My interective prayer life continued in June of 2013. Here are some things I learned during my prayers, from June 12, 2013
Resing in me [God] does not mean being idle, resting in me means being confident that I will come through on my words, promises. Love is not resting in me. Love is active. Rest is inactive, in a sense, the sense that love is proactive toward doing good, resting sits down at peace knowing that tomorrow is good and may never come, not to be jubulent as if this is your last day, but resting knowing that I have the future, your tomorrow.
Later in the prayer, I asked: What about looking for work? And the finances? The Divine responded:
Do not fret. You are concerned but that concern is unwarranted if you trust in me. I will lead, but you must listen and follow.
Then my interactive prayer discussed becoming a better person today than I was yesterday, but that my person is less today than it will be tomorrow. So in my interactive prayer, I responded with “Riddles.” The Divine said:
So I responded saying, “But that seems obvious, so it must contain a riddle.” The Divine responded:
No. And no it’s not always obvious.
At the time, I was confused and the dialogue continued because of my confusion, and I said “Then why what sounds like riddles?” Here is the Divine’s answer:
At the time, that answer sounded contrived. So I responded and asked, “Love? What do you mean?” The Divine responded:
Love makes the world go round.
Again, it sounded contrived, so I responded saying, “Please explain, [because] the phrase is too frequently used by people.” The Divine responded with the following:
Love makes the world go round through sacrifice, laying down, not one’s arms ([as in] weapons), but by laying down one’s life, not in the sense of warfare, but laying down one’s life for the life, the true living of another.
For me, I felt like I was finally not facing the contrived. I felt like I could understand the thought, but I wanted an example of that explanation, so I asked, “Can I have a for instance?” The Divine responded with the following:
For instance. A man loves a woman. Man wants that woman to love him in return. How is it done?
My response, “That is the mystery.” The Divine said:
A mystery it is not. It is simple. Man loves woman, woman does not appreciate his love, may not recognize his love, but man wants her love, but she is not ready to give him her love. So what is man to do?
I responded by saying, “That is the question, isn’t it.” Here is the Divine’s answer to the question:
[The man] is not to make a fool of himself. He is not to prance. He is not to dance. He is to lay down. Not lay down as [to] surrender in defeat, not lay down and give her everything or anything she wants. He is to lay down his needs, fulfilling hers first. Not [fulfilling first] her sexual or sensual needs, but [fulfilling first her] emotional, intellectual, spiritual needs. Sexual and sensual are carnal needs, not necessarily sin, but carnal as in ‘of the flesh’. Emotional, intellectual, spiritual [needs] come from within, from within the person, the soul, the spirit. The spirit of woman yearns to see a man who is not carnal, [to see a man who is] not carnally driven. She wants him carnal, but only at the appropriate time, then she wants him to open to her unlike he would with anyone else. But to get her to witness the man’s laying down of his carnality, he must [first] become light, holiness, a sanctuary.
In essence, a man has to look primarily to help a woman fulfill what is in her heart, in her soul, in her spirit. It seems that many men reverse the order.
Many men seek to primarily fulfill a woman’s sexual and sensual desires. As the Divine explained, there is nothing inherently “sinful” in fulfilling the sexual and sensual desires. The question becomes which of her needs is primary?
The Divine makes it clear that the man’s primary concern should be fulfilling her inner person, her soul, and her spirit. In other words, the man should make his primary concern that his woman (perhaps women) is (are) able to reach her (their) potential. When the man has made that his primary concern, then the man has laid down his own interests in order to help her (them) achieve hers (theirs).
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I want to share one of the more poignant prayers for me. It was from June 14, 2013. I prayed, asking the Divine, “What do you want to tell me?” The Divine responded:
You are having difficulty because you have focused on the wrong thing.
So, I asked, “What do you mean?” The Divine answered:
The wrong thing is the wrong thing. Focus on the right thing.
