Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love and Respect

Ephesians 5:33
"However, each one of you also must
love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect the husband."

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs wrote an entire book over this one tiny verse.  The biblical insight and wisdom found within this verse and book is astounding.  The essential fundamentals of marriage are found within this verse, yet we have seemed to overlook it for the past two-hundred years.

In Eggerich's book, Love and Respect, he explains that unconditional love for the wife is a common concept.  Wives all over the country quickly agree that this is biblical and it should without a doubt be practiced within marriage.  Unconditional respect, on the other hand, scares wives to death, and has never been discussed in church, the home, or the marriage.

Despite its lack of popularity, the last part of Ephesians 5:33 says, "the wife must respect the husband."  This means unconditional respect for the husband is a biblical command.  Love and Respect explains that men and women speak two very different languages, (this is no surprise,) he feels most alive and appreciated when he is respected, where as she feels most alive and appreciated when she is loved.

Although these two concepts seem to overlap with similarity, the demonstration and verbalization of each is very different.  This is where Eggerichs lays out two simple acronyms to help wives and husbands practically apply the Love and Respect model to their lives.  (More notes on that soon.)

Dr. Eggerichs explains what he calls, "The Crazy Cycle," which explains without love she reacts without respect, and without respect he reacts without love.  This is why couples find themselves fighting over the smallest and silliest of things.  

To combat The Crazy Cycle, couples must get on "The Energizing Cycle," which says, his love motivates her respect and her respect motivates his love.  The scary part is that one person within the couple has to step forward and apply the process first.  This is why it is often so hard for people to get on The Energizing Cycle, yet those following Christ wholeheartedly will find it essential to their walk.

The end of the book wraps everything by explaining that the ultimate goal is not respecting your husband so you can get what you want, but respecting him so you can honor Christ and gain a reward in heaven.  The same goes for husbands who love their wives.

Love and Respect is an amazing book that many counselors require for marriage counseling.  I recommend the book to any married couple, whether their marriage is horrible, average, or wonderful.  Eggerichs has amazing biblical truths in this book that every couple should read about.  Not only is it biblical, but scientific too.  Dr. Emerson Eggerichs has conducted hours of research, surveys, and academic papers over this very subject.  After reading the book, I trust his opinion and found truths very much.  Check out for a copy today! :)

Also check out my former post: the Love and Respect video

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is there really such thing as "Taking it Slow?"

I while back I had several of my close Christian friends reassure me that their relationship was 100% focused on God.  How do they reassure me?  With the ever-frightening phrase, "We're just taking it slow."

I always sigh in disappointment as I read the text with that phrase in it.  Taking it slow.  Taking it slow compared to what??  A worldly relationship?  Because all that means is that you haven't slept together yet.

Let me explain a few things that have really helped me grasp the nature of relationships.  First of all, relationships are progressional.  That means it's a one way street.  Relationships are constantly moving forward.  There is no backwards, even if you break up and go back out again, you will still be starting where you left off.

Think about it.  Every relationship has the same basic rules of progression.  Initial attraction, extensive talking, friendly physical touch, and so on and so on.  The most common relationship I see at my age and generation is the deceitful "talking" relationship.  This is what the majority of Christians consider a slow relationship, however they are completely wrong.

I'm not sure if this is a regional term, so I will explain.  Talking is when a couple shows sincere interest in one another but they don't necessarily want to make the commitment of a dating relationship.  Therefore they hang out together, talk on the phone in mass amounts, and text each other fairly often.  I guess the term comes from the idea that most of the relationship is based on talking rather than doing.

The problem with this is that it's not at all slow, and it's not at all safe, especially when you're talking about guarding your heart.  A texting conversation is like being completely alone with another person.  You have freedom to talk about whatever you want without fear of anyone walking in, asking questions, or interrupting.  Each party has more control this way because the conversation only changes by what is typed.

  Facial expressions, initial reactions, and surrounding distractions are put away and out of mind in this situation.  That leaves your heart right there in the open for the other person's entertainment.  Would you spend 16 hours a day in an empty closet facing this person face to face in conversation?  Would you share the things you have shared with them if you had been face to face?

No.  Truth is that we all feel more comfortable and confident through writing.  Ask any professional writing student and they will tell you that they are most vulnerable when they are on paper.  In real life they are quiet, shy, and reserved.  Writing is an escape to share your true feelings and ideas, whether that writing is through journaling, blogging, letters, Facebook, or texting.

Just like you and your resume, a person who presents themselves through writing is giving you part truth and part fictional character to some degree.  This is why so many young couples do better "talking" than they do actual dating and hanging out together.  It's much easier and less complicating to fall in love with a fictional character.  50% of it is what your mind makes it.

Secondly, because relationships are progressional, there is no such thing as slow.  All relationships have one of two outcomes: marriage or break-up.  They are all headed towards one of these two ends.  Now because I don't know anyone who willingly walks into failure and heartache, I'm going to assume you did not know this.

With that being said, let's stop and ask ourselves a few questions.
  • Are you ready to get married right now?
  • Can you support yourself and a house payment financially?
  • Are you finished living for yourself as an independent individual?  Tired of going out with the girls every Saturday night and staying out as long as you want?
  • Have you finished school and all the adventurous, silly things you want to do before settling down?
  • Do you have a place to live?  Can you fully afford the bills, groceries, and necessities?
  • Are you completely joyful with God and only God, or do you feel empty?
  • Have you found your soul and healed your wound?
Then why are you looking for marriage?
Better yet, why are you consumed with dating?

God can heal whatever hole that is within you.  Take your loneliness, pain, hurt, and discontentment to him first, not another human being.  Matthew 6:33

Talking is the modern version of dating.  It's uncommitted, adulterated heart exposure that leads to heartbreak and counterfeit bonding.  As my good Lord says, please guard your heart.  Prov 4:23  It's too precious not too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Matthew 6:33

Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  The principle of this verse should be the theme of your life.  As you can tell by the tag line, this blog is based on this principle, and I guarantee you that every post will in some way point you back to God.  I write this way because I know that everything else is useless.  Knowledge without truth is useless.  Love without God is lust.  Life lived for self is a waste.

