Damas

Lessons from Eden: Part III

So recently in a weekly group I attend we’ve discussed the first three chapters of Genesis, creation and the fall of man, and oh my, there is so much more to the story. I have written in the past about lessons from the Garden, but there are some more that I want to share that my eyes were just opened to see.

tree of the kgeFirst off, one of the lingering questions in the story is where Adam was during the whole conversation between Eve and the Serpent. Well in reading, the Bible does assume he was there, but how close is up for discussion. Nevertheless, lets assume that he in fact was there beside Eve as she was talking to the snake. The first lesson here is that silence is not always golden. Especially considering that he was the leader of that home, he should have spoken up when the Serpent began to misquote God’s word, but he didn’t because maybe he was just shocked that the snake was speaking or intrigued by what it was saying. Still, as we often do today, he didn’t speak up because he possibly didn’t see the threat in the lie that Serpent was speaking or in the Serpent himself who was said to be subtle and cunning. This very act of silence that we see here has shown it’s effects on our society. These subtle lies and doubts that the Enemy has whispered in our ears to make us question or reinvent the Word of God has desensitized us and confused even Christians as to what is right and wrong, and our society has greatly fallen because of it. It emphasizes our need to have continuous fellowship with God, as they did in the Garden, because for that brief time they were apart from God for one reason or the other, Satan slipped in and well, here we are today. God’s word is the truth and we must speak up for Christians have been silent for far too long and sin has prevailed in this society because of it, but yet we want to be popular and accepted and don’t want people to look at us weird or call us names, yet that is what was promised when we signed up to be followers of Christ. Now more than ever we need to not only speak up with the Word of God no matter how small or trivial the matter seems, but live a corresponding life showing that right is right and wrong is wrong.

As just said, for that brief moment Adam and Eve were not walking with God as they had done pretty much every day, so what happened? I don’t know, but what I do know is that we all miss the mark at times and for one reason or another we get out of touch with God. That doesn’t mean we just become heathens overnight, but perhaps we get too busy or life gets so chill that we forget our need for God, yet it’s that time we are out of fellowship that the Enemy likes to attack us and makes us question who God is, who we are and what we are supposed to do as he did with Eve. Our priorities get mixed up, we become anxious and worrisome, questioning the power and provision of God, pride sets in, and or we become apathetic, and before we even realize it, our thinking begins to change and that space between us and God thickens, our language changes, and sooner or later we fall into sin, whether worry, cussing, fornication, getting drunk, pride, bitterness, anger, jealousy, or whatever your vice may be.

So we mess up to some degree or another and feel so icky that we do the worse thing and pull away from God completely out of guilt, like Adam and Eve. We try to hide ourselves and our sin as if God doesn’t already know. We are afraid to pray, stop listening to devotionals, block out people from our lives, stop going to church because we feel so ashamed of what we did or how far off track we’ve gotten, because we don’t want people’s perceptions to change about us or let down those that looked up to us. So like Adam and Eve, we go under a rock or hide in a bush and put on a mask so no one can really see us. But God in His awesome love, grace, and mercy went out looking for them even though he was well aware of what they had done. He does the same with us, we just have to be willing to respond like Adam. God didn’t jump on their case or write them off from history because of their sin, but instead he covered them, though there were still consequences. As a body of believers, we should have the same mindset of God and should someone go missing from church or you notice a different pattern of behavior or attitude, reach out to them and show them the way home without automatically condemning or judging them, but show them the same grace, mercy, and love God showed to you. Yet, we neglect to do that far too often for a long time now and so many have slipped through the cracks and have been forgotten. So as much as you are able, check up on each other.

The last thing I want to point out that was pointed out to me is that God said not to eat of the tree originally, yet Eve told the Serpent that they were not to touch it nor eat it. Credit to her. Why? From Eve, this simple recall shows a great sense of maturity that we can apply today by not touching sin. Far too often we tease sin and put ourselves in compromising situations because we want the experience or we want to see how far we can get without actually sinning, but how much does that go as planned. More times than not we go further then we desired and do what we said we wouldn’t do and things get messy. We just wanted to touch it. This lesson from Eve urges us to just completely abstain from sin as much as we can, whatever is in our control, the choices we make every day. Though we can only control so much and get tempted, through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God we are able to not touch, preventing us from tasting the fruit.

