Straight Talk on Sexual Purity

This weekend, I’m looking forward to participating in what has become something of a rare event in the world today—the wedding celebration of a young man and woman who by God’s grace have saved the gift of their sexual purity for one another. 

Praise the Lord, purity is still possible!

In this video from Desiring God, Kevin DeYoung answers an age-old question about dating. I appreciate his willingness to point out the Scripture’s high call to holiness in a time when so many in the church have embraced the world’s standards for dating relationships.

This would be a good video to share with the Christian singles you know…

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Let me say…for those who are unmarried, single women, for whatever reason at this stage of life, don’t pursue marriage as the ultimate objective. Now, I’m saying whether you’re 18 or 28 or 68, whatever, pursue God. Marriage is not the ultimate objective.

Now, marriage in the will of God is a wonderful gift, but it’s not the ultimate gift. If God is pleased for you to remain single…don’t pine away those days, those months, those years, and don’t fritter away your life with meaningless and trivial pursuits.

I can’t say that strongly enough, and I’m saying that from the heart of a single woman. I want to live a purposeful life, a meaningful life, a useful life…

Listen, most of you women who are married someday will be widows. I don’t know if it’s most. Many at least. Maybe most. You don’t know how long God will have you in this season of life, so whatever season of life God has you in, don’t waste it. Use it for God’s glory. If you’re single, spend those years in devotion to Christ in offering up your life as an offering to Him.

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “A God-Centered Life

Photo: OBMonkey

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Because women have been created with a specific call to relationship—to be their husbands’ helpers (Gen. 2:18)—it is very easy for them to idolize and live for relationships with men, to look to men as the source of their identity and purpose. Many young women, in particular, are tempted to see themselves as having worth only if they are in a relationship with a man…Frequently, what girls wear, who they hang around with, and what forms of media they embrace are intrinsically tied to getting or keeping the attention and approval of boys…

Of course, the gospel provides a young woman with the ultimate antidote to the worship of any human’s acceptance and approval. The antidote is the worship of the One she was created to worship, Jesus Christ. He, the God-man, can become her identity as she hears Him call her to come and worship Him and find her life in Him rather than in any other man (Col. 3:4). He welcomes and assures her that, although she is an idolater, she is also loved and welcomed by the only Man whose opinion really matters. She doesn’t need to attach herself to anyone other than Him, for in Him she has everything she needs (Phil. 4:19). He is her Bridegroom. She is clothed in His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). She is complete in Him (Col. 2:10).

~Elyse Fitzpatrick in “Young Women, Idolatry, & The Powerful Gospel

Photo: OBMonkey

Waiting for the Plot to Unfold

“For he satisfies the longing soul…”

Psalm 107:9a

If you’re a single women, do you sometimes fear that God may never provide a conclusion for the chapter of singleness in your life story? Leslie Ludy offers wise advice to those struggling with impatience while waiting for God’s plot
to unfold… 

Probably the biggest fear that single women deal with is that if they don’t take matters into their own hands, they will miss every opportunity to be married. Today’s guys are not well trained in the art of winning, pursuing, and cherishing the heart of a woman. And, oftentimes, women feel that they are in a game of “survival of the fittest” in which the available men quickly get claimed by the most aggressive women, while the ones who guard their feminine mystery and focus on Christ alone get passed over.

Modern voices and the urgent whisperings of the enemy don’t make this battle any easier. An all-too-common error floating around out there goes something like this: Because God created the majority of us for marriage, it also stands to reason that we as women are supposed to pursue marriage, to be strategic and intentional about finding a husband, and to “give God a hand” in finding our spouse

Here is the truth that many of us hesitate to really  believe: If and when the time comes for us to be married, God will orchestrate the love story. But in the meantime, our focus is to be on serving Him and pouring our life out for Him, not on getting serious about getting married. The timing is up to Him, not us…

Certainly it is a great idea to pray for our future spouse and to be obedient to God’s voice as He guides our steps in the process of finding a mate. Trusting God to orchestrate our love story doesn’t mean shunning men or avoiding friendships with the opposite sex.

But marriage is not what we are called to pursue. Sure, it might sound appealing, but it’s not what God says. Paul tells us in no uncertain terms what we are called to pursue: “Flee youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace” (2 Timothy 2:22, emphasis added). Jesus, when counseling the rich young ruler, told him exactly what he should pursue: “Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross and follow Me” (Mark 10:21, emphasis added).