So much of our life we spend worrying about the next chapter or wondering how this or that will play out.  We consume ourselves with the worldly things, rather than instantly giving them to God  (John 17:15-16.)  Many people ask me for dating advice but then turn there backs on it, claiming it was too hard.

This is because it is unnatural.  God didn't ask us to date in and of the world like non-Christians do.  Everything you see on TV, at the club, with your friends...this is the world's way of dating, and as a life-committed follower of Christ, you were called to be more than that, why?  Because you are called to seek God FIRST.  

When we seek God more than popularity, status, comfort from a close friend, love from the opposite sex, sex from the opposite sex, family, friends, and EVERYTHING else, then and only then will our lives, purpose, and heart fall into place.  I'm not saying you will self-destruct if you put something before God, but I am saying your life will be more chaotic because of it.

Most Christians today are half in and half out.  I think it is because the calling to take up your cross daily is a hard one.  It's not something natural or easy, so most people try it for a few days, months, or weeks, and then give up because the cross is too much to bare, but the calling only becomes too much when we begin to take our eyes off of the one who gave us the cross.  

When worries hit your mind, temptation stings your flesh, and defeat is in your spirit, take a look at your focus. It's probably a few marks off of the bulls eye, which is Christ.  When we are careful to move our focus back to Him one hundred and ten percent, everything else falls back into the background.

So how do we get our focus back on Christ?
Spend an extended amount of time in prayer.  Ask God to reveal the focus of your heart.  Start by praying about whatever comes to mind.  Pretty soon you will find yourself praying about a particular person or circumstance extensively.  More than likely this is the root of your problem, the incident that shifted your focus.

Commit that "thing" to God, not only in your prayer but in the depths of your heart.  Promise yourself that if you begin worrying, fantasizing, or wondering about this "thing" again, that you will quote a verse referring you back to God, or pray for God to once again take the "thing" out of your focus.

Next, get in the Word and hear what God has to say to you.  God is always ready to help us and talk to us about our life-altering drama we encounter from day to day.  Many times we will even pray to him to help us with this drama, but how many times do you actually give him a turn to talk?  One way God speaks to us is through the Bible.  Reading the Word of God should be a daily activity in your life.  If you are always talking and doing and thinking, when does God have a chance to respond?

Start with a devotional book from the nearest bookstore, or try this website for free online devos or this one for a short and sweet starter  However you choose to begin getting in the word, make it a commitment and a part of your everyday routine.  It should be as natural as asking your loved one about their day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


This is what it's all about.  Jesus died for us so we could experience his never ending love every day of our life. He loves you so much more than any earthly thing or person.  Please give him your feminine heart this morning as you soak in this love song from the Prince.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Friday Ramblings

Ever notice how the color black tends to be a sign of evil?  “The Dark Side,” the black plague, and darkness are all examples of the mysterious danger of black.  Perhaps this is why so much crime takes place on “Black Friday,”  the day when millions of people trade hours of sleep for hours standing in line.  I think it is safe to say that Black Friday sprouts all sorts of danger.
What makes Black Friday so “black” and dangerous anyhow?  Could it be the pavement thousands of people trample over to get to their favorite stores?  Or the fact that it begins at 4 a.m. which is a time when most crime rates skyrocket and the light of the day disappears?  Or perhaps it is the emotional and adrenaline rush of getting a good bargain that drives people to insanity.  Whatever the actual reason, I feel like the combination of ideas sets the tone.
The name “Black Friday” was originally used as a sign of the day when the stores begin operating “in the black,” rather than in the red (stock-market terms for those of you who don’t know).  Although this was the humble beginnings of the phrase, today’s connotation brings about a whole new meaning.  Most people would define Black Friday as a 24-hour period of “shoppingpalooza” the day after Thanksgiving.  The day is also known as a time when stores slash prices in half for early Christmas shoppers.
As the name has evolved so have the weekdays around it, for instance, some people have stopped calling Thanksgiving “Thanksgiving,” and now refer to it as “Gray Thursday.”  This is probably because stores are starting sales earlier and earlier.  Research showed that most customers would rather stay up late to go shop rather than wake up early, which is why Wal-Mart will be kicking off Black Friday this year at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. 

As if this isn’t enough to change the name of the holiday to Gray Thursday, there’s more.  Halloween weekend of 2010 Sears held a Black Friday Sale to get an early start on some business.  But even Sears was late compared to Target, who held a “Black Friday in July Sale” months earlier.  How could this outrage get any crazier?  Well, this is where the marketing folks get to be creative.
If the early bird gets the worm, what do the laggards eat?  That’s what retailers asked each other as they began the invention of “Cyber Monday,” the Monday after Thanksgiving, Gray Thursday, and Black Friday.  Cyber Monday is the high-tech cousin of Black Friday.  For customers who want the great deals but hate the late nights, long lines and fighting crowds, Cyber Monday is the answer to a prayer. coined the phrase in 2005 with a press release claiming increased sales for retailers on this day.  As the trend has caught on, more and more retailers are making special online deals for this day of the year.  In 2010 comScore reported $1028 million (excluding travel) spent online during Cyber Monday, which was the highest spending day of the year.  Although it is still in the beginning stages of familiarity, trends like this are what set Cyber Monday headed in the direction of long-term loyalty with American consumers.
With all this shopping madness taking place within a five day period, sales aren’t the only thing taking an increase.  Criminals around the nation have this day circled on their calendar months in advance.  One of the most severe types of fraud over the holiday season is receipt fraud.  While cashiers are careful to validate money and credit cards, return receipts are most commonly skipped over.  This is a widespread problem growing in the retail industry. 

