Category Archives: Relationships

Disappointments In Relationships – What To Know Before You End It

The truth is we live in a fallen world filled with flawed people. As such, in this life, it is not a matter of if we will deal with disappointments, it is a matter of when we will deal with them.

The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for – Bob Marley

A dire but commonly employed strategy for dealing with disappointment (especially in a relationship) is to try to avoid being disappointed in the future at all cost. This strategy calls for the tactics of putting massive walls around our hearts, looking for perfection, being overly sensitive and critical of mistakes, and withholding intimacy. These tactics so distance us mentally and emotionally from relationships, that we sacrifice real love and connection for the illusion of safety. The problem with this strategy for the person that employs it is that (1) it leaves a gaping hole in their heart and (2) it does not take away the relational desire. It is not unusual for a person who has employed this strategy to be plagued by bouts of melancholy and depression because they have starved themselves of one of the human basic needs – the need for a close relationship. I do not recommend this strategy but prefer the one of offering our disappointments to God that He may turn our hurt and pain into gain and glory.

We should neither set ourselves up for disappointments, nor try to avoid them – Anonymous

While there is an element of not setting ourselves up for constant disappointments by choosing our partners carefully, there is another element of expectations we must be careful to manage. Below are two expectations that set us up for disappointments.

Expecting Our Partners to Be Perfect

Born out of selfishness (for the person who expects perfection is themselves not perfect), this expectation looks to gain more than it gives in the relationship, and expects from the other person what they cannot give.  Asking someone for something they do not have the ability to give is a sure strategy to be disappointed.

Instead of expecting perfection, we are better off accepting their imperfection, just as we accept our own.

Expecting To Change Our Partners 

Born out of arrogance (for we try to do only what God can do), this expectation encourages the would be changer to alter the environment of their relationship to effect a change in their partner. Though it may start off lovingly, it usually reeks of manipulation, and will likely end up in frustration and disappointment for the one who engages in it.

Instead of trying to change our partners, we are better of praying to God that our hearts change towards our partners as He effects His change in His time on both us and our partners.

Disappointments are inevitable but discouragement in a choice – Charles Stanley

We tend to get discouraged when we think that things will not change. The thought that things will not change is what leads us to want to give up. It is what has led many people to divorce their partners or end relationships prematurely.

To think that things will never change is to limit the power of God. The root of this line of thinking is unbelief for it truly does not believe that with God all things are possible. Choose to think differently. Before pulling a plug on your relationship, consider these three things:

God Will Finish What He Started

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns – Philippians 1:6

God is not done with our relationships yet. His heart is that relationships not only survive, but that they thrive. We must submit ourselves to Him so that He can finish the good work He has begun in us. As His hands mark our lives, so will it mark our relationships. It is a process – we must let God do His good work. Things will not always be the same in Him.

God Can Create A New Relationship With the Same People

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland  – Isaiah 43:18-19

While people say “well if I tell you what happened”, God says “well if I tell you what I am about to make happen”. See if we knew the future God has planned for us, the past would not discourage us. Our plans compared to God’s plans are rubbish. It’s time to surrender our plans over to Him so He can create rivers of life giving water to sustain the relationships that have become dry wastelands

God Brings To Pass What We Commit To Him

That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of His return – 2 Timothy 1:12

Though you may feel you are suffering and serving a prison term in your relationship right now, understand that He is able to guard everything you entrust to Him. So entrust your relationship to Him and watch as He keeps it and guards it. With God as the guard, no enemy can penetrate. So let go of it and release it into His hands for safeguard. You will not regret it.

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Why Settle for a Wedding When You Can Have a Marriage?

41hRKhTijSL“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” – Genesis 3:24

A few weeks ago, I got a text from a friend who asked me to keep two of her friends in prayer for they were going through a divorce and were not only finding the emotional trauma of the separation difficult but were experiencing major anxiety with regards to being separated from their children.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. That was the fourth request for those going through a divorce that WEEK. Why Lord? My spirit screamed out as I felt a wave of righteous indignation sweep over me. What is going on? I questioned.

No sooner had I asked that question, a bible versed popped into my head. If you guessed Genesis 3:24, you are right! Immediately, I heard the words, ‘the problem is that many people are settling for a wedding instead of striving to be married.’ Then the explanation came:

To be joined is to be wedded together. It means two things are connected together. But just because two things are connected together does not mean they are one. To be married is different. When two things are married together, that means they unite and become one. Think of two circles: Just because they are connected or joined together does not mean they are flush against each other (married)

The bible verse that the two SHALL become one flesh. The ‘shall’ is an expression of an instruction / intention of something that will happen in the future. In other words, the verse is telling us that first comes the wedding, then comes the marriage. Marriage is a process and NOT a one time event.

Light-bulb moment: When people say they want to be married, what many really are saying is that they want to be wedded.

