? ??????????????Getting Married? ????? ?? ???Rating: 3.9 (87 Ratings)??0 Grabs Today. 13620 Total Grabs. ?
?????Preview?? | ??Get the Code?? ?? ???????????????????????????????Wedding? ????? ?? ???Rating: 3.4 (69 Ratings)??0 Grabs Today. 7449 Total Grabs. ??????Preview?? | ??Get the Code?? BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS ?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moving Past Rejection

Hagar moved numbly forward, not knowing where she was going. Left to her own devices, she would have crumbled to the ground and huddled in a fetal position toward off the waves of grief that overwhelmed her. But for her son’s sake, she stood upright.

Never had she imagined this. Yet here she stood, facing an uncertain future. Life once had seemed so simple but now... oh, what she would give for one yesterday!
Hagar felt so unprotected, victimized. She had served Abraham’s wife faithfully. In her desire to bear a son, Sarah had offered Hagar to Abraham, in hopes that she might bring forth an heir. Sarah had never imagined that what had transpired between her servant and her husband could be more than just a physical act.

And yet, Hagar now knew differently. She was merely a servant, but when Abraham laid with her, something had happened inside her. Something took further root as his son grew within her body. The truth was that Hagar had been joined to him not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well.

Sarah sensed this, too, and treated Hagar harshly. So harshly that Hagar ran away. But the angel of the Lord had bid her to return. And return she did, until Sarah could bear the sight of Hagar no longer. Abraham had looked apologetic as he sent Hagar and their son away, but he was determined to keep the peace in his home. Peace at any price.

The ache within Hagar grew as she watched Abraham walk back toward his home, shoulders bent, weary from the bickering of the two women who contended for his love. Hagar knew she was not entitled to his heart. And yet, the fruit of their time together had wrapped its arms around her, tugging her back to present reality. She would never be able to call the love of Abraham her own, but the ever-present reminder of their union was manifested in the life of her son Ishmael.

She treasured this bittersweet gift; it was all she had left to comfort herself, the sole reminder of a season when she felt loved. No matter how brief the moment, it would have to be enough ....
No matter how short the encounter, the act of giving yourself to another plants seeds within the soil of your heart—seeds that bear lasting fruit. You can be sure that every relationship leaves a permanent mark upon your spirit. Long after that person’s departure, the evidence of his or her presence remains.

Dealing with the residue of past relationships can be an overwhelming proposition. How do you break free from the constant reminders of that lost love? How do you come to terms with the injustice of being cast away in spite of all you have to offer? And worst of all, how do you deal with having to hurt alone when life seems to go on without a ripple for the one who left you weeping in rejection’s wake?

Even through the pain of being rejected, we can take comfort knowing that God is near to us and is able to turn the bitter to sweet if we embrace His counsel. For He uses every experience to perfect us into greater vessels bearing fruit for his glory.

Dear heavenly Father, I have been the victim of bad choices. Some deliberate, some against my better judgment. I have failed myself and failed You. I admit that I was not prepared for the consequences of my actions, and the burden of them seems too much to bear. So here I stand, looking to Your hands for healing. For support and help. Whom have I in heaven but You? Whom have I in the earth besides You?

After all is said and done, You alone are the only one who will not spurn my offerings of love. Forgive me for taking so long to see this. But now I come, mistakes in hand, asking You to take what the enemy meant for evil and make it good. Redeem my past failings and pain and grant me a new beginning. Give me a reason to live and love again. As I embrace You, fill the spaces left behind by those who rejected me and set me apart for your purposes, to the praise and glory of your name, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Author Michelle Hammond

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Going Out Date Ideas

Mall Shopping Go to your local mall, department store, or large discount store, such as Target or Walmart. Split up and spend $20 each on various products to use that night for a romantic and seductive evening together. Keep your purchases a surprise until later that evening.

Progressive Dinner Don't settle for dinner out at one restaurant. Have your drinks and appetizers at one restaurant, main course at another, and dessert at another. You'll have a fun evening sampling new things and enjoying the different atmospheres.

