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QARA — The Investment That Will Outperform Apple Stock

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QARA — The Investment That Will Outperform Apple Stock

Jan 19, 2018/Alex Tran

In the late 1800’s and 1900s, there lived a man who had a dream of opening a clothing business. When he started in the business, the business was performing poorly, his health was declining and he experienced a physical collapse. Poverty was no stranger to this man throughout his business career. As he was gradually regaining his health in a rehabilitation center, he heard someone play hymns on the organ and it was there where he bowed down and proclaimed: “Lord, I’m giving my life to You.”

He made a decision to follow the Lord and honor Him in his finances, whether in poverty or wealth. It is said that he regularly gave onto the Lord upwards to 90% of his income. At the end of his life in 1971, he left behind a 1,660-store empire that he built on the foundation of God’s principles, including finances.

You may have walked into one of his many clothing stores on Black Friday or casual occasion. This individual’s name was James Cash Penney, better known as the founder of the J.C. Penney stores.

Giving for Eternity

There are countless stories of people like James Cash Penny, who reap the benefits of practicing generosity. Please note that this is not endorsing the prosperity Gospel. God never promised that you will be wealthy if you give financially, let alone own a multi-billion dollar enterprise. However, the Bible does contain promises to those who give joyfully and generously.

God was not surprised that finances would be one of the most challenging struggles for humankind. This is why the most popular and most mentioned topic in the Bible is money and finances. There are over 2000 verses on money alone.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21

To know what people value in their lives, take a look at the ways they spend their time and money.

Finances can imprison, trap, and steal joy if you allow it. As a result, we function from a state of lack rather than gratitude. We believe that accumulation leads to prosperity, but not always prosperity in the mind and soul. Instead, we fool ourselves into the world’s ways of managing finances. We are taught to save, invest, and accumulate for retirement, which are all great principles of finance, but they do not keep eternity in mind.

Imagine your last day on Planet Earth and you finally meet the King of Kings and Lord of Lords face-to-face. He asks you: “What have you done with what you were given? What have you done in my name?” You respond with “I saved and invested for retirement. I was able to go on nice vacations with my family, raise my kids to graduate college, and enjoyed life after 65.” Again, these are all wonderful pleasures from God but He called us to a higher calling than earthly gains and pleasures.

So, why should we give and what do I get out of this? Here are two promises from God when you give in His name:


“God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8

As a child, I was a huge fanatic for McDonald’s chicken nuggets and my Dad would buy them for me because he loves me. When my dad asked for a chicken nugget, I would selfishly say no because I wanted all of the chicken nuggets to myself. When I would feel guilty for saying no, I begrudgingly allowed him to have one nugget maximum out of six nuggets. Looking back, I honestly admit I was very naive and ungrateful at that time. As a 25-year-old now, I knew my dad could have taken the nuggets away from me. My dad didn’t need my nuggets; he could easily have bought the nuggets with his own money. He could have stopped paying for my nuggets altogether. My dad was the sole source of my chicken nuggets and without him, I would not have enjoyed the pleasures of McDonald’s chicken nuggets as a child.

This seems like a silly illustration but the point is everything we have are gifts from God. Your car is a blessing, your home is a gift, and your money is no exception. God the Father can easily take away your possessions if He willed it. He doesn’t need our money. He just wants us to learn to be unselfish and generous.

According to 2 Corinthians 9:8, God says if we practice generosity, He will give us everything we need and exceedingly more, so we’ll have enough to bless others.

We are stewards, not owners of wealth, and God is looking for people who are willing to be used as a blessing to others.

If you will learn to be generous, God will bless you more than you can imagine!

RELATED: This Pastor Started Marriage with $210,000 in Debt. Here’s How He Found Freedom 10 years Later.


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

You will not take your career, 401(k), investments, and material possessions with you to heaven. We live on earth for at most 100 years but we spend forever in eternity in heaven. The world’s values teach us to live for today (YOLO) and enjoy the pleasures of life while we still can. God teaches us to invest in Heaven, where you will be spending eternity. When you use your money for good in Jesus’ name, you are investing in Heaven.

When your time is up, God is not going to ask how far you achieved your career or how much money is in your bank account.

He will ask you what you did with the money you have been entrusted with, and the best investment you can make is in the Eternity Fund.

The Bible says that wherever your treasure is, your heart will be there also. If the things on this earth are most important to you, then you are moving farther away from your treasure with each passing day.

