Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Awes of Life

We are so in awe of man's accomplishments and elevation
– his ability to create new technologies,
his acquired network,
his personality,
his ability to entertain and perform,
his ability to pleasure others.

We are so in awe of sound waves men generate with musical instruments. We are so taken back and speechless over one who gains admiration of millions because of his talents.

We glory in, and are passionate about man's exaltation across the world.

When did we forget that we are only created ones falsely imitating and misrepresenting our Creator?
When did we lose amazement of the work of His hands?

Why do we fail to see that the one who formed us, is in us and with us created all living things.
From Him alone come their origin.

We have so long tried to make ourselves into an imperfect form of Him.
We have set ourselves on our own throne and let our deceit-filled hearts reign and command our passions.

We have allowed the perishable to be a determining factor of our level of worth.
–And if it is perishable, that means our worth equates to less than life and far from God's original intent.

Instead of letting the flood wash away our shame– our blemishes. We've taken a clone stamp and a brush tool to lightly airbrush over every bruise and wrinkle– yet this "beauty" is only a pixel deep.

We will not see our chains for what they are.
We call our bondage liberation and celebrate our promiscuity as if it were the highest virtue.

We've mistaken judgment for mercy and criticism for wisdom.

We are ever so wise through our own eyes and refuse to be enlightened because we are our own "all-knowing" gods.

We are blind men
who stumble around glorying in our affliction.

We see only through the lens of a distorted perception of reality.

We are dead men
–walking replicas of current society.
We flow down stream like logs on the Mississippi. allowing the current to dictate where we go and what we say.

We are slaves to social media– giving our attention and effort to our master who will never be able to change our heart's status.

Forgive us, God.
For we do not know the heartache we bring you.

Forgive us for losing awe of you and allowing our minds and hearts to be numbed by entertainment and self-glorification.
Forgive us for building up idols on top of your throne– your dwelling place in our hearts.

We've kicked you out, calling you less than worthy than the counterfeit.

We are anemic and weak as we feed from false humility, false beauty, and false hope.

Forgive us for allowing deceit to invade our hearts and forgive us for bringing the ignorant along with us.
We have made others stumble on our own account and given them excuses to handout to their accusers.

We have "beautified" the lie.
We have succumbed to lust, forfeiting virtue and true love–your love–our first love.

Forgive us for forsaking you. Our wickedness is our clothing.
And now that we see our nakedness, we look in the mirror at a harlot.
We dwell daily in the brothel we set up for our idols.

We repent.
We confess our faithlessness and turn away even from our own hearts.

Wash us clean. We desperately cry out for mercy.

Your mercy and love flow over us like oil, saturating us.
And now we can see again. This time through the lens of Truth.

Your word and presence lights up our eyes to see from heaven's perspective.
It's beautiful. It's glorious. It's awesome in every way.

Now we can see the sun rise and determine the times of the day.
Now we chase after the love of Christ instead of the lusts of our flesh.

We are dead, yes; but living and breathing in all vibrancy with Christ.

He is the source of all things.
He is at our beginning and our end.

We find His fingerprint in all elements of creation.
 He is awesome. He is worthy. He is mysterious in all His ways.
And He's made the only way for our dead, cold hearts to come alive for the first time– to live for eternity.

Praise the Lord! He is King of all the universe.
He saves and redeems.
Let everything ring with His praise.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Work Hard My Dear

Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know you will recieve an inheritance from the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23&24

This semester has been especially challenging.
Every work that I've done for school has faced opposition.  I've run on an average of three hours of sleep every night. And have little time to eat or breathe for that matter. Like I said, it's been challenging.

Working through my senior project has been like pulling perfectly good teeth.
I ( and all of my peers) feel like I've been in a good place all along in my design process. But my professors disagree. Thus, I have had many revisions after taking their suggestions on several design elements. I'm only a few days away from my final presentation and I'm still working through big problems within my design.

The biggest challenge for me though, has been to remain calm. To not get flustered to the point of dis-function. To remain anxiety-free and trust the Lord with it all.

