Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Heart of Oakie-Doke

The last entry of this blog had the definition of Oakie-Doke and all it entails. Please have a quick read to understand completely what the reference means.

Recently, I was thinking about that verse with Abraham when he was leaving his parents' home and venturing forth with the direction of God at the helm, only Lot, his nephew, never got the memo and he came along as well (Genesis 12:1-5 AMP). The thought that was troubling was if Lot was married when he decided to leave with his uncle. The Word doesn't tell that he had anyone with him but it does clearly define that Lot had a family when leaving Sodom and Gomorrah. Or did the Word make those clarifications because of where the hearts of his family would rather have been (Genesis 19:1-16 AMP)?

The Word tells us to guard our hearts for out of them come the issue of life (Proverbs 4:23 AMP). We have the understanding when dating that we should be open and honest with the one we hope to be our intended. We tell of our childhood, our hopes, the fears we need to conquer, and sometimes the little quirky things we expect will only make us more endearing to the one that seems to be specifically chosen for that life long commitment - marriage. The truth is, sometimes it just doesn't work out like that; so then the secrets come to light after the vows. Apparently, someone didn't listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Secrets, tricks, lies, and all sorts of drama that we as Christians would rather not be around, could have been something that was a struggle for Abram. He knew it was time to leave when God sent angels to speak to him. The towns people noticed that there were new men they hadn't "been with" yet at the Abram's. They came like a riot to see who they were. Lot offered his own daughters for these people to leave, but they demanded for the men. How can a man keep his family righteous when the environment is drenched in evil?

Abram decided to pack but before doing so, he had a conversation with God about saving the city of Sodom if there was at least 10 men that are righteous. That had to be hard to understand that the only righteous in the land are those under your roof. When they all were ready to leave, the instruction was clear. They needed to keep their eyes forward, heading for the land that God promised to them. This is where my understanding came that Lot met his wife in the city of Sodom. How did she become so attached so soon? Why be attached to a place where debauchery was as common as soap and water?

Picture it, the family of Abraham and Lot with their caravan of all of their possessions leaving Sodom and Gomorrah when Lot's wife just couldn't do it. She had to take one more look remembering the times she had doing all sorts of ungodly things. She had to be yearning for that person she was with before Lot or the one Lot didn't know about. As she turned to inhale that sigh, it was her last breath as she turned into a pillar of salt. Did Lot gasp? Did he hesitate with the instruction as he walked past with what use to be his wife? The Word doesn't mention his emotions. The Word does make mention of the emotions of his daughters. They also thought of the men from Sodom and how they might not meet any man at all. They believed they were going to have lives of spinsterhood and therefore reasoned within themselves that their only chance to have children is with their father - Lot. This sort of thinking is why they left Sodom. Why didn't they also think that if it was right, would they have to get their father drunk to do what was on their minds to do? Isn't it interesting that after their act with their father, Abraham and Lot could not get along and needed to separate... much like what he had to do when leaving his kinfolk in the beginning. Arguing doesn't promote righteousness.

Can you see Christian dating in this biblical story? First, let's look at the man. Whether Lot had a wife or not, why didn't he have a house of his own? The answer for today could be that's what that culture did back then. Fine, but would such a thing still apply? Should he still be residing with his parents? Has he ever had his own home? Should the economy ever be a factor to go back home and if it is acceptable, should he be dating while still there? Is it inconsiderate for a man to be dating and expecting for his date to be accommodating when it comes to his financial struggles? Should dating be the last thing on his mind when his finances aren't enough for him to be independent?

This was a question in a Christian group on Facebook. The members became quite animated in expressing their opinions. Interestingly enough, the women were very accommodating and the few that weren't, the one or two men that ventured forth to comment, were brash and ridiculed those women that would not tolerate dating someone with meager means. Would that I could keep race from this question; however, all of those commenting were African American. The next day, the question, with all of the colorful comments, was deleted. An article was posted in its stead....one I found even more interesting showing the ethnicity of men answering the same question:

