Tag Archives: marriage

4 Myths about “Saving Sex for Marriage”

Congratulations! If you are following my “Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding“, it probably means you are engaged (or would like to be). I am adding a few posts to this series to look at the engagement time! Brace yourself for our first (and potentially button-pushing) topic: why Christians should save sex for marriage.  

Does the Bible really say “no sex before marriage”?

Yes, the Bible forbids it in several places. Here are 3:
  • Exodus 20:14 “You must not commit adultery.” (part of the 10 commandments)
    • A person who is married and has voluntary* sex with someone other than his/her spouse, is committing adultery.
    • A single person who has voluntary sex with a married person is also committing adultery.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (NASB)
    • A single person having voluntary sex** with another single person is committing “fornication” or is being sexually immoral.
    • Dictionary.com defines “fornication” as “voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other.”
      So anytime we see the words “fornicator” or “sexually immoral,” we know the Bible is referring to voluntary sex before marriage.
  • Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (ESV)

*From now on, let us assume the sexual-acts-before-marriage I will refer to are voluntary. (If you have experienced involuntary sexual acts done against you [rape, groping, sexual harassment], please know you have not committed a sin. God will judge the individual who has sinned against you. However, these experiences can still affect your perception of purity and wholeness. I am praying for healing and restoration in your heart.)

**Also, I am taking the liberty to define “sex before marriage” as any sexually arousing, physical activity, alone or with your fiancé, that does not bring honor to God.
Now that we’ve clarified God’s expectations in the Bible, I’d like to uncover 4 myths regarding sex before marriage, according to what I’ve been studying in 1 Corinthians 5-7, Galatians 5, and Ephesians 5:
Shane and I circa 2008, aiming for purity in our dating relationship.

Myth 1: Christians who have sex outside of marriage are “bad”

For most of us, it’s just a given “rule” of Christianity: “Those who save sex for marriage are good Christians, and those who don’t are bad.” I don’t agree with this mentality at all.

Truth: all Christians are pure in Christ

I do not believe a person who “does the deed” outside of marriage is a bad Christian. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you are covered in the grace and righteousness of our perfect Jesus. Whether you gossiped about your co-worker or had sex with your boyfriend, you are still pure in Christ.

“Some of you were once like that [immoral]. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

However, there are still earthly consequences to sin. When a person has sex with someone other than the spouse she is married to, she is breaking God’s commandment. The consequence of sin is death: either yours or Christ’s. Again, if you have trusted Christ as your Savior, He paid the penalty for you. Although eternal separation from God is no longer a consequence, we risk several other consequences when we choose to sin:

  • losing intimate closeness with God today
  • experiencing less than God’s best for our bodies, purpose, and relationships
  • Feelings of guilt, insecurity, loss of self-respect
  • Loss of trust with one’s fiancé, resentment, jealousy
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Loss of trust with our families/church (see 1 Corinthians 5:6-9)
  • Unplanned pregnancy (which is an unparalleled joy, but also meant to be experienced within marriage)

Thankfully, there is healing and restoration in store for all sin! (See the tips below)

Myth 2: Sex (in general) is bad

Have you ever heard this verse and assumed it means God thinks sex is bad?

“Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations.” 1 Cor. 7:1

I used to believe it meant sex is bad… or somehow for “lesser Christians” (as if we are on a scale of good, better, best? NOT). We MUST understand the context of the Corinthian-culture that Paul, the author, was writing to. I just watched the film Gladiator, and I think it portrays a good example of the culture at the time: full of lust, free-sexuality, and thirst for entertainment. When people became Christ-followers, they didn’t have a model-behavior blueprint to follow. So they kept doing what they did before: visiting prostitutes, “swapping spouses”, etc. The Corinthians must have written Paul to ask about what changes should be made on the outside, now that Jesus changed them on the inside. Paul responds with a large portion of his letter (all of chapter 7) giving helpful guidelines.

But does this mean God thinks sex is bad? Um… no.

