Sister to Sister: For Teens Today – Be Picky!

CraneYou probably remember from somewhere back in 2nd grade a paperback English workbook that had .all those fill-in-the-blank sentences in which you were to write homographs….No?…You don’t remember?

Well, for those who are rusty, a homograph is a word that’s spelled and pronounced exactly like another word, but it means something totally different. Here’s an example:

We can store the extra food in the freezer.
Let’s go to the tire store and look at a new set of Michelins.

There are lots of these words of course, but I recently wrote a children’s book that had a lot to do with one particular set of homographs. It’s about the word pick. Now you may not be interested in a children’s book, but the concept of picking is pretty important all the way through high school and even college.

One kind of pick is “to choose,” as in “Did you pick study hall, yearbook or track-and-field for seventh period this year?” Another kind of pick means “to pluck,” as in “Eve picked the fruit from the tree and shared it with Adam.” (Another kind of pick is like picking your nose and yet another is like a dental pick or an ice pick, but we’ll save those for another day.)

Picking is very important when it comes to dating and marriage. You can pick (as in choose) who you think you might marry a bunch of times. I picked a red-headed boy named Robert when I was in the seventh grade. I just knew that one day we would live together in a little white cottage with a white picket fence and we’d have a little girl named Roberta. Unfortunately, Robert was in the ninth grade and he probably never even knew I got a flutter in my insides if he ever looked at me. Sad, but true.

In another sense, though, it’s not really all that sad. Robert “got over” me (I’m sure that was stressful for him…) and I moved on to a few more dream picks.

But pluck-picking is altogether different. See, once you plck an apple from a tree, you can never put it back, and once you’ve picked a husband or wife and plucked him or her from that world of single people, you can never put him/her back. He/she is yours forever!

Jesus said it this way:

And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

The picking is very important. You can choose and re-choose in your mind (and you should do it very carefully as you honor God’s laws of purity) until you slip on the golden band of wedlock. But, regardless of what the world thinks about the ease of slipping from one marriage relationship to another…regardless of how effortless it seems for the celebrities to “move on” from one partner to another, once you’ve plucked a marriage partner, your committed in the eyes of your Father for the rest of your life.

Be choosy when you pick (choose), but be as sure as you can be when you pick (pluck)! You can’t put the apple back!

This article by Cindy Colley first appeared in Kaio e-zine, Kaio Publishing

Sister to Sister: Q and A – Secondary Virginity?

womanquestionQuestion: I went to a youth rally recently and there was a girls’ class and the question was asked about sex before marriage. A lady on the panel said that you can regain your virginity by “second time virginity.” Some of my girls from the youth group came to me to ask if “… it’s ok to have sex before marriage because based on what she said you can have sex and repent and you can regain your virginity?”

Response: While some may believe that virginity is a commodity that can be restored once surrendered, I do not believe that to be the case any more than a peeled apple can be restored to the state of fresh and uncut. I believe the restoration of virginity is a physical impossibility.

Someone might argue that, since God has promised to purify sinners upon their repentance of sins and the meeting of His conditions of purity, that such purification restores them, as women who have engaged in premarital sex, to the same state of guiltlessness as the girl who has never had sex, thus reclaiming that status of virginity.

It is true that purity of soul can mercifully be restored after the child of God sins. How thankful am I every day that this is true. It is true that the young unmarried girl who has given in to sexual temptation and lost her virginity can be forgiven. She can be as white and pure before God as the one who has guarded her virginity. Should they both die in a covenant relationship with the Father, both will reach the safety of the arms of Jesus.

But it is simply not the case that both of these young women are virgins, because of the definition of the word and because of its use in the Scriptures.

Genesis 24:16 aptly defines the word for us:

And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

Leviticus 21:13-14, in describing whom the high priest was to marry, would make little sense if a virgin could have been one who had previously been sexually active. It is clearly instructing the priest to marry a woman who has never been sexually active:

And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.

The first part of Deuteronomy 22 is a section of scripture that would be futile in inclusion in the law and in application if a virgin damsel was anything other than a sexually untouched female. In this passage, virginity was clearly a physical state that hinged on abstinence from sexual activity rather than a state of purity of heart before God.

