- T.B. LaBerge // Go Now (via kvtes)
God is a God of Second Chances-and third and fourth and even more chances. He loves you. God’s approval is not based on your achievements. It is based solely on the fact that you are His child and He sees the best in you. There is nothing you can do, and there’s nothing anyone else can do, that will ever change your value in God’s eyes. But you have to do your part. Quit over-analyzing your faults; stop taking an inventory of everything wrong with you. You make mistakes, ask for forgiveness and then move on. Don’t become overly concerned if you are not changing as quickly as you would like. Stay focused on what you can become, and God will get you to where you need to be.
This is so beautiful!
-When emotions are leading the way, spiritual oneness cannot be developed. When we are careening along on the unpredictable river of feelings, the current takes control and sweeps us in whatever direction it wants. We are no longer able to allow Christ to be in total control of the relationship. The other dangerous aspect to consider is that emotional oneness – at its peak – desires to be expressed through physical touch. When emotions are allowed to run rampant, physical temptation becomes all the more intense and harder to control.
-The great thing about first having a season of Christ-centered friendship is that a spiritual foundation can begin to develop before those emotions ever get in the way. In a friendship, there is not as much temptation to present only our best side to the other person in hopes that they will like us. We are free to simply be ourselves. We are able to see the other person for who they really are – rather than a smoothed-over, third-date version of their real self.
-Emotional and physical intimacy can be enjoyed at their fullest when spiritual intimacy comes first!
· Remember who your first Love is designed to be, Christ and Christ alone.
· So often I feel that we let our earthly relationships with our significant other stand in the way of our relationship with the Creator Himself. We feel that the other person can fill a void in our lives or a specific longing to be loved by someone else. We forget who was the One who designed love as it should be. We begin to place our relationship with our boyfriend/girlfriend above our relationship with God. We begin to place our faith in our earthly relationship instead of faithfully placing our earthly relationship in the hands of God. "But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had first. Remember therefore where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent." Revelation 2:4-5
· Keep Christ at the center of your own life, in order to keep it at the center of your relationship-The only way to do this is for each of you individually having Christ the center of your own life. This means faithful time in His word, time in prayer, worship, rest, and staying connected to a group of other believers. Both parties in a relationship need to individually be pursuing a relationship with Christ and actively seeking to grow in your faith.
"Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”” -Matthew 22:37-38
· Know your intentions-dating was created for the intent to marry. It is important to really ask yourself the tough questions before jumping in a relationship and investing your heart. The most healthy way to go about dating with the intent to marry is to spend time getting to know one another before dating, and making sure that you both are on the same page about the future. God’s ways are not our ways, they are far better and the way.
· Set up healthy boundaries for you- Each couple is different, and that you need to spend time talking about the boundaries you each feel are necessary in your own relationship. Obviously, you want to set yourself up for success and avoid putting yourself in tempting situations.
”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23
"Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." -1 Timothy 4:12
Simply put, be careful with physical affection. A relationship can easily turn sinful if physical bonding occurs too quickly. Marriage is the union that brings man and woman together; therefore, remain pure and holy for your future husband or wife. "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others, keep yourself pure." 1 Timothy 5:22
· Have mentors and friends that pour into your life, and hold you accountable-When Mark and I started dating, I was in a bible study and I asked my mentor to hold me accountable to keeping our relationship pure. I gave them permission to ask me about it. It is helpful to have people in different stages of life who are willing to give you wisdom and wise counsel as you seek the Lord in your relationship.
"Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” -Proverbs 19:20-21
· Pray for each other and read the Word of God together and privately- If you want to have a Christ-centered relationship, there is nothing better than studying the Bible together! Get yourself a devotional or Bible study-guide, and make it a point to unwrap the beauty of God’s word as a couple and individually. Not only will this deepen your personal relationships, but it will always help you and your significant other grow closer to Christ. “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” -Charles Spurgeon. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” -James 5:16
· Serve Together- Whether it be in a local church, food-pantry or homeless shelter, I’d recommend you and your significant other serve together in one way or another. Not only will you be able to see each serve in ways of selflessness, but it will be a great opportunity to see each other get used by the hands of God.“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” -Galatians 5:13
· Worship Together-Whether you are at a local church, conference or sitting in your living-room, worshipping God is available no matter the circumstance. Take time to worship God through words, writing, music, or even prayer. Allow yourself to freely express your love for God with your significant other. Come together in this time and selflessly place your heart in the hands of God.I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.
How then shall we date?
· Men ought to protect and provide for their wife (Ephesians 5:25–29). Women ought to help and submit to their man (Genesis 2:18; Ephesians 5:22–24). Fathers ought to lead their families in God’s word (Ephesians 6:4). Parents must love and raise their children in the faith (Deuteronomy 6:7). So admittedly we are looking for more than an attractive person who “loves Jesus.”
· Marriage is about knowing God, worshiping God, depending on God, displaying God, being made like God. God made man and woman in his image and joined them together, giving them unique responsibilities to care for one another in their broken, but beautiful union.
· What makes marriage worth having is that you, your spouse, and those around you see more of God and his love for us in Jesus. If you’re not experiencing that with your boyfriend/girlfriend, break up with them. If that’s not our priority, we need to get a new game plan and probably a new scorecard for our next significant other.
· Look for clarity more than intimacy-The great prize in dating is Christ-centered clarity. Intimacy is safest in the context of marriage, and marriage is safest in the context of clarity. The purpose of our dating is determining whether the two of us should get married, so we should focus our effort there.
· Sexual sin may be the devil’s weapon of choice in corrupting Christian relationships. If you don’t acknowledge your enemy and engage him, you’ll find yourselves wondering how you lost so easily. Some of our best friends in the battle will be the boundaries we set to keep us pure.
· Do the people in each of your lives know and love Jesus more because you’re together? Do they see God’s grace and truth working in you and your relationship as you walk through life together? Are the two of you thinking proactively about how to bless your friends and family and point them to Christ? More and more, as the world is watering down dating, your relationship can be a provocative picture of your fidelity to Christ and a call to follow him.
ASK the Lord what He thinks our boundaries should be – and then live out of that conviction. We’re always looking for a list of rules, “how far can we go?”, when what we need to be asking is “How can I honor you, Jesus?”The only starting point for decisions in this area is #1 Knowing who you are, #2 Knowing who you belong to.
· Heavy kissing/French kissing and “petting” (I hate that word, but don’t know how else to say it – “making out”?) is almost universally accepted as “normal” activity in a dating relationship – Christian or non-Christian.On the other hand, no married couple that I know kisses as an activity – married couples kiss hello and good bye, and as a sign of affection. But if they make out, they’re going to have sex. There’s no sitting on the couch, making out, “petting” (see? It’s a gross word!), then saying goodnight and going to sleep, or going about business. If French kissing happens, it’s part of the whole deal. SO abstain before marriage! Just know that much of what is acceptable dating activity, even among Christians, is actually designed to lead your body and your mind to having sex. To use a camping analogy: If you set up your tent on that steep of a slope, you should not be surprised when/if you begin to slide quickly downhill.
· Your purity (and mine) were bought with a PRICE, by the blood of Christ on the cross. We are not pure because of the decisions we make, but because of the Lord who paid for us. There is no darkness that He cannot light. There is no dirt that He cannot wash clean. If you’ve trusted in Christ, then you are FORGIVEN, CLEANSED, and PURE. Please do not believe the lie that you are not good enough. Look to Jesus, who knows all the parts of your past, present, and future – and loves you completely. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. -1 Corinthians 6:19-20