February 25, 2013

She Always Made Home Happy

I came across this poem and thought it was so beautiful and encouraging. I hope you enjoy it as well.

She Always Made Home Happy

In an old church-yard stood a stone
Weather-marked and stained;
The hand of time had crumbled it,
So only part remained.
Upon one side I could just trace
"In memory of our mother";
An epitaph which spoke of home 
Was chiseled on the other.

I've gazed on monuments of fame,
High towering to the skies;
I've seen the sculptured marble stone
Where a great hero lies;
But by this epitaph I paused
And read it o'er and o'er,
For I had never seen inscribed
Such words as these before.

"She always made home happy." 
What a noble record left;
A legacy of memory sweet
To those she loved bereft;
And what a testimony given
By those who knew her best,
Engraven on this plain rude stone
That marked their mother's rest.

So then was stilled her weary heart,
Folded her hands so white,
And she was carried from the home
She'd always made so bright.
Her children raised a monument
That money could not buy,
As witness of a noble life,
Whose record is on high.

A noble life, but written not
In any book of fame;
Among the list of noted ones
None ever saw her name;
For only her own household knew
The victories she had won,
And none but they could testify
How well her work was done.

Author Unknown

May 25, 2012

God is Good...All the Time?

written by Rachel Brown*
Scene 1: A happy-go-lucky Irishman sitting in his fields of ripe, golden wheat with a huge smile on his face.  The sun is shining brightly, the sky is blue with white, puffy clouds lazing around, and birds are chirping gaily.  It is the perfect day.  "God, You are just absolutely amazing!  This day is perfect, my fields are ready to be harvested, and I feel so happy to be alive!  Life is grand, and God, You are so good to me!  Yep, God is good."  He nods his head in affirmation of what he just said as he looks about his beautiful wheat once again.  "Yes, God is good, all the time!"

Scene 2:  The puffy white clouds have tuned black and menacing, while the sun no longer shines.  The wind begins to pick up dangerously as storm clouds threaten to unleash their fury.  The happy-go-lucky Irishman now has a furrow between his brow as he gazes up into the sky and then back at his wheat.  Harvesting was to begin tomorrow. Thunder roars, startling the Irishman.  He runs for cover as the clouds suddenly open up and let loose torrents of pouring, gushing rain.  He ducks into his barn, soaked to the skin.  Worry lines increase on his forehead.  What had happened to his perfect day?  Stark fear springs into his eyes as he hears an unwelcome sound.  He prays his ears deceive him.  But no, his eyes confirm it.  It was hail.  "No, oh no, my wheat.  God, why are You doing this?!  What happened to doing what is best for me?  Don't You understand, that wheat is my livelihood!  What will I feed my family with if I haven't any money?  God, You're supposed to be good all the time!  No, please no.  God, if You truly do what is best for me, stop this hail before it completely destroys my crop!  God?  God!"

Just what is a fair-weather friend?  Someone who is not steadfast; able to be relied upon only when things are going well, much like the Irishman in the story.  When everything was going according to his plan, he trusted and relied upon God.  Yes, God was good then.  But as soon as things didn't go according to the man's plan, he lashed out at God.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." -Romans 8:28

So many times we are God's fair-weather friends.  When life suits us, we are gushing out praises to God constantly.  Life is good.  God is good.  But only when things are going our way.  As soon as disaster strikes, we faint with weariness because we don't understand why God would do this to us!  Doesn't He care? 

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." -Isaiah 40:31

Life is always going to be hard.  We can't expect God to erase all hardship from our lives simply because we are too weak to bear the big and even little trials of life.  Thankfully God has promised not to overbear us, even though it may seem like it at times.

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." -1 Corinthians 10:13

God is always faithful to His people, even when we are not, and even when life seems to be going completely against us.  Many times we don't see God's handiwork behind the scenes working for our good.  Everything in life—the good and the bad—is always for our good.  We may not see it, we may not believe it, but as Romans 8:28 clearly states, God is always  working for our good in this life.  Perhaps hardship is meant to test our faith, and strengthen us where we are weak.

