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Video MR 3.1: Prelude: Womanhood Juxtaposed with The Crown on Netflix

“Who do you think you are? The Queen of England?”

Have you ever wondered who Elizabeth II, the Queen of England thinks she is? This first part of our third Marriage & Relationship study discussion explores the roles of women within a discussion of The Crown on Netflix.

The last two #Zoom discussions were recorded and I’m working to get them posted to this blog. As I review them for editing, I’m convinced this series should have been titled “Bible Conversations with Friends” or something similar. The faceless voice you hear in this video is my long-time friend, Dorina. When Dorina and I met over thirteen years ago in a corporate office in New York City, she didn’t identify herself as a believer and I had just begun my intentional faith walk and Bible learning.

Over the years, I’ve ascended and descended on the waves of life. There were some points when Dorina considered herself an ashiest or agnostic but would still engage in conversations about my faith journey. Four years ago, she began her own intentional faith walk and has been most interested in discussing marriage and divorce, ergo the title of this series. I’m truly glad to be able to share some of our great conversations with you all! Even better, you’re welcome to join us! Email for up-to-date details.

You can watch Part 3.1 of the discussion on Adam & Eve here:

Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles
Part 3: Adam/Adamah + Chavah/Eve | Man + Woman | Human + Spirit
Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

Video Part 3.1: Prelude: Womanhood Juxtaposed to The Crown on Netflix

  • Intro: Culture of Womanhood
  • Navigating roles of woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother | Queen, Princess, Prime Minister
  • Which role(s) do you abdicate in your life?
  • Which role(s) do you focus on daily or regularly?
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Marriage & Relationship Study Primer

I’ve mined the depths of my blog to give you easy access to material related to Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Practices! This list was pulled from eleven years of content to aid, boost or guide study. Read through at your leisure.

Studies

Study: Courage to Trust God’s Plan
Study: Courage to Build, Maintain and Restore Relationships
Study: Courage to Hear, See, Believe and Obey God
Faith Study, Part 1: The One in Whom We Believe (Hebrews)
Women in the Bible: RUTH

Bible Chapters

A Chapter a Day: Ruth 1
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 2
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 3
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 4
ACAD – Nations: Genesis 17
ACAD – Nations: Genesis 18
ACAD – Praise: Genesis 29
ACAD – Blessings: Genesis 48
ACAD – Praise: Genesis 49
Romans 8: Life in the Spirit…, God’s Everlasting Love
ACAD – Helper: Hebrews 13

Pop Culture vs. The Bible

Pop Culture vs. The Bible: Intro
Pop Culture vs. The Bible: For the Sake of His Praise

Relationship

A Personal Relationship with God is Paramount
Khalil Gibran on Joy and Sorrow
My Greatest Enemy
Proving Ground
People who hide themselves are impossible to know.
Devotional: Not My Will, But Yours
When Truth Destroys
Face-to-Face: Sharing God’s Glory With One Another
Kahlil Gibran on Reason and Passion

Women

Who do you want to be like?
Trust no man… 
No hero is coming to save me.
Minister to me.
A Foolish Woman vs. A Wise Woman
Wife… do you respect me?
Women in the Bible: WOMEN of FAITH

Men

A Faithless Man vs. A Faithful Man
Who will speak for this woman?
An Open Letter: Woman to Man
Husband… do you love me?

Marriage

Man & Wife = Leadership & Management
25 Things to Think Twice About Before You Marry
My hopes for my marriage
Our Nakedness
Awareness of Nakedness
Sacrifice, Submission, Surrender
Interview: Matt & Sarah Hammitt on Their Marriage & Song (Lead Me)
Testimony: Charlie & Dorothy Duke: The Greatest Walk Ever
Samson’s Purpose was Greater than Marriage
Singleness is not the prize.
My husband is not my soul mate. Shawnda’s response to “My Husband is Not My Soul Mate”
I AM HE
He Is My Husband…
A Lesson in 1 Kings 13 – Man of God from Judah Meets the Old Prophet from Bethel
The Importance of Communication
Separation from the Unequally Yoked

Family

Sermon: Family Matters – Present
Family Matters – Past
Sermon: Family Matters – Future
What are you teaching your children?

Faith & Obedience

Think on these things…
Are You Saying “NO” to God?
Pleasing God While in the World
Happy Thoughts in the Morning
Healed to the best of your understanding.

Love

Meister Eckhart on love…
About Love
Show Me the Love
Can I Love You?
I asked to be a lover…
…and the people said “HELL NO!”
I Love You, But God Loves You More
Love Anyway: Things I Learned During My Harvest
Devotional: Love and Justice

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ACAD – Remnant: Genesis 45

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your animals and go back to the land of Canaan. Take your father and your households and come to me, so that I may give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you may enjoy the fat of the land.’ You are further charged to say, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Give no thought to your possessions, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”

The sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them wagons according to the instruction of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. To each one of them he gave a set of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of garments. To his father he sent the following: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Do not quarrel along the way.”