Perhaps the strongest passages about the true meaning of virginity have to do with the immaculate conception of our Savior. If a virgin could possibly be someone who has known a man sexually, then Mary could have, at the time of the birth of Jesus, been a penitent fornicator!

But, just as the prophet Isaiah foretold, the Lord was born of a virgin…a woman who had not known a man:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Is. 7:14).

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:23).

Mary, herself, defined the state of virginity for us when she asked of the angel, “How shall this thing be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).

For the truly penitent fornicator, perhaps there is comfort in calling the purified state a sort of “second virginity.” I do not want to subtract from the comfort found in forgiveness. Every sinner should claim the release and peace that comes when we begin again in purity and holiness before a merciful God. His forgiveness is certain. His cleansing is thorough. But this blessing, as wonderful as it is, does not make a woman who has “known a man” become a virgin again.

One more illustration: Suppose I am entering a second marriage after my first husband left me for another woman. Perhaps I feel much sorrow and experience deep regret as I contemplate my earlier decision to marry my first husband. Perhaps I truly wish this could be my first marriage and that the previous marriage could simply be “erased.” I can enter a God-approved marriage. I can please God in this new relationship. I can have a wonderful second marriage. But I will still be a woman who has been previously married. It is an experience that is simply part of my history.

Premarital sex is kind of like that first marriage. One can, after having sexual relations and later meeting God’s terms of pardon, be as pure in the eyes of God as any virgin. She can be as dedicated to Him as any virgin may be. She can be as holy in her present relationships as any virgin may be. But she will still be a woman who surrendered her virginity. That surrender is an experience that is simply a part of her history. When and if someone to whom she is contemplating giving her life in marriage asks the question, “Are you a virgin?”, the answer she must give is “No.”

Fornication can be forgiven. But it, like other sins, will still bring regret and unpleasant consequences in the present life. (I Corinthians 6:18).

Sister to Sister: Seminar with a Guarantee

unmadebedA father who wears the name “Christian” reveals to his recently divorced wife and to his teenage children that he is a practicing homosexual. A young minister’s wife leaves her husband for another man. A young married couple walk down the aisle to ask for the prayers of their church family as they struggle to hold a marriage together in the wake of revelations of adultery on the parts of both spouses. A young woman, raised in the body, lashes out at Christians who try to convince her to stop living in fornication with her boyfriend. A young woman stops just short of fornication after inviting a friend into her apartment when he drops by to return something she had left in his car. She’s not sure if he is a married man or not.

These scenarios have a few things in common. First, they are all real scenarios–situations about which Glenn or I have been contacted within the last two weeks. Second, and sadly, they all involve people who were once faithful New Testament Christians. Third, they all involve sexual sin.

The devil loves to attack the people of God with sexual temptation. He did it to one of the families in the church of Christ at Corinth (I Corinthians 5). He did it to the church in Thyatira through that wicked woman, Jezebel, in Revelation 2:20. We should never let our guards down in our homes and congregations when it comes to sexual purity. If the devil can get us to succumb to fornication, he has succeeded in defiling our temples (I Cor. 6:19), inflicting injury to our bodies (I Cor. 6:18), grasping glory from our Lord (I Cor. 6:20) and endangering our congregations (I Cor, 5: 6). It’s a big win for the devil.

Through our society, which is saturated with pornography, sexual content in entertainment venues and so-called “tolerance of sexual choices”, our children are often targeted by Satan at very early ages. In fact, I would venture to say that if your children enter God-approved marriages having maintained sexual purity throughout the dating years, it will not be accidental. It will result from intentional parenting and early decision-making that happens primarily in the home.

But intentional parents will also take advantage of resources that help enable kids to make early choices for purity. Let me illustrate it this way:

Suppose I told you that a seminar was occurring in a couple of weeks about ACT test preparation. Suppose I told you that tips would be given at this seminar and that I could guarantee that, if you diligently applied all of these tips, your child would be able to score a 33 or above on the ACT during her senior year of high school. You, being the smart mom you are, would have made your plans in the first thirty seconds of a New York minute to be at that seminar.