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

God really is good all the time—we just don't realize it because we are too focused on ourselves.  We feel that life is just so unfair because we haven't got it as good as so-and-so, or everything seems to be going just fine for the wicked, but we are left to trial and suffering.  The fact is, the wicked will be punished in due season (Prov. 24:19-20) while those who trust God and remain faithful to Him will be rewarded.  The problem is that we can't see the rewards just yet.  We are still being tested and tried.  However, as Galatians 6:9 says:

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  (emphasis mine)

Doubts begin to discourage us when we realize that things aren’t going according to plan.  Waiting is such a difficult task, and we feel that we simply can't last any longer.  The rewards seem too far out of reach, and our longing has already begun to slay the appetite of our living.  Day after day just drags by in desperation, and we wonder hopelessly when God will make everything right.  "God, I'll be happy when..." 

"Life is just too hard," we say, and we want to give up.  It's no use, because we can't seem to get anything we want.  Yet, what is the meaning of faith?  Faith put simply, is believing God, and not just believing Him, not just believing that He can, but knowing that He will perform all He has promised, for our good.  No matter how hard it may be, we must simply trust God to work everything out—both the big and the little things that discourage us.  Trusting God has to be a choice we make every minute.  We must put all our trust in Him, for today, for tomorrow, and for five years down the road.  We must give up everything to Him—our hopes, dreams, and plans for the future—because only He can bring them to pass, and only He holds tomorrow.

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6

The writer of Psalm 37 knew that God will not forsake His people when the going gets rough.  Verse 25 says that, "I have been young, and now am old: yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."

Earlier are the well-known verses of four and five:

"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." 

We must make our desires God's will.  Thy will be done.  No mater what happens we must be willing to say and truly believe that God knows what He is doing, and He is doing it for a purpose: our good.  True, it can be very discouraging when nothing seems to be going right, but in the end, the rewards will be much sweeter than we could ever have imagined.  God is good.  All the time.

*Rachel Brown is the eldest daughter of eight children born to James and Sonya Brown. Her greatest passions lie in her avid reading and writing to the glory of God. She also enjoys music, dancing, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and cooking. Her greatest desire, beyond that of glorifying God, is to one day be a wife and mother. She is the writer of her many hopes, dreams, failures, thoughts, beliefs, and expectations for the future at Covenant Maiden.

May 11, 2012

Zero Tolerance

Written by Rachel Brown*

"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry."-1 Samuel 15:25a

Rebellion is nothing new to mankind.  God has had to deal with man's rebellion ever since Adam and Eve's sin in the garden of Eden, the Israelites in the wilderness, up to 21st century Christians of today.  It is a never-ending story, for there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9).  For this cause, every parent has had to deal with the same willful clash of subordinate despising authority: the stubborn, defiant child resisting the parents' authority (i.e. submission crisis).

The specific problem is every man wanting to do that which is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).  From the very beginning, children are born with the tendency to want their own way.  This is called the depraved sinful nature of the human being.  Therefore, each child will actively use their sinful, rebellious will to somehow force or coerce others and circumstances to get what they want when they want, so they don't have to submit to a higher authority who tells them what to do (this is the hard way of finding out that we can't always do what we want when we want).  This can be seen in the five-year-old who throws a screaming tantrum in the store because he can't have the toy he wants, to the seventeen-year-old who rolls her eyes when her mother tells her to change her clothes.  Rebellion reeks among the youngest to the oldest of children, and even amidst adults.

Rampant rebellion is seen throughout all of society. From clothing, music, movies, books, attitudes, government-run schools, colleges, media, bumper stickers, television, and Hollywood promotion, even so far as to say in the church, rebellion is everywhere in-our-faces.  We cannot escape its desperate clutches, especially this modern world of 2012.  Rebellion is far worse than ever before, and we are seeing a catastrophic sweeping of terrorizing rebellion amongst youth and adults alike.  Even among Christians and godly families.  Rebellion is everywhere.

All rebellion stems from man's sinful heart and is directed at God, first and foremost.  However, there is also a huge conflict between children and their parents.  As we see listed in the numerous Scripture passages below (see further reference), this is an age-old and very common problem.  Parents have had to deal with defiant, unruly, ungrateful, rebellious, disrespectful, and wicked children ever since the world began (read the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4).

As we can see from the above Scripture passage of 1 Samuel 15:25, God strictly forbids the sin of rebellion, which in all actuality, and according to His Word, is as the sin of witchcraft.  Oh c'mon, give me a break! Rebellion likened to witchcraft? That's crazy. That's insane! I'm not some maniac, mentally-disturbed lunatic who believes in the weird forces of supernatural, magical trickery!

Apparently God thinks so.

