How Do You Respond To Relationship Problems?
All too often we place people in spaces in our hearts and minds that were created and should only be reserved for God. Take a few minutes to listen to my blog post and discover how this harms us and our relationships.
Many believe and will quickly offer the "love hurts" explanation as a reason for their bad relationship experiences. However, oftentimes other things are hurting us in relationships that have little to nothing to do with love. Unfortunately, when we fail to recognize this, we not only give love a bad name but carry around wounds longer than we have to, which affects our future, relationships, and even our perception of God. In a series of videos, I will give 3 reasons why the hurt we experience is not love. This video is reason #3.
Check out my interview on Worldly Church Girl as we talk about how I got started writing, what some of my book are about, and some of the keys to growing our relationship with God especially when it comes to getting our prayers answered.
Many believe and will quickly offer the "love hurts" explanation as a reason for their bad relationship experiences. However, oftentimes other things are hurting us in relationships that have little to nothing to do with love. Unfortunately, when we fail to recognize this, we not only give love a bad name but carry around wounds longer than we have to, which affects our future, relationships, and even our perception of God. In a series of videos, I will give 3 reasons why the hurt we experience is not love. This video is reason #2
Tune in for another Ask Stephanie K. question and answer platform. In this episode, I will answer the question submitted by a viewer about the possibility of living sin-free.
Why do men cheat is a question that has been asked by women a million times over. Living in a world that accommodates men's sexuality over women's, not only keeps this question relevant but causes the list of women who are stung by its reality ever increasing. In this installment of Ask Stephanie K, I will attempt to answer this question from a deeper and more spiritual perspective which may surprise you.
Many believe and will quickly offer the "love hurts" explanation as a reason for their bad relationship experiences. However, oftentimes other things are hurting us in relationships that have little to nothing to do with love. Unfortunately, when we fail to recognize this, we not only give love a bad name but carry around wounds longer than we have to, which affects our future, relationships, and even our perception of God. In a series of videos, I will give 3 reasons why the hurt we experience is not love.
Romantic love is sought by many but is probably one of the most difficult things in life to understand. We are always looking for cues and confirmations that we are on the right path to obtaining what we desire most, and one of those ways is through the idea of a soul. Tune in for the segment of Ask Stephanie K. as I answer the question concerning the existence of a soul mate from a Biblical perspective.
The Spirit is Key
With the recent revelation of Meghan Markle's mental health state and growing awareness of mental health in the black community, I decided to take a stab at explaining the connection between mental and spiritual health. Although many solutions for addressing mental health often come from outside of us, true healing comes from realigning those things that are within us.
Blessings or Curses
As one year of life in a pandemic approaches, I decided to tackle what this all means for us spiritually. Many believe that this pandemic is a curse and a sign of God's growing frustration with mankind, while others see it as a blessing that has reminded us of what is important. But with so many loved ones lost and the domino effect of hardships that have brought many to the brink of frustration and despair, understanding if God is the one responsible is a question that I believe requires an answer.
Our Lack of Identity
Many of the difficulties we encounter in meeting the right partners and especially in marriage, stem from a lack of identity. As women, it's not uncommon for us to try and shape ourselves into what the world and others expect from us instead of learning about who we are for ourselves. This and other issues we encounter regarding our identity are what Reason #2 is all about. Learn more in this video post. For a free download, visit Smashwords.
Excerpt from, "God, Why Am I Not Married? 9 Reasons You Might Still Be Single," Reason #8.
Fantasies & Prayers Don't Mix
From my previous years of being single, I realize that it's very challenging to convince most unmarried women that being single isn't as bad as they think (Pro: 19:20). As a single woman, I spent so much of my time and mental energy imagining how my life would be different with a partner that sometimes it made me downright miserable. However, even when I began to appreciate my singleness and better recognize its value, I still longed for the kind of companionship that was only achievable through marriage.