So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive! He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.” He was stunned; he could not believe them. But when they told him all the words of Joseph that he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die.”

Genesis 45:1-28 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Genesis%2045:1-28&version=NRSV

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Seduced by the Enemy, Part 3: Wanting to be seduced

Showtime aired a series called Penny Dreadful. It’s a comulgation of numerous horror stories from myths, literature, pop culture and religious texts. It’s a show I wasn’t interested in being interested in. I caught an episode here and there and the storyline began to intrigue me. After a while I was looking for the show. This last season had a Bride of Dracula theme that reached deeper into darkness than that story.

The pursuit

The heroine’s name is Vanessa Ives, a devout believer in God who believes she is damned and being pursued by demons. To protect herself she used witchcraft, spells and chants. During the third and final season Miss Ives learned that the demons stalking her life are Dracula, who was presented as the brother of “Lucifer the fallen angel”, and Lucifer himself. They both were fighting to claim her because they believed she was the Mother of Evil and would usher in the end of days and reign with her chosen partner for ten thousand years. She learns this in a hypnotized dream-state so she had no idea of the form Dracula took in the physical world to pursue her but she knew he was close. A portion of her conversation with the two went like this:

Dracula: You are powerful…become the wolf, the bat, and the scorpion. Be truly who you are.

Lucifer: He’s appealing to your lust. Your appetites. You are spirit and soul.

Dracula: You want her soul. I don’t need it. Give me your flesh. Give me your blood. Be my bride…. I love you for who you are, Vanessa.

Vanessa: I see you clearly now. Two brothers fallen from grace. The spirit and the animal. You seek my soul and you my body, but both belongs to another. He who vanquished you. He who is my protector and stands with me even now.

Dracula: Who are you to defy me?

Vanessa: I am nothing. No more than a blade of grass, but I am. You think you know evil, here it stands…. I tried to be normal…then he asked me about my faith and I answered truthfully: God’s immortal glory lives in me as in all of us.

At the point of that conversation, Vanessa had not yet met Dracula in the flesh. However, by the time she recalled the conversation years later, she had already met him and was already falling for him in the physical world. He was an unassuming museum director who came across as bashfully charming and somewhat forgetful. By the time she realized who he was, she was already firmly caught in his web. The seduction had already happened and she was no longer interested in resisting. When she confronted him, she thought she still had a fighting chance to save herself and to defeat him. She railed at him that she would never submit to him. He calmly replied, “I don’t want your submission. I want to serve you. Accept me.”

As she fell into his arms in actual surrender, she professed, “I accept myself.”

She had been running from him and his expectations of her, accepting herself could only mean she had finally accepted all the evil she knew she was capable of. As she surrendered in Dracula’s arms he bit her neck and began her process of dying.

Coming to grips with reality

“What is planted in the soil of contemplation will be harvested in action.”

For most of this year, I have been in a state of running constantly along a mental scale balancing between what I’ve long thought to be my future and what is presented before me right now. I teeter between everything I’ve come to believe is required of me and alternatives that may detour me but may also flesh out my life, i.e. fulfill certain areas.

I’ve come to a point where temptation has lost its mystique and air of danger. I used to run from things that tempted me to act against my best interests, but now those things appear as non-threatening options and opportunities to change and/or improve my life in some way. I’ve reached a point where the thought of giving in to a seduction sounds much better than not being wanted at all. The pursuit, even by the enemy, is a declaration of sorts that can translate to a lonely and tired heart that there is some worth to this life especially if someone finds something of value in me to pursue. Something precious to them to battle for. It becomes unimportant in the moment, that that something may be my soul. After all, what can I see of my soul in this life?

Becoming the seductress

After the serpent seduced Eve into disobedience, she turned and seduced Adam into the same. She thought something better than what she had in hand was at her fingertips. She reached, she tasted, she offered. After giving in to a pursuer, becoming the seductress is a natural next step – even if only to share the ecstasy of your fall from grace.

Wanting what we want transforms us. We become active in our efforts to acquire what we desire. We find ways to be where we want to be and get what we want to get. We use our wiles, our charm, and our coyness. We tantalize with the chime of our laughter, the lilt of our voice and the movement of our bodies. In some species, this is part of the mating ritual. But for humans, we add deeper or shallower connotations to our biological urges and tendencies. Essentially, we want to be wanted and we need to love. There is no more basic desire than to share life with someone with whom the wanting and love is mutually reciprocated. And therein lies the foothold for temptation to take root and lay a path to disappointment and possibly destruction.

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Don’t lead with your pain.

There’s been an unconscious mantra making rounds in my head for the last few months. Don’t lead with your pain. Simple enough as thoughts go. A complex algorithm as far as implementation goes. No matter where I begin my life story, death has a starring role… or at least a pivotal one. I’ve always thought so anyway. In recent months, I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell my story differently. What do I begin with? How do I punctuate or embellish? How do I include others in my current narrative?

