Monday, September 29, 2008

Youthful Romance... Dangers of Dating... Part 2

(Please make sure to read part 1 before this continuance...)

We need not only to focus on chastity
(as mentioned in part 1);
but romance opposed, to not only physical ,

but emotional purity.

Does God have a design there? I believe He does.

This is where the second part of 1 Thess. 4:6 comes in.
“That no man go beyond and defraud his brother

in any matter…”

He not only tells us ‘do not go beyond’,

but also ‘do not defraud’.
What does it mean to defraud?
In businesses, what is defrauding?
Essentially, it’s leading the other party to believe something
and make decisions based on assumptions that aren’t true.
You’re “ripping someone off”.
You’re cheating them by leading them
to believe something that’s not true.

In the area of relations between men and women,
is it possible for one or both parties to defraud each other?
To lead them on?
It certainly is! We call it ‘flirting’.
Paul is saying “Don’t even flirt!”
Now what about dating?
Let's say a married woman and a married man
(not married to each other) wanted to 'go out'.
But they say, “Well, it's nothing physical.
We don’t mean anything that’s really wrong.
Just kind of ‘getting to know each other’;

‘developing a friendship’.”
You’re not suppose to have that kind of relationship
with someone else’s spouse!

What kind of relationship is right
for one’s spouse to have with another’s?

What about the relationship

of one’s daughter and the other’s son?
Paul specifically wrote to Timothy about relations.
He said to treat older men as fathers, older women as mothers,
and to treat the young women like sisters!
Siblings?! How do treat siblings?

Or better, how should you treat siblings? :)
The thought of being romantic with a sibling
of the opposite sex is rather repulsive!
They may be a great person and all,

but… the thought of kissing that sibling?
No! No way! You don’t treat a sibling like that! Yuck!
Flirting with a sibling? No way! That’s abhorrent!
Paul says the young women and men are to treat each
other like brothers and sisters in the Lord.
We need to make the decision not to be
seeking each other out, but seeking the Lord.

There does come a time, however,

when God wants a man and woman
to move beyond the brother/sister-in-Christ relationship.
So how do we get there?
In our culture it's often said,

“Forget treating them like brother and sister –
treat them like prospects.”
And so many times young men and women

are looking for prospects…
And not just looking, but teasing each other,

and flirting with each other.
Leading each other on and defrauding one another.
Is there a better way?

A good idea would be to do a whole Bible study
for yourself on the topic of dating.
So, here comes the concordance:
D… D-a… D-a-t… dating… it’s not there!
God doesn’t say anything about dating,
so anything goes, right?
Not at all!
There is a phrase repeated in the Bible,
“given in marriage.”
Now that implies ownership.
How can you give something you don’t own?
But who owns what when God talks about

being ‘given in marriage’?

In weddings you clearly see it is the father,
but that’s not really real; just a formality-

everyone knows it was the bride’s choice, right?
Well, instance after instance the Bible shows that
there was parental involvement in marriages.
Lots of Scripture implies that parents need
to have some say in this whole thing.

Why, the Bible doesn’t say anything about dating!
Dating is a sin!

It’s giving ‘occasion to the flesh’! (Gal. 5:13; Rom. 13:14)

Here are some things that helped us come to the conclusion
that dating is, in fact, a sin.
1st argument can be historically.
Where did dating come from?
Dating is a real recent phenomenon; something new in history.
It hasn’t always happened.
Even as near as 100 years ago, the man went to the girl’s father.
The father would then ask, “Are your intentions honorable?”
Now what did he mean by that question?
What did he mean by ‘honorable’?
He really meant,
“Are you committing yourself to marrying her?”
And if the young man couldn’t convince the father
that that was his intention,
he wasn’t allowed to see the girl!
Essentially, he was proposing to the father!
Before any social interaction between

the young lady and himself.
Well, unfortuneately, not too many people

are impressed with or interested in that answer,
so we move on.

Before we move on, let’s define our terms.
We currently practice something we call dating.
Well, essentially, we can define dating as:
A social relationship between and guy and girl
that both parties understand to be temporary.

It’s a temporary romantic relationship.
Now both parties may harbor the hope that it may
some day grow into something more permanent,

or they might not.
But in any case, they both understand it to be temporary here.
And the whole focus is enjoying each other now.
Even if you have ‘high moral standards’;
and intend that ‘you’re not going to cross the line’,

still, the whole focus is on current, temporary enjoyment.

Now to propose an alternative – betrothal.
Some would say, “What about ‘courtship’?”
Courtship has, for the most part, become
‘Christian’ dating! – still no permanent commitment.
Now, betrothal doesn’t necessarily mean
that the parents make an alliance with a complete stranger
or someone you particularly don’t want to marry.
It really means that a man and woman are
committed to marry each other
before having any romantic relationship.

