For the past few weeks I’ve been reading this book called “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris. Not only has this book challenged me in every way when it comes to conventional dating, it has also opened my eyes even more about real purity. As a single woman, I’m always intrigued when I hear the different stories how how people dated before they were married and how some are currently dating the person they desire to marry. Consequently, I’m more so interested in the way Believers date, wondering how they stay pure in the dating and courting stage of their relationship and how that has affected their martial relationship. Well while reading this book, the author tells a story of a dream he had and I thought it was so profound that I wanted to share it.
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Girls I Have Liked.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their contents. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I Have Betrayed.”
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I Have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed At.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in Anger,” “Things I Have Muttered under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my twenty years to write each of these thousands, possibly millions, of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked “Songs I Have Listened To,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed contents. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage. One thought dominated my mind: “No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!” In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took the file at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear- filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.”No!” I shouted, rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and continued to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
After I read the story for the first time all I could manage to get out was “Wow”, wow at that fact that a Man so pure would take on such filth for me. I didn’t even want to imagine my filth because the temptation to stay in sin is so strong. Many often rationalize that their sin is too great and instead of letting Him purify them they stay in sin because they figure there is no hope for them. That’s why the devil loves to press replay on our past just so he can get us to utter “I’m not worthy.” No we’re not, but it doesn’t matter because Jesus makes us worthy by taking on all our sin and shame. When I want to take a stroll down memory I resist it with everything in me because I know nothing good comes from reliving the sinful past. Yes I’ve messed up in terms of purity, but to know that His blood signed named and gave me a new start is priceless.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
The GREAT exchange…
The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), which means “jealous”, “play-acting”, “acting out”, “coward” or “dissembling”. A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. Wow. Take a moment and let that definition sink in… It is so true that some of us have pretended so long that we ourselves start to believe that the pretend lives were living are real. When we were kids we play pretend, for me it was a favorite game because you could become anyone or anything you wanted. However, there are some people who are now professional pretenders. Afraid to be who they really were created by God to be so they pretend to be something they were never created to be, only they have pretended for so long they don’t know who they really are anymore. Let’s all welcome…CONFUSION. Growing up, I allowed the enemy to hand me a mask. I was being a raised as a devout Christian, but as I got older my young mind wanted to compromise, A LOT. You see I loved being a Christian and I loved Jesus, but reading all that was required of me to become His follower was a bit much in this day and age. So I watched enough Christians to know how to act and even talk like a Christian at the right times, but I never grew in love with Jesus. My faith was more about being afraid to die and going to hell versus having a relationship with Him. You see even at a young age I knew that every relationship had requirements, but I was young and wanted to have my fun, so I pretended. I wore the mask for so long I even fooled myself at times thinking I’m so in love with Jesus…or am I? You see if I was my actions would of shown that. Commandments would of been more than suggestions to me, because after all when you’re deeply in love with someone you do what they ask of you to please them, no matter what. Even still, many days I would grow tired of wearing a mask, but I still wouldn’t leave home without it. Other days I simply forgot to wear it and people got a glimpse of who I really was… I really wanted to live right, but my flesh was so strong. It wanted what it wanted and there was no denying it, or so I thought. I learned that the more I fed my flesh with whatever it craved for I was keeping my spirit dead, starving it to death. Every morning I woke up with the choice to crucify my flesh or my spirit, many days I chose my spirit, and I suffered. I noticed my desires changing from when I was a child and was excited about Jesus to desires of the world. I began regulating Him to a holiday, Sunday’s and Wednesday’s, and those times where my flesh got me in trouble. You see I had a hard time surrendering. I couldn’t fathom giving my entire self to someone I couldn’t see.
Yes I know it’s been months since I’ve blogged! My apologies for those who have asked when the next one will be! Although my schedule has been crazy I will not make any excuses…Great! Now on to the topic everyone is buzzing about…CHRISTIAN DATING!
I have read and seen many teachings on Christian Dating/Courtship. This post brings together all of what I have learned. First and foremost I turn to the Bible in every situation, and since the Bible is not specific on dating I have taken Biblical principles to shape my views.
I am in constant pursuit of purity in every avenue of my life and since I desire to be married, I am looking forward to dating my future husband God’s way. However, marriage is not my priority in life! I know God will present potential mates for me according to His timing, but it is I that ultimately has to choose. So my steps for dating aren’t new or revolutionary, but if applied they will work and produce strong marriages and because of the strong foundation you can outlast any situation in marriage. (I have examples, just ask!)
