Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just doing my thing

Or should I say: “Isn’t God amazing?” Sometimes I walk into a room and I hear my husband talking to someone on the phone and my name will pop up. I always wonder, “Oh no! What is he telling someone now?” Come to find out, nine times out of 10 he’s talking about this blog.

Well, that gives me mixed feelings. Not in a negative way -- just in a weird, writer, creative person sort of way. I start off thinking, “Golly, I haven’t even updated it lately” and eventually work my way around to “Hopefully the person will go to the blog and be blessed.” It’s funny though because I just think of myself as minding my own business and doing my thing.

When I say I’m “just doing my thing” – I mean that I’m just doing what God lays on my heart to do. I don’t try to be anyone special or great or think that I know it all. I just feel like I’ve had some experiences and that God tells me some things that will bless other people like it’s blessing me.

Know what I mean?

So, what I’m encouraging you to do today is “just do your thing.” You don’t have to be all fancy or big time; just allow God to use you in your gift or allow Him to use you to be a blessing to someone else.

For instance, and I hope my daughter doesn’t mind me talking about her (she should be used to it by now :-]), my daughter was riding in the back of our minivan reading her bible. When I was getting out she said, “Guess what I just read?” Of course I said, “What?”

She said to sum it up, ‘You don’t have to be whole to heal someone.’

“Cool.” I said. (If you’re interested, I’ll ask her what scripture that was. I could pretend like I know, but remember I just said, “I’m just doing my thing.”)

The reason why that came up is because my daughter, who’s 15, has a very strong discernment especially when it comes to young people at her school. God will lay someone on her heart even if she doesn’t know them well and it will plague her until she does something about it.

Normally she’ll talk to me and I’ll say, “Ask them.” “Tell them.” “Talk to them.” Whatever seems appropriate. And when she does she’ll find out that what she had to say or share with them was right on time. Her dilemma was that she felt like she didn’t have it all together so how could she tell someone else or share with someone else or be there for someone else. But that’s what’s happens because she’s just doing her thing.

See what I mean?

Just do your thing and allow God to use you. Pray, read your bible and live a life that is as Christ-like as possible.

So as I’m sitting here writing some magazine articles, checking my email and trying to keep up with the life of a writer who happens to be a woman, mom and wife; I continue to just do my thing and hope that I can be a blessing to someone else in the process.

That seems appropriate – especially at this time of year that is supposed to remind us of the gift that God gave us in His son Jesus Christ. Enjoy your holiday season, do your thing and when you get a moment tell me all about it: Drop me a note.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Men are slower to recognize blessings than misfortunes. -- Titus Livius, Roman author & historian

Ut oh, don’t trip men, you know “men” equals “mankind.”

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Where have you been?

Today is the first day in over a month that I’ve visited my own blog! I can’t believe it has been so long. Although I apologize for being away; I’m not sure that I would have done any good had I tried to write an entry.

Before I get started, let me first say that I just read my previous post and I think it’s awesome! Please forgive a little patting on the back. The reason I say it is awesome is because I’ve been having such a hard time of things over the past month or so that when I read the post it ministered to me! How awesome is that that God would use something that I wrote to help others to also help me. That makes me think it was destined that particular post remained at the top for so long.

Well, let me tell you what’s been going on. Remember the quote by Robin McGraw that I used at the end of the last post? I’ve been feeling really strongly about making choices in my life instead of just going along for the ride. One of the choices I had decided to make (on the day after I finished reading her book) was to get a tubal ligation. To make a long story short, the day after my decision I found out I was pregnant.

If you know anything about me, you know that I have three children (four total with a stepson) and the youngest is just 22 months old. The next is 3 and the oldest is 15. I’m 38 and had no desire to be pregnant again. Well, here I am. I'm pregnant with baby number four. Mentally it has been quite an adjustment for me as well as physically. I’ve never felt this awful with any of my pregnancies so I’ve spent the last four weeks – give or take – laying on the couch and sleeping whenever I can.

I’ve procrastinated through deadlines. Allowed laundry to grow until it overtakes the laundry room. And whined, pouted and pleaded for things I’ve wanted or needed. Now as I start to feel a little bit like a human being, I knew it was time for me to get back into the swing of things… and that includes updating my blog.

It’s funny how situations in our lives will prove to test our faith, beliefs and ability to survive. In my condition, I’ve tried to think of the positive and not of everything that worries me about being pregnant at the age of 38.

In the end, I’ve been trying to think of God’s purpose and reason in this. Why did he allow me to get pregnant again? The only thing I can think of is that I must really be a good mommy for Him to bless me with another child. (Now don’t think I’ve forgotten about my husband, but since he’s not physically pregnant with the baby my thoughts are on being pregnant. My husband happens to be a very, very good dad. It’s kind of funny because although I may disagree with some of the things he does, I still see him as a very good father to his children. I know parents everywhere can relate to that.)

The same goes for you. Being single and celibate will prove to test your faith, beliefs and your ability to survive, but there is a purpose and a reason why God has allowed you to remain single. Or has put you in a position where you are now single. I encourage you to try and look at what’s positive about it. Try not to focus on being alone, that you’re still single at a certain age or that you “can’t” have sex. Instead think about all the quality time you can spend with God. Think about all the things you can do for yourself. Or just spend time doing what you want to do!

I pray that you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas. My goal is to not be away that long ever again, but if I am know that I still think about you. Feel free to send me an email (there’s a link to your right) or leave a comment. I’m always glad to hear from you.

“Growth is exciting; growth is dynamic and alarming. Growth of the soul, growth of the mind.” --Vita Sackville-West

Monday, October 30, 2006

Seek His Face Not His Hand

This subject – seeking God’s face – comes up so often that it’s something that obviously needs everyone’s in-depth attention. Why is seeking God’s face so important?

To answer this question I’ve been taking a look at myself. Maybe in taking this journey with me, you’ll realize or discover something about yourself.

The other day I was thinking about what I believe is the sorry state of certain material and/or financial things in my life. The house in disrepair. The dirty yard. The vehicles that need work. The lack of appropriate attire for every family member. And a couple of other things.

I don’t necessarily pray about these things regularly because I realize that God has provided for all my needs according to His riches, but it is on my mind. Hey, I’m human. So, when those things recently came to mind two things came up with it:

I am thankful that we have a home to live in, a yard to play in, cars to drive, clothes to wear, etc. And instead of focusing on what needs to be improved, changed, fixed or purchased, I can focus on being thankful that we aren’t homeless, wearing tattered, smelly clothes and walking everywhere we need to go.
When I seek God’s face and keep my focus on praising and worshipping Him it’s possible – extremely possible – that His glory will cloud all the material things making them seem less important and less apparent to me. And, ultimately, in the end changing our circumstances.

Oftentimes we can become so disappointed with our circumstances that our vision becomes clouded. This can happen to anyone it’s just a matter of how you deal with it. Honestly, if I’m gonna be telling you my business, you might as well know that I often don’t deal with it well – at least, internally.

