Friday, October 31, 2014

By Alice Jensen

           After my mom died in April of this year, I went through most of her stuff. In one of the boxes, I found many articles that she had saved. Some were things that she had wrote, others were items that she found inspirational, and a few were interesting, and a couple were both funny and thought provoking. I chose not to keep very many of the articles. Those that I did keep were ones that made me think or laugh or both. And the following poem is one of them that made me do both. It is written in the style of “Footprints in the Sand”, but I do not know the author of this version.
“Butt Prints In The Sand”
One night I had a wondrous dream,

One set of footprints there were seen.

The footprints of my precious Lord,

But mine were not along the shore.

And I asked the Lord, “What have we here?

Those prints are large and round and neat,

But Lord, they are too big for my two feet.”

“My child,” He said in somber tones,

“For miles I carried you alone.

I challenged you to walk in faith,

But you refused and made me wait.

You disobeyed, you would not grow,

The walk of faith you would not know.

So, I got tired; I got fed up,

And there I dropped you on your butt.

Because in life, there comes a time,

When one must fight, and one must climb.

When one must rise and take a stand,

Or leave their butt prints in the sand.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

                              RESTITUTION GUIDELINES

Matthew 5:23-24; 6:12; 18:21     Acts 24:16    I Timothy 1:5, 19

1. RESTITUTION MUST ALWAYS BE A BLESSING: never a curse or burden. What God commands you to do will always end in a blessing. It should not be attempted until you are certain it will bless. Timing is so important. Don’t rush recklessly. We are to edify each other.

2. RESTITUTION RESULTS IN LOVE: It should cause more love for teach other than you had before. Full joy comes when restitution is proper and complete.

3. RESTITUTION IS A MATTER OF OBEDIENCE: Don’t sin by disobedience and expect God’s blessing. Restitution evidences to man that a transaction has already been made with God. Be committed to making restitution when needed, in God’s timing.

4. RESTITUTION SHOULD WAIT FOR GOD TO PREPARE THE WAY: He provides the circumstances to bring restitution about. In some situations there is no doubt or question about immediate action. In others, God needs to take the initiative. Begin by resting the case with God. Pray, “Lord, I am personally willing to make restitution and will allow you to take the initiative in preparing the way.” When He does, then you need to act accordingly. It is just as important that the Lord prepares the other party to receive you as it is you being willing to go to him. As you are prayerfully tuned to the Lord, He will make it clear. Sometimes the reception may not be to your liking, but when you move in God’s way, it will be the way He planned to bring about His results in His timing.

5. RESTITUTION PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO MINISTER: Often the other party is in need of a “bridge” on which to cross from his self-centeredness into positive obedience to God. Your example and making the move in his direction may free him to honestly face his own need in a way he has desired but has not been able to fulfill. In some cases merely your moving toward him “preaches” a powerful and convicting sermon to his soul, though that is not your motivation in going.

6. RESTITUTION IS ALWAYS UNILATERAL: always one-sided. Never look for the other person to take the blame or even share in the blame. Restitution is specifically a matter of settling my wrongness. It deals only with my blame, my wrongness, in a given matter and must never be related to the possibility that someone else was implicated in my wrong. It is dealing with the attitudes of my own heart that even allow the situation to remain.

By understanding my sole responsibility to make restitution, I may move straight to the issue, avoiding the snare of thinking that I must first establish a certain kind of delicate treaty with the other party. God’s work in another like is his business, though Satan will tempt me to share God’s responsibility. Therefore, leave the other party with god. Do your part. Be assured that if God asks you to do it, He will not only create the circumstances, but He will also provide the resources needed for you to carry it out.

7. RESTITUTION IS NEVER “IF”: It is never predicated by the statement, “If I have offended you,” or “If I have hurt you.” The “please forgive me if I have been an offense” type restitution will never settle anything or produce God’s results. If restitution deals with my blame, then it must be that I have offended, hurt, or allowed a bitterness to remain. It then should be, “Please forgive me. I am sorry and ask your forgiveness.”

