Single & Married Ladies – The Man Factor

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Hi Ladies,

Don’t be fooled.  A woman’s physical appearance ranks very high on most men’s true criteria for selecting their mate.  Fortunately, few guys require that their lady be a stunning beauty by worldly standards.  It is sufficient that he finds her physically appealing.  Also fortunate is the fact that men have very different standards for attractiveness, just as we do when evaluating them.  Studies have shown that most fellows favor a lady who has approximately the same level of beauty as they themselves…ie, very handsome men generally prefer very beautiful women, and not so lovely ladies are usually happy with a guy who may not be the best looking, but who has other more worthwhile characteristics.  This of course is not an ironclad rule, and occasionally couples do break this mold.

With all this said, however, it is worth your time to always be the best person you can be, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Assuming you are not at the mercy of forces outside of your control, if you need to make changes in your body, do so.  Take charge of you, and try to make it a goal to look your best whenever you step outside your door…not as a manifestation of vanity or pride, but rather, as a form of honoring God by taking the best possible care of His temple, your own self.

Some Scriptures that support the care of ones’ person include 1 Corinthians 6: 20 and chapters 5 and 6 of the Song of Solomon, with their praises of the “fairest” of women.  Actually, beauty was a characteristic of most of the women in the Bible.  They were lovely ladies, blessed with wisdom, who understood the importance of both their appearance, their brains and their actions.  So, go ahead and take care of whatever needs to be done.  God has no objection, and neither will the man He has selected for you.

But of course, your sole focus cannot be on appearance.  Your inner beauty is just as vital to a potential husband, and also to those around you.  “Beauty is as beauty does” is a common but not biblical quote, so let’s see what The BOOK says on the matter:

Proverbs 11: 16 – “A gracious woman retains honor…”

Proverbs 11: 22 – “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.”

Proverbs 31: 25, 26 – “Strength and honor are her clothing…She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness

Galatians 5: 22, 23 – “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

Additionally, the entire book of Esther is the inspiring story of a beautiful woman whose courage and honor saved her entire people from destruction.

As these verses point out, inner beauty is even more crucial than physical appearance to your overall attractiveness.  That beauty of spirit is what counts most when your goal is to keep a man.  Your looks may initially attract his interest, but your personality and the manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit in you is what will make him want to stay by your side.  As you work toward your best outward self, don’t neglect to do an honest appraisal of your personality.  You probably already have a pretty clear idea of areas that could use some improvement, but don’t accept the usual excuse of, “That’s just the way I am”, as a reason for not even attempting to change.

The presence of The LORD in your life is what will make the difference.  Even though you may possess certain inherent personality traits, God can help you modify or eliminate their manifestation.  For instance, if you’re prone to impatience or explosive outbursts of temper, He can give you the means for self-control, if you pray and seek His help.

The key to building your inner beauty is to consciously seek the fruit of the Spirit in your life.  Other people then begin to see Jesus in you, and there is no greater beauty for any Christian, man or woman.

Until next week, Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – Beautiful!

 

20170314_212529Hi Ladies,

A godly woman is a precious jewel more valuable than rubies! Proverbs 31: 10 – “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”   Matthew 13: 45 – “Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and brought it.”   You are The LORD’s Pearl of Great Price, and a prize to be sought after by the man who finds you.  He must understand your true worth, and be willing to do whatever it takes to win you.

But do you accept and appreciate your own worth? Do you understand that you were created a lovely, feminine woman and that God has made you beautiful, no matter the world’s standards.  You should rejoice in and make the most of that fact!  Men do.  Your femininity and personal attractiveness are potent draws for garnering attention from the opposite sex.  And this is as Our Father intended.

Staying attractive is of vital importance to a marriage-minded lady, and includes both inner and outer beauty. The concept of staying attractive does not mean staying just as we’ve always been, of fossilizing ourselves in place, of never changing our “look” for fear that someone will realize that we have gotten older.  It is impossible, as the years pass, to retain the degree of attractiveness that God gave us when we were young.  All young adults are beautiful.  They are in their prime, at their peak of physical perfection, but change is inevitable, and it is expected.

