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

 

Family, Uncategorized

Tough Cookies: Kids Who Need Spankings

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I love scanning through my FB News Feed and seeing the pictures of my friends’ beautiful little ones. I have one particular friend from high school who has THE most gorgeous little girl. This kid has cheeks for days, bright gray eyes and a smile that will melt anyone down to the ground. She is a baby doll… so it would seem.

I had no idea this kid was a tough cookie, so it surprised me when her “mild-mannered, sweet as pudding” momma emailed me to say “What the heck am I supposed to do with this kid? She’s whiny, manipulative, and strong-willed. I don’t know if spanking is right or wrong, but this kid is running my home. How do your kids behave?”

Welp… I have a lot to say about this— so much so that I will have to break the content down into two to three entries, but I’ll do my best to get it all published within a week’s time. But let’s address the first few objectives… why spanking is good and how to determine if your child is the kind that will need them often.

Why Spanking is Good for Your Child

Children do not have the reasoning ability that adults have, so we must guide and direct them. Here’s an example. Little Tyrone is riding his big wheel in the driveway. He starts to feel a little confident and wants to head out to the main road. You tell him to stop and to turn around. Now, depending on whether you’ve instilled an attitude of obedience in him (or not), he will respond.

Let’s say Little Tyrone disobeys and rides his bike out in the street. The unthinkable happens. And who’s responsible? You are! We must teach our children that they must respect us (liking is optional), that we discipline them because we love them, and that obedience is better than taking a chance and getting hurt and/or in trouble.

As unthinkable as the scenario above may be, it’s very realistic. How often do I children step to the line of danger and attempt to cross it not realizing what may lie ahead? The minimal amount of pain you give them as a response to disobedience cannot be compared to the danger that faces them in that moment. When you spank your child within the right context, you literally save their soul from future troubles and possibly even an eternity apart from God.

Another good reason… you don’t want a child running your home. As temperamental and stubborn as Brandon was at two and three years of age, I refused to let him dictate what would happen in my house. We would go grocery shopping and he’d run away from me to another aisle. I’d have to leave Briana behind (in her carrier) to catch him. I would whine and cry about the situation, but eventually I realized I’m the adult and he’s the kid. I started to teach him that if he ran from me when I called him, he’d get spanked right away. And when we were at home, I delivered on that promise. Next few times we went out shopping, I’d call him and he’d start to run, then stop and look at me, then look to run again… He was contemplating what to do! Eventually he brought his short self over and held on to the cart like I asked. He learned the lesson and lined up with my expectations. (I’m laughing as I write this, but it was very challenging at the time.)

There are far too many stories about children abusing their parents, and I will not be one of those casualties. Neither will you! Don’t let your children go so far that you have to call SuperNanny in to rescue you. Get them in line NOW!

Some kids need spankings. Some don’t.

Some kids need spankings as their main form of discipline while others can be disciplined via time outs, taking things away, or a good scolding. But if your kid has the following qualities, he or she will more than likely need a good swat to the thigh or backside on a daily basis until they really learn to respect and obey you.

  • Strong-willed and stubborn
  • Fearless and adventurous
  • Mean-spirited or angry
  • Moody and temperamental
  • Disrespectful

Parents must understand that a child’s personality is formed by the time he or she reaches 5 years. So you have fewer than 5 years to create an attitude of obedience and respect for authority. If you’re past that time, you’ve got to reinforce what you’ve already instilled or do damage control. Hopefully the former…

Age really isn’t a factor either. Of course no one should spank a baby… Use common sense. But there are ways to let babies know that what they’re doing is not acceptable. I used to tap Briana’s little legs when she decided to run her baby teeth across my baby-feeders. The first few times, she didn’t understand that I wanted her to stop. But around tap number 4, her big ol’ eyes widened, she grinned, and stopped nibbling on me.

I remember another time… indulge me here… she wanted something from the cabinets but she wasn’t talking yet. I thought she was pointing to her cup. So I passed her the cup and she threw it on the floor in anger. I picked it up, and handed it to her again. Again, she threw it on the floor. So I tapped her hand (not hard at all) and said “No no.” Third time giving her the cup (and still not realizing what she wanted), she looked at me with her frustrated baby face then bent down and placed the cup on the floor. I never did find out what she wanted, but I both learned a lesson that day. Young children (under 18 months) do understand discipline.

One more tiny piece before I end… life brings about changes, and often our kids misbehave because they are sad or grieving over something. In those situations, I stop and ask the Lord if I should spank or not. Usually, I get a yes. We don’t want our children to think it’s acceptable to be disobedient just because they’re tired or sad.

