Dudes

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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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.

Jesus Ain’t About that Life, Neither Should We

This piece is inspired by a quote I read the other day and a conversation that followed. The quote was, “Stop praising boyfriends. Until a man walks a woman down the aisle, he’s just auditioning. Don’t give the boyfriend the benefits of a husband. Know the difference between dating and marriage so every Tom, Dick, and Harry can’t say they had all of you.” I couldn’t agree more, now this quote is directed toward women, because women tend to give and give all of themselves including their bodies to a man in order to get the love they desire, and many times it only results in heartbreak. Although, it can apply to men as well. When you are dating, of course you will want to do things for your significant other; you want to prove to the other person how you feel. However, there has to be a limit as the referenced quote explains. The best days of a couple’s relationship should not be before they get married, nor should a person pull out their best tricks until s/he gets married. There should still be a sense of mystery while dating, such as not having sex or living together (just for starters), both of which are very intimate and personal and if those gifts are opened before time, there is less to look forward to. This culture has downplayed the beauty and sacredness of marriage, something that God created Himself, and because people, women and men alike, play house with a person they are not married to or get the marriage benefits from a person that is not their husband or wife, there is no need to buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.

As I was further discussing the implications of the quote in the conversation, the Lord gave me an epiphany about it. Like I said before, marriage was instituted by God to symbolize and demonstrate the relationship between Jesus and the church. If you look at Jesus he exercises the same principles that are represented in the quote. Jesus never gives you all of Him until you commit your life to him and him alone. Now don’t get me wrong, Jesus is a true gentlemen, he does pursue his people and does things to get their attention and show that he cares and loves them. For example, he may do so through protection, provision, healing, or just through creation (Romans 1:20) and as Scriptures says, at one point or another, he proposes to each person at least once, and the ring is in the shape of the cross. God is so awesome and so desperate to love you that he proposes to most people more than once and will keep doing things to show us he loves us. But, it’s not until we say yes, I do, that he gives us those marriage benefits of salvation, peace of mind, joy, patience, maturity, forgiveness, mercy, grace, eternal life with him, revelation of his word, truth, righteousness, broken chains of bondage, restoration, deliverance, authority over Satan, wisdom, God’s favor and blessings, your inheritance, purpose, but most of all a living and active relationship with the God of the universe who promised to never leave you or forsake you, no matter how bad you mess up or how bad you may cheat on Christ.

So in my physical life I choose not to give all of myself in every way, to a man until we walk down the aisle, because I didn’t receive all of Jesus until I said yes to him. Jesus ain’t about that non-committed life, he wants it all and wants to give us all of him, no game playing, no one foot in and one foot out, no hot and cold. He won’t give his best until we say “yes,” and if Jesus operates like that, we should do the same.

Good Love

One of the things that intrigue me most about God’s Word is how it reads incredibly like a story, with characters and their development, people with feelings and emotions, people who had serious problem and how they dealt with them or the lack thereof. Piggy backing off the blog “Simply Put,” the Bible has plenty of love stories and characters that I feel are remarkable and great examples as we seek to love and be loved. So out of the many, there are 2 women (Abigail (1 Samuel 25) and the Shulamite (Song of Solomon)) and 2 men (Boaz (Ruth 2-4) and Elkinah (1 Samuel 1:1-21) who executed this love thing in an amazing way.

good love

As before, ladies first.

Abigail’s life is very relevant to today’s culture for the fact she was the wife of a drunken jerk. Just read the story. She had to deal with a mean, rude, and prideful man who was usually drunk, so as you can imagine she had to deal with a lot. However, her faith was strong and she took up for her husband even when he was on his worst behavior, as in when he was crude toward King David. The Bible called her intelligent and beautiful, highlighting the inner beauty before the outer beauty. Consequently, when her husband had pretty much signed his death wish by disrespecting the king, she protected his name and took up for him so much in so that David did not destroy him. In actuality, God did it instead. From Abigail, we see her perseverance and faithfulness to her husband and to God, in spite of the unpleasant person he was, and God blessed her in a mighty way. She picked up his slack in more ways than one and her all around beauty radiated. Likewise, good love is when no matter how difficult he may become, hang in there, don’t give up on him, seek the Lord, be an example (1 Peter 3:1-2), and pray for him, and let God do what He needs to do and show you what you need to do if you stay hidden in Him, and He will surely bless you as He surely blessed Abigail if you read the rest of the story.