In this frame of mind when I would hear wives complain about their husbands, I thought that they should be more appreciative that they even had one to begin with. Such thinking made me dismiss their unhappiness as ungratefulness and minimize the real work and struggles that go hand and hand with merging your life with another's. Even for those women whose husband's seemed legitimately horrible, I just knew my marriage would be different because God was going to send me a man straight from the gates of heaven. Although I knew he wouldn't be perfect, I felt that by being an excellent wife, I would smooth out any rough edges. And that as long as I kept my head on straight, our good days would outnumber the bad. However, as you can imagine, I couldn't have been more wrong.
After the euphoria of finally being a wife wore off as well as the honeymoon stage, I was faced with challenges that I never had and couldn't have ever conceived of. I realized that being married was like preparing your best room for a highly anticipated guest, as well as making other accommodating arrangements but, once the guest arrives, they want to stay everywhere else but in the room you made for them and are unimpressed by what turns out to be inadequate preparations.
For all the ways I thought I was ready, there were more ways that I simply fell terribly short. All those hurt and sad wives and their complaints revisited my mind and started to make sense. And all my lofty dreams of a marriage made in heaven fell from the sky and shattered. As I mentioned in previous books, it became apparent fairly quickly why I didn't get a husband years earlier when I had first prayed for one. I soon realized that all the while I was rushing God, He had actually been preparing and protecting me, even from myself. And if he had given me a husband when I first asked, that marriage probably wouldn't have even lasted the year. As all these things came into focus, I not only knew how wrong I had been in my thinking but also why many marriages, even Christian ones, often ended in divorce.
After realizing all this, I found myself wanting to shake some sense into the unmarried women who seemed to think as I did. I even began to wonder why married women never told me the truth about what it was really like to be married. Maybe they knew from their own experience, like mine, that single women wouldn't really listen (Pro. 19:20, 12:15) as they are so invested in their dreams becoming reality. However, let the truth be told to any single woman who is willing to listen, what most of us pray for in a husband and marriage when single is nothing more than a fantasy (Pro. 12:11).
In Reason #3, I talked about how broken and emotionally scarred women create their ideal husband around their brokenness, which I called the Superman Syndrome. This simply means that their ideal husband is molded into shape by their subconscious desire to be healed. However, even when a woman doesn't do this, her ideal husband comes about in a similar fashion. Instead of molding our husbands around a need for healing, we mold him around whatever we think is missing in our lives (Pro. 4:23).
So for example, if we like watching movies, we’ll imagine someone who’ll watch movies with us. If we like to travel, we’ll imagine a traveling companion. If we struggle with bills or other responsibilities, we’ll imagine someone who will lend a hand. And if we like sex, we will imagine someone who’ll like sex as much as and in the same ways that we do. If we want a prayer partner, we will imagine a partner who is as zealous for God as we are. In a nutshell, women, and likely men too, usually imagine someone who will come and fill up the empty spaces in their lives wherever they feel those spaces might be. These "spaces" will change from person to person, but I hope you get the general picture.
It is viewing our future spouse from this perspective that makes waiting on their arrival very difficult and feel like an eternity. And to believe that God is withholding something that's precisely what we need and want can make His timing appear as if it's the real obstacle (2 Pet. 3:9). However, while we are sitting back fantasizing about how puzzle-piece perfect our future partner will fit into our lives, what we fail to understand is that what or who we are envisioning isn't even a real person.
Blessings & Cursings
A "real" person may like watching movies, but they may not be the same kind of movies. They may like to travel, but maybe not as much or as little as their partner does. They may help out financially, but they may also hide and waste their money, and that's beside the fact that they may have difficulties working or decide they don't want to work at all. They may like sex, but for whatever reason, during weird times or in weird ways. They may start off zealous for God and praying more than their partner, but also one day decide that they don't want to be a Christian anymore and backslide. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these make believe partners we dream of as they have no personality, preferences, quirks, struggles, or needs of their own except for those we imagine we will be able to fulfill or tolerate. Yet, these and even more significant differences, which eventually become sources of conflict and dissatisfaction, are more realistic ideas of partners than the ones we feed ourselves (Pro. 16:25).
