The Married and Singles Series – Love Her Respect Him

Love-Respect

Today marks the seventh and final installment of the series and I hope it has blessed you in some way. God created marriage so you would not be alone, but as we explored thus far, the purpose is more than a cure for loneliness. Whether married, single, divorced, or widowed your salvation through Jesus Christ bonds you to Him in a personal marriage. Since this is the case, God is to always be first in our life and no spouse should ever come before our relationship with Him.

That’s why if you’re unmarried it’s important that you solidify your foundation and get to know Him intimately each day. If you fail to do this part, you will find it hard to keep yourself grounded in many ways once married.

This was my story.

I thought things would work themselves out once we were united in matrimony under God, and it proved to be just the opposite. My marriage quickly showed me how shallow my walk with Jesus was. I was desperate to find a solution, so I began spending hours in the bible and reading more books about marriage. It felt as if I was swimming against the current fighting to stand up—it was tough.

When you’re single and so called “successful” by worldly standards, the people and the world can puff you up so big. We then believe we are “all that” because we have a good paying job, are well dressed; we look the part, and are doing impressive things. Sadly, though it’s nothing wrong with material things, they simply don’t make up the core of any marriage. What matters is what’s in your spiritual bank account. What kind of deposits are you making for eternity and what are you withdrawing?

According to Proverbs 16:18 KJV it says, Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Many of us can exude prideful arrogance in some way or another, and when that is bought into a Christ centered marriage, it will all come tumbling down. Since God is first, He will not allow such a display to continue on without humbling you. It’s is no difference with selfishness either.

James 4:10 KJV says, Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. With all that we face daily, nobody wants to come home to wife that is not respectful or a husband that is unloving. No one wants a prideful—know it all mate, that has no sense of humility. You want to come home to a smiling face and spend your days with someone that is meek and open to what God wants to do through them, so God can exalt them above all that’s against them.

In Ephesians 5:33 KJV it says, Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Also in Ephesians 5:28-29 KJV it reads, So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

The fifth chapter of Ephesians is powerful. If you meditate on the previous verses alone it can work wonders in your marriage. The thing to also note is that in Eph 5:33 it states that the husband is to love the wife and the wife is to reverence/respect her husband. Why didn’t it say husbands and wives are to love each other? After all, according to scripture we are all commanded to love right?

In this particular instance it’s deeper than just ordinary love because in 28-29 we see that no man ever hated his own flesh, he nourishes and cherishes it. He’s to care for his wife the same. According to Ephesians 5:2 KJV it reads, And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. This is sacrificial and unconditional love! Chist gave Himself up—He surrendered—He sacrificed—He died to save—His love is limitless. It’s the type of love God created us nurturing women to crave and yearn for. We don’t want to just hear you say you love us, we want to experience it daily in our heart.

When growing up, dad is our spiritual covering in the household. This relationship should demonstrate the love of Christ to the family. Then once we leave and cleave to start our own family, these values, along with what’s been taught to us through scripture, should help us to have a foundation in marriage. The husband is now the spiritual covering that is to love you the same way Christ does and how demonstrated. Without this kind of love from our human husband, we shrink back. We need this security to be energized.

Also, a man needs to be respected and reverenced from his wife. He’s raised to be strong and to become a provider for his family. This is no easy feat. He cannot tell you everything because some things he will have to work out and solve with God so you will not worry. He carries a lot on his shoulders because his responsibility is great. He’s to set the tone in the home and make sure God’s commands are carried. He’s to submit himself directly under Christ while you submit under him. He’s responsible for the family and God is holding him accountable.

Therefore, he thrives off of your reverence. When disrespect, nagging, or being uncooperative is constantly present, he will pull away. He “needs” to know he’s respected in his own home and as a father, husband, and man of God. He needs encouragement and to be cheered on. He needs a safe place to share his dreams and his fears. He needs you—his wife—to be his number one cheerleader. When he comes home and closes the door to the world for the night, he needs to be thanked for doing an awesome job. You must believe in him!

When you do that, you are welcoming God to do amazing things in your marriage. Who knows how far you two can go if you give the other what they need.

Men, if you desire to show more love to your wife, ask questions and get to know more about her interests, dreams, and goals. Do something special for her during the week that does not cost money to let her know she’s in your thoughts.

Women, if you wish to show more respect to your husband, ask questions about the things he’s into and do something unexpected for him that involves what he likes. For instance if he’s really into studying the bible, attend some classes with him surrounding those interests and talk more about them. If he’s into sports and you’re not, have a game night party at home with just the two of you. If he fixes or builds things, think of a small project that you want to do with him.

You must intentionally decide and chose to include love and respect in your marriage. Even as a single, divorcee, or widow you must prepare for being an amazing spouse in the future. This can be done by committing to be awesome in your other relationships. Always be willing to learn and take good sound advice. Also, never neglect your relationship with the Lord or His Word. You are always going to need evey bit of what He has to offer.

Finally, if your marriage needs to be restored please refresh it by implementing some of what I’ve written today. If you feel you feel it’s broken and beyond repair, please stay in prayer until God tells you specifically what to do. We can pray for you also. Until next time, I thank you for reading this series—God bless!

The Married and Singles Series – Guarding Against Temptation

Stop

Thus far we’ve explored What is a Christian Marriage, Attracting AdamThe Successful Single Parts 1 and 2, and It’s Not All About You. Since marriage is a union joined together by God, the enemy is always active in attempting to tear it apart. For those that have gone through many marital tests over the years, I’m sure you can relate.

Selflessness has a key position in marriage and requires the fruit of the spirit to thrive (Gal 5:22-23). According to scripture, your selfless service to your spouse comes second to God and before the children (Deut 6:5, Eph 5:22, 25, 31). For the bond to stay tightly woven, there are responsibilities God has given you to defend it (Eph 6:10-18). Failure to do so cannot necessarily be blamed on the enemy all the time either.

