Archives for category: Dating

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,” (Hebrews 11:1-3, NIV).

Most of us have said at some point that we won’t believe it until we see it.  But according to the verse above, even the things we CAN see were birthed from the things we COULD NOT see.  Therefore, our beliefs in the tangible (the things that are seen) is the beginning of faith.  Basically, what God is saying is that nothing is impossible.  He made what is perceived as possible from the impossible.  This gives us the comfort to know that the absence of a promise in our lives does not preclude its manifestation.  We have to trust that God is working out the details.

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood.  He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before (Hebrews 11:7, NLT).

Not because something has never happened before does not mean that God can’t or won’t allow it to happen in the future.  However, sometimes the promise(s) made to you is not for you, but for your generation.  For example, God gave Martin Luther King Jr. a dream that he did not get to see, but his generation is experiencing the manifestation of his dreams.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth (Hebrews 11:13, NLT).

On this final day of the 30-day Marriage Challenge, I want to remind you of one final point:  When Jesus died, he said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30).  Please know that the end of Jesus’ life was actually the beginning of ours.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139:13-16, NLT).

The above passage in Psalm says that before we were born, God had recorded every day of our lives in His book.  Before we were born, it was finished.  Every promise in our lives was finished before birth.  Every dream was finished.  Every relationship was finished.  Every soul was finished.  When Jesus gave his life, it was finished.  In other words, He finished His life so that we could begin ours.  It is finished!

I hoped you have enjoyed the 30-Day Marriage Challenge series.  This series was never intended to be solely about earthly marriages.  It was about our marriages to God.  You see, before we can commit to anyone, we must first commit to God.  Isaiah 54:5 says, “For your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth, (NLT).

Our spiritual marriage should supersedes our natural marriage.  God is and should be our husbands before we walk down the aisle.  If our relationships with God is faulty, then our earthly relationships WILL fail.  We will never be the right spouse.  We will never chose the right person.  Our relationships will never reach their potential because Jesus was never the center.  People cannot and should not complete us.  No person can fill the God-shaped void in our lives.  Today, wherever you find yourself, single or otherwise engaged, trust God.  Do not attempt to live a life independent of God.

Dear Father,

Today, I pray that that we will trust you.  Be our husbands, Lord.  Lord of Heaven’s Armies, please be our redeemer.  Give us the strength and the courage to trust you.  Let us place all our desires, dreams, relationships and promises in your hand knowing that, “IT IS FINISHED!”  Let us not settle for earthly counterfeits when we could have true treasures.  Let us not give in to the desires of our flesh out of desperation or out of a spirit of fear.  Let us wait on your word and trust that you will order our steps,  because Jesus has already said that, “IT IS FINISHED!”

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A few years ago, a network television station featured a woman who was living with HIV.  The HIV-related story had piqued my interest for several reasons.  As a graduate student, I had the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant to one of the frontier epidemiologists who studied the trends of HIV when it first emerged in the US in the early 80s and whose role in the discovery of HIV was documented by Randy Shilts’ 1987 best-selling book, And the Band Played On.  However, as much as I was interested in the topic itself, it was the underlying tale of that feature presentation that, even until this day, has held my interest.  My memories of the details of the story have faded over the years, but the take-home message still resonates in my mind.

The purpose of the story was to document one woman’s daily regime of living with HIV.  The story began with the tale of young love that fizzled out, only to be rekindled later on.

The woman featured in the documentary was in love with the man of her dreams.  Like with most young women, she wanted more than simple romance.  She wanted commitment.  She wanted to be married.  Unfortunately, her beau disagreed.  They eventually broke up.  She met another man, and they engaged in a sexually encounter.  As I remember the story, he was her first.  So it was no wonder when the woman was contacted by the health department to inform her of her exposure to the HIV virus, she knew where she acquired it.  She was tested.  The results were positive. One single decision had changed her life.

