FEBRUARY TWENTY TWENTY
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february TWENTY TWENTY
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ANG EL IC M AGAZ INE IS A 50 1 ( C) 3 NO N-PRO FIT O RGANIZATIO N. O UR MIS S ION IS TO CO M M UNICATE JES US TO THE WO RL D .
e c n a m o R d n a e v o L Every February we release an issue dedicated to love and romance, dating, marriage and relationships. We believe marriage is a beautiful blessing and it's our purpose with this issue that we remind eyes and hearts of this blessing so that we all can value the matrimony of romantic love that is created by God. We intend for the single and the married, the divorced and the separated to receive Godly wisdom from our articles inside of this issue and for Biblical truth to be communicated on each page. Romantic love inspires stories and poems, songs and joy and it can also inspire hurt and emotions of pain. Our prayer is that God's love binds up wounds and for the purity of romantic love to be celebrated as it should be.
ARE YOU WHO YOU WA TO FIND? BY SHANNON STODDARD
“ARE YOU WHO THE PERSON YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS LOOKING FOR?"
ave you ever heard the expression, “Are you who the person you’re looking for is looking for?” Let that sink in for a minute. Are you who you want to find? The only crash course we get in the business of love usually comes from our parents. If our parents had a great marriage where loyalty, kindness, honesty and love were heavily present then we are ahead of most in the teachings of love. But if strife, possession and dishonesty were present then how do we not make the same mistakes? We know what we don’t want in our relationships but patterns and habits can be hard to break. Maturity comes from taking an up close and personal inventory of who we actually are becoming. As the old saying goes and holds deep truth, “I can only control myself.” The verse that we all know and is used at weddings still holds true. We may have dulled its shine but let’s take a look at it this way. I am patient I am loving I am kind I am not envious I do not boast I am not proud I am not rude I am not self seeking I don’t get angry easily I take no pleasure in evil of any kind I do not keep accounts of other people’s wrongs You may be in a marriage or heading towards marriage or realizing that you’re grateful you didn’t marry that person. Wherever you may be, think about who you want to be. Are you an honest person? Do you hide things from your husband or wife? Are you behaving in ways that would devastate you if your significant other were doing those same things? Do you have a double standard? Do you believe what the Bible says about love and marriage? The first step in becoming a better you, is to recognize those areas that need improvement or need to be cut off immediately and then take action. A fulfilling and loving relationship is possible because with God all things are possible. Dying to self is the battle. What are we willing to give up for the one we love? There is nothing greater than love because God is love. Love will do for you what nothing else in this world could. Things that concerned you before will be of little concern to you now when love in present. Love makes us nicer. We smile more. We feel invincible, ready to take on anything that comes our way. Love will change you for the better. We could have all the possessions in the world, but if we don’t know how to love properly, like God instructs, we miss out on one of the greatest gifts ever that Jesus so readily showed us. Our children need to see and experience love in their homes, so they don’t grow up untrusting or unable to experience love for themselves as adults. Love trickles down and soothes from generation to generation. We should all ask ourselves this question, what kind of love legacy are we living so we can leave our love mark on the next generation. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside my childish ways.
"WE KNOW WHAT WE DONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T WANT IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS BUT PATTERNS AND HABITS CAN BE HARD TO BREAK. MATURITY COMES FROM TAKING AN UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL INVENTORY OF WHO WE ACTUALLY ARE BECOMING"
9 OUT OF 10 PEOPLE FEEL DIVORCE IS ACCEPTABLE IF ADULTERY TOOK PLACE IN THE MARRIAGE. SOURCE : ANGELIC MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIA POLL
B Y J E S S E A N A Y A
Dear God, when my heart wants to drift, bring me back to when I fell in love with You. When I forget to love her, and take her for granted, pull me back to You. As lust and temptation lurks, please lurk in my soul. Help me be the man I need to be for You, for her and for myself. I can't do this by myself. I've sworn my love to her forever and always. Always keep me in Your love so I can be loving to her. Always direct and remind me I'm enough so my insecurities won't make her tough with a heart indifferent towards me or You. I can't do this without You, God. I can't do this without You. Keep me coming back to You.