Go to a Party It doesn't matter if it's a work party, a friend's party, or even your niece's birthday party. Plan to go together and walk in arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand.

Walk Around a College CampusTake a date on a tour of your campus (if you went to or currently attend different schools). If you don't live nearby, tour a local college campus and relive your glory days together.

See a Matinee Movie Instead of having a traditional Friday night date, plan to skip out of work early on a Wednesday afternoon and catch a movie matinee together!

Attend a Lecture Look at the even schedules at your local library, museum, or art gallery. Find a lecture that interests both of you and make plans to attend! Be sure to hold hands during the entire lecture.

Visit a Botanical Garden Walk amongst the tropical birds, plants, and butterflies hand-in-hand when you visit a local botanical garden.

Eat Outside Take her out to dinner at your favorite restaurant and dine on the patio or balcony while you enjoy the fresh air and brisk breeze.

Visit an Art Gallery This is a cheap date with stimulating conversation and loads of fun. Whether you visit a large gallery or a small town shop, you'll enter a whole new world when surrounded by paintings, prints, and sculptures. Discuss what you see in the paintings. Debate over what you would buy if you could any one thing in the gallery. Top it off with a stop by a coffeehouse for a warm drink, a little music, and more conversation.

Drive-in Movie It's the standard movie date with a very romantic twist. Bring along a basket of romantic goodies and a blanket for two.

Fireworks Blast View a fireworks display and then light a few fireworks of your own during the grand finale.

Local Concerts Check your local newspaper for weekly events. Most cities offer free evening outdoor concerts. Grab your lounge chairs or picnic blanket, take a few snacks, and enjoy a free evening of entertainment together.

Rummage at Garage Sales You'll have a blast rummaging for bargains with each other. Commit to finding each other a romantic trinket by the end of your outing.

Dinner & a Movie Movie's are not just popcorn times anymore. Most cities now have dinner theaters that show movies as well as serve meals. Enjoy a movie, eat a good meal, and enjoy each other's company with your own private table rather than squished in two theater seats.

Cultural Dinners Expand your horizon's with a dinner out at a cultural restaurant that neither of you have tried.

Head to a State or City Park Bring along some bread and feed ducks in a pond. No ducks? Then take a nice long walk and just enjoy the fresh air and each other. In warmer areas, you'll be able to marvel at all the beautiful flowers that are currently blooming.

Go to Church Together Get to know your partner even better by attending a service at their church.

Arcade Games Get a roll of quarters and have a blast playing games. Compete against each other on a racing game... winner gets to pick the reward!

Football Games Go to a local high school game, college game, or pro game together. Be sure to huddle closely, cheer together, and feed each other Nacho's.

Go to a Baseball Game Catch a major league game if you have a team in your city. Minor league games are just as fun! Or, bring out the child in you and hit the little league parks. You'll have a blast watching the kids play. Don't forget some peanuts, popcorn, or hot dogs from the concession stand.

Beach Afternoon Relax in the sand together for an afternoon. It's the perfect time to just talk, laugh, read to each other, or do a crossword together. Cool off in the water together.

Comedy Clubs The couple that laughs together stays together... Check out the entertainment section of your newspaper to get the scoop on comedy clubs or comedians headed to your area! It'll be a fun & funny night out on the town.

Go to a Museum Browse the art and exhibits together at a local museum.

Visit the Zoo Browse the zoo exhibits and habitats for a fun date afternoon.

Visit an Aquarium Visit a local aquarium for a fun afternoon. Often times they have exhibits where you can feed the fish, swim the dolphins, or touch the sting rays. Another fun aquarium date -- Ripley's Aquariums.

Go to a Play Go out for a romantic dinner, then take in a play at your local theater.

Go to a Drive-in Movie Channel the past at a local drive in theater. Bring along a blanket, share some popcorn and enjoy the flick all in the comfort of your car. Act like teenagers again and engage in a little make out session during the show.