One of the few details that I remembered about the story was how this woman made herself vulnerable on camera so that other women could learn from her experience.  She explained to the interviewer that the disease had committed her to diapers because of her incontinence.  I am assuming that her incontinence was a result of the drugs, but I can’t exactly remember.  The story continued in the kitchen.  The camera panned her drug cocktail.   The woman described how taking the medley of pills often made her nauseous and would sometimes cause her to regurgitate them. Whenever she vomited, she would have to retake the cocktail.  Both the disease and the treatment had made her very weak.  It was almost an entirely sad tale.  Almost!!

Remember our prince charming from the beginning of the story.  He resurfaced.  Not only did he return, He married her.  Yes, you read right.  He, fully aware of her condition, chose to marry her.  Not only did he marry her, he cared for her, and he loved her.

This is where I pick up with my second point.  This man married this woman with a disease, which at that time, many people feared and believed to be a death sentence.  Wow.  It made me wonder.

I believe that life is predestined to a certain extent.  Sure, we have free will, and there is a direct correlation between our choices and where we end up.  Even so, I still believe that there are some things in our lives that are just meant to be, and regardless of which path we take, we will end up at the same destination.  That is my belief.  So with that belief in mind, I started to wonder.  What would have happen had she been patient?

(Disclaimer: There might be some people reading this story who are attempting to pervert the discussing by making the assertion that I am somehow suggesting that this woman acquired HIV as some form of punishment.  Such thinking is—well—WRONG!)

I digress.   What would have happened had she been patient?  Would he have still returned?  Could she have been married to the man of her dreams without the baggage?  There is no way to know for sure, but it does make you wonder, even in our own lives.  Could our attempts to preempt God cause us unnecessary misery?  I wonder how many of our bumps and bruises that we receive on our way to victory are a result of our own doing—our pursuit of the infamous free will.  Could our lack of patience take us through tumultuous journeys?  The answer is, there is no way to tell for sure, at least on this side of time.  Fortunately, regardless of what decisions we make, God is faithful, and He will do whatever He has promised.  The Bible says that His Words will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).

One of the greatest gift that God has given us is the gift of grace.  Regardless of whatever decisions we choose, His grace will ALWAYS be sufficient.  He will always give us more than what we deserve.  This woman’s one poor decision did not render her to a life of despair.  God gave her a life partner who would love and care for her despite her past mistake.  This story is one of the most beautiful manifestation of God’s love.  Sometimes it is impossible to live a pain-FREE life, but we can attempt to make it pain-LESS.

Lord,

Please grant us patience in everything that we do.  Give us the courage to trust that your Word will NEVER return to you void.

Isaiah 55:10-11

New International Version (©2011)
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent.

 I can do for you what Martin did for the people
Ran by the men but the women keep the tempo
It’s very seldom that you’re blessed to find your equal
Still play my part and let you take the lead role
Believe me
I’ll follow this could be easy
I’ll be the help whenever you need me
I see you hustle wit my hustle I
Can keep you
Focused on your focus I can feed you”

Upgrade U, Beyonce Knowles

Yesterday, Beyonce’s titled song, Upgrade U, played on the radio.  It had been a long time since I had heard it.  As, I jammed in my car to the midday mix, I was struck by the lyrics above.  So many scriptures came to mind.  Yes, God is present even in R & B.

Ran by the men, but the women keep the tempo.”

1 Peter 3:7 says, “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered,” (NLT).

Proverbs 31:11-12 (NLT) says that a wife of noble character could be trusted by her husband, “and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

God has given dominion over the Earth to men.  In the Bible, God has called wives to submit to their husbands.  Submission as defined by the Bible is a reverent term.  It implies respect and love.  Although there are those who have misinterpreted and have perverted God’s command in order to use it as an excuse to treat women indignantly, that was never God’s intention.  Listen, in EVERY situation in life, there are leaders and followers.  In the case of relationships, God has granted the role of leadership to the man.  However, God gave him a need and a desire for a partner.  God also knew the inclination of some men to abuse His word, so He issued consequences for men who abused their authority over their women.  God created a direct correlation between a man’s success and how he treats his wife.  According to 1 Peter 3:7 husbands who mistreat their wives would have their prayers hindered.  Man may run the show, but the woman keeps the tempo, Beyonce.

 Still play my part and let you take the lead role

The old saying, “behind every successful man is a great woman,” is reflective of Proverbs 31:11-12: “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”  This is so true.  Women, we are very powerful, however, as wives, we are called to submit to our husbands.  Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.”