55% OF PEOPLE DON'T BELIEVE IN SOUL MATES. SOURCE : ANGELIC MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIA POLL
dear SINGLE DEAR SINGLE GIRL, YOUR TURN IS COMING. I KNOW BECAUSE HE IS FAITHFUL IN HIS WORDS AND PROMISES.
B Y A L A N I E S A Y E R
ear single girl, The broken hearted, the weary, the ones struggling with worth and unmet desires. This is a love letter to you. This month when every corner you turn is filled with Valentine’s Day flowers and gifts, every isle of every store is filled with heart shaped candy and sappy love cards and it seems like everywhere you go, there’s a cute couple that reminds you of just how single you are, I hope you still know that you are worthy of those things too. Even now. I pray that during this time, you feel the immeasurable amount of love Jesus has for you. I pray that you are reminded that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Dear single girl, your turn is coming. I know because He is faithful in His words and promises. He will do what He said He would do. His greatness is unsearchable and leads us by a straight path for a place to dwell in. Dear single girl, I pray that you know you are worthy of your hearts deepest desires. The Lord calls you perfect in His sight, beautiful, beloved and worth more than rubies. You are LOVED. He is not withholding something from you. He is preparing something IN you and FOR you. You are not unwanted, you are chosen. You are not unloved, you were to die for. You are not alone, you are His. I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power to grasp how wide and how deep His love is for you. Beloved, God has not overlooked you. He has something and someone amazing in store for you. Your wildest dreams, He will top. Remember, HIS timing. Oh, the beauty He has in store for you. The promise just ahead.
DE AR SINGL E GIR L , I PRAY TH AT YO U K NOW YO U AR E WOR TH Y OF YO U R H E AR T S DE E PE ST DE SIRE S. TH E LORD CAL L S YO U PE R FE CT I N H IS SIGH T, BE AU T IF U L , BE LOVE D AN D WOR TH MORE TH AN RU BIE S. YO U ARE LOVE D .
78% OF PEOPLE WOULD ADVISE COUPLES TO WAIT TO HAVE SEX TILL MARRIAGE. SOURCE : ANGELIC MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIA POLL
HAPPILY EV ISN’ T TH
"IF WE GO INTO DATING AND MARRIAGE W IS GOING TO SOMEHOW SAVE US OR MAKE LIFE PERFEC
B Y A S H L E Y H A U B E N S C H I L D
h February, the month of love. The time when our society bombards us with images of love. Your favorite TV shows have characters falling in love. Your favorite artists sing about love. Whether or not you are in a relationship right now, you can’t escape the idea that love is the end game. Even growing up in a Christian home, I was strongly influenced by our society and idolized love. I grew up daydreaming about the day when I would meet my husband. I fantasized over it. ‘Happily Ever After’ was the goal. I think it had in part, something to do with all the Disney movies I watched as a child. The movies always ended with a happy ending. Often they ended with a marriage ceremony, adding to the idea that once I found that person I was going to marry, the hard part would be over. Well you don’t have to search long to hear a married person tell you that marriage is hard. I actually used to have the audacity to believe that marriage wouldn’t be as hard for me and my husband because we were “really in love”. We dated for three years before getting married, and guess what? The stories are true, and it’s hard. I’ll admit, there were some moments in the beginning where I wondered if it was supposed to be so hard. I struggled with loving someone who it turns out, was unlovely at times. I struggled even more with the unloveliness that he brought out in me. Gary Thomas writes in his book, The Sacred Marriage, “If you want to be free to serve Jesus, there’s no questionstay single. Marriage takes a lot of time. But if you want to become more like Jesus, I can’t imagine a better thing to do than to get married. Being married forces you to face some character issues you’d never face otherwise.” Facing your biggest character flaws isn’t romantic. Seeing the love of your life’s biggest flaws isn’t dreamy. Marriage is actually pretty embarrassing and exposing. Here’s why marriage is hard. The person you love most, the man or woman of “your dreams”, must be exposed to your messy and sinful heart. And you must choose to deal with your sinful heart and allow marriage to sanctify you. That doesn’t sound anything like how the romantic comedies tells you it should be. But that’s where the Gospel comes in. There have been moments where I have let my husband down, and I have had to ask for forgiveness for the embarrassing and messiest parts of me.
