Why Woman?

Audio: Abigail Barrett

We are all a part of God’s grand scheme! No matter the underlying reason for your birth, whether accidentally or purposefully, God thought long and hard and He intentionally chose YOU to be a part of His divine plan.

Why woman?

The simplest way to answer this question is; “because the Lord wanted it to be so” but let us examine the scripture to understand more. 

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18.

The Wonderful in wisdom looked and saw Adam and saw that he needed something else. For a man to be functional and effective, God knew he was lacking something, and so the Creator of all creatives made women. 

Can you imagine a world without any woman? Imagine how dull it would have been. Our fathers would not have the warm tender hugs, no one to jump in the laps or to ride on their backs. Our brothers? Oh, how they will miss our annoyance, our inquisitive nature, always wanting to be a part of the ‘boy’ stuff. Our friends and colleagues, what would they do without our waves of laughter, our opinions on dressing, our advice even when they don’t ask for it, and for always keeping them in the loop? They simply could not survive with us. What about our husbands? It would deprive them of our tender touch and nurturing care.

I know as women they have socialized us to think that we were all created for the same reason; ‘marriage’ we live our lives as hopeless romantics waiting for our prince charming. There is so much to womanhood than that, we may never be wedded, but God’s plan for us to help the men in our lives remains. Our brothers, fathers, and friends still need to be impacted by the gifts in us. 

 God intentionally and purposely created you woman to carry out his plans in this generation, will you accept?

Today’s Challenge: Focus on the men God has placed in your life. Are you impacting them the way you should? Have you deliberately honored God by fulfilling your roles and responsibilities as a godly woman?

Today’s Verse for Meditation Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations woman for this generation(Jeremiah 1:5, KJV. Emphasis and wording mine).

Today’s Affirmation: I accept my role and responsibilities as a woman, and in this season of my life I commit my time, talents, and treasures to purposely assist and impact the males in my life.

Author: Lizzette Crooks

Defining Masculinity

Audio: Dean Beezer

“Manhood is the defeat of Childhood narcissism.” At birth, our biological identity is firmly established and preserved in our genetic code. Within our genes, our gender, predisposition to certain illnesses, inclinations etc., are repressed, waiting to be stimulated by the variables in our society. It is not difficult for anyone to reasonably conclude therefore, that the idea of Masculinity is fundamentally defined by our biological composition but secondarily refined within our psycho-sociological spaces. Like our identity, the concept of masculinity remains a complex blend of biology, theology, sociology and psychology.

The Biology of Masculinity.

The United States’ National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBT, in a research publication in February 2016 entitled “How Early Hormones Shape Gender Development” stated the following; “Increasing evidence confirms that prenatal androgens have facilitative effects on male-typed activity interests and engagement (including child toy preferences and adult careers), and spatial abilities, but relatively minimal effects on gender identity.” This may seem rather complex and somewhat abstract but we will be breaking this information down so it can be understood.

“Prenatal androgens” are chemicals in the body called hormones, which are involved with determining whether a developing baby becomes a male or female. The study done by the NCBT was aimed at observing possible connections between the sex-linked hormones and certain behaviours, typically observed predominantly in men or women. Behavioural tendencies such as type of toys preferred, being exceptionally good with Math and Science etc, are seemingly linked to one’s gender. The NCBT study went on to state; “Confidence has increased that early androgens affect gender development, in light of recent studies that confirm, extend, and clarify previous findings. Most promising, research has moved from asking whether hormones influence human behavior to asking how they do so.” Scientific investigations are no longer questioning “whether hormones influence human behavior” but are now concerned with the means through which they do so.

The point I wish to establish, based on the scientific data presented is simply that the distinction between male and female is inherently a fact of our biological existence. We are programmed biologically to exist and function differently in connection to reality. The Biology of Masculinity essentially defines how a male’s body is organized to identify and establish his sexuality, defines his biological function and positions his purpose.

In our next study we will continue our definition of Masculinity by looking at “The Theology of Masculinity.”

The Gospel that Kills

Audio: Shamarie Headley

We can sum the law up to two commands Jesus said. It is to love God with everything and your neighbor as yourself. The shooting on Sunday killed our neighbor. The act alone has shown us our love for our neighbor has gone quite cold. I am ashamed to say that right after I watched a video that shook the cores of my soul; the next fascinated me, telling me how much money Ronaldinho’s wife gets from him monthly. Some burden I had.  

Crime after crime, death after death, our numbness to evil deepens. We shout, we protest, we condemn, we post but it’s all just for the moment. Days after I had been intentional about trying to forget the incident all together. But why? Why does acknowledging it consistently cause such a strain? Something in me knows things are not supposed to end this way, something in me knows I am responsible. But no, individually, we could never be the problem, right?

We have made calls on the church (which we are a part of) to be more relevant. We’ve read statistics, condemned religious leaders who bring shame on the institution, judged our own leaders for lack of mobility, and yet we received the Great Commission individually too. If your home, workplace, school, or community remains Christless, you are a part of the problem. 

Never have I seen multitudes of people going to a street service for evangelism in scriptures. It was always one and two about their business, rather, the king’s business, burdened with the gospel that saves. They didn’t need an organizational effort, but their own compassion led them to share the most precious thing we can experience on earth, God. I am not against hosting street services, but it should never be a replacement of our daily neglect of souls. Evangelism is not a service, or event, it’s a lifestyle.