In the case of being single and celibate, take for instance when you’re feeling lonely without a spouse and it seems like you’ll be alone forever. If you (we) can push past (y)our disappointment, which can often lead to depression and hopelessness, and wholeheartedly seek and trust in God to be (y)our all then you (we) can find true peace and joy. (I’m talking to you and me.)

It’s not a matter of becoming so content and complacent that we don’t want and seek change. It’s a matter of getting to a place of basking in God’s glory and knowing He will work everything out for your – for our – good.

In the meantime, also keep in mind something Robin McGraw (you know, Dr. Phil’s wife) says in her book “Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose” – “…I know so many people who don’t realize they have the right to choose how they live, people who would be so much happier if only they would examine the connection between what they do and how their lives turn out.”

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Drop it like it's hot

A bad relationship, that is.

One Sunday my family and I were listening to the radio (107.9 in Atlanta on Sunday mornings has gospel rap, R&B, etc.) on our way to church. The topic was dating and their guest was Ty Adams the author of “Single, Saved and Having Sex.”

There were a couple of things that stood out to me that I wanted to share with you:

“We date while we’re wounded… there’s nothing cute about baggage,” Adams said. Ain’t that the truth! Think about it! You meet up with a nice young lady who you think you’d like to spend more time with and possibly the rest of your life, but before you can get into the relationship good she’s stalking you like a serial killer.

The problem? She has baggage from a previous relationship. Possibly a past boyfriend cheated on her or lied to her. Whatever the case… it ain’t cute. (Hmm, that’s the second time I’ve used “ain’t” in one post. Must be tired. Sorry.)

The radio hosts and Adams talked about how a bad relationship or an out-of-God’s-timing relationship can be a “destiny killer.” You can literally hold up your destiny by sleeping with and/or being with a person who you aren’t supposed to be with.

You could get caught up in lust and frequent premarital sex, which will definitely alter your path from God causing a delay in your destiny.

The solution? “Allow God to heal you of all that junk so you can enter into a relationship in the right shape,” Adams said. Seek God’s face for the answer to your heart healing and releasing soul ties, if applicable. Ask God to deliver you from the pain of your past and heal your heart so that you don’t enter into another relationship and treat the new person like a person from your past.

"We are here, charged with the task of completing (one might say creating) ourselves." William Cook

Friday, October 13, 2006

Spiritual Antenna

I’ve been batting that topic – Spiritual Antenna – around in my head since I last updated this blog. I’ve been meditating on it, thinking about it, considering it and waiting for some direction with it. And the conclusion I’ve come to is that my spiritual antenna is either turned off, broken or on the wrong frequency.

The sad thing is it can happen often -- to me and to others. We’re in a society where there’s so much to do, so much we’re responsible for and everything is moving so fast. We have to hurry to work, hurry to eat, hurry to get the kids, groceries, wash the clothes, make some calls, pay the bills… well, you get the point.

When we fail to stay tapped into God then we miss out on hearing His voice. And in the process we ultimately miss out on sharing what He has for us to share with others. Like, for instance, the message He wants delivered through this blog.

You can also think of your spiritual antenna as discernment. If your antenna, or your discernment, is off then you’ll miss something important.

Like today. Here’s what happened to me. When you’re finished reading you decide whether my spiritual antenna was off or on the wrong frequency or if I’m second guessing myself too much.

Here it is: A man knocked on my door this afternoon and said he would cut my front lawn for $15. Well, almost every time someone knocks on my door I tell them no or that I don’t have the money or some other similar reason. Today, although I didn’t have extra money, I did have $15 and I thought it would be nice to surprise my husband with a cut lawn. (At least the front.)

I didn’t second guess the guy’s intentions. He told me he really needed gas money and I took him at his word. He cut the lawn. I asked if he had $5 because I only had a 20-dollar bill. He didn’t and to make a long story short he followed me to the corner gas station (“I have to get gas anyway,” he says.) where I got change.

He came into the store; we exchanged the money, said our thanks and went our separate ways. Kind of. I noticed that he didn’t go right to the register to pay for his gas, but he went toward the coolers where the drinks are. I didn’t turn and look so I don’t know if he purchased a soda, some water or liquor.

I tried pulling away slowly to see if he would come back out with something, but he didn’t come out before I was out of sight. So then I started asking myself what if I just helped an alcoholic purchase some liquor. I argued with myself: He did pull his car in front of a pump.

Back and forth I went:
He could have bought water since he just finished cutting grass.

I can be so gullible.

Then I remembered that my discernment is usually on target and even if he didn’t have the best of intentions I felt as if I did something good for my family and my husband. It wasn’t like he was a derelict on the street. He performed a service and was paid for it.

That got me back to thinking about my spiritual antenna. If I hadn’t already been doubting that my spiritual antenna was off or broken then I probably wouldn’t have given the situation a second thought. It’s not my place to judge what he did with the money and if he was dishonest then he’ll have to answer to God, not me.

I began to wonder what other situations we get ourselves into because we’re not tapped into God and have turned off our antennas. Are we dating the wrong people? Are we activity sinning in our lives? There can be a myriad of other situations that are avoidable, but because we refuse to commit wholly and truly to God we are missing out. Spiritually! (As opposed to literally.)

My challenge to you is to stay tapped in. Don’t let the pressures and responsibilities of life change the frequency of your spiritual antenna. God is waiting and willing for us to do our part, He has already done His.

Turn up the volume!

"Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different." -Katherine Mansfield

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Speak Out for What’s Right

I don’t know if any of you have noticed how some people straddle the fence on certain issues. I think the reasons vary: Some just don’t want to take a stand for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. Others are too busy trying to be politically correct. And, still others are afraid of what someone might think of them.

What we should be worrying about is what God thinks of us. As my pastor (Bishop Dale C. Bronner, Word Of Faith Family Worship Cathedral) says, the only opinion that matters is God’s opinion of you, your opinion of yourself and your opinion of God. (I’m not sure if I have the order correct, but you get my point.) So in keeping that in mind, we must continue to not only do what’s right, but speak out for what’s right.

For instance, you may have a friend who is having sex outside of marriage. (I hope you aren’t thinking, ‘Ut oh, here she goes again talking about sex outside of marriage.’ Hello? You are reading the Single & Celibate blog, remember? :-) As I was saying: Your friend is having sex and he (or she) isn’t married. Although you don’t believe it is right, you haven’t shared your beliefs or God’s desire with your friend. It’s possible that you’ve casually mentioned that you’re waiting to have sex until marriage or are a “born-again virgin.” But you haven’t spoken out.

Are you afraid of what your friend may think of you? Are you afraid of losing their friendship? Unfortunately, that really isn’t that important in God’s eyes. Oh, I’m not saying to be offensive, judgmental, condemning and hurtful with a holier than thou attitude. But you can – with love, concern and care – relay God’s desire for your friend and others regarding sex outside of marriage. And in the process share God’s love and desire to be their source and savior.

You know, the same applies for other areas. God is against stealing so would you hang out with someone who steals and not speak up? Of course you’re not guilty of doing something wrong in this instance, you just failed to do what’s right. If you know someone is physically abusing their child, or even an elderly parent, would you speak up and call the police or authorities? If not, then you’ve failed to do what’s right.

