Rachel or Leah

leah rachel“And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moved upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28

How many of us know single (never been married or divorced) women and think?

• “Poor girl. She will never be happy until she finds Mr. Right”.
• “Who can I match her up with? That biological clock is ticking.”

How many of us know married women without children and think?

• “What a waste.”
• “What a selfish couple.”
• “Poor couple. We better start praying for the flood gates of children to pour on them.”

How many of us know married women with children and think?

• “Wow. How wonderful!”
• “When’s my turn?”
• “I’ll never be happy until I get there.”

In the book of Genesis (Chapter 29 to 30) we have the story of two sisters, Rachel and Leah, who for different reasons were married to a fellow named Jacob. As the story unfolds you get a picture of two women married to “The Ideal Man” but still missing something. Rachel the younger of the two sisters is loved incredibly by her husband. She was loved so much that her husband waited and worked fourteen years for her at her father’s estate. Despite this incredible love between the two, Rachel’s heart yearned for something more that she did not have with her husband: a child.

Then there was Leah the older sister who loved her husband dearly but whose love was not equally returned. She bore with her husband not one, not two but six sons and one daughter but still did not have receive the returned love she had hoped for from her husband. Leah was fruitful and yet her heart was broken and still did not receive what she desired the most: the love of her husband.

Often when we hear the story of Rachel and Leah, we hear the story of the barren woman whose heart was tormented by not having children. We are reminded of Rachel’s cry to God to receive the gift of children and the answered prayers. Married women without children are charged to cry out to God as Rachel did and ask for our wombs to be filled. On the other hand, we don’t often hear the story of Leah who was not barren but was VERY fruitful and yet still not happy. Seven children later and her heart still hurt. Both women had something that many of us aspire to attain: a spouse and children. Yet in each woman’s story we see that despite having the husband and/or children, neither was completely fulfilled and ended up turning to the only source of life and fulfillment the universe can provide: God the Father.

APPLICATION QUESTION:
Who do you think is most fulfilled?

• The married woman with children who is unloved by her husband.
• The married woman without children who is loved by her husband.
• The single woman with children.
• The single woman without children.
• The married woman with children who is loved by her husband.

ANSWER:
The woman (married or single) with or without children who has the love of the Lord.

“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Philippians 4:12

A happy single woman is a happy married woman.
A happy childless woman is a happy mother.

God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I (-insert your name-) confess and repent of my heart of discontentment and idolatry of a husband and/or child. I confess and repent of my seeking life in your creation (husband and/or child) and not seeking life in you the creator. Holy Spirit fill me with your fruits of the spirit, heal me, and fill the holes that only you can fill. In your name and blood I pray Christ Jesus of Nazareth. Amen

Photo Credit: Google

Book Club: Daughter’s Reading List 2012

The Good Book

  1. Perry Stone’s Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree.  Topic – Generational Sins & Spiritual Warfare
  2. John & Mark Sandford’s A Comprehensive Guide to Deliverance and Inner Healing.  Topic – Inner Healing
  3. Kenneth E. Hagin’s Following God’s Plan For Your Life.  Topic – Living the Holy Spirit Led Life
  4. Henry Cloud & John Townsend’s Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No.  Topic – Setting Limits
  5. Nancy Leigh Demoss’ Lies Women Believe: And the Truth That Sets Them Free.  Topic – Biblical Truths
  6. Greg Boyd’s Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now.  Topic – Contentment
  7. Lisa Bevere’s Lioness Arising.  Topic – Women’s leadership

*Books are not ranked in any particular order.

Photo Credit: Freepik

Dating & Marriage 101: Beauty?

BeautyHoly Spirit I thank you for your Spirit of revelation and TRUTH.  Your words have pricked my heart and I thank you for allowing me to share your TRUTHS.  I pray for your Spirit of Protection of the message, the messenger, and the readers.  We put on the full armor, standing firm against the principalities, and lies of the society.  Speak to us individually as we read, as we sleep, and as we press ahead.  Let our thoughts, words, and actions be honoring of you Lord.  Protect us from the Spirit of anger and offense, let your peace and glory abound.  You are so awesome Lord and must be praised.  God Speak.

I was having lunch at a local restaurant.  Two young girls, about high school age, waltzed in and instantly drew attention.  The volume of conversation was much louder and the topic of conversation was boys.  As I was reading the NT, the girls sat down next to my table.  Their conversation progressed into reading horoscopes for relationship advice.  One of the girls said she was scared to read the info and the other said it was the “truth” and her dad has a big horoscope reference book at home for advice.   The reading seemed to be quite a dark for anyone, especially young girls or women, to read.  It spoke heavily of betrayal, not making others angry or else revenge, jealously, etc.  The other girl said she was really afraid and wanted her friend to stop reading it.  The girl that was reading the book said something to the nature of “Okay, but this is so your boyfriend.  He is just like this.”  Then the conversation turned to the experiences of being controlled and having a jealous boyfriend.  I prayed over the conversation and for the girls who seemed to be filled not with the joy that God designed for us but discontentment.

