Thursday, October 25, 2012

Its Not About The Money?

Seriously? Let's be realistic. We know what to say and do in Christ (Matthew 22:37-40 AMP). We also know what not to say and do to maintain righteousness (2 Timothy 2:22 AMP). We also know that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10 AMP). Having that foundation, let's rip off the rose colored glasses, turn on some light and get really real up in here!

Chemistry, butterfly feelings, what you think is the move of the Holy Spirit, and all of else that floats your boat, isn't at all what this post is about. The entire blog is about being real when all of the tulle and satin bow-ties have been put away. No one is talking about the reception anymore and the flash mob scene for the proposal has been done to the point of it being a cliche. This blog is about all that must be in the plan during the process of dating. From the right questions to the course of action for the two becoming one years later after walking down the aisle and everything in between.

Finances are a colossal part of the in between. That secular song with the lyrics, its not about the money, is a bunch of hooey. Salvation and the love of God we already know has to be there before allowing phone numbers to be exchanged. That's a no-brainer. Careers are a discussion. Who will have one? Who will be the major bread winner and why? What sort of security do you have with medical, dental, home, auto, and life insurance? Do you have an IRA? Do you have any long term assets? When will they reach maturity? Do you have any land, property, jewelry, bonds, MMA accounts, etc? Do you have a will and who is the beneficiary (Proverbs 27:23 AMP)?

Is all of that too personal? So is sex but it seems not enough questions are asked before that's been given up. Is there a problem joining everything together? Would there be an issue with her having a separate account?

Usually this is where one hears the proverbial scratch in the record and the entire universe stands still. It is where the rubber hits the road. A carnal mind will go tilt and answers will start stammering forth like a tsunami (Romans 8:7 AMP). Why? Because all that is impressive becomes quite ugly when money is the discussion. If ever wondering where the heart of someone is while dating, discuss money (Matthew 6:21 AMP). The idea of saying anything just to get on with the relationship will come to the mind of the "pretender". When it starts sounding too good to be true, ask for it to be put in writing. With that request out there, watch who will feel uncomfortable first. If love rules and reins, both of you will smile without a hitch because you mean more then the money. If the smile fades when the agreement is signed then there should be a new song for the title of another post: "The Love I Lost".
Note: Watch for the Pre-Nuptials Entry Coming Soon!
This is it...the Pre-Nuptial Entry I was telling you about. It comes in 3 parts. Be patient and go through each part so it will make sense. There is a reason it had to be written this way. Take your time, enjoy  :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

He's Really A Good Guy, But....

There is this sentence I have heard parents describing their sons, girlfriends describing their exs or baby's daddy, or current wives describing their husbands, not realizing that the moment they use the word but, it completely diminishes whatever good thing that was said previously. Was that intentional?

First, it is a topic that has been taught before. Its been discussed and in some cases completely disregarded because of the state of the individual interested in getting into a relationship for the purposes of marriage. There are steps necessary to find if the guy is really good or just pretending to be (Luke 6:45 AMP).

I just thought of another reason for the disregard to instruction (Proverbs 10:17 AMP). It is the definition I use for good. It would seem the meeting of the standard would be an extreme and therefore doesn't wish to try. The standard being...God. It is written, God is good. Because He created man in His image, He expects for man to return to the basic means by which he was created. It is why Jesus came, for man to have life and have it more abundantly. It is also the definition I use for man being good. Man had a place to live, provision, and something to do. God looked at man and how all of the animals had another yet man did not have anyone. God said it is not good for man to be alone. So God made it to be good by creating help for man in the form of a woman. It was then good - because of God.

In the generation following mine, I have heard men speak of establishing a relationship by which he can be cared for. "His woman" must have a job and a means so he can be comfortable. She has to supply his need (Philippians 4:19 AMP). This is a different plan other than what God created. I listened to this group of men discuss this and give each other "play" as they came in agreement to what they have decided to do with their lives and how they were going to have it with little to no effort on their parts. In their minds, delusional as it was, they considered as good (Matthew 12:35 AMP). In that plan, they would also have to be able to have their words together to manipulate some unsuspecting young girl to go along with it. How young would she have to be or how desperate (2 Timothy 3:6 AMP)? Eventually, because I have seen the outcome of such plans, she will grow up and come to her senses. Usually bitter, resentful, and raising children to be like her or like their father. The fruit of this plan is obviously not good. It is an evil treasure and continues until someone accepts Jesus to break the cycle.