Then there is the Shumalite woman, the wife of Solomon, and there is a whole book dedicated to the love between them, Songs of Solomon. If you have ever read that book you see that she was very affectionate toward her man, spoke highly of him, and praised him. As a wife or future wife, nagging and complaining should not be a second language, which Proverbs compares to a dripping faucet (27:15). Furthermore, there are several women in Scripture that failed at this and their stories were cut short. For example, Michal, David’s wife, though she had a good start, was not mentioned again after she criticized David’s praise, instead of supporting him, or Job’s wife who instead of encouraging him at the worst of times, she added salt to the wound when she told him to curse God and die and that one verse was the last of her story. Words are so powerful and as a wife or future wife, we should not be so quick to criticize, complain, or fuss, because a man already has enough pressure and things on his plate. Don’t add to it, instead be his reason to smile. Good love. (And I just want to point out this was an interracial couple.)

Gentlemen.

Boaz is one of my favorites. There are so many things about him that I find so captivating and attractive. Even though he was well off and successful, he was kind and treated everyone with respect and dignity, even those that worked for him. In reference to the love of his life, Ruth, in addition to his kindness toward Ruth, he was a man with a plan and did what he had to do to show her he was interested. Gentlemen, if you have a woman in sight, take the initiative to illustrate your desire with class, tact, and finesse if you will. Boaz knew what he wanted and went after it. Furthermore, he was accepting. He didn’t judge Ruth on the superficial things like where she came from or who she came from, he accepted her as she was and made her feel significant and special, and she took notice. Likewise, men, good love is making your lady feel like she is the only woman in the world. A woman feels no more loved than that right there. Additionally, he was generous – a husband should be known as a giver – and a provider, a trait that is often mentioned as the primary role of the husband.

Lastly there is Elkinah, who along with his wife, Hannah, make-up my favorite love story. Long story short, Hannah was without child, but still he showed and spoke of his love for her by giving her a double portion over the wife with kids. Then he asked if he was worth more to her than ten sons, reaffirming their love one for another. In that culture, a statement like that meant so much, because of the value a male brought to the patriarchal family structure, so his love was very real and very evident. In the same way men, speak to your lady and let her know how much she is worth to you and how much you value her and what she means to you, especially in times she feels unpretty or less of a woman, as did Hannah when she was barren. Furthermore, he paid attention to her emotions and showed concern when she was upset (1 Samuel 1:8), he treated her well, loved her, was generous, and made her feel special, similar to Boaz. My favorite part of the story however, is found in chapter 1 verse 19. First off, we see that they worshiped together, which is still important today, to have a spiritual connection; then they came home after a high time in ministry and as someone put it before, they ministered to each other. Good love is being in a relationship and not only having the spiritual, but the emotional and physical intimacy as well, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Love is a beautiful thing and if the Lord wills and you have the opportunity to be in a relationship with the person He created just for you, take advantage of it and love with all your might. If God has purposed that in your life, there is a purpose in that relationship that will coincide with the fulfillment of the ultimate purpose for your life and your love’s.

Simply Put…..LOVE

simply putThis piece I contemplated doing for some time now, because I wasn’t exactly sure how I would integrate it in the theme of “purpose,” and on top of that there is so much that I could say. Thus, it was a matter of what should I say and what angle should I take in talking about “love,” I truly enjoy talking about love and relationships. Nonetheless, when you live a purpose-filled life and your intent is to get married or preserve a marriage relationship, there are basic things that need to be considered so that the person God put in your life on purpose to help you fulfill His purpose for your life never has to guess or doubt your love.

So as a disclaimer, this not about general love for other people, but specifically that eros love between you and the person God created just for you. I am not looking to bash either men or women in any sense, or point out red flags, or even give my own preferences, or an advice column of “what ifs,” or tell you that God wants you to get married (God has to show you his purpose in that area), or give a list of things to look for in a mate. Instead, this is just my Biblical translation of the non-negotiables, or basic blueprint, of what your love should look like. Oh! One more thing, I’ll try not to make it too long, and if you think it’s getting lengthy, please hang with me until the end.

Ladies first.