Truth: Sex rocks!

God created sex! And everything God created, he labeled “good” (when enjoyed as intended).

God celebrates sex in an entire book devoted to married romance and sexual pleasure (Song of Solomon).

God encourages married couples to have sex regularly in 1 Corinthians 7:5.

Myth 3: God doesn’t want us to have any fun.

Many people have a perception of God that doesn’t match what God says about Himself in the Bible. Did you know the word Fun is actually in the Bible?

Hollywood tends to glorify romance, sexual tension, and love-making outside of marriage. When I think of movies about married couples… healthy and romantic sex is rarely a factor. Having fun in the bedroom was a pre-marriage activity. Since movies, books, and TV often shape our perceived reality, it can be easy to see sex-before-marriage as normal.

Because of these cultural norms, God’s boundaries can appear to be fun-suckers when we don’t understand them.

Truth: God want’s your marriage to be so secure, that the fun lasts till you’re 80 and beyond!

Paul clarifies this well:

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. (1 Cor. 6:12)

First of all, sex is great; but it is not good for us outside of God’s design of marriage. Some engaged couples reason that “we are going to marry each other anyway, so it’s not really that bad.”  In addition to the consequences listed above, another reason sex-outside-of-marriage is not good for us is the potential loss of trust. If you or your fiancé is willing to have sex outside of marriage now (fornication), how difficult will it be to say no to sex outside of your own marriage later, with someone else (adultery)? Not having sex before the wedding is good practice for KEEPING sex within marriage after the wedding.

God’s plan is for His people to exercise self-control regarding sex before marriage. Our relationship with God is self-evident when we produce the fruit of the Spirit, one being self-control. When we are not walking by the Spirit, our default “fruit” will be immorality, the fruit of the flesh. (See Galatians 5)
Secondly, Christ-followers must remember that God created fun. Therefore, He knows how to have the MOST, the BEST, the LONGEST-LASTING fun! Christians should be the most trusting of God’s design for sex, because we KNOW it is going to provide the greatest joy. A person who falls into sex before marriage might believe that God is holding out on him/her. I would advise that individual to get to know the God of the Bible, not just the God of your own personal perception.

What Now?

I realize the above truths are not extensive. More importantly, I would like to equip you with a few helpful resources to guard your purity and maintain God’s standard of saving sex (and sexual acts!) until you celebrate your wedding day:

1. Repent

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there…” Galatians 5:24

  • If you have already engaged in sexual activity that doesn’t honor God, confess it to your Savior.
  • Don’t just live with the secret. Confess your sin to a trustworthy Christian mentor or friend:

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

  • Set up a plan, not just to STOP engaging in sexual activity, but more importantly to run in the other direction (see step 2)

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

  • If you are living with your fiancé, move out. (more on this in the next post)
    • I have met so many couples who agree with God, that sex outside of marriage is not honorable, but they don’t stop.
    • No excuse (money, living situations, “the wedding is so close”) is worth true repentance and freedom from sin.

2. Walk in step with God.

“… Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:25

  • Study your Bible
  • Pray (talk to God and listen to Him)
  • Worship your way out of temptation: instead of trying to have less sexual encounters, try having MORE Jesus encounters. Make much of Jesus, and your temptation to sin will become less.
  • Feed your heart and mind with Biblical perceptions of marriage and sex, and avoid consuming worldly ideas that become distractions from God’s plan.

3. Spend time with other Christ-followers

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24

  • Boldly ask for someone you trust to be your accountability partner
  • Generate a godly perspective of marriage by spending time with married couples who are following Christ
  • Mentor someone younger than you. Chances are, if you are encouraging that person to be pure, you will want to lead by example.

4. Talk with your fiancé

Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2

  • Set up clear verbal and maybe even written boundaries regarding physical touch
  • Be cautious with these “talks” as conversation can lead to curiosity and arousal.
  • Pray with your fiancé
  • If your fiancé is the “fool” in Proverbs 18:2 above, and doesn’t want to change, I encourage you to pursue godly counsel regarding continuing your engagement to this individual.