I have to say that I've done so much better this semester than I ever had. I've only had one meltdown and lack of sleep and emotional stress had much of the influence on that one. But, other than that, I've really been giving it all to the Lord. My one problem that I am still struggling with the most is trying to please people.
I have been trying to please my professors so much that I would become so frustrated, then mad, then just plain bitter. Instead of just taking their advice, and working with it. I've had to learn to not let things be taken to heart– to not get offended because of disagreements with my creative decisions.
Through this reoccurring event, I kept hearing the Lord tell me to calm down and refocus on his presence. Every time I would get upset and frustrated with my professors, peace would flood into my mind. I would go vent to the Lord about my frustrations, then move on with a fresh idea in mind, and begin working again.

I say all of that to make this point: I realized that this challenge this semester has been a lot about God showing me some things in my personality that are hindering my creative process–– my compulsion of people-pleasing being the main problem.
The Lord has shown me how frustration does me no good, especially with people. I can't take everything offensively. God is the only one who can change the hearts and minds of men. And as long as I am giving him my all, he will make my work successful and I will win favor in the sight of God and men.
As long as I am focused on pleasing others, I will not get over the hurdles I'm facing. I have to realize that God is the only one I should be worried about pleasing. Not that I shouldn't take the advice of my professors, but that I shouldn't become so focused on trying to find a way to please them that I become frustrated.  He will do the rest of the work for me. And that is exactly what he has done.
Right after spring break I was told that I might not graduate due to the place I was at in my design process. I immediately took that message as a lie and began to declare God's promise of graduating and moving to Memphis over my life. Faith arose, and I worked my tail off for the next week and a half. Monday of this week, I was granted favor and was told I am given a second chance to prove myself worthy of finishing senior project. Good news.
God is good.

So, while working this weekend, the Lord gave me this word from Colossians 3: 23&24.

Do your work with all zeal as a worship offering to me. Forget trying to please your teachers and your peers. Man's opinion doesn't matter. As long as your heart is purely dedicated to me in this work, I will change the hearts of man to bless you with favor and success.
Remember, your success is not based on man's opinion, but on your effort to glorify me with your work and your attitude.
Your reward will be my favor. So, go, work hard my dear.

So, with a new attitude towards my work, and a new design direction, I'm near to being finished with this season, and this project. Praise the Lord!

We have a wonderful Father. He truly cares about every aspect of our lives and wants to be involved in all of it–– the good, the bad, and the messy.
I just love him.
I would be an insane person without the Lord dwelling in my heart.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Moths to the Flame

 “No one who has lit a lamp covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed; no, he puts it on a stand; so that those coming in may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nothing is covered up that will not be known and come out into the open. 18 Pay attention, then, to how you hear! For anyone who has something will be given more; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”
Luke 8:16-18

As I was spending time with the Lord in prayer this morning. He struck me with conviction as he revealed his heart for the hurting. I am around people every single day who need the gospel– who just need God's  love. The Lord brought to my attention the hurt of my peers and my heart began exploding with intercession and firey love for these people. I am convicted that I have lived this semester without really doing much to love these people who desperately need the Lord in their lives. Instead, I've done what I can to be positive about my surroundings and ignore the true issue of why God has brought me into the place I am. It's not as much about me learning something and growing strong in faith in Him as much as it is as that he wants to use me as a light.

When I light is lit in the heat of a summer's night, all of the bugs and most despised of creation swarm to it's light.
God has called us to be lights in the dark and in the heat of everyone else's hell. The creatures that flock to our light are not the one's who live in the day time, but the one's who dwell in the night–– the ones that appear to have no evident purpose in relation to the rest of creation. They flock to the light because of it's beauty and life-giving qualities – because they see in the light there might be a little beauty that might rub off on them. They are curious to know about the light because near the light, they can see their life differently.
But, what if that light is a bug-zapper?
Every time a little bug get's too close to the light, and is seen in the light for what it is, instead of giving life, the light zaps the bug to death.

