International

I see you Ireland!

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Here on WordPress, I have a Stats page where I can see how many visitors and views I have each day. I can also see what countries they are are from. I have seen Ireland views consistently this week and I love it!!! I just wanted to show some love and appreciation for whomever is coming to my site! Thank You!!! I see you and God sees YOU.

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Men, Transformation, Women

Playing House

“Why Living Together Before Marriage is a Bad Idea”
By: Kristen Clark

via Girl Defined at http://www.girldefined.com/

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I’ll admit I went back and forth on this one. I read this post and fervently agreed with every word, I decided to answer the questions. Then I decided not to. I didn’t want to offend anyone. But again today, I have decided to answer the questions. I haven’t cared thus far if anyone out there is offended or not, so why start now? I take it as something I must do. I am after all, speaking from experience. Not from a place of judgment. I just won’t be at peace if I don’t speak on this. So here ya go.

What do you think about couples living together before marriage?
What do I think about couples living together before marriage? I think first this is an issue of whether or not each person believes (stands by) marriage. For a lengthy period in my life I did not believe in marriage. I thought just because you get married doesn’t guarantee you anything. Your partner can still leave you and desert your family. They could still cheat on you, lie to you, abuse you, and hurt you and a million other things. On the other hand, just because you are not married doesn’t mean you cannot build a home and family with someone. You can still love someone and be committed to them. I used to say “If someone comes along and *inspires* me to be married, then I would do that.” Now, it sounds like I was quite full of it! I believe this belief I was holding, influenced my last relationship. He and I lived together for exactly one year. Funny thing is, he is married now. But most definitely not to me. How could he want to marry someone that professed not to believe in marriage? We weren’t on the same page from the beginning. I had only moved to his city to continue building our relationship [my definition of temporary]. He envisioned me assimilating to small town life and living happily ever after, I guess. We were living together just because we had done long-distance for what seemed like forever but really it was about 6 or 7 months. We had grown tired of seeing each other once or so a month, for only a weekend at a time. I thought occasionally, “Would I marry him, if he asked?” I never knew the answer. I thought I knew a way to finding out the answer. I wrestled internally with wanting to move back to my home –city. Our two discussions lead to hurt feelings, confusion and fear. For me it was just awkward. I thought if he is willing to move with me, or move somewhere close by just on the outskirts then maybe, just maybe, he’s the one to marry. He chose not to be that one. My heart was broken. To add salt to the wound, I was the one to move out. I will always remember that Saturday morning waking and packing my things. Him asking if I needed any boxes. *No Thanks* Him asking when he could get the key back. *Um, when I get all my things out* Him leaving me a note in the mailbox with the math done for my share of the bills for those 19 days. *Mind.Blown.*

I realized we ended up like most couples that live together. We were not committed to one another like we thought we were. When we hit a crossroads in our relationship, someone bows out. They throw in the towel and say I didn’t sign up for this. They decide you’re holding me back, I can get much further in life without you. They cut you loose. I think I was both. I was ready to keep moving forward with him, and at the same time, I was ready to cut him loose. I wanted to move back to my home-city, find a decent paying job with my newly completed degree. I knew the time would come that I might have to let it go. I know this is not all couples that live together.

Do you know some Christian couples who think it’s okay?
I don’t think I know Christians couples that think it’s okay. I do know there are Christian couples that are having sex outside of marriage. I know at least one of them feels guilty. It’s usually kept a secret. I know that it’s hard to stop something, like sex, once you start. Once you have established that as the norm in your relationship it seems preposterous to stop. Especially, if you and your partner are not on the same page spiritually and in your walk with God.

What standard will you choose to live by?
After my own experience, I knew soon after that I would never just live with a guy again. The next man I lived with would be my husband. I have to really love you to not call it quits after you snore in my ear all night long. Or put my clean clothes in my dirty clothes basket. Or put my shoes that were next to the couch [the side you don’t even sit on] in the closet that we never use. Or wash the cup I was drinking out of just because it was on the counter. Or think when I say I’m going to bed-goodnight, that’s its an invitation. Or be disgusted at my long hair in the shower or sink, when your shaving cream globs sprinkled with millions of tiny hairs are stuck on the shower curtain. Or eat all my mini rice cakes.

