Being Saved, Uncategorized

Six Prayers That Save Your Soul

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Yesterday, I shared My Daily Bread, my rendition of The Lord’s Prayer. In this post I want to share six types of prayers that can save your soul from all types of troubles we face in this life.

Before delving into the types of prayers, keep in mind the following:

  • God responds to faith, not emotion. So cry if you must, but at some point you have to put your feelings aside so you can pray the promises and Word of God.
  • You cannot pray effectively with sin on your mind. There is provision for sin, so quickly repent then focus on the nature of God instead of your own nature.
  • Pray out loud when you can!
  • Prayer won’t get you out of everything, especially if you haven’t fed yourself with the Word.
  • Be quiet and listen after you pray.

For other basic praying tips, check out Red-Flagging Your Prayers. (This is one of my most popular posts by the way…)

Life dishes all sorts of blows– some we see coming and others that we’d never imagine. In the past two months, I’ve had to turn down a home and a job that I really wanted, discovered that a third of my income was lost to me without any warning, suffered the loss of relationship with a close family member, and cared for a sick child when I had next to no money to provide for her. I have not been strong or even full of faith through it all, but fortunately, I knew how to pray myself through it AND call on others to keep us lifted in prayer.

Regardless of what happens in life, the right prayer will change your situation for the better.

Sometimes we simply pray the wrong thing and wonder why God isn’t moving. Now give yourself a gentle face palm, shake off the shame, and let’s prepare ourselves for life’s next battle… because it will come.

For each of the types of prayers below, I’ve added anecdotal evidence, scripture, and a simple prayer you can personalize. Long post… I know! But it’ll be here when you need it!

Prayer of Salvation

One of the first things we teach our children in Sunday school is that we are three-part beings. You are a spirit that possesses a soul (mind, will, intellect, and emotions) and lives in a body. The prayer of salvation is the prayer that invites Christ, the only provision God gave for reconciliation to Himself, to live in one’s heart AND places Him as Lord over the person’s life. Part of the prayer of salvation includes a confession of one’s sinful nature and the acceptance of Christ’s death as a ransom for your soul. Once you’ve prayed this prayer Christ takes up residence in your spirit (or heart, as we often call it), and so we are “saved.” Meanwhile, our souls which are full of anguish, turmoil, and all sorts of evil works have yet to be delivered. This is where the other prayers come in. Anyone who’s walked with Christ will tell you that it’s easy to get saved, but staying saved is another matter altogether.

