Keep It Moving…

My Soul Sister is guest blogging today! I love her words. You can reach her at mizzjonez0813@gmail.com
Good Morning! I pray that as we embrace the middle of this week, all
is well or getting better for everyone. The holidays typically are saturated
with scents, sounds and shopping. However, for some, it brings sadness.
The holidays are difficult for some because this is not a time for
celebrating. Certain activities, songs or different events are sorrowful
triggers of memories of loved ones who are no longer here. For others, it
can be a constant reminder of a societal or wrongfully accepted status (that
until the holidays) which remains annually compartmentalized: I am single, I
am a widow/widower. I am divorced. I am alone. Even being in a room full of
people, a person can still feel as if they are alone or lonely.
First of all, you are never alone. Also recognize that unlike what some people may
think or believe, it is okay to have your feelings.  Even Jesus felt like He
was in the world all by Himself(Matthew 27) Your life is live, not a reality
show or the movies.  Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other forms of social
media can wreak havoc on your mind if you allow it. Talk to God and share
what’s on your mind and heart.    If you know someone that you are
comfortable in revealing your concerns, do it.  Reaching out and gathering
with old/new friends is another way to combat the holiday blues.    Try and
treat yourself to something special. It can be a steamy, aromatic bath, buy
something for yourself, read and relax with a good book or veg out on some
movies or a television sitcom/show. Try to volunteer and fill your time with
or by helping others. There is nothing like performing community service to
remind you of how blessed you really are.
Family, when we are blessed to celebrate any holiday, that is a present in itself.  Unwrap the joy of the knowledge that you are loved. Let the Light of God shine in your heart instead of lonesomeness.  A kind word extended is always better than a mouth that stays closed due to self-imposed isolation.  The more you open yourself
up to the gifts that God has surrounded us with, the better you will feel.
Psalm 23:4, 38:9, 62:8
” Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil:  for thou are with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him:  God
is a refuge for us. Selah”
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The Invisible War

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Today the ladies of Soul Sisters start a Spiritual Warfare Study. So what exactly is Spiritual Warfare? It is an invisible war. A war that all of us are engaged in! Its a war where no one wears a uniform, but where everyone is a target. There is no neutral ground!

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

First, we must understand that man exists in two  worlds: The natural world and the spiritual world. The natural world is that which can be seen, felt, touched, heard, or tasted. It is tangible and visible. You see the people who are part of your environment. You can communicate with them. You can experience the sights, sounds, and smells around you.

But there is another world in which you live. That world is a spiritual world. You cannot see it with your physical eyes, but it is just as real as the natural world in which you live.

Because spiritual warfare is just that–spiritual–it must be understood with a spiritual mind. In our natural, sinful state, we can not understand spiritual things:

It is necessary to use “spiritual discernment” to understand spiritual things.

Heres  great example of natural and spiritual discernment

In II Kings chapter 6. It records the story of a natural battle in which troops of an enemy nation of Syria had surrounded a small town called Dothan. Elisha, who was a prophet stayed there.. When Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, saw the great host of the enemy he became fearful!

Elisha prayed that God would open Gehazi’s spiritual eyes so he could see the angelic hosts surrounding and protecting them. On this occasion, God actually opened the natural eyes of Gehazi and allowed him to visibly see the superior forces of God aligned for battle! His spiritual eye was opened and he begin to see into the spiritual realm

This is very similar to what often occurs in our lives. Many churches do not even approach the topic of spiritual warfare. For some its scary, some just refuse to acknowledge that it even exists and well some, just don’t know about it
So sadly, there are many people who, like those in the city of Dothan, are spiritually sleeping. They do not even know that the enemy has surrounded them and is poised for attack!

Within the natural and spiritual realms of which we are speaking there exists separate kingdoms which are ruled by natural and spiritual leaders.

NATURAL KINGDOMS:
All men live in a natural kingdom of this world. They live in a city or village which is part of a nation. That nation is a kingdom of the world. A natural kingdom is a territory or people over which an actual king or political leader is the sovereign ruler. The Bible speaks of these natural kingdoms as “kingdoms of the world.” The kingdoms of the world have come under the power and influence of Satan:
John 5:19 sadly reminds us that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

In addition to the natural kingdoms of this world there are two spiritual kingdoms: The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom Of God. Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms.

The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan, spiritual beings called demons, and all men who live in sin and rebellion to God’s Word. These, plus the world and the flesh, are the spiritual forces of evil at work in the world today.
The Kingdom of God consists of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, spiritual beings called angels, and all men who live in righteous obedience to God’s Word. These are the spiritual forces of good.

