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

 

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 Single, Dating & Relationships, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized

Dying, He Saved Me

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I don’t think it’s strange that the anniversary of my first blog post is on Good Friday, the day they crucified Your son. I was so discouraged this time last year and needed an outlet. For some reason Good Friday has always been full of sorrow and grief in my personal life. But, Lord, to write this… to tell THIS story almost seems You’re asking too much.

 

I don’t understand it, but I will obey. Because when I consider where I was two years ago today and four years ago today, I can’t help but thank You for keeping me.

 

Four years ago April 6, I made the choice to end my marriage. I knew things weren’t right. I wasn’t even emotional about it because I’d done so much crying before. Divorce was the only option because I didn’t want hate him. Even now, I know I made the right choice, but the journey from that place to where I am now has been…

 

Indescribable… but I will obey.

 

Two years ago, another promised that he loved me. I didn’t believe him. He was one of those guys that just played games. He wanted to do right, but his arrogance and jacked up experiences with women wouldn’t let him. Yet he pressed and pushed his way into my soul. And because I was lonely, I let him.

 

I remember going to church and hoping that the pastor would preach something profound and powerful enough to keep me from dating this guy again. We’d been at it before. I didn’t want to go back down that path, but I was still entangled. And that damned loneliness…

 

His tall and statuesque frame intrigued me. Straight lust… might as well call it what it is. His face… ehhh. Not particularly my type of guy, but all the other ladies loved him. So surely I should be glad he wanted me. By the world’s standards he was a good man, but something just wasn’t right for me.

 

Lord, I didn’t know my worth. I couldn’t comprehend that Your love for me exceeded what he could ever offer. He made me feel good. I can understand how David felt with Bathsheba. I think all of us have chosen someone or something over You at some point. The fact that I had grown so much, yet I still turned my back on You frightens me. I could mess up again… but I trust Your grace to cover me.

 

That night… he didn’t call. We’d made plans. He asked me to move with him. I’d said no, but he insisted that I must love him. He insisted that he loved me. I could’ve made it work with him. I certainly wouldn’t have had any concern for money. Do you remember my prayer that morning? I asked if he were the one for me. And if not, then show me.

 

You told me to get dressed. And I did. I got in the car and drove. You led me to drive and…

 

There it was.

 

His bright blue, tricked-out Chevy Malibu. At a hotel. I couldn’t have missed it if I tried.

 

I had a choice. To take the Jasmine Sullivan route, or to be patient and wait for answers. Either way it would be crazy. But I knew I had to stay. Because this would be the LAST time he’d force his way into my life. He needed to see that I was done. I prayed that whatever woman he was with had already left because I couldn’t handle a two against one battle. I was already weak.

 

So I called… cleverly left a message that I was headed to the gym which was conveniently located right next to the hotel where he’d lodged. And like roaches scatter in the light, he came scurrying out.

 

He saw my frustration. Saw my pain. Dropped his head. He refused to respond to my questions. Instead of listening to those raging voices in my head, I drove away.

 

I died that day. I was crucified by my own choices. My soul was cast down. I could not hope in You because I had turned my back on You.

 

And, Lord, I couldn’t hear You, feel You, discern You. My faith took a fatal blow and my spirit man had been all but torn asunder. Satan’s minion had taken his sharpest sword and nearly sliced my soul in two. His demons tormented me and consulted me to plunge from my bedroom window to the ground below.

 

I searched for You. You were there, but I couldn’t find you.

 

And, therein lies the problem with sin. I didn’t consider that when I got up from the bed of sin that Your presence had departed from my life. It didn’t occur to me that my faith had been so damaged that I wouldn’t be able to approach Your throne.

 

I watched the window for a good 20 minutes, even looked down. Lord, it must’ve been you that said “It won’t do the job.” I’d just end up with a broken bone or two… definitely not comparable to the death I felt inside. So I got back in the car and drove…

 

It was Sunday and usually I wouldn’t miss church, but the night before I had been tormented. Even more so now…

 

I was consumed with grief, self-hate, anger. You led me there, and Your people consoled me. They loved me and dried my tears. Oh, God! I remember how so many ran to my rescue. Some said it would be ok…I knew that wasn’t true. Lord, I knew that if I didn’t get this right in my life, I’d be condemned to hell here on earth and in the afterlife. Yet, I was thankful for their kindness and consolation.

 

I made it back home in pieces and rested. I did not eat for days. I read my Bible and listened to one song over and over. My soul, God, was thirsty for You. I could only fight to regain my peace in hopes that my faith would be restored. I needed to be in Your presence.

