One Man’s Word, a Woman’s Bondage

The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35

A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

1 Timothy 2:11-12

For years I struggled with my calling in life because of these scriptures. I felt that God had given me the gift of teaching and I was told that leadership is in my future, but these verses suggested that I could not be used to teach or lead. What was even more confusing for me was that I grew up in churches that had women in every tier of leadership. Could they be out of the will of God for pastoring a church?

I had only found these verses in my adult life, while I was trying to establish what I believed based on personal study and the leading of the Holy Spirit. This particular belief would make or break my future. What if the plan I thought God had for me isn’t scripturally supported? Then what would I do?

Several years ago, I debated with someone who believed the principles of the scriptures above. I was told that I could teach, but it had to either be children or a women’s group. I didn’t see myself leading a women’s ministry for the rest of my life. What I had didn’t feel specific to women. I had already seen women operating in ministry at large, so I knew it was being done, but I was more concerned about God approving what I did. I didn’t want to be disobedient, regardless of what everyone else was doing.

My day of liberation

A year or so later, I sat in a Bible study where a guy was sharing his interpretation of the scripture we were studying. For so long the Bible was known to me as God’s word and I believed it was all true and flawless. But on this day, I was introduced to a new concept of the Bible. It is simply a book of stories and letters, written by humans about humans, inspired by God. I still believe the miracles and stories found in the Bible are true events, but my eyes were opened to the “God inspired” aspect. The people in the Bible weren’t perfect, but their God is, and that’s what makes it a good point of reference. That’s why if you read the right parts, you’ll see those humans committed many errors.

A Brief Bible Background

Much of the New Testament is comprised of letters from the Apostle Paul to the churches he oversaw and people he mentored, like Timothy. The letters were his words, his perspective, and his instruction. Paul’s words aren’t necessarily “God’s commands”, they are principles inspired by words God had previously established, made relevant for the situation. So, Paul’s letters are equivalent to a sermon we might hear today. God’s inspiration has to come through the channel of the mind, and spirit of that spokesperson, and we can only pray that God’s inspired word is not tainted by their view. We trust that the speaker is being led by God, but sometimes their own ideas are offered in the mix.

My Liberating thought

So if God didn’t say that women should be quiet in church, that means, if I did teach a group of people about God, it wouldn’t make me disobedient, unless I was trying to do something God didn’t lead me to do. What a relief that was for me. I love studying God’s word, pulling out life principles and sharing them. I would have felt so stifled if I had to live my life without the freedom to share my God inspired thoughts.

Then, who was Paul talking to?

If God didn’t say that women should be silent in church, why would Paul say that? I’m sure Paul had a legitimate reason to give that instruction, which was relevant in the culture of that time and place. Perhaps Paul was reinforcing the social structure at that time within the church. Women were not of equal status to men during that time, and still aren’t in many places. That system may be based on this.

For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.  And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

1 Timothy 2 : 13-14

Man was first and woman was second, so the man leads and woman follows. Woman and man mess up, woman is silenced and man continues to lead.

Me: Who makes these rules!?

Adam and Eve were put out of the garden. It seems to me that God would remain the leader, and the woman and the man would follow God. That’s seems fair and logical to me.

The idea that the fall of man was Eve’s fault is oppressive in nature, especially considering that God told Adam what to do and he was a victim of peer pressure. I didn’t come to place blame though.

I believe in order and I do believe that men are supposed to lead. However, it is hard to believe that God wouldn’t want women to lead at all, but would allow for the mental capacity and capability to do so.

Oppression vs. Ability

Ability is determined by skills and knowledge, thus inability would be the lack of those things. Oppression however, restricts a capable thing from doing what it has the ability to do. It’s not that women do not have the innate ability to lead, they were restricted from doing so, perhaps to prevent any further “falls” or misleading. Men are just as capable of misleading or abusing power. Men don’t have a lesser chance of misleading than women. We’re more than likely pretty equal because we have to go through the same process of building character, which prevents the bad leadership.

Women have great ideas, too. Women have people skills, too. Women have vision, too. Women can lead and can do so without oppressing or dishonoring the man.