There is zero tolerance for insolent rebellion of any kind.  A child still under the household of his or her parents has no right to question the parents' authority over him, for, as Romans 13 declares, rulers are ministers of God for good.

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinace of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.  Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good.  But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth the sword not in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." -Romans 13:1-4

I had never before thought of a parent as a minister of God exactly like a government official.  Yet here is clear proof to further the corporal punishment view of Proverbs for children (see Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15, 17-18).  A parent is ordained by God to be authority to children, whether father or mother, and the child is instructed to give proper respect and obedience to both father and mother.   A child can't get away with giving respect and honor to just one parent and not the other; no, God commands children to honor both parents, even if the child is able to get along with one, and not the other.  If the child has an issue of trouble submitting to one parent (though not the other), there is still a problem of rebellion.  That problem will continue to be a problem later on in life.  Rebellion must be conquered now, in the early stage of childhood, for it only grows bigger and stronger as the years pass.  If a girl has no problem submitting to her father, yet she despises the authority of her mother, she will still have difficulty submitting to her husband once she is married.  It is crucial that young women learn this before they are married, or they will find themselves questioning, and rebelling, against the authority of their husband, which will then make for a miserable marriage.

Great is the love of a parent.  They give birth to a child, they feed the child, they love and nurture the child, they walk that child around the room for what seems decades in the wee hours of the morning because they love the child, they give the child clothing, shelter, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, toys to play with, material aspects to indulge in, playmates to enjoy, and countless other blessings, while they the parents sacrifice so much for that beloved child.  Not a day goes by when the parents are not looking out for the best interests of that child (and even other children that eventually come along).  But what always happens with each child?  As they grow in age and "wisdom" they learn to despise their parents.  What do parents receive after many weary years of training and raising and correcting and loving and sacrificing?  The answer is ripe, hearty rebellion.

Those ungrateful, despicable children!  We all do it, as children to our parents, and as children of God to our Maker Himself.

Although rebellion surfaces in the very early stages of child development, "teenage" rebellion seems to be the worst.  It's that time in life when we know we know more than our parents, and they only think they know what we know, when really, we know they don't really know us at all!  It is the confusing logic of a not-so-wise young girl or boy.  We can all attest to this fact—whether we are still in our father's house or not—we all know what it is like to be in such rebellion.  The excuses and justifications made for our bad behavior (like "they provoked me to this wrath!" while mentally quoting Ephesians 6:4), the unwise decisions of not submitting to our parents' authority, and despising anything they had to say simply because we didn't want to listen, we wanted to be our own boss, and because they were the ones who said it.

There is no room for excuses or justifications in the commandment of God.  As long as the parent is not forcing the child to sin, that child is to obey and honor without a second thought, not matter how stupid or unjust it may seem to him.  But grudging obedience is not true obedience.  If we obey, after being told the third or fifth time, while rolling our eyes, sighing in disgust, and clearly showing our displeasure that we would rather not be doing this, it is not true obedience, nor honor.  This is clearly rebellion.

A child, whether three years old, or nineteen years old, has no say-so in the matter with regard to submission to his or her parents.  Once a command is given, it is to be carried out with full compliance.  His parents are his authority until he begins a home of his own.  God has ordained parents to give the orders; children to carry them out.  There is absolutely zero tolerance for rebellion and defiance.  A child must obey in all things (or suffer the consequences of "the sword"), and not just simply obey, he must obey with a right attitude (which stems from a right heart)—not grudgingly—but with a cheerful and enthusiastic disposition to please both God and his parents.

Too many young people fall into the trap of thinking their parents don't really understand them or what they're going through, when the truth is, their parents went through the exact same things.  That's a little bit difficult to understand.  After all, times change, circumstances are different, technology becomes a new thing, the world becomes more modernized, and on and on we go.  Our parents did not go through what we go through today.  They're old fashioned and eccentric.  Maybe even a little behind the times.

No, I'm afraid we can't excuse our rebellious ways that easily.  You see, this is just another excuse that we fall into.  The fact of the matter is that, boys, your dad knows you better than anyone because he was once a boy himself; girls, your mother knows you better than anyone else because she was once a girl herself.  As unbelievable as it sounds that they were once our age.  Remember Ecclesiastes 1:9?  There is nothing new under the sun; therefore we can't be going through something completely new and bizarre that no one else has ever gone through before.  Our rebellion of today is just like the rebellion of our parents' day.  We may think that it is our peers who understand us better because we are the same age, but consider this: who would know better how to design and build a skyscraper?  Someone who had done it before, or someone still in the learning process?  So who can best tell us how to live life?  Our parents who have more years on us, or the self-same peer-type of kids who really don't know anymore than we think we do, and who definitely do not know more than our parents? 