This is one of the more lengthy posts I’m sorry, but I’m glad I was able to share and I hope and pray it blessed and encouraged you. Take these lessons from Eden and use them every day to more and more be you for a purpose.

If you want to check out other lessons from Eden, check them out on the links below:

Lessons from Eden

Lessons from Eden: Part II

Jewel of the Garden

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Women, Stop Acting Like Men

So I was listening to a message by Lisa Bevere and she made this statement, “Being a confident woman is not acting like a man.” I almost fell over, because that is the truth that so many ladies fail to understand. Furthermore, it picks at the implication of many feminists. Tony Evans put it like this, as far as value is concerned, men and women are equal, but their function is different.

God knew what He was doing when He created man and woman, if they were to be the same, He would have given them the same function, or created two men first or two women. Especially in the Epistles written by Paul, he lays out the function of each. I was actually at the nail salon and they had “The View” on and I was watching it (not a fan) and they brought up a quote from Kirsten Dunst (I believe) about how women need to be more feminine and take more of the female role and how it was a lost art, in a nutshell. So of course they talked about it, but really none of them agreed, and said that there should only be a difference in the bed room, and that a man and woman share responsibilities, and one of them is a lesbian so her view point is already tainted. Pause. I would have to agree with Kirsten Dunst, because feminism is a lost art and being a confident women has become all about being independent, stubborn, self-ambitious, with an “I don’t need a man” mindset. First off, Paul explicitly says that men and women are interdependent on each another, and as my Uncle Jeff put it, you have never heard any man of any sort say, “I don’t need a woman,” but far too often you hear a woman say “I don’t need a man.”

It actually makes me think of the Taraji P. Henson’s character in “Think Like a Man,” when it was hard for her to have a healthy lasting relationship, because she was always acting like the man. Women are called to be women, act like ladies and not be afraid to be feminine, and if you read the last article you will see some qualities that make up a confident woman. But you may be asking, “So what is acting like a man?” From my understanding, it is a matter of seeking to be domineering, too strong-willed, and forcing their independent life on others, while your home life is suffering. We should not be always battling men to try and prove our worth, that disproves our confidence in who we are; being a confident woman is being confident in who it is that God created you to be, a woman, a lady. Now is this to say we are not individuals of different personalities and livelihoods? No, we are each unique with our styles, our own strengths and weaknesses, and we definitely can be independent and be passionate and strong leaders in our communities, and in many cases women and men can share the responsibilities. However, there are certain things that distinguish us from men and praise God for that! The way the culture and mass media sets it up, it’s hard to draw those lines just considering homosexuality that forces women to be men, or the reality shows that my last article discussed. So as you seek to be a confident woman or you seek to find a confident woman, desire to be or find a woman that understands who she is as a woman and finds her identity in Christ, it really is a beautiful thing. It’s okay to be strong but you have to be willing to be soft, it’s okay to be independent but you have to be willing to submit (it’s not a scary word). Men are more confident, able, and happy to be men most when their women are acting like women, not men, that’s when problems begin.

Vashti

Empowerment comes with the idea of being confident in who you are no matter how much a person or a circumstance could persuade you to compromise you dignity, respect, or worth. The story of Esther in the Bible is all about women empowerment and rising above to change a generation, but for the sake of this article, there is one character I want to draw attention to: Vashti.
If you are at all familiar with the Biblical story of Esther, Vashti is the queen in the beginning of the story that lost her crown, because she refused to come down to the king’s banquet. Now it is unclear exactly her reasoning for defying the king’s command, but many believe she didn’t want to be paraded around in front of a whole room full of drunk men. There are so many things that can be called into questioning as far as how it all happened, but still considering, I would have to say that Vashti was a women of confidence, self-respect, and dignity. Even with the pressure of disobeying the king and fear of losing her crown, her position as queen, she was not going to sell out.

Just thinking about that aspect of the story, more of us women need to be like that. Too often we sell out and devalue ourselves for money, possessions, attention, love, sex, work, or a variety of other things. I just want to encourage you to stand your ground, your worth is so much more than superficial or counterfeit love, so much more than new shoes or you bills paid, so much more than a job in this not so good economy. God has created you to be treasured and treated like a queen, not misused, taken advantage of, or abused; so any person that treats you or makes you feel otherwise, no matter who they are to you, it’s time to get out of that situation.