What the wedding (joining) represents is a commitment to be married (becoming one). Without this commitment, a marriage cannot take place. Hence, we see that the bedrock for any marriage is a commitment. But note that commitment is just the foundation upon which a marriage is built.

Light-bulb moment: Being committed to each other is just the beginning and NOT the end. It is time to be wedded to the process of marriage.

 So what does the process of marriage look like? The scriptures reveal it to us in Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV): Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

The church in this passage represents the bride while Christ represents the groom. The groom in this case pays the bride price (in the case of Jesus by giving his life) thus signaling the betrothal. Note: In Hebrew culture, this was a de facto marriage, for the end of a betrothal required a divorce that could ONLY be initiated by the groom.

Why did He do it? He did it in order to cleanse her with the water through the word so that she should be holy and without blemish. In other words, he did it so that he could help her become the very best version of herself!

Why did He go through all that trouble? He did it because the only way we could become one with Him (married to Jesus) is by becoming spotless / without blemish as He is spotless and without blemish. In other words, He did it so that they could experience real closeness that comes with full compatibility (in spirit, soul, and body)

Light-bulb moment: Marriage comes when two people are committed to helping each other become the best person they can be and are committed to developing intimacy with one another.

Note: While wedding requires spiritual compatibility, marriage requires that we are compatible in spirit and soul. Being that each person in this world is uniquely made and has unique experiences (no one person is the same), the ONLY place we can find soul compatibility is also in Christ.

Points to Ponder

A marriage where both partners are not committed to putting God first is destined not to last.

How well your earthly marriage goes depends on how much you allow God to cleanse you in your heavenly marriage

For weddings to turn into marriages, each person must take their individual journey of oneness with God

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What Makes a Woman Want to Submit to Her Husband?

I had the pleasure of attending two wonderful weddings in the past 30 days – one in the U.S and another in the U.K. On both occasions, the minister in charge made mention of the scripture where husbands are to love their wives and wives are to submit to their husband (Ephesians 5:22 – 28).

Being good sports, both couples took the advice and everything went as planned. Yet it was clear by looking at the expressions of quite a number of the ladies in the congregation that the statement had gone in one ear and come out of the other. From my conversations, it is clear to me that a substantial number of women toil with the issue of submitting to their husband. And should they somehow wrap their heads around it, it is nigh impossible for them to fully wrap their hearts around it.

What it Means To Submit

When the bible tells a woman to submit to her husband, it does NOT mean that the woman is to be a slave to every one of her husbands whim and wham. The word ‘submit’ itself is a complex word that can be broken down into two components: ‘Sub’ which means under AND mission. In other words, for a woman to submit to her husband is for her to come under the mission of her husband.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: For a wife to submit to her husband is for her to come under her husband’s mission

What is the Husband’s Mission?

Now before any man goes ‘yeah that’s right, God said my wife must come under my mission’, God in His providence does not leave what the mission of the husband is to chance. He tells the man  his mission is similar to the mission of Jesus Christ.

What was Jesus’ mission? His mission was to love His bride (the church) by giving His life for her (putting down His crown and taking a lower position to the point of laying down his life) in order to marry Himself to her so that He might provide spiritual leadership over her ( that is to cleanse and sanctify her by the washing of water by the word) that she might become what she was predestined to become (holy and without blemish).

So what is the Husbands mission? Once the Husband and wife are wed (for that is the only way he becomes a husband), his mission is to marry (join) himself to his wife in love by taking the position of a servant leader who provides spiritual oversight over his household for the express purpose of propelling her to be all that she was to made to become. It is not about him. It is about her!

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: First comes the wedding, then comes the marriage.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: For a wife to submit to her husband is for the wife to come under her husband’s God-given mission, which is to be a servant leader and provide spiritual oversight for the purpose of having her become all that she was meant to be and for her to fulfill her destiny.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a man is truly on mission, a woman starts to gravitate towards that most noble mission and desires to come under it (if she loves herself).

What About When He is Not on Mission

A wife is told to come under her husband’s mission, she is NOT told to come under her husbands omission (mission that has been omitted or aborted). Whenever the husband is operating outside of the mission God has prescribed to him, he is no longer under mission but rather he is under omission.

It is like when the prophet Jonah went to Tarshish instead of Nineveh – Instead of being on mission, Jonah was on omission. Now if Jonah had made some missteps while on mission, this is different from going the opposite way. Similarly, a wife is to come under the mission of her husband and must learn to forgive some of his missteps along the way ( for he is not perfect) just as he forgives her for not always coming under his mission (for she is not perfect).

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: If Christ’s mission was not good and profitable for us, no one would submit to it. No one would have faith in Him. The same goes for the husband. If his mission is not good; if he is walking in omission, then no woman will willingly submit to Him.