When Paul speaks about single young women, he says, “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit” (1 Corinthian 7:34). He does not say “the unmarried woman is called to pursue marriage,” but rather the unmarried woman is called to pursue “the things of the Lord.” While Paul is certainly not against women marrying (he even encourages younger women to marry in 1 Timothy 5:14), nowhere in Scripture does it say that marriage is what we are called to pursue.

It may sound spiritual to use the argument that since God created us for marriage, He has no problem with us being impatient, unhappy, and discontent until we find a husband. It may be easy to believe that He applauds us when we take matters into our own hands and try to help the process along. But that’s not the pattern of Scripture.

[Sacred Singleness, pp. 77-80]

Photo: Kriss Szkurlatowski

Dating, Decisions, & Dancing

This post first appeared on Precious Adornment in March 2010.

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives…”

1 Peter 3:1-2

When it comes to dating and marriage, it’s a whole lot easier to choose the right kind of man than to change the man you choose. And all the married ladies said, “A-A-A-M-E-N!” When I was single, it was tough to know exactly what I should be looking for in a potential husband. Was I expecting too much? I often wondered. On more than one occasion, people I knew had intimated as much.

Some of you who are single now may be troubled by the same concerns. Am I being too demanding? Should I lower my standards? Is close enough good enough? Let me put your minds at ease, girls. The answers are No. No. And you guessed it, No. It has often been said but is worth repeating: It’s far better to be single and wish you were married than to be married and wish you weren’t. Write it on a post-it note and stick it to your forehead. Think up a little tune and set it to music. It’s a truth worth remembering.

Now, here to expound further on this topic are authors Debby Jones and Jackie Kendall. The following excerpts are taken from their book Lady in Waiting:

You want to marry someone for the qualities he possesses now, not for the qualities you hope he will develop. The most common mistake made by marriage partners is marrying someone they intend to change. Since it is nearly impossible to change a person, you will want to set standards of dating, or of building friendships, with men who are characterized by the qualities below.* A single woman can sidestep a lifetime of tragedy by seriously considering these characteristics in a prospective steady date.

  • Puts the needs of others ahead of his own.
  • Rejoices in his relationship with Christ.
  • Maintains proper relationships.
  • Refuses to jump ahead of God’s timing.
  • Seeks to meet the practical needs of others.
  • Stands for what is right.
  • Follows through on his God-given responsibilities.
  • Understands the importance of feelings and emotions.
  • Flees temptations to compromise…

None of the men you date will have all these qualities perfected. All of us are at differing levels of maturity. A man of God is one who works toward being conformed to the character of Christ. But be careful when a quality of God’s Spirit is completely missing in a man’s life and he is unwilling to deal with it before marriage. Realize that if character is absent before the wedding ceremony, it will be missing after the wedding ceremony and cause considerable problems during marriage.

Was Boaz, Ruth’s knight, the last man of godly character, or was he just one of many? We are convinced that God still grooms Boazs for His daughters today. This does not mean a guy has to be perfect in order for you to go out with him. It does mean that he needs to be growing in Christlikeness by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit before you start to date him.

(pp. 131-134) *Each point is explained more fully in the book.

Now, I imagine there are ladies reading this who are thinking, “If only I’d heard this kind of information ten years ago, back when I still had the option of choosing the right kind of man.” Perhaps you’ve experienced firsthand just how futile it is to focus your efforts on changing your husband. But if you can’t change him, is there any hope for you and your marriage? I have an answer for you too, yes, yes, and yes! If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, there is always hope.

In the following video, Winston Smith, a counselor and teacher from the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, provides some helpful thoughts on the topic of change within marriage:

Instead of focusing our attention on our husband’s dancing deficiencies, let’s aim our efforts at mastering the steps ourselves. We’ll be more contented, our husbands will be less cramped (the corner of the rooftop is a bit confining—Prov. 25:24), and our marriages will be changed. Most importantly of all, our Lord will be glorified as we earnestly seek to follow His lead.

Photo: Watje11

New Name, Same Ingredients

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Colossians 1:15-20

In spite of all the effort I put into preparing for marriage, it wasn’t until after saying “I do” that I realized I didn’t have everything figured out quite as well as I had previously thought! Learning from God’s Word, reading books, listening to sermons, and all of the other things I had done during my years as a single woman certainly helped me to form a more biblical understanding of marriage, but I still remained unaware of certain flaws and sin issues which would need to be addressed in order for me to glorify God more fully when I became a married woman.

