Monday, June 27, 2011

The Influence of Change

My mother used to tell me when I left the house to go to school, that I and my siblings are representing the family and for us to behave accordingly; reason being, we don't know who is watching us and lives can be changed by the way we conduct ourselves. As children this didn't mean as much to me as it did when I became a young adult and saw one of my high school friends recognize me while I was in church. We had not seen each other for a few years. When she saw me, she hugged me and began telling me her horrific story when we were both attending the same school. When she finished all that she said, she concluded with, "it was the conversations we had that got me through it." Personally, it freaked me out a little. The responsibility of what my mother repeated over and over again just became real.

That's the changing we all do as children. Thinking that we are so cool until something hits you like a Mack (c) truck, then all of the teaching we have had over the years makes sense. Its like right at that moment, we really decide to choose life - and for real this time.

So then we meet others who we are attracted to and the possibility of choosing this person to be our mates for the rest of our lives...only, if it weren't for that birth mark with the hair sticking out of it, would this person be perfect for me, or if he lost all that belly fat, or if she wasn't the kind of person that wore weave, or if she could wear better looking glasses, or if his feet weren't so big... and so forth and so on. Well, what's the matter with desiring the best person possible for ourselves? After all, you have to be attracted to all aspects of this person in order to be with him/her for the rest of your lives. ...and isn't that what God is doing? He isn't presenting the church to Jesus as of yet because He would like for her to be without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:24-27 AMP), that's all your doing in seeing all of those tiny little changes that needs to be made for him/her to be perfect for you. Right? Its all good. Right?

I saw this episode of The Jenny Jones Show way back in the early 90's, I don't recall the topic of discussion but there was this woman in the audience that Jenny Jones walked over to with the microphone. She found this audience member intriguing because the woman was so in love with her husband that she carried around his t-shirt. She liked the way he smelled. Then the woman took the shirt, buried her face in it, and inhaled. When she revealed her face again, her eyes were closed and she had the biggest smile. Jenny Jones watched her. With the mic to the woman, she asked, "would you like to smell it?" Jenny barely sniffed the shirt and said, "it smells like dirty laundry." The audience laughed and Jenny walked away looking as if the woman must be on drugs.

I have thought about that woman now and again. she had to be content with herself in order to attract a man that treated her so well. There would be no way a woman who was misused, neglected, abused would ever keep her husband's smell anywhere near her. In fact, she would be thinking of ways to be further away from him. When I saw that episode, I thought, it had to be his cologne that she liked. Jenny Jones thought that too, until she sniffed the garment. That man belonged to that woman. It would only be normal for her to be that way with the smell of him.

Initially, the changes we make are done so, naturally because we grow from not having responsibilities to gaining more and more. How we manage them all tells us much about ourselves. When coming into the knowledge of the truth, we learn to make more changes because of it being a better way of life. The more we make these changes, the more we are like Christ. God is pleased and we are to be satisfied. He teaches, and we gradually change all the more. It is a process.

Sometimes during the process, some of us cry out to the Lord that we need a mate. Are all of the changes in place for us to get the best of what God intended or do we choose to settle for whatever comes along? What if the whatever that comes along tries to change you? Is that alright? The Domestic Violence Handbook calls it the initial stages of abuse. If compliant to make those changes, it begins a cycle of control. As a Domestic Violence Counselor, that kind of seed, you do not want to see the fruit that it produces. It truly is not love.

Let the process do what it does. A minister used the analogy of fruit on a tree. He said though it looks as if it is ready and it really isn't, the fruit will be hard and even taste bitter. That description sounds like jealousy and envy. If the fruit is too high to reach, why not wait until you have gained the proper tools to get it without harming yourself. That sounds like low self esteem. If you get tired of waiting and start picking the fruit that have fallen to the ground, need I tell you what that sounds like? Fruit that has fallen is usually rotten.

The first message I ever heard from Joyce Meyers was about a peach tree she had planted in her back yard. She was so pleased with this tree and when it sprouted the flowers and the flowers changed to getting the first fruit from the tree. When the tree got its first yield, she called her friends even before she picked the fruit. Then she said the Lord told her to go to the tree and begin to prune the branches back. She did as she was told. When she got to the tree, the Lord told her which branches to prune. When she got close to the fruit, by which she was so pleased, He said for her to prune the fruit too. She didn't want to. It was as if she was hurt by cutting those branches of fruit she had made plans for, yet she did what she was told. When her friends came to see the tree as she had described so excitedly, it looked worse then it did when she first planted it.

Her message was that we know the tree by the fruit it bares. I got that. She continued to state that the next year the tree had more fruit on it then it ever did and it was all the more juicy just because of the patience she endured with waiting for the second yield. Because of the pruning, the roots were allowed to be more established. The nutrients were allowed to strengthen the branches. Because the process did what it knows to do, the fruit could be all it should be. Yes, that was rhema and it helped me to be more patient with the plans God has for me in my life. Nevertheless, there was more to that message that I received.