1. Do not be unequally yoked! 2 Corinthians 6:14…How can two walk together if they don’t agree? If you don’t believe in the same God and follow the same rules then you can almost be sure that you will have many disagreements. Only reserve your intimate relationships with people of like-minded faith in Jesus Christ. We can be causal friends with unbelievers, but we know that an intimate relationship cannot be formed because there is no common ground. Yes you both have the same interests but your main interest is Jesus Christ and if they aren’t interested in Him the relationship will not last. Trust me. Also, remember that this goes for spiritual maturity levels as well.
2.Establish friendship! Proverbs 18:24…This is most important because you need a strong foundation. If you can’t even be friends and enjoy their company how do you expect to live with this person for the rest of your lives? Not every friendship with the opposite sex means it will end in marriage.
3. Set Boundaries. Jeremiah 29:11…Since the beginning God had purpose for everything He created and you’ve heard many times that “what you don’t know the purpose of you will abuse”, so set boundaries for your friendship. One important thing I learned from a good friend of mine was that we defined what we believe it is to be a friend and what we expect from each other in out friendship. Now I had never done that before but when I tell you it has enhanced my life greatly, trust me! I know what she expects from me and she knows what I expect from her. Yes! I expect impartation from ALL my friends, there has to be some exchange!
4. Never isolate yourself from friends and family. Proverbs 11:24…Often times when you’re in a situation you cannot see the forest for the trees! You need help and those people who know you best can give you that help. Make sure they know your intentions and are spiritually mature to help you. Family and Friends can often see things that you cannot because you’re so caught up in the greatness of that person. Let them hang out with them, talk to them and observe them in large and small settings. You’ll be amazed at what they can see about a person that you fail to recognize. Also who are their close friends? You can learn a lot about a person by the company they keep.
5. No kissing, sex, cohabitation or inappropriate touching. Romans 12:1-2…We are to glorify God with our bodies and to always be an example! Foreplay is called foreplay for a reason! It gets you prepared for the main event…SEX! I am not here to tell you what to do, but as for me there will be no kissing until my wedding day. Why? Because I want to honor God and my husband, and I don’t want to start something that we cannot finish as unmarried Believers. Sexual purity is important to me because I want to honor God. Period.
6. Allow him to pursue her! Proverbs 18:22…Women, let God lead Him to you, God doesn’t need your help so stop looking and be patient! Men, let God direct you to her! You don’t need to date every girl in the church, allow Holy Spirit to present options to you! When you’re thirsty (anxious) people can tell and it’s a turn off. Your focus should be on God not checking out if “The One” is in the congregation that Sunday! (No you don’t have to meet your spouse in church, thank you Holy Spirit because I know that would be someones question)
7. Monitor what movies and music you both listen to. Proverbs 4:23…Everything you hear has the opportunity to get into your heart, and what comes out your mouth first is planted in your heart. We are warned many times to guard our hearts because what is sowed there will come to harvest, and you want only the good to harvest. So movies with messages contradictory to what the Bible says should be avoided because you don’t want that harvest. Along with movies that promote sexual promiscuity, lying, adultery, murder, envy, etc. should be avoided. Doing things God’s way always produces a good harvest.
8. Watch and Wait. Psalm 130:5…Don’t be so impatient that you rush into making an unwise decision. Be patient and wait for the real person you are dating to be revealed to you. Once people get comfortable and let their guard down, you’re able to see those flaws that they were hiding. Are they flaws that they’re working on? Or flaws that they practice and are growing in? Can you handle the real person you’ve gotten to know?
I pray these few tips helped you as it as helped me!
Some Books & Teachings that helped me (I have personally read and listened to ALL of these and MORE):
So I’m reading this book and I come across the question someone asked the author Francis Chan…”Why would a loving God force me to love Him? …threatens me with hell and punishment if I don’t begin a relationship with Him.”
Well I sat there because that was a interesting question. I read it again for clarity and thought about it. Here’s my thought process…
In the beginning God created everything. He decided that He wanted to create beings that He could commune with so hence humans, and Angels were created to be “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Wow God thought that much of you and me to create Angels for our use and to worship Him of course! Only angels aren’t like humans because humans are more like God (Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 NIV). So why wouldn’t God want something like Him to have a relationship with Him? As much as we try we can’t have the same relationship with dogs, because they aren’t like humans. A true and fulfilling relationship can exist between those things that are alike in nature (take a moment and let that marinate).