With increasing technology receipts are becoming more and more available for replication.  This being the issue, many criminals can print up tons of fake receipts, and hand them in at different stores in exchange for cash or a gift card, (a very common practice to most retailers.)  Fortunately, retailers are beginning to catch on to this trend and turn to alternate forms of dealing with returns and exchanges.
One such form comes from BrandWatch Technologies, a company who specializes in helping brands protect themselves against fraud.  If you’ve ever seen the yellow highlighters cashiers use to validate money, you have seen a form of this technology.  However with the changing times, BrandWatch has now come out with a marker that detects fraudulent receipts brought in by criminals.  Slowly but surely some brands are turning to this for protection from theft. 
Other companies have taken different routes to fraud.  One of the most common is refunding money directly back onto the credit card from which it was originally taken.  A few weeks ago I was making a return for my mother while anticipating the store credit coming in return.  Sadly for me, I found out the money was instead replaced to my mother’s credit card which was nestled safely in her purse two hours away.  Although I was let down, I now realize how great this change of procedure is in helping prevent criminal acts against innocent people and retail stores.
With less than a week till Black Friday, I hope that this article helps you make informed and educational decisions next week.  Spot out the best deals, whether it is Gray Thursday, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, make sure you get the most bang for your buck.  From night crawlers to earlier risers you have your choice of shopping days, and if you are more of a techno-fan you can relax in your pajamas all weekend and hit the keyboard Monday morning at your leisure. 

Save your receipts, watch your wallet, and thank your cashiers for checking your cash and i.d.  Sure, it might take you a few extra seconds at the checkout, but without honest workers like these our favorite plastic cards and retail stores would be out of business and back “in the red,” which is the opposite effect this season is supposed to bring.  Stay black and dangerous consumers!

Love and Respect for the Married Folk

This is an extremely important message from a wonderful book I just started by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  Love and Respect explains deep biblical truths about marriage and the conflicts that couples face daily within marriage.  In this short segment Eggerichs explains "the crazy cycle" of marriage and how to defeat this cycle with biblical truths from Ephesians 5:33.

Friday, November 18, 2011

10 Tips for Teens Article

Here is a great article by Best Dating  Although I don't think this is advice for teenagers necessarily, it is still good advice to those thinking about getting engaged.  Hope you enjoy this.

10 Tips for Teens Before Meeting Their Date's Dad

Meeting a date’s dad for the first time can be a very stressful event for teenagers. Listed below I have included ten tips for teens before meeting their date’s dad; that will work for both guys and girls.
  1. Clean Up. First impressions are everything to a dad. Before you meet him, make sure that your appearance is neat, clean and well groomed. If you come in looking scruffy, he is sure to make a bad judgment from that. Dress conservative, but proper for the event.
  2. Turn Off Your Phone. If you are going to meet your date’s dad, you really should be turning off your phone. The last thing he wants to see is how fast you can text. Also, if it is turned off you will be less likely to get tempted to answer or look at it during your meeting.
  3. Do Your Homework. Find out a little about your date’s dad prior to meeting him for the first time. Then you will have time to learn more about the subjects he is interest in, and can strike up a conversation that appeals him.
  4. Research the Past. Find out from your date what their dad thought of his/her past boyfriends/girlfriends. This will give you a chance to gauge how he will treat you, and what to expect when meeting for the first time.
  5. Prepare for Grilling. Just like you would do for a job interview, think of questions that may come up. Be prepared to answer awkward questions and have a prepped response for anything you are not comfortable talking about.
  6. Find Out if He Has Allergies. The last thing you want to do, when walking in to meet your date’s dad, is set him off on an allergic reaction. If he has an allergy to dogs, make sure you stay away from Rover before going to meet him.
  7. Be On Time. Nothing says slacker more than someone who is running late. You want to impress the dad with promptness, not repel him by making him wait.
  8. Avoid Disagreements. You can quickly turn off your date’s dad by arguing, criticizing or embarrassing your date. While you should always treat your date with respect, this is the time to be on your very best behavior.
  9. Humor. You will definitely want to show your date’s dad that you have a sense of humor. However, this is not the time to make political, religious, or off color, rude jokes. Keep your remarks clean and tasteful.
  10. Do Not Complain. This is not the time to complain about all the things that bother you about your date. He is after all, the dad, and probably already knows all his child’s faults. If you complain about your date’s behavior in any way, you are essentially telling his/her dad that they did a bad job raising their child.
The biggest things to remember when meeting your date’s dad is; be prepared, be on your best behavior, and most of all, do not, I repeat, do not mention any of your previous dates!

For more:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Not Flesh and Blood

To sum up everything God's been teaching me this week, I think the phrase from Ephesians 6:12 says it perfectly.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood..."

Again, I am praying that you understand the importance and reality of spiritual warfare.  John 8:44 says Satan is the father of lies.  Every battle starts as a small lie Satan whispers in your ear.  At that moment you have the choice to either confront that lie with prayer and scripture, or believe that lie and entertain the thought.  If you choose the first option, Satan will back off, at least momentarily.  Don't be fooled though, he will be back.

The second option, on the other hand, will lead to a snowball effect.  That small, simple lie will grow and grow and grow until it effects every area of your life, including your relationships with other people.  This is how Satan accomplishes his plan to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10.)

An older girl who discipled me once taught me the acronym HALT.  We become more vulnerable to Satan's attacks when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  I was also taught by a speaker that Laziness leads to Lust.  So go ahead add laziness to that acronym and we will call it HALLT.  Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Lazy, Tired.  Now let's apply that to this week's phrase.

  • When you're HUNGRY...the battle is not against flesh and blood.  I know we've all seen the Snicker's commerical where the guy is acting like a diva because he's hungry.  His friends get fed up with him so they hand him a snickers and he is instantly back to himself again.  This commercial is so funny to us because it's true.  We have all been that cranky, snappy person one time or another because we were hungry.  If you don't know what I'm talking about watch a little kid skip snack time.

