Tag: Spirit

My Boyfriend and the Beatitudes

My Boyfriend and the Beatitudes

This is for the ladies. What do you want in a man? What is something you refuse to compromise on? What are your must-haves and must-not-haves? Many women have been encouraged to write a list that spells out all that they’d want in a husband. I have heard stories of women who have done this and the man they married was “everything they wanted and more.” I believe this really does happen.

It’s important to note that “the list” is as individual as the person writing it. It’s specific to you, your purpose, and the man the Most High will present to you. I’ve written lists before and have found that my list changes as I get older. Some things have remained the same (8 years ago), but for the most part, it’s changed a lot. This is due in part to my coming into an understanding of who I am and what I need.

Many times, we make these lists identifying our wants, but not our needs. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to ‘want’ something — but every desire must be qualified. Why do I want what I want? What will I do with it once I get it? Who will it help or serve?

There’s nothing wrong with identifying what you want, but don’t compromise what you need for what you want. Typically, the things we want are temporary things anyway. The things we need are things that our purpose and the very core of who we are cannot live without. ‘Needs’ won’t change — for the most part. ‘Wants’ will. So I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be of my greatest benefit to evaluate and desire a man based on something that does not change. The WORD of God.

Now, when I say WORD of God, I’m talking about Yeshua, the Messiah (many have referred to Him as Jesus–that’s a blog for another day). Although many refer to the Bible as the Word of God, it is not the WORD of God.

John 1:1, 14 says, “In the beginning was the WORD, the WORD was with God and the WORD was God. He was with God in the beginning. The WORD became flesh and dwelt among us…” See, the Bible contains words from God, but it is not the WORD of God. Moving on.

The WORD of God doesn’t change and I can be secure in who He is and who I am IN Him. Acts 17:28 says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” If we are the offspring of God, we are produced after Him — meaning, we look (and are) like Him.

So, if I have a relationship with the One who does not change (James 1:17), whom I’m created to be like (Genesis 1:26-28), it would be important to note what He celebrates and deems good — hence the purpose for this blog.

In Matthew 5, we read of one of the most powerful teachings ever taught to mankind. I’ve been hearing this since I was about 5 years old and am only now coming into deeper understanding of it. Verses 3-12 have been infamously referred to as the Beatitudes. It’s that passage in the Bible that each verse starts with, “Blessed are…”

Many of sermons have been taught on the Beatitudes. My church recently went through a study and it was mind-blowing. Before we had even studied it, I had decided to write this blog. I’m going to take a look at the first three verses and how they influence what I should look for in a relationship. (These are in no particular order — although they are numbered).

  1. Submission to God

v. 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Yeshua was speaking of one who is crouched low before God (humility). One who is poor in spirit does not place confidence or value in their own human authority; they recognize God’s authority as highest and truest.

So, this verse encourages me to bless (praise) what Christ has blessed (praised) — which is a man that recognizes God’s authority and governs his life according to it. A man who isn’t submitted to God is a man unprepared to lead you or himself in God’s will.

A direct result of being one who recognizes and acknowledges God’s authority is the quality of being teachable. Being teachable allows you to be ready to learn because you aren’t under the impression you know everything. If you’re under the impression you know everything, you can’t learn.

2. After God’s Own Heart

v. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.”

Like verse 3, this verse does not mean what it would appear to mean. Yeshua would always talk in parables and His lessons would always have a deeper meaning. The revelation I received when studying this was that the one who mourns what God mourns, will be comforted (brought near).

The one whose heart breaks for what the Father’s break shall be brought near to the Father. This means, an intimate relationship with the Father results in caring about what God cares about — which in turn results in greater intimacy with the Father. A man who cultivates an intimate relationship with the Father is a student of Love (for God is Love) and will constantly be growing in the fullness of who God created him to be.

3. Humility

“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”

Yeshua is speaking of humility again. This ought to be no surprise to us given how much God hates pride. (1 John 2:16; Isaiah 2:10; Proverbs 11:2). But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6).” 

The Bible is very clear that God favors the humble and hates pride. God hates pride because it is often at the root of any sin. Pride exalts itself higher than it ought. Pride says, “I know better than God.” Pride doesn’t allow us to accept God because we will believe there’s no need to.

A man that walks humbly before God and man will walk in the favor of God. To have the favor of God means to have God’s face turned toward you in approval. “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1).”

If God approves of you, He gives you what is His. He gives you influence and authority. It may not look the way we think it would, but it’s the kind of influence and authority that can only come from God. This kind of approval (justification) comes with intimate relationship (sonship) with God. “For they will inherit the earth…” You inherit because you’re an heir, a child of God. I want to be with a man that recognizes he’s a child of the Most High and is in pursuit of what that looks like.

So, as we can see, the Bible can inform us of what God values and help us make sound decision in our relationships. Since marriage is God’s, it makes sense to seek Him about His desire for it. Some questions I’ve asked God are, “what kind of person should I marry?” “What kind of person do you want me to be in marriage?” These questions are informing me of God’s desire for me in relationships.

I hope this blog encourages you to seek God about your relationships and to trust that He knows best!

 

Be sensible.

Be fools.

When Pain Is Your Mistress

When Pain Is Your Mistress

I don’t always know how to be happy and I’d hazard a guess that I’m not the only one.

Happiness is one of the most elusive concepts humans pursue. Most of the time, we’re mistaken about what will actually make us happy. We get it and are abysmally disappointed. More money, a relationship, new job, influence, power, etc., are just a few things we often believe will bring us happiness. (Mo’ money, mo’ problems).