One such blind spot was my unconscious notion that once I got married I would somehow be instantly transformed into a different person. Of course, I’d still be me, but for some reason I often visualized my married self as a new and improved version of my single self. In case you’re wondering, it didn’t exactly pan out that way. Like a product with newly redesigned packaging, my name may have changed, but the ingredients were the same.

In her book Sacred Singleness, Leslie Ludy addresses similar misconceptions about marriage and encourages singles to avoid thinking that marriage can fulfill their deepest longings…

Singleness is an incredible opportunity to be fully consecrated in body and spirit to Jesus Christ alone—to be undistracted by any other romance and free to be consumed with Him. And, as mentioned earlier, this is not only an amazing opportunity for our single years, but it is the absolute best way we could ever prepare for marriage. When Jesus Christ is our all in all, we will never place unhealthy pressure upon our spouse to meet the needs only He can fill. And if our husband is ever taken from us, we will not lose our confidence, hope, or security because it’s in Jesus Christ…

Corrie ten Boom tells of a conversation she had with a struggling single Christian woman.

“There are some, like me, who are called to live a single life,” Corrie told her. “God blesses them with absolute contentment. Others, like my friend Ellen, are called to prepare for marriage which may come later in life. They, too, are blessed, for God is using the in-between years to teach them that marriage is not the answer to unhappiness. Happiness is found only in a balanced relationship with the Lord Jesus.”

“But it is so hard,” the woman said, her eyes filling with tears.

“That is so,” Corrie replied. “The cross is always difficult. But you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Dear girl, it cannot be safer. That part of you which would cling to a husband is dead. Now you can move into a life where you can be happy with or without a husband—secure in Jesus alone.”

Putting Jesus Christ first is not something that comes easier when you are married. Whether we have a man in our life or not, it is always a challenge to silence the selfish demands of our whims and emotions and become consumed with Him alone. But until we do, we aren’t truly ready for earthly romance…

Colossians 1:18 reminds us of the position [Christ] must have, in every single area of our lives: “In all things He may have the preeminence.” Preeminence literally means “to hold first place.” I challenge you to ask yourself this one question today: Does Jesus have first place, or is it the hope of an earthly romance that you hold most dear to your heart?

[Sacred Singleness, pp. 48-49, 51]

Photo: constantin jurcut

 

dot.com Dating by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

Online dating—it’s one of the deep, dark secrets of my youth. Ok, well, maybe it’s not that deep or dark, but it is one of the facts about my life that is not widely known. Until now, that is. My foray into the world of dating websites was made somewhere between my first and second year of graduate school, right about the time when I decided that the dating pool at my college was hopelessly dried up. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

But my online dating adventures are not what this post is about. We’ll save that for another episode.

Internet dating didn’t exactly work out for me, but more and more Christians are “using a mouse to find a spouse” with good success. Yet in spite of the growing popularity of online dating, many singles still hesitate to sign up out of fear of becoming tangled in the unknowns that may await them on the other side of the world-wide web.

It is for those singles that Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott have written their little book dot.com Dating: Finding your right someone online—Avoiding the liars, losers, and freaks. As psychologists with years of experience in marriage and family relationships, the Parrotts describe themselves in the book as being “dedicated to seeing the divorce rate reduced dramatically in our lifetime and seeing stronger and more vibrant marriages, particularly among Christians.” They are enthusiastic supporters of online dating when it takes place in the context of faith-based websites designed to carefully match singles seeking serious relationships. In the introduction of the book, the Parrotts explain that through their research they became so convinced of the merits of such dating sites that they cofounded one of their own, MyRightSomeone.com.

In Part One of dot.com Dating, the authors deal with a number of myths often connected with online dating—the idea that it carries an embarrassing stigma, that it’s reserved for the desperate, that only weirdos populate such sites, etc. As they cover these topics, the Parrotts provide wise advice by encouraging readers to check their motives before signing up, to avoid poor means of decision making (e.g.,“putting out a fleece”), and to avoid isolation by seeking involvement with Christian community as well as by soliciting biblical guidance from church leaders during the dating process. Along the way, the Parrotts share numerous statistics and interesting anecdotes, all of which make for quick and enjoyable reading. 

The second part of the book consists of a series of chapters designed to help readers answer the question, “Is Internet dating right for me?” It is at this point that the book really breaks down for me, because although I’m sure the authors’ enthusiastic promotion of online dating is sincere, it does bear a strong resemblance to a sales pitch. The Parrotts describe online dating as the solution for those “tired of waiting for love,” the way to “instantly and dramatically increase your chances for love,” a way “to use time and money wisely” and to “safeguard yourself from emotional pain and danger.”