For the Support Team:

We should be eager to encourage our fellow Christ-following friends to stay sexually pure. 1 Corinthians gives us permission to be adamant about maintaining purity within the church. However, we should not expect the same integrity from someone who does not know Christ:

“I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people.” (verses 10-11)

Christians should pursue friendships with people who don’t know Christ, in order to facilitate an introduction to Jesus, not to “fix the impure behaviors.” Jesus is in charge of that job.

Press the follow button to get more posts on Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding (and Engagement). Or follow my Pinterest board, Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding, here.

 

 

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All about the Bride

Spring is here and wedding season is upon us!

How exciting for the moms and dads who finally get to see their daughters off…

What a dream for all the friends who get to witness and support the love and commitment between the bride and groom….

How blessed the pastors who happen to be the last detail on the bride’s to-do list, right after “call florist,” and “purchase dog-friendly ring-bearer materials for Fido.”

Ok, lets face reality……you are probably reading this because you, your very self, are a bride!!!

all about brideWhile weddings can be fun for everyone else involved, the big day is really all about you.

After all…

  • You’ve concentrated 10+ years dreaming about it,
  • YOU have been officially planning on Pinterest for at least a year or more,
  • It’s your dress, your pictures, YOUR fairy tale come to life!

Right?

Maybe….. or maybe each wedding magazine, all the Bridal Blogs, and every “going to the chapel”-related episode on TLC have missed the point.

Maybe it’s not all about the bride.

Before you get angry and punch your computer screen, remember you’ll need it later to check “The Knot” for your wedding check-list…. also, save the steam coming out of your ears to press your gown for the big day (it’ll save you some cash for the honeymoon).

If you are still here, allow me to comfort you in saying that your wedding is mostly about you, just not completely.

If you are a Christian, then you have become a child of God. As a daughter of the King of kings, you are His beautiful princess. On so many levels, you should be celebrated!!! Also, this event which unites two people in covenant should be commemorated and recognized in a way that says “this matters!!!”

Unfortunately, many weddings are planned in a way that ignores the One who makes it all matter. So many brides fail to fill out an invitation for the King of kings.

Even if God is invited to a wedding, does He take center stage? Does His goodness receive as much honor as the wedding cake?

I’m not suggesting you hang a big poster of John 3:16 above the alter; I’m just asking where God’s place is in your wedding. Have you have intentionally included the Savior Who intentionally included you in His wedding ceremony?

(see Ephesians 5; more on this later.)

As you begin to plan your wedding, make a point to put this command at the top of your goals list:

“So whether you eat or drink (or have an indoor or outdoor wedding), or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31

 

With all the overwhelming wedding planning information out there, can the daughters of God change the Top Wedding Trends list of 2014 to include “Glorify God”?

But HOW does a bride do this? Here are some helpful questions to get you started:

  • When you look at your wedding plans, who or what is center stage?
  • How can you honor God privately (in your personal walk with Him) in this time of planning your wedding and marriage?
  • How can you honor God publicly in this time of planning? How about at the wedding ceremony?

Join the conversation here as we unfold what a Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding looks like. (scroll through the “Marriage” tab to “Going to the Chapel.”

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Un”Tangling” the idea of Submission

 photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve mentioned before that I am currently writing a Bible study for teenage girls. This month, I am persevering through to finish it and move forward with how God chooses to use it. Here is an excerpt for your enjoyment (and potential feedback for the study). This part comes from the chapter on Humility, from the study Delight: a Joyful Discovery of Biblical Womanhood. (Note that a delight is a woman of God, in the context of the study.) Thank you for reading… enjoy!

