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TATE Publishing Release Date April 14th, 2015

Published March 10, 2015 by lavoniartryon

NOT Another Singles Book
So here you are-Single. Still. Again. And the last thing that you want to hear is what you did to cause it, how God isn’t finished with you yet, or how your boo is just around the corner. You want answers to the same questions we all have. Why am I still Single? What’s wrong with me? Why are all my friends getting married, and I can’t even get a +1? WHEN WILL IT BE MY TURN? These questions amongst thousands of others are plaguing your mind and stealing your contentment.
The Answer: There is nothing wrong with you. God has not forgotten you. If we believe that God has a plan for our lives then we must believe that this plan also involves our Single season. There is no way that an Infallible, Sovereign God can orchestrate and ordain your marriage, but just happen to leave out this huge Single segment, as if it is the black hole on your eternity timeline. Singleness is ordained. It is blessed and it is exactly where God has placed you at this moment. Singleness has its season, allow it to be the sweet aroma of a lifestyle submitted to God’s will.
You are complete alone. Easier said than believed and even harder to understand. Your completeness must come from the only One that can offer it to you. You become a walking toxin when you enter a relationship without this knowledge. If you don’t gain completion from Christ before the relationship, you will end up draining every relationship that you are involved. Seeking completion from a mate puts an unnecessary and unbearable weight on the other partner, because you are expecting them to supply you with something only the One who created you can give. If you don’t take the opportunity to get to know ‘you’ while Single, you will poison every relationship and drain the person you are with, trying to get something that only comes from Christ. Getting to know ourselves is work, but really understanding the good, bad and the complicated in your life is something that you can’t afford not to do. Once you recognize your value and in turn, how much you are worth to God, you will stop allowing cheap representatives to waste your time.
NOT Another Singles Book lives up to its name. This hard-hitting, insightful and at times humorous book written by a self-proclaimed Reformed Serial Monogamist will have you throwing away every negative viewpoint you have heard about Singleness and focusing on fulfilling God’s purpose in it. It is a simple, yet eye-opening view of Singleness as something to get into, instead of a grave sentence to get out of. Singleness has a distinct, designed purpose crafted by the Almighty Author of Time, and this book will jumpstart (or assist you in continuing) your journey in discovering the wonderful things God has in store for this season.
God views Singleness as a time of undistracted devotion unto the Lord; a time that the Lover of your soul can romance and woo you. This is the time that the Redeemer of our souls pursues and overtakes us with a love so pure and so sweet that it compares to nothing else, because we will never experience anything else like it. This is the time that God has set apart for you to work wholeheartedly for His kingdom without earthly distractions. If marriage is ordained for you then it will come, why not enjoy the journey?
NOT Another Singles Book challenges you to combat the notion that something is wrong with you, if you are still Single at 20 or 30 or 40. God has not forgotten you. You are not his car keys or his glasses, you are the precious jewel in His crown and He is enthralled with your beauty. The Father gives good gifts to His children and will withhold no good thing from you. If you desire marriage, yet you are still Single, it’s because this is good for you, even when it doesn’t feel good to you. Let’s journey together…

(Unedited) Chapter 3 of ‘NOT Another Love Book’ Book II in the NOT ANOTHER series

Published February 5, 2015 by lavoniartryon

The green eyed monster. That nauseating feeling in the pit of your stomach when a friend tells you of a recent blessing, and that sickening voice that whispers ‘that should be me’. Envy is a sneaky sin, because it can’t be detected on the outside. Many times, we miss it within ourselves. We don’t call envy what it is-jealous. A good ole fashioned dose of ‘I want what you have.’ As children, this was so prevalent in our lives that we would measure our juice cup by our brother’s, have our mother split the cookie straight down the middle and often have to receive the exact same toy as our cousin so that we wouldn’t go over and take theirs. The sin became more pronounced when we wanted something that wasn’t meant for us to have, so we would break, destroy or hide it with the selfish thought ‘if I can’t have it, no one can.’ How childish and simple minded were we! But sadly, some of us, if we were honest most of us, haven’t grown out of this. It just manifests in a much different way. We’ve learned to hide it better, to check it before it shows on our faces or slips out of our mouths. Our jealousy has become more civilized. It’s grown up, even though we haven’t.

