Archive for Treasure

“Tish of Truth” #5 – Do not Awaken Love

Recently I was thinking about the importance of sexual purity…not just being a “technical virgin” and saving the act of sex for marriage.  But sexual purity in the sense of saving it all – kisses, emotional attachments, etc – truly guarding one’s heart until it is time to give it fully to the man who is to become one’s husband, or the woman who is to become one’s wife.  I wondered if this stance was something necessary or too extreme to encourage today’s generation of younger girls to apply to their lives.  God graciously answered my questioning thoughts with a passage from the Song of Solomon: “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right” (Song of Solomon 8:4).  That passage immediately stifled any doubts as to whether the “save it all – not just your ‘technical virginity’ ” mindset is a message worth sharing.

Think about it.  Solomon had the opportunity to ask God for anything in the world, and the one thing he asked for was wisdom.  God granted his request, along with immeasurable wealth and influence.  Solomon is considered to be the wisest man who ever walked the face of the earth.  He wrote many of the Proverbs, as well as the Book of Ecclesiastes.  So…it would seem that we too would be wise to apply Solomon’s advice, especially since he tells us three separate times that we are “not [to] awaken love until the time is right” (see Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, & 8:4)!!  Apparently he was quite concerned with trying to get his point across.  But are we listening?

In today’s sex-saturated society – from television shows and movies, to pop icons, billboards, and magazine ads – teens and pre-teens are overwhelmed with images and examples that could result in love being awakened far too early.  Regarding their personal convictions and decision as to how far they will go physically with a member of the opposite sex, I believe Solomon’s advice is more important than ever today: “Do not awaken love until the time is right.” So when exactly is the time right?  Well, marriage – between one man and one woman – would be the context of the entire Song of Solomon.  Thus we can safely assume that Solomon is warning the women of his time – as well as women of all ages in our day – not to allow their love to be awakened until marriage, when it can be fully expressed without hindrance, and with God’s complete blessing.

The question then remains, what causes love to be awakened?  Answers to this may be different for each individual.  Yet it would seem safe to say that physical contact with a member of the opposite sex – including kissing – is not possible without love being awakened.  The reality is that those intense feelings are often not really love; rather they are lust.  Yet raging hormones, instant gratification, and momentary acceptance can be interpreted as “love” in the heat of the moment.

I believe there needs to be a switch from the mindset of just “saving sex” for marriage, to saving everything for marriage.  With a culture that screams the opposite – where nothing is saved, guarded, or kept a secret – we must encourage this next generation to not allow their love to be awakened prematurely.  They need to understand the potential connections from any sort of physical contact like kissing and even holding hands with a member of the opposite sex.  If it can’t be done without awakening love, according to Solomon, it probably shouldn’t be done until marriage.  I don’t believe we can err on the side of being too safe.  The benefits are endless and life-long, including less heartache…less emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental baggage to work through…and increased blessings and satisfaction from being in God’s perfect will!!

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Britt Nicole’s “Acoustic” in Stores Now!!!

Hey Friends!!  Britt Nicole’s anticipated new release, entitled “Acoustic,” is available at Christian retailers and online as of today, August 24th!!!  I highly recommend that you buy a copy for every young woman in your life (daughter, sis, niece, friend, etc).  Britt certainly has a unique way of sharing her message – in particular, the truth that lasting love, security, and acceptance are ultimately found through a relationship with Jesus. This is a message young women in our culture desperately need to hear.

I have been so impressed with the depth of Britt Nicole’s lyrics on her previous CDs, and “Acoustic” definitely does not disappoint. If you are already a fan of Britt, you may recognize the top five songs of Britt’s career thus far, included on this new album in acoustic style. You’ll also get to hear more of Britt’s pure, passionate, and powerful voice than ever before!  “Acoustic” includes a never-before released track entitled “Found By You” – which Britt co-wrote with Dove award-winning singer/songwriter Brandon Heath.

So head on out to your local Christian retailer, or visit www.amazon.com“Acoustic” is a CD you don’t want to miss out on!!

www.brittnicole.com

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“Tish of Truth” #4 – “Run Towards Purity!”

“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.  Instead, pursue righteous living…” (II Timothy 2:22a)

Have you ever been watching a show on tv, or looking at pictures in a magazine, and suddenly realized your mind had gone deep into the world of fantasy?  Have you found yourself drooling over that “hot” guy in the magazine, or putting yourself in the place of the girl in the movie…and carrying the romance scene farther and farther in your mind? 

In II Timothy, Paul makes it clear that in order to pursue a life of purity and “righteous (good, blameless) living,” we can’t just casually try to avoid those things that may cause us to trip along the way.  Rather, Paul says we must make the deliberate choice to “flee” or “run from” anything that could be a stumblingblock in our race.   This may include  certain types of pictures that we look at, movies and/or tv shows we watch, or music we listen to.  

You and I would be wise to heed Paul’s warning to RUN from anything that could lead us to impure thoughts and/or actions.  Actively pursuing a lifestyle of purity means making moment-by-moment decisions to think on, look at, and talk about things that are honoring and good.  Always ask yourself, “Does this activity draw me closer to or further away from the goal of pure thoughts and actions?”   Then be willing to “run from” anything that doesn’t meet that criteria. 

