Prayer & Discernment 

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Morning Devotion: Give it 12 months and pray (talk about relationships (friendships and marriage)). Prayer at the end. 

I grew up in the church, my dad is a pastor/evangelist/chaplain. My mom prophetic, a teacher, preacher, and quite discerning. They taught me oh so very much. One of the greatest things they taught and modeled was agape love and prayer. I was taught to pray expecting God to show up. He has! My word, He has. My parents also modeled sacrificial, lavish love. We were taught to love everyone and be generous. They are part of my family culture. 

One thing I will add to what they taught me is look at the fruit of someone’s life who wishes to connect with you. The character and fruit matter so much more than their words, gifting, or performance. Jesus said you will know a tree by its fruit, not it’s gifting, words, church attendance, performance. 

How many of you pray about the people who want to befriend you or for singles, date you? 

How many pray about the opportunities presented? 

How many look for good fruit in the person’s life or with that business, church, or organization? 

How do they treat people? What is their track record? 

Some Good Fruit: Love, respect, honor, taking responsibility for actions, honesty, integrity, kindness, self control, wisdom, peace, handles conflict instead of avoids it, keeps their word, keeps confidences, loyalty, things bloom/get better with their addition, value added, you are better because of the situation, seeks to build up instead of perpetually tear down, tells you what you need to hear, not just what tickles your ears, treats your heart like it’s theirs, unselfish, fair/just, free of control and manipulation. 

You see there is good, and there is God. There is good, and there is His very best. God gives good gifts. 

I am not stating run from every person who is not perfect; there are no perfect people btw. I am not saying run from broken people either. Everyone has something God is working on in their lives. I am saying look for some good fruit, examine character; prayer may save you some unnecessary drama and trauma. 

We are called to love everyone. We are not required to be best friends, confidants, or partners with everyone. 

Every opportunity is not God sent. Every cute or handsome person may not make a great spouse. Every person who tries to befriend you at church does not make a good friend. Every person who says, “I love you. You are like family or my best friend,” does not necessarily mean those words. You must look for fruit. Actions scream over words. 

It’s easy for people to put their best foot forward at first. The goal is (maybe) to impress the other person, connect, and for some to latch on to the other person. The trouble comes when masks fall off and you see the real deal. We are still to love people (seek to do no intentional harm, look for ways to bless them). Yet it is better to know before your heart is entangled or connected if that person is going to put your heart through a meat shredder. 

I placed 12 months on relationships (trial period) because, from experience, you begin to see more of the real person after a year. Some people can pretend for much longer. Yet I have noticed after a year the guard is lowered a bit and you get to see more transparency. Each person do what is best for you. It is not a law, just an observation. 

God wants you and me treated with respect, love, honor, and dignity. 

When I meet people and they have this toxic relationship going on, some will say, “God brought this person into my life.” So I ask, “Would you set someone you love to be in a relationship with someone who treated them this way?” The answer is normally no. Yet there is a belief that God desires less for His kids. 

There is a misbelief that God enjoys the hurt, heartache, abuse, and suffering of His children. He does not. This is a lie based off the treatment of Jesus. The Father delighted in the redemption of mankind through His Son. He did not delight in watching humanity mistreat Jesus. God loves His Son. He also loves you. 

So, with many learning bumps on this heart I have learned and am learning to do the following. 

1. Pray. 

Lord You know this person and their heart/character. Please reveal it to me. Help me not to connect with people who will leave my heart shattered or beat up. You bring in the people who are loving, trustworthy, good, kind, and will leave my heart better than before. 

Lord show me who this person really is. 

Lord is this opportunity a blessing from You or just a distraction or a setup to be mistreated/used? 

2. Pay attention. 

I am speaking from experience, not “Thus sayeth the Lord.” God does not always come out and tell me, “This person is up to no good.” Mostly they show me through their actions. Their words and actions conflict. They reveal two faces. There is disparity between what they say and live. If you remove their words and just look at their actions, you see their character. God will also sometimes reveal their heart/character in dreams. 

3. Love the person with appropriate boundaries. 

It’s easy to throw people in the garbage. We throw trash in the garbage, not people. Just because someone is not the best fit for us, does not make them worthless. No one is worthless. Pray for the person. You may seek ways to bless them. It does not mean you tell them the inner parts of your world or bond like besties. It does not mean you are forced to spend time with them or give them access to you. 

There are people I love, yet my connection with them is limited based on their behavior that brings drama, trauma, chaos. If they were hungry, I would feed them. Naked, I would clothe them. I pray for them. I am not inclined to treat them like my confidant. 

Papa God thank You that You love us all. Thank You that You are good. Thank You that you answer prayers and we can trust You. You know the perfect matches and opportunities for us. You know it all. Give us Your eyes and discernment. Cast out fear and suspicion by Your great love. Help us to make wise choices in relationships. Help us to be a tremendous blessing to everyone. Bring in Your choices for friends, mates, opportunities. Thank You for the ability to choose ourselves, yet we invite You in as the One who knows all and loves us more than anyone else. You desire Your very best for us. Heal any wounds from the not so great connections, make us whole. In Jesus mighty name amen. 