Pitfalls of NOT Loving and Submitting

Failure of a Husband to Love: It is interesting to note that the Fall took place because Adam did not provide spiritual oversight for Eve. If he had provided such oversight, he would have intervened the moment Eve accepted the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil from the serpent. He would have snatched the fruit and said “Now wait a minute, God said we are not to eat from this tree. We are out of here! And don’t let me see you talking to my wife again serpent, lest I lay hands on you.”

Note: At this point Adam had dominion over everything – including the serpent. He could have easily dismissed the serpent but he decided to surrender his leadership and oversight. The result is that he and the rest of his offspring suffered.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a husband does not follow his mission, he hurts himself and his family

Failure of Wife to Submit: There is no better example of a wife not coming under the mission of her loving husband than this: We who are the bride of Christ (the church) do not always listen and obey Christ (our Husband) though everything He does for us and wants for us is good. See, God has wed himself to us (the church) yet he is trying to get us to come under His mission (submit) by faith so that we may experience the fullness of His love. When we do not come under God’s mission, we hurt ourselves.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a woman does not come under the mission of her loving Husband, she hurts herself.

Hence we see that the only way to avoid real hurt in a marriage is for the husband to love his wife and for his wife to submit to her husband. It is truly a symbiotic and life-giving relationship.

Food for Thought: The marriage compromise is that the husband surrenders to love his wife (instead of loving himself and preserving his own life) and that the wife in turn surrenders to come under her husband’s mission (instead of walking in her own mission).

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I Had Peace But My Relationship Still Fell To Pieces!

“You know how the pastor said not to do anything without peace? Well, I kept myself pure, got the consent of my parents, went through marriage counseling, and had great peace about the man I was marrying. Yet he turned out to be the wrong one. Emmanuel, I had peace but my marriage fell to pieces.”

It was clear that my friend’s previous experience was challenging the truth that had been preached. Choosing not to open a can of worms, I stuck to the topic of peace! To her comment, I replied:

Peace does not reveal the will of God for your life (the word from God does that); Peace confirms that you are moving in faith as you follow the will of God for your life. Moreover, there is a difference between the peace from God and the peace from man

PEACE OF GOD

Consider the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus’ sweat became as droplets of blood as he resisted sin. The passage of scripture in Luke 22 tells us that Jesus was in anguish. In other words, peace was the last word we can use to describe what Jesus felt in the garden as he asked the Father if there was any other way to bring salvation to men besides going to the cross. If Jesus had simply said “I do not have peace about going to the cross”, he would have missed the will of God. But Jesus already knew the will of God, so he prayed to the father for help. In turn, the Lord sent  an angel to strengthen him and he left the garden in peace.

Thus, just because we do not have peace about something does not mean it is not the will of God for our lives. It may very well mean that we have not surrendered to the will of God for our lives. Once we know the will of God and surrender to it will the peace of God come over us.

 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:6

The pre-requisite to the peace of God is prayer, petition, and a heart of thanksgiving as we move by faith in the will of God.

No faith equals no peace; only anxiety ensues!

PEACE OF MAN

Conversely, the peace of man can be very dangerous because it is based on previous experience, comfort, and can be tainted by our own will. Consider the children of Israel who decided not to go into the Promised Land. They had no peace about it because they saw the giant opposition they had to face. Yet, it was the will of God to go into the land to possess it. The giants they saw in the land dissuaded them so much that they forgot all about the promise of God. In other words, they walked by sight and not by faith.

Though they had peace about their decision to stay put in the wilderness, it was the wrong decision. You know the end of the story. All of them except two that had no peace about staying in the wilderness died in the wilderness. In other words, the peace of God would have taken them to their destiny but the peace of man led them to destruction. So next time you have peace, make sure the source of your peace is from God.

The peace of God follows the will of God, but the peace of man follows the will of man.

Consider the wicked. The peace that comes from God does not go with them (Isaiah 57:21) but they certainly experience the peace that comes from doing their own will (see Proverbs 4:14-16 below).

Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked;
don’t proceed in the way of evil ones.
Avoid it; don’t travel on it.
Turn away from it, and pass it by.
 For they can’t sleep
unless they have done what is evil;
they are robbed of sleep
unless they make someone stumble – Proverbs 4:14 – 16

Some people do not have peace unless they do what is justified in their own eyes but not necessarily justified in the eyes of the Lord. If you have ever felt great peace only after taking justice into your own hands and repaying evil for evil – saying to yourself that the person got what they deserved – then you know what it is to have the peace of man.

Friend, jut because you have peace does not mean you are in the will of God. Only let the peace that comes from God be your umpire.

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Men, How Do You Know If You Have Found the Right Woman?

‘A man who finds a wife finds a good thing’. I have heard this verse spoken of in the context of how a man should pursue a woman and how he should treasure and love his wife. As I was reading the scripture a few days ago, I was compelled to make the sentence negative. If you do this, you’d get ‘A man who does not find a wife does not find a good thing’.