VER AFTER HE GOAL
WITH THE IDEA THAT OUR SPECIAL PERSON CT, THEN WE ARE SETTING OURSELVES UP FOR FAILURE" When he looks at me, having fully seen the ugliness of my heart and still chooses to forgive and love me, it gives me a pretty clear picture of when Jesus went to the cross for me. Vice versa, when my husband lets me down or hurts my heart and asks for my forgiveness, I see how Jesus forgives us again and again…seventy times seven. Marriage has taught me, more than any other experience in life, how to love like Jesus, and what it’s like to be loved by Jesus. Take it from a very happily married woman, marriage won’t make you happy, but it can make you holy (well, holier). I fear that too many of us are looking for our ‘Happily Ever Afters’. Far too many of us are looking for someone to save us. We are searching for a love that gives us meaning. Don’t get me wrong… Marriage is awesome! God has truly given me a gift in my husband. I still can’t believe I get to be married to him sometimes. But if we go into dating and marriage with the idea that our special person is going to somehow save us or make life perfect, then we are setting ourselves up for failure. Friends, we already have a Savior. We already have that perfect love story that the whole world is searching for. His name is Jesus. He knows you fully and still love you fully. He gives our lives purpose and meaning, and one day, we will live ‘happily ever after’ with Him in eternity. And until we are united fully with Him in Heaven, He has given us the wonderful gift of marriage. So whether you are married, dating, or single, I just want to encourage you. Look to the Bible for marriage advice over Disney movies. Look for someone who challenges you to be better, who brings out the best in you, and who points you to Jesus. Don’t search for “Happily Ever After”. Search for someone who you love and makes you happy, but who is also willing to stick with you through the unhappy parts. Because THAT’S how God loves us. He loves us in spite of the messy and ugly parts. Therefore it is how we should love each other. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we must also love one another… We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:911,19
48% OF PEOPLE FEEL THE AMOUNT OF PRIOR SEXUAL PARTNERS YOUR SPOUSE HAS HAD MATTERS. SOURCE : ANGELIC MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIA POLL
THE DATING GURU NOBODY WANTED WHAT ADVICE WOULD I GIVE TO THE MARRIED MAN PURSUING HIS WIFE, OR THE SINGLE MAN PURSUING A WOMAN IN HIS CHURCH? SIMPLE. BE HONORING.
erennially late, I asked my editor what he’d have me write on for the February issue. I knew we were discussing dating and relationships, but what angle did he want me to take? He asked what one piece of advice I would give men about pursuing women. I hope the resulting article will make women and fathers heads nod in approval but likely be less comforting to everyone else. Enjoy. This is a tender subject for me. Over the last few months I’ve had a few of the people I love be negatively impacted by cowardly husbands. You know what a cowardly husband looks like? He doesn’t own his issues, he runs away, deflects, dismisses. He doesn’t say sorry. He holds grudges and neither forgives nor forgets, because if he did, he would relinquish power. He doesn’t speak well of his wife when she’s not around, or when she is around. He blames his wife for things that go wrong. He tries to intimidate. He cares more about his wants than her heart. I hate cowardice. I hate the times I’ve acted like a coward. I hate that my wife sees it more than anyone else. I hate that she has seen the worst of me. I hate that I struggle to die for her as Christ loved the church. Yet, all that hate won’t change me. It’s not enough to hate something. It’s not what you are running from, it is what you are running to. We need a picture of what we want. We need a vision for a new way forward. I got that new vision a few months back. I heard a good word at a conference in September. They said, honor is the language of heaven. I’ve thought a lot about those words. I have the utmost admiration for people who are honoring in their actions and behaviors. I want that to be said of me. I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet. They said honor is the language of the Trinity. Honor is how we treat people. How we honor others says more about us than it says about them. It’s an issue of the heart. Honor was already on my mind. Andy Stanley did his annual dating series and asked the question, what would happen if the men within the church were known for honor? In that moment, I got my vision. I paused the message and sat with the question. Sat with it for the day, then the week, and often since. What would the world say
B Y B R A N D O N L Y O N S