In January, my company moved to a new location. The office space was shuffled like musical chairs and I was eager to meet and get to know new people – people I hadn’t been sitting near for the last five years. I’ve been making my rounds in the new office – chatting, dining, walking and cycling with people. Getting to know them from where I am now. Repeating to myself all along, don’t lead with your pain. Don’t mention Mom (dead). Don’t mention siblings (dead, dead, in prison, drug addict). Don’t mention dad (dead). Don’t mention singleness (lonely). Don’t mention friends (deserters). Don’t mention hopes (disappointment). Don’t mention dreams (deferred). Don’t mention ambition (dust). Don’t mention life (pointless).

It doesn’t sound as if I’m left with much, but I give thanks as often as I remember for the measure of joy, and faith God has blessed me with. These two things keep me going. They keep me moving. They add purpose to my days, my years, my life. I love conversation. There’s no pleasure like eating a good meal with good company and good company is revealed through good conversation. Walking in the fresh air brings peace and serenity even if for only the duration of the walk. And cycling has become the joy of my life. In sharing these activities, I have lead with my joy – simple everyday joy-filled moments. I have opened myself to begin new narratives with each new person I engage with.

I’m coming to embrace the idea that my story doesn’t have to be about me, ergo my pain. Perhaps my story is the prologue to our story. Our individual stories flow into the multiplicity of us. How do we begin? Where to do we start? What are we leading with?

Just a thought, but everything begins with death, darkness, or a void.

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. {Genesis 1:1-2}

Be blessed as you go.

Shawnda

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7 Truths About Marriage You Will Not Hear In Church

NisheEver wish you had the answers to a test before you walked into the classroom? Maybe some of you did have the answers, but you better keep that to yourself. I took some really hard tests during my time in college. And if you spent time in college you remember review days. The professor would…

via 7 Truths About Marriage You Will Not Hear In Church — Thought Catalog

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Prince on Larry King: Sharing Hope and Wisdom

This is truly a phenomenal interview. I’ve never viewed Prince as a particularly spiritually-minded individual, but he very clearly knew his Source and Provider. It’s very interesting to listen to how he processed and manifested his belief and balanced it with a demanding public image.

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Sermon: THE END IS THE BEGINNING

by Pastor David Ham

Listen here: The End is the Beginning

Reference verse: Mark 8:31-35

31 Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and that he would be rejected by the Jewish elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law. He told them that the Son of Man must be killed and then rise from the dead after three days. 32 Jesus told them plainly what would happen. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to tell him not to talk like that. 33 But Jesus turned and looked at his followers. Then he told Peter not to talk that way. He said, “Go away from me, Satan![c] You don’t care about the things of God, but only about things people think are important.”

34 Then Jesus called the crowd to him, along with his followers. He said, “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me. 35 Those who want to save their lives will give up true life. But those who give up their lives for me and for the Good News will have true life. 36 It is worthless to have the whole world if they lose their souls. 37 They could never pay enough to buy back their souls. 38 The people who live now are living in a sinful and evil time. If people are ashamed of me and my teaching, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes with his Father’s glory and with the holy angels.”

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Film: A Dream for Christmas (1973)

On Christmas day I watched a lovely movie about new opportunities, hope and perseverance. A Dream for Christmas was made in 1973 but is set in 1950. It should be on a classic Christmas movie rotation every year, but it’s not. I had never seen it nor heard of it before and I think that’s a shame since it’s a really good story about a family working together through change and challenges. It’s a slice of life and a looking glass into an every day poor African-American experience pre-Civil Rights Movement. Very intriguing. Very warm. Very well done.

a-dream-for-christmas-black-holiday-moviesA Dream for Christmas is a story about Reverend Will Douglas and his family moving from rural Arkansas in 1950 to Los Angeles to pastor a church. Unbeknownst to the Reverend Douglas, his new church is scheduled to be demolished with the rest of the block by a developer intent on building a shopping mall. Familiar story, isn’t it? Yes, this is also a very modern story of overcoming money and opposition with hope and faith while working towards a goal.

Treat yourself, your family and your friends – watch and share.

A Dream for Christmas
(1973, starring Hari Rhodes, Beah Richards, Lynn Hamilton)

The picture on this link is clearer: https://youtu.be/0wLZ1ZPlOrY

New York Times Review: http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/14754/A-Dream-for-Christmas/overview

 

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Thoughts On Faith and Prayer: STRENGTH FOR THE BATTLE

by Pastor Carter Conlon

This is a well-timed and well-received message. Be blessed.

Listen here: Thoughts On Faith and Prayer: STRENGTH FOR THE BATTLE (25min 45sec)

Reference verses

Psalm 78:9

The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle.

Ephraim = plenty (in a drought)

vs 10-11

They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law.

They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them.

“You can only sit and nurse your wounds for so long; then you have to get up and fight.” ~ Pastor Carter Conlon

“We fight on our knees in prayer. We do not fight against anyone, we fight for everyone for the glory of God.”  ~ Pastor Carter Conlon