Although I could quibble with a number of details about these claims, there is an even more pressing concern about the Parrotts’ portrayal of online dating. On more than one occasion, they state that online dating “puts you in the driver’s seat” and they emphasize that online dating will increase your chances of meeting your future mate. Although the authors also reference God’s will in the book, the overwhelming impression given in dot.com Dating is that online dating can give you control over finding “the one.”

For example, in Chapter Seven, the Parrotts say:

If you’re growing weary of waiting to find your right someone, you don’t have to keep waiting. Online dating has little to do with waiting. It puts you in the driver’s seat, helping you to be proactive about the fate of your dating life. You don’t have to sit home alone on Friday nights. And you don’t have to date duds just because your options are drying up. Online dating can broaden your prospects and help you find the someone you’ve been looking for.

Such counsel can be incredibly dangerous for the Christian single who is already struggling to trust the Lord while she waits on His plan. Waiting is an ongoing part of the Christian life, and as many women who waited longer for their wedding day than they would have planned will tell you, “It was all worth the wait.” Of course, I agree that singles shouldn’t be encouraged to sit at home and wait for God to deliver a husband to their door, but they should never be tempted to believe that the fate of their dating life is ultimately in their hands. I was disappointed by the Parrotts’ failure to emphasize the sovereignty and providence of God in regard to the timing of marriage.

Another issue of particular concern is the fact that the Parrotts encourage women to feel comfortable in the role of the initiator:

Online dating puts you in the driver’s seat. This is particularly important for women. You no longer have to feel as if you’re sitting around passively waiting for a guy to make the move. It’s cool for anyone to initiate contact when it comes to online dating.

While I realize that the issue of initiation becomes more complicated in the online dating world, I would still counsel a single woman to give men a chance to take up their God-given role as leaders even before the relationship begins. God won’t allow a woman to miss “the one” simply because she chose to trust Him to work out His will in His way. Regardless of how the culture may change, biblical roles for men and women retain timeless importance.

I believe the Parrotts have good motives in sharing their belief that online dating makes it easier for singles to meet the right person and establish successful marriages, but their neglect of God’s sovereignty and the vital role of the gospel in their counsel on dating and marriage is a glaring problem. Yes, science and psychology can make predictions about the success or failure of marriage relationships based on moral values, personality traits, and communication skills, but what they cannot do is to reckon the incalculable difference that God’s grace makes within the covenant of marriage.

In the realms of dating and marriage, we must never place our hopes for success on anything (not even the most sophisticated technology or scientific findings) other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only He can transform sinners into soulmates. In conclusion, while I do believe God uses online dating to bring certain couples together, I am unfortunately unable to recommend dot.com Dating as a guide to be used during that process.

 

Tyndale House Publishing provided a complimentary copy of dot.com Dating for this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

What Our Sexuality is Saying

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7

A popular Christian blog recently posted an article addressing an aspect of sexual sin that is rarely discussed by women in the church. The article itself was troubling for a number of reasons–the obvious attempt at shock value, the lack of modesty and discretion, and the weak handling of the Scriptures were all deeply disconcerting. However, once I concluded the article and moved on to peruse the readers’ comments, I suddenly began to think that maybe the article wasn’t so bad after all. The readers’ comments? Now, those were really bad! 

I was truly astounded and saddened to see one comment after another, posted by professing Christians, which openly defended and promoted immoral sexual activity. Of course, the truth warrior within me couldn’t allow such unbiblical thinking to go unchallenged, so I carefully typed up a response urging readers to see how their arguments violated the Scripture’s clear teaching regarding the purpose of our sexuality.

How did they handle my response? I have no idea. Once I posted my comment, I was too chicken to return to the site to see what else was being said!

Although sexual perversion has become the norm rather than the exception in our culture, God’s standard for His children remains unchanged: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3, emphasis added).

In the following video for The Gospel Coalition, Pastor Joshua Harris explains why sexual purity is so important…

For more on this topic, check out Josh Harris’s great little book Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is).

Photo: Jin Neoh

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Knowing what sex is all about motivates a single woman to be pure and to be holy in her sexual conduct. As she is pure and holy and faithful prior to marriage, or through her whole life if she remains unmarried, that behavior tells the story of God’s faithfulness and tells the story of the faithfulness of the Church to Christ until this time when we see Him and are united with Him.

