparing for a wedding - it is still a union with the families coming together. There is an agreement and a unit becoming even stronger then before. Not one can reckon with a family in agreement. it is what men hope for. It is their inheritance to have children that behave much like themselves. Men choose wives that agree with the vision so she can raise his children to carry on the vision. Does that still happen or is it archaic now?

Does sex have a place with water, air, food, and shelter? Does sex have such a precedence that it  takes at least one failed marriage to get it right?  Is it thought of, who is more devastated then the other? Does a man think he should have the provision at hand before he incorporates a life in with his meager earnings? What was on a man's mind when you see the newlywed struggling with all aspects of life? Was that his plan when he asked his wife to marry him? Did she know that sex was the only plan he was thinking about and if she did, would she have married him? Why didn't he give her that option? Was he deceiving her (Proverbs 20:17 KJV)? How do you see it? Now how does God see it?

I pose this to you men. You have seen much just as I described above (for some, there could have been more), what have you learned from what you saw? It is said for the younger to tell the older, but if they don't, you should still have a discerning eye to see what isn't being said. I have learned to treat myself better, not to settle for anything less than what I expect, and to always keep my faith strong just by listening to derogatory conversations from the elderly. They're intention wasn't to give me a life's lesson but to just harp and complain (Proverbs 18:20-21 KJV). It is my job to find the good from it - glory be to God, that I did. What good have you learned from this? It is a life lesson - carry it on and go tell someone else.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Lower Nature

I have been studying Paul's writing for quite sometime. There were many passages that left me in a quandary and I either went back over them to meditate on or just left it alone until I could grow up in the Spirit for a better understanding. Marriage was one of those quandaries by which my inner response was, "how could Paul teach something that he has no experience and no knowledge of what the institution consists of?" His rules seemed too strict and bordered on contradiction of the original text (Old Testament). Tried as I could, I still liked my own ideals more than what Paul was trying to teach.

The rules that began frustrating me had nothing to do with if you don't have a wife don't try to find one (1 Corinthians 7:27 KJV). Nor was it that if you do marry, you didn't sin; though when you put the two verses together your entire expression would be a question mark. The problem I was having was if I marry I would no longer try to be pleasing to God but my mind would be on matters of the world. How could this be when he wrote that marrying would not be a sin and we know to be friends with the world is being an enemy to God? Why would marriage have my mind on worldly matters (1 Corinthians 7:26-28 AMP)?

I scowled for months leaving that verse to study something else but there is no getting away from Paul's writing when studying scriptures. So how does one advance, grow up and be mature negating vital verses in the bible? It just doesn't happen! One must be able to rightly divide the Word in order to answer every man's question for him to have a true understanding as well. It must be the Truth.

The Word tells us to be pure and delivered from sexual vice (1 Thessalonians 4:2-4 AMP). I haven't heard much teaching on this because it would mean for believers to stop meandering around what we all know not to do. A vice becomes acceptable when there is more than 10 that has the same need. The reasoning behind the acceptance is that it hurts no one and the individual likes seeking that sort of release. The TLC Network ran a story about a woman who had a condition where she experienced involuntary orgasms daily and often. She narrated how her life had to change because of her condition and she made it sound as if it was so horrible as she sought medical attention for her condition. She couldn't work or function as most others would, she claimed. Then one day she was offered an opportunity to go on a vacation with her friend. She knew she would be flying so she went to her doctor to get a prescription for air sickness. When she got to her destination and within hours of the trip she realized that her condition had subsided. Through trial and error she found that the air sick medication was the cure that alleviated her from her so called horrible condition. You would think her prayers were answered. Instead, she stopped taking the meds to resume the condition she had complained about for so long. She made her condition her sexual vice. It started off innocent, but according to the scripture - it is no longer.

So wouldn't we all be at a cross road? Who doesn't like having sex, talking about sex, learning more about sex, and in so doing being aroused? What do you do single Christian when you are aroused?

There is a Christian website that teaches women about various sexual positions for the purpose of enjoying their own husbands, as the scripture states. I was fascinated that there was such a venue - one that is much needed in the body of Christ. But then I read a portion of the site that condoned masturbation. I had to stop and think about what they were actually trying to tell believers to do. How could they tell their readers that it was alright to masturbate? Though some wouldn't think it was a Selah moment, I still had to pause and think about it.

