Category Archives: Intimacy

The Slide Master

I love that God is omnipresent; He will reveal Himself in every aspect of our lives….if we look for Him.

Recently, He used a stressful season of life to reveal Himself to me. My clients are rushing to use up their end-of-year dollars, so I make myself available; and while that’s a great position for me, financially, the added stress to deliver before year-end, coupled with the holidays, is never easy. Yet, because I look for Him in every corner of my life, He showed up as I was formatting one of those crazy, busy slides that had “stuff” all over the page.

Trying to read this made my head hurt. I started trying to make sense of the confusion by separating things but realized how much time it would take. Then, I remembered the Slide Master, which is a feature that allows you to apply the same attributes to fonts and images within a document. Once the Slide Master is applied, even the chaos becomes ordered.

I immediately remembered that God is our Slide Master. He has  determined our attributes; our size, shape, color and how we show up on this page of our story.

Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Luke 12:7

Breathe deeply and let that settle in your spirit. God, who numbered every hair on your head, cares about every part of you. He left nothing to chance when it involved you, but took time to number each hair on your head. The attention to detail, the strategic planning, the thought process–NOTHING about you was left to chance, because you are valuable and significant to His work on the earth.

I am still amazed how The Slide Master does His best work in chaos. Despite how the world tries to make a mess of our lives by throwing the worst that it has to offer us; God commands ORDER in the chaos, because He is not the author of confusion. Distractions have to go, the clutter has to take order, and He brings clarity so that you can clearly see His plan for you. What an Awesome God!

I realize that your life might look like the first picture, and you cannot begin to see how God could bring order to your life. Order starts with  your decision to invite The Slide Master into your life. Start your relationship with God by praying the following:

God, I need for you to order my life so I invite you into my heart. I confess that I (or others) have sinned and made a mess of my life, but I believe that Jesus died for me to have order–in my mind, in my soul and in my body. I command every part of me to come into alignment with your plan for me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

As long as we are in this world, the mess will continue to slide in, but you now have a Slide Master to bring order.  Let Him do His best work in the chaos of your life.  Talk to Him daily and read the Word of God to learn about Him. Pray and ask Him to lead you to a good church where you can learn and grown and watch the master’s piece take order.

I believe in you, and I’m cheering for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature or Nurture?

I am fascinated by people; how they grew up, what caused them to make some of the choices they have made, and where they are now. We are exceptional beings whose complexities I find interesting. I talk to people from all walks of life because they help me in my eternal quest of studying people to learn why we do what we do.

I have read a lot regarding the nature vs. nurture debate, and both sides have valid arguments:

  • The nature advocates believe that our characteristics come from our parents and cannot be changed.
  • The nurture advocates believe that we are more influenced by our environments over our genealogy.

Personally, I believe it’s a combination of both and if you forced me to choose one over the other, I would probably give nature 51% and nurture 50%. I certainly had some of the same characteristics as my parents (good and bad), and I also grew up in environments that were not conducive to positive growth; however, it would be tough to decide which had the worst impact. For me personally, I have settled the debate….Studying the Word of God has been the greatest tool that God has used to radically transform my life and make the nature vs. nurture debate rather pointless. Despite the poor parenting and less-than desirable environments that I was exposed to, the Word of God has taught me that:

  1. Before I was formed in the womb (my Genesis or beginning), God knew me. I was not an accident. My life has purpose. (Jeremiah 1:5)
  2. Although my mother and father neglected me, God properly parented me (Psalms 27:10).
  3. I have been adopted into the family of God (Ephesians 1:5).
  4. I am created in the image of God; therefore, I have His characteristics (Genesis 1:27).
  5. Despite the mistreatment by others, God had a plan to prosper me and give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
  6. This world (environment) is full of trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world. And so can I (John 16:33).

The Word of God really does have the answers that we need in order to succeed. And despite what man has said about you, man did not create you. If you get confused on your journey, always go back to your creator and ask,:

What is your will in this matter?

Then listen. Your Father longs to converse with you. He is waiting. Run to Him.

 

 

People to Stay Away From….