As Christians, we do this so often. This was brought to my attention by the Lord, because I do this so much. Instead of realizing why these people that seem to be neck-deep in issues are attracted to me, I zap them.
They need life. They need to be told they have worth. They need to be encouraged by the truth of God's love. Not despised because of their bitter attitude, or lack of civil social skills.
We shouldn't be dealing out the same cards that are dealt to us by people who know no better. We've got to search the Father's heart for the source of true love for these people.
My prayer is that the Lord would explode my heart with a fierce love and affection for the despised. That my words would be life and my affection would be healing ointment for their hearts. That they may see the Father's fierce desire for them. And that they may go from despised of to delighted in. They must come to know that they are DESIRED. We are doing the biggest crime by not sharing that message with the world.

This post is probably all over the place. I apologize. I just hope we can come to the realization that we have to be intentional with loving the people who are in our lives– especially the ones no one else wants to love.

Monday, March 4, 2013

All so Mysterious

I told myself I would wait until spring break to make another post – especially since I'm finishing up a good portion of my senior project this week.
Anyhow, I just read over a prayer I had written down at some point yesterday and I had to share it.
I've been so busy lately that my mind gets jumbled, so I have to write all of my thoughts and prayers down. I'm so exhausted by the end of each day, I catch myself dozing off in the middle of working. I'll jolt up right before my mind shuts off some nights to find that somehow I was able to get a small prayer written from the reflection of my day and daily scripture. Holy Spirit has been so gracious to me during this season of my life. Even in my exhaustion, he speaks to my heart and mind and reminds me of his word. He speaks directly to my heart's worries, anxiety, needs, and desires. He truly knows me and is in the constant process of renewing my mind as long as I am allowing him to invade my life more and more.

Here is a short prayer I wrote some time yesterday while I was spending some alone time with the Lord.

You are all so mysterious, Lord.
There is truly no one like you.
We are veiled from your full glory because your light is marvelously unapproachable.
Yet, as we draw nearer to you and clothe ourselves in your grace, we come closer than our nature deserves.

You are unable to be contained, yet you dwell with all power and glory in our hearts.
You are mysterious– truly a God who has been hiding himself.
For you so love the world that you made a way for us to come to know you.

You are all so mysterious.
I can speak with you and feel you near, yet I cannot see you.

You are terrifying, yet beautiful and kind.
You are justice and mercy.
Your heart sorrows because of wickeness.
But you dance with joy over the righteous.

You are faraway but, at the same time, as near as my skin.
You are my heartbeat– my very breath.
You are the one and only source of existence.
You are the end and the beginnings of all things.

You died for me, yes. But you resurrected. And with your ascension, you took hold of my hand and seated me with you in heaven.
You spirit is infinite. Never ending– never beginning.
There are no borders on your shores. Your waves are ever crashing towards me, churning by the wind of your desire.
There is no greater ecstasy than to be submerged under the waters of your presence drowning in and enveloped by the weight of your tangible glory.

All glory and honor be to you, holy and mysterious One.
Thank you for your love and grace that allows me to seek you and find you– to hear your voice, and to know your secrets. I am forever in awe of you, Lord– forever amazed by your holiness.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Chase: Hide and Seek

I delved into Song of Solomon.... again.
Being so busy with school and work, I get weary and can easily forsake romance with the Lord. So I like to read "SOS" and put on the shoes of the bride. It's just beautiful how God reveals his love for us through that book. It is forever my favorite.

The thing that the Lord is speaking to me  this time in "SOS" is the importance of the chase.  God chases us, but we still have to chase him. God doesn't need us to chase him. He wants us to. But, most importantly, the chasing after him is to keep our love alive and vibrant for him. Yes, it's true that the man pursues the woman (the church being the woman in this relationship), but at the same time, the woman doesn't just sit around doing nothing, waiting to be adorned with his admiration.She has her role to play.
A relationship is a two-way progression. The Word says draw near to the Lord and he will draw near to you.

It's a lot like Hide-and-Seek.
At first you are hiding away from God. And he seeks you out. Then it's his turn to hide and you seek him out. It's not that God hides himself from us to deprive us. He hides to be found. He hides himself to cultivate our desire (our hunger) to know him. The nature of God is mysterious. The more you look for him, the more you begin to know him. This is the beauty of the chase. Only God could come up with a game like this.

...Just go there with me as I delve into the perfect love story: Christ and his Bride...

He has his whole heart set on this woman. He sees her as the most beautiful of them all. He pursues her.

