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Discussion Questions: Marriage & Relationship, Part 3

Join me Tuesday, November 17, 2020 for Part 3 of the Marriage & Relationship: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles virtual study. We will explore the marriage of Adam/Adamah & Chavah/Eve and the relationship between Man/Woman and Human/Spirit.

Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

Discussion Questions

  • What are your ideas of manhood and womanhood?
  • When you think of two people joining in marriage, what does that represent to you?
  • Do you see husband and wife as an equal partnership or as an hierarchal relationship?
  • What is your interpretation of the following verses?
    • The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Gen 2:15-17)
    • Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” (Gen 2:18)
    • Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” (Gen 2:23)
    • Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Gen 2:24)
    • And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed. (Gen 2:25)
    • “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16)
    • cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:17-19)

Questions from Study Partners


  • What’s the situation with a believer marrying a non believer?
  • Do we have to walk with other Christians or can you walk alone?

Key Words to Explore

  • join/cleave
  • side (translated as rib)
  • desire
  • human
  • spirit
  • man
  • woman
  • breath

Here are some resources I’ve been digging into for this discussion. 

PS: There’s no obligation to read what I read 😉 but it should all be very helpful for your studies.

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Marriage & Relationship: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3

Join me Tuesday, November 17, 2020 for Part 3 of the Marriage & Relationships: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles virtual study. We will explore the marriage of Adam/Adamah & Chavah/Eve and the relationship between Man/Woman and Human/Spirit.

Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

Discussion questions will be posted in advance of the Zoom call. Feel free to add any questions you may want to discuss to this post or the Discussion Question post.

Zoom Meeting Details

Topic: Marriage & Relationship: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3
Time: Nov 17, 2020 07:30-9:30 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Scheduled for this time every 2 weeks on Tue, until Feb 23, 2021, 8 occurrence(s)

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system. Bi-Weekly:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 728 5074 4065
Passcode: Lqv4AZ

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Greet the sun

Greeting each new day with joy… when I can.

“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you.

“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory. The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation.

At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” 

~ Isaiah 60:1-2, 19-22

Today’s lesson: The best I can do is accept and receive what God wants to make happen in my life. 

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Trust no man…

It is better to trust the Lord than to trust people.  ~ Psalm 118:8, NCV

Do not put your trust in princes or other people, who cannot save you.  ~ Psalm 146-3, NCV

In the Italian Job, Donald Sutherland’s character has a quote that repeats throughout the movie, “I trust everyone; I just don’t trust the devil inside them.”

This quote is intriguing because it recognizes that there’s something within everyone worthy of trust and something else that is unworthy of trust.

The devil, aka the antichrist, is a spirit of selfishness. Selfishness is a concentration on one person: self. By virtue of concentrating on oneself, all others are disregarded. No one and nothing else matters especially if what they need is not convenient to the selfish person. Therefore selfishness is a destructive force.

Anyone who operates according to the devil inside them is working destruction on the relationships in their lives.

Potentially, that would be all of us. Everyone born into this world has this nature, commonly known as the sin nature, embedded within us. It is our job throughout our lifetime to overcome our sin nature and swap it with the Spirit of God.

From this time on we do not think of anyone as the world does. In the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks, but we no longer think of Him in that way.If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and Himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with Him. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:16-18, NCV

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on a bench in Central Park in front of a rock formation when a young couple walked up to the rock with the intention of climbing it. First, they started up a steep incline to the left of the rock with the young man leading the way. Half way up, the young man turned back and told the young woman, “This way is too difficult for you. Go back down. The climb up on the other side will be better.” They scooted back down the steep incline and walked across to the other side of the rock. The first ledge they could grip was about neck high to both of them. The young man reached up to brace his hands on the ledge and was able to hoist himself up with no problem. He immediately turned back to reach down to his girlfriend. “Grab my hand,” he said.

“No,” she replied, “I want to do it myself.” She found a rock to step on and started trying to push herself up from the rock at her feet while also pulling herself up by the ledge her boyfriend was leaning down from.

