Thursday, December 27, 2012

That's Triflin'

During the holidays, family members gather around for food, fellowship, and fun. There are those times when the festivities come to a drone and certain members start to really talk to catch up with one and another to see how everything has been. Someone got a promotion while another just finished college and going on to get a Master's degree or better yet, their PhD. Some adulate while others turn green with envy. You have the-use-to-be-gorgeous cousin has now gained a few with children and was jilted once again but she's bouncing back slowly but surely. And then you've got the screw up that finally got his head out of the sand, decided on a career, and did something about it. At hearing the news, you take a deep sigh of relief that prayers have finally been answered... and then you listen to the rest of the review. He choose a career that he is interested in and would truly be a part of the corporate world. He has his own place and has been paying his bills regularly (Proverbs 27:23 AMP). That news is a godsend for sure. Then that little piece of him having a steady relationship for some years but has no designs of marriage was added on like a finished accessory to a garment. It wasn't really necessary but just thrown out there. What? It was like a rip in the hose and you don't have another pair. The whole outfit has to be changed. Everything else said was like noise. Cousin Whosoever and Auntie Whatshername's news were just in the wind. How can anyone attach themselves to another for years and do nothing to solidify a commitment?

In an earlier post entitled, He's A Good Guy, But..., there's made mention of men deciding after so many years on a mate and bringing her home to meet the parents. The parents are either pleased with whom he has chosen or will tell him later (if at all) why she isn't the one. It isn't heard of that they will ever tell the young woman that their son is a piece of crap and she should run to get away from him....but I will. I don't recall if I ever wrote that in the post mentioned but I have written this before and would hope that all parents that truly believe Jesus is Lord will do the same. If your child refuses to do what is right but would still like to have the benefits of marriage without the commitment to do so, give the young lady a heads up...if she is really young or doesn't have the good sense God gave her. She needs the help and you wouldn't wish for such the young man on your daughter (Romans 12:17 AMP). So extend that love and do the same for someone else's daughter (Matthew 5:48 AMP). It doesn't matter that he has an excellent job and seems to care for her. The fact that he has taken all of this girl's time and goodies (you know what I mean) to assist in whatever he was doing but won't take the next step is called triflin'.

The actual word is trifling but the 'g' was taken off to add emphasis on the ghetto behavior and the act of moving aside Christian training for carnality. Nevertheless, the woman also has a voice. She doesn't have to continue putting up with such a person who doesn't consider "her favors" as anything worthy of a more stable commitment. She has allowed herself to be cheapened in the hopes that eventually he will see the light and do the right thing. When the relationship goes into 3-8 (or more) years, doing the right thing is not on his mind (Romans 8:6-8 AMP).

In a Women's Conference at the ministry I use to attend, there was a Q and A forum with the First Lady and the female ministers on panel to answer any questions the congregation might have. One of the questions that came up was from a woman. She asked how long should a woman allow for a man to keep her in a relationship before she decides that he isn't going to do anything. She divulged, at the time, that she has been engaged to this man for 8 years. The forum was interesting because we were all thinking the same thing but the answer had to be delicate enough so not to discourage this believer or anyone else listening who might be in the same circumstance and at the same time give sound advise according to the word. Some of the panel didn't need to be on the panel. There was too much eye rolling and neck jerking without saying one thing (Galatians 5:13-15 AMP). The hearts of the people weren't on their minds; however, the First Lady took the question and told the young woman to ask him what are his plans. If his plans don't include being married, let him go. The pastor, the following Sunday also added, that the man has taken this woman off the market for anyone else to be interested in her. He claimed her as his own and then when he was finished with what he had to do, he makes the decision that marriage isn't for him. Meanwhile the man she was created for, saw her, noticed the engagement ring and moved on. It is selfish of any man to ask a woman to marry him and then not follow through on the commitment. If you aren't sure, don't propose! In my perspective, agreeing with aforementioned, and also adding if she is giving up the goods, she is just as triflin' as he is and they both deserve each other. Seriously, how can you expect Prince Charming if you are acting like Cinnamon Twist on Second and Woodward (in Detroit where prostitutes frequent)? How can you expect Cinderella if you act like Cinnamon Twist's pimp about to smack her if she doesn't do more to earn her keep (Philippians 2:3 AMP)?