When one fails to take responsibility and do his/her part, it not only affects your spouse, it boomerangs and a succession of madness begins. Once it starts it’s hard to stop.

For example, an argument or disagreement regarding his lack of consideration for your emotional needs or monetary provision can breed resentment that may cause you to withhold sex or preparing dinner for weeks. Also, constant nagging or overspending can cause him to disconnect from you emotionally. Depending on how long you’ve been going through this exchange and the length of the episodes, someone will eventually grow weary of the cycle. They will withdraw and sometimes find another to confide in. They believe this person offers everything you don’t.

In reality, the negative is just so magnified until it overtakes the positive. If you are not strong and careful—sexual and emotional infidelity can rear its ugly head all because you both couldn’t find a way to work through the problems when they were small, now they are eroding the foundation.

Nonetheless, the act of falling into infidelity cannot just attach itself to you or your spouse if it wasn’t allowed to enter into the thoughts entertained previously in one’s mind to begin with. James 1:15 KJV says, Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Though many say, “it just happened,” this just isn’t true.

A conscious choice is made when one moves forward with someone else, all the while The Holy Ghost screams “turn away, leave, run, this is wrong!”

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV God’s Word says, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Did you get that?

Every temptation faced, big or small, God promises to provide a way of escape. We are given an option to flee rather than fall into the trap because His grace will abound more in our moment of weakness (2 Cor 12:9). If we fail to leave when provided the opportunity to do so, it means we then make a decision to move forward in sin. This happens when unclean thoughts are allowed to occupy the mind (weeks and months earlier) without driving them out as soon as they enter. When this happens and other people occupy the space they have no business occupying, evil takes root.

In 2 Samuel, David knew exactly what he was thinking when he watched Bathsheba bathe and he also knew whom she was married to. He lusted after her prior to the moment he decided to pursue her and commit adultery. In other words it didn’t “just happen.” After allowing temptation to take over, he found out they had conceived a child. David then tried to cover up his actions by murdering Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. He thought he hid the sin, but he could not hide it from God.

Chilling things can happen when we operate from our lustful desires and feelings opposed to Godly wisdom. One cover up leads to another. Now you’ve bought something unruly upon the household and family that cannot be undone. Suddenly the thought of working things out and communicating wasn’t so bad after all.

Once one decides to cheat (for whatever reason) in this age of technology, everything has to be concealed more so than in the days of David. At the end of the day it’s just too much work to keep a lie covered. Eventually the truth will come out. A lie always changes, but the truth stands firm no matter what.

So how do you protect and guard your marriage?

When temptation finds its way to your relationship—run fast! Charm is deceitful and sometimes it’s just timing (during a hard time in your marriage), or the niceness of a person that can distract you at your job, church, the grocery store, or while you’re out and about. When old friends and ex’s from years prior find you on Facebook, keep moving and ignore the friend requests. There is no need to catch up and find out what they are doing with their life. You’re married and your attention should be on guarding your family unit, not opening the door to who knows what.

Accept them for who they are and not what you want them to be. Your spouse has their own mind. You cannot control them or make them do what you want them to do. Though we want them to do what’s right and make the best decisions for the family—this isn’t always the case. When there is discord and your spouse is out of alignment with God, continue to submit to Christ while remaining faithful, prayerful, and diligent. Let your love radiate no matter how dark things may get. This is a time of testing for you while God is working on stretching and maturing your spouse. They may be very stubborn, but only God’s hands can pry them from that. Meet them where they are and ask God to give you an overflow of strength to go through this.

Make time to communicate. By this I’m not referring to just talking, I’m referring to actively listening and responding when he/she has finished their thoughts. Ask questions to clarify and to gain an accurate understanding of what they mean. When things are too heated to talk rationally, reconvene later.  Out of respect you always want to give your undivided attention, so conclude when emotions aren’t so high. During these talks acknowledge their feelings and apologize for anything you’ve done to contribute to the rifts. End your talks with prayer and walk away leaving everything on the table and start fresh. This part is vital to your marriage because communication breakdowns leave your spouse to assume and before you know it they are talking to someone else about your marriage.

Pray and follow up with action. Assuming you have faith that God will work things out, keep your marriage in prayer and place all of your problems in God’s hands. Pray for your bond to be protected from the inside out and be vigilant. Forgive past hurts so things won’t fester and submit to God’s commands to love with actions. Sometimes it’s hard depending on what has previously happened, but God’s unconditional love covers our multitude of sins.  His grace and mercy enables us to start anew. Extending grace is vital to your marriage.

Your marriage is a gift and it is to be cherished and protected at all times. Watch out for anything trying to enter without an invitation. Keep God first and submit according to what He has ordained. Flee from any forms and appearances of evil and commit to love your spouse daily.

 

Are You Walking In Your Destiny or Defeat?

Victory-in-Christ-LaTanya-Quinn

I think it only make sense to write about the topic I ministered on last week. It’s a question we are to ask ourselves daily. As Christians, we are often living a life of defeat opposed to walking in the destiny God has ordained for us. Scripture teaches that we are more than conquerors through him who loves us (Romans 8:37), and that God has a plan that involves hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11), and there is therefore now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).For some reason we believe otherwise, and remain stuck feeling utterly defeated.

We hold on to dead relationships, lifeless careers and jobs, hurt, human promises, and many other things. Life can become stale even when we are on the right path. For some reason we believe that continuing around the same mountain year-after-year, while complaining about the same circumstances, will change them.

We also settle when we create a life plan for ourselves that is contrary to His. In our mind we believe we know best (more than God), so we ditch God’s laws, plans, and commands and follow our own. But we are forgetting something—we will never be able to walk in Godly faith until we fully accept and surrender our will and plans to Him.

