When does God want me to ‘pop the question’?

 

This is a question which men around the world have to wrestle with all the time. Is there a right time to pop the question, is there a set time. Do you get to so many months or years and then that’s when it is acceptable to pop the question. Well I don’t believe that to be the case. I am firm believer that when you know, you know. So for me, when you meet someone for the first time your thought should be “Is this the person I want to marry?” May seem slightly on the forward side but that should be running through your mind. Now you can test this over a number of months possibly a year to see is this the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. I must admit I have aimed this post at men who would be thinking of popping the question but of course ladies you can read this if you are wanting to ask your boyfriend to marry you.

So what criteria are there when considering if you should ask the girl you are with if they would marry you?

1. Do you love them?

This may seem obvious and non-Christians reading this may see this as a criteria for marriage but actually the importance of this is so great. In the book of Ephesians there is a call for men to love their wives as Christ loved the church (husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25 ESV) Now I don’t know about other men reading this who may be thinking about asking their girlfriends to marry them but when you hear what Paul is saying here about the love which husbands should have for their wives it seems a bit daunting. But this is why it is the first port of call in questioning if you should marry the girl you are with. Do you love her? Love her so much you would be willing to give yourself up for her? Now I don’t think this is just that age old “would you die for her” sort of thing but, would you be willing to make sacrifices for her, give things up out of love for her. For example you may be like to go out partying every other night but that means that you don’t see much of your girlfriend, this is not a stable situation to find yourself in when it comes to marriage, so would you be willing to give up in that situation going out every other night and maybe instead only go out once every other week, or so. These are the sacrifices that Paul is talking about here.

2. Are they a Christian?

This is a topic of much debate. I would personally myself feel it most advisable to marry a Christian. I feel this is because of issues such as baptism of children, can the children go to church and so on. Not only this but there can be issues with moral standpoints and views which can lead to if not start arguments or debates. Saying this however Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians says this (To the rest I say (I not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he consents to living with her, she should not divorce him….. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know husband whether you will save you wife? 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 ESV).

Now this long passage may look a bit OTT but Paul is basically saying “look you don’t know what could happen with an unbelieving partner, you never know through your marriage they could come to faith” which sounds great because if you truly love someone and they are not a believer why is the thing you want most of all? That they would be saved and know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.

3. Do they want the same things in life i.e Children?

This is admittedly more of a practical criteria really. But none the less is a very important criteria. The main example I have used for this criteria is children. The simple fact is if one of you does not want children this may lead to regret, anger or resentment. But this can be the same for any issue, such as where you want to live, what your jobs situations are like. This is obviously something which can be solved very easily with a number of conversations. You can easily discuss future plans. Obviously if you were planning a surprise of asking your partner to marry you, then make these conversations discreet but make sure you cover and think of everything.

4. Could you stand living with them?

This is also a more practical criteria. It is easy to thing someone is the most amazing person in the world when you see them for a couple of hours a day. But living with them is a completely different kettle of fish. It may be that they are loud eaters, or they snore or they are messy. Now I am not suggesting that you can not marry them if they snore. But these are things you need to take in to consideration and also have a conversation about. The most important thing to do in this new step forward in your life is to keep talking to each other.

5. Do you really love them?

Now why have I put this point you may be wondering? Well this is because as we saw in our first point you have to love your wife as Christ loved the church. But like at the end of John’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter (Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. John 21:15 ESV) Now Jesus asks this of Peter to make sure Peter is going to be willing to go that extra mile for him. Jesus is testing Peters love making sure Peter is ready to follow Jesus through thick and thin. This is the love you need to be certain you have for your soon to be wife and the love that they equally have for you. Then you will know if you are willing to through thick and thin for each other.

So there we go, we have been through five issues which I feel are grounds to think on when wondering about marriage. Are there more? probably depending on your situation with your partner. Are there less? No, I don’t think so.

I do hope if you are reading this and looking at going into marriage, that God will bless you and your future wife in all that you do together and that you will keep God the creator of marriage in the centre.

God bless
Gareth

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The “behind closed door” sin.

 

We live in the 21st century where pornography is at our fingertips. It can easily be obtained and watched by millions by using the Television but mostly due to the rapid expansion and accessibility of the internet. Now I know that pornography comes with a reputation and many people do not want to discuss it. But because of that it has pushed people underground, choosing not to admit if they have a problem with it. Hence the title the “behind closed door” sin.