But her heart is so closed up. She has spent her entire life trying to hold it and protect it from the pain and abuse that she has endured in life. She doesn't see herself worthy of love. She doesn't see anything beautiful about herself.

So He begins to tell her what he thinks of her. He drenches her in his love. He tells her how valuable she is to Him.

She falls in love with this man who seems to think she has no flaws. She falls in love with his gentleness– with his graciousness.
Though she sees herself as less than attractive from the wounds and the blows she taken in her past...though she's ashamed because she has neglected the upkeep of her appearance, he sees her as unique and lovely- set apart from all other women.

She is awed at how this beautiful man with such a beautiful heart could love someone as ragged and worn as her.

This wasn't the love she dreamed of as a child, but so much more.
 All other men who had come in and out of her life never could compare to the one who has broken through her walls and invaded her heart.

His love for her inspired her to sing and dance again- to love again.

He was all so mysterious, strong, and handsome. His beauty was like the sun- almost too pure to gaze upon him.
When he spoke it was as if sweet kisses were being sent her way.
The way he looked at her made her feel more beautiful. She wanted to be prepared for his next visit.

Before she knew it, the fragrance of His love had sparked a desire she never knew existed in her cracked heart. She knew he the only one who could fulfill  and heal what  had always be empty and fragmented.

Her heart had become swollen with desire for him. This desire grew into lovesickness.
She came to realize that she could not live without him.
She knew her life was meaningless until she had him- him alone- him forever.

She began to dress up every day in hopes of seeing him.  Before she was hopeless and ashamed. Before she had avoided any public exposure, but His love caused her to come out of her tower to share the love he sparked with others.

Her desire kept her awake– eyes wide searching through the foggy night for even just a glimpse of his passing by.

She would grow weary, at times, in the waiting. In frustration and anticipation, she would leave her window to search for him. She would fight through the cloudy night and the watchmen jeering at her 'foolishness.'

But her hope was strong. She knew he was near. She could smell his fragrance.
She followed the trail of his scent until exhausted, she fell gracelessly to her knees with arms stretched out toward her beloved.
Sensing her approach, he turned to catch her right before she had fallen completely.
He carried her back with a promise: He would be back.

So every morning on, she would awake at dawn, dress in her finest dress, put on her most expensive perfume and jewelry, and brush her hair.
Every day she would prepare.
And wait.

She would even go out into the corridors and the streets, looking about, calling out his name.
She would tell her friends of his greatness and his wonderful grace.
She would tell them the love story of how he was coming back for her.
She would encourage them to  search with her. To call out for him with her.

She glowed with love for him bright with each day. Where she had once been dark, dull, and lifeless, she now shined with beauty from within. Her eyes glowed with anticipation.
Because of her light, her friends followed her. They wanted to know the mystery of this love.
 Through days and nights of searching, she begun to grow weary; yet, her heart remained steadfast.
Then, suddenly one night, while she had fallen asleep, her beloved knocked at the door. Yet, she hesitated in shame that she was not dressed in her finest. As she frantically tries to make herself presentable, he leaves before she had yet opened the door.

Every night after, she stayed dressed and ready for her beloved to come knocking. Every morning she would rise before the sun and the birds. Every morning she would write him love songs and sing them from her window.
She would whisper his name. She would recite his promise aloud- 'I'm coming back for you.'
She would sing and sing and sing. Every morning she would sing a new song. She would sing from her roof, she would sing in the streets, she would sing in the fields.
She would sing in hopes  he would be near to hear and  beckoned.
Her sickness- her heart ache- became an outward cry.

As the seasons changed, and the spring brought the grain, the wine, and the oil, the signs appeared and flowers bloomed. Even nature rejoice for the time was coming near for his return.

She was dressed. She was washed. She was ready.
She was singing. She was drenched in the fragrance of love.

And as the rising sun cracked the clouds open, she could see him riding from the mountains faster than the wind.

She embraced her beloved with all she was and even the stars sang in procession on this glorious wedding day.

...Forever always in eternity they would remain as one.