How can we feel that He’s qualified to take on some things but not all? In this, you are basically saying, “God you’re good enough to handle the parts of my life I want You handle, but I don’t trust You with the rest.”

Even when one has surrendered all to God and has dared to do what He’s ordained for them; fear, depression, anxiety, doubt and all of their relatives can still be found. There are still many layers of healing and purging that must take place for the mind to be transformed (Romans 12:12).

LQM family, God wants to take you further than your mind can conceive, and you are standing in your own way. For example, when one interviews and accepts the position of “marketing executive” at a corporation, would one dare to show up in coveralls and do the work of a janitor? Is it normal to start sweeping and mopping floors, taking out the trash, and cleaning the toilets?

Of course it’s not! This is not what one was hired to perform, so why do we do this with our own life?

There is nothing wrong with the work of a hardworking janitor; it’s just not the job description of a marketing executive. The marketing executive position has its own job title and one is expected to perform the duties in which they are hired for.

Just as your employer has job specifics for your role in the organization, God created you during this generation because He has a specific assignment for you in the body of Christ right now too.

Your role is so significant that He created you for it before you were even born.

This is why He decided to give a specific date for your birth and chose your parents and family tree. This is why He placed you in a certain country and city. Whatever He has in store for you is far better than anything you can make up on your own. Until you align yourself with His plan, you will feel like a fish out of water. Trust me, you won’t even realize you’re out of place until you allow God to have His way, then you will noticeably see that you were out of alignment—there is a huge difference.

I know life has been harsh for you up until this point, but God has not forgotten about you! The plan He has for you has not expired. The sexual/physical abuse, adoption, abortion, loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, failed business, foreclosed home, rejection, or anything else that has happened in your past is gone. God wants to heal you from what happened in the past and do a “new thing.” Your past is that period of time before the present.

Here is what God has to say about your past. Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV says, Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing, now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness [desert] and streams in the wasteland.

Only Jesus can do this! No human being can do for you what only He can. So, please read and study that chapter in context so that you can get the full impact and understanding of that passage, when you do, you will be able to see your past differently.

Beautiful and victorious moments in our past are encouraging. However, for some reason we tend to magnify the bad things that happened opposed to the good. It’s easy to overlook all that the Lord has done for us along with how far He’s carried us. Likewise, it’s easy to dwell on the successes too, and they can often keep us from advancing to the next level. This is why God wants us to realize, yes, He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)—and He’s omnipotent. His potential is unlimited, unrestricted, and boundless—it NEVER runs out. He has limitless capacity to create a new miracle out of your seemingly dead and hopeless situation.

It’s not over my friend until God says it’s over, and I encourage you to walk the path God has for you. Put your entire life in His hands and trust Him today. Yesterday is over and right now His mercies are new (Lamentations 3:23). Don’t spend another year striving for something that has nothing to do with your destiny. Take the first step now. It doesn’t have to be anything huge because you are a success as long as you’re doing what God has called you to do in this current season.

If you’re married be the best spouse ever, if you’re a parent be the best, if you’re on your job be the best. Allow God to use and transform you where you currently are. If you’re not sure where to start pray about it and realize that the destiny of every believer is to grow in Christ, witness to the lost, make disciples, love others, and to study to shew thyself approved. Won’t you rededicate yourself to His ways today?

Where Have I Been???

LaTanya First Speaking

LQM family I miss you, but I’ve been tucked away allowing the Lord to minister to me. Ever since the problems with my eyes, a few months back, I’ve endured some tough moments trying to bounce back. When I did get back in the flow, I returned with the Marriage and Singles Series (which I still plan to complete), while still dealing with some personal trials. When you answer the call God has placed on your life, you open yourself up to new challenges. They are intended to stretch you to reach the level and the people God wants you to minister to.

God knows what’s truly in our heart and we’re the ones that don’t. We think we’re fine, and though we may be in many ways, there is still something the Holy Spirit see’s that needs to come out of us. Sadly, mine was complaining and murmuring about something I’ve been dealing with for a while—what a conviction. I didn’t even realize it until recently. I’m just glad that I know what may have been blocking me from growing.

Tests are far from simple or easy. God will make sure we are 110% dependent on Him for every single need in our life, while being grateful and thankful for the good and bad, rather it turns out our way or not. God is our provider and walking by faith means that life is daily. As long as we have what we need for that day, let tomorrow worry about tomorrow. My life is pretty unmanageable to plan even a month ahead. Just like the manna and quail God rained down from Heaven to the Israelites daily—He wants our total dependency on Him to be the same.

Thank God that I have my strong Christian family in Detroit (my parents, sister and brother), and a couple of close friends here in Atlanta that have been encouraging me every step of the way.  They have not only been there for me but have helped me when I needed them most. They didn’t push me away (when I cried) while only praying for me (which prayer is still awesome). They rose to the challenge and went above and beyond with emotional and financial support.

Sometimes we have to let go and be still while the Lord performs His work in us. It’s often painful but worth it in the end. Overall I’ve still been working. I’ve been studying the bible a lot and I had my first speaking engagement through LaTanya Quinn Ministries on this past Saturday November 15th.

That moment meant a lot because my goal was not to initiate contact with any organizations, churches, or ministries involving speaking until my Heavenly Father felt it was time.

With my consultative selling background that was tough, but in obedience, I let God align that moment.

When you wait on God, you get more than what you could dream on your own. It was an honor and privilege to be used as a vessel for the Holy Spirit to get His message to those in attendance. Galetha Beard and the Women of Vision team were amazing. I was blessed by the opportunity more than they can imagine. The topic was “Daughters Are You Walking in Your Destiny or Defeat?”