Go to a Car Show Check out the classic cars together, then grab diner at a local diner.

Go to an Air Show Go to a Blue Angels or other air show for an exciting afternoon together.

Go to a Movie It's a standard date, but still lots of fun! Pick a flick that you both enjoy or take turns picking the movies that you want to see. Add lunch or dinner before or after the movie and you've got yourself a date. Skip the movie if this is your first date though. It's hard to get to know someone if you're sitting in the dark and can't talk.

Go to an Ice Skating Show These fun shows aren't just for little kids, they're for the kids at heart as well! Check your events listings at Ticketmaster. There seems to always be a 'Disney on Ice' show coming up.

Go to a Concert If you love music, this is a perfect date for you! Check your local event listings and head to a night of fun with a local band or get tickets for a big concert coming up.

Visit Garage Sales If you're looking for fun, entertainment, and bargains, get up early on Saturday morning and head to the sales. Shop 'til you drop or make a game of finding obscure items. Add a romantic breakfast and you've got a great date.

See a Musical Check your newspaper for the local theater listings. Guys may groan at this date idea, but musicals can make for an incredibly romantic date.

Go Out for Dinner We're not talking just a normal dinner... this needs to be a romantic dinner! Go to a 5-star restaurant and enjoy a gourmet meal by candlelight. Heck, you can even make McDonald's meal romantic with some intimate conversation.

Go Out for a Cultural Dinner Be adventurous. Go out to dinner at a restaurant that you haven't tried before. Looking for ideas? Open your yellow pages and look at all of the ethnic options available.

Go to the Symphony Listening to beautiful music while sitting closely by your date -- what could be better?

Take a Riverboat Cruise If you're anywhere near a major river, check the tour guides for riverboat cruises. We're not talking gambling riverboats (unless that appeals to you), but rather a leisurely trip down the river that allows you to talk and just enjoy one another's company while viewing the scenery.

Ride a Ferry or Steamboat Do you live near a ferry boat? Get a couple of tickets, take along a snack, and just spend the time talking and watching the water go by.

Visit a City Park Take along a Frisbee and a picnic lunch and you've got a fun date in your local park.

Visit an Orchard This only works in the fall, but it's a great date idea when the time is right. Head to a local orchard and pick your own apples. Once you get them home, bake an apple pie together, then enjoy the fruits of your labor (literally).

Watch Little League Games You'll have fun watching the little kids scramble. Grab a hot dog and a coke and cheer for the kids as if you were watching the world series.

See a Midnight Movie If you're lucky enough to have a late night movie schedule, take advantage of it! Many times they're less crowded, giving your more 'private' time.

Go to a wedding together It could be a friends wedding or a family members wedding. Squeeze your partner's hand during the vows. *Note* - this wouldn't be a great date idea for those that are not in a committed relationship.

Go to a stranger's wedding Go to a stranger's wedding together. We're not talking about crashing their reception, but rather sit in on the ceremony and vows and watch them pledge their love and commitment to one another.

Go window shopping Bring along only enough money for a snack to share. Hold hands and browse, telling each other what you would buy. You can browse for your future home or give each other ideas for future presents.

Go Cave Hiking If you're lucky enough to live near a national park with caves, head on over for an adventurous date idea. Places like Kentucky's Mammoth Caves make for an adventurous afternoon. You'll definitely find out what your partner is made of.

Bet on a Horse Race Ok, so even if you don't bet, you can have a fun afternoon at the horse track. Snag a table, some hot dogs, and a couple of beers. Get a program and either bet on the horses or pretend to bet between one another. Winner gets a prize of their choice.

Go to a Casino Bring along a roll of quarters and play the slots together. If you're a card shark, head to the blackjack table together. Either way, play together or have a friendly competition.

Walk Through the Mall It might sound a little odd, but you can do a lot in a mall. Have a quick lunch in the food court, then grab a dessert at the cookie stand. After window shopping, stop in a photo booth to take your photo together. While your date browses a shop or heads to the restroom, pick up a little trinket as a memento of your day.

