Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"On Fire": (VIDEO) Don't Rely on 'Signs' so Much as God's DIRECTIVES

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"My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones."---Proverbs 3:1-8(NLT)


Yeah...

I don't think I *ever* anticipated that my post "Will God Flat-out Tell You Who Your Husband Is?" would get so much traction. But almost two years later, the emails keep rolling in!

As I've been praying for the women who've been writing me, there are two things that I feel led (Luke 12:12) to share on a corporate level; especially after watching a video on signs that a married couple received about them knowing they were "the one" for each other:





I always adore when two virgins are joined! I also really like that the husband said his wife was his first kiss too. Beautiful.

And listen, as far as the wife sharing signs that her husband was the one? First, *every love story is unique* because, as Psalm 33:15 tells us, "He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works." Personally, my mother calls me her "signs and wonders child" because I know *for a fact* that God speaks in signs (Daniel 4:2-3)!

Yet there are two things I want to say as it relates to looking for signs and being...overly-dependent on them.

I remember once reading a very interesting piece that Andrew Wommack wrote on miracles. I know a lot of people who pray for those and something he said in particular about them had me be like "Whoa":

There are three important reasons for receiving from God through blessings rather than miracles. First, blessings prevent crises, while miracles deliver from crises. Second, a blessing is always a more abundant supply than a miracle. And third, miracles are a temporary fix, while blessings are permanent solutions. Therefore, if you’re living from miracle to miracle, it probably means you’re living from crisis to crisis.

Hmm...definitely something to consider next time you ask God to perform a miracle in your life!

Along these same lines, think about why we look for signs from God. It's usually to confirm something, right? Here's the thing, though. If we trusted God as much as we should, would we rely on signs so much?

I remember one of the last times I asked God for a sign concerning something that he had honestly already provided me *years worth* of signs about. He clearly said to me "Shellie, this is it" meaning, "We're basically done with the signs portion of the program. Walk by faith not by sight." "Sight" in the form of always looking for signs on this particular topic (2 Corinthians 5:7). I'll keep what went down to myself (it's OK to have some secrets between you and the Lord; that's how intimacy is cultivated--Psalm 139); however, I will say that the sign was pretty...indisputable.

Nothing earth-shattering has happened since, yet that's kind of the point. It's important to get to a place where taking God at his Word/word is enough. The Classic Amplified Version of Proverbs 3 tells us to seek God's will in all that we do. The New King James Version tells us to trust him with all of our heart.

When we do both of these things, he is able to *direct* us.

Direct: to manage or guide by advice, helpful information, instruction, etc.; to regulate the course of; control; to administer; manage; supervise; to give authoritative instructions to; command; order or ordain; to guide, tell, or show (a person) the way to a place; to point, aim, or send toward a place or object

Walking by faith isn't about moving if you get a sign...
Walking by faith is trusting in the One who provides signs---even if you *don't* get one.

Because signs or not? Here's what you can be certain about with the Lord:

"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect."---Psalm 18:30-32(NKJV)

If you know that God will make your way perfect...
If you really and truly believe that (do you?)...
Why do you need a *sign*?

Just trust his *Word*.
AND FOLLOW HIS DIRECTIVES; HIS COMMANDS (Psalm 37:23).

Because here's the thing...

Whether we realize it---or want to admit it---when we become too reliant on signs, we're basically asking God to *prove himself* to us. That's...a bit much. God doesn't *owe* us anything; *especially* a mate! If he has one for us, it is a gift (James 1:17) and gift givers can bless others...whenever they want to.

Again, there's nothing wrong with signs...
God used/uses them often...
Just focus on doing what he says, as he says it, more than anything else.

Obedience requires faith more than signs (Mark 11:22)...
And it's placing faith in God that pleases him (Hebrews 11:6, Luke 11:11-13)!

The Bible calls it help mate • NOT sex mate. Room -mate, play -mate.

One more thing about signs...

It's important to ALWAYS keep this Scripture close and in its proper perspective:

"But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."---James 1:14-15(NKJV)

This one too:

"But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated."---I Corinthians 2:14(AMPC)

Another thing to keep in mind about signs is not to *lust* them...