8. RESTITUTION NEVER GUARANTEES OR PRECLUDES A “RIGHT” RESPONSED: At the point you ask for forgiveness, you are not responsible or guaranteed a positive “right” response. Commit that to God.

 9. RESTITUTION MUST ALWAYS BE AS BROAD AS THE OFFENSE BUT NEED NEVER BE ANY BROADER: Deal with God alone about private sins of the mind and body, These should never be included in restitution. When the other party knows nothing about it, deal only with God. Never say, “I have had some bad thoughts about you” or “I resented you” or “I have had lustful thoughts toward you and I want you to forgive me.” Go to the other party only when they clearly know about the situation because they were involved in it. If you have shared these thoughts or feelings with a third party, go to them and let them know you have made this situation right with God. Go no further under any circumstances. Some have created thoughts in the other party’s mind that were not there previously and created a further problem, resulting in continued bitterness and resentment. Private lustful thoughts expressed to the other party can generate the same thoughts in that person’s mind and precipitate a sinful immoral relationship. Be very careful.

Though private sins, some people feel strongly that they must say something to the person even though it is not necessary and he know nothing about it. If you are strongly compelled that this is necessary, always be positive, speak in love, edify, and make tangible expressions that confirm your love. Never say, “I am sorry for resenting you, please forgive me.” Say something like this, “I just want you to know that God has put so much love in my heart for you that I have never loved you more than I do right now. There have been times I should have loved you more, but I thank God for giving me so much love for you now.” Follow with tangible acts that confirm your love for him, build him up, and bless his life in Christ.

Personal sins affecting you and another person must be dealt with at that level alone.

Public sins affecting a large group or an entire church need to be made right on whatever level of people it affects. Always be as broad as the offense but not any broader!

10.  RESTITUTION IS FOR THE GLORY OF GOD: In giving public testimony, restitution brings glory to God only when it exalts what Christ has done rather than magnifying the situation itself. In the light of everything else discussed, personal testimony can be given. It then is not a matter of “hanging out dirty linen in public”, but rather an expression of the praise to God’s glory in deliverance. Others then rejoice by your testimony in that God has performed a “miracle” rather than in your elaboration all the details. Only when the glory goes to Jesus will people be blessed and the church edified.


1. On matters of personal morality (immorality), be sure to consult your pastor or spiritual advisor before acting in andy direction.

2. Never pressure a person to respond. If he is unwilling to forgive, ask him to contact you when he is ready.

3. If the sin occurred before salvation, deal with everything the Holy Spirit reveals.

4. Aside from matters of personal morality (immorality), the general rule is to deal person-to-person. If impossible, telephone. Letters, emails, etc. should be the last resort.

5. If you have any questions at all about the what, when, why, how, or even if restitution should be made, consult your pastor or spiritual advisor. Don’t with when it is too late you had gotten the right advice. You cannot always recover the damage.

This has been copied from the flier put out in 1990 by the Canadian Revival Fellowship.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