There is something more deadly than the bullets that killed our neighbor on Sunday. It is the gospel that is there to always fulfill my needs, first. I don’t have time; I must build a bigger barn. I don’t have the energy; I must reserve for studying. I can’t stay up to pray, I must be ready for an exam tomorrow. I don’t have the resources; I have a new event coming up. I can’t pursue that right now; it will make me uncomfortable. I can’t carry the weight of dedication; I have other interests to be the best at. The gospel that kills is a gospel that refuses to love our neighbor as ourselves, the gospel that is selfish. Paul says, “Don’t be selfish, don’t just look out for your own interest but look on another man’s interest.” (Phil. 2:3-4) How differently would our life look if we followed this? 

I was in the car with my family and a lady from my community. They were talking about the incident (the one I was trying to forget) and the lady said, “A coworker said when we were talking about the shooting, where was God?” I answered internally, in His church, restrained by His body. A body that refuses to move. What if that gunman had been ministered to and gotten saved, what if that lady had heard about baptism in Jesus’ Name and received the gift of the Holy Ghost before he killed her? The country is looking for immediate solutions, I know no other than when a man who has seen God. What if we stopped not caring about others, stop being indifferent to our heavenly calling? 

If you have been feeling the call, perhaps you don’t know what to do about it yet. You don’t need a method; it doesn’t need to make sense; you don’t need a platform, God needs a vessel. Listen when He calls. That’s it. 

Philippians 2:17 NLT. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.

Join the Team!

We are seeking persons to join the team. Are you a writer? Perhaps a detail-oriented person who could be an editor? Follow this link to sign up. 

Reconciling with the Past: Remembering

Precious Thoughts Press

We’ve been on a roll over the past years, it seems we are ‘canceling’ feelings. It’s interesting how they taught us how to tie our laces, brush our teeth, do homework, and yet no one taught us how to maneuver our emotions. Even the bible makes it a priority, it commands us to guard our hearts because it determines the course of our life. (Prov. 4:23 NLT) No matter how hard we try, we can’t outrun them, eventually they catch up. But what’s clear is whether or not feelings are immediately in our consciousness, they dictate our path. Whether that path is to run, to pause or to overcome them. We want to be a part of the ones to overcome them. To do that, we must start at our past.

Our lives are just like the universe, a preacher once said. Before God came and created it, we were without form, void, and darkness prevailed in our lives. Salvation restores our form/ foundation, fills our voids, and lets the light into our hearts. Our foundations before Christ were unstable, destructive. Our houses could have fallen at any time. Now, Christ has become the rock we are building upon. However, when saved, our past remained in our memories, forgiven and forgotten by God, yes, but not by us. The mistakes, the hurts, the pain, our offenders and the ones we offended take permanent residence in our minds, skewing our outlook and damaging our relationship to God and others. How do we get rid of them or even bound them, so they don’t always mess things up?

Christian author, Miroslav Volf, suggested a path to healing from our past, or in his words, memories. In his breakthrough book, “End of Memories”, the journey starts with remembering and not just that but remembering truthfully. Our first steps, a guardian holding us just after birth, the feeling of first touching the ground, the first time we saw a bird, or the sky, or the ocean, our first words, the first knee scrape and the first time we laughed, all important things, all things we have forgotten.  It is a fact memories fade, but some especially negative ones, we repress. I don’t blame you; I did the same thing too. Recalling negative experiences are uncomfortable, excruciating even. But avoidance has helped no one in history, not even the thinkers.

I know it’s absurd that I am asking you to do this, but friend, God can’t heal what we don’t acknowledge. It’s true He knows our hearts, but do you know yours? That’s why prayer is so important. It’s an exclusive session with the greatest counselor, comforter, and healer. I remember the first time I did this; it was sometime last year. People close to me often said I was closed off, guarded, cold, emotionless even. As a highly sensitive person, this was the farthest from the truth, I just didn’t know how to handle my emotions or express them. They made uncomfortable, made me feel weak and stupid. So, when they became overwhelming, I disappeared. I didn’t know it was okay to just feel. Apparently, I had bought into the idea that I had to always be okay. I needed to remember, to acknowledge, to name the thing or things.

The interesting part to this is not only will we sit in remembrance to God, but we will speak of it. I did not grow emotionally by myself; I had a community that was patient, loving and sober. Healing whilst more internal than any other process is never done alone. Paul didn’t just arrive after such a horrific past. He had the word, the Holy Spirit and a church family to encourage him. Remembering truthfully might seem easy especially for victims, but one needs to be careful. William James warned,

“The most frequent source of false memory is the accounts we give

to others of our experiences. Such accounts we almost always

make both more simple and more interesting than the truth. We

quote what we should have said or done rather than what we

really said or did; This is one great source of

the fallibility of testimony meant to be quite honest.”

In simple terms, find a prayer room, pour out to God then find a sober confidant, pour out to them fully and honestly. Don’t make yourself look any better or the offender any worst. Afterall, bearing false news is a sin too. Beware of assuming motives and opinions. There will be time for that later. Leave nothing for shame to have power over. You can do it the other way around if you choose too. If you killed someone say it, someone raped you? Say it. They neglected you when you were younger? Tell every detail. Perhaps you struggled with sexual immorality? Confess it. Someone broke your heart? Reveal it. The things I confessed started losing their power the moment they left my lips. Our shame feeds off the things we remain hidden. Let me just add too, it’s okay to feel ashamed too.