The speaking moment reminded me of my blessings and that I am aligned with the plan and destiny God has for my life. I can also look back and reflect on how far I’ve come and how the Real, True, Living God has transformed and is transforming my life with His power. Regardless of my past, I am not a victim but a victor! Regardless of those that hurt me along the way I thank them! I thank them for pushing me into my destiny. Now that I know who I am, nothing can stop me. My being here was planned by God, so I am not an afterthought. I am looking forward to the future He has for me. In the meantime, I want to let you know that I love you and I thank you for being a part of my journey.

If you are in need of prayer during this time in your life, please reach out and we will be honored to pray for you! God Bless

The Married and Singles Series – It’s Not All About You

Young Couple Quarreling

I can’t speak for marriages outside of a Christian union joined together by God, but when you belong to Christ your marriage is to glorify Him. When you accept the calling, you willingly open yourself up to the job and the purpose God desires to bring about. A healthy marriage will bear good fruit. It is sacred and should never be viewed as anything negative like “the ball and chain.” Your marriage is a gift and a privilege. And just like anything else worth having, it will require love, patience, passion, time, dedication, persistence, and lots of prayer to make it work.

You both come to the table with certain strengths and weaknesses, and God will certainly stretch and mature you in the process. Marriage is not something to do to pass time or a spectator sport—it’s ministry. Your participation in it will get you into tip top shape spiritually if you allow the Lord to lead and guide you.

Even a healthy marriage will still have its ups and downs, tests and trials, frustrations, challenges, disagreements, seasons of hardship, roadblocks, sufferings, and hurt. At times you may find that it is just too much work involved, which may lead you to stop participating in it emotionally or physically. But, when you two stay close to the only One that can get you through, your test becomes a testimony, your trust grows, and your faith increases by leaps and bounds.

You will see the fruit of your labor and a harvest for your sacrifices. You’ll feel glee when you can look back on how far you’ve come. These times bring about the wisdom and understanding you can only get by going through things together.

When going through things it will always be easy to point the finger and blame the other, but we must always be honest enough to look at ourselves to see if we are contributing to any of the rifts. Depending on the situation, it could be yes and maybe no.  This is when your relationship with God comes into play because you will be seeking Him for answers and for guidance to get through things.

As a side note, please don’t confuse this with me saying you may be contributing to abuse or anything along that line. That’s a totally different subject. If you’re involved in a marriage that is outright going against God please seek help.

What I am referring to are things like bad habits, selfishness, stubbornness, or our unwillingness to be a team player. These seemingly small things can destroy a marriage. They don’t radiate the love and grace God wants you to exhibit towards your husband. In fact they are poisonous! They have no place in a marriage.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the world of “me” and “I” and forget that there is another living breathing soul you promised to love, honor, and cherish for better or for worse.

The man that may be irritating you at times, does not understand your feelings, or is not listening to you; please remember he bought his background and habits into the marriage too. And just as you’re frustrated, so is he, and he feels as though he is not being respected, encouraged, and supported in becoming the husband and man God is calling them to be.

Men can feel lost in seasons of their life and they feel pain also. There is a lot of pressure on them to be strong, as well as be a good leader and provider. Since he does not show it like you, he still hurts. What’s worse is when you seem to be doing fine and going on with the day-to-day while the big problems in the marriage hadn’t been dealt with. When things aren’t resolved and he does not feel needed, his spirit feels crushed and he shuts down. You feel like he doesn’t get it and he says the same about you. He feels that you don’t need him or the abilities he brings to the table because you aren’t coming to him.

You both must let go of all pride and trust in the Lord because your needs are drastically different.

Don’t get me wrong, there are also times where you’re doing all you can and that man is just not connected to God the same as you are. It’s great to be able to grow together, but that’s not always the case. Your marriage will require a lot more to get to a certain level; this is why one of the fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering (Galatians 5:22-23). You can’t obtain it in your own strength; it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. As my late Pastor Gooden would say, “love suffers.”

Sometimes love is suffering long because we can sometimes get hung up on our desires based off of previous relationships, other peoples relationships, daydreams, what we read in books, watch on a television shows/movies, or listen to in love songs.

These things can bring unrealistic ideals into a marriage and make things all about you and what you want.

But, real life is “your” marriage and “your” husband. You have to work with what’s in front of you, not the past or what someone else has.

No man can be everything to you. No matter how much he tries he will fail and disappoint you. We are not built to carry our own burdens or anyone else’s; we must give them to God and not a man made in God’s image. He’s human just as you are, and he cannot be everything you want him to be, so please eliminate any unrealistic expectations that you’ve placed on him.

If he doesn’t want to do what God asks you two to do, then you must be obedient to God regardless of what he is doing. This is where the challenge comes in because you’re a unit. What he does will affect you and vice versa. If children are involved it will affect them as well. You may feel lonely and tired because you’re just not on the same page. Not being in agreement is painful.

This is especially hard for those who got saved after marriage and he doesn’t want any parts of Jesus or church. Talk about feeling alone. You want your husband to experience the goodness of God and the joy you have in your life and he is not interested.

Right now God knows how to strengthen you during this time. You’ll have to seek His wisdom on what to do. Amos 3:3 KJV says, Can two walk together; except they be agreed? Your husband is receiving spiritual benefits from your compliance with God, though in the flesh you are not on the same page. As you two are joined in marriage two are still walking together because you’re walking with God and not trying to fix or change him on your own. You’re interceding on his behalf and have handed the situation over to the Lord realizing He’s the only One that can do something with it.

When you’re weak in your marriage, His grace is abundant, but you have to give up the negative thoughts and walk by faith.  2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV says, And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Your love may be suffering long right now, but God’s strength is made PERFECT when you submit yourself to Him. In the flesh we will always be weak so it’s in the spirit where you will experience God’s power working through your marriage.