Choosing the Right Mate (Sacred Sex Series Part VI) 

  

  

Morning Devotion: God loves to pair people for mutual blessing and a catapulting of destiny. A look at Godly connections for marriage. 

Marriage is more than sex and fun, it’s a Kingdom partnership to help establish God’s Kingdom on earth. 

When people look for a car or to buy a house, they do some research. Most homebuyers do a home inspection. Car buyers may get a Carfax report. They examine the condition of the inside. Yet when people are thinking about marriage or even friendship, there can be minimal to no research on the character or inner workings of a person. There may be an assessment of 1. Do we have fun? 2. Do I like this person? 3. Am I attracted to what is on the outside? 

Here are some problems with ignoring what’s inside. 

1. When storms come and they do, pretty/handsome and fun mean nothing. Beauty fades. What happens if your significant other is injured, their beauty taken away, and you have to care for them. A shallow person may jump ship, abandon, or leave you hanging. Why? Challenges and storms are not fun. To be in a place to care for someone who can do nothing for you is not fun to the flesh. 

What happens if that person can no longer meet your physical needs? Will you abandon them to get your needs met someplace else. Covenant says, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, I am going to love you and stand by you.” 

Our culture focuses so much on chemistry, sex, fun, and the flesh. I am so not against those things. Yet if they are the foundation, they are a very shaky foundation. 

The married couples I know who lasted 40-55 years focused on friendship, learning to love, forgiveness, compromise, and doing what was best for the other person. They sought to honor God through their interactions with the other person. Even when they did not like the other person, they chose love. 

Does the person you are interested in demonstrate noble character and unselfish love? Do they exhibit faithfulness? Are they loyal? How do they treat people who can do nothing for them? How do they love God? How do they handle finances? How do they spend their free time? How do they feel about themselves? 

If they are unloving, unkind to other people and loving to you, that is a red flag. If they only connect with God for what they can get, they will do the same to you. If they are unfaithful in other areas of their life, that’s something to investigate. 

The flesh will easily go along with what it thinks will please it. Flesh does not do so well when it is challenged, there is pain, delayed gratification, or challenges. The flesh tries to avoid pain or challenges. You will be surprised how many divorces or infidelity happen after a major sickness, trauma, or tragedy in a marriage. 

2. After all the hormones subside and the flesh is gratified, you are left to live with their character. 

When we first meet someone and we like them, hormones are high. If there is chemistry it makes a person feel on top of the world. The hormone high does not last. Scientists have studied the hormones involved in attraction. After a year, the intense high starts to lower. After 7 years your body becomes accustomed to them. Hence the phrase “The 7 year itch.” Then if you do not have real love, many jump ship for what’s new. The first year, after the 7th year, after kids, and after kids leave the nest are markers for marriage. If you only have lust and fun, your building will not stand. 

3. Destiny is not examined. 

Every person has a divine purpose for being born. Some seek God for destiny, some choose their own. Yet examining a potential life partner just for what’s outside and fun can lead to a wrong choice. 

Example (names changed): 

Lisa and John met. John loved her beauty and love for Jesus. Lisa married John. Lisa always felt called to teach and impact the world through teaching children. John after several years of marriage makes Lisa quit teaching school and stay home. They have over a half dozen children and it leads her to have a total mental breakdown. She recovers, yet feels her dreams are not even considered. They are not considered. John is about building his Kingdom. Lisa is there to serve him. She can do nothing without John’s approval. Lisa eventually dies. She was happy to die, she was tired of being drug around by her husband. 

Some may say this was a good marriage. I disagree. God looks to advance and enhance our destiny, not diminish our destiny. Lisa wanted to teach. She taught John many things. He, however, felt men are the only ones to work. He also felt headship meant boss instead of support/servant/the one who sacrifices the most. He modeled worldly dictatorship not the Christlike love of Jesus that seeks to elevate, sacrificially serve, empower. 

I believe Jesus would have empowered Lisa to teach, cheer for her dream, support her, and be her greatest support. Head also means source or support. Yet many use head to mean dictator, boss, parent. Jesus did (does) not model dictatorship. He modeled support, a source of life/encouragement, and sacrificial love. Jesus never tries to kill my dreams to benefit himself. Why? Jesus is not selfish nor insecure. 

I have had people try to push me into marrying a certain person, yet I know part of my destiny. When I was quite young God told me why I was born, some of the countries I would travel to, and my purpose. He has confirmed His words through many people and it matches my heart desires. When men come wanting to diminish who God says I am or negate what He told me to do, I say no. Why? A man is not more important than God. 

Any person who wants to diminish who you are is insecure and insecure people make relationships challenging and in many cases toxic or one sided. Insecurity is self focused, “What about me? Me! Me! Me!“. It’s fruits are jealousy, constantly needing affirmation/validation, easily offended, suspicion, selfishness, rejection/self rejection, emotional instability and can cause abuse (verbal, physical, or sexual). 

How can two be joined together lest they agree? I know part of my destiny involves global missions and actually going into other countries to share the Gospel, part of my destiny involves evangelism/teaching/and doing what Jesus did. 

