Genuine Love

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When we think of the word “love,” we usually get a warm feeling inside.  We think of love in a positive way, as love is portrayed – in most cases – as something good.  Marriage is based on love.  Parenting is based on love.  Missions and outreach is based on love – or at least it should be.

Unfortunately love in our culture has become a broad description of many things.  We “love” Italian food.  We “love” our new sports car.  We “love” our jobs.  According to the Word of God, however, this form of love is not true love.  This is a pleasant feeling or “like” toward something.  This “like” ends when the newness or emotion of it fades over time. 

True love is not based on emotions.  It is based on a choice to put others before ourselves, regardless of how we feel.  It’s deeper, more valuable, and more lasting than what any definition of love could be.

What Is Love?

While the world may define love as warm, fuzzy feelings toward another human being, or perhaps even their pet, the Word’s definition is not “what” but “Who.”  God is love.

(1John 4:8 KJV)  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

(1John 4:16 KJV)  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Where Is Love?

God not only is love but He has placed that love in our hearts the moment we were saved.  We don’t need to strive to walk in love; it is right there in us if we’ll just let it guide us!

(Romans 5:5 KJV)  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

(Galatians 5:22 KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.

 What Love Does

Just like “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20), so faith without action is not love.  It must be proven through good deeds for others to see.

(1John 3:18 KJV)  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

(1John 3:17 KJV)  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

(2 Corinthians 8:8 KJV)  I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

(2 Corinthians 8:24 KJV)  Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

God proved it:

  1. He sent Jesus.

(1John 4:9 KJV)  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

(1John 4:10 KJV)  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

  1. He corrects us.

(Revelations 3:19 KJV)  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

(Proverbs 3:12) For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

 

We prove it:

  1. We keep His commandments.

(1John 5:2 KJV)  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

(John 14:21 KJV)  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

  1. We keep the peace.

(Proverbs 17:9 KJV)  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

(Proverbs 10:12 KJV)  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

(Ephesians 4:2 KJV)  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love . . .

  1. We live selflessly.

(1Corinthians 13:4-7) Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

(2 Corinthians 12:15 KJV)  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

(Ephesians 5:2 KJV)  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

(1John 3:16 KJV)  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

(Romans 12:10 KJV)  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another . . .

  1. We work to serve.

(1Thessalonians 1:3 KJV)  Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

(1Thessalonians 5:13 KJV)  And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

(Hebrews 6:10 KJV)  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

(Galatians 5:13 KJV)  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

  1. We encourage good works.

(Hebrews 10:24 KJV)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works . . .

  1. We never stop loving.

(Hebrews 13:1 KJV)  Let brotherly love continue.

(1Corinthians 13:8) Charity [love] never faileth . . .

  1. We speak the truth.

 (Ephesians 4:15 KJV)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ . . .

  1. We fulfill the law.

(Romans 13:8 KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

  1. We build up (edify).

(Ephesians 4:16 KJV)  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

When it comes to romance, it’s important to know and believe of the Love of God first.  You will then be able to spot a counterfeit relationship miles away . . . and you will be able to identify the genuine because you have already seen the legit!  Go for the genuine love that God has for you!  It’s His highest and best!

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When Dating Is Wrong

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We’ve heard a lot of opinions about dating.  When is it appropriate to date?  At what age should a person start dating?  Is courtship better than dating?  Is dating even healthy for a Christian? With so many views, we could get confused and frustrated in culture where dating many times over is totally acceptable.

When we get down to the root of it all, however, it’s not about dating vs. courtship, or dating only at a certain age.  It’s about staying in the will of God in every area of our relationships.  Though dating in general may not be sinful, a wrong heart motive behind it may be as wrong as dating the wrong person at the wrong time.

God first looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7).  He always has and always will.  In fact, we can’t even get saved unless we believe in our hearts (Romans 10:9,10).  Many people can “date” with a pure heart motive. However, if the heart motivation behind a dating relationship is wrong in God’s eyes, that dating relationship is not from Him. Dating then is not the issue; the heart is the issue.  Is the heart wrong?  Then the dating is wrong.

As we read the following points ask ourselves, “What is the condition of my heart? Am I dating for the right reasons?”

  1. Am I motivated by filling a need like loneliness?
  2. Am I motivated by the thrill of accessing a certain group?
  3. Am I motivated by avoiding responsibilities?
  4. Am I motivated by ignoring a season of growth and maturing?
  5. Am I motivated by lustful desires?
  6. Am I motivated emotions, and nothing more?
  7. Am I disobeying God when He specifically said not to date this person?

If we answer “yes” to any of these, it’s time to step back and analyze our relationship-.

We must always remember that our actions toward and with people are to be motivated by love.  Love for Jesus and love for others (John 13:34).

When we obey Jesus and His will for our lives, we are loving Him (John 14:15). We don’t ask questions, but simply do what He says, even if it means overcoming disappointment that a relationship may not happen.

When we love others, we don’t use someone’s attention and time for personal gain.  Love doesn’t lead them to do something that will hurt them.  Instead, it strives to lead them into a stronger relationship with God, and helping them stay in – not out – of His will for their lives.  Anything less is selfishness.

When is dating wrong? When it’s not motivated by love.  When is dating right?  When it’s motivated by love . . . and love only.  When this is our motivation, God’s best relationships are sure to find us . . . because our hearts can be trusted!

 

Photo courtesy of Google images.

Love Is a Verb

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Love.  We all want it and can’t live without it.  We seek it, idolize it, and make it our life’s goal.  But do we know what we’re really looking for?  Is that object we call “love” really what we’re expecting?

Love is depicted in many ways in the world.  We see movies, novels, and dating relationships describing love as an emotional tie to another person.  We’re given the idea that love is found only on Valentine’s Day in the form of a box of chocolates.  We’re convinced that love is found in the physical attraction to someone through a kiss or an embrace.  Worst of all, lust is portrayed as synonymous to love, despite all its harmful effects.  Out of all the choices, which one is truly “love”?

God, of course, gives the most accurate description of love:

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

Here is a definition of love most of our culture knows nothing about!  We see very little giving, much less dying for others.   But according to the God of the universe, the greatest form of love is giving up one’s life.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. Romans 5:7

The greatest example of this, of course, is Jesus.  He dared! People all over the world have laid down their life for someone or something, but never for so great a cause.  Others have laid down their lives for their friends, but rarely for their enemies.  In contrast, Jesus did this for people in the present and people in the future, regardless of their love for Him.  He allowed Himself to be given.

For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Our human instinct is to fulfill its cravings at the expense of everyone else, with no pain toward ourselves.  Jesus, however, commanded us to love our neighbor – friend or foe – as ourselves (Mark 12:31).  When we love “us,” do we take advantage of ourselves?  Do we take from ourselves more readily than we give?  Do we deprive ourselves of our daily needs?  They answer is clearly “no”, yet we often do exactly that to others, not realizing that we’re stepping out of the boundaries of love.  We forget God’s command to do unto others as we would have them do to us (Luke 6:31).

It’s easy to give a gift or assist someone we like.  We feel more inclined to show love to someone who loves us in return.  But what about the times someone isn’t able to return the favor, or chooses not to?  That’s when we are called to be the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

A man was beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of the road.  Shamefully, two devoted Jews passed by without offering aid.  They were followed by a Gentile, focused on a destination of his own.  He stumbled across that horrific sight crying out to him for help.  He hesitated. Time was ticking away.  He was human like the rest of us, so I could imagine the debate that went on in his head: “You’ll be late for your meeting!  If you’re late, they’ll never promote you to that new position!  Let someone else come and help him.”  Thankfully, he didn’t give in to the argument.  He stepped aside and assisted the man, inconveniencing himself and his pocketbook.

This Samaritan was a “good” Samaritan.  But what separates a person from the just “good” and the “loving” is the action taken to back up the goodness.  A “good” man has a few compassionate thoughts fly through his head, yet still continues on because he must keep his schedule.  A “good and loving” person will go beyond inward goodness; he will put aside his desires and help the person less fortunate. Greater still is when he pays the extra bit to keep the other person going, even after he must leave. That is love.

Just the same, negative feelings often arise when our flesh wishes to do anything other than show love.  It may be that it’s going to take an uncomfortable amount of effort to show it.  We might have to swallow our pride and humble ourselves in front of someone we’ve wronged.  Someone who has hated us might be a candidate for love, but our flesh may cry for justice rather than mercy.  Whatever the situation, we cannot rely on our senses.  The greatest test of love is how we act when our feelings don’t line up with our actions.  It’s an act of faith that says, “I will do this out of a tender heart toward God, regardless of the way I feel.”

An emotion-led relationship is often controlled by hormones and has nothing to do with commitment.  The feelings change the moment someone does something we don’t like. The fuzzy feelings of getting a gift and a special night out eventually fade.  Physical touch and sexual “love” is temporary and subject to a person’s presence.  Lust does nothing but take out of selfishness.  The only reliable and authentic form of true love is found in only one place – in the nature of the Father.  Apart from Him, we flounder in our own strength to accurately show and receive love.  When we don’t know Him, we don’t know love, for He is love.

A minister once said that “love is a verb.”  It’s an action, not a feeling.  It’s a decision, not a fleeting thought.  Thankfully, Jesus understood this.  He acted on His love to the point of torture.  This may never be demanded of us; but like the Good Samaritan, we still have opportunities every day to put down our flesh and its desire to take rather than give.   We may have to reprogram our minds to think without selfishness interfering with our actions.  We may have to start with the small actions of love in order to attain to the big actions.  The opportunities are there if we’ll keep our eyes on the greatest Example God gave us – Jesus, love in the flesh.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:7, 8

.Photo courtesy of Google Images

Christ Is Enough

We live in a culture of romance. So much romance that it seems our lives are incomplete without it. But if we are Christians, we are complete, with or without a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife.  He is enough, more than enough, because He alone can fulfill us. He has taken care of the most important part of our lives. Our sins have been forgiven, our eternity set in heaven, and our value determined by Him alone. No person or relationship can fulfill all that. Though God may bless us with a spouse, Christ is ultimately enough.

17 Tips to Help You “Love Tough” – James Dobson


Let me get very specific with those of you who are single but wish someday to be married. (No insult is intended to those who are single by design and wish to remain unmarried. That is a legitimate choice that should be respected by friends and family, alike.) Listed below are seventeen suggestions that will help you conform to the principles of loving toughness in matters of the heart.
1. Don’t let the relationship move too fast in its infancy. The phrase “too hot not to cool down” has validity. Relationships that begin in a frenzy frequently burn themselves out. Take it one step at a time. 

2. Don’t discuss your personal inadequacies and flaws in great detail when the relationship is new. No matter how warm and accepting your friend may be, any great revelation of low self-esteem or embarrassing weaknesses can be fatal when interpersonal “valleys” occur. And they will occur. 
3. Remember that respect precedes love. Build it stone upon stone. 
4. Don’t call too often on the phone or give the other person an opportunity to get tired of you. 
5. Don’t be too quick to reveal your desire to get married–or that you think you’ve just found Mr. Wonderful or Miss Marvelous. If your partner has not arrived at the same conclusion, you’ll throw him or her into panic. 
6. Most important: Relationships are constantly being “tested” by cautious lovers who like to nibble at the bait before swallowing the hook. This testing procedure takes many forms, but it usually involves pulling backward from the other person to see what will happen. Perhaps a foolish fight is initiated. Maybe two weeks will pass without a phone call. Or sometimes flirtation occurs with a rival. In each instance, the question being asked is “How important am I to you, and what would you do if you lost me?” An even more basic issue lies below that one. 
It wants to know, “How free am I to leave if I want to?” It is incredibly important in these instances to appear poised, secure, and equally independent. Do not grasp the other person and beg for mercy. Some people remain single throughout life because they cannot resist the temptation to grovel when the test occurs. 
7. Extending the same concept, keep in mind that virtually every dating relationship that continues for a year or more and seems to be moving toward marriage will be given the ultimate test. A breakup will occur, motivated by only one of the lovers. The rejected individual should know that their future together depends on the skill with which he or she handles that crisis. If the hurting individual can remain calm, as Shirley did with me, the next two steps may be reconciliation and marriage. It often happens that way. If not, then no amount of pleading will change anything. 
8. Do not depend entirely upon one another for the satisfaction of every emotional need. Maintain interests and activities outside that romantic relationship, even after marriage. 
9. Guard against selfishness in your love affair. Neither the man nor the woman should do all the giving. I once broke up with a girl because she let me take her to nice places, bring her flowers, buy her lunch, etc. I wanted to do these things but expected her to reciprocate in some way. She didn’t. 
10. Beware of blindness to obvious warning signs that tell you that your potential husband or wife is basically disloyal, hateful, spiritually uncommitted, hooked on drugs or alcohol, given to selfishness, etc. Believe me, a bad marriage is far worse than the most lonely instance of singleness.
11. Beginning early in the dating relationship, treat the other person with respect and expect the same in return. A man should open doors for a woman on a formal evening; a woman should speak respectfully of her escort when in public, etc. If you don’t preserve this respectful attitude when the foundations of marriage are being laid, it will be virtually impossible to construct them later. 
12. Do not equate human worth with flawless beauty or handsomeness! If you require physical perfection in your mate, he or she may make the same demands of you. Don’t let love escape you because of the false values of your culture. 
13. If genuine love has escaped you thus far, don’t begin believing “no one would ever want me.” That is a deadly trap that can destroy you emotionally! Millions of people are looking for someone to love. The problem is finding one another! 
14. Regardless of how brilliant the love affair has been, take time to “check your assumptions” with your partner before committing yourself to marriage. It is surprising how often men and women plunge toward matrimony without ever becoming aware of major differences in expectation between them. For example:
a. Do you want to have children? How soon? How many?

b. Where will you live?

c. Will the wife work? How soon? How about after children are born?

d. Who will lead in the relationship? What does that really mean?

e. How will you relate to your in-laws?

f. How will money be spent?

g. How important will spiritual matters be in the marriage?

These and dozens of other “assumptions” should be discussed item by item with the help of a premarital counselor. Many future struggles can be avoided by coming to terms with potential areas of disagreement. If the differences are great enough, it is even possible that the marriage should never occur. 
15. Sexual familiarity can be deadly to a relationship. In addition to the many moral, spiritual, and physical reasons for remaining virgins until marriage, there are numerous psychological and interpersonal advantages as well. Though it’s an old-fashioned notion, perhaps, it is still true that men do not respect “easy” women and often become bored with those who have held nothing in reserve. Likewise, women often disrespect men who have only one thing on their minds. Both sexes need to remember how to use a very ancient word. It’s pronounced “NO!” 
16. Country singer Tom T. Hall wrote a song in which he revealed an understanding of the concept we have been describing. His lyric read, “If you hold love too loosely then it flies away; if you hold love too tightly, it’ll die. It’s one of the mysteries of life.”(4) Hall’s observation is accurate. If the commitment between a man and a woman is given insufficient importance in their lives, it will wither like a plant without water. The whole world knows that much. But fewer lovers seem to realize that extreme dependency can be just as deadly to a love affair. It has been said that the person who needs the other least will normally be in control of the relationship. I believe that to be true. 
17. There is nothing about marriage that eliminates the basic need for freedom and respect in romantic interactions. Keep the mystery and the dignity in your relationship. If the other partner begins to feel trapped and withdraws for a time, grant him or her some space and pull back yourself. Do not build a cage around that person. Instead, release your grip with confidence while never appeasing immorality or destructive behavior. 

By Doctor James Dobson

Going Steady – Guest Post

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After Christmas, I got the sudden urge to reorganize places in my house.  This included my shelf of notebook binders, filled with sermon notes, Scripture lists, and discipleship helps.  One notebook was filled with chapels from the Christian School I attended in Canada.  One of the chapel notes was from Paula Hernando, the secretary of the school (you can read her relationship testimony in the previous post, titled “Steady as You Wait”). The following article, “Going Steady,” is Paula’s notes with my thoughts in italics.  Make the choice to go steady!

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Most of the time, we use the term “going steady” as related to dating.  But have we ever considered what it would mean if we applied it to our relationship with Jesus? 

There are several words that follow along the thought of “steady.” Let’s look at a few of them:

“Steadfast” means “stable and steady.” “Stable” means “not likely to give way; enduring; not wavering in purpose; firmly established; mentally sound; resistant to physical and chemical change.” “Steady” means “constant; free from agitation; free from variation, interruption; dependable.”

I think we would all agree that “steadfast,” or “steady,” describes the kind of relationship we would want with anyone.  We don’t appreciate relationships that are fickle, every day different than the day before. We want commitment.

“Going steady” also denotes exclusiveness: we’re committed to one person.  It’s no different with Jesus.  He especially deserves steadfastness and steadiness.  He also requires it. Our walk with Him must be exclusive.

You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8)

…by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (2 Corinthians 15:2)

Three ways to maintain steadiness:

  1. Steady seeking.

“Search” in the Greek means “following in close pursuit of a desired object.” If we are in a healthy relationship with someone, we consistently seek them.  We seek to know where they are so we can be with them.  We seek their interests, likes and dislikes, so we can get to know them better.  It should be the same with our relationship with Jesus. We are to consistently seek after His person and His desires.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring back your from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

 2. Steady in knowing.

Wisdom comes from God and keeps us stable. It enables us to make right decisions, move forward confidently, and be successful in all we do.  It guides our lives to success instead of defeat.  However, if we neglect knowing His wisdom, we will flounder.  We will strive in our own understanding to do what we think is correct, but never successfully achieve God’s will for our lives.

 Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation;
The fear of the Lord is His treasure. (Isaiah 33:6)

Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

  1. Steady in decision.

Regardless of what happens, there should be a conviction that we’ll be as on fire for God as we are now.  Decisions can take us away for where we want to be if they’re made wrong. Little decisions should equal big decisions for God.

Only your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel . . . (Philippians 1:27)

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked . . . (2 Peter 3:17)

What does “going steady” with Jesus mean to us?  What would we change if we were to treat our relationship with Him with the same intensity that we treat our boyfriend?  Would we memorize His number so we can consistently communicate?  Would we read His letters to us, memorizing every Word?  Would we be unwavering in our commitment?  I pray we all choose to “go steady,” though we may be surrounded with a world of unsteadiness.

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Paula Hernando is a fellow blogger and published author.  You can read more about her and her book at http://www.emptyhandstoopenarms.com.

 

Steady as You Wait – Guest Post

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The following testimony is written by someone very special in my life.  Paula Hernando was the secretary of the Christian college I attended in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in the early 2000’s.  I volunteered in her office and enjoyed chatting with her sweet personality!  She was a blessing to me as she made me feel welcome in a foreign country, a new church, and a new school.  Like many of us, she had to wait a little longer than planned for her “Mr. Wright” to appear.  But as you’ll read, it was well worth the wait!

I remember as a child picking up a special flower and pulling the petals off one by one. “He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me…” I would take the steps down an imaginary aisle holding tightly to my grandmother’s geranium as if it were a grand bouquet.   I would imagine my future husband whisking me off my feet and carrying me away.  However, when I reached my early 20’s, the desire to be married was no longer a quiet childhood game.  By that time I felt I knew everything there was to know about life and love and marriage (insert chuckle here), there was only one thing missing:  A man!

I knew instinctively that peacefulness was so important while waiting for my future husband to arrive.  I did the best with what I had and tried to pretty myself with make-up and hair styles that were flattering. Everyone around me told me to wait for God to bring just the right person in my life.  I’d like to say that I was the picture of perfect patience, but I had difficulty with the idea of delay.  I questioned God about it continually.  I couldn’t understand why desire didn’t equal readiness. It became increasingly stressful for me as I aged. Through this process, God made me ready to handle a serious adult relationship.  It was a readiness that I couldn’t produce in myself.  Only God knew when that moment would arrive.  In a practical sense, I had to come to the place of hopeful peace in the midst of an intense desire to be married.

“This could be the year that you meet your man, because if we wait for you, we’ll wait forever.” This was an encouraging prophecy that came to me a few years before I met my husband to be.  While I waited, I kept the following scripture in my back pocket:  “… blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45). I held to these promises that brought me a hope that God would one day answer my prayer.

Then one day in 1998, I had the responsibility of arranging billets for students at my new job as secretary for a Christian college.  My new assignment had to be housed within an afternoon. I was to meet him later that day to discuss the arrangement and give him a map to his new home.  When Dario arrived, my heart did a little flutter and I’m sure I blushed.  Thus began a friendship where we seemed to be drawn to one another.

By the end of 2002 I knew I wanted this friendship to blossom into more.  I loved his walk with the Lord, his warmth, his ability to keep me fascinated in conversation, and his funny way.   Through the assistance of mutual friends, Dario asked me to dinner. This began a 5-month courtship as our love and anticipation grew.  We were going steady!

I remember the Lord giving me a directive one night as the scripture leapt off the page of my Bible: “Be still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall; for the man will not rest until he has completed the matter this day” (Ruth 3: 18). Little did I know that during this time Dario had for two weeks held a boxed engagement ring in his pocket, looking for an appropriate time.

During one of our planned picnic dates, we visited a beautifully restored nursery, complete with dazzling colors in lilies, peonies, and other tiny flowers and plants.  Dario asked me to marry him in this beautiful backdrop of God’s creation.  I said, “Yes”!  I was 39 years old.  We were married October 10th, 2003.

We had the blessing and support of our leaders, our friends, and a faithful God.  Our courtship was blessed with a prophetic word with personalized details along with a personalized scripture: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:   If either of them falls down, one can help the other up” (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10).  We knew God was blessing our union!

To the single regardless of age:  God knows your heart’s desire just to be loved.  Remember He has loved you first and wants that heart’s ache to be fulfilled just as much as you do.  You have His attention.  God is preparing you both.  Remember He already knows who that man is!

Paula’s Advice:

Be the best you, you can be!

  1.  Prepare yourself spiritually to crawl in close to Father God. He will fill your heart with warmth and love.  For a man who is seeking, your love relationship with the Lord is really hard to resist.  Seek to be inclusive with Jesus.  Go steady with Him.  Pray for your future husband all the blessings you can think of to ensure God’s blessing is on him and you will meet just at the right time.
  2.  Prepare your mind and emotions to handle the challenges of relationships. Find the books that will help you do that.   Marriage can be a challenge.  Give yourself some tools in understanding human dynamics.
  3.  Is there anything you can do to prepare yourself physically? Don’t fall for the lie that a pretty face and trim body is the only way to attract that man.  Or a handsome physique and bulging muscular body is the only way to attract a lady.  However, strong healthy bodies are important for handling stress and giving your future spouse the best you that you can be.

All this…while you wait.

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Paula Hernando is a fellow blogger and published author.  You can read more about her and her book at http://www.emptyhandstoopenarms.com.