In knowing a tree by the fruit it bares (Matthew 7:16 AMP), takes time. When discovering what the fruit is, do we partake of it? You know what a pear, apple, peach, or orange look like. How do you know that it is time to pick the fruit from this yield or has it gone through for its second yield yet. To Joyce Meyer, the fruit looked good enough to pick the first time. What if she moved from that residence right after planting the tree? Would the new resident hear from God too? Would the new resident know that the tree needs to be pruned back and to wait for a year (or two, or more) before touching the fruit? Those questions would be ideal in pursuing a widow/er or someone coming out of a divorce.

There is only One who has the blue prints to everything. There is only One who sees the time of all of the processes that we all go through. There is only One and relationship is necessary for that only One to tell you what you need to know to get the best He has for you (James 5:7 KJV). Trust Him, cause you could do with some pruning yourself.

Chubby Chasers

This might sting for some believers but read through it anyway; I don't like writing fluff pieces. The purpose for this blog is for edification, exhortation, and comfort.

Having to be one of many needing to lose a few pounds, when I heard that there were men who liked women with something they could hold on to, I actually took a sigh of relief. So much pressure to be a certain size had left and for awhile I could concentrate on other matters that got me from point A to point B (Matthew 6:25-34 AMP). But then, I got deeper in the Word of God, gained some knowledge, and received an education. Because of my career choice coupled with the anointing, I observed more then I ever could before. I then wondered if I could speak to a handful of those Chubby Chasers individually, what would I find?

First, I understood how I felt when approached by an interested man. There was something he liked that allowed  him to be confident in coming toward me and asking my name. Eventually, I had to ask the question, "what attracted you to me?" Would his answer be all smooth and full of flattery or will he be speaking the truth? I knew men that focused on approaching generously curved women. When asked why, they gave the answer that pleased plump women (pun, not intended). Once pleased, the relationship could pursue; however, after the dynamic became comfortable, pleasing words were too far and few between to maintain that initial state of perseverance. Why?

In order to know the truth to be set free (John 8:32 AMP), one has to open the bible and actually study it to see where the precious gems apply. The only place where I can recall God writes about an over weight person is in describing the priest that raised Samuel from when he was a boy. That priest was described as evil. The prophetic word spoken to him had to do with matters he was responsible for and didn't do, one of them being the raising of his children. For the acts he did not turn from doing and those he wouldn't start to do, his demise came from the weight of his body (1 Samuel 4:18 AMP). Other passages that speak of fat and food are usually taken in the context of spirituality so the one passage that isn't favorable is literally about obesity and has been overlooked.

It is written that we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God (Romans 12 :1 KJV). When living holy, we have adhered, to the principles of righteousness and are in right standing with Him. Having that written, the other part of the verse is acceptable. Can one be holy and unacceptable?

Look at it from an everyday occurrence. If you were going to a family gathering - let's call it a picnic in one of the hottest days of the Summer. A spread was completed for all to get a plate. Sort of a serve yourself buffet style. There were several meats that had been cooked on the grill, a number of side dishes that had heating units keeping them at an appropriate temperature, and as much as one could drink in a number of ice coolers. Then Uncle Ray-Ray says, "Oh, I forgot the potato salad." He runs to the trunk of the car, opens it, hauls back an enormous tub of homemade potato salad, and places it on the table with everything else. He opens the lid for people to dig in. Are all faces as eager to have a scoop of that dish as they are with the rest of the meal? Why? Uncle Ray-Ray isn't out for the destruction of his family. He came to have a good time like everyone else. If one stands and prays over all of the food on the table with a hardy amen from all of those hearing the prayer in agreement, is everyone still apt to take a heaping spoonful of potato salad? Its holy because of the prayer and the agreement. Why isn't it acceptable or is it?

A large man or woman can say and actually believe that he/she is fine with what they look like and like themselves; nevertheless, if God calls this large person to minister the Word on a regular basis, would this person be able to do all of the walking and standing that the job entails? The message being ministered is all anointed and on point, but are the people listening? Do you have their attention or are they fascinated with the heavy breathing, the pouring of sweat that is going on with little to no physical exertion, and the constant pauses that is being taking for the gathering of thoughts so not to be distracted by the looks of the very ones being ministered to? Does that scene look good and acceptable unto God? It has been permitted for this person to maintain this weight but is it profitable for this weight to be maintained?