No one requires a forty year old woman to look like an eighteen-year-old, just as few women would be interested in a fifty year-old man trying to look or act like a twenty-five year old. No one remains unaltered by time, and we shouldn’t even want to be.  Aging is truly a process of getting better, of maturing, of developing depth of character, soul and personality, as well as our own personal style.

When we can accept that we are changing, we then realize that at each age and stage of our life, we have the potential to be an attractive person, albeit in a slightly revised manner. Staying attractive means making the effort to both look and feel your very best no matter your years.  It is a reflection of your self esteem and confidence rather than a subjective measure of physical appearance.  Every woman can be attractive if she makes the effort.  It’s simply a matter of being the best you can be, and doing the most with what God has given you.

Hopefully you don’t have the false notion that a Christian woman who cares about her appearance is vain because “vanity is a sin”. By this line of thought, the less attractive a woman is, the better a Christian she is.  God never said that!  It is nowhere to be found in The BOOK, and fortunately, because of its lack of biblical basis, few Believers hold to that concept today.  Excessive pride over our appearance may be problematic, but looking and feeling good is not.

What do we mean by “our best self”? It’s easy to find out – your mirror will tell you.  Which things have you began to let slip?  Maybe you’ve always watched your diet, but now you’ve ballooned up with forty extra pounds.  Were you careful to keep your clothing well groomed, but these days everything you put on is either too small or has a safety pin holding it together?

Do you keep your body in good physical shape? Your food healthy? Your makeup tasteful, with a becoming hairstyle? Have you determined which clothes are most flattering to you, and added them to your wardrobe?  How about that weight?  If you can’t be happy with yourself because of the poundage you’re carrying around, do something about it.  Procrastination is destructive to both your health and your self-esteem.  You are not helpless…what are you waiting for to get moving?

Honor God by taking the best possible care of His Temple. We’ll get to the “Man Factor” next week. Joy and shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – Waffle Prayers?

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Hi Ladies,

Your relationship with God, through acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ, should be the focus of your life. When that happens, everything else will proceed according to His plans for you.  But okay, maybe finding love and getting married is your second focus.  And praying to The Father about it is always a wise course for a Believer to take.

What to Pray For?

Any discussions on praying for a mate invariably address the following questions: “What should I pray for?”; “How should I ask it?”; “Should I ask at all or just let Jesus answer the desires of my heart?”  Surely there must be a thousand similar questions and just as many answers.

During my season of “mating prayers”, I tried every version I could think of. On some nights I presented a list to The LORD – he has to look like this, be over six feet tall, weigh this much, have this career … on and on with my requirements.  On other nights, I would adopt the stance of “Lord, give me the very best You have in store for me”, then secretly hope that He knew what He was doing.  Even my specific prayers changed from day to day.  Understandably, when The LORD finally did begin to address these prayers, His responses to my requests were almost as varied as my prayers themselves.

One Friday night, after a business trip, I thought about the husband of the saleswoman I’d been working with. They’d taken me out to dinner, and he seemed to be the handsomest, sweetest man ever, who truly loved his wife.  “Lord”, I thought, “I’d like a husband just like him.”  That wasn’t a real prayer, just a notion I expressed to God.

Two days later, I was seated in my customary place in church, on a pew completely empty except for me and my children, when the exact double of my friend’s husband sat down twelve inches from my left side. He smiled, I smiled.  My heart started pounding, buzzers went off in my head, and I immediately panicked.  “Wait a minute, Lord.  I know this is exactly who I asked for, but did You have to answer me so soon?  I’m not sure I’m ready!”

After smiling at each other frequently during the service, and sharing a brief chat afterward, my “dream” man looked longingly at me, got into his car, and disappeared. On the way home, my kids asked, “Who was that man, Mom?  I think he liked you.”  By then, all I wanted to do was cry over lost opportunity. But when God offers you an answer to your prayer and you decline, your only option is to move on from there, and realize it really is His show, and not your choice that made the difference.  By the time my “dream” came back to church, I had solidified a whole new list of requirements, so it was easier to wave him goodbye, and once again resume my posture of prayer for the right mate.

My advice, after weathering several similar incidences, is to ask God for what you truly want, but only when you are truly ready to receive it.  Because I was praying amiss, according to my moods and whims, I was never really sure that one of those “missed” fellows was God’s answer to my prayers.  The Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing, but we must try to pray consistently without ceasing.  Waffling over which direction to take leads only to confusion.  The LORD says of a waffler, “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1: 8), and so is a double-minded woman.