On top of these personality and preferential differences, we don't imagine the headaches, heartbreak, tears, loneliness, and struggles. We don't imagine that our beautiful spouse will come on the scene and start talking and hanging out with the serpent and taking his advice over our own (Gen. 3:1–6). We don't imagine the number of months many couples go without even touching or talking and the blowouts that make us behave in ways we never thought we could. We don't imagine the debt, the bills, the health crisis, the miscommunication, or lack of communication altogether. And we surely don't imagine the moments of regret or our spouse's issues and skeletons that begin spilling out of their once invisible closet. We don't imagine the days where we will be ready to walk away or the times that God Himself will say to stay and stick it out. And we dare not imagine the day that we would blame God for sending us such a spouse in the first place (Gen. 3:12).
If we did imagine these things, if God himself showed us a glimpse of the low moments ahead, many women―if they are smart―would surely hold their horses and enjoy the life, peace, and space they have while they are single. There may even be some who will outright decline marriage altogether with a thanks-but-no-thanks reply as they quickly head for the nearest exit. Can you imagine what Adam would have said or done if he had known beforehand that the beautiful and newly formed Eve would be the gateway to his fall (Gen. 3:17)?
The supernatural reality is that while we are preparing ourselves for a perfectly crafted puzzle piece of a spouse, God is trying to prepare us for the battles. And while we are so focused on the good times, He is trying to equip us with what is needed to overcome the bad ones.
The natural reality is that no matter how great a woman thinks she is, or how great she thinks the man will be that God will send her, no one gets a perfect spouse (Hos. 1:2)―not even Adam who had never sinned. And our spouses imperfections as well as our own won't be tolerable things that fade into the background of an otherwise heavenly marriage, but they will challenge and break us in ways that we never saw coming. As hard as this might be for some to accept, this needs to happen which I will explain in a moment. However, my point is that we would do better to prepare ourselves to be disappointed, hurt, and lonely yet choose to remain committed to the marriage and trust God in such seasons than merely setting ourselves up for disappointment due to romanticized illusions of happiness and bliss.
"No matter how great a woman thinks she is, or how great she thinks the man will be that God will send her, no one gets a perfect spouse―not even Adam who had never sinned."
Just Be What I Need
So often we make marriage about what we want and think we need but I don’t recall God taking any customized orders from Adam or anyone else in the Bible about what kind of spouse they wanted (Matt. 6:8; Hos. 1:2). However today, we seem to think we can order a spouse off a made for you menu, picking and choosing what we want and don't want, and then expect God to fill our orders. But when our unexpected entrée doesn't fill our empty spaces, especially for years, we are ready to send it back which as you can imagine leads to miserable marriages or the natural and logical decision to divorce. Statements like, “we grew apart,” “I just wasn’t happy anymore,” or “I never expected him/her to be like or do this” are often on the lips of divorcées (Mat. 19:4–6). And that’s if such issues hadn’t opened the door to larger problems such as lying, abuse, or infidelity.
I’m convinced that at least 80% of failed marriages come from people’s inability to reconcile their fantasy of what they thought marriage would be like with the reality of what it turned out to be (Jam. 4:1–3). And after failing to mold their partner into what they were hoping for, the acceptance that it will never happen inevitably destroys the marriage. This crushing disappointment can be made all the worse by those who felt that they had finally reached the finish line or relief from the loneliness and boredom of singlehood, only to discover they have started a new and much more difficult race.
The truth about marriage is that it has absolutely nothing to do with filling our empty spaces, especially when, most times, these empty spaces are the results and consequences of our fallen existence and the creation of marriage predates this. Basically, marriage was created before empty spaces ever existed. Even those who might think that God used Eve to fill Adam’s empty space because he needed a helper (Gen. 2:18), remember Adam only realized he needed a helper after God suggested it (Gen. 2:20). This means that his need was a divine need and not merely the results of his sin or imaginations (2 Cor. 10:5).