if men within the Church were known for honoring? What if the men within your church were known for being honoring toward ALL women? Being a director at a fastgrowing church full of single 20 somethings, I see a lot of flirting going on. I even see some dating. My advice to the young men in my church is simple, be honoring. Some relationships work and some don’t, but in all relationships, be honoring. Imagine you 20 years from now. Now imagine that future you speaking to your current you. Would future you consider your actions, thoughts, and words honoring? Would he be proud of how you handled yourself? Would he be proud of how you protected her heart? Honoring the women in our lives is what love would require of us. Love is first and foremost other seeking. That’s why you don’t fall in and out of love. You fall in and out of attraction. You don’t feel in love. You act in love. That’s what Jesus modeled. That’s what he expects. It’s what the God who is love requires. This subject is a passion spot for me, so I could go on like this. I don’t have a clever way to say it. I just need to be direct. What advice would I give to the married man pursuing his wife, or the single man pursuing a woman in his church? Simple. Be honoring. It’s honoring to own your issues. It’s an act of humility. You don’t deflect, dismiss, or run. You stand up and own it. Paul never dodged the blood on his hands. The greatest Apostle considered himself the least of all. It’s the one who is the servant of all who will be the greatest in the kingdom. Best advice I got from my premarital counselor regarding inevitable arguments with my future spouse until you’re ready to figure out where you went wrong, you’re not ready to talk about it. Your (future) daughter will marry a man like her daddy. You want her to marry someone who blames her for problems? Didn’t think so. It’s honoring to say sorry. Face your sins like a man. When confronted, it was his heart of repentance that made David a man after God’s own heart. Face the pain. To love at all is painful. Every muscle you work aches and groans but the result, assuming good practices, is the building of strength and endurance. Don’t let your inability to say sorry short circuit God’s plan for your future. Let God
complete the refining work he is doing in you. It’s honoring to let go of grudges and forgive quickly. Solomon tells us a wise man overlooks an offense. The goal of being a man isn’t to be right, it’s to do right. The man who is always right will end up all alone. The man who does right will have many friends. Woe to us to withhold forgiveness for such minor offenses in light of all Christ gave for our litany of sins against God. It’s honoring to speak well of your bride when she’s around and when she is not around. Your words have the power of life and death. Got a problem? That’s on you. I complained to my mom about my wife once. She said, “My daughter is perfect in my eyes and I don’t want you to do anything to change that.” Lesson learned. I won’t criticize my wife to others. I won’t diminish her in their eyes. I only pray God would make me the husband my wife needs. It’s honoring to be meek toward the women in your life. Intimidation is the poorest form of leadership. It was Christ who was born to a single teenage mother in an outpost of the Roman empire and took the position of a servant. Jesus is our leadership standard. It is the meek who inherit the earth and what is meekness but strength under control? It’s honoring to be protective of the women in your life. You wouldn’t want a man to prey on your (future) daughter’s heart. Every woman is somebody’s baby girl. That’s a daughter of the Most High. It is honoring to protect a woman’s heart. A person’s emotions are not a game. A gentleman doesn’t go where he isn’t wanted; nor does he assume he has a right. She isn’t here for you to feel good about yourself. God has called you to treat her like a sister in Christ. Someone with whom you will spend eternity. Let’s be honest, acting honoring isn’t easy. You will take blame you don’t feel you deserve. You will foot the bill for services you did not render. That’s what men do. For even as Jesus was on his way to the cross, he could have rebuked the mockers and abusers. But he sat silently, dying for his church. In doing so, he honored the Father. He asked the Father for any other way and silently endured so that we might have life. That’s the vision. That’s the vision Paul gives us when he says love your bride as Christ did the church. It’s a high standard but it is what love requires. It’s above and beyond the rest but that’s the kind of marriage you want. You will need to kill off some cowardice within you. I’m here to tell you it is worth it. The rewards you will reap will be greater than any investment you make. Yet, maybe even more importantly, to quote Rudyard Kipling, “which is more you’ll be a Man my son!”
6 OUT OF 10 PEOPLE BELIEVE DIVORCE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IF ADULTERY IS NOT PRESENT. SOURCE : ANGELIC MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIA POLL
8 OUT OF 10 PEOPLE FEEL THEIR PARENTS MARRIAGE INFLUENCES THEIR EXPECTATIONS FOR THEIR OWN MARRIAGE. SOURCE : ANGELIC MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIA POLL