As Christians, we are following the pied piper's fife with the crowd of people going down to destruction, only we don't know it.  Without a doubt, rebellion leads to destruction. If we will not honor and submit to our parents, we young women will never honor and submit to our husbands.  If we will not honor and submit to our parents, we as young men and women alike will not submit to God.  No submission means no wonderful life.  Every aspect of life requires submission.  The child to his parents and God.  The wife to her husband and God.  The husband to the church, God, and civil government.  The employee to boss.  The civil government and church to God.  Ultimately everyone and everything is to be in submission to God, but God has also placed other certain institutions and individuals above us.  We can't escape authority even if we wanted to.

With authority surrounding us, we can't escape.  We can, however, escape the rebellion that raises its ugly head whenever authority is near, which is an all-the-time, every day scenario—children, teenagers, and adults alike.  Although rebellion is simply a root of sin, and we can never be completely free from sin, if Christ truly rules our lives we can only be strengthened through Him (Phil. 4:13) to fight the rebellion that seems to take over our lives.  God has implicitly commanded strict obedience to His Word.  We cannot fight Him in our rebellion and win, for sin can never be victorious over the All-Powerful.  Therefore, it is our duty to submit to those in authority over us, no matter our situation, no matter how differently we may think, it is our duty.  And our duty should not be taken lightly or thrown to the wind.  Our duty is to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ, and to follow His commandments found in His Word.  Only then can we have a fulfilling life. 

In stark contrast to a wonderful and fulfilling life, is the life that rebellion brings.  In the world's [seemingly] grand life of rebellion there can only be found unhappiness and wasted years.  Rebellion is a certain killer, and very dangerous.  If we give in to it, we will destroy the very life that God has blessed us with.  No wonderful life for the rebellious man.

For further reference:

"The proverbs of Solomon.  A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother." -Proverbs 10:1

"Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish." -Proverbs 12:1

"The way of the fool is right in his own eyes: but he that harkeneth unto counsel is wise." -Proverbs 12:15

"A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke." -Proverbs 13:1

"A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent." -Proverbs 15:5

"Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die." -Proverbs 15:10

"A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother." -Proverbs 15:20

"He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding." -Proverbs 15:32

"A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him." -Proverbs 17:25

"A foolish son is the calamity of his father." -Proverbs 19:13a

"He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach." -Proverbs 19:26

"Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right." -Proverbs 20:11

"Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old." -Proverbs 23:22

"He, that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." -Proverbs 29:1

"There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up." -Proverbs 30:11-13

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." -Ephesians 6:1-3

"Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." -Exodus 20:12

"Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." -Colossians 3:20

*Rachel Brown is the eldest daughter of eight children born to James and Sonya Brown. Her greatest passions lie in her avid reading and writing to the glory of God. She also enjoys music, dancing, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and cooking. Her greatest desire, beyond that of glorifying God, is to one day be a wife and mother. She is the writer of her many hopes, dreams, failures, thoughts, beliefs, and expectations for the future at Covenant Maiden.

April 17, 2012

True or False Love

Written by Rachel Brown*

When I was young and immature, I pretty much took love at its basic concept, as any young child does.  I loved my parents, I loved my siblings, I loved my family, and I loved my friends.  What else was there?  That was love.  It wasn't until I began to grow up that my version of loved changed (particularly due to a demolished sense of love portrayed in romance novels).  Love was that beautiful thing of romance and flowers, gazing deeply into someone's eyes, being "in a relationship" with someone, saying sweet things, being told sweet things, candlelight, and "ooey gooey mush," as some people like to call it.  However, the more I find out about true love, the more I realize that there is so much more beneath the underlying surface of romance.

My dad told me to study 1 Corinthians 13—for it is the most precise chapter in the Bible on the meaning of true love—to deepen and develop my weak understanding of what love really is.  So I took him up on it.  I have read over 1 Corinthians 13 countless times, but it was only recently that I realized how superficially I had been reading it.  I had already understood that love suffers long, is kind, is patient, does not envy, and is not prideful, but I had never fully grasped what it is like in practice.