Submission is not an expletive.  I believe that the reason why most people have an issue with submission is because they have an ill-defined perception of the command.  Being submissive does not mean that you are living in your husband’s shadow.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t have your chance to shine.  It also does not mean that you have to accept and go along with everything that your husband says.  Sorry men!

Remember, we are ALL under submission to Christ, so your husband’s leadership and requests must be in agreement with God’s words.  Also, as human there will be time that we will simply have to agree to disagree.  Disagreement does not always infer disrespect.  It just means that we disagree.  Actually, some of the best resolutions are birthed out of disagreements.

It’s very seldom that you’re blessed to find your equal
The Bible says that we should not be unequally yoked with non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14).  However, I believe the command to be equally yoked extends beyond our theology.  It is possible to be unequally yoked even in the body of Christ.  For example, one person in the relationship may have a heart for missionary work and believe that God has called him to move across the globe, while the other person’s idea of charity is dropping some spare change in the Salvation Army bucket during the Christmas season.  This is not to say that couple cannot express different interests.  However, the core of who you are should be compatible.  As a couple, you should be on the same page.  You should complement each other.  You should be both chasing after the same goals.

So what happens if you are already married and are unequally yoked with your partner?  If you are married and your spouse is not a believer, the Bible urges you to stick it out:

“Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a Christian man has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her.  And if a Christian woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him.   For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy” 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 (NLT).

In the Bible, God, through Paul, addressed the issue of being unequally yoked with a non-believer.  However, there were no concessions made for incompatibility.

I guess the moral of the story is that we all have our roles to play in relationships, and each one is equally important.  We all need each other.

“Let me Upgrade ya!”  I bet you’ll never listen to Beyonce the same way again.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a big music fan.  One of my favorite gospel songs is, “I Need You to Survive,” by Hezekiah Walker.  The first time I heard the words to this song, they pierced my soul.

I pray for you
You pray for me
I love you
I need you to survive
I won’t harm you
With words from my mouth
I love you
I need you to survive

Hezekiah Walker

Wow!

“I pray for you.  You pray for me.  I love you. I need you to survive.”  What remarkable words.  If you evaluate the words of the song, it suggests that we need each other’s prayers to survive.  I once heard a pastor preach that we should always have someone in our corner to pray for us, because there might come a time when we cannot pray for ourselves.  There will be a time when we are so weighed down by life that we just cannot find the words in our hearts to pray.  It’s in those moments where we need prayer the most.

Times of adversity are not the only times we need others to pray for us.  As Christ followers, we are called to pray for each other all the time.  We are called to pray when times are good, bad and neutral.  Sometimes it’s hard to pray for others because we are so focused on self-what we want and when we want it.  Even when we do pray for others, it usually tends to be a drive-by prayer:  “Thank you God for ‘so-and-so.’  God bless them.  Amen.”  How often do we pray an intercessory prayer for others—a deep soul/gut-wrenching prayer—one we would pray for ourselves?  When was the last time we fasted solely for someone else and not simply as an add-on to our prayer requests?

I pray for you.  You pray for me.  I love you.  I need you to survive.”

In order to survive, we do need the prayers of others.  I know with EVERYTHING that I know that I know that I know, where I am is a product of many prayers from many different people.  I could not have survived without prayer—prayers of blessing, prayers of protection, prayers of provision.  As a result of the many known and unknown prayers that have been said on my behalf, I also pray earnestly for the people I love, and in some cases, people I don’t care too much for.  I don’t do this because I am some great person.  I do this because this is what God expects of me.  The Bible says to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).  We should pray for each other.

Our prayers should speak blessings into our loved ones lives.  Sometimes our prayers might even require that we put aside our selfish inclinations for the betterment of our partners.  On occasions, we should even try to pray for the needs of others before we pray for our own needs.  Imagine how much that could spice up a marriage.  There is nothing sexier than selflessness.

Lord, Create in us a generous heart—one that has compassion for others.  Give us the desire to pray for others more than we pray for ourselves.  In Jesus’ name. Amen!!