The boyfriend kept saying, “Trust me; grab my hand. Trust me.”

She kept saying, “No.”

I sat there listening to them, intrigued by the back and forth. Mostly because they had been almost halfway up the rock when he turned back and told her it was too hard for her. Only to take her to a side that was truly a physical challenge for her to even begin the climb – all the while telling her to trust him and rely on him.

In agitation, he said, “Why won’t you grab my hand? Don’t you trust me?”

“No,” she said, “I don’t!” With that outburst, she was able to finally boost herself up on the ledge. As she wiggled up on her belly, he stepped back in bemusement.

“Wow. Really? Do you realize what you just said to me?”


“You don’t trust me?”

“No.” They both turned and continued the climb up the rock.

Thinking about this exchange in the context of this post, I believe had his concern truly been for her, he would have completed the climb while she was doing well on the other side. She had faithfully followed him step for step on the steep incline. But she wasn’t holding on to him. She didn’t need him to pull her up. I think he thought that meant she didn’t need him. His ego demanded a demonstration of her need for him, so he told her she couldn’t do what she was actually doing and put her in a situation that was more likely to make her depend on his strength. He was taken aback that she didn’t trust him, even though he had made a choice unworthy of her trust. However, I don’t think he saw that she honored his leadership by chosing to still follow him.

Now this may seem like a jump, but this story is a wonderful illustration of the need to trust God and not men. People operate according to their own motives. What’s good for them could be disaster for you. However, if we trust God with our lives, our relationships, and our daily situations, then even those things that were concocted without consideration for us will come to a good result for us. Therefore, if we speak to and trust the Spirit of God operating in the people we interact with, we minimize opportunities for the devil to sabotage our relationships with his spirit of selfishness.

The best way to operate according to God’s will in our relationships is to pray for the people who are leading us and supporting us. Pray for the people we collaborate with and share with. Pray for those we work with and those we only see in passing. Pray for our family, friends and neighbors. We are all fighting some vice in our lives and it’s imperative that we allow the Spirit of God to replace the spirit of selfishness within us. It’s imperative that we address and respond to the Spirit of God in people because the Holy Spirit is a protective shield against the attacks of the selfish nature.

Do not be fooled: You cannot cheat God. People harvest only what they plant. If they plant to satisfy their sinful selves, their sinful selves will bring them ruin. But if they plant to please the Spirit, they will receive eternal life from the Spirit.  ~ Galatians 6:7-8, NCV

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In Loving Memory of My Brother, Antoine Jones

It’s very hard to believe it’s been five years since my brother passed away. Life is just so fleeting… so elusive – especially when you don’t attend to it. It’s interesting to me that I was just summarizing the last five years of my life in terms of my spiritual growth – learning to obey, trust and depend on God. It hasn’t been a time of mourning and reflection on lost. Indeed, I mourned. I was comforted. And I continued to live. When I look back over my life, I do see the impact the death of loved ones has had on me. And I do feel the sadness of broken relationships. But encapsulating all that lost is the work God has done in my life and spirit. By God’s grace and mercy, the pain of lost does fade and the joy of remembering the good in others increases.

Know that the time you have with loved ones is a blessed and limited time indeed.  

Scripture that helped me through:

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.  ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13, NIV

The Appeal (from HERO), by Kirk Franklin
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Becoming Whole and Holy

Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship & Direction by David G. Brenner was one of the first books I came across during my Holy Spirit directed program on spirituality a few years ago. It was uncovered in a library during a search for books to walk me through understanding my relationships. Every time I read this excerpt I get something even more powerful and new from it. I hope it provides seed for your walk.


Spirituality Grounded in Humanness
The reason I like to describe the goal of the Christian spiritual journey as becoming both whole and holy is that it reminds us that the focus of God’s love and salvation is not some part of us but our whole person. Jesus does not love some immaterial or eternal part of me. He loves me. And Jesus did not die so that some part of me would be saved; He died so that in my whole being I would be made anew. Anything less than this trivializes salvation and fractures human personhood in ways God never intended.