With me so far?
Ok, but one Angel got high and mighty and because angels were given free will (like us), he decided he could be better than God. Now we all know the story of the angel name Lucifer…but more importantly why would God create all this knowing that most of His creations that He created to commune with Him would reject Him? I mean it wasn’t like He created hell in the beginning scriptures saying “this is for all those who refuse to love me” (please go and check Genesis now), and He didn’t specifically create Lucifer already evil. No He created a beautiful Angel named Lucifer but iniquity was found in him so Lucifer decided to go against his very Creator (Ezekiel 28:15). He created Lucifer anyway despite knowing what evil he would do. Knowing that as a result some of His most prized creations would not choose Him and reject Him.
Who does that?! A God that loves us like crazy does! Despite a few out of many that would believe and have relationship with Him, He would still decide to create us anyway. Just ponder on that for a moment. Kind of reminds you of Jesus…for all He died and yet the majority still refuses to accept His existence and divine power. He could of not given us free will but then He would never know our true intensions. You learn the true intentions of people by giving them the option to choose what they want, it reveals their true desires.
That made me think of us humans. Usually when you force people to like/love you they end up disliking/hating you even more, but given the choice to get to know you for themselves most people eventually like/love you on their own. Their choice. So how great of a risk of God to already know most of His creations would reject Him but choose to create them anyway for the very few that would love Him in return. Wow. Would any human be up for that challenge? It’s like you choose to have 10 children and only 3 love you in return and are obedient. The other 7 don’t take the time to get to know you, they pretend to love you, they hate you because of what they have heard about you, or they see one of their siblings who claim to love you do things they know they’re not supposed to do and are turned away, or refuse to believe you exist at all. But before you had your children you knew this was going to happen. Still want to have those children when the majority won’t love you?
God can’t force humans to do anything. Why? Because He gave us all free will, and with that free will we have the option to love Him or not. The choice is always ours. The punishment wasn’t created for His most prized creations but for the one who thought he should of been God himself and his angels that wanted to follow him, but it’s also a place we choice to enter by our actions or lack of actions. Lucifer knows we are Gods’ prized creations because we are just like Him, and his goal is to get as many as he can to follow him into disobedience. Lucifer is jealous of you because you are just like The Creator something he’s always wanted to be! So why decide to go to a place that wasn’t designed for you (“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;” Matthew 25:41)?
But with truly loving God means following His direction and rules.
Are you in love with God or strong like?
Remember the Kindergarten game ‘Follow the Leader’? Well the same is true for us…we follow our leaders by submitting to their leading. My Leader is Christ, who resides in Heaven with our Father. Lucifer is the leader of Hell and his followers will join him there.
Choose ye this day!
(Yikes! This is only the 3rd chapter!!!! Anticipating Chapter 4: Profile of the Lukewarm…)
Have you read this book? Or are you currently reading it? I’d love to hear your insight!
In this day and age buffet restaurants are easy to come by and the easiest solution for feeding a large number of people who all have different likes and dislikes, but can we have a Bible Buffet? Can we pick and choose which scriptures we want to believe in the Bible? I mean some are harder than others to follow. I like the prosperity ones, especially the ones that speak about the promises of God, but the ones that forbid me to do things I enjoy I just can’t agree with. I mean they’re hard to do in this day and age. Plus the Bible has been interpreted so much does it really say that? How are we to survive living like that? Is God serious when He means that people who practice certain sins won’t be admitted into Heaven? Then where will I go? Hell?! No, I can’t! I believe in Jesus, that’s all that really matters right?