I journaled before speaking though; it helped me sort through my emotions to find out what was holding me back from being open and vulnerable. Then, after I sat down to write, I rose to talk to God and people.

Healing is a messy business, but staying broken and wounded is even messier. Your pain won’t just stay in a corner while you continue life, it insists on getting attention. Unhealed pain makes pebbles seem like boulders and streams like raging waters. If you received healing, you change the course of your life for the better. Let’s start with vulnerability. If you feel you can’t talk to anyone, slide into my DM on Instagram. I promise it’s a safe place. Next week we will tackle another part of the journey, condemning those wrong deeds. Remember, you are precious.

Recording: Shamoy

The Elephant in Our Prayer Rooms

I have planned my life. I know exactly the things I want to accomplish. I never realized the implications of this until I started being more consistent in prayer. There was a distance I didn’t feel before. I know the battle of wills is what prayer is about, but this was new, well new requests anyway. Things were getting a little serious in my life. And I know I shared about sometimes the fire doesn’t go out but refines instead- this one needed extinguishing immediately. I literally commanded God on what I wanted to see happen and when the lingering thought appeared, “What if this isn’t what God wants?” I would cry and end the session, God wouldn’t let me down, would He?

It took a few sermons, writers and musicians for me to understand. I was holding on to my dreams. I didn’t want God to take them from me or worst replace with ones I hated. Honestly, I would have been fine if He just answered my prayers the way I wanted, and I did my due diligence in serving Him, something resembling a business contract. But He’s the kind of God who won’t stay in a corner. I wanted rulership of my life. Remind you of anyone else? Yes love, Sister Eve. The Fall reflects the greatest temptation for man, the desire to rule our destinies, to become like gods.

But if one neglects his closet, then all evil comes of it.

Charles Spurgeon

There’s another being who wanted to rule his destiny too, Satan. It’s interesting how he used the very things God gave him to put himself up on a pedestal. Are we using the very intellect, abilities, beauty and connections God gave us to set up our little throne? Lest you think I am being dramatic, consider this. I want my life to go the way I want it. First, it’s not my life. Second, it’s already planned. But I want to change that. I want things in this life to serve me, instead of using them to serve God. I have become the object of worship; I am ultimately saying; I am in charge around here and things are going to go my way, no exceptions. Satan ended up getting kicked out of heaven. Imagine my predicament. But before you conclude God is a tyrant and takes ‘small‘ things too seriously, we need to keep His character and the Cross in view.

The little leaven breeding all of this took a while to pop up- the pride of my accomplishments. In the back of my head, I wanted people to say, “Wow, this girl is making progress, look at her family and she’s doing really well in her career.” To put it a little different, “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. (Is. 14:14 NLT)” Devilish if you ask me, because when people would see future me, my intention would not be for them to see Christ. I wanted them to see me.

So this is the elephant in my prayer room, perhaps yours too, autonomy or self-governance birthed of pride. Creatures playing dress up god. Prayer is an afterthought because we’re already leading the way. May this be a reminder it is not in man to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23 KJV). We also make little time for it because of its humbling effect. The very act of praying declares our insufficiencies. Prayer brings us to a posture where we see ourselves as below and Him, above. Our prayer life reveals to us our understanding of God, ourselves and decisions. The one that gets first place gets the most attention.


Without a doubt, we can test our hot or coldness based on the temperature of our prayer life. When we pray, if we doubt if He can make us happy; we are too far away from Him. If we think He’s incapable of leading our lives, then we worship a God we know not.

Above all else, whilst I have made prayer about me, essentially it isn’t. It’s about the wisest, most powerful, most loving, most beautiful creator deciding to commune with me. His representation on earth. Though, I may not always walk worthy of this calling, His love and mercy persuades me to come closer for greater transformation. Really, what could be more worthwhile than that?

I am grateful, even if struggling. Prayer is doing what God instituted it for, to reveal my heart and bring it into alignment with His. It is positioning me as a child, relating to her father. So you know what I am going to do the next time I pray? I am going to be a Jacob, except daily I am going to loosen my grip so God can carry me to where He wants to. And even if months from now, I am living in unchanged circumstances, I will stay in His presence, bringing all my grief and wishes. Until I can join A. W. Tozer in proclamation.

“Sometimes I go to God and say, “God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth, I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already. God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me.” 

― A.W. Tozer

Then I would have understood the cost and privileges of being a part of this great salvation. Remember, you are precious.

Recording: Abigail Barrett

Thorns of Pleasure

Connecting with someone before they get whisked into a meeting is less than ideal when they reveal something you had been blind to.  She told me she was once as into ‘it’ as I am. That my expressions were once hers. Sadness played on her smile as she continued. Something pushed her away from it, from Him. It was a guilty pleasure, she said. She spoke with a conviction even I override now and then, “Presumptuous sinning is wrong, God charges you for it more than the ignorant, I can’t be in God’s face like that.” Yet here she was, not as ‘committed’ as I am. The thing is, I felt she was talking about me.