    Anyhow, the point is, your friends aren't your enemies at this point.  Your mom telling you to straighten up is not the problem, and no not even your hunger is the problem.  The problem is satan told you a lie that it's okay for you to be selfish when you don't get what you want instantly, (which happens to be food at this point.)
  • When you're LONELY...the battle's NOT against flesh and blood.  As I pointed out in my post  Preparing for War, the holiday's always bring about a new set of struggles for singles.  Often times satan uses the lie of singleness as our excuse to snap back at other people, usually a mom or sibling.  We think that it's our friends fault for rubbing it in our face, but in all reality, the struggle's not against flesh and blood.  Rebuke the first negative thought with thankful prayer (Phil 4:6,) and scripture to confront the lie (Eph 6:17.)
I could go on explaining the other words from the acronym, but I think you understand my point.  Almost every battle is spiritual, and it can always be traced back to a lie that Satan has placed in our heads.  The lie can come in the form of a thought, a comment from someone else, a song lyric, or something from a movie, just recognize that it comes from an outward source (a thought that is not yours is an outward source.)

Train yourself to catch these thoughts instantly and fight them.  Memorize scripture pertaining to the issues you struggle with, then quote them when tempted.  Pray in the spirit on all occaisions (1 Thess. 5:17.)  Thank God for what you do have when Satan points out what you don't. (1 Thess. 5:18.)  And stand strong warrior!  Our God has already won the big war, so be faithful to fight the small battles in the day to day for the victory of our King.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Making the Stand

If I can write a post to the girls in their vulnerability, I think I owe the guys something too.  Especially because I just finished reading Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.  Yes, it is the male version of the book I mentioned in  my last post.  (Just so you know, the male version came first.)

Wild at Heart has taught me that just as women have been deeply wounded in their femininity, so have men been wounded in their masculinity.   Again, I will not go into all the details, for they are in this book which I so highly recommend reading.  The point I want to make, is that you will never be the man God designed you to be if you don't let him heal your wound.

The similarity on both the male and female side of things, is that the process of healing for both is hard, painful, and revealing.  You're looking into the depths of your heart for crying out loud, it should be painful.  The preciousness that lies within your soul is the key to all things male.  Everything you dreamed of as a boy, and everything you hope to be for your (future) wife, family, and kids is in this deeply treasured place.  Don't mistake my words, men and women are very different, but the journey to finding self is equally painful.

So why do it if it's painful?  Because you are what this world needs.  You are the MAN she's been waiting for.  You are the leader, the fighter, the powerful lover that the church has waited for.  Your son needs you so he won't walk through life wounded.  Your daughter needs you so she won't look for love elsewhere.  And your wife needs you to fight for her, thus unveiling her beauty.

I realize many of you reading this are single, that's all the more reason to fight for your soul now.  God designed you to be this man from the beginning.  Find that man now, so when the beauty comes along you will have the love and confidence to fight for her with a holy passion and protection.  The movie and song Courageous have spoken out on this need.  The people in your life speak out on it everyday, only you don't realize it, and they probably don't either.

The truth is, you hold a special place as a man.  From a woman's point of view I can definitely say that we need you, we urge you, and we want you to step up for us and lead the way.  Spiritually you have such an adventure to grasp, and I hope you choose to take the hard path of discovery into being THE man God made you to be.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Take Me Into the Beautiful

Take Me Into the Beautiful-Cloverton (lyrics at bottom)

I've heard this song on the radio a thousand times and I've always claimed that I loved it, and it is indeed a great song.  The last few days God has been really working in my heart showing me things here and there that I need to work on.  As he's been leading me through a healing transformation process, this song has been playing in the back of my head over and over.  Usually that means something, especially because I couldn't even sing the words (I only knew the beat and "la la la la something about Beautiful.")  I also hadn't heard the song in a week or so, so I knew it had to be of God.

This morning I sat down and listened to the song while reading the lyrics.  Wow, so powerful.  It really captures the essence of a woman, and how she was made in the image of God, his softer side.  Many of you have read the book Captivating by Stasi and John Elderedge.  If you haven't read it, you really should.  The book's subtitle is "Unveiling the mystery of a woman's soul," which is exactly what God has been showing me lately.  Yes, I've read the book 5 times through, I found my identity in Christ largely because of it.  But God showed me something altogether new this time.  It started in my daily life and led me back to this old book of mine.  How important this lesson was.

Around chapter 4, the book explains that each and every one of us have been wounded, hurt, and broken throughout our lives.  This wound usually takes place at a very young age, as we grow up this wound becomes the biggest lie of our lives.  We walk by the definition of this lie instilled in us as young girls.  Now, I won't go into great detail about where the wound comes from or how it effects us, because that is precisely what the book is for.  Rather, today I am going to emphasize the importance of letting Jesus heal our wounds.

A woman healed is vulnerable.  I do not mean this in a sexual way, nor do I mean to contradict everything I've said about guarding your heart.  When I say vulnerable, I am speaking of a softness that comes from a woman who has been healed, sanctified, and cherished by her loving father and creator.  Look at the first verse of the song we just heard:

Take me into the beautiful, won't You take me back again
With a love unexplainable, come fill up this dry land
Let it open our eyes to see a world we've never seen
Let it open our hearts up to feel You inside of us
You're here inside of me.

This beauty, this vulnerability, love, and mercy comes from God.  When we are set free in his love, we are set free to love others with an open and unrestricted heart.  Do you love like this?  Is your beauty flowing out to those who most need love?  Do you show people the mercy of God through your actions and words?  Perhaps you need to heal a deep wound.

Guess Who's Prowlin!

Last week I posted Preparing for War! and Preparing for War!! Pt 2 in which I spoke of the spiritual warfare surrounding us as the holidays draw near.  After this morning's events however, I feel the need to reiterate this lesson.

I don't know about you, but Sunday nights are always the hardest for me to fall asleep.  I often hear many college kids say this too.  I don't think this is a coincidence.  After every spiritual high, Satan stands right there ready to attack.  Sundays for the most part, provide people with a boost of spiritual energy.  At the end of the day we're usually feeling pretty good about ourselves and the rest of the week, and Satan knows that.  Therefore, he makes it his goal to knock us down.  How? One of the biggest ways he does this is by robbing us of our sleep!  Although I recognize this trick, I still went to sleep an hour later last night, but when I woke up I found that my friends didn't have it quite so easy.

