Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Gossip: The Great Friendship Divider

You remember that episode of Everybody Hates Chris when Tonya hears all the juicy gossip at the hair salon, then repeats it at home? Then on her next visit she’s left alone with the cackling hens who pull just enough family information out of her to start a few rumors about her own family?

Ahhh yes…

Those were the days. My mom and aunts would sit around the table and repeat tales from funny and mundane to supremely intimate and shaming. They would spell out the n-a-u-g-h-t-y words, but my cousins and I were far from clueless. We’d walk right up to our moms, place our little hands on their thighs, and say “You mean she let his a-s-s back in after he did all that?”

I’m not sure if our parents wanted to laugh at our precociousness, or cry at the possibility of our repeating what we’d heard in the presence of the gossipees. We were quickly ushered out of the room and the thigh slapping and hushed voices resumed. Occasionally someone would throw their hands up, head back and squawk out “CHIIIILLLLLEEEEE!” Then we’d laugh.

But like I said, those were the days– when gossip didn’t sting.

I can no longer say the same, I’ve been the butt end of some ugly gossip. Some truths were floating around, but many more were lies. So far I’ve had an affair with a gentleman who was my boss. I’ve told kids their parents were going to hell because they went to a certain church. And I was a lying, controlling she-devil in my marriage. Well part of that is true, but just a little part.

People talk, and as most of us mature, we learn to ignore what the masses say. But when our friend are starting or participating in the conversation…….. you know what that’s like.  Here’s what the Word says about gossiping.

  1. Gossip separates the closest of friends. Undoubtedly some of us have friends and family we’d lay our lives down to save, but at the same time, we know better than to tell them a hint of our personal struggles. WHY? Because if they’re not judging, they’re repeating. And if they’re not repeating,  they’re constantly bringing up your past wrongs. And if they’re not bringing up past wrongs, they’re telling you how to fix yourself. I shared some personal information with someone I hold dear and could tell by the conversation with a mutual friend that the information had been repeated. I wasn’t surprised because I knew these folk gossiped about others every time they sat around a table, but I was still hurt by her decision to expose something so personal. Now the closeness we had is broken, and though I can share some things, the areas where I need help the most I am essentially uncovered. Whether you’re sharing gossip about your friend or listening in, it will separate you. If your friendships are God-ordained, count the costs before parting your lips.
  2. Trustworthy people conceal a matter. In that same situation I assumed that I was closer to the person than the others she talked about. NO ONE, and I mean no one, is more important to a gossip than him or herself. A person who tells other’s private matters has a need to feel validated and so instead of confessing their faults to a brother in Christ, he confesses someone else’s faults. The old adage is true. “A dog that will bring a bone will carry one.” If you truly love your friend, then your love for them will cover their sins, and they will do the same for you.
  3. Your prayer can fix your friend’s problem. Have you ever noticed that when your friends pray for you things happen more quickly? I’ve got a good friend down in Alabama that asked me to pray about financial increase. I did, and by his next pay period his boss had given him a raise without even telling him first. When I’ve confessed my needs and shortcomings to caring and consistent folk, and they’ve prayed with and for me, things changed (almost immediately in some cases). If the circumstance itself didn’t change, then God gave me grace to withstand the hardship. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous FRIEND avails much for the person in need.

If you’ve been guilty of gossiping apologize to those you hurt. If you’ve been talked about, be willing to forgive but ask the Lord to send you some friends you can trust. Let’s seek to be reconciled in our friendships, close our mouths to gossip, open our mouths to encouragement and prayer, and close the divide…

And next time the gossip bug bites, remember someone knows some dirt on you too…

Selah.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

 

Photo credit:  Taylor Dawn Fortune via Compfight

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Forgiveness: One Step Solution

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

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

 You must CHOOSE to forgive.