If you are investing in God’s funds and using your money to serve God’s purposes, then you are storing up treasure in Heaven and getting closer to your treasure. Practically speaking, using your money for God can look like tithing, buying a homeless man food, or advancing His kingdom. Investing in God’s kingdom is the only guaranteed return on investment, much more than Amazon’s 60,000%+ return.

Questions to Reflect On: How am I using my money for God’s kingdom? Am I being a steward rather than an owner of my money? Is my heart pointed towards eternity or earth?

20 Prayers to Pray throughout a Busy Day

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20 Prayers to Pray throughout a Busy Day

  • Kelly O’Dell Contributing Writer

1. Thank you for this day.

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NKJV)

Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you that you hold all of our days and know everything that will happen today. Please, go before me today. Give me strength in the midst of weariness and hope in the midst of any frustrations or hurts. I need you Lord, every hour, I need you. I surrender this day to you, trusting in your mercy, strength and grace

2. Be with me.

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 118:6)

Lord, be with me. Already I feel consumed with overwhelm as I think about all that is before me today. Feelings of frustration have already started to surface as little annoyances pop up. Lord, I give these to you. Be with me now. Spirit, protect me from myself — my tendency to anger or impatience. Help me see my life through your eyes, Father.

3. You are so good.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Lord, you are so, so good. There is no darkness within you, no meanness, no harshness. You are fully good and fully good to me, even as I know you allow trials to test me. Help me take each trial that comes and see it as an opportunity to faithfully give you glory.

4. Give me strength for this day.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Lord, give me strength for today. I am tired, mostly tired of battling my sinfulness and the brokenness of this world and all the ways it manifests itself: in heavy traffic, in injuries and insults, in small trials that get under my skin and get my focus off of you. I need strength to handle all of these things with grace. I am incapable apart from you! Give me strength, O Lord I pray!

5. Protect me.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19)

Lord, protect me! Protect me from injury and harm, disease and painful words. Protect me from Satan and his attempts to dispair. Protect me from myself and my tendency to do too much self-reflection. Protect me from my own sin of envy, greed, lust… you name it, I need your protection, Lord! Thank you for always protecting me. You are my shield, you hide me under your wing. Thank you Lord.

6. Thank You for the work that keeps me busy.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17)

Lord, thank you for my job. Thank you that the work I do is important. I am making order out of chaos. I am doing good and I pray it blesses you. Help me see the goodness of my work. Help me see ways to bless others as I work. Lord, thank you for helping me provide for my family in this way. Help me bless others as you have blessed me. And help me, above all, be a good steward of what you’ve given me.

7. Lord, give me rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Lord, I’ll admit it: I am weary. So, so tired. I desperately need rest. But can I be honest? Even when I try to rest, my heart and mind race. But Lord, I know you provide a deeper rest. Your rest goes beyond sleep – it settles my heart, calms my spirit, soothes my soul. Lord, I’m desperate for that rest. Please, give me your rest! I surrender these stressful burdens to you. Take them, help me through them. Lord, help me rest in you.

8. Help me to love.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:9-10)

Lord, help me to love as you love me. Help me love you and love my neighbors. My neighbors include so many — friends, family, coworkers, actual neighbors, my community, my church community. Help me love these people. It’s so easy to love humanity and despise the person in the next house over. Help my love come from you. Help me see others as you see them – beloved.

9. Let me see You.

“You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14)

Open my eyes that I may behold your goodness and unfailing love, O Lord! Give me eyes to see your goodness. I know I can go all day and never acknowledge you. I repent of that now. Forgive me for walking without seeing. I don’t want to be blind. Help me see you.

10. Fill me with joy.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)

Lord, you are joy! I love that you are a joyful God. I don’t think about that a lot, but you are. Lord, please give me a measure of that joy. Help me see all the blessings of life that deserve my joy and appreciation. Help me even see joy in the trial, as I know you are in it with me, loving and holding me. The trial is hard but your joy is my strength. Thank you, Lord.

11. Show me how to glorify You.

“There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.” (Psalm 86:8-10)

You deserve all glory and honor Lord! Yet I know I don’t always glorify you. My sin is a stain against all that I say I am in you. I am so sorry, forgive me for not giving you glory. Lord, help me see how to best glorify you. I think it might start with always acknowledging you, in all that I do. I want to glorify and enjoy you — help me, Father!