By Alice Jensen
August 19, 2014 

            “Zombie Survival Summer Camp” is being offered in Canada. It teaches you how to survive a zombie attack. You will learn how to use many common items to fight off a zombie. Items such as pitchforks, rakes, bats, kitchen knives. Honest, I just heard about this camp this morning as I was listening to the news. At first I thought this was a stupid idea and couldn’t believe that people would pay good money to go to such a strange summer camp. Why would someone really need to learn about how to survive a zombie attack?
            While I listened to the newscast, I began to think about the current fascination with zombies. And I have to admit, one of my favorite computer games is “Plants vs Zombies”. It is fun to strategize and plan how to best kill the most zombies possible. The animated zombies are “cute”, but I do not care at all for the “real” zombies. You can pretty much find something related to zombies any day of the week. So, how would you survive a zombie attack and would you ever really need too?
            That question stuck in my brain (get it? brain!) and I remembered something in the book of Revelation that might be like a zombie attack. The Holy Spirit answered my question about would a person ever need to survive zombies. The answer is “YES”, if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and if you are still alive when the Great Tribulation takes place (rest assured, you will definitely know when it occurs. All the horrible things that you think are going on right now??? They don’t compare to how horrible it is going to be during the Great Tribulation!).
            Take a look at Revelation 9:1-12 (I dare you!). I don’t know about you, but if no one is able to die for five months (that’s what it says in verses 5-6), it looks like there will be “zombies” for real. Zombie = the undead. Verse six says very clearly that there will be people who shall seek death and shall not find it. No, they won’t be looking for actual brains to eat, but they may come looking for someone to help put them out of their torment and it might seem like they are after your brain. Just imagine how gross it will be…someone will try to kill themselves and just won’t be able to do so. I would not want to be around for that!
            So, it is a fact that someday there will be real “zombies” here on planet earth. So, you may need to survive an attack by them. So, what is the best way to fight them off? Well, for now, the best way to prepare yourself is to just believe and receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour (take a look at Romans 10:9.) That way, you won’t even be here on earth when the zombie invasion takes place. But if you are dumb enough to not accept the gift of eternal life from the Lord Jesus Christ, and you wind up getting left behind when all of us believers are taken to Heaven before the Great Tribulation takes place here on earth, the best way to fight off the zombies is to still receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour, do not ever take any kind of identification mark in your body, and obey the Word of God. (Sorry, but you would have to be “brainless” to not just pray and ask Jesus to be your Saviour right here and right now!)
            Oh, and for those of you, who are really empty-headed, and refuse to believe that Jesus is God the Son and that He shed His blood and died for you, well….the Bible says that when you die (if you happen to die before the “zombie invasion”), you get to go to hell where you will be tormented forever by not only “zombies”, but also by Satan and his wicked forces (Take a look at Revelation 15:9-11 and 20:10-15), and in the very end, you get tossed into the Lake Fire. So, don’t you think that it would just be a great idea to pray right now and receive Jesus as your Saviour?!
            If you do have a brain in that head of yours and you know how to use it and would like to pray to be saved, why don’t you pray something like this: Jesus, the Bible says that you love me. It also says that you are God the Son. I am choosing to believe. The Bible says that I am a sinner and that I can never be good enough to go to Heaven, but that you shed your blood and gave up your earthly life when you died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all humanity. I am also choosing to believe that you are the Saviour and right now I am praying to receive you into my life. Thank you Jesus for taking away all of my sins and for setting me free from all evil. Thank you for saving me and making the way so that I can go to Heaven when I die. Thank you that I no longer have to fear any zombies because I will always be with you and you will always be with me (Hebrews 13:6). In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

THE SIN OF GETTING OFFENDED                                                    July 26, 2014
                                                                                                              By Alice Jensen 

(The name of my best friend has been changed…and you don’t need to try to figure out who she is. What you need to do is to read the whole post and pray.)     

She knew that my daughter’s fifth birthday was coming in just a couple of weeks. After all, CeeCee was one of my best friends. Every week she and her girls went with us to a parenting class, we went to church together three times a week, and we were often at her house. So, how could she not expect that I would want her to bring her video-camera and record my daughter’s birthday? She had to know that I would want her and her girls to be there and that I would want her to record the whole party. She was the one who owned a video camera. She knew that my daughter would probably be the only child that I would ever have and that her fifth birthday would be a really big deal to me. I thought that best friends just knew to do those kinds of things for each other. How could she even suggest that she might not come? I needed her to help me with the party as well as bring her video camera. I was expecting a bunch of little kids and knew that I couldn’t handle them on my own. Sure, my husband would be there. But he wouldn’t be much help. It would be better if just did the video recording and we two moms would handle the games, the food, the children, and the presents. But no, she told me, she didn’t think that she was going to come to the party.

            We were together in the nursery at our church when she informed me that wouldn’t be coming to my daughter’s party. I looked at her dumb-founded. I started to cry and to accuse her of being selfish. She told me that I shouldn’t have put expectations on her without asking first. My anger began to boil and I had to get it under control or I knew I would not be able to put her on a guilt trip. After begging CeeCee, she finally agreed to be there with her girls and the video camera.