It’s normal to want to do everything together. You want to experience prayer, reading, and worship with your husband. But don’t give up hope. The effectual fervent prayers of the righteous man availeth much (James 5:16,) and you are laying up eternal rewards by doing the right thing. Your service to God through your marriage will not be forgotten. Your seeds will grow if you’re doing God’s will. And just as the Lord was patient with you over the years, you will need to be patient with your husband. Pray that you learn to accept your husband for who he is and where he is right now, all while never ceasing to pray for him.

Marriage is not for the faint at heart and these situations come to make you and your marriage strong. They aren’t enjoyable while you’re going through them, but to get through you have to find a way to get the focus off of yourself.

The Married and Singles Series – The Successful Single Waiting on God Part 2

Beautiful African American woman

 

As you go through the preparation season, before God gifts you with the desire of your heart to enter into a loving and fulfilling marriage, let’s consider some things. This is the stage where you’re to examine and be brutally honest with yourself. It’s a time when welcoming and cooperating with the Holy Spirit, as He renews your mind, is essential. Surrendering and allowing Him to have His way will only help you to become more Christ like and to be stellar as a wife.

Marriage is something that should not be entered into lightly. Sometimes your mind can also be clouded. In this case, it’s best to hold off on making long-term decisions about committing your life to someone until you’re thinking clearly and have sought the wisdom from Him and the family/friends He’s placed in your life before you met your mate.

Making a permanent decision based on temporary circumstance does not come from the Lord and there are many that marry for the wrong reasons. Some feel they’re getting old, want to have children before it’s too late, feel they may not have another opportunity like this, familiarity, loneliness, comfort, sex, or for financial reasons. Don’t get caught up and settle for any of these reasons because the devil is a lie. You want to marry who you’re supposed to marry and if that person is not around yet, you’ll have to wait patiently. You must consider their past, present, and the future you two will have—it’s not just the here and now. The divorce rates are high because the costs are not always calculated in advance. Even when couples counsel, you don’t want to be the only one ever thinking about those sessions when the dust settles.

For instance money problems are a huge reason why couples end up fighting or calling it quits. There’s often one that manages money very well while the other does not. This is something you can see while courting. If you don’t, it’s because you’re not asking the right questions. In time God will show you how they handle their finances, because this strength or weakness will show. You will know if they’re tithing (giving), paying child support, paying their mortgage/rent, and meeting obligations. You’ll also know if they file tax returns, have student loan debt, a savings account, or retirement plan.

Having debt does not mean you walk away. But, you will have to take all into account and the circumstances that caused them to get behind (divorce, job loss, business start-up, investments, unexpected repairs, school, illness etc.) If they reveal habits from several years prior that indicate a pattern of financial instability, this is a red flag because anyone submitted to God wholly will submit their finances to Him too. However, if their honest and working towards getting things in a better position it will create trust between you two and you can decide if this is something you want to help with. Proverbs 12:15 says, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. You may be more educated in that area or vice versa and can get over that hump but you must definitely take this to the Lord in prayer.

In my twenties, I briefly dated a nice looking guy with a luxury vehicle and a decent paying job. On our dates he’d take me to three to four different places in one night and we’d drive all around the city. We’d go one place for dinner, another for dessert, and somewhere to hear music and eat again etc. It was exciting until he invited me to his place weeks later. Not only was he dead broke, behind on major bills, didn’t have basic things needed for a home, and no furniture (nor no plans to get any), his priorities were way out of whack.

So don’t accept someone’s poor habits just because you want to be married. You’ll be paying for them long into the marriage and after the divorce.

It’s true that you can never plan for everything. Especially when you take the life you both lived individually and merge it into one household. There will be many habits and things you won’t see until you share a home. Plus, a marriage is full of twists and turns and they are unique to that couple. There is no one size fits all and everything isn’t black and white. The key is to minimize the blows by preparing for what you can in advance, seek God’s Word and pray daily for His covering. Don’t seek His way and then turn in the opposite direction. Stay on His path.

As you are submitted to the Holy Spirit, praying, and reading the Word, you’re in a better position to hear from God, and here are some things that you should look out for.

  • How does this person make decisions? Do they make them suddenly based off of emotions, or do they pray over them first and wait to hear from God? Proverbs 2:6 says, For theLord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
  • Do they include or ask your opinion about serious issues or things that concern them? Colossians 3:16 says, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. In other words you’re to help and encourage each other.
  • Do they consult the bible to get understanding about things or do they just quote churchy phrases, song lyrics, popular terms, or their pastors words? John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. You find God’s thoughts in His infallible Word.
  • Do they take care of the material things God has blessed them with such as their home, vehicle, clothing, and furnishings? Luke 16:10 says, He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
  • Do they take care of their physical body and personal appearance through exercise, eating nourishing foods, keeping their hair styled/cut etc.? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
  • Do they have a relationship with their parents? Exodus 20:12 says, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
  • Do they have a job, goals, hobbies, or other interest? Proverbs 19:15 says, Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

If you desire to be a future helpmeet you want to care for someone long-term that cares about God, himself, you, and the things God entrust him with. There will be enough things that require your energy and I doubt that complaining about things God showed you prior will get you off the hook. True you cannot change a person, but you certainly can use your gift of God given womanly influence to set the tone during the courtship. Once you say I do, the tables turn because you’re to submit to your husband. Though you will have influence, your voice speaks louder when the man is in pursuit of you. Once he has you, be prepared for a new phase of building.

 

The Married and Singles Series – The Successful Single Waiting on God

Beautiful African American woman

If you’ve never married, are widowed, or divorced, you must be equipped to handle this time alone. Single means you’re set apart, not something is wrong with you. You’re under construction while God is working on you and your future mate. It’s also possible that you may be ready but the person God wants to present is not. The day-to-day can be dreadful when you don’t understand your identity in Christ or what He’s doing. If you don’t know how to deal with your feelings you may end up doing things that can set you back.

