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Dating

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Ten “Must-Have”s on a Christian Girl’s List for a Prospective Husband

                                                                 

–contributed by Ally Smith.

  1. 1. First and most important “must-have” is finding a man who puts God as his “number one”; even before you and his family or job.
  2. 2. Is he committed to building the kingdom of God and spreading His Word? Wait for the man who is always involved in church events and always conducting in some way during worship; not someone who only shows up when he has to or when he’s expected to. He should always want to be involved in his congregation.
  3. 3. Does he love God…or does he love the world? Wait for the man who falls deeply in love with God instead of worldly temptations and possessions. 
  4. Is he a man of constant prayer? Does he pray before you pull off on a date for your safe travels? Does he pray before your meal on a date? Find a man who is constantly praying and talking to God.
  5. Is he pure in heart? The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance (watchfulness), for from it flow the springs of life.” Wait for the man who is constantly aware of his actions and making sure they are pure and in keeping with God’s Word.
  6. Is he slow to anger? Proverbs 22:24-25 says “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Wait for the man who is temperate and is willing to talk through misunderstandings and conflicts.
  7. Is he wise with his money? Proverbs 21:20 says “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Does he save and put his money towards good things or is he always finding ways to spend it and sometimes finding himself in trouble? Don’t get involved with a man who loves his money more than the Lord for that leads down a sinful path of destruction and torment. 
  8. Is he considerate? Philippians 2:4 says “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” A considerate, selfless man will have your best interests in mind. 
  9. Is he a man of forgiveness? Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” don’t get involved with a man who holds grudges and dwells in the past. Wait for the man who is forgiving and understanding of others. 
  10. Does he set a Christian example? Titus 2:7 says “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity and dignity.” Look for a man who is being a good example to his younger siblings and peers. 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Ally Smith

Several years ago, while speaking at a teen girls’ purity day in Tennessee, I passed out a sample “Letter to my Future Husband,” (Casey Herringshaw at https://enjoyingthewritingcraft.blogspot.com). Encouraging the girls to think long and hard about the qualities in a husband that would make for happiness in this lifetime and help them live in eternity with God, I encouraged them all to write their own letters and take them out and read them every now and then. Most of all, I wanted them to have clear and godly goals for their marriages and never to veer from them in pursuit of something plastic and temporal.

At that time, Ally was probably about 13 or 14 years old. Recently, Ally and I have been meeting up to visit. She’s 20 now and she shared with me the other day that, using that letter from long ago as a template, she’d written a letter to that man who is still anonymously working to be the one who will one day walk into Ally’s heart and then through life by her side. With some recent edits, she’s given me permission to share her letter, still much like that letter from the purity day so long ago. I hope her letter will help someone young who reads to think about some characteristics that will make for a marriage that God will bless with joy; to write down some goals–maybe even write her own letter– but, most of all, to determine to have uncompromising convictions for the Lord and to never settle for someone who cannot share those convictions and the soul’s best last hope, its only hope…the hope of heaven! Here’s her letter:

To my future husband,

I have been waiting to meet you my entire life; sometimes patiently and sometimes not very patiently all. I know it won’t be long until I will not only be in your heart, but in your arms. That will be the best feeling ever. I know that God has hand-crafted you just for me. But while we’re apart, I’m sure that I am following God’s path to you. I do not know your name nor could I even begin to guess what you’re like or how we’ll meet or if we’ve already met. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking, dreaming and praying for you every day. I know that it sometimes seems like the day that we will meet will never come. But please stay strong and have faith that soon enough God will lead us to each other when the time is right.

There are just a few things I need you to promise to me….Always hold my hand and give me hugs. Hold me in your arms when you get home from work, kiss me on the forehead and tell me all about your day and whether it was good or bad. Remind me often of how much you love and care for me; even if it’s simply leaving a note on my mirror on your way to work or surprising me with cheap flowers. Ask me how my day was before we go to bed, and comfort me if I’m having a bad week. Be my biggest fan but don’t be afraid to let me know when I’m wrong. Tell me jokes–even the stupid ones that make no sense. I love laughing with you.

Draw me closer to God. Remind me how much he means to me by constantly showing faith in him. Pray with me everyday and share with me your struggles and your accomplishments. Please never place bars across your heart. Always be honest with me even if you’re scared of the reaction. I will never judge you or put you down. I want to spend the rest of our lives lifting each other up and towards heavens pearly gates. Learn about my interests and things I enjoy doing, support me in my dreams. But don’t be afraid to tell me if I’m stumbling down the wrong path.