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

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

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

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

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

Every time you think about her touching another man…

Every time you think about him hitting your child…

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

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

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

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

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

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for YOUR future,

Alana

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

Being Saved, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized

The Art of Forgiveness: But Do I Have To?

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I know you’re still mad…

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

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

Or could you be the problem?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your sins won’t be forgiven.

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

Forgiving and forgetting are mutually exclusive. 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Being 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, Uncategorized

Goosebump Christianity

“See that your believing is right, and if it is, you have no reason to doubt.”     -Rees Howells

Welcome to the Belief System Checkpoint. Warning! Your toes will be stepped on. Please remove your Steve Maddens and secure your feet with a pair of steel-toed boots. Go ahead… I’ll wait. Actually I need to find my own because I’m going to need them as much as you.

Now I am not pretending to be a theologist, minister, or even a philosopher. I am simply an imperfect woman who is madly and desperately in love with Jesus. Does that qualify me to make some of the statements I’m about to make? Pretty much, because I’m tired of all the foolishness we do in Jesus’ name that has nothing to do with Him or His Word. Don’t like it? Get your own blog, talk bad about me, and redirect the traffic to me so others can follow me too. (I said all that with a smile.)

I read my Bible pretty often, not always everyday, but at least several times a week. I don’t just read the verses and keep it moving. I meditate on them… talk about it… ask questions… wait for the answers… on and on. Being a critical thinker means I have to verify that the Word someone is teaching me is the truth. Not to mention, God has blessed me with an AWESOME mentor… shoutout to Apostle Demontae… that promptly and sometimes painfully whips me into shape. He’s a very patient man. 🙂

Over the years I’ve heard some krazy stuff… and the only reason I can think people would say any of it is to give folks goosebumps. I like a good goosebump and spine chill as much as the next person, but is that really evidence that GOD is in it? Too often we get caught up and sensationalize a matter and miss the point. 

So here are my top seven favorite goosebump-giving LIES that have been told to churchfolk that need to be EVICTED from our doctrine…