A well known drug dealer in Detroit has since passed away. He was survived by a number of children that have decisions to make all of their own. They can be respectable upstanding citizens or walk in their father's shoes having the same results. One of the sons, now a grown man went into a pawn shop with a $7,000.00 charm. It was encrusted with diamonds, emeralds and rubies. He told his story to the pawn broker and requested a price to sell. The pawn broker asked why didn't he just want to pawn the piece. The young man stated who his father was and he was determined to break the cycle. Specifically, he said, "it stops here." Because he spoke those words and his determination to make a difference, he will do well. He will be tested to see if he will stand when the storms of life come, but if he is determined - he has the beginnings to be considered good.

I was watching one of my favorite shows, Intervention on A&E. There was this man that had been through a horrible childhood, decided to go to jail for his drug dealer of a father, his father attempted to rape his wife so the son turned state's evidence against his father for a reduced sentence. He supposedly shook it all off when he came out of prison to start anew. He went to church, started a business, provided well for his growing family and life was good. After about 8 years, the economy did a turn around and everything he owned went into foreclosure or was repossessed. When he couldn't take the pressure of life's storm, he returned to what he was used to before he went into prison only he added sleeping with prostitutes for the drugs as well. His wife, trying to hold onto the marriage, described him as being a really good guy. As he continued to ostracize himself from his children, he taught his daughter to enable his habit. His sons just grew to be angry for being ignored. When the intervention proceeded and he heard the feelings of his children, he did what was expected with the tears and the proverbial "yes" to get some help for his addiction. However, within days of getting treatment, he left the facility to resume the lifestyle he had grown accustomed to. His family, according to the documentary, went on with their lives without worrying about where he was or what he was doing. They all had to receive counseling in order to get through it. His wife stopped referring to her former husband as being good.

I hope women who have had children by such men are still calling these men good out of faith, and/or for the sake of their children, and/or for others to have respect for their children's father no matter what he has done. You see if you don't speak well of him, the children will see that you dislike him. If this is true, then there is a part of the child you dislike as well. You say that cannot be; nevertheless, it is the thought processes of a child that you cannot deny. Once spewing out the resentment from what this supposed "good" man isn't doing and your child has heard, it is like unringing a bell. It cannot be done. Therefore, speak well of him no matter what he has done. The children will need to hear those good things (Matthew 18:6 AMP). They will make assessments of their own as they learn what truly is good and what isn't.

There is another hurdle that must also be climbed, and this is other people. Because of the choice that was made to have children with a man whose actions have been less then favorable, everyone has an opinion especially when his life is much worse then anything they have ever done. The "Christian" thing to do of yester-year is to say nothing and allow Jesus to be the judge for them to do battle. It sounds good and it takes the anguish of having to do it yourself. However, in that time when words are spoken, the children will hear them. It is the unringing of the bell again. You must keep in mind the emotional and mental security of those little ones making sure that they know you are not pleased with the ill will that is being said over their father. This does 3 things: it helps to heal the children, teaches them how to defend themselves without being physically brutal, and it causes the people to realize that it is better that they not say anything at all (Luke 17: 1-3 AMP).

With all of this in mind, the question is, what does this have to do with Christian dating? Easy, we all lived some sort of way before coming into the knowledge of the truth. In that time, though we have turned from those evil ways, children have been the fruit of those ways in which we have turned. We cannot forsake them (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV). We have to raise them the best way we know how in Christ. While in the process of this and making sense of our own lives, the desire to date doesn't just vanish. Test and the storms of life won't disappear on its own (Matthew 8:23-27 AMP). Decisions will still have to be made. Some of us have relapsed in that old life. With that relapse came the same sort that seemed to be good. This post serves as a reminder to make or you to make sure it is good - not only for you but those children too. Amen?

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Says who? This is some thing that has been perpetuated in the world but has no place in the hearts of true believers. Anything said often enough can be accepted but it doesn't mean it is the truth. If you accept such a statement, it should also convey 3 other things about you:
1. You have not studied the Word for yourself.
2. You don't know who you are in Christ.
3. You have very little faith in God through Christ Jesus.

For some reason, things have been twisted. Why would any woman be on the look out or is using whatever means she can to find any man? Why isn't her efforts put to better use? Is the reason why she is on "the hunt" because she considers herself virtuous, wise, and good? She has cleaned all of her skeletons from her closet, she has finished the assignment God has given to her, and she has thoughtfully considered her ways. So instead of waiting for patience to have her perfect work, she has decided to do it her way? What do you think the product or outcome of that action will produce?

