Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships

You were fashioned in the image of Creator of the universe. In you is the essence of that Creator, and your expression of Him is unlike any other. Your fingerprints are unique. Your DNA is unique. Your quirks and idiosyncrasies… all embedded by the Master. You were curated to bless this earth with your beauty, grace, and giftings.

When you were born, you were pure.

In the context of Chemistry something that is pure contains only itself. Anything mixed with it may be physically present, but it is not part of that substance. You can mix salt and pepper, but salt will always be salt and pepper always pepper. Scientists care about this information for two reasons: they want to know how much of substance comes out of a particular reaction and how pure that substance is.

How much of you remains? And how pure is it?

I’ve narrowly focused on sexual purity because that’s the area I can write about most easily, but honestly, we contaminate our bodies with drugs and alcohol, both of which can open our souls to things  God never intended for us.

Every time you are intimate with another person you transfer your DNA, your essence, your uniqueness. You take on theirs. Without a God-ordained bond, you essentially lose whatever you gave. You take on something you never were intended to have. C.S. Lewis wrote that two people who have sex create “a bond that must be forever enjoyed or forever endured.” Selah.

Our words contaminate us. The things we watch and hear feed into our souls will eventually cause us to speak on and act in accordance with what we’ve taken in, rather than what God has spoken. (Matthew 15:11)

The enemy’s ultimate goal is to destroy you, and if he can’t do that, contaminating you will suffice. Outside of abusive situations, the one thing that stands between maintaining your you-ness is a choice to obey God and remain pure.

How much of you today is the God-curated you?
How much of you has been lost or taken in from wrong action?

Read Proverbs 4 and Matthew 15

Pray:

  1. Father, bring back the pieces of me that were lost in disobedience to you. Remove anything displeasing to you.
  2. Perfect Your image in every area of my life.
Being Saved, Being Single, Being Smart

My struggle with purity began before I can remember. Sometimes these things are passed down through generations and activated when a person comes of age. Let’s just say I was in full-blown bondage by the time I was 15 years old. And yes, I grew up in the church and in a two-parent home. I made straight A’s in school too. We get a little stereotype-y about these things, so let’s just clear the air right now. The devil does NOT discriminate!

I had a youth pastor at the time who was on FIRE! I used to sit on the front row, and he’d jump on the chair beside me and PREEEEAAACH! That Holy Ghost preacher spit would drop all into my curly ponytail, but I didn’t mind because I knew whatever the devil had planned would not work.

One night he preached from Deuteronomy 23:14.

For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

Again, this message of obedience as a prerequisite for deliverance is evident. CLEAN UP YOUR CAMP! Because the Lord is coming! He’s coming to deliver you! But would you have Him stumble upon your mess?

So I can speak in parable, or I can step on toes, and the Lord told me today that I’m not writing loudly enough, so here goes:

  1. Delete the nudes: yours, his, whoever’s. Get rid of them.
  2. Unsubscribe from impure websites and anything that has become a snare to you. This may include Christian dating sites because we know ChocolateProphet69 ain’t really in love with Jesus!
  3. That incognito tab is a trap, boo. Let’s be real. If you have to use it, it’s probably for the wrong reason.
  4. Visit your social media photos, and ask the Lord which ones send the wrong message about you. If you need help, ask a friend or auntie that you know is honest and discerning.
  5. End relationships with people who pull you into impure conversation. Even if it’s just for a few days, tap that “Do Not Disturb” so you can hear from the Lord.
  6. Clean out your nightstand. The toys gotta go! That little act ain’t as secret as you think. The sin shows on you!
  7. The clothes that draw the wrong type of attention… I mean, sis, you bad, but do you have to show ALL your glory? Those clothes. Don’t trash them, but hang them in plain sight and inquire of the Lord.
  8. Whatever other item I may have missed, but is tugging on your heart… OBEY!

Read and meditate on Psalm 119:35.

Pray:

  1. Father, make it easy for me to obey You.
  2. Give me discernment so I can judge my actions  and remain on the right path.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Today I want to highlight a freedom that is more liberating than any other, and that’s the freedom found in Christ Jesus.

As an American, you have the right to choose your own path in life. You can attend school, worship how you see fit, vote for whomever you choose, buy and wear what you want.. You have choices. Liberty is a beautiful thing!

But for all the liberation granted in this nation,  a woman can still be trapped in her soul. And what good is the freedom to be who you want and do what you want when you have no peace or joy?