Resist the urge to do nothing when you can stand up for something.

To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

Monday, September 11, 2006

Heart Condition

For the last few Sundays my pastor, Bishop Dale C. Bronner, has been preaching on the subject of The Year of Restoration. He says there are five areas of restoration, which he’s going to reveal to us. The first is Restoration of Borders and the second is the Restoration of the Joy of Salvation, which he taught this past Sunday.

During Sunday’s message he said inequity is a sin of the heart, and if our hearts aren’t clean then we will not hear God clearly. (This struck a cord for me so I found it particularly interesting.) God wants to speak to us, but He wants to speak to hearts that are cleansed and unless – and until – we die to self we’ll never reach that place.

Bishop Bronner based his message in Psalms 51:1-12; emphasizing verses 2, 7, 8, 10 and 12. Verse 12 says “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Our joy is based on our obedience therefore if we want our joy back we have to do what God wants us to do. Obedience, the spirit of God and His word, fellowship and being a blessing to someone else all bring joy. “The joy of the Lord is evidence of His strength,” Bishop says.

In essence, Bishop Bronner taught us that we needed to restore our joy and cleanse our hearts to restore the joy of our salvation. It is always amazing how timely his messages are and how often they’re confirmed by other sources. For instance, this writer occasionally reads Our Daily Bread, which is published by RBC Ministries, and the entry for September 10 (the same day as Bishop’s message) was titled Housekeeping of the Heart.

The writer, Joanie Yoder, shared how when she was a young homemaker she took joy in thoroughly cleaning her home. After awhile she realized her home didn’t stay clean long so she resorted to simply keeping it tidy so it appeared cleaned. She said, “… on sunny days my clean-looking house was revealed for what it was – dusty and dirty.”

That’s the same thing that happens to us… and our hearts. On the outside we have the appearance of holiness, but we are neglecting our heart holiness. Yoder’s writing was based in Matthew 23:23-31. Take note of verse 28: “You also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy.”

She ended with these three things to ponder: What is the only way to get a clean heart? (Titus 3:3-6). After we have put our faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16), how do we keep our heart clean? (I John 1:9). For me, Yoder’s Housekeeping of the Heart was a timely confirmation of, and addition to, Bishop Bronner’s message.

“The way you see everything is based on the condition of your heart.” Bishop Dale C. Bronner, pastor of Word Of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Georgia.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Don't miss comments...

I am extremely appreciative of some of the comments that have been made and would like to bring them to your attention. Check out the comments on these previous posts:

  1. September 1 -- Don’t try to trick God
  2. August 15 -- Having sex can be like a splinter in your finger
  3. August 3 -- Share the knowledge

Review the comments and, if you like, give your input. As always, I am interested in your testimonies, input, suggestions and feedback. I find the comments to be interesting, sometimes entertaining and great conversation starters.

It’s your input and continued support that makes this blog a success. Thank you!

"Be sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth in gear." Author Unknown

Friday, September 01, 2006

Don’t try to trick God

I was having a conversation with my husband when he said something that I found really interesting. He said, “I hope she doesn’t try to trick God.” Although I would love to tell you the specifics of the conversation and the person he was referring to, I can not for fear of accidentally revealing her identity (without her permission) to the cyber world – and possibly someone who actually knows her.

Trying to trick God – whether intentionally or not – will ultimately result in heartache and despair for the person. Say, for instance, you’re having sex on a regular basis (of course, you knew I was going to use a sex example) and you keep getting women pregnant. Over the past six years, four women are pregnant. Even though you know you shouldn’t be having sex, you do. And each time you do, you pledge to God (and those who know you) that you have learned your lesson.

Instead of committing to abiding by God’s word and not having sex outside of marriage, keeping your mind stayed on Him and truly, truly committing to the Lord as your savior, you decide to get a vasectomy. That will keep you from getting women pregnant… or so you think.

The problem is you’ve committed to the wrong thing. You’ve committed to not getting women pregnant when you should have committed to not having sex before marriage. Because you continue to defy God when you know you shouldn’t, when you keep asking for forgiveness without any intention of changing, etc., God can cause you to get a woman pregnant in spite of the vasectomy.

Gentleman, don’t be offended that I used men as an example. The same can hold true for a woman who continues to get pregnant then decides to get her tubes tied, any individual who continues to have sex and gets sexually transmitted diseases then decides to use a condom and the same holds true in other non-sexual scenarios as well.

God can allow you to get a woman pregnant even if you’ve had a vasectomy, God can allow you to get pregnant even if you’ve had your tubes tied…

I’m imaging that many of you are thinking, ‘Why in the world would you say that? That’s ridiculous! That’s impossible! God wouldn’t punish someone like that!”

We’re not talking about punishment here; it’s about God allowing something to happen that will ultimately – and hopefully – teach you a lesson. Why would anyone want to test the limits like that? Wouldn’t it be better to simply follow God’s commands? To me, the answer seems simple.

What do you think?

“You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims.” Harriet Woods

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dispelling Discouragement

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

You’re going along minding your own business when someone says something that bothers you about something you’re doing. Did that sentence make sense? Okay, let me try this: You’re sitting at your favorite coffee house, sipping some joe and flipping through a magazine. You notice an acquaintance and decide to invite them to join you. During your conversation you share that you’ve made a celibacy covenant.

The response to your revelation is less than supportive and encouraging. In fact, the person negatively commented on everything from the use of the word covenant to their view of how unlikely you would be to succeed at it. So, how does that make you feel? And how will it affect your commitment to your covenant?

Some diehards may say that it shouldn’t affect you in any way, but as emotional beings it’s hard to determine how things will affect one person or another. What’s important is – ultimately – how you deal with the discouragement and move past it.

It’s very seldom that you will hear (or see) me give any credit to the devil, but God teaches us that He allows the devil to do certain things. Therefore sometimes we must identify why something has occurred before we can move past it. Let’s consider our current example of the coffee shop friend: If you were to allow that experience and discouragement to prevent you from sharing your covenant and testimony with someone else then you could possibly hinder how God wants to spread the word of celibacy until marriage. Or you may miss the opportunity to encourage someone in their own lifestyle. These are just two things, which if you didn’t do them, would make the devil happy.

Say, for instance, the discouragement was a test and God wanted to see how you would handle yourself. What if the discouragement caused you to “slip up” and have intercourse with someone. That could delay you meeting your spouse (if getting married is your desire). Our circumstances can delay or hinder events from occurring in our lives.

Often how we handle a current situation determines whether we are given much more to handle. (The same is true in other situations: For instance, if you aren’t a good steward over the money and material possessions you currently have, it is highly unlikely that you will be blessed with more.)

So, what should you do? The answer to that leads me back to Galatians 6:9, which I quoted at the top of this post. Keep in mind that you have a goal for making the covenant. Your goal is to please God and abide by His word and in doing so you will reap the harvest God has for you.

To assist you in remembering your goal, keep your written covenant (check earlier posts for more about the written covenant) in a location where you can see it on a regular, preferably daily, basis. Secondly, after remembering your goal, keep your purpose in mind and think about why something may happen to thwart that purpose. When you are operating in the will of God (and in this case it’s abiding by His word) circumstances will occur to discourage you and prevent you from continuing on the correct path.