In Our Lives

Envy and covetousness live in the same house. Envy often times focuses on the person, while covet focuses on the things that the person has. Have you ever listened to a story that a friend was telling and have someone to interject with ‘that’s just like the time I…’ and give a bigger, better story in an effort to relate? Have you ever been this person? Heart check: I have. I have been the person that couldn’t allow someone else to shine too long, so I had to steal the attention and disguise it as relating. That’s not relating, that’s envy and it’s sinful. Get a Band-Aid and read on. It cuts, but it heals. Envy desires to one-up a person to cover a diminished view of self in light of another’s circumstances. That is not love. Love covers a multitude of sin1, it doesn’t create more.
Envy believes that the other person’s life would fit better within the story that you have orchestrated for yourself. To envy someone’s story, blessing, testimony or life- is to indirectly tell God that you are dissatisfied with what He has given you. You are now closing yourself off to not only perceiving your current blessings, but shutting the door on future ones as well. If God can’t trust you with one talent, why waste five on you?
I had a friend that told me she wishes she had my knowledge of scripture. She went on to say that during church services, she couldcount on me to quote the entire scripture and verse that the preacher would reference. In her mind, and innocently so, she believed that she was complimenting me, but what she was really doing was envying my spiritual disciplines, my prayer life, my struggles and everything that God had to take me through to get me to the point that His scripture now flows out of my belly and through my vessel. She was stating that she wanted to have faced eviction more times than she can count, to have had two cars repossessed, to be emotionally and mentally abused by someone who pledged to love her forever, to be abandoned by the man that donated his DNA for her formation, to cry so hard to the point of physical illness, to struggle with doubt and worry even to this day. This is what she wants? No, of course not, she wanted the results. But we have to understand that to get the results (testimony) we have to go through the trenches (tests). Never envy anyone’s spiritual standing, because you will never know the hell that got them to that point. But of course, she didn’t know what she was saying, so I simply covered her with love and cancelled her envy, ‘No, love, you don’t.’ You want your own story, not a hand-me-down version of mine.
Love recognizes that envy comes from the enemy. To covet something else is to be discontent with your lot in life, and puts you in the same room as satan. Scoot your seat over a bit and stay with me. Satan wanted God’s glory, he envied it. He convinced himself that he deserved what God was given, so he set out to take it. Remember, envy will always get you to the lowest place in your life, because it takes your eyes off of appreciating what you have right now. You miss out on the beauty of your own season. Once satan’s plan of stealing God’s glory didn’t work, (read for yourself2) he set out to ruin the relationship that God had with man. Envy says if you can’t beat them, then keep trying until you beat someone. What envy, and satan still can’t see is there is no future for you in someone else’s story.