[learn_more caption=”Pray this to receive Christ…”] God, I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and that He is God. I believe He died for me on Calvary to save me from sin and death. I give You my life and invite you into my heart. I now confess you as my Lord and I believe in my hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, so I am now saved. Spirit of God, I invite you into my being to lead and guide me. Fill me with Your presence and make it evident to me that You are with me. Change me for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.[/learn_more]
Prayer of Repentance
We are saved in our spirits immediately, but in our souls progressively. Because it takes time for the soul to be renewed, we must be willing to repent when we fall. My pastor says it best… “Repent means to go back to the top.” (Think “penthouse”… at the top!) Somewhere along the day, your thinking became skewed so by the time you were driving home from work, you’d forgotten what the Word had to say about guarding your mouth even though it was your morning devotion. So naturally, you cussed the non-driving old lady up one side and down the other. Oops! Oh my! Just as simple as it was to slip into that sinful act, slip right back out. Go back to the top! Go back to the high expectation! Go back to what the Word says! Next time it will be easier for you to make the choice to obey the Spirit.
[learn_more caption=”I Messed Up!”] Lord, I messed up. I’m sorry. Please forgive me and help me to do it right next time. I receive Your grace and Your righteousness, and put away my own. Thank you![/learn_more]
The “Right-Mind” Prayer
Philippians 2:5 admonishes us to think like Christ which Paul described in the previous four verses. “Let THIS mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Truth be told, it’s hard to think like that ALL the time. When I’m in my right, Christlike mind, I will pray for those moments when I’m in my “I-wish-somebody-would” mind. For example, every three to four weeks my flesh likes to act up. When I feel those carnal wheels a-turning, I’ll pray. “Ok, Lord. I feel myself slipping. I need you to cover me. Block every trap the enemy has set, and don’t let me fall. Lord, even if I choose to do wrong I pray that You will intervene and keep me from falling. Let something get in the way, so I don’t sin against you. Keep me at all costs, even at the cost of myself.” Most of us won’t pray that though… But the Bible admonishes us to work out our own salvations with fear and trembling. I’d rather fear and tremble to prevent trouble, than to fall into trouble and fear and tremble from the damage I’ve caused.
[learn_more caption=”I’m about to slip…”] Father, my heart’s desire is to serve you in true and obedient service. Sometimes I get distracted by ________, and I want to go back to my old ways. But your Word says that he who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is unworthy of Your kingdom. So, I ask you to change my heart. Help me to receive the mind of Christ as I read your Word and seek You daily. Keep me out of trouble, and remove any one who does not mean me any good from my life. Lord, I ask You to keep me from falling…[/learn_more]
Seek and Find 
It’s incredibly important that the Christ-follower keeps the heart pure particularly in times of trouble. When I pray this prayer, I simply ask the Lord to search me and show me if and where I’ve missed Him. When I tell you that He’s faithful to answer, I mean I will KNOW within 24 hours how that negativity slipped in. David often asked the Lord to search Him and to lead Him in the way everlasting. God knows what’s in our hearts, but often we are unaware of the iniquities and the strongholds that keep us bound. When you ask God to do a seek and find on your heart, be ready to face some harsh realities and to receive His love to deliver you from your shortcomings.
[learn_more caption=”Search me…”] Father, I feel something in me is not right. I’m angry/sad/grieved/lonely/horny and I know that this feeling is not from You. I ask to search me and show me what to do to be restored in my soul. Thank you. Now I open myself and quiet myself to hear from You.[/learn_more]
Straight from the Word
There are few prayers more powerful than those that come STRAIGHT from the Word. As I read my Bible, particularly the verses that contain blessings, I personalize it!! Lord, I’m blessed because I do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in teh path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scorners. But my delight is in You, and in Your Word, I will meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2) That is soooo easy!!! God’s perfect will for us is represented in the Scripture even though we don’t always see it. Open your Bible and pray it over yourself and your family.
[learn_more caption=”Straight from the Bible…”] Even when I was dead in my trespasses, I am alive with Christ— by grace I have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward ME in Christ Jesus. For by grace I have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of my works, so that no one may boast. For I am Your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-9)[/learn_more]
The “I Can’t Pray” Prayer
These three words got me through the hardest year of my life. Though I’d been raised in the church and knew more scripture than many twice my age, the Word was not alive in me because sin had eaten away at my faith. I could not pray anything good because I couldn’t see any good. So instead of problem-praying, the Lord only allowed me to say these three words. “I trust You.” If you can’t pray anything else, pray those words. If all you have to say is bad, JUST say those three words. I PROMISE you that God will move. Faith is trusting and leaning your entire personality on God. This prayer will put you on the path of restoration and healing.

[learn_more caption=”When Fewer Words Is Better…”] I trust You. I’m sorry. Forgive me. I need You. Help! I love You.[/learn_more]

 

All of these prayers, when added to faith, will give God something to work with in You. So often we think we can pray whatever to God, and He’s obligated to move on our behalf. This is not so. Many of our prayers go unanswered because we are out of His will and don’t know how to pray ourselves back into it.

This post may not be relevant to you now, but please… bookmark it for later and share with someone else. We need each other to survive this life and to move forward in Christ.

 

Many of the individuals we study in the Bible prayed several of these
types of prayers  when they encountered trouble.
Which story relates most to your struggle, and how did that person become free?
What prayer did he or she pray? 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

Love Your Wives: We’re Not THAT Complicated

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The morning after I posted “Love Your Husbands” I received an email from one of my close writer friends. He commented that he was interested to see what I’d come up with for the men. I responded saying that the men’s list would be much shorter and simpler.

His actual reply…. “So women’s needs are less complex (looking outside to see if it’s snowing Smile)?

At the risk of folk laughing me off Twitter, Facebook, and my own website I’m going to say YES… and NO! Shoot… I don’t really know. I just had to sucker you in to reading this post.

What I can say with CERTAINTY is that most menfolk are not about to read and implement 21 different things to do for their women… It’s just not part of a man’s make up. And to be perfectly honest, if you can do a few simple things in addition to being a provider, protector, and priest of the home, we’re good to go.

If your heart is right towards your wife, then the actions will follow. Keep in mind that the Bible warns against menfolk mistreating their beloveds. God explicitly says He will not hear your prayers.

