I read today on the news how Paris Hilton and her boyfriend Benji Madden had separated. Hilton said that she loves him, and added, “He’s such an amazing man and he’s my best friend and he’s been so great to me and so loyal. We’ll always be very close. We’ll see what happens in the future.”
She blamed their busy schedules: “This was a decision we made together as two adults,” she said. “Right now we are just taking a break.” How sad, I thought! How cheap and convenient the ideal of love and romance is in this day and age.
What comes to your mind when I say the words: “True Love”?
Is it enjoying spending time with another person? The flutter of the heart when you gaze into your sweethearts beautiful eyes? A feeling that somebody is valuable or important to you?
The truth is that none of the above are true love. Let me take you on a journey of discovery, delving into a Sacred Romance, and discovering what true love really is. Breathe deeply the words of this article, because within them lie the power to save your future marriage, – even before you begin dating!
I love spending quality time with my parents. To be with them with them is often like a breath of fresh air in a stale world. They love each other, – not as Romeo and Juliet, but in a much greater, more meaningful way… They show and demonstrate what love truly is.
Still living at home, most Saturday nights I join my parents for one of the highlights of our weekend, – that trip for an evening meal to Nandos, – a Peri-Peri chicken restaurant… and as far as I know, – the best chicken restaurant on the planet.
The Peri-Peri sauce can be doused on your chicken in three spicy variations: ‘medium’, ‘hot’ and ‘extra hot’, – yet none of these flavours can compare to the love of my parents.
You are probably thinking, oh, how romantic… an evening with candlelight… soft music playing in the background… star-lit sky…
None of the above… Nandos is a busy, semi-fast food restaurant that sells tasty chicken. There are no candle lit tables, the atmosphere is loud, and the starlit sky usually has a thick bandage of ‘overcast’ between us and it!
The truth is: love and romance is not reliant on the atmosphere that we are in, but instead the atmosphere we choose to make.
A Giving Heart
My mom loves carrot juice and since Nandos doesn’t sell carrot juice, my dad creates the ‘love’ atmosphere by occasionally disappearing to a nearby restaurant to buy some carrot juice and bringing it back to the restaurant we were in. My mom embellishes this ‘love’ atmosphere by holding his hand, conversing lovingly and showing him value.
It’s a sad misnomer that people assume true love is something they will one day find. True love is not something to go out into the world and search for. It is not found we meet our ‘perfectly’ compatible soul mate. That person does not exist!
Instead true love is something we give of our self and plant into another imperfect persons life to grow.
Laying Down our Life for One Another Creates True Love
True love is laying down our own life of ’self’, ’singleness’ and ‘independance’. We can then gift it to another person whom we ‘choose’ to love.
Jesus showed us what true love was by laying down His life for us.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)
My dad truly loves my mom and will go to the endth degree, just to buy her a gift he knows she loves – like carrot or pomegranate juice. She respects and values him, often giving up her own single life and wants to be there for him, to cook Him dinner, to iron His shirts. She will wake up early in the morning to make a smoothie for him and the family.
These are the actions of true love: To put one’s self out for another, to sacrifice our own wants and comforts for another, and to build ‘one’ life together.
I have lost count of the many dating and marriage relationships I have seen suffer, – and even fall apart. Sadly the main reason is because precious people do not realise that in order for a relationship to work, it requires two people selflessly giving up their previously single lives to become one team – for one reason: The glory of God!
We get so used to our single ‘fringe benefits’ life, that when God wants to move us on to another season of our lives with our one soul mate, we may kick and scream about it. We may enjoy the snow of winter so much that when beautiful spring comes along, it feels hot and claustrophobic.
My mom and dad are my heroes. Together they have one aim in life – to serve God together and see people transformed through the power of Jesus. They work as a team toward this goal. Anything or any person that drives them away from this team vision must be left behind for this sacred romance to continue.
Are they perfect? No! They mess up like all of us… but they know they need to focus on building up others in Christ, their own relationship, and their family through the power of Jesus.
They have had to make enormous decisions to keep this sacred romance alive. Whether it be travelling to another country, withdrawing from dangerous friends, or turning down amazing personal opportunities, – anything that drove a wedge into their sacred romance needed to be minimized.
Hard times provide an opportunities for true love to thrive!
True love does not require life to be easy-going in order to blossom. In fact, it will blossom in the most difficult circumstances. My parents had ten kids without fully considering the cost. Life was difficult at times on the small five acre plot of land where we had pet cows, chickens, and at times, very little money.