In Our Relationships

Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. It never wishes for a friend’s or foe’s love story, because it realizes that God is orchestrating its own. Love recognizes that the same God that gives to one, will not withhold from another.
As we grow in love as Singles, we become aware that God richly supplies all of our needs and if we don’t have it, then we must not need it. We rejoice with those that are experiencing relationships, engagements
and marriages, with no residue of covetousness. With pure joy, we rejoice with those that rejoice, and with heavy hearts, we mourn with those that grieve3.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son. Many misinterpret prodigal as meaning lost, or missing-but by definition it means ‘spending money or resources freely and recklessly, wastefully extravagant4’. So this lends to the thought that this son was not physically lost as much as he was mentally dislocated with his purpose. That’ll preach. He had forgotten who he was and Whose he was, so he was squandering his inheritance instead of using it to bring honor to his father’s name. When he finally came to his right mind (thanks, Madear), he went home to ask to become a servant in his fathers house. But as he was a far way off, presumably downcast with guilt and shame, his father saw him and welcomed him back
as his lost heir. There was a great celebration. And for most people, this is
where the story ends. But not for us. This is where we begin.
The elder son was in the field working when he heard the commotion. Sensing what was happening, he asked a servant to confirm what he already felt in the pit of his stomach. His younger, ungrateful, selfish ignorant brother was home. And you guessed it, he was envious. He was sickened and refused to partake in the festivities that welcomed his brother back into the fold.
Now put your spiritual imagination on for a moment. This couldn’t have been the first time he saw his father go out to the road looking for his lost son to return. Day in and day out, he had to watch the anguish that his father was going through, when another sun set without the return of his brother. And as the eldest son watched his father, his heart hardened. He started to believe that he was better because he stayed, he stuck around, he didn’t prodigal out his father’s blessings. He had earned his way into his father’s favor and it was nothing but the foolish hopes of an old man to continue to mourn for a son that didn’t know how good he had it. This brother was so wrapped up in his own self-righteousness that he forgot that he should have been praying for his lost brother, probably going out to look for him or at the very least, standing with his father to watch for his return.
With this perspective you can now better understand his reaction to his brother’s return. His father pleaded with him to soften his heart, but he wasn’t hearing it. He even refers to his brother as ‘this son of yours’. Envy and jealousy will make you disassociate your standing and exalt yourself (wait for the next chapter) above those that you should be closest with.
In his jealous haze, the eldest had forgotten that he did not have to compete for his father’s love, that his position was important. His faithfulness was rewarded by his father’s trust in his ability. While his father awaited his wayward son, the oldest son was entrusted with the entire inheritance and favor of his father, but he was distraught by a calf and a party? How far envy and covetousness will take us down a path, until we look up and realize that while the prodigal has returned, we ourselves are lost.
Say it with me: What you don’t have, you don’t need. Let that sink in, and then turn the page.

30 DAY SINGLES CHALLENGE: INSIGHTS EDITION

Published May 1, 2013 by lavoniartryon

INTRODUCTION: IN CASE YOU DIDN’T GET IT THE FIRST TIME

 

Scripture: Mark 8:22-24 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go intothe village.”

Challenge: Look over the first 4 months of this year. What has God shown you about yourself in your Single life? What are you still not seeing clearly?

This miracle is unique because it is only found in Mark and this is the only time (at least that I have found) that Christ took two times to fully heal someone. The only miracle where the healing was not immediate. So why is this? Did Jesus miss when he spit the first time? Did he not get enough saliva on him? Was the man’s faith a factor? The truth is, we don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say why Jesus had to do it twice, it just simply says that He did. But, I believe there is beauty in this story, not a do-over but a do-again.

When I read this story, I see several things. First, the people led the blind man to Jesus and begged Jesus to touch him. His friends knew that Christ was the only One that could solve his problem, so they brought him for healing. Then they did something spectacular. They begged Jesus. Not for themselves, but for their friend. This is powerful! How many of us have begged, pleaded and cried out to God…FOR.SOMEONE.ELSE? This was not for their healing, but for the wholeness of their friend. I’m sure all of the people that led the blind man had something in their lives that could use Jesus’ touch, but yet they saw the greater need in their friend and was willing to put their needs to the side, to get healing for someone else.

I related so much to this single verse. As you know, I am Single (shocker, huh?). Only within the last few years, have I begun to see my Singleness as a calling and not a status. I realize that God allowed me to go through and survive so many things in my life that led me to this point, so that I can then turn and encourage someone else that may be headed down the path that I have already traveled. My coin statement ‘My struggle-your lesson’ is real. Learn from my struggle, so you don’t have to repeat it. I am those ‘some people’ leading other Singles to Christ and begging Him to touch them and make them whole.  I recognize that the need for YOU to experience this time as a blessing and not a curse is so much more important than any other of my issues that I would bring to Christ about being released from this Season. Your need is greater than mine, and your healing is more important than my selfishness.