Men who think women can not do those things is not for me. Men who believe women were only created to be their slaves and sex partners are not for me. Men who care nothing about who I am and focus only on their fleshly attraction are not for me. Men who do not truly love God and seek to honor Him are not for me. Men who are grossly selfish and do not care about the poor are not for me. My life is centered around a passionate love for God and intimacy with Him. My ministry in the world is seeking to heal, feed, deliver the oppressed, least, last, lost. 

May all the singles spend time with God when choosing a life partner. It is a more important decision than buying a car or house. Everything that glitters is not God. The flesh will say, “Pick the fun, super attractive one.” The Spirit will say, “Pay attention to their character. What will you build together?” 

May singles look with eyes of the Spirit. This person will either draw you closer to God and help catapult your destiny or diminish it. 

Hormones or Lust? (Sacred Sex Series Part IV) 

  
Image Credit: WordSwag, used with permission. 

Hello beautiful people. Today I wanted to unpack some truth on hormones to hopefully relieve some shame, provide insight, and offer tools for walking in purity. 

First things first. You are a human being who has hormones. These hormones do many things; regulate metabolism, body temperature, affect body shapes/sizes, regulate reproduction. 

Almost every human has been given the ability to reproduce after it’s own kind. Men have sperm. Women have eggs. They unit to create another human who shares their DNA. 

In the normal hormonal makeup of a human is the desire to mate and reproduce. No shame if you do not desire physical intimacy or children. My point is the desire for physical affection from the opposite sex and the desire to have children is God given. The human body has hormones that support these desires. 

The desire for physical affection is not evil. Things get out of hand when hormones partner with lust. What is lust? Here is my definition. 

Lust: 

  1. An unquencheable desire for what one does not have. 
  2. A desire to do whatever it takes to satisfy that desire. 
  3. A desire to take for selfish gain, self gratification. 

Lust is not from God. It is a result of the fall. Adam saw Eve naked and his first response was to speak life and prophesy over her. He was not seeking to take from her, nor was he singing, “Let’s get it on.” 

Yes, I have heard the song and hear the things men say about women. I am surrounded by men who sing “Let’s get it on,” like it is their theme song. I work with majority males. What they do not recognize is that they were created to love not lust. 

While men chant, “Men will be men. We just can not help ourselves,” God whispers back, “I created you in My image to agape love (unselfish, sacrificial, unconditional love).” Men were designed to unselfishly love (give), not take. 

Hormones (flesh) say, “I want to mate with someone, be physically intimate.

Lust says, “I desire to meet my own desires and I do not care how. I am here to be gratified and satisfied. People are objects to be used for my pleasure.” 

Lust is selfish. Lust wants to take for it’s own pleasure without regard for God, or others. Lust is never satisfied. It requires more and more while giving less and less. 

Love says, “I will walk in self control. I will seek to honor God and others. I will abort thoughts and images that are not holy. I am here to give, not take. It is not about feelings or hormones. It is about honor.” 

Love seeks holy connection in commitment/covenant. Love sees a person to be cherished, respected, honored…not an object to be used and discarded. 

So how does one walk in purity in a world where many things are set up to lure people into lust? 

Lust sells right? It sells because it becomes an addiction. People need more and more to feel good. The lust can be for sex, money, power, attention, affirmation, prestige. Lust always wants more! 

God has another plan, plan A. His plan involves agape love, receiving His love, knowing Him, and sharing His love with others. 

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God,”~Matthew 5:8. 

Stepd for walking in purity: 

I. Assess Your Needs 

  1. The need may be for intimacy-to be known. 
  • This need is normal and there are healthy ways to get this need met without falling into the trap of lust. 
  • Godly friendships and friendship with God are great ways to meet this need. 
  • Go to God with your desire for intimacy. 
  • God is faithful to listen and provide great holy connections.

All we need is love, right?

  1. Is the need for love? God is love. Unfortunately God does not embrace us the way a human being can, yet His embrace of our spirit is far more powerful. 
  • Godly community can also be a place for our love to be given and for love to be received. The hugs, smiles, laughter, shared experiences can help to keep us connected. 
  • Seek God and be in healthy commmunity. 
  • If you ask, God is faithful to provide a tribe. 

II. Set Boundaries

Okay so boundary is sometimes an overused word in Christian culture. Yet boundaries are important. They protect both people. 

What is appropriate for your relationship? Well, what honors God? Would you mind it being broadcast on tv for your parents, pastor, friends (unmarried peeps)? If not, cease the activity. 

Physical intimacy was intended to lead somewhere…to more physical intimacy. It was not designed to be cut on and off. That’s why you read stories of people who started something that seemed so innocent that led to far, far more. 

The Bible says, “It is not prudent to awaken love before it’s time.” Why? Because your body will move towards what it was designed to do…don’t go playing with matches. You will get burned. 🔥🔥🔥

It is also very imperative to not treat a boyfriend or girlfriend like a spouse, emotionally, spiritually, or  physically. 

Do not give yourself away to someone who is not your spouse. 