Did you know there are some people who you should never be around? Don’t befriend them, don’t share a meal with them, don’t even waste time praying for them. Have absolutely nothing to do with them.

Sounds harsh? It is not–it is wisdom.

Who are these godforsaken people?

They integrate well into society, so they do not stand out like a sore thumb. They don’t have horns and a pitchfork. They don’t even appear to be an enemy; in fact, many are charismatic. Physically identifying them is never easy because their form may change from one person to the next; however, there is a consistent form that they always maintain.

They have a form of godliness

What is a form of godliness?  Let’s allow scripture to answer this question.

2 Timothy 3:2-5 (GW)
2 People will be selfish and love money. They will brag, be arrogant, and use abusive language. They will curse their parents, show no gratitude, have no respect for what is holy,
3 and lack normal affection for their families. They will refuse to make peace with anyone. They will be slanderous, lack self-control, be brutal, and have no love for what is good.
4 They will be traitors. They will be reckless and conceited. They will love pleasure rather than God.

Friends, this is describing church folk–not the world. How did I arrive at that conclusion? Verse 5: “They will appear to have a godly life.” The world does not pretend to live godly.

So why do these people pretend by appearing to have a godly life?

Again, I’ll let scripture answer this question.

2 Timothy 3:6 (GW)
6 Some of these men go into homes and mislead weak-minded women who are burdened with sins and led by all kinds of desires.

Their goal is to mislead.

And where will they lead you? Into UNTRUTH.

Why? Again, let’s consult scripture….

2 Timothy 3:7 (GW)
7 These women are always studying but are never able to recognize the truth. Note: They are seeking the truth.

2 Timothy 3:8 (GW)
8 but these men oppose the truth. Their minds are corrupt, and the faith they teach is counterfeit.

Now, do you understand why having nothing to do with them is not harsh? If not, let me give a final warning:

2 Timothy 3:13 (GW)
13 But evil people and phony preachers will go from bad to worse as they mislead people and are themselves misled.

They are evil and will lead you into evil. They actually know the truth, but they deny it and will not let truth’s power change them. They are well aware of what they are doing–this is an intentional defiance to God who is loving. Their minds are corrupt and being around them will corrupt your mind.

Have NOTHING to do with them.

 

Confused? Here’s why….

Roman 1:21 (THE MESSAGE PARAPHRASE)
What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. 22 They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. 23 They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand. 24 So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. 25 And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them – the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes! 26 Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either – women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. 27 Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men – all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it – emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches. 28 Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. 29 And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, 30 fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. 31 Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. 32 And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care – worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best.

HIV: It Could Have Been Me

Have you ever been rushing to make it to your destination and finally make it out of the house to just….sit…in….traffic?

Since I’m one of those who is always running late, this is typical for me. However, I have learned that sometimes my delays are purposeful; particularly when I find out that, had I traveled earlier, I might have been involved in the fatal car accident that was causing the traffic delay.

Today’s post is bittersweet for me in that it deals with a tough topic that I want to use a bullhorn to sound a warning about; while simultaneously rejoicing in the bullhorn to proclaim:

God’s Principles are for Our Protection

I will never forget, “No More Sheets,” a popular teaching series that dealt with fornication. When I listened to the series, I did not understand the profound impact it had on me; as I literally fell to my knees crying as the well-known evangelist delivered this life-changing message.  I was fully-committed in a marriage at that time, so the message was not applicable to me; yet, it pierced the depth of my soul. While going through a divorce many years later, I was reminded of the teaching. It was during this time that I wrote B! Celibate, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I have remained celibate since 2004–but that’s not the purpose of this article.

I am writing today, to “testify” that had I not obeyed scripture and allowed the Holy Spirit to do a deep work within me, I would have been infected with HIV….at least twice.  Two people, who I later learned were infected, pursued me for sex for years; but neither disclosed their status to me. You read correctly.  They intentionally did not let me know they were infected; in hopes of having me join the countless number of others who they have infected. Sadly, one of them recently died.

Think you don’t know “those kind of people?” According to the CDC, about 1.2 million people in the US were infected by the end of 2013, and 1 in 8 did not know they had the virus. It is very likely that you know them or know someone who knows them.  And, I could have been “them.”