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. 1 Peter 3:7

Selah.

Having said that , here are five things you can do to show your wife (or maybe wife-to-be) that you do really love her. Many women know they’re loved in word, but not so much in deed.

  1. Train your eyes to be only for her. I made the heavy-hitter number one on this list. Men, you’ve got to understand that no matter how strong and secure your woman is she will never be ok with you looking (and lusting) after another. That goes for real life, social media, television, websites, porn, MMS’s, Instagram, imaginative SMS’s. Some of the things that I see posted by married/engaged men are downright disrespectful. (But if your woman is cool with it, who am I to pretend like it’s not acceptable?) While you may go home to her, another woman’s image is in your head. And scripturally-speaking, that’s adultery (Matthew 5:28). Love your queen enough to divert your eyes when you see “trouble” from afar. And when she says to you “Did you see what that woman had on?” you can honestly reply “What woman?” There is a great reward for the man who can grasp and practice this concept.
  2. Respect her feelings. We know that you’re logical by nature, and we tend to be a little more feel-y. Despite what you may think, our feelings are just as relevant as your reasonings. Have you ever come home late after promising to be on time? You had the best, most logical response planned, but it just wasn’t enough to calm her. No? Man, please… you don’t have to lie to me! Let’s really be logical. If you know something you want to do will bother her, don’t do it. One thousand reasons isn’t enough to explain why you caused hurt when the situation could have been easily avoided. Honesty means next to nothing, and you’ll have to endure more than just a argument if you continue. The flip side to that is that you may feel you’re losing out and it’s unfair to you. But you promised to lay down your life, and again, there’s a reward for being considerate and kind to your bride.
  3. Try something new. I say this jokingly, but on a serious note, stop doing the same wrong thing over and over and over and over. Sorry doesn’t mean anything after the umpteenth time. If you’re going to slip up, please do so in a different and very minimal way, i.e. not replace the toilet paper roll.
  4. Unlock your phone. This right here could rival number 1. Trust is a major issue in relationships. If you are, in fact, living a life according to God’s statutes there is no reason for your phone and email to be kept private from your spouse. You’re trusting that person with your body and soul, and so it is their obligation and responsibility to cover you in those areas. If you can’t submit to that, then perhaps some fasting and separation is in order. I realize this requires a serious heart change for some, but truly, what do you have to hide? It’s going to come to light anyway.
  5. Clean her car, and make love to her. This is a two-fer. Something about a man taking care of domestic things that we ourselves are too busy to do ignites the passion in a woman. I have a friend who often comments on the reward her husband gets after taking care of the family’s dishes. Don’t complain about not getting enough if you aren’t willing to help out around the house or with the children. It really can be that simple.

So gentleman, might I suggest you choose any one item from this list and test it out. See what happens when your queen notices a change in you, and trust me, SHE WILL NOTICE!

Ladies, let me stress this to you!! Do NOT send this to your man in hopes of proving anything without first sending the “Love Your Husbands” article. Let him see that you are wiling to make some changes for his benefit before requesting he do the same for you. I might even suggest allowing him to pick a few items with which you can start. It’s alright to be transparent because none of these techniques work by magic. If he knows you’re overlooking a snide remark because you want better and not because you neeeeeed him… you can figure out the rest.

 

What does your wife need most?
Your time? Affection? A greater demonstration of your commitment to her?
Which of these items could you implement first? 

If this blog has helped you in any way, please subscribe via the form on the right hand column, SHARE this with a friend, and leave a comment. I LOVE to hear from my readers, even when you all disagree.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your marriage,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

So You Want a Ruth?

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I have to giggle when single men claim to be Boaz’s waiting on their Ruth’s. The sentiment is sweet and heart-warming. You’re on the search for love, but is a Ruth truly what you desire?

Last week some young, preacher-like fella was retweeted into my Twitter timeline proclaiming that he was a Boaz and demanding God to send his Ruth. This guy couldn’t have been more than 25 and quite immature which was made evident by the fact that he demanded anything of God at all. I thought, “Dude, you’re not even close to being a Boaz. What would you do with a Ruth?” I replied to his tweet inquiring as to whether he really wanted a woman who’d suffered loss, carried emotional baggage, and didn’t fit in with the crowd. His reply… “Well, maybe not a Ruth.”

