10.30.2013

Yes, this is about sex {part 2}


**Be advised that this is not appropriate for all ages.  If you are under eighteen, please ask your parents before proceeding past this sentence.**



Sex is all around us.  In movies, in books, in music, in conversations, and in our minds.  Everyone wants to have sex.  (If you didn’t have any to desire to have sex, I would question whether you’re a human or not.)  But not everyone is willing to wait to have the right kind of sex.  What do I mean by ‘the right kind’?  Well, sex was intended to only be enjoyed between a man and woman who are married.  But society seems to think differently.

I’m 18 years old, I’ve never had sex, and I don’t plan to till my wedding night.  Does this make me old-fashioned?  Maybe.  Does it make me crazy?  To some people, yes.  Is something wrong with me?  Well, no.  This is just the standard that I’ve gathered from verses like:

‘Marriage is to be held in honor above all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.’ 
- Hebrews 13:4

‘Flee immorality.  Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from god, and that you are not your own?’
- 1 Corinthians 6:18-19

‘Beloved, I urge you as strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.’
- 1 Peter 2:11

But more than basing my view on Bible verses, I’m going to borrow a statement from my friend Jordan Kranda in which he says:

‘My main reason [for waiting till marriage to have sex] actually isn’t rooted in a Bible verse, but instead it’s rooted in a Biblical concept: faithfulness.’

Faithfulness is the foundation for why I have chosen to abstain from having sex.  Refusing to give my body away is an act of faithfulness towards my future husband.

‘What if you never get married, though?’ you may be asking.  
Well then I will have lived a pure life, obeying God’s commands.

Another principle I would add to faithfulness is commitment.  These are two main points in a marriage.  Mark 10:6-9 talks about how a man and woman who enter the union of marriage are no longer two, but one flesh.  And how a man must forsake all others and ‘cleave’ (or ‘hold fast’) only to his wife.  This joining of a husband to his wife is a permanent covenant, orchestrated by God.  

I love what Mary Kassian has to say about this:

‘The physical act of union between [a husband and wife’s] bodies’ consummates their emotional and spiritual intimacy.  The Old Testament expression for sexual intercourse is that a man ‘knows’ his wife.  Sexual intercourse equals knowing.  Covenant love is all about ‘knowing someone’.  It’s communion of the most intimate kind.  It’s the deepest love that is humanly possible.’    

Sexual purity takes self-control.  It requires that we don’t mindlessly follow our sexual passions, like people who don’t know God.  The LORD wants us to control our sexual impulses.  He created sex.  He created our desire for it.  But to abstain from giving in to these passions before the time is right, is hard, yes.  And He knew it would be.  He gave us His Holy Spirit - the Spirit of power, love and self-control - to help us discipline ourselves in keeping control over our bodies and sexual desires in a holy and honorable way (2 Timothy 1:7).

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that confining physical intimacy to marriage will decrease the pleasure of sex.  But I believe that quite the contrary is true.  (And I know quite a few married couples who have confirmed this.) Narrowing the boundary to the God-given design increases the power, passion and pleasure of sex.  It ‘allows’ sex to be everything God created it to be.  In the long run, boundary creates beauty.  

And God delights in sex so much that He devoted an entire book of the Bible to it (Song of Solomon).  God wants Christians to experience fabulous sex.  He is supportive of good sex because He created that intimacy between a man and woman.  

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'The LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.'
- Genesis 2:18

10.25.2013

Everyday Blessings // 15


>> dreams coming true
>> filling a journal
>> getting my own Young Living Everyday Oils kit
>> country music
>> finding the perfect gift for a friend
>> buying new books
>> crisp autumn weather
>> the possibility of going on a mission's trip
>> long sweaters that reach all the way down to your hands
>> planning surprises
>> bonfires
>> baking, baking, baking
>> Papaya (clothing store)
>> Boba tea
>> catch-up chats with friends


QUESTION: 
Would my readers like me to start including more personal pictures in my Everyday Blessings posts?

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'Rich In Blessings' Giveaway winner: Cassie
{please contact me with your mailing info}

10.18.2013

What love is this?



I know that we can never fully understand God’s love for us.  But we can try.  Or at least try to understand .1% of it.

One thing I know for sure is that God’s love isn’t something small and fuzzy.  It’s not casually calm.  It’s violent.  It’s ferocious.  It’s God-was-murdered-on-your-behalf kind of love.  He knew He would have to die for His chosen ones before the world began.  And He was willing to do that.  He was willing to die and be ridiculed because He loves His children.
  