I have family members that like large sized people. I use the the word  people because there are women and men that do and not just men only. I watched the dynamic of the relationship and didn't like what I saw. The large person is made comfortable believing that the average sized person loves him/her. But let there be a disagreement and the implication, if not more harsh of words, of the weight does come up. The larger person is passive about the topic even if the point being made is a good one. I then assessed that large people are easy to be bullied and if this person would like to stay in the relationship, he/she allows the bullying to continue. It is domestic violence but no one can see the marks but the person being bullied and God (1 Samuel 16:7 AMP). Its been accepted but it definitely isn't holy.

Yesterday, my pastor's daughter preached a message about the mess we get ourselves into. In the message, she brought up the issues she has been having with losing weight. She said that people would tell her, "its not what you are eating, its what been eating at you." Profound as the person telling the quote may have thought it was, without the Word and real counseling, it was just annoying to hear. Her answer back was, "what's eating at me is being fat! What do you do with that?"

I am not against those that like large people, necessarily. I would just like the question asked for the person doing the pursuing, why? And to the large person, stop being so desperate for the attention and ask the person interested a few more questions. A large woman was reported as being happy with her marriage but not with what she looked like. She started to lose the weight and then her husband was no longer interested in her. They divorced. The woman had to make a decision (Proverbs 18:21 AMP). As much as she loved her husband should it be at the cost of her health? And why wouldn't he understand that? How could he not look past what she looks like after so many years and love who she really is? Then again, divorces have also been made because of weight gain. This is not holy or acceptable.

God is love and He loves you. Whether big or small. What is your desire? Is it to lose the weight, maintain the weight you have, or gain a few pounds? Let Him know. He has orchestrated a path for you where you would not have stumble about on or react to a situation out of desperation. If you adhere to His Word and do what is necessary, you will see all that He has in stored for thee.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What About the Second Time Around?

Alright he/she has been married before and now has learned a few things about relationships he/she didn't know before. They have seen the so called marital bliss light and decided to give it another go. However, he/she has done this, you are convinced (if you aren't the one that did the convincing) and now you have decided to propose or you said yes. You know there is a whole plethora of things you, as a believer, have to ask and do before actually walking down that aisle - right?

First, I can't believe you think this is a made in the shade deal when the other person has done this before. What are you thinking? And if the other person has children, whether in that person's physical custody or not, its another load of drama because there is another adult with feelings and a history you have to acknowledge that he/she does really exist. Then those children, those tiny little reminders of a life before he/she knew you. A life with another person who looks like one or  two of those little reminders that occasionally glance at you (depending on the age) causing emotions and feelings that you didn't have to deal with prior to dating him/her. Those are children that you have to help raise and be an example to. Children you will have to love as if they are your own (Matthew 18:6 AMP). Children who could very well not like you and if you come in with children, they have to get along with yours. This is not a reality show or some sitcom that will be over in 30 minutes, this is real and you are making the decision to actually live it. Are you kidding me?

Now before you completely disregard this post entirely and click off vowing never to read any of this blog again, I have another question to pose that I believe no one in their right mind thinks about until years later and by then its just stupid to even venture forth. Seriously, I wondered this same question I am about to ask with another woman who married a man that had been divorced. I couldn't help but to wonder what interview process would she ask a man in his mid to late thirties that has been married - past the obvious stuff. Why won't the other person ever ask to speak to the ex-spouse? Yeah, there maybe some crap attached to the whole idea behind it, but doesn't that in of itself, tell you something? But if the intended doesn't have an issue with it, why not ask the ex what happened (Proverbs 9:9-18 AMP)? Who tells anyone their faults? Who likes to paint a bad picture of themselves?

Consider this: A young man and woman marry in their early twenties. They are supposedly in love with each other. All is wonderful right up until they had to figure out who was gong to control what. Who was going to handle the budget? Who was going to do all of the house work? Who was going to do the yard work? Who was going to work and who was going to raise the children? Was there a problem with day care and why? So forth and so on. It seemed every issue was an argument. Eventually they fell into a grove that worked for them but was no less quiet of their troubles. One day he decided that he had to do something that would cause her to leave and it wouldn't ruin his chances of remarrying. He decided to be even more argumentative then they usually were. It worked! She left with the children. And he worked on trying to find a new bride to start a new life. By this time he was in his late thirties and dating had changed in the last 10-15 years. It took him about 3-4 years after the divorce but he found her. She was a little ignorant of the Christian values and ethics but he figured he could teach what she needs to know and everything else would fall into place. Within a month into the marriage, the household sounded as if he was with his first wife. They argued over every little thing (James 1:20 AMP). He had to have control and so did she. The arguing, this time didn't stay confined to the household. She picked with him at social events and he brought up her shortcomings in mixed company. The first wife heard about the life he had. She also heard about him using her as a comparison to his current wife. All the first wife could do was thank God that she got out when she did.