In Scripture you find that Ruth was a woman from a foreign land who married an Israelite. Her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law died in her home country, a place known for abominable sins. She returned to Judah with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and took care of her until God sent her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. You know the rest of the story. (Just in case you don’t, you can find it here.)

While I originally intended to write this post for women, it seems I’m going to delve into the qualities that make a man a Boaz and offer you fellas some other options as far as women of God go. While Ruth’s are incredibly valuable and significant to the kingdom, this type of woman may not be right for you. More importantly, you may not be a Boaz.

Let’s break this down…

  • Boaz was a wealthy businessman. Don’t get upset with meeeee! It’s true!! Several men have approached me claiming to be my Boaz, yet I live better than they do. To be a Boaz, you must have reached a place beyond financial stability. If you’re still living with mama’nem, you cannot call yourself a Boaz… You may have some of the other qualities, but until you’re financially stable, should you really be looking for a wife at all?
  • Boaz was a man of authority and influence. He owned and managed fields, workers, threshing floors, and everything in between. He was a man of authority and influence because he built a name and reputation for himself. Not because he had a big ego– Sorry, Bey! What kind of leader are you? Are you humble or cocky and arroagant? Do people fear you or respect you? Do you take care of the needs of your workers? Or are you insensitive, cold, and demanding?
  • Boaz was compassionate. Woe to us who see a need and refuse to meet it when it is in our power to do so! If you’re not willing to give and provide for the woman in whom you have interest, you are far from ready for a Ruth. If you’re courting a woman, or even dating in some cases, to what extent will you give her help when she needs it? If her car breaks down, will you run to her rescue? If a family member gets sick, will you just pray with her and hope for the best, or actually make yourself available for emotional support? Compassion for another will cause you to give of yourself even when you may have to sacrifice.
  • Boaz was humble. I’ve never really understood why Ruth uncovered his feet or what that even means outside the literal sense, but Boaz says something to her that really strikes me as profound. “You have not gone after young men, neither poor nor rich.” Boaz was aware that Ruth could have easily found another mate. She was obviously very attractive or he would not have had to warn the young men not to touch her. Though he was well-suited to be  a husband, he respected her right to choose and was thankful that he was the one she chose.
  • Boaz was diligent. Once he was aware that Ruth was interested, he “made haste” to resolve the matter. He exercised wisdom in dealing with his shrewd family member, but secured Ruth as his wife. I wonder what Boaz might have gone through before the account of this story. There’s no record of his having a family prior to Ruth, but whatever challenges he had as a man prepared him to recognize the value in Ruth.

Are you prepared to do this for a woman who has suffered loss and needs protection and covering? Nothing wrong with saying “no” because you have to know where you stand on the matter. Perhaps a Mary would suit you better… sweet, mild-mannered, chaste. But are you a Joseph— Discerning, discreet, and self-sacrificing?

Or a Sarah who was submissive and had no problem calling her husband “lord”? But you’ve got to be the man who has no problem displaying affection for his wife.

Or an Esther who is mentally stimulating, beautiful, and brave? But are you sensitive enough to hear her heart on important matters?

Unless you’re seasoned, have been through some challenges, and find beauty in rare things, you probably don’t want a Ruth. And there’s nothing wrong with that… What type of woman is it that will suit you best?

Better yet… find what type of man you are.

 

Identify your areas of growth, and begin building up yourself so that when your bride comes…
whoever she may be…
you, man of God, are ready to meet her needs and cover her as God has ordained.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

The “M”-Word

This is quite possibly the biggest trap for folk who are trying to live right.

We know premarital sex is wrong.

We know extramarital sex is wrong.

We know it in our hearts and our heads, but our flesh has difficulty complying with the ordinances from upper management. So we compromise and satisfy the desire of the flesh– alone.

You figure out the m-word yet? No? Well, I’ll keep writing. It will come to you.

When you’re by yourself on a Friday night after a long week at work, you’ll start feeling a little tingly down under. You may even send that late night text. No response. No resolution. Ah yes! I’ll do it myself!

For years, I was bound. I won’t be graphic, but I will say that every time I became stressed about money, angry with someone close to me, bored… it was my vice. I’ve never been one for drinking, never done any type of drug… but this thing here had me defeated. More than anything, I wanted God to make me pure again, and every day I’ve come closer to that goal.