So a single woman tells the same gospel story but from a different angle. She tells the story of a Bride who is awaiting her Bridegroom and being faithful to Him in the time in which they are not yet together. She tells that part of the story, and a woman who is married tells the part of the story of the union and communion and the intimacy that the two will experience when the two are one…

I think that sometimes Christians have erred in the past by seeing sex as something that’s unmentionable or something that is dirty or unholy or something that is somehow lesser, but sex is actually part of God’s plan. It’s a beautiful part of God’s plan, and it teaches us truths about what the gospel is all about.

  • It teaches us how two can become one.
  • It teaches how you can have individuals and yet you can have union.
  • It teaches how there can be an intimacy that is so profound and so amazing.
  • It teaches things about commitment and things about family, things about children.

All of those images, I believe, God created. He put all of those images in place so that we would have the words and the language to understand who God is and what the gospel is all about because if we wouldn’t have those concepts and human images and human examples and pictures, we would really struggle with understanding truths about the Lord. 

~Mary Kassian in “What Your Sexual Conduct Says About the Gospel

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When you were saved you were saved unto sanctification. Paul says in Romans 6:19 and Romans 6:22, “You used to be the slaves of sin,” then he says, “you’re now the slaves of righteousness which results in sanctification.” The process of becoming holy is a direct result of salvation. You were saved and the process of becoming holy began and step one, abstain from immorality. Simple.

What does that mean? Stay away from sexual sin. Now young people always want to say, “How far away? How far away do I have to stay?” Which means, “How far can I go and still be okay. Is it okay, you know, to hold hands and hug each other? Is it okay to kiss? Is it okay to touch each other? Is it okay to go beyond that as long you don’t do the very act? What can I do? Is it okay if we’re engaged? Is it okay if we’ve decided that we’re really the ones and somewhere down the road we are going to get married? How far can I go?”

That isn’t even the right question. That question betrays a sinful heart. The question isn’t how far can I go and get away with it, the question is how can I be sanctified, separated from sin and holy unto God, that’s the question…that’s the question. How can I conduct my physical relationships so that I am holy which means separated from sin? And as you begin to play with the emotions that God has designed to lead to consummation and intercourse, you begin to allow your mind to move in to the area of thinking about that, you are in sin because if a man in his mind commits adultery, God’s eyes, he’s committed it, right? If a woman commits it in the mind, it’s been committed before God because He sees the mind.

You have to stop short of the impure thought, the impure motive, the lustful passion…The question isn’t how far can I go and still be okay, the question is how can I be holy, how can I be utterly separated from sin, how can I be totally pure, completely holy unto God, pleasing Him, excelling still more? How can I excel still more? How can I be more excellent? Not how can I drift a little bit the other way and just get on the edge?

~John MacArthur in “Abstaining from Sexual Sin, Part 1

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Stillness. Perfect stillness. It is a very great gift, not always available to those who would most appreciate it and would find joy in it, and often not appreciated by those who have it but are uncomfortable with it. External noise is inescapable in many places–traffic on land and in the air, sirens, horns, chain saws, loud voices and, perhaps worst of all, screaming rock music with thundering amplification which makes the very ground shudder.

I think it is possible to learn stillness–but only if it is seriously sought. God tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NIV). “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15, KJV).

The stillness in which we find God is not superficial, a mere absence of fidgeting or talking. It is a deliberate and quiet attentiveness–receptive, alert, ready. I think of what Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

…Silence is one form of worship. When the seventh seal was opened (in St. John’s Revelation), there was silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. What would happen in our homes if we should try to prepare ourselves for those heavenly silences by having just one half-hour when there is no door slamming, no TV, no stereo or video, and a minimum of talk, in quiet voice? Wouldn’t it also be a calming thing just to practice the stillness which is the absence of motion? My father used to have us try this every now and then. Why not try a Quiet Day or even a Quiet Week without the usual noises? It might open vistas of the spiritual life hitherto closed, a depth of communion with the Lord impossible where there is nothing but noise.

~Elisabeth Elliot in Keep a Quiet Heart

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You may have been hurt by men; you may not have felt treated with respect and honor by some of the men who been a part of your life. You can’t control that, but we can control the way that we respond to men. That doesn’t mean that all men are equally worthy of honor and respect, but it does mean that we speak respectfully and we show honor to men.