Like Vashti, yeah, standing up for what you will and will not accept, for your worth, or your respect, it may cost you a job, a boyfriend, a relationship, or even money, but God will never leave you hanging and will set you up in His time and in His way, if you let Him, to be the greatest you that you can be, surrounded by people that value and appreciate you.

In the same breath, when you see all these reality television shows (i.e. Bad Girls Club, Real Housewives of…, Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, etc), TV dramas (I Am Mary Jane; Scandal), and a lot of these videos spiraling across the web (i.e. Sharkesha, World Star Hip Hop), an empowered woman is so far from what they promote. Furthermore, these videos constantly show women fighting and battling one another and just being obscene and anything but lady like. We have dishonored our name and womanhood by this disunity that has corrupted our culture. It’s time to break away and break free from that curse of bad chick, loud, rude, fake everything, angry, needy, side chic stigma that we are up against and is shown so often. We have to show that we are better than that. We can work together; we are intelligent; we are strong; we are forgivers; we can let it go; we can smile; we can pray; we can make a difference; we do have something to offer this world; we are gifted and unique; we are confident in who we are even without the make-up, weaves, nails, heels, and hand bags; we truly live as if we fear the God we say we believe in; we know how to hold our tongue; we can be leaders; we can have a solid family; we are not afraid to go against the mold; we are awkward at times; we are individuals; you can show us off to your mother; we have morals and standards; we can be submissive; we are self-controlled; we can keep our legs closed; we can keep our hands to ourselves; we can work together; we can be positive; we can be happy and celebrate one another; we are world changers; we are powerful; we are resilient; we have dreams, visions, and ideas; we are fearless; we are teachable; we can make sound and wise decisions; we can be an example; we can be empowered women. We can. We are.

Man of Steel, (Wo)Man of Spirit

I am not a big Superman lover, other than Dean Cain, but I did in fact see “Man of Steel” not too long ago, and I did fairly enjoy Henry Cavill. However, it wasn’t until this last time I watched it that God encouraged my heart, and thus this post.

In the beginning, Clark parents decide to put the Codex, the power of a race, in him to man of steelpreserve their people, and had to send him to Earth, knowing he would stick out, but possibly help it. When I was thinking about that, it reminded me of God and how he put his Spirit, all of Heaven’s power, in us as believers, and we are called to stick out, but it’s that power we have that can change and impact the world.

As Clark grows up, he becomes overwhelmed by his gifts and often times is frustrated and afraid. His journey is all about learning to control his powers, rather than his gifts control him. In the same way, our life of purpose provides us gifts that if not used properly, can prove to be too much, thus God has to prune and purge us, so that we can properly develop and strengthen our gifts. Truth be told, sometimes our gifts scare us and we are afraid of what God is ultimately calling us to do, and it never helps when there are the naysayers and those that always have something to say and will criticize you at every chance they get. But remember, as a child of God with purpose, people are supposed to talk about you; they talked about Jesus, It may make you cry and may make you want to give up, but there is greater yet to come if you hang on.

The most profound line, in my opinion, is found in the first 25 minutes of the movie. When Clark is in the classroom, his powers start to kick in overdrive and he runs out the classroom and hides. Let me stop here and say, don’t hide from your gift and or your purpose. God gave it to you, He chose you for a reason. It was then that his teacher called his mother who came to console him and made this statement, “focus on my voice.” I was floored. There are so many voice that we are out there some that sound reasonable, but are still just plain wrong. When you live a life of your God-given purpose, you will have to block out all the other voices you hear in books, on social media, in music, on television, in politics, from family and friends, etc. Nevertheless, God is saying the same things Clark’s mother said to him, “focus on My voice.”

God’s voice is the only one that matters. He is the only one who understands what is inside of you and wants to be your support, refuge, and strength. His voice knows your destination and your future. It’s only His ‘yes’ that matters, even when everyone else says ‘no.’ So, to whoever is reading this, focus only on His voice, which means getting into His word, calling out to him, believing he will answer and show up every time, as Cal did with his Kryptonian father, and surrounding yourself with like-minded and like-spirited people. Still, the story isn’t over.