            For the next two weeks, I internally fumed over this whole situation. CeeCee had greatly offended me and I reasoned that I had a right to be angry because best friends just don’t do mean things to each other. Of course, I didn’t think that I had done anything offensive towards CeeCee. Nor did I believe that it was my responsibility to make things right between us or even between myself and God. I felt like I was the one who had been wronged and deserved to be angry and hurt.

            CeeCee did bring her girls and come to the birthday party, but forever after our friendship was never the same. No longer was she one of my best friends. There was a block of ice between us that never thawed. We didn’t drop in on them like we used to, our girls didn’t play together, and the parenting class was over. I thought it was all CeeCee’s fault for not being the good friend that I expected her to be. She was the one who had hurt me to the very core of my being when she said that she didn’t want to go to my daughter’s party. And I allowed that pain to turn to anger, and that anger to bitterness.       Yes, CeeCee had hurt me, but I was the one to blame for how I responded to that pain. Yes, I may have had a “right” to get angry. But did that make it right in the eyes of God? No! God says, “Be ye angry and sin not…” Ephesians 4:26. Had I sinned when I got angry? You bet I did. I allowed myself to become bitter and wasn’t willing to forgive my friend. Colossians 3:13, “Forbearing one another (to put up with their weaknesses), and forgiving one another (oh me!), if any man (or woman) have a quarrel against any (we almost had a full-blown quarrel): even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

            It wasn’t until many years later that I realized my own sin and the damage that I had caused. By that time CeeCee had moved away and we were friends no longer. To this day, I haven’t had any more contact with her. I wish that I could because I would like to be able to apologize and to ask for her forgiveness. The Lord convicted me my sin when I began to pray for Him to show me all of the sins in my life. I no longer wanted to live with bitterness and anger and pain and deep depression. God showed me Psalms 37 and told me to study it and memorize it verse by verse. Over and over the Lord convicted me of my own sinfulness and that I had absolutely no rights, but that instead, I had responsibilities. I was responsible to obey His Word and when I got to verse eight of Psalms 37, I realized my responsibility for my sin of anger. “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” I don’t think that God could have made it any clearer to me. I was guilty of the sin of anger, wrath, evil thinking, wanting to get restitution, and just plain old self-centeredness. I was guilty of even thinking that I had a right to get offended. II Corinthians 6:3, “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:” Not only had I gotten offended, but I wound up offending CeeCee and driving her away from our friendship.

            So, what is the truth and blessing of this story? My hope and prayer is that God uses this to speak to all of our hearts and to allow the Holy Spirit to show us if we have sinned either in getting offended at someone or of offending another person. I also hope that we will stop claiming our “rights” to feel a certain way like angry or bitter when someone does or doesn’t do what we expect them to do. And I hope that we will pray and open up ourselves honestly to the Lord so that He can show us our own sins, leave the sins of others with God, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins and to be honest about them. I John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Oh what a better person, what a stronger church, what a shining example we can be if we would only yield ourselves fully to the One who bought us with His precious blood. The truth is: I would still be a bitter, angry, and wretched woman if I hadn’t been honest and confessed my sins one by one as the Holy Spirit convicted me of them. The blessing is: you too can be set free from the bondage of the sin of bitterness, anger, and of being easily offended (yes, I know there are many of you out there, and I pray for you often), if you too will be honest and confess your sins when the Holy Ghost convicts you of them. Will you pray this prayer with me? It is one that I had to pray for many, many weeks before I truly meant what I was saying. I hope that you will pray this prayer honestly and truly to the Lord right now, “Father God, my Lord Jesus Christ, will you please fill me with the Holy Spirit who will search my heart and know my thoughts and convict me of any sin that I have committed against you or against another? Forgive me as I confess this sin (name whatever sin it is that the Holy Spirit has brought to your mind). I claim the promise of your Holy Word that states that you have forgiven me and cleansed me of all unrighteousness. Thank you Jesus for shedding Your blood to pay for my every sin. I yield full control over (whatever that sin was) and pray that You will empower me to do Your will instead. I thank You and Praise You in the name of my Saviour Jesus Christ.” If you have prayed that prayer and need to make things right with someone else, you need to do so as soon as God allows and enables you to do so. Don’t wait until you feel like it! You may not get the chance if you do wait…just like I never got the opportunity to apologize to CeeCee.