Is God telling us that he wants every one of us to be single? Heavens no (although there is nothing wrong with being single)! Is God telling us that we should chase after someone who is married? God forbid…that is wrong! What God is telling us is that He wants us to find a woman who is already married to Him… that is why the scripture says ‘A man who finds a wife’!

 

She makes God No. 1 in her life

Her first husband is God. Since her first marriage is to God, He is to take first position in her life and you are to be No.2. And so He should be No.1 for He is better at everything! You should not try to compete with God for the first place in her heart because you cannot compete. You are not as loving as God, you are not as strong as God, you are not anywhere close to being as selfless as God…you cannot make her nearly as happy as God can. So you must not try to take a position that rightfully belongs to God!

Remember the phrase ‘Happy wife, happy life’? If you want her to be happy and want to be happy, then you have to encourage her relationship with God. So have you been pushing her closer to her first love or are you trying to take the place of her first love? Only he gives her life purpose and controls her destiny. Do you want to have your way with her or do you want God to have His way in her life?

A man who finds a woman who is married to Jesus finds a good thing

She is faithful to her first Husband

God is wonderful and marvelous! He is the prince of peace and the author of all good things! If she is not faithful to that kind of a husband, then how can you expect her to be faithful to you?

If she is running after other lovers (idols) and committing harlotry while married to God, then do not be surprised when she continues the practice while with you. Moreover, do not be surprised if you are one of the lovers that she has run towards. Note that any woman who is willing to sacrifice her faithfulness to God to please you has made you an idol. Since all idolatry leads to pain, all you will do in the end is cause her pain. Do not make yourself the idol who causes her to compromise God.

What you want is a faithful woman. A faithful woman is a helper. She will help you stand strong in the Lord when you start to stray. Do not despise such a woman!

A man who finds a woman who is faithfully married to Jesus finds a good thing

She is a good thing

Since only God is good (Mark 10:18), being a good thing means that she is a God-thing. A God-thing will reflect the characteristics of God. More often than not, she will produce the fruit of the Spirit and be a virtuous woman. You will sleep easy at night with such a woman; trust is no issue for she is a God-thing. You know that the intent of thoughts of her heart is to do you good.

Imagine a woman who reflects the things of God. That is a woman who is worth cherishing and sacrificing yourself over. See, it is easy to love and sacrifice yourself for a wife. So let her bring you love, joy, peace, and victory by remaining a God-thing.

A man who finds a woman who is faithfully married to Jesus finds love, joy, and peace! 

So men, let us not be afraid of a wife! If you are courting, do not say…oh man she is super-spiritual. Do not say…oh man, she does not want to be alone with me past 9 pm! Let us step to the plate and become husbands ourselves prior to getting married.

She who is found by a husband is found by a good thing.

 

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5 Reasons Why Many Christian Guys Remain Single

God has a sense of humor. When I wrote 5 Reasons Why Many Christian Girls Remain Single, I never meant to follow it up with the same topic directed at men. But God had other ideas! Two days ago, I decided not to listen to music as I normally do in the morning but turned the radio on, hoping to hear a sermon. What I heard as I scanned for the right channel was a reading from the expositor study bible from Son life radio station here in Baton Rouge.

The couple on the radio was reading from Genesis 24 – the story of how Eliezer (Abraham’s servant) took a wife for Isaac. That particular morning, the story gripped me in a way that I had hitherto experienced. I quickly jotted down what the message spoke to me and headed out to work. Later that day, I read the story of Eliezer again. This time, the reasons why many Christian men remain single became unequivocally clear.

He is Not Listening to God’s direction

When Abraham spoke to Eliezer, he specifically directed him to go back to his (Abraham’s) land and family to take a wife for Isaac. Without godly direction, many men simply guess at where they should go to take a wife. They travel here and there, chatting up wrong women after wrong women. By the time they actually get to the place God wants them, the stories of their travels have already reached the land. The women of the land are no longer interested because they do not feel special…they feel like common currency instead of a pearl of great prize. They think, I am one of many he could love, not the one that he loves. Moreover, the man starts to look desperate to them as they start to wonder why the other women did not pick the man up. Nothing puts off a woman more than a desperate man.      

But  guys who move with godly direction do not become unequally yoked with those from strange lands. They do not have to chase after another man’s future wife!  Instead they set their course to the land of God and to the house of God, which is now their house by birthright. Guys, that is the only place where we find the sister that the Lord has planned for us.

He is Not Prepared to Meet His Mate

When Eliezer left, he left with all his master’s goods…which he put on his camels. When we leave to find our beloved, we must not go empty-handed but must leave with the goods of God. We must carry with us the love of God and the gift of the Spirit of God. We must be ready to be a blessing to her instead of going empty-handed, having to ask for and live off some of her stuff. Men, it is extremely difficult for a woman to respect a man who is not ready – who is not ready to be leader, provider, spiritual leader, and godly man that he has been called to become. When we go to find our wives, we must pack our bags of goodies and go. If we have nothing to put in the goody bag, it is not quite our time…we still have some work to do.