I watched a man today, and as I have seen him do over and over again wheel his wife from one place to another in a wheel chair. She looks to have MS. He is with her for the most part of the day, even when grocery shopping he takes her with him. He could have put her in a nursing home or hired a nurse to be with her as he did whatever his heart desired. What did she do, say, pray to have that man so devoted to her? What's also funny is, he looks happy (Proverbs 20:7 AMP). As much work as it has to be to care for her, he looks happy. I asked God, what happened to those sorts of men with character, integrity, discipline, honor, and know that the blessing of the Lord has made him rich beyond measure? I wait patiently for His answer.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Blues and Ready to Send Pity Party Invites

Having "the holiday blahs" is not something that just came about. Its been going on for some time. The recognition of it is relatively new...well, if you consider the last 20-30 years new. The realization of such the condition more then likely had been snubbed or left on the shelf with the resolve being to just get over it already, or go take a nap and get with it, or here are some tranquilizers (which seemed to be the answer to anything that ailed you back in the 60's), you'll be fine. These panacea like answers were created because what the therapists and counselors were dealing with were so much more important than just having the blues.

These days "the blahs" are considered a form of depression. Now there are varying levels of this condition and with these varying levels come more advice, more hours with the doctor and certainly more medication. Also the medical profession take this condition much more seriously and in turn with their advice, the patients take it more seriously...though, I find it strange that with these cases having such consideration, now, why wouldn't there be more funds allocated to those with these conditions? Why were these funds the first to go when trying to get a state back on budget? Why haven't the funds returned to treat these serious cases?

There's nothing I can do about that, nor do I minimize the seriousness of having such the condition. The reason for this entry is the season we are currently in this month and how it can be enjoyed as with every day in the Lord.

This is the day, the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24 KJV). This is how I treat each day as I get up in the morning. It is a command I use to remind the Lord of His Word and how my day has to be. The Word cannot return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11 AMP). So if the ministering angels must do something, why not it be what the laws of the Word tell them to do (Hebrews 1:14 AMP). Any obstacles will have to be removed (Mark 11:23 AMP). Obstacles will not make my day a joyful one. Peace must rule and reign for my day to be enjoyed. The evil and mischief of others will have to be played on someone else (Proverbs 12:21 KJV). The moment they come near, any evil that they were thinking dissipates and they stand there saying, "now what was it that I was about to do?" It is the coolest thing ever!

Granted, there are those that have gone through all sorts of devastation and loss. Trying to put the pieces back together seem to be an impossible task and blaming someone else almost would be a normal thing to do if you didn't know better; nevertheless, God is still good. There has to be a point where you must put things back into perspective. As much as you have prayed for certain family members, some still keep getting into all sorts of trouble. Do you think your prayers weren't answered or was the family member determined to do what he/she wanted to do? Was it God's fault that this person refused sound instruction, direction, or guidance? Just as you made a quality decision to be saved, others made the decision not to be (2 Timothy 4:3 AMP).

Loss is not the only reason as to why people have  feelings of not wanting to do anything, sleeping all of the time, or sit in the dark. As many reasons as there are to muster up, someone can think of one more. Why go through them all? If a person in that state of mind, wished to be out of it, would he/she use what is available if it weren't drugs or cost them anything? Just as I used scripture as stated above, here are some verses that can be more of assistance: Deuteronomy 31:8, 32:10, Psalm 34:17, 40:1-3, 3:3, 32:10, 37:3-4, 42:11, Jeremiah 29:11, 1 Peter 5:6-7, John 16:33, 1 Peter 4:12-13.