Could his second wife avoided the noise if she did a little investigating of her own? Could she have sought some answers with the first wife as to why, with the Christian principles being what they are, would there ever be a divorce (Malachi 2:16 KJV)? But most of all, why do you believe it would please God for another marriage to come together when the spouse of the failed marriage has not been called to be with the Lord (passed away)? God hates divorce and yet, its been done and pursuant to be with another without understanding why the divorce came about is disastrous. Why put someone else through that? Who do you love by disregarding these questions? Why are you even dating?

Failed marriages are failures because love did not exist in them. Excuses are made afterward (if not blame on the other person). These are signs when discussing the matter that the person of the failed marriage has not changed. I came to this realization when studying the scriptures on love and having a painful self actualizing session (1 Corinthians 13 AMP). I could have enjoyed blaming my ex-husband for everything (and may still be in the process of being delivered from tiny bits of that), but the truth of the matter is, I spoke those vows, I believed what I wanted to believe, and I responded in one way when I could have followed a more peaceful path. For a long time it felt good to sing the song, I Did It My Way. But it was that study that made me see true salvation in Christ Jesus, knowing that His way is the only path to righteousness, peace, and joy (Matthew 6:32-34 AMP). Why would I compromise that?

Fine, let's see this on the practical side because people do what they do and the rose colored glasses are usually snatched off afterward. It is such a rude way to wake up and see the light - seriously! When I confronted my ex-husband trying to get some asinine proverbial closure, I mentioned the many lies he said to me of what he was going to do and had no intentions of doing them. He smirked as if those were high points in his life and said, "we were young!" I swallowed the shriek that tried to well up in my throat. I expected a sincere apology thinking that so many years have passed and he would see how wrong he was. But he didn't or wouldn't give me the satisfaction. So what did I have left but to either get revenge and deal with God later (stupid choice of words) or refer to the only guide of life that I have been using for everything else - The Bible.

While it isn't very popular with the feminist movement and for many other women, there is a reason as to why women should be submissive and obedient to their husbands. It isn't for us to be their subservient slaves but for us to look at the bigger picture. Being patient, loving, temperate... we have children to raise to do the same things. They are going to be leaders of industry but in order to do so, they will have to have respect for those in authority (followers first). What better teachers are there but their first ones they see in the home - the parents (Proverbs 22:6 KJV). The rise of crime is not because of the media, the cartoons, or the lack of good teachers. Rebellion is the lack of good parenting and lack of peace in the home (Joshua 24:15 KJV). If women have an issue with being submissive to this man she agreed to marry, then she must be clear about not being able to respect him, his choices, or other decisions she has with him. Reverencing him is not showing weakness but it strengthens the home for the children to also be reverent to him. Women must keep in mind that he got down on one knee and proposed because he realized that he needs help. He submitted first. He knows that she has what he needs to complete the vision God called him to. Now its her turn to do the same. When you do, God sees how much more you are like Him. A goal we all strive for (Romans 8:1-17 KJV).

Here is the balance, he has to show his love for Christ even before he comes into deciding to marry. If he doesn't know it, the woman should recognize Christ in him before accepting the proposal. We all learn things along the way. If the first marriage wasn't an indication of missing it  - big time, then the second time around, changes should be evident. He has to love her as Christ loved the church. Christ died for the church. He gave up His life for the church. So does it make sense for him to give her a prenuptial agreement to sign before walking down the aisle? Is it a clear indication of what he loves more, of what he will die for, of what he will give up for her? When Jesus told the rich young ruler to give away all that he had to follow Him, Jesus didn't ask him - the young ruler asked Jesus if he could come and join His team. You will see, the rich young ruler couldn't do it. Did Jesus tell him, "never mind, I see you are having a hard time letting go of all of your crap, come on anyway and join with Me"? Can you imagine how different the gospels would have been with this rich young ruler tagging along knowing that all of his possessions are safe in his home and all of his selfish ways are loaded up to come with Jesus too? If you can't see the troubles that Paul refers to coupled with this parable, you should not be dating.

There is humbling on both sides. The man has to humble himself before God in order to obtain all that God has for him. The Word tells us that even in the last days every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. If you see, there is no other choice in the scripture, you will do it. So while there is the choice, why not do it willingly? She has all of these skills that he needs in order for him to be successful, if not the skills then it is her ability to have children and raise them. She knows this and can be extremely hard nosed and arrogant about it, but this would not fair well when raising her children to be adults that no one likes because of her harsh views of all that she has and would not humble herself too. It is the meek that inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5 KJV). So how can this be done if the heart is not in it? If you cannot be submissive in your little world with one person, how then would God, who is good, give you such an inheritance that is evident you cannot be trusted with.

Ladies, I am going to conclude this post this way. Notice how you are feeling reading this blog. Is there a hint of frustration in knowing that you have to be submissive and humble to a man in order  please God? In explaining this to my four sons, I saw the pride they had in quoting a scripture to me that most men say to women to keep them quiet. Its the submissive one (Ephesians 5:22 KJV). But then I showed them the verse just above that. Like it or not, that puff pride causes in most men's chests was deflated. I am happy as you too will be (Ephesians 5:21 KJV). God is good.