Now many of you may not feel m-ing is wrong or bad, but if you feel that way you probably haven’t agreed with much of anything I’ve written thus far. I don’t mind your disagreeing. Thanks for reading anyway…

For those of us who feel the Holy Spirit’s conviction let me express to you why the the “m”-word is a problem in your daily walk.

  • You are polluting your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The original word in Latin literally means “to pollute oneself.” One day somebody’s going to want to drink from your cistern (if you’re not already married). And no matter how deep or shallow the well, no one wants to drink dirty water.
  • It doesn’t satisfy the need for a connection. This “quick fix” is like putting a bandage over a huge gaping wound. Your need for the s-word is more than just physical whether you choose to believe that or not.
  • It creates soul ties with a person who ain’t even present. You’re thinking about Mademoiselle X or Monsieur Y and releasing all those love-inducing hormones for a person who isn’t even in your space. What happens when you see them again and you’re feeling all amorous, and they’re just dapping you up like a homey? Hop on down that bunny trail… you can find the ending yourself.
  • If you’re married, you may be defrauding your partner and you definitely are if the p-word is involved. You know those sites that are so easily accessible? They have NO PLACE in the life of a Christ-follower. The two together have destroyed many marriages. I’ll write more about this another time.
  • Long term addictions to this particular problem are usually associated with rejection. David’s father, Jesse, rejected him at a young age and ever since David had issues with women. I’ve also read (no citation for this particular point… sorry) that children who grow up with fighting-arguing-cussing parents use this particular thing as a form of stress relief. What are we doing to our children?!

So how does one break free from this vicious cycle,
assuming one WANTS to break free? 

 

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future of PURITY,

Alana

 

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by ninasaurusrex

 

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Forgiveness: One Step Solution

Thanks to those who contacted me regarding The Art of Forgivness: But Do I Have To?  The needs of my readers really drives what I write, so I must continue on this course. If there are any other concerns for matters of life that you have, please send me an email or leave a comment below. If I can help, I most certainly will!

Everything you need to know about forgiving someone is embedded inside of you. Your will controls every action and decision you make, so forgiving someone is a matter of will. Not emotion, not logic, not obligation… There truly is just one step.

 You must CHOOSE to forgive.

Now I know this is opposite of how we’ve been trained to live (i.e., let your feelings be your guide), but truly, forgiveness is a matter of choice. Here’s an example.

When I was married, I suspected my trust had been been betrayed, then the evidence came forward. I would be taking care of daily matters when the weight of the world would just fall on me. My chest would would cave in, and my head would spin. My heart would literally ache inside of my chest. Several times a day for months I’d go through this emotional and physical torment because I was reliving that moment of discovery. And my mind would wander into a thousand-and-one questions, suppositions, and what-if’s. Then, one day… I don’t even recall when it happened… all the bad feelings went away. Because at some point in time I decided that I would choose to forgive.

In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive his brother, then he offers an answer of “seven times”. In other words, Peter is saying “Look here, Jesus. John is driving me nuts. He keeps talking out of the side of his mouth, and I’m trying to be gracious, but I wanna let him know some things. This morning was the sixth time… He’s got one mo’ time to cross me. So yeah, seven times is good… right, Lord?”

Jesus then responds to Peter, revealing the content of his heart. He tells Peter that he must forgive “seventy times seven”. In other words, let’s not be so concerned by the details of what happened nor the number of times it happened nor how wrong they really were. Let’s just get in the practice of forgiving.

What I believe this “seventy times seven” really means (because none of us would really allow someone to wrong us this  many times, and rightfully so) is that every time the matter comes to mind we must choose to forgive.

Every time you think about her touching another man…

Every time you think about him hitting your child…

Every time you flip through his phone and find those outgoing texts….

Every time you’ve been cursed by someone who should have protected you….

Forgive… and to reiterate a point I made last blog, forgiveness does NOT mean forgetting what’s happened, nor does it always mean reconciliation. For now, you just worry about setting yourself free from being tormented. And IF that means, you must get away from the person who caused the hurt to allow forgiveness to flow, DO IT!!!

I speak peace, in Jesus’ name, over every one of you who is struggling with unforgiveness. I bind any demonic force that is controlling your will and I loose peace and love upon you now, in the name of Jesus Christ. Lord, let them find immediate joy and deep rest as they forgive every wrong that revisits them through bad memories, negative thoughts, and other daily triggers. No more torment, no more pain for these people, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Will you set yourself free today??
CHOOSE to forgive, and the feelings will follow.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for YOUR future,

Alana

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by C. G. P. Grey

Being Saved, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized

The Art of Forgiveness: But Do I Have To?