Dance with me in the kitchen with our children laughing at us. (because you know I can’t dance to save my life). Come behind me and kiss my neck when I’m making dinner and tell me you love me. Hold me tight when I’m upset. Hug me tight when the pain is too much for words. Always kiss me goodnight, even if we aren’t on good terms. Let’s never go to bed angry at each other. Surround us and our home in God’s love, joy and constant laughter.

Always take me to church whenever the doors are open. Love children, especially ours, and let them know everyday just how much. When the devil threatens our home and shakes the foundation of our marriage, promise never to leave and to never let the word “divorce” enter out vocabulary, even if it’s out of spite. Always be the spiritual leader of our home and believe what the Bible has to say from beginning to end. Be someone that, when anyone looks at you, they see Jesus Christ. Always speak with love and kindness and teach our children the wonders and consequences given in God’s word.

Find what you’re passionate about and chase it. Be my best friend, the one person I can always go to…my soulmate… and the man I’ve been waiting to meet my entire life.

With all the love I could ever give,

Ally

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Potential Christian Spouse: It Takes One to Know One

As my daughter, Hannah, and I were driving home one day from a youth rally, we naturally began to talk about the lessons we had heard that day.  In the middle of that conversation came the comment from Hannah that is every mother’s nightmare: “Mom,” she said, “I am just really sick of hearing teachers and preachers say ‘Just say no to premarital sex’”.
I’m sure I almost had a wreck. I could not imagine such a statement coming out of her mouth! I had always heard that moms of teens should be on the look-out for the morphing;  you know the time when the compliance is replaced by complaining, the respect gives way to rebellion, and the silliness turns to sulking.  Other moms had told me to prepare myself for a time when she would become a “real” teenager and just go to her room and talk on the phone or listen to music or whatever it is that teenage girls do for a few years. But Hannah and I had a sweet and open relationship.  I was taken aback that the transformation could be so sudden and marked by such a blatant “out of the blue” remark.
“I beg your pardon, Hannah, but what on earth do you mean?” I stammered.
“Oh, mom, you know. I just don’t think sexual promiscuity happens like that. I mean I really can’t imagine myself ever having to seriously say “no” to a guy who is pressuring me to go all the way.”
“I’m still a little fuzzy…”
“Well, Mom, you see it’s like this. In my circle of friends it’s most often me who suggests that we change the channel because the show gets raunchy or the commercial is obscene. I am the one who won’t go to the pool party because I’m not going to wear a swimsuit in front of a guy. Remember, it’s me again who’s home on Friday night because the movie they’re seeing is not clean. And I am the one who won’t even sit at the same table in the restaurant where someone is drinking. C’mon now Mom….Do you really think that there is a guy out there who would ask me out with the faintest notion in his little brain that dating me would include sex?!”
She had a valid point. As she went on to explain, the guys who really are interested in sexual relationships are generally smart enough to “take the cues”. They are more likely to look for girls who aren’t displaying obvious defense mechanisms against sexual impurity.  While perhaps failing to understand that the devil can also “wear down” well meaning couples, she used good logic. It is true that a young girl’s chances are far better to stay away from fornication when she is making a good attempt to flee (I Cor. 6:18). Perhaps she didn’t see though, at that moment, the most profound inference she was making about her future. She was actually saying that a girl can, by her demeanor and all the little day to day decisions of sanctification, “weed out” many unsavory potential boyfriends.
Our son has verified on several occasions that the same shoe fits the male foot, as well. Our conversations go something like this: I say…
“Caleb, what about Susan So-and -So?  She’s really cute. Have you thought of asking her out?” (I always try to be helpful like that.)
“Yeah, Mom. I thought she was cute, too….And she’s pretty smart.  She’s in my club and I thought about asking her out, but then one day I passed her in the student center and she used this vulgar word that just totally made me NOT want to date her.”…OR
“Yeah, Mom.  She’s nice, but she wears things sometimes that just really aren’t very modest. I don’t think so.”…OR