I responded somewhat smarmily and asked a question, “Sure easier said than done for me. So what is the right thing?” The Divine replied:
The right thing is for you to focus on what is possible. It is possible to overcome, to have victory. The flesh really is not the problem, your imagination is the problem, ‘Always with you what cannot be done.’
That response did not set well with me, especially the line that was used against me. Let’s face it folks, as my reader is sure to understand, there are times that we, you and I, think about what can NOT be done. It was impossible to fly, until someone “invented” the plane.
Some might argue that using a plane is not “flying” but let’s get real. Riding in a plane may not be flying, but it sure puts us up there with the birds, even higher than the clouds.
Point is “flying” was impossible until “flying” was possible. To believe something is possible takes faith and imagination, the very things that God was chastising.
The prayer went on discussing belief, which included the need for me to believe that things were and are possible. Later the Divine said:
Life, achievers, live, they concern not themselves with failure. You concern yourself with failure, and you will fail, in that failure you are successful, you reached your expectation, so congratulations, if failure is your desired goal.
Wow! What a candid, direct, in your face decree. That was a strong moment against me. Sat uneasy with me, yes it did. So I responded, “Failure is not my ‘desired’ goal, I don’t like failure, I don’t like to fail, but rewards for success, holding my own, being the ‘good guy’ seem to prove the world’s saying, ‘good guy’s finish last.’ ”
From there I mentioned things in my life that I saw as positive, but went on to express negative things about myself. I expressed how I felt unworthy and incapable. One might think the Divine would console, maybe the Divine does, but that certainly wasn’t the moment for consolation. The Divine responded saying:
Success does not come to those who wait, success comes to those that engage and believe, you do little of either. You prefer to play the victim and sit. You want it easy, well, it ain’t easy. Living life gets bloody, it is a ‘blood sport’ as you have described in the past. You just don’t want to get dirty.
Oooh! Ouch! I’m telling you when the Divine has you in the crosshairs, there is little you can do. Those are tough truths. During that interactive prayer, here was my response, “That is true. I don’t see the value in it anymore. There was a time I did not mind the fight. I see no value in fighting any longer, the battles have caused me to become unwilling to engage, the blood spilled seems not worth the fight. You seem to want me to fight, to get bloody, I don’t see the prize, I can’t see the value of the fight, yet you want me to believe.”
That, my reader, was where I was. I was very low. I had spent several years in pulpit ministry and doing that work wore on me in ways that left me numb, jagged, haggard, calloused.
I did feel like life had become a blood sport, to a degree life is. To stand for what is right, to stand for yourself, to simply make a stand, takes not only courage, but determination of will, to be willing to give the proverbial “blood, sweat, and tears”.
The constant incessantness of the pulpit work wore on me. It took the best out of me. I was drained. Back in 2013, I had not been replenished, I had no more “heart” to give to the fight because I didn’t see anything worth fighting for, which hurt my ability to believe. So I asked the Divine “How is a soldier supposed to have heart for the fight, when the soldier is weary and worn, apathetic to engage?” Here is the Divine’s answer:
I renew the heart, I have not renewed yours.
My immediate question was “When will you renew it? When will I have the desire to fight, the willingness to get bloody for something, anything?” Here was the Divine’s response:
That is a tough one. I want to express the idea of ‘when you’re worthy.’ but that is not accurate. You are worthy, but not ready, and I am not sure when you will be ready.
That response led to a tremendous moment of discovery, the entire prayer did. I was in a place I thought I would have never found myself. I did describe myself as apathetic, but maybe I wasn’t, because I was interested, I was concerned, otherwise I would not have been praying and seeking God’s leading, but I was intensely wearied.
At that time, I can say that my “heart” did not desire to do any of the hard work that belief requires. I did want it handed to me. I wanted things easier. I had grown tired of the constant berating that one gets for having belief and conviction of those beliefs.