Or possibly Our Father is simply waiting until you have made up your mind, while you continue praying hither and yon, wondering why He’s not answering. I personally don’t believe that your best choice is to ask for specific attributes unless they‘re really all you’re willing to accept.  The LORD can indeed answer your specific prayer, but it may not be the very best He had intended for you.  Let Him decide!

Until next week…Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – The Pearl

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Hi Ladies,

You’ve been praying for your future mate, for his wellbeing and for his arrival. You’ve made the desires of your heart perfectly clear to God.  You are refraining from premarital intimacy, and are letting The LORD run every other area of your life.  And you know in your very soul that the answer to your mate prayer is imminent.  So now you’re debating what to do.

“Well”, you reason, “my husband is not just going to come up and knock on the front door. I should be doing something.”  I’m not going to tell you that this urge is wrong.  In fact, I believe it is a nudge coming straight from God Himself.  You did not commit yourself to be a hermit, nor did He call you to hide away in a convent.  You can enjoy your life and find pleasure in it with Our Father’s blessings.  And, no, a husband most likely will not arrive on your doorstep.  You’ve got to be “about our Father’s business” (Luke 2: 49), living your life and interacting with the people in it in order to be a happier and more well-adjusted person.  The surest path for not realizing God’s purpose is to sit at home, waiting for Him to spring it into being without any effort on your part.  That won’t happen in any area of your life.

So What Can I Be Doing?

For starters, call off the mate search. God doesn’t need your assistance.  This can be hard for an independent Christian woman, because you must be willing to relinquish your own control, and to change your attitudes and actions in areas where you previously functioned on your own.  When mating urges struck me, after years as a mother made single through divorce, I saw no reason to contain my inclination to help God out.  “Okay God,” I thought, “just show me where to go and what to do, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

Because my previous dating experiences had been in the worldly arena, I went back to the old places to look around. Very bad move!  It’s hard enough to find any man in the nightclub, party, and bar scene; it is impossible to unearth a Believer there.  When guys approached, I ended up scaring them off by announcing that Jesus Christ was the Lord of my life.  And I now felt out of place sitting with a friend in a smoky club filled with drinkers, listening to music I no longer enjoyed, suppressing the urge to go up and preach to everyone around me.  That’s not God’s way to meet people – it’s the worlds’, and as a Believer, it just won’t work for you.

Setting out to find a mate is the worst possible thing to waste time and energy on. Every man is not “maybe the right one.”  Turning over every rock on the beach rarely leads to the discovery of anything precious.  You are God’s Pearl of Great Price, and the search is not yours to make.  When I finally realized the futility of trying to extract God’s best from the dross of the world’s worst, I threw up my hands in defeat, which was exactly what needed to be done all along.  Out of frustration I took my hands off the situation, stopped trying to control it, and let God begin to work things out His way.  I can just hear The LORD saying, “It’s about time.”

I continued on with my life, going places and participating in everything that interested me. The difference was that I no longer had one eye open for a mate.  I stopped measuring every man for his potential as my husband, and I ceased to anticipate that the perfect guy was always just around the next corner.  I even quit praying “mating prayers”, and stopped trying to hold God to any promise that I would marry at all.  Any answer was solely up to Him.

It is truly amazing what God will do when you submit yourself and your problem to Him. Until next week… Joy and Shalom!

 

Single & Married Ladies – Aisle Ready?

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Hi Ladies,

You’re being hospitable to everyone in sight, and are striving to follow The LORD in every way you can, in order to facilitate the arrival of your mate.   So what now?  Prayer is required, and I have…

A Testimony

When I became a Believer, I was enthralled to learn about the power of prayer. I’ve always been a willful person, with a profound appreciation for my own abilities.  When I was in the world, I ran my own life my own way, without mother or father or anyone else’s unwanted opinion.  And when I got saved, I was still bent on running the show myself.  But I listened avidly to sermons and teachings on prayer, and it was an exciting revelation that I could talk to God and that He would listen and answer.  Jesus has a special way of dealing with the new Christian, of answering the smallest prayer in a manner that greatly builds your newfound faith.  He responds the way a mother responds to the cries of her newborn baby.

