STUCK IN NEUTRAL–THE NEW STATE OF THE CHURCH?

This probably won’t be one of my most popular blogs, and it’s okay, but it’s my duty to share, what God is revealing to me, through my studies. 

I’m so sad to hear about the man who was shot at Creflo Dollar’s church today. Hearing things like this going on in churches has taken me to a level of prayer for not only believers but non-believers as well.  

Last night during my small group class, the question was asked–IS THE CHURCH WINNING? From the inside the average “church-goer” would assume that the church is indeed winning. Let see–just using my own experiences as an example–you have packed out ministries, packed out services at various times during the weeks, especially Sundays, people praying in the most eloquent ways that one has ever heard, so seemingly it looks as if we are in fact winning; however, winning isn’t defined by your enrollment of members in classes, number of members on your rosters, amount in the building fund or tithing envelopes, or the activities I stated above.  You can have all of that and still far way from the mission of Christ. Believe it or not this is what is seen from the outside. Judgement, manipulation, hypocrisy, backbiting, pretense, people out for quickie feel good messages treating their relationshp with God like any other casual relationship–feels good for the moment, but doesn’t add any long-term quality to your life because you haven’t taken that relationship with him to that deeper level. It’s sad because though this is a partial representation of what’s in the church–it is far from what the original state of the church was designed to be. IS THIS A TRUE EXAMPLE OF CHRISTLIKE LIVING?  Matthew 28:19-20 states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. So if this is the goal of disciples (Followers of Christ <—what “church-goers should be”–the question still lies, IS THE CHURCH WINNING

Being a winning Church begins with being a winning individual for Christ.  It starts at the head level. We must first accept Christ as Lord (person of deity, control and power) of our life. As our mind shifts, changes within our heart are made–our actions and priorities began to line up with what we already know…and as our heart changes, our behavior changes–we become more intentional about the work of Christ. 

With the new perspective God has given me on why I have a second chance at life, I am constantly checking myself and asked myself this very question: If I weren’t a Christian, and someone introduced me to myself–would I want to follow my own lifestyle? Weirdly worded question I know, but a serious self reflection for me.  It made me examine my life more closely to see if what I really “preaching” I’m truly practicing–because it’s not only by our words, but also our actions that will either repel people away from the life of Christ or draw them near. 

So it doesn’t surprise me that we see all of this activity that is disconnected from the mission of Christ (Shootings, accusations of homosexuality from leadership, men spreading HIV to single women in the church, married pastors having affairs and getting women pregnant out of wed-lock). SIN is SIN; however, my Pastor described sin perfectly last Sunday–STUCK IN NEUTRAL…Until we get out of our own selfish desires and in tune with what we were designed for as individuals–the vehicle to winning souls  (THE CHURCH)  in the Kingdom of God will be in this exact position STUCK IN NEUTRAL and in this position, we as a body will never be driven to go the distance in discipleship as God has so commanded. 

 

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New Shoes for a New Journey

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If the shoe fits, wear it, right? That’s what I’ve personally thought for the longest time. Finding athletic shoes was more about fashion rather than function–style rather than substance. All that mattered was that which was only appealing to the eye and the cost factor. After all, I just needed to make sure my shoes looked right with my outfit and didn’t break the bank. As I matured, I realized the importance of having just the right fit–not just in my athletic wear, but also in my relationships.

I’ve had a pair of red New Balance tennis shoes for about 10 years. They typically looked brand new, because I have never had an athletic bone in my body, so they’ve never been exposed to any real physical impact. When I decided that I wanted put forth more energy in becoming physically fit, I soon began to realize that what was once stylish, inexpensive and comfortable was no longer appropriate for the goals that I wished to achieve. I realized that exercising in the “comfort” of my own home in those “comfortable”shoes had a completely different feel when the environment changed and the conditions became more taxing. My comfort had suddenly transformed into discomfort. Aches and pains that didn’t exists previously, began to emerge. “Oh, I’m just out of shape”, I’d think to myself. Though that was true indeed, the pains felt thoughout out my body boiled down to one specific thing–my shoes.