He Has Not Positioned Himself in the Right Spot 

When Eliezer got to his destination with his goods in hand, he positioned himself in a spot by the well where he could see the women of the land. It is tragic to think that many godly guys – who are following the will of God and have readied themselves for marriage miss out because they do not purposefully hand around godly women. They expect God to drop a wife on their lap without looking. I wonder if Eliezer would have met Rebekah if he had not purposefully positioned himself to be able to observe the women.

Just as Eliezer did, we have to position yourselves in the right spot and then pray to God to show us which woman he desires for us. Too many good men leave too many good women single because they simply will not position themselves in the right spot. Then both the men and women say ‘there is no good man or women around, they are all taken! No, they are not all taken…they are simply in the wrong spot!

He Beats About the Bush

When Eliezer saw Rebekah, he did not hang around or beat about the bush, but the bible tells us that he ran to her. Men, we cannot become shy and coy when we see an all round desirable godly woman. She will not be at the well forever! She has other things to do and a purpose to fulfill. If you are Mr. Snail, then you may find that she is gone or disinterested by the time you sum up the courage to go to her.

This reminds me of the man who had been waiting to get into the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, who Jesus asked if he wanted to be made well. Instead of just saying yes, the first words that came out of his mouth were excuses! He was going to miss the opportunity to get well because he had pinned his hope on the waters!

Similarly, you cannot pin your hopes on the lady you so desire noticing you per chance as you beat about the bush. If you are going to pursue her, then pursue her!

He Never Made His Intentions Clearly Known

When Eliezer caught up to Rebekah and she had watered his camels, he made it known to her the intention of his actions and his visit. Alas, after positioning and pursuing, too many men miss out on destiny because they end up in the friendship zone! After getting the woman’s initial attention, they do not fess up to their hearts intentions out of fear of being rejected. So they end up being the best friends of these women…doing all kind of things for them…and then watch as other men swoop. Sadly, the woman who once saw you as husband potential starts to think you are not interested and starts to see you as a friend. Men, we have to tell her our intentions. The worst thing that can happen is that she is does not go with you. If she is not interested, it is not rejection, it is simply re-direction. So tell her what you intentions her! She will respect you even if she does not care to follow you!

Food for Thought: Instead of standing in hope, start walking in faith until you meet your destiny

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3 Simple Ways To Know If Your Man Really Loves You

I recently met a woman by the name of Renee (not her real name) who divorced her husband after a few months of marriage. Though she said that she was over the relationship, the pain and hurt she still felt came through loud and clear as she spoke of their relationship. Her words were saying one thing but her heart was revealing quite another. When I asked if she saw any sign’s of trouble prior to the marriage, she said no. She said to me, Emmanuel, it is as if he changed into a completely different person. He said all the right words and did all the right things before we got married. I thought he truly loved me.

The statement, I thought he truly loved me, hit me hard like a swift punch to the solar plexus! They were the same words that an ex had spoken to me when we broke up many moons ago (my fault for the record). After a  few moments of silence, I was able to say to her:  Love is more than a feeling, is not confirmed by words, and it reaches beyond the boundary of actions. Love gives but expects nothing in return. Just because an action reflects love does not mean the action comes from a heart of love. The heart of love gives and expects nothing back in return. The heart of fear always wants something in return, but there is no fear in love! Did he marry you because he truly loved you or because you were great to him, filled a hole in him, and he was afraid of losing you?

She replied, I liked that I meant something to him (filled a hole in him) and that he wanted to keep me! What is wrong with that? I said, I do not know your full situation, but could it be that his affection towards you was triggered only by what you could do for him? His shower of love towards you and his sacrifice, was it because you met his needs? Though it seemed all about you, was it truly all about him? As she pondered the questions, I continued, it is not the what that matters most, it is the why that matter most!

She said, what are the reasons a man should love me? I replied, let us see why Jesus loved us and gave himself for us:

Ephesians 5: 25 -29:  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.

He wants you to be one with him in the Lord

A man who loves you continually works to strengthen the cord of love that exists between you and him. He does this by growing his relationship with the Lord and being a spiritual leader of the household. He understands that there is no way both of you can walk in agreement with each other unless you make Jesus the center of your lives. So he initiates open and honest conversation. He asks you to do nothing that is contrary to the way of the Lord and does not even put you in those situations. You are praying and seeking God together with the kind of man.