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Related Reading:
http://www.girldefined.com/why-living-together-bad-idea

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Fasting, Transformation

What I found in 21 Days of Fasting

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I found a great page on fasting and love the way the writer has compiled information to describe fasting.

Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food. [Dallas Willard].

The purpose of fasting is to loosen to some degree the ties which bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole, in order that we may concentrate all our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things. [Ole Kristian O. Hallesby].

Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. [John Piper].

Because I had never fasted before I decided to make a realistic commitment. I fasted all food after 6pm. I did this because I eat most of my food in the evenings after work, and I compulsively snack into the night. I often do not like that I do this and wish I could get a handle on it. It made sense to deny myself my snack cravings in this way. I also fasted social media. The first week I cut myself off of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) after 8pm; the second week at 12pm; the third and final week was none all together.

Fasting isn’t just about denying yourself food or other things. It’s about having ideas, questions, areas in your life that you are going to seek God’s counsel for. I had four areas I was and will continue to focus on.

What I learned…

DOF (desires of the flesh)
I can be disciplined to not eat all evening long and before I go to bed. That is fantastic because I have the metabolism of a brick. I am to die to urges (desires of the flesh) and cravings (desires of the flesh). I often eat out of boredom. Time spent eating [when I’m not hungry] could and was spent taking care of other things. Cleaning and organizing my apartment, reading kingdom-minded books, reading the bible, praying, talking to God, listening to God, and getting to bed earlier. Which it was. I even became better at turning off the tv and limiting the amount I was watching, even though I was not fasting tv.
There’s a life outside of the social media and the dof to check your accounts 30 times in 30 minutes. You’ll be fine if notifications go unchecked.

The Word
The word of God can be easy to read. It takes a few tries like my experience in algebra, geometry and statistics (F, F, F). Your brain may not mature enough to tackle the task however after a few tries you’re brain will pick up speed. Last year during this time, my church produced a reading guide and I attempted to read the “overdrive” side of the sheet. I lost momentum and I got behind. I was challenged by the heavy reading of Acts, Romans, and so on. This time around, I completed the reading guide. I only missed a couple of days but it was easy to get back on track. I also picked the easier side of the two.
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Jesus was HUMAN and, a bit of a smarty pants
John 8 is all about how people just didn’t get him. The Pharisees told Jesus his testimony was not valid, that he needed another person to verify who he was. When Jesus told them “where I go, you cannot come” the Pharisees were like where’s he’s going? what does that mean? you can’t come? is he gona kill himself? They just didn’t get it. Jesus said the truth will set you free and the people were like we are free, we’ve never been slaves. They said our Father is God. Jesus said God is not your father because if he was you’d love me but instead you want to kill me. They said he was demon possessed. They said “who do you think you are?” In John 9 when Jesus healed a blind man, the Pharisees “investigated.” They asked the former blind man, how he received his sight. After he told them they didn’t believe he was ever really blind. They even got the man’s parents to come and testify that he was born blind! They labeled Jesus a sinner because he healed (worked) on the Sabbath. They questioned the former blind man again and when he didn’t say what they wanted, they insulted him and threw him out! In John 10, Jesus uses a metaphor about a Shepard (Jesus) and sheep (us). The Pharisees didn’t get it. Jesus was like okay I am the Shepard and you are the sheep in this scenario. *blink*blink* In John 11, Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” When Jesus saw Mary and the other people weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; then he wept! When Mary brought Jesus to where Lazarus’ body was, Jesus was once more deeply moved when he approached the tomb. He was deeply moved and cried. Why did he cry knowing he would be able to raise up Lazarus and everything would be fine? He cried because in his human body he felt the sadness and loss. He empathized with the sisters and felt the gravity of the situation.
So many people just didn’t get him. He spoke on a higher caliber and others could only understand what they could see, hear and touch. They couldn’t believe what they couldn’t see. Sound familiar?