Friends, this is the reality of the world in which we live. Hearts have waxed cold, and we have a common enemy who wants to steal the good that God has planned for us, and kill our joy, and destroy our lives.

Let me use my bullhorn to beg you to study God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to help you live God’s principles, which are designed to protect us. God is not trying to “take your fun away.” He wants you to have an abundant life inside the safety of His principles.

Businesswoman with Bullhorn

Imagine my life today had I rushed into another relationship to get over my failed marriage. I would have been that fatal car crash that has caused you to be late. That wreck is actually a warning to you.

Stop. Look. Listen. Obey.

God is trying to get your attention.

 

 

 

 

I am Being Decapitated

Does it surprise you that people have no desire for God? It should not. We have become our own gods, and there will never be a desperation for that which we already have. We are so large, in our own eyes, that there is no room for God; making Luke 9:58 so timely:

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

I have attended church from my youth, so I am going to date myself with this one. The small church that I attended would have an allotted time to “testify” each Sunday, and each “testimony” started with these words: “Giving honor to God, who is the HEAD of my life.” Now for most of us these were just words we recited, because we had no idea how to allow God to be head of our lives. I, for one, thrived on being in control; therefore, I was the head of my life and had no intention of being dethroned. Fortunately, today, I have grown so there are many areas where God is the head of my life; however, there are some areas where I still rule.

The Importance of the Head

The head is the place where our primary senses live. It houses our eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Four of our five senses have a resting place because of our head. Not only does our heads give a home for those things we can see physically; it also provides a home for something that is not visible: our brain.  Our brain is the seat of our intellect, so even the brain has a place to sit. This helps me to understand why it is so important that I allow God to be the head of my life, because He must be ruler of my life.

Jesus did not have a place to lay His head because He was homeless. Like the church of old, we have not made room for Him, because we act as our own gods. But remember, He warned us repeatedly in scripture.

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

 The Headmaster

As my headmaster, I sought the easy, painless, and shortcuts for answers.  However, those solutions were often temporary and, ultimately, unfulfilling. After wearing myself out doing things my way, I learned that allowing God to be the head of my life was often harder, but the results were permanent and more rewarding. I learned to embrace that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways are better than my ways.

Daily, I have to check my motives, which are often rooted in selfishness. By studying the life of Jesus, I am constantly reminded that He only did what the Father told Him to do. He never exalted himself. He never tried to make himself great. He served. He obeyed. He loved. He is my role model and my headmaster.

My desire is that all will know Him and experience the abundant life that He promised us. I will invest the rest of my days exalting Him and surrendering my life to His headship. When He looks upon the earth I want Him to see me decapitated so that He knows that here is a place where He can lay His head.

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

 

Painful Purposes

Some of you will call me a masochist after reading this, and I am good with that; I’ve been called worse 🙂

I embrace pain. There…. I wrote it.

I have not always welcomed pain. In fact, I was like most–I did anything and everything to avoid pain. Now, I am not just talking about physical pain, like in childbirth; although I did have an epidural. I am also talking about emotional pain. I could always manage physical pain easier than I could emotional pain, so I avoided the latter like a plague.

After many decades, I finally connected a recurring theme in my life. I noticed that I encountered the same people with the same problems again and again….they just took on new faces or forms.

After hiring a personal coach to “get in shape,” I had a tremendous breakthrough. Now, the coach was a competitive body-builder….the guy was a beast. After my first session with him, I was unable to walk….for about five days. I cannot describe the amount of pain that I experienced. Let’s just say that on the drive home from the first workout, I was timing the traffic lights so that I would not have to step on the brakes. I slid down the stairs in my home, on my bottom, and made sure to drink very little so that I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom. Got the picture? I was in PAIN. Every move was evaluated to determine how much pain would be caused.

And while I was in a great deal of physical pain, something broke within me emotionally. It was as if there was a connection between physical pain and emotional pain, and once I crossed the physical threshold, an emotional barrier was crossed too. For the first time in my life, I experienced my deepest emotional pain to date:

I knew that my mother never loved me.  