12. Give me a generous heart.

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)

Lord, though you bless me, I often withhold blessing others. I am sorry – please forgive me. You are so generous toward me — your unending love and immeasurable grace are more than I deserve. Thank you, Lord. Help me see where I can be generous with my time, gifts and money. Help me give joyfully.

13. Erase my worries.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Lord, take these things that worry me. I lay them now at your feet, naming each of them and lifting them into your arms. I know that you can’t erase the situation, but you can take the worry and bear the burden with me. Lord, fill my mind with your truth, replace the worry with truth that you are good, you are with me and that the things that worry me cannot ever separate me from you.

14. Help me.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”(Psalm 34:17)

Lord, help me. You know this situation I face. It follows me around all the time– I feel like I can never escape it. Help me! As your child, I ask you Father, step in and help! Give me wisdom that can only come from you. Give me confidence that you are with me. Help me see this with your eyes and to do what is right.

15. Let my words be uplifting.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Lord, forgive my tongue and how I sin against you with it. Whether it is gossip, negativity, lies or rude talk — how often I sin with this tiny part of my body! I have to control my tongue or it will control me. Lord, help me develop a habit of uplifting word. I have to replace the negative with the positive. I pray the words of my lips would praise you and that gentleness and kindness would always be on my tongue.

16. Forgive me and help me forgive others.

“If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)

Lord, I ask first of all for your forgiveness. For my actions, and my thoughts. I know that before I can take the spec out of my neighbor’s eye, I have to take it out of my own eye. Forgive me, Lord! And help me forgive those who have hurt me. I know I can only fully forgive when I know how deeply I am forgiven. Thank you, Lord, that I do not live under condemnation but under grace. Help me give grace as I am given it: fully, completely, unreservedly. 

17. Thank You for being in control.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Lord, give me hope. I can’t find it in anything apart from you. Even as parts of my life feel totally out of control, I know that you hold it all in the palm of your hand. Easily, simply, you hold all things. And I know you will take care of me. I know your plan is good, even if the trials are hard. Help me give control over to you, even if I have to surrender several times a day. Help me give it up to you and keep giving it up to you. Amen.


18. Teach me. Guide me. Show me what to do.

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

Lord, I need your wisdom. I need your instruction. As I read your Word, help me fit the puzzle pieces of this puzzling situation together. Give me guidance. Thank you for giving these things to your children!

19. Purify my mind.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Lord, even if I could go a day without physically sinning — oh how my thoughts would betray me! I can’t go even an hour without sinning against you, particularly with all of my anxious, angry thoughts. Forgive me, Father. Purify me, purify my mind. Take out the bad and refill me with your Word. Fill me with Scripture, let it stay in my mind and linger in my heart. Wash me and I will be made clean, you promise that, Lord — please, cleanse my mind!

Look At The Royal Family: The 1 Toy Prince William And Kate Strictly Forbid Their Kids Play With

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The 1 Toy Prince William And Kate Strictly Forbid Their Kids Play With

WORLD by Cailyn Finkel 8/8/2017

It’s hard to be a parent nowadays. Food and health alerts, dangerous toys and the widespread use of electronics makes it more difficult than ever to know what’s good for your child!

That’s why, when it comes to the use of one type of electronic, the British Royal family doesn’t play around. Even though it’s reported that Prince William and his beautiful wife Kate try to give their children (George and Charlotte) a typical childhood, there’s one item they absolutely forbid in their home!

Screenshot via YouTube


A family insider told Us Magazine that both Kate and William know the importance of maintaining normalcy for George and Charlotte in the whirlwind life of royalty.

“While they feel it’s important to make them aware of their backgrounds. it’s also vital for both George and Charlotte to have as much normalcy in their lives as possible.”

That means plenty of time playing with toys, exploring with friends and a consistent limit on the use of electronics like iPads. According to those who are close to the family, iPads are strictly forbidden inside Kensington Palace.

The Royals believe doing so leaves more time to enjoy the great outdoors, spend time with loved ones and learn more about the world around them.


Apparently, they aren’t the only celebrities to forbid their children from using this common toy. Jennifer Lopez reportedly only allows her children to use their iPads on Sundays!

Kourtney Kardashian is also a strickler when it comes to iPad time. In an interview with ET Online, Kourtney revealed her usage rules.