Whew… that’s only a small piece of what’s in my heart about this matter. I hope this helps those mild-mannered moms and pushover-dads out there. Take back your homes one bottom-swat at a time…

 

Does your child need spankings? If so, how often do they come begging you for one? 🙂

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your (and your children’s) future,

 

Alana

Photo credit:  Some rights reserved by Geomangio

 

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

 

 

Family, Uncategorized

Parenting Blog #2: Raising David

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My son just turned 8 two weeks ago. Since then, he’s been a little more disobedient and disrespectful than usual. I’ve noticed that every year at his birthday, he asserts the heck out of himself. Lately, I’ve had to respond with a strong hand (i.e. corporal punishment) to discourage him from acting dangerously and from harboring bad feelings in his heart. It’s not easy. Nevertheless, I discipline him because I love him, and he certainly loves me for it. Within ten minutes I have my sweet, charming little boy back with a repentant heart.

This four-foot tall eight-year old reminds me of a ruddy, dirt-loving kid in the Bible who cared for sheep, wrestled bears and lions, and played tunes of worship to the Most High. Brandon is a protector (sometimes of those who don’t care to be protected), wrestles with dangers both spiritual and natural, and sneaks off with my laptop to play his favorite worship songs on YouTube. When his guitar strings were in tact he’d pluck the heck out of them and sing something loudly to the Lord. The sounds of music…ehh, but the heart of worship is truly beautiful.

Brandon is like David.

Undoubtedly each of us believes our offspring are destined for greatness, but it is our responsibility to mold and shape them in a way that maximizes their potential, even as children, and minimizes their weaknesses. The best of us can take their weaknesses and harness them to make our children stronger.

Listed below are some of the major personalities we find in the Bible.
Which of these personalities do you find your in child, or maybe even yourself?
This list is, by no means, comprehensive…

 

[tabs slidertype=”top tabs”] [tabcontainer] [tabtext]JOSHUA[/tabtext] [tabtext]MOSES[/tabtext] [tabtext]JACOB[/tabtext] [tabtext]DEBORAH[/tabtext] [tabtext]MARY[/tabtext] [tabtext]ESTHER[/tabtext] [/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab]Children like Joshua are strong leaders who may be stubborn and unyielding at times. They have incredible faith and humility (with maturity), and an uncanny willingness to serve and learn. Joshua’s are fighters which is NOT a bad thing if you can teach them how and when to fight. Our generation needs young ones who stand up for what’s right. Joshua dared to lead the children of Israel in a battle against Jericho tearing down impenetrable walls with only the shouts of the people! He dared to command the sun to remain fixed in the sky… and it did for three days. Could your little rambunctious, aggressive one be a Joshua? This kid is probably going to need a lot of spankings, but if you can teach them to channel their aggressiveness and fearlessness, just imagine what your child can do.[/tab] [tab]Moses was a meek and tender soul. I imagine he seldom spoke with his head upright until He encountered the Almighty in the mountain. We often view children like this as having low self-esteem, and they may have encounter rejection daily from their peers. This type of child will need strong reinforcement from their parents that they have significant value. Build them up daily and teach them how to encourage themselves. Lastly and most importantly, show them how to cultivate a relationship with the Lord. These type of children desire deep and intimate contact with someone, and only a true relationship with God will satisfy that need.[/tab] [tab]We all know that Jacob was a trickster. He was dishonest and a little weasel-y even in his conversation with the Lord. Yet, God thought him worthy to receive a mighty blessing. Despite the fact that he was a “plain and quiet man” God saw him as the one to birth out the 12 tribes of Israel through whom the entire world could be blessed. Could your sneaky, squirrel-y, prank-playing kid have generations of blessings in his or her loins? Develop this child by teaching him or her truth and honesty. Embrace the child’s preferences provided they are not sinful. Don’t reject your little Jacob because he or she doesn’t have same interests as you.[/tab] [tab]Deborah is the first woman we see in the Scripture with some real power. She was honored and respected by men and women in the community, and even a military general came to request her help. Some of our girls are FEARLESS! We want them to sit and be quiet, not speaking on what God has said, but the prophetess inside must mature and grow. Give these children a safe place to communicate. Teach them how to say things, and how to speak the truth in love. Fill their mouths with the word of the Lord, and watch them prophesy! Look at your child and ask “What’s God saying today?”[/tab] [tab]I was meditating on Mary this morning, and my pastor said the very thing that I had considered. Mary “kept all these things in her heart.” Children can have rich encounters with the Lord and not know how to handle them. We must teach these meek and quiet ones to commune with the Lord in their hearts and to hold on to the secrets He’s shared. As they grow, discuss those things but ensure that their encounters are not topics for open discussion amongst friends and family. I’ve had to nip this in the bud with my own children. Mary’s can hear from God very well and need little input from anyone else. We don’t want the purity of our children tainted by well-meaning but misguided individuals.[/tab] [tab]Esther was more than just a pretty face. She held the heart of the king in her hand and therefore changed the policies and politics of a nation that wasn’t even her own. Being pretty is not good enough. Succumbing to worldly influences won’t project our daughters forward. Purity, intelligence, wisdom, grace, and and strength will. Teach your daughter to wield her pretty face and ability to influence those around her for good. My daughter is an Esther. She doesn’t say a whole lot of spiritual things, but when she does… My Lord! Hearts get convicted. She knows how to be pretty, sweet, and kind, yet reminds us to do what’s right. [/tab] [/tabcontent] [/tabs]