Keep these things in mind to dissipate any discouragement concerning your covenant with God to remain celibate until marriage. Also remember: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV)

"People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. So give as much care to the end as to the beginning." Lao-Tzu

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Having sex can be like a splinter in your finger

That seems like an absurd statement, I know. How in the world can I relate having sex to getting a splinter?

According to Dictionary.com, a splinter is “a sharp, slender piece, as of wood, bone, glass, or metal, split or broken off from a main body.” Normally we experience splinters when we run our finger or hand across the object (most often wood) and a piece breaks off under our skin with just a little bit barely sticking out to grab and remove it. It’s the most painful little thing. As a matter of fact, when someone is trying to get a splinter out for someone else, the person with the splinter injury is often flinching because they’re anticipating the pain.

If we thought of having sex outside of marriage as a splinter in our finger it may assist in our ability to withhold until marriage. Think about: For a lot of people having sex outside of marriage – especially if they’re a person who is committed to God as a born-again believer – can be just as painful as that splinter.

Getting a splinter occurs quickly. Normally when we aren’t paying attention or giving any regard for our safety and well being. It gets stuck; we try to get it out and often can’t do it without assistance.

It’s kind of the same with sex. You get caught up in the moment without regard for your spiritual safety and well being. You can get stuck in it; meaning that no matter your personal resolve you continue to have sex again and again. Having sex outside of marriage results in guilt, personal and spiritual condemnation, pain and that doesn’t even take into account the soul ties (if you have questions about soul ties, let me know) that result.

But there’s a way to avoid this, which we’ve already talked about: making a covenant with God to stay celibate until marriage. Regardless of whether you’re tempted, making the covenant will help to quicken your spirit and remind you of your commitment. The covenant is also your help and assistant to avoid sexual situations.

So, the next time things get hot and heavy with a love interest remember the painful splinter in your finger.

“It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise.” – Nancy Thayer

Friday, August 11, 2006

Skipped a step!

Sorry I'm late. By the time I finished writing my post Blogger was performing maintenance.

Not too long ago, I gave you ideas on what to do for a date instead of spending time alone in a dark, quiet place where the potential for intimacy is great. It dawned on me; however, that we haven’t talked about obtaining the date. You know… asking someone to go on a date with you.

For some of you this may be simple: you probably go up to the person you’re interested in spending time with and just ask them on a date. It sounds simple, but let me add a little twist to it. First of all, if the person (notice I don’t say girl… sometimes I think it’s okay for a girl to ask a guy, but I’m sure that’s an entirely different subject) you’re asking to spend some time with is a platonic friend then I don’t think anything “extra” is necessary. BUT when the person is a love interest then that’s when you need to take it to God as well as use some good ole fashioned discernment.

When you happen upon a person who you believe you’d like to spend some quality time with try saying a quick prayer before you approach them. Something like “Lord, lead and guide me and let Your will be done with my interaction with this person.” You’ve just allowed God to be apart of it and He’ll reveal stuff to you about the person that may not be appealing in a potential mate. He may also let you know right away “NOPE, leave that person alone.” You won’t know why and your “flesh” may resist, but listen to that still small voice or that slight urging down in your gut --that’s usually the Holy Spirit trying to guide you.

It may seem a little odd to do this when just going out on a date, but you’ll be surprised at how much time you’ll save yourself. I’m sure you’re aware of the type of drama that can occur when you incorporate another individual into your life. This is just one small, but powerful way to avoid that.

Moving into marriage…
If you’re currently seeing someone who you aren’t sure is your spouse, you should immediately seek the Lord. Ask the Lord straight up if that’s the person who you should marry. He may speak to you at that moment, use someone else to speak to you, give you confirmation through the written word like a book, etc. You should never get into a marital relationship without asking God.

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. –Carl Jung

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

He Doesn’t Lie

This is a small portion of a conversation that I had with a close friend some time ago. I came across the hard copy, which was originally published in my church newsletter, and thought it appropriate to share with you because of where you are in this stage of your life.

Before I go on, let me assure you that all of my posts won’t be “deep.” I just try to write what I feel in my heart that the Lord wants me to share with you. Tomorrow, for my scheduled post, hopefully we can get back to a little fun.

For now, consider this:

The Question: If the world was to end and you had not received (insert your heart’s desire), would you still love the Lord?

The Answer: If the world ends and I haven’t received my heart’s desire then He lied!

The Response: Has He ever lied?

I hope this blesses you like it blessed me. Keep in mind, when you’re down, discouraged and disgusted… when it seems like you’ll never get an answer… when all hope seems lost then pull out that mustard seed of faith and remember, “God is not a man that He should lie.” – Numbers 23:!9.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Drawing a blank… hmmm?

I sat down at my computer today with the intention of writing something enlightening, encouraging and inspiring… unfortunately, nothing came to mind. Ha! I can only laugh because that’s often the plight of a writer.

I’ve been a writer for 11 years and I’ve stared at a many blank screens. I remember sitting in the newsroom at my first reporting job and staring at the screen hoping and praying to get a little inspiration. I’ve sat in my home office, at the computer lab at college, in my office as an associate editor for a magazine and stared at screens. Eventually something comes to mind, but I can’t say that’s going to happen today.

As you sit and read wondering if I’m going to come to my point or if any of it will have anything to doing with being single and celibate; I’m sitting here wondering what my point will be and if it will have to do with being single and celibate! I’ve come to discover in my almost 38 years of living that there’s often a correlation between one thing and another.

How can we relate writer’s block with being single and celibate? Ah ha, I’ve got the point! As a writer I sit down with a purpose, a subject or a thought and attempt to bring it to formation, a close, a completeness. As someone who’s single and celibate you also have to realize that there will be a close and completeness… an end to your journey. Fortunately, the “end” to your journey can serve as your beginning to a new life – hopefully marriage. But let’s look at your journey and realize that some good comes from the process.

Not only are you pleasing God during your journey – during your process, but you’re accomplishing something that should be pleasing and satisfying to you. God is well pleased in your decision to remain celibate until marriage. He’s encouraging you, cheering for you and loving you as you walk this path.

Like many articles, stories and pieces that I’ve written as I bring this one to a close, I am satisfied with the journey and the outcome. I pray that this has been at least entertaining and at most inspiring. Most of all I am satisfied that not only have I enjoyed the journey, but I believe God is pleased with the result.

I pray that you enjoy your journey and I know God is pleased with you.

Have a blessed day!

“I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it." – Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Share the knowledge

You’ve read my ideas about dating now I’m challenging you to get a little creative and share your ideas with everyone. What creative ideas do you have for “safe” dating? What have you tried? What works and what doesn’t?

Remember, this is not only a blog, but I like to think of it as a forum where we can share ideas, thoughts, opinions, etc. Besides, it makes things a little more interesting if you participate. Take a look at what I wrote earlier this week and then give me your feedback. I can’t wait to hear your ideas and inputs.

Have a thrilling Thursday.