I became like the kid with a new toy – every time God answered one of my little, almost unconscious prayers, I was thrilled with the knowledge that I was special to Him and that He loved me enough to take time to answer such an insignificant request.  He always responded to me, sometime immediately, but invariably I received what I wanted before too much time had passed.

After a few years of studying the Bible and living solely for The LORD, I began to notice a renewed stirring in my heart for a mate. In my quiet time, I realized that I didn’t just “think it might be nice” to be married.  Rather, I realized that I needed to be married, that my truest and best destiny included loving and caring for, and being loved and cared for by a man, safely within the bonds of matrimony.

After this revelation I began to pray for a husband. The cry of my heart became, “Lord, hand him over.”  I fell on my knees nightly, fervently beseeching God.  I cried and made promises; and plunged into storming the gates of Heaven with the single-minded intensity with which I addressed most objectives in life.  Praying expectantly, I kept one knee bowed and one eye open for the answer…for one month, two months, six months.  Then I looked up, and realized that my position had not changed and neither had The LORD’s.  We were both exactly where we’d been when I began to besiege Him.

No progress? But why not??  Every little thing I had requested up until this point had been met with instant gratification.  Often the whisper of a prayer was barely off my lips before it was being met.  Why was I suddenly listening to the empty ring of unanswered prayers?

I had to confront my “spoiled brat” self. Most of my prayers, even for a mate, were self-centered ones…”Lord, do this for me; Lord, do that for me.”  I didn’t heed the admonition in James 4: 3 – “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Yes, Jesus considers us special in His eyes, but praying for a spouse involves much more than one’s own precious self. There is now another person to consider.  What is best for him?  Is it you?  What kind of wife and helper will you be?  Are you ready to be a partner for life to a man whom God Himself has chosen?  Marriage doesn’t represent instant gratification for one person.  It is a blending of two of Our Father’s beloved, and He cares as much for the well-being of the man as He does for you, His lovely female pearl.  Praying for a husband, which is actually praying to become a wife, is more than just an idle notion.  You must understand what you’re truly asking for, then examine your heart and be certain you’re ready to walk down the aisle. The LORD will surely do so before He hands His fellow over to you.

Until next week…Joy and Shalom!

Single & Married Ladies – Be Hospitable

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Hi Ladies,

 

One of the most important attributes you can possess in the marriage arena is the Gift of Hospitality.  God directs that we be “given to hospitality” (Romans 12: 13) as Believers.  As a single Christian woman, you will probably meet people at either church, at church-related activities, or at work.  If there are extra-curricular hobbies or passions that you participate in as well, you’ll likely come into contact with newcomers from those sources.  You may start to wonder what you’re supposed to do with them all. 

 

This might not be a surprise to you, but Hospitality is a gift from God.  According to dictionary.com, it means “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests or strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.”   1 Timothy 3: 2 and Titus 1: 8, state that a bishop or deacon of the church is required to be “hospitable.”  In 1 Peter 4: 9 we read that we should be “hospitable to one another without grumbling”.  Being pleasant, kind, considerate and hospitable are Christian virtues.

 

So how can you do it?  Spending time with people is an excellent start.  We live in an age of “virtual” contact where an email, an Evite, a Facebook post or a text serve as substitutes for actually speaking to someone either in person or by phone.  But when is the last time you invited anyone into your home?

 

 Hospitality means making an effort to connect with people, to invite them for dinner, keep abreast of their birthdays, or the need for a wedding or baby shower.  Bringing a platter of your special cookies or a loaf of freshly baked goodies to your co-workers is a gesture which will be truly appreciated, especially by the men.  Taking time to find and send the right greeting card or special gift to someone who is going through a painful time not only lets them know you’re thinking of them, it also displays God’s caring.

 

If you’ve never done so or haven’t for a long while, investigate the logistics of hosting a simple get-together and give one.  You’ll be surprised to learn how many people are seeking a weekend activity or a place to go for the holidays.  Don’t set yourself up to always be a guest, or put your role as hostess on hold until you become a wife.  If you don’t want to do it alone, enlist a friend to share resources and co-host a gathering in your abode for any reason you choose.  Consider a regular Bible study, a Sunday brunch after church, or a patio barbecue.  You’ll find plenty of ideas if you look for them.