Spiritual warfare is not a natural battle between flesh and blood. It is not a battle of man against man. It is not a visible battle. It is an invisible struggle in the spirit world. It is a battle within and around man.

So where exactly is it being waged? This invisible war is being waged on earth!
The thief (Satan) cometh (on earth) not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Satan fights to maintain control of the kingdoms of the world. He does not want them to come under God’s authority. The battle also rages within the hearts, minds, and souls of men and women. Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers and attacks believers in the areas of worship, the Word, their daily walk, and their work for God.

Many folks think if you ignore satan, he wont bother you…that is so far from the truth! You cant view it from a distant, you cant decide to sit it out

You are either a victim or victor. The spiritual “call to arms” is going out…Are you on the side of good or of evil? Are you part of Satan’s Kingdom or the Kingdom of God? To which kingdom do you belong? Are you a victim or a victor in the invisible war?

I’m interested in knowing what understanding you have of Spiritual Warfare. Does your place of worship teach on it? What understanding do you have? Share your thoughts!

Be Blessed

Stephanie

As I sit in Silence..

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March 1st, I embarked on a 31 Day Fast. I am not on Social Media, enjoying a life of clean eating, along with exercise, limited TV and not doing any type of interaction with friends and only immediate family.  Praying twice daily for clarity on some life decisions and for the answers for others, who sent me prayer requests.

After 9 days, my senses have cleared tremendously, they are more sharpened. I can see beyond distractions and my time has been put to use doing things of value. My long talks with God has been a back and forth negotiation of sorts.  I hear his voice clearly, there is no compromise. Revelations on who and what, I should put my time into starting in April. It has been hard!! He is revealing the truth behind the veil…It is during these times, I can really sense a spiritual shaking in my life. I can hear the spiritual battle taking place between good and evil. My spirit man communicates with God, accepting responsibility for sin and repenting hourly…every second sometimes.  God knows my heart. He knows everything…everything we believe is hidden.

Most evenings I sit in silence, listening to praise and worship music. I am hearing every single word. Applying it to my life…applying it to my life, yes really applying it! Questioning whether I adhere to it or just sing it? Do I rock and raise my hands to the beat or the fact it truly applies to my life?  Does it truly minister to my spirit man, because I am seeking change, guidance or simply something that I have overcome? All these questions came forth in my silence and I had to take an honest look at myself, my life, my circle of friends and my future.

Initially I sought Gods daily answers on what scriptures to study. Every evening, God gave me a Chapter. Its awe inspiring that each one centered on sin in some form. How one mans downfall can affect all who are within reach. How our faith must withstand challenges, pitfalls and be put to major tests. How each point of our lives, each place we are planted is important to our process. I begin to decipher the sin in my own life, the excuses I made and the changes I would need to put in place.

Several days ago, God  pushed me into Revelation…the end times. I believe it is paramount and no coincidence that I have developed a passion for this book. It can be a scary book for many…yet a comfort for those who truly are committed to living for Christ. Revelation will scare the hell of folks…literally!

As I sit in silence, I stare at myself more in the mirror. Wondering if my sin is just as visible on me as it is on others. I’m taking note of each and every  person I come in contact with. I study their face, their eyes, their skin. I smile, they smile back. I can often see the stress, the chaos, the sin in their lives…yes its visible. It manifests itself, whether we attempt to hide it or not. Its not cute to look at on everyone, better yet yourself.

As I sit in silence, I realize that this walk with Christ is not easy, yet its paramount to get it right…not perfect…but right.

Right, requires a renewing of the mindset, right requires a heart transplant, right requires a spiritual death.  Right, requires a decision on our part. Right requires patience. Right requires faith.

However right, brings a multitude of blessings…right brings peace, right brings love, right brings light..right brings clarity.

As I sit in silence, away from every thing and everyone…even some people who I hold dear and near to my heart, I can do nothing but hold on to faith…press through…pray through..listen through…

Because I know Right brings Life

…and I’d rather have that over death any day..

Be Blessed

Stephanie

 

What are little boys made of?

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The first instant replay was recorded in Genesis! Genesis 1 gives us a play by play overview of the beginning of the world. In Genesis 2:4-8 God formed man, The Hebrew word for formed is the same word that is used of a potter forming and shaping clay. It suggests an artistic, inventive activity that requires skill and planning- a work that is done with great care and precision.

We can only imagine what it must have been like for God to take simple dust from the ground and to skillfully fashion it into man with countless atoms, cells, organs and complex intricate systems that mystify brilliant scientists.