"You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. " Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The ABCs of Dating

When my husband and I were dating we probably spent way too much time alone at my comfy little townhouse. It wasn’t that we wanted it that way, but I had a young daughter who I made sure went to bed at a decent hour and I didn’t really have anyone to watch her if I wanted to go out more often.

Spending a lot of time at home put us in the position to be too intimate. BUT we didn’t have sex. In fact, if you ask my husband he’ll be the first to tell you that the main reason we didn’t have sex while we were dating was because I wouldn’t allow it to happen. He was very persistent, however, and many times we went too far, but we are proud and happy to report that we didn’t have sex while we were dating.

How’s that possible? One reason is because of the covenant I had made with God. During times when we were kissing and caressing I could fill my covenant ring burning a hole in my finger. It was as if God Himself sat on my finger reminding me of my commitment and helping me to keep it.

It’s especially difficult when you meet a person who you believe will be the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with. How can you have a sincere dating relationship without having sex?

A few things are important: Making the covenant with God. What you do on your dates. And where you go on your dates.

Here are some dating tips that may help:
1) Go with a group. This may seem silly or even common sense, but it works. Go out with a group of friends – coupled up if you like – who have a like-minded spirit. Don’t go out with a couple who is having sex or you’ll be uncomfortable and reminded of sexual activity the entire time. When you hang out with people who have the same beliefs and goals as you it’ll be encouraging.
2) Date during the day. Avoid Friday night or Saturday night dates and even dinner dates. Do lunch and an afternoon activity on Saturdays – skating, bowling, shopping, take a class together, amusement parks… Meet for lunch during the weekday (my husband and I did this while we were dating. It was convenient for us because we worked in the same vicinity).
3) Stop at the door. If you can’t avoid going out at night then make sure you leave each other at the door. Don’t say good-byes in the car either… that’s a little too cozy. Step outside the car, walk to the door and say good-bye with a small hug or kiss on the cheek. Hold each other accountable. There will probably be one person in the relationship that is stronger than the other person so have that person be the “bigger man.”
4) Keep it public. Drive to a location in separate cars to a public place to play pool, grab coffee at a coffee shop, etc. BUT BEWARE: don’t decide to meet up at each other’s home later… if you do then you’ll be in the dark…
5) Avoid the dark. Dark movie theaters, dark and romantic restaurants, midnight picnics in the park, dark living rooms. You get the point.

Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love. – Jane Austin in “Northanger Abbey”

Friday, July 28, 2006

Oh the webs we weave

My husband and I recently attended a seminar, which discussed marital relationships and how to enhance them – specifically in the bedroom. Well, I’m not going to go into detail about that, but I will tell you that there were a couple of comments made by the female presenter (they were a husband and wife team) that gave me pause.

Before you think I’ve run amiss; keep reading… this really does have something to do with being single and celibate.

The couple seemed to be very traditional in nature. What I mean by that is most of the references she made were as if all the women stayed at home and didn’t work and, most interestingly, was something I alluded to in an earlier post and that is that a man MUST ejaculate or they are so uncomfortable that they can’t survive!

I bring this up not to dispute my own viewpoint that masturbation or some sort of sexual release is necessary, but to once again bring to the forefront that there is no biblical basis for this. It is true – as she said that her husband taught her – that men will in fact have a wet dream after a certain number of days (she quoted 21, I think).

But this is in no way the end of the world or the death of a man if they aren’t able to “relieve” themselves. Okay, now wait one minute AGAIN before you think I’m off on a tangent: I am in no way saying that it’s okay for a married man to have to “go without” for 21 days or longer. Although I do think there are certain circumstance that may warrant it and they won’t die from it if that were to happen. Including extreme sicknesses and illnesses, the death of a spouse, incapacitation, lengthy business trips, strict bed rest… you know, things of that nature.

What I am saying is that we must stop relying on scientific evidence to make excuses for a lack of self control. We must put our faith and trust in God that He is our ultimate source, provider, healer, etc. I am a firm believer in God’s ability to heal an area that needs healing. God is able to keep a woman, who hasn’t menstruated in years, in perfect health even though there is medical basis or scientific proof – whatever you want to call it – that a woman needs to/must expel her menstrual fluid.

That may seem like an extreme example, but you get my point.

Okay, I’m finished with this subject for now. Join me next time (Tuesday, the 1st… yes, for real, on Tuesday) so we can talk about some fun stuff like practical dating tips!

I don't necessarily agree with the following quote, but it gave me a little chuckle so I decided to include it...
It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them. --P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) The Man Upstairs (1914)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Keeping it real

I wanted to bring your attention to the comment from Pastors Tony and Kim Moore (http://www.radicallove.blogspot.com/) on the July 11th post. Here’s what they wrote:

Although, the Bible does not seem to address and take a position on masturbation, it is found in a broader category that scripture is definitive about: Taking Matters into Your on Hands! The bible never endorses us serving or pleasuring ourselves! In fact, when Jesus had an opportunity to serve Himself, He declined. Perhaps we need to think about masturbation along these lines.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Want to comment on comment? :-)

The following comment was made to my previous post:

What a bunch of nonsense! Masturbation is normal, healthy and fun, one of the joys of life in fact. If the Catholic Church allowed priests to have sex, at least masturbate, it wouldn't be in the moral and financial ruin it is today. Some people are truly living in the dark ages and I truly feel sorry for them...and you! I'm sure you won't allow this comment to be published but it's something I had to say! God bless us all, including the masturbators (and that definitely includes me!!!) -- Horny Old Guy

Just wanted to share and get your feedback on what this "gentleman" said. You can check out my response to him in the July 11th comments. By the way: I never said masturbation is un-normal, unhealthy or not fun! But I don't know about it being "one of the joys of life." An-t-way... check out what I said and give me your feedback.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Just say it: Masturbation!

… I had an interesting conversation with a young man concerning self-gratification (and you know what I mean) as it pertains to being a Christian. I could not speak expertly on the subject nor could I find any reference in the Bible. I did however remember a Pastor/Psychologist who spoke briefly on the topic. In a nutshell, he did not say it was sinful and wicked. He did say it would be adulterous if the individual was married and envisioned someone other than the spouse while accomplishing the act. Can someone shed some light on this topic? -- TF

This comment was made by a friend of mine and I’d like to bring the topic to the forefront for a minute, which will hopefully result in a conversation on your thoughts and teachings. Let’s talk about “self-gratification” in detail.

Self-gratification, or masturbation, is a very hot topic among singles. For most individuals who engage, or indulge, in this behavior they find themselves somewhat addicted and are doing it on a regular basis. In all honesty, if you’re spending a lot of time – or any time for that matter – masturbating then your mind is not on God.

Some people believe that it’s impossible to masturbate without picturing someone or something sexual, which is committing adultery. Others believe an occasional sexual release is okay. But there is no biblical basis for masturbating.

In fact, God shows in His word that man (including woman) is able to withstand until marriage without having a “release.” Check out 2 Peter 2:7-9 where Lot was surrounded by sexual sin and wickedness. Lot didn’t succumb.