The result?  You’ll be free to run your race without the hindrances of mental images and thoughts that could trip you up along the way!  Freedom is a wonderful thing!!!

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“Tish of Truth” #3 – “What Kind of Instrument are You?”

“In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use.  If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable useYour life will be clean and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work (II Timothy 2:20-21, NLT)

Have you ever been to a special dinner or holiday meal where the most expensive silverware was used?  If so, you were probably aware that this type of silverware is supposed to be handled with the utmost care.  When not being used, it is kept safe in its own unique place.  Even the cleaning for this expensive silverware is done in a specific way that will not tarnish its appearance.  Periodically, the owner will pull the silverware out of its safe place in order to polish it, and keep it looking extra shiny.  During those polishing times, the owner likely looks at the silverware and imagines all the special plans she has for it…for which ordinary silverware just can’t be used.  It is up to the owner to keep the silverware “pure,” as the silverware has no will of its own, and no ability to keep itself clean. 

In II Timothy, Paul likens you and me to “utensils” or instruments that God wants to use.  Unlike the expensive silverware kept clean by its owner, each of us has a choice in whether or not we will keep ourselves pure.  No one else can keep us shiny and clean.  We have the Holy Spirit as the one Who brings affirmation or conviction.  But ultimately God has given each of us the freedom to decide if we want to be the “expensive utensilsused for special occasions,” or “the cheap ones” that “are for everyday use.”

What is the determining factor for those who get to be “special utensils”?  Our pursuit of purity, which results in a “clean” lifestyle, is the key as to what type of vessel we will be.  We can keep ourselves pure by guarding our eyes, our hearts, our minds, and our bodies from those things that may tarnish us in some way.  Think about the movies and television shows you watch, the magazines you read, or the things you do with your boyfriend.  Are those actions helping you remain pure?  When we willfully choose to keep ourselves clean, we can then have the assurance that God will set us apart – as tools and instruments to be used for His most admirable purposes!!

Check out the way The Message translates these verses.  This is a bit more descriptive:

“In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing (II Timothy 2:20-21)

The choice is yours. What kind of utensil are you?  Wouldn’t you prefer to be like the “expensive” silverware, carefully prepared and set apart by God for use in His most special assignments?

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“Tish of Truth” #2 – “Not Even a Hint”

“But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity” (Ephesians 5:3, NIV)

In Christian circles especially, the importance of “saving your virginity” for marriage is highly promoted. And while that is definitely a good thing, simply being a “technical virgin” still leaves far too much opportunity for sexual immorality and impurity. God doesn’t just say “be a virgin when you get married,” and leave it at that. He takes it further, laying out some specific boundaries for us.

“Not even a hint of sexual immorality”…that sounds like God takes the pursuit of purity quite seriously. The “how-far-can-I-go-and-still-be-a-virgin” way of thinking, or trying to toe the line and do this-or-that without “going all the way” certainly doesn’t line up with the clear standard God has set.

So…what exactly is “a hint”? A hint could also be defined as “a trace” or “a speck”…in other words, it’s something small – perhaps seemingly insignificant. A hint could include those things you don’t think twice about looking at, watching, reading, talking about, or doing. The best test would be to ask yourself, “Does this particular activity encourage me – and others around me – to have pure thoughts and actions?” For example…looking at sexually explicit pictures or reading the “sex advice” in the latest issues of Cosmo and Teen magazine. And how about watching movies that promote casual sex – before marriage, outside of marriage, and/or with the same-gender? Or that questionable internet site that keeps luring you back…do those things count as “hints” of sexual immorality? Yes, they do.

In this day of sexual-bombardment from every possible media source, it seems nearly impossible to stay away from “any kind of impurity.” We are surrounded by ads, billboards, and commercials that promote sex – anytime, anywhere, and with anyone. However, God provides us with a way out. He reminds us that even though we do live in this world, we must “not copy the behaviors and customs of the world” (Romans 12:1-2). Clearly we have the choice to blend in with our sex-driven culture, or to pursue purity. If we claim to be followers of Jesus, there should be a noticeable difference in our actions – the things we are drawn to and involved in.

Since God encourages and expects us to follow this standard, then clearly there are reasons why. Perhaps He is trying to protect us – our minds, our hearts, and our bodies. Because God created us, He knows that our brains have the ability to store pictures, images, thoughts, and experiences. So everything we allow to enter our eye-gate will inevitably re-surface sooner or later. When you do meet the man who will be your future husband, do you want pictures of that “hot guy” from Teen magazine popping back into your head?? I don’t think so!!

Remember…all of your choices have either positive or negative consequences. Each seed you sow now…whether that “seed” is a thought or an action…will inevitably be reaped on a larger scale later on in your life. So every time you choose to keep away from even “a hint” of sexual immorality, it is like you are saying “I love you!” to your future husband. You love him enough to protect and save all of yourself – heart, soul, and body, for him and him alone! What an incredible gift to give him one day!

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