Monthly Archives: October 2013

Lessons For Marriage and Life (according to Corinthians 7-9)

Every single day starts out with time for God in my house. Whether it’s a morning devotion, bathroom worship session, or just talking/praying – I know the importance of putting God first in your schedule. CELIBATE

Over the past few weeks I’ve been drawn to I Corinthians (I eventually plan to study, in depth, Paul’s letters to ALL of the 7 the churches). It’s funny how I’ve heard bits and pieces of it, but never took the time to sit down and really absorb what it speaks on. I guess it’s for the best though because I am MUCH wiser now than I was at 16 or 20. Since Last week I’ve been rereading and dissecting 1 Corinthians Chapters 7-9 in detail.

Here’s what I found out:

1. Holding out on sex/physical intimacy just because you’re mad at your husband or wife isn’t right. Paul says in chapter 7, verses 3-5, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer, but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. This makes perfect sense! If you are mad at your spouse and hold out, you are making it easier for them to be tempted and cheat. If they do, you’ll have nobody to be mad at BUT YOURSELF! One of the God given rights of marriage is physical intimacy; so going long periods of time without it makes it challenging for two separate people to be on an accord as one. Now if you say, “Ok sweetness, let’s fast and believe God for insert blessing here and focus on God for a week.”, then that’s fine. But using intimacy as a ‘controlling’ method…NEGATIVE.

celibacy_page-bg_128002. It’s not a godly command, but a suggestion by Paul to remain single for as long as possible. Chapter 7, verse 8 reads, “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Face it. Most of us want to get married one day (shoot I know I do!) ; but the truth of the matter is that we can do more for God single than we can married. NOW BEFORE YOU REACH FOR YOUR HOLY WATER, let me break down what I mean – think about being single. You can go and come as you please without having to take into account anyone else’s feelings but your own. If you don’t feel like doing anything but sleeping for your entire vacation you can do it without input from your significant other. If you don’t feel like shaving your legs or cutting your beard…no problemo. You don’t have tons of familial responsibilities so you can blow all of your money on a backpacking across the Serengeti and crisscross the country going on mission trips and visiting monasteries….it’ll be no big whoop. Now think on marriage. You don’t just get married and a life of bliss automatically follows…it takes work. You have someone else’s feelings to consider and at times you have to sacrifice some of your personal time to help support your spouse; whether it be through financial, physical, or emotional difficulty. BUT notice Paul says, if you ‘can’t control yourself enough to wait until marriage for sex or sexual relations, then you need to go on and seek out a spouse. It’s better to marry than to fornicate. single

3. As Christians we are held (to a certain point) accountable for each other through our witnesses. Yes we live our own lives, but we need to make sure our witness reflects the things of God. Chapter 8, verses 4-13 speaks on this. “Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating[a] in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged,[b] if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers[c] and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” 

drunkOn the surface, yes this is speaking on physical food, but walk with me for a second and dig a little deeper to think on the spiritual aspect of it. If you are a Christian who is saved from your old life of sin, you basically know how you should conduct yourself as a representative of God’s kingdom. Yes, you may be strong enough to go to clubs and listen to Wayne, Nicki, Sid Vicious and all of them without being ‘pulled back into the world’; but the people who AREN’T saved are not. Whether you think it’s not fair or being too deep or whatever — CHRISTIAN NEWS FLASH — you CAN’T DO EVERYTHING everyone else is doing. Point blank. If you cuss someone up and down, I hate it for you because that is a bad witness. I have acquaintances in the church who are cohabitating with their girlfriend/boyfriend, will turn up every drink in the club and cuss like crazy; then shout a crater in the floor and speak into other people’s lives. I love those friends, I really do….but I know that they have a bad witness. If you know that drinking that drink, smoking that weed, or gossiping about that girl could potentially make a non-believer say “I can do it if they can” and stray away from God’s path – it’s best you just lay it on down and give it up. FAIR OR NOT.

 

 

There is more to break down but I’ll discuss that in another post.

 

TO BE CONTINUED……….