Back in College I decided that this God, Holy, and Righteous thing was a bit too much for a young snazzy girl like myself, and I soon convinced myself that not doing certain things God hated was impossible and as long as I went (merely taking up space) to church I would be ok. Plus my Parents were Pastors now, I knew I was shoe in for Heaven; God couldn’t turn a PK down. Right? Oh how I found out the hard way that this was not the case. Life seemed to get hard once I opened the door for sin to come and reign in my life (Ephesians 4:27, James 4:7). I’m busy thinking it’s just life and not a result of what I was sowing. My heart was far from God (Matthew 15:8) and what I sowed in the spiritual began to show in the natural, and my harvest wasn’t pretty (Galatians 6:7). I knew the things I was willingly practicing were not God’s will for my life, but I rationalized that it was simply impossible to stop doing them. I mean in my heart I knew what I was doing was wrong but I just couldn’t fight my flesh and always decided to give in (Galatians 5:17). It was like my Flesh Man tied my Spirit Man up and started calling all the shots, and when I needed and wanted my Spirit Man to step in he was too weak to fight because he was malnourished, you see I never fed him (Matthew 4:4). You see I did what I wanted to do, said what I wanted to say and had no respect for authority. A complete and utter mess I was! Financial, Mental, Physical, and Emotional problems seemed to meet me no matter where I went and I had no clue how it happened or how to get rid of it. I felt as if I was merely existing and not living, trying to make it from day to day doing what felt right at the moment. Of course I believed the Bible, but some things I just couldn’t and wouldn’t do. On the outside it appeared as if everything was ok, but on the inside was turmoil and disaster. I allowed sin to enter into my life and make a complete disaster out of my heart. My heart was in a million pieces and I longed for God to put the pieces back together, but every time He began the process I took a hammer and shattered my heart. Self sabotage. I was a puppet to sin, sin told me to jump and I asked how high (John 8:34). I had no control. I was a regular Bible Buffet Christian, picked out what I liked from the Bible and ignored those things I didn’t like, not thinking of the consequences. Not until I had a true encounter with God is when I realized that the way I was living had to change. God wanted all or nothing. No half stepping will do for Him (Revelation 3:16).
Since then I’ve asked myself on many occasions why is it so hard for Christians/Believers of the Bible to obey the Bible in its entirety? I know personally I’ve had many struggles in this area myself, however I always knew it was wrong when I did decide to sin and never did I think God was pleased. Recently, more and more Believers have the attitude of “doing them” (Isaiah 55:8). Where does this get us? I’ll tell you where, those who haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior view Christians as the most hypocritical people in the world! Really?! Yes really and why because we pick and choose what we want to believe instead of denying our flesh to live how the Master has outlined us to live. I now look at it as not what we can’t do rather what we can do just within the parameters that we were given. Yes it’s hard at times but it’s so worth it in the end because we will receive the promises of God. Wait, you mean to tell me you didn’t know that as long as you willingly practice sin that it disqualifies you from not only the Kingdom of God (Heaven) but also the promises (Romans 6:23)? Yes! For a long time I didn’t know this myself. I thought it I simply had faith that would suffice, but we all know faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Not just stepping out and believing in spite of circumstances is work but doing what He commands us is work as well. It’s like a child believing his parents will get him a bike, well they have every intention of doing so, and in fact they would love to do it but he continues to lie to them. He knows they can afford it and love to give him things that he desires, but he can’t stop lying. He knows it’s wrong but just can’t help it! Well do you think his parents will reward him with his coveted bike? No, they cannot reward him for his disobedience. Yes he obeys them with everything else, but until he repents (to turn from) of the lying he cannot be rewarded, otherwise he would continue thinking it’s ok. Sound familiar? Now you may ask well why do so many celebrities/athletes/etc. praise God for their success (success for lewd songs and behavior) when they don’t obey His commandments by the public way they live? How is it that they prosper for doing the very things you say God hates? Well, just like our fictional child, if he does receive his bike but his parents did not give it to him, he will assume that it is from his parents and cannot hear his parents telling him that the bike is not from them because he is so sidetracked by his recent gift that he has gone a deaf ear to the voice of his parents (2 Timothy 4:4). Many people attribute God for their success, and are wrong. Why would God reward disobedience? If He did then that means He’s a liar, which is impossible (Romans 3:4, Titus 1:2). Why God allows certain people to succeed is a mystery to me (1 Corinthians 2:11), but I just know that He has a divine plan and though I may not fully understand I fully trust his judgment.
I’ve decided no matter what to run after God and not allow the actions of others to sway me on my beliefs in what I know to be true…God’s Word. I would often cry out to God many times to help me not to sin but in my heart I knew I just wanted the pain to end and I would do and say anything but wasn’t really interested in really changing. I would often wonder if God even heard me, and I learned He hadn’t because my sin was such a stench to Him that it caused us to be separated (John 9:31), and as long as my heart stayed hard to the things of God He would never hear me. I thank God that I finally got tired of doing life on my own and ever since then my life has been the better. I decided to obey Him fully and I’m not going back to the turmoil it used to be. I love him way too much to disobey now (John 14:15). I pray that I never get too comfortable as to think that me sinning against God to appease my Flesh is ok. It is possible to live a pure and holy lifestyle, don’t believe the hype that it’s not.