The pain of that realization reduced me to uncontrollable sobbing….for hours. To the point that I had to reschedule a meeting that I had later that day, because I was unable to talk. Psychologist say that the need for parental love is crucial for a child’s development; therefore, I had to believe that she loved me to survive. Friends, the proof of her lack of love for me was very obvious, but I needed to believe that she did, so I deceived myself. And that was at the root of why I encountered the same people problems over and over again. Until I was able to identify, confront, and accept my mother’s lack of love for me, I continually attracted people like her. #BOOM

The Other Side of Pain

Once I was able to cross that emotional boundary and accept that my mother who gave birth to me didn’t love me, my life transformed. That childlike desperation to be loved was gone. The overbearing need for acceptance was gone. The constant search for validation….gone. They were replaced with an intimate relationship with an all loving, totally accepting God.

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Psalm 27:10

But, isn’t an intimate relationship with God something that is available to everyone? Yes, it is; however, few will desperately pursue it because their need will never be as great. Think about it this way: if you came to my home,  and I offered you a drink of water you might refuse, because you can get water anywhere.  But if we were desert-thirsty, we would  break into a home to get water because our need would be so great.

My need for a connection with a loving parent was so great that only God could fill it. Either I sought him or I died–those were my only options.

Your Pain has a Purpose

Today, I am grateful to my mother, because without her I would not have the relationship that I have with the Lord. Why? Because she would have been my first option. I would have ran to her instead of running to the Lord. I would have sought her counsel instead of consulting the Word of God. And when in trouble, I might have looked to her to bail me out.  All things that most children expect, deserve and, all too often, take for granted.

Through the process of my healing and forgiveness, I asked myself:

  • What if my mom’s only job was to give birth to this beautiful baby girl? Well done mom!
  • What if her inability to nurture was to demonstrate to me how to nurture a child? She was a great teacher!
  • What if she displayed a lack of care and concern so that I would be a caring parent who knows how to value a child? She scored again!
  • And maybe–just maybe, she wanted me to have more than a Sunday relationship with God? She was a great role-model.

Friends, my mother did the best she could with the tools she had. For I choose to believe that  when I needed withdrawals, she would have eagerly given them, if deposits had been made into her. But she was empty. Not only do I forgive her, I am grateful to her.

I have a few questions for you:

  • What is on the other side of your journey through pain?
  • Why do you refuse to discover the purpose of your pain?
  • What if all the things that you are hoping, praying and believing for are just on the other side of the pain?
  • Do you really want to leave this earth wondering, what if….?

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

What I know about Pain

  • It is not forever–it has an expiration date
  • It will not kill you, but kill the fear that has held you back
  • It has a purpose–allow it to do its job

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Tony Robbins

 

Thankful that I AM NOT

I have always loved the I AM statements because, as daily declarations, they have helped to transform my self-image. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • I AM a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • I AM God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
  • I AM more than a conqueror through Him Who loves me (Romans 8:37).

For me, a person who struggled with seeing myself as God saw me, these statements have been a blessing. However, in my devotion time this morning, I found myself giving thanks for all the things that I AM NOT:

  • I AM NOT always strong. And that’s a good thing because He is my strong tower and in Him I take refuge. Psalms 61:3
  • I AM NOT perfect but Jesus is my high priest who is without sin. Hebrews 4:15
  • I AM NOT enough but He is more than enough. 2 Corinthians 9:8

I now embrace all of my inadequacies because they make me dependent upon Christ, who is the author and finisher of my faith. Thank you Lord for all of my flaws. Thank you for all of my imperfections. Thank you for my deficiencies–every one of them. Because of them, I have to rely upon you. It is you that I run to when I’m in trouble. It is you my soul cries out to when I need fulfillment. I must depend upon you for everything, because without you I can do nothing. Glory to God!

Friends, the work of the cross was so complete that….

All that we are, and all that we are not is wrapped up in Christ.

This takes the power away from those who might try to hurt you through your insecurities. Smile and agree with them, knowing fully that YOU are complete in Christ. It’s a good thing that they point our your flaws. THANK THEM because they have just given you another reason to run to the cross. Remember what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9

For my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

 

For His Good Pleasure

Have you ever wondered, “why was I created?” I have. In fact, it was a persistent question that haunted me for years.