Simply put, Paul said it best, the best way to love a man, or make him feel loved, is to respect him (Ephesians 5:33). Respect means recognizing the fact that he is a man, not a woman, thus, the very way he thinks and lives is completely different, and loving him first and foremost means to appreciate who he is as a man, without trying to change him into a woman. Respect implies that you don’t talk to him like you are or he is crazy or do any thing that would make him feel less of a man. All in all, just let him be the man, be the leader, and respect and honor the position that the Lord put him in, which means you submit, and if you believe that God put you two together, you should be able to trust and be obedient to the leadership of that man. Respect means acknowledging he is not perfect, and never will be, but you still stick with him no matter what (1 Corinthians 7:10),  you stay with him through all the mess that any relationship goes through. He needs to know that no matter who else walks out of his life, even if it is his own mama, you will never leave, no matter how mad or frustrated either of you are. Looking at the definition of respect, the idea is that you hold a person in high esteem, or in high regard, which means treat him with dignity, and frankly in this case, treat him like a king. When you respect the man God has for you as a king, there are things you do to make sure the king is taken care of, so while he is out striving to be the Psalm 112 man, you are to be the Proverbs 31 woman and take care of the home (whatever that means), which should be the most peaceful place and your man’s favorite place to go. Furthermore, that respect includes each part of that man, his visions, his dreams, his personality, his family, and his preferences, so be considerate of what he likes, as well as understanding and considering his feelings. Also, be his helpmeet (Genesis 2:18), that means as a woman do all you can to support him, encourage him, pray for him, help him be the best man God has him to be at home, at work, in relationships, in his visions, with his health, with his gifts, with his talents, his mentality, his emotions, etc. His life should be better because you are in it and he should be proud to show you off, which means what you look like and how you carry yourself should make him look better, even when he isn’t around, as would a queen, and I’ll leave it there. Since he found you, make sure he never has to doubt he found a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). Long story short, when you respect him, you love him the most.

To the gentlemen.

After all that, you may wonder how to make your woman feel most loved, and Paul explained that too: you love her (Ephesians 5:33). It may sound redundant, but love is what any woman desires, especially one that is in committed relationship. What does that love look like? She has to be the number one woman in your life, the only woman in your life, not your mama or your friends (male or female) (Genesis 2:24), and she needs to be assured of that. Likewise, the Bible calls what you found a good thing, so treat her right like a good thing; take care of her like you would a good thing (Proverbs 18:22); protect her like a good thing; be kind to her in word and actions, and esteem her like good thing. In loving her, she needs to know that no matter what you will not leave her and that your commitment to her is true and sincere (1 Corinthians 7:11). As the leader of the house, your responsibility is to give yourself to her and do what you can to make her stronger, better, wiser in her spiritual walk (Ephesians 5:25), and when you love her, you are to appreciate her as a woman, just as Adam would’ve appreciated Eve after so much time had passed before God created her; Adam understood the blessing she was, respected her, dignified her, valued her, and loved her. In the same way, submit to her (Ephesians 5:21), implying that you listen to her, value her opinion and who she is to you, and be considerate of her needs, loving her as much as you love yourself. Above all, loving her means knowing her (1 Peter 3:7), or rather taking interest and learn all you can about the specific woman God gave you. For example, know your queen’s love language (gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, personal touch, or acts of service), know her shoe size, her favorite candy, her pet peeves, her little habits, her clothing sizes, her favorite earrings, her favorite store or brands, her favorite foods, her biggest dreams or desires; know her time of the month, her birthday, what makes her smile, and what makes her cry; know when she wants to be held or be left alone; know her favorite song, her favorite book, her favorite movie, the size of her family and the type of childhood she had, and her favorite hobbies. You get the point, because I can go on and on, and of course all this takes time, but these are the basics. Long story short, to love her, you love her.

Overall, when you are in a relationship, the way to keep things smooth, is remembering it’s not about you, it’s about the other person, and like you blow out your candle in a wedding ceremony, problems start when you decide to relight your candle that you blew out. Now these things mentioned are fairly straightforward for any serious relationship, married or not, except the idea of home. God’s will is not to be living with or having sex with anyone other than your husband or wife, not your boyfriend/girlfriend, fiance, or person you think you will marry. Home and sex are specifically for those that say “I do” (1 Corinthians 7:1; Songs of Solomon 8:4; Genesis 2:24). Still, for those that are, your bodies are no longer your own. Therefore, give you husband or wife what he or she wants, otherwise that’s how the enemy like to creep (1 Corinthians 7:2-6). If you respect him, respect his need and desire for sex, or if you love her, cater to the love her body desires.

Well, if you made it this far, thank you for going all the way and sticking with me on this one. Hope you got something out of it. Now if this applies in any way to you or your current situation, simply put, go and love on purpose.