(In most cases I have no problem outlining the sin I was practicing, but in this case God has instructed me not to because He wants people to understand that no sin is higher than another. Lying, Stealing, Murder, Fornication, Gossip, Backbiting, Adultery, Drugs, Alcohol, Homosexuality, Idolatry, etc. are all the same in His e (1 Corinthians 6:9-11))
I know it’s been quite some time that I’ve blogged, but I promise to balance my time more in the future! Thanks for reading!
I came across this video from Passion For Christ Movement and thought it was imperative to share. This is a Ministry of young people on fire for God that do spoken word and poetry. I follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube because they have a way of delivering the Gospel in a unique way that touches this young generation at its very core.
The content of this video speaks for itself, so I don’t need to build it up with a speech or long post. Please make sure you watch this when you have time because the message is so important and vital to your Spirit Man, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you and cause you to examine YOU as you watch this video.
I believe life is all about the smallest of memorable moments that happen to shape who you become…
In small quiet, relaxed, uninhibited environment, I learn the most from my parents. Not when they’re in the pulpit, on a stage, being recorded, facilitating a meeting, etc., but when everyone is gone and everything is quiet and still. Each day they reveal more and more to me about themselves, others and the Almighty God we serve, and each day I walk around thanking God for allowing their blood to run through my veins. The very things in life that I have endured has been because of the God on the inside of them knowing exactly how to train me up, and I surely didn’t forget and was able to keep pressing forward. Years prior I used to sit back and just listen to them. Now I am a very active participant in these moments of sharing knowledge. I not only see them as my parents but first my Man and Woman of God, and for that I’m grateful because I used to refuse to see them as nothing else but my parents. Thankful to God that He is long-suffering because I have a hard head and when I was chastised by God, I finally had my “Aha” moment and a new realm of the Kingdom was opened up to me.
All of my days I live to honor my Heavenly Father and my earthly parents as they follow Christ…I love them to life!
I was watching a show on TV one night and began to wonder how in the world did some people get so rude, mean, and just down right nasty. These people were backstabbing, gossiping, lying, cheating, causing strife, etc. you name it they did it. Not only did they do it with an attitude of not caring but emphasized that they were doing what they had to do in order to survive in that environment. Then something happened, I started to put myself in that environment and talk back to the TV as if I was there and I noticed that my responses were in line with theirs! Once I heard myself aloud I said “What the heck am I doing?” and I changed the channel. What happened was all the hate, bitterness, anger, strife, etc. started to get in me. Oh but it didn’t take long for me to adapt to that environment and act in a manner that was not of my character.
That got me to thinking about what we allow to feed us. The famous saying “you are what you eat” is not only true naturally but spiritually. Whatever we are fed we become. You watch or hear something for so long before you know it you have become much like what you have heard and seen. The best example is children. Most children become what has been spoken to them all their lives. You tell a child that he/she isn’t or is something for so long they will believe it. If you tell a child they’re the best in everything they do and you continue this message their whole life, not only will they believe it, but they will act like it. Why? Because that is what they were fed all her life. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 “that life and death are in the power of the tongue”, so whatever you speak has power. So what are you speaking into the atmosphere? How great would it be if all people were living and breathing examples of the Bible once they started to read it every day?
Not only does what is spoken to us have life but what we allow to enter into our spirits as well. The Bible warns us to guard our hearts for they are the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23), but how does something get into our hearts? By our eyes and ears. Therefore being mindful of what we choose watch on TV is so imperative because sooner or later we will want to become what we have seen. I’ve had to evaluate not only what I watch on TV but how much TV I watch because if I watch shows or movies that portray fornication, as a single woman I’ll want to do the same. You can’t expect to feed your mind garbage and good things come out! It doesn’t work that way. Additionally the music that we choose to listen to plays a very important role as well. You listen to music that tells you women are nothing, to get money by any means, get wasted at every opportunity, and fornicate, slowly but surely that is what you will want to do. Many teens will tell me that is not true and they can listen to those types of songs without wanting to do those things because at that moment they don’t, but they don’t understand that seeds are being planted for their future. It may not happen right away but you continue to feed a flower salty water and it slowly but surely will die. What seeds are you planting for your future today? That is the whole plan of the enemy, to make you see that a little here and there won’t hurt anyone (“It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread.” Galatians 5:9 MSG), but slowly and surely your spirit is dying. You are feeding it negative things that will stunt your growth and will kill you spiritually.