 

If you don’t feel motivated to entertain in your home, your church can supply a highly appreciative application of your hospitality skills.  Almost all need ushers, welcoming committees and volunteers to visit the sick and shut-ins.  Most offer bereavement committees to cook and minister to families at funerals, or coordinators to oversee weddings at the church.  There are a number of opportunities available for you to put your hospitable inclinations to good Godly use, if you seek them out.

 

Why should you bother?  Because the practice of hospitality is a natural extension of The LORD’s ordained friendliness.  You’ll find that “breaking bread” with people is one of the best ways to enjoy them.  The Bible endorses it.  Among other things, The Last Supper was a confirmation of the bond of friendship between Jesus and His disciples.  Jesus also demonstrated hospitality when He changed the water into wine at the wedding in Canaan, and He accepted hospitality by dining at the house of Zacchaeus, or to the homes of various “publicans and sinners”.  

 

The barriers of understanding between Our LORD and others were broken when He supped with them and partook of their hospitality.  In like manner, you too will find barriers crumbling when you offer people the opportunity to enjoy your God-given hospitality.  And your mate may well be among those folks…my friend’s future husband was brought along by a guest to her Super Bowl party.

 

Friendships are important in your life – encourage them through Hospitality.  Joy and Shalom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single & Married Ladies – Have Faith!

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Hi Ladies,

You believe you know the fellow that God has chosen for you. So are you supposed to do anything about it?  Unlikely!  When we most crave to plot our own way and charge straight ahead, it’s actually time to stay calm and consult the Author and Finisher of our Faith (Hebrews 12: 2).  When you’ve prayed and understand the actions you want to take and why, you can then proceed to do whatever God directs you to do.  Until then, wait and listen.  You are The LORD’s Pearl of Great Price, and a godly pearl does not raise herself up on dainty little feet, and head off to give herself to someone.

GOING THROUGH CHANGES

“Well, when am I ever allowed to act?  I don’t believe God intended for me to be a passive observer…that’s just not in my nature.”

That may be true, but there’s little to be done if our path forward in God’s plan requires us to shelve our own plots and strategies. We must relinquish the desperate need to act, and instead rest in Him.

“Well, I believe that the LORD is waiting for me to do something. He can’t expect me to always wait on Him to do everything. ”

To a large degree that’s true – Our Father works through people to manifest His Will. He values Believers who are ready to take the actions that He directs.  But He has to do the directing, provide the instructions, and lead the way.

In order to progress in life, Our Father often brings about change, new circumstances and novel situations.  They force us to grow by breaking up old patterns and shifting us into unfamiliar territory, requiring that engrained habits and attitudes be set aside. ”That’s just the way I am” or “I’ll never change” won’t suffice when God is making a shift in our established plans or habitual reactions.  When we pray for The LORD to show us the areas in which we are supposed to grow, He will.  And with His Grace, we learn to make positive adjustments.

Psalm 37: 5 demonstrates how this process works when it instructs, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”  God may choose to use us to “bring it to pass”, but we must never forget that He is the Doer, the Creator of the steps of our lives.  And we must be willing to obey as He instructs, for as Hebrews 12: 23 cautions – “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.”

So how can you tell if God Almighty is truly behind your urge to say or do something in approaching a man? Examine your true motives, and when you pray about it, The Holy Spirit will let you know what you need to know.  If you experience no qualms about doing what you’re considering, there’s likely to be no problem.  But if you are anxious, hesitant or feel a “check on your spirit”, never just decide to rush ahead – you’re being directed to stop, and wait on God.  And as always, it will pay to listen!

PERSEVERENCE

Never allow the enemy to make you feel defeated.  We are to persevere and stand strong in whatever God directs us to do.  Dictionary.com defines “Persevere” as “to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly”.   Paul in Philippians 3: 14 refers to this attitude when he states “I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

In the past, Believers called this unconditional commitment “Pressing in”, and of course it still applies because Our Father has not changed it.  It means not submitting to the temptation to give up, lose hope, or throw up our hands in defeat.

An excellent verse demonstrating the commitment of perseverance is Hebrews 12: 1 – “Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doeth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

Have faith in your mate’s arrival…God’s got this! Joy and Shalom!