Now, three years later, after so much as transpired, and time has been given to prayers, mediations, and drawing nearer to God, it’s like a power switch finally turned on. Things changed. I feel better. In many ways, I feel ready. I even defend the Scriptures and doctrine not feeling the drudgery of doing so. It really is quite refreshing.
But one aspect of those things is that I had to cede certain things. The list is long, some of it broke my heart in yielding. But, where I am, is the best place I have ever been, and the road seem brighter.
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From my journal, it says that on June 15, the day just following the previous entry, I wrote in my journal: I prayed to God that he would give me wisdom to walk this path, and I heard, “Now that’s my son.” And I told him that I really want this path[.]
That is a far distance from how I felt the day prior. But I notice, I did not ask for the “heart” to walk the path, I asked for wisdom. Major difference.
What I have learned, looking back over all the journals, looking back at all the years, looking back at all the heartache, is that I lacked the “heart” to move forward. Thankfully, that has changed.
As I close out this Installment, I want to offer one last thing. This tidbit comes from my interactive prayer on June 15, 2013:
Imperfections are there to test the flesh to see if the flesh can move beyond the imperfections to see the heart, the spirit, the soul. See the soul, see the spirit, see the heart – see the beauty. I make beauty. Beauty is beautiful, nothing else describes beauty.
How striking it is: imperfections.
When looking for imperfections in typed material, we call those imperfections typos or punctuation errors.
When looking for imperfections in an object (e.g. automobile, clothing, furniture), we call those imperfections blemishes.
Imperfections are everywhere, and it seems many in the U.S. Culture are more than ready to identify your imperfections: from physical imperfections to speech imperfections, to health imperfections, to whichever and whatever else they can identify.
But you see the message from the Divine was that imperfections exists in order to test us to see beyond the imperfect and find the deeper value and see the beauty behind the imperfections. In other words, seeing the deeper value brings beauty to the imperfections.
Interesting is it not, that to find beauty, one has to look beyond the imperfection(s) and deeper than the surface in order to find the heart, spirit, and soul of that thing, that entity.
So I apply it to my pursuit of two wives. Many people rush to identify the imperfections of a man having two wives. But those “imperfections” are superficial.
There are those who have difficulty constructing sentences without error, to know what they are saying, we read their thoughts overlooking their imperfections.
There are those who have speech impediments, for instance a renown scientist who is confined to a wheelchair. Yet we look past his imperfections to hear what he has to say.
The only “imperfection” to a marriage with a man having more than one wife is that in having two or more wives, that marriage “fails” to meet the expectations of the culture, and in that failure people like to point out the “imperfection”.
We, as people, routinely adjust to the “imperfections” around us. In this world, truly nothing is perfect. Yet, we pride ourselves on aiming for perfect things, like having a perfect marriage.
Has it occurred to anyone that a perfect marriage does NOT exist and will NEVER exist because marriage is made of up imperfect people, whether monogamy or polygamy.
Back in those days of these prayers, I focused on the imperfections of a marriage with two wives. I found all kinds of ways to devalue the marriage. Found all kinds of ways to convince myself that it was of no value.
That is NO longer the case.
One, within my heart of hearts, I know that having a marriage with two wives is godly, biblical, scriptural, and permissible.
Two, within my heart of hearts, I know that having a marriage with two wives appears imperfect to many people, especially Christians.
Since the first is true, then the second has no power to destroy the beauty of a marriage of one man with two wives.
Who am I or who are you to disparage what God can make beautiful?
It has taken me quite a while to accept it and then admit it, but the beauty of this marriage will far surpass any of its imperfections.
The heart, the spirit, the soul of this marriage is about seeking God, his righteousness, and living in his liberty.
Therefore, when one sees the soul, sees the spirit, sees the heart of this marriage, they have no choice but to see the beauty of this marriage.
Because God said he makes beauty, and went on to say that “[b]eauty is beautiful, nothing else describes beauty.”
To God be the glory for revealing the inner beauty of all things.
Blessings and Shalom