If we were to look at the matter in terms of relationships and dating, it is not the thing to do to get your mind off of your woes. As much as we have discussed not to incorporate anyone into a mess until you have cleaned it up, this would also go under the very same category. If you are still feeling "the blahs" and decided to date to get your mind off of it and just so happened to mention what you are going through, you could trigger the same depressive state in the other person, alienate your ideal mate from ever dating you again, or make a bad decision worse by thinking this person understands you and what you are going through. When the condition leaves and you are then stuck with someone who is still having the blues, what's your next move? What do you do with this person's heart now that you are better? What if this person likes being in that state? Don't you think there are people who enjoy pity parties, being miserable and having company to wallow in it? You've heard the saying before. Where do you think it comes from?

This is the season of giving and having an outward showing of the Spirit of the Lord. People are more accepting of Him during this time. Yes, we are to show this every year and for the most part, those of us that know - do. Its just that those that don't are willing to now. It is a stupendous opportunity for His wondrous works to be seen. If ever having those miserable feelings again, take out this season of giving and sharing with others. You know it doesn't have to be Christmas to show His love. Once you start, misery has to find residence elsewhere (Ephesians 4:27 AMP).

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Pre-Nuptial Before The Nuptials (Part 3)

We all change. For whatever the reason, we will all change. Some will change for the better. Some have lost their lives because the changes they decided upon was  for the worse. As we grow, we change. From zygotes to fetus. When the fetus is too big for its surroundings birth happens. The baby grows from the bassinette to a crib, from a crib to a bed. The change happens from diapers to training pants and then to actual underwear. A baby is carried for a little while. When he/she has a desire to walk but can only crawl until changing of his/her body develops to be strong enough to toddle, then walk, and eventually run. The process of change is inevitable.

We look at children and assume that certain cognitive behaviors and motor skills are already in place based on age and emotional development. If the child acts outside of what is expected, the parent's concern causes for tests to be taken to find what the issue (if any) could be. Sometimes, its arrested development brought on by physical or emotional trauma, other times its a mental dysfunction that can be worked through with therapy or the family needs training how to raise a child with a disability. Nevertheless, for the most part, without unforeseen stressors, children grow, operate as expected, and become successful adults. This is an expected change.

Adulthood doesn't stop change from occurring. Those in their 20's believe they are invincible and have all of the answers. They get this from the encouragement of parents and those they admire. Once 30, ideas of immortality aren't as strong. Usually patterns from a career, paying bills, and raising a family have taken precedence. Having an imagination and being creative has been harnessed and re-directed with an education for focus to be established. New thoughts and ideals have been introduced. Because of this, behavior changes again based on new training. Plans change because of better ideas to benefit oneself. By the age of 40-50 reassessing self happens. We laugh at our childish ways and smile at our accomplishments (1 Corinthians 13:11 AMP). We think thoughtfully of our mistakes and try to convey to the younger generation what not to do so they can have greater accomplishments (John 14:12 AMP). It is the order of good things.

Putting God first is paramount in the order of good things. He defines what good is. It is why having a pre-nuptial agreement in a Christian marriage is a part of being decent and in order also good planning. We have dispelled that such an agreement is a precursor to divorce. If anything, instead of repeating what the world says, "its cheaper to keep her," the pre-nuptial agreement will cause men to stop talking about divorce altogether. The agreement, having been drawn in the beginning stages of love and commitment, will serve as a constant reminder that no matter what happens, she and the children will be cared for (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV).

Let's make the agreement a visual for the man; with him being the head of the house and the head of his wife, be able to see what has been masked for so many years. A young couple decides to marry after being inseparable for 18 months. All who see the couple smile at how much each one loves the other and are looking forward to seeing when they are wed. The marriage takes place. Within 3 years, she gives her husband two children and a baby on the way. The couple is still happy but not as enamored with each other as they were 3 years ago. Outsiders see the change in the couple as just being new parents and getting use to the energy that it takes out of running after little children. A year later, she looks a little tired but the children are clean and healthy. The husband seems content. His career is good and all of the bills are paid. Fast forward to 15 years of marriage. The children are teens. She wishes to work outside of the home. He doesn't agree. She appeases her husband but then requests to at least go back to school. He doesn't say no but puts off the matter until both can speak calmly. The matter has been put off for 2 years. 10 more months have passed. She found a thong tucked under the passenger seat of the family car. When she asks her husband about it, he becomes flushed and fidgety. She didn't suspect anything until then. Five months later, he confesses to her a marital indiscretion. She now questions if she has a marriage to maintain. He sees the concern in her. Before he is rejected by her, 3 weeks later she is served with divorce papers. In the complaint, he requests to split all marital assets evenly though his assumption is the children will live with her. Does this show him loving his wife as Christ loves the church? If no, when did that change begin (1 John 3:22 AMP)?