Talking to one of my friends who had avidly taken up running, she mentioned that she was going to get her feet measured for new running shoes, after she sustained a runner’s injury. A bit ignorant to the entire idea of getting feet measured, “Couldn’t you just pick some shoes off of the rack?”, I thought to myself. She began to educate me on various orthopedic disorders one could encounter, all from participating in various activities and not having shoes that were properly fit.

After talking to her, I realized, having the fit for my new journey is so key on so many different levels. Little did I know that it would speak volumes into me examining my relationships.

WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS TO A PROPER FITTING?

1) BALANCE: Having the proper fit, will help yield the maintaining of balance. It ensures evenly distributed weight, so that you can feel the contact of the surface that you are walking on. When your sole (souls) are off-balance, it breeds more difficulty recognizing the surface changes. You began to become more susceptible to stumbling and perhaps falling when encountering challenging terrain.

2) FLEXIBILITY: Like properly fit shoes, a relationship should be flexible. A shoe properly designed to the anatomy of an individual’s foot, BENDS in the RIGHT places. If your shoes are not flexible enough, the muscles and other components of your body begin to fight against the improperly fit shoe, making the wearer more prone to injury. So it is with relationships. If you are connected to an individual not properly fit for you, you may find yourself making compromises that may subject you to more harm rather than good.

3) CORE STRENGTH: Another common thread of properly fit shoes and relationships is the condition of the middle sole. Like the middle sole of a good athletic shoe should be, the soul/heart of the properly fit individual should be as firm. If both soles/souls are too cushioned, it causes instability and causes one to sway from side to side. It’s the core that makes all the difference.

HOW DO I GET IT?

1) YOU MUST TRUST THE SPECIALIST

As a runner entrusts the specialist to adequately measure, diagnose and figure out the proper design for their foot, so is it when it comes to our trust in God relating to our mate. We must trust that because He designed us, and knows the innermost parts of our anatomy, that maybe, just maybe He has the knowledge regarding the appropriate fit for our mate. TRUST HIM!

2) ALLOW THE APPROPRIATE BREAK-IN PERIOD

Though there are varying opinions regarding if properly fit shoes require a break in period, understand that though one individual could wear new shoes right out of the box and be completely comfortable with those shoes, some break-in periods take a little longer. Similarly to relationships–just because one person’s relationship was comfortable and felt like “the one” right from the start doesn’t mean that because your relationship isn’t suitable for you, just because it is taking some time to get adjusted to. GIVE IT TIME.

Conversely, one may find that in the midst of wearing properly fitted shoes that after a few days and a few miles, something just doesn’t feel right. As I have learned from my friend, even some of the “specialist” can miss the mark at times. However, when it comes to relationships, if we continue to place our trust in He who SPECIALIZES in the creation–like Him,the relationship perfectly fit for you will never fail.

So, in closing,

There’s a common cliche that says, “EVERYONE CAN’T GO WITH YOU WHERE YOU ARE GOING”. So it was with these New Balance shoes and perhaps some shoes you own. Sometimes we need new shoes for a new journey and only God knows where this new journey may lead…

BLESSINGS ON THE JOURNEY WHEREEVER GOD MAY LEAD–YOU AND YOUR HEART.

HAS REAL LOVE BECOME PREHISTORIC?

Today, my parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. As I celebrated this occasion of love and longevity in marriage, I began to ponder how one can grow up in a household filled with so much devotion, loyalty, and commitment, yet still not be able to stumble across real, mutual love, as if this type of love has come prehistoric to my generation?

IT’S PRETTY SIMPLE HOW THIS COULD HAPPEN ACTUALLY…

THE HISTORY OF MY PARENTS

My dad had been previously married–the details of that marriage shall remain family information only; however, it unfortunately lead to the dissolving of that marriage. That marriage, birthed my brother. As a single father {TAKING CARE OF HIS RESPONSIBILITY}, my father didn’t give up hope on finding the love that he desired. Like a true man, when he stumbled across that which he knew he wouldn’t find again–he didn’t hesitate, regardless of the parts of his past that remained. He would soon find that a blessing that occurred in his past, would graciously be accepted into his future.

My parents met at  funeral some time in about 1977. My mother wasn’t really feeling my daddy at first. She wasn’t really excited about him, but yet, he didn’t give up–he persevered. After about 3 months of dating, he experienced enough of what he desired to make a SOUND decision to spend the rest of his life with her. By month 6, they were married.  Truth be told, he actually knew before he asked her to marry him that she was THE ONE. 