When the World Wide Web began in the mid 90's, I was so excited and found all sorts of chat rooms and fledgling dating sites for Christians. I met a variety of characters from all over the world and certain sorts I would have rather never met at all. In so doing, I created an account on a dating site. I sorted through the thumbnail avatars and profiles. Emails were sent but nothing ever became of those chats. Soon, I became bored. A few weeks ago, I was discussing with a few other believers on Facebook about dating sites. I divulged with them my experiences from years back as they did with me. We laughed over our attempts at trying to find the perfect man; nevertheless, I became intrigued with why I ever stopped going on such dating sites. The idea along with the improvements of technology, certainly the dating sites have tightened up on the mistakes that have been made. I decided to try "the game" once again, forgetting what I learned from before and the Word which tells me otherwise. I was almost giddy with excitement. I tried to open an account with my usual username. I was disappointed to find that it was already in use. I then created a close facsimile and opened an account. The improvements that I found over and over again was that the sites were the same as they were in the 90's, the only difference was that the members were being charged for the improvements. The sites that are free get the same service that was offered in the 90's. As I thumbed through the pages, I also noticed that without paying, the user doesn't get the up to date photographs either. I was disappointed again. I then decided to look up who was it using my username. Color me surprised to find that it was my old account that I deleted from years back. It was the third time being disappointed. I didn't like the fruit of this seed.

The Word, a believer's only means of truth, states in Proverbs 31, a virtuous woman: who can find her? In these days and times such the question seems more and more prevalent. Everyone would like a wonderful partner to spend the rest of his/her life with, but what is being offered in return? There is a saying that I have said to my children, "everyone likes to reside in a clean house, but not everyone likes to clean the house." To keep a clean house takes discipline, maturity, and the desire for order. There is a virtue in that. All women don't have even that smallest part of virtue. How would men know this?

The answer is the same as it is for the title of this post: God is good. Without accepting His Son, no one would know how to find a virtuous woman or how to keep a good man. You would have to know good to obtain, maintain, and sustain good.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Are You Feeling Sexy?

What does that mean? How does one feel sexy? Is that the same feeling as lustful or feeling like having sex? I suppose we could understand this from a fleshly perspective with completely different answers. Would these answers be pleasing to God? Of course not, seeing that it is required for us to walk in the Spirit so not to fulfill the lust of the flesh. So then, can a Christian feel sexy with the understanding of that scripture?

One of the streams of my financial income is using the talent God gave me to draw. The style I so enjoy is Art Nouveau. In this style there are lots of portraits, females, hair, and flowers. It is very stylistic, ornate, and most definitely feminine. In trying to establish my niche, making the style of Art Nouveau my own, I was inspired to draw several women with flower borders. I drew them in black ink and colored the lips in variations of red and pink. Upon completion, I had more then enough portraits to create a calendar. A woman looked at my illustrations and said "they all look so sexy. Were you feeling sexy when you drew them?" I never thought about it before she asked. I didn't really have an answer for her at that moment while I looked at the drawings with a fresh perspective. When she left, I realized my answer would have been, no.

A man from the same venue looked at another series of drawings and stared at them stating, "it makes me want to kiss her." I was actually enjoying these responses even though it wasn't my intention to arouse anyone in that way; nevertheless, for an artist, the only bad reaction is not having one at all.

I started to look at all of my artwork wondering if I drew something inappropriate without realizing it. I didn't think so and am pleased with the collection so far. Still the response had me thinking when did I ever feel sexy? Which then had me wondering about when I felt pretty, desirable, domestic, or anything else that is positive and appropriate. I didn't have an answer.

The Word tells us what to think and how to speak (Matthew 12:34 KJV). Both of these directives are positive. It must be in the area of righteousness, seeing it is also a directive for Christians to seek (Matthew 6:33 KJV). Once these directives are practiced as a part of one's lifestyle then it isn't readily thought about. Its as normal as one brushing his/her teeth daily. Its just not thought of. It is done as part of a routine.

Would this also be true with positive feelings? Do you have a favorite outfit? Why is it your favorite? Does it make you feel different then any other? If it is a good feeling, why aren't all of your outfits based upon that favorite one?

Clothes, money, prestige, the make of a car, or economic status should not determine how you feel. I was in a predicament without a job. My career of 15 years (at the time) was based on employment. My demeanor and course of my day was based on being employed. When I was no longer employed, I became flustered and irritable not knowing what to do with myself. I was conditioned and trained to obtain that career my whole life. I met the goal. I never planned (other than retirement) what to do without it. What I did do was stop and rest (Hebrews 3:18-19 AMP). I had to regroup to obtain my peace, joy and come into some realizations (Romans 14:17 AMP). Because of righteousness in Christ, I have no identity crisis. I know who I am (Isaiah 32:17 AMP). The clothes, money, labels, promotions, or feeling did not make me who I am. Positive as they can be, they don't make me. I feel good because of God. I am good because I also received the training to magnify Him. I feel pretty because it is good to do so (Psalm 139:14 KJV). I can feel sexy because there is no sin it. I am desirable because it is a positive thing to think about. It is no wonder I didn't have an answer for that woman. These are normal to me. Its like brushing my teeth. Conceded? No - confident (Hebrews 10:35 KJV).