God is the creator and designer of marriage (Matt. 19:4–6), and anything created by God must be used for His purpose and glory, not our own (1 Cor. 10:26; Col. 1:16). Anyone going into a marriage looking for their empty spaces to be filled, whether dysfunctional like the Superman Syndrome or not, is going into marriage for the wrong reasons and will undoubtedly be disappointed. And if they or their expectations don't grow or change, the union will certainly fail. As for me, I had to throw out all my preconceived ideas about marriage and to say it was hard would be an extreme understatement. However, by doing so not only did my marriage greatly improve but I grew into a person I didn't know I could become.
Believe it or not, this is the point of all the hurt, tears, struggles, and anything else that follows; it is for us to grow. As explained in Reason #2, Eve was created to help Adam grow into the likeness of God and vice versa. Unfortunately, it is in our fallen state that growth often comes with immense struggle and pain but even still, growth is a much larger objective than simply having some company or another living being at our disposal.
Merely wanting a spouse to fill our empty spaces not only reduces a human life and spirit down to another person's limited and self-serving wants, needs, and perspective, but also the supernatural and divine purpose of marriage itself. The only person we can ever expect to fill our empty spaces is God (Rom. 15:13; Matt. 11:28–29). And as much as there can be a reasonable expectation of companionship, marriage itself is much deeper than that.
Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, most people overlook this as we have reduced marriages' divine wonder and task of growing two people into one so they can reflect God's image on the earth (Gen. 1:26) down to merely making each other happy (Matt. 19:5–6). The reality is that the happiness and companionship we seek are the supernatural byproducts of embracing this growth and allowing ourselves to be remolded by our marital struggles. The outcome of the marriages that are successful at doing this will reap a reward much bigger and better (Eph. 3:20) than simply having someone to watch movies with. Not only will they achieve a level of companionship more profound than they were imagining, but they will also more clearly understand the wondrous and loving nature and even the mind of God (Jere. 29:11).
Where are your empty spaces?
With all of this said, it is not always easy to uncover the empty spaces we may be expecting our future or current spouse to fulfill. In fact, many times we do this unconsciously. If you could use some help in figuring this out or could just use a more personal understanding of God's plan for your current or future marriage, simply schedule your free session today.
For a limited time, get free downloads of Reason #1 & #2 of this series, by visiting Smashwords. If you are interested in reading the rest of the book that this excerpt was pulled from, sign-up to be notified once it's available. By doing so, you will automatically receive a free download.
Have you been praying for a spouse or better marriage, and God doesn't seem to be listening? Does your unmet desire for companionship feel like a plague on your life? Are you on the edge of losing or have lost your faith because of it?
Reason #1 in this in-depth series explores the source of our desires for companionship and why God gave us a need for something that He doesn't always fulfill. This book will open your eyes to our nature of desire and why when God says no, there is always a profound reason. And once we address these reasons, it not only positions us to receive the very thing we're asking for but further reveals that He genuinely looks out for our best interest—even when we push against it. A free download of this book is available at Smashwords.
Written in respect and honor of Martin Luther King's & his Legacy.
Amid the racial unrest that’s been taking place in our nation since the death of George Floyd, questions concerning the real progress of Blacks since slavery and even the Civil Rights Movement have been a topic of discussion in black circles. While some say that nothing has changed, which I try to veer away from for the reasons I explain in a previous post, others say it’s time to take more drastic and even militant measures. Videos of Blacks striking back along with signs and shirts reading that “We are not our ancestors...” highlight the thoughts of many who say that if Blacks are pushed in this day and age, unlike those in the past, we will fight back and it won’t be pretty. Of course, this brings Martin Luther King’s methods under fire and subtly suggests that he and his followers were not aggressive or bold enough to do what needed to be done to secure Blacks their freedom. However, on this day that we recognize MLK's legacy, I want to show that not only did King’s methods work, they reveal that even though confusing, how God's ways are better and higher than our own.
