relationship

Listen Again: Did God Really Say That?

One of the biggest challenges in my walk is knowing when God is speaking. Being a big thinker, I tend to find myself creating scenarios and writing scripts in my head of what could and or should happen concerning situations I go through, good and bad. I have heard enough times people who have so clearly heard the voice of God, many times that were in fact audible, and so I tend to pretend hear the voice of God or rather say to myself what I think He would say, or just imagine what it would be like to hear His voice commanding me to run into a fire and save a little girl, or reach into the casket and touch someone and raise them from the dead, or to evacuate everyone out of a building to save them from an impending explosion or gunman…yeah that’s only a small portion of what is happening in my head on a regular basis.

You see, for me I think that having something like that happen is proof to the outside world that God’s power is dwelling within me and that we have that close of a relationship. It’s like a stamp of approval. But even as I am writing this now, I remind myself that my relationship with Him is secure and that my gifts are irrevocable, and that He speaks to me in ways that He knows I will hear, listen, receive, and respond to His word best, but more importantly that what He has allowed me to experience in our communion is perfect for what He has called me to and the story it is creating.

I mean, if you don’t know by now, this Christian walk is a journey, full of ups and downs, and anyone would be foolish to think they could walk this walk and get it right every single time, and crazy to think that they will never misunderstand God, or read signs that don’t exist even though we are so certain that it was the Lord speaking to us. Now don’t get me wrong, in His own way He does give us signs, but we have to nurture our spirit to recognize what is truly a divine message. And in the same breath, there are a few times I know for a fact that the Lord did speak to me, a gentle voice, usually when I least expected it and wasn’t making things up in my head.

One of the last times I heard something that was so vivid and caught me off guard was, “I said where, but not when.” And in my last devotion reading through Chronicles, chapter 17 verse 6, I found this phrase “did I ever say.” And it struck me and just confirmed how often I have made up in my mind God had said this or that about whatever the situation and have just been flat out wrong. Like God never said He would be your husband (on more than two occasions). He never said you would get that job. He never said…

The problem is we get wrapped up in our own desires, which may not actually be bad, but they just aren’t what God had in mind. What I am learning is that what we think is best, God has something or someone else far better in mind for what He wants for our lives that He may receive the ultimate glory. If you are like me you like control, knowing what is going on with your life, and you don’t have to be in fellowship with God long to know that He often likes to take the plans we have and rip them up. We get worked up and bent out of shape, questioning God when things don’t work out the way we wanted and the whole time God is saying “if you only knew,” and there are times God will show you why it didn’t happen like you thought it would, like He has done with me. I am a thousand percent positive that God is constantly shaking His head at me fussing at the angels, “I wish this chic would just trust me and know I own the stars and unlike so many others that have, I keep my promises.”

This post is a little more personal, but I just want to challenge you as I challenge myself to listen again. There are times we really just don’t hear it right, or we misinterpret what was said, and that is okay. Learn from it and keep it moving. Understand His word and His will are perfect and won’t steer us in the wrong direction unless we grab hold of the wheel while He is trying to drive. Know how God speaks to you specifically and realize that what He didn’t say is just as important as what He has said to you. It’s a growing process and the closer we get and the more mature we become in our faith, the clearer the voice of God is and the more we are able to discern messages meant for us. These precious words of God will lead us on the awesome path to becoming all of who He has called us to be for His amazing purpose.

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Love Tips

Love is something you see all the time. People have different ideas of what it is or what it should look like, specifically as it pertains to romantic relationships between a man and a woman. And recently there were two quotes, for lack of a better term. that really grabbed my attention and I think will help those who are willing to listen.

“The characteristic of love is spontaneity.”

When I read that in a devotional actually, the premise was not so much on romantic, though somewhat inferred, but it was referring to the dynamic of the Holy Spirit’s movement in us. To further my point, how many times has God surprised you, or left you guessing, or made you wait, or told you to do something crazy, or led you way outside of your comfort zone? He does it all that time. Even in the New Testament it speaks a lot about the mysteries of Christ and how mysterious God can be at times, and for me that is much of what keeps me in wonder about God and who He is because, there is so much to Him, I’m on the edge of my seat wondering what He will do next. And the more He reveals Himself to me, the more our relationship deepens and the more I learn about who I am. God is not boring and the lie of Satan is anything otherwise. He never ceases to amaze me.