Some of the Comments that I got when I posted this picture YESTERDAY along with the Stat were very disturbing. First of all the Status was about MEN who ALLOW women to take care of them, that’s what the stat was about. But the BLACK men (and a few Black Women) protested and made comments like “carry eac h other” and partnership and side by side. It’s interesting that NO Black Men seemed to AGREE with the stat. It is SAD because men of other cultures get the whole concept of “provision” as do women. In most wealthy white households studied, the WOMEN stayed at home and the men worked and this formula allowed the families to function in a healthy way and amass wealth. True Story: I conducted a Panel discussion with 8 black men and one Hispanic man on the panel, the question was asked what does a woman need to “bring to the table” to be with you. Every Black Man said something along the lines of “good credit, degrees, a good job, certain amount of income” ect. The HISPANIC man said “she doesn’t have to bring anything because it is MY JOB TO TAKE CARE OF HER”. I asked the same question to a group of White men who had similar responses across the Board. But, black men seemed to be “offended” by yesterday’s status posting suggesting that they should not have to “carry” a woman. Well, yes a woman should be ABLE to carry herself…but she should not HAVE to and she certainly shouldn’t be carrying a MAN. The point of the stat was to encourage women to stop carrying men financially. ESPECIALLY ones that they are not MARRIED TO. Let and REQUIRE that a MAN be a MAN. Sadly it seems that quite a few men (and women) don’t know what a real man “looks like” or what his responsibilities are as leader and head of a family. Let’s get back to balance and structure in relationships. Not with the expectation ladies, that we NEED to be taken care of, but that we CAN be taken care of by a man who knows what it means to be a MAN and is willing to STEP UP. If we weren’t laying down with males who aren’t MEN, we wouldn’t have so many FATHERS who aren’t DADS ! Everything with a penis ain’t a man. Get yourself a “definition”, write it down…and then live by it in your choice of who and who NOT to have sex with.
A female eagle will TEST a male eagle by dropping a branch HER weight to see if he can CATCH it, prior to mating. A female ROBIN will not mate with a MALE robin until he builds her a NEST…yet as GROWN women, with human logical minds, we won’t REQUIRE the same thing of a man. We are not talking about “digging for gold” we are talking about “walking in your role”. Walking in your role as a man and your role as a woman who deserves the Security, Protection and Provision that real men provide. Accept it or not,it’s your choice ladies, but at LEAST it he should be READY, WILLING and ABLE to provide it when needed. 

Written by Black Women Who Want More (a group on facebook)

Place the above article in perspective. This writer was not writing with Christian principles in mind; however, the premise of a man being a man and knowing what his role is as the head of the woman and priest of the home still is heard in what the writer wrote. The comments the men made in the article are similar to the comments the men said in the Christian group. That shouldn't be.

In a previous post entitled, His Queen or Daddy's Princess, the reference was to the woman and where her heart is. Was she ready and equipped to be the wife he hopes her to be or does she miss all of the conveniences Daddy brought without any effort at all? Lot's wife was not thinking of the blessing her husband is to her but the life she had in Sodom. Though it is more popular to know that boys will be boys, women don't have a cliche behaving in the same manner....oh wait, there is one called not trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and the one about can't make a wife out of a whore. Huh, it doesn't sound nearly as nice does it?

Interactive Banter on Facebook

Hi, I have opened a facebook page called Making It Plain. If you would like to discuss some of the topics that you have read here, come and join the group and get in on some of the discussions. If you don't get a complete blessing from the discussion, you might meet your Boaz/Ruth. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Come on....you are definitely welcome!

UPDATE: The facebook page referred to has since been removed. If interested to reactivate the page, please comment or send an email. Thank you.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Moving Out Of "Oakie-Doke"

Any type of move is a transition of not only body but mind and spirit. It takes planning and organization for this to happen successfully. Moving without all aspects in place leaves room for confusion, chaos, and anxiety. We already know, that's not of God. The Word tells us to write the vision down and make it plain. This sounds like a directive, instruction, and a rule to live by. Only a fool would disregard it (Proverbs 1:7 KJV).

What is "Oakie-Doke"? "Oakie-Doke" is a place where you were raised as a child. It can be a place that your parents started off with a young family because it is all they could afford at the time. It is a place where one would call a "comfort zone" and won't take a step for fear rather then for growth. Whether it is your mama's basement or an oppressive place of employment - it could very well be your obstacle impeding you from obtaining the blessings of the Lord. For Abraham, it was his family's home. God told him to move away from there (Genesis 12:1 KJV). His family were a group of liars and thieves. For God to be an influence on Abraham without interference and for Abraham to receive the full blessing, he had to heed to the instruction to move.