What I mean by that is there are signs from God and then there are things that cause us to create "phantom pregnancy signs" because our desires have turned into idols. We want something *so badly* that we *make* things seem real when they...aren't.

That's basically what a phantom (false) pregnancy is:

False pregnancy, clinically termed pseudocyesis, is the belief that you are expecting a baby when you are not really carrying a child. People with pseudocyesis have many, if not all, symptoms of pregnancy -- with the exception of an actual fetus. Some men experience a related phenomenon known as couvade, or sympathetic pregnancy. They will develop many of the same symptoms as their pregnant partners, including weight gain, nausea, and backache.

Only recently have doctors begun to understand the psychological and physical issues that are at the root of pseudocyesis. Although the exact causes still aren't known, doctors suspect that psychological factors may trick the body into "thinking" that it's pregnant.

When a woman feels an intense desire to get pregnant, which may be because of infertility, repeat miscarriages, impending menopause, or a desire to get married, her body may produce some pregnancy signs (such as a swollen belly, enlarged breasts, and even the sensation of fetal movement). The woman's brain then misinterprets those signals as pregnancy, and triggers the release of hormones (such as estrogen and prolactin) that lead to actual pregnancy symptoms.

You think this only happens with pregnancies? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Yes, we serve a God who can do the impossible...*as it relates to things that are in accordance with his will* (I John 5:14-15). Yet when all we care about is what *we* want, that can cause us to throw common sense (something that God is a wealth of---Proverbs 2---Message) and reality (something that God deals in---Ecclesiastes 7:18--Message) totally out of the window! We'll want something to happen *so badly* that we will conjure up signs in our minds that aren't God; they're *all* us  and remember, Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us that our hearts---the center of our emotions---tend to be deceptive (maybe a little Satan too; he does like to lie and deceive, after all!---John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 11:14).

How can you know the difference?

That's a blog-that's-more-like-a-book all on its own! I will say this for starters, though. Romans 14:17(AMPC) tells us that the kingdom of God is "...righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." This means that *when something is of the Lord, it will not compromise moral living, it will bring you peace and yes, even some joy*! 

When it's you? Usually there is anxiety that sets in; that's not good:

"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."---Philippians 4:6-7(AMPC)

If you've been asking for signs concerning your future husband, I pray this gives you some clarity. I also hope that the focus will start to shift a bit from "Lord, show me a sign" to "Lord, help me to do just what you say. Sign or no sign."

Psalm 84:11 tells us that God withholds *no* good thing...


If something or one is in line with God's will for our lives...
Look to God for instructions/commands/orders---*then obey them*.

If you do that, there'll be less of a need for...signs.
I promise you that.


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW


Sunday, October 15, 2017

"On Fire": Hop on the 'Marital Covenant Thursdays' Mailing List

35 Marriage Quotes #marriage #quotes

"Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women. Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace. In the evening she went, and in the morning she returned to the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who kept the concubines. She would not go in to the king again unless the king delighted in her and called for her by name."---Esther 2:12-14(NKJV)



Yeah...

I've always adored these verses in Scripture. So much in fact that the first (adult) poem that I wrote ("I'm Single and That's Alright with Me") has a line in it that says "Esther 2:14 states that I am to wait on my king and when he's delighted in me, he will call me by my name. My Mama didn't name me Needy or Desperate."

There are layers of takeaways from Esther's journey---one that is faaaaaaaar more about making extreme sacrifices for her people than a love story of an orphan who married to king. As it relates to this blog and today's post:

1) Preparing for God's man for you requires preparation *on your part*. Proverbs 22:4(NKJV) says "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life." Trust me, I learned the *humilty's way* that it's *very arrogant* to think you are so ready for marriage that you're waiting on some man to get his stuff together. If God thought we were ready for marriage---especially the kind of marriage that hopefully this blog inspires you to desire---*we'd be married*. In other words, use this time to seek out what you need to be doing to become a good wife *as* you pray for your future husband to recognize and then receive you when you arrive. As they say, Proverbs 18:22(NKJV) reminds us that we must be wives *before* our husband comes: "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord."