There are definite stand-out moments in our lives that transforms the way we think.  A little over a year ago, I had one of those moments.  It was a Sunday morning.  One of the pastors at my church had decided to relay a story that he had read about on a blog.  The story, he said, was written by a pastor’s wife.  Her blog began by stating that she had a seemingly perfect marriage until she received devastating news that would change her life forever.  Her husband, and pastor of their local church, had confessed to participating in an extramarital affair that resulted in his mistress’ pregnancy.  The blog further went on to describe the range of emotions that the pastor’s wife experienced after receiving the news.  She was angry.  She was hurt. She was humiliated.  Not only did her husband cheat, he had created a life-time reminder of his deception.  In her hurt and fury, she decided that she would separate from him.  During that time, she sought counsel from one of her pastors.  The advice that she received from this pastor was far from what she expected.  In fact, it was so startling that it not only impacted her life, but it also resonated with my soul when I heard this third-hand story. Her pastor said that she had every right to leave and punish her husband.  He went on to say that what her husband did was so egregious that no one would fault her for leaving and never forgiving him.  It’s what came next that made my heart race.  He said:

Even though you would be perfectly within your right not to forgive him, would you be willing to be a part of his redemption.”

Wow!  Would she be willing to be a part of his redemption?

Would you be willing to be a part of his redemption?  I bet you didn’t see that coming.  I didn’t see it coming, but that simple question has since shaped the way I perceive forgiveness.

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things that we are called to do.  It goes against our natural inclination.  When we are hurt, we either want to retreat or retaliate.  Forgiveness is seldom our first instinct.  Most of us have to make a concerted effort to forgive.

I have often heard that forgiveness is more about us than it is the other person.  While this is true, that pastor’s assertion suggests that forgiveness is also very much about the other person.  Sometimes our forgiveness allows others to forgive themselves.  This message is so critical that it is worth repeating.  Our forgiveness sometimes gives others the solace to heal.

“Are you willing to be a part of his redemption?”

Are we willing to be a part of some else’s redemption, especially if they have wounded us?  That is such a hard question and a costly demand.  It is impossible to get to this place of forgiveness without God’s help and grace.  We just don’t have it in us.  In those moments that require forgiveness, we have to ask God to step into our hearts and our circumstances.  There may be some situations so painful that only God can provide healing.  Know that only God can restore and heal that which has been broken.  Know that we will ALL be hurt by someone we love because we are all imperfect beings.  Remember, even though the degree and nature of the deception might vary, God is constant.  He never changes.  If we allow God into our broken relationships, HE WILL restore them.

If your trust has been violated and you don’t know how your relationship will ever survive, ask God into your situation right now.  Ask God to mend all that has been broken (e.g. your trust, your heart, your vows, your self-worth, your spirit, your dignity, your faith, your hope, your marriage, your relationship, etc).

I bet you are wondering what ever happened to the pastor’s wife.  Well, as the story went, she decided to forgive her husband and take him back.  Not only did she forgive him, she also adopted the child that was the product of the affair.

My prayer for today:

Lord, soften our hearts to forgive those who have hurt us.  Create within us the desire to be a part of some one else’s redemption.  Mend all that has been broken.  In Jesus’ name. Amen!

It’s amazing how when we become attuned to God’s frequency we begin to see examples of His glory in everything around us.  As I was driving to work in the rain this morning, I saw a group of blackbirds picking at remnant French fries that spilled into the streets from a tattered McDonald’s bag.  Immediately, I thought about the verse in Matthew where Jesus likened God’s desire to take care of us to his commitment to the birds in the sky.  In the verse Jesus went on to say,

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life,” (Matthew 6:25-34, NLT)?

As I waited for the light to change, I watched the birds fill their beaks with the morning treat.  Some quickly flew away after they had their fill.  When the light changed, the few birds that remained on the ground danced between the cars as they zoomed by.  I marveled at how carefree they were.