Marriage is a wonderful institution. I believe God created such a practical venue for people to remain out of sin and to help build each other up in Him. One will put a thousand to flight, but two will put ten thousand..., its strength. Its a more clear indication of why God hates when the two are ripped apart in a divorce. Nevertheless, with a second marriage, there has to be a change in the individual getting married again. When asking the questions, if blame is still on the other person - ever, he/she has not changed and divorce will be in your future as well (Genesis 3:9-13 KJV). The divorced individual must see what hand he/she played in the failed union in order to be successful in the new relationship. Demands will be expected no matter who you marry. The newness and the special tingles will wear off when you see her wake up with no make up or you see him scratch in places that aren't cute. Will Love outshine those times too? Is Love at the helm?

The obvious question, that I am not going to get into right now is, how can the he/she marry when the ex-spouse is still alive? That is a question that must be handled individually. It is as you understand it for you. No matter what your decision, God has called us to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15 KJV).

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Heart Condition

A young man has this fledgling relationship that he has dubbed her to his family as the one. He caters to her every whim and as most relationships are in the first year, it is incredible! She has a career and her focus is clear as to how to obtain her long range goals. The same is for him. but then, because of outstanding traffic tickets, the police stops this young man for the last time. He is taken to jail and his car is confiscated. He doesn't call his parents for bail but his incredible girlfriend who happens to be the one. When she comes to bail him out, of course, they have a discussion and more then likely find that it is the first time they discover some information he wasn't at all willing to divulge. A history of traffic tickets is a flaw. Finding that the tickets were because of non-registered plates, not having insurance, and a warrant for not appearing in court is also a means to reconsider one or two of those future goals. He might have discovered that she changed her plans when at a family gathering he calls her for a ride and she doesn't answer her cell phone for hours and even into the next day. If it were you, would you be worried, stressed, or anxious? How could you make the situation better? What is your mind focused on? It is obvious where your heart is?

Another young man in the ministry found his "good thing". She loves the Lord with all her heart, mind, and strength. His family loves her too. This young man tells his family that he is going to propose at a specific time and that he is just about finished paying off the ring. The elderly people in his family advise for him to wait because the ring is too expensive and there is no reason for him to start a life together in financial ambiguity. Though he heard, it was clear he didn't listen. At the next family gathering he got on one knee and proposed. She said yes. The family was elated. She cried. It was a joyous time. A few weeks later, this young man was seen looking a little distressed. He had pulled up his bank statements on the computer and saw a less then attractive balance. She knows nothing of his concerns still glowing from the aftermath of the proposal. If it were you,  could you hear the Lord speaking? Is His voice audible or has the connection a faulty circuit due to the exchange of wills? And what about the women? If you were either of these women, would God be calling you to enter the challenge of your life in helping either of these men? And to be of assistance, does that require matrimony first?

Personally, I teach to clean up all of your drama before incorporating someone else into your mess. I was watching the showing of TNT, Hoarding. There was this relatively attractive man in his late 40's with an MBA and mild mannered speaking voice...actually, he would be ideal as a model of GQ Magazine (c). Anyway, he began a relationship with a beautiful woman. She was interviewed as well. I found this particular episode interesting because they decided to film at a crucial point in this man's life. he was the hoarder and was interested in establishing a relationship. He had not been in an exclusive relationship in quite sometime. The biggest reason for this was the hoarding issue he had not yet dealt with. He decided to go to a therapist for him to deal with his issues. Unfortunately, either he did not divulge with his therapist that he was in a relationship or he was given bad advice that just because he started therapy doesn't mean that he was automatically cured. Nevertheless, he decided, after keeping most of his time with her at her residence, he would allow her to see his home. She was excited but was not expecting anything wrong even though the introduction to her going to his place, "I want to share something with you about my life." Off camera, she stated, "what could it be? He's so tidy and organized in my home." And the director showed all the cleaning he would do in his girl friend's apartment. They drove up the driveway and she stepped out of the car. It was a nice Spanish Tudor and she commented on the beauty of the home on the outside. You could tell that he was getting nervous the closer he came to the door and opened it. When looked in for the first time and was amazed. Even with the sunken living room the garbage was almost four feet from the ceiling. Her reaction: "Are you kidding me? You are kidding me - right? Seriously?" He was more concerned with where she was going to step because all of his garbage was precious to him. She thought he was helping so not to fall in it all.