I am at a point and time in my life when I need the best understanding of love I can possibly receive.  Too many people have made mistakes concerning love and marriage, simply because of their misconception of that little word love, and have come to regret decisions later on in life.  Many marriages have failed because people do not understand what it really takes to love someone until death do them part, especially when "real life" hits.  Love is all that beatific, romanticism into practice, but it goes so much deeper into the heart and soul of a person.  As Voddie Baucham has said:

"Love is an act of the will accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object."

There is plenty of emotion in love, more than enough in fact at its fullest, ripest phase.  However, the true test of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.

"Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Love never faileth" (v. 4-8).

The character of love is one of the most important aspects.  As Daddy has said, anyone can romance; it takes a real love built upon the foundation of God's Word with Christ as head to last forever, even through the toughest times life brings our way [read: reality].  When I am old and gray, I still want my husband to say that he loves me just as much after fifty years of marriage as he did in the beginning, if not more.  I will have lost all earthly youth and beauty as wrinkles line my face and my hair has turned to gray, but I want him to love me just as much as ever before.  That could not be possible if our "love" was based solely on the youthful delight of passing romance.  True romance in love, however, will last forever, just like the old white-haired couple who still loves to hold hands after a lifetime together.  What could be sweeter?

From 1 Corinthians 13 we gather that love is a pretty selfless virtue.  It suffers long, is kind, patient, humble, does not envy, is not jealous, does not behave unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices in truth not iniquity, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and never fails. 

Love says, "I will follow you to the ends of the earth if need be, suffering in patience anything that may annoy or irritate me."  Love says, "I am willing to sacrifice my selfish desires for your needs and even wants, no matter the cost to myself."  Love says, "I will be with you through the fire, through the raging storm, as well as during the best years of our lives."  Love says, "I will be your ever constant source of hope, encouragement, faithfulness, devotion, friendship, tears, smiles, happiness, sorrow, and joy."  Love says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  Love says, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things (1 Cor. 13:11).  Love says, "I will always be here for you, whatever may happen.  I am willing to lay down my life daily in self-sacrifice for you.  I will live for Christ and serve Him because I love Him most, but through loving Him I can love you more."  True love never ceases, never fails, and though sometimes it may falter or waver, Christ the architect always keeps it steady.  Love is forever.  True love is not the furtherance of self, but rather the laying down of self for others.

Oh yes, there is definitely mush in love.  That is the emotion that leads to action; the excitement that follows commitment; and the depth that cannot be measured.  True love without romance would not be love at all, for love has to have emotion.  In marriage there is deep emotion between husband and wife, just as God ordained.

Let's face it: love can be pretty blind to faults in another person.  Premature emotion can twist and distort the meaning and object of love, which is why one must be extremely cautious in applying emotional romance in courtship before marriage.  Too many times emotion blinds, until the revelation at the end ends in confusion, unhappiness, and broken hearts.  Romance in the early part of a courtship can actually be quite dangerous if it gets out of hand.  Joshua Harris, in his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, said this:

"When we find ourselves attracted to someone, we need to make building a deeper friendship our first priority.  Too often we believe that relating in a romantic, exclusive relationship will automatically mean we'll be closer and know each other better.  But this doesn't always happen.  Although romance can be a more exciting level of relationship, it can also foster illusion and infatuation, obscuring the true character of each person involved.  Remember, as soon as we unleash our emotions in romantic love, our objectivity begins to fade.  For this reason, we need to focus on developing a closer friendship with a potential partner before introducing romance."

Every girl wants the romance.  It must be part of our womanly genetic system.  Because of this, we tend to speed things up in a friendship or courtship before marriage, when what we should be doing is concentrating on the most important: the character of the other person.  When the time comes that we have to decide on whom we marry, do we want to be confident because we have deepened the friendship and discovered the hidden person and character, or do we want to be so blinded by romance that we are rudely awakened to an unhappy and unfit marriage with lots of troubles later on?  Disaster is ripe and ready to be harvested when two people say they love each other, but both don’t truly understand what they mean.

This period of love is an extremely difficult one.  On the one hand, it can be the most glorious and fantastic time period of life.  On the other, sometimes it can be the most frustrating because we want to rush into something head-over-heels, without giving proper time to analyze and discover and grow.  Marriage is a committed covenant for life, and if the time before it is messed in in haste, we will regret it for the rest of our lives.  Caution is the best key in a beginning courtship.  In due time, if there is true love on both sides, it will bud and bring forth the most gorgeous flowers that purity can muster.