Imagine if we could be that way—never worrying about anything.  Trusting in God gives us that very freedom we desire.  In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said,

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

When we lay our burdens at the foot of the cross, Jesus gives us rest, but we have to trust Him.  We have to trust Him with EVERYTHING.  That includes our relationships.  Remember, God’s purpose for relationships is to create partnerships that will advance His kingdom.  Therefore, if you are single, trust that God will bring the right person in your life at just the right time.  If you are married, trust God to bless, preserves, maintain and/or heal your relationship.  Know that what God has put together, no one can separate (Mark 10:9).

It is God’s desire that we have and maintain successful relationships.  His plan is to prosper us in EVERY facet of our lives, but we have to trust Him.  My prayer for today is that you would trust God with your relationships, both existing and those to come.

Today’s prayer:

Lord, marriages are under attack.  Integrity is diminished and dissention is celebrated.  The D****** word is often the weapon of choice.  Lord, we know that with you we have a defense.  It’s called your Word.  The Bible says, that the Word is sharper than any two-edged sword, and “it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow,” (Hebrews 4:12).  We pray that what you have bound, no one, including us, can separate.  We pray your blessing, favor and provision over ever union you have created.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen!

I love being a woman.  I love the softness of my voice, the curvature of my hips and frailty of my nature.  As a woman, I was created to be dainty and gracious.  The fact that God made me physically weaker than my male counterpart does not mean that I am less strong or less valuable, it just simply mean that I was designed differently.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am all for women’s liberation and equality.  In fact, I work and excel in an industry, which up until a few years ago, was male-dominated.  But even so, I still embrace the inherent differences between men and women.  In our society, we tend to adopt a misguided notion that suggests equality equals homogeny.  We should not and do not have to morph into a unified entity in order to experience equality.  Our diversity, or variety, if you will, is what makes life exciting and enjoyable.

Frankly, I love it when men open doors for me.  Yes, I can open the door for myself, but why should I when there is a strapping man standing idly by?  Ladies, we have to allow men to be gentlemen.  Men, by nature, were created to be providers and protectors.  It’s in their DNA.  We emasculate them when we deprive them of opportunities to act in their nature.  Ladies, we must realize that when we fail to allow a man to act in his nature, we fail to act graciously, which therefore, goes against our nature.  With that said, men, you need to treat women with dignity and respect.  A man’s failure to treat a woman tenderly is going against her God design.  In 1 Peter 3:7 God instructs husbands to “Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered,” (NLT).

Ultimately, it comes down to respect, love and honor.  Women, as women we have to clear the paths to allow the men in our lives to step up to the plate and be the men they were called to be.  It’s not about being a damsel in distress, it’s about making a man feel needed.  Men want to know that the women in their lives depend on them.  Yes, we are fully capable of taking care of ourselves, but a large part of humility is allowing others to take care of us and love us.  It’s like the old adage, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”  Women, one thing I should note, when a man is trying to be a man in the way that he knows best, we should refrain from belittling him because we have determine that his efforts do not match our expectations.  This does not mean that we cannot make suggestions about how we would like to be treated.  It simply means that we should honor their efforts.  Again, it comes back to the respect factor.  We have to respect our men.  When it comes to our relationships with our men, we have to be women of noble character, which Proverbs 31 describes as women who can be trusted and will enrich the lives of their husbands.  There might be some women who read the last statement and say, “I am not a wife.  I am not married.”  All women, unless called to live a life of solitude, are called to be wives.  Just as a shoe doesn’t first become a shoe once it’s placed on a foot, a wife doesn’t first become a wife when she is proposed to.    Psalm 139:13-16 said that God knitted us in our mothers’ womb and every day of our lives were written before life began.  That mean a man did not make a woman a wife.  God created her as such.  Therefore, if a woman is called to marriage by God, the rules that govern marriage still apply to her even if she is single.

Wow!  On to the men.

Men, allow the women in your lives room to be gracious.  Open doors for her.  Pull out her chair.  I would say place your handkerchief over puddles, but that might be taking it a step too far.  But, you get my drift.  Women desire to be wanted and loved.  Colossians 3:19 instructs husbands to love their wives and to not treat them harshly.  The above definition that was used to define wives also apply to husbands.  A man is made a husband by God, not simply because he found a wife.