 

Your Word came. It was heavy and hard to receive. It discouraged me emotionally, but my spirit cleaved to it. Anyone who knows You understands that a rebuke from the Lord is like a feast compared to never hearing Your word at all. Just the fact that You spoke… I thank You.

 

How unsightly I must have been… to have known You and chosen something lesser that only intended to destroy me.

I’m sorry. 

To have given myself to someone so undeserving. He didn’t even know You.

I’m sorry.

To presume that he could offer me a portion of what Your presence provides.

I’m sorry.

 

But looking back, Lord. I understand now that the rebuke you sent gave me a choice. The scripture says that You will not put on us more than we can bear. But I had put this on myself, and it was certainly more than I could carry. You gave me a choice, at that point, to face my brokenness and transform my own suffering into Your suffering. One would work a brighter future for me, while the other would render me helpless and hopeless.

 

…For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

 

I chose Your suffering. Because if I suffer with You, I’ll reign with You. That’s Your promise, and You’ve never lied.

 

And, so today, Good Friday, April 6, 2012, I can confidently say that I stood against each of his three advances since that time. I can say that I’m no longer on life support, but I’m living and loving. I can say that 2011 was the last year that April 6 would destroy me because I’ve discovered Your resurrection power. No longer am I entangled or even enticed by these lusts… My heart belongs to You.

 

I cannot imagine surviving this life without You. So many, Lord, are heart-broken and tormented daily. They cannot hear Your voice. And, it is my prayer that as I share my shame, someone who identifies with my pain will turn to You because You are surely there with them. Some have stories much worse than my own, and some feel there is no forgiveness for what they’ve done. I pray that they would come to know the truth!

 

With great joy and victory, I thank You! No longer am I heartbroken, sad, or lonely. You’ve filled my heart with promises, and my faith and peace in You grow everyday. I ask, Lord, that You do the same for my brothers and sisters, and for those who don’t yet know You.

 

Let this story, as unpleasant as it may be, bring glory to Your name because You are faithful…. You saved me. Thank You!

 

In Jesus’ name,

 

Amen

 

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

 

Photo credit:

License Some rights reserved by Invisible Lens Photography

Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: Anecdotal Evidence

Last Sunday, I left you hanging…

On purpose.

I know it’s a cold thing to do, but there was a method behind my apparent madness. The teacher in me wanted you to draw your own conclusions before I placed further ideas into your head. It is my sincere hope that you, my cyber sister friend, have considered my last few points regarding your relationship. I hope that you’ve asked yourself if your significant other is really loving you the way God intended, if he is handling business as the leader of your home, and if he is one to whom you can submit.