Many affairs or trails to a bedroom started with emotional or spiritual connection. How much time is being spent alone with this person? Talking on the phone? Sharing dreams, praying, emotions, struggles? These activities build intimacy. 

How much is shared too soon or without committment? It can be a set up for later heartache. 

Stories:  

I have been discipling for 12 years and have seen quite a bit. 

There was Marcus (not his real name). He connected with lots of women on an emotional and spiritual level. He was the handsome, seemingly “nice” Christian guy. He knew how to pray and say all the right things. 

The issue was Marcus had zero desire to love or commit to any of those ladies. The ones with little to no boundaries were greatly harmed by him. They opened their hearts and souls to someone not committed to love them. Some gave their bodies to him. He moved on to the next target. 

Marcus stated he only told women what he thought they wanted to hear so he could take from them. He was a predator. He was selfish. 

Ladies and gents, set boundaries. Do not give yourself away. You are a priceless treasure. Your future or current spouse will thank you. Your soul will too. 

There was Lisa (not her name). Lisa had a handsome boyfriend. They spent lots of time talking, connecting, being together. She lived alone so they would have hang outs at her place, some were evening hang outs. These hang out led to other things. 

She believed he loved her and was only with her. She did not find out until later he had given her an STD (sexually transmitted disease). It is one she will have forever. Lisa did not set a boundary to protect her purity. Her boyfriend felt he was in love, yet love does not seek to take. He took not only her virginity, he left her with a disease. 

There was Hope and John (not their real names). They were both happily married until they met each other. Then they began chatting for hours, texting, working late together, eating lunch together alone, sharing their struggles. 

Over time the intimacy they built with each other emotionally led to a physical affair. They had no boundaries with each other. They both hurt their spouses and Hope damaged her witness for Jesus. John was not a believer.

There was Janet (not her real name) who became best friends with Eva. Their friendship lacked boundaries and they started acting like a married couple. Eva developed romantic feelings for Janet.Though Janet did not reciprocate those feelings, their lack of healthy boundaries created a perfect storm. 

III. Feed Your Soul Healthy Things 

I know we live in the age of Fifty Shades of Grey, it is your body-do what you want, overly sexual images/activities, etc…yet we are responsible for our soul care. What you feed grows, what you starve dies. Feed the soul what is healthy. 

Disclaimer: 

As for those courting or seriously dating, I am not stating you can not hug, hold hands, or share an appropriate kiss. I am not stating to never be alone together. Use wisdom. Alone at night in your apartment may not be wisdom for you. Set up situations where if you are tempted the next leap isn’t possible. God never sets anyone up to fall. 

You must talk over your personal boundaries with God and the person you are seeing. Are your actions loving? Are they helping the other person remain pure in action and in thought? Or is it lighting a fire you are not able to sustain because you are not married. 

My unsolicted suggestion is to set boundaries for all relationships. What is loving, pure, healthy? What will draw the other person closer to God? What will help them remain pure too? 

Part of relationships is drawing the other person closer to God, imitating Christ. This flows over into marriage too. Marriage does not cure lust any more than bars cure alcoholism. So may lust be  aborted and replaced with agape love. 

Papa God I pray blessings over everyone subscribed to this blog. Purify all hearts and souls. Lord may all believers be people who walk in agape love. Replace any lust with Your unfailing love. In Jesus mighty name, amen. 

Resource: 

Choosing God’s Best
This book focuses on courtship over dating. I do love the boundaries sections. If you are pro dating and not so much into the courting formalities, it still provides some wisdom. 

Bless you! 

Erin 

Enjoy Your Season (Relationship Series)

  
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have,~Phil 4:11 (Apostle Paul)

There’s beauty in contentment. It’s the ability to express gratitude in the moment, in the season. It’s a choice to look at what God is doing, what God has done, and find joy in Him alone. 

I’ve met so many people on my walk with God who are waiting for something to happen to enjoy life. If only I could, “Have a boyfriend or girlfriend.” If only I could, “Get married or have children.” If only I could, “Have a best friend or tons of friends to do things with, then I’d be happy.” 

The problem with this type of thinking is it negates that every blessing brings a new set of challenges. Adding people to our lives reduces the amount of free time we have. We have a new level of sacrifice that is required if we want to be good, quality friends and not deadbeats. We have to learn the other person’s strengths and weaknesses. 

The movies often do a poor job of expressing the reality of real relationships. They don’t show the seasons, the learning, the growing, the akwardness, the suffering, disappointment, or sorrow. What is painted is non stop Magical Kingdom. Who doesn’t love adventure, fun, good times all the time? The reality is anything worth having takes effort. 

Healthy relationships are also based on two people having their own lives and identies. Unhealthy relationships are codependent. When relationships are used as a means to find identity and happiness it leads to heartache. 

I’ve had long term relationships. My happiness did not come from that person. It came from God. So when God let me know that relationship wasn’t headed in the right direction I could step away and still live a fulfilled, joyful life. 

People don’t complete us, God does. Any source of identity or fix for contentment outside God leads to pain. People are not God. God never intended for others to fulfill us. 