2) Esther prepared. Esther was ready. She wasn't chasing up under the king, though. She wasn't finding ways to emotionally manipulate him or monopolize his time either. When "he called her by name", she went to him. Kind of like how, yes, the Lord *brought* the Woman to Adam (Genesis 2:22); however, God nor the Woman told Adam who she was. ADAM DID: "Then Adam said, 'This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man.'" (Genesis 2:23--AMPC)

With all of that said...

Prepare for Marriage, Not Just Your Wedding

I know posting on here is...erratic these days. Something that is constant, though, is the devotionals that I pen every Thursday though Mail Chimp.

Long story short, a friend of mine who is divorced inspired them...

A few months from remarrying, he accepted what the Word says about those (which is NOT to do it so long as your original spouse is alive *whether they are remarried or not*; I Corinthians 7:10-11 says so. Read more here and here) and broke the engagement off. He's currently praying for reconciliation with his wife (AMEN!). For a while, we fasted together on Thursdays about the restoration of their marriage.

He still does fast. Meanwhile, I've used that day to devote the devotionals that I pen (three times a week) to write solely about all things marriage. It's called "Marital Covenant Thursdays".

This past week, I penned one on monogamy that I *almost* posted here but...these devos aren't your five-minute reads (NOT. AT. ALL). Yeah, it's too long to post on here, so I had an idea.

If you want to read some consistent content that you know will (basically) come every Thursday, shoot me an email (missnosipho@gmail.com). I'll create a mailing list just for y'all so that the Thursday emails will automatically come to your inbox.

I get quite a few emails with questions about marriage, relationships, standards, etc. and those devos may bring some clarity---or inspire you to seek (Matthew 7:7-8) and study (2 Timothy 2:15--AMPC).

So...

If you want to get last week's (along with one that I penned on single men needing to see the value in having a wife) and the Thursday content that's to follow, hit me up.

In the meantime, as always, if there are prayer requests, shoot 'em my way.
YHVH, the God of Covenant, *loves* it when his daughters take marital covenant seriously.
And literally.


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) If You're Tired of Waiting...Watch This. (Married at 43)

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"And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You."---Psalm 39:7(NKJV)


So...

This interview is with a woman by the name of Lori Flowers who shares being in a 10-year relationship in her 20s, breaking up and not wondering if/when she would get married. She did at 43.

Depending on how old you are, this may fill you with hope or frustration (LOL).
Personally, I find it to be a great testimony either way.

It also reminds me of why I can't stand the whole boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic because you devote your life to one person *like you are married when you're not* which yes, can take up A LOT of your time and emotional investing (guard your heart, y'all--Proverbs 4:23). Plus, you may need to take *even more time* to heal from something that's like a divorce *but isn't* because the guy isn't your husband (although you treated him like he basically was).

Take me, for instance. I stopped having sex at 32. I am now 43. I needed ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL of this time to heal from 14 guys, four abortions and all of the processing in between. My future husband doesn't deserve the pressure of having to fix what *I* did. God knows what he's doing. Always (James 1:4, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Acts 1:7--Message).

Anyway, I get enough emails from women who wonder when/if their time will *ever* come to find this video...fitting. Hope it provides some hope (Romans 5:5) and clarity (Proverbs 17:27) to at least a few:




His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW

Monday, October 9, 2017

An Ounce of Prevention: A Series of GREAT #redefined Videos

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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."---Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV)


So...

I watched a few more videos from the couple below---and the one-liners are stellar.

Enjoy!


"What if your type is not God's will?"




"I don't have time to recover again."




"Just because something sounds good, doesn't mean it's sound or good."




"God is never gonna send you anybody who takes you away from him."



And the last one is on "the one"...



His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) 'Counterfeit or Godsent'

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"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent."---Revelation 3:19(NKJV)


Yeah. Well.

Some of y'all (and/or some of your friends that I hope you'll forward this to) ain't gonna like this. Personally, they had me at "The Enemy traffics in your PREFERENCE but God traffics in your PURPOSE."

And with that said...