God will speak to you
Be still and know that I am God.
You just need to shut off the tv, stop checking your phone, stop, just STOP. Sit and Listen. He wants to talk to you, he wants to tell you things. He wants you to ask him for things. And if you tell him to take you into deep waters, he sure will take you, and then tell you “you told me to take you into deep waters.”
I learned that I don’t want to get caught up in the stuff. The stuff being: my job, chores, tv, bills, stress, insecurities, daily activities, feeling bad because of something I ate or didn’t eat, feeling bad because I didn’t get the dishes done again, saying I’ll do something and not doing it again, telling myself I’ll go to bed early again and not doing it, getting caught up in all kinds of plans and feeling obligated to stick to them, setting up goals and not reaching them, trying to be more this or that, the materials things I wish I had, the money I don’t have, and everything else that I focus on. I don’t want to get caught up in the all the stuff of life. I want to fixate my eyes on Jesus. I want to hear him talk. I want to allow myself to be loved, and sought after by him.

During these 21 days I received confirmation and encouragement on some of the things I was asking God about.
*Very unexpectedly, someone heard me speak about my family and they felt it to pass on to me the story in Judges 6 about Gideon. God tells Gideon to go and save Israel out of Midan’s hands. Gideon said “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manassas, and I am the least in my family.” God said, “I’ll be with you;” I teared up in front of the man telling me this story.

*The Lord disciplines those he loves-Proverbs 3:12
Give to everyone what you owe them-Romans 13:7
*God is guarding my purity. He is acting as my heavenly Father, protecting and vigilant. He’s the dad that answers the door and says Don’t mess with MY daughter.

Highlights:
Romans 6:15-23
Romans 8:39
Romans 12:16
Romans 13:12-14
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Gender Issues, Men

Am I my Brother’s Keeper?

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know, ” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9

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Woman was made for Man. She was made of Adam. He is the innate leader. When men and women step out of that dynamic relationship, everything else falls and fails. Adam was created in the image of God, we need to honor that.

Crime is a gender issue. The majority of crime, and specifically violent crime, is perpetrated by men. Men are the majority of the incarcerated population all over the world. In the majority of domestic violence and rape cases, men are by far the aggressors.

Fatherlessness is a pestilence that we will never recover from. You could argue that fatherlessness cause the hurts of society. Those without fathers are more likely to commit suicide, commit crimes, drop out of high school, be incarcerated, be homeless and suffer drug and alcohol addictions. One thing begets another and another. There seems no beginning and end to what happens when fail our boys.
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Recently, I stumbled upon an article, “1,000 women of color want women and girls included in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’” via The Washington Post website. This drew me in and prompted me to learn about MBK. This initiative was signed in from President Obama last year. The initiative strives to better the lives of young men and boys of color (Black and Hispanic) here in America. It focuses on children entering school, completing high school, attending secondary education and entering the workforce. This plan aims to decrease the “cradle-jail” program that is currently in place. Our President challenged our nation to step up and create community tasks forces and take action. I am in full support of MBK as is. Male centered, for men by men.
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Trying to include women and girls in MBK defeats the purpose. I see this as another way we are feminizing our boys. Feminizing America and feminizing our society. Our boys deserve to be honored as boys. Something separate and different than us. Boys have gotten lost in our society. Boys are not made to feel good as boys. They learn that to be masculine is to be aggressive and crude. That to be masculine is to go after money no matter the cost or means. To be masculine is to have sex with women with no commitments or responsibilities to them. That to be masculine is to impress other boys or men with bravado and fear.