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I know you’re still mad…

Last week that chick at work said something slick, and you have yet to pay her back. And there’s the guy who never called you back like he promised. Then that family member whose name makes your stomach twist and turn into knots. And the kid from kindergarten who put gum in your hair… Ugh!

Your head throbs, stomach churns, and blood pressure climbs to the sky all because of someone else…

Or could you be the problem?

Everyday we are presented with the choice to forgive or to not forgive. But I’m going to tell you exactly what you don’t want to hear.

You MUST forgive! You MUST forgive! You MUST forgive!

It’s simply not an option. Here’s why…

 

Refusing to forgive means you are judging the person’s heart.

It’s often easy to classify an action as right or wrong, but we seldom know why a person made that bad decision. To withhold forgiveness means you are judging the intent of their heart. Only God is qualified to judge the heart. He gives us clues as to what’s going on inside of others, but He doesn’t share His throne.

 When we judge others by refusing to forgive, we open ourselves to receive judgment.

We’ve all heard and quoted the scripture “Judge not, lest you be judged.” Simple scenario… I know someone who was very judgmental of me when I struggled with my “flesh”. They often made comments regarding my poor choices and discouraged me even though I was trying to do right. That person has recently found themselves battling the same issues. Unless you want to find yourself in that same tight spot, forgive and withhold your criticism of someone else’s wrongdoing. Encourage folks to do right with love or hold your peace. Truth be told, some saints need to just shut up until they can speak the truth in love.

Having unforgiveness in your heart is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill  the other person.

Forgive the cliché, but it’s so appropriate.  When you replay scenarios in your head, you’re literally dumping toxins (i.e. stress hormones) into your system. No wonder we end up with headaches, stomach problems, allergies, and food intolerances.

Your sins won’t be forgiven.

Perhaps if we made a list of our wrongs, then we won’t be so hasty in choosing not to forgive others.

Forgiving and forgetting are mutually exclusive. 

Just because we forgive doesn’t mean we forget. It would be foolish to continually forget if someone abuses the relationship they have with you. You, sir and ma’am, are not a doormat. Don’t forget what happened, per se, but DO forget the emotions associated with it. I can, now, share with people the reason my marriage ended free from pain or emotion. I know the story well. It is my testimony. But when I tell it, I don’t cry, feel shame or embarrassment, or get angry. It really is JUST a story.

So, do you have to forgive? Indeed, you do. It’s God’s way of setting you free from the wrong that was done to you and the person who did it. Without forgiveness, your soul is tied to them and the situation. And who in their right mind wants to be all entangled with someone who’s hurt them? (I did qualify that by saying “in their right mind.” Not all of us have that…)
So, yes, you have to… but no worries. I have ONE simple step to forgiving, but you’ll have to wait until next time.

So who still makes your stomach turn? And who makes your blood boil?
Time to make some mental notes, so we can move forward.

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
Alana
Photo credit: LicenseCopyright All rights reserved by Nora Chin

 

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

Letter to the One Who Didn’t Show Up

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Dear Sir,

I won’t rehash the details of why things didn’t work, but a relationship involves two people. I never have a problem with my own company until someone who has promised to be there doesn’t show up. And for me, showing up is half the battle.

We all have stresses in our lives. We must prioritize. And I’ve learned that we make time for things and people that matter. So to tell me you love me, to say that I matter, to call me “baby”– I don’t understand those things. Because you didn’t show up.

And the opportunities we had… even when you were in my presence… You. Were. Not. Present. Your thoughts were on something else and that prevented us from having a real conversation. So to tell me you miss me when you weren’t present—I don’t understand that. Because you didn’t show up.

 

I’ve learned that people who don’t discern my worth have no right to be in my space. My gifts and talents are just as remarkable as yours even though you lacked interest in them. When I make it to my next  level I won’t look back and recount all those “I miss you” texts and calls. I promise I’ll forget.

 

Should you wonder if your texts are an annoyance to me… They are, but my Google Voice spam folder solves that issue.

Should you wonder if I think about you often? Not since last Wednesday.

Should you wonder if I’m seeing someone else? I’ll let you wonder.