Go Shell Searching on the BeachTake a romantic stroll down the beach and collect shells together. You'll spend quality time together with the lulls of the ocean, great conversation, romantic hand holding, and beautiful scenery.

Go Out for a Five Course Dinner It doesn't necessarily have to be a 5-star restaurant. Pick a nice setting and have a five course meal - salad, fruit & cheese, appetizer, entree, and dessert.

Go Grocery Shopping Even the most mundane of tasks can be made romantic. Plan a trip to the grocery store to purchase all of the items needed to make a romantic dinner at home for two. If you want to try something a little different, plan a trip where you pick out only aphrodisiac food items.

Visit a Pet Store Everyone loves pet stores. Play with the dogs, pet the kitties, and pick which you would bring home if you could. If you already have pets, take them along on your date! If you visit a pet store such as Pet smart, you can bring your pooches along with you!

Go to a Football Game It could be an NFL game, college game, or a high school game. Put on your fan gear and hang out together cheering on your favorite team.

Go to a Basketball Game Whether it's the NBA finals or a local high school team, head to the gym to watch a little basketball action. Looking to join in on the fun? Play a little one-on-one together at a local park!

Head to the Beach Grab your towels, ipod, and sunscreen and head to the beach for a day lounging in the sun together. Bring along a picnic lunch and a few toys (water raft? volleyball?) and you can have both romance and fun!

Go to a Boating Show or Race Even if you're not water people, you'll still be impressed by the boats. If you prefer action rather than browsing, head to a boating race. Place a friendly bet with each other and the loser has to pay up that night.

Go to a Circus Pretend your kids again with some popcorn, peanuts, and clowns at the big top. The greatest show on earth makes for a great date idea.

Go to an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet...and bring an empty stomach! The great thing about a buffet is that you can try some of everything! Each of you grab a plate and then share.

Go to a Ballet Get tickets to Swan's Lake, The Nutcracker, or any other local or touring ballet. The music will entice your sense and inspire romance. Make it a romantic night all around with a romantic dinner out prior to the show.

Play Bingo Play for friendly fun and possibly some prizes with a game of Bingo. You could head to a bingo hall (no, it's not just for older folks!) or even play at home with friends (make it a group date!).

Go to an Opera Try something new with tickets to an opera. Think pretty woman here, without the broken binoculars. ;) It's hard to take a date to an opera without leaving with a feeling of romance and a sense of closeness.

Go to a Bookstore Browse through the books together reading each other passages. Or, grab a cup of coffee and just spend the afternoon talking together amongst the books and people.

Visit Shops in a Nearby Town You can browse the shops, stop in for coffee, people watch, and just see the sights.

Watch an Olympic Sport It doesn't have to be the Olympics (seeing as the timing is difficult), but get tickets to an event for a sport that is featured in the Olympics. Needs ideas? Go to a gymnastics meet, a skating competition, or a soccer match.

Go Out for Ice Cream Get two different cones and share them. Or split one large banana split... with two cherries on the top!

Go to a Comedy Club Be prepared to laugh like crazy. They say that the couple that laughs together stays together.

Go for a Moonlit Walk Take a walk, hand in hand, lit only by the moonlight.
Is there anything more romantic that just spending the afternoon, evening, or night snuggling together?

Watch the Sunset Grab a bottle of wine and find a picturesque location to watch the sunset together.

Watch the Sunrise Find a picturesque location and watch the sunrise as you enjoy mimosa's and bagels.

Watch Planes Take Off Head to the airport (preferably a field behind the airport) and watch the planes take off (ala Wayne's World).

Cook Out Grill steaks and corn outdoors and then eat on your fancy china by candlelight indoors.
Bake Cookies Together Get his mom's signature cookie recipe and surprise him with the ingredients. Spend the afternoon baking together, then enjoy the cookies while sharing your favorite childhood memories.