I think it’s important, as women, that we accept expressions of gentlemanliness from men. If they want to open the door or pull out the chair for us at the table, stand when a woman comes in the room, women, don’t be a shrew. Don’t do as so many women have in our generation and reject those expressions of manliness.

You know what we’ve done? We’ve beat the men down; we’ve beat them back, and then we get mad at them because they don’t act like men. If we want them to act like men, one of the things we can do to help the process along is to let them be men.

Women whine today about how men are so passive, and there’s a lot of truth to that in our day. But I think one of the reasons is that we, as women, have not encouraged it when men do take leadership.

So when a man has an idea, don’t be quick to throw water on the idea. If you do, it’s going to be a while before he comes up with another idea that he is willing to risk sharing with you. So affirm leadership when you see it in men, and it’s appropriate to do so as a single woman.

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “Single and Feminine

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Sitting one still and sunny afternoon in a tiny chapel on an island in the South, I thought I heard someone enter. A young woman was weeping quietly. After a little time I asked if I could help. She confided her fears for the future–what if her husband should die? Or one of her children? What if money ran out?

All our fears represent in some form, I believe, the fear of death, common to all of us. But is it our business to pry into what may happen tomorrow? It is a difficult and painful exercise which saps the strength and uses up the time given us today. Once we give ourselves up to God, shall we attempt to get hold of what can never belong to us–tomorrow? Our lives are His, our times in His hand, He is Lord over what will happen, never mind what may happen. When we prayed “Thy will be done,” did we suppose He did not hear us? He heard indeed, and daily makes our business His and partakes of our lives. If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine!

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.

“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”–and the work thereof. The evil is not a part of the yoke Jesus asks us to take. Our work is, and He takes that yoke with us. I will overextend myself if I assume anything more.

~Elisabeth Elliot in Keep a Quiet Heart

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Marriage is for keeps, so be careful whom you marry…“If you want to be careful about whom you marry, be careful about whom you date.”

Now, apparently, that’s not true in many Christian families today. I will just say to you, whether you’re pre-marriage, single, or considering marriage—or if you’re a mother raising daughters and sons—do not, do not, do not, do not, do not ever date or marry someone who does not share your faith in Jesus Christ!

And can I say, as a single woman, not only is it important that whoever you date or marry be a believer, but it’s important that they have a strong, fervent heart for God; that they have godly character and biblical convictions; and that you have counsel.

This is where we come back to listening to the counsel of those who know best. As my dad would remind us, once you have fallen in love, you fall out of your mind. You don’t think straight, and no matter how spiritual you may be, no matter how well-intentioned you may be, you’re not thinking straight when your emotions get involved.

That’s why it’s so important to develop a habit of listening to godly counsel. You can get what you want. You can get a mate, but if you don’t wait for God’s choice and for a choice that those in the body of Christ are affirming as being God’s choice for your life, you are making a serious mistake.

Marriage is for keeps, so don’t settle for less than God’s best.

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “Guard Your Heart

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Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

I would suggest to you and with no fear of contradiction that the most miserable people in the world are not single. It’s true. The most miserable people in the world are married. That does not mean that all married people are miserable, I’m not. I’m thrilled, I’m happy. But I’ll tell you, the potential for misery in marriage is greater than the potential for misery being single because when you’re single there’s only one person who can make you miserable. And as I’ve said before, the only thing worse than wishing you were married is wishing you weren’t. All marriages have difficulty, hardship, sacrifice because you have two people who are human, who are fallen and they’re pressed so tightly together…

Please, if you’re single, do not look at marriage as the solution to your trouble. It probably is the multiplication of it. Marriage intensifies human weakness because it puts you under such intimate scrutiny. Sometimes young people say, “You know, I have strong desires sexually and if I can just get married.” That is not in itself a sufficient reason to get married. Even after marriage there is no guarantee that your illicit temptation will go away. And the fulfillment you find in your marriage doesn’t satisfy…listen carefully…doesn’t satisfy unrighteous longings.

Some people say, “Well I’m lonely, I need to get married cause I’m lonely.” And they get married and often are far more lonely after married than before because somebody so close becomes so indifferent, and that’s crushing.

Marriage, you see, is the solution to only one thing, just one, and that is this, the will of God. If God wants you married and for all the right reasons in your heart you believe that’s His purpose for you, pursue it…pursue it. But if you have the gift of singleness…consider singleness.

~John MacArthur in “The Blessings of Being Single

Photo: OBMonkey