“Now that all my kids are over the age of two, I do allow them limited time to play video games and watch television. We have a game room, so I allow 30 minutes of video game time during the week and an hour on the weekends.”

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, this type of limited use of electronics follows the latest research and guidelines.

The site explains that:

– Children under than age of 18 months should not use electronic screens altogether.

– Children from 18 to 24 months old should only use electronics when consuming educational material, and such material should be consumed with parents.

– Children 2 to 5 years old should only have one hour of “screen time” per day.

– Children age 6 and older should have a strict, enforced limit to the amount of screen time allowed daily.

– There should also be clear “no electronics” areas in the home and parents should ensure that electronics don’t change routines like sleep and exercise.

Screenshot via YouTube

Evidence Of God!

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Evidence of God in the human body – Louie Giglio

WOW! This is Amazing… ✝✝✝Credit to – Louie Giglio, Pastor Of Passion City Church

Posted by I Love Being A Christian on Saturday, August 5, 2017


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Each year, Pennsylvania receives 18,183 reports of missing children. Be prepared for the worst with a Missing Child Kit (limit 5 per address).

The Missing Child Kit is the best way to keep all the information you’ll need in case of an emergency if your child goes missing like hair DNA, fingerprints, and photo(s).


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VIA: PSECU – the original creator of the graphic

May 15, 2017

Good money habits are important, and teaching them to your child early on sets your child up to be a financially savvy adult.

Fortunately, children are naturally curious about how the world around them works, and you can use this to your advantage. Below are some ideas to use when teaching your child about money.

How to Teach Kids Good Money Habits - Books, Games and Smartphone Apps

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. If you like our infographic, feel free to share it on your site as long as you include a link back to this post to credit PSECU as the original creator of the graphic.


The three-jar management system is an ideal way to teach kids how to count money and budget. Help your child set up three jars, each with different labels: spending, saving and sharing. When your child receives money, whether it’s an allowance or a gift, help them decide how much to place in each jar.

You can talk about how the money in each jar is to be used and why it’s important to set aside money for all three. This is a simple way to drive home the messages of saving and sharing, and the benefits of doing so.


One of the best ways to teach kids good money habits is to practice good money management yourself. Your child watches you more than you think, so showing them savings in action can inspire them, too. Here are some quick and easy examples:

  • Take a small amount of money and show how spending now may mean there will be less money later for something else, such as a vacation or a more expensive new toy.
  • Explain how the household finances work. You might discuss how each time you air dry clothes instead of using the electric dryer, you save money on your electric bill. Show your child how this can add up over time. Take a look at your electricity bill together to show them how much electricity costs.
  • When you go grocery shopping, ask your child to be in charge of making sure you don’t go over budget. You can give them a calculator to add up your purchases as you shop. Show them how much items cost and tell them why you chose to buy or not buy a certain item.


When it comes to teaching your child the benefits of saving money, creating a savings account for them can be helpful. Open a Custodial Account at PSECU for your child. If your child is between the ages of 12 and 21, you can also open a regular (non-custodial) joint account.

Set your child up for financial success early by opening a Coverdell Educational Savings Account to help your children pay for future post-secondary education costs.

When your child has their own money, they often become very interested in learning how to manage their finances. Use their account statements to show them how interest works and help them set financial goals to get them excited while they watch their total grow.

Find more money management tips and resources on our WalletWorks page.


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Cancer is the deadliest disease on the planet, and commonly treated with big pharma products, which are packed with chemicals. The conventional therapies like radiation and chemotherapy just only worsen the patient’s condition as while killing the cancer cells it kills also the healthy ones. Therefore, it is about time to turn to the natural products which are efficient in killing cancer without any side effects.

Luckily, nature has given us foods which have the ability to naturally fight cancer. In this article we shall present to you the five foods that successfully fight off cancer and impede its further development.


Potent Five Foods in the Fight against Cancer


  1. Turmeric

This spice incorporates myriad of health benefits, one of which is preventive measure against cancer. Likewise, it is popularly used due to its efficacy

in reducing fat.

  1. Blueberry and Raspberry

Both berries are well known for their anti – cancer properties, particularly when ovarian cancer is concerned. The reason for their dark appearance are the presence of phytochemicals, which as well as greatly assist in the prevention of cancer. Moreover, blueberries and raspberries are likewise known for their reductive effect on oxidative stress and angiogenesis.