I take these ideologies personal because I have worked with fatherless boys involved in the juvenile justice system. I see this firsthand, I see the aftermath. These boys have no way to relate to others unless it’s through retelling stories of fights or other violent times, times they got high or drunk. Reliving a crime they committed. For some it’s even worse. They have no way to communicate unless it’s through spoken rap lyrics. They have no conversation skills, especially towards an adult woman. Their idea of having a conversation with an adult woman is to attempt to be flirtatious. Or if you are an adult woman that takes a few moments to attempt a conversation, they take it as she wants some. To get even more personal, the men that I have “fallen for” possess the fatherless trait. Either fatherless or the bond essentially just not there due to other issues. My first boyfriend ever, his father died when he was two years old. The second boyfriend he didn’t know who his father was until he was a teenager already committed to gang life. Another man, I have no information on him ever having his father in his life. The fourth, after his parents’ divorce around age 10 and prior family dysfunction, there was no effort on his father’s part to stay engaged. In fact, it made for a very awkward lunch we had with his father, father’s wife and child. ONCE. So, still working out? As my boyfriend’s muscles bulged out of his t-shirt. Yea. Still at the same job? Yup. Cricket*Cricket. These fellas all succumbed to drugs and alcohol as part of their everyday life or coping. One unable to keep a job, high school dropout, dead. One juvenile delinquent with felonies; father to about 5 kids by different women. One unable to commit to a woman, multiple DUIs, some jail time. The other overly attached to his mother, at the cost of our relationship. This isn’t to discredit them, be negative, or put all their business out there. I am simply stating what can be found in texts books, what can be found etched into the heart of every man.
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Our boys are in trouble.

Men must begin to invest back in their community, in their homes. It starts with investing back in their boys. Raising and training up boys to be men, to lead in a righteous way. Lead in a way that leads to more marriages, Fatherhood, employment-not to fatherlessness, crime, incarceration, and death.

We need to let men solve men-problems. Women, stop thinking you can solve a man’s problems (especially when you think of him as such, a problem). Allow men to bestow their masculinity on the next generation. Men won’t lead unless you step out of the way. You want to tame and domestic the man because you have no trust. Because you have no faith.

“In short, women and girls of color are not doing fine, and until they are, men and boys will not be doing fine either.”

This is wrong and backwards. When men are taught to be men, they will lead us in the right direction. I again tell you, Woman was made for Man. Adam was the one that was granted dominion “over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 God didn’t say well let me get Eve what she wants and then, we will get you started Adam.

Now, I relate the state of Womanhood with this horrific state of Manhood. Women are ratchet because men are lowering their standards. So women follow their lead, they expect less, accept less and continue to do less themselves. This mirrors what men are doing. They do less because we expect less. They do less because we accept less.

If you truly want things to change. We need to expect and accept MORE. I will expect men to train up men and expect nothing less. You wont even step aside to allow the President of the United States of America to bestow masculinity on his American boys?

I want a generation of young men of color, boys that look like my nephew to be trained up well. To live past the age of 18. To bring joy and comfort to his family. To bring protection to his wife and children. Please step aside and let these men be men.

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Related Reading:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/06/18/1000-women-of-color-want-women-and-girls-included-in-my-brothers-keeper/

http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/

http://www.girldefined.com/call-manhood-part-1

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/15/how-not-to-become-your-absentee-father/

Related video:
http://roseynews.com/10-yr-old-brings-drill-instructor-to-the-brink-of-tears-with-just-2-words/

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Gender Issues

Christian Feminists & Unicorns

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I don’t need to call myself a Feminist because my identity is in Christ. I am who He says I am. I don’t need a worldly term to describe me. God made women, as a treasure. Something unique. It is proof of His love and value for us. He would not create something he didn’t value or want. There aren’t labels in Heaven, or Hell. The World told you that you were separate. Inadequate. Weak. Just a woman. God never told you that. The World told you that you needed to prove them wrong, that you needed to prove your worth. Convince them of your value. God never told you that. We need to stop conforming to the things of this world. This life is temporary. You will die having worked so hard to hear the applause of men [and women] for nothing. d4543580ddec61a32b2fddacae0c4e04The Crowd is Fickle.