This love isn’t something that any other kind of love can be compared to.  It’s a Heavenly Father love.  I-will-love-you-forever kind of love.  It’s a powerful love.  And it’s lavished upon us daily.  It’s the most beautiful example of love.  And no, I don’t think someone can truly love without knowing the love of God.  Jesus’ death and resurrection is the pure and perfect example of a holy and complete love that a Man has for His bride (the church).  It’s a true, I’ll never leave you or forsake you kind of love.  No matter what comes their way.

True love, even in the midst of hardship, can only be seen in the eyes of those who define love by pointing to the cross of Jesus Christ.  That is the ultimate form of the definition of love.  Beyond such, there is none.

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'Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.'
- 1 John 4:7-11
  

10.16.2013

Waiting IS Worshipping | guest post

I know I don't usually host guest posters, but I asked my good friend, Cody, if he'd be willing to share some of his wisdom with y'all.  He is one of the most godly men I know and always has great advice and incredible encouragement.  I hope you're as blessed by this article as I am.

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Waiting on God is a really tough thing to do.  In fact, it's impossible to do without God. He's the one Who helps us and gives us the strength to do it.
Waiting is painful, and sometimes the only thing you can do is just cry, and know that God is in control, even though you can't see. You feel blind, like there is a thick fog all around you, and you can't see past it. All you want is an answer, which way to go.
I know because I've been there.
God will answer you.  He always does. That's one of His promises.
He might not answer in the way you want, be He will always answer.



"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." (1 John 5:14-15)

At certain times, God doesn't give us the answer right away because if we got it, we would just put our hope and faith in the answer, instead of in Him. When He tells us to wait, all we have to hope in is HIM. And that's what He wants. That's want we need.
Sometimes I think we tend to think of our requests to God, as mail.  Though of course not literally, but meaning, we ask, it may take a day or two to get there, then He should answer yes or no within 5-7 business days.
But really, whether we admit it or not, that IS some of the time (if not a lot of the time) how we think. God doesn't work like that, His timing is perfect.  Not almost perfect, but exactly and down to the minutes and seconds perfect. We are so used to getting things in the mail, or at the store when we want, or in a very short time frame. And maybe if you pray harder and more you will get it faster, kinda like paying extra shipping costs. While you will most definitely grow closer to God if you pray more, that doesn't change God's timing for you.
Sometimes I notice that I try to make things happen (that I want to happen) without realizing it. And then when I'm in the middle of trying to make my own plan work, God reminds me to wait on Him and stop trying to go so fast and make it work right now. He already knows when and how it's going to work.  And there isn't anything I can do to make it go faster, God is the only one who has that power, and if He's not using it, it doesn't need to go faster.

Maybe God wants to say yes to you, but first He's opening your eyes to see Him, trust Him, and fall more in love with Him.  THEN He will overwhelm you with answering your request with a yes. Maybe you wouldn't have been overwhelmed with gratitude, and humbled the way you should be, if God just gave it to you now.
Maybe God wants to say no to you, but you just aren't ready to hear it, or receive it.  First He has to bring you closer to Himself so you can really see that NOT giving you what you want, is a blessing. Because you would've missed out on what He has for you. Whatever it is, it is so much better - a million times better than what you could've even dreamed of. Right now, nothing seems better than what YOU want. Just trust and believe, because soon you will see, and realize that God's plan and timing is amazingly perfect.
It's not wrong to hope for what you want, bring your requests to God, and maybe, just maybe, when everything looks like a no, He'll surprise you with a yes. You just need to let go, and have it taken away, so you could hold tighter to Jesus.
Until God has the relationship with you that He wants, you won't have the relationship YOU want with someone. You may think your relationship with God is the way it needs to be.  But truth is, you can never stop growing. Wait on God and let Him take you where you need to be. Just because your relationship with God may not be where it needs to be doesn't mean God is saying no.  It means God is saying wait. Always trust HIS timing and let Him bring you closer to Himself. God remains faithful, no matter what the circumstance. His plan is in the works. Trust and wait on Him to see what amazing things He's gonna do in your life.

I'd like to share a reminder that a good friend of mine told me:



'Focus on furthering your relationship with the LORD and everything else will fall into place.'



Remember, worshiping God isn't just singing.  It's a way of living life, and waiting.  Well, that's one of the biggest ways of worshiping Him. Remind yourself that Jesus is all you need, and He is everything good, and the reason for every good thing.

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Songs for encouragement:

I don't know about you, but music is a HUGE part of my life, and God uses it to speak to me. I'd like to share some songs that have helped me a lot in the times of waiting.