  • Men are 543% more likely to look at porn than females.
  • Those who are politically more liberal are 19% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who have ever committed adultery are 218% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who have ever engaged in paid sex are 270% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who are happily married are 61% less likely to look at porn.
  • Those with teen children at home are 45% less likely to look at porn.
  • Regular church attenders are 26% less likely to look at porn than non-attenders, but those self-identified as “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.

Statistics from http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/02/19/pornography-statistics/

These statistics are mind boggling. We may also think that this is a problem for weirdo’s and teenagers. But the truth is that Pornography is an addictive problem. It is as addictive as drugs and like drugs it does not discriminate on who gets addictive, the rich the poor, the single the married, the adulterous and the “faithful”. Porn is an issue.

We have however already discussed that because of the taboo that comes with porn it has pushed people to go underground and not want to talk with people about it. One aspect of modern day life we haven’t looked at is the reality that now nearly everyone has a mobile phone with the ability to connect to the internet. This has opened up everyone to the danger of the temptation of Porn. It’s lure.

There is no such thing as free porn. I do not mean the financial side to porn, the adverts on the free websites bring revenue in, but the real cost I am talking about here is the cost of lives. Not only are porn actors often beaten and treated aggressively and often drugged to force them to have sex, but when you download a video, even one with no clear violent or aggressive actions, you have joined in with the shocking treatment of the actors. Normally safe sex is not carried out, so some girls are left pregnant or forced to have an abortion.

What is the cost of this sin on the viewer. Porn is a sin. Porn leads to other sins. Though the Bible does not discuss porn directly, but it discusses shocking things like porn. Fornications like porn.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reveller, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Paul says in the passage from Corinthians that Paul is urging the church in Corinth and us, to stay away from the problems of sexual sin. Porn is one of those sins. Because you are dealing with the people that make money from the immorality mentioned above. This means Paul says stay clear from porn. The way he finishes this passage of is a call to the church and us now. “purge the evil person from among you.” That is what we need to do. All of us. But if you have a problem with porn or sexual sin. Purge yourself. Clothe yourself in Christ. Protect yourself.

What does Jesus say on this topic, well Jesus goes along the line of purging yourself. Jesus says:

Matthew 18:7-9

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the fire of hell.

Jesus is saying here basically, if you have a problem with porn or any sin, put barriers up. If you are in a situation where you often use your phone to watch porn, get a phone which can’t connect to the internet. If you have a problem viewing porn on your laptop put rigorous security settings on, or use covenant eyes to let friends know if you are tempted to look at porn. If you are married, talk about the problem with your partner. If you struggle look to them to help you get through it. Pray on it, talk. Do not let it become your secret. Something you do behind closed doors. Be open about the problem like any other sin. You need to fight it. With the help of Christ you can fight it.

If you would like to discuss this further please comment below or follow the link to the Facebook page and send a message to me on there. Complete confidentially.

I hope this helped.

God bless.

Gareth.

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The great act of forgiveness.

 

Ever done something you were ashamed of? I mean something you were really ashamed of?

We have all done something wrong, this includes things like ignoring or disrespecting parents or teachers to lying, stealing to the extreme of murder and adultery and using drugs.

We have all done something bad, something which hurt somebody.

Whenever we do something bad, we always hurt someone, maybe not always directly, but when we do wrong someone always gets hurt, even if that person is ourselves.

Did it hurt someone? Has that someone forgiven you?

It’s so much harder to forgive someone when they have hurt you, when we have been hurt we realise how hard it is to forgive. But when you hurt someone and you are truly sorry we seek that persons forgiveness. From that forgiveness you know you can move on.

The Bible calls this Sin.

The Bible mentions sin a lot. Sin is the reason there is a barrier between us and God. Why so many things go wrong in the world. Why relationships fail, why there is war. Sin is the problem.

We have all done something bad in the eyes of God, were imperfect.

We all sin, we have all done wrong. “All fall short of the glory of God.” You make think, “I’m good, I haven’t killed anyone, stolen anything.” But Sin does not just mean the really bad things, it doesn’t just mean crimes. It means anything that is going against God.

We have all hurt God by doing this.