What are your child’s strongest qualities and gifts?
What does he or she seem to be lacking?
And how can you as a parent lead them to becoming what God intended?

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your–and your child’s– future,

 

Alana

 

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 Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #1: Don’t Date Him Girl

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Oh, how I wish I could post his picture…

Gray suit jacket, deep purple shirt, bright tie. He wore dark shades, and his massive square jaw was proportionately propped on his massive fist. Yes, in the picture the brother posed with the chin shelf. Who does that anymore?

Alas I cannot post this picture for obvious reasons, and for one other very funny reason. I’ll share that in a bit.

So this fella and I dated for a bit in 2010. I’d met him several months before, but he always snarled and gritted his teeth at me. He never, ever smiled. Ever. Didn’t matter to me… I wasn’t interested anyway. I was just trying to be kind.

Then one Sunday he started paying me more attention. And after a while he gave me a business card. I tucked it away knowing he didn’t really do for a living what the card said. VistaPrint makes everyone a professional for a small shipping and handling fee.

But in no way was I interested. But in every way, I was lonely. And someone I hold dear suggested that I go out with him, just for a dinner. So we went on our first date…

When I say I could not cast my gaze upon this brother, I mean I couldn’t look at him without being angry with myself for even being there. Not only was I NOT attracted to his exterior, but his interior was a poor match to my own. Yet, we continued to talk and text, and eventually I got a little attached.

I didn’t love him or anything, but I did like him. So when things started going sour, I was ticked. In short, the brother was bitter about a divorce that took place many years ago. And he was mad at his pastor. And his brother. And his mother. I couldn’t understand how he could be angry with so many people, including me, especially when I’d only been around for 2 months.

And as quickly as it began, it ended. And. I. Was. Hot.

For real, dude?? Are you kidding me?
I’m ten times better looking than you & a hundred times smarter, and you stand ME up?
No, sir. I don’t even want to know why. That’s quite alright. We’re done here.
Now you can be mad at me for a legitimate reason.

I didn’t really say any of that. What I said was probably many times worse because it was an unemotional “Don’t call me anymore”. For some reason, this guy thought I was hooked on him. He thought he could do or say anything to me and I’d be ok with it. And this was without the exchange of cookies, meaning no sex was involved.

Unattractive, unintelligent, and arrogant… What was I thinking?

What I know now that I didn’t know in 2010 was to never force or feign interest for the sake of loneliness or to please someone else. Keeping an open mind is one thing, but going against your gut is another. When you can’t even cast your gaze in his or her direction… gon’ head on somewhere else, honey! Some woman somewhere will think he’s a dime.

Alana’s log. Star-date April 4, 2012…

Driving in my car, I picked up my giant foam cup filled with a sweetened strongly caffeinated beverage. And on my lap drops a photo with heat-curled edges. A giant of a man with a strong, serious gaze and nary a hint of cosmopolitan charm glared back at me through his purple-y tinted shades. What the heck was I thinking?

When I say I hollered, I mean I laughed and screamed at the top of my lungs! What I didn’t tell you was that months after we parted ways I was still praying that God would bring us back together. It was rough, and God, in His infinite wisdom and kindness graciously ignored my request.

I choked a little on my drink that day. Once I caught my breath, I picked up the photo, ripped it in half, then in thirds, and tossed those six squares out  of the window onto the grassy shoulder along South Laburnum.

I thanked God and laughed. The Father is hilarious!

You remember when you wanted him? Yeah, you were crying and snotting then…
You still want him? He’s been sending you all those texts lately.
Go ahead and reply. I’ll send him back to you. No???
Oh ok. I didn’t think so.
I didn’t make him for you anyway. 

 

And again– God, I thank you.

Dating precaution #1: Beware, ladies and gents, of dating those that are not appealing to us lest we fall into a place of grief and desperation over someone who was never made for us in the first place.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

 

Photo credit: Source unknown. 

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