I don't know that many people fully understand the beauty of what is being spoken here. I don't claim to understand the love of God. I just know I've gotten a dose of what true love in Christ is and I'm addicted. I can't go without him. There is no longing that can compare to being lovesick for Jesus.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

5 Signs He is NOT Mr. Right.

How little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue.
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
One thing that makes me mad is witnessing young women in unhealthy, and just plain bad relationships. Most of the problem is that women, in general, do not know what to look for in a spouse. We grow up dreaming about a prince charming that really doesn't exist. We watch these sappy love stories that aren't true to reality in hopes that we might fall into a love triangle or find true love in a summer romance. I can't deny that I'm a HUGE fan of Jane Austen, and watch Tangled and Pride and Prejudice at least once a month like every other girl; however, I understand that these are just fairy tales.

I would like to somewhat contradict my above statement by saying that contrary to popular belief, chivalry is not dead.
Ladies, you will still find your prince charming if you behave like a princess –the King of Glory being your Father– and find yourself keeping an eye out for godly characteristics rather than physical and emotional requirements based on what society deems a perfect guy.

The main reason women make bad choices in relationships is because they too often give in to their emotional longings and leave out all logic; thus, settling for less that what God intended for them. We as women desire to be desired and we tend to allow any man that makes the least bit of effort into our lives. Basically, we don't guard our hearts enough. I'm not saying to cut yourself off from men completely; just understand that every man that approaches you isn't Mr. Right. And just because he seems to meet even the "good Christian guy" requirements, doesn't make him perfect for you.

I can't tell you what type of man is right for you, but I can tell you the type that isn't by God's standards.

Here are 5 signs based on scripture that reveal a guy is NOT Mr. Right:

  1. He is more interested in himself than he is in pointing you to the cross.

    Read Phillipians 2:1-5
  2. He tears you down rather than builds you up.

    We're not talking about flattery in the form of compliments. It's nice to get those, but rather encouraging you in your walk with Christ. It's a bad sign when he flatters you more than he does point out your potential in ministering and living out the gospel. He should be revealing your worth from God's view rather than constantly pointing out your "flaws". The man God has intended for you will encourage you to pursue godly virtues, instead of worldly worth.
    Read Ephesians 5
  3. He doesn't support your dreams or ministry.

    He doesn't have to have the exact same dreams as you, but he needs to be willing to help you see yours through, and encourage you along the way. He should have a vision for your vision (and vise verse). You want a partner, not a one-man show. The same goes for you, woman of God. If you don't support his vision, then you two are going to have a hard time getting along.
  4. He lacks in his prayer life and makes rash decisions based on whims and the wind rather than on the Word of God.

    This is not the type of man you want leading you and your future children. He needs a strong foundation of God's word (and acting it out for that matter). A man who makes decisions before praying about them will make a lot of bad decisions. Just because it sounds like a good opportunity, doesn't mean its beneficial. A man (or woman) that sways with the wind is an unreliable man.
    Read Proverbs 4:26
  5. He often speaks harshly to you and others, and has several sour acquaintances and burned bridges. 

    Sometimes we can't help who we disagree with, but to have many bad relationships is a sign that he might have a problem with offense and unforgiveness. You want a man who speaks with grace and acts with grace.

Someone might actually come along that meet the criteria of a man of God in your life; however, it is up to you to search out in prayer and the Word whether or not this guy is the one God has for you. It is very possible for you to fall in love with someone who you weren't destined to marry. God gives us a choice. The key is to seek the King first.

Maybe Mr. Right is around, but it's not the right time. Be patient. Don't focus on trying to force the relationship into existence. God will work everything out by his sovereignty if you continue to keep your focus on Christ. We are still meant to be a bit of a challenge to get to, so keep your heart guarded.. it's not very attractive to throw yourself at someone; plus, you might get hurt. Girls aren't meant to pursue. Modern culture tells you that it's okay to pursue a guy, but you are robbing your man from his role in doing this. He's the guy. He's supposed to pursue you. Simple as that.

If a male comes into your life, and there is a possibility for a romantic relationship between the two of you, my advice is to, first and foremost, take it to the Lord in prayer and then soak up your heart in the Word. There you will find truth and in diligent seeking, the Lord will give you answers to your questions. Let Gods show you his perspective on the forming relationship.

Also, evaluate the season you are in.
Ask yourself questions like:

Is this the season that I am fully ready to be engaged or even married?