– Joc

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Waiting is Not the Same as Doing Nothing

Waiting is not the same as doing nothing…. Waiting is an action, like running, it requires a certain level of participation and preparedness on your behalf…waiting is the anticipation of something happening… Doing nothing is just that! NOTHING! Don’t confuse the two!
 
– Allen Cooley (photographer)

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Barneys Case Stirs Talk of ‘Shopping While Black’

 

Barneys case stirs talk of ‘shopping while black’| By Jesse Washington of Associated Press

 

Case strikes nerve in African-Americans who say being treated differently in a retail store can be a humiliating.

The usual scenario involves suspicious glances, inattentive clerks or rude service — not handcuffs.

Yet when a black teen said he was wrongly jailed after buying a $350 belt at a Manhattan luxury store, it struck a nerve in African-Americans accustomed to finding that their money is not necessarily as good as everyone else’s. Shopping while black, they say, can be a humiliating experience.

Much attention has been paid to the issue over the years — Oprah Winfrey complained that a Swiss clerk did not think she could afford a $38,000 handbag, and even President Barack Obama has said he was once followed in stores. But according to shoppers interviewed Monday, many people don’t recognize how prevalent retail discrimination is, and how the consistent stream of small insults adds up to a large problem.

“It’s one thing if you don’t understand. But don’t ever tell me it doesn’t happen to me,” said Natasha Eubanks, who shops often at high-end stores in New York City. “You can’t assume it doesn’t happen just because it doesn’t happen to you.”

Related: French watchdog probes Abercrombie for discrimination

Sometimes, Eubanks said, it takes clerks more than five minutes to simply acknowledge her presence. Or they brush her off after a token greeting. Or they ask her question after question: “You’re a black girl up in Chanel. They want to know what you’re doing here, and what you do for a living.”

She says she has dealt with this type of treatment at least 20 times in New York City.

“I don’t look like that typical chick who walks into that type of store,” said Eubanks, owner of the celebrity website theYBF.com. “It feels differently than when you go into a store and are treated properly.”

Trayon Christian’s problem was not how he was treated when he went into Barneys New York — it was what happened afterward. In a lawsuit filed last week, the 19-year-old said that he bought a Ferragamo belt at the Manhattan store, and when he left he was accosted by undercover city police officers.

According to the lawsuit, police said Christian “could not afford to make such an expensive purchase.” He was arrested and detained, though he showed police the receipt, the debit card he used and identification, the lawsuit said.

After Christian’s lawsuit was filed, another black Barneys shopper said she was accused of fraud after purchasing a $2,500 handbag, and the black actor Robert Brown said he was paraded through Macy’s in handcuffs and detained for an hour after being falsely accused of credit card fraud.

For Yvonne Chan, the reports were a painful reminder of when she worked in a liquor store in a predominantly white Massachusetts town. Every few months someone would be caught stealing, and about half the time it was a black person.

“You find yourself watching black people. (The stealing) only happens once in a while, but it changes your perception,” Chan said.

Chan, a graduate student, always tried to remind herself not to act on stereotypes, but, “Like it or not, I’m going to have a preconceived notion of races from my experiences. As much as I would like to force my brain not to think like that and put everyone on an even playing field, stereotypes play a role in our society … we skew the view of people as individuals.”

HISPANICS NOT IMMUNE

Those skewed views can affect who gets arrested for retail theft, said Jerome Williams, a business professor at Rutgers University who has studied marketplace discrimination.

Many people justify racial profiling by saying that black customers are more likely to steal. But one study has shown that white women in their 40s engaged in more shoplifting than other demographic groups, Williams said.

“The reason they don’t show up in crime statistics is because people aren’t watching them,” said Williams.

Statistics showing that black customers steal more “are not really an indication of who’s shoplifting,” he said. “It’s a reflection of who’s getting caught. That’s a reflection of who’s getting watched. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Dido Kanyandekwe knows he is being watched. “But I joke with them; I see them looking at me and I say, ‘Hello, I see you!’ And I wave,” said the 18-year-old college student in New York City, who was in Barneys on Monday buying a $600-plus pair of Italian designer sneakers.

“Most black people don’t have the money to buy stuff at Barneys,” said Kanyandekwe, the son of wealthy parents, before paying for the black leather shoes with a credit card. “But that does not mean all black people are not able to buy these things.”

