Tuesday, June 30, 2015

First Comes Love

Do we know what that means? Yes, God is love and we strive to be more like Him (Hebrews 12:14 AMP). Yes, we can recite 1 Corinthians 13 if we have to. And yes, I've read that if my brother asks for my shirt to give him my coat also, but would I(Luke 6:29 AMP)? Would you? Can you? Do you? Or do we think of reasons as to why this guy doesn't have a shirt and what he will do with mine? Doesn't sound like love but more like doubt. Do you believe what God says or not? Its not a childish question to ask and many of us assume because we see each other in church everyday. Yes, Jesus loves me for the bible tells me so and the bible says to love your neighbor as yourself. That's not childish at all...or is it (Matthew 22:37-40 AMP)?

As much as we have laughed doing jump rope and chanting that little limerick, we have grown. Its not just a childish rhyme but something we must live by, if we are truly interested in getting married. If you aren't familiar with the little jingle:
Mary and Johnny sitting in a tree. 
First comes love, then comes marriage, 
then comes Junior in the baby carriage.

Have you noticed that the order of that jingle is all out of place these days. Babies are coming way before the marriage, that is, if it takes place at all. So if that's out of order, is the love (1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV)? I actually don't like thinking about it. Its a scary thought to imagine this world without love. Even secular music has lyrics hoping for us all to catch the spirit of love and hold on to it. Commercials are forming tear-jerkers for us to keep love alive rather than hope. Love is the greater thing yet, if someone accidentally dented your car or ripped your designer dress or cheated you out of a couple of hundred dollars, where would your Christian-faith-filled-honorable-full-of-integrity-self be? Would you be ready to take a bite out of the back of a chair or out of the back of the person that did you so wrong (Romans 12:19 AMP)?

One of my most favorite speakers passed away last year. I didn't know about it until recently. I was devastated to hear of it and then I heard how he passed away. He was the sort of speaker that had funny stories or quips and never laughed at himself as he told them. He was asked to speak at so many other ministries and as a result of his popularity, his net worth was upward of 7 million dollars. He had a good friend that he had known for years and I could only speculate had a history of handling funds in the form of an accountant, banker, or financial expert (Psalm 146:3 AMP). The point being this wonderful speaker became ill and was hospitalized. It didn't take long for hospital officials to ask of his medical insurance only to find that payments weren't made and it had lapsed. He called his good friend to ask what the matter was. She was gone, no where to be found....neither was the payments to his house, vehicles, or life insurance. All of his property was repossessed to pay for his debt. Debt, you ask with a net worth of 7 million? Yeah, that money was gone too. This speaker went from private jets to shopping at the dollar store, it was a horrible story. I wondered what his thought processes were like. Was he dripping in love or seething to find his "so called" friend? Here's a good question: what happened to all of the ministers, pastors, evangelists, prophets, apostles, and teachers, that he spoke to and for at their events? Why hadn't they stretched forth to help (Matthew 7:17 AMP)? Where was their portion of love? Aarrgh, it had me crying. Know that I will mention this man again because there is a good lesson about marriage with how he lived.

There is also the matter of what you think about yourself? Some of us have this deep seeded loathing for ourselves. Either we don't like the way we look, speak, walk, behave, or something obscure that no one else is thinking about. How then do you expect to love your neighbor or a spouse for that matter? How can you do good when you don't like the good that God created in you? It just doesn't happen. The other thing about that is, some of us are content with not liking ourselves so we won't be grouped into those men who are lovers of themselves in these last days (2 Timothy 3 AMP). Yeah, there is a huge difference in the 2 and neither of them are good. Seek God's face on that so you can be delivered and set free.

The point being in all of this, make sure love is the first ingredient in all that you do and with the person you promise the rest of your life to. People can talk all sorts of game when they see something they want. You might be an ideal candidate for arm candy, the perfect baby maker, the best cook, or sing like an angel and all of the compliments for all of the gifts God has given is not love. So don't be fooled or allow someone to paint a rosy picture when all you can smell is the manure (Jude1:23 AMP).

Then Comes Marriage

As much as I have written about dating and what to look for in a spouse, the writings on marriage has not been as exhaustive. The reason for that is, if a person understands that he/she is not dating just for the sake of being social but for the purposes of marriage, then that person is also ready or has established a relationship with God to know that he/she must pray, study, and always have an attentive ear to know what to do (Mark 4:9 AMP). This should be a regular practice, otherwise discord has gained entrance. This isn't very popular for people to adapt because people would like to do what they wish to do and discipline isn't usually one of those things that's really high up on the chore list.

Seriously, do you not understand that we are incorporating another personality that must be more like you then not (Amos 3:3 KJV). First comes love, is not just having the relationship with God but with you. You must like you. If you don't then you will hate your suppose and discord was never served eviction papers (James 1:20 AMP). Its just siting there ready to invite, drama, gossip, nagging right in to kick back with feet on your best furniture (Ephesians 4:27 AMP).Why? Because you didn't recognize the loathing of self. It is why there is domestic violence. It is why some run to other substances to escape - like, drugs, alcohol, strip clubs and the like. It is why mental health is where it is. If you didn't know, go to a counselor and chat for awhile (Proverbs 15:22 KJV). There is no shame in it. We all need some help from time to time. Know that if you continue hating yourself, you will have more trouble then a little bit because the greater one on the inside is not the author of the confusion you are contending with.

Once those matters are understood, you have to walk in it. You have to see how all of that feels and
condition yourself to make it a habit to be that way. Look at it from this perspective: I have this issue with weight. I know what to do to lose the weight and am actually doing all of the elementary things with my diet. Such as watching my carbohydrate intake, having several servings of fruits and vegetables, take vitamins and minerals daily, more fish then red meat, no fatty foods, no fast food, no junk food, cut down on sugary treats, no alcohol, no caffeine, no sodas, and drink plenty of water. You would think I could keep that single digit (or close to it) size. Well, there is that pesky thing that seems to make me whine every morning as I look at the CD's, equipment, and all of the other crap that's supposed to motivate me to exercise. I use to do it daily and got down to my target weight, then I felt like I conquered the battle and could live like a normal person just getting up and living without having to make time for cardio. As much as I detest writing this because I do understand it - I was WRONG!!! Exercise must be a part of my life as making my bed, brushing my teeth and bathing. Its necessary and I must do it or... be a porker. Oddly, I rationalized with the porking concept. But isn't that what you did with loving yourself?

Alright, now some months have passed. How well have you done? Don't you know? What does your counselor say? You did get a Christian counselor basing the therapy on the Word didn't you? Otherwise, its the blind leading the blind.

Use a calendar. After you had your break through, there has to be some scriptures that you are standing on and believing for. You have been repeating them daily. Well, has anything happened? If not, get ready for it! If it has, write it down in the calendar. Keep a track of the improvements in your life. Choosing life way back when was more then just speaking words. You must be on the life journey and many times that would mean speaking the Word of life into existence just as God did when creating the world.

Once you see the difference, know that this is something that has to be maintained. When dating for the purposes of marriage, he/she must also be doing this as well. It is why marriage isn't hard for believers. We have learned how God is, what He says, and how He operates. We do the same thing. This is striving to be more like Him. With these things as habits, you can see how much we have taken for granted, where we had made mistakes wondering why God was taking so long, and why we had to wait to be married. God is good.