 

What you failed to understand is that I hope in God, and because you disappointed me I know this relationship can’t be from my Father. What loving father would consult his daughter to stay with someone who makes her an afterthought?

 

This experience grew me up. My character is stronger, and my faith in this area has grown. I don’t have to and won’t have to make exceptions for a man who is truly for me. No longer will I be understanding of things that make no sense. No longer will I consider a man a potential Boaz who has less than I do. No longer will I let someone think that because I’m a good, Christian woman, I must be nice, forgiving, and neglect my own desires.

 

But I thank you. This break-up was easy compared to the others. When I see you, it won’t bother me. I’ll smile and say hello as always. Your secret is still safe with me. Far be it from me to uncover another’s secret when I have so many of my own.

 

I’m keeping the bracelet but the heart charm is gone. I never cared too much for hearts anyway. I know folks say when you break up to get rid of everything they gave you. But I liked the bracelet, and I believe in keeping the spoils of war. Do what you will with the items I gave you.

 

The last thing you said to me was that you were sorry you “couldn’t” be the one. Was it a matter of ability or will? But inevitably, you’re right. You can’t because you made the wrong choices. But I forgive you, and I know you’ll figure it out. And what’s more… I’m praying for you because when I said I cared about your soul, brother in Christ, I meant it.

 

But as long as the romance in my head is better than what you have to offer, I’m going to keep on walking until someone who is right for me shows up.

 

Alana

 

 

Photo credit: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by Romtomtom

 

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Making Melodies

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Undoubtedly the 90’s gave us the BEST R&B music and by best I mean the most sexual, soulish, crooning-est harmonies ever. Nothing was held back for listener’s interpretation in the lyrics and even less was left to the imagination in the videos. It’s a wonder some of us made it out of that decade with no babies, AIDS, or other STD’s.

All those songs I sang in my high school feelings… If it’s wrong to love you, then my heart just won’t let me be right… I didn’t have good sense. Fortunately I did have Godly music to sustain me and to counter some of the garbage I put into myself. At the time the lyrics seemed so real and relevant. They gripped my very soul and satisfied what seemed to be a deep need.

But God! Now I know there is a song that goes to the deepest part of my being and resonates with every part of me. And that’s the song that the Lord sings over me that I can’t help but sing back to Him.

So this post is a call to action. It’s time to change our songs, ladies and gents.
It’s time to re-affirm our faith in Christ and clean out the junk that drives us to make one bad decision after another.

I won’t go as far to say that all secular music is bad… That isn’t my point. I am saying that to continue in this walk, we’ve got to listen to music that breathes life into our being instead of the music that just tickles our emotions.

My favorite scripture, Zephaniah 3:17, says that the Father rejoices over us with singing. Let us sing back to Him the praises that He greatly deserves!

 

Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs

The Bible admonishes us to “Speak out to one another (and to ourselves) in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices and instruments and making melody with all our hearts to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19)

A psalm is a sacred song used in worship. These are intimate melodies that speak of God’s faithfulness and goodness. I actually have a piece somewhere about writing psalms, but I shall save that for another day.

Hymns are written for the purpose of praise, adoration, or prayer. I’ve found myself singing hymns like “Draw Me Nearer” and “I Surrender All” lately. I know these songs remind us of granny’s dry Sunday morning service, but the message is timeless. Change up the style as you sing it to the Lord. Make it fresh and exciting, but tap in to the deep roots of these songs.

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord to the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord to Thy precious bleeding side.

Spiritual songs are melodies that relate to God and His spirit. This is a much broader category, but it’s definitely not a catch-all. Spiritual songs keep us flowing in God’s presence and tend to bubble up in our spirits when we need them.

Few Christian artists worship like Israel Houghton. This medley takes me in every time.

Songs of Deliverance

You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah–pause, and calmly think of that! (Psalm 32:7)

Have you ever found yourself in trouble? Maybe, like David, you were surrounded by enemies. Or like Saul, maybe your trouble resides within. But isn’t it comforting to know that God, on His throne, sings songs of deliverance over you? Notice David was in a place of hiding. When we encounter trouble, the best place for us to be is on our face before the Lord and requesting that He keep us out of further trouble.

I used to listen to this song when I was walking through that valley… Enjoy Jason Upton’s “Freedom.”

 

The New Song

O SING to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! (Psalm 96:1)

Don’t you get tired of hearing the same song over and over and over? What makes you think the Almighty feels any different? I can see Him leaning forward on His throne and tapping praise and worship leaders on the head everywhere as if to say “What else you got?”