Asking God for forgiveness may bring us back into right relationship, but the soul is still worn and tired from being toyed with. A tired soul feels loneliness and guilt when its deeds are done. A trapped soul will cry on its pillow, but soothe itself by going back to the act that created the pain in the first place. What a vicious cycle!

For all you can do in this nation to express your liberty, what good is it if your soul is sad, worn, and defeated?

Paul says it best:

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful;
all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
(1 Corinthians 10:23 NKJV)

Yes, my sister, you can do what you want. But is it good for you? Will it push you forward? Will it give you peaceful sleep, or will it violate your conscience?

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:23, Romans 14:17

Pray:

  1. Father, deliver me from the snares in my soul.
  2. Teach me about true liberty, and help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy.
Being Saved, Uncategorized

After my divorce in 2009, I was demonically driven to engage in sexual activity. I thank God for being merciful to me during that time. Even though I was acting out of my brokenness, my disobedience was a stench in God’s nostrils. During that season I really began to cry out to the Lord for purity because my sin created such a rift. I literally could not close my eyes without the wrong things coming to mind.

Some of us simply struggle with the flesh. This is a natural, normal, and common battle. For others, we have become demonically inspired and even pushed into sinful acts. The devil literally made us do some things because we yielded to his power one too many times. For the latter, deliverance is needed.

Now while I believe in deliverance, I do find that believers use it as a cop out. We think we have permission to act up until God waves His proverbial magic wand, runs the demons away, and only then, are we able to live holy.

But the Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 10:6…

…and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

WHAT IS THIS?!

God will punish all disobedience, that is He will deliver you from the evil powers enforcing their will upon yours, but ONLY AFTER YOUR OBEDIENCE IS FULFILLED. You have a responsibility to obey the Lord despite the push to do otherwise.

God will not judge the devil working in your life as long as you continue to partner with it.

Have I ever told you about the time I farted out a few demons? Don’t laugh! I’m serious!

I was in a prayer circle before a service where my spiritual father was ministering. I felt the power of God hit me in the stomach and something leave my body. They went out a few different ways. By the time I was able to stand again, I felt lighter and freer. When I left that meeting, the force that was driving me to live unholy was completely gone. Every struggle I had after that was simply flesh-driven… a much lighter battle!

Before attending that meeting, I had been seeking the Lord about my deliverance. He lead me to have some things removed from my body (might share on that another time) and taught me how to pray myself out of temptation. When I enacted those things, I was able to bring every evil thought and every rationalization of wrong into captivity. That’s when deliverance found me.

Prayer lines are wonderful. We need men and women of God to lay hands on us to drive demons out, but those types of deliverances are not lasting without our obedience to God’s word. All the oil in the world can’t change an unwilling soul. Having said that, if the individuals laying hands on us are not clean, our problems are compounded. Been there too…

You can’t buy your deliverance. You don’t have to wait until some magical moment. Your deliverance is in your obedience. Set yourself free!

Read 2 Corinthians 10.

Pray: 

  1. Keep me from every evil temptation and give me the power to yield to only You.
  2. As I read your Word, may it fill me with the desire to do Your will and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Day 2: (Un)clean Worship

God wants one thing from you. Just ooone thing. It’s not your money. It’s not your sacrifice. It’s not even your sentiment, talents, or ability to exegete (*rolls eyes*) Scripture.

He wants your obedience.

I would go to church, because I sentimentally loved God, but my mind would play back images of things I’d done that were unclean. I would raise my hands during praise and worship and ask for forgiveness over and over. I would cry and enjoy the feeling of His presence. “Oh God, you’re so good. No one can compare! I love you more than anybody or anything!” Boo hoo hoo! Sob sob sob!

But God told me my worship was foul, displeasing, and unacceptable. How could He say such a thing after I told Him I was sorry? After I washed myself in the blood? Doesn’t the blood make me clean?

Sidebar here… I’ve met Christians who say God is never harsh or direct with them. They’ve never felt the chastising of the Lord, and if this is you, I have to ask… ARE YOU TRULY A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST? Because He chastens those He loves, and chastening does not feel good. Babes in Christ may get a little softer rebuke, but eventually the Lord requires obedience.

In the Old Testament, God required a blood sacrifice to cover sin. Abel obeyed and gave the Lord what He required. Cain offered what he wanted and expected God to accept it. This sounds an awful lot like the “God knows my heart” deception that’s running through the body of Christ. If you believe that you can continually live in sin, and that God will accept your [redacted] unrepentant self as His own because you SENTIMENTALLY love Him  or because you’re always at church working/tithing/giving, then you are deceived.

