Monday, January 23, 2012

Does The Word No Challenge You?

Its the funniest thing, that a man who is respectable in his community and has done what he needs to in the eyes of God would want a woman to be as respectable as he would claim himself to be (1 Timothy 3:1-12 KJV). Yet when the mood arises (in the dating phase), and he attempts to arouse his intended, would he then be offended or challenged when she rejects his advances? Can you see the funny (not ha-ha) in that?

You see there are these "alpha male" personality types that see everything as command and conquer. There is nothing the matter with this because it definitely is needed in the body of Christ. That's bold determination and actually an attractive quality. There is no fear in that personality. In fact, he will usually look at men strangely when they would much rather reason things unto a slurry mess. You know the kind. The talkers, the lecturers, until the opposition surrenders because they would much rather take a nap then to hear anything else from this person. There's no fear in the talkers either, its just that they need to be around those that like to listen to them talk - incessantly! Though talkers can be challenged at the rejection of romantic advances in the dating process as well. Their method is to be convincing with flattering words.

The point being, why be challenged or offended for that matter? Would the phrase that comes next be, "we are going to get married anyway, what are you saving it for?" How could he form such a question out of his mouth? The better question being, how could she contemplate the validity in that question? What happened to discipline, strength in God, waiting for the wedding night, being a positive influence on the younger generation, or continuing to be pleasing in the eyes of God? Yes, it is an enormous task to accept the responsibility of marriage and that responsibility begins the moment the invitation to date is accepted. Its time to paint a visual picture so that this concept can be seen as truth. Lets start with the milk and work into the meat of God's word (Hebrews 5:14 KJV). After all, that's how you got here - isn't it?

As children we are taught the simplest of tasks as making up one's bed. At the start of doing this independently, there are marvelous accolades and praise for the attempt. The purpose of these accolades is for the behavior to be on going. Once it becomes a habit, there is no reason to continue with the praise for something that is expected. This would be true with potty training, walking upright instead of crawling, and dressing oneself regularly. It is expected. God does this very same thing when we take our first spiritual steps. When someone says something offensive, instead of being offended we use love as a defense. It grow us up and makes the other consider their ways. Its like your first step and God is there giving you accolades for attempting and finishing well. For some, these are too grown up so their first steps might be just being a cheerful giver when the offering plate comes around and not staring at it as if losing an old friend. Yes, not grieving over giving can be someone else's first steps (yeesh!). Nevertheless, which ever the case, these are baby steps. If there is still a frustration as far as what was aforementioned, you should think twice about accepting a date for the purposes of marriage. If giving frustrates you now, marriage will have you climbing the walls! If love is not an acceptable defense to someone who has offended you, how then can you say you love God when these are mere basic building blocks (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 KJV) ? How can you accept or offer and invitation to date for the purposes of marriage when you haven't regularly practiced love (1 John 4:20 KJV)? Again, frustration at attempting to answer that question is indicative of the flesh still operating instead of having it dead at the cross (Galatians 5:24-25 KJV).

This would also be true feeling challenged when romantic attempts have been refused. Whether the aggressor is the man or woman, it would be that red flag telling you  that this person is not the one. Whether the one being refused can use the excuse that he/she was testing you to see how strong you are, you must still do what is right. God is the one that does the testing (1 Thessalonians 2:4 AMP). Anyone else will be faulty in their judgement or when he/she falls will call it a mistake. Also, if testing is the excuse, it tells you that he/she believes to be strong in this area of romance and will not be tempted themselves. How else can someone test lest they have been tested and have passed? It is why Jesus said to the men at the ready to stone the woman for committing adultery, "Let him without sin, cast the first stone." (John 8:1-11 KJV) How can someone test anyone else with something that they just as well may have fallen into? Truth be told, its another red flag.

Now here is a question. When he/she has refused the romantic advances, what will the other do with those sexual feelings? Will those feelings be done away with because of the refusal and therefore the mood has been broken or will there be an alternative recourse? Prayer or something else? Personally, I would think it is an excellent first date question so the boundaries are made without any confusion later (1 Corinthians 14 33 KJV). How the conversation proceeds thereafter would also be interesting. Is there silence. Hm, sounds like a red flag.