 

He wants you to be the best you can be

A man who loves you is one who wants you to walk in the purpose to which God has called you. He wants you to be the best that you can be. And he walk’s foreign lands if he has to! He wants you to live a significant life and makes you priority. A man who loves you will meet you where you are and will always strive to get you to a better place. Think of the Samaritan woman who drank of the water of the words of Jesus. She instantly turned from an insignificant harlot who probably avoided people out of shame, to an outspoken evangelist. She went from being an outcast to someone who helped bring her entire village to the knowledge of God. That is what a man who loves does! He desires to help you reach higher spiritually, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, financially etc.

He wants you to fulfill your destiny

Just as Jesus wants us to wear a crown of glory when we get into heaven, a man who loves you will desire that you win the prize in your race of life; that you cross the finish line and fulfill your destiny. This means that he is sensitive to your needs and chooses for you to be his first priority. He considers your destiny in the decisions that he is making. Nothing is done selfishly. He wants to shine the spotlight on you so that you can receive honor. He is not one to want the limelight for himself. This is a man who is not jealous of your accomplishments and does not become insecure in your glory. He asks about your goals and dreams and supports you. He is your number one cheerleader.

Food for Thought: A man who loves you feeds you and cares for you in every way

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5 Reasons Why Many Christian Girls Remain Single

In 2012 ,I was invited to be a member of a panel at a Christian singles conference. After speaking about living a purposeful life, and remaining pure in singleness, the topic of marriage invariably came up. A woman stood up and started pouring out her heart about how she desired a husband. How she was in her late thirties and did not want to be alone anymore. She said that she was on the verge of ‘settling’!

In an attempt to comfort her, an older woman whom we will call Sarah stood up and proclaimed that she was single at 60 AND had never married. Sarah started to encourage the younger lady. She said, look at me, I am 60 and not married but I will not settle. I want what God wants for me and will not settle for less. I have had many counterfeit men come into my life. Sarah then went ahead and started to rattle off about the men that had been potential suitors and what was wrong with them. As she spoke, somethings that seemingly escaped her started to become clear to those of us on the panel. She was to blame for being single at 60.

Here are some of the things we realized about Sarah that kept her single

Sarah wanted Jesus…not a disciple of Jesus…but Jesus Himself

Many women, like Sarah are looking for the perfect mate. They want someone who is going to complete them and be their everything! If this is you, then my question to you is this: If a man completes you and becomes your everything, then what position is Jesus taking in your life? Jesus is the one that completes you and is meant to be your everything. So, to look for completeness in a man is to make that man an idol in your life, it is to have put man above God! This will only lead to ruin because no man is perfect! Try as he might, he will disappoint you! So stop looking for someone who will not disappoint you over the lifetime you wish to be married…you will not find it. Even you, yes you…have and still disappoint many people…whether you realize it or not…whether you meant it or not. Instead of looking for perfection, look for someone who is striving towards perfection. This is a person that loves God and does not want to be conformed to the world but whose life’s purpose is to be transformed into the image of Jesus.

As my mom says, if you meet a person who is perfect, run away, for you will make imperfect whatever is making that person seem perfect.

Sarah saw herself as a princess, but she did not care to prince her man

There are many women who see themselves as awesome and incredible royalty. Many women say, I want to be treated like a princess! The issue is that they do not want their man to be a prince. They do not want to share any power or give up any control. Instead, they want their partners to take the position of a slave while treating them like a princess. The reason many women cannot let go of control is because of fear – perhaps due to not dealing with the hurts of past relationships. The moment the man does not give her the power she craves, she takes it as he not treating her like a princess and so searches for greener pastures. Conversely, many men see that while they are giving all they have, the woman is not following suit! Many women think that this is part of being pursued; many men simply see it as being disrespectful.

As a princess, you have to make sure you prince your man. Compliment him and let him know that you appreciate that he is being led by the King. Let go of the control. Taking a chance at love means you take a chance with your heart. This is because only the heart can feel love, not your head.

Sarah liked being pursued but did not want to be caught

In the bible, the servant of Abraham went to a land far away in pursuit of a wife for Isaac. When he got there, it was Rebekah that came to the well. When he approached, she did not play games and dilly-dally. No, she said that she would not wait as her family had requested but would follow Eliezer immediately back to Isaac. When Boaz pursued Ruth, Ruth decided to show her interest by laying at his feet. See, both Rebekah and Ruth showed interest. They did not play games or play hard to get.

Ladies, if a prince has found you, then admit it and go forward as long as you have God’s blessing. I am not saying be easy, but at the same time, do not be hard to get. Just as you are a gift to him, he is also a gift to you! If a man is pursing you, do not run him away with games.

Sarah was way too picky

Sarah did not want God to decide whom she should marry but decided on who she wanted to marry. In essence, she said: God, forget about who you desire for me, this is the person I want to marry…now make it happen! It was no longer God’s will for her life but her will for her life!

But does God not want to give us the desires of our heart? Yes…as long as it glorifies God. In fact, the scripture says: delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. As you delight yourself in the Lord, you will find that His desires become your desire…thus your desire will glorify God!