Prior to this, I had dinner with a good pal at a book store and discontentment became the topic of choice.   A book geared to preteen girls called Boy Talk was staring at us.  The entire book was filled with lies to young girls about them not being enough.  Dress this way; talk that way, show interest in their hobbies, etc etc etc.  It made me quite sad to think that the truth was not being told.  The truth of girls and women being fearfully and wonderfully made was not being expressed.  Instead the lie of being not good enough was being spread.  We then looked at the magazines and how they spread the same lies to women.  Every fitness, style, or beauty magazine toted the same theme of self improvement.  Plump up the lashes, plump up the lips, plump up the butt, plump up whatever you can so that you can be validated by man.  The idea of encouraging envy or jealousy by friends or acquaintances was cleverly disguised and prevalent.  The idea of enticing men to lust after you was also very prevalent.  Cover after cover, article after article, filled with nonsense about what we, women, can do to make ourselves better or validated.  LIES

At some point, many of us have been trapped by the lies being pushed.  My adolescent trappings were my skin was too brown, my hair was too thick and needed the creamy smack and all day hair appointments to be beautified, I was too skinny and must not have been trying hard enough to be thick like the friends or family who naturally had “meat on their bones”, and a host of other distortions.  I hated to look at myself because I wasn’t what was in the magazines or TV.  Fast forward into my thirties and God has given much clarity on those LIES.  God knit us together and he knew us before we were born.  He knew the color of our eyes, the curl of our hair, the height we would reach, our body form, and the brownness of our skin before we were born.  The best thing of all, is that he made us all different, he made us fearfully, and he made us wonderfully.  He didn’t create us so that we would pick on ourselves.  He didn’t create us so that we would try to change what he created through crazy dieting/overeating to fit in, bleaching or tanning ourselves to be more, donning excessive makeup, or a host of other things to be validated as beautiful.

So the young girls left the restaurant and as I watched them leave, I was saddened to see one of them at midday wearing only cut off shorts, a bikini top, and unzipped sweater.  I was that age and I could instantly see their desire to be validated as beautiful.  The validation they sought was a LIE about what is beautiful.  The TRUTH: “Your adornment must not be merely be external braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 NASB.  The TRUTH is wisdom is beautiful.  “How Blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing your desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all those who hold her fast.” Proverbs 3:13-19.

Now as women of all seasons, the challenge is to live according to the TRUTH.  The TRUTH is our beauty is not the external but internal. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30.  “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.  A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.  But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”  1 Timothy 2:9-14.  We are beautiful naturally by God’s measure.  We must reject the LIES of society.  LIES in kid’s books like Boy Talk, women’s magazines, television ads and shows, music videos, and personal distortions (eating disorders).  Too much of our time is trying to imitate the world’s design of beauty.  The TRUTH is “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.” 3 John 1:11.

So, the simple question I have begun to ask myself and we should all ask ourselves is:  “What is the motivation?”  What is the motivation of buying that magazine?  What is the motivation of buying those expensive shoes or bag?  What is the motivation of buying the lip plumper?  What is the motivation of wearing a provocative dress or too tight jeans etc…in church or the club?  What is the motivation of participating in a club or group?  If the motivation is pure, God seeking and God glorifying, then we have no problem.   But if the action or motive (intentionally or not) is to be validated by man, to be “noticed”, seek praise, gather attention, distract others from focus on God, we must stop ourselves and exercise self control as women submitting our actions and motives to God.  Proverbs 7:10-11 describes well a busy lady, dressed to seduce, loud, rebellious, and never home.  She is described as a predator seeking to devour a prey.  I wondered during those K to 12 years of Catholic school why we had such strict dress codes (knee length shirts or dresses, white blouses, sweaters).  Was it to eliminate disparities between kids of all backgrounds?  Maybe.  Was it cheaper?  Maybe.   Or, the answer was quite simple.  They were encouraging us young ladies to be modest and to be the fearfully and wonderfully made women God designed.  They were encouraging us to be the natural beauties that God designed.  Go beautiful friends and share the TRUTH.  Be God’s beauties.

Thank you Lord for sharing your message, as these are your words not mine.  May they be a Blessing to those who read it and Bless those who have not read.  Give us your Spirit of Truth.  Amen

Related Posts: Hey You! ; Daughters
For a Fashion Forward Beauty Magazine taking back Media for the Kingdom visit: Dignitas
Photo Credit: HosanaintheHighest.Tumblr

Discernment: Measure Up!!!

measureupHave you ever thought? “If THEY could just measure up (stop the habits/sin that annoys you), we’d have the perfect friendship/marriage/work/ministry relationship.”  I remember a heavy season of doing this.  I would complain (which was a sin I completely ignored –Do everything without complaining or arguing” Philippians 2:14) about the failings/sins of others to others, and how it was stopping their growth and affecting me.  I would hold firmly that I had pure motives and the motive was in the name of  The Faith.  Two friend/mentors gave me a very different and unexpected response that my peers did not give.  Both of these very wise individuals on separate times (who are solid, seasoned Believers) listened very closely and rather than offer a “Fix It” solution for the others or join in my pow wow of complaining – they asked me “What about you?  What about your story (your sin)?”  I thought “What!?”