Now, let’s go back to dating.
Typically, a guy sees a girl he ‘likes’ and asks her ‘out’.
They go out and maybe talk or something or other…
it’s just so fun to them!
They want to do it again. So, another date and more follow…
soon, the things that were so special at first

start getting a bit dull.
Say they move on to something new… slowly.
Maybe they hold hands, sit with each other in church, etc…
They just keep rolling downhill, but how do they stop?
Well, they decide it best to ‘brake up’.

This hurts and is very painful.
So, he decides soon after to ask a different girl out…
they have fun, but it wasn’t the same

as the first time he’d gone out.
And they could ‘move forward’
a little easier and quicker than the first time.
People watch and are saying,
“Awww, how cute! They’re preparing for marriage!”


‘Breaking up’ and pairing off

is more preparation for divorce than marriage!
There is much pain and wounding.
Do we need to see youth groups as ‘happy hunting grounds’?
Where you’re either the hunter or the hunted-
where everyone is enticing each other,

flirting with each other …
We should, instead, be focusing on the Lord.
To seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and then trust that all other things will be added unto us.

God the Father knows what we need –
He’ll provide what we need…
at the right time!

Can we trust Him?

{{more to come next week}}

May we spend some heartfelt time
in deep meditation and prayer,
seeking God's Truths, will, and best...

in this, particular, area
as well as all areas of our lives.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. "
~ Psalm 139:23-24

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Thoughts...

Today we had a Nor'Easter intruding.
There was a tornado warning earlier
and we all sat around in the hallway for about 45 minutes.
I thank the Lord He answered our prayers and protected us!

Last week, though, we did have a few nice days of sunshine.
We took advantage of the weather and went to the ocean.
Here are the beautiful autumn Atlantic waves we enjoyed...

The children were excited to get their feet in the water...

Mom and I enjoyed sitting up on the shore,
reading and savoring the breezes and sounds of waves...

But I have to say my favorite thing at the beach
(besides the view of the water) is the sea oats!

These things are so cute and they seem to sing in the breeze!

Last Saturday we went to our friends' house
and surprised Mrs.C with a morning visit for her birthday!
We had a great time fellowshipping and had a nice time of tea.
Stephani and I enjoyed having a spot of tea with the moms.
Or should I say, a pot of tea! (several, actually!)
My mom recently got something called "Blooming tea".
It's very fascinating as you drop a 'tea ball'
into boiling water and it forms into a flower
while making green tea!
The flower is edible and it's very interesting to watch!

We tried quite a few different blooms...

The children enjoyed watching it bloom out of the ball too...

The tea tasted, particularly, good to me
that I didn't even need to add any sweetening!
(I usually need sugar, honey, and creamer!)

It was very fun to watch the flowers bloom
and to drink the tea it made!

This week we had revival at church with Dr. D.M Hardison.
It was a wonderful time of preaching and a visitor got saved!
Revival was definately refreshing to my soul

and revived my spirit!

Lately I've really been fiddling and playing my,
(as our assistant pastor says), my 'one man bluegrass band' ;)
violin, guitar, and banjo.
I like to arrange hymns with my guitar, banjo, and fiddle.
Unfortunately, I can't play them all at once,
so I sometimes record the separate parts

and put them together.
I've also been playing a few Irish jigs on my fiddle.
Maybe I'll record it and post it sometime.

Tomorrow holds, Lord willing,

a rainy day with our 'Friday Friends'.
Well, I hope you enjoy your weekend!

"What shall I render unto the LORD
for all his benefits toward me?"
Psalms 116:12

Monday, September 22, 2008

Youthful Romance... Dangers of Dating... Part 1

Over the next few weeks, I'd like to share something I wrote last week.
...derived from a sermon by Johnathon Lindvall
with added notes by me.
**Disclaimer: I do not, necessarily, recommend his sermons
nor do I agree with everything he says, however,
the principles are still based on Truths **

Romance is one of the most wonderful things God made.
What do we do with wonderful, valuable things??
The more valuable your treasures,

the higher your fences around them –
you guard them!

God has placed some very high fences

around this wonderful treasure He created.
God intended a relationship between a male and female
not only for the passing on of life, but for pleasure as well.
But God has placed some strong Scripture against its misuse…
Such as “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and many other
scriptures against adultery and fornication.
What pretty much sets in many a Christian young person’s mind –
OK... adultery... fornication…bad!

I’m not suppose to do those things!
But let’s define our terms. How far can I go? Where is the line?