Once again, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. We all sin, and when we sin it hurts God. Like we do with friends and family, we do to God. We hurt Him. We should seek to find forgiveness for the things we do against God.

But God, He forgives.

You may think God won’t forgive me, He knows how bad I am. Why would He. He is just like everyone else. But He isn’t! God forgives!

He saw all the sin of the world, all the wrongs that we commit.

God has seen all the sins we have committed and knows we will sin again. He does not turn his back though. Like people think he has. Why has he not done anything about it?

Instead of anger he showed love, instead of Wrath He showed mercy.

God could have shown anger, He could have wiped us out. That’s what He did in Genesis, only saving Noah and his family. But He didn’t. He Loved us. He could have come through full of wrath, like he showed to the Egyptians in Exodus. But God didn’t He showed mercy.

How did He show this love and mercy?

He did it by sending His only son, Jesus. He sent Him to die. To die in our place for our sins. For the sins which we commit. For when we hurt God. God placed the blame on Jesus. He showed love by not sparing even His own son to die for us. He showed mercy by forgiving all those who believe and trust in Jesus.

That’s great, but what does it mean?

It means if you trust in Jesus, if you believe that He came and died for you, that you are forgiven. You are free from the power sin. It doesn’t mean you won’t sin but the power and punishment of sin has no power over you. This is because of Jesus’ death, because of His sacrifice you are innocent.

What do I do then?

Give your life to Jesus. Pray to Him in faith. Admit your sin to Him. Meet with His people, your brothers and sisters, The Church. Grow in your relationship with Him. As a forgiven innocent redeemed person. Live a new way. His way. The way of Jesus Christ.

God bless,

Gareth

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True Love Is the Centre, True Love is at the heart, True Love is Jesus!

Before we begin, thanks for all the support and shares from the previous post. I hope and pray it encouraged you, as seeing people soak up what scripture says on marriage did for me.

After my last post, some people have posted certain comments suggesting that I ‘belittled’ marriage, because it was a biblical view of marriage. This post is not to recant of my previous post, but instead this post is to support it. At the end of my last post I spoke about how love is at the centre of a marriage and how love is the reason the wife is willing to submit to her husband, as the Church is willing to submit to Christ because of love. In this same way a husband is willing to sacrifice all for his wife out of love in the same way Christ did for the Church.

Now we have the context of the post let’s look at love. The dictionary definition is:

1. A strong feeling of affection.

2. A great interest and pleasure in something.

But that just doesn’t quite cut it for me. I have a great interest in rugby and maybe I have occasionally in the past said I loved it, but it’s not love. Not true love.

Some scientists have said that love is just a working of the emotions or an accident of evolution. It just happens. But what a mockery of love!

When you meet the person you know you are going to spend the rest of your life with, you are quite literally “head over heels” in love, you don’t think, ‘what a fantastic evolutionary mistake this is!’ No instead you say things like ‘what a reward, what a blessing!’ This is almost as though love is a gift  or something which is engrained in us. We can’t help but love.

Well let’s look what Scripture says, firstly:

1 Corinthians 13

    1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

This passage is a famous wedding verse, ‘Love never fails’, it is a great verse for a wedding because this passage should remind couples of one thing, that love is an essential ingredient. You need love in your marriage because otherwise it will fail! This is seen in verse 1 as it says without love you are just a clanging cymbal. Love is important.

Though this love that we have for one another is great and in marriage it is because you have met the person you want to be with forever, what other reason does scripture give for loving?

    1 John 4:19

    19We love because he first loved us.

We should love all. We should love our partners in marriage because Jesus loved us first.

You may be sat there thinking, Jesus doesn’t love me, look at what has gone wrong for me. Well, can I say, Jesus does love you. He loves you so much that when He came to earth, He gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins which we all commit. Jesus was willing to give himself wholeheartedly to be a sacrifice for us. He died so that we may have new life in Him. When God sent Jesus, he looked at you and said “I can see how sinful that person is, and imperfect that person is, BUT I love them! I love them so much I will give my only Son for them!”

THAT’S LOVE!

So when John says we should love because Jesus loved us first, he is right. The love that we show to others, our husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, our family and our friends should be an outpouring on the unstoppable perfect love that Jesus has for us.

Please understand that Jesus loves you and came and died for you, so that you may have life.

Use that to go and love others.

God bless

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