ONE BEING THE OPERATIVE WORD

It didn’t really take long. I always wondered how did he know so suddenly?

After studying the history of my dad’s relationship, I finally got it. He experienced so much of what he did not desire in his previous marriage, that it was easy to recognize not only exactly what he wanted, but exactly what he needed.

The problem in society today is that we are so OVERINDULGENT. There are so many options available, I had quite a selection of synonyms I could have used for that very word!

It’s hard to tap into what we really desire, because it’s so simple to appease our appetite settling for the things that birth momentary gratification. Everything is so easily accessible these days. If you don’t feel like cooking, all you have to do is step outside of your yard into any main road and have access to a plethora of dining facilities that will surely meet the needs of your hunger. Technology is ever-changing. A cellphone or computer that you obtain one month ago, pretty much becomes obsolete after a few months–no longer satisfying the need you had when originally purchased. Can’t find a man/woman in the “real world”?  DON’T FRET!  There are a plethora of dating sites available to meet the needs of what you most desire–interracial dating, single mom, black men who love white women, white men who love black women, bromance…

YOU NAME IT–IT’S AVAILABLE!

Dating has birthed a buffet mentality–having access to a smorgasbord of “goodies” without investing much to get it. Golden Corral Relationships-For a little of nothing, you can have ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT!

SO WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO SETTLE DOWN THESE DAYS WITH SO MUCH ACCESS TO TEMPORARY FIXES?

I reminiscence on the many times I’ve gone to buffets of the sorts, and typically my eyes are way bigger than my stomach; however, just because I have access to it–I continue eating. Finally, which satisfaction hits, I’m stuffed, not wanting to look at food again for a good while. Actually the sight of food sickens me when I’m stuffed at that level.

Dating, has become like this. We overindulge in the variety that is available, that the simple pleasure of sitting back and savoring a five-star opportunity that is palatable and just enough to satisfy that hunger is non-existent.

I received a text message from a close guy friend today, who sent encouragement, not even understanding the season I was in–a season of deciding not to date casually–almost nearing giving up the hope of the possibility of something fruitful. I share this to encourage someone who feels like, what they have inside of them is constantly over looked for “situations” of momentary gratification.

“Ms. Spyies, you have the spirit of pouring into a man and don’t ever take it lightly. I know we’ve had many discussions about you being tired of pouring into someone and it not being reciprocated, but please believe that at the end of the day someone will catch on. Better than the fliest outfit, the fliest makeup, the best smelling perfume, the greatest cooking, or the most mind-blowing sex, the greatest gift I believe a woman gives a man, is in the way she ministers/prays with him through his stormy seasons and her undying loyalty to him–but ONLY a “MAN” will recognize this! BE ENCOURAGED”.

SO, HAS REAL LOVE BECOME PREHISTORIC?

I truly don’t think so. You can’t expect a man/woman with a “buffet” mentality to be able to appreciate the investment in a “five-star” man/woman. That’s just the truth!

What’s written above by a man  is highlighting the character of a five-star woman. Many of your are that FIVE-STAR PERSON!

At times, I truly believed that the ability to obtain such a pure relationship such as my parent’s marriage had become ancient history. But then an unlikely source pours into my spirit–MY HOPE IS RESTORED.  I look at my parents marriage and MY HOPE IS RESTORED. I return to the Word of God and review His promises unto me and again, MY HOPE IS RESTORED.

My parents marriage is a ministry to me and to many others. It’s like opening a history book, just to remember-how everything begin. Their wedding album like historical artifact–evidence that true love can happen and is still alive and well to date. It’s not prehistoric…real love is historic! I BELIEVE IT! #readytomakehistory

My Encounter with God: 5/16/12- God’s Novocaine for Heartache

Today’s word of the day for me is \numb\:

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To deaden or place in a state of sleep, whereas to be conscious about what is going on around you, yet not feel pain.

Not necessarily a Webster’s Dictionary definition, but as I began to ponder on this word and definition that was placed in my spirit today, I began to see more and more of the character of God.