'Nuf said.
"Do not be deceived." (Matthew 24:4)


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW

"On Fire": (VIDEO) Pray for God's BEST Instead of 'the ONE'

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"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."---James 1:17(NKJV)


So...

Like the married couple in a video I'm about to share, I also am not of the belief that there is only one person that each of us could be married to. What I do believe, however, is that every person is connected to a particular path. And we should care about *the path* of our lives just as much as *the person* we are with.

Anyway, here's the video:



At the same time, I discern that we spend too much time on the movie-hype-version of "the one" instead of waiting for GOD'S BEST. And best, by definition, cannot be multiple people.

Again, yes you can choose great people and particular paths, but *best*? It means this:

Best: of the highest quality, excellence, or standing; most advantageous, suitable, or desirable; most; most excellently or suitably; with most advantage or success; most fully

It always tickles me when people say they have several best friends. The word "best" means there is ONE PERSON who is the highest quality, most suitable and most fully right for you.

Same with a spouse...

There's no way that the God of the Universe, the One who knows how many hairs are on our heads (Luke 12:7), doesn't have a "best" person in mind for each and every one of us. Not just a good person who lives a cool and compatible person but someone of the highest quality for us!

Some folks might think that this is splitting hairs but I don't...
Here's why.

My "first love"? For years (and years and years and years) I thought he was "the one". In many ways, we know each other very well and get each other to the point of finishing sentences. He's an awesome guy on lots of levels. Our connection made me sure he was the one.

Since him? There are guys I've met who, on a spiritual level, are so much *better* for me simply because of where they are in God. And when the Lord is ready for me to be joined to my husband, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that "he" will be THE BEST.

Make sense?

"The one" implies there can never be another one and I agree with the couple in the video that what if your spouse dies? Then what?

*The best* speaks to the person who GOD DEEMS will do the most for/with you. If you allow God to choose and you marry who he reveals, that's his best. If they happen to pass, that will change you as a person. Because of that, up the road, he may reveal another kind of "best" for who you are...then.

Hollywood and fairy tales have done a *real* number on a lot of us.
(Ecclesiastes 7:18--Message)

Rather than praying about "the one"...
Pray about receiving God's best.

The difference between the two may seem small...
Yet if you really pray and ponder (Proverbs 4:26) over it...
IT. IS. HUGE!


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW

"On Fire": (VIDEO) How 'Ready' Are You for GOD'S SURPRISES?!


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"In the middle of the night the man was suddenly startled and sat up. Surprise! This woman asleep at his feet!"---Ruth 3:8(Message)


So...

In the midst of doing some 'net surfing today, I saw this video:



Although there are a few gems in it, there is a particular reason why it stood out to me.

As Ebony was explaining her journey, it wasn't the fact that she talked about how hard Chris pursued her that stood out. Y'all know that I don't think that is a qualifier for a husband. The Woman was *brought* to Adam; he did not have to pursue her (Genesis 2:22). However, I did really like a line that Ebony stated. Two, actually.

"The man God has for you will be attracted to the God that is in you."

If you're not making growing in the Lord a TOP PRIORITY, that may be why your husband has not "seen" you yet (or vice versa). We always have to remember that GOD CREATED MARRIAGE (Genesis 2:18-25, Matthew 19:4-6). That makes it the ultimate kind of spiritual union! And here's the thing about that:

"But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated."---I Corinthians 2:14(AMPC)

A very sobering article on sex---including the damage that it does outside of marriage--"Sex Is Blood Covenant". It's...profoundly a lot. One of the things it reminds me of is the fact that there IS judgment in fornication (because God's Word says so--Hebrews 13:4, Galatians 6:7-8) and a lot of people are in some jacked-up unions (ones that they *still* need to honor because they vowed to God and their spouse that they would...until death) because they did not discern (Proverbs 2, John 7:24) who their partner was to be via their spirit; they allowed their flesh to do the choosing instead (James 1:14-15).

Fornication is evil, y'all.
On *so many* different levels!
Choose wisely.
CHOOSE. TO. WAIT.

So yes, first and foremost, if you're wondering where your future husband is, first ask yourself how healthy and consistent your spiritual walk is. A good godly man wants a good godly woman. His vision is different from others.