Interestingly enough, we don’t have to desire things that are inherently bad in order to be disappointed once we get them. The reality is, nothing on this earth could ever or will ever satisfy the longing for fulfillment. Only God can. Some things seem to get really close, but fall short every single time. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t desire things, relationships, money, or influence. Instead, we must remember that in all things, we must ask, ‘why do I want what I want?’

Many of us have no trouble desiring things. For some of us, however, desiring anything good is an arduous task. Life experiences and disappointments have taught us not to expect anything good or for it to last very long. Our inner system of belief begins to tell us, ‘don’t get too attached,’ or ‘don’t get your hopes up.’ These thoughts come when your belief system is being run by doubt and fear.

Pastor Marcus Howard says, “Fear is not an emotion. It is the absence of emotion; because you don’t know what to expect, you fear. Fear is a toxin eating up the core of your belief.” I’ve heard him expound further saying, “fear comes because of a lack of expectation.”  

Our life experiences teach us what to expect or what not to expect. Painful experiences teach us it’s not worth hoping for something better. Sometimes, we become so familiar with our pain, that we forget how to be happy. We forget to receive the joy that’s been given to us through Christ.

Let’s talk about joy and happiness. If you ask a random person, they’ll tell you that joy and happiness are one in the same. I understand from where we get this idea. However, let’s look at Scripture for a second. Many of the verses that mention joy speak of it in spite of something.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).

We don’t experience joy because things are going well. We experiencing joy whether or not things are going well. Happiness is different. Happiness requires a particular condition. ‘I’m happy because _______.’ This means: if the reason for which I’m happy changes, so does my happiness with it. If I’m happy as long as I’m in a relationship, then the moment I’m single, I cease to be happy.

Joy is different. Joy is an assurance, a steadfastness, being immovable in the knowledge that everything is going to be alright. This kind of joy is only possible through knowledge of the One in whom there is assurance: Christ.

Oddly, joy is more natural than depression, anxiety, worry, doubt, or fear. It’s who God is. When you choose to have relationship with God through Christ, you choose everything that comes with Him. You marry (figuratively and spiritually) yourself to Him and the two of you become one.

Similarly, when you are friends with someone, the two of you begin to share the same vocabulary, ideals, and gestures. When you accept Christ, you begin to share in who He is.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).  What is Christ’s is ours. (What’s mine is yours. What’s your is mine. Marriage.)

Joy is a result of that relationship. Peace is a result of that relationship. Patience is a product of that relationship. Galatians 5:22 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 

Christ teaches that we will go through difficult times (John 16:33). Don’t marry yourself to your pain. It’s not a healthy relationship. It doesn’t serve you the way a husband and wife serve each other in marriage. It only weighs you down. Nevertheless, realize you will experience pain, but remember what the outcome ought to be. It’s there to perfect your faith.

For further study: 2 Timothy 1:7, John 16:33, Romans 8

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

*I do not own the rights to or the featured photo. I made small edits for the sake of the post.*

What Would Christians Do Pt. 1

What Would Christians Do Pt. 1

W.W.J.D.

What Would Jesus Do? In the 1990’s, this acronym became very popular in Christendom. For some, it became more than a cool catch phrase and more of a personal conviction. It encouraged Christians to respond in the same way they presumed Christ would respond.

You can read further about this acronym and its effects on Christendom here or here. Funnily enough, UrbanDictionary.com had a definition of its own. They have some pretty hilarious examples of how this phrase could be used. “WWJD? Well for starters, he probably wouldn’t purchase and wear tacky jewelry.”  “I’m not sure if I should write this webpage script in Perl, Java or PHP. Hmm, What Would Jesus do?”

With any catchphrase or cliche, the effect wears off eventually. Maybe, it should. I believe there comes a point at which you don’t have to ask ‘what would Yeshua do’ anymore. Instead, we ask ‘what will Yeshua do’ through me. The word ‘would’ implies a condition. “I would do this if ______.” It provides space for excuse. Instead, as a believer, I say, “I will do this because _______.”

What’s your ‘because?’ The Bible says, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Cor. 5:20).

If your ‘because’ is anything other than the fact that God desires to reconcile others to Himself through you, refocus on what is important. It’s not about having the best ministry. It’s not about having the most followers. It’s not about being well-liked. When people encounter you, you ought to be a ‘deflector’ and ‘reflector.’ Before people can become enamored by how great you are, you ought to point them to the Source: Christ.

So, what will you do? What will you say? What will you think?

This is not to promote condemnation, comparison, or competition. This is not a question to answer based on how others are answering. This a question to open up a dialogue between you and God. ‘God, what would you have me to do?’ ‘God, what will you have me to do?’

I believe at the heart of this phrase (WWJD) is a need to acknowledge God in our decisions. It reminds us to be sensitive to the heart and will of God. We can’t go on living like what we do, say, or think doesn’t matter. Everything you do is perceived as a direct representation of who God is. The moment you say, “I’m a Christian,” you’re being watched. You’re being examined. People can’t help but to examine you. Don’t let this scare you. At best, let it be a sobering wake-up call if you’ve been thinking your life and how you live it doesn’t matter. Don’t be worried. The Spirit of God will empower you to live in a way worthy of the call you’ve accepted.

Further Study: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Currently, at my church, we’re going through a series called DETOX. Week Two’s message really speaks to some of the things written in this post. Watch the video here. Skip ahead to minute 37 and continue from there. Pastor Marcus Howard is a man well-studied on this subject and provides a comprehensive and practical training on this topic.

I hope you enjoyed reading this! This post was meant to lay the groundwork for the rest of the series.

We’re going to continue this series by answering some questions about the Christian’s lifestyle. Two questions will include: ‘Should Christians Go to Secular Parties?’ and ‘Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?’

So, stay updated.

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

*The featured photo is from http://www.mercworks.net I do not own the rights to the photo or the photo itself.*