It takes a lot of self-disciple to live as a successful single. It’s a commitment to wait on God and do it His way because it’s not easy.

Jesus lived as a successful single during His time on earth. His assignment left Him full. He had family, disciples, and supporters—but He was married to His assignment. Therefore, embrace every bit of your singleness until that time comes, because then you’ll have your assignment, new responsibilities, new concerns, plus a marriage.

Jesus always found it necessary to go off to be alone with the Father. As you do the same, the Holy Spirit will reveal areas in your life that need to be submitted, strengthened, healed, and worked on. Do not ignore what you see when He holds a mirror to your heart. Work on them because the enemy will attempt to use them against you when you get married—even if you haven’t seen them manifest in a while. If you struggle with communication, anger, jealousy, selfishness, forgiveness, commitment, faithfulness, lust, loneliness, or anything else—invite the Holy Spirit to help you study in these areas. Ask for the fruit of His Spirit to be made manifest in your life. (Galatians 5:22-23)

It’s also likely, during this time, He will reveal work to do for the Kingdom, so be prepared.

Also, don’t neglect yourself, but be good to you!

Make sure you’re presentable and well groomed when you go to work, church, events, or to run errands. Keep your appearance neat and clean. Working out if need be won’t hurt either. Wear a smile when you meet and greet people, be approachable and polite.

Use your time as a tool and sow good seeds. Work on your finances, clean up your credit, get stable, learn something new, and nurture your relationships. Bring something to the table. George Quinn says, “If a man is seeking a help meet, he must be submitted to God and have something going on in his life that he needs help with.” Also, ladies, will you be ready to submit and help when that time comes?

When I married I didn’t have anything to help with, instead I worked tirelessly to patch up and fix a broken person and the millions of issues that weren’t addressed or fixed before we tied the knot—I was drained. Now, three years post-divorce, I thank God for delivering me out of that union. However, there are still consequences I am still and had to deal with as a result of that decision. When you don’t honor God in your decisions, big or small, you can bring unnecessary hardship into your life. You place yourself at a disadvantage—I get that now.

So please work on what needs to be worked on!

For instance, God created sex for marriage. When we engage in it before He honors it, we dishonor Him. 1 Corinthians 6:18 NIV says, Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. While the Holy Spirit is living inside of you, He’s grieved by this. We’ve now spiritually connected our soul with someone God never intended for us to be with. Even if you marry that person, there is still baggage associated with the act, especially if there were partners before them. There are now a slew of issues and soul connections to be freed from. As you work through the problems, you’ll soon see that your girlfriend-boyfriend relationship is very different from the one of husband and wife. So don’t put unnecessary pain in the way.

While single (whether courting or engaged) tune your heart to the Lord. Get into His Word, deepen your prayer life, and seek His will. We don’t’ know or can’t see it all, but God does. The Holy Spirit can guide and keep us from turning the wrong way or walking into unknown danger. If you’re involved in premarital sex, ask God to intervene. His power and your diligence can break the stronghold.

Once you’re able to depend on God to supply your every need, let the courting begin. Dating is very worldly while courting permits you to fact find without jumping in with emotions. When you’re presented with an opportunity to meet someone—great—now hold on! This does not mean they’re the ONE, it means it’s time for you to be patient and allow the Holy Spirit to go to work. This process will keep you in prayer while God reveals who the person is. After all, do you think the Lover of your Soul will just let you ignore red flags and  jump into the arms of just anyone?

You’re a Christian right? If so, your future husband/wife must be born again. There is no negotiation here—none! If they are not, there’s no way he can love you as Christ loves the church, and she will not want to submit—spiritually they won’t grasp it. 1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV says, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.

You must be strong in this area and not allow your feelings to overlook this. Also, being equally yoked through salvation does not mean you two are on the same level of maturity or are walking the same path. When this does not intersect, don’t settle—they’re just not the one.

Look for someone that loves the Lord and cherishes His Word. There’s a greater chance for them being solid, committed, and unwilling to easily break God’s heart. Can you imagine how you will solve problems with someone that doesn’t seek wisdom from God’s Word and pray often? I know the tragedy of this. It’s a spiritual disaster waiting to happen. Everything is based on their opinion—what they think, hear, feel, or see. You want someone that respects God’s laws regarding life and abides by them.

If they’re a parent note how they treat their children. Do they worship their very existence? Do they display discipline or let them run the house? Are they nurturing and loving or do they not want to be bothered. Are they harsh, abrasive, and condescending towards them? Are they taking care of their child physically (if living in the same state), financially, and emotionally or are they uninvolved and full of excuses?

Does the person you’re seeing take interest in your children? Do they include them? Are they jealous of your relationship etc.?

Keep your eyes open.

There should be room for you and the children if someone is truly interested. Look for someone that has their balance in perspective, whether their children are young our adults.

We will conclude this next week. You should never be in a race against time, people’s opinions, or anything else to get married. God knows what’s best for you at any given time. It will get challenging as you wait, but God is transforming and equipping you to be the person He created you to be. Remember that you are in God’s hands and He hears your prayers and wipes every tear—hold on my dear!

The Challenge That Transformed My Relationships

Laughing African American woman

Written by Denise Williams

One day, I concluded that some of the things I was doing in my life just wasn’t enough. So I came up with a plan to challenge myself for six weeks. This challenge would be geared towards the things I struggle with—and still do! However, I wanted to step my game up for the weeks ahead, so I prayed for God to help me do the following:

  • Eat healthy daily with 1 cheat day weekly
  • Work out 6 days weekly
  • Drink up to 100 fl/oz of water daily
  • Read my Bible 6 days weekly
  • Pray daily for myself and my children

I was extremely excited about this!

When I asked my sister (LaTanya Quinn) to keep me in prayer throughout the journey, she decided to join me, my best friend jumped on board as well and I let them know that they could modify theirs as they saw fit.