The website is promoted for married couples... this is the difference. I asked the question to you  - single believer. What do you do when the lower nature is speaking to you. I have received a variety of answers and some are sort of funny. I heard one woman tell me that a cold shower doesn't work but taking a bath with the water on full force does help. I was in my early 20's when she said this to me. I had no idea what she was talking about. When I did understand her, years later, I thought it was sort of sad, seeing she is a married woman to a pastor. Still, it really doesn't answer the question. We are looking for that good and acceptable behavior. Something that is only pleasing to God. What could it be?

Could it be as simple as trusting in God (Isaiah 26:3 AMP)? How is it that when the finances get low, or the children act as if they were playing in the devil's pit all the live long day, or the boss tries to rip you a new one, or when the bills get overwhelming, or when anything else happens that is outside of our realm of righteousness, we can go before God and use that faith knowing God will do what He said, but when it has to do with sex and our desire for it, we seek ways that has nothing to do with faith? A pastor said in a sermon that God gave us sexual desire and it is good. Alright, but when you are single, how good is it then (Romans 13 :14 AMP)?

Here is the only practical resolve I know. If you never had chocolate in your life, would you ever crave it? If you never had to purchase anything because it was always given to you and you always had an ample supply, would you ever have the desire to go shopping? What are you doing, watching, saying, and listening to? If you didn't allow sex or sexual things to be apart of your life, would it still be a stronghold on your mind? If you stop watering a plant, won't it die? If you stop feeding an animal, won't it ceased to exist. If you stop watching television programs and movies that have sexual innuendo or blatant acts would you crave it all the more? Examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP). 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stir Up The Gift...Not The Dust

In the dating process, we will eventually come to a point of wondering why continue with dating this particular person. Naturally we make assessments. Spiritually, by which we walk, we seek peace with God. This would be the mature thing to do; however, there are those times where we think this is our personal sitcom acting as if we are doing them a favor by even spending our time with the person we are dating. This is arrogance and in that state where arrogance takes over. The conversation changes where questions that arise to ask might very well be suggestions much like the first woman dealt with while residing in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-13 KJV).

The suggestions, whether you consider the Garden of Eden or in what is asked on a date, is indicative of not trusting in God. So watch and pray before speaking (Mark 14:38 KJV). Yes, that's right, this is a warning! You have no idea what hornets nest you will be swatting at when asking such probing matter that has either been forgiven and/or forgotten about.

First, let's deal with what you are thinking in order for any suggestive matter to be squashed before the wrong thing is said. I suppose it is natural to see what kind of temperament the person has so you won't be surprised later. So when asking questions about past relationships from the other person, do you hope to see the truth about who this person really is? Will there be follow up questions about the past? And are you willing to answer the same questions about failed relationships? Afterwards, will you be satisfied? Can you then assess who is at fault with the demise of that past relationship? Based on the information that you received from all of that probing matter can you foresee what not to do or are you reconsidering if the person is for you? Can you see where the trust issue you have in God just burrowed a hole in a relationship had you not entertained the suggestive matter?

A woman who had been through an emotional divorce decided not to date for quite sometime. She concentrated on raising her children and obtained a degree. While in the midst of her career, she met a man who seemed to be interested in her. They spoke briefly and then decided to date. She was so pleased with his behavior and how he treated her she reconsidered the possibility of marriage. Both are Christians and maturity level of their faith is about equal. They truly enjoyed each other's company. In their conversations over a given period of time, he found that she wasn't very experienced with having too many relationships and found it unusual in this day and age. It also intrigued him that such a woman with high standards didn't stay married. He began asking more questions about her previous relationship. The dates which were usually amusing and a highlight of her day, were now losing its flavor with all of the questions he came at her with. She started not to accept his phone calls and if she happened to see him coming her way in a market or mall, she avoided him completely.

Why would this happen? Why didn't she find it appealing with him trying to know all he could about her? Is there enough information in the scenario? Do we really have to know the questions he asked? Isn't it enough that she had an emotional divorce and had to reconsider ever to get married again. Wasn't that enough? Why wasn't it enough for him?