Black people are not the only ones who can face unequal treatment in stores. Hispanics have made the same complaints. And Sher Graham, a white woman who lives in Mobile, Ala., says black servers in the fast-food restaurants she visits often wait on black customers first.

A few months ago, she said, a black cashier started talking to black women standing in line behind her about their order. “When I brought this to her attention, she just shrugged her shoulders and completely ignored me. This action happens more times than not here in the Gulf Coast region,” Graham, a consultant and speaker, said in an email interview.

Yet if the number of complaints is any guide, the experience is most common for African-Americans.

Candace Witherspoon, a wardrobe stylist in Los Angeles, went to a store in Century City last April to buy a purse and shop for one of her celebrity clients. She was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. In a letter to the company, Witherspoon said the sales associate barely greeted her, then ignored her, in contrast with her treatment of white patrons.

“As the other customers left, she said ‘Thanks ladies for shopping. Have a good day.’ When I left she gave me a nasty look and didn’t say anything,” Witherspoon’s letter said.

Toni Duclottni, who runs a fashion web site in Los Angeles, recently went to a Beverly Hills department store intending to spend about $4,000 on shoes. But she took her business elsewhere after being ignored.

“It’s frustrating to be constantly ignored and people pretend it doesn’t happen,” she said.

Related: Oprah gets Swiss apologies for store encounter

To her, the solution is simple.

“They rush to judgment, they jump into it assuming something without speaking to a person,” Duclottni said. “They’d be surprised if they just walked up and said, “Hello, can I help you find something?’ They’d be surprised.”

(Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik in New York contributed to this report.)
14 hr ago | By Jesse Washington of Associated Press

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October 29, 2013 · 9:04 pm

Trust Yourself, Get Something Good. Trust God, Get Something BETTER

I am literally in awe of God. I woke up this morning inspired by the confidence I have in Him and it grows rock solid every second! It blows my mind how all knowing He is. I was just talking to my folks about God and of how He operates in our lives. If we ask Him enough, He’ll give us just what we ask for…even if He has something better. obstacles2

Check it…

We may want a bike, but He’s waiting to give us a car. We may want a job, but He’s waiting to give us a career. We may want just a little more money to get us through the month, but He’s planning to give us triple what we normally bring in. We may want a boyfriend/girlfriend, but He’s wants us to wait while He preps someone to eventually be our spouse. However…the key word is “wait”.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

If we are faithful and just, and really seek God for something that we want, He’ll honor our request – even IF He wants us to just wait a little longer to give us something ‘great’ instead of ‘good’. 

There have been NUMEROUSSSSSS times in my life where I’ve gotten ‘trigger happy’ and prayed and prayed….and prayed to God for something. Eventually, He may have given me what I prayed for, but then I realized it wasn’t all I thought it would be. I realized that if I would have waited a bit longer, I would’ve been able to cash in on an amazing blessing!

obstacles1I remember there was a time when I was in middle school where I prayed to God for ‘more friends’. I already had friends, but just felt like I wanted a few extra to hang out with when my other ones were busy… and that’s exactly what I got. More friends. Not necessarily GOOD friends – but they were ‘friends’ nonetheless. If I would have waited on God’s time and been grateful for the good friends I already had, I would have probably saved myself a lot of t[w]eenage drama. (you know how all over the place you were  back in those tweens years; don’t trip haha)

The same process happened to me after the hand-me-down car I was driving finally sputtered into the afterlife. I was praying, “God, I really want a car! I just need something Lord!” In my heart, I really wanted a nice, DEPENDABLE car, but my trigger happy brain didn’t want to wait around for one. I found one for literally $350 and bought it right on up! I think it lasted me a year (if that) and poof…I was out of $350. I really believe that if I would have waited and ‘struggled’ by carpooling for a bit longer I would have been able to get a nicer car.

So Joc, what is the purpose of this, yet another of your rants?

WAIT ON GOD!