3 text messages and a phone call at 3:30 last night.  Tell me Satan wasn't up prowling around! (1 Peter 5:8)  Three different friends, three different situations, all were at a sincere low when they contacted me.  Now, I keep my phone on silent at night so I didn't receive these until the following morning at 6 a.m.  Of the three, two of them had just gone to bed when I was waking up at 6, and the other one was still awake...worrying about everything from his parent's divorce to his failing classes.

Please recognize this as Satan's workings.  When we are sleep-deprived we are more vulnerable to Satan's schemes.  This is why God created us to rest in the first place (Genesis 2:2-3.)  In Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge he makes the point that as Christians, we live in two worlds at the same time: the physical, and the spiritual.  One is just as real as the other, yet we shrug it off so easily as if it weren't important.  The truth is, we are at WAR presently!!  2 Corinthians 10:3 says, "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does."

You hear that? Wage war.  That means we're called to stand up and fight, presently!  Now.  Galatians 6:13 "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."  Fight the battle!  Every single thought that is not of Christ needs to be demolished (2 Cor. 10:5.)  That means watching what goes into your ears, eyes, and brain throughout the day.

Do the books you read help Satan get a foothold in your life?  Does the music you listen to encourage you to stand or fall?  Are the people in your life speaking truth to you or are they causing you to waver in your faith?  

Romans 12:21
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Preparing to be a Help-Meet: Book Review

      I am often asked of good Christian dating books to recommend to younger girls.  Recently I finished reading a very interesting book by Debi Pearl called Preparing to be a Help-Meet.  If you have a dating-interested teen that doesn’t necessarily like reading, and has no older girl showing her what a godly relationship looks like, I would definitely recommend this book.  For older girls however I would suggest something else.

     “Preparing to be a Help-Meet” is a 227 page book written to single women who await the writing of their love story.  Pearl uses eighteen chapters to tell nine real-life love stories.  Some are godly examples of what to do and others are examples of what not to do.  Throughout the book insights from the three different type of men (explained in chapter 3) which show the male point of view of Pearl’s advice.  I would say the overall theme of the book is practical advice for young women waiting to marry.

     The book also includes an in-depth bible study with step by step instructions for teachers in the back.  This would be extremely helpful for anyone leading a group bible study for the first time.  Pearl gives specific details from setting the scene to applying practical homework.

     The author Debi Pearl, is also the writer of a monthly magazine entitled No Greater Joy.  Her and her husband started No Greater Joy Ministries in which they published their first book, To Train up a Child, in August of 1994.  Her husband Michael has been a pastor, missionary, and evangelist for over 40 years.

     The book is wonderful in that it gives very practical advice, such as learning to manage time and money, learning cooking, cleaning, and mechanical skills, and respecting and obeying authorities presently in your life as training for marriage.  Young minds can be expanded as the reader travels through nine stories from all sorts of women, relationships, and outcomes.  Finally, the layout of the book provides an easy and fun way to learn about Christian relationships.

     One of the most disappointing features of the book is the poorly written content.  Although the author’s ideas are valuable, they don’t come across as clearly as intended due to poor organization, editing, and grammar.  As a fellow studier of relationships, I was also disappointed that the book did not in emphasize the importance of guarding a young woman’s heart, something I consider to be vital for any future relationship.  I also thought that while Pearl gave advice on serving, ministering, and learning, she should have also briefly mentioned the importance of making disciples in this stage of life.

     Overall the book is a wonderful read for young women waiting on marriage.  While Preparing to be a Help-Meet offers great practical advice for preparation and understanding your future man, I do not recommend reading it unless you have given God all control of your heart.  The fantasy-filled pages leave room for young women to waver in the desires of marriage, thus losing focus on God.  For more information on this book check out, and for more about my views on guarding your heart check out  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Preparing for WAR!! Pt. 2

(Continued from Preparing for War!)

Yesterday I made the point that most single people struggle the most during the holidays.  This is the prime time for Satan to whisper tricky lies into your ears, making you feel awkward and alone.  Today I will point out how exactly we should fight against Satan in this war for our hearts.  As I said yesterday, this is not something to be taken lightly, it is in fact a war raging against us.  So put on your competitive helmet and get to work!

Ephesians 6:10-12
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God 
so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

I like to think of these verses as Paul's pep talk to the church of Ephesus.  Get up!  Prepare for battle!  This ain't no rodeo, this is war!  Can't you hear him charging out orders with power and authority?  This is exactly what we Christians need to hear going into a battle field like this.  In the next few verses he gives the real specifics of fighting off the devil's schemes.  I will relay the message to you then put it in practical terms.

  • Stand firm with the belt of TRUTH.
    In John 14:6 Jesus tells us that he is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is referred to as the truth in many places throughout the Bible.  Many times the truth is referring to the gospel as well, but the fact is that God is truth.  God's son, Jesus is truth, and God's word the Bible is truth.

    So hold tightly to the things of God.  Even Jesus quoted scripture to the devil when he was tempted in Matthew chapter 4.  Memorize verses and quote them boldly to the devil in times of temptation.  The truth of God combats the lies of Satan every single time.  When whispered a lie, quote truth.

  • Let your feet be ready with THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.
    When we are under attack, the last thing on our mind is sharing the gospel with those around us.  Satan couldn't love this more, hence the fact that he attacks us so often.  Verse 15 in the chapter tells us to prepare our feet with the readiness of the gospel of peace.

    Your most important job as a Christian is to go and make disciples.  If you don't fight off Satan, it is very likely that you will deny someone else the opportunity to live eternally with Jesus.  Meditate on the gospel before going out in the mornings.  Make sure each day of your holiday break begins with a good, fulfilling and focused study of the Word.