Each day your spirit should crave to be fed the Word of God just like your natural body craves food. If you don’t have that craving to feed your spirit man you might want to check it’s pulse. Feeding your spirit the word of God each day ensures that it will continue to grow healthy and strong, by neglecting the craving of your spirit to be fed is starving yourself of proper nutrients necessary for growth and life, and the end result is death of your spirit man.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
Take a hard look at the music you listen to, the shows and movies you watch, and the people around you that you allow to speak into your life. What are those things/people telling your spirit man? And how long will you allow yourself to feed off of negativity and things that are not like God and expect to grow? You are what you eat…so what are you eating?
Today my Father celebrates his 51st Birthday and I am overjoyed and grateful to have such a wonderful Father, Man of God, Spiritual Overseer, and Friend in my life. This year I wanted to give him something a little different in addition to the material gifts that he will receive from me. Instead of just saying “Happy Birthday Dad!” I wanted to show him exactly what his life has actually meant to me over the years.
Please brace yourself because the beginning is not pretty.
I know hate is a strong an ugly word, but it is the real emotion that I felt on the inside of me towards my Father. I know you’re wondering what could he have done to make me feel this way. Well honestly he did nothing but obey the voice of God. I know that may not be enough for you, but to me it was major. You see obeying the voice and call of God totally disrupted my normal family life.
My parents went into ministry when I was 13, so the PK life was not known to me nor desired, and everything soon changed. You see, I was more than comfortable going to the church we had been attending, and was eager to finally join the Youth Ministry (I no longer had to sneak into their events) after many years in the Children’s Ministry, to only be told the week before that my dream would never become a reality. I was livid. I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming because not only did my parents serve in the Youth Ministry and other areas extensively, they allowed the Youth to always be in our home. Eating up my food, watching my T.V., laying on my couch, calling my parents Mom and Dad! Ohhhh that burned me up. That is where the seed of discontent and jealousy was first planted, which soon grew into an ugly plant of hatred once fully grown. They counseled many teens and adults and I felt it began to take away from our home life. Didn’t matter that they were serving God every chance they got, all I cared about was ME ME ME. I began to see changes in them and I didn’t like it not one bit.
Hate. An emotion so strong that whenever my Father stepped foot inside our house or was in my presence I was immediately enraged and annoyed. So much so that i refused to call him Dad, I went out of my way to avoid saying it at all costs. Imagine a young dainty female with hate brewing on the inside. Truly ugly. Although the enemy placed hate on the inside of me, I realized I never hated my Father as a person but I hated the righteousness that he walked in. I wanted to live my life like every normal person, have normal parents, do normal things. But that wasn’t His plan for my family. We were to touch and impact the lives of others and I wasn’t on board by any means. We weren’t called to be normal but to stand out and I resisted like a child not wanting to eat his/her vegetables. I kicked, screamed, threw things, all to resist the calling that was placed on our family. So much so that I would get upset with my Mom for submitting to my Father, little did I know the enemy was using me to tear down their marriage, my family, my Father and most importantly the ministry. That was his goal from day one, and we all know that the enemy likes to use those close to us to tear us down.
It took me years to catch on to his schemes and when I did I was ashamed and wanted to hide myself like Adam and Eve, for now my eyes had been opened to the ugly truth. During my sophomore year in High School my Father found a lump under his arm and was soon diagnosed with cancer. He went through Chemotherapy, losing weight and hair, and being sick, something he never was. Only the 4 members of my family knew. Through it all he never showed any signs of weakness in front of us. What did I do during all of this you ask? I began to dream about his funeral and how great our lives would be afterwards. I never once took into account that my brother and I would be Fatherless, my Mother without the love she’s known since Middle School, my Grandparents without their youngest son, or even the church without their Shepard. I only write this to show how deep the hatred ran so you can understand how deep my love runs for this man.
All my years of disobedience, discontent, jealousy, and hatred led me to fall. And fall hard I did because I was committed to doing things my way. During my repentance and restoration with God is when I realized all I had done and the plan the enemy had for me. I no longer regret the past because it made me who I am today and my testimonies will reach those right where they are, and encourage them that there is a man named Jesus ready to rescue them.