Crossing Boundaries

God and I disagree on what pleasures are acceptable, even if I don’t do the things myself. I ask things like, “What’s so wrong about having the last dumpling covered in curried chicken gravy even if I am full, or hitting the snooze button for the fourth time, or a glass of wine now and then, or masturbating, (that’s not technically fornication if it’s just one person), I add, or buying the 3rd outfit with no use for it, or binge watching a series that is ‘clean’ but says nothing about God or stalking celebrity pages that promote nothing I stand for or at worst, is fashionable pornography or watching an all-night funny cat video marathon? Come on! They are just cats!” If my conscience could be silent, I would get away without feeling guilty too. But there is something God wanted to teach me about the human desire.

“St. Thomas says [I-II, Q.34, a.4] that a man is good when his will takes joy in what is good, evil when his will takes joy in what is evil. He is virtuous when he finds happiness in a virtuous life, sinful when he takes pleasure in a sinful life. Hence the things that we love tell us what we are.”

Thomas Merton, Thoughts In Solitude, Pg. 11


Pleasure Nerves

 I find pleasure in things that have nothing to do with God because they make me happy. I would go further to say, even more than the things that honor Him. But this is something I am far from comfortable with. Authors Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey shares about a pleasure/pain experiment:

“Then, somewhat characteristically, he recruited volunteers among the female students who agreed to let him stimulate the nerves of the clitoris electrically. To his surprise, he found no nerve ending that could be designated a “pleasure nerve.” In fact, the main feature of the erogenous landscape was an abundance of the free nerve endings normally associated with pain.

Weddell concluded that sexual pleasure, too, is more perception than sensation. Sensors of touch, temperature, and pain dutifully record the mechanical aspects of one body coming into con- tact with another. But pleasure involves an interpretation of those reports, a process heavily dependent on subjective factors such as anticipation, fear, memory, guilt, and love. Physiologically, sexual intercourse between two lovers and the ordeal of rape involves the same nerve endings—but one registers as beauty, the other as horror. Pleasure, even more than pain, emerges as a by-product of cooperation among many cells, mediated and interpreted by the higher brain. ”

Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants – Pg. 59-60

So, are they saying something I find pleasurable can turn into pain if I just changed my mind about it? Trust me, I’ve tried, don’t work. Or so I thought. I needed to see the end of my pleasures. Solomon ran ahead and did that. His conclusion was it was all meaningless, like chasing the wind. (Eccl. 2)

Real Pleasure Defined

How does prayer and study become more pleasurable and not painful or just mundane? Romans 12:1 shares the renewal that takes place. But how? Colossians 3:1 states it beautifully, it’s setting my heart/eyes/mind on things above so constant renewal can take place.

How then do I define these heavenward pleasures so I can submit to this process of renewal? The late Ravi Zacharias has defined this using these three biblical points:

  1. Anything that refreshes you without distracting you from your final goal is legitimate. (What is the ultimate goal of your life?)
  2. Any pleasure that jeopardizes the sacred right of another is an illicit pleasure
  3. Any pleasure, however good, if not kept in balance will distort reality or destroy appetite

Thorns

While sinful things feel good even fantastic at the moment, it is short-lived and harmful. Jesus said it best:

18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

Mark 4:18-19 KJV

Imagine the thing that should cleanse our ways barren and dried up. The results of that are uncontrollable lusts that lead to sin and ultimately death. Perhaps we need to see ‘innocent’ pleasures as leaven.

God of the Happy

Despite what others say or our own thoughts, God is interested in our happiness, in us finding pleasure. It’s the source that has always been the problem.

“Being happy in God and living righteously tastes far better for far longer than sin does. When my hunger and thirst for joy is satisfied by Christ, sin becomes unattractive. I say no to immorality not because I hate pleasure but because I want the enduring pleasure found in Christ.”
― Randy Alcorn, Happiness

I am happiest with Jesus; I smile more; I overthink less, my fears are subdued by His grace, I find meaning for my life, motivation for purpose, I am more productive, and have peace down to the depths of my soul. Anything else and I become overwhelmed, flustered and depressed.

Heavenward Pleasures

What can we do starting today? Replace mindless scroll time to check up on a friend, or pray for them. Share meals at lunch to avoid overeating, give that money to somebody in need that you would have used to buy the extra outfit. Think about things that make you experience closeness to God. Do more of that. When you are overwhelmed and tempted to waste time on a series that adds no value to your life that you will end up regretting, find another one to watch! Just let it be God glorifying, I highly recommend The Chosen, they even have an app for better quality! And let’s not forget music, use the weapons of melody to redirect your thoughts.

Have extra time on your hands? Give yourself to volunteerism in the ministry and or shelters, hospitals, prisons, etc. It’s amazing how understanding someone else’s struggles reduces the delight in selfish pleasures. If you are tempted, at the moment, say it to a friend or leader, confession is POWERFUL. Ask them to pray for you. If you can change your environment do so. All of life’s war is choosing one thought over the other. Don’t let one sinful thought escape, they have a way of growing into monsters. Fight to the end. Remember, you are precious.

Recording: Abigail Barrett

Life Stories- When Love Lingers After It Has Ended

“You’ve been hurt, abused, mistreated, misused.

You’ve had friends all around 

But they let you down

Don’t give up now, or through in the towel

Don’t you worry, your healing starts now.”

 Trotter, Larry- ‘You can be healed

I find the words of this song by Trotter Larry very encouraging during this season. Wounds were not meant to last forever, even though the season may last longer than you have expected it to; there is a season for healing. 