  • Dodge flaming arrows with FAITH
    I wish I could find a better picture for this, because in my mind I see a soldier with a shield moving to and fro all over a battle field, rebounding every flaming arrow that comes his way.  Shinkk, piinng, bleeup!  Each arrow ricochets off of his shield and is quickly extinguished.

    Satan is going to be flinging arrows at you like crazy this season!  Luckily you have a shield.  This shield does not come easy, because it is the shield of faith.  There is nothing you can do to understand it except just believe God for what his word says.  It's a blind leap in the other direction, but you must believe with all your heart that it is the right direction.  Tip:  Practicing all other battle pieces will broaden your shield.  When Satan tries to tell you that you are alone because you're weird and awkward and nothing will ever change,  put your faith in God's Word where it says he loves you and created you for a purpose, and he will complete that purpose till the last day with you.  Faith

    This has been made extremely urgent in my personal life lately.  1Thessalonians 5:17, Romans 8:26, and Ephesians 6:18 warn us to pray in all situations.  Personally, I think this is the best weapon simply because you can use it 24/7.  Before the battle, during the battle, and after the battle, prayer should and can be used.

  • Matthew 26:41
    "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. 
    The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

    How can you practically apply these truths to your life this week?  How can you implement them into your holiday break?  Are you starting to recognize the devil's schemes yet?

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Preparing for WAR!

    God has laid this post on my heart for a long time.  This is such a huge warning sign to those who will listen, to those who will catch my drift.  Please, don't take this post lightly, take it into account when the plot line begins to unfold later today, or later this week.

    The Holidays are coming.  For most of us, this is the most joyous time of the year.  Christmas cookies, Egg Nog, all things pumpkin, presents, Santa Claus, turkey and dressing, friends, and lots of family!  Everyone loves the holidays.  It's the best part of the year.  We get to go home and see our loved ones while we curl up in a ball by the fire with a bowl of chili.  I myself am counting down the weeks till Christmas Break so I can watch movies all day with friends and family.  I'm also counting down for Black Friday shopping with my friends!

    The Holidays are such a wonderful time of the year, and I feel like that's exactly why Satan is on top of his game at this time.  Please understand that I'm not trying to kill the joy or be sinister just for the sake of evil, but I am trying to help you live a careful and content life devoted to God. (Matthew 26:41.)
    1 Peter 5:8 keeps reminding me to write this post:

    "Be self-controlled and alert.  
    Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion 
    looking for someone to devour."

    Amidst the fun and excitement this year, Satan will undoubtedly steal your focus for a good long 30 seconds. (This is how he starts the fall.)  While you're having fun with your family, out of the corner of your eye you'll catch a couple holding hands and being oober lovey-dovey.  (I just used 3 fake words in a sentence...#winning.)

    Anyhow, Satan will grab your chin and turn your gaze to lock in on this couple for a solid 30 seconds.  During that 30 seconds he will ingrain the image into your mind, trickling it down to your heart and desires as he whispers tantalizing lies in your ear.  "You're never going to have that." or "Why aren't you that girl" or my favorite, "With a few phone calls this could be you."  

    Maybe this isn't exactly how the enemy causes you to stumble, but for many of us it's the word for word truth.  The greatest part about the devil is that he is work is actually pretty predictable once you become aware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11.)  In the next post, I will explain how to stand guard against these silly but devastating games, but the first step is spotting his tricks.  

    How does Satan cause you to stumble?  What are the regular traps you fall for around the Holidays?  Romantic movies, scenes around the house, hanging out in the kitchen...where does Satan begin to feed you lies?  How can you be more alert to recognizing these lies?  What can you do to fight them?

    Climbin' the Water Tower

    As we approached the main water tower of Frederick, I jumped up and down with excitement.  We were pumped.  "Kristin, you're goin' first this time!"  I shouted as we pranced up to this tall adventure.

    "Guys this is kind of creepy," Ingrid shared.  Looking at her in confusion, she went on to explain, "This is the bad part of town.  I don't want to be here at this time of night."  By then it was 2 in the morning, and she did have a very, very valid point, but Kristin and I were on a mission.

    "'ll be alright," Kristin said with a smirk.

    Just then a pit bull barked wild and uncontrollably.  The hair on my neck stood up as we quickly looked around.  Luckily we saw that the dog was in his cage.  We then stopped a minute to look for cops, but also to our benefit there were none.

    "I'm goin' up," Kristin said bravely.  And Ingrid and I watched proudly from below.  After she got about a quarter of the way up this giant tower, she looked down to see where we were at.  Up until that point we had been watching and cheering with amazement and Kristin took step after step without hesitation.  But suddenly she seemed to realize how high up she was and she wasn't too sure about it.

    The grain bins had been different, they had a nice metal ladder that was sturdy and seemed safe.  This water tower was like fifty years old or something and it had a very thin metal ladder running up the side of it.

    "Keep goin" I called up to her.

    "Uhh..I think I'm good." she responded.

     "Are you coming down," Ingrid asked.

    "Yeah, I think I'll let one of ya'll give it a try," she said as she very slowly began making her way back down.

    "Okay," I said and Ingrid and I briefly argued about who to send up next.

    After watching Ingrid climb less than 1/4 of the way up, she came down and told me to go try it.  Finally, it was my turn.  The moment I had been waiting for.  A short jump and I was up and at it, climbing away on the tall, rickety old tower.  Step after step I climbed, Ingrid and Kristin impressed with my speed.  I got to the one quarter mark and looked down.

    Oh snap, I thought silently to myself.  This was a LOT higher than it had looked from the ground.  Turning my gaze back upward, I kept climbing, desperate to make it all the way to the top.  After climbing for what had seemed like 50 yards, I stopped to catch my breath and looked down at my tiny friends.  I was up very very high, with nothing to protect me if I slipped or fell.

    Although I couldn't see my friends' faces well, I could tell by their lack of movement that they were aware of my situation.  "You through?"  Kristin hollered up the tower.