We often attribute non-violence movements to the legacy of Martin Luther King but actually this idea comes from God. With this in mind, it shouldn't be surprising that many would have problems with His way of doing things as they often appear backward to us. To save humanity, He came here to die. In order to gain life, the Bible says we must lose it. And to attain the things that we want most in life, we are instructed not to seek them but instead to first seek God. These contradicting examples, among many others, not only sound counterintuitive to most but appear to take us in a completely different direction than where we want to go. This causes many to be confused and skeptical of God's ways, and that's if they don't lose faith in them altogether.
But the reason God's ways seem wrong and backward to us is that we are only able to judge and see the world through our five senses and whatever little knowledge we've gained in our short experience of life. Viewing things from this narrow perspective automatically lends itself to incomplete information and places our focus more on what we can see, feel, and etc., which is motivate by our needs and desires. Such thinking most often produces fast and easy solutions that give us a sense of gratification or relief but often have little to do with actually solving our problems. With this thinking, the world rotates from one whack-a-mole solution to the next, all the while creating more problems as we claim to be cleaning them up.
However, God sees things from a massively broader and deeper perspective, along with unfathomable knowledge and information. He sees beyond our present, unjust past, needs, and feelings. In fact, His view stretches across eternity and includes the universal laws and spiritual principles that our very existence was founded upon. With this view, He can see what is happening on the surface and also the root of problems underneath. He can see how the problems we face are related to the past and also how, if unresolved, they will affect the future. This makes Him able to offer precise tailor made solutions that not only fix the problem, but eradicate its ability to continue spreading.
So often, our way of doings things clashes with God because while we are unknowingly looking for incomplete or quick fixes, which includes simply expressing our rage, God aims to solve our issues eternally. He doesn't just seek to save and secure justice for just Blacks, but for the entire world. Unfortunately such solutions require more time, effort, energy, and sacrifice than what most are willing to pay which is why we are so quick to label them as wrong.
But, God doesn't tell us to love our enemies simply to spread love in the world (Mat 5:44). He doesn't ask us to turn the other cheek just to be abused in this life because we will reap paradise in the next (Mat. 5:39). He tells us this because not returning violence for violence and evil for evil will reveal the source of the problem which is the heart and mind of those who perpetrate evil. And revealing the source produces the best chance we have of actually changing things.
Returning a hit to someone who hits me—which is an easy, immediate, and not well thought out response to a problem--does nothing to address why the hitting started in the first place. In fact, in God's understanding of our fallen condition and eternity, He knows that hitting only results in more hitting, and as the saying goes, before it's all over, the whole world will simply end up blind. Nevertheless, even in a blind world, the likelihood of the real problem being addressed is slim to none. And with such being the case, after everyone's vision is gone, people will commence to taking fingers and toes. This is how problems don't just continue, but when not thoroughly addressed, they get worse.
To Build or Destroy
But by asking us to refrain from simply functioning on a superficial level of quick fixes and the relief that comes from retaliating on our enemies in kind, God is inviting us to look at things through His eyes. He is asking us not to be consumed by the condition we find ourselves in but to grab hold of the knowledge, power, and insight He offers to defeat and rise above it. He is sharing with us what it takes to free not just Blacks, but to loosen the chains that all too often bind human hearts and minds. He is unveiling the transforming power that can come from simply allowing people to see themselves.
When people are fighting, it's easy to loose sight of who is in error. Also, fighting rarely fixes anything but instead prolongs and escalates problems. Not only does harm and loss of life increase but the destruction it causes ripples throughout family's and time. If anyone desires to actually fix a problem, fighting is never a viable option. However, if one person is doing all the hitting while the other is restraining and refraining from returning a lick, it shines an inexcusable light on who actually has the problem. It takes any question of justification and sets it square in the lap for perpetrators to have to answer.