Contentment in God is the best place. God does not change. God is stable. God’s love and affection is not wavering. He doesn’t love one minute and then withhold love another. God’s love isn’t shallow, based on our appearance or what we can do for Him. God’s love isn’t selfish. He’s not simply looking out for Himself. God’s love isn’t based on merit, it’s independent of our behavior. 

An identity rooted in Christ is rock solid. An identity rooted in relationships with people is like the shifting sands. It can fade away. Spouses can pass away, children too. Friends can come and go. Dating or courtships can end. No one can separate us from God’s love. 

Joy rooted in God grows with relationship and abiding in Him. Joy rooted in what’s happening is simply happiness and can be taken away or shifted based on circumstances. 

Contentment rooted in who God is lasts for eternity. 

I’m unmarried…so I continually give thanks for the following. 

  • God’s unfailing love and friendship. 
  • As much time as I want with God.
  • The ability to truly invest in people’s lives without distractions. 
  • The ability to be present without wondering what a spouse or children need. 
  • Sleep and rest.
  • Traveling wherever I want to go, whenever I want to go. 
  • The ability to be involved in and lead multiple ministries. 
  • Time with my family that’s undivided-there’s one not two families to keep up with.
  • Serving others by opening my home, giving of my time. 
  • A clean house. 
  • Money to bless others in need. The ability to sow into others without checking in with someone. 
  • Peace. 
  • Quiet. 
  • The ability to work and go to school.
  • Learning more of who I am in Christ and my individual destiny with God. 
  • Feeling loved and cherished every day by God. 
  • Being under God’s authority which is always used to love and protect, not out of selfishness or control. 
  • Being loved for who I am not what I have to offer or my physical appearance. 
  • Growing in Godly confidence and wisdom.
  • Writing and lots of time to write/create. 
  • Adventures with God and friends.
  • Building a business with God. 
  • Time alone with Holy Spirit to be taught by Him.
  • Having my heart, mind, body protected.

I also give thanks for the basics: food, water, shelter, and clean clothing. I give thanks for everything! God is good all the time. In every single season, God is good. 

Whether you are married or single, theres something to be thankful for and contentment can be found in God. I encourage everyone to make a list of things they are thankful for and thank God. 

God bless you! 

Erin Lamb 

Setting Boundaries in Love (Relationship Series) 

  
Build a fence around your heart, not a wall. Therefore, people can see its beauty but only those invited can come inside.” 

I cannot recall who said the quote above, yet it’s a good one. Boundaries are the fences we put up to protect what’s of value. Boundaries set limits. 

God sets boundaries; much of the law was set up as boundaries to protect people. Do not steal. Do not murder…We are of infinite worth to God. Therefore, boundaries help protect us and others. 

Boundaries are supposed to be rooted in love, not fear. 

If we set boundaries with people out of fear, they are most likely to get hurt. Fear is a horrible motivator because the main objective is “Self.” When love is the motivation, the best interests of both parties are considered. 

It is possible to be kind, loving, and maintain boundaries. 

Different strokes for different folks…

Different people have different boundaries. I’m from a warm culture. It is not uncommon to smile, encourage, open the door to strangers, give gifts, or even embrace. It’s normal and considered friendly. 

I love traveling to parts of South America because the culture is similar in certain places. People will hug you, invite you for coffee. It’s not a date, flirting, or luring technique. It’s normal life. You may even receive a gift. My dad loves to give gifts. My Heavenly Father loves to give gifts. 

For some people they are not friendly if they don’t know you. They must get to know you before there’s an invitation to do anything. Some cultures are warm and friendly, some are quite reserved. 

So how do we establish boundaries? 

The first step is establishing what our boundaries are. 

  • What do you like and dislike?
  • What is comfortable? 
  • What makes you uncomfortable? 
  • What makes you feel violated, used, or abused?  
  • How do you want to be treated?

When our boundaries are not set or low, it leads to an uneasy feeling or mistreatment. When boundaries are violated, something feels wrong or off. 

Life Lessons:

I work in a mostly male environment. Sometimes the things they say are not appropriate. I tell them, “Please don’t discuss that around me.

If I don’t say anything, I can’t be upset by what they talk about. It’s my responsibility to either leave the room or tell them, “This isn’t okay.

We set our boundaries, not others. 

I also went through a period in my life where people wanted to tell me what to do. This was annoying and not what I wanted. I kindly told them, “I appreciate your concerns, yet I plan on taking this to God. I do not wish for any more counsel or feedback.” 

I’ve also learned I can unknowingly aggravate people’s boundaries. Mainly I don’t know what their boundaries are. I refrain now from being too kind or generous with people I don’t know, unless it’s secretly.  

Boundaries with the opposite sex/in ministry:

I don’t encourage or continually affirm men I don’t know unless it’s done publicly-with a witness (strong lesson learned). Even if your motive is simply to bless someone, it can be completely misunderstood. 

If I have something for a man who is married, it almost always goes through his wife unless it’s with colleagues about business. I’d rather just avoid any misunderstandings.

I don’t share deep intimate details of my life with men, or women I don’t know or trust. In ministry I share experiences, but not on a one on one intimate level with people I don’t know or trust. As I grow older the less I want people in my business. I have a small circle I trust. 