Suppose I told you that a seminar was occurring in a couple of weeks about preparation for sexual purity. Suppose I told you that tips would be given at this seminar and that I could guarantee that, if you diligently applied all of these tips, your child would be able to navigate the single years in sexual purity. Would you make plans to be at that seminar?

The difference between the two scenarios may be more than singular. But one difference is this: No one can guarantee your child a 30 on the ACT. But I really can guarantee that tips will be given at any purity seminar at which I speak that, if diligently applied, will take your child through the single years in purity. This, of course, is true, not because I’m giving the advice, but because it emanates from the Creator Who knows what’s good for your child and Who made a way of escape from every temptation (I Cor. 10:13).

I understand that you can get this advice without coming to a seminar (We all read the same book.) I know it may not be possible for you to come. I know your child can navigate the teen years in purity even if she doesn’t come to a seminar. Many have successfully done it. All the same, though, using every tool available is a great idea in this sex-saturated climate.

So here is just one upcoming seminar. If you live within driving distance of Pulaski, Tennessee, I hope to see you there. It’s just one stop on a long journey we’re making together to a place where impurity will be a thing of the past. Can’t wait for that! Register Here!

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Sister to Sister: “Let’s Hope He’s as Easy to Get as this Birth Control.”

“OMG! He’s Hot. Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control!” So goes the Obamacare ad: Ad 1

It’s the “In-your-face, Christians” kind of advertising that no-one twenty years ago would have imagined as promotional material for a government program (It just would not have flown…even in Colorado). But shockingly immoral undertones (and sometimes blatantly irreverent overtones) seem to be the theme of some of  Obamacare’s proponents, namely Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado Education, the underwriters of the ads. It’s the reckless (but still relatively healthy) twenty-somethings that Obama desperately needs to anchor his plan and such organizations are  stopping at nothing to get them. The encouragement of STD-spreading sexual behavior and keg parties is just the beginning of an unbelievable congratulatory nod to unhealthy and unholy lifestyles. Take a look at a few more of these internet ads that, “if there be any virtue or anything worthy of praise” in you, will knock your proverbial socks off. Ad 3

Ad 4

Ad 6

Responsible parents of kids in their late teens and early twenties should be livid. High school principles, family court justices, child social services workers and law enforcement officials who think soberly should be disturbed as these harmful messages emanate from non-profit “health education” organizations. Of course, teens who look at these pictures of cool twenty-somethings who are enjoying the “real world” of free sex and partying-crazy drinking are, without question, negatively influenced by the implied normalcy of these dangerous behaviors. Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), is setting his trap for America’s kids as they emerge into His “real world.” Encouraging kids to go ahead with the keg parties and casual sex in the context of claiming their “health care” is preposterous. The last time I checked “health” has to do with the preservation of the well-being of the physical body, and “care” has to do with attention given to that cause. Standing on a beer keg or hoping a “hot guy” is as easy to access as birth control is open defiance to any sort of “care” about “health”.

Here are a few more: Ad 11

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Ad 9

Yes. One could totally fall. I guess themessage is clear by now. These organizations don’t really seem to care too much if you fall, if you get an STD, have an accident while skiing and drinking, or are bloody, bruised and broken. The important thing is that you’re enrolled in Obamacare.

We’ve ushered in a never-before-witnessed blatant promotion of a socialist agenda regardless of harm to those who buy in—or those who don’t, for that matter. And, in the ushering, we are ironically ushering out the principles of liberty on which the nation was founded. It seems that millions of Americans are not wise enough to see through the smokescreen of the selfish agenda for which they pay at their own peril. The message is “ So now, you can go ahead and live without consideration of harmful consequences. Sure, this lifestyle will result in bodily harm. But who cares? It’s nobody else’s business and then suddenly, when it’s time to pay the piper, it’s everybody else’s business. It’s reckless socialism advertised by in-your-face sin.