  1. Dark chocolate

It may seem unbelievable, but it is true that dark chocolate can assist in the fight against cancer cells. This delicious dessert also improves your mood, and your heart condition. Therefore, consume as it is healthy, yet do it in moderate quantities.

  1. Coffee and green tea

You may as well as know that these two beverages are the most popularly consumed beverages. It is good to know that they have the ability to lower the risk of cancer development.

  1. Tomato

A newly conducted research at the Harvard University revealed that the chances of prostate cancer are lowered by 50% if you eat cooked tomatoes on regular basis. It has been confirmed that tomatoes areremarkably effective in hampering the angiogenesis, due to the high content of lycopene, a substance with potent anti – angiogenic properties.

According to health experts lycopene is easily distributed through the body’s digestion system because it breaks down in our body fat. Moreover, lycopene concentration increases when it is exposed to higher temperatures. For that reason, cooked tomatoes are very effective for stopping cancer growth.

We Empower Twenty-Somthings To Find Their True North

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May 31, 2017 05:00 am | Crystal Kang

Dating a stranger isn’t unheard of in our 20s and 30s. Apps like Coffee Meets Bagel and OkCupid make it easy to filter our settings, so we’re matched with friends of friends. When people ask us if we want to be set up, we immediately want to know everything about the person before we meet them. We can research and vet our prospects all we want, but how the dates go from there is a mystery. It sounds exciting but also very scary.

I met my boyfriend, Andy, while traipsing through Portland, Oregon with mutual church friends. Right away, I sensed our differences. Geographically, we live on opposite coasts. He’s a Generation X. I’m a millennial. He’s a die-hard basketball fan. I know nothing about sports. Though both of us didn’t have fond memories of dating strangers before, we gave long distance a shot. A year later, we’re getting engaged and planning our wedding.

Here are 7 eye-opening lessons I learned from dating a stranger.

1. Be humble.

I’ve talked to brothers who have an idealized view of what’s attractive in women, but sometimes those qualities aren’t evident in their own character. Sisters can smell arrogance and self-righteousness from miles away. Getting rejected is a natural part of asking someone out but how we react is telling of our character. Paul says in Romans 12, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Sisters in the church say they want an organic dating relationship that springs from friendship, but it tends to keep them from considering certain brothers. Other times, when a brother comes out of left field and asks a sister out to coffee, it feels aggressive. If we’re wondering where all the men are but don’t give them a chance, we could be missing opportunities for them to surprise us into reconsidering our preconceived notions.

Even though I wasn’t initially attracted to Andy, I remained open to getting to know him. As I got to know him better, my attraction for him grew. I was surprised by how much we had in common and the chemistry we felt, but I would’ve never known if I rejected him.

2. Pray together.

When you’re dating a stranger, it doesn’t matter how much time you spend with them. If you’re not spending quality time, it’s hard to get to know each other on a deeper level. Personally, I’ve noticed it’s more difficult to have substantive conversations in person than on the phone.

I found the key to spending quality time in person is through prayer.

When Andy suggested praying after our first date, I felt awkward. Sadly, I’m not in the habit of praying with people after hanging out. Over time, I warmed up to it and realized it’s the best thing we can do for our relationship. What I enjoy about praying together is how honest and vulnerable our hearts can be while keeping Christ at the center.

3. Set boundaries.

When it comes to physical boundaries, people have different comfort levels. Learn to respect each other’s limits. If the struggle is neither of you have any, talk about why that is and how that’s affecting your ability to maintain purity and be free from temptations.

The first time my boyfriend and I talked about physical boundaries, I asked to limit it to handholding. We agreed that’s what we’re both comfortable with. As we get to know each other better, we continue to talk about where to draw the line.

We’ve also practiced setting boundaries with family. Both of us are people pleasers, so it’s easy to persuade ourselves to let our closest family members influence our decisions. But we remind each other that family is important but comes second to our relationship.

4. Seek community.

One of the joys of Christian dating is reaping the benefits of prayers people have sown and continue to sow into you and your partner. Invite friends and pastors into your lives and journey with couples who are just starting out and those who are happily married.

As I prepare to move to Portland, Andy and I have talked about finding a church right away and investing in the community, so we make friends and don’t become an island.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why Every Twenty-Something Should be Single

5. Be intentional.

When you’re first dating, it’s easy to get swept up in the lovey-dovey feelings of the honeymoon stage. But that won’t always last so don’t stay head in the clouds for long. Be honest about how you feel and where both of you see the relationship headed. Two people can be in different places, so be patient with one another and suggest a timeline.