(Next time I blog, I will write about how to make appropriate restitution.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Mama

 My Mama                                                        May 26, 2014
            This is my mama, Patricia (Pat) Voss. She died on Saturday, April 12, 2014. I have wanted to blog about that day ever since it happened, but it is just so emotionally hard for me to do. However, I am going to try and with the help of the Holy Spirit I will get it done.
            It was around 3:30 in the afternoon when I went back over to the home to sit with my mama. My sister (Mary) was still there and my papa left soon after I arrived. I didn’t think my sister would stay as she had already been at the Home for a couple of hours and had been in town all day. She had her cats to feed and I figured she would be leaving. I am so glad that she didn’t.
            We sat and talked. After an hour, we decided to play a game of cribbage. It was a game that our mama had taught us when we were young teenagers and it had been one of her favorite games. Mary jokingly said that we would go to hell for playing a card game while our mother lay dying. I responded that mom would be glad that we were together doing something that she had once enjoyed.
            As we played the game we continued to listen to the staggered breathing and death gurgle that came from our mom. Mary mentioned that she had a song running through her brain that she knew mama liked and that would be appropriate for this time. Mary said that it was the old spiritual, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” I began to sing the chorus and Mary joined in.
            Reader, you need to realize that Mary was brought up in good churches and knows Jesus is her Saviour, but has not attended church since she became an independent adult. So, it was a great surprise to me that she wanted to sing spiritual song. A surprise and an even greater blessing!
            When we finished singing the chorus, Mary mentioned another song chorus that would be good to sing. She couldn’t remember the name of it; just a few words. It was, “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks.” I sang the first verse and when I got to the chorus, Mary sang soprano and I alto. Mama opened her eyes which had been shut all day and looked at something above her. Mary asked her if she saw the angels coming for her that we had been singing about. Again we sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and we finished our game of cribbage.
            Mary was drawing a line down her score-sheet, when I looked at mama. I don’t know what I saw or heard that caused me to realize that this was the end, but I said to Mary, “I think this is it.” Mary thought I meant that we couldn’t play another hand of cribbage and stated that she thought we had enough time. I began to rise from my seat and said, “No, I think This is It!” She looked over at mama just as I got to the bedside. Mama took one last breath and slowly let it out. We timed it and forty-five seconds passed before she took the last exhale as her soul departed for Heaven. I instantly called my husband Jerry.
            Mary and I hugged each other and cried. I went to get the Home’s C.N.A. and Mary felt for any pulse on mom’s wrist and neck. The nurse and my sister used the stethoscope and heard no heartbeat. We called the rest of the family and the nurse called for the Hospice RN to come and make the official “call” of death.
            I don’t know how many deaths have been as peaceful and blessed as this one. I was present for the death of my mother-in-law which was very peaceful. But I was so blessed to be a part of the “home-coming” for my mama. It was filled with so much love, sweet music, peace, and joy. Mama was finally free from all her pain and I know that when I see her again, she will be in her perfectly glorified body.
II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man (human) be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

God is so good!

God is So Good

January 10, 2014

            Last year at this time I was feeling really depressed and discouraged. We were getting ready to return home from Arizona and I truly did not want to leave. Going home would mean that I had to return to the cold, rainy, and gray weather in western Washington. It took me a long time to get over the blue funk and to feel like God even cared one iota about me. I just felt like I had been left alone to wallow in my self-pity. But, I wasn’t alone because when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior I also received the Holy Spirit and my body became His temple. Ever faithful, the Holy Spirit began to remind me of the truth of God’s Word.

            Well, for those of you who have been following my blog, you already know how the Lord is making His blessing very abundant and visible in my life recently. He did it again yesterday and I just have to give Him all the praise and share this testimony with you.