Never mind that, according to NBC news, alcohol abuse kills about 75,000 of your countrymen yearly, with an estimated 35,000 dying each year from cirrhoses of the liver, alone . Never mind that, according to the Center for Disease Control, there are 20 million new incidences of sexually transmitted diseases annually in the US, with 110 million people in the country who are currently infected. Let’s just not think about those statistics. Let’s not think about disabilities, addictions, funerals or caskets. Let’s not think about sirens, morgues, weeping or graves. Let’s put big smiles on the faces of the partiers and let’s make the prospective sex partners very good-looking. And while we’re at it, just to spread the recklessness, let’s throw in some “unconventional” grammar, too, like doyougotinsurance.com. Now really, what kind of wisdom would you expect on a site like that?

Sister to Sister: The Sin that Keeps on Sinning

baby-in-wombLife’s just so busy. The temptation is to just skip the blog post today and spend time unpacking from last weekend and packing for this one. But you know who’s busier than you and me? The devil.

I remember when I was a child I heard our preacher (and a favorite uncle of mine), Bob Duncan, say (probably a hundred times), “Sin is always worse than the sinner expects it to be.” The statement has come home to me in relevant and practical ways in recent days. A young man who saw no harm in looking at pornography that first time is having a really hard time putting his home back together. A woman is tempted by alcohol as she tries to get her life back after her husband left her for a homosexual relationship. A child, too young to understand, wants a relationship with a Dad who wants little to do with him. A young unwed mother just may turn her back on all that’s right as she learns that the father of her baby is not the caring father he claimed to be at all; his best friend is actually meth. The list goes on.

Then there are national sins; big ways we’ve gone astray as an American people. The Social Security system seemed like a good idea back in Roosevelt’s day. What started as a way to help good but desperate people has produced an entire sub-culture of indolence and run our nation into irreconcilable debt–and we just keep upping the tab.

We took the Word out of schools. Kids now have access to birth control rather than behavior control. They can easily find sources of alcohol and drugs at school. Their days are lived to the soundtrack of cursing and God’s name blasphemed, but they cannot find anyone who can legally use the words “Jesus” and “sin” in counseling sessions at school. There are confused school systems in our nation now that allow transgender students to use the girls’ or boys’ restrooms and locker rooms at their discretion.

Today the national sin-that-keeps-on-sinning that’s on my mind is the declaration in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court that unborn babies may be killed inside the womb (and even, in many cases, as they partially exit the birth canal). Sin just has huge repercussions that sinners cannot possibly foresee upon commission. Horribly dark questions keep coming to my inbox–things that I’m confident those nine men in black robes never foresaw as they exited the courtroom that January day forty years ago. I know of women who are guilt-ridden because they have a dozen or so fertilized eggs (little people) in freezers in laboratories. These women are trying to enjoy raising the one or two children (the “most viable” of their children) that they chose to implant, but the thought of their children yet in the freezer is difficult. (I understand this is a stark way to say this, but, if babies are babies upon fertilization–and they are–our consciousness must be stirred to admit what is true.) I know of women who still hear their aborted babies crying, even two decades after the fact. Chemical abortions leave women who take the “morning after” pill unsure of how many babies they may have aborted. Other chemical contraceptives, we learn, have a scary propensity to create an inhospitable environment in the womb, thus creating the real possibility that fertilized eggs may be rejected before implantation. And now we learn that most vaccines we give our children and many that we take as adults are products of research done on babies aborted decades ago and that the cell lines on which these vaccines grow even today were indeed extracted from aborted babies (www.know-vaccines.org‎). We now know, for instance, that multiple babies were used in the development of the MMR vaccine that’s most commonly used. While none of these babies were aborted for the specific purpose of research, doctors who advised abortion were apparently working closely with doctors who were researching.

The more we know the more we understand the words of my uncle: “Sin is always worse than the sinner expects it to be.” Sarah, Judah, the Pharaoh of the Exodus, Nadab and Abihu, Achan, Samson, David, the prodigal son, and Judas the betrayer are but a few of those in the Word who still shout the truth about sin’s consequences to us.