Next, we have Jesus lead the man alone outside of the village. So, the people that brought him to Jesus didn’t even get to see the miracle performed? No, lest they begin to believe that this blind man’s healing had anything to do with them. They did their part- they led him to Jesus. Again, this hit home. Your acceptance of your Single season and desire to grow in it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me. I am simply a pathway to get you to Jesus. He does all the work apart from me, because I need no incentive to boast. The Lord knows that, so He inspired a book ‘NOT Another Singles Book’, and then removed me from the equation. This Movement is not about me. I don’t hold your hand and read the book to you. I simply take what I know about Christ and what He has done for me- and I lead you towards Him so that he can get you alone. I’m dismissed from the healing, because this is about you and Christ- and He doesn’t need an audience to do a miracle.

Finally we get to the healing. Christ spits on the man’s eyes and asks ‘Do you see anything?’ This blew me away. Why would Jesus ask this? He already knows that all power and authority belongs to Him, so it can’t be that He doubts His own ability. There has to be another reason for Him asking this question. I believe that it was to give some responsibility to the blind man. He had to TELL Jesus that he was not yet whole. He could have just walked away and accepted that He was better than he came. After all, he COULD see, even if it wasn’t too clearly. Christ was asking him, ‘Do you want to be better or do you want to be whole?’ He is asking that question to us as Singles. Do we just want to muddle through this time experiencing more good days than bad days, or do we want to get the exceedingly, abundantly that He has stored into this season? Our response has to be the same as this blind man, ‘I can see, but it’s not all the way clear.’

Then Christ will touch us again. The fact that this man was healed in stages speaks nothing to Jesus’ power but to His sovereignty. He was able to heal this man in one step, but HE chose to do it in intervals, because he knew in 2013 that we would need to see it and understand that nothing is wrong with us because we didn’t get it the first time. We needed to see that just because we tried it once and it didn’t work out, there is nothing wrong with trying it again. He had to show us just because someone else prayed and the Lord sent their spouse immediately, that may not be our story- and that’s ok. He wanted us to recognize that this is a journey and not a destination- that we may have intervals of peace in this season and spurts of doubts as well.

Have you lost your contentment? Have you gotten out of or into a relationship that is challenging your relationship and understanding of what God has spoken about your ordained spouse? It’s ok. Christ is saying ‘Let’s do it ONCE AGAIN.’

This 30 Day Singles Challenge blessed my life so much the first 6 months ago, but since then I have had two spouts with doubting the path that he has for me, and trying to replace Him with someone that doesn’t look anything like Him. So I see, but things have begun to get a bit muggy again, so God is telling me and you, ‘Let’s do this again and get you whole.’

Are you willing to journey with me, ONCE MORE?

Day 9: Are you the FOOL? Or Just FOOLISH?

Published October 11, 2012 by lavoniartryon

Memory verse: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Psalm 51

Task: Go through your phone and delete those ‘foolish’ numbers- both that make you act the fool and those that are the fool. Post how that it feels to let him or her go.

Have you ever looked up and said how in the world did I get here?!? How did I get into this relationship, and WHY did I stay so long? Why did I allow myself to fall for the same lines again? Maybe just as Aaron Neville said- everyone plays the fool sometimes, there’s no exception to the rule.

Read 2 Samuel 25. This is the story of Abigail, her husband Nabal and her king, David. Looking at her life we are going to determine are we the fool or just foolish and how to get out of the situation. Abigail was an uncommon woman. She was intelligent and beautiful and smart and wise and had discernment. She had it going on. So WHY did she marry THIS FOOL?!?!! She was an uncommon woman in a common situation.

I agree that we can too find ourselves in some foolish situations. We look back and we say: God I should have seen that coming. How could I have been so stupid? We are intelligent uncommon (royal priesthood, chosen nation, fearfully and wonderfully made) people, but we often find ourselves in some foolish situations.

If you know me, I love acronyms. So let’s use the acronym of FOOL to see how we got in and how to get out of foolish situations.