Too often the Christian journey is understood simply in terms of becoming like God. While this is an essential component, if we only emphasize this aspect of it, we are likely to develop a spirituality that deemphasizes our humanity. The goal of the Christian spiritual journey is not to become less human and more divine; it is to become more fully human. Salvation is not to rescue us from our humanity; it is to redeem our humanity.

Tragically, some visions of the Christian spiritual journey have led people to deny entire aspects of their humanity. Some people have rejected their sexuality, others their intellect, emotions or playfulness. All who do so limp along the path to wholeness and holiness. But rather than bring their lameness to God for healing, they tend to wear it as a badge of spiritual honor.

Spirituality not grounded in humanness is no earthly good. Worse, it can actually be dangerous. Spirituality that apparently makes us more like God but fails to make us more genuinely human actually destroys our personhood. If embracing humanness was good enough for Jesus, how can we despise it? To become like Jesus and take on his character, we must – like Him – embrace our humanity and work out our spirituality within it. The authentic journey of Christian spirituality must always involve redemption of our humanity, never its denial or attempted crucifixion.

This draws our attention to the importance and interdependence of knowing both God and self. As argued by John Calvin, there is no deep knowing of God apart from a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self apart from a deep knowing of God. Knowing God and knowing self are both necessary for wholeness and holiness.

How tragic it is when a person invests all his or her energy in knowing God and none in genuinely knowing him or herself. And how terrifying when such a person is in a position of leadership or influence. Christian maturity demands that we know God and ourselves, recognizing that deep knowing of each supports deeper knowing of the other.

While holiness emphasizes taking on the character of God, wholeness reminds us that doing so does not make us gods or even angels – it makes us more completely human. St. Irenaeus reminds us that the glory of God is a fully alive human being. God is in the business of making us fully human and fully alive. This is the abundant life promised by Jesus (John 10:10). Our vitality, our genuine fullness of life, points back to God, the author of life. In so doing it gives God glory.

The purpose of salvation is to make whole that which is broken. The Christian spiritual journey settles for nothing less than such wholeness. But genuine wholeness cannot occur apart from holiness. R.C. Sproul noted that the pattern of God’s transforming encounters with humans is always the same. God appears; humans respond with fear because of their sin; God forgives our sins and heals us (holiness and wholeness); God then sends us out to serve him. This means that holiness and wholeness are the interrelated goals of the Christian spiritual journey. Holiness is the goal of the spiritual journey because God is holy and commands that we be holy (Leviticus11:44).

Holiness involves taking on the life and character of a holy God by means of a restored relationship to him. This relationship heals our most fundamental disease – our separation from our Source, our redeemer, the Great Lover of our soul. This relationship is therefore simultaneously the source of our holiness and of our wholeness.

Human beings were designed for intimate relationship with God and cannot find fulfillment of their true and deepest self apart from that relationship. Holiness does not involve the annihilation of our identity with a simple transplant of Gods’ identity. Rather, it involves the transformation of our self, made possible by the work of God’s Spirit within us. Holiness is becoming like the God with whom we live in intimate relationship. It is acquiring his Spirit and allowing spirit to be transformed by Spirit. It is finding and living our life in Christ, and then discovering that Christ’s life and Spirit are our life and spirit. This is the journey of Christian spiritual transformation. This is the process of becoming whole and holy.

Meditation Verse: Leviticus 11:44

I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground.


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Can I Love You?

This year, I realized I’ve been on a love-quest; searching hungrily for people to love. The search has been more difficult and labor-intensive than anything else in my life. Why? Because I’ve tried to love everyone and not everyone knows how to be loved.

Meditation Verse: Mark 12:28-31

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”         

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

~ Mark 12:28-31

The following passage, from Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer, resonated with me because it illustrated behavioral traits I’ve observed in people who have rejected me and my habits of love. When I first read it, it struck me that I seem to search out and embrace people who reject others for fear of being rejected themselves.