With that scenario the way that it is, he will recuperate financially within a few weeks. She, on the other hand, would have been better off finishing school or establishing some sort of career while her children were in class themselves. Considering and reverencing her husband, she asked him before doing anything. He didn't agree. Having peace was more important in her home then a career or furthering her education. In a committed relationship no one plans for the other to have an extra-marital affair. Christians, ideally, are supposed to take marital vows seriously (1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP). Forsaking all others is a part of those vows; yet, people change, as previously discussed.

The elephant enters the room, meaning the topic at hand. While the feelings of love, honor and respect are relatively new, a pre-nuptial agreement should be devised for the financial protection of the wife and children (Proverbs 16:3 AMP). At the point where love is at its highest, he should think of how people change over the years. While he might not think it will ever happen, history, divorces, and neglected, resentful children show otherwise.

In this pre-nuptial agreement, money is allowed to be deposited until a specific amount is reached. This specific amount is gathered after much calculation on the value of his spouse and what she will need over a given period of time to support herself and children (Proverbs 27:23 AMP). Calculate a year's salary and multiply it by 5. Use that product as an initial goal. That amount can be electronically handled for long term investment growth but cannot be withdrawn by anyone unless the dissolve of the marriage or the passing of the spouse. Once the cap is reached, over months or years depending on how liquid the assets are, no other deposits are made unless through the interests of the aforementioned investments. The wife can move the funds around into separate accounts for the education of the children, that is, if no other accounts have been made previously in the agreement. If educational accounts have been made by the wife, they will be separate from the mother account - completely. It will then be the child's account only. The mother account no longer feeds into it after reaching its cap. This educational fund will belong to the child at the beginning of the 2nd year of college. Children change as well (Proverbs 22:6 AMP). It would also be beneficial that the child know nothing of this agreement or separate monies until that 2nd year of college. The value of the dollar makes sense when the child puts forth the effort to make a dollar (Proverbs 24:30-34 AMP).

When the marriage begins to have some constraints, he is more likely to consider counseling then knowing how well she will be cared for without him. We have now discovered his fear in the pre-nuptial agreement. What he has to remember is that God created him needing help. This does not change when he decides to leave her. God is the same, today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 13:8 AMP). He is not mocked (Galatians 6:7 AMP). Prove, my brothers in Christ, that you are more like Him then your former state (Proverbs 26:11 AMP). Selah.

A Pre-Nuptial Before The Nuptials (Part 2)

First, let's finally put to rest that the woman was not the reason for the fall of man. I recall blaming Eve for the cramps I endured every month. I was a child and my information was in error.