You must believe right now that what God wants for you is better than what you could ever want for yourself in the long run. If he is not giving you your hearts desires, it may be because you are not ready to handle your heart’s desire. It may be because what you desire is not desirable!

Sarah wanted Boaz but wanted to remain a Delilah

Do not be like Sarah! Every potential suitor she met had some flaw that was fatal. One could not provide. Another could provide but was not attractive enough. A third was attractive and could provide but did not pay her enough attention. Yet, another paid her too much attention. She forgot that she was filled with flaws herself! She was so busy finding fault with everyone that she had no time to look at herself. She was so busy trying to find the speck in someone else’ life that she forgot that the log in her eyes was blinding her vision of the truth about herself. The truth that just like everyone else, she is imperfect and needs a savior as well!

Sarah could not understand why the one’s she thought were ‘perfect’ for her were not interested. Sarah, perhaps it is because they are not willing to ‘settle’ either.

I thank God that he did not wait for us to be perfect but settled for us. He wants us to settle for nothing less than Himself. This means that we have to take the reins off our own lives and surrender completely to His will. It seemed that Joseph settled for Mary when He married a pregnant girl…but He became immortalized in history because of it. Are you willing to settle for God’s best for you?

Food for Thought: Maybe I cannot find Mr.Right because I am wrong in the way I see relationships

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Three Questions You Should Ask Before Marriage

I had the privilege of witnessing a friend’s engagement atop the Sugarloaf Mountain. It was a cool and comfortable night. The spectacular city of Rio de Janeiro offered a breath-taking view.  The large statue of Christ was lit in its full glory. The night sky was in its full splendor as it wowed visitors with a wonderful lightning display in the sky.  For my friend, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

There was a healthy number of people with us on the mountain that night who witnessed his girlfriend’s excitement as she said ‘Yes’ to the man of her dreams.  After a longing look and loving embrace, the unbridled joy etched on the faces of the newly engaged couple was so undeniable evident that it could only be missed if perhaps aliens invaded the city!

We cheered, we laughed, and we sang.

When I returned to Baton Rouge, I was met with the grim reality of the experience of marriage for many. A casual friend I had not seen for a while walked up to me at the end of service with heavy tear-laden eyes. Hardly able to get the words out, he stuttered and whispered his way to telling me that he and his wife were getting a divorce after almost seven years of matrimony.

I could not help but think of the contrasting scene and news in the space of a few days. One, a happy beginning and the other, a sad end.

That roughly 50% of all marriages end in separation is a warning of how quickly dreams can turn into nightmares! Since no one starts with the intention of turning their dream into a nightmare, the divorce statistic is proof that something is amiss in marriages.  While the answer to the conundrum of failing marriages in not clear cut, there are some questions everyone about to enter into marriage should ask and answer honestly to see if they have a good shot at winning in the game of love.

Am I in love?

The word in love suggests that one can be out of love. And truly, many people say they have fallen out of love or are no longer in love with their partner.

The kind of love that one can fall in and out of is that which is based on feelings (emotions), sentiment, and fondness. In the Greek language, it is called phileo love. This kind of love is based on what your partner adds to you. While it may not necessarily be selfish, it has a tendency to be self-centered.

This kind of love is often dismissed in some circles because it can be fleeting, is many times based on circumstances, and is self-centered. But I will not do that here.  If you do not ask yourself if you are in love is to deny that you have needs and wants from a relationship. To avoid this question is to lie to yourself!

It is okay to ask if you have feelings for the person, if you are fond of the person you are with, and if you look at your partner with affection. Here is the crucial part: You must not stop at if but you must ask yourself why.

Why points to the heart of the matter. How you answer the why says a lot about your partner but says a lot more about you. It reveals whether you love yourself or are simply operating out of fear! No one is ever truly fond of a person who mistreats them unless they themselves have been disturbed by something in life or they have no way to escape. If you are fond of the person only for what they can do for you, then you have become selfish!

Fearfulness (lack of trust) and selfishness (unwillingness to compromise or yield) will always ruin a relationship.

When you ask yourself why, look at the content of your partner’s character! Look at who they are and what their life shows you. You can gather a lot of this information by listening to the person’s words, and looking at how they spend their time and their resources. This is because often repeated words, time, and resources always reflect priority and heart.

Having phileo love seldom guarantees the success of a marriage union. There is the need for agapeo love

Do I love My Partner?

The question, do I love my partner is different from am I in love with my partner. While one can fall in and out of phileo love, we either agapeo love or we do not. It is that simple! While phileo love is based on feelings, sentiment, and fondness, agapeo love is all about commitment and dedication and does not consider circumstances!

A rock solid agapeo love is needed to ride the waves of life and the roller-coaster of phileo love. Unfortunately, too many people spend their lives building and developing phileo love – through emotion charged compliments, flowers, gifts – and spend very little time developing agapeo love.  The reason commitment never seems to last these days is because the commitment is based on feelings, sentiment, and fondness (phileo love).

