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{July 8, 2008}   Chapter 4 Right People: Have You Ever been used, abused, abandoned, or taken advantage of in a relationship?

First my apology.  I was reading in Chapter 5 today and as I was about to end my study time with notes.  For some reason I flipped backwards in the book.  A section stuck out. A section I read, but must have overlooked.  It cut through my heart today.  Anyway, tonight as I was jumping online to blog off my notes on Chapter 5, I could see I did not blog on Chapter 4.  HMMMM.  Amazing how we avoid something without realizing it.  Chapter 4 really hit home.  I will share a little as I journal my thoughts on this chapter.  As usual, I pray and ask God’s for His guidance over what I type.  I pray that if you are reading this book with me,  you will feel comfortable to leave a comment about your thoughts on this chapter, below each blog you will find a comment link. 🙂

There is a friend who sticks closer then a brother. Proverbs 18:24

This chapter begins with a question that cut my heart like a knife. "Have you ever given your best in a relationship, and gotten the worst in return?"  I bet you have.  We all have at some point in our life.  Whether in a friendship, a love relationship (marriage or dating), or even relationship via different organizations (work, volunteer groups, etc).  Life is not easy.  For a Christian, life can be more difficult.  Why, you ask?  The enemy is constantly attacking.  He will attempt to break you, to cause you to stray, to fall away from God. 

This section goes on to say, "Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, Lookin’ for love in too many faces."  I thought about this long and hard.  I have not looked in too many places, but perhaps I have looked in the wrong places.  Then there is ‘Too many faces’, I can not say I have done this either.  I do realize the one face I knew for 15 years is now the wrong face.  Some would say this is my problem, and I need to go out and meet many faces to find the right face, but I disagree.  I feel that God will lead me to the one he has for me.  This chapter goes to prove my point.

This chapter speaks about finding the right relationship that is healthy, balanced that everyone wants and needs.  Needs…..hmmmm.  Do we really need a relationship?  I thought, "no I do not need a man, I have God."  Then later God shows me that He did not intend for me to be alone.  Being alone and being content filled with peace is great, but God created me and knows my needs as a person as he does each of us.  He even said man should not be alone.  Genesis 2:18 "…’It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’"  I like how man was created from dust and God breathing life into his nostrils, and how woman was created by the rib, the bone of man.  God could have created us from dust, but instead used the bone of man who was already created in HIS image.  Cool, makes me feel special as a woman.  Anyway I am getting sidetracked.

God wants to help us make wise choices about the people we allow in our life.  Friendships, business partnerships, and yes even romance.  Finding the right people is an important part of determining God’s will for our life.

Character Discernment

This is a valuable tool for avoiding the wrong people.  As Pastor Franklin says, "toxic entanglements."  It is a skill many lack. Now are you ready for this?  This is defined so simple, yet it is so hard to apply.  Here goes, "It is simply the ability to find relationships that are good for you, and to avoid those that are not."

Galatians 5:7 "You ran well.  Who hindered you from obeying the truth?" Notice the word "who"?  We are to set our mind on things of the Spirit by living according to the Spirit, not flesh or feelings or the world’s lies.  Romans 8:5 says, "Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." 

Pastor Franklin states that when people enter into our life they not only bring their bodies, but their spirits too.  He claims there are two types of people: Flesh People and Faith People.  He describes this as those who feed your fears are ‘flesh people’ and those who build you up and feed your faith are ‘faith people’.  He explains that Christians will find themselves in confusing relationships that drain them of their emotional energy and greatly reduces their effectiveness.  I must admit.  This is me.  I feel the reason I overlooked blogging this chapter is because in the last month I found myself struggling in the mist of confusion about a dear friend of mine.  One I feel could become more then a friend, but in the last few weeks he has withdrawn or appears to have withdrawn from me.  This of course saddens me, but I had not had the time to deal with my emotion and focus on the truth due to T-ball games and avoiding the issue.  Instead I reacted not in the Spirit but in the flesh.  I can only hope that it is not too late.  But I am not worried about it.  If it is God’s will then it will be.  If not then it should not.  🙂  This hurts to say because I like this guy a lot and can see so much good in our friendship.  I can even see great things in our future if we were to become more then friends.  I know the enemy does not want this for sure.  But if the feeling is not mutual then friendship is where this should end.  Anywaysssss!  As I stated this chapter hurt me to re-read.

If a friendship, business relationship, or romance pulls you away from other Christians or church, see it as a WARNING Sign to avoid them.  This is a warning sign of spiritual failure.  This does not mean that ‘flesh’ people are bad or that we can never associate with them.  It means they don’t belong in your inner circle, but rather your outer circle.  Witness to them when you can.  Bring the word of God into their life whenever possible.  Let HIS light shine.  Do not shun them.  Show God’s love.

Find those that will fill your life.  That will help bring you closer to being the person God created you to be.  Faith people will be honest with you in a lovingly manner.  They are strong when you are weak. If God wants to bless you, HE will send a person. That is why we need to stay in prayer. Also if Satan wants to curse you, he will send a person.  Do not be frightened.  If you remain in prayer daily, God is with you and will give you discernment if you ask. 

Pastor Franklin goes into sharing the story of how God sent Ananias to Paul when he needed to be saved.  The ‘Kingdom Connection"!!!  God will put people in your life who will act like a bridge to get you where you’re supposed to go.  Later he used Barnabas to help Paul get his foot in the door of the church.  When Paul was discouraged, God sent Titus.  We all have had a discouraging day until that one individual comes across our path and speaks the right words of encouragement which completely changed our mood.  2 Corinthians 7:6 "Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus."