I can now appreciate the parents God has chosen for me to have, because they have taught me so much. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them, including laying down my own life. My Father has been the man I look up to, cherish, serve, and who I act just like (whether I like it or not)! I pray that my husband is just like him, and look forward to the day that I can honor my parents in a major way at my wedding (a secret I am keeping until then). I am excited to dance with my Father at my wedding because I know just how grateful I am to have such a great man like him in my life. All the days of my life I will honor him because he chosen to stand even when no one else was and for that I will forever thank God for birthing me into this family. They bring out the very best in me! I am blessed that my Man of God is also my Father, because the teaching never stops at the pulpit.
Happy Birthday Pastor Dad!
I Love you to life!
Wait. Wait. Wait. Why does it seem as if our whole lives are comprised as a waiting game. Wait to grow up, wait for love, wait to be successful, wait to start a business, wait to go on vacation…wait wait wait! One of the most difficult things to master in life is waiting. But not just waiting in itself, but waiting patiently. A lesson that is still hard for many people today. Most people give God an ultimatum by saying “God if it doesn’t happen in the next year then…” feel free to finish the statement, because at some point in our lives we’ve all said this at one time or another.
We live in a popcorn generation. A generation that wants what they want and will not stop until they get it that very moment. Patience is no longer seen as a virtue but a sign of weakness. We all know the motto “It’s yours for the taking!” but when? Is it supposed to be mine now?! Don’t get me wrong that is not a bad statement, rather we must use wisdom when we quote statements like this because it may very well be yours for the taking but it doesn’t necessarily mean right that very second. For most of the major things in life that we wish to acquire takes preparation. Not only are we being prepared but those things we desire are being prepared also. The husband/wife we desire, the house, the heart of other people, the job, the business loan, etc. Waiting patiently shows God that you rely totally on Him, and you trust that He knows best. That way He can work in peace on our desires as long as they align with His will for our lives. I don’t know about you but I rather wait until my desires are ready for me and I’m ready for them to ensure success and the highest level of gratification. There’s nothing like wanting a delicious dinner your mother just prepared with your mouth watering ready to devour it, only to hear “Wait until it cools down!” But no you dive right in and burn your tongue! Now you’re unable to taste how good indeed the meal is because your taste buds have been burned due to you lacking patience, and now you cannot even enjoy what comes after dinner…dessert! Why? Because your mouth has still not recovered from you trying to enjoy something that wasn’t quite ready for you at that moment. Sure it looked good and ready, or did it? You saw the steam, which was a indicator that it was still very hot, but you pressed on anyway because it looked too good for you to wait. Lesson learned.
Have you ever considered that maybe God is tired of waiting on you? Waiting for you to submit all of you to Him…to get your house in order…to get your heart right…to learn how to love and be loved…to establish a true relationship with Him…to serve first before you can be served…to give your time, talent, and treasure to Him…to forgive and let go…to go and sin no more…To be the church and stop playing the church…to not backbite and gossip…to join and serve in a fruitful ministry…to stop being unequally yoked with an unbeliever…well???
We get so caught up in demanding why it isn’t your time when you want it to be versus waiting to hear Gods voice and His explanation on why waiting for us is necessary. Examine yourself, are you ready to receive all that your heart desires right this very moment? Most of the time that answer is no. There may be some areas you must grow in before God can elevate you to the next level. In order for us to be able to sustain and maintain our desires, certain things in our life have to change. Could you be the hold up? YES! Don’t just sit and wait! Get up and get moving! There are many things each of us must work on before God can give us our desires, so that means you must do something while you’re waiting. If you sit idle while waiting on God for your desires, your desires will be ready when you are not, and then God has to wait on you to get yourself together. Don’t make God wait on you.
Patience my friends is still a virtue. You growth strength during times of patience. Don’t faint or grow weary be strong in the Lord because He surely cares for us all deeper than we can ever imagine.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
There are many other scriptures in the Bible about patience. What does that tell us? That patience is an important virtue with God. Don’t just take my word for it ask Noah who waited 120 years for the flood to come, but continued to work on the ark. Or ask Abraham and Sarah who waited 25 years to have their son Isaac, but continued to be about the Lords business. There are many more examples in the Bible about those who waited patiently and those who did not. Do some research and gain strength from their stories.