In this way, when the newly invented television broadcasted images of powerful hoses, vicious dogs, and over the top brutality inflicted upon non-violent men, women, and even children for simply sitting at lunch counters and the like, it made the underlying evil of racism and white supremacy hard to deny. Not only did this put pressure on those in power to take action to cover America’s shame, but it held up a mirror to a nation that had made the absence of humanity normal and acceptable. Such images, although viewed by some as weakness up until today, garnered the most significant changes for America and especially Black America to date. MLK's insistence on applying God's method of a non-violent approach is the very reason we Blacks have many of the rights we enjoy today.
Instead of fostering more hate and destruction, non-violence made silent and smothered voices bold, loud, and hard to ignore. It invigorated blacks to reclaim their dignity, even forcing many whites to take a hard look at themselves and inevitably join with black voices to demand change. It also gathered support from around the globe to stand up for what is right and bound people together in unity, hope, and love that shines in direct opposition to humanity's greatest evils. And even today these voices continue to grow causing the protest of 2020 to become one of the largest in American history. Non-violence echo's through time as it continues to inspire a nation and the world in ways that reminds us all of the deep and intrinsic value of our mutual humanity.
Say what you want about non-violence, no militant based group has ever been able to make even a 10th of these claims. Indeed, non-violence doesn’t offer us the quick fixes our short-sighted nature prefers and denies us the temporary relief of simply lashing out, what it does offer is something more than violence can ever do. Non-violence is not just a means of protest, but it fosters a force that restores life and hope to our world. Through non-violence it becomes clear that true power doesn't come from the ability to tear down or destroy but to rebuild and restore.
It's Your Choice
I know that some will say, as I have heard them say, that if non-violence was so great, why are blacks still being killed and discriminated against today? My reply to that is the only reason anyone would expect a 350-year-old problem to be resolved within 14 short years is simply out of a desire to avoid putting the same blood, sweat, and tears that our ancestors did.
If they got us this far on the sacrifices of others, when not even 150 years ago, we were still slaves, and a little more than 70 years ago, we didn’t have the rights we have today, it is only right for us to continue the fight for future generations without complaining that there is something unfair about it. What is fair is that we handover a better world to those who will come after us in the same way it was handed down to us. And that we don't fumble the progress that's been made simply to express the rage that robs us of seeing a bigger picture. The question of which method to use boils down to how you answer this question, do you want to use your life and anger to heal or to destroy? Even God himself says, it's your choice.
The Real Reason You Might Still Be Single
Do you wonder why you’re still single? Why your marriage or relationship doesn't seem to be working? Why God ignores your prayers for a husband or a better marriage? If so, these books were written for you. Learn more about my books as well as how to get free downloads.
Prayers for peace for our nation have been flooding my social media pages this last week in a way it hasn’t before. This is understandable in the wake of an ambush on the Capitol that hasn’t taken place since the War of 1812. When things like this happen, I think its normal for people to feel rattled as it threatens our way of life and intrudes upon the peace and stability we need to provide for and protect ourselves and our families. Nevertheless, while this is an understandable response, it is not a spiritual one. The truth is that as Christians, we should not only refrain from praying for peace in this world, but in many ways we shouldn't even be expecting it.
Born On A Battlefield
All too often, it seems Christians forget amid our technologies, struggles, needs, desires, responsibilities, and rights that we are living in a fallen world. This fallen world doesn’t just mean that life is hard or that we are born spiritually separated from God but that our lifetimes are spent dead smack in the middle of a battlefield. Unfortunately, instead of us putting on the armor that God has given us to fight and win the battle, too many Christians are building their homes, decking it out with nice furniture, and trying to be comfortable right on the front lines. We spend so much time and energy trying to make life better for ourselves that we forget about the spiritual warfare that is also taking place on a much larger scale. Then, when things happen that remind us that we are at war, we are quick to start scrambling and praying for peace. But in too many cases, what we are often praying for is the ability to go back to living like we are not at war.