It took her a moment before she could digest what he was allowing her to see of him. She took a deep breath and said, "alright we can fix this. It will take a little time but all we have to do is start cleaning up. That's all." Off camera she told the producers that it was a shock but it was not a reason to give up on the relationship. She said out of her own mouth that she loved that man. There they were cleaning, little by little. I though it odd that he was holding her hand while she was cleaning - to each his own. Then when it came time for her to throw the first bag of garbage that was barely filled away, he went with her. Seemingly he was fine. The moment she threw it in the bin outside, he said, "okay, okay," and without releasing her hand, with the other hand grabbed the bag out of the garbage to go through it again. I missed the expression on her face when he did this. The producers did not show the more then likely intense discussion they had after he did this. What they did show was her getting in her car and leaving. The relationship was over. Even with the, I love you's, the this is no reason to break up's, and we can fix this's. She left.

In receiving the fullness of God (Colossians 2:8-10 AMP), there has to be a condition that is conducive to receiving. There cannot be a battle of wills when God tries to bless you. He has the blue print of when you were created (Jeremiah 1:5 AMP). He knows what is the best diet for you, the best place of employment for you, the best environment for you to reside, and when is the best time for you to marry. Yes, even though women were created for men, God does not desire for His daughters to be miserable wondering when they will ever be happy again as they labor in getting this man out of the crap he put himself into.

The Word tells us out of a good man's heart, there is good treasure (Matthew 12: 34-36 KJV). The Word also tells us that where a man's heart is, there will his treasure be also (Matthew 6:21 KJV). Make sure when dating, the interview is clear, concise, leaving no room for doubt.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Presentation Is Everything!

This is a phrase that is used in the catering and food industry when they are trying to increase sales. Food photographers learn tricks to make a hamburger more appealing in a picture by painting the meat and vegetables with oil. This way the veggies look fresh and the meat looks juicy. They also use this phrase when selling property. Many times on the more high end properties, real estate brokers will hire interior decorators to stage the house to make it look more like a home so when potential buyers come to view the property, the presentation makes it more appealing for them to envision themselves living in the house. Its all for the purpose of the outward appearance of a thing. Is the food good for you? Will the house have the type of strong structure that will withstand 30 more years of wear and tear? Who knows? All they are looking for is to sell a bill of goods. Whether you do what you are suppose to do is completely up to you (Matthew 6:33 KJV).

Now, let's see how God does this very thing to you in Christian dating. Of course, it's much different because it is God and He is holy and every motive to do what He does is for your benefit. So when He makes a presentation, it is going to be far above what you could ask for or think (Ephesians 3:20 KJV). Look how He made that presentation for Adam (Genesis 2:20-25 KJV). Would that we could see what that was like, he more then likely didn't have the words to speak seeing himself in female form. Just think what a surprise to wake up from a sound sleep to see what God has done for you now! Is that what man has been doing by picking up every Jane, Sue, and Mildred to take home to bed so he can wake with a surprise? Man cannot do what God can. Look what he wakes up to: a stranger, someone who has been around many, many times before, unknown diseases, guilt, and sin. Well, I guess that too is far more then what he imagined or could think too. Ew!

Still, in these days and times with us asking God everything we can, needing Him now more then ever to get us the mate that is equal to us rather then finding some similar facsimile of what we think we want, there are those who won't accept the person God has presented him with. I find this utterly fascinating. She is more then likely devastated because as Eve was aware of why she was there so is every other woman whom God prepared for the presentation (John 16:13 KJV). And what did this guy do? Nothing. Not a hello, my name is such and so. Not a little note. Not one whisper to someone else to go and ask her a question, as junior high school as that may sound, not even that. There she is waiting and waiting because of what the Word says and still he doesn't make a move. She is smiling. She is dressed in her best all of the time.  She is right there praying and thanking God. You can't say that you don't sense the joy and peace of God. So what is the deal? Why has he not made a move, a cough, a grunt... something?!!

This has actually happened.Whether it was me or a client is neither here nor there. The point of the matter is, a friend gave some unsolicited advise and said, "if he hasn't come to speak to you, then he isn't interested." To give those words credence or even said back to me, in a counseling session, was painful. It had no merit in the Word of God, yet the facts are what they are. He made no effort even after the presentation was made. Adam didn't do this with Eve. He woke and declared her bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. You can't get anymore absolute then that. He was pleased with God's selection. So what sort of man wouldn't be?

I have attended many singles meeting and have heard many ministers speak on what women should and shouldn't do. There are those who speak on getting the gray out of your hair and start going to the gym more often and then there are those who tell women that God made a woman for every man's taste. Some bigger then others while some like them as small as can be. Don't worry. Truth be told there are more sermons of the former then of the latter. Personally, for many years I was going to the beauty salon, the gym (or trying to convince myself to go), getting pedicures, manicures, a new outfit every Sunday (dressing in his favorite color), getting my car detailed (just in case he looks inside), brushing up on my cooking skills, going to church functions and volunteering where ever I was needed based on all of those messages that I believed was a Word from the Lord specifically directed to me. God knows I was exhausted. None of that stuff I did that was based on those messages was edifying, exhorting, or comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3 KJV). When I finally stopped all of that stuff, I was so relieved. It was like keeping up with the Jones' when there were no such group of people.