To God, love IS obedience. (John 14:15)

Offering unclean worship to the Lord is like leaving meat out to spoil then throwing it on the grill thinking it won’t stink. Not only does it stink, but it attracts flies and other unwanted guests. In fact, the Bible clearly says that offering our bodies as a living sacrifice (holy and pleasing to God) is our reasonable service, or in modern day lingo, the least we can do. Paul even goes as far to say that THIS is the act of true worship.

What sort of sacrifice are you offering the Lord? Is it pleasing to Him? Are you expecting Him to accept what He does not want? What does TRUE repentance look like, and how do you get there when you may truly enjoy the compromise?

Selah.

Read Romans 12 and 1 Samuel 15

Pray and declare:

  1. I will love God more than I love sin.
  2. I will be free from uncleanness and offer God a pure and holy sacrifice.

 

Photo credit: LicenseAttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Will Foster

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Day 1: Why Celibacy ISN’T Purity

Somewhere the message of purity has been diluted to one simple point… DON’T HAVE SEX UNTIL YOU’RE MARRIED.

Right?

And as true as that one statement may be, it’s pointed at one particular act and devoid of several truths. We love to ignore what’s not said because we can justify doing everything BUT that one thing. We shame those trapped in sexual sin or caught in its snares, but we secretly hold on to our private indulgences thinking they’ll never land us in the same (or worse) situations.

What about the M-word?

What about toys?

What about those sites those late night incognito web searches?

What about conversations that are impure?

Our thoughts and fantasies?

What about the things we agree to do in private that take us riiiiight up to that line?

What about the married man or woman that is being entertained in flirtatious conversations?

What about our rushing to the altar praying for a spouse so we can LEGALLY, but selfishly have sex?

What about the things we say, wear, do, and the pictures we take that entice others to view us sexually?  

What about the shows we watch and songs we listen to that ignite those passions in us?

What about ANY of these things are pleasing to the Lord?

It’s not about how close you can get to the act without sinning, but how far you can stay away. 

Read Psalm 24.

Prayer points:

  1. Father, give me a pure heart that I may enjoy true intimacy with You.
  2. Help me to take on YOUR righteousness and keep me from falling.
  3. Show me who I can trust as an accountability partner, and give me the boldness to reach out to them.

Photo Credit: N Medd via Compfight cc

Being Single, Dating & Relationships

Chipped Polish & Panty Lines

Sometimes I sit and think of creative titles for posts when I really have nothing to write at the time. THIS is one of those posts. In the back of my mind I felt like I needed to address why my nails are seldom polished and why thongs ain’t really the move at this point in my life. Some ladies are top notch all the time. I might be top notch a good two to three days out of the week. Because life.

So today, the substance of the post came to me at church.. At the risk of ticking people off… a risk I’m willing to take… I’m going to deconstruct (read: rant about) one of THE most annoying things that a man can do to a woman.

Criticize her.

I went to church this morning for a prayer service. I woke up with intercession on my mind, but the kids delayed me so I arrived 30 minutes after I had planned. Happens.

My hair was in a ponytail, and I was wearing light make-up. I was wide awake, but hardly feeling social enough to grin the way people are expected when they enter the house of the Lord. I don’t know if it was my serious demeanor (felt more “focused” to me), or the mannish nature of the speaker of the hour… but dear God… he rubbed me the wrooooooooong way.

His rebuke for the attendees’ untimeliness lingered into a story about a woman who often came to church unkempt. He felt it was a disservice to allow her to continue looking slovenly, so he told boldly told her “Men don’t like that. You need to do your hair. Paint your nails. Put on some make-up.  ”

Now had any other person in the church told this story, I might have shouted in agreement. A woman should always look clean and well put together. But in this case, at this time, from this person, my only thought was “Sir, you are no prize yourself.”

To be perfectly clear, I have little issue with what the man said. The problem for me is how he said it, and the fact that he felt it was ok to retell it. Whatever happened to speaking the truth in love? Why does everything have to be a rebuke? Why the heck do you think I’m going to say “amen” to this foolishness? You don’t understand what that woman has going on in her life, and chances are, you don’t want to because making rash statements as the ones you made validates your masculinity. *coughs “lame”*

Every woman wants to look and feel beautiful. I’m no different.

There’s a woman deep inside of me that longs to have every hair in place from sun up to sun down. She wants to apply her mascara confidently, knowing that it won’t spread under her eyes and leave her looking like a sleepy raccoon by noon. She longs to smell like her $90 bottle of perfume until the time she takes her evening bath with oils of frankincense and myrrh. There’s a woman in me that wants to have her nails perpetually sparkling with OPI’s Hawaiian Orchid. She even hopes to wear light silky panties that are invisible beneath her slacks and curvy mom jeans.

