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

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Thirsting

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She was a Samaritan.

She was promiscuous.

She was churchy.

 

This poor woman has been lambasted in pulpits everywhere. She is considered to be nothing more than a loose and undignified woman, yet we overlook the most vital elements of the story.

 

She was thirsty.

 

And all of us are thirsty for something.

 

It’s a fact that humans can live for weeks without food, but only three to five days without water. How much more will spiritual thirst drive us to seek relief from these so-called “tall drinks of water”?

 

I won’t go as far to say that I admire the Samaritan woman, but I do understand her. Five times married. Sixth man shacking up… She hoped in love, couldn’t find it, yet kept on trying.

 

I’ve been there. Well, only married once… But countless times I’ve sought for love.

 

Back at the well, a place where only single and unattached women were to be found, she met Jesus. Think back to when Abraham’s servant sought a wife for Isaac… where did he go? To the well, and there he found Rebekah. Where did Jacob first see Rachel? Again, at the well. Where do you go when you want some attention at work? To the proverbial water cooler…

 

So why would a woman who lived with a man be at the well if she was already “involved”?

 

For the same reason many of us run to the club. Or wear revealing clothing.  Or take new photos for Facebook and Instagram everyday. Or lay ourselves down in hopes that he or she will love us. Or tell someone we love them knowing we do not.

 

Many of us are unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and disappointed. We’re thirsty.

 

We have a deep desire to be loved and deeply cherished, not just “chose”. (Chose is twitter terminology for being good enough to be picked by someone to be in a relationship yet the term does not communicate anything about the quality of the relationship. It simply means you’ve got somebody which, to me, means very little.)

 

And here comes Jesus, with his smooth line…

 

“If you knew who is speaking to you right now, you’d ask me to give you water. And if you ask me, I’ll give it you and you’ll never thirst again.”

 

In hood vernacular, “You ain’t never met nobody like Me.”

 

Every time I read that line I smirk. Say what you want about my Lord, but He knows how to talk to a woman.  You can’t tell me that sister from Samaria didn’t melt. No wonder she had to come up with all that crap about where and how to worship. She was nervous!

 

But back to the story. Place yourself at that well for just a moment. Look deep down and consider whether the thing you’re desiring is at the bottom. You already know what’s there. You’ve been drinking from it for how long?

 

Now look at the bucket. Can such a small vessel possibly hold the fullness of what you desire? Certainly not!

 

Now turn your eyes to Jesus… He is the seventh man in the story. He is offering exactly what you need. He will fill YOU so that you need not come back to the well for something that temporarily satisfies! He will fill complete you, perfect you, and mature you so that you can help someone else.

 

I must leave the well. Single and unattached, I may be but there’s nothing at the well for me.

 

Your well may not be the same as mine. But consider… the lilies… and your secret longings. God is faithful to give you those desires, but not until we have turned to Him and allowed ourselves to be filled by His love and grace.

 

With sincerity, love, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

Scripture references: John 4, Genesis 24, Genesis 29

Photo by Kashif Mardani from Flickr

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: What You Won’t Do

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I grew up thinking men were the only people to ever do wrong in a relationship. By the time I was 25, I was fully convinced that men were incapable of loving a woman the way that a woman loved a man. I thought that men only felt a little something, maybe admiration, but nothing substantial or lasting.  I thought that those who were married were destined to cheat, leave or stay and cause unhappiness. I thought the only men who did right by their wives were those who were weak or motivated  by fear.

What a cock-eyed way to view the world… But don’t judge me. You’ve got some cock-eyed ways too. Nevertheless I can’t help you get the spot out of your eye with the beam in my own.

But that was my experience. My experience now isn’t totally different, but I definitely don’t think this of menfolk any longer.

After developing some genuine friendships with good men, I’ve come to learn that women also do HORRIBLE things to the men that love them. These stories, in some ways, were more shocking to me than the usual “girl-he-cheated-and-had-a-baby-by-another-woman” story. So at this point, I feel compelled to write to the ladies regarding what a submissive woman won’t do to her husband, or any man that she cares about.

Before I begin the customary list (if it ain’t broke…), I will say this. As women we have overcome tremendous challenges, and many of us are doing great things. We’re making six figures, running corporations, caring for babies, building businesses and ministries… We. Do. It. All. So as empowered as we are, why can’t we say and do as we please? Well, you want to keep your man, don’t you? Don’t you want him to be happy with the relationship? Or would you run him to the arms of another?

I know you answered “no” to that last question, because you’re still reading. These, ladies, are the things we must stop doing to our men… with a little anecdotal evidence of course.