On this journey we call life, there is a point where we may have encountered some experiences that we never imagined possible. Experiences that left us wounded deep within the heart. Precious ones, you are not alone; I’m in that boat. With that said, here’s my story about the process of my first time feeling the pain of a heartbreak. 

Considering my past, I’ve been exposed to intimate relationships from a tender age. I grew up in a broken and sheltered home. My parents really care for me and they trained me up in the right way as a parent should; But I never experienced expressing my emotions without being judged, so I seek attention from the opposite sex, pouring out my heart to them. I never knew what it was like to be single or how it feels until now. Throughout my journey, I’ve entered relationships and never understood what love is and the purpose of intimate relationships. I entered relationships with the wrong motives. I just needed the pleasure and a sense to feel complete. As a result to my lack of knowledge, and understanding; I was cheated on, abused physically and mostly verbally and I returned the same treatment to some of those individuals, except the cheating aspect (lol). But that never stopped me from pursuing because I believe that I am worthy of being loved and that there is someone out there for me. 

After I accepted the Lord Jesus as my savior, I entered a relationship. With this relationship, it was my first time sincerely seeking the Lord as it pertains to marriage. My prayer to the Lord was “Lord if he is not in your will for me, please do not allow me to be in love with someone else’s husband. If he is not in your will, please expel all the feelings I have for him because I don’t want to go contrary to your will and end up doing my will.” After a while, I genuinely find myself loving this individual. The love I experienced being poured out of me to this individual that I never encountered with anyone before. I then found out that this love could not be of myself, because I never knew what love was and I of myself is incapable of loving someone without being conditional, but with this person, this love is unconditionally, I could see all the flaws and all and still be able to love this individual and this love flowed over to me loving and embracing others. It was something I was constantly prayerful about because I wanted to please the Lord in all areas of my life. 

He expressed interest, and I did myself. We had plans of getting married and would serve the Lord together. Then it came to the breaking point where I was of no more interest to him. All the plans, all the promises and experiences got me burning with sorrow, left me angry at God for allowing or causing this. Being depressed and confused for months.  My heart was broken into fragments for the first time! Broken to the point, where I never wanted to see the light of day anymore. I never wanted to have anything to do with the Lord because I believed he was unfair to me. I returned to seeking pleasures from pornography, that I knew was wrong but I never cared, then the Lord intervened and allowed my stomach to be upset of watching pornography. I then repented, but I was still depressed. I would sleep, expecting not to see another day; preparing myself for death, but the Lord never saw it fit to take me. I was tormented during the nights had to shower late just to fall asleep or watch something that would make me laugh.

My pillows and sheets were my best friend because they held all of my tears. I felt like I was on a thin line of sanity and insanity, wondering what was happening to me. I started seeing myself as a doormat for men, because I felt used and abused emotionally and mentally. I felt like God was using this to repay me of all the evil I did within the past. I felt so far off; I was even excited for the wearing of masks because I never wanted to be questioned, I just wanted to be hidden. I became silent and lost in conversations that I once found interesting. I just wanted to pass on because I never thought there was anything good for me anymore, I wanted to forget about everything and I only saw that possible only if I died. I thought God was just playing with my feelings and he doesn’t care, but here’s what I am learning and being reminded of within this season as I am on the road of recovery, thanking God that I am still alive and well. 

Lessons I am learning in this Season.

  1. Never lower your standard for the opposite sex. Be virtuous. Maintain your purity.
  1. God has your best interest at heart. You are more of a value to him than the sparrows.
  1. Guard your heart.
  1. Never trade God for any relationship, always ensure he’s first. 
  1. Empower yourself in all areas of your life.
  1. Do not get involved in an intimate relationship if you know within yourself that you are not ready for marriage, that only puts fuel to the fire and you might get burn. 
  1. Understand your worth, your value and walk in integrity knowing who you are and to whom you belong.
  1. Be accountable, always. There must be someone you can trust. Community helps. 
  1. Not everyone will get married early, late or any at all. Know your purpose and what God calls you for.
  1. Get involved  in church, in your community.  Find something that suits you. Don’t be lazy. 
  1.  Don’t get married because you feel lonely.Ensure that your motives are right. 
  1. Ensure that you have an understanding of self first and what a Godly marriage requires because marriage is a ministry, it’s not about you but to give God glory. 
  1. Be healed first. Don’t start a relationship being  broken by your past relationship/s, you will just bring a burden into the marriage. Hurt people, hurt people. 
  1. Enjoy yourself, laugh, have fun with sober friends that have your best interest at heart. 
  1. You are only made complete in God. He satisfies you.
  1. Singleness makes you unique, separate and whole. It’s not a curse. Take advantage of that season. 
  1. If the relationship never works out, maybe it wasn’t God’s will or maybe it’s not the time yet. 
  1. Be patient with yourself. Take time to heal and learn from your past mistakes so you can be able to be better than you were moving forward.
  1. Your past doesn’t determine your future. Get up and start anew. It’s never too late to start again. 
  1. Forgive. Don’t allow what has happened to you to make you bitter, so you miss the promises of God. What God has in store for you is much better than the things we lost. There is hope, the best is yet to come.

Here are some scriptures I am delighting in, and you can do the same. 