            My daughter, Rebekah, has been longing to be on the special olympic’s ice skating team ever since she found out that they started a team in Bremerton last January. She thought that they only practiced for the winter games which meant they would start practicing this month. Rebekah contacted the coach by email a couple of times to find out when practices would begin, but she never heard anything. So, I gave her the phone number for the ice center and she gave them a call. The instructor informed Bekah that she thought they would start on Tuesday. We were at the rink last Tuesday, but no one ever showed up. We talked to the instructor/owner and decided to try again on Thursday (yesterday). My daughter was very upset when no one showed up and it took a lot of prayer and talking to get her over the mental issues.

            A little back-ground on Rebekah. Most of you know that she is autistic and also deals with mental illness in the form of mood disorder. She takes medication for it, but it doesn’t make her a brain dead zombie. So she still has to deal with emotions that can overwhelm her. And now back to the blessed story.

            On Thursday we left early for Bremerton because I needed to get gas and wanted to look around for birthday gifts for Jerry. For that reason, I wasn’t home to answer the phone when two ladies called. At least they left messages. Jerry came home for a minute to get his work computer and to do a load of laundry. He was the one that listened to the answering machine. I was at SVDP when he called my cellphone and gave me some really bad news about ice skating. I had to pause a minute to pray and get myself prepared for how Rebekah would react to the news. Jerry was kind enough to tell Bekah the sad news that the team roster was full and that she could not be on the team. She took the news well and asked if we could still go to the practice. I figured it was worth going just to talk to the coach.

            Rebekah had a nice time talking to her friends while we waited for the coach to arrive. I was dreading the talk with the coach because I don’t like any type of confrontation. So, while we waited, I prayed. When I finally had the opportunity to talk to the coach, she explained fully about the program being different from the other sports offered by special Olympics due to the fact that the team was also a part of the federation of skaters and that the team practiced off and on all year long and competed in more events than just those sponsored by special Olympics. She was truly kind and encouraged Rebekah to learn and practice ice skating and try to join the team again in April.

            Once I got home I listened to the messages on the answering myself. One was from the coach and the other was from a good friend. My friend said she would call back later and she did. She wondered if I was okay and what was going on. That morning, before she even got out of bed, the Holy Spirit has impressed upon her heart to pray for me. I couldn’t figure out why the Lord had done that. We chatted for several minutes and I couldn’t think of any reason for why God did what He did. When I finished the phone call, I asked the Lord, “Why did you place me on my friend’s heart, Lord?” And immediately He replied, “Do you remember how well things went this morning? Remember how well Bekah did with the bad news and how nice the coach was when she didn’t have to be? I DID THAT!”

            WOW, all praise to God for He is great and His mercy is amazing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My notes for the EPIC talk I gave on January 8, 2014