Satan is king
One of the main things about being Christian is that we are to see life from more than just our five senses but also grow to perceive it from our spiritual ones. When we learn to do this, we know that a word is not only fleeting syllables that come from our mouths, or that angry people aren't just upset about a bad day, and that what might look like losing is not always defeat.
Well in the same respect, we should know that no matter how nice and even comfortable life can seem at times, especially for us Americans, or how caught up we become in our personal goals and challenges, it doesn’t change the fact that Satan is the ruler of this world. And if we believe as the Bible says that Satan is the ruler, does it really make sense to pray for and expect peace in our nation? Better yet, is sustained peace even possible? Furthermore, what does it mean when the soldiers that God has on this earth to do His will and defeat the enemy are instead praying to live with him in peace?
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Matthew 24:6
Get Behind Me Satan
Praying for peace during war reminds me of Peter, telling Christ that He wouldn't die after He revealed his destiny of the cross to the apostles. What may have seemed to Peter's natural eyes as genuine concern for a loved one and friend, Jesus responded by calling him Satan (Matt. 16:21-23).
Some may say that praying for peace for our nation is different and that there is nothing wrong with doing so. If so, how could we even expect such prayers to be answered when the scriptures not only warn us that these things will happen but that they MUST happen, and we shouldn't be afraid when they do (Matt. 24:6-8). So, if these things must happen and God tells us not to be afraid when they do, aren't we being like Peter when we are instead praying for peace—the total opposite. Aren't we, like Peter, praying more for earthly concerns instead of aligning ourselves with the will and plans of God?
Even Jesus said I have not come to bring peace but a sword (Matt. 10:34). And right before He left the apostles and ascended to heaven, He said, I do not pray for the world but only those you have given me (Jhn 17:9). The supernatural reality is that the world's turmoil is a product of living in a fallen state. This turmoil and our inability to sustain peace are often the very things that help us recognize our need for a savior— for Christ. If it was always peaceful or we could sustain peace for any significant period of time, no one would ever need or acknowledge God and be none the wiser.
Not My Will
Instead of praying for peace in times like these, what we should be praying for, as Jesus did in the garden when he clearly did not want to suffer through a crucifixion is, "not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22:41-43). And then receiving and resting in God's strength and supernatural peace to complete our task and weather any storm that comes. Instead of trying to hold on to our comforts, being so rattled by what we are seeing, or simply focusing on making life easier and better for ourselves and our loved ones, we ought to be trusting God even when everything around us begs and encourages us to do otherwise.
If we continue praying for peace and plastering it across social media, we not only give ourselves false hope but unintentionally make a mockery of God for those who point the finger and say, look, your God did not answer. We also set ourselves up to waiver in our faith as we may eventually feel unheard and invisible to God. We also show that we have a little more growing to do as our spiritual eyes have yet to grow beyond our natural ones.
So set this idea of praying for peace in the nation aside and put on your spiritual armor, and start praying that God's will be done and helping to save souls in this war. Let's demonstrates God's peace, strength, and resilience that makes those shaking in the their boots wonder about the God we serve. Let's remember that we are not only God's children, but also his soldiers.
This World Is Not Our Home
In these polarizing political times, many Christians are falling prey to all deceptions of all kinds. Deceptions that come in the form of conspiracy theories, fears, and promises to provide more comfort and security in this life while labeling it as God's will. These tactics are not new; however, to avoid falling for them, we need to be aware of the enemy's schemes and what the Bible says about Christians relationship to this world.
With every New Year come reflections of the past and new plans, goals, and expectations for the future. With 2020 this couldn't be truer as we anticipate the pandemic and a tumultuous presidency coming to a close as well as gaining a better understanding and brighter future when it comes to racial equality in America. Nevertheless, as New Year's resolutions are anticipated, made, and brought before God through prayer, we must be mindful to keep these things in perspective or risk allowing them to eclipse God's will in our lives.