Imagine a different kind of Princess movie sequel to Disney’s Tangled:

UnknownRapunzel woke up early as usual. She had been married to her good-looking husband, for a few months now, and it was wonderful. They lived in their own little cottage near the castle; close enough to her parents she was now reunited with, but still their own place. She wandered outside and enjoyed a nice cup of tea in the morning sunshine. She chatted cheerfully with some older gentlemen on their way to work in the fields. A few minutes later, she started writing an encouraging letter to her parents. Glancing over her shoulder, she noticed a squirrel struggling to reach an acorn. She gently knocked it down for him then whistled her way back inside her home.

disney-tangled-rapunzel-pascal-flynn-disneys-rapunzel-16837562-1280-720Then she saw it. Her husband Eugene, had failed to shave again! Ever since her hair stopped being able to grow, she couldn’t stand the sight of any hair growing, even stubble on her husbands chin. “One little thing I ask, Flynn,” Rapunzel chided, purposefully using Eugene’s alias from his robbery-days, “just shave before I see you in the morning, is that so hard!?”

She carried on about how rude he was and inconsiderate of her feelings. After living so long with a woman who pretended to be her mother, and bossed her around incessantly, now it was Rapunzel’s turn for freedom. Her husband often asked her to look after the garden, help in the kitchen, or sometimes even just sit with him and read in front of the fire. But Rapunzel was her own person, and she was going to do her own thing.

20130122-155225.jpgWhile you will rarely witness a nagging session like this in a children’s movie about princesses and little squirrels and acorns; in reality, it happens all the time. A woman of humility must learn the value of submission. The word “submission” is another “nails on the chalkboard” word to many people. Some ladies associate it with being a “doormat” or never having an opinion of their own. Others feel that obedience means “being controlled.” As daughters of God, we must trust that God set up the idea of submission because He knows it is what is best for us! Submitting to authority means that a woman follows, obeys, and commits to a person or standard with humility. In the Bible we are commanded to submit to our family authorities (parents), the government, the church, and our husbands:

“Older women are to… encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.” (Titus 2:3-5)

Though you may not be married yet, one of the main purposes of this study is to prepare you for biblical womanhood, including being a wife someday. God’s design of marriage is so much more special than the relationship of a daughter with her parents, or a woman to the government. That is why the idea of submission must be more valued and cared for within a husband-wife relationship.

God designed marriage to be a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church (read Ephesians 5:21-33). When a woman disrespects, or disobeys her husband, she is painting a picture of God’s people disrespecting or disobeying Christ. The role of a wife is so much more than just being a help-meet to her husband; we get to share the story of the gospel through our very actions in relation to our husbands. A woman like Rapunzel at the beginning of this lesson paints a picture of God’s people who nag, and roll their eyes, and don’t appreciate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That is how “God’s message is slandered;” when we disregard our husbands, we disregard the picture we are painting of Christ and the church.

A delight can practice being a woman of humility to the people around her, but as a wife it is crucial that she strive to be submissive even more, for the sake of her witness of Christ.

Lucky for us, being submissive is absolutely NOT being an opinion-less door mat who cleans and cooks and massages her husband’s stinky feet every night (though that can be an excellent practice of humility).

When I think of the word “submit,” I think of turning in a paper that is due in English class. When I “submit” my paper, it becomes the teacher’s. When I turn myself in to my husband, I become his. I am under his protection, guidance, and fellowship. I line up my desires and goals with his. A Christian wife can represent God’s people well when she submits to her husband, even if he may not be representing Christ well in his actions. God uses such humility and submission in great ways:

“In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the [Christian] message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live… For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also beautified themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and are not frightened by anything alarming.” (1 Peter 3:1, 5, 6)

A woman of humility prays for her husband instead of nags him. A delight even prays for him even before she meets him, submitting herself to God first, and secondly to the man He has prepared for her.

Rapunzel did well as a woman of humility to the lowly, her authorities, even animals. But the true test of humility towards others lies in how a lady treats her husband, regardless of his shaving habits.

  • Have you seen Tangled? What is your favorite part?
  •  Can you think of 3 people you are called by God to submit to at this point in your life?
  •  How can you work on being humble in your relationship with those people?