Psalms 147:3- “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Isaiah 61:3 – “ To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

2Corithians 4:8&9- “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Proverbs 4:3 “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

– Anonymous

Hi Gems, I hope you are well. If you would like to ask questions from this writer or any other Precious Thoughts family member, don’t be afraid to send them to precious.thoughts.press@gmail.com. What would you like us to share on next? Remember, you are precious.

Nugget Wisdom from Megan Samuels-Webb

I am so happy to share this insightful interview with Meagan, a new momma and wife! Let’s go meet her!


1. Where are you from? How long have you been saved and describe yourself in three words?

I’m from Westmoreland where I attend Bethel House of Prayer but I’m residing in St Ann and attend a Pentecostal church whilst here. I’ve been saved since around age 11. I’m still trying to figure things out about myself as we are always evolving , learning and changing for the better at times but I’d say I’m an individual who is honest, compassionate but also cautious .

2. How did you know your husband was the ‘one’ ? 

There is no one way of knowing your partner is the one. I didn’t go down in prayer and fasting for signs to prove he was the one. I prayed for him, his soul, our relationship and all, but not for the sign/s. What I used to confirm that he’s the one for me was the fact that one he is nothing like the man I always imagined would be my husband-perhaps because I was being too shallow about certain details. Two, I know that even if I strayed from God, He still speaks through our leaders and when I took him to my home church and introductions made, there was no disapproval. In fact, they all loved him. 

3. How has the transition of single-hood to partnership been? 

There is not much difference for me. The wifely duties of course, but apart from that spiritually there’s not much difference for me. I tend to have some same struggles with praying and fasting, but I have a husband is of the same faith who renders needed support. There might be times when I’d want to fast but have to reconsider based on certain matters that would take place on that day. For instance, if I’m to be traveling then I know I won’t be focused enough, so I’d be harming my body in the name of Christ. 

 4. Tell us about your newborn. What are you learning from this experience?

I will share his initial, AHW. He’s 10 months old since his birth, literally the day he was born I had a better understanding of how much Christ can love us. I was never the one who couldn’t wait for babies, in fact, I  was often indifferent about having any. But becoming a spouse and a parent you are constantly practicing putting your wants and needs aside for the ones you love. You learn to be more patient-not perfectly patient, just more patient than I was. The experience is bittersweet at times, especially living in these times. I worry whether I’ll be able to equip him with the tools to stand against the influences of this world. 


5. What aspects of the experiences was unexpected whether married or motherhood and how did you handle it?

I don’t think there was anything that happened that was unexpected. I had a pretty broad knowledge of both realms prior to my personal experience, so nothing was necessarily unexpected. 


6. What would be your encouragement to singles considering a partner? 

My encouragement is to first have a good grasp of who you are so you won’t be easily influenced by the actions or words of the intended partner. Make sure your relationship with Christ is a priority. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a wife or a husband otherwise the Lord wouldn’t design us this way with these hormones and desires etc. However, do not be so focused on getting into a relationship that you neglect the one you have with God. Make sure your partner loves God just as much or more than you. That way, you’ll both have the support needed when struggles arise. Be transparent about intentions with each other so if anything you’ll know whether to walk away. Pray, seek God in all you do. And most importantly, don’t rush into anything. 

I am definitely transferring those ‘don’t rush’ words to my journal. Let me know who would like to be featured next! Remember, you are precious.

Friendship Lessons from Sarcastic Job, Peas and a Donkey

Jesus was a selective person. He loved the multitude, chose twelve disciples, then three more for his inner circle and the disciple that spent a lot of time on his bosom. I was not sure how that worked, my need for space restricted my imagination in it being a pleasant experience. But the scholars explain that it’s not literally, but a place of nearest to the host at a table or how Joshua was a right-hand man to Abraham and Joseph to Potiphar.

So, with my WWJD metric, I gotzz a right to choose my friends, not with an elite mindset, but choosing people who will best help me on my journey and me helping with theirs. It is a lot like inter-cropping. Peas and corns are besties in the farming world, peas convert the atmospheric nitrogen with their nodules, so the soil becomes richer, and corn loves this. The corn shelters peas and assists with the wind breaking. Perhaps we shouldn’t look for our friendships to be two peas in a pod, but corn and pea duos. 

Windbreakers

I admire this trait in my friends more than anything else. If you haven’t realized by now, I have issues lol. However, sadness doesn’t make me uncomfortable, it helps to be more, what’s the word? Grounded. When I read Solomon’s reflections, “Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us,” (Eccl. 7:3 NLT) my heart sighed. Melancholy is petrifying. When I don’t see an immediate cause, I tear apart every fabric of my life, examining every thread to find the one is out of place. My weaknesses love this part, they unravel themselves one after the other, barely leaving me with anything to cover my shivering heart. When my friends see me shaking in the wind, they don’t withdraw to expose me more, instead they draw closer, closer in prayer, in word, in deed and literally just laying right beside me without a word. I don’t remember ever feeling so heard, yet we spoke no words.

Job’s friends were the opposite. Their silence didn’t cover, they looked on pitifully, worsening the situation for seven days! (Job 2:13) When a friend is struggling, hurting, sick, broke, pity should never be the response. Jesus offers us the answer, compassion. Pity stays at a feeling, compassion leads to actions. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Listening is one of those actions too. If Jesus didn’t listen, we wouldn’t have known most back stories. I think about blind Bartimaeus, Jesus already knew what he wanted, but he said it. The woman with the issue of blood could have been just given a knowing nod, but Jesus asked who touched him. Jesus is a good listener, I mean we pray, sometimes all at once. There’s healing when we talk, too. Real friends listen, not distracted, daydreaming, bored but compassionate, active listening.