However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

1 Corinthians 11:11-12

So let’s have a conversation about women in ministry and other positions of power. Let’s talk about the pros and cons. Let’s talk about oppression. Let’s talk about the scriptures that have us bound. Let’s get free!

Let’s build the Kingdom!

Almost a Diary Entry: Am I DOING this right?

Recently, I felt like I needed to take a break from “sharing my walk with God.” As I sat one day and did some introspection, I realized that I’m quick to share a revelation of the scripture, but I don’t as quickly follow up with action. I tend to identify the problem and the solution, but I don’t always put the solution into practice right away.

Many of my posts are adapted from real life situations that I am presently encountering. So, as I reviewed the Kingdom Konversation Live discussing “Too Smart for Your Own Good” and forgiveness, I felt bad because I realized that I’ve only done some of what I shared. I identified the solution but the whole issue hasn’t been resolved, at least not in my eyes.

I started to just suspend the blog for a while until I got myself together. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’m a hypocrite, but I do think my eagerness to share sometimes interferes with me taking my own advice. If my wisdom from God is hot off the press, I have to make sure I’m implementing it before I hop on and start typing.

My Challenge

I’ve been told several times that I am “Wise beyond my years”. That sounds great until you start sharing wisdom and solutions about situations you’ve yet to work through in your own life. I like being able to help others and I honor the gift God has given me, but sometimes it’s challenging. I may know a thing or two, but it doesn’t excuse me from the work we all have to do.

So in light of those thoughts and feelings, I took to the scriptures and found new insight in familiar place to help me walk this one out. I’ve studied James 1 before, regarding being slow to speak when angry, but as I revisited that scripture again, I found that perhaps I need to be slow to speak, (or write), not just in moments of anger.

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;… But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:19,22-25 NASB

My Biggest Concern

I want to make sure I am a doer of the word. I don’t want to forget that the foundation of this blog is my walk with God, which includes learning to be more like Him. This isn’t just content for people to read and enjoy, this is me studying to show myself approved and sharing it with others. This blog may not be a pulpit, but it is a platform and I want to do right by those who subscribe and follow my life in this way. I know we all have to make our own decisions and be accountable for them, but I just want to be the best influence I can. Therefore, the expectation of fruit.

 Living and Leading

Leading or having influence is so much easier when it comes from a place of action and not just knowledge. It’s not good enough to know the rules or principles and enforce them, you should to be abiding by them, too. At a previous job, I helped my clients with financial management and creating budgets. At that time in my life, unbeknownst to them, I was in over my head financially, too. They didn’t know because I knew what to tell them, but when I got home, I didn’t know what to do. One day, I went to see a financial advisor as a resource to my clients and ended up being advised for my own finances. The financial advisor said to me, “You’ll be able to help your clients better if you have your own finances in order.” He was right. So often we prepare to lead and teach others and we fail to lead our own lives properly. So maybe this is for you, leader. Your life is the wealth of wisdom to pull from for the people who look to you for guidance. You can’t testify from a book you’ve read, but you can testify from your life, once you learn the lessons. (Then, maybe you could write a book.)

Don’t be so Hard on Yourself

After talking about this with a friend, I was told not to be so hard on myself. Sometimes I can only see what I’m not doing enough, but it’s important to be able to take a well rounded assessment of ourselves. I can now see the effort I have made toward using the wisdom God shares with me. And I can identify that part of the work is seeking a solution. What caught me off guard in the situation I mentioned in the beginning, is that the moment I identified what I needed to change, the situation itself changed and I didn’t end up having to do what I thought. I had finally trusted God enough to do what I feared, and the “mountain” was no longer there. Part of me felt that God honored the work I did between Him and I, but the other more critical part of me felt like I could have done more to initiate a conversation about my offense. This was just another lesson in our limited understanding of God’s ways. I thought the point of it all was to be bold enough to initiate a conversation with someone I thought wouldn’t receive it well. But as it turns out, the point was to seek God about it. Apparently, that’s always the point.

While James 1 talks about being a doer of the word, the metaphor of looking in the mirror also highlights the importance of us focusing on ourselves. Sometimes we try to manage all parties involved, when the simple and more beneficial thing for us to do is to judge ourselves by the word first and work on what doesn’t line up. In life, we’re never completely right and without fault, in any situation. We can always extend more compassion, pursue peace quicker and listen longer before we speak.