     "Umm..maybe," I yelled back down as I took a quick survey of my surrounding areas.  Wow, this was a beautiful view.  I could see most-near all the ghetto from this point.  Old roads, broken down houses, and that dang Pit Bull that wouldn't shut-up.  Looking up, I realized I had a long way to go, but looking down I knew I would die if I fell.  With an 18-year-old's mind and a sense of pride to uphold, I thought long and hard about this exciting decision...would I quit or would I go?  Hmm...

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Holding Out for a Hero

    Revelation 3:11
    "I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown."

    Revelation 19:11
    "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  'He will rule them with an iron scepter.'  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:


    Every woman wants a hero.  Every woman wants to be pursued, rescued, and treasured.  In the context of dating I would encourage each of you single ladies to hold out for that special man God has for you.  Make a list of the characteristics you would want in a hero and give it to God.  Wait patiently till the day God brings you the man he has destined for you since the beginning of time.  I promise it will be worth the wait.  

    On a different level, the ultimate hero has already done more for us than you could ever want or imagine.  He gave up his life for you.  That is the ultimate sacrifice.  What more could you ask for?  Do you know anyone else who loves you enough to die for you and solely you?  Not only that but he wants to pursue your heart.  He is a gracious and compassionate hero (Ps 103:8) who longs for your love and affection.  He waits for you to call to him (Jer 33:3) and he desperately wants to spend quality time with you (Rev 3:20.)  

    And finally, he treasures you.  Song of Song 4:7 tells of how beautiful he thinks you are.  Psalm 139 describes in intricate detail how he made every lovely detail on your body.  He loves every curve, dimple, and scar because he placed them their just the way he wanted them.  Not only that, but again, he died  for you (John 3:16, John 15:13-14, Romans 5:8) even though you didn't deserve it (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23.)  

    Yes he did all this, and then he went away for a short time.  But he left us his holy spirit, therefore we are not alone.  The spirit knows us, speaks to us, and guides us as we seek our hero. (1 Cor 2:11, Matthew 4:1, Acts 2:4, John 6:63)  And the wait for our hero is getting shorter and shorter, as the above passage described his second coming, he will ride in gallantly on a horse wearing his shining armor and carrying the sword of life.  He will come back to finally end the battles we face everyday on earth.  He will end them once and for all, wipe away our tears from years of pain and abuse, and take us back with him to his royal kingdom.

    And the best part is, this isn't a fairytale at all.  It's the true written word of God.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    The Grain Bins

    Another great tradition for seniors in my small town is climbing the water towers!  What greater thrill of excitement than climbing 250 feet into the air just to say you did?  Oh how crazy you are in your younger years. :)  Of course, my friends and I took it 3 steps further when we contributed to this long time tradition.

    It was my friend Ingrid's last night in America.  The next day she would return to her home country half-way across the world, and I would be at a loss for things to do.  It was a bittersweet night, but we wanted to spend it by having as much fun as possible, not thinking about anything sad at all.

    Ingrid, Kristin, and I all spent the night at Ingrid's place.  It was a very old but well-known house around town. Two stories tall, a barn, and a wrap around porch about 2 miles outside of town.  At first we just watched a movie, nothing big.  But when the movie ended it was one in the morning.  Orneriness and curiosity surged through our veins as we began brainstorming fun ideas of things to do.

    "I've got it," Kristin yelled.  "We need to climb the water towers!"

    "YES."  Ingrid and I instantaneously agreed that this was our next plan of action.

    Changing into our jean shorts and boots, we all three piled in my car old red and headed to town at 1:30 a.m.  As we headed towards the water towers everyone was anxiously sharing stories of other piers who had made this claim to fame recently.  In the midst of the excitement, I quickly pulled the steering wheel in the opposite direction and we spun around towards something AMAZING.

    My passengers gasped and screamed in confusion wondering what in the world I was doing.  "The Grain Bins!"  I exclaimed.  "Ahh," they exhaled heavily as their eyes just nearly popped out of their heads.  "Epic," they agreed and smiled wildly.

    I parked the car a few feet away, we slammed the doors and approached this mile-tall metal building type of thing, encouraged as we found the ladder.  But wait, as I reached for the ladder we quicly discovered that the first step was way too high for 5 foot somethin's to reach.  Kristin smiled and told me her idea.

    So I got back in my car and pulled it forward every so slightly..."Woa!" Kristin exclaimed.  I was there.  The perfect parking job for a pick-me-up.   Laughing, the other girls decided I would be the one to go first since it was my car.  Unsure of how to do this, I held on to Ingrid's shoulder as I put my brown boots on the hood of old red.  Jousting myself up there, I jumped and grabbed the end of the ladder connected to the grain bins.  I grunted with anticipation as I pulled myself up the ladder and swung my feet around to the lower rungs.

    "You've got it,"  Ingrid and Kristin clapped and laughed from 5 feet below.  A big smile spread across my face as I went to work climbing higher and higher up that ladder.  This is nothing, I thought, with a ladder this couldn't be easier.  Why hadn't people thought of doing this before?

    "Come on," I called back down to my amigos as they followed my lead and climbed on top of my car.

    "Here we come," they screamed back with enthusiasm.  After getting about two-thirds up the bin I decided there wasn't much reason for climbing to the top because the tin wouldn't hold us very well anyway.  My friends behind me agreed and we took turns taking pictures before we all jumped down.

    "Now to the water tower," Kristin commanded.

    "On it," I replied.

    Top 5 Romance Lines from the Bible

    Have you ever heard the Bible referred to as the best love story of all time?  Well, that's exactly what it is, so today I decided to pick out my 5 favorite romance quotes from the best-selling romance book of all times. :)

         5. "Jonathon said to David, "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do for you."  1 Samuel 20:4
             What a picture of true love!  The book of Matthew explains to us that the greatest example of love is found when one person lays down their life for another.  Jonathon volunteered to do just that for David when he said this line.  