I got quiet and started thinking about what kind of guy watches any woman go through all of those changes and doesn't come and rescue her from herself? The better question is, why would the woman make all of those changes if God presented her before she did all of that?

A woman saw the man she knew was to be her husband. They spoke sporadically in passing through the various church functions. Both were interested in getting married and were faithful in getting their prayers answered. It took about a year before this young man spoke to the woman he was praying for and she accepted his invitation for a date. It was known that the two were dating for quite some time in the church until he was about to propose marriage. When the rest of the congregation heard who was dating whom, the woman that had been praying for her husband wasn't the one he was dating. When she saw the two of them together, she was so hurt. Each time she came to church and saw the two of them, the pain pierced even deeper. The emotion was far too much for her to control and eventually she stopped going to church services not understanding why God didn't answer her prayers. According to her, he was her husband.

This was told to me and I watched the man grow in the Lord. His wife appeared to be so happy as she had one child after another, yet the demeanor of the man once so pleased with whom he married seemed troubled. He was a minister in the church for quite some time and then it was announced that he was to serve elsewhere. A few years later, he was back, but wasn't on staff as one of the ministers. Yet, when needed he was right there. I would see him quite often at the public library looking very busy with some sort of business transaction, still not a smile looking pleased with his life at all. His wife was always smiling as her family continued to grow. I prayed for them. I then heard that the woman who believed she was the one for this man, had an emotional break. I prayed for her as well. That man never did get his position back on staff. There was never an announcement that I heard that he was needed elsewhere. I did wonder why God would have a man marry, have children and then have him and that family move all over the place for the sake of the ministry. This also happened to another minister. He toyed with a woman's affections, according to her. She believed this was the man she was to marry. They went to ministerial school together. They joked around often and went to every singles meeting together. If he wasn't interested, he didn't let her know. Then all at once he stopped talking to her. She sobbed at telling me this and wondered what lesson was God trying to teach her. He married someone else and his wife looked very happy so are the children, but he looked as if he was dealing with trouble on every side. He was promoted and then was ready to begin his own ministry, as it was announced to the congregation. Then out of nowhere, he was gone. As it was told to me, it just didn't work out. Both of these men are anointed and God fearing men. The calling on their lives is so powerful. Not one person can walk away from either of them and not be the better for having a conversation with them. Therefore, it was difficult for me to understand that they would not receive what God presented them with.

Many men think that when they decide to ask God for a wife, they can do what King Ahaserus did in having a beauty pageant to get more of a wide selection (Esther 2:1-4 AMP).  I know my Heavenly Father, He also loves me and would not have me to be in a pageant where the possibility of me losing and getting hurt could be the outcome. If a real man of God were to study that passage in Esther, he could see that the King took advice when he was drunk (Esther 1:8 AMP). Though he offered all there to drink as well, no one else did but him. Then when he called for Queen Vashti, she decided not to come. The Princes then feared that their wives would do the same thing, so they devised to send a message to all women that if they did such a thing then the reaction to that action would be a divorce. The King decreed it based on the fear of Princes. You do know what Princes are, don't you? They are.... not the King! The pageant, that men smile believing they can have too, was based from fear and a broad means to land in some trouble. Why would God still do what is no longer necessary? The King made this decree after the fall of man. Jesus has come. We then are able to have what Adam had before the fall. There are no pageants for women to get their feelings hurt because they don't measure up to some unknown standard. There are no more seeking the advice of others who don't have nearly what God has called you to have. There is only one to trust in (Isaiah 26:3 AMP). The One who created all, knows all, and is all.

The day of Judgement is coming. What will men of God say when presented before Him and He asks of them, "why did you do this or that?" The Word tells us to present our case and remind God of His Word (Isaiah 43:25-27 AMP). The Word is, after all our defense (Psalm 94:22 AMP). And there he will be telling God what is written. Would he use what was deemed as righteous from the Old or New Testament? Would he use scriptures from Ecclesiastes where Solomon states that money answers all things (Ecclesiastes 10:19 KJV)? Course, by that time when Solomon wrote that passage, he had been disobedient to God having married over 700 women foreign to the faith (1 Kings 11:1-3 AMP). Or would the man realize that it would be better stating what Jesus, Himself, said?

God will make His final presentation to the Lord. There will only be one worthy to be His bride. No pageants. No going through different ones to see if sexually compatible, temperament worthy, congenial, or of proper credit status. The wheat and the tares will be separated (Matthew 13:36-40 KJV). The goats from the sheep (Matthew 25:31-34 KJV). And there she will be without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:24-33 KJV). Only One.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Scared?