So in light of those thoughts and feelings, Kingdom Konversations with Kiana continues, hopefully, in a more effective and impactful way.

Be a doer of the word for the Kingdom,

Kiana

To Be Continued…

Happy New Year Kingdom Konversationalists!

I almost let January get by without posting a new entry, but then I thought about how it would feel to see the previous months listed in archives, and for January to be missing. I don’t like gaps, having to start over, or anything like that. As weird as it may seem, that was my motivation for posting today.

I know most people are posting New year goals and encouragement around this time, but I’ve found that life is about continuing even when it feels like you’re starting over. No shade to people who choose a new year as the time to begin a new habit or get rid of an old one. I just think that maybe we’d feel more accomplished if we framed it as continuing rather than starting over. Just think about it, people who are on a diet, have a cheat day, and the next day they continue. They don’t consider it an end to their diet or regimen because they did something different for a day or so. I’m not usually one to look on the bright side of things, but I’m beginning to realize that you’ve got to do whatever it takes to keep yourself motivated, and in most cases, my realism has not motivated me, but has often landed me in defeat. So, I’m trying this new thing of being positive and having a mindset of redemption and resilience rather than finality and failure.

I guess you could say my new year’s resolution is to continue.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog called The refuge of the mind in which I explained that I had allowed my past traumas to dictate what I would allow God to use in me. I had decided that I wouldn’t get close to people anymore because I didn’t want to continue getting hurt and healed over and over. (How prideful is that?) But, along this journey I’ve been humbling myself before God and allowing Him to walk me through life, as difficult as it is in moments.

This morning, as I shared my heart’s concerns with God, I found myself back at that place of vulnerability, in regards to the kind of person He made me, and what’s required of me in life. Long story short, I told Him, it’s lonely out here being who He called me to be. It can get lonely adhering to the boundaries He has in place for your life. It’s lonely when you are made to give so much of yourself and are expected to only be refilled by Him, at times. Thats why most of us don’t; because it’s hard! And although people don’t always treat us perfectly, if we have someone, at least we aren’t alone.

My Pastor said something yesterday that stuck with me and is relevant here. He said,

“Our response to God should not be about what’s good to us, but what’s good for us.”

The things God expects of us may not always feel good to us, but over time, we learn that it is good for us.

Therefore, saying yes to God is less about acknowledging a calling but more about trusting His path to fulfilling it. We can’t take the job and decide how we’re going to do it. There is a job description, duties and responsibilities that he has written for us. That’s the yes I believe God is looking for; our trust in His way.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 NASB

Trusting God and following Him, is not easy. It will often lead you down a path where you will encounter yourself. You will be challenged to abandon your self-constructed ideas and apprehensions. You won’t be able to move forward with fear; you’ll either pause within the fear or step through it into faith. You won’t know where you’re going at all times, but you’ll know that you’re right where you should be. You’ll be secure, anchored, planted and sure.

This year, I’m taking one day at a time to surrender myself and say yes to God’s way. I understand that some tasks seem so overwhelming and intimidating that we cop out with an “I’ll try” for fear of falling short and disappointing ourselves or others. All we have to do is make a commitment each day, and when we mess up, vow to continue at the next available opportunity.

Say yes for the Kingdom,

Kiana

Check out:

Still Yes by Lamar Simmons + Love & Faith Community Church Choir

The refuge of the mind

Who Am I Kidding?

I’ve been doing a whole lot of introspection lately. Partially because I observe people a lot and in order to stay away from being judgmental of others, I look within and determine if I have some of those bad habits that I observe. The theme that has been ringing in my spirit for the past few months is intentions.

Why do we do the things we do? 

I’m sure the reasons are endless, but my assumption is they boil down to a few root reasons. I’ll discuss one or two here.

We do what we think will make others or happy or pleased with us. (Sometimes, even at the expense of our own happiness.)

Is it a bad thing to put others before ourselves? Conceptually no, but an unhealthy pattern can lead to life lacking true fulfillment with unclear personal desires, and dishonesty.