  1. God knows my heart, so if I do this He’ll forgive me. I’ve said this so many times… and even now I catch myself. But if I’ve done something I shouldn’t have, that means something bad is in my heart. And, yes, God knows that. Does it exonerate me from the consequences? Nope. Does it mean God is tolerable of my sinful nature? Absolutely not! God’s grace is not a license to sin, but it will change our sinful nature to a righteous one. In the meantime, let’s just call sin what it is and repent. There’s provision through repentance, but not through manipulation and deceit. And the heart, above all, is deceitful. Yeah, that’s Bible. 
  2. If you don’t tithe, you’ll lose your job. I heard this when I was church-hunting a few years ago, and I was tempted to stand up and shout “The devil is a liar!” That would’ve been wrong of me, so I waited until things were settled in the service and grabbed my children and our coats and rolled out. What the preacher really meant was that if the people didn’t pay their tithes, he wouldn’t be able to put the four-dollar-per-gallon gas in his Escalade. Other than that, I will refrain from making commentary on tithing other than to say that what I tithe is between me and God. No one needs to know how much I make per year, so that part of the envelope is left ____________. (I just lost a lot of readers.)
  3. The “RAPTURE” in general. I have always been taught that there was a rapture and one day Jesus would crack the sky and all his people would be taken out of here. About three years ago, I heard for the first time that this doctrine is questionable at best. I debated with some folks until they finally helped me understand that the word “rapture” is NOwhere in the Bible. Yes, Jesus will return but we don’t know for certain if that’s before or after the tribulation. The problem with this doctrine is that it makes for lazy Christians. What reason do we have to war against the kingdom of darkness if the Lord is going to show up and zap us out of here in a blink of an eye? Why would he tell us to fight? “Peter, go buy a sword so you can hold it on your big comfy sofa and watch TBN til I come and rescue you from the world the devil’s made a mess of.” Nope… that’s not what He said. Granted, I don’t want to be here when all the water turns to blood either… but if I have to, then I need to be prepared.
  4. You’re not supposed to judge. I hear this so much because, yes, I’m a little judgmental. It seems the only people that know this verse are the people who don’t want to do right. Yeah, I said it! Stop quoting this one Scripture if you don’t believe the rest of Bible. And the Bible does say not to judge or you will bring judgment upon yourself, and, boy, is that true! But the Bible also says that we know each other by the fruits of the spirit that are produced in our lives AND one day we will judge the angels. So for me, I’m careful to pronounce my opinion as to whether a person is right or wrong, but I do speak to their actions. Simply put, some things are wrong, and I’d rather someone tell me and save my soul from hellfire than to turn their head and let me fall. Then there are folks who feel like you’re judging them just simply because you want to do what’s right. That’s THEIR problem!
  5. A prophet’s words will always confirm what God already told you. Again, I was raised to believe this, but the more I grow in the Lord, the more I discover that it isn’t always true. Then again, I’m not getting words from a parking lot prophet. Sometimes when I get a word through a prophet it does confirm what God has told me. Other times it’s something I’ve never even considered. Why would God do that? Because I’m a person that’s imperfect and may miss it unless my mentor tells me… I’m not looking for God to match what I already think and make me feel all gooey inside. I’m listening for guidance and direction to make the right choices in life so I can fulfill His destiny for me. And honestly, if someone tells me what I already know, they’re not much of a prophet anyway. JMHO…
  6. Name it! Claim it! Word of Faith has made this euphemism (in)famous. I grew up in a Word of Faith church. “If you want that car, go put some oil on it. Demand it from the Heavens!” But who are we to demand anything? Jesus didn’t respond to the rich man who demanded He perform a miracle. He responds to those who inquire of Him in sincerity, humility, and faith. When the Lord Himself needed a divine intervention, He gave thanksgiving to the Father Who opened the Heavens, and then Jesus made a request that was within God’s will. I can’t imagine anything stinking more in the nostrils of the Almighty than our self-serving sense of entitlement.
  7. God, give me a sign! Oh, I know… we ALL get weak. I would looooooooove a sign right now, but signs are for nonbelievers. You do believe right? Then walk by faith! Walk in the spirit, not the flesh. He is faithful to direct and guide. Just obey each baby step… (personal rebuke embedded here). You will find confirmation as you go, but there’s no sense in being a Gideon in every life situation. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for asking for a sign. Again, we’re demanding God to appeal to our insecurities when He’s asking us to grow up. If I asked my son to take out the trash, and he didn’t do it but told me he was waiting on a sign to see if I really meant what I’d said… You get my point.

I don’t mean to take your goosebumps away, but bad doctrine is a faith-breaker. If you think that God is one day going to do something that His Word never promised He would do, then you will lose faith in Him. And really, the problem is your (my) belief system. Not God.

Goosebumps are often a by-product of feeling God’s presence, and the only way to guarantee that you feel it more (which is the only thing in this world that is ultimately satisfying) is to obey Him. Sometimes I don’t feel Him right away when I pray for others, but once I start, He’s there. He’s looking for growth and initiative… much like your boss. But God pays better!

So how can we fool-proof our faith? First, read your Bible and meditate on the Word. Second, become Spirit-filled if you haven’t already, and pray in the Spirit if you have. The Holy Spirit will trigger us to seek for truth when you hear something that’s not quite right. Third, trust the Lord to keep you. He is able to keep us from falling.

I know I’ve said a lot, and some of it may have hurt. I’m sorry… really I am. But the wounds of a friend are valuable. I don’t want you going through life believing a bunch of lies, then get to Heaven and see what could have been. No more kraziness, people… only the truth should reign in our hearts.

I’m coming out of krazy, and I’m bringing all the religious, uptight, stiff-necked, blessed and highly-favored, folks with me…. ya’ll pray for me! This might be my most difficult battle yet.

Your cybersister,

Alana
Photo by Glen Van Etten