Marriage is one of the MOST important decisions in ones life.  Make the wrong decision and many can pay the price.  I say many because in my life, many have been hurt via the divorce Satan sought to bring about and won.  I will not go into this, but this divorce I had no control over and my ex would not turn to the Lord, he simply took it upon himself to end a 15 year marriage.  This affected our children, friends, and family members causing pain changing the course of our lives.  Then to hear about the law now pasted allowing same sex marriage.  Making a mockery of what God intended marriage to be.  I would share a silly story sent via email yesterday, but won’t, I do not feel it is relevant here.   Anyway.  Same sex marriage is a sin and if you think otherwise, then you are not spending enough time in HIS word.

In this section Pastor Franklin speaks to the ladies of what to look for and how to not pursue a man.  I failed at this.  Remember, I have never dated and never knew the rules.  I didn’t realize there were rules.  I mean I watched the movie "How to lose a guy in 10 days", but still I managed to scare away a good man.  I think.  I am not going to worry about it.  God knew how I would react before I did.  He knew the pain and struggles I deal with and although there are many books available telling us how to behave, they are merely one’s own advice.  Some say go for it, be ambitious to get what you want go after it.  Some say sit back and let it come to you.  How do we really know how to behave?  I have come to realize for me after making the mistakes I have made in the last month.  I am just going to turn it over to the Lord.  I said this month ago, but failed.  I still tried to control the situation.  Yesterday, July 6th I once again turned it over to the Lord.  I am going to take my own Pastor’s advice and his wife’s advice which happens to be the same as Pastor Franklin’s.  To allow the man to do the pursuing.   This is going to be hard for me, but I must do this.  I must let go of this whole situation.

In this last section it speaks about how the man is to provide.  In today’s world, it is a ‘partnership’, but according to the bible, it is the man’s responsibility to take care of the things.  He uses the story of Ruth and Boaz to explain his reasoning.  Good read if you haven’t read Ruth.

He goes on to speak about Jonah.  About one person in rebellion can bring down a shipload of people.  Pastor Franklin states, "Sometimes, when your life is rocking and reeling in the storm, it’s because of people to whom you have attached yourself."  In the story of Jonah, Jonah knew he was the cause of the storm, but rather then jumping off the boat he tells them to throw him overboard.  Why?  Rebels are in rebellion, but are not dumb.  He knew the boat was a safe place and in the water would drown.  Normally one in rebellion will find it easier to bring guilt upon the innocent in hopes they do not have the courage to stand up for themselves and do what must be done.  In this story Jonah is cast overboard and the storm stops.  It takes courage to do what is right and take a stand.  Jonah 1:15 "So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging."

Even after Jonah was thrown overboard, God was still there for him. God had prepared a great fish to swallow him and spit him back onto the shore so he could travel on to Nineveh, his intended destination.  "When you allow the wrong people in your life, you’re keeping them from God’s best."  As well as causing pain in your own life, keeping peace at a distance.  Ask God to reveal the Jonahs in your life, those that are rocking the boat.  God will provide wisdom and courage, kneel and pray for it.

Find a mentor!!

Someone who will hold you accountable for things you do and say.  Someone who will help you understand HIS word, one to encourage, to help shine HIS light.  This could be a fellow Christian in the aspect of a friend, a spouse, a member in the church, and yes even your Pastor.

In this book there is a section that is overlooked by many.  "Jesus spent three and a half years of His life in ministry.  Most of His time was not with the crowds, or with rich and influential leaders, but with twelve men into whom He poured His life and wisdom.  He would speak in parables to the crowds of people, then He would explain and elaborate with the disciples."  These men became the building blocks of His church.  Mentors expose you to new orbits of ministry, new habits, and new levels of expectation.  A mentor will keep raising the bar, asking for a little more effort and for better results, mostly teaching you to expect more from yourself.  What is Orbits – a range of activity, experience, or knowledge.  A range of control or influence.  At times a mentor can seem cruel and inconsiderate, but if you want to be a winner, they can urge, push you to the top as a coach would for a player or team participant in whatever sport activity.  The activity does not matter, but a coach is similar to a mentor, if that will help you understand.

BEWARE of False Brethren

If you have found wrong people in your life, good news, God will bring the right people and remove the wrong ones.  When He does, do not return to the wrong people again. 

Sadly, false brethren, the wrong people can be found within your own family.  It is hard to prune them out of your life.  If they often bring condemnation, if they never celebrate your dream, if you receive a blessing and they seem that there is less for them or that it is due them. Then you will know who that family member is and must pray for the strength to prune them off your tree. 

Pastor Franklin states, "Some people will bless you when they come into your life; some people will bless you when they exit your life."

Pray for discernment and then use every bit of wisdom and discernment God provides to find the right people.  They will draw you closer to HIM and help you in being the person HE created you to be.

In my life in regards to this gentleman I feel God has brought into my life.  I will simple pray.  I watched the movie " The List" last night and again tonight.  I could see the battle this man had with the good and the bad.  I like how the retired missionary states, "One thing God’s children and His enemy forget is the power of prayer."  I will continue to pray for discernment and God’s will in my own life and in the life of all those I care about to include this friend. 🙂  Only God knows if this friendship will lead to more or not.  I am simply going to live daily for JESUS, my Lord and savior.

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Theresa says:

Good stuff! Thanks for the run down.



Curtis says:

Sounds like you are on the right "path". Better safe than sorry. Can\’t think of a better "human" mentor than Franklin.Really like your post.



Sheila says:

"Been there, done that … got the t-shirt." Sorry, one of my favorite little sayings I heard somewhere and applies here. I\’ve only seriously dated two guys, both of which I thought were because of things we had in common yet later figured out were nothing more than ways to satisfy my flesh and ego. The next man I get serious about has to place God and Christ first and foremost in his life, even above me.



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