He did what God told him and took Lot with him (Genesis 12:4 AMP). Could Abraham still receive the blessing even though the "Oakie-Doke" he was supposed to be free from came with him? Let's see. Abraham developed a relationship with God. What happened to that relationship with Lot being around? Scriptures tells us that Abraham reacted to situations in fear. Because of that reaction the words he used were lies. This continued until he realized that he had to separate from Lot as well. When he was completely removed from "Oakie-Doke", his relationship with God resumed and Abraham could grow into what he was called to be - the father of many nations (Genesis 13:14 AMP).

So the obvious question for this blog would be, what does this have to do with Christian singles or Christian dating? Answer: Everything.

Moving out of "Oakie-Doke" is something every woman dating should notice of the man that she is interested in. She, who is accepting the date is also accepting the calling to be a wife. A wife is her husband's help. Help with what? Have you ever tried to help someone who didn't desire help or didn't appreciate it?

Kenneth Copeland, television evangelist and founder of a very popular Christian program, Believer's Voice of Victory, told of a time when he was asked if he could pray for a man for healing. Rev. Copeland agreed. He began to pray to God along with others but then paused. He tried to start again but stopped and then asked the man needing the healing, if he believed that he could be healed? The man said, according to Rev. Copeland, something to the effect of hoping that God's will for him is to be healed. Before they went any further, Rev. Copeland had to teach the man about healing, God's will for healing, and that it could be his if only he would believe. Once this man understood the basics, then and only then could the prayers be effective (Luke 4:18-19 AMP).

What does the potential husband believe? What if the wife becomes ill? Does he believe he could pray healing for his wife or does he believe it is God's will for his wife to be sick? There are ministries that believe sickness is God's way of teaching believers a lesson. This twisted way of thinking can be someone's "Oakie-Doke". Its time to move and grow up into where God intends for the real abundant life to begin. But if you stay and reside where truth is manipulated for control, then drips and dribbles of His mercy is all you get - if that (Hebrews 5:11-14 AMP). What do you believe?

Michal said that she loved David. When Saul, her father, knew of this, he allowed for David to marry her (1 Samuel 18:20 AMP). When they were moving into a place of their own, Michal brought idols with her. She knew that David was not an idol worshiper. How would we know this? Because she hid the idols under her bed. David worshiped the Lord - all day and every day. Do you think it would have been a second thought not to marry Michal if he knew that she didn't love the Lord too? Michal showed her true self when she watched David worship the Lord from a window (2 Samuel 6:16 AMP). She was embarrassed and let David know how she felt. In reading this passage, I could picture the calm of David all while his wife seemingly was reprimanding him for acting like a commoner when she is of royal status and her husband. Then David spoke. It wasn't a long dissertation but just a few words to let her know the righteous indignation that he, being the head of her and God being the head of him won't ever be separated because of her insecurities (2 Samuel 6:20-21 AMP). Now this isn't what he actually said, but how I envisioned it. My point being, she brought "Oakie-Doke" with her because it was what she saw as her comfort. David did not see Saul's short comings. Saul was Michal's father. If he had issues to sort, how much more would his children having been taught by him?

Man said when he was presented with a wife that she must cleave to the spouse and separate from the parents. There was a movie that premiered on the Life Time Channel based on a book by Bishop T.D. Jakes entitled, Not Easily Broken starring Morris Chestnut and Taraji P. Henson. As much as Morris' character loved his wife played by Taraji, he was willing to let her and his marriage go because she invited her mother, played by Jennifer Lewis, to reside in the marital home. She brought her "Oakie-Doke" with her. No matter how much he could have demanded for his mother-in-law to leave, the heart of his wife had to be in the right place. That place would not be with her mother but with her husband. It wasn't until she told her mother to leave, could the marriage be repaired.