  1. 1.      F- FIGURE OUT HOW YOU GOT IN THE SITUATION

This may be a hard thing to understand and I see it in two perspectives. First Abigail may not have had a choice in her situation. Nabal was rich enough to pay her dowry; he was accepted by her father-for whatever reason so she was married.

Some situations we didn’t get ourselves in, we were called up for them. What does this mean? Job was called up- he didn’t choose his situation he was ordained for it. Jeremiah couldn’t get away from his calling if he tried, and he did try. Mary was summoned to bear Jesus- she didn’t choose to be an unwed teenage mother to the Savior of the world. She was ordained. The Israelites didn’t get lost when they were chased by the Egyptians, God directed them to an impossible, impassible situation in order for the Israelites to see God’s glory. Many of our situations will be the same. We will simply be chosen by God to fulfill His glory.

The next scenario was that Abigail willingly married a fool! Nabal didn’t start being a fool in Chapter 25, he was a fool when she married him, but she still married him. Why? How many times have we willingly walked into a foolish situation as wise individuals? We have attached ourselves to some foolish people, some foolish situations, some foolish relationships both platonic and definitely romantic, but yet we still do it? Why? God only knows…

So now you know how you got there. Maybe we get into that situation because we feel we can change them, we can affect our environment. Is this foolish thinking? NO!! (or at the least, not always) Abigail was in a foolish situation, but she didn’t conform to her environment she changed it.

  1. 2.      O- ORDER YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Verse 14, the servant came to her-NOT NABAL. She was more wise than her husband. She had discernment and order in her household, and everyone knew it, but he was foolish enough to believe that he was running things. She didn’t flaunt this or make a big show- she simply was. She was in what seemed like an unchanging situation, so she decided to change.

So not only did she order her environment, she ordered those in it as well.

She recognized that she needed to cover her husband to save the lives of those connected, but do it in such a way that her husband didn’t know. We will often play the background–families, work, school and we are often overlooked as a group, but we have to recognize that our reward has to come from Christ, because we might not get earthy accolades.

Romans 12:1-2 she renewed her mind. We have to daily do this. She didn’t allow the what she was going through turn her foolish, she remained unconformed (is that a word) to her environment. You have dominion. USE IT.

  1. 3.      O-ORCHESTRATE YOUR EXIT STATEGY

This can be tricky. Jonah wasn’t released until he relented. Your exit strategy must be in the will of God. When she saw the opportunity to act she acted quickly (some versions say AT ONCE-SHE LOST NO TIME) There is a window of opportunity for us on many things, and we have to be ready to act when that happens. Divine guidance only comes to prepared hearts. Because she had spent her entire married life dealing with a harsh man, she had learned how to manage him, so a sensible Godly man was no problem. She learned from her foolish situation.

She used discernment to secure her exit strategy. She reminded David of his commitment to the Lord first, and that the shedding of blood would put guilt on his hands. Then she admonished him to ‘remember her’ when the Lord had exalted him. She was now connected to someone that could get her out of the situation. Who are you connected to that can pull you out? Or are you the only one pulling up and everyone else is pulling you down? Then you haven’t ordered your environment, and might need to find your exit.

She was intelligent and didn’t allow her situation to dull her sensitivity so she was ready to move when it was time.

  1. 4.      L LIVE FOOLISH NO MORE

V 39-41. She got out. How many times do we see an open door but we stay paralyzed to walk through it? I’m reminded of the story of an elephant that was tied to a poll for 6 months where he could only take 2 steps forward, 2 steps back, 2 steps left and 2 steps right. At the end of this time, he was unchained but for the next 6 months he still continued to walk those 2 directional steps. Why? Because he had gotten so used to being stagnant and stationary, that he didn’t even recognize his own freedom. We have been set free, yet we keep dancing the same two step, dating the same guy with a different face, falling for the same girl in a different dress.

Vow to never live foolish again. When Jesus met the woman at the well, her situation changed and she had a choice to go back to her old life, but once she had a taste of God, she couldn’t.

YOU’VE BEEN MADE FREE. DON’T GO BACK!

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