Both individuals (Believers) without telling me my sins of complaining, judgment, not walking in love, and not extending grace, encouraged me to step away from pointing out the flaws of others and look inwardly.  One even asked me, “What if they never changed?”  I did not give the grace filled response of I would love regardless or stop keeping tabs.  I was still vested in pointing out their sins and was not interested in grace (the same grace God extended me).  These wise friend mentors also encouraged me to step away from keeping records of wrongs as noted in 1 Corinthians 13 and to confess my own sin.  They always encouraged me to walk in love, to take my eye off the sins of others, and to surrender the frustration to God so that the situation could be fought in the unseen realm.  By turning over the situation to God, we are now entering into a major tenet of our belief which is Faith.  Ultimately, there is no sin that is too great for us to forgive and extend Grace.  God calls for our obedience too especially in walking in love and extending grace.  – Amen

What is walking in love?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Resources: Surrender
Photo Credit: USF.edu

Discernment: IF LOOKS COULD KILL………………OR GIVE LIFE!*

EYEIf looks could kill, I would have been a master assassin!  Some of you know “the look”, the “sister girl”, the “evil eye”, or “mean mugging”  that you inherited from your culture (translation = generational sin).  It’s not exclusive to my inherited culture but to the cultures of many nations.  Regardless of earthly culture, “the look” is not typically used to spread joy or be hospitable.  It is usually used to show disapproval, disdain, or judgment.  I recall now over a decade ago some stranger asking me “Girl, why don’t you ever smile?”  I either thought or quipped in my best attitudinal “look”: “What is there to smile about?!”  Yikes, that stranger could have been an angel unawares (Hebrews 13:2) and I bombed that hospitality test big time.  The joy of the Eternal Papa had not gotten hold of me yet and would not for many more years.

It wasn’t until five or six years ago that a friend mentor, Pearl, would explain to me what “ the look” really meant.  Pearl knew “the look” very well first hand.  She was the recipient of “the look” for two decades.  She knew the feeling of being shamed and criticized by what I dismissed as an innocent “look” and she explained that “the look” was not walking in Kingdom love.   Yes, one could technically say they were not saying anything harmful but my countenance was effectively shaming and criticizing others without words and pushing others away from the Kingdom I professed to know.  “How could this be?  Generations in my culture have done this and it’s normal.  Right?”  Hmmm….Pearl was lovingly and gently challenging me with God’s Word on countenance.  That seemingly simple “look” or countenance was not walking in the love of the Kingdom but displaying a manifestation of the flesh.

Proverbs 15:13 “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”

IF LOOKS COULD GIVE LIFE

About ten years ago when I began graduate school I met a wonderful lady named Lisa.  Lisa was my school’s leader of the African Diaspora branch of Cru.  She was an incredibly beautiful Believer with this unusual amount of never ending joy and glow.  She was curious to me, as I could only recall a few women in that season of life that had that same beauty that was far beyond the physical.  She never had a scowl and always had these great kind words to draw people out.  She was phenomenal in reaching students for the Kingdom.  When I met her daughters who were not much younger than I, I was even more amazed.  They too along with Lisa’s husband had this inherited beauty that extended far beyond their natural prettiness by human standards.  I was frankly puzzled.  As silly as this sounds, I could not figure out how they could just be so joyful.  It would take me almost a decade to finally figure out where their joyfulness came from: spiritual fruits.  I remember reading over these fruits in Galatians 5 but never had I truly embodied them in my person.  There were hints of them that would be displayed during convenient times for specific situations or people but their display was not consistent.  December 2010, Eternal Papa leveled with me in gigantic proportions.  He unveiled to me my true nature and it was not a Kingdom nature.  I was not like Abba who is not a respecter of persons (I had favorites).  I did not extend grace freely, kept running tallies of others transgressions, and used my countenance to shame and criticize others.

Abba began removing the old feisty flesh and brought forward a new fiercely faithful woman for the Kingdom.  He imparted a joy within me that I could not explain in words.  My heart felt uncontrollably merry and I could not help but smile persistently.  I became a Church greeter and felt for the first time in life like I could share the same joy that Lisa and Pearl knew of.  I even began to enjoy singing songs to the Lord and worshipping Him in my free time…alone.  The joy of Eternal Papa had gotten a hold of me!  What I have learned is that serving others is a tremendous honor and a smiling face is an easy way to bring others to the door of the Kingdom.  There is nothing canned in a Kingdom smile but a purity of the Lord.  It is a smile that lights up the room and warms the environment.  It is a smile that both children and adults are drawn to.  It is a smile that reflects the beauty of our Eternal Papa.  It does not scowl, shame, or criticize.  It is a smile that makes both Believers and the world wonder, “What makes that person so joyful?”  I encourage each of us to consider our countenance and ask two questions.  Do we give the “look that could kill”?  Or do we give the “look of life”?

Abba, please reveal to me anything in my outward temple that does not reflect your joy.  Change my heart so that I can show an unconditional joy and attract others to the Kingdom.  – Amen

*Real names of friends have been changed

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