  1. Harboring unforgiveness and anger in your heart. We are all guilty of this in some way. Any time two lives are shared with any degree of intimacy, feelings will become hurt. But just he as makes mistakes, you will make them also. An old wise man once said “Keep a short account with God and man. Quickly repent. Quickly forgive.” Holding on to unforgiveness will cause you to become bitter and resentful, and anger will eventually be displayed through one of the following actions and sickness in your body. Forgiveness TRULY is not about letting the other person off the hook. It is about keeping your eyes on the cross and allowing God to move you forward regardless of their actions. Forgiving is not easy, but it is simple. It starts by making a choice. I shall blog about this more at another time.
  2. Talking down to him. Even if a brotha needs a rebuke or to be tightened up a little there’s a way to do. Never attack his masculinity or refer to him as a child to make your point. You might address character flaws, but let a man have his pride. If you take that away, he is bound to get it elsewhere. And if you know the devil like I do, he’s already got the right one lined up to step in… If you’ve got a sharp tongue, ask the Lord to bridle it and deal with your heart issues. Over time you will be able to speak the truth in love. Until that happens, it’s best you keep quiet.
  3. Doing the opposite of what you’ve agreed to do. I’ve been on the business end of this, and it’s no fun. If we agree that we won’t visit the homes of our single friends without each other, then don’t do it. Your story as to why you thought I’d be ok with it is irrelevant. Every relationship has boundaries. Boundaries are good, healthy, beneficial. If you and your boo have agreed to do (or not do) certain things then ABIDE by it! If you’re calculating what you can get away with or predetermining what the “punishment” will be, then you’re immature and are unlikely to maintain a healthy marriage. A double-minded woman is unstable in all her ways. .
  4. Being selfish and ungrateful. I’ll admit. This is common among women. We’re programmed with the “take-care-of-me” gene and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if we love the man, and not what he has, then we must live within the means provided. A quick fix for ungratefulness is thankfulness. When my children start to complain, I have to shift their thinking. As we go through our day I ask them to think about the things they’re thankful for and yell them out. So wherever they are… grocery store, park, car, at home… they’re forced to think through a different filter. And there’s power in the spoken word. When you hear yourself say what you’re thankful for, a heart change begins to take place. So start saying “thank you” to the Lord aloud, and then to your husband. ‘Thank you” is truly something you can’t say too often.
  5. Denying him. I don’t understand why married women are still doing this. Unless he’s abusive, cheating, or degrading to you, it’s your duty to pop that… let me chill. If you’re smart about it, you can win an unwieldy man with your womanly charms. If he has a tendency to look at other women, then show him WHY his eyes should only be on you. Outside of sex, I think it’s important that a woman also meets the other needs of a man. For example, if he needs an ego stroke… “Oh, sweetie, your arms are so strong. Teehee!”… then DO IT!!! Get over yourself, and do it!! If he needs a hot meal, don’t hand the man a sandwich. You’ll quickly drive him home to mama for a meal and to the computer for a quick sexual fix. And while we’re on the topic of sex, BE FAITHFUL!!
  6. Talking bad about him to others. We all need to vent, but daaaannngggg! Some of ya’ll are telling so much I’m contemplating whether I ever want to get married again. Some of the stuff that happens in relationships needs to stay there. Other things you may want to discuss with a close friend, but be sure it’s someone who won’t judge you or tell your business. But I was bad about this, and I’ve learned. And the scriptures tell us that the power of life and death is in the tongue.  A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. You shall have what you say.
  7. Usurping his authority. We’ve all heard the sermon. God took woman out of man’s side to be his equal. But the concept of submission is that one must come under the other so that order can be established. You, woman, have been appointed the submittee… There is no shame in this role when you realize that you had to be equal to (or in some cases above) to be placed under him. So know who you are, and recognize who he is. Taking away your husband’s authority is the worst thing you can do to your family. Love, honor, and obey. Don’t talk about him or argue with him in front of the children. If he’s wrong (and they can be wrong about a lot of things), address it privately. Your children won’t remember the one time daddy made a mistake, but they will remember that you called him on it and added a few nasty names to it as well. Yikes… how often we forget to be kind to those closest to us. By the way… your pastor is not the priest of your home. Your mister is…

 

I sincerely hope the menfolk feel vindicated at this point. I don’t think one would argue that they are proud of our accomplishments, yet many wish their wives would come home and be just that. One more submission post may be in me, but we shall see. I have so much to share! And I pray you enjoyed reading…

 

If this post has incited you in any way, please comment below or send me and email for more personal items. Also… if I haven’t asked enough… please join my email list or subscribe to the RSS feed. I’d hate for you to miss any of the good stuff I’m going to write. And… oh…it’s juicy!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

Photo Credit:

By Richard ‘Tenspeed’ Heaven

Being Saved, Family, Guest Posts, Uncategorized

Overcoming Loneliness by Demontae Edmonds

Blessing us this week is my beloved cousin, Demontae Edmonds. Demontae shares several mini-sermons via Facebook and email during a week’s time, so I decided (with his permission) to pass this post along because it is so relevant to the CTL mission. I pray this post blesses you. And as always, comments are welcome and wanted!!!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/d.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Apostle Demontae Edmonds www.freeinva.com[/author_info] [/author]

 

Last night while in prayer God impressed upon me to write on the subject of “Overcoming Loneliness.” Often we hear Sunday messages on faith, salvation, tithing but there is a legitimate issue people wrestle with called loneliness.