Make Ice Cream Get an ice cream maker and spend a hot summer afternoon making various kinds of ice cream together.

Petting Zoo Bring along some quarters and head to a local petting zoo where you can get close with the animals and feed them.

Go On A Road Trip Take a long weekend and plan a road trip together. Pick a few destinations, but the actual destination doesn't matter as your focus is the road trip itself. Use the time to talk, and talk, and talk.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He's Fine...But Is He Saved?

A lot of times, ladies, when it comes to the opposite sex, we can get a little caught up in looks. For instance, if a brotha steps to you and tries to "holla," we immediately notice his outward appearance -his looks, his clothes, his haircut, his mustache or beard, or lack thereof. Most women are impressed by a man who packages himself well. Besides, there's nothing wrong with a little eye candy, right? However, single women of God, we must be careful not to be so mesmerized by the way a man looks, or the smooth lines he uses, that we forget to find out the most important characteristic of a man who is worthy of a Christian woman's time, which is whether or not he has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.

A woman can be so impressed by the way a man presents himself, that if she is asked out, she may not find out if he goes to church, let alone if he is saved, until about the third or fourth date (if she hasn't given it up already).

Women of God, it's time for us to ask these questions up front. I immediately ask any man who approaches me with interest whether or not he is saved. If he starts acting "nervous in the service," then I view that as a red flag. Most of the time I end up witnessing to someone like that so he can get saved (Hallelujah!). But we shouldn't be afraid to ask.

Why don't we ask up front? Is it because we're afraid of the answer? Is it because brotha man looks so good that you wouldn't mind being seen out on the town with him on your arm? Is it because you hadn't dated in a while and are looking forward to a night of companionship and a free meal? Or is it because, if you find out he isn't saved, then maybe if he dates you a few times, he will eventually get saved?

The Word of God talks about not being unequally yoked with unbelievers. It also describes the importance of two walking together in agreement. One can minister to someone else and be a light for him, without committing to a relationship with that other person. We, as Christians, are called to be lights to the world, not a friend or lover of the world.

Also, it is not enough to find out if a man who is pursuing you is saved. You want to make sure that he reverentially fears the Lord. Does he worship God? Do you see him do it? Is his lifestyle conducive to the Word of God, or does he at least sincerely try to live for Him? The way a man loves God will dictate the way a man will love you.

Love must be vertical first, before it can ever be horizontal. Sure, he may say he loves you, and he may do nice things for you, but, more importantly, is what he does for God. Does he love Him? Jesus said if you loved me, you would keep my commandments. Is he pressuring you to have sex? True love waits, so if a man is pressuring you, then that means he does not fear God, and that he does not love you, because true love would not cause you to do anything to hinder your relationship with God.

Ladies, I am not implying that you should ask a man all of these questions on the first date. In doing so, more than likely he will just tell you want to hear. Instead of laying all of your cards out on the table, first, find out if he is saved, and next, observe. Even the Word commands us to watch and pray. See if his salvation profession is sincere. Only by observing and making sure his actions line up with his words will you see if a man has the ability to love his future wife the way that Christ loved the church.
Author: Kim Brooks

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's HOT! Lord Help Me Keep My Panties ON!!!

Summer is here! The temperature is rising. The sun is HOT! BBQ grills are going, and folks are seemingly making every excuse to get together. With increased temperatures seem to come a decrease in one's wardrobe – more women are scantily clad, and some men are shirtless showing biceps and triceps. Not only that, old boyfriends or old girlfriends who you thought you would never hear from again somehow find your number and call you out the blue. Old because you used to mess with find you at an outing or a picnic. People you rejected months ago start looking good to you all of a sudden as you email them asking for their phone number.

What's a single saved man or woman of God to do?

Well the key is to resist temptation!

Just because the temperature is rising doesn't mean your flesh has to as well. However, what it does mean is because the flesh is generally more vulnerable during the summertime, you have to make a conscious effort, as a single believer wanting to please God with his or her body and lifestyle, to keep it under subjection.