             The story of Jonathon and David is one of the most powerful friendship-love stories ever told.  The book of 1 Samuel can show you what true friendship-love is supposed to look like.  Of course, the model for this love is Jesus Christ himself.  (1 John 4:8)

         4.  "I will redeem it,'" he said." Ruth 4:4
             I realize that at first glance this quote means absolutely nothing to you, but further exploration of it will change your mind.  Because romance is primarily based off of the theatre, let us look at this quote as if it were a movie.

            In this scene the man in charge of Ruth goes to Boaz and informs him of the present situation.  "This is your wife if you want her," he says.  Ruth was a widow and she had no family to turn to, and Boaz just happened to be the next in line to marry her.  Most men would carefully consider such a huge decision, but Boaz, a man of God, turned boldly to the man with a wildly-fierce look in his eyes and says, "I will redeem it."  And with that statement he claimed Ruth as the wife of his youth.  He used those words to proclaim is never-ending love and support for her.  He provide and protect her from that day forward.  I guess, in a way, you could say this line compares to today's "I do" at a wedding ceremony.  What a beautiful love story.

         3. "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her."  Hosea 2:14
             This is God's immediate response to the rebellious people of Israel.  The verse directly before this says, "She decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot." Can you imagine the ache in God's heart?  The people he has called to and comforted since the beginning of time are yet again leaving him for a lifestyle of self-gratifying sin and rebellion.  

            We slap our God in the face thousands of times throughout our life, but still, his first and immediate response is love.  "I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her."  That's most nearly not what you hear after a long adulterous night with the wrong crowd.  That's not what you hear when your parents catch you with drugs, but that is exactly how God responds to us.

         2.  "Scarcely had a passed then when I found the one my heart loves.  I held him and would  not let him go..." Song of Songs 3:4
              If this line doesn't grab your romantic heart, I don't know what will.  A young girl holding as tightly as she can to the one she loves.  She'd give anything for him, because her heart beats for him.  This is exactly the way God intended love to be--self-sacrificing.  If you are a day-dreaming romantic, I highly recommend to you the book of Song of Songs in the Bible.  It's a beautifully written book that tells the story of two young lovers and their wedding pleasures.

         1.  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8
                Hearing this verse sometimes brings me to tears.  It's so sweet and so simple, yet it's enough to rock your world into humble submission to the one who gave you life.  He's such a kind and loving God towards such an awful, rebellious people.  Why in the world would he choose us?

               A friend of mine put it this way: While you were out deliberately doing what was wrong, disobeying your parents, your God, and your government--he was being brutally beaten, murdered, and crucified onto a cross, so that you could live a life free of condemnation for your sin.  He loved you in spite of what you did. He loves you while you are a sinner.  While you are cheating on your husband, his heart still beats for you.  No, he doesn't agree with what you're doing, but he still loves you so much because you are his child.  You are his daughter, you are the creation he longs to be with.  And yet he expects nothing but love in return...Do we even give him that?

    Perhaps God has spoken a beautiful love line to you, what was it and how did it make you feel?  Is there anything in this world that compares to the surpassing greatness of our God?

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Blog Header Auditions

    Anyone interested in designing a header for Divine Dating?  Comment here or email me at for details!

    We don't get it.

    Our culture has completely missed it.  We're doing it all wrong.  In no way do I think the way we date honors God.  If it was working the divorce rate in this country wouldn't be 50%.  Love and relationships have become our idols.  I log on to facebook and see three newly formed couples today..all of which discussed this decision for less than a week.  I see pictures upon pictures of teenage couples showing how much they "love" each other.  I see statuses that brag about how awesome their significant other is.  This is all great and wonderful in the context of marriage and real life, but when you've only been dating a week...or when your relationship is in fact 100% about your's a sin.  It's idolatry.  That might sound a bit extreme, but this has been on my heart for a while now.

    I'm not against dating.  I'm against dating in a way that doesn't glorify God.  Can you honestly look at your last relationship and say that God brought people closer to him because of it?  (Temporary closeness doesn't count either)  God knows who you're going to marry.  He's already picked that person out for you.  He knows how and when you will meet and he knows what wedding colors you'll choose.  Guessing, fantasizing, and picking out different people puts you in God's role, and if you've ever played the role of God in your life before, you know that this is the quickest and easiest road to destruction.

    Even at church!  Your sole purpose for being at church--should be to love on GOD, the creator of your life!  The giver of salvation and forgiver of your sins.  The one who loves you with out conditions, the one who loved you before you met this other person, and the one who will love you after this person is gone.  Who is this other human being that they are so important that they can be put before God?  When it is time to worship God, worship God.  Oh wait, that's the whole reason of our existence.  So give your life meaning by worshiping God all the time.  Your relationship with someone else should bring God more glory than you alone, if it doesn't then you shouldn't be in that relationship.

    Why do you think you HAVE TO be in a relationship? Why do we struggle so much with being single?  Why do people, even good Christians ASSUME that you are not happy unless you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?  Why does the world tell you there is something wrong with you because you are single?  THESE ARE LIES FROM THE MOUTH OF SATAN!!  Yes, we are meant to be with another person for the rest of our life, and yes we are made for one specific person.  But until God brings you two together, it is his will for you to be single.  He made you a complete and whole person apart from that other being.  You have a role to play as a single person, and he will not lead you into your role as a married person until you have completely the tasks at hand.  God has given you a divine purpose and a divine calling that you and only you can fulfill.  Why are you wasting this precious time by moaning and groaning about not having someone to "share your life with?"

    Guess what, PAUL, of the New Testament, the number one spreader of Christianity...yeah, he was never married and look at how God used his life divinely.  Please, don't date just to date.  If you're not ready for marriage you're not ready to date.  If you don't know your identity in Christ, you're not ready to date.  If you are searching for purpose, you don't need to date.  Listen to the whisper in your ear from God Almighty.  He loves you and cherishes you so incredibly much.  Don't slap him in the face by turning to someone or some thing else for fulfillment.
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...