 

First, being alone does not necessarily mean that one is lonely. Loneliness according to the dictionary is a condition where a person is “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone.”

 

God does not want anyone to struggle with or be defeated by loneliness. Many people hate to have this feeling and place themselves prematurely in wrong relationships in an attempt to overcome these feelings. BIG MISTAKE!  Just because you are with someone in a relationship (even a marriage) does not mean that you may not still wrestle with loneliness.

 

A second definition I found for loneliness reads, “destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, or support.” Many have found out the hard way that even after marriage their spouse may fall short of their expectations. This is especially true if they married a person God has not intended for them or an immature spouse. If your spouse does not know how, try, or care about fulfilling emotional and physical needs for attention and companionship you may STILL suffer from loneliness. Even worse rejection, hurt, distrust, low self-esteem etc. may result from a broken relationship. Add these with loneliness and you have an emotional wreck.

 

To help you avoid falling into these traps and overcoming loneliness I prayed and asked God for some points to share:

 

#1 REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE    

 

Our natural mind and the enemy (Satan) often try to trick us to believe we are alone and also the only person dealing with certain situations. This is certainly not true (see 1 Kings 19:14). Proverbs 18:24 tells us, “There is a friend who sticks CLOSER than a brother.” This refers to God Himself. He is always watching us, with us, and for us. We are often unaware of this and He is the last person we focus on. The more you recognize and “in all your ways acknowledge Him” (Proverbs 3:6), He will be that much more real to you.

 

James 4:8 says, “Draw close to me and I will draw close to you.” The more time, energy, and devotion you spend toward God in the Word, prayer, and casual conversation He will draw closer to you. This means He will reveal more of how ACTUALLY close He is. This may come through dreams, visions, discerning His presence, His taking away loneliness, grief, depression, etc.

 

Both of these acts require faith. When you first begin to confess “God is a friend  that sticks closer than a brother” you may feel nothing at first. But over time “by faith” the reality of this truth will become more apparent in your life. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit as a “Comforter”. Because God created your heart and mind He is the ONLY person who has the blueprint to them. He knows exactly when and how to comfort you and re-energize you even when you allow yourself to get beat down, defeated, discouraged, or wresting with loneliness.

 

#2 DISCERN YOUR GOD-SENT RELATIONSHIPS

We are admonished to be friendly & kind to everyone but not everyone can be our friend. There are specific people appointed by God for you to be in relationship (friendship) with. You cannot get to your destiny without them, and they cannot get to theirs with you. There is a mutual dependence. God specifically chose Prince Jonathan for King David. They loved each other like brothers. God specifically chose twelve disciples to accompany Jesus. We see this throughout the Bible.

 

Many times people struggle with loneliness but neglect to trust God that there are specific people He has already hand-picked for their lives. When you pray, trust God will send these people into your lives. Very often we miss them because they may not look, talk, or think like you. They may come from very different backgrounds and have different interests but there will be common ground that will serve for a higher purpose.

In the Book of Ruth, Ruth lost her husband and had a choice to start a new life or remain with her mother-in-law. Our minds would say leave and start over, Ruth. But she chose to “cleave to Naomi” her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:14). After losing a spouse or leaving a bad relationship a person is often vulnerable and sensitive. She chose to stay in friendship with someone who she had known and trusted through the years. Often there is security and comfort in familiarity. The story ends with Ruth marrying the right man at the right time, and he was gentleman and very WEALTHY! So it worked out for her.

Many miss friendships because of defensive walls that are up due to past hurts, fear of being rejected or judged, or simply they don’t know how to be a friend themselves.  Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly.”  This means there are some things you need to do on your end to make and maintain friendships like not being jealous of others, not competing, showing humility, avoiding selfish actions, not being condescending, and not backbiting. Also, don’t wait on the other person to initiate friendship. You must, “show yourself friendly.”

 

#3 GET & STAY CONNECTED WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST     

 

Hebrews 10:25 commands us, “Forsake not the assembling together of yourselves.” Another version reads, “Don’t stop meeting together.”