            Once upon a time, not that long ago, and in a kingdom called poor torchard, there was a beautiful, teenage princess. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t a real princess, but she sure wished that she was one, and sometimes she really acted like a diva.
          The beautiful, teenage princess could not wait for her prince charming to come along and rescue her from the haunted non-castle where she lived with her bratty, warty, and smelly younger brother who made life miserable for everyone. She hoped so fervently that prince charming would come along soon and would save her from the ogre, also known as her dad, and from her mother, who she considered to be the wicked witch of the west. Even though she wasn’t being held captive by a fire-breathing dragon, it sure felt that way to her.
When she was only seventeen, the princess couldn’t wait any longer for prince charming to come riding up in a white mustang (preferably a 1969 model convertible), so she went out looking for him by herself. The princess went out with Larry, but he was just too old and started to remind her of her dad, the ogre. She had one date with Terry just to give him a try. She actually fell in love with Barry, but he didn’t love her. She also Fell in love with Kevin and was actually engaged to Keith. She went out with so many guys that she stopped counting after ten, but either they turned into toads or they figured out that she was more of a commoner than a princess.
Oh, uh, wait a minute…I’m supposed to be talking to you guys about real life, not some fairy tale.
One of my favorite movies of all time is this one right here. I love the part where the Princess Buttercup and the horrible Prince Humperdink are in the chapel about to be married. The priest turns around and says, “Marwidge is the weason we are gatherahd here today.” And later he says, “wuv two wuv…” The whole thing is a fairy tale. We have all heard them, we have all seen them, and probably all dreamed about them coming true in our life. I know that’s how I thought when I was a teenager.
Actually, the story I began to tell you was not a fairy tale, it was a part of my life. I wanted to be married and taken far away from my home. Family life was very hard for me and I believed that I needed some man, a Christian man, to marry me and save me from all of the stress in my house and with my parents. Little did I realize that I  could not escape from my problems by just changing my location. (But that’s another story for another day.) Today, I am here to talk to you about dating and marriage relationships
By the time I was nineteen, I had dated so many guys that I can’t even remember how many there were. I was so hungry for someone to love me, to just love me. For my 19th birthday, my younger brother decorated my birthday cake with these little plastic items that represented all of the guys I had dated over the last two years. It was really, really funny, but also really, really sad. I had just broken my engagement with Keith and I was getting a bit more cautious about giving my heart to anyone else. A month after my birthday, right about this time of year, the Lord began to teach me to be much more selective about the next guy I dated. I knew that I was not to marry someone who wasn’t a Christian according to II Corinthians 6:14-18. God also showed me those verse meant that I also needed to find a man who loved and served the Lord as much, if not more than I did. So, in my mind I created “the List” of Godly qualifications I needed to know that the man possessed before I would even consider going out with him. He had to attend church faithfully. He had to read his Bible every single day. He had to be serving the Lord at the church. He had to be a soul-winner. He had to be respected by other Christians. He had to have a job that could support us, and more good things that I won’t go into right now. Then, I waited for Mr. Right to show up.
Well, the church I was attending when I was nineteen was getting ready for their annual Sweetheart Banquet. I was so full of stinking pride that I thought I would just wait for all the guys to ask me and then I would make my decision as to who I would go to the banquet with. Yep, you guessed it, no one, absolutely no one, asked me to the banquet. God was trying to teach me another lesson: to not be so full of pride and to wait on the Lord. The next morning, I dreamt that I was crying from a broken heart from being all alone with no one to love me. In my dream I was living alone in an apartment in Florida and was so lonely. When I woke up, I was crying my eyes out, and the Holy Spirit said to me remember Hebrews 13:5b, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” God let me know that He was right there with me, comforting me. He reminded me of Proverbs 3:5&6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge him, and shall direct thy paths.” The Lord gently told me to stop worrying about a husband, that He already had one chosen just for me, and to just wait on Him. I stopped crying and began thanking and praising my Lord Jesus Christ
That night was Wednesday evening church and my good friend asked Jerry if he had invited anyone to the banquet. At the same time I came up to talk to my friend, he suggested to Jerry that he ask me. Sweet, shy Jerry worked up the strength to ask, and I immediately said yes. Jerry and I had known each other for a few months, but I would have never considered him dating material because he had red hair. God, on the other hand, considered him perfect for me, not only as a date to the Sweetheart banquet, but as my future husband. And the rest, is history. Did we ride off into the horizon in a white mustang? No, but Jerry did have a white Chevy van! Did Jerry rescue me from the Ogre and the Wicked Witch? Not for a while, because life has a way of turning out so different from the Fairy Tales. Did we end up living happily ever after? Yes, but it took a long, long time.
So, how can this help you, right here, right now? I have prayed and prayed for this time that I have with you, that whatever I say would be just what you need. There is so much that I could tell you. There is so much that I can teach you. There is so much that God wants you to learn about dating and love and marriage. But I only have a few minutes to talk to you and try to encourage you to do the right things.
This is what I want to get across to you more than anything else: Make a commitment to the Lord that you will keep yourself pure in body and in mind and that you will trust in the Lord and wait on Him to bring you the man or woman that He has chosen especially for you. Once you have given yourself to sin, especially the sin of fornication which is having sex before you are married, you have lost the only thing that you can give to your spouse…your virginity. I know that hormones and emotions can become overwhelming. You know what? God knows that also. He’s the one who created you, saved you, knows all about you, and loves you more than you can imagine. I wish that I could give you all of the answers to all of your questions and concerns. You know what? I can, they are found in your Bible. Get into it every day, pray about what God wants you to learn, and then obey as He shows you.
In the meantime, what I can give you is an outline that you can study, as well as some hugs, kisses, and hearts. Enjoy!