Make sure you don’t make decisions based on how YOU feel. Take the time and patience to make yourself aware of what God wants for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

obstaclesThere is a reason why I had my commitment ring inscribed with Jeremiah 29:11. It reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The purpose of the ring itself is to publically display the promise I made to God and myself to remain celibate until marriage (hey, it’s never to late to start – God can forgive your past if you choose to let Him) – but the scripture inside of it is to remind me to be careful and selective in who I date, court, and eventually marry. It reminds me to not compromise the values and promises I’ve made, just for the affection of a man. God has had my wonderful man of God brewing up for me since birth so there is no reason to offset my destiny by making dumb choices because of how my flesh feels at times. The same goes for YOU too, and in EVERY area of your life.

God knows what He’s doing. He’s no amateur and He is the perfect and only Creator. Don’t flub up the awesomeness He has planned for you by rushing Him along just to grab a hold of something that’s just MEDIOCRE. Hold out and trust Him for the greatness.

– Joc

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Stay In The Race. Stay In The Fight. – via Max Lucado

Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14

 

STAY IN THE RACE

(via Max Lucado) 

In 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to swim the Chilly ocean waters between Catalina Island and the California shore. She swam through foggy weather and choppy seas for fifteen hours. Her muscles began to cramp, and her resolve weakened. She begged to be taken out of the water, but her mother, riding in a boat alongside, urged her not to give up. She kept trying but grew exhausted and stopped swimming. Aides lifted her out of the water and into the boat. They paddled a few more minutes, the mist broke, and she discovered that the short was less than a half mile away. “All I could see was the fog,” she explained at a news conference. “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Take a long look at the shore that awaits you. Don’t be fooled by the fog of the slump. The finish may be only strokes away. God may be, at this moment, lifting his hand to signal Gabriel to grab the trumpet. Angels may be assembling, saints gathering, demons trembling. Stay at it! Stay in the water. Stay in the race. Stay in the fight.

 

 

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Get Knocked Down, Only To Get Up Again.

So it’s crazy how AS SOON as you get a breakthrough, another one of the enemy’s darts come flying for your head…..it’s everyone’s story. But while most people will say “Well, if it ain’t one thing it’s another”, I CHOOSE to say “Alright, I see you Satan. You trying hard ain’t cha!?” 

woman

The fact of the matter is this: a trial is either directly from the enemy, a consequence of our own folly, or a strengthening test/exercise from God. Regardless how that dart came about flying towards your head, it’s coming. 

That’s how I feel today. After 2 ½ months of struggling creatively, emotionally, and physically, I FINALLY got my breakthrough. Then I got physically ill. THEN literally this week God has been allowing me to be inspired by so much and just when amazing ideas and total peace began flooding my mind ….BAM I get attacked by aches and pains!!!!!! AYYYYYY

Now the average (non believer) would complain, fall apart, and stress out; but as a child and follower of God, I choose to say once again, “Alright, I see you Satan. You trying hard ain’t cha!?” Little does he know, I put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) EACH AND EVERY DAY so I can be prepared for whatever comes my way. 

armor

It rains on the ‘just’ and the ‘unjust’ – what separates me as a Christian is HOW I react to that rain. I know that some stuff is just going to HAPPEN, but because I make it my duty to stay in my Word, I’m aware that some stuff is a strategic plot to get me off course – because clearly, I’m about to come into yet another harvest season – and by the way these darts are flying….the harvest is going to be some kind of good! 

Stay tuned to hear what’s on the other side of this battle I’m currently fighting!

I’m excited!!!!!!!! 

– Joc

 

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Sevyn Streeter = Ambee & Davida Williams from TG4

So I just found out that Davida Williams from TG4 is now into photography! ( davidawilliamsphoto.tumblr.com ) LOVEEE IT! And I know I may be late but this Sevyn Streeter that’s blowing up – she looked SOOOO familiar to me…. Then it hit me today…she was in TG4 too; she just went by another name…Ambee I think. I went to like EVERY Scream Tour back in the day (Scream 2-4) and I remember they opened up the Scream 2 Tour and they were good. Too bad TUG had too many groups cranking out – it was probably hard to focus on each individual one.

 

ANYWHOOOO….so in honor of the song that I could NEVER get out of my head in 8th/9th grade….an ode to women growing up and moving on!

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