So many “good, Christian girls” marry in hopes to actually be able to submit to a man of God only to realize he’s not half a man and has even less of God. And so we don’t know what to do because we think that in order to please God we must please our unplease-able husbands. But I laugh at the enemy… There is a solution to your problem.
At the risk of bearing too much of my past, I’d like to revisit my previous points and support them with anecdotal evidence, some of my own and some of someone else’s.
  1. He’s your husband, not God.  Yes, we must honor, love, and obey, but there must always be a place that you preserve for you and your God alone. Elevating anyone, children included, above the place of the Almighty will open you to heartache and disappointment. I remember being torn between my relationship with God and my relationship with my ex-husband. It seemed I couldn’t maintain my walk with Christ as long as I was trying to please the other. I would imagine Adam felt the same ambivalence when he watched his beloved taste the forbidden fruit. Imagine what he must have thought in that moment. She knows this is wrong. She knows this will separate her from God. So will it separate her from me too? But I LOVE her. Icannot live without her… But God loved me first, and I love Him! God or Woman? Woman or God? So he ate the fruit. He chose Woman over God, and as a result all of mankind fell. What if Adam had not eaten the fruit? Would God have allowed him to redeem the woman he loved so much keeping our heritage in Eden intact?Could God redeem your spouse as a response to your faithfulness to Him?Absolutely! Could things fall into place should you decide to focus solely on the other person? It’s possible, but not likely. I wish you well either way.
  2. If he doesn’t demonstrate Christ-like love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay. The Bible says that a man must love his wife as he loves himself. So if he hates himself……………. Oh ok. A self-loathing person is bitter, self-destructive, angry, manipulative, and unforgiving. If these devices are demonstrated in your husband’s interactions with you, do what you can to keep order in the home, but anything that is detrimental to you and the family or feels out of sorts, you MUST stand your ground. I’ve known women who had unfaithful spouses that felt obligated to sleep with their husbands. Don’t lay yourself down under a man that you know (or even with legitimate reason, think) is being unfaithful to you. Don’t leave bills unpaid that could affect you in the long run because he’s “got it under control.” Do what you know is right to do when it’s time to do it. You’ll have pay later. I had to pay later when I could’ve stepped up and handled things when I knew he wouldn’t.
  3. If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.Two big points here… It seems this would be common sense, but how many of us chase behind brothers who lack any restraint in their personal lives? The purpose of a relationship is to build something. You cannot build with a person who chases thrills, emotional highs, or any other high for that matter… Strangely enough, folks who lack self-control attempt to control everything around them. Don’t be that kind of victim.I wish a brotha would ask to see my grocery store receipt to calculate my drivetime home. I have a Chemistry degree, and I know how to use it.
  4. Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well. I laugh when I hear stories of young grooms demanding their brides to do as they say because the bride must submit. Submission,in its finest form, is mutual. He should think enough of you to discuss matters before making a decision. I can’t think of one woman in her right mind who wants to be the man and take full responsibility for a family, but I also can’t think of one who wants all the decisions made for her without consideration for her needs. The pendulum swings both ways, folks… both ways. Menfolk would do well to allow us to take the lead from time to time.
  5. If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The strongest, wisest, most prosperous men on this planet answer to someone somewhere. If your boo-bah-dee-boo-boo claims to love God but won’t submit to a pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The concept of respecting authority eludes some people. So not only do these misguided fellas lose jobs and underperform at work, but they also fail to walkin the proper authority as the man, husband, and father. Men at their best when they are accountable to other men.
  6. You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. I looooove to wear make-up. Love love love! I don’t wear a lot, nor do I wear anything crazy, but I do like to highlight my features. Well, when I wasmarried it was strongly suggested that I stop wearing make-up. In fact, it became a source of tension between us, particularly if I was going out to the store without him though he neeever wanted to go along. That’s another matter altogether. But the tension remained until I made it clear that I wasn’t going to stop wearing it. Before long, he’d just stare at me while I put it on… in awe of my beauty of course. He learned to respect something small that mattered to me. See– *pulls out church lady glasses*—folks have the tendency to project their own insecurities on others. There is no need for me to feel unattractive because you have an issue. If I love you, make-up won’t make me cheat. If I don’t love you, nothing short of God’s hand will stop me. Ladies, you can comply if you so choose, but make sure you choose to do so for the right reasons.
  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. Ladies, some things we just cannot compete with. Some things we should not have to compete with. If he truly loves you, then he will learn over time to keep his eyes only for you. Don’t expect this to be an overnight process, but cover yourself in prayer as you fight the battle against insecurity and low self-esteem. But in the meantime, you don’t have to do,wear, or behave as some fantasy woman who has no emotion or need. You don’t have to bare it all like women on television. We don’t have to be overly outspoken to be heard, or wearing a nappy fro to be appropriately Black. (Oh gosh… did I type that? Yeah, I did. Team relaxer, baby!)  But let me qualify this… Some of us DO need to lose weight. Some of us DO need to grow our hair out. Some of us DO need to find out what it means to be feminine. Some of us DO need to learn how to cook and clean a house.
I think I’ve picked enough on the fellas, don’t you agree? I mean all the good menfolk are screeeeaming at me wondering why I’m talking about these bad dudes when there are bad women out there too. Don’t worry… that’s the next topic. So I’ll see you same time next week?? *raises eyebrows looking for your agreeable smile* I look forward to it.
I look forward to reading your comments. As always please tweet, post, share, email, SUBSCRIBE! Let me know you’re out there! I’ve made it to the other side of the planet a few times now, so send me a cyberwave if you please! Until next time…
With love, sincerity, and hope for the future, 
Alana
Photo Credit: By SidewaysSarah on Flickr
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 

Photo Credit:
Being Saved, Uncategorized

Keeping Your Heart

To be perfectly honest I had felt disqualified to write about spiritual things even though I was commissioned to do so. Well, last week I was rebuked for NOT writing, so I must do as the Lord leads.

False teachers are springing up EVERYWHERE today. They’re on my tv, in my ear, in my family’s ear inviting us to try their wares. Try my manna bread and holy spring water. It’ll heal your body. Try my little prophet friend who can call out your credit card number. Try my miracle while I promise you miracle money just for listening to how great I am. 