As Clark grows up and begins to accept his gift, there are many times he wants to use it, but his father won’t let him, because he doesn’t think the world is ready for what he has to offer. In the same way, you may feel like you are ready and that this is your season to break free and make your mark on the world. I encourage you to have discernment, many times we think we are ready, but God is saying “not yet My child,” because we may have some maturing to do. Other times, as for Clark, the world just isn’t ready for your full glory to show, and at times you may show glimpses of it, enough for people to notice the greatness locked inside of you, but don’t get prideful. God, your Heavenly Father, is Sovereign and knows best so just wait on Him, and sooner than later, you will hear him say, “this is your time. You are ready. The world is ready.”

It is then that Superman was born, but it happened at a time of fear and struggle, and as it often times happens here, God usually calls us off guard or when we least expect it, and like Superman you are thrust into your calling, which is why the Scriptures say “be ye also ready, in season and out of season.” More importantly, don’t doubt God. Of course, Satan, like general Zod, will try to misuse and destroy you and or your gift, or make you doubt or question it or belittle what’s inside of you. but you are an overcomer, so keep fighting and  “keep testing your limits,” don’t doubt yourself or your gifts.

I am so sure of Jesus and who he is for the simple fact that even when people attempt to discredit or devalue or cover him up, he still leaves footprints if you watch for them, and this movie is no different. You are a super man or a super woman, and you are called to be different and for people to talk about you, but you are destined for greatness and are the hope, like the ‘S’ symbol on Superman’s chest, that the world has yet to see and so desperately needs. Don’t be afraid, don’t run, don’t hide, but rather embrace and learned the gifts and the power that is inside of you. And when that moment comes, you. will. fly. And the world will never be the same.

To Be a Woman

Being a woman, there is nothing like it. For so many reasons I can say that I am so happy that God created and chose that I be a female, although I can’t lie, because there are times I wonder what my life would be like if I was a man. Nonetheless, as a woman, we have so much at our feet. Just on a superficial level, I am proud to be a woman because of all the option in make-up, hair, accessories, clothes, shoes; men don’t have those option to choose flats or heels, short or long dress, studs or chandelier earrings, or a bronzy or colorful eyeshadow look.

As a woman, we are what the man is not, soft, delicate, feminine, tolerant, the voice of reason, nurturing. We were made differently, we think differently, we give and receive love differently, we feel differently, and we operate just in a whole other dimension than men. Now is that to say that sometimes things don’t overlap, of course not, because we are each unique, various personalities, cultures, education levels, desires, interests, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and talents.

In today’s society, women are often times scene as sexual beings with little intelligence or intellect, but I beg to differ. Yes, we are sexual creatures, and done in God’s design, we are to use our sexuality to bring pleasure to our husbands. However, God gave us a mind, reason and emotion to make up for what a man can’t produce. In ministry alone, it is said that a 75% of ministries that fail, fail because a man didn’t listen or take the advice of his lady. James Brown wrote the lyrics “it’s a man’s world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl,” and I’m sure you heard the statement, “behind every good man is a great woman.” You see, we are women, we hold so much power that many of us fail to realize. The insight we have to offer, the wisdom, the finesse, the awe factor, the extra something, the “it” factor, that’s who we are. God created us to keep this world going. What we are given we turn it into something great, whether taking a sperm and making a baby, a house and turning it into a home, or a smile and create a love that won’t falter.

In the same breath, we are the backbone. We are the neck, which means we have the ability to turn the head any way we want, with discretion of course. I just love being a woman. God has a special place in His heart for women, just look through the Song of Solomon. God has a special purpose for his princesses, his daughters and he wants them to stand up and rise up for what He wants to accomplish that requires a woman’s touch. Have you noticed that even in prayer, yes it’s great to heat men pray, but it’s like the heavens open when women cry out to God in only the way only they can.

As a woman, there are perks that I love, like having doors opened, having meals paid for, being pampered because that is a lady. If nothing else, if God allows, we have the opportunity to give birth, that in and of itself is a miracle.

I just want to encourage women to be proud and confident in your womanhood. There is enough bad press going around, it is time for women to be bold and release the power locked inside and break free from the chains and bondage so many of us are trapped in, which was not God’s intention. God created you for such a time as this, recognize your place and acknowledge your womanly role and function at home, in work, in ministry. It’s all worth it. You are worth it. You are the gem of man, and to let any man or any other person or thought to creep and tell you otherwise is destroying what God purposed and undermining what He feels for you and what he has called you to be.