Meanwhile, for years, my daughter Ashley and I have been having relationship issues. And 2014 was setting the record for the worst year by far. We’ve been in counseling with no breakthrough and I’ve prayed over and over again about our relationship.

During the first two weeks the challenge was great! The third week was tough and I craved not so healthy foods. I had two or three cheat meals instead of one. During the weeks to come, my eating went up and down, but my workouts, bible reading, and prayer time stayed consistent.

I’m going to be totally honest, my focus for the six weeks was weight loss and forming better habits. I was not focusing on relationships because what I wanted to accomplish was very specific. Little did I know, God had His own agenda.  My sister and I would talk more than usual to check in and encourage each other during these weeks. I looked forward to our daily texts and conversations.  While working, I’d also find myself thinking about and missing my daughter too—I couldn’t wait to see her face when I got off of work.

I didn’t know where this was coming from because I hadn’t had these feelings for my daughter since she was a young child, like 9 or 10, and she’s 14 now.

Our mother-daughter connection started to transform before my eyes.

I was so thrown off by what was happening with us.

She also began to behave differently.  We were both genuinely happy to be with one another—we began to bond!

We would sit, talk, and laugh together.

This was the start of something beautiful and I was falling in love with my daughter all over again.  My relationship with God, Ashley and LaTanya turned into a closeness that I had never felt with them before.

I set out to achieve my “list of things” and God gave me what I needed and not what I thought I wanted. You see, when you trust God and step out on faith; He will do things beyond what you can imagine.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

That passage is true because God continues to show me who He is and who I am in the process. My relationship with my sister is such a blessing and the closeness that we now share is just icing on the cake! My God is awesome, and through ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and stormy weather I will continue to sing His praises and thank Him because He has proven to me over and over again that He is who He is.  The Lord owes me nothing because He has already done enough, yet He loves me so much that He continues to pour His love, grace, and mercy into me.

What an awesome God we serve!!!

As these relationships continue to blossom, I am in awe of how He loves me and I am in love with Jesus! If you are struggling in any of your relationships, I encourage you to place them in God’s hands. He can fix them beyond what you ever imagined.

To learn more about the writer Denise read below:

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The Married and Singles Series – Attracting Adam

Romantic Couple

Written By Shannon Taylor

In my single days, I was on the constant search for a man or male companionship. I just couldn’t bear being alone. I had a different guy for every aspect of my life.  One was just a friend that I could hang out with; another served my emotional needs, and finally a guy who took care of my physical needs. Neither had the total package based on what I thought I needed or wanted in a man, so during those times the combination of all three “fed” my wounded soul.

Notice, neither of the guys fed me spiritually because I didn’t consider any type of spiritual need.

God was just God—the One I called on when I’d gotten myself into a mess of a situation. He held no major significance in the decisions I made. But, when I stopped running from God, once I finally submitted, my life was changed completely!

During my single days, I didn’t know God so I did what I believed every other single woman did—I went out to find me a man. Not knowing that God never says in His Word that a woman has to go out and get a man. Actually, according to Genesis 2:22 it’s the polar opposite, And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

See, His Word tells us that Eve was brought to Adam right? Eve didn’t have to go and look for anyone. Being single, we roll with the crowd thinking that in order for a man to want us we must look, dress and behave in a way that’s contrary to God’s Word.  So not true!

You want to attract the godliness in a man—not just lust. Lust causes your brother to sin. It also dies and believe it or not, it’s not a man’s deepest need. A man’s deepest need from a woman is respect! God tells us in His word that the wife is to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33). Remember, what you give off is what you will attract. Being “fine” or “sexy”, on the outside is not enough to get and keep a man. Why? Because this is and was not how God intended relationships to be. Yes, taking care of our body is very important because our body is the temple of the Lord, but using it to get what we want is not what our bodies were designed for.

Let’s go back to Genesis where Eve was created and presented to Adam in 2:22-23. First, God took a rib—a part of Adam that was good and God created a woman for Adam. Genesis 1:31 says, And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. God used a rib, the bone that’s close to a man’s most vital organs, his organs that are most vital to his life and being, and from that came Eve.

You—the custom made rib, was taken from your Adam by whom? God!

Now, when God is done (assuming that you will step back, submit, and allow Him to do so) forming, shaping and creating you—then and only then will God present you to your Adam.

I understand that being single can be hard, but I will tell you from experience, now is the time to deal with you! Your season of singleness is the best time to deal with your attitude, brokenness, insecurities, and your past. You don’t want to go into a new relationship, and don’t even think about going into a marriage with all your baggage.  Why? Because it will put unnecessary strain on your human husband who’s just a man. You can’t bring along all of the baggage and issues then expect him to fix your life, make you feel a certain way, and take away the pain from your past.  The only One who can do that is God!

Now, back to Genesis 2:23, when God presented Eve to Adam, what was Adam’s reaction? He immediately accepted her as his wife. He immediately and readily accepted EVE as God had formed and created her. Adam didn’t ask God to change her in any way. God didn’t ask for Adam’s opinion or preferences (he was asleep) but God knew who Adam was and He knew what Adam needed. Adam was formed, shaped and created by God as well and had God’s breath breathed into him.  This is another reason why you, as a single lady, must step back and let God be God. Allow Him to finish working on and in your Adam.

If you’re trying to get a man that does not have the breath or Word of God in him, then he won’t recognize you for who you are and won’t know what to do with you.  He’ll only respond to you lustfully and immaturely! Also notice that Adam didn’t ask to try Eve out or to live together first to make sure they were a perfect match sexually! Adam trusted that Eve was all that he needed because Adam trusted God. You need a man who trusts God and is led by God.

Men desire respect and not being respected is one of their greatest fears. I didn’t know this when I first got married and it really caused issues in our marriage. Once I stopped trying to be in charge and submitted myself to God (which is submitting and being the wife God called me to be according to His Word) my hubby began to respond differently.

