Archives for category: Wives

 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.

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“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:2, NIV).

The biggest life lessons are the ones that are birthed out of frank conversations.  About a year ago, I was conversing with one of my mentors when he shared with me one of his theories on life.  He said:

“If you get up on Monday morning and say, ‘Ok, it’s Monday, let’s jumpstart this day,’ then you probably have a career.  If you get up on Monday morning and say, ‘Oh s*** it’s Monday,’ you most likely have a job.”

Those words resonated with me.  If we, as individuals, are walking in our purpose, Mondays do not ignite a visceral response.  That doesn’t mean that life isn’t hard and we don’t get fatigued and occasionally frustrated.  It simply means that Mondays aren’t daunting.

So, why are Mondays so unnerving?  Why do most people start to dread Monday as early as twilight on Sunday?  The answer is simple.  Most of us are slaves.  One of our chief masters: Debt.  Sure, fear, laziness and other vices are all co-conspirators, but debt is one of the main slave masters.

I think it’s probably safe to assume that if it weren’t for financial obligations, many people would probably have quit their current jobs eons ago and pursued their passions.  But with mortgages, car payments, loans and other debts, simply walking away is difficult.  Debt not only impact our career paths, it impacts our overall health—physically, mentally, spiritually and relationally.  Debt distorts our perspective, limits our vision and narrows our options.

So how do we conquer debt?  We need two things: a physical and a spiritual plan.  A physical plan could range the gamut from budgeting to financial counseling.  This essential component is need and case specific and beyond the scope of this dialogue.  A spiritual plan requires us to stand on God’s Word.  His word is his promise to us.  God sacrificed His one and only Son so that we could be free.  Hence, it was never God’s intention that we would be slaves to anything, including debt.  Below are just a few principle to meditate on regarding God’s view on debt.

Proverbs 22:7 (ESV)

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Psalm 37:21

The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives;

And finally, one of my favorites:

Deuteronomy 28:9-13 (NIV)

 The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

Today’s prayer:

Lord,

According to the world’s standard for living, money is one of the greatest source of strife in relationships.  I pray that in our relationships, you grant us the wisdom to be prudent with the resources that you have gifted us with.  I also pray we would not allow debt to prevent us from pursuing and living the life that you have destined for us.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

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.

 

Today’s message doesn’t really tie into the theme.  However, it weighed heavily on my heart, so I decided to blog about it. 

There are times when it feels as if the Father of the Universe, our Father, has forgotten about us.  Why wouldn’t He?  It would make sense that He would.  Surely the ruler of the Universe has more important matters to attend to than our daily minutia.  Or does he?

I don’t know how many of you have ever heard the saying, “the devil is in the details.”  I would like to turn that saying around and say that, “God is in the details.”  He is in the very minute details of our lives.  He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7).  I don’t think God is in the business of wasting time.  He did not just count the hairs on our head for the sake of being idle.  I believe the point He is making is that when it comes to us, nothing is inconsequential.  He knows and He cares about it all.  Please know that God may be seemingly silent, but He is never absent.  He is always with us.  Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 Know that life is cyclical.  Just as winter turns into spring and summer to fall, bad times also relent.  If God has not delivered on His promise to you, it simply means that your season for deliverance has not yet arrived.  God will never promise and fail to deliver.  He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).  He is also faithful when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13).  Do no lose hope.  You have come too far to give up now.  I pray that someone needed to hear this.  May God bless you!

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!!

One of the best things we could do in our relationship with God and others is to have a spirit of thanksgiving.  We honor God and others with our praises.  It’s so easy to find fault and complain.  Today, we should take a different approach.  Praise God and thank Him.  Also, give honor and thanks to those in our lives.  A little thanks goes a long way. 

 

Today, let someone know just how grateful you are for them and all that they do.

 

Today’s prayer:

Lord we praise you and thank you for everything in our lives, including unanswered prayer.  Bless us with a spirit of gratitude for everything and everyone in our lives.

We all have baggage, but if we are not careful, our baggage could weigh us down and prevent us from living our best lives ever.  Sometimes our baggage could be the company that we keep.

Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are.”

The Bible says, “Bad company ruins good character,” (1 Corinthians 15:33).  When it comes to our relationships, we have to be wary of the company we keep and the advice we receive.  Not all advice is well-intentioned, and even well-intentioned advice usually comes from an individual’s frame of reference.

A couple of weeks ago, I was given some disturbing advice on marriage from two COMPLETELY different individuals.  Not only was the advice similar, it was within a week apart.  The similarities were so eerie that I started to wonder whether God was trying to speak to me through these two people.  Their advice made me perceive marriage in a way that I had never thought of before.  On the surface, their message made a lot of sense, except it just didn’t align with God’s word.

For several days after the initial conversation with the two, I could not shake the impression their words made on my heart.  However, after much deliberation I started to think about the spirit behind the words.  Even though these two individuals were polar opposites, they had one thing in common: Divorce.  One had gone through a divorce and the other was in the middle of one.  Their advice came from a place of hurt, pain and anger.  There was no ill intentions towards me.  It was just that their views were tainted by their own personal experience. Now, does that mean that just because they had a negative experience they cannot give sound advice?  Absolutely not.  It simply means that I should be cognizant of the source when taking advice.  What is (are) their motive(s)?  What is (are) their experience(s)?

The first step when receiving advice from anyone is to make sure that it aligns with the Word.  Second, we have to make sure that the person who is giving us advice has our best interest in mind.  Lastly we have to make sure that they are not speaking solely from a negative experience.

Lord our prayer for today is:

Please allow us to carefully consider our source when receiving counsel.  Grant us the discernment to act in a manner that will preserve the integrity of our relationships and act according to the will of God.  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!