While some of these ploys are obvious and meager in their attempts, others are much more pervasive and, ultimately, more dangerous. You see or hear a so-called man or woman of God and they acknowledge Jesus Christ as the son of God. So they pass the first test. And they preach the written Word. They pass the second test. The signs and wonders follow… seems to be a bonus there. But your spirit man knows. Something. Just. Ain’t. Right.

In this dark spiritual hour, we must be cognizant that demonic doctrine has slipped into the church and even some of our most respected national ministers may teach falsities from their pulpits. Some of these teachings have passed down from previous generations because “mama and daddy and ‘nem” couldn’t read and had no choice but to believe “Passa.” Others, however, have turned their backs on the kingdom platform that Christ explicitly stated in the Word, and because of their influence, many believers still accept them as part of Christ’s body.



So how can WE as believers guard our souls from such artfully-crafted lies? Here’s what the Lord has placed on my heart.

  1. We must learn to identify and recognize the voice of God. How does this happen? First, by reading His Word, particularly the Words of Jesus. His words always revealed the heart of God as it pertains to love for the lost and hatred for sin and hypocrisy. Second, through prayer and by prayer I mean you send your requests, then stop and listen for His. The Father’s words have a certain tone about them. They bring peace, yet they turn your mind upside down. His Words pierce and convict your heart of wrongdoing, yet comfort you at the same time. Learn to recognize this tone, by inclining your ear and quieting your spirit. (John 10:5, Isaiah 55:3)
  2. We must do what the Spirit says. Have you ever helped someone through a difficult problem, but they didn’t take your advice? They just wanted to talk and talk and talk, but never come to a resolution. Some people don’t want to do the right thing. Some don’t want to do anything at all. So I’ve learned to stop talking to those folk. I believe God handles us the same way. To keep the communication open, you have do more than listen. Obedience is the key to keep the spirit speaking. (Isaiah 1:17-19, 1 Samuel 1:22, Psalm 51:11)
  3. We must deal with our personal lusts and any desire that leads us away from Him. We tend to think of sex as the only source of lust, but this isn’t true. Anything that we desire so much that it causes us to miss God MUST be put into its proper place. Lust is the result of an imbalance or lack of prioritizing. Put your desires in their proper place, so every seemingly good thing that comes your way doesn’t lead you astray. (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 37:4)
  4. We must have a solid spiritual covering. Without having the foundation of a solid church home, we are all prey to enemy. God gave us pastors as shepherds. Shepherds guard the door to keep predators out, AND they protect the sheep should a prey sneak in another way. If you are NOT in a Spirit-led, Bible-teaching, fire-baptizing, people-loving church where the pastor(s) seek the face of God, it’s time to search elsewhere. (John 10)
  5. Pride HAS to go! Nothing sets one up for deceit quicker than pride! How many scriptures warn us against thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought? The one that speaks loudest to me reads something like this…”God resists the proud.” Ouch! So you can be a child of God, loving Him, thinking you’re doing the right things, but because of your pride, He will resist you. And most people in this situation think it’s the devil. I check myself fairly often for this, and I always find that in some capacity I’ve gotten a big head even if I haven’t communicated it to others. (Proverbs 16:18, James 4:6, 1 Corinthians 8:1-2, Romans 12:3)
  6. Inspect the fruit. With so many proclaiming to be ministers of the Gospel, it’s no wonder people are being led astray. Jesus gave us ONE litmus test for these situations. You shall know them by their fruit. In other words, not everyone who claims the name of Jesus, preaches His Word, and operates in signs and wonders is a follower of Jesus. You must check their fruits of the spirit. It doesn’t matter how gifted a person is if they lack maturity, joy, peace, and love for mankind. Keep your hateful, squawking Gospel. It’s not true to form! (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 7:15-20, Jude 17-25)

Regardless of what takes place in the heart of others, God commands us to keep our hearts with ALL diligence. That means we must spend time questioning our own beliefs, casting down anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Furthermore, we must keep our pastors, other ministers, and our brethren (and “sisteren”) in prayer when we see them starting to drift away.

I truly believe that God is not willing that any should be led astray, and for this reason, He will restore our lost loved ones to us. But in the meantime, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and to intercede for those who haven’t made it back home yet.

Thanks for reading. If this post has blessed you in any way, please please please repost, re-tweet, email, share, and forward. Comments are welcomed also. I’ll be glad to answer any questions to the best of my Scriptural knowledge and as the Lord leads.

Your sister in Christ,

Alana

 

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