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t think this was the greatest place to be. For about a week now, my tolerance has gotten REALLY low. The things that used to make me sorrowful, I began to take on the feeling of “it is what it is”. I began to clean out my address book, delete old emails/texts, just rid myself of all of the non-productive interactions that I’ve accumulated over many years.  God began to reveal to me this morning that I’m not necessarily going into a place of where I don’t care, but instead going into a place where I place the burden upon him.

He gave me this vision of my cousin who is a dental surgeon.  For the longest time, I hated going to the dentist, because I was mistreated by one in the past. I went in to this dentist when I was about 21 years old to have a cavity filled. The dentist began to start the procedure and did not numb me all of the way. I told him that I felt the pain. He didn’t care and kept on drilling. Tears streamed down my face. I felt violated in some way, as if what I felt didn’t matter. Shortly after the procedure started, the secretary came in and told the dentist that I was no longer covered under my father’s dental insurance. When the dentist found this out, He told me that unless I could pay for the charges out of pocket, he would not be able to complete the procedure. Here I was, this 21 year-old, completing college, not making much money on the little full time job I had. Here I was vulnerable, trusting this professional to take care of a problem that was causing me pain. He started the job, only not to finish but leaving me in more pain. It took me a very long time to trust a dentist again.

Ironically, I’ve been to this dentist over and over again in my relational life. Meeting individuals who say they are qualified for the job, but only to leave me hanging in deeper pain than I was before I encountered them. BIG WOW MOMENT!

As time went on, my cousin had now became a dental surgeon. My problem had gotten so bad that I couldn’t go on anymore without assistance. I had to get the source of the problem examined. When I went to my cousin, he had a still calm voice that relaxed me. He explained to me what was going on and proceeded with the procedure. He numbed the general area in which he was going to work and said, “okay, you’re going to feel a little prick”. I jumped just a little, but after a while, I said to myself “was that all”. “Okay, you’re going to hear and see some things going on around you, but don’t be alarmed”. I sat there calm, conscious of all that was going on around me, even felt a little pressure. As he injected the novocaine my heart raced and I became a little anxious about what was going on, but I understood that I was in the hands of a person who loved me, who cared about me, and who was going to do everything in his power to help me not to feel anymore pain. As I relaxed and placed the burden of my toothache in the hands of someone I trusted–all went well, he was able to start and COMPLETE the work left by someone else.

Eventually, I no longer felt pain.

God reminded me of this very thing experience this morning. I had been feeling as if I was becoming numb to the thought of a relationship. I’ve had really no huge yearning to spend my time meeting someone new. Had no tolerance for starting something only for it to leave me into disappointment. I haven’t really felt bitter, but more so, “I just don’t care anymore”. As I stated before, I thought this was a bad place, but now that I’m writing, I am understanding that this is such a great place to be.

When God numbs your heart and mind–he’s not numbing your emotional entities to cause you to become nonchalant or indifferent or closed to possibility of falling in love one day.  He does it so that He can have the ultimate control to do what he needs to do to fix them from the aftermath of life. Life hurts. Our interactions with people can sometimes hurt. THIS IS A REALITY.

Though we are aware of what is going on around us, his spiritual novocaine shields us from feeling the things that would cause even more pain. It places our heart in a state of numbness, so God can go in a clean out all of the sources of heart, betrayal, aggravation/irritation <—all the things that if not handled can be responsible for making us irritable and bitter individuals.

So today, I’m embracing the numbness. It’s just a reminder that I’ve placed my cares upon God. Though I’m well aware of what’s going on around me–people developing new relationships, transitioning to new stages in life, getting married, having children–all the things that I do desire, there’s great comfort in knowing that everything is taken care of because He really does cares about me and everything concerning me.

There are some other people out there experiencing this very numbness. Understand that this is a GREAT place!  Embrace it!

Love, peace and many blessings,

B.

Cast all your cares {burdens, desires, anxiety, thoughts, behaviors} upon God, because He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

SWEET AS HONEY–THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR WORDS

Sometimes to obtain wisdom, you have to extract from the wise. That’s what I love about King Solomon.  Sometimes when I read the book of Proverbs, it just blows my mind–I believe it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible.