Really you should let Jesus be your ultimate example: He was a 33-year-old virgin who never gave into temptation.

Many people interpret Genesis 38:8-10, where it talks about Onan spilling his seed on the ground, as God’s message against masturbation because what Onan did displeased the Lord.

Despite the rumors that men spread about it being harmful or some scientific basis arguing the necessity for sexual release, single individuals must turn to God when faced with temptation and stand on His word for support.

I like what God says in Psalm 119:9-11, which was revealed to me by Ty Adams in her book “Single, Saved and Having Sex” – taken from the New King James Version:

"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You."

"Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight." – Helen Keller

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Not on purpose.

I chuckled when I typed that title. My reason was to explain that I've been sick for the past seven days, which has prevented me from keeping up with all of my responsibilities. Thus: I didn't break my word "on purpose."

It's funny how often we'll use that excuse. You know what I mean: "I didn't do that on purpose." It could be "hurt your feelings," "lie to you," "put a dent in the car," "not wash the dishes" and yes, even "have sex!"

However you add it up; it's still an excuse. I should of just said: "Forgive me. I wasn't able to keep my word."

Friday, June 30, 2006

Take a breath

Really. I mean it. Take a breath. With all that’s going on: career, family, hobbies, church, activities…uh, reading my blog! When do you take the opportunity to just relax and take a break?

Try it now: Inhale (through your nose). Exhale (through your mouth). Again: Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Okay. I don’t know about you, but I definitely feel better.

I was having a little panic attack in the shower last night (no big deal, just a little hyperventilating) when I had to tell myself to “just breathe.” I could have made the decision to go into full overwhelmed mode, but I didn’t; I decided to just breathe. Breathing helped me get myself together enough to “just pray.” Well, I guess it was more of a “crying out” than a prayer, but I know you understand me.

And that’s when I started to think about you. I know that sometimes life, and everything going on within it, can get overwhelming. Despite that it’s always necessary to take a moment, slow down, breathe and pray.

Even when you can’t find all the fancy words for some big, theological prayer God is still listening. He hears you saying, “Lord, please help me.” Or “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Even when there isn’t time to get on your knees and close your eyes, He’s still listening for you. Waiting for you. Just call on Him.

Before anyone starts to hit the “comment” button, let me add now that I know it’s imperative for a true, strong, close relationship with God that we do spend time “on our knees” in an in-depth and fervent prayer! So, don’t panic! Now, where was I? ...

You can also take that same approach – slow down, breathe and pray – when you get in sticky situations. Like when it’s late at night and you want to engage in some sexual, self-gratification. (You know what I mean!) Just stop, take a moment, slow down, breathe and pray. When you find yourself in a passionate embrace: slow down, breathe and pray.

That’s when God can come in and do His part. Your phone may ring and your accountability partner will be on the other end. Someone will knock on the door. Or – even better – you’ll be convicted enough to change and stop the situation.

As you go into another weekend, don’t forget: slow down, breathe and pray.

"Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight."– Helen Keller

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Virgins & the Covenant

Has anyone thought, “I wish I’d never had sex then I wouldn’t have to make this covenant?” or “It would be so much easier to abstain if I were a virgin.” Shame on you… that’s not necessarily true. SIDEBAR: There we go again thinking that the grass is greener on the other side.

The fact of the matter is virgins also struggle with abstaining from sex. For some, they don’t have a mental picture of themselves engaging in sexual behavior, but they have the same urges. They watch the same shows. And they’re faced with the same temptations. You know the guy (or girl!) who comes on a little too strong and almost breaks your resolve.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never had sex, had sex only once or took many partners to bed; you’re all in the same boat. The boat is called “Desire to Do Right,” your shipmates are other Christian singles and your life preserver is Jesus Christ.

“All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.” Alexandre Dumas

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stop the presses.

The previous post (yesterday’s) caused such an uproar or, should I say, backlash. Let me be clear: I believe that while you’re single you should focus on being single. I am not saying that I believe you should never get married. Yes, I did say that in my experience it would be in your best interest to remain single as long as possible.

You know the old saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side”? Well, that applies to everything. A lot of times, single people believe that they’ll be happier when they get married. The same applies to poor people, fat people, young people. The think, “When I ____________ (get money, lose weight, get older) things will be better.”

That’s not necessarily true.

The other part of this is that if you allow people’s opinions, viewpoints or putdowns to affect how you conduct yourself then yes that could also change – or “put a kink in” – your relationship with God. Before you’re married you have an awesome opportunity to put your all into your relationship with God then nothing can shake it, change it or hinder it. I don’t think I need to explain that any further, but feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts, criticisms…

“If you are close enough to someone to know they have a problem, you are close enough to help.” – Bruce Cotter, author, speaker & interventionist.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

So, you were celibate, right?

I’ve been thinking a lot about being married, which a lot of you know that I am. Why in the world is a married woman writing about celibacy? Seems odd, huh? Not really. Check out my bio for more information on that, but I’ll just tell you that I haven’t always been married. I’ve had to deal with being a single Christian just like you’re doing now.

At the time I decided to live a celibate lifestyle, I wasn’t actually living a godly or Christ-like lifestyle. However, I made a decision to not “give it up” until I was married. It was something I committed to on my own. The reason, for me, was clear: I really wanted to be married and not one man I had given the goods to had actually married me. “Hmmm?” I thought. “There’s something wrong with this picture.”

Hence my commitment to myself. When I rededicated my life to Christ, my first thought was, “Oh no, now I really can’t have sex!” :-) Five years later, on my wedding night, was when I “broke” that covenant. I obtained a ring and put my covenant in writing.

Now almost four years into my marriage I realize that I coulda stayed celibate a little while longer. Yes, you read that right. Pay attention here: There’s nothing more precious than your relationship with God and sometimes a marital relationship can put a little kink in it. On top of that, if you’ve been single for awhile – you know, an “older” single person – then it would be in your best interest to remain that way as long as possible. That’s just my opinion.

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, June 16, 2006

The weekend is here. Ut oh, time for a booty call.

How many of you are surprised by today’s title? Well, don’t be. What you should be surprised with is how many unmarried Christians are having sex: about 70 percent.

The reason for my title is that a friend of mine recently asked me if I had updated my blog. “Yes,” I said, “On Thursday.” He said, “Good, the weekend’s coming.” And he laughed.

I wasn’t that tapped into what he was saying because my mind was elsewhere, but later I realized what he meant. It’s when the pace of the week slows and the weekend kicks in that many Christian singles feel a little lonely. They have a little extra time on their hands from Friday night after work until Sunday night.

So, what should you do during the weekend when you’re feeling a little lonely?

1) Plan ahead. Don’t wait until Friday night to figure out what you’re going to do for the weekend.
2) Stop night owl-ing. Don’t stay up late just because you don’t have to get up early in the morning. It’s the late-night hours that cause you to thinking about getting a little frisky.
3) No “visiting” and “hanging out.” This one will get you every single time. Do not spend your time hanging out with an ex-girlfriend, a close friend of the opposite sex (especially someone you’re particularly comfortable with)… that means no bible study, no movies as just friends, don’t get together to talk or any of the other many reasons lonely people can think of to get together with the opposite sex.
4) Stay prayerful. Have a dedicated devotional (praise & worship) time throughout the entire weekend. That will keep your mind on God and keeping your mind on God will keep your mind off sex.
5) Read the word. Find out what God says about things that you’re dealing with in your life. Concentrate on areas of your life that you need to grow in: finances, work, stewardship, etc.