I sought answers in the typical ways:

  • perhaps I will find fulfillment in being a wife
  • perhaps motherhood will fulfill me
  • perhaps I’ll find fulfillment in a career
  • or maybe it’s this business opportunity

As I have studied those who, seemingly, had found the answer, the common thread seemed to be in the blessing of fatherhood: their fathers had instilled into them as children who they were so finding their way seemed easier.

Discovering the blessing of fatherhood, again, left me without direction because I didn’t have that type of guidance. And perhaps, this is your dilemma. If so, keep reading because I’ll share the answer to this lifelong question.

A Father to the fatherless – Psalms 68:5

God did not leave us hopeless or helpless. Regardless of the reason of our being fatherless, we have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for us. For those of us who did not get what we needed from parents, God provided Himself as the solution.

When your mother and father forsake you, then I will take you in. Psalms 27:10

Ask God to parent you by asking Him into your heart. Become childlike with Him and allow him to give you what you lack. He is faithful to provide.

Although I didn’t get the blessing of an earthly father, I do have the blessings of my Heavenly Father who answered the question: why was I created?

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 2 Cor 5:9

My daily ambition is to please Him. Then my question became: what pleases God?

  1. Faith pleases God, for without faith it is impossible to please God: Hebrews 11:6
  2. Obedience pleases God: Colossians 3:20
  3. Sacrificing pleases God: Romans 12: 1, Hebrews 13:15-16

When I operate in faith, follow His word, and make spiritual sacrifices, God is well pleased. And it is for God’s good pleasure that I was created. My life has purpose when I am pleasing to Him; in Him I find that fulfillment I craved. Being a wife and mother certainly brought periods of happiness; just like the career and business opportunities. But I have found lifelong fulfillment and completeness in pleasing God. Because I can always find ways to operate in faith, obey Him and make sacrifices, pleasing Him never gets old or boring. So daily, I discover new ways to please Him.

Friends, if you are on that desperate search for fulfillment, I encourage you to search the scriptures and find out what pleases God. Then daily, live to please Him. For that is why you were created too.

The light in young woman hands. Sharing, giving, offering, protection

Exceeding, Abundantly ABOVE

I am, without question, blessed beyond measure!

Several months ago, I began helping a friend transition a course that she delivers in person to an online format, and in the process, I learned that she had some awesome instructional design skills. I made a mental note but had no idea that God was providing a solution to an unforeseen problem.

This has been a very busy summer.  Generally, I use the summers to vacation, spend more time with my daughter and work around the house, because my client work slows down. However, this summer not only did my client work not slow down, it escalated–to the point where I had to hire help.  Of course, when I thought about who would have the skill set to help me, with minimum direction, I thought about my friend, so I contacted her. And, despite her busy schedule, she agreed to help. I had no idea how much of a  blessing God had in store for me. I am still in awe of His goodness.

I need to explain how much of a “big deal” this was for me. I have never missed a deadline. Never–not once. I have built a business by delivering what I promise on time and with quality.  So, I knew that whomever I outsourced the work to, he/she would have to be able to deliver.  And deliver–she did—on time and with exceptional quality; enabling me to meet my deadline, so I felt incredibly blessed. But God was not finished.

Although I consider her a friend, this was now a business relationship, so I executed the paperwork to ensure that she would be paid. Contractually, I expected to receive her invoice at the end of August. It was not until I started paying bills that it hit me like a ton of bricks. In our conversations, she mentioned that she wanted to bless me, and I continually stressed that her helping me out was already a blessing. I had no idea that she was never going to invoice me. When the realization hit me, I was overwhelmed with tears. God always reminds me that there is no problem that I encounter that He has not already provided the solution. I just have to TRUST Him.

I am so grateful that God has given me such great favor with the right people at the right time. I did put a check in the mail to her a couple of weeks ago. Although I know it will never be cashed, it was the right thing to do, because that my friends is His RIGHTEOUSNESS.

I live at 320 Ephesians Road:

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Ephesians 3:20