When my parents met, my mom sacrificed her aim of becoming a nurse for my father. She became a teacher instead. Later in life my dad gave up one of his life-long dreams for her.
They have lived in multiple countries and if I told you some of the harrowing experiences they have endured, you might wonder how on earth they are still together, in love, committed to each other, and God.
In difficult times, people don’t always agree. Whenever they allow their own wants or desires to dominate, true love disapears. When they are critical of each other, the relationship starts to wither. It is only when they sacrifice their own wants and speak the best of each other that this sacred romance can really thrive.
Sacrificing our own life to find the ‘Soul’ in Soul mate
How many dating/courting relationships do you know that are totally selfless?
It’s common for us to search for that person of our dreams who will sweep us off our feet.
Instead it is when ‘we’ selflessly sweep that ‘other’ person off their feet that we can ‘ourselves’ experience true love. When one person does all the sweeping off their feet, they get exhausted. When two people work as one team choosing to sweep each other off their feet, it is effortless and sheer bliss!
How many marriages do you know where both people choose to lay down their own wants for their mate? I think if we truly knew and acted out God’s selfless love, we wouldn’t have so many divorces and breakups.
True love is only to be found when we learn to truly give, to lay our lives down for those we say we love. For those of us that are unmarried, – it is up to us now to learn how to truly love selflessly with our friends, family and soul mate, – and in turn save our future marriage – before we even start courting!
Jesus showed us how to do it!
If we are truly Christian’s, we will give up our old lives and totally surrender them to live for Christ in His power. Only when we become nothing… and He becomes everything, can the power of the Christian life be experienced.
Paul likens the relationship of Christ and Christians to a husband and wife. A husband should sacrifice, give his all for his wife – just like Jesus, Paul says.
A wife in turn should submit to the Godly leadership of her husband, being cared for, giving up her own independence – just like Christian’s should give their all for Jesus.
I feel so sorry for the many guys and girls who see this true love as ‘control’. Instead its Gods way to a sacred romance, a fulfilling relationship that Jesus himself demonstrated to us.
God wants to give us the most amazing relationships with our soul mate that lead to a great marriage… but it is up to us to be willing to make it happen!
It is foolish to say we will only give up our independence and single life after we get married!
The truth is: Getting married doesn’t change much in a relationship, – other than the ability to have physical intimacy.
If we are in a serious dating relationship, we should be training ourselves to live as ‘one’ team for God’s glory – ahead of time.
Surrendering our Life to Jesus allows us to Sacrifice our Life for the Soul Mate He gives to us
We cannot give up our own selfish single lives for a soul mate until we truly come to the end of ourselves. The start of the journey is to make the decision to lose our life and find it in Christ.
Let’s be inspired today to selflessly surrender our own single, independent lives to God… – and only then we can selflessly lay our lives down for those that he puts in our life!
Let’s stop trying to find the right match and instead be the right match. If two people try to find the right match, – they can go through their whole lifetime searching for the perfect person who doesn’t exist.
If two people work to be the right match, that’s selfless, giving, – and it will last a lifetime when they find their ‘imperfect’ soul mate.- by Stephen Ernst (www.sloppynoodle.com)
The Gateway to a Blessed Life: Honoring Parents
Honor = Value
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3 (New Living Translation)
When God said we should honor our parents – He wasn’t joking. When he said it will be well for us if we do… He meant it: You can stand on that promise in faith to be blessed in school, in business, in marriage, … in every aspect of life. God was serious when he said we would live a long life if we honour our parents. You can stand in faith on that promise too.
In John Bevere’s series “Honor’s reward”, he tells us what the word honor means:
Honor comes from the Greek word: ‘time’. Its literal definition is: a valuing
To honor something means you consider it to be valuable, weighty, precious such as gold. You have appreciation for it, hold it in esteem, favourable regard and respect.
What does it mean to not honor?
The opposite of honour is ‘dishonor’ – to not show respect or value. To treat as common. To treat as ordinary.
You can dishonor something it if is common, light and easily done away with (such as vapour)
Did I honor my parents? Am I honoring my parents?
What is your relationship with your parents like?
Do you treat your both or one of your parents as:
Perhaps you have heard somebody say about their relationship with their parent: “We are good – not too close – but good”
It’s not alright to be ‘just okay’ with your father or mother. We need to absolutely cherish our parents, be crazy about them – even if we don’t feel like it… Because chances are thats how you will treat your future mate. Remember, even if they were terrible parents, they are still valuable enough for God himself to come down and die to save. It is never too late to start honoring and valuing our parents. It may be difficult, but it will be priceless time spent investing in the years to come after they are gone.