Let it be known, man was created first. He was given a job to do. God brought things to man, Adam, to be named (Genesis 2:19-20 AMP). The woman wasn't named until after the fall (Genesis 3:20 AMP). That is one act of disobedience from the man. God told Adam to protect the garden. The woman was having a conversation with the serpent. The serpent had a name; therefore, Adam saw the serpent before. The serpent did not speak to Adam. In speaking to the woman only was rude and a violation. This was not being protected. That's the second act of disobedience before the fall of man. God told Adam not to touch the tree of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17 AMP). I would speculate for one not to touch it, there had to be some distance from it so not even the slightest mistake could occur. Therefore, the woman (still not named) had to walk towards the tree (still conversing with the serpent) to pick the fruit. Adam stood right there with her (Genesis 3:6 KJV). He didn't stop her. In the discussion with the serpent, we can read what the woman understood as a directive not to do (Genesis 3:1-5 AMP). She didn't say that she is a god made in the image of the Creator. She didn't say that she has dominion over all of the earth. She didn't put the snake in his place being made higher then him. Did she know? What she heard Adam say when she was presented to him was "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. The two have become one." When she took the fruit from the tree, nothing happened. When she ate it - nothing happened. When she gave it to Adam, who still did nothing to stop her, he ate it too. Then something happened. God came. God came when Adam ate the fruit of the tree, yet the blaming started with Adam. He blamed the woman (not named). The woman, made from Adam, blamed the serpent. The serpent had no one else to blame because he got what he wanted. God punished Adam, the woman, and the serpent for these acts (Genesis 3:14-19 AMP). Why would man still be punishing women in ministry? Does he not see the truth of the matter or does he have something to fear in women?

The reason I ask this question is when women get quizzical, the men stop talking. Is that good? Adam stopped talking too. When has it been where men spoke up to make the necessary changes? I recall in the first 3 chapters of Esther how King Ahasuerus spoke up after having one of his wine feast celebrations. He was the only one drinking when he summoned for his queen (Esther 1:7-8 AMP). She decided not to come. The princes (men) spoke up and caused the king to divorce the queen. This purpose was to keep the women of the village in their place so they won't decide to be as bold as the queen (Esther 1:17-18 AMP). The king signed such the decree not seeing how he was being coaxed by those who awaited to be king themselves. (Esther 1:20-22 AMP)

Men also spoke up in Ruth after God told the tribes of Israel to stay in their land (Exodus 34:11-16 AMP, Deuteronomy 7:1-4 AMP). Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons decided to go to Moab in the time of famine. The sons married Moabite women and all 3 of the men died (Ruth 1:1-5 AMP). The consequence of an entire family was a direct result of one man's decision.

God told Jonah to go into Ninevah to preach to the people. He decided not to and while on the boat, there was trouble for him and the other passengers. Those steering the boat knew they didn't have any trouble before Jonah got on. So he was ejected. While alone he was swallowed up by a whale. The consequence was a direct result of one man's decision. A woman did not tell King Ahasuerus, Elimelech, or Jonah what to do. Why is the blame game still being played today? It makes no sense. The only way man will think differently is through maturity in Christ. This will require change.

Don't quit now, you are just getting to the juicy part. Part 3 is right here. Click and enjoy!

A Pre-Nuptial Before The Nuptials (Part 1)

It is a topic that appears to be taboo in the Christian sect. Women don't wish to speak on the matter these days because most have not come to the point of being the major bread winner in the household. It is also taught to women that such a contract would cause for divorce to be eminent.

A pre-nuptial agreement was created to protect his assets if the marriage doesn't work out. If she has grown accustomed to a certain life style and would he have been able to provide for such the lifestyle if it weren't for her? A question that is argued over and over again. Most of the time the woman loses. Her identity and what she has done as his wife is then valued. With his well paid lawyers, her worth is evaluated with no consideration to what she went through with her soon to be ex. In the end, she has a pittance of what she is due and he can pick up and start a new while she (usually with children) will have to struggle to come out even (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV). This is why the topic of a pre-nuptial is taboo in the church and the precursor for a divorce.

But what if the pre-nuptial agreement were created to protect the woman and her children? Why not make it a good thing to keep a marriage sealed rather then break it apart? Who would be opposed to that? A woman wouldn't oppose it unless in her heart she was already planning to leave. A man, who is more like Christ would do all he could to ensure the protection and safety of his family, including finances - right? It really sets it all out there, doesn't it (Matthew 7:16-20 AMP)? Let's look at the matter from a variety of perspectives before making up your mind what to do?