Then lo and behold, God breathed his own breath into the form so that he became a living soul, a reflection of his own likeness!. He created him out of the dust of the ground, then placed him in the garden of Eden. The Hebrew word for garden indicates an enclosure, a plot of ground protected by a wall or hedge. This designated space was to be man’s new home, where he would be joined with a wife and start a family.

Later we see in Genesis 2, that when a man gets married, he leaves his family or origin, in order to initiate a new family unit. So when God put man in the garden, it appears God set the man up in his own place to be head of a new home.

The mans responsibility to leave and launch a new family unit indicates that taking initiative is at the core of what it means to be a man. God doesn’t want boys to remain boys. He wants them to become men. He wants them to grow up, leave their parents, launch out, start new households and become the men He created them to be.

From the man’s perspective: “Quality is the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something. Also meaning a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something.

There are many qualities that men possess and there are many qualities that are looked at in a man from a woman or anyone’s prospective. As it applies to women, A man’s qualities should compare to a woman’s father…. if the father was present in your life. He should display similar qualities.  Nevertheless, he should display Godly qualities. He cannot be measured from  TV or reality shows. He must be measured to the standards that were instilled in you as a child or from the example of a male figure from your childhood. Many woman and men try to compare their spouse or significant other to someone they know or some love story they have seen on TV or read in a book.

Even though, you may look for qualities that were displayed earlier in your life, the man should show qualities of a man after Gods heart. If he is doing this, he will do just as the word tells us in Genesis 2. When he marries, he will leave his family and build his own empire. He will lead his family with the guidance of God’s word!

Many woman make the mistake of comparing men to previous relationships or what their friends and family relationships look like. We are all different and women all look for different qualities in a man. Don’t miss the man that God has for you because you are comparing him to someone’s man. There are some women whose standards are lower than yours and their quality of men may not  meet your qualities.

Have you ever wondered if your qualities were to high for any man to meet and maybe this is why you are alone?

Look for the qualities that display a Godly man, qualities that he is seeking God for the relationship FIRST.  If his qualities look anything Godly, you are starting in the right place for a man with the qualities that will make you an excellent husband.”

Well there you have it! Its time to reevaluate your now and future relationships against the Godly measuring stick!

Love you my sisters

Stephanie!

 

 

Respect Me

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I pray that you are starting to see that God had an important, specific reason in mind for creating male and female, and the reason had little to do with men or women and much to do with God!

Males display the glory of God in a unique masculine way. Females display the glory of God in a unique feminine way. Each sex bears the image of God, but together they display deep important truths about God in relationship- God the Father in relationship with the Son of God, and the Son of God in relationship with his bride.

When God stamped his image on us. He crowned us with unsurpassed dignity and worth. Because of this, men and women should treat each other with deep respect. Unfortunately, since sin entered the picture, this doesn’t always happen!  However we should be treating each other with the respect that flows out of our equal standings as image bearers of God.

The first chapter of Genesis contains twelve indicators that confirm the profound significance and the equal worth of male and females. They remind us that God does not favor or value one sex over the other!

Both are created for God’s glory (Gen 1:26) Both are named “adam” (Gen 1:26-27)

Both are created by the hand of God (1:27) Both are created in the image of God (1:26-27)

Both are blessed by God (1:28) Both are charged to be fruitful and multiply (1:28)

Both are given dominion over the earth (1:26, 28) Both are recipients of God’s provision (1:29)

Both have a personal relationship with God (1:28, Gen  3:8-13) Both are accountable to God (1:28, Gen 3:11-13)

Both are heirs of the grace of life (1:27, Gen 3:15, 1 Peter 3:7)

So many women struggle with their sense of worth, our self esteem. The world tries to convince us that we need to draw worth from our looks, education, careers, possessions, relationships and their individual personalities and abilities. However, the Bible’s view is much different. It teaches us that we don’t need a greater sense of self worth…what we desperately need is a greater sense of “His worth!”

When we really see God as He is- in his awesome greatness, majesty, goodness and love- we will have a proper perspective on ourselves!

When we are looking for a Godly man, one who treats us as our worth truly is. Its important to look for certain qualities that shine as a beacon to let us know, HE IS TRULY the King I have been looking for.

There’s more to come on this subject! Stay tuned!

Stephanie

Additional Readings: Psalm 8:4-6

Created Equal?

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Are Men and Women created equal?