Praying and hoping for better careers, more money, healing, restored relationships, health, and a fairer world, among other things, are not a problem in and of themselves. However, they can become so when we are so focused on transforming the circumstances of our lives and world that we place God's will on the backburner in favor of our own and place natural things before spiritual truths. In this mindset, God becomes our servant instead of us serving Him. Earth becomes our home instead of a pit stop along the way. And our relationship with Him becomes purely about success and happiness in this life instead of our spiritual growth and maturity that's required for the next. Not to mention working on His behalf to save lost and broken souls.
Unfortunately, it's very easy for us to make our plans and not remember to leave room for and remain aware that God's will is greater and sometimes comes at the cost of what we want most. We so easily forget that it's not always His will to make our lives easier and even fair, especially at the expense of teaching us how to see life through His eyes instead of the narrow view of our own. We sometimes think that because we seek after, believe, and decree that God can and will do these things for us, we exemplify what it means to have faith, but faith is trusting God's plan for our lives, not merely trusting him to perform our own.
As children of God, we must learn how to separate ourselves from this world and commune with God in a place where the cares of this fade away and only He becomes our focus. We must grow in our ability to see beyond the desires and troubles of this life and bask in the joy, fulfillment, and peace of His perfect plan regardless of how things look. We must learn to leave room for His will even as we plan out our own and allow him to prepare us and use our lives for His purpose.
So, as we plan our goals and dreams for this new year, let's add God's plans to the list too. And remember that whatever we give to God, He gives it back to us tenfold. If you need help understanding God's will for your life and making corresponding plans, sign up for a free session to gain valuable insight.
In the wake of all the racial tension in America, I've been hearing more and more blacks say that Christianity is fake and a white man's religion. In this video, I will explain how believing this not only perpetuates white supremacy and is simply untrue but that we must be careful about allowing the evil motives and intentions of others, interfere with our ability to see God.
There is much to be appreciated in a man who sympathizes and understands the plight of women, and Tyler Perry seems to do this with his movies. Not only this, but he does a commendable job at exposing the kinds of traumas that many women experienced firsthand or have witnessed in some form or fashion. Traumas that are usually not openly spoken of or swept under the rug; traumas that plague many women and their choices, for most if not all, their entire lives. However, with that said, the problem is that in his movies, the answer or reward for a woman who has been through all sorts of hell in varying degrees is finding a perfect, sensitive, and gorgeous man who sweeps her off her feet.
I know it's entertainment, but as a woman myself, I know it's easy to get caught up in these knight in shining armor depiction of men. And I don't think it's right or fair that Tyler Perry uses some very sensitive issues pertaining to the experience of being a woman and then resort to these cliché and unrealistic endings and resolutions.
His Armor Is Not That Shinny
In "I Can Do Bad By Myself," April, played by Taraji P. Henderson, who is incredibly selfish, finds a man who is willing to teach her what love is really all about. In "Diary of A Mad Black Woman," Kimberly Elise's character, Helen, just so happens to meet a wonderfully sensitive man just as her long term marriage of abuse and neglect appears to be coming to an end. And let's not forget Vanessa, played by Lisa Anderson in "Madea's Family Reunion," that meets a man who actually says to her that "some men come to restore." However, in reality, relationships might play out more like Kimberly's marriage in Madea's Big Happy Family, but with the man actually leaving in the end because women like her won't face their issues.
I am all for the suggestion that there are better men out there than what most of us women run into regularly. One that is not petrified of love, commitment, or marriage and somewhat understands what a woman needs. The kind of man that, although he is far from perfect, takes the time to make sure his wife feels and is loved by him. But let's not lie to ourselves about what having a man like this really means. For one, he probably won't be gorgeous, and second, he can never be perfect. He will indeed have his own problems and baggage to deal with and won't always have the time, knowledge, intuition, or patience to sweep down and save us from our own.
Stephanie K. was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and various coaching certifications. (read more)
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