How often have you not told the truth because you didn’t want to upset the person you were speaking with? We want to stay on good terms with the people we care about and are in relationship with, sometimes so much so that we avoid conflict.

What does this boil down to?

F E A R

Fear of losing the friend. Fear of hurting their feelings. Fear of what they’ll think of you. Fear of losing a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The list goes on. But the more we operate this way, the more we become accustomed to living for the approval of others and acceptance without the satisfaction of doing what we feel is true to our essence.

Take the Bible story of Ananias and Sapphira for example. It can be found in Acts 4:32-5:11

Basically, they sold their land and the proceeds were supposed to go to the church community offering, but they lied to the leaders about how much they got from it so that they could keep some for themselves.

Why?

Perhaps they were in need of something and wanted to use what they got to take care of it.

Maybe they wanted some spending money and figured they’d just hold on to it.

The thing is it’s not necessary to lie in community. That’s family, and they would rather you be honest with them than try to save face and be regarded in a certain way.

The need for acceptance is real!

However, we should never get to the point of having to be dishonest in order to maintain our position in someone’s life. What’s the remedy you might ask? Knowing who accepted you first and will always accept you regardless of the details.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out “Abba! Father!”

There’s no need to be afraid of belonging because God has already called you His own. If you live in that truth, you won’t have to fear losing friends and family because you will always have Him. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t leave you alone in life either, but God will lead you to have genuine relationships with people who understand the value of honesty and reciprocity.

I encourage you to be in touch with your core desires and intentions. Be honest with yourself and the people around you.

For the Kingdom,

Kiana

“Prayer is usually one word, which is, ‘Yes’.”

So, I’m into podcasts right now because I love to hear what people are thinking. The other day, I was listening to one of Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations with Rob Bell, and the title of this post is the statement that gripped me. It was his response to Oprah’s question, “What does prayer mean to you?”. Over the years, I’ve heard so much about what prayer is and how it’s supposed to be, but this statement really caused me to pause and think about my personal prayer life.

To be honest, I don’t pray nearly as much as I used to pray in previous “seasons”, if you will. I know for sure, I reached a point where I didn’t need to schedule prayer into my day because my communication with God was so consistent that I felt He was a part of every minute of my life. I shared with Him and acknowledged Him through out the day and didn’t wait until before bed to tell Him about what was going on in my life. Then, some things in life began to go sour, (and I’m not the type of person that continues in routine), so that open line of communication constricted over time and I found myself reverting back to marked moments of prayer. The issue with that was that I could suddenly track my prayer history and say things like the last time I prayed was 3 days ago. I’d begin to condemn myself and feel terrible about this prayer life that has diminished so much.

But Rob Hill’s statement was so freeing to me. It made prayer so much more simple than what I had been expecting of myself. In his response, He followed “yes” with “I’m open, what’s next”. And while I knew that being open wasn’t my exact sentiment when I heard him say it, I still understood that, my relationship with God is that simple.

I’ve been saying a lot lately that I feel God speaks in bottom lines to me. And the most enduring bottom line I’ve heard is “I want you to trust me“. God wants us to believe that His love for us will not only sustain us but propel us through all hardship, whether it’s the consequences of a bad decision or the pain of a tragic loss. He wants us to be open and ask “What’s next”. When you stop asking what’s next, you stop living. You reject new life and the possibility of restoration.

Jesus is the greatest example of this! He knew death was coming. And even then He said “What’s next”. Only to discover that He’d live again and have all power on the next go ’round. Man, the gospel is so powerful. If only we’d believe it!

So, don’t allow man’s laws or expectations to cause you to condemn yourself. God knows where you are and His love frees, it heals, and it embraces!

Say yes for the kingdom,

Kiana

Reference:

Apple Podcast Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations with Rob Bell: Let’s Talk about God

 

But God, you said!

 

Have you ever heard God say something , and you say okay and be obedient, then a few months or years down the line He’s like, “Don’t do that anymore”, or “That’s no longer the plan”, and you’re looking like this guy?

nick-young-confused-face-300x256_nqlyaa

No, just me? Okay cool…

But I’m sure that’s how the Pharisees and the disciples were looking in Mark 7 when Jesus switched it up and said “There is nothing that enters a man from the outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.”