Both have equal worth, value and dignity as bearers of God’s image. Male and female are equally part of the creation that He called “man”

In an effort to not be offensive, some modern translations of the Bible have tried to obscure the gender imagery found in Hebrew text. They have substituted “human beings” etc for the word “man” and “them” for the word “him”. But in the Hebrew text, this verse clearly says that “man” equals “him” equals “male and female”

So why does the Bible call humankind “man”? Genesis 1:27 gives us the stunning truth that all humans bear the divine image- men and women bear it equally. It also states that God refers to us collectively with a singular male pronoun. In choosing the word “man” as the common name, God indicated that male and female would share a common condition for which he would provide a common solution.

God actually underlined the profound unity and equality that exist between us. This common name shows that women comes from man and is not independent of him. It shows that both sexes exist to tell the story of God and that this story is told together- with both male and female as parts of a unified whole

You see the story line of gender is not about male and female, its not about us at all, its about the man JESUS CHRIST! The man whose redemptive work applies to both sexes equally

The Hebrew word for man is adam, which is closely related to the word for ground, adamah. Its a generic term that refers to all human beings. After the fall, Adam becomes the proper name of the first male. And later Jesus Christ comes as the last Adam to redeem “adam” (mankind) and bring many sons and daughters of God to glory!

In God’s eye the female is as much a part and expression of “adam” as the male. This means that both can trace their beginnings to the dirt of the ground. Both bear God’s image fully and individually. It means that God values both equally! Because both are “adam” both are equally represented by the first man, Adam.

Both are fallen and in need of a savior and the good news is that both are equally represented by the second man-the last Adam-Jesus Christ! Together we make up the church, He loves, the bride, He sacrificed His life to redeem. Male and female  are connected. Together-united as a whole- they tell the story of the gospel

Although we are different, we are equally important to God’s plan.

When God named male and female “adam”He had the last Adam in mind. So when we appease the whims of man, we change “man” to something we think is more inclusive, but in doing that we diminish the true meaning of the word

If woman is not part of man, then how can she be represented by the first man, more importantly, how can she be represented by the last man, Jesus Christ.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Email me or drop your comments below!

Stephanie

 

Additional Readings:  Genesis 5:2, 1 Corinthians 5:45, 1 Corinthians 15:22

The Ultimate Plan

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Our first post took us back to the beginning, Genesis, and the fact we are created to display God’s image. God created us in His likeness, our purpose is to put God on display!

The responsibility to reflect God’s image was not just given to us. Mankind was created as male and female in relationship-to display something about the divine relationship that exists within the triune God. Our relationships were created to tell the incredible story of God.

Being created in Gods image gives us dignity, privilege and responsibility. He has crowned us with glory and honor and given us authority over the earth. Its a awesome responsibility to go about our daily life and all the while reflect the image of the Almighty. However the image of God has been marred, it is begging for redemption…transformation…recreation. You see God knew from the beginning that sin would distort and destroy the male female relationship. Amazingly he patterned the first couple’s relationship to  correspond with the amazing relationship that would one day counter all of the horrible tragic consequences of sin

Gods eternal plan comes to light in Ephesians, chapter 3 and then in chapter 5. He ties the mystery of Christ loving the church to the earthly picture of male and female sexuality and marriage. According to scripture, the relationship between a husband and wife is powerfully linked to the story of Christ and his Church Bride. God created male and female to foreshadow and testify about that amazing relationship and event.

Men were created to reflect the strength love and self sacrifice of Christ. Women were created to reflect the responsiveness, grace and beauty of the bride He redeemed! Marriage was created to reflect the covenant union of Christ and His Bride!

Your womanhood has nothing to do with you, but displaying the glory of God and His powerful redemptive plan.

Male and female relationships has little to do with us, and much to do with God! Our marriages and relationships should be truly God ordained, mirroring the union of Christ and his Bride

I asked a fellow friend and my Boaz, his interpretation on Ephesians 5:23. Here are his thoughts…

From A Mans View:

When you look at Ephesians 5:23, it states that the man is the head, however we often take that scripture out of context. Many men take advantage of that scripture and use it to run their home negatively! Some men view that as ‘I am the head of this marriage, this house, I make all the decisions, and my wife must submit to them, regardless” However, if I as the man is not following God, that is a dictatorship and I as the head would be leading us to hell! When we read on further in Ephesians, it breaks down exactly what we as men should be doing as the man and head of our home.  My job as the head includes many things. I must honor my wife, nurture my wife, love her, take care of her, pray for her, seek God to make sound decisions for her and my family. I am responsible for her! God is really the head of our marriage, and we as men need to seek God to become a representation of a Godly head of our home!

Does your marriage or relationship with your significant other reflect that great redemptive plan of Christ?

Stephanie

Additional Readings  Ephesians 5:23, 1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:30-32