Ah, for those new to the dating process and have not quite figured out what a red flag is, let me clarify: DANGER! Do Not Proceed! RUN!
But he/she is so cute and we would have beautiful children together.
Uh-huh, yet we walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV). If God tells you the stove is hot you don't have to touch it to see if it is the truth. He sees the heart of people - you don't, especially if eye candy takes precedence over common sense. Keep in mind just as He created that beautiful but carnal person, there are millions of others and few of them keep Him first before anything else (Matthew 22:37 KJV). This is what you look for (those few) and will find only if you prioritize correctly.   

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grumpy Old Men

Working in the geriatric community I wondered if being inconsiderate and thoughtless of others is what we all have to look forward to. Not as surprised as I find amazing at how the elderly in this community, though not all, couldn't care less at how their actions would affect anyone else. From a man leaving his television volume up loud all night while his medication puts him in a deep sleep to his neighbors that waited until 4:50 a.m. to call me and complain about it. The neighbor complained that this was the second night that he has done this. Of course my thoughts went to why the neighbors hadn't said anything the entire day before or even have a discussion with the man. Instead, I thanked them and dealt with the matter (Titus 3:1-6 AMP). What? I'm going to try to teach 80 year olds how to be more considerate of each other? I'd rather pray....its much easier.

In the perspective of Christian Dating, this behavior just couldn't have come about especially where practicing Christians are concerned. If our hearts and minds are stayed on Him to be more like Him, then the transformation stays on the positive side - it has to. However, if change never occurred in the first place and the person decided to maintain his/her own will, then crotchety is in the future of the spouse that asked or accepted the proposal (Ephesians 4:21-32 AMP).

The night before this particular aforementioned incident, I was awakened at the same particular hour. Two elderly gentlemen apparently decided to paint the town red and one of them had lost his keys to his apartment. Smiling and oblivious to the wee hour of the morning, neither was apologetic they just expected me to do what I was hired to do. As I approached the apartment door of one of the men, I noticed a half bottle of wine he left at the threshold before coming to seek me out. It didn't pardon the act of thoughtlessness. Both of these men are elderly, single, and have expressed no desire to remarry. I suppose they wouldn't have any reason to keep the pretense of being socially acceptable or caring what others thought of their actions. I use the word pretense because if loving your neighbor as your self is a way of life, anything else would appear to be strange and something that practicing Christians would not do. Would you know of anyone who has been keeping up the pretense all of this time and is waiting to show his/her true self? How would you know? Who would you ask?

The basic building blocks of Christianity is love (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV). To love God with all of your heart, mind, and strength then to love your neighbor as yourself. If these aren't in practice on a continuum with presentable fruit (Matthew 7:15-18 KJV), don't be fooled in believing God sent you to be the anointed help for that man or believe that sort would be of any help to you.

An elderly gentleman informed some of the staff that he was a new widower. He seemed to be having a hard time trying to cope with his loss. He wouldn't speak to anyone. He barely cleaned himself up or even combed his hair. He would come to get his mail and as much as grunt to people. Then a couple of widows moved into the building. They were active women and didn't know each other until they moved in. The elderly man saw one of the women and decided to clean up. He made himself known around the building and even fashioned a smile once in awhile. It wasn't long before he made his way to her and were soon considered a couple. Months went by seeing the two of them go to the market, field trips and even taking long evening strolls together. Would there be a more shocked look on anyone's face when he came to a community function with his wife? What was the big deal? Why couldn't he just tell the truth? If it was his pride, why say anything at all? Anything would have been better then a lie - especially to the woman he was taking evening strolls with. Though this man didn't go back to his nasty habits of marinating in his own filth and not speaking to people, the woman he used to stroll with changed a little. She doesn't smile as much as she use to.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Keep Your Friends Close...?

The complete saying is keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Not to completely dissect the sentence grammatically or what every single word means....like, the word, but is there for the opposite of what was previously stated. Never mind having to keep your friends close as opposed to them wanting to be there in the first place, or that you know who your enemies are and would have them closer to you; none of those things can truly make or break you when having wisdom at the helm. Yet, what it can be is the relentless, nagging issue of what you constitute as a friend.

Shock isn't even a close description of what I have discovered in these past few years of my life. I have watched people gravitate towards me with interest and we have talked to the point of exhaustion and still the next day have so much to say to each other. The give and take process of stimulating conversation is the fledgling seeds of a wonderful friendship. There is agreement, common interests and new things one discovers in the other yet still willing to learn those new things. The shock comes when all of that was in pretense because of the position you are in to assist them with whatever they need. Would that you no longer have that position (whether it be in employment, your opinion, friends or a relative of a prominent person) how interested would this supposed friend be (Proverbs 14:20 AMP)?