I got what I needed from him and he and I began to flow. The flow got better as we both learned God’s roles for a husband and wife. Men respond to us visually yes, but once the lust dies—and it will, then what?

So, while you’re single, please stop trying to be God and submit all things to Him—especially the job of trying to find a man.  Use this precious time to work on deepening your relationship with God because trust me, you will most definitely need Him when you’re married! Know who you are in Christ. Find out what His word says about you. Be a wife now, because as we learned last week in What is a Christian Marriage, you are married to God through salvation so allow God to be your husband. If you can’t submit to God’s headship, how in the world will you submit to your husband?

Read more about Savin’ it for Hubby and the author below:

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The Married and Singles Series – What is a Christian Marriage?

Man Kissing Woman

Written by George O. Quinn

Many singles have a goal to get married one day, and for those already married, they’ll often speak of the amount of work involved in making a marriage work. Regardless of your status, God has a purpose for you exactly where you are. In this series we’ll explore areas such as courtship, sex, love, respect and more. My prayer is that you’ll be blessed by these teachings and the wisdom from the contributors—George O. Quinn and Shannon Taylor.

What Is a Christian Marriage?

A Christian marriage is twofold. To understand marriage is to understand salvation—our union/identification with Christ in His death, burial, and bodily resurrection. With the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, let me explain as best as I can. Just know, it’s not enough to have the scriptures, but we must rightly divide/interpret them as well.  2 Timothy 2:15 KJV says, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

When God saved you, the day you believed in your heart that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) what happened when you realized salvation was real? According to the Word of God, we entered into oneness with Jesus that very moment—yes oneness—a new relationship.  Me, myself, and I was over the instant you and I became born again.

So what are we saved from?

This is not a trick question, as I’m not trying to put anyone on the spot or trying to see how much bible you know. Basically we are saved from the penalty of sin.  According to Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; we broke God’s law and breaking His law carries a death sentence (Romans 6:23). Jesus died because neither of us could pay our sin debt.

At this point you may be saying “what does this have to do with marriage?” I’m glad you asked. When Christ died on the cross, we were so much identified with Him that in the sight of the Lord, He sees us as one. When Jesus died, I died with Him too. I was buried, rose, and ascended with Him. (Ephesians 2:6, Rom 6:3-11).

Now, how can someone else pay for the sins of another or assume their debt?

Here’s an example. Within the last six months, I recently married a beautiful woman (both inside and out.) Before we said “I do”, we were counseled by our marrying pastor for 6 weeks. One of many things we had to do was to come up with a budget. We disclosed every bill and debt on a sheet of paper. That’s because when we both said “I do” (in the presence of witnesses, and most of all God All Mighty)—neither of us could say, “I didn’t know about this or you didn’t tell me you owe so much money!”

Therefore, by marriage I willingly and lawfully assume the debt of my wife though corporate oneness.

This is exactly what Jesus did.

He became one with us by willingly dying on the cross and shedding His precious blood.

So, when God joins together two believers in holy matrimony, His spiritual headship is the authority in the covenant. The husband submits to God and the wife submits to her husband in divine order. They become one flesh through selfless love, service, and longsuffering to death do them part. Therefore, understanding the salvation plan helps us to understand the marital relationship.

Even in a season of singleness, you are very much in a committed relationship with Jesus though the world see’s you as unmarried. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV, reminds us that we are not our own and that we are bought with a price. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

In the Old Testament Israel was God’s wife. In the New Testament the Church is God’s bride. The book of Hosea helps to explain this more.

What if God asked you to marry a practicing prostitute? What would you think?

Hosea 1:2-3 KJV, And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.  So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.

Nonetheless, Hosea was obedient to God and he married unfaithful Gomer. Once married, Hosea and Gomer conceived three children and their names carried tragic meanings. They were later changed and Donald Grey Barnhouse says, “The new meanings illustrate how God’s unchanging love covered the multitude of Israel’s sins.”

During this marriage Gomer was very unfaithful, but Hosea took her back and was forgiving as Gomer represented Israel and Hosea represented God. No matter what Gomer did, Hosea still provided and loved her through it.

At one point Gomer really hit rock bottom. She was naked on a slave auction block. Hosea purchased her and bought her back home, Hosea 3:2 KJV So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: This is what God does for us. (Hosea 3, John 3:16)

This beautiful and touching story sheds light on God’s character, the love of a husband towards his wife, and God’s love towards His children. When we were headed for death no one wanted to redeem us, so God sent His only begotten Son to bring us back to Him, He purchased and paid our penalty so He could love us eternally.

Now, knowing that Christ is in me, in the Person of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13), as a man I know that Christ is the head and I am to learn how to submit to his leading through His Word and prayer. Whether a man is married or single, we must learn to submit to God’s headship, knowing that the Lord is always patient, longsuffering, never yelling or losing His temper. Jesus loves me like Himself. Ephesians 5:25 KJV says, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;. He teaches for men to love your wife as yourself because they are also a part of our own body. Hosea demonstrated this kind of love with Gomer. The bible teaches that when our wife is hurting, we hurt too.

Ephesians 5:28-29 KJV says, So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Also read Romans 5:22-31)

In closing, marriage has a mighty spiritual purpose and is not to be entered into lightly. This is important because we sometimes get married for the wrong reasons without considering or understanding the full spectrum of what’s involved. Likewise, as believers when we understand our marriage to Christ through salvation, it changes how we love and cover the faults of others. When we accept His salvation we say “I do” and promise to make Him Lord. How we conduct ourselves and the fruit we bear in our marriage to Him will reflect heavily in our natural marriage. Whether married or single, look for the blessing in it, and allow God to have His way and write your love story.

READ more about the author George O. Quinn Below…

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