Share your ideas by commenting below!

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Lessons in faith from 20-year-old-Becky

South Padre Island 2008
South Padre Island 2008

Today I stumbled upon a journal entry I wrote in my early college years. I was going through a stage of loneliness at the time. Having never dated, much less go out on a date, I remember really wanting a boyfriend. I longed for companionship, especially after watching a romantic flick or, in this instance, seeing couples walk on the beach together.

Despite the loneliness, the truth of God’s love pierced my heart in a way that redefined my whole perspective. Now, exactly 4 years later, I am so glad I wrote it down.

January 5, 2008:

beach 2008“There I was, walking barefoot on the beach, alone, and yet so filled with the presence of my Heavenly Father I couldn’t help but smile.  I had wished for somebody to hold my hand, but God sent a wave to come up and caress my toes instead.  I had felt a longing for somebody to tell me I was beautiful, but I heard the sound of the surf crashing upon the rocks, clapping in unspoken appreciation for the daughter created in her Father’s image.  I yearned for somebody to find me worthy enough to plant a kiss upon, and God revealed the sun who kissed me so passionately I won’t be rid of freckles for months…

…I saw love and devotion between two human-beings several times on that beach, but none compares to the way my God loves me. He loves me.”

The Becky-of-today is blown away by the faith of Becky-from-years-past. Reading the words of hope reassures me again today. I lose heart too often, over big things and little things. Then it was loneliness, now its over-crowded living rooms. My 20-year-old self reminds me to take up courage and faith, because God is a great and trustworthy God, whose love never falters.

To those who are doubting, lonely, overwhelmed, hurt, feeling pathetic, going-crazy, or sighing yet again from a heavy burden…I don’t dare to have an encouraging word for the boat we all find ourselves in, but I take comfort that my 20-year-old-self does.

Shane and Becky 2008P.S. It happened sooner than I thought! God blessed me with a great guy who loves the Lord and has kissed almost every freckle on my face. Here we are shortly after we started dating later that year.

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Active prayers for your husband: Parts 3-4

Yesterday I posted 2 ways that I am working toward actively praying for my husband. I believe there is power in prayer, and that talking to God draws you more intimately in both your relationship with Him, and with your husband. Unfortunately, I have this incurable syndrome known as highly distract….. sorry, I had to check facebook.

Anyway, here are a couple more ideas that keep me focused while I am praying for my husband.

Prayer Massages

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I’ve never been so lucky to pray for my husband. Back rubs, scalp massages, or full body massages are great ways to focus on specific areas to pray for your man. I like giving foot rubs and praying for him to have “feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15) I pray the rest of armor of God for my husband while gently massaging the corresponding area (helmet of salvation=scalp massage, etc.)

I also pray protection over my husband. I rub his ears (it really does release tension) and pray for protection over what he hears. In a world of sarcasm, rumors, gossip, explicit songs on the radio in public places, cutting remarks, and false teaching, what my husband hears can deeply affect his resolve to be a man of God. I know the enemy is firing darts at my husband, so I pray protection over him. I do the same with his hands, feet, heart, and eyes (though I don’t recommend you massage your man’s eyes).

There are times I have prayed for 30 minutes or more, at which time my husband is usually drooling. You would think I’d be exhausted, but I can’t seem to stop praying. I thank God for the unique ways He created my husband. While I rub his shoulders, I praise God for making him into the strong leader of our family. While scratching his back, I thank God for giving him a strong back-bone and the courage to please God and not man.

Finally, my prayers end with the request for peace that lasts longer than a relaxing back massage: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [my husband’s] heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

I always pray silently, but my husband knows I am praying for him. It might mean the world to your husband to hear your prayers for him, or he might just appreciate the quiet stillness of God’s work on his heart while you work on his muscles.