“Well, I did think about her, but she was in that group that invited me to go see that movie that no Christian should really see.”
I’m their mom. I understand that finding the right mate involves more than the process of elimination. I certainly am not under the delusion that we did everything right as we tried to develop moral courage in our kids. I hope they will forgive us for all the times we failed to take advantage of opportunities to strengthen the muscles of conviction. At the same time, though, I hope our kids remember all those hundreds of prayers in which we said their names, imploring the Father to help them find faithful Christian mates; mates who would help them get to heaven. I hope our nightly family Bible times had a powerful and cumulative effect of showing them the importance of a marriage united in God’s Truth.  I think they will remember times when we desperately tried to help other couples who had made poor choices in selecting mates. When they were old enough to start dating we gave them little dating “check cards” they could carry in their wallets with important characteristics for which they should be watching; things like “Can she be happy when she is not the center of attention?” or “Does he speak respectfully to and about his parents?”  We encouraged them to attend a faithful Christian university where young adults from similar homes would likely attend. Their dates are always welcome at our house and are included in our family Bible times. You and your son can observe a lot about a girl’s spiritual moorings in the atmosphere of a family devotional. You and your daughter can learn a lot about that guy when your family engages in a deep spiritual conversation. There is truly a plethora of everyday activities, conversations, and nuances in the Christian family that make it only natural that the children look for someone with whom they can share the passion that dwarfs all other interests.
We are counting on our theory that the job of getting faithful sons-in-law and godly daughters-in- law is 95% complete when we successfully place real conviction in the hearts of our sons and daughters. The devil is very assertive in America in 2010.. If our children grow up with their affections on heaven (Col.3:2),  it will not be an accident.  Furthermore, if they grow up to be morally pure adults, they will be very dissimilar to the average person of the world (I Pet. 2:9).  For distinctive young Christian adults, moral and spiritual priorities will serve as fences, seriously narrowing the field of potential mates.  While this thinning of prospective candidates for marriage is a good thing, it may make the process of finding him be arduous, perhaps even daunting. It may mean going out of your way, flexing your schedule, or even traveling to places where faithful people come together: Christian colleges, lectureships, seminars, and fellowship activities. The decision of whom to marry is larger than life. Its ramifications affect destinies of generations and reach to eternity.  While the stakes are very high, we, as parents must remember that, while we may give advice, we are not in charge of the final decision. But we have a very powerful ally in our corner.  God, who pities us like a father pities his children (Psa.103:13), has promised that when we ask according to His will, he hears and answers(I John 5:14). I believe it is His will that my children marry people who will help them go to heaven. So I will keep on asking daily. I really want God to help choose the two people who will be helping to raise my smart and beautiful grandchildren.  He has never failed to give me the spiritual desires of my heart as I delight in Him (Psa. 37:4).
As my husband and I wait on the Lord with eager hearts of hope, we are overcome with a sense of wonder at His amazing care. We know that He is preparing another stage of our lives in which He has potential blessings the richness of which we don’t yet have the capacity to fully anticipate. We believe there are two things that, by the grace of God, parents can do to help insure the marital security of their children. The first is to daily teach, by your words, your priorities, your own marriage relationships, and your cumulative reactions to the immorality of the world around you.  The second is to fervently pray for your children: that their major choices in life will always be those which will ultimately lead the future generations of your family to heaven.  The first one is the hardest.  It is also urgent because it is a fleeting responsibility. Parents have one span of about eighteen short years (the shortest span of your lifetime!) to fulfill this huge and sacred responsibility.  The second is the one we never stop doing.