When my boyfriend first hinted at marriage, I felt a knot in my stomach. I wasn’t ready to go there, and I told him. He understood, and we set a timeline of six months into dating to talk about whether we see our relationship in the context of marriage. To his surprise, I was open to talking about marriage three months into dating. It helped that he made his intentions clear by opening up the door and letting me walk through it when I was ready.

6. Communicate effectively.

My boyfriend and I have had lots of miscommunications over text and on the phone. Sometimes, he wouldn’t understand how to empathize with me other than with a dry, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” after which I felt dismissed. It was hard to bring up at first because it seemed petty, but I’d get short with him and passive aggressive. He could tell I wasn’t happy with him. So we talked about ways that his responses can indicate more emotion. I suggested he use emojis and let me know when he’s in the middle of something and needs more time to respond. Communicating often helps me calm down.

Meanwhile, I confess I have a short attention span and tend to check my notifications while I’m on the phone with Andy. He totally knows when I’m doing that because I can’t multi-task, and my responses sound airy and aloof. He told me how he felt about that, so I made a commitment to no longer check social media while talking to him unless I ask him first. As we learn to communicate better, we keep love and forgiveness close at hand.

7. Receive forgiveness.

There are times when it’s hard to forgive because the hurt runs deep in our history and childhood memories. Before we forgive the stranger we’re dating, we must forgive ourselves. But in order to believe that we’re forgiven, we must understand God’s grace. In Ephesians 2:4-5, Paul says because of God’s great love for us, He made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace we have been saved. When we look to the cross, we’re reminded of how wretched our sins are but also how deeply loved we are. Jesus offers us abundant grace so we can fully receive forgiveness.

Later on in Ephesians 2:10, Paul says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” It’s important to see each other the way God sees us, through the eyes of mercy and grace and in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Andy and I are readingThe Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, and one insight we found helpful is when Keller says:

No matter how well two people know each other in a dating relationship they become strangers again in marriage.

It’s because there are certain aspects of our character that we don’t see until marriage brings them out. We have a choice. Either flee or forgive.

When we begin to view our significant other as God’s masterpieces, no matter what kind of semi-stranger we’re confronted with into marriage, we can confidently and joyfully say on our wedding day, “As great as you look today, someday you will stand with me before God in such beauty that it will make these clothes look like rags” (Keller).


Categories: blog

Chag Shavuot Sameach! HAVE A JOYFUL SHAVUOT!

Commonly known to Christians as Pentecost, Shavuot is one of four spring festivals and one of three Jerusalem pilgrimage festivals. In Christian tradition, this same festival is called Pentecost for the Greek term which means “50”, as this fourth spring festival is observed on the 50th day after Passover.

Biblically, to observe Shavuot, Jewish men would sacrifice in the Temple, presenting an offering of grain, two loaves, a bull, a ram, a male goat, and two male lambs for sin, sacrifice, and peace offerings.

After the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70AD, many Jewish traditions developed that associated Shavuot with the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Modern Jewish observance of Shavuot includes reading the Book of Ruth, spending the entire night studying Torah until dawn, chanting the Ten Commandments, decorating synagogues and homes with aromatic spices, and partaking of a dairy meal and dessert.

Now, if Passover is fulfilled in the death of the Lamb of God, Unleavened Bread in His sinless character, and First Fruits in His resurrection, then we must ask ourselves – how is Shavuot (Pentecost) fulfilled by the first coming of Jesus? The 120 Disciples (Acts 1:15) were in one place, in one mind, praying and focusing on God’s work.

They were waiting in obedience to the command of Jesus (Acts 1:4-5) and also in obedience to the Laws of Shavuot regarding “no work” (Leviticus 23:21). Many were pilgrims who had left their homes in other places to be part of this festival.

God would bless their obedience now in a powerful way. After some days of patient waiting, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples on the 50th day after Passover. The initial giving of the Torah by Moses at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19, and likewise a new revelation, was given on Shavuot/Pentecost!

Today we celebrate not only the signs and wonders of Sinai, but the giving of the Holy Spirit and oneness of the Body of Messiah, consisting of both Jewish and Gentile believers united in faith. What a wonderful thing to celebrate!