Am I ready to invite someone else into my spiritual walk with the Lord?

Could I serve this man, love him, and care for him (even in his weakest state) for the rest of my life?

Are our paths lined up by divine providence (God's set up)?

It is important to look at all of the signs. Don't ignore the unfavorable ones. You might then be tempted to make the wrong decision that is contrary to God's will for your life. This is important considering this is your life partner we are talking about.

And remember Ladies: God doesn't send mix signals.

In the meantime, don't worry about finding Mr. Right. Instead, focus on becoming the Proverbs 31 woman.  As long as your mind is consumed with looking for a soul mate, you -number one-won't find him, and - number two - are losing precious time with your true husband who is already available to you and can fulfill the longings of your heart more than any earthly man could attempt... that's Jesus by the way.

Ruth is a great example of this. She sought the the Lord with all of her heart and pursued virtue. Little did she know, God's providence would bring her right into the field of her future man, Boaz.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guard Your Heart.

In my last post, I talked about guarding your heart.
I stated that you cannot fully guard your heart without having wisdom.
I wanted to elaborate a little bit on this subject for those who are still having a hard time guarding that heart of yours.

I wisdom dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.
Proverbs 8:12

I dug into this verse this morning as I was searching for the heart of a woman. But God wanted to share some more about what it means to guard my heart.
When I began to break down the meaning of this verse, I realized how it went right along with what God had already been speaking to me about having wisdom and how wisdom guards your heart which determines the course of your life.
In this verse, prudence can be translated into caution.
knowledge refers to the awareness or familiarity gained by experience.
And discretion is the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid offense (of the heart and mind) or revealing private information (thus, protecting the heart and mind).
Talk about a perfect explanation of guarding your heart! I don't know if I need to say more.

I assure you the date of this post was not intentional; nevertheless, in tribute to Valentine's Day, let's get on the subject of relationships and dating for all us hopeless romantics.

The Lord has really been showing me some truths here and there about how to deal with relationships of all kinds, especially dating.
As most of us, I've always had questions of what is a dating relationship supposed to look like for a Christian who want's to follow by biblical standards?

Well, not much of anything, really. To be totally honest.

Girls and guys, I know you don't want to hear this. I didn't either. But it's true if you evaluate scripture. Dating was made up by modern culture, not by God.
I'm not going to say I'm against dating. Because I'm not at all.
I just want to encourage you singles (or not-so-singles) to approach the dating scene with extreme caution and through a biblical viewpoint. Besides, no one wants an unnecessary broken heart.

I keep getting into these types of conversations with different friends of mine, and keep coming across articles about the "Christian dating scene". So here's a few tidbits I have from the Lord's gracious wisdom being revealed to me.
DISCLAIMER: I do not  by any means claim to be an expert on the topic. If anything, I am fairly inexperienced. But, God has shown me these things for the purpose of protecting my heart and yours.

Here are some ways that you can guard your heart (Learned by yours truly):

  1. Approach every forming relationship (especially with the opposite sex) with caution.

    Evaluate your intentions towards this person and spend time in prayer asking the Lord to reveal your heart and show you what place this person has  in your life at the moment. Never jump into a relationship in haste. You will nine times out of ten, regret it. Just because you have chemistry with someone does not mean they are your soul mate. Again, the first and most important approach is to pray and be cautious not to give your heart away too quickly. 
  2. Don't stop praying.

    Never stop communicating with the Lord about this subject or the specific person. Keep asking the Lord to reveal his truth about the situation and the relationship- to reveal the hidden things that are good or bad about the forming friendship. (Proverbs 8:30 says that wisdom is found by the side of the Father. She delights in the presence of the Lord.) If you begin to spend more time with Jesus than your significant other, then you will begin to see aspects of your relationship that you have been blind to before. The Lord revealing these things to you could either make or break your relationship depending on what it is.
  3. Seek godly counsel.

    Seek advice from people who are in place of authority in your life (spiritually speaking). This is NOT your best friend. I'm sorry, we all love our best friends, but if we're honest, they don't always give the best advice because they have your interest in mind. Seek advice from someone who knows your well and can help you evaluate your spiritual walk and the relationship you are considering through a biblical standpoint. This person could be a mentor, spiritual father or mother, pastor, or youth pastor. Maybe it's even your actual parents. Most of the time, these people will echo what the Lord has already been speaking if you have been seeking Him on the subject through the Word and prayer.
  4. Evaluate your peace-o-meter.