Basic boundary guidelines: 

1. Saying no to what’s breaking the law or violating your morals. 

2. Saying no without feeling guilty or obligated to say yes to please people. 

3. Refraining from touching people without asking for permission. 

If you’re from a warm culture, the other person may not be. The person with the highest boundary wins. 

Example: I hate people touching my hair. Random fact-Did you know when you touch hair with dirty hands you leave deposits?

4. Refraining from allowing people to touch you if you don’t want to be touched.

5. Refraining from emotional/physical/spiritual  closeness (intimacy) without commitment. This is quite important for members of the opposite sex. I’m not talking about family affection, a platonic hug. 

I highly recommend the book Choosing God’s Best. This book outlines some of the precautions to take with intimacy in relationships. 

Many affairs begin on an emotional and intellectual level before a physical act occurs. 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,~Proverbs 4:23. 

God intended for connections to be guarded. If we open up to people who are not committed to love us (I’m talking agape, friend love, family love-and sexual love), it can lead to heartache. 

Our hearts can become entangled with people by sharing our hearts, dreams, passions, fears, intimate things about ourselves. This creates a connection with another person. If you add to that physical intimacy (which God only condones with a man and woman in marriage), it can lead to heartache outside comittment. 

I know in ministry or spiritual family connections there’s sharing. I am not stating to be a brick wall with others, just thoughts on basic boundaries. 

6. Protecting the space, time, and relationships of other people. 

7. Refraining from asking intimate personal details about people you don’t know. 

There’s a time and place for these things. I will flat out tell people, “You don’t need to know.

8. Tell people what your boundaries are. If you don’t tell them, they don’t know. The first time a boundary is violated, say something. 

For more information on boundaries go to Guide to Psychology-Boundaries

If you struggle with saying no, I recommend The Best Yes by New York Time’s Bestseller Lysa TerKurst. 

Here are some sample scripts I’ve used. 

Unsolicited advice:

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide feedback. I plan on praying and seeking God’s will. I’d love for you to pray God’s will for me. 

Pushy people:

No. I won’t be needing or using (fill in the blank). 

Requests I cannot perform, or don’t feel called to do:

I am unable to (fill in the request), have you touched base with (alternative option)? 

Rude people: 

I ignore quite a bit of rudeness because it is simply a person who feels powerless trying to appear strong or powerful. If I must address it, then it goes a bit like this. 

I would love to connect or chat with you, yet not while you’re using that tone or treating me this way. 

We can love people and set boundaries. I may post more on boundaries next post. 

Myth: Church Attendance=Disciple of Jesus (Relationship Series) 

  
I’ve heard many people say, “But I met them at church or on a Christian dating site, they must be great.” 

We have been told by God over and over in His word to test spirits, test prophetic words, assess the character of prophets, and to look at the fruit in the lives of those we will connect our lives to. 

The Bible does not say, “You will know them by their church attendance. You will know them by their denomination.” 

Jesus said, “You will know My disciples by their love for one another,” (John 13:34-35). He said, “We know a tree by the fruit it bears.

It’s imperative to discern the character of a person. 

I’m an observer. I watch people. I don’t watch them to judge them. I watch them because I’m a scientist. I observe and collect data. 

I’ve met people in worship gatherings who said all the right things, sang beautifully, operated in the gifts of the Spirit; they did not possess righteous character. Some cheated on their spouses. Some lied. Some did horrible things. Their character did not align with the character of Jesus. 

Our character is refined over time and through relationship with God. We are becoming like Him in character through relationship and over time. 

Some things to think about (Disclaimer, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. These are things to think about not rules to follow. Each person needs to have their own hearing from and confirmation from God.): 

1. Can anyone else vouch for this person’s relationship with God? 

2. How does this person treat the weak, poor, or unfortunate? 

3. How does this person handle their mistakes? Blame everyone else or accept responsibility. 

4. Do they tell the truth? 

5. Are they concerned about the wellbeing of others? 

6. How do they treat those who can offer them nothing? 

7. How do they handle stress? Disappointment? 

8. How do they handle money? 

9. If they’ve dated before would their ex say they were a blessing? 

10. How do they talk about other people? Putting down or building up. 

11. Are they faithful to keep their word? 

12. Are they growing with God? 

13. How close or deep is their relationship with God? (The vertical affects the horizontal). 

14. Are they helpful? 

15. Do they reciprocate? Do they initiate care and concern?

16. Are they discipling or assisting anyone else in becoming like Jesus?

17. Are they trustworthy? Could you trust them with your secrets, with the opposite sex, with your bank information…

18. How do they treat your friends and/or family? 

19. Do they try to make amends and easily forgive? 

20. Have you spent time to see the seasons of their life? People show you their best when they want to make a good impression. Have you been with them enough to see how they handle challenges? 

The character of a person outweighs the physical, emotional, and friendship connection. Those things are important, they do not trump character. Looks fade. Studies have shown after 7 years the pheromones that drive you crazy begin to lose their punch. Hence the 7 year itch. Emotional connections can deepen or fade. Many affairs start off as emotional affairs. Friendships can grow or be severely damaged by losing trust. If the person does not have noble character, the other components can fall flat. 