In my place of employment, I work with the geriatric community. Most are very quick to get to know the new person so they can adjust that this new individual will be the one the resident has to call if ever in trouble (fall or other medical emergency). The new employee realizes this or there isn't any reason in obtaining the position. Others couldn't care less. You are hired as the help, so do your job is the attitude. An attitude that cannot bother the new employee. People are people and can change at a whim. Then there are those selected few that truly have no interest in being a friend to the new employee, but because of his/her accessibility to keys, office supplies, files and the like they smile every morning, look for things in their home that they don't need anymore and just knew the new person could use, they are a wealth of useless information and mindless drivel. The new employee smiles and continues to do what is needed to maintain the job. The day doesn't come as swift as one would think when all of those conversations and gifts will be put to some use. I had a woman ask for me to make copies of a letter she found amusing. Making copies costs all of the other residents a dime each. This woman felt that because she had spoken to me so many times and in her mind we developed a friendship, why wouldn't I make copies for her for free? She also asked of other supplies that she could have asked any of the other office staff during business hours but waited for me. I maintained  the same attitude I have with all of the residents. Whether I am talked about behind my back or to my face, the rules maintain to be the same. This particular woman was livid. I don't think she has spoken to me since.

Thirty year friendships can go through disagreements because they have so many other things that they have agreed with. They have been through so much and have been there for each other. The strength of the two individuals is a bond that cannot be broken unless one of the two breaks it. I use to hear of so many people that have had these life long friendships. They smile at each other seemingly that the two of them are thinking the same  thing that they had to weather together. Those relationships aren't as many as they use to be or they aren't reported as often. I envy those that have such a friendship with another.

My children think that I scrutinize with people too much which is why I don't have those long termed friendships. I listened and didn't explain to them why I have become the way I have because I didn't want to influence them to do the same thing. Though I have taught them to watch and pray about a matter and when I listen to them, it seems they have a healthy outlook on life and the way people can be. This is good. I was not raised the same way, so I, in Christ, had to get there. The road was a hard way to go trying not to fall back into old habits. For instance, I had a friendship that I believed was a strong one. She and I talked about everything practically. We were both married with children and the need to have some kind of outlet to converse with another adult also in Christ and going through the same things. Once I believed we were both on the same page, we shopped together and went to church functions together. Then arriving at a wedding reception, she said the oddest thing to me as we walked toward the luncheon that was being served out doors. She said, "alright Lenora, don't cramp my style." This was about 18 years ago and I still have the same reaction now as I did then, "huh?" What style was she referring to? We were both married. We both have children. We are both Christian. We are both attending this function to show the bride and groom support....or at least, that's what I was doing. At the reception, she went her way and I had to find something to do. Had I known I was going to be alone, I would not have gone. Later, I found that many of the things I had discussed with her, had become common knowledge with other people in the church. We didn't talk much after that function. I suppose I cramped her style (Proverbs 16:28 AMP).

What does this have to do with dating? Really? You can't see this as clear as the nose on your face? Friendship comes after the initial interview. Its the reason as to whether to continue the dating process. If there is even the smallest indication of desperation in getting married for whatever the reason, you need to excuse yourself from the process. Just as there is a myriad of reasons someone decides to be a friend aside from agreement, there are just as many as to why a person would want to marry. Here are a few:
- health
- taxes (money)
- to have children
- promotion
- sexual tension
- status
- perversion
- jealousy
- control
- security
- age
If there are any others, I am not aware of them. These listed have sub headings as well and this is from those who fashioned themselves to be friendly.

It is a wonderful feeling having a friend (Proverbs 18:24 AMP). The support needed and to reciprocate that support builds strength in the relationship to know that if there is ever a time when there is a need or when needed you will be there for each other (Job 2:11 AMP). It is the reason the thirty year relationships can smile at each other even if there was some sort of initial struggle along the way. What you can't see the friend will and has your back when an enemy is at prey. So when does a friendship go South (Psalm 55:20-23 AMP)? When the love is no longer there. When thoughts of hatred, jealousy, envy, and the like have been fed. If the Word tells us that to hate is to murder, why then would anyone want their enemies closer if this is what a friendship can turn into?