Prayer walks

images-1I love to walk, especially if it is nice outside. Our little puppy is 1 now, and very energetic, so I find myself taking more walks regardless of the weather. It is a good time to get away from the to-do list, the tv, and the “demands” of facebook. I enjoy praying as I walk; walking is a good metaphor for my relationship with God.

It also gives me more prayer material for my husband. I pray for him to have a walk that looks like these verses:

That my my husband would walk in wisdom, which brings safety and peace:

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. (Proverbs 28:26)
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding… Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. (Proverbs 3:13, 17)

I pray he might walk in obedience to the Lord, receiving the blessing of God and freedom in doing so:

Blessed are all who fear the Lord , who walk in obedience to him. (Psalm 128:1)
I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. (Psalm 119:44, 45)
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. (2 John 1:6)

And that my husband would enjoy an intimate, day by day, step by step, walk with our Savior:

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. (Leviticus 26:12)

Check back tomorrow for Idea #5 in actively praying for your husband…

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5 Active Prayers for your Husband

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The new year is just around the corner, which makes now a great time to get into a better habit of praying for my husband. I’ve noticed quite a few fantastic guides for “praying for your husband” on pinterest lately. Unfortunately, I am easily distracted from dutifully keeping up with these prayers.

So, I decided to incorporate a few ideas of my own to actively pray for my husband. Each activity keeps me engaged and focused; I truly treasure connecting with God in this way, and growing in my marriage at the same time! In sharing these ideas, I hope to encourage other young (or seasoned) wives to become consistent prayer warriors for their men.

So here they are, 5 Active Prayers for your Husband, Parts 1-2:

1. Work-out Prayer time:

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I don’t work out as consistently as I should, but when I do, I find myself praying. Most of the time I pray for the fat to be gone (to the glory of God, of course, ahem). Sometimes, I focus more deeply on praying for God to strengthen me according to His will.

Recently, I began praying the same thing for my husband. As my muscles start to burn, I am reminded to pray for God to strengthen my husband’s spiritual muscles… To give him resolve and courage to do what is right every day. I pray for his strength in our marriage and as the head of our family. I pray to accept God’s help and training when a trial comes, that it might strengthen our dependence on Him.

I put the weights down and ask the Lord to help my husband to let go of the burdens he was not meant to carry; I pray that my husband would trust completely in the Lord throughout his everyday routine.

At the gym, try praying this for your husband: to be “strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that [he] may have great endurance and patience.” (Colossians 1:11 NIV)

Text/Write him prayers

imagesI keep a journal with letters to my husband. He often writes back with small notes or texts. Now there are days where I write to God in that journal about my husband. Again, it gives me something tangible to do which helps me focus. Writing prayers also keeps record of how God has answered them and grown our marriage through the years!

I also try to text my husband at key points during the day, letting him know that his wife is interceding on his behalf. I try to pay attention to when he has meetings, deadlines, and busy days at work, and I pray for God to grant him favor within his career.

You could also try leaving notes in his car, leaving a prayer on his voicemail, or emailing your prayers: “Let the peace of Christ rule in [my husband’s] heart, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:15, 17 NIV)

Check back tomorrow for ideas #3-4 in actively praying for your husband…

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On Husbands and Hobbits: an Unexpected Journey

On Husbands and Hobbits: an Unexpected Journey

Today is my husband’s Birthday.

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In honor of this incredible man, born just a week short of Christmas Eve, I would like to bring light to another significant husband in the Bible:

Joseph.

Joseph was an ordinary man, a carpenter who daily worshipped God in his work. Like many people, Joseph may have had expectations for his life. But God had other plans for him.

In many ways, Joseph’s story reminds me of the plot in Peter Jackson’s retelling of The Hobbitl.

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Biblo also had plans to live a quiet simple life and enjoy the peace of his little home. Assisting a bunch of dwarves in a journey that would certainly change his life (not necessarily for the better), was not a welcome prospect. Yet eventually, we willingly stepped out his front door.

