Friday, August 27, 2010

You'll Want to Read This

Hey, I've got a book that you all should check out. It's called Sexual Revolution by Kris Vallotton. It's definitely worth the read. I know a lot of people are super busy now and don't have time for reading but if you're gonna read anything this year (besides the Bible) I definitely recommend this book. Now, I don't want to sum up the entire book and give away all the good stuff he has to say so I'll just comment a bit. It's a great book for singles, married people, guys, girls...anyone! Everyone should hear the words he's gotta say because they will help you to decide where you stand on issues (like sex before marriage, dating and boundaries, the purpose of sex, sex and marriage, difference between sex and love, abortion, women's rights, healing and redemption from sexual sin) and why you're standing there. Even if you think you got these topics all figured out, I still recommend you read the book because he makes some very good points you may not have thought of before or may give you a foundation for thinking that you can share with others. It's a book on sexual purity. I like how well he demonstrates the battle we have to fight in order to keep ourselves pure (or allow God to redeem our purity) because of how much the broken and hurting world fights against us, because, quite simply, misery likes company, and how standing up for what you believe may seem to cast you as an outsider but at the same time, you're proving to everyone that there is still something important to believe in, giving them hope for themselves. He is honest and truthful in the book too- so it's not like you're gonna read something that's all preachy or lecturing. He also shares amazing stories (and I love stories- find they make the difference between a book I learn from or one I don't). So, definitely, go out, find this book. It's pretty short- you can read it in two days or several hours. And it's worth it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Marriage- Always Worth it

Hi all,

Marriage is a business now in days sometimes, don't you think? Weddings are events to make money on. Everything is so expensive and there are so many things that people say a bride and groom need. I think this is part of the reason why some people don't believe in marriage anymore. It's can be so materialistic. And then, with all the divorce, people get disillusioned regarding marriage and think it's not necessary. Why get married when you can live with the person you love and avoid the hassle? Well, I can tell you why. Where is the commitment with common law? Sure, after a certain number of years you have the same legal tax rights as a married person, but where's the promise, the blessing?

The Bible talks about husbands and wives, their roles and whatnot. It also talks about fathers' giving their daughters in marriage, bride prices and such things. Yet what is marriage from a Biblical standpoint? Here's my perspective. Matthew 19: 4-8  "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

Ok, so God designed one man and one woman (1 Corinthians 7:2 "But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband."), who commit to each other and become 'one flesh'. Now that they are one, nothing should separate them because they are bound together for life. So, does the bride still have to walk down the aisle, buy an expensive dress, host a huge party? Does that make them married? I don't think so (but it's fun anyway). 1 Peter 2:17 and Romans 13:1-7 tell us that we must honour the government authorities in place because God has put them there so since our government has laid out what having a legal marriage entails (buying a license, having it witnessed, having it performed by a recognized individual) than we should be faithful to follow those rules. If you think of Adam and Eve, there was no government at that time and no whole 'marriage' culture but they were the first married couple. In Genesis 2:22 it says "Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man..." God oversaw the first marriage since after he brought her to Adam, the chapter goes on to tell how a man should leave his family and be united to his wife.

So moving in together does not mean marriage, just because you have sex with the person you love does not mean you're married to them, otherwise, why would there be so many verses like 1 Corinthians 7:2? Rather, commitment must come first. The promise under God to be united together and not to ever separate.

Ephesians 5: 22-33 is a great explanation on what it means to be a wife or to be a husband. Since it's a pretty long paragraph, I suggest that you look it up. In summary, it says that Christ is the head of the church, just like the husband is the head of the wife. So the wife must submit and respect her husband. And the husband must love and take care of his wife just like Christ loves the church (and Christ died for the church, completely sacrificing himself). Verse 28 says "In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body." To act like this, to love like this, is to be faithful to each other. And so often I find that this verse is sometimes misused to subdue women and make them submit against their will- but that's so wrong. It's not what the verse is saying at all. Christ loved the church selflessly, so husbands have to love their wives selflessly. The verse is essentially providing the same advice to both the husband and wife just using different terms. Terms of love, caring are used to describe the husband's actions (and come on girls, you have to admit, being loved and cared for is amazing!). Terms of respect and submit are used to describe the wife's response (and think of guys you know, they like to be respected, it builds them up). I've heard it said that women love to be treated in ways that makes them feel loved inside while men love to be treated in ways that make them feel respected (it shows them their loved). So girls, submitting to the unselfish care and devotion of your husband is a wonderful thing! Let him take care of you but in tern, demonstrate that you value his opinion, care and leadership.

Getting married, being a husband or a wife, it's a huge deal. It's hard work. It's not perfect all the time. Sometimes you may not act respectively towards your husband and sometimes he may act very inconsiderate towards you but that's why there is forgiveness. God is waiting for the both of you to turn towards him, let Christ lead the two of you and help you along the way. He never meant for you to do it all on your own.

It's easy to get scared about marriage, knowing how important it is but God understands (but unless you truly want to be single, feel God is leading you to that, don't let fear stop you- fear is not from God). When he leads you to that point in your life, he will help you to be ready. And I can tell you from experience that marriage is a wonderful thing and there is so much to enjoy about being a wife or a husband when you follow God's lead. He will give you an amazingly fulfilling relationship as the two of you work together. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Discover God

Hey Girls,

I was thinking lately about how we connect closer with God. I want to encourage any of you reading this to keep working on your spiritual relationships. They need work just like the ones with our family and friends do. We all have to know truth, believe something and feel that it's right inside and I know that God will be faithful to confirm that to anyone who looks for him.