Agapeo love is based on who you are versus who the person is. It is about what you add to the person versus what the person adds to you. This kind of love which is unconditional is always willing to reconcile, forgive, and work at issues unto restoration.

It does not confuse weakness and wickedness in a person. Since it does not seek its own, it does not seek perfection. It recognizes the journey of love and is willing to suffer.

The question agapeo love asks is this: A person will disappoint and hurt me, so who I am willing to suffer for? Jesus (who had agapeo) love for humanity thought is worthwhile and worthy to suffer for humanity though we did not deserve it.

If you are not willing to go through hard times, willing to hurt, willing to suffer, willing to forgive, willing to lay down your life, then you do not love your partner. You only love what your partner can do for you (phileo)!

The question, do I love my partner can only be answered Yes if you truly have love for mankind in your heart.

How Do I See My Partner?

A different way of asking this question is who is my partner to me? Do you see your partner as friend, lover, leader (spiritual and otherwise), powerful, royal, helper, anchor, and asset? Or do you see them as timid, fearful, abdicator, scattered, and double-minded?

It is important to be honest with yourself as your answer will determine whether you can (1) respect your partner (2) whether you will follow your partner’s leadership (3) whether you will be comfortable in yielding.

Your answer will determine if your household with be peaceful, whether there will be secret resentment in your heart, if there will be insecurity in your relationship, and whether the union is more of a battle than it is a partnership.

In the bible, Peter saw Jesus as his Messiah – Lord and Savior – and so was able to stand in relationship and fellowship with him until the end. Judas on the other hand only saw Jesus as a potential king and so betrayed him and left him alone when Jesus would not do what Judas thought He should have done!

So, how do you see your partner?  

Conclusion

Jesus asked Peter the three questions above: Do you phileo love me (John 21:16)? Do you agapeo love me (John 21:17), who do you say I am (Mark 8:29). Being Jesus, he already knew the answers!  

Do you know the answer to these questions? If not, then you are wise to ask yourself about the one who is to become a rock in your life. Your answer may very well determine the future. Do you agree?

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The Person God Allows You to Throw into the Sea

Your life is a ship! You are not the owner of your ship – for the owner decides the destination – you are the captain. As the captain, you decide which route to take on your way to your set destination. Though you may not have had a say concerning who boarded the ship, once on the ship, you have the authority to decide who stays on the ship and who to cast off at every port on the way to your destination.

As captains, there are some people that we need to cast of our ship! In fact, God clues us into whom we can cast of our ship in the story of Jonah. God gives us permission to cast off those that are willfully and deliberately walking in disobedience and out of the will of God. Before you click away in anger, consider this:  God allows us to throw people overboard for our own good as well as for the good of the person who is stubbornly and willfully walking in disobedience. Remember that in the story of Jonah, Jonah did not perish in the sea but was rescued by a whale. Likewise the traders did not perish due to Jonah’s disobedience. Instead, their lives and livelihood were preserved.

Here are 2 good reasons to get rid of willfully disobedient people in your life

You save yourself from unnecessary trouble

But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up – Jonah 1:3-4

The tempest or trouble that the traders experienced was because of the presence of Jonah on the ship. Similarly, trouble and unnecessary heartache is the result of having willfully disobedient people in your life, the end of which is a broken up life.

Reevaluate the company you are keeping if your life is less of cruise and more like a roller-coaster

You keep the fruit of your hard work

Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep – Jonah 1:5

The traders on the ship had to throw off the cargo they had accumulated to survive. They had no clue that the cargo weighing them down was Jonah.

Let no one fool you, disobedience is costly. Disobedience will always drain your resources on its way to claiming your life. Many parents know too well the cost of living with willfully disobedient children. It is mentally and spiritually draining and puts undue stress on marriage. Although extremely difficult, be brave to throw the person at the mercy of Jesus rather than allow the person to cause you to perish. Why allow you and the person you are protecting to perish when both you and the person can be delivered?

It is also interesting that Jonah was sleeping during the storm. He knew he was the cause of the storm and so he did not want to call out to God. Instead of helping out or taking responsibility, all he did was go to a quiet corner out of the way and fall asleep! Thankfully, the captain had the good judgement to wake him up and challenge him to do something!

Do not be surprised if the person causing the ruckus in your life is at peace while you are stressing out. As captains of our lives, we must tell the willfully disobedient person in our life to shape up or ship out.

So there it is! It is okay to throw the willfully disobedient person off the ship of your life (after much prayer and deliberation) just like the traders did with Jonah. God loves the person you have thrown overboard and will provide a whale to save them. Stop trying to play God in the person’s life and save them…remember that you cannot not even save yourself. We all need the help of God.

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