The wife has to keep prayerful to hear God's voice, so does he and even more so because man was created first. Remember, he is the one responsible for the household. Naomi didn't tell Elimelech to move (Ruth 1:1-5 AMP). It was his decision. That's why he received the consequence. As I have told my children, marriage is not a joke or to be considered lightly. Hearts and souls are involved and God says each one is precious. So when the call to move is upon you, remember your lessons and know who and where you are being called to.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Marrying Your Ex

There is a myriad of reasons why you would think this is a good idea; but let's face it, if God is not a part of that idea, its not a good idea at all (Luke 18:19 AMP). Wait! before you get upset and click onto something else thinking, "this woman doesn't know my situation," keep reading.

Let's make a list as to why someone would do such a thing:
1. The ex is the biological parent to your children.
2. The children will be happy with the family back together.
3. Both of you have grown and changed since the last time you were together.
4. The feelings have not gone away for each other.
5. Your financial, social, and economic status would be better.
6. Other prospects for you are slim.
7. You don't like being alone anymore.
8. Maybe your decision to break up was too impulsive.
9. Forgiveness is the key for reconciliation.
10. Everyone deserves a second chance.

These are the top 10 reasons that come to mind as to why anyone would marry or remarry their ex. Out of all of them, the biggest reason for marrying your ex would be forgiveness. Actually, most of the other reasons can be categorized in with forgiveness as well. Apologies have been made and defenses have been put down. The relationship is mended and this could be the happiest you have ever been. Congratulations!

Now you can stop reading and just go and have a happy life. Go in peace knowing that you made a quality decision and its all good. For the rest, there maybe a little bit more that you might have forgotten with the forgiveness:

1. If you met your ex online, is he/she still meeting anyone else online? Online dates aren't as easy to detect as one going to a club or restaurant. However, if you met your ex in a night club, chances are he/she still has the night club life style in them just like meeting "hook-ups" online. That life isn't real easy to give up without God.

2. About that...how has your ex been living lately? Has he/she also rededicated the lifestyle of Christianity? You see, no matter how much the apologies seem genuine and the efforts of reconciliation sincere, there is no way anything has changed without God having precedence. If there is no ongoing commitment to Him - (with proof), the commitment to you is all superficial (Matthew 12:33 AMP).

3. Does he/she love you? How do you know? Where is the proof? Words are just words...they were spoken the first time you were together. What's changed? Was the ex with someone else when you first broke up. Did he/she speak their love to that person too? Now its you again. Sounds fickle (James 1:5-8 AMP).

A couple reconciled after so many months of separation. The arguing was over small matters and she couldn't see the children viewing the behavior as normal. Not to mention that he liked to do "harmless" flirting just to see if he still "has it". Flirting was a minor flaw to her (Matthew 5:28 AMP). The battle she choose to fight was his ability to minimize why he couldn't get a job. He would much rather meander around the house, watch t.v., and eat the  food the welfare system provided (1 Timothy 5:8 AMP). Little did he realize, the more he deliberately kept from providing for his family, the more she resented him rather then reverencing him (1 Peter 3:1-3 AMP). As Christians, he was quick to let her know how much she was falling short of his expectations. This would either start another argument or her shutting down emotionally, physically, and psychologically to him and the family's needs (Proverbs 14:1 AMP).

During communion time at their church, the pastor taught that before taking communion, husbands and wives should confess their faults to each other (James 5:16 AMP). This is when the minor flaw previously mentioned would come up - his flirtatious ways. Because she never allowed for the topic to be fuel for another argument, his confession was complacent. As if it was no big deal with a hint of sarcasm. So then, it became an argument and served as fodder for the couple to separate (James 1:20 AMP).

Reconciliation came after so many months of counseling and apologies. Once she was convinced that he would do better, she accepted him back. For 10 days the couple was cordial to each other and he even showed some consideration for her feelings. The house was quiet and beginning to function like a normal family...then on the 11th day, he made an announcement. "I'm tired of walking on egg shells. I've got to be a man!" She didn't know why he said that at first until he began to show signs of his undesired behavior that caused them to split up in the first place. The arguing resumed shortly thereafter.

What's the point? There is a reason why your ex is your ex. Tangible proof must be made and on a continuum before allowing even the thought of resuming a relationship. It is commendable to forgive. God is pleased; however, He does not require for you to jump back into the furnace once He gets you out of it (Psalm 34:19 AMP).