True love IS worth the wait.  Yes, it is hard to wait on the romance, and many times we make the mistake of rushing headlong into it, but it is a matter of being guided by God's wisdom and prudence, as well as the counsel of godly parents.  Is it wise to be led by emotion without realizing what true love is?  It is definitely fun, but unquestionably not wise.  God will bring forth the increase in His timing, if we are patient and faithful in doing what is right.  After all, in marriage two lovers can have all the romance that their hearts desire.

So, is it worth the wait to experience the first of everything in marriage, or is it better to go ahead and give pieces of our hearts way before it is the correct time at the alter?  Do we want to give our whole and unblemished heart to our future spouse, or just broken fragments of a once beautiful thing?

It depends on whether your love is true or false.

Rachel Brown is the oldest daughter of James and Sonya Brown.  You can read more about her on her blog, Covenant Maiden.

April 14, 2012

A little something to ponder...

I want to have a word with the younger ladies...and maybe a few older ones as well, if it is needed. I have been married for nearly 20 years, and it seems like it has taken many of those precious years for me to realize...it's not all about me.  You heard me right.  When it comes down to it, we are all extremely selfish creatures.  We want everything to go our way. We want what we want and we want it now!  Whether it's the perfect body, beautiful hair, the latest gadgets, our dream home, what the Jones' have, time alone, peace and quiet...You name it, we want it, and most of the time, we think we "deserve" it.  I want us all to stop and ponder...what is our role, our responsibility, in this life? Is it to keep up with the Jones'? Or constantly try and attain that youthful "beauty"?  

From the beginning of time, we (women) have struggled with the desire to have power. You may say, "I don't want to rule over any one."  That may not be the "power" you struggle with.  But what about the "power" to be a goddess?  To have the power over men, to sway their eyes (lust) to your body, to have them "worship" your beauty? No, you may not have the desire to rule over a nation, or "wear the pants" in your family, but what about the desires in your heart?  Are you longing to be a godly Christian wife and mother, or are you secretly wishing for that "perfect" body that you think can have power to turn men's hearts?  Or maybe it's another power you desire.  I don't know what it may be, but I do know, we MUST turn our hearts back to God...back to our homes and our families.

We have wasted too many precious years on ourselves.  We wonder why our homes are in shambles, why "christian" ladies want to focus so much attention on their outward appearance, and their hearts are full rebellion and bitterness.  Yes, I do agree that our society's main focus is on outward appearance, and it is harder in this day and age...we constantly feel as if we are in competition with our bodies...BUT, aren't we supposed to "come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the LORD"... To be in the world, but not of the world.  It's time we start focusing on our hearts...on the things that matter most in life.  One day we are going to wake up and realize that it is too late...we've spent all our life on worldly pursuits, and not focused on the things that REALLY matter.  What IS the chief end of man?  To glorify GOD and enjoy HIM forever!  We are falling for the exact same thing that Eve fell for in the garden...we want to be God, plain and simple.  We are to pursue righteousness, holiness, godliness, contentment.  Are we teaching our children to pursue these things, or are we teaching them to pursue their desires, their dreams, their wants, their lusts?  We need to examine our hearts, our motives.  Are they in accordance with scripture, or are they our own humanistic agenda?  God said if we obey him, he will bless us...if we disobey, he will curse us.  Which is it going to be?

Another area I see running unchecked is jealousy, and it is usually a bigger problem with women than men, and yes, I have struggled with it greatly in the past.  There is a time and a place for everything, and I do believe that there can be a time for righteous jealousy, but what I'm seeing is not and could never be labeled as "godly" jealousy.  It is flat out, "selfish distrust, because we want it all to be about me", jealousy.  What are we teaching our daughters?  Again, we have taken our focus off the prize (the high calling of Jesus Christ) and put the focus on ourselves.  I hate to be the one to break it to you, but jealousy is selfishness at it's core.  The Bible says plain and simple that it's as cruel as the grave.  Think about that for a minute.  To me that says that the person on the receiving end of a jealous wife might as well be put in the grave.  There is no escaping it...no matter what he does, he is never trusted.  Can you even imagine?  Again, we need a complete heart change.  Are our lives bringing glory to Jesus Christ or are we wanting it all for ourselves. When our lives on this earth are past, what will we be remembered for... Just something to ponder. 

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.