One of my favorite scriptures that I had to meditate on today  is:

Proverbs 16: 23-24 

The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Harmful words can cause deep wounds that could be resistant to healing as more and more harmful expressions (bacteria) seep into an already gaping wound. Although our wounds may heal, sometimes there are lasting scars, some more susceptible to abrasion than others. We try to bandage the wounds with facades of having thick skin–acting out the childhood cliché, “but words will never hurt me”…BUT, the truth of the matter is WORDS DO HURT.  If the hurtful words from the past aren’t quite healed all the way,  it’s easy for old wounds to re-open. If we don’t allow ourselves the proper healing time (not by reflecting, but forgiving and moving forward) eventually, over time the overlap of harsh, unedifying words can become necrotic.  It can begin eating away at our character, causing us to become guarded, negative and hard.  This can further promote the spread of toxic/poisonous communication to others.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT…

Ancient research has found that honey has several valuable properties for healing.  That’s what’s so powerful about this scripture. GO AHEAD SOLOMON WITH YO’ WISE SELF! 

Let’s take a look:

1) Honey prohibits the growth of bacteria from entering a wound (Protective)

2) Honey helps keeps skin moist, encouraging the growth of new tissue, reduces the likelihood of scarring, and promotes easy removal of bandages (Soothing/Healing)

3) Helps kills cells that cause cancer (Kills antibodies that can invade and demolish the body)

How are the words that flow from your lip? Do they inflict hurt or do they encourage? Do they exhibit these qualities listed above or are completely opposite?

As we continue to crucify our flesh daily–let us keep in mind that our words have meaning and can impact others in harmful ways. Instead, let’s strive to impact in healthy ways. Tell the truth in love, be genuine, encourage, and help lift up…after all, the words we speak, we may have to eat someday. Might as well make it tasty!

MATTERS OF THE HEART

Today, I asked a patient a rather routine question, “Sir, do you wear a pacemaker or defibrillator?” He looked at me intensely and uttered, “No, not the physical one that you speak of, but I married one”. I said, “excuse me”. He said, “I married someone who is my pacemaker…she keeps me going, she gives me life, and speaks life”. Then he asks me, “did you happen to marry your pacemaker”. I said, “hmm, I never really looked at it that way, but no, I haven’t married my pacemaker {yet}”.

After the encounter, the patient’s analogy stuck with me. I began to think about the purpose of the pacemaker and its purpose in monitoring the rhythm of your heart. When your heart’s behavior is operating smoothly, the pacemaker is there for monitoring purposes. It’s almost like a level of accountability. But when that behavior begins to get a little slow, too fast-paced or any form or irregularity, that pacemaker begins to fulfill its purpose, sending a shock to your circulatory system, and get that heart flow back on track.

Typically, pacemaker recipients aren’t even aware of the presence of the device. It is light-weight, not burdensome, and a routine part of them, but when those tough times hit, and their life line is compromised, that’s when the true importance of such a device is really recognized. It can be a matter of life or death.

This patient’s analogy made me survey all of the relationships that I have encountered in my life. Primarily interactions that I’ve had with men; however, this analogy could translate into any relationship.

Upon reflection, I realize that I have had various “pacemakers” and have had those who are more like “artery blockers”. I began to think about those whom I love. Those who are so important to me and who are a routine part of my life. When our relationship is not functioning as it should, I feel a little off, as if something is not right–I recognize the importance of their presence in my life, especially when that relationship is compromised. They are the people who “shock” my behavior back on track. They tell me like it is in love–they hold me accountable. These are my natural pacemakers.

Then I have had those people who were there, a routine part of my life; however, when those various forms of irregularity emerged–they did nothing, they said nothing to “shock” me back into the normalcy of my behavior or walk. They actually aided me down emotionally, physically and spiritually destructive paths. These are defective pacemakers–who if my life, walk, and destiny depended on it… all of those things would have been D.O.A.

Then there have been those people, who just pop up in your life out of the blue, unexpectedly and block all flow of progression. The blockage can be so bad that is sends your hopes, dreams and aspirations into arrest–compromising life from ever emerging from them in those specific situations. These are the silent killers–dream killers, suffactors of your desires–but typically there are red flags that many miss.

Do you feel fatigued, dizzy–going in circles, drained, no energy in the relationship. Perhaps your flow of progression is being threatened! Don’t ignore the warning signs.

These are matters of the heart. <–above all else…guard it!