How do you do that, you might ask?

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27, But I keep under my body, and bring it into

subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

The Amplified Bible's translation says this, But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].

There are a couple things to note in this passage of Scripture. The first thing is that Paul makes it very clear whose responsibility it is to keep one's body under, or buffet one's body like a boxer.
It is your responsibility and not God's.
The word "buffet" in Webster's 1828 edition Dictionary means to strike, to box, and to beat. You have to speak to your flesh, even if it means becoming violent with it. You have to command it to line up with God's Word.
Like Paul said in Galatians 5:24, And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. The word, "crucified," in this Scripture in the Greek means, to extinguish or subdue passion or selfishness. The flesh is selfish. The flesh wants what it wants now, no matter the consequences, no matter who it hurts – the flesh gotta have it.
However, the Spirit man, or the "real you" wants to please God.

Single believer, the anointing of God on your life is for other people. Know that one night of rolling around in the hay with someone of the opposite sex won't just affect you spiritually and maybe even physically if, God forbid, you acquire an STD, but it'll also affect the people God had in mind for you to touch with the Word of God and possibly be used by God to save their souls. Here, Paul understands this. It could also stop the power of God on your life and possibly derail the plan and purpose He had in mind for you if you continue in a life of unconfessed, or unacknowledged sin.
If you ask me, it's not worth it!!!!
Another way one can resist temptation is to guard the gates. No, not the pearly gates, but the gates which I refer to as passageways to the soul (which is the mind, will and emotions). Some of these "gates" include the eye gates and the ear gates. Be careful of what you allow your eyes to see.

Men, if you're walking down the street and you see a woman wearing "daisy dukes" (do folks still wear those?) do what my Bishop calls, "the Holy turn." This basically means you may see her at first, but then you immediately turn your head the other way. This way, your brain isn't given much time to stamp that woman's image in your brain for it to come up again later as you're about to go to sleep. Also, saints of God, you can't go see every movie that comes out on the big screen. And, speaking of screens, stay off Internet porn sites! Pornography can create a definite stronghold that could leave anyone, believer or non-believer, coming back for more. It dehumanizes people and turns them into mere sex objects, and creates false, ungodly expectations which even plagues some marriages.
Guard your eyes, protect and keep them from evil. For some of you, if you could be honest with yourself, it means not being able to frequent MySpace as much. Don't let ungodly vixens and sexy men trap you into spending hours and hours on MySpace, feeding your flesh, and spending less and less time in God's Word.

I heard an awesome statement from my co-pastor last week, and I would like to share it with you. He said that every sin starts with a thought. That is so true. Think about it. Before you slipped, before you ended up in the bed with that other person, then having to repent on Sunday morning, you thought about that thing. For this reason, I'm not a believer of the phrase, "It just happened." Nothing just happens.
It starts with a thought, then a phone call, then an invitation to come over, then the mood is set with the music and a romantic atmosphere, then you look deep into each other's eyes, then you think about how you really like this person, then ya'll have dinner, sit down in front of the T.V., then you're on the couch kissing each another, and now he's leading you to the bedroom, then off come your panties and you have pre-marital and "un" sanctioned by God sex. At any given moment there was an opportunity to say no and stop what was about to go down. What could prevent it from going down in the first place is to not set up an atmosphere for failure...i.e. late night calls over for dinner when you know you think this man is FINE!

Also, the main thing that keeps a believer from falling is the Word of God.
Meditating on the Word every day, reading Romans 6 and Romans 7 in the midst of flesh battles, praying and running to God when you get the urge instead of running to the telephone, keeps the believer from falling into sexual sin.
. . . but there is a place where you can trust God that He can keep you from falling if you acknowledge Him in all your ways, keep your mind stayed on Him, and keep your Spirit man strong by doing those things I previously mentioned, and by crucifiying your flesh – daily.

Author...Kim Brooks