Nutrient Converters

Imagine the peas saying to the corn, “You should have learnt to convert atmospheric nitrogen to make nutrients by now. Something must be wrong with your roots.” Our friends are different people. They have preferences, arrive at decisions and perceptions that vary from our way. Most of our impatience and quick judgement stem from these innate differences. Job’s friends took the worst route possible, they judged first and not once asked a question to understand Job’s suffering. (Job 4:8) By a long shot they weren’t wrong in their theology, God punished the wicked, but their understanding was incomplete. God allows suffering that works a far greater glory in us.

We can never be sure that our friends are not a present-day Job. They don’t need arrogant friends who talk down to them, but to convert the truth of the gospel to comfort in those moments.  If they struggle with condemnation, knowing that what they are doing is a sin, becomes redundant, it’s clear to them. What they need is encouragement, embellished with grace that leads them to Christ, who is the one to give them a heart of repentance and security in the price paid. If they are reluctant to acknowledge what they do as being wrong, we lovingly but directly point them to a verse or principle in the Word. Here, silence would be to their destruction. 

Shelters

We all have that one friend whose facial expressions are to die for. And their words? A fresh baptism for their lips, please. But what I can agree with is that they usually say what we think- Job is that friend. His sarcasm rang throughout most of the book. Job 12:1-2 is my favorite. But in chapter 6, here was a man wanting to die and all his friends could consider was the exegesis of his statements.


Don’t I have a right to complain?
    Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass,
    and oxen bellow when they have no food?


I wish he would crush me.
    I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me.


11 But I don’t have the strength to endure.
    I have nothing to live for.

14 One should be kind to a fainting friend,
    but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty.[b]


15 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook
    that overflows its banks in the spring.


17 But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears.
    The brook vanishes in the heat.


25 Honest words can be painful,
    but what do your criticisms amount to?


26 Do you think your words are convincing
    when you disregard my cry of desperation?


27 You would even send an orphan into slavery[c]
    or sell a friend.

Job 6 (NLT)

Now tell me if Job isn’t the best! He nailed most of our feelings in suffering. Attempting counsel or comfort becomes meaningless if we ignore one part of the man, the emotions. Job was not right to contest God, he had to repent of that after his request for an audience with The King finally came through (Job 42), but insensitivity will push our friends further into misery. I would caution that focusing only on feelings is dangerous too. Notice God’s response in Job 38-41, did God say the worms are still eating away at your flesh, would you like to share about that? No, he spoke of His majesty, how intentionally he designed creation and how He still rules powerfully over them. But that’s God, what can we do? 

We don’t want to make the same mistakes as Job’s friend, playing the role of God. So, here’s our resolve, we love. Love covers a multitude of sin. Dare I add pain, distress and weaknesses. Love shelters. Love too speaks the truth. Love is present. Love doesn’t forsake. Love is patient. Love sees past the arrogance to a hurting heart. Love forgives 490 times in a day. Love texts first. Love is genuine. Love sacrifices. Love seeks reconciliation. Love forgets the past and moves on. Love stands firm. Love isn’t insecure. Loves always points our friends to God, who is their true everlasting shelter. Jesus says the greatest love is when a man gives his life for his friend. Seemingly too much for us? Perhaps we aren’t ready for friendships, just as marriages. J. C. Ryle sums it up beautifully, 

This world is full of sorrow because it is full of sin. It is a dark place. It is a lonely place. It is a disappointing place. The brightest sunbeam in it is a friend. Friendship halves our sorrows and doubles our joys.

J. C. Ryle 


May our friendships shout the love of Christ like a man lost in a forest. Two, we will find, is better than one.  Remember, you are precious.

Not Just Life, Abundant Life

  What does it mean to live? Is it to experience different cultures or cities? Or maybe it’s living out the ultimate foodie dream by tantalizing your taste buds every waking moment? How about being the most famous person in your profession or hobby? To be deeply loved by another? Or as I have often wished, to be without clocks, quotas, expectations, based on impulses and passions to just be, no restraints, no comparisons? How about pain free, rent free, even better, bill free!? Tell me, what does it mean to live?

I can laugh at the matrix, but it’s not a far-fetched theory. Our reality is, however, a hundred times worse- we don’t get to shift bullets. I mean, the real reason is, we are aware of the monster controlling us and we remain in bondage; we don’t fight; we don’t run, we even find pleasure in it. Our deception is so dangerous that we make excuses for it, we have fallen in love with the thing that hates us.

I have been ranting about death to self a lot these past few weeks, but I have been missing the bigger picture. Yes it’s true, this world is full of trouble and when we seek solace from the despair, we come face to face to a bloodstain, wooden cross to carry. I have been running from this truth, hoping to avoid it somehow, whilst reaping the peace it springs at its edges. But the beautiful thing is the cross isn’t only an emblem of suffering and shame, but of discipline, obedience, forgiveness, love and the one I most need now, hope. The cross bears the paradox of being death and life at the same time.