"He's a part of the journey of me becoming who God has called me to be."

So good, so good!

People who *lust* marriage (and it's A LOT of folks!) are not looking for the one who will take them to their next level in the Lord. They are looking for a permissible sex partner, someone they can start a family with...someone who validates their worthiness.

That's not what marriage is about. When each of us gets to a point where GOD DECIDES (Isaiah 55:8-11) that being with someone will...add to/accelerate our spiritual maturity process (Matthew 19:11-12--Message, Isaiah 55:8-11, Hebrews 5:12-14), *that* is when "he" will arrive.

And you know what? Ain't nothing spiritually mature about making demands, throwing tantrums, halting your life, blaming God or sinning in hopes that it will convince some man to want to be with you for the long haul. If that's where you're currently at, PRAISE THE LORD that you're still single! You and God have some serious issues to work out. Plus, if you don't get a handle on some things, you could end up becoming this kind of woman:

"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman."---Proverbs 21:9(AMPC)

If you *already* have the gall and nerve (praise the Lord for his abounding mercy!---Psalm 103:8) to be "finding fault" in God and his ways and timing (Acts 1:7--Message), you will *definitely* be a handful in your marriage to some flawed human being!

Yet there is something else that all of this made me think about...

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There is a husband I know who once said something to me about marriage as it relates to certain single men that I've never forgotten: "There is nothing more terrifying for a man than to meet his wife before he is ready." Hmph.

That makes me think of surprises in general...

Frankly, if we were seeking daily bread (Matthew 6:11), committing our ways to God (Proverbs 16:3) and walking by faith and not be sight, we would *always be ready* for what God is doing in our lives. Honestly, the more I listened to Ebony's video, she didn't sound "not ready" so much as caught off guard or...surprised.

And personally, I firmly believe that God is into surprising his children!

Even Christ's own people, the Jews (Luke 23:3), are still awaiting their Savior's arrival because---SURPRISE!---Christ came in a way that they did not expect (Luke 2).

Even Ebony basically said that God "checked" her because while she thought her future husband was going to come in a particular way and time, she said that God's reply was "That was your assumption. I never said that."

And so, we've got to be open to the fact that God is the God of surprises.
What do we think these Scriptures mean?!

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."---Ephesians 3:20-21(NKJV)

God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think?
SURPRISE!

"But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God."---2 Corinthians 2:9-10(NKJV)

There are things God has prepared that our senses are not even aware of?
SURPRISE!

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A great read on God and his surprises shares this:

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. —Isaiah 55:8

When our family went out for an ice cream cone, my dad would ask my mother what flavor she’d like. Often she would reply, “Surprise me!” She told me she was rarely disappointed in his choice.

Do you like surprises? Would you ever dare say, “Surprise me!” to God? A lot of us are a little scared to do that. Yes, we have faith that God is good and that He loves us. Yet we’re afraid we won’t like what He chooses for us.

Throughout the Bible we read that God delights in doing the unexpected. Sometimes it’s folding back the waters for His people to cross a sea on dry ground (Ex. 14:21-22). Or forgiving and embracing those who repent of their sin (Ps. 130:1-4). Jesus’ time on earth was filled with amazing events that pointed people to His Father—He turned water into wine, calmed storms, healed the sick, and raised the dead.

What kind of God do we serve? One who is not confined by our finite imagination (Eph. 3:20). God’s thoughts and ways are not like ours (Isa. 55:8), and He wants to bless us with far more than a special flavor of ice cream. He delights in His children who trust Him and are willing to say, “Surprise me, Lord!”

O Lord, give me the grace to be
Content with what You give to me.
No! More than that, let me rejoice
In all You send me—it’s Your choice! —Anon.

God doesn't have to do things our way.
We're called to submit to him *not* the other way around (James 4:7).

As you're praying for your future beloved and marriage...

Pray about getting, and staying, spiritually prepared.
Pray about seeing through spiritual eyes.
Pray about fully trusting God.
Pray about trusting his timing.
And be open to being SURPRISED!

No telling what's right up the pike of your life if you do...


His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...

SRW