This subject reminds me of an interview Oprah Winfrey had on 60 Minutes, the popular new magazine, way back in the 80's. There she was sitting with her long time boyfriend, Stedman Graham. The question about her finally marrying became a cliche. Though earlier in her career, the subject of marriage held such importance on her show. Stedman was a guest one time and Oprah had the whole audience ask, "when are you going to marry her?" Stedman was quite calm when saying something to the effect of, "Oprah and I have an understanding. Not you or anyone else will pressure me in doing something that I am not ready to do." The camera switched quickly to focus on Oprah's reaction. She looked as if the comment took the wind out of her sail. The subject of marriage was no longer the headline as it use to be. In fact, on that 60 Minute interview, Oprah had grown in many ways. Her confidence had out shined the need she use to have to be married as she answered the interviewer's inquiry. Stedman sat very close to her at the ready for any question. The commentator then asked what everyone else viewed as ancient history and looked to have caused a sour taste in Oprah's mouth. It was the marriage question. Stedman looked at Oprah as she attempted to answer. He was more then likely awaiting for the pause and then she would say something like, "its not me. I am waiting on him." Only this time Stedman wasn't off camera listening or at home seated on a couch or at his office desk. Stedman was right there seated close by. His arm was around her and he was smiling. Was everyone thinking the same thing I was? Is he going to ask this time? Does he have the ring in his pocket? He was smiling like he was about to do it - propose?! But Oprah didn't allow for that door to be opened again. She refused the disappointment and embarrassment. She simply looked at the commentator and said, "if he doesn't sign the pre-nupt, there won't ever be a wedding anytime soon." The sail Stedman was flying on just got yanked and the sour taste Oprah masked had switched residence. There was such an awkward silence before going to commercial. When returning back to the interview, Oprah preceded alone. It was powerful! She was poised, professional, and poignant, without one Freudian slip. The absence of Stedman from the final segment spoke volumes. In the Christian arena, it had a strange affect which was flipped to mean something else. Over the years Oprah's thoughts on marriage changed. 

Years later, the author of the novel, "Waiting to Exhale", Terry McMillian had something similar happen. She also fell in love with a man and was eager for him to marry her. She, however, did not ask for a pre-nuptial agreement to be signed. Shortly after the vows were exchanged he decided to come out of the closet. She was livid. They agreed to divorce. It was then that she received a complaint to award her ex husband with spousal support. In the complaint it was explained that he had grown accustomed to a certain life style that she provided and he was not willing to give that life style up. He actually had a case. It took 5 years before they came to a resolve. 

With both of these incidences made public, everyone had an opinion of what should and shouldn't have been done. From Ms. McMillian being a cougar to Oprah allowing the relationship to have such a long root with no specific direction. Everyone had become an expert on everyone else. It made for some interesting and insightful discussions. The compelling part was that not too many men would engage on the topic. Why? Its two different perspectives. Which side would you rally to? Could you understand what Oprah did on the 60 Minutes interview and why? Can you empathize with Terry McMillian? Did Stedman have a point or was he using Oprah for his own gain? Was Terry McMillian's husband a boy-toy or was he brilliant in taking advantage of the situation? The men said nothing - nothing that I know of.

I wondered of this silence men have. In biblical times, the women weren't allowed to speak in church or have a place in ministry (1 Corinthians 14:34 AMP). The women were told if they have a question to ask their husbands once they got home from services. Why? Could this direction stem from the blame the woman received from the fall of man? Did men blame the women for the world being in a state of sin? There are ministries even now that won't allow the women to speak. I attended a church that was serving communion that Sunday. When it came time for that service, the elders of the church were served, then came the deacons, and then the wives and male sons of the elders and deacons. The male laypersons were served last. Who would be left? The single females and their children (if any). I waited and even asked the person that invited me. She was considering joining the ministry. When I asked her what was going on, she was quick to shush me for inquiring. I, she, or any of the women in our row never received the communion. I never returned to that ministry. I didn't care who the guest speaker was. What were the men thinking? How could the decision to ostracize any portion of the congregation be an act of love? Why were the women tolerating such treatment? Did this ministry believe that the woman was the reason for the fall of man too? Even if they do, what does it have to do with today? Jesus lives!