Other things you can do are participate in a hobby, volunteer at a community center or hospital, write a book, take up a sport… there are a variety of activities and things you can do that don’t cost money that will keep you busy.

Remember: Just because you’re alone, you don’t have to be lonely.

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. William James

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Putting Your Covenant in Writing

Putting your covenant in writing can be … uh, well… fun – for lack of a better word. For someone like me who likes to be a little creative, putting the covenant in writing is fun. First, type your covenant. There’s no tried and true way that it has to be worded, but here is a general example for you to follow:

I, insert your name here, have committed to a celibate lifestyle until I am united in holy matrimony with the spouse that God has intended for me. I make this covenant before God who is partnering with me and supporting me in my decision to remain celibate until marriage. I commit to fleeing fornication (Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body – I Corinthians 6:18). By signing below I indicate my official and solemn promise to God, and myself, to remain celibate until marriage.

Right before the lines where the signatures are going to go you can put Amos 3:3: “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” Don’t forget to date it.

Don’t forget to give your certificate a title -- somethin g like: My Celibacy Covenant, My Promise to God to Remain Celibate ‘til Marriage or whatever title you think fits the best.

Second, choose a nice piece of colored paper to print your covenant on. You want something that is appealing to the eye and suitable for hanging. If you didn’t put a border around your text in the Word document (or whatever program you used) then you can choose paper that has a border or design on it.

Third, have your accountability partner sign the document with you. Don’t forget to choose an accountability partner who is like-minded. Someone you trust and who will earnestly pray for you. Do not, do not, do not choose a person of the opposite sex who you are attracted to.

I shouldn’t have to go into detail about this, but this is one of the things that cause well-intentioned singles to fall. Choosing an accountability partner (prayer partner, hanging out buddy… whatever you want to call them) who is someone you’re interested in or attracted to is asking for trouble. It’s best that the person be a good friend of the same sex and it’s even better if it is someone who you consider a mentor or elder in your life.

Fourth, purchase a frame and hang your covenant where you can see it everyday on a regular basis. It should serve as a reminder – just like your covenant ring. A word about your ring: A lot of people will have purchased their ring by the time they put their covenant in writing, but if you haven’t found the right ring for you don’t rush it. I know a couple of people who took a few months searching for their ring. Someone even told me God had given them a vision of what their ring looked like.

As you’re doing all of this be sure to stay prayerful. Keep your mind on God and He will continually lead you.

I’m proud of you for making it this far. God is proud of you as well… and that’s what matters most.

"Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans." Peter Drucker

Friday, June 09, 2006

Comments please!

While shopping with my oldest daughter the other day, I saw an old friend who told me he had viewed my blog and thought it was great! “A lot of people need to read that… it’ll help a lot of people including me,” he said. He had one suggestion though: Update often!

When I started writing this blog I told you I would update at least twice a week, but a couple of weeks ago I had some problems at home that prevented me from doing everything I needed to do. Now I’m starting to get back in the swing of things, but updating this blog – although I love the subject, the writing and the blog – seems to be for my own usage. No one is commenting, or offering feedback, to let me know if you’re reading or not! (Thanks to the couple of people who have left comments.)

So, will you please do something for me? Commit to reading and commenting on my blog at least once a week and sending the link to your friends. My commitment to you will be to continuously update the blog at least twice a week.

Do we have a deal?

Come back on Tuesday to read an example of how your written covenant should be worded!

Today’s thought: "Be sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth in gear."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Now what? Find an accountability partner

Posting to a blog regularly has proven more difficult than I originally anticipated; however, despite my recent absence I am back and ready to continue.

Once you’ve made your promise to God to remain celibate until marriage and obtained a symbol of your promise (like the ring I told you about on March 28th), write your promise down and have someone witness it.

“People need to always find somebody with whom they can be accountable because we don’t mind letting ourselves down, but we don’t want to … let somebody else down who’s depending on you, who’s praying for you, who’s believing that you can do this,” Bishop Dale C. Bronner said. “That gives us extra power. One put a thousand to flight, but two 10,000. Just having one other person in agreement to what you’re doing, that you make yourself accountable to, makes you not two times as strong, but 10 times as strong. Your strength becomes exponential.”

Bishop also advised that finding a friend who has the same covenant can offer strength to the both of you. “That can become therapeutic and help you vent your frustrations. That becomes your support group. That says you’re not the only person doing this and you can draw strength.
“If people would be bold enough to get serious, to count the cost and then make a covenant God will come in and become a part of that thing. We laid the sacrifice on the altar and He lets the fire of heaven fall and consume that sacrifice. A lot of singles miss it because they never commit to anything – they don’t want to be committed. … You’re only committed to what you confess.”

Who are you going to ask to be your accountability partner? Make sure you choose someone who has the same beliefs and convictions as you do as well as someone who is going to be encouraging and in prayer for you.

My final thought for today: “Let nothing get in your way. Failure is never an option.” - Donald Trump

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More about me

I’m taking a break from my regular posts to tell you a little more about myself. As you’ve read in my profile, I am a writer and editor with about 11 years of experience. However, what you don’t know is: I’ve known since I was 10 years old that I wanted to be a writer. That year, for my birthday, my brother gave me a journal … what we called diaries back then. And, at the risk of using a trite phrase, the rest is history. That small blue journal (I think Holly Hobby was on the front) with the little lock and key proved to be the start of my love of writing.

I’ve always wished that I wanted to pursue a profession that was more monetarily rewarding like medicine, law, engineering or the like. Then I realize – and stop all the negative talk in my head – that writing can be very lucrative. Like any field it requires tenacity, dedication, discipline, marketing and, of course, a little talent doesn’t hurt. It also requires something I haven’t quite mastered, which is the ability to continually generate a substantial income… but that’s an entirely different story.

What have I done so far in my career? Edit magazine articles and books; compose workbooks and e-newsletters; conduct writer’s workshops; ghostwritten a book and business columns; write web content and magazine articles, contribute to my church newsletter… there’s more, but I don’t want to bore you. I think my most memorable and creative project is when I served as project manager and editor of a new comic book. It was a welcome break from my role as assistant editor with an Atlanta business newsmagazine.

I believe I’m gifted to do what I do. I believe that God has blessed me with a gift and through that gift I am called to inspire, entertain and educate. And that’s exactly what I hope this blog – and my other writings on singleness and celibacy – will do for you: inspire, entertain and educate.

Let’s end with this thought: “If you can't be a good example -- then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.” I’m actually not sure who said this, I think it was Catherine somebody. (Now that’s not exhibiting the good habits of a professional writer and editor, but hey “it’s my blog and I’ll skate if I want to, cheat if I want to, be lazy if I want to…” Hum along.)