Joseph’s plan to get married, live a quiet life in a small town, and raise a simple family with Mary, was also slightly altered to say the least. God stepped in and asked Joseph to marry a woman whose reputation would always be stained with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. God asked Joseph to bear his own reputation as the gullible man who fell for her trickery, claiming that the Holy Spirit conceived the child in her. In all wisdom and divine authority, God gave Joseph the opportunity to step out of the simple, and step into the reckless but redemptive plan of the most High God.

And Joseph did.

“And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)

Joseph was faithful to raise a Son who was not his own, probably at the scoffing of many. But that Son would one day save the world…. because Jesus was conceived by God, He did live the life of a man veiled in flesh, and He did die the death that I deserved so that I could live the (everlasting) life I couldn’t earn!

Joseph chose a painful obedience; knowing this baby would one day “save His people from their sins” through His own death and sacrifice would not have been easy. (Matthew 1:21) Nor could hearing the remarks of family and friends, the discouragement from co-workers, seeing the raised eye-brows from clients for his carpentry… yet Joseph obeyed.

Not only did he obey at the beginning, but Joseph obeyed through the whole process. He fathered Jesus; he taught Jesus how to use a hammer. Joseph did the day-to-day mysteries to honor God, provide for his wife, and raise God’s Son.

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As Gandalf says of Biblo: “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

It is these men, and specifically these husbands, that make all the difference in the world and, as Gandalf says again, “gives me courage.”

My dad is also an obedient carpenter. His unexpected journey brought him a wife and 3 daughters and way too much estrogen in one home. But he maintained the day-by-day faithfulness to nurture us all into godly women.

My father-in-law is also a man who worked with his hands, as a roofer; he too obeyed God by raising a godly man who would one day be my husband. On this day, 25 years ago, they took up the responsibility as Joseph did, not knowing what raising Shane would be like, or if God would fashion this son into their hearts desire. Through the ups and downs, God does prove to be faithful….

Like his father and like mine, like Joseph and Jesus too (who spent 30 years also honoring God in the everyday activities), Shane is a man who is faithful in the little things. He loves me daily in ways I will never know. He is strong and courageous to share the love of God with others. He is honorable in his work. He provides for our family and I know he will make an amazing father someday (but not quite yet.)

Shane makes the mystery of Christ evident in his daily manner. He honors God daily in whatever he does… “in word or deed, [doing] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)

I praise the Lord for Godly men (and hobbits) who work day in and day out, stay faithful to the Lord, love their wives, and provide for their families both physically and spiritually… no matter how unexpected the journey.

Please watch Mark Driscoll’s excellent sermon on this subject, from which God encouraged me greatly with these thoughts today.

watch the sermon here.

Read the outline here:

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The Rosty Christmas Newsletter

Shane and Becky’s Year of Adventures
2012

Greetings and Welcome, Family and Friends!

We are so moved to worship during this Christmas season, both to celebrate Christ’s birth and to thank God for the abundance of His blessings on us thus far.

Here is a recap of our blessed year of adventures in 2012.

Missions/Ministry Trips

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This year was the year of TRAVEL! We brought in the New Year singing praises to God in Atlanta, Georgia (of all places). Our former national ministry supporters, the North American Mission Board, provided plane tickets, hotel rooms, and Passion Conference tickets for Shane and I and two students. It was an incredible opportunity for Shane and I both to grow in the Lord along side our students.

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For Spring Break we took some BCM students down to Pearl, Mississippi to partner with a church working with ADORABLE inner city kids. VBS style ministry never gets old.

 

In June we went on the trip of a lifetime to Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Door of Hope is a baby-rescue home; we served as volunteers there, providing care, cuddles, and lots of diaper changes for the abandoned babies.

This baby ministry doesn’t get very many male volunteers, so Shane enjoyed a week of hard labor, fixing baby gates, installing heaters, and moving furniture.

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Becky was blessed to stay the whole month of June with her close friend Andy, and a former BCM student and now dear friend, Kylinn. The three fell in love 14 times over with each little boy and girl at the home.20121211-104713.jpg (Read more about our experience here.)