If it were you asking the questions, what would you do with the answers? Would you compare the answers with your past relationships or to see if this person would do the same thing with you? Would you be as forth coming with answers when the questions are directed to you? And now can the person be as judgmental as you are with the answers you received (Luke 6:37 KJV)?

What skeletons do you have in your closet? Let's dig all that mess up. What will we find? Did you clean up before starting a relationship?

I believe if we were to look at this phrase of skeletons in a closet from the perspective of a Christian we would see things differently. We know that there is a prayer closet we go to, to pray and speak to God about matters that we would not tell anyone else. We confess our faults there and then when we come out it is with a better understanding, revelation knowledge or just feeling better having been able to vent some things that only God could hear. We close the closet not thinking of those matters anymore. They were confessed, forgiven, and placed in a sea never to relive again. But what if, someone was able to go to that closet and see all of the stuff that was confessed? All of those sins and fleshly desires that were thought of, said, or acted upon? All of those things that you wished you never did in your life time? None of which you would like for your mother to know about... hm? What if God left them there for others to discover? Well, isn't that what we are asking when we try to probe in matters that the other is not willing to talk about?

While you are pondering on that, let's re-examine the purpose of going on a date. I have stated many times that as unromantic as it may sound, a date is an interview. There is no other reason two Christian people date other than for the purpose of marriage.  The interview is usually clouded with other things like baubles, compliments, dinners and a movie; but for all intents and purposes the conversation should lead along the lines to whether both heard the same thing from God and are both in agreement. That's it! The rest is gravy. Anything else comes with hearing the gifts that each have in enhancing the other person's life. She comes to help him with his vision and he provides her with all she needs to do the task. She has honed in on her skills (whether domestic or in a career) and it all works together to get the task done. How did this all get screwed up?

Its that pesky dust by which the flesh was created. Once we get the will to walk in the Spirit, the screwing up process ceases. (2 Timothy 1:5-7 AMP)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh Naturale

What we have in America is what I was taught in grade school, "The Great American Melting Pot". America has embraced different nationalities as well as a variety of cultures and religions. Other countries aren't as welcoming nor accommodating as America. It seems that we should be pleased with the diversity; however, there does come a point where even the most liberal, well centered, confident American must take a stand and say enough is enough.

When? Could it be during the Winter and catching a cab trying to be at a place 20 minutes ago. There you are trying not to be a back seat driver when some horrendous B.O. wafts over and envelopes your whole head. At making mention of the smell, the ethnically diverse cab driver holds a soliloquy on how in his country, the natural smell of men is becoming to the women.

No? Well what about when a woman said to me that she believed a man should love her just the way she is without her making any necessary changes. She called it unconditional love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP). The woman weighed well over 400 pounds.

No? How about telling large groups of people that you tried shaving your legs and it just doesn't work for you anymore. So your are going to let all of the hair grow - as much as it wants.

In all of the scenarios, the people did the minimum basics of hygiene - some more than others, yet it can go a tad bit further.

You see Christians have this preconceived notion as well. We don't think we should do anything to our bodies to improve upon what God has given. Where do we get this? Could it be from the Old Testament where it is written not to cut the body, or mark the body, or in the New Testament where it is written, not to plait the hair? Yet we do cut our finger and toe nails. We trim our eyebrows and mustaches and we even use make up. We don't squirm about coloring our hair, but it is looked upon as vanity if one gets a face lift, tucks away sagging skin, or some other cosmetic surgery.

Think of it this way, Howard Hughes was an extremely wealthy man. It was reported when he passed on, he went "oh naturale." So natural that he had to be carried where ever he went. His hair grew down his back, he had an over grown beard and mustache. His finger and toenails had grown so much he couldn't function common every day tasks. Is that too much of an extreme? Is that a judgment call? Can you measure what would be too much of an extreme for me or anyone else with there being many members of one body. All of those members having a different function than yours. It is why I believe America embraces diversity, because our country was founded on the principles of Christianity. Still, in that diversity, some of us have to get a grip. I don't think BO will ever become the norm to have (in the name of Jesus). Not shaving your legs is a preference, but don't be offended if people stare or make comment that you have more hair on your legs then some men have on their heads. It just looks cleaner and well groomed. As far as the weight things goes, well many of us have a few pounds to lose (including me). The bottom line is, that God wishes the best for us (3 John 1:2 KJV). Though bodily exercise profits little (1 Timothy 4:8 KJV), according to the Word, there is still a profit. If we look at the the priest that raised Samuel, we can see that his death was based on the weight of his body (1 Samuel 4:18 KJV). He was obese.