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Feminist is not synonymous with Leader. Many women I know that is the aim. That is the driving force behind calling themselves feminist. They have the desire in their heart to be a leader to do something great. To make a difference. Make a mark on this world.
We roll our eyes at every high school athlete that thinks they will go pro. Or every kid that can spit some rhymes that thinks he will get a record deal and become famous. Many young women think they will graduate college and immediately be promoted to VIP. You want to take the lead in every situation because you do not value behind the scenes work. You’ve been groomed to devalue your femininity. That in order to get what you want, you must be aggressive and use force. You must be the alpha female and some of you strive to be the alpha male. Then you wonder why you’re single, or unhappy in your relationship, or pretty much every relationship. Why your man, won’t step up. Why women are so catty. You’ve bought into the lie that nothing will get done unless you do it. That no one will take care of you. You push through for resources because there won’t be enough for all of us. You think you’re Katniss but really, you do it all for your own glory.

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Do you really think this mentality is pleasing to the Lord? We should be asking God: Where do you want me? What job do you want me to have? How can I glorify you in my position?

We should tell God daily, Use me. My words are YOUR words. My body is YOUR body. This is in fact, the only time I will tell someone to use me!

You don’t have to strain. He will give you the desires of your heart, IF THEY ALIGN WITH HIS DESIRES for you.

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:4-5.

The desires of my heart have been completely turned upside-Right! I used to not believe in marriage. I thought you can have a loving family without being married. Being married doesn’t guarantee you happiness. Now I see that being married is not about your own definition of happiness, but what is pleasing to the Lord. It pleases him that we are married. It pleases him that we wait until we are married to have sex. God created this for his glory. He commands us to do this with the context of marriage because it will protect us from unnecessary hurts. Now I desire a relationship (that leads to marriage) that I can glorify God in. That the only explanation for such relationship would be that God made it happen. That him and I be an example of the power of a loving God. That my romantic interest be a man after God. That he also be giving back to the church and community in volunteering. That he find his purpose and spiritual gifts. That he wakes up each day to tell God, USE me. That he be the leader of our family. Believe me, I am not too proud to admit, I need some leadership in my home. My way often leads to procrastination, which leads to a plethora of #Lianaproblems. I am currently in the midst of suffering the consequences of yet another #Lianaproblem with regards to finances. I fall short daily of who I think I should be. I can’t tell you enough just how much I cannot do it alone. I cannot do it all and have it all.

Feminist believe that economic power is the source of other kinds of power. That whoever has the money has the power. Even in relationships. Feminist believe that whoever holds the economic power gets to decide a woman’s sexuality, fertility, education level, employment opportunities, household responsibilities. That is why women strain so hard in the workplace. That’s why they strain so hard to be “independent.” Why some young women are valuing money over anything else. But again at the cost of what? Your joy. Your peace. You’re putting your heart and soul on the back burner in the name of feminism. Instead of sex being expressed through marriage as an act of love for the glory of God, some believe sex to be a transaction of power, opportunity, goods, or money. That we either “get” something out of it, or there’s no point.

As Christians, those seeking to follow Christ, we should not be taking on the identities of this world. Jesus was so radical, that so many did not like him. They did not like what he did or said. It did not sit well them. They did not like that people called him Messiah or Son of God. For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. John 5:18. Jesus did not fit in with the crowd, and neither should we. We should stand out. Our beliefs, behaviors and words should not align with what’s popular. With what is pleasing to ears of others. You have to pick a side.
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:16

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. John 15:18

If God asked you today, Do you follow my Son or feminism? What will you say?

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 6:39

I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? John 6:43-44

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Related Reading: http://biblehub.com/john/15-18.htm

http://www.forourlordjesuschrist.org/Gateways/feminism.htm

http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-women-taking-back-feminism-55280/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/november-web-only/sarah-bessey-feminist-because-i-love-jesus-so-much.html?start=3

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http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/04/22/christian-women-feminism-is-not-your-friend/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eliel-cruz/11-reasons-christianity-n_b_5365210.html http://jesus-is-savior.com

http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_money.htm

/Evils%20in%20America/Feminism/feminism_is_evil.htm

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