My prayer for today is:  Wives, allow your husbands to be the men that God has called them to be.  Allow them to exhibit strength, provision and protection.  Pray that God gives you the spirit to be gracious.  Husbands, allow your wives to be women—soft and dainty.  Pray that God gives you the desire to treat her as a princess—the daughter of a king.  Women, pray that God gives you the spirit to treat your husbands as royalty—sons of a king.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!!

The biggest thing that we can do for ourselves and our relationships is to trust God. Why don’t you choose to trust God today?

“I love you”—it’s a simple phrase.  But inherent in those three small words is the power of life and death.

Our most basic need is love.  We need it more than we need water or oxygen.  Yes, if our bodies are deprived of water and oxygen we will physically die.  But if we are deprived of love, our spirits die, and spiritual death is far worse.  When our spirits die, we become the living dead.

The Bible says God is Love (1 John 4:8).  In fact God loved us so much that He sacrificed His ONE AND ONLY son so that we could experience life everlasting (John 3:16).  Now, that’s love.  So, how could something so good and pure ever be bad? The answer is: When love is manipulated, misused or misguided the results could be negative.  The loose use of the phrase “I love you” is the most common example of manipulated or misused love.  The love that we all need and desire is an action verb, not an adjective.  If we are solely describing our love (e.g. just saying “I love you”) and never showing our love (e.g. acts of kindness, acts of service, spending time), then it is probably not love.  Love shows more than it tells.  The weight of the words must be balanced by the weight of the actions.  Just saying “I love you” to get someone to act in our favor is not love.  Just saying “I love you” as part of a rote gesture is not love.  Love is simply more than just words.

Now that we have clarified that love is more than just words, let’s take a step back.  Words are important.  The Bible says that the power of life and death lies in our words.  Proverbs 15:4 says, “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit,” (NLT).  It is in our nature to be affirmed by words.  However, the words we speak should be fully impregnated with life, and not empty.  Our words should empower and edify each other.  The words “I love you” were created to be weighted words that feed our spirits.  Those words were meant to comfort and fill us.  Each time we say “I love you,” we should be reminded of how much God loves us.  Take a challenge today.  Remind those in your life of how much you love them.  In fact, don’t just tell them, show them.

Our prayer for today is:

Lord, my prayer for today is please soften our hearts and fill it with love.  Let our actions match our words.  Let us affirm each other with both our words and our actions.  Lord, let us be reminded that you first showed us the ultimate example of sacrifice and love.  Let our love pattern your example.  Lord, let our hearts and tongues express and exhibit love even when our natures and our flesh are opposed.  For marriages, both existing and future, I pray that God’s love is constantly renewed and exemplified.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen!!!!

Integrity—who we are when no one is looking.  It’s easy to be admirable, honest and gallant when we are under scrutiny.  But, who are we when the curtains are drawn and the audience has left?  Societal glamorization and normalization of poor behavior has desensitized us.  Instead of being outraged by egregious acts, we resort to phrases such as, “to each his own,” or “who am I to say?”  If we are a breathing member of a society, we have every right to say.  When we as a society are not moved by wrongful acts such as infidelity, rape or murder, our moral compass become off-kilter.

We often think that it is acts of grandeur that yield integrity, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  It’s the little things that count.  When we evaluate our integrity, we need to evaluate the little things.  Are we people of our word? For example, are we the type to make plans and frequently back out at the last minute?  If so, we need to reprioritize and allocate our time effectively and accordingly.  The bible says let your yes be yes and your no be no (Matthew 5:37, Note: Though the verse was made in reference to taking an oath using the Lord’s name, I believe it is applicable in demonstrating that Jesus believed that our word should have the power to stand on its own).  When it comes to integrity, it is our lesser acts that speak to the bigger picture.

Today, instead of giving a long drawn out soliloquy on integrity, I have listed some of my favorite verses that have impacted me.  I hope you enjoy:

Proverbs 10:9 (NLT)

People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.

Luke 16:10 (NLT)

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.

2 Corinthians 8:21 (ESV)

For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.

Ephesians 5:21-25 (NLT)

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.

Proverbs 5:18-19 (ESV)

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.

Today’s prayer:

Lord, I pray that you make us new creature in you.  Make us into people of integrity.  Let us be people who can be trusted in the dark.