Only Jesus is perfect. It is not a quest for perfection. It is an investigative look into the character of a person. Before you say, “I do,” it’s good to investigate, “Who are you? Who are you really?” 

As stated in so many posts, I pray, “God show me who this person really is?” I pray, watch and pray. He always answers this prayer. Without fail God answers this prayer. 

Best wishes to you! 

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day! ♥️💯 You are so deeply loved. 

Erin 

Raising the Bar (Relationship Series) 

   

This post is for women. Maybe the men will gather something from it, yet it’s written from my heart to women everywhere. Please don’t settle. 

I’m surrounded by men. I chose an occupation that’s mainly male. My family is male dominated. I observe the way men treat women. I listen to the way they talk about women. 

I am not stating men are bad or evil. I do know one principal that’s proven true over the ages…men will (without deep fellowship with God and moral leading) do what they can get away with. It applies to women as well.

I have seen countless women have their lives destroyed by charm that was later revealed to be deception. In the past 10 years over 75% of the associates I’ve known who married have divorced or struggle greatly. So, I hope these tidbits might help someone. 

This isn’t to alarm you. It’s hopefully to provide some insight. 

I asked some of the men I know from work the following questions and here were their candid responses. 

Why do some men only do romantic things while dating? 

A. Why keep doing romantic things? Then she will keep expecting it. I married her, she’s lucky to be with me. You do the romantic things to get a woman…you don’t keep doing them. 

Why if a man has a beautiful, amazing wife or girlfriend will he keep checking out other women? 

A. It’s a guy thing! Men will be men (I hate this phrase by the way). 

If someone was going to kill you or your wife, would you offer to save her? 

A. Why do I have to die? I can get a new wife. Only two men said they would try to save their wives. One wanted to die because he hates being married. Not kidding. 

Why do some men lie? Avoid confrontation? Ignore women instead of dealing with issues.

A. Women don’t want the truth. They can’t handle the truth. And you’re so emotional. We don’t like getting in trouble. Ignoring you we hope you get the hint and go away or leave it alone. It’s a guy thing. 

Why do some men pretend to be someone they are not? 

A. To impress a woman or our guy friends.

What do you add to the relationship?

A. I kill bugs. I take out the trash. I work. I don’t cheat or beat her. 

Notes from them: If they tell you they are not interested, they are not interested. Don’t date or marry them for potential. They are opposed to someone trying to change them. It’s part of the guy code to accept them as they are. For some they admitted being afraid of rejection or failure so they won’t plan dates or go the extra mile. They are sometimes more wounded by rejection than women.

Below are some stories I lumped into categories. Every person is different, I simply lumped stories together based on what I’ve seen or encountered. This isn’t an attempt to sterotype. 

Disclaimer: there are some genuine gentlemen out there. The point isn’t to go around trying to look for dirt, it’s to use wisdom and discernment. 

Mr. Glittering Charmer: 

This guy is charming and wonderful. He says all the right things. Does all the right things. He’s learned what women want to hear. He comes off as someone overwhelmingly wonderful. He’s darn near perfect. Getting you to fall for him fuels his ego.

What can we learn about the charmer? 

1. No one is perfect except God. People come with a few quirks and flaws. 

If someone tells us everything we want to hear all the time, it’s a potential red flag. If they like every single thing we like, it’s a potential red flag. 

2. The Charmer has been told the way into a women’s heart and life is through flattery and charm. His motive is not love, it’s selfish gain and ego.

Stories…

I’ve changed names to protect identities. 

There was Jimmy. Jimmy was on the surface a great guy. He claimed to love God. He liked all the same things Mary loved. He seemed to be a great person. Mary prayed. The more she prayed, the stranger Jimmy behaved. The mask of charm fell off and she began to see Jimmy wasn’t following Jesus at all. He eventually confessed he told women what he thought they wanted to hear to get what he wanted from them. If they liked something, he liked it. He morphed (pretended) to be whoever he thought they wanted so they’d like him. He hurt many women. He used them. Mary was wise to seek God instead of simply going along with Mr. Jimmy Charmer. It prevented her from being used as well. 

There was Beth who had a pursuer who showed up from her past. He presented himself to be an amazing guy with a heart of gold. Gerald ended up marrying Beth. While married he cheated on her with several women and divorced her after getting his citizenship. 

There was Mila and Todd. Todd pursued Mila and presented himself to be an amazing guy. He was always at church and seemed excited about God. After several years of marriage and children, it was found out Todd was having affairs with men, doing drugs, and he left Mila with two kids to raise on her own. Mila became ill and Todd refused to help. He was also verbally abusive to their children.

There was David and Victoria. David was a super charmer who made people believe he was awesome. The more Victoria got to know him, the more the facade began to fade. David was a ragaholic, verbally abusive, unkind, jealous, and hateful. He also began stalking Victoria once she broke things off. He hacked into her email and followed her around. 

Tidbits continued…

3. Pray about any potential mate. Seriously pray and ask God to show you who they really are. People can hide crazy. They can’t hide it from God. Once the heart is involved the brain can get clouded. Just because a person goes to church or claims God doesn’t mean they are truly a genuine person. 