My purpose for writing this blog in particular came about when I realized how I had been manipulated into deciding major events in my life based on what I believed the Lord would have me to do. Than I read the Word for myself and found otherwise (2 Timothy 2:15-16 KJV). In reading some of the entries, my voice may have sounded anything else but cheerful and calm. Reason being, in recalling specific times, I felt the need to convey as much as possible in hopes that none of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would ever have to go through what I have been through. I am hoping that the way is paved with so much clarity, there is no doubt that you are doing exactly what God has called you to do and no one could ever convince you otherwise (Ephesians 4;13-15 KJV).

With that in mind, I also realize that with the Holy Spirit guiding me to write what I do, I am learning of where I have some cleaning to do in my own prayer closet. For instance, this past Memorial Day weekend, I went out to dinner with some friends of mine after church services. Still, in the state of waiting patiently for what God has me waiting for, I listened to all of the things in the lives of those I have sat to eat with; but before the conversation I was satisfied with what I was doing and what God said to me about my future. When they finished, they looked for me to tell of what is new and wonderful that I am doing, my answer was,"eh", with a shrug. There the four of us were sitting at a table waiting for our food and being quite content at being single, one even asked was I expecting for a mate soon. I smiled having no intention of really answering the question because in opening that can, I knew from where I came and where the answer could possibly lead. I tried to make a joke of it so we could just move on to another topic.

Later, I thought about what was asked of me and how pleased I am whenever I use my keys to open the door to my two bedroom apartment. My children are grown and I really am enjoying being single. I even recall actually being giddy to have a full size bed to myself. Two of us at our luncheon did agree about being content as single women and the only time it really gets difficult is when going to the movies and seeing couples going in or coming from the theatre arm in arm or holding hands. There are those times where we miss that romantic connection, but it doesn't last. And there's the real question. Why doesn't it last? Is it because we recall past mistakes and made the promise that if God got us out of it, we would never repeat that mess again? Is it because we don't trust ourselves to do what we are really called to do as the help that men need? Is it because we don't believe we are worthy of that romance or have we lost all hope believing that romance is all superficial and won't last anyway?

God has called us all to guard our hearts (men too) for out of them comes the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23 KJV). Getting all emotionally involved in a relationship is actually throwing that warning to the wayside believing the other person is being just as passionate and life will be that way forever. Then we grow up and see how there wasn't a plan in the relationship and many things that were left for someone else to do, just didn't get done. Bills have to be paid. Children come. They have that pesky tendency to want to eat. Shelter must be maintained and romance becomes a distant memory. Honestly, when all of those responsibilities start making their own demands, that distant memory with all of its broken promises, produces resentment. Paul calls it trouble (1 Corinthians 7:26-40 KJV). When that resentment is not recognized or realized where it came from, another failed marriage becomes the suggestion of resolve.

Its just scary to start that all over again when you know where you have been and where it could go. You have no control of the behavior and thoughts of another individual. You might think that he/she is on the same page as you are but if they didn't pray or they did entertain a thought out of character or decided to let you know he/she "played" you just to get married - what do you do then? If I hadn't been there myself, I have heard people tell me their horror stories. There is no way I could allow myself to forget what they said or what I did to get myself into something that would be all the more difficult to get out of. Never, never, never, will I ever do that again.

The dust settles and you are quiet (1 Kings 19:12 KJV). It is in these times that the Lord will speak, "what about being his help?" This question makes you take that search inwardly beyond the past mistakes and the broken promises that men have said and you have forgiven them. Past the feelings of neglect from your childhood that has long been dealt with. Past the expectations you have for God to meet you with (Philippians 4:19 KJV). Can you look beyond you to help someone else? You received the training when you volunteered in all of those auxiliaries. You looked past you when you gave money to help the poor (Proverbs 22:9 KJV). You looked past you when visiting and ministered to the prisoners in jail (Psalm 69:33 KJV). You looked past you when you took the time to minister to the orphans and widows (1 Timothy 5:2-4 AMP). Should it be any different when God has called you to minister to this one person for the rest of your life?

What if he doesn't love me? What if he finds someone better? What if he cheats on me? What if he doesn't support me? What if he uses me? What if I make a mistake? What if he is no longer attracted to me? Truly in that respect, helping the poor, ministering to prisoners, orphans, and widows is much easier. Also in that respect, it should tell you where your maturity level in Christ is. Those questions that might scare you lets you know that you have no business contemplating any prospects of marriage as of yet. The what if's, to those that have been there and done that, should be the challenge for you to use the Word and allow God to see that the trying of your heart proves you are ready. To every one of those questions there is an answer. If you have the answer (based on the Word), there is no fear.

Note: You will see, I have not put any verse behind any of those what ifs. By now, you should already know scripture and verse for each one. God is good.