The same applies for our relationships.

The beauty of growing with another person, the person God allowed you to be with, is that you learn more and more about them, the good and the bad. It’s about the journey that you take together, but it’s those unexpected moments that define the truth of a relationship. So often I hear of marriages failing because it became mundane, someone (or both) got board, or someone (or both) fell out of love, or the other person wasn’t willing to do something different. Am I condoning those reasons? Absolutely not, but I think it speaks volumes as to how God intended us to love out significant others. It should be spontaneous and exciting, even in intimate settings, because it keeps you guessing and excited. That element of surprise does wonders, especially as a female. Spontaneity is where life happens; it’s where you see the depths of another person and allows you to be free to be yourself, and not be afraid to be imperfect. It does require a lot of patience though. All in all, it keeps the attention and focus at home, because time and time again we see that the moment someone else offers something more than the mundane, problems occur. Follow the example of the Holy Spirit and switch it up a bit, and if one thing doesn’t work, well, try something else. The journey is all about the story and the memories created and those times you realized why you fell in love.

However, not all surprises are honky dory.

“Love, a rare commitment to care for another regardless of the response.”

The cross is the perfect example of this. Despite of how we treat him, no matter how unfaithful we are, despite how much we fall, despite the times we reject him, Jesus still chose and chooses to love us, leaving his arms wide open for us to come to him. The truth is that we can try in any form or any way to love God as much as He loves us, but no human mind could ever fathom just how deep, wide, high, and long his love is for us. We could never repay Him for what He has done for us. His type of love is so rare, even in the church. It’s hard to find that unconditional love in any type of relationship, that sincere “I don’t care” kind of love. Granted, that does require wisdom and discernment. Nevertheless, Christ’s love for us will never run out, no matter the type of response we give Him, of course that doesn’t mean act any way you feel or think you won’t be judged, but that is another blog for another time.

As many can attest, those who have been in long relationships, there are those times you were caught way off guard by your significant other. Now, another disclaimer, this is not speaking of the extreme circumstances, but rather those imperfections that sometimes make us question the relationship. But love is all about those growing pains, because real love is not perfect. There are plenty of low points and valleys, but through the grace of God, assuming we are in fact living in His will, we must continue to love. Relationships begin on that eros and phileo type of love, but it lasts only on that agape love, because there will be plenty times you really don’t like each other. However, the commitment you make is to be a light even when the other is being all but pleasant for whatever reason. All in all, it comes down to loving that person, with fervent and intentional prayer, being patient and caring the way God continues to be with you, because that moment we do get back in line, no matter what it takes to get there, the solidarity of the relationship grows and that love reaches such a deep place that will be a testament for the generations to come.

Be you for a purpose and love hard, love deep, and be spontaneous as only you can, and get ready to be amazed by what happens in your relationships and in your life.

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.

Ear

Every now and then you hear a word that rocks your world and today was that day. I’ve been hearing a lot of good stuff mind you, but this particular word stuck out to me. I was listening to Joann Rosario speak on the benefits of a true worshipper. The title alone is so significant to me, because a life of a true worshipper is mindful of what they say and do, for they understand their purpose is to ultimately honor Yahweh.

Nonetheless, one of the ear 2benefits she explained, was that true and sincere worshippers have the ear of God. That blew my mind for a minute, because of the beauty in knowing that when we are in tune with God, He listens to us. Whoa! It seems so simple, but just think about it. The God of the universes takes the time out to pay attention and desires to hear what I have to say or ask for. What?!  That is incredible if you ask me.

The stipulation however, is found in her correlating verse John 9:31

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.

God listens to us when we take our responsibility in our relationship with Him. He has to be able to trust us. Which means that our lives need to reflect the Jesus we claim to follow in word and deed. Yes, we mess up daily, but living a life of deliberate sin and not making honest and intentional strives to cultivate our walk with Him, God can’t and won’t bless our life the way He wants to.

So I encourage to live a life of purpose that will grant you the ear of God, so that He can hear your every cry, your every tear, your every burden, your every desire. He wants to listen to you, let Him…but don’t bring no mess.