      John Waller - "Worship while I'm Waiting"
      Addison Road - "Hope Now"
      The Afters - "Lift Me Up", "Broken Hallelujah", "Believe", "With You Always"
      Ashes Remain - "Everything Good"
      Britt Nicole - "Hanging on", "The Sun is Rising"
      Capital Kings - "You'll Never Be Alone"
      Cory Lamb - "Safe in You Arms"
      Josh Wilson - "Faith is Not a Feeling"
      Kutless - "I'm With You", "Believer"
     Sidewalk Prophets - "Help Me Find it"
     Tenth Avenue North(one of my personal Favs) "By Your Side", "Hold my Heart",
     "You Are", "Worn", "Satisfy"
     7eventh Time Down - "Just Say Jesus"
     Group1 Crew - "He Said"

 That should make a good playlist for you.



Verses of encouragement:


Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:7-9, Isaiah 40:31,  Psalm 100:5, Romans 12:12, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 55:22, Psalm 97:12, Psalm 46:1, Psalm 18:30, Psalm 37:5, Psalm 9:10, Psalm 28:7.


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10.11.2013

What It Means To Be 'Single'



Many people view being single as a downside.  ‘Everyone else’ is in a relationship right now, so why shouldn’t I be?  Is something wrong with me?

These are questions that I’ve had readers ask me.  If you’ve been there and said that, let me just clarify one thing.  Right now, you are where you’re meant to be.  If you’re single, it’s because God says you’re supposed to be single.  And no, it’s not a ‘bad thing’.

Single isn’t a status.  It’s a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on anyone except God.  It’s a person who is trusting God with their future, with their life, and with their love story.

Your single years are probably some of the best years of your life.  While yes, it’s hard not having that significant other to call and text all day and cuddle with on the weekends, there’s honestly so much more that can fill up your time and so many good things you can be accomplishing that you wouldn’t be able to if you were in a committed relationship.  But most importantly, your single years is a testing ground for the most important relationship you can ever have - with God.  A relationship that will never end.  A man/woman isn’t going to make your life perfect.  If you’re unhappy right now, a boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t going to make you happy.  If you’re discontent with life, starting a relationship isn’t going to make it all a bed of roses.

While you’re single, you are ‘free from concern’ as Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians.  In verse 32 of chapter 7, he says: ‘...One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the LORD, how he may please the LORD.’  What better goal in life?  What a privilege to have so much time to learn more about the LORD and how we can better serve Him?  

Being single doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you.  It doesn’t mean you’re shy, it doesn’t mean you’re weak.  It doesn’t mean you don’t know anything about love and how to show affection.  It means you know enough about love to know that it’s something worth waiting for.  Something real.

God hasn’t overlooked you.  He has something and someone amazing in store for you.  Remember: it’s all about HIS timing, not yours.  Put your heart in God’s hands and He will put it in the hands of the one He has chosen for you.  And if being single is one of your callings in life and marriage isn’t written in your story, remember that His plans for you aren’t something that He knows you can’t handle.  With Him all things are possible.  So become satisfied in your life right now.  Fall more in love with Him right now.  And nothing in your future will ever phase you.

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'...No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.'
- Psalm 84:11

10.09.2013

I figured it out | a poem


There's a girl
There's a boy
Both want that romantic relationship that everyone else seems to have
They like each other
But they're afraid to make their feelings known
She, because how could he ever like her?
He, because how could she ever like him?
And so they live on as 'just friends'
Wasting time that they could be spending together
But instead, are spending apart
All because two little things called 'hesitation' and fear' are holding them back.

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10.02.2013

A small word, yet a great thing



God wouldn’t have given us the command to ‘go into all the world and preach the Gospel’ if He didn’t also give us the courage to do so.

Speaking fearlessly about God and His holiness is no easy task when you are faced with hundreds of people who either hate God, hate you, or both.  The truth is never accepted easily.  As human beings, we don’t want to turn from our evil ways.  Only God can open our eyes to make us see our need for Him.

As Christians, we will face rejection, persecution, and hate every day of our lives.  We will need to stand against temptations, speak with grace, and love our enemies as Christ tells us to.  Do not become discouraged when the people of this world turn against you.  We are not made for this realm, but for somewhere, something so much greater.

Courage is something many of us lack, but it's so easy to come by when we ask God for it.  We need His strength and courage to live in this world.  Without it, we will falter and break, but He has overcome this world.

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‘But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.’
- 1 Thessalonians 2:4