Archives for category: Loving

 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.

A few days ago, we talked about accepting people as they are and allowing them to change at their own pace. However, there was one critical component that we neglected to mention.

Whenever we ask someone to alter his or her behavior, we should recognize that change is not always easy or immediate. Oftentimes, we expect colossal leaps, and are disappointed when all we see are baby steps. Our disappointments are seldom embraced in silence. We usually let the objects of our disappointment know how much they have let us down. But if we knew anything about growth, we would know that growth is a process. Change in behavior could mean breaking down foundations that took years to develop. Our behaviors are often so embedded into our infrastructure that sometimes we don’t even know where to start to get back on track. The truth is, in order to progress forward, we often have to alternate between forward and backwards steps, and that is not easy. We should keep that in mind when we are in relationship with others. Regardless of whether someone else’s rate change is to our liking, we should give credit for progress. Even the slightest change could have taken great courage. Know that positive reinforcement is often a better effector of change than criticism or ridicule.

When it comes to experiencing change in a relationship, we should know that ultimately, it comes down to being patient with each other. We should know that none of us would be where we are if someone did not invest in us and allow us the room to grow.

Would you allow yourself to be patient with someone and allow them to grow? If someone you love is trying to make a change, but is still plodding along, encourage them. Congratulate them on the small changes you see. According to the old adage, “A little encouragement goes a long way.” You might just see that the change you desire is not so far removed once you start to acknowledge the small accomplishments.

Today’s Prayer:
Lord, we pray that we could learn to be patient with each other. Soften our hearts and allow us to view each other with a spirit of gratitude. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

God definitely has a way of speaking to us.  This morning, I open my prayer journal and the scripture at the bottom of the page was Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous.  The Lord your God be with you wherever you go.”  I then opened my bible and it opened to Joshua 10.  The highlighted verse on the page was Joshua 10:25: “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” (NLT).

I guess I could safely say that the message of the morning is to be strong and courageous.  Life has a tendency to throw many projectiles in our way.  If we don’t stand on the word of God, we could feel as if we were constantly running for cover.  However, in these verses God is commanding us to not be afraid and to not become discouraged.  In fact, God is telling us that He will be with us in the midst of trial. 

How wonderful is it that no matter where we are, the creator of the universe is right there with us?  We are mere mortals, yet God considers and cares for us and places everything in the Earth under our authority (Psalm 8:-6).  God cares so much for his people that he even gave a man by the name of Joshua the power to command the sun to stand still (Joshua 10:12-13).

“Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel.  He said,

                                    ‘Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,

                                    And the moon over the valley of Aijalon.’

So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.”

If God allowed the sun to stand still for one man, He will allow the sun to stand still for ALL men.  What battles do you have in your life?  What battles are you facing in your relationships?  Know that darkness cannot reign in the presence of light, so ask God to allow the sun to stand still so that He can shed light on EVERY situation in your life.  God will allow the sun to stand still until you have defeated your enemies.  He will allow the sun to stand still until you have conquered all your vices.  He will allow the sun to stand still until your relationships have been mended.  He will allow the sun to stand still until all your needs are met. 

Before I close, I have to mention that there is a final piece to this puzzle. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  In John 8:12 he also said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Here is the final point.  If Jesus is the light, and there is no other way to the father except through Jesus, then every day that we invite Jesus into our lives and into our situations, God has allowed the sun to stand still.  Jesus is the answer to our sun stand still prayers!!

Lord, I pray that whatever darkness we face in our lives and in our relationships, I pray that you allow the sun to stand still.  I pray that Jesus will shine into every dark crevice and reign over our darkness to give us victory.  In Jesus’ name I pray amen!

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!!

“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!!!!