There are days when I really get so fed up with sin that I don’t want to think about it any more. I surely long to escape the thoughts of 55 million babies legally slaughtered in our country since 1973 (and that does not include those aborted chemically with pills). This number far and away exceeds all military deaths combined in our short history (http://www.htmlbible.com/abortstats.htm). May God have mercy on us!

But I cannot stop thinking about it. The devil is making sure we have to keep thinking about sin; battling it in our personal lives and sorrowing over the sins of our nation. Godly sorrow works repentance, though (II Cor. 7:10). So, for me, the question is “How can I order my days (in relation to sin) so that when I’m old and reflect back on my busy days, I will escape the regret that comes with apathy and enjoy the peace that comes with knowing I did all I could do to ‘work repentance’ in my own life and in the society around me?”

Here are five things I plan to do relative to abortion. I hope you will make a personal plan, too. All it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing. In the words of Dr. Seuss in “Horton Hears a Who”, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Here’s my list:

1. Keep speaking and writing about the on-going slaughter and it’s various forms. Sometimes we fall to the temptation to think about abortion as “old news”. It is new to every new fetus.
2. Speak to my physicians and request ethical forms of vaccines when needed.
3. Try to support only pro-life ob-gyn physicians.
4. Try to stay informed through www.nationalrighttolifenews.org and use recommended avenues for making my voice heard in legislative venues.
5. Pray for Providential opportunities to fight this battle and wisdom in using them.

Finally, those of you in Tennessee have some unique opportunities right now to let your voices be heard. It seems that, because all eight of your bordering states have laws requiring regulation and inspection of abortion facilities, that your state is fast becoming the “place to get an abortion” for women in surrounding states. Notice this statistic:
In 2008, 23.7% of abortions in Tennessee were performed on women residing out-of-state. Tennessee ranks fifth nationally in the number of out-of-state abortions behind the District of Columbia, Kansas, North Dakota, and Delaware.

Community meetings will be held for pro-life supporters residing in the following Tennessee Counties: Benton, Carroll, Chester, Henderson, Houston, Humphreys, Madison and Stewart. The first will be in Camden on October 5th at 10 a.m. You may call 615-298-5433 for more information. If you live in Tennessee, I hope you will do what you can to stop Tennessee’s prominence as an abortion destination. Visit the Tennessee Right to Life website at http://www.tennesseerighttolife.org/index.html

Homosexuality: A Culture of Courage?

Jason-CollinsThe thing that bothers me most about the recent “coming out” of NBA player Jason Collins is what is being inferred without being said. Every time he is called courageous, someone is being called a persecutor. That someone is me. It’s you. It’s any Christian.

Courage, according to the New Oxford Dictionary, is the ability to do something that frightens one. Of whom, if anyone, should Collins be frightened? Not the civil authorities. The highest civil authority in our nation, Barack Obama, has applauded his decision and commended his “courage.” Should he be afraid of the culture in which we live? Absolutely not. Our culture bends over backwards to exhibit tolerance (which has come to mean approval) to homosexuals. He knew Hollywood and CNN would have nothing but praise for Him before he spoke. So, for what situation, if any, would Collins need courage?

It is only those who are convicted of the truth of passages like Romans 1: 26-28, who will still speak against the sin of homosexuality. Barack Obama, media liberals and Hollywood icons would turn us into the villains, those to fear. Hear God on the subject:

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

It is not courageous to stand against God and be coddled by a wicked society. The result of Collins’ announcement was not shame. It was fame! It was not persecution. It was prestige.

Mark my words. The oppressed ones today are not those who come out of the closet. The persecution is now beginning for those who cling to the cross. When it becomes “hate speech” to read from Romans 1 in a public assembly, gospel preaching will shortly become illegal. The hostility toward Christians will have begun in earnest and, like the three Hebrews in Daniel 3, we will be forced to choose between conveniently melting into the culture and being persecuted for Him. The Romans 1 gladiator culture was not pretty, but it is quite possibly coming our way. May the truly courageous be in prayer and preparation for the upcoming trials. They have a way of helping us “wait on the Lord,” learning dependence and perseverance. May He be with us.

Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the LORD! Psalm 31:24