I. Different types of love:

            A. Phileo means brotherly love. I Thes. 4:9, Titus 2:4, I Peter 3:8, I John 4:20

                        1. It is the love between family members.          

                                    a. It goes deeper than conscience.

                                    b. It is long-lasting.

                        2. It is the love between friends.

                                    a. It can last long.

                                    b. It is a conscious desire.

            B. Eros means sexual. II Samuel 13:1

                        1. It is an overwhelming desire to satisfy urges.

                        2. It is usually temporary.

                        3. It is fleeting and can be quenched.

            C. Thelo means desire. Mark 12:38

                        1. It is self-centered.

                        2. It is a desire for others to adore what you do.

II. What love is not:

            A. Lust: selfish, self-centered desire to satisfy one’s longings.

                        1. II Samuel 13:1-20, the true story of Amnon

                                    a. selfish desires to have relations with his half-sister.

                                    b. once fulfilled his lust became hate.

                                    c. his consequence was an early death.

B. Infatuation: a feeling of foolish admiration for another.

                        1. I Samuel 18:20, 28, Michal thought she loved David

                                    a. actually she was infatuated with him.

                                    b. I Samuel 19:11-17, she lies for him.

                                    c. she gets married to another.

                                    d. she winds up despising David.

                                    e. her consequence was no children.

III. What love is:

            Love is the constant commitment to always seek that which is the best for the other person no matter what it costs you.

            A. I Corinthians 13, love is described as charity:

                        1. It is long-suffering. It puts up with the other person.

                        2. It is kind.

                        3. It does not envy.

                        4. It does not brag about itself.

                        5. It is not prideful.

                        6. It behaves with respect.

                        7. It is not selfish.

                        8. It doesn’t get angry quickly.

                        9. It doesn’t think evil thoughts.

                        10. It does not rejoice in sin.

                        11. It rejoices in the truth (the Word of truth, Jn.17:17)

                        12. It bears all things, it carries the burdens.

                        13. It believes and gives the person the benefit of the doubt.

                        14. It hopes all things, especially for the other person.

                        15. It endures all things, even if they hurt really bad.

                        16. It never fails.

                        17. It is the greatest.

            B. Agape: The love of God in action through you to another person.

                        1. I John 3:18, love in deed and in truth.

                        2. I John 3:7-8, love is of God.

                        3. I John 4:10, we love God because he first loved us.

                        4. I John 4:11, God loves us and we are to love others.

IV. How to keep from sinning in love:

            A. Remember that your body is the temple of God. I Cor. 3:16-17

                        1. And of the Holy Ghost. I Cor. 16:19-20

                                    a. Jesus bought and paid for your spirit, soul, and body.

                                    b. God owns you once you accept Jesus as Savior.

                        2. Present your body as a living sacrifice to God. Rom. 12:1-2

                                    a. Don’t be like the world.

                                    b. Be transformed.

                                    c. Renew your mind, prove what is good, and do what God says.

            B. Wait to date until you are ready to get married. I Cor. 7:1-4

                        1. Keep yourself pure for your future spouse.

                        2. Don’t get married just to have “legitimate sex”.

                                    a. marriage is so much more than just sex.

                        3. Make a commitment and trust in the Lord.

                                    a. you may need to wait a long time.

                        4. Only date someone who would be pleasing to the Lord.

                                    a. It will make the rest of your life so much better.

V. Realize how much God loves you.

            A. It is an everlasting love. Jer. 31:6

                        1. It draws us to Him.

            B. It is a worldwide love. John 3:16

                        1. It is a giving love. Everlasting life.

                        2. It is sacrificial. It cost Jesus his life.

            C. It is a great love. Eph. 2:4

                        1. His love for you.

            D. It is inseparable. Rom. 8:35-39

                        1. absolutely nothing can take away God’s love for you.

            E. It is amazing. John 17:23, 26

                        1. the Father loves you as much as He loves Jesus.

                        2. that same love is within you.

a. when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.