Glorieta, New Mexico was the next destination. Every year we travel with the Baptist Collegiate Ministries of Wyoming to this collegiate conference. This week provided some much needed refreshment, relaxation, and perspective for the coming semester of ministry.

As always, we have been active in traveling across our beautiful state of Wyoming, blessed to witness all that God is doing here. The BCM retreats, ministry conferences, and wonderful family times keep us on the road and loving it! Entertained by deep conversations and energetic laughter, our many road trips do more to grow our marriage than date nights.

Run…. Forest… Run

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Becky started running a bit this year. In the Spring she and Shane flew down to Florida with the Congers (Becky’s family) where Becky, her mom Theresa, and her sister Hannah, all competed in Disney’s Princess 1/2 Marathon. It was an exhausting but MAGICAL day of running through the parks for 13.1 miles or so…. (it seemed longer). The family bonding time was irreplaceable. The following verse rings truer now than ever before:

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1, 2)

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Becky also ran in the Dirty Dash in Billings with Andy, as well as in a few local races as well. (Never to win, just to finish.)

The every day stuff:

Ok, even though we collectively spent several months away from home this year, there were still plenty of experiences we enjoyed in our little home in Sheridan, WY. Shane and Becky began our 3rd year as directors of Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Sheridan College. God has been so good to us through this opportunity to lead college students to Christ.

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Our main focus remains to help students grow closer in their relationship with Christ, whether they have started that relationship yet or not. We do a weekly Bible study with about 20 students on Thursday nights on campus, and a weekly dinner with about 12 students at our house on Sunday nights. Throughout the year we also do events and ministries like the Classy Black Dress Event, Spring conference, missions trips, Fall Retreat, Rake n. Run, movie nights, and an epic Christmas party which we are really looking forward to.

After 2 and a half years, Shane has really expanded his expertise as a minister to officiating a wedding.

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In May, Shane officiated his sister marriage; Shane and Becky were also blessed to participate as the “wedding singers.”

In addition to directing a ministry, Shane is still working as a case-manager at NSI, a prep school for troubled youth. His job has provided him with great opportunities to pray for the young men he works with, and sometimes to share his hope in Christ with them. The company is very supportive of Shane’s ministry at the college and has been a blessing in their accommodation of the amount of time we spent out of Sheridan this year.

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Becky taught as a substitute teacher for much of the year, and enjoyed getting to know the grade school kids all over the city. In November she resigned from that position and is now focused on writing and doing ladies ministry in the community.

 

In other (big) news:

We got a puppy!

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Meet Mr. Darcy, our miniature Golden-doodle:

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This pup brings so much joy throughout each day. It is amazing how much he grown since we got him in February (Mr. Darcy will celebrate his first Birthday this Christmas).

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He has learned to sit, lay down, fetch, go to bed, do a Packer’s Touch down dance, and imitate an alligator. We are still working on having him do the laundry, but hey, there is always next year.

 

 

Also this year, we started building a house!

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Becky’s dad, along with both Shane and Becky’s families, have undertaken the process to help build a home for the Rostys.

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We are blessed to establish a firm foundation (both physically and spiritually) in Sheridan. We hope to move in by next Christmas, so we anticipate the coming summer to be many hours of house-raising. (Our pup thinks he can help too).

 

We also started a community worship band with several new friends in the Sheridan area.

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Representing several different churches and denominations, we come together weekly to worship God together. We have led worship and performed a few times at various events and have even written a few original songs.

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To God be the Glory….
It was a packed year. Overwhelmed with so many blessing from God, we cannot help but write about his goodness and extend our gratitude to Him. We also thank God for each one of you, and would love to hear how Jesus is working in your life.

We learn our lesson from Mr. Darcy this Christmas, to be Blessed (not stressed!) this season. Join us and enjoy each moment to the fullest….

We certainly love to!

Shane and Becky Rosty, and Mr. Darcy

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