 

What better place to make friends than a place with people with the common ground of Jesus Christ as God and that have the same belief systems? In theory anyway… lol. That is the way God ordained his earthly kingdom. Often God will use someone in the Body of Christ to comfort us or meet our needs of companionship, finances, inner or outer healing, etc. No one can grow into their full spiritual potential being disconnected from the Body of Christ.

 

#4 A GIFT FROM GOD

 

Being alone is not always negative. Often it is a gift of God. Only when we are alone can we discover our true identity. Moses discovered that He was to be deliverer of Israel from Egypt when he was ALONE on the backside of the desert and encountered the burning bush. Jesus spent 40 days ALONE in the wilderness when He begin to walk in the power of the Spirit and perform miracles. John the Baptist was “in the desert places [ALONE] until the day of his showing.”  Many others throughout history have discovered their potential, identity, strengths, weaknesses, life goals, and vision for the future while in their time of singleness or solitude. You can be alone but not be lonely. Enjoy your gift from God UNTIL……..

 

Apostle Demontae Edmonds
www.freeinva.com

 

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Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: Serving Two Masters

This entry is for the married ladies and those in serious relationships. For several reasons, I’ve neglected to write about my experience as a married woman. The Bible says a poor man’s wisdom is despised, so I thought no one would want to hear how you should or shouldn’t interact with your husband from a woman who doesn’t have one anymore. There’s no shame on my end, but certainly, people have said they didn’t want my opinion because I failed at it. 


But where I may have a void in your eyes, I’ve got a wealth of experience and understanding in my own. So take it or leave it… just read it, and decide later. 🙂


Life, for me, is better on this side. And some of you ladies are married to a man with the same or similar *ahem* demeanor as my ex-husband. You need to know how to handle him whether you choose to stay with him or not.


I’ve spent some time in my singleness wondering how this love thing is supposed to go. After applying the truth to my failed experience(s), this is what I believe.

A man and woman meet and become friends. Their friendship grows and neither person expects more from the other than they ought. They’re simply getting to know each other. Because they like what they find in each other, they decide to enter an exclusive romantic relationship where they can grow together with the future possibility of being one. As the couple becomes more committed to one another, the intimacy between them increases. They protect the relationship by never allowing the intimacy to exceed the level of commitment. In doing so, the man expresses his sincere, heartfelt, “I’ll die for you” type of love for the woman in constructive ways. Once she knows his love is real, she learns how to demonstrate her love for him. The couple marries, and the woman, as her expression of love to the man, willingly submits to him. She knows she is safe, that he won’t harm her, that he will always protect her because he has already demonstrated this WITHOUT marital benefits. So if he did it then, surely he will do it now. Woman says “I can trust this man, so I will love him and submit to him.”



Hindsight is 20/20. And you’se married nah….


Looking back to your courtship may help identify where things didn’t go quite the right way, but doesn’t tell you how to fix the situation you’re already in nor does it tell you how to change the future. You’ve exchanged those til-death-do-us-part’s and you meant them. But you may often feel that submitting to him just doesn’t feel right. You know you’re supposed to let him lead, but his leadership abilities may be in question. But first, let’s chat about what submission looks like.


Or better yet, what it doesn’t. Submission is not doing everything he says, being everything he wants you to be, giving when he demands that you give, and taking whatever he demands you take. It is not compliance, nor does it force one to become a doormat. You are an adult women with your own sensibilities, personality, and goals. Submission simply means you support his mission for building a life for your family. In submitting to your mate, you gladly defer to him and support him as the leader and protector of your home. 


At the risk of writing a blog that’s entirely too long, I will make the following statements and allow you to dissect them for yourself. 

  1. He’s your husband, not God.
  2. If he doesn’t demonstrate Christlike love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay.
  3. If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.
  4. Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well.
  5. If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you.
  6. You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. (I’ve got a story for this, but I’ll save it.)
  7. If he’s not pleased with you now, then he won’t be pleased with you after you do everything he claims he wants you to do. That’s not your issue… it’s his! Bigger boobs, longer hair, more/less make-up never changed an unfaithful heart.
Final thought!

Churchfolk tend to get submission wrong. Don’t mind them… It’s what mama’nem were taught by some passa generations ago. Passa couldn’t read, so he had to take his passa’s word for it. But now it’s time to get these things in order. 

Submission is not the laying down of your life. It is an attitude of gratitude, a natural response, to one who has already laid down His, and his, life for you….

Selah.

And with that, I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please post, share, tweet, retweet, and email if this has helped you! I look forward to reading your comments below! Take some time to fish through my previous posts as well… I’m as nutty as I am serious. 

Happy Sunday to you all!


With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,


Alana 

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