[Most names used in stories have been changed to protect identities]
8 Good Reasons to Have Sex Now
-by Julie Ferwerda
Hey, why wait? Those are all some pretty good reasons to have sex. I mean, you could have said you want to have sex to use each other, or to give somebody else that lingering infection because you shouldn’t have to suffer alone, or even the old overused excuse, “everybody else is doing it!” But no, your reasons are pretty good, aren’t they? To go along with these carefully thought out reasons, here are some of the great “benefits” of getting sexually involved now, before you get married.
You’re going to get hurt
No matter how you look at it, even when you have good reasons to do it, premarital sex hurts…a lot. If you are a guy, you might think it’s just the girl who gets hurt, but you’re only partly right. The girl will get hurt, because she has this uncontrollable tendency to attach her heart to any guy she gives her body to, unless she’s already been made cold-hearted from the pain of offering her body to be used so many times that she doesn’t care anymore.
But as a guy, you will get hurt too. By indulging in non-committed sensual pleasures, you will be setting yourself up for a lifetime of comparisons that will hound your thoughts and make you unable to be content in your most valuable future earthly relationship—your marriage. The guilt you’ll have—and there is always guilt eventually—will eat you up so badly that you will be a target for addictions or avoidance that will prevent any true intimacy in this life.
Both you and your girl will be hurt in another way that you never anticipated. Someday, if you marry each other, she will likely have respect issues and resentment toward you for not valuing her body enough to protect her purity. How will this hurt you? Not only will you have to deal with a resentful wife, but sex will be the tool that she withholds from you. Then you will resent her and the vicious cycle begins.
Your future is going to get messed up
You already know that teens get pregnant, teens get abortions, and teens get STD’s. Those are all ways that your life can get messed up now and stay that way for a long time. But other long term effects are hard to measure. If you sleep together now and end up getting married, it’s likely from all the statistics that you won’t stay married. And let me tell you from experience, divorce is one of the hardest things you will ever try to survive on this earth. When you split the lives and history you’ve built together, it’s like your heart has been ripped in two. If you have kids together, double the pain. The Bible says that when you got married, you became ONE flesh. The only way to separate one flesh is to rip it in half, leaving gaping, bleeding wounds.
God is going to get pushed out of your life
There’s no way around it. When you are living to please yourself and ignoring God, He isn’t going to force Himself on you. That means that you aren’t going to have His help, His encouragement, His direction, or His awesome plans working out in your life. You might think you’re having fun for awhile, but eventually, living for yourself is going to hurt. You will end up lonely, depressed, hopeless, purposeless, and passionless. That’s because you can’t ignore God for long and enjoy your life. You can try, but you will never be peaceful or satisfied. It is impossible. The Bible says in Romans 8:7, 8, “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. (NLT)”
Something better than “good”
Oh, oh…those good reasons to have sex don’t look so good anymore. Thank goodness that there are some even better reasons not to have sex. The better reasons are so much better for you and your future, that they reveal an amazing truth: Your “good” reasons to have sex now, instead of waiting until you are married, are actually bad reasons.
Remember that God loves you and only wants the best for you. His directions for you to stay pure are not to keep something from you, but to help you experience the very best He has to offer. He’s the one who created love and sex. Follow His directions for using it and it will be the best it can be.
4 Tips To choose “Better”
1. Never rely on your feelings when making decisions. Feelings change from day to day and living by them will get you into trouble. They can’t be trusted. God’s unchanging truth in His Word and wise counsel from mature believers will help you make good decisions.
2. Never believe anyone who is trying to get you to violate your relationship with God. If a guy promises he will marry you someday to get you into bed, tell him that “someday” will never happen and say goodbye. He isn’t interested in your heart; he only wants your body. If a girl is trying to entice you with sexy clothes and behavior, she is a trap and the best way out is to do what vigilant young men of the Bible did: run away fast!
3. Guys: Always remember that sex is not love and it doesn’t prove your love. What proves your love is when you sacrifice your selfish desires that hurt your relationship with God or the well-being of a girl whose purity you are supposed to protect. Be a man and say no to sex. Any animal can say yes but it takes a real man to say no and wait.
4. Girls: Always put your security in Jesus alone. You don’t need a guy to be complete and happy. You will only find the wrong kind of guy with that attitude and you will end up more alone and more unhappy than ever. And if you are trying to get a guy to sleep with you so that you can manipulate him into staying with you, it won’t work. You will be the loser in this game.
Reprinted with permission of Julie Ferwerda
COOL LINKS **********************************
Love is not love...
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.