    If you don't feel 100% at peace about he relationship, do some re-evaluating with the Lord. Seek truth in the Word and let Him reveal things about the relationship that could harbor sin or be on the verge of sin. Maybe the relationship is just not meant for this place in your life. If you don't have peace about the relationship, then don't try to stick it out. The absolute worst thing you could do is to lead yourself and the other person on towards promises and false hopes. This will surely break/wound a heart. You should consider the other person's heart as a valuable gift and should treat it likewise. "don't throw your pearls to pigs" When someone shares their heart with you (even a small amount) you are still responsible with what you do with it. Treat it with godly love. Commitments are meant for ones who are ready for marriage anyhow.... and I'm sorry, but if your 17 or 18 and still in high school without a stable income, you are NOT ready for marriage, much less any serious commitment; so save yourselves heartache and unnecessary wounds by avoiding any emotionally attached relationships at your age. You will thank the Lord later.
  5. Refrain from sharing your deep thoughts and emotions. 

    Again, what you speak, reveals your heart. When you begin sharing deep things of your heart and thought life with someone, you are asking that person to bare your emotional burdens. This person may not be able to handle that kind of information yet and could mishandle your heart. If you need emotional support, don't seek it in a person. Seek it from God first and foremost. Save the serious stuff for marriage. You save both hearts by being cautious of what you share with this significant other.
  6. Avoid being alone.

    If you're interested in someone, hang out in group settings. Being alone invites temptations of all kinds. Plus, you can learn a whole lot about a person by observing them in public settings. Remember, we are being cautious. Private settings are not cautious at all. There is a time and a place for everything. Intimate settings should be for the ones who can exercise self control. Even then consider this with lots of wisdom and godly counsel.
  7. Keep it pure.

    Avoid all (and even closely related) impure conversations. What you talk about reveals your heart. I will say this until I die. What your conversations revolve around reveal your intentions for the relationship. So, listen closely to what the other person is saying. Avoid course joking or rude comments even said in fun. Make sure that you are building the other person up with your speech, rather than tearing them down. (Ephesians 4:25,29-30; 5:1-7) We should be pointing each other towards Christ. And if his or her words don't point to the Lord, then you should leave them alone for good. Never forget: Encouragement is attractive and protective. Flattery is deceptive and harmful.
  8.  Evaluate and re-evaluate.

    Do a regular relationship check-up.  A relationship has to stand through the furnace of prayer and the pressing of the Word of God. If you are unsure of where the relationship is going, ask God and dig into the Word for answers. Don't try to think it out yourself. DO NOT listen to your heart. That's such a lie. The bible says that a man's heart is deceptive above all else and is bent towards evil. Not that our hearts are evil, but they usually lean towards the things that could harm us rather than heal us. Let God's truth triumph over your feelings.
  9. Honesty is (and will always be) the best policy.

    The best thing for any relationship/friendship is to be transparent. Let the other person know what's going on with you. This builds trust and causes less confusion. Remember: COMMUNICATION IS KEY. If something is bothering you or you have something going on that you feel might offend the other person, say it anyway. The way he or she reacts to what you shared with them is important. But, remember to speak with grace.
  10. Love like Jesus.

    If they aren't pointing you to Christ every day, then you should not be with them. God's intention for relationships-especially marriage- was for His glory to be revealed by serving that other person selflessly. If you or the significant other can't lay down your selfish desires to reveal Christ more fully then you shouldn't be in a relationship, period. If you are not investing in one another wholeheartedly, and if the "dating" relationship  doesn't have the (serious) prospects of marriage, then you're just asking for trouble.
Again, I'm just taking reference from inspired scripture and previous articles such as Biblical Dating by Scott Croft and a few of Relevant Magazine's recent articles on dating. I hope this was encouraging and insightful!
Side note: In my last blog post, I had said I would be eventually writing a blog specifically for girls. Don't fret! It will be coming soon! :)