*Article first appeared in THINK magazine, Focus Press, Brentwood, TN

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"Someday My Prince Will Come" – West Huntsville Purity Day

One Sunday night, not too long ago, several of our teen girls approached me after services and wanted to know if I would speak for an event they had decided to plan. Well, how often do you get the opportunity to respond to the spiritual initiative of a group of teen girls these days? These teen girls are planning a purity day. They have planned a program, made invitations, designed t-shirts and flyers, made a huge wall mural, and planned food and decorations. They are hosting the event. I am just speaking. Well, I already had a fairly bulging speaking schedule for the months ahead. But do you think I was going to pass up this opportunity? Not when they tell me they want an emphasis on modesty. Not when they are trying to think of activities that will really help them grow. Not when their purpose is to help teen girls plan strategies to maintain holiness and purity. As long as there are girls who want to put this message out, I plan to do all I can to help them! In fact, they honor me by even asking. Most importantly, they are honoring God in their diligence to make this happen. Kudos, then, to Meredith, Jordan, Emily, Cara, Jessica, and Kristen. They are the girls who just completed the GIFTS program for Lads to Leaders; the study that sparked this event. And special thanks to Ellen and Bethany and the moms who are working, too, to make this day a success.

So we’ve all gotten busy and now it’s almost time. We’ve put the word out to as many as possible. Flyers were displayed at Horizons Camp at FHU and distributed at the Southern Evangelism Conference last weekend in Birmingham. We mailed out 120 to congregations and girls are passing them out at school and to their friends. We’ve promised free housing to out of town groups that come. We already have groups signed up from Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee. But in case you haven’t yet been invited, consider this your invitation. Make your reservations now. We hope to see you there!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Hannah Colley

The post today is a reprint of an article written by Hannah for her university newspaper, The Bell Tower. While it may seem to be a lightweight piece with little spiritual relevance, I believe it does make application of a scriptural concept. In Titus 2, godly older women are commanded to teach younger women some basics of Christian womanhood. These lessons are staples of lots of what you read on this blog. Among the principles to be passed from older to younger women are those of chastity and discretion. So the topic of pursuer or pursued in romantic relationships is the one she addresses. When I thought about what she wrote here, it occurred to me that discretion and chastity within marriage might well be a lot easier to come by if girls were accustomed to some prudent dating practices prior to walking down that aisle. So I decided to print her thoughts. Her regular feature article, by the way, is entitled His View / Her View. Thus, her references to Brad, who always takes the other side of every issue.

Dating Initiating?

When Brad and I decided on this week’s topic, I warned him that I’m definitely a traditionalist on the issue. As I understand it, Brad’s vision seems to be that all girls desert whatever they’ve learned about etiquette in dating and do things the “modern way.” If a girl likes a guy, she should call him up herself and ask him out. She should have no problem initiating a relationship, nor should she have any problem paying for dates.

Frankly, I couldn’t disagree more. I realize I’m old fashioned. I’m not oblivious to this fact. I still, however, believe there’s a lot to be said for chivalry—whatever is left of it. I truly believe that, deep down, every girl wants to be sought after. She wants to be chosen, pursued, and cherished as something special. At the same time, I think Brad is wrong about guys, too. I think the guys worth having are the ones who are willing to actively pursue what is worth the most to them.

Girls, do you want to have to always wonder whether he would have asked you out if you didn’t make the first move? Do you want to have to wonder whether he really liked you or whether he just acted interested because you made the first move?

As a true dating conservative, I’m not embarrassed to say that if I like a guy, he’ll never know it unless he shows obvious signs of interest. I don’t call guys, I don’t text first, and I certainly never ask them out. I know what you’re thinking—that’s why I’m single (it’s okay, I can take a hit), but in all reality, I view dating that way because if a guy isn’t wiling to take a risk and ask me himself, I’d rather not have him. I’m not that desperate. If a guy truly respects me, he won’t make me do the work. He’ll want to chase me…and deep down, every girl wants to be chased.

Speaking of chasing, I once heard a devotional by the great Lonnie Jones, who demanded that all the guys in the audience listen up, because he wanted them to hear this sentence: “Stop chasing the easy ones. Chaste girls want to be chased…and they’re the ones that are truly worth your time.”

As far as the money issue is concerned, if the guy can’t afford to pay for our dates, we’ll have Gano (university cafeteria) dates and picnics. We’ll go stargazing and watch movies under a warm blanket. We’ll take long walks and play games. But we won’t do things that cost money. The girl should never have to pay for a date. It throws our roles as male and female completely off-balance. It’s not about the money—it’s the principle of the matter.

I’m currently enrolled in Donald Shull’s King Arthur class, and in one of my readings about this time period, I ran across this description:

“Every knight in Britain who was noted for valor had clothing and arms identical in color, and the women had exquisitely matching garments. They deigned to love no man until he was three times proven in military combat. Thus, the women were made more chaste, and the knights more valiant because of their love of them.”

How much better and more appreciated would relationships be today if people had to work for them—if people set them in high esteem as something to be cherished, reverenced, and placed on a pedestal as they did back then? I realize we’re no longer living in Medieval times, but some things are simply timeless—or they should be, anyway.

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Don’t Kiss Toads

Toads are really nasty creatures.
With totally boogey-eyed wart-y features.
They’re lazy and they eat gross stuff,
Until their throats and bellies puff.
They don’t mind slime or mud or muck.
Sometimes, they hop in a pick-up truck!
If you grab one, you don’t have him long.
He wriggles and squiggles and slips out. He’s gone!
And you are left with slimy fingers
And a swampy smell that ‘s putrid and lingers.
And Grandma says you may get warts,
Cuz’ “that’s what happens to a toad’s cohorts.”
Maybe you’re okay with walking out on that log
Reaching in the “yuck” and grabbin’ that frog.
‘Cuz you’ve heard that tale about how you can change him…
Clean him up spic, teach him tricks, rearrange him.
You’re not worried at all. You’re a girl with good sense.
So you go ahead and kiss him and then he’s YOUR…

TOAD.

by
C. Colley