4. Just because someone presents themselves one way doesn’t mean that’s who they are. 

5. Get to know family and friends of a potential mate. People who have known them a long time and can attest to their character.  Pay attention. Who can vouch for their walk with God? 

Date them long enough to see if there is fruit of God’s Spirit. Let your friends and family meet them. What do the people closest to you have to say?  

Do they have Christian community? If not that’s a huge red flag! 

Mr. Looking for Any Woman: 

This guy may seem sincere in his desire to tie the knot. He starts looking for someone to meet his checklist of a wife. He may attempt to move the relationship fairly quickly or use terms of endearment quickly. 

He may say things like, “You’re perfect for me!” Or “You’re everything I want or need.” 

The issue with Mr. Any Women is it’s not about loving you or getting to know who you are. It’s about filling a void and checking you off a list. You will spend lots of time listening to him talk about himself or how you can benefit him. 

Why is this a problem? If you’re content to have a relationship without friendship or love, it’s cool. If you actually want to be with someone who cares about you, not just what you represent, then it’s problematic. Getting married is not like buying a car. It’s a merging of two lives and families. A wife is not a thing to be acquired, she’s a person to be loved.

Stories…

Names changed to protect identities.

There was George. George decided it was time to find a wife. All his friends were getting married so he needed to as well. He decided the best way was to try to get to know several single female friends he had, take them on dates. He was also getting to know another woman. One of the puzzle pieces had to fit right? 

The problem is George was treating women like things instead of people. He chose to pick women who were friends with each other. He told them all how amazing they were. He failed to see that humans are not things. He was looking out for himself. 

There was Jeff who believed he was a great catch because he was doctor. He too was looking for any woman to be his wife. She only needed to be pretty, a Christian, and be willing to give up her life, dreams, ambitions to support his. He didn’t seek to know the women he dated. He talked about himself. He didn’t care what the lady had to say. He needed a role filled. 

What do we learn from Mr. Any Woman…

1. A good relationship is built on two people getting to know each other. If he’s only talking about himself or bringing up how you can bless him, red flag! 

Love is not selfish or one sided. 

2. A relationship is a merging of two lives, not one person being consumed so the other can live. 

Mr. Shady or Nonchalant 

This guy has a way of stringing women along. He has no intention of going the extra mile or loving well. He will give you the bare minimum to keep you hanging onto the fantasy that there’s actually a relationship. His behavior is shadier than a rainforest. If confronted on his behavior, he will quickly blame you. You’re emotional or needy. 

What you need to learn from Mr. Shady or Nonchalant…

1. Love treats you well and does not leave you guessing. If a man is interested and serious, his actions will reflect it. 

2. This guy will continue treating you the way you let him. 

3. It’s not healthy to tolerate poor treatment.

Mr. Fear or Control

This guy is either afraid of commitment, intimacy, rejection, or you thinking he likes you when he doesn’t or is unsure. He may be deeply insecure which is the root of fear or control. 

He may come close and then run away. He may do things that make no sense. He may act like he wants to date you then run for the hills. Fear causes flakiness or fleeing. He may invite people to every meeting with you to avoid intimacy. There is wisdom in meetings if you don’t know someone well. Yet if they never can meet you for even a coffee in a public place or at the church bookstore, it’s something to question. If you’re not stalking him, and he wants to get to know you…a public meeting place is not unreasonable. He also may be married or in another relationship.

Mr. Control wants you to obey him, blindly follow him, and may see being a leader as what he says goes. 

What can we learn from Mr. Fear…

1. If you’re not giving him a reason to run away, it’s his insecurity or fear. 

I read there’s a natural pull away that men do to access how they feel. Yet if he’s always hot then cold, or cold then there’s probably an issue. 

2. Only God’s love casts out fear. 

Stories…

There was Jane. James expressed interest for her yet refused to call her his girlfriend. He knew she wanted marriage, but he was afraid of comittment. He continued to date her without any comittment. 

There was Paul. Paul used women for his physical pleasure. Anytime the relationship seemed to move towards being serious he ran. His motive was sex. Paul hurt many women but his mantra was “Say whatever you need to say and do whatever you need to do to get what you want.” He went to church like everyone else and led many women into his bedroom. 

There was John who micromanaged and controlled his wife and family. He was in charge. He was the man of the house. His wife was the sidekick that supported his mission. It was his way or the high way.

Tidbits…..

3. Fear is actually selfish. Control is selfish. It’s caring more about protecting oneself than others. 

It’s challenging not to take it personally yet I tell my girls, how a person treats you is a reflection of their heart. 

4. Fear and control are fruits of insecurity and a lack of God’s love. 

5. Pray for Mr. Fear or Control to encounter God’s love. 

You don’t have to date him or be a pawn in his game. Yet Mr. Fear and all others need revelations of God’s love. 

Final Notes:

No matter who the guy is who’s pursuing your heart, may you submit him to God. Your heart is not a toy. You are of infinite worth. God wants to give you His best. 

Love, 

Erin