BTW: My picture is about four years old. I think I look the same except for the fact that I have different glasses and longer hair now. The picture was taken by Alex Jones. Check him out at http://www.picturealex.com/.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's getting hot in here

Imagine getting all hot and heavy with your current love interest and wrapping your arms around their neck. You're kissing and stroking... You move in for a tight hug, open your eyes and spot the ring.

You’ll say, “Whoa!” Well, at least that’s what you should say. That ring should be an instant reminder of your covenant with God to remain celibate until marriage and not put yourself into a compromising position that you will regret.

Let's take a momentary pause: There are a couple of things that we need to address, which have went unsaid. First of all, "your current love interest" should be someone who you think you may marry. There is no reason to be dating just for the sake of dating. Anyone that you spend time getting to know should be the type of person you would want to marry. And, if you're spending time with them, you should also be spending time in prayer asking God if they're the person you're going to be spending the rest of your life with.

Secondly, you shouldn't be "getting all hot and heavy" because that's not the position you want to put yourself in when you're trying to maintain a celibate lifestyle.

We'll talk more -- at a later time -- about appropriate dates, behavior, etc., that is conducive to a celibate and Christ-like lifestyle. Until next time...

It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. - Sir Edmund Hillary

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A symbol of your covenant

Now what? You’ve made your commitment – covenant – with God to remain celibate until marriage (or, just to remain celibate, if that applies)… and I know you’re wondering what you should do now.

Step 1: Make the covenant.
Step 2: Obtain a symbol of that covenant.

Pastor Bronner said there’s always a sign of every covenant. For instance, when God made a covenant with Noah that He would never destroy the earth again He put a rainbow as a sign of that covenant. “You have to have something that you can keep before you that says, ‘This is my covenant. I understand why I have it and I understand the virtue that is in it. I understand the blessing.’ The greater the commitment of sacrifice the greater the blessing,” said Pastor Bronner.

“I wear a wedding band because this wedding band reminds me of my covenant,” he explained. “Now, in the same way that a person who’s single might be afraid to make a covenant towards celibacy, a lot of men are afraid to make the covenant for marriage because they don’t trust themselves in terms of being able to be faithful to one person. …The wedding band is an external sign of an internal covenant. Now, married people have an external sign of the internal covenant that they make to keep them devoted to their marriage. I believe that single people ought to have a covenant sign of their commitment to celibacy.”

Remember Michael from the last post? The symbol of his covenant was a silver ring with three braided cords intertwined as his covenant sign. Each time he looked at that ring it reminded him of his promise to God.

The ring I chose was a thin gold band with diamonds. I kind of joked that, “I can buy my own diamond!” So, it served two purposes for me: 1) I remembered my covenant each time I caught sight of that ring. 2) The covenant – and the symbol – helped me to feel complete and fulfilled. And it can do the same thing for you.

When I got married, I passed my covenant ring onto my young daughter. She’s 14 now… don’t miss a single post. Eventually we’ll talk about passing the covenant down to the next generation and helping them to commit to a celibate lifestyle until marriage.

"If you really want something, you can figure out how to make it happen." -- Cher

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Take the first step

It was during 2000 that Michael McNeely revealed he initially had some trepidation about making the single's covenant. “When I first thought about making a covenant, there was a certain fear,” he said. “It was more than just telling myself that I won’t have sex. Making a covenant is more serious. It’s a binding thing – it’s finality.” Michael, who at the time was the single’s ministry leader at Word Of Faith Family Worship Cathedral.

“When you make the covenant God will come in and become a partner to that thing,” Bishop Bronner said (you remember him. He’s the pastor at WOF Cathedral). “That means that we take that thing seriously at that point. Most people don’t trust themselves well enough to make the covenant because they’re like, ‘Lord, I don’t want to play with you and I’m scared that if I make this covenant that I will not be able to keep it.’”

Michael said that once he’d made his covenant, celibacy became easier to maintain. God gave him a supernatural strength to abstain until marriage, he said.

Making a covenant with God is just the first step. “Without us taking our first step, He can’t take His two steps. Singles must walk by faith (that’s an action) and God will help to fulfill that covenant,” Michael said.

Update: Michael is now happily married to Jennifer.
To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten. —Anonymous

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Make a covenant or promise to God

You know the story: You’re single and you’ve been praying for a spouse “forever,” but it’s not the right time. Despite your frustrations – physical and otherwise – you are determined to do what’s right. Or perhaps you haven’t been praying for a spouse and don’t desire to get married, but want to live a right or godly lifestyle.

The best news about this is: God is your biggest supporter of your determination to do the right thing according to the law He has set in His word: “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” Exodus 20:14. Adultery is any sex outside the bond of holy matrimony.

Bishop Dale C. Bronner, pastor of Word Of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Austell, Georgia, said, “Anyone outside the union of matrimony is required to deal with a life of celibacy.” Singles – divorced, widowed and never married – are required to abstain from sexual intercourse. And a good way to do this is to make a covenant, or promise, to God.

“One of the reasons that a lot of single people are never kept is because they are afraid to make a covenant with God,” Bishop Bronner said. “They’re afraid that if they make a covenant that they won’t be able to keep it so they don’t make it. And the trick of that is this: We are only committed to what we confess. So if we don’t confess and make a covenant in that area that becomes one of the most powerful things in terms of helping us to actually walk in celibacy.”

Check back next week – on March 15 – for more on the covenant! ... Don't forget to tell someone about this blog.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." -- Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Getting down to business

Let’s get the “business” out of the way first. For our purposes here, sex was created to be shared between a man and a woman who have committed to each other under the covenant of marriage. There are many people who believe this to be true and wish to live a godly lifestyle, but have a difficult time doing so. What I’m presenting here is information to assist them in doing that. For those who don’t believe that to be true, I invite them to read the information offered with an open mind.

And, of course, your respectful feedback is always appreciated.

I’m writing a book that is tentatively titled “The Single’s Series, Part I: How to make and maintain your promise to God to remain celibate until marriage.” The book is for singles – whether you’re widowed, divorced or never been married. It is for those who wish to commit to a celibate lifestyle until marriage, but who’ve had a difficult time doing that (or not doing that, if you will); those who are already celibate while they wait until marriage and just need support and tips on maintaining their celibacy; and it’s for those who’ve committed to a life of celibacy.

The information I’m offering here, which will also be included in the book, will discuss everything from dating tips and suggestions, how to make a covenant with God and what that involves to the often taboo subject of masturbation. (More about the book – and your input for the book – later.)

This book is envisioned as the first part in a series of books that will be written specifically with singles in mind. As time passes, I’ll reveal what the topics of the other books will be.

Most of what I’ll present is from a biblical standpoint, but it will also be practical. I hope you enjoy what you read, are inspired by what you read and pass on what you read. Tell your friends, families and associates to drop by … There will be something new at least once a week.

The next time you return – sometime after March 9 – I’ll talk specifically about making the agreement, or covenant, with God to remain celibate until marriage.


“If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always gotten.” Bishop Dale C. Bronner, pastor of Word Of Faith Family Worship Cathedral often says this. Do you know who originally said it? If so, let me know!