So many times we can read a book or listen to a tape
or sermon on ‘How far can I go’; but realize that everyone
has a slightly different answer. And sometimes not so slightly!
Even in Christian circles there is a wide diversity
of viewpoints on ‘How far can I go’.
This does not mean there isn’t a firm answer.
Just because opinions differ

doesn’t mean that God hasn’t spoken on this issue.

Let’s really try to address this issue from God’s Word;
Let’s look at what God’s Word says.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 He says,
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification,
that ye should abstain from fornication:
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel
in sanctification and honour;
Not in the lust of concupiscence,

even as the Gentiles which know not God:
That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter:
because that the Lord is the avenger of all such,
as we also have forewarned you and testified.”

Now there’s a problem with this question “How far can I go” –
Anyone who has any wisdom in the Lord

can tell what’s implied by this question.
It’s really saying “Tell me where the line is, and I’m going
to get as close to that line as I can without crossing over.

Is that pleasing to God? NO!
God wants us to give Him our hearts; where we would say,
What would be God’s ideal?

How much can I possibly please God?
Let’s go for God’s ideal- What is His highest standard?

In this passage (1 Thess. 4:6) there are 2 things
Paul says we are to be careful of.
That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter:
because that the Lord is the avenger of all such,
as we also have forewarned you and testified.

One is that we do not go beyond. And then he dropped it.
The other is that we do not defraud.

Let’s talk about them both.

Concerning ‘not going beyond

implies that even though this question
(‘how far can I go’) has some problems with it,
it is one that must be answered.
How can we ‘not go beyond’ if we don’t know where the line is?
Where’s that line?
And then we’ll come back to defrauding, because frankly,
that’s going to push the line even further – to the glory of God.

In Matthew 7:12 we have ‘The Golden Rule”:
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that
men should do to you, do ye even so to them…”

Let's illustrate with a story...

There was a well known Bible teacher who had a son
that was one night going on his 1st date.
Now, his son was really nervous, so he decided to ask
his dad if he could talk for a minute.

“Dad, I need some advice. I’ve never gone on a date before –
what should I do? Should I hold her hand?
Should I kiss her? What do you do on a date?”

“Well son, let me ask you a few questions.
Tell me, are you going to marry this girl?”

“Marry her?!?! Dad, it’s only a date! I mean, well,
it’s possible that some day I might marry her, but probably not!
No, no! I’m not going to marry her!”

“OK, fair enough, I just wanted to know.
Son tell me, if you don’t marry this girl,
is it possible someday you might get married?”

“Well, I think so. I’d like to be married some day.”

“OK. Well now, if you don’t marry this girl,
what are the chances of her marrying someone else?”

“Well, she’s a nice girl. She’ll probably get married some day.”

“OK. So tonight you’re taking out some girl
who’ll probably not be your wife.
And in fact, some day she’ll probably be someone else’s wife.
So- you’re taking out somebody else’s wife tonight!”

“Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way, dad.”

“Well, OK, I’m just thinking here.
You know son, if you don’t marry this girl,
that means you’ll marry some other girl.

What do you think the chances are that that girl,
whoever an wherever she is, could be going on a date?”

“I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose, maybe.”

“All right. Tell me son, what would you like the guy who is
taking out your future wife to do with her on a date?”

“Oh! I see! The golden rule!
Do unto others as you’d have them do to you.”

It’s very clear, isn’t it?
And yet that principle is so seldom applied to
romantic relationships in young people.
We don’t think in term of ‘property’ and ‘ownership’.

In 1 Corinthians 7:1, Paul takes it even further.

“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”

Now what things do you think the Corinthians
could have written to him about?
Maybe, just possibly, asking the question of “How far can I go?”
Now that’s a pretty straightforward answer! –
It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

We, parents and young people,

need to set our standards high, saying,
I’m going for God’s best.

That’s what God says; I’m going to do it!
Not touch? Well, what does that mean?
No holding hands? No shaking hands?!

Where do we draw the line?
In fact, the issue is not so much the physical.-
If you want to be safe in the physical area,
you have to take it further to what’s in your heart.
In Proverbs, the son was told not only to keep
his body from ‘strange women’, but was told to guard his heart!
The heart is the issue! Guard your heart!
Not only are we to be physically pure,
but we need to be emotionally pure.

{{more to come next week...}}

May we spend some heartfelt time
in deep meditation and prayer,
seeking God's Truths, will, and best.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Plan...

Since I rarely seem to find time to post,
I thought I'd set aside special days for it,
as an attempt to blog more regularly
and make good use of my time.

My plan is to post as follows (if able)...

EVERY MONDAY ~ A spiritual post
EVERY THURSDAY ~ An update post with photos

There may be a few impromptu posts here and there,
but I will try this schedule and see how it works out.
I hope you enjoy your weekend.

"See you" on Monday, Lord willing!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin