Archives for July 2008

God Smile

Definition of “God Smile”:

My good friend and preacher’s wife Dana told me about what she likes to call “God smiles.” She explained that a God smile is a small blessing from God, such as the closest parking space being available when it’s raining outside, or finding an item in the first place we look. A God smile is something small God does for us, just to remind us He cares.

My Own Experience with God’s Smile:

I recently had a one-on-one meeting with a friend to try to mend our friendship, as we had both unintentionally done things which had hurt each other. The meeting went very well, but I was really tense after leaving, with the stress of the situation finally coming to the surface.

Before I go on, you must know that my family enjoys watching American Idol together, so after the season finale, my husband and I sat down together and chose our favorite American Idol Season 7 songs to download from I-Tunes, keeping in mind our daughter’s favorites as we made our selections. We then burnt 80 minutes worth of American Idol songs, in order by artist, to a CD and placed it in our jeep.

Fast forward to right after my meeting . . . I was very emotional; I felt tense, relieved, and stressed all at the same time. Our American Idol CD had been playing on shuffle in the car on the way to the meeting. On the way home, a Brooke White (my favorite contestant) song came on, and I listened to it, still tense. Then another Brooke White song came on. Then another; each Brooke White song came on, in a row, until I was calm and relaxed, mellowed by her music. After each of her songs had played, the CD randomly went to other artists, continuing the shuffle. By that time, I was relaxed enough to enjoy the other artists’ music, and to praise God for helping the meeting to go as well as I had been hoping. God knew that as I was leaving my meeting I needed Brooke White’s music to help relax me, and He delivered!

I had laughed at Dana as she told me about God smiles, and I didn’t really understand what she meant until I experienced it for myself afterwards. I now keep my heart open to God smiles every day, and I enjoy the small blessings He freely gives when I allow myself to be open to Him. Now when God smiles at me, I try to pass it on by doing something nice for someone else, just to show them God and I care.

By Davonne Parks

Healthy Habits

Getting Started

Your physical health is important, just as your spiritual health is important. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (III John 2).

Losing weight can be a long and laborious process. Losing one to two pounds a week is a healthy way to lose weight. There are several things that you can do for yourself to help this process along. One of the best ways to keep yourself from cheating is to keep a food and exercise log. Write down everything that you eat, and the exercise you do. This can be time consuming, but there is no better way to realize that in the boredom of the day, you ate a third of a pack of Oreos.

For the first week that you keep your log, I want you to do something else as well. I want you to write down why you ate what you did. Were you bored, stressed, depressed, hungry, not yet full, watching TV, or is it just habit? Understanding why you eat is part of the key to losing weight. For example, I eat when I manage to convince myself that there’s absolutely nothing to do, even when I have homework from every class and just don’t want to do it. I have to watch when that happens, or I end up eating half a bag of pretzel sticks.

Another thing you can do is increase your physical activity level. When I first started to lose weight, all I did was increase my activity – I didn’t change what I ate, when I ate, or how much I ate, and I still lost weight. One of the main reasons I kept that up was the compliments – people around campus began noticing that I had lost weight and were complimenting me! Forming a support group is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Having someone there helping you when you don’t want to get up and exercise, encouraging you, and helping you through the setbacks can mean the difference between sticking with your plan and not. Tip: If you’re one of those people who likes to walk, jog, run, ride a bike, etc. outside, be careful. Don’t take the same route everyday at the same time – it creates a pattern that predators could take advantage of. Exercise with a friend or two, or exercise where there are always people around.

Another way to lose weight is to watch your portion size. Almost all restaurants provide larger portions than the recommended size. Most of the time I end taking part of my meal home to have as another meal. Tip: It takes about 20 minutes to fill up, regardless of how much you eat in that time. Eat slowly and drink water – you’ll fill up just as fast and on fewer calories!

Snacks are where I tend to struggle the most. I have to watch carefully, because if I don’t, I end up eating too much. I also tend to overeat when watching movies – buttery popcorn and soft drinks! But there are several things you can do to curb overeating urges and channel them into something else.

  • Change your surroundings – get out of the kitchen and away from the refrigerator and pantry. This can change your mood and keep you away from temptation.

  • Take five minutes – doing something—walking, skating, breathing exercise, playing an instrument, etc.—that isn’t related to what you were doing can have a positive effect.

  • Fake out your mouth – try eating something healthy that is opposite of what you are craving – if you want something sweet, have something that isn’t (ex. pickle or pepper instead of a cookie) – and see what happens.

  • Reward yourself – treat yourself to a relaxing activity you normally wouldn’t do: a warm bath, a movie marathon, or uninterrupted reading of Christian magazines.

  • Get physical – exercise!!! The endorphins released can offset your cravings (they make you feel happy!).

  • Sit with your feelings – rather than stuffing negative or uncomfortable emotions like fear and anger by stuffing your mouth, try “being” with those feelings for five to ten minutes – write it down and try to sort it out. If you can understand what kind of moods make you crave snacks, you can learn to recognize them and take control of your cravings.

The interesting thing about these exercises is that most overeating triggers only last 15 minutes – if you can outwait them, or outwit them, you can beat them. You’ll be amazed (and happily surprised) at how different you’ll feel later. You can find all of this and more on the AOL Health. Each of us has the freedom to stand out and make a difference. Remember that applies to every area of our lives – including our health!!

Look at these two pictures and decide which one is a better example for you to follow. I can give you some tools to help you along the way, but you must decide how you are going to live your life.

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13).

Food of the Month: Corn

Corn is a good source of vitamin B, which supports heart health. It’s also rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, which can reduce your risk of getting lung cancer by as much as 27 percent. (Other sources of beta-cryptoxanthin include pumpkin, papaya, red bell peppers, tangerines, oranges, and peaches.) Thiamin supports memory – it can reduce your risk of age-related impairment in mental function (senility) and Alzheimer’s disease. The fiber has been shown to reduce your risk of colon cancer.

If you’re watching your weight or your blood sugar levels, choose blue corn chips and tortillas. Corn comes in a rainbow of colors, including violet, blue, and black. Darker varieties contain greater quantities of antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins. Blue corn tortillas contain about 20 percent more protein and 8 percent less starch, giving them a lower glycemic index than the more common version made with white corn. Plus, blue corn tortillas have a softer texture and sweeter flavor than those made with white corn. To find out more about corn and other healthy foods, visit WHFoods.

By Megan Skinner

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Grass Today, Gone Tomorrow!

Summer is here! The temperature is rising and the sun is shining brighter than ever. Now is the time for pulling weeds, mowing grass, and planting flowers. Summer work is some of the most challenging work to be done. There is a lot of strenuous activity that goes into yard work. But for now, mowing grass is the topic. Not all girls know how to cut grass, or even how to start the mower. That’s okay, really it is. Hopefully this article will help you in this area—not only to do the work, but also to keep from hurting yourself in the process.

First, find a mower that works. Yes, very obvious, but very important. You also want to scan the grass for items like dog toys, or anything that your parents might have to make it look pretty, such as young trees and plants—which can often happen to look very similar to weeds! In my yard, my mom put a lighthouse, two stone dogs that say “welcome,” a little squirrel, and a little bunny. I really have to make sure and look carefully, because she adds stuff all the time. Also, as obvious as it sounds, be sure to watch out for children. Children are often outside in the spring and summer, and this is a season when there are many outdoor accidents involving children. There should be no children around you when you are mowing!

When the scanning is done, make sure the mower is full of gas. It’s very frustrating when you’re mowing grass and your mower suddenly dies on you. Look inside the tank to check if you can see any gas, then shake it to see if any comes out. Fill the tank up a little, see if it overflows, then fill it up (slowly) until it reaches the top. Don’t worry if you go over. Just shake the mower and let the excess gas slosh on the mower. It’s meant to be dirty, and it’ll dry.

For push mowers, hold down the bar at the handle of the mower, pull the “pull start” (yes, that’s what it’s called, and it’s the cord to the right of the handlebar) hard and fast. Don’t pull the cord out; just pull hard and fast enough to start it. Pull it two or three times. If the mower still doesn’t start, go to the right (or left) side of your mower—there will be a red button that says “prime.” Push it two or three times, then hold the bar down and try to start the mower again. If you can do that, you’re pretty much good to go.

If you have a riding lawn mower, most of them start with a “key-switch.” It’s basically the same as an ignition switch on a car. Before starting the mower, push on the brake/clutch and start the mower. Then set the gear you want (there are five speeds and reverse), very gently let out the clutch; you’ll start moving, and you just go from there. A good speed to start out with is usually a three, unless your grass is really tall, and then you want to slow down so that you can thin out the grass more. Before cutting, adjust the height of the mowing deck (hold in the clutch while doing this so that the deck isn’t bouncing all over the place with the mower on). The same cutting principles apply as with a push mower. There is usually an “engage” button that starts the blades spinning. If your mower has this, then make sure you flip the button, otherwise the blades won’t spin and you won’t cut grass (the mower usually get louder when the blade is running). When finished cutting, disengage blades, raise the mowing deck to the highest position, and put away the mower.

Push the mower (in a line). When you come to the end of your line, push down on the handlebar to pivot the mower on its rear wheels. When you’re going back and cutting a new line, line your mower up with your old line. Keep the mower overlapping the old line just in case you missed some grass. Always overlap the end of the lines—or you’ll find out that you have to start the mower all over again just for that little bit of grass (riding lawn mowers included).

NEVER cut in the rain or cut wet grass! This is very important! If you want to get the grass cut, and you feel that you have to do it, just wait until the grass is dry. If you try to cut wet grass, it’ll stick to the bottom of the mower and the blades, damaging it. For those of you who have “bag” mowers, your job will be difficult and messy if you DO cut wet grass. The grass will come out in clumps, and will require you to shovel it out with your hand in order to empty the bag. If you do catch a wet patch and your grass does clump anyway, wear gloves (rubber gloves are fine)—unless you really want to be “out-doorsie” and use your bare hand. When cutting around trees, water lids, or sewage lids, pivot the mower (just like when you’re turning it around) cautiously around them to get all the grass.

That’s about it. It’s not an easy job, or one that you can put off for too long (or else the grass will get thicker, causing people with bag mowers to empty a lot more often), but it’s a good job that helps build arm and leg muscles (believe me!). Perhaps most importantly, it’s also something simple enough to do for someone who’s lost, or a sick shut-in. You’d be amazed at how something as simple as cutting someone’s grass will mean to them.

“I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

By Alyssa Sturgill

Freedom in Christ

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirits of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die” (Dwight D. Eisenhower).

I use this quote not only speaking of our freedom as citizens of our countries and people of this world, but to express what must be done to have true freedom in Jesus Christ. Freedom lives because God gave us the opportunity; we are given the right to accept or reject it. If you have chosen to accept God’s freedom from sin and hell then you must live it everyday (John 20:21).

We must remember always what God has done for us and why we have chosen to give our lives to Him. We do not need to remember God just when great or terrible things happen, but daily so that we are always grateful and giving due praises.

When you wake in the morning, thank God for another day of life. Doing this day after day helps refresh your heart and soul of the gift that has been freely given to you. Because of the sacrifice of Christ we are able to be saved, pray, and be forgiven; not one of these things do we deserve. We are no longer captives of the Evil One, no longer controlled by sin and hate (John 8:32-36). Because we are cleansed of our stains we are able to love with all our hearts, and we are able to be sincerely and completely happy in life (Job 5:23-25).

God has great plans for His children, and by taking His offered freedom, we are able to live the life He has designed for us. We can go and teach others knowing that our souls are in His hands (Matt. 6:31-33). Remember everyday the freedom that God has provided for his faithful children!

By Shelby Garrett

Mean Boyfriends

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year and we are so in love. We do everything together, and he always brings me flowers and other small presents. The problem is that sometimes he acts a little mean in front of other people and it really embarrasses me. He’ll jokingly tell me to shut up, or he’ll throw my food away before I’m finished and joke that I don’t need the extra calories. I don’t understand why he does that because he’s normally the perfect guy. Is there something I can change about myself to make him be nicer around his friends, or do I just need to be tougher and not let it bother me?

– Embarrassed in Alabama

The love discussed in 1 Corinthians 4-7 is very different from the love you just described to me. Check this out:

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Real love acts like the love described in the above passage. Being mean to you in front of other people and telling you to shut up is not acting patient or unprovoked, and is not at all becoming.

Your boyfriend might just be immature, or he may not even be aware that it hurts you when he acts that way. Guys joke with each other a lot, and he might think it’s okay to do that with you. Talk with him about this. Tell him how it makes you feel and give him specific examples of when he has acted mean. If he refuses to listen to you, don’t expect him to change in the future.

Something you said that really stands out is the comments he makes about calories. This is definitely a red flag. He might argue that he has good intentions to help you be healthier, but throwing away your food before you’re finished eating is a very poor way to go about trying to help. Talk to him about this, and if he doesn’t understand why it’s a problem, I can only suggest moving on.

I also suggest talking to your mom or another older trusted woman who cares about you. Make sure the person you choose to talk to knows both you and your boyfriend, because they’ll probably be able to give you more direct advice of what to do.

Above all, pray about your decision. Ask God for wisdom to know what to do. Ask Him to open your eyes to the truth of who your boyfriend really is. Then accept the answer. If your eyes are opened to see a person with huge character flaws, break up with him (see July’s Dating article for more information about this).

Be careful not to let the longevity of your relationship affect your decision. Even though a year can seem like a long time now, when you’re young, keep in mind that a year is very little when compared to an entire lifetime. Dave Ramsey says that the only thing worse than being in an unhealthy relationship for year is being in an unhealthy relationship for a year and a day!

Remember that the way your boyfriend acts isn’t your fault, so there’s nothing you can change about yourself to make your boyfriend treat you better. You deserve the best, which is what God wants for you, so please don’t put up with anyone mistreating you. If you break up with your boyfriend, don’t worry about who you’ll date next. Learn to be happy being single, and trust that God will lead you to the right person at the right time, someone who will treat you the way that’s described in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

– Nathan

Relationships with Families and Friends

Please read our July dating column to get the background information on the three behavior types before reading this article.

The Dominant, Childish, and Adult behaviors can be applied to other relationships as well; for example, your relationship with your parents, friends, or teachers.

Parents

What do you think will happen if you have Dominant or Childish behavior tendencies and you start to become Adult-like? People generally start to treat you differently! You start to gain respect and you are trusted. Have you ever asked your parents, “Why do you treat me like a child?” Well girls, are you acting like one? Answer honestly.

Have you given your parents any reason not to trust you? Do you argue, pout, or slam doors? Have you ever lied to them? Can they depend on you to be where you say you are going? Do you keep your curfew? Take a good look at yourself and be totally honest!

If you aren’t getting the respect you want, read back over the Adult personality type (see July’s dating column), and start making some changes. You might gain some freedom!

Sometimes you can negotiate with your parents whenever you want to do something special. Try this approach: Say, “If I wash the dishes all week, or if I clean out the garage (or whatever you want to agree with), may I go to the football game on Friday?” Learn to negotiate whenever it’s appropriate.

Whenever you decide to negotiate, it cannot be about things you should be doing anyway, like keeping your room clean or doing your homework without being told. This is above and beyond that. You shouldn’t get a reward for doing what you should already be doing.

If your parents say “No,” don’t argue! Say, “All right, I’m not sure I understand but you must have a good reason.” Don’t whine, beg, or stomp away and slam your door! Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Act Adult-like with them and you’ll probably be amazed at how quickly you are treated like an adult!

Don’t stay out past your curfew. Come home early! I never had to give my youngest son a curfew because he was always home by 11 PM. He probably had more freedom than my other three children, even though my other children were very good kids! I just knew I could count on him to be home by a specific time. If something ever came up and he wouldn’t be home by 11 PM, he would always call and tell me why he was delayed and what time I could expect him back home.

That is a great gift to a parent! He was very Adult-like because he took responsibility for himself. You will gain a lot of respect from your parents for that. They will appreciate your being responsible for yourself.

Do your parents have to wake you up every morning to make sure you leave for school on time? Do they constantly need to tell you to clean your room, to feed your pets, or to wash your laundry? If you want to enjoy the benefits of the Adult-like behavior, you must be responsible for yourself.

You can start to develop a friendship with your parents only when they don’t have to monitor you like a child. As you reach the age of 18, when you can officially be considered an adult, make certain that you act like one. If you haven’t started behaving Adult-like, begin now. Start to be responsible for yourself! It’s time to grow up, ladies.

Friendships

If you have a friendship where your friend is always talking badly behind other people’s backs, you can be sure that they’re talking about you whenever you’re not around. Tell that person not to say unkind things about people. Stand up for what is right in a kind but firm way. That’s being assertive, and very Adult-like!

Remember that they are exhibiting Childish behavior when they gossip or slander someone. Childish people are jealous and have a low self-esteem. The only way they can feel good about themselves is to tear others down. God warns us against associating with such people (Romans 1:28-32).

If they won’t stop talking about others, tell them you are not going to be a part of the slander and gossip. Then, quietly walk away. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, we are told of people we are to avoid, one of those being gossipers. Maybe they will get the message, or perhaps you need to find new friends! First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” Be careful whenever you choose your friends. Someone can pull you down to their level much easier than you can bring them up to yours—if someone is standing on a chair, it’s easier to pull them off of it than for them to pull you up. Think about it.

Teachers

Are any of you having trouble obtaining the respect you deserve from a teacher? Sometimes, even when you are acting Adult-like, another adult has to maintain control because that is the nature of their profession. That is just a part of life and you’ll have to learn to adjust to that.

You can only control your behavior and remember to be as Adult-like as possible. They are in authority and they can pass you or fail you. Sometimes we just have to accept that fact. Some teachers like to push their authority around, and there is nothing you can do about that either. The other person’s actions are a reflection of their true inner self. We need to exhibit all the godly traits we can all of the time. You just might be the example that teacher needs to change his/her ways. First Timothy 4:12 tells us, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” In most situations, an Adult-like person will treat you with the respect you deserve whenever you exhibit Adult behavior yourself.

Conclusion

I hope this discussion about the three basic behavior types will help you for the rest of your life. It should give you a better outlook on why people are the way they are. It should help you to decipher what is happening when you deal with people, why they act the way they do, and how to handle them.

Hopefully, this will help you make good choices in the friends you choose, in those whom you will date, in your relationship with your parents, and in your communication with your teachers.

Remember, also, that when we live how God tells us to, we will automatically behave Adult-like. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

By: Carol Gartman

Mission: Compatibility

Are you having trouble building good relationships? Could your attitude be the problem? We’re going to talk about relationships this month. There appear to be three basic character types: the Dominant, the Childish, and the Adult.

Dominant Character Type

The Dominant person has to have their own way, and usually at any cost. They are bullies who can resort to aggression, throwing and breaking things, violence, control, emotional and physical abuse, and manipulation. They may be in trouble with the law or fired from their jobs because of their inability to submit themselves to authority. However, if they are the boss, they can be tyrants.

The Dominator is intimidating, a dictator, selfish, and “always right.” Their saying is, “It’s my way or the highway,” or “I’m the king of my castle.” The Dominant person makes demands on those around them. They want to dominate everyone or every situation. The Dominator will also make threats and is willing to follow through with them. They will have their own way, one way or another. The Dominant person has power, and they will not hesitate to use it to control and manipulate other people.

Proverbs 14:17 “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.”

Childish Character Type

The Childish personality will pout, scream, cry, throw temper tantrums, slam doors, manipulate others, or give the silent treatment if they don’t get their own way. They are very dependent and resent being that way. Childish people are selfish and always think they’re right. They are not trustworthy and are unreasonable.

The Childish person is passive-aggressive. We have all known people like this. They are nice to your face but will not hesitate to attack you behind your back. Most Childish people will gossip to make themselves look better, since they tend to suffer from low self-esteem.

Have you noticed that the Dominant and the Childish people are very much alike? The main difference between the Dominant and Childish behaviors is that the Childish one has NO power.

Proverbs 10:18 “He who conceals hatred has lying lips; and he who spreads slander is a fool.”

Adult Character Type

The person who conducts themselves as an Adult will be willing to negotiate and speak calmly. They are assertive but not aggressive. They are kind and respectful of others’ opinions and feelings. The Adult is trustworthy, rational, and reasonable. They are also cooperative and great team players.

The Adult has the power to make the major decisions about their life. However, they believe in shared power. The Adult feels everyone should get their way some of the time. In other words, “sometimes we’ll do it your way and sometimes we’ll do it my way.” Adults are very cooperative and friendly. They are not manipulators like the Dominators and Childish.

Proverbs 3:3-4 “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”

Relationship Problem #1 – Dominant vs. Dominant

What happens whenever a Dominant person marries another Dominant one? They obviously aren’t going to have a happy marriage. Why? Because they will both have to be “right,” which will lead to screaming, yelling, and abuse. They will be in a constant struggle to be the one in charge since both of them want to have power over the other person. Both of them will be manipulating the other person in order to gain control.

Relationship Problem #2 – Childish vs. Childish

What if a Childish person marries another childish type? As with the two Dominant personalities, they will also scream and yell at each other. They may slug it out, scratch each other, or pull each other’s hair. Childish people will give each other the silent treatment for days and even weeks if they can’t have their own way. They can’t be trusted, so they won’t be able to trust the other person. The Childish type will slam doors and break things that are important to the other person. They enjoy hurting the other person’s feelings because it makes them feel powerful, even though they have no power. The Childish person is not responsible or reliable.

Relationship Problem #3 – Dominant vs. Childish

What happens if a Dominant person marries a Childish type? The dominant one is extremely happy! Why? Because they always get their own way since they have the power and the Childish one has NO power! The Childish person is their servant and they are the master.

The Childish person will sulk, pout, slam doors, or may break things. In this relationship, there would be yelling and abusive behavior, including emotional, physical, or verbal. The Childish type may find it difficult to leave this abusive relationship because they are so dependent upon their Dominator. The Childish person is absorbed into the Dominator’s identity, thus losing their own personal identity.

Relationship Problem #4 – Adult vs. Childish

What happens when an Adult type marries a Childish type? There will be a constant struggle, because the Adult will be forced to become the parent of the irresponsible and untrustworthy Childish person. It will be a parent/child relationship. While the Adult attempts to be rational and negotiate, the Childish person will give them the silent treatment or pout, cry, whine, stomp, or slam doors.

The Adult has to assume the dominant role, while not becoming abusive. Children can be unreasonable and irrational at times. Just think of how a 2- or 3-year-old child acts whenever they don’t get their own way. It’s rather ridiculous to think about a grown person acting that way, isn’t it?

Girls, do you want to be married to a childish guy who sulks, pouts, or throws a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get his way? Some Childish guys will even threaten suicide if a girl attempts to break up with him, which is manipulation. What about the guy you can’t trust to always be faithful to you? What if he is irresponsible with his work ethic? A woman with the Adult behavior can never have a happy marriage with a Childish man.

Relationship Problem #5 – Adult vs. Dominant

When an Adult type marries a Dominant one, something very different happens! If the Adult type remains an Adult, the Dominant person LOSES their POWER! Remember how the Adult person is assertive but not aggressive? They will stand up for themselves in a firm but kind way. The Adult will have power, and since the Dominant person loses it, they will revert to the Childish behavior, which then becomes an entirely different situation!

Again, did you notice the similarities between the Dominant and Childish personalities? The only real difference is that the Dominant had power and the Childish did not. This previously-Dominant person who marries an Adult will now throw temper tantrums or pout and whine to get his way, just like the Childish type would do.

Girls, do you want to marry a man who will threaten to harm you and attempt to intimidate you? A dominant guy will have no respect for you and will use you to get what he wants. Dominant guys will “put you down” and belittle you in front of other people. If you marry a man like this, you should prepare yourself to be his servant as long as you are married. This Dominant man will always try to keep you in the Childish role so he can completely control you.

Relationship #6 – Adult with Adult

If two Adult-type behaviors marry, they should have a very good marriage. They both are team players, and in a marriage you are a team. You work together for the common good of your relationship and household. The two Adults will be willing to compromise. What is right matters more than who is right.

These two married Adults will negotiate to reach an agreement. They will be calm and rational and their life together will be relaxed and peaceful, even in the event of hardships. Adults respect each others’ feelings and opinions and they don’t purposely try to hurt one another emotionally. They can trust each other in all things. Married Adults don’t keep secrets from each other. They share equally in chores, in decision making, and in their thoughts and feelings. Their lives are full of love and respect for one another.

Girls, do you want to be married to a man who loves you more than himself, respects and values you, is trustworthy, responsible, and doesn’t attempt to manipulate you? Rather, he encourages you to grow as an adult Christian woman?

Proverbs 31:10-11 “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”

Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

Let’s Talk About You!

What type of behavior do you want to have? I think we all want to be Adult-like, don’t we? Having the knowledge of these three behavior types is critical in your dating relationships, because who we date is who we will end up marrying! My favorite saying is, “Date only those whom you would consider marrying.” I have personally known many women who totally ruined their lives by dating the wrong type of man.

If a guy is going to have Dominant or Childish behavior traits before you get married, he will NOT change! You cannot expect to be able to change him. You might persuade him to change some of his actions or behaviors for a short time, but you will not be able to change his values, morals, and character. Many unhappily married or divorced Christian women have come to that realization…too late! Please understand that! He will NOT change!

A person’s character does not change! Matthew 7:17 says, “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Verse 18 continues, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” He can change his behaviors and actions for a short time just to fool you, but his underlying character will rarely change!

People with good morals are usually those who decide to become Christians. However, when an immoral person decides to become a Christian, they can make radical changes in their values and character to conform to the image of Christ. However, this is extremely rare. This depth of character change comes from deep within his heart. It will not happen if someone attempts to force him to change.

His decision to become a Christian must be just that–HIS decision. When dating, it is very difficult to discern if his intentions are pure and he desires to please God, or if he just wants to please you. Please understand you also are not responsible for someone’s salvation. Philippians 2:12 says, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” You must live your life as God commands you to do. You can set a good example for others, but it is ultimately up to them to totally change their lives to serve God. You must not feel responsible for them.

Which husband would you want to have? A man that says, “I will act like the very best husband you could ever want,” or a man that says, “I will be the very best husband you could ever want?” I opt for the latter one! Who wants to marry a pretender?

Dating: Preparation for Marriage

One great thing to do, even before you start to date, is to make a list of all the non-negotiable qualities that you want in a husband someday. Be specific and don’t compromise! I made a list that consisted of 22 items. I was very choosy! Do you know that my husband has every one of those qualities? He is a faithful Christian, he has integrity, he has a good, clean sense of humor, he is good with his finances, is sensitive, caring, and kind.

I could go on with my list, but I want you to decide all the qualities that are important to you! Don’t overlook attractiveness either. If that is important to you, then write it down! You are going to have to live with that same man for the rest of your life, and if he’s not what you desire, then don’t choose him! The everyday stresses of life make those negative traits come out more prominently.

If you are in a negative relationship, there will be warning signs before you ever enter into marriage. Does your boyfriend belittle you in front of your friends or family? Does he lie to you or tell you stories that just don’t make sense or fit together with other things he says? Do you suspect unfaithfulness? Does he make you feel inadequate? Does he attempt to alienate you from your family that loves and cares for you?

Is he aggressive? Are you sometimes afraid of him? Girls, it never gets better! Contrary to popular opinion of some women, you cannot change him! Not until it’s too late do many women realize that. You cannot change the character of someone!

If you are in that type of negative relationship, GET OUT NOW! Marriage is binding, and for life—that is what God intended. Marriage is not to be taken lightly. That is why it is so important before you are married to choose a mate who serves God and who is compatible. Once we marry, we are commanded by God to remain married to him unless we are divorcing him due to his unfaithfulness. Matthew 5:32: “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery….”

Save yourself the pain of a failed marriage, girls. The Bible warns us not to be unequally yoked together. In II Corinthians 6:14 we are told, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” God, in all His wisdom, knows the heartache that will come from that. As Christian women, God wants us to only marry faithful Christian men.

Talk, talk, talk before you get married! Make certain that what is important to you is also important to him! Girls, since the guy you are dating may someday be your husband, find out what things are the most important to him. If you have too many things that aren’t compatible, then please don’t marry him. You deserve to be happy and contented for the rest of your life—it’s what God wants for you! Don’t settle for less than you deserve!

Mr. Right is out there somewhere for you. Be patient. Don’t rush. Don’t compromise. Just remember to be yourself. You have to know who you are to attract the right mate. Acting like an Adult and choosing to marry a man with Adult behavior, who, most importantly, puts God first, is the best way to ensure that you will have a happy marriage together!

By: Carol Gartman

Please read our July Family column for information on how this type of relationship affects our relationships with our family and friends!

Freedom in Jesus’ Friendship

Most of us look for many things in a friend. We want someone who is trustworthy and loyal. We look for someone who has our back through thick and thin. I am sure each of us could write a long list of characteristics we want in a friend. But, how often do we think about what we need to give to our friends.

When I think of friends in the Bible, the first story that comes to mind is that of David and Jonathan. “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18:1). Can you imagine loving anyone as you love your own soul? And David felt the same about Jonathan. Upon hearing of Jonathan’s death, David calls Jonathan his brother (2 Samuel 1:26).

I have had the same best friend for over fifteen years. I consider her a sister. We grew up together. If one of us was in trouble, the other one was too! Our families are friends, and even though we no longer live in the same town, she knows if she needs something, she can call my parents or almost anyone in my family and they would be there in a minute. But, as much as I consider her a sister due to the length and closeness of our friendship, I do not love her like my own soul. Is it really possible to love someone like that?

I would like to think that if faced with a life-or-death situation, I would be the hero. I would put my life on the line to save a friend. People in our country do it everyday in various lines of work for people who are not even acquaintances, let alone friends. But, without being in that situation, it is very hard to say if I would be able to follow through. Would I die for my friend? “Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Proverbs 18:24 states, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” What type of friend are we to Jesus? Do we dare think that we owe him nothing for His sacrifice? Or, does the sacrifice of His life open up a freedom for us that no law offered by our country could give?

When Jesus was on the earth, He walked on water, fed the multitudes, calmed the storm, healed the sick—and died for us. Jesus died for us. He loved us like he loved his own soul. He died for us, who often don’t even consider Him a friend. He died so that we could live. He knows we are not perfect. If we were, He wouldn’t have needed to die for our sins. He is a friend who offers us forgiveness. When we obey God, through His son, we receive forgiveness. What other friend could offer us that? Better yet, we now know the greatest thing we can offer our friends here on earth–Jesus. Let your friends see Him through you. In everything you do, let them know that He is your friend first and that His friendship helps you to be a better friend to them.

The song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by Joseph Scriven comes to mind. (It is one of my favorites.)

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and grief to bear.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Dear God,
As we go about our daily lives, help us to share the freedom offered by Your forgiveness with others. Help us to show our friends here on earth that You alone are the ultimate friend who gave His Son that we could live. Help us to let Your light shine through us so that we can be better friends to others. Above all else Lord, we thank You for Your friendship and love.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Amen.

By Sarah J. Ancheta

Evidences for the Existence of God

Some think “faith” means believing something that cannot be true, or that is incredible or unreasonable; to some, “faith” means believing the unbelievable.

But not so! Christian belief is based on evidence – credible, reasonable, resolute evidence. We arrive at certain determinations because we have examined the evidence and are forced to the logical conclusion. Then, when we join that conclusion with trust, we arrive at Biblical faith: conviction and commitment.

Is there evidence for God’s existence? Yes, indeed: credible, reasonable, and ultimately conclusive evidence that points to an intelligence and wisdom higher and greater than man. Consider some evidences for the existence of God:

1. THE PRINCIPLE OF CAUSE & EFFECT (the Cosmological Argument). It is a fact that everything that begins owes its existence to some producing, beginning cause. The universe exists; how did it come to be? Of necessity, the universe owes its existence to a cause equal to its production. We all know that a building demands a builder, a design demands a designer, a watch demands a watchmaker – likewise, creation demands a Creator – an Originator – and the Bible says that Creator is God (Hebrews 3:4; 11:3). Our universe points to the existence of a Divine Maker (Psalm 19:1-4).

2. ORDER IN THE UNIVERSE (the Teleological Argument). It is a fact that order and collation pervade our universe, and they demand an intelligence and purpose as the cause of that order—an intelligence to initiate the order, and a power to purpose and sustain it. The incredible complexity of the universe and all life therein is amazing, and demands an amazing Designer. For example, one could look into the sky, see an airplane, and know there is a pilot guiding and steering the plane (though the pilot can’t be seen with the naked eye). The Bible calls the intelligence that sustains all life, God (Psalm 139:3-9).

3. MAN (the Anthropological Argument). Man’s intellectual and moral nature requires an intellectual and moral Being as its author. Man is the masterpiece of God’s creative acts (Psalm 139:14). For example, a surgeon can cut into flesh, and then stitch together the open wound; but an amazing designer, God, is behind the process which enables muscles, nerves, and skin to fuse back together. The surgeon, with all his training and skill, cannot make that happen. The Bible further teaches that a holy Lawgiver and Judge is responsible for the very conscience of man (Romans 2:14-15).

4. THE NECESSARY IDEA OF GOD (the Ontological Argument). Space and time are infinite and eternal; there must be an infinite and eternal Being to whom these attributes belong, for That which is made is a reflection of its maker. God made man, man reflects God, and has knowledge of God – his Maker. Man universally has a concept (an idea) about God; that fact demands God as the cause of that concept. Man’s instinctive hunger for the spiritual is evidence of the reality of the spiritual, and his intrinsic belief and knowledge of a Higher Power, of a Supreme Being, pervades every society and culture (unless man is persuaded otherwise). The reason man instinctively seeks God, according to the Bible, is because God placed within man this intuitive knowledge of His existence (Acts 17:22-23; Psalm 42:1). Atheism is the exception, not the rule, in any society or culture.

5. BASIC MORALITY (the Moral Argument). Man is a moral being, possessing an inner sense of right and wrong, and recognition of the responsibility to do right and avoid wrong. Unless his conscience has become seared, when man violates his conscience, he is subject to guilt, shame, remorse, and fear of punishment. Where did these feelings of right, wrong, justice, injustice, or fairness, which men (even children) possess, come from? The conscience of man points to a Designer of that conscience (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

6. BIOLOGICAL (the Life Argument). It is a scientific, biological fact that life can only come from life. All life must be traced back to a life-source. From nothing can come nothing. Life is here: what is its life-source? The answer is God (Psalm 36:9; John 1:1-5; 11:25; 14:6). The idea that life – any life – could have “evolved” from absolute nothingness is not only incredible, but also factually wrong. Frankly, it requires much more “faith” to think life was regenerated from nothingness, than to believe a Supreme Life-source originated all that exists.

7. THE BIBLE (the Scriptural Argument). Perhaps you haven’t considered this, but the existence of the Bible itself is an argument for the existence of God. The Bible is here – from where did it come? A careful, or even casual, examination of the contents of the Bible demonstrate it to be a Book beyond the ability of mere man to write; the Bible demands an intelligence and wisdom, insight and foresight, that is higher and greater than man. The Bible is a witness to the existence of God, and demands Deity as its Author (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21).

8. HISTORY (the Historical Argument). Human history points to an unseen hand, exhibiting numerous illustrations and examples that behind it exists a Higher Power moving, guiding, governing, shaping, influencing, and sometimes even controlling men and nations and events. It is the hand of God! Consider the history of Israel, or the history of the early church, or any other Biblical histories, and recognize that these argue for God’s existence and that some events cannot be rationally explained without acknowledging God’s guidance (Daniel 2:20-21).

9. JESUS CHRIST (the Christological Argument). Jesus Christ is evidence for the existence of God. Jesus never doubted His Father’s existence. He called God “my Father,” fulfilled prophecies, worked miracles, taught with words unequalled in humans, and arose literally and bodily from the dead after He was crucified. Can one explain any of that without God? All that Jesus was, said, and did attests to God’s existence (1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:18; John 14:9). How could Jesus be the “Son of God” if there is no God?

10. HARMONY OF EVIDENCE (the Congruity Argument). Congruity means “agreement, correspondence, harmony.” Any of the previously listed arguments are individually powerful. But more than just that, they are in agreement with each other, and have correspondence and harmony between them as they compliment each other. So as we examine these evidences, and see them build upon one another, we consider them in totality and realize they are overwhelmingly and positively conclusive: there is a God!

True Biblical faith is arriving at the inescapable conclusion that there is a God (Romans 10:17), and then putting our trust, which includes our love and obedience, in the one true God (Hebrews 11:1, 6).

There is a God, He is alive, in Him we live, and we survive.

From dust our God created man, There is a God, the Great I AM.

By John M. Brown

Running for Christ

We hear about the marathons for leukemia, breast cancer, or autism on the news or radio. What we never hear about is the marathon for Christ. Training for a marathon takes months of work. You must build up your endurance to the point that you can finish the race. “But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22b). The marathon for Christ lasts a lifetime and encompasses every area of our lives. It includes our spiritual health, physical health, how we talk, what we watch, what we read, how we dress, and so much more. I’ve heard of a quote that I think applies really well here: “If they can’t tell you’re a Christian, you’re not doing it right” (Clyde McCall).

Here in the United States we have a lot of freedoms, including the freedom to be different. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Each of us begins as babes in Christ – and then we grow. And we should continue to grow throughout our lives. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).

Think about the words of this song – “None of Self and All of Thee,” arranged by Theodore Monod and James McGranahan – and what they mean.

Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow
That a time could ever be,
When I proudly said to Jesus,
“All of self, and none of Thee.”
All of self, and none of Thee,
All of self, and none of Thee,
When I proudly said to Jesus,
“All of self, and none of Thee.”

Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on th’ accursed tree,
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”
Some of self, and some of Thee,
Some of self, and some of Thee,
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”

Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Brought me lower while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee.”
Less of self, and more of Thee,
Less of self, and more or Thee,
Brought me lower while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee.”

Higher than the highest heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
“None of self, and all of Thee.”
None of self, and all of Thee,
None of self, and all of Thee,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
“None of self, and all of Thee.”

These words characterize the stages of the marathon for Christ. Each of us starts out taking baby steps, but someday we must run the marathon ourselves and rely on our own faith in God, and not our parents’ or guardians’. When we reach this point in our lives, we are living for Christ and giving our all!

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). “After Christ rose into Heaven, many of the Christians of the time were killed for their beliefs, even Christ. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). It took brave men and women to stand up and teach and study God’s word. Today, sadly, even though we are persecuted less severely for our faith in God, we also stand up for Him less. Let’s think less of ourselves and our will, and more of His perfect will.

By Megan Skinner