Fear of Being Rejected Causes Rejection of Others

If you cannot believe that you are basically a lovable, valuable person, you will be unable to trust others who claim they love you. If you believe that you must be perfect to be worthy of love and acceptance, then you are a candidate for a miserable life, because you will never be perfect as long as you are in an earthly body.

             You may have a perfect heart, in that your desire is to please God in all things, but your performance will not match your heart’s desire until you get to heaven. You can improve all the time and keep pressing toward the mark of perfection, but you will always need Jesus as long as you are here on this earth. There will never come a time when you will not need His forgiveness and His cleansing blood.

             Unless you accept your value and worth by faith through Christ, you will always be insecure and unable to trust those who want to love you. People who have no capacity to trust suspect the motives of others. I know this is true because I had a real problem in this area. Even when other people told me they loved me, I was always waiting for them to hurt me, disappoint me, fail me, or abuse me. I figured that they must be after something; otherwise, they would not be nice to me. I just could not believe that anyone would want me just for myself. There had to be some other reason!

             I felt so bad about myself, was so full of shame, condemnation, self-hatred, and self-rejection, that whenever anyone tried to show me love and acceptance, I thought to myself, “Well, if this person likes me now, he won’t when he gets to know the real me.” Therefore I would not receive love from other people, or from God. I deflected it by my behavior, which became more and more obnoxious as I set out to prove to everyone that I was as unlovable as I believed myself to be.

             Whatever you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside. If you feel unlovely and unlovable, that is how you will behave. In my case, I believed that I was not lovable, so that is how I acted. I was very difficult to get along with. I believed that other people would eventually reject me, and so they usually did. Because my attitude was manifested in my actions, I could not sustain healthy, loving, lasting relationships.
Reading that passage brought one question to mind, a question I imagined God asking me – asking us all: Can I love you?

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Reading that passage brought one question to mind, a question I imagined God asking me – asking us all: Can I love you?

I am a beggar. Are you?

Some people beg for love. Others beg for the opportunity to love in hope of reaping such devotion. I used to beg for love by offering love. Have you ever found yourself begging someone to let you love them? “Can I love you” seems to be the common unspoken question in all my relationships. My way of loving is giving. Giving of myself, my time, my resources. I open my heart, my home, my life to people. I focus on their needs, their comfort, their situation. Can I love you is the hidden question when I ask What can I do for you? What will make your day better? What do you need in your life? Can I love you is what I’m asking when I open my ears and my heart to your troubles. When I embrace you in greeting and farewell. When I offer to fill a need you haven’t even recognized yet.

Can I love you sounds so pathetic, I think, when heard with ears not filtered by the love of God. Some of my beggar years were painful because I didn’t want to appear pathetic, I didn’t want to appear needy. I didn’t want to appear ridiculous begging someone to allow me to love them. Those shameful days of hiding my need to love are over. I’m open and unapologetic with my loving now. I’m okay if you don’t want to receive it. I won’t break down if you don’t know how to reciprocate it. I no longer expect an answer to my question. Like any other beggar, I’ve learned that many will cross my path, a few will stop and make a deposit into my life, some will pause to share a kind word. Others will glance my way while continuing on theirs, but throngs will never notice me at all. The life of a beggar is hard; it’s thankless. But we still give thanks for each person we touch and double thanks for each person who reach out to touch us back.

Can I love you? I want to love you. I want to share the light and grace God has blessed my life with. His love is so wonderfully magnificent I can’t contain it. Neither can you. You can’t hoard it. You can’t wrap your mind or your heart around it. But you can channel it. You can pass it on. You can share it. You can give it. There are no requirements, no rules, no standards. You can bestow your gift of love on family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers – anybody and everybody. That’s the beauty of it – it multiplies with use. You loose nothing by living in love but you gain so much with each interaction.

Don’t be too proud to beg, it’ll do your spirit good!