It is something to consider. We can't change one another, like we might say to ourselves when we settle for someone that isn't really our type. It can't happen. Many generations have tried before you. The only one you can change is you. If you are too critical, then criticism is your harvest.

As far as plastic surgery goes, to each his own. Consider it this way, seeing that we are like trees planted by the rivers of  water (Psalm 1:3 KJV), as much of a metaphor as that is, God is the husbandman of said tree. He will prune and care for the tree to achieve the best harvest He can get. If pruning back some skin is what is needed because of drastic weight loss, would God have you miserable? If it is necessary for a chemical peel to rid yourself of acne scars, would God deny you (Psalm 84:11 KJV)? Just remember that when you make these decisions to put Him first. Pray on it and no matter what the doctor says, take it back to God so there is peace before you do anything (1 Peter 3:11 AMP).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Opposites Don't Attract

It is a phrase that has been said over the years by the world. As we know the world gets their influence through anyone and anything. Their perspective is very broad which is why they continue to tell all to keep and open mind.

We know that the Word says broad is the way to destruction and that minds should be more like Christ (1 Corinthians 2:15-16 AMP). God tells us to be thou holy for I am holy and whomever is a friend of the world is an enemy to God.

These are clearly two different perspectives by which people live. How then can two people having each their own completely different outlook on life be attracted to each other? This, based on the Word (which is our only means of truth) is therefore a theory come out of the pit of hell.

It makes no sense to me then why would any minister, preacher, apostle, pastor, evangelist, teacher or prophet say such foolishness to a people they are called to help. Younger Christians, not having the habit of reading the Word for themselves yet, are easily influenced. They hold men and women of God in high esteem because it is what we are taught as well. So why take that position so lightly?

If two people come together that are an absolute dichotomy to the other (whether it be the way of life or the way he/she arranges the furniture), it is a means to cause some sort of quarrel, chaos, and/or confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV). Believing that there is an attraction anyway so that there is a reason to make up and have angry sex, sounds unreasonably exhausting. That is an inevitable way to have a messy divorce or a life of dread. Where are the peace and joy (being the ingredients to a Kingdom Life) in that (Romans 14:17 KJV)?

The life by which Jesus came to give us (abundance) and what God wishes is solely based on rightly dividing the Word and believing that it is the only way for us to live (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). When two people come to together for the purpose of marriage, they both have to believe this. Knowing that as a man thinks, so is he is a reason to ask many questions on how the other is thinking about a plethora of matters.  Issues that arise, it is necessary to ask, even hypothetically, how the other would have resolved it. What would be his or her plan? Then see if he/she would ask you or if interested in what you would have done. These questions and the interest (or lack thereof) lets you see if the relationship is of genuine sincerity or a means of convenience.

Convenience is when a man believes he has sown enough wild oats and his entire family thinks that it is time for him to settle down and have some children. He might look the way that is attractive to many women, he might have practiced the right words to say to get what he wants in any given situation, but his heart is still the player in the clubs and being settled into a house with a wife and 2.5 children will be more than enough to drive him up a stony wall. Ever heard of cabin fever? He will find a way to get back to the life that he is use to and misses. That man doesn't love his wife as himself or as Christ loved the church.

Convenience for a woman is when she sees that all of her other friends are getting married and the pickings for men in her generation is getting pretty scarce. She starts to feel that her window of opportunity in the child department is starting to close and now when she was very picky for the right man, anyone who shows the least bit of interest will do. The engagement will look as if she didn't expect it, but she did. Usually this is the time when she thinks that she is out of old maid hood then the man she was really waiting for shows some interest. She's married with the other guy. What will she do? Love her own husband or consider the life she could have with the guy she was hoping for in the first place?

Why would any believer put himself/herself through such an ordeal? Yet believing that you can be attracted to the opposite of who you are in Christ, puts you in the broad way of life where there is dread, regret, destruction and death (Matthew 7:13 KJV). Simply stated, what communion does light have with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV)?