I write this entry to the blog so that you will see that marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. If it is a huge turning point to those out in the world and they have no idea who Christ is, how much more so is it for you making your BFF Jesus? It makes no sense if you cannot recognize Christ in the other person's life why entertain the idea of this person being your friend much less a spouse? Without Christ, there is no love, no caring, no sharing, no thoughtfulness, no beauty, no considerateness, no help, no blessing,...no life! Seriously, people...come on already!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resolutions Resolved Already

Happy New Year to all of my readers, those that catch a peep now and again, and to you first timers. This is the time where we make assessments over our lives and ask certain questions of ourselves or to God as to why a thing is still the way it is or how much longer do I need to wait for this thing. Well, a pastor defined insanity as doing the same things continually and expecting different results. Each year we make these enormous declarations that this is the year that we are going to meet Mr. Right or this is the year you will meet your good thing. Its just time and you are so tired of waiting... or so you think.

In making these declarations at the beginning of the year, the world calls them New Year's resolutions. These resolutions are supposedly giving the declarer some direction in moving toward a specific goal. Some people actually get to the goal while others peter off within a few weeks of the new year. I know when I do such a thing it usually has to do with weight issues. I know I am going to start this exercise regiment. I can see myself doing it. The truth of the matter is...I just don't want to. I haven't got a clue as to why I don't want to having had a regular routine for over a year; therefore, how can I declare a resolution without solving the underlying issue? On the NBC hit show, The Biggest Loser, season after season we applaud the best efforts of the contestants willing to go through what they do and through out the season where one of the teams has to choose the one person leaving the group. The decision is made as to who can take what has been learned and go home to complete the task. No one is ever ready to leave and there are so many tears, yet after 8 seasons and a follow up show, 6 of the 8 contestants that won had gained either all of their weight back or on their way of doing so. Hemming, hawing and being embarrassed didn't change anything. Winning for their season and being more socially acceptable didn't change anything. Being recognize all over the nation and having the responsibility to maintain the look for others to be encouraged didn't change anything. The underlying issue that caused them to have to go on such a show was still there. You can call it a lifestyle change but without the actually making it a lifestyle, who would go through it? Oprah did  the same thing 20 (plus) years ago. I was waiting for her to answer what was it going to take for her to keep the weight off. I listened to hear what her motivation was. She never made mention of it and within 2 years, she gained it all back.

Would that it could for weight not to be an issue. If we took the world's views of obesity out of the equation,  the health situation that could be created from it, or the way the individual feels about him/herself in that state and just concentrate on the goodness of God. Can it be done? Well, what else is there? Being a glutton without penalty?

You have to be serious to find out what is that issue before making a resolution. I know of a woman who had just gone through a divorce. She had to change her entire outlook on what she had to do to manage a household and family. Should she doll herself all up again to remarry so the responsibility wouldn't be hers or should she put those proverbial hip boots on and trudge through what is necessary to get that good job and do what she has to do. When she decided to go back to work and focus on her task at hand, she had more interest in her then she cared to deal with. Her solution was to make herself as homely as she could. She wore a gray wig when there was no gray in her hair. She wouldn't wear makeup and purchased the ugliest glasses that she could. For some time, it worked. Men looked but would not approach. Then her children grew with lives of their own. She no longer had to keep the pretense, by this time, there was gray in her hair. She had to wear glasses and make up was no longer a priority to use when leaving the house. Her disposition had changed and now there was no desire to find a resolve to the matter. The matter of what? Being alone.

Has that issue been resolved for you yet? Let's call it what it is. I am euphemizing issue when the real word is fear.We can understand what we call the normal fears but what about the fear of success or the fear of independence or even the fear of having it all. Why would one have an issue with that? I think it would have something to do with what the Word says about Christians. It says that if we love the Lord, we will be persecuted. Who would want to go through any of that? Why not just settle for just a little so that you won't be persecuted as much. Why not be poor and you won't be persecuted at all!

Sounds ridiculous - right? Yet doesn't that sound like what the woman did when she masqueraded around as  homely so no man would be attracted to her? Do we do that when we have more then enough but would rather people think that we don't? Isn't that what the man did when given one talent to invest as it is written in the scriptures? The problem is fear. The resolve is trusting in God. With this understanding, now a resolution can be made and this time - kept.

Whether it be rejection or persecution, God is there. He would not have you in the midst of something that you cannot handle. He is a good God. If your issue is the persecution, think of it this way. Let it be the test that you will pass and have the reward after. You have been set aside for His good pleasure. You are the peculiar nation. You are His treasure.