It's interesting too all that's out there for us to learn more about God. Like we can read books, talk to people, listen to speakers and whatnot. But I mean, people can be wrong and interpret things wrong, which is why we really need to know our Bible. So we can tell if what we see and hear is in line with what it says in the Bible, and what it tells us about God's character. And I know that God will confirm truth too and weed out what isn't right when we let go of trying to control everything and let God be the leader. Then we'll know in our hearts what is right.

I think this is something that we gain from the more time we spend with God and can't happen just all at once. I also think it's really important to be involved with a church or Christian group of some sort, like a youth group or Bible study so that you can learn, worship and discuss things with other believers. Sometimes it's really hard to find a avenue for that, which is actually one of the things my husband and I would like to find where we live.

God is there and yours to discover.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why Wait?

Hey Girls,

Do you ever find it hard to explain to your friends why you want to wait for marriage to have sex? Or maybe why you believe people should? Who knows, maybe you're not sure and wonder if you should or not. Some people think that Christians might wait as a result of a 'religious rule', something that people made up. Fortunately, God is there to reveal truth to every heart and convict us when we believe something that is wrong. Yet, sometimes people ask us questions and we have to have answers.

I could go on and tell you all my personal reasons why I feel it is best to wait but everyone needs to have their own reasons. Yet, I will tell you the foundation for my thinking. Okay, there is the popular, Genesis 2:24 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." Now, this doesn't outright say not to have sex before marriage but it does tell us that a man leaves his family, and goes forth to establish another family unit 'united to his wife'. Once this family unit is established, then they become 'one flesh'. So the commitment comes first, the bond to the wife. 

Then there is Corinthians 6:18-20 "Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." Okay, so here is another reason to wait until marriage, the whole fact of staying pure. The Bible is pretty clear on what constitutes sexual immorality, just read some of the Old Testament books where God lays out the clear rules for living, ex. do not have sex with your neighbour's wife. Plus, there are other examples where men indulge in sexual immorality with women of other nations (Numbers 25:1-3), and how can sex be immoral unless it's outside of marriage in that example (considering it is explicitly, man with woman)? While sexual immorality can seem to cause confusion by it's very definition, fortification, which is often lumped with immorality, is very clear on it's meaning. Dictionary. com says it means "voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried personsor two persons not married to each other." So, yanking all this together, it is clear that to remain pure before God, we need to keep our bodies pure, and as such, not go sleeping around with anyone we like, but belong solely to our husband.

 Here's another support for that, 1 Corinthians 7:2-3"But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs." Or, 1 Corinthians 7:36 "If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married." (Improperly towards a virgin? Pretty clear meaning...)

So, to be clear then, what constitutes marriage? Well, first of all, a new family unit is established as in the Genesis verse. And, there are several other verses in the Bible regarding marriage, like not to defile the marriage bed (remain faithful to your spouse) and verses regarding the role of husband and wife. This is just a really fast summary so you should check it out for yourself if you're curious. But I do not believe that two people who move in together and remain faithful to each other are living immorally. After all, 'getting married' is more than just buying a licenses and signing a sheet of paper. Sure, that takes care of the legal end, legally binding two people (which is important too) but part of the event is vowing your faithfulness and commitment to each other before other witnesses and before God. You are making a public declaration to honour each other. Each culture has their own methods and traditions with marrying (such as the bride price and other festivities) but I think it is this public promise that is so important and then, when the pastor says, 'I now pronounce you husband and wife' it makes it official. 

Another thing that sometimes seems hard to explain these days is getting married young. Christians can be accused of marrying early just so they can have sex. Okay, there is so much wrong with that idea that I don't even want to go there. But, on the other hand, it can happen. Marriage is a lifetime commitment. And, to have truly meaningful sex in all that it was meant to be, there has to be an emotional foundation. So, once there is the emotional bond (love, commitment, vows), and then the physical actions of marriage (wedding, vows, exchanging rings...etc) can follow, and finally, the sexual commitment. People who marry for sex, well, they're in for a shock on the morning after. When the 'act' of sex is over, they have the rest of their lives to live out together. Personally, I don't believe in long engagements or long dating relationships. When God brings two people together and confirms the relationship, and the two individuals are best friends, comfortable with each other and know they want to spend the rest of their lives together- I see no reason at all to wait on marriage. 

Our society makes such a huge deal of sex, it's sold everywhere. But it's not the most important thing. It's just one of the many gifts God gave us to enjoy and we have to be responsible to use it in the right context, otherwise we abuse the gift he gave us all to give. Especially for teens, or singles, or those waiting for sex, it can become a big focus but sex should never be the driving focus of a relationship and it should never be the main focus either. After all, relationships arise from our longing to be with someone, to belong, to share our lives- sex does not provide lasting fulfillment to those feelings.

I really hope that everyone who wants it, can experience a wonderful marriage relationship and enjoy all the fun of sex, with no guilt about it. It may be very difficult and very tempting to give into what society tells you is no big deal and totally alright but God will tell you the truth and give you the strength to remain pure. Then, when you and your husband can give yourselves to each other in purity (including the purity arises from forgiveness of past mistakes) than you will experience a blessing where there will be no doubt about it that sex was completely and entirely worth waiting for. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To Keep In Mind

Verse of the day:

Psalm 143: 8,10 "Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you... Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing."

This is a prayer for all of us and I hope that each of us takes a few moments to pray it.