While the scripture above could very well mean a new or different song than what you’ve been singing, I truly believe the new song is one that is birthed when a believer is in deep worship. As I pray I often find myself singing in the spirit. Sometimes a melody with lyrics pours out, and other times a free-flowing tune lights from my lips. Either way… the song is new and I find myself restored. Singing the new song creates an atmosphere where miracles can be released to and through us.

The song below is by a Phatfish, a British band. Words cannot express how… just listen to it!!

 

 

What songs have made a difference in your walk with Christ?
Share them in the comments section, and let’s build each other up!

 

Photo credit: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by Rob Ellis’

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Red-flagging Your Prayers

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So many books are written about this, but I feel impressed to share why God is pouring so heavily into my life.

The past few weeks, I’ve been bragging about His love for me. That’s the only type of bragging the Word of God permits, and its purpose is to provoke you to jealousy. I want you to think “Why is she experiencing so much but I’m not? What do I have to do to have every one of my prayers answered by God?”

And when I say every prayer….

  • I prayed about this website, and within a few day’s time I had it paid for, up and running, without ANY knowledge as to how to build a website. God sent people with resources and skills to help me and they literally showed up when I had  a question. Thank you,  Brother Dizard.
  • I asked the Lord for some quality time with my father last week when I was travelling from Maryland back home. I called him, and he was five miles away from where I was when I expected him to be another hour down the road. We had lunch, and he comforted me in one of my struggles.
  • This week at church we had conference and I wanted to greet one of the ministers. I had attended his church during my college years but never got to speak to him. Not only did someone bring him to me, but he held my hand and agreed with me on a personal matter. AND his wife was brought over to me and we embraced. After service I took my children to McDonald’s where the couple showed up and greeted us again and loved on my children.
  • In addition to all that I received two prophetic words that provided comfort and guidance to me. I’ve said this before, but April has always been a hard month for me and this year proved to be the same.

 

Yet, God’s favor has kept and comforted me. We define favor as God’s unmerited grace, but I’m not so sure I agree with the definition. When we try to reduce words to a simple meaning then the understanding behind it is lost. No, I don’t deserve His favor, but I did do something to qualify for it.

 

Every morning I lie in my bed and talk to the Lord. I tell Him how much I truly love Him and offer myself to Him. I ask Him what’s on His heart, then I listen. I pray the things that He tells me to pray. Then I obey Him.

This is why my prayers are marked “priority.” They are marked with a red flag and when God sees that flag I believe He says, “This person really believes and trusts in me. I’m going to see about her right now.”

Now many of us have reduced God’s goodness to simply waking us up in the morning, but to be honest, there were some mornings I’d prefer to be dead. Why wake me up, Lord, if I have to deal with this same mess? This same pain? This same situation? Fix it, Lord, or kill me! Yet His grace sustained me through those times… Now I have something to look forward to in my day.

 

To close, I want to share a few short points with you to help transform your prayer. I guarantee Heaven will move on your behalf if you  seek God with the following in mind:

  1. Praise and thank Him before you pray anything else! Don’t just thank Him for superficial things, but dig deep. If you’ve got to thank Him for someone else, then do that too.
  2. Repent. The word says in Psalm 66:18 that if you regard (give place to) iniquity in your heart, then the Lord wIll not hear your prayer. We cannot pray with sin on our minds. Surely we all have sinned, but to hold what you did in your heart as if to keep it on the throne where only Christ should be… God will not hear that prayer. Simply repent, and think of it NO MORE.
  3. Believe that He hears your prayer. Jesus said “Father, I know you hear me when I pray.” When I started saying that in my prayers, I started receiving answers immediately.
  4. Seek His face. Before asking Him for anything, ask Him what’s on His heart. And pray whatever He reveals. I find that it’s easier for me to pray for others than it is to pray for myself, and so I do that. And in so doing, my needs are met.
  5. Be sure of His love for you. Sometimes we don’t know how to pray for a thing, but if we are certain that He loves us, than we know He will work a situation out to our best.

 

Oh, I can’t wait to hear the testimonies pour in. I know God is bringing us to a place of complete confidence and reliance on Him. Why not start now??? Let’s see if you can get those prayers marked priority and being walking in His finest blessings!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Attribution Some rights reserved by Victoria Reay