You see, back in Leviticus God told the Israelites about all these unclean animals they couldn’t eat; He was really strict about it. So what ended up happening was that the instructions that were given then, became rituals and traditions. But Jesus came for traditions too in the Mark passage. He said “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.” You may see this a lot in the church setting but we have the tendency to do it in our personal lives as well. Not trusting (forgiving) people after they wrong you because it’s what your momma taught you, even thought it’s not supported biblically. Continuing to observe pagan traditions because you’ve been doing it for years despite your recent enlightenment, etc.

So when Jesus told them that it’s what comes out of a man that defiles him and not what goes in, He was trying to free them. He was trying to liberate them from a tedious lifestyle and get to what’s really important. The law of God is not bondage, but God realized we didn’t have the ability to keep every commandment He had. He wanted to simplify life for us and take the pressure of perfection away from us and He did it through Jesus’s lifestyle and teachings.

Here’s where we get caught up: When you’re set in your ways and not open, you miss new instructions. 

Let’s say I went to the store in 2003 and the most advanced cell phone out was a flip phone, and I bought it. Now time goes on and technology progresses, but in my mind this flip phone is the most advanced phone available (because that’s what I was told when I got it). If someone were to come to me and say “Girl, you know we have touch screen phones with no buttons and all you have to do is tap the screen! “, I would be like “No there isn’t, last I checked, this is the most advanced phone.”

I can’t perceive the new because my mind is dead set on the old, and that’s how some of us are when God tries to advance us into a new place. Jesus said “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” That is to say that having ears doesn’t always mean that you are, attentive and receptive to what God is saying. Jesus ended up having to repeat what He explained to the pharisees, again to the disciples. Despite how closely they walked with Him, they didn’t understand it either.

Is it possible that your ears are shut off and the last word God shared with you is expired? He may have told you to separate from a person a few months ago, but He might be saying it’s time to reconcile now. Can you hear Him? Don’t be so guarded, especially by your negative emotions, that you miss what God is saying in the current moment.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…for the Kindgom.

References: Mark 7:1-23, Leviticus 11:24-47

 

Here’s Why “I Can’t”.

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From time to time, I go back and reread my blog posts. It’s always amazing to look back and see what I was thinking. This time around though, something I read sparked a question in my mind. Not long ago I did a post called “I care, but I can’t”, which talked about the lesson I learned about trying to save the world, when that isn’t my assignment. In the post, I said:

“The harsh reality is that you don’t get extra credit for doing things God didn’t lead you to do.”

Although I knew it was harsh when I initially typed it, it was so harsh that it caused me to second guess the validity of the statement. After all, it wasn’t quoted from scripture, but it just seems to me, that a reward is not in order for someone who did something extra, especially depending on the attitude of one’s heart while it was being done. (After all, God told Saul, obedience is better than sacrifice). However, the scripture that came to me as an answer to this question was Hebrews 11:6, particularly the second clause.

“…he must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

The key words in this verse are rewarder and diligently. Diligence refers to conscientiousness when doing a task. Then, in the Greek, it happens to be synonymous with the word seek, which translates to investigate or search out.

Rewarder on the other hand, is a person who gives something in return for service, merit or hardship. (I could talk about a reward for enduring hardship in another post…)

So Here’s why “I can’t”.

From these definitions, I’ve learned that God rewards those who investigate a matter and search Him out. To me, that means that my reward is based on what I do with the findings of my investigation. While I am worshipping and praying, I should be asking God what my role is in every situation of life that I find myself in. For instance, If I am to water the soil of a soul at my job, I will do just that and stop when God says so. If I’m just supposed to plant a seed in the homeless man’s life, that’s where it ends and I can expect to see a return on that deed.

By all mean, when your job is done, leave gracefully. Don’t just “cut people off” and try not to burn bridges. But you must be honest and set and KEEP your boundaries. We can’t just be doing good deeds without any directions from God; it’s way too dangerous. The reality is, if you weren’t instructed to do it, there is a chance you could do more harm than good. And worse case scenario, you could possibly undo the work you did do.

So, with this in mind, let’s be careful to acknowledge God in all our ways, because He promises to then direct our paths.

Be mindful; but do good, for the Kingdom.

Kiana