Beauty of Pain

I was so focused on my death, I couldn’t see passed it. All I was thinking was, “What will I have left after this painful death?” I wasn’t seeing the beauty to this pain, perhaps not even Christ when he felt forsaken saw it either. I found to be true, a kernel of wheat cannot grow unless it dies, bursts, rips, gets torn. Has your mother or friend ever shared embarrassing, sometimes painful pregnancy stories with you? Well my mother does, over and over and over, I pretend to dislike them but I honestly couldn’t get enough of them!

She says it was like, “My life turned upside down.” Yet she can affirm how much she loves her children, and even how much those experiences help her love her children. The cross or self denial or discipline, whichever you choose, is not the destination, it’s the journey. For a mother, (all being well) a healthy bundle of joy awaits, for us, life, abundant life. So I’ve started telling myself when I feel exhausted on this journey from carrying the cross, it’s because I am ‘expecting’. I am expecting life. Thomas Merton understood this beauty,

 Why should I cherish in my heart a hope that devours me—the hope for perfect happiness in this life—when such hope, doomed to frustration, is nothing but despair? My hope is in what the eye has never seen. Therefore, let me not trust in visible rewards. My hope is in what the heart of man cannot feel. Therefore, let me not trust in the feelings of my heart. My hope is in what the hand of man has never touched. Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers.

Death will loosen my grasp and my vain hope will be gone. Let my trust be in Your mercy, not in myself. Let my hope be in Your love, not in health, or strength, or ability or human resources. If I trust You, everything else will become, for me, strength, health, and support. Everything will bring me to heaven. If I do not trust You, everything will be my destruction.

Thomas Merton, Thoughts In Solitude

He calls us to obey, trust. John chapter 10 has been working on me with my submission struggle. Sheep do nothing but drink, eat, follow. Yet, Christ says he has called them to life and not just life, but abundant life! What if this is what it really means to live? To eat the word of life, drink the wine of the Spirit and follow the Shepherd? Guess what, because it’s life that I’m after I must be a sheep. Oh, far away I found myself from the fold.

Sheep Need a Shepherd to Survive

Sheep are by nature are preys. The only defense they have is a thick coat of wool. That might be beneficial in the cold, but not when a lion is interested in what’s underneath. The sheep does not have a choice but to depend wholly on the shepherd because it recognizes its powerlessness. That’s why the parable says the Shepherd left the ninety-nine. That one is almost as good as dead on their own.

Despite our poor excuses for sources of security, when real danger appears, be it spiritual attacks, financial crises, sicknesses and relational issues, we realize how defenseless we are. Sheep-like Christians don’t acknowledge this helplessness at crossroads or on Sundays, but every waking moment of the day. This is does not mean we live in anxiety of our frailty, but submissive to Christ because of it. The Shepherd of our souls is no hireling, he’s not doing this for the money. He cares, like deeply, authentically and fully. He gives up His life for the sheep. He isn’t only the shepherd but also the gate, access to all things. David proclaims:

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.

Psalms 23:1 (NLT)

Sheep Strive In a Community

Sheep have this thing they do when threat appears, they huddle together. Whilst the shepherd wards of the attacker, to prevent vulnerability, they get closer. When isolated, they bleat until returned to the flock. I have grown sorrowful for people who proclaim they don’t need anyone. If they say they are called by The Shepherd, He takes care of us individually but as a flock.

He addresses in groups, Israel, Jerusalem, the Church, other nations. He has called us to be a body, a multi-membered bride. He died for all, not just you. Perhaps it’s the bleating we hear when they express these things, or when they themselves withdraw, when their eyes tell us they are not okay. Perhaps it’s the silent cries that shout to alert us of the separation.

Sheep are Followers

If a sheep goes one way, you can almost be certain the others will follow even if it is off a cliff. They often lead each other to slaughter houses. When a shepherd is present, this trait amplifies even more. Shepherd spends a considerable amount of time bonding with the sheep. He can `call of them by name, sometimes up to fifty. He scans for the ones who limp, pregnant, or young and helps them. He anoints their bruises with oil and carries them across streams. Jesus says, His sheep follow His voice because they know Him.  I don’t believe a sheep that keeps running away will develop a deep intimacy with the shepherd so they follow when he speaks. Talk about consistency.

Sheep are Humble

Everyone is on the same level. No one seeks authority over the other. They look out for the flock, not just themselves. They never fight back when being killed. They may cry, actual tears! But they never fight. They don’t get into quarrels and stick out just to say they won. This is no sign of weakness at all! God has to be standing up strong in your spirit to not desire to preserve yourself, your reputation or right. Sheep don’t change their beliefs to conform, they just never change their posture of humility, even if it means death. Sheep understand that vengeance belongs to their Shepherd.

Dog-Like Natures

Unlike actual sheep, we have another nature raging within us, dog-like inclinations. Why do we rage war against sin? Because it will steal from us, destroy and ultimately kill us. To fight any desire successfully, we must replace it with another. We not only shift our minds from sin but we turn it on Christ, ultimate pleasure. But we don’t just fight, we lay hold on abundant life. We lay hold on Christ. We are not surrendering to our death really; we are surrendering ultimately to life abundantly. I rather to stay with a Shepherd who sacrifices His life for me than a devil who is interested in destroying me. (John 10:10) Let’s look pass the weight of the cross to the joy that is set before us, just like Jesus did. Remember, you are precious.