That woman can dream.

But this woman– she’s cooking and cleaning, wiping boogers, scrubbing tubs, baking cookies, and fighting battles. If a chip in my nail polish indicates a lack of womanliness, I’m certain you haven’t looked deep enough. Take your shallow, non-discerning behind elsewhere. (Having said that, chipped polish is worse than no polish at all, so I seldom wear any at all.)

And if my panty lines (believe me, they drive me nuts too) aren’t as enticing as the jiggle that only reveals itself with meager undergarments, I have one thing to say to you. “EYES UP, MISTER!” These hindparts need medium to full coverage because I’m more than blessed– if you catch my drift.

Bottom line, ladies and gents… A woman or man should look good, but don’t let the superficial block you from seeing the true nature of that person. Before you know it, some fella is going to scoop that lady up, pay for my hair appointments and mani-pedis, and hire a maid to do all her cleaning just so she doesn’t chip my polish while a superficial suitor will end up with an attractive mate who is less than interested in meeting his or her needs.

I don’t need to preach any further, do I? Good, because I’m out of breath. *wipes sweat from brow & drops white hanky*

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Image source:  towardsthesunset via Compfight

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Dating Site “Whoa’s”

…what I really mean is woes, but to be totally honest, I’m shocked at the foolishness!!

Yeah, I joined one… even paid some money. (It’s not one of those big, commercial sites that advertises on television. Don’t ask because I won’t tell.) Apparently those sites have few men of color on them, and since I prefer color, I decided to go elsewhere.

Why did I do it? Sheer, freakin’ boredom! I guess I felt like I wanted to talk to someone instead of going to bed at the moment. So on the advice of a close family member, I input my credit card number (should’ve used hers) and started browsing right away.

Here’s what I found…

  1. Gross misspellings of names that are being passed off as creativity…. If you’re from Houston and you want to express that, then the proper name would be HoustonBred not HoustonBread.
  2. Sexual references in names…. I thought this was a CHRISTIAN site. Yeah, I’m sure Christians love handling lots of chocolate and 69’s as much as everyone else, but should we advertise that? Ewww… You’re not the man you claim to be.
  3. Old and gold… Any person from a metro area knows exactly what I mean! My preferences are set for gentlemen between 27 and 40. Dude, you’re 50 with a gold tooth messaging me daily and responding angrily because I haven’t expressed interest in you. Go back and read my profile again… thanks! (Perhaps I should include a “no gold teeth” clause.)
  4. Then there’s the ever-present income question. Yes, it’s important, but should it be public knowledge? Not in my opinion… And, sir, if you only make $25k-$35k, you should NOT be comfortable publishing that. And Mr. Big Money… you’re just asking for a gold digger by posting your six figures. Then again, maybe that’s what you want.
  5. The PICTURES! In the words of a good girlfriend, OH MY! LOL… Bathroom mirror shots don’t bother me so much… but the pics with the mess and clutter in the background? And the ones with a former significantchopped off? And the flexing photo sans muscle? And then there’s the fella who’s boldly cheesing in the camera laying on his stomach with his hands under his chin and his feet cocked up in the air like a teenage girl… Sir, are you sure it’s a lady you’re looking for?
  6. The ego bruise… I have to admit that it kinda ticks me off when an ugly fella views my profile (yes, I can see the viewers), and he then DOESN’T send me a flirt. Dude, who do you think you are? I am fine! You should be honored to flirt with me! But then I realize he may think I’m too good-looking for him in which case he’s probably right. Then, I’m not so bothered. (Don’t take me seriously… just joking here!)
  7. After a week, you’ve exhausted all the profiles. Seriously, there are very few people on this site. Folks have viewed and re-viewed my profile, and I have done likewise. You start looking at their pics sideways saying things like “Well I guess his eyes aren’t tooooo far apart…”
  8. And my BIGGEST qualm… You mean I can’t cancel? What if i meet the right guy and get married? The only account settings I have control what’s sent to my email. As far as cancelling goes, there’s no 1-800 number. No “deactivate account” button. Nothing… guess I’ll be cutting up my credit card at the end of the month and requesting a new one.
Sorry for the silliness… but I had to let it out. Perhaps there’s a silver lining in this cloud even if it’s nothing more than wisdom gained.
Love ya lots… and off to bed I go.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
Alana
Photo credit: 
Attribution
 Some rights reserved by Don Hankins