“Hey, Pops!” Jenny came bounding down the stairs all excited.
“What’s up?” Her father looked up from the morning paper his glasses perched on the tip of his nose so he could read the fine print without them.
“Can you do me a solid? I need to borrow the car tomorrow night”
“Sure. What’s the occasion?”
“Oh, just going to the movies.” Her voice sounded a little too casual and her body language was a little off. After 19 years Jen’s father was able to read her just like the Newspaper he held in his hand.
“Going alone?” He countered with equal casualness.
The pause was pregnant.
“Look, it’s no big deal alright, I’m going with John, but Suzanne and Rick will be there too.”
“Sweetheart, you’re 19 years old and your mother and I expect you to make your own decisions but remember; decisions have consequences. You know how I feel about you and John. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think you’re getting too close too fast, you should… “
“But Dad, it’s not like we plan on having sex or anything we’re just having fun being together!”
“I understand that, Jennifer but when you spend so much time with one person you’re bound to develop feelings for them and pretty soon you’ll find that your emotions could be making the decisions for you, and then things may get out of control very quickly.”
“It’s my life and I need to make my own decisions, right? Anyway, what’s the big deal about sex before marriage anyway, I mean if two people truly love each other what’s wrong with that. Isn’t marriage just a formality, anyway?”
James looked at his daughter silently for a while. And like most fathers, even though he was looking at a young woman of 19 he was actually seeing his little 5-year-old girl.
“Come sweetheart, have a seat.” His words drew her in as only a father’s can.
“Jennifer,” he started slowly, “what we see on the TV and the Movies is not what marriage is supposed to be, it’s… “
“I know that Dad, I’m not stupid you know, I can see… “
“Wait, Babes, let me finish.” He pleaded gently.
Jennifer rolled her eyes and sighed like all the air was let out of her but she remained silent.
“Here’s what you need to know about marriage.” Her father continued.
“Marriage is more than just, I love you and you love me so let’s get together and have a family.”
“Marriage is a Blood Covenant.”
“A what??!!” Jennifer blurted, staring at her father like if his mental hard-drive had just crashed.
“On the wedding night, ” he explained, “when the newlywed virgin couple consummates their marriage the blood that flows is the sign of the covenant that they’ve entered in the presence of God and the witness gathered at their wedding.”
She continued staring at him in silence.
“You see Jen, marriage between a man and a woman represents the mystical union of Christ to His Church. That’s why the Church is called the Bride of Christ and in His parables Jesus likens Himself to a Bridegroom”
“So, that virginal blood that was shed on the wedding night will always be a sign of their marital covenant. Just like when Jesus died on the cross and He was pierced in the side with the spear, the blood that flowed over the spear is the sign of the New Covenant of salvation that we Christians enjoy.”
“That’s why we can use Jesus’ Blood as a spiritual weapon and “Plead the Blood” against the Devil’s works of darkness.
When we plead the Blood of Jesus we remind the Enemy of the power of the Covenant we are protected by so He has no choice but to bow to the authority of that Blood and the Covenant it represents.”
“In the same way, when you obey God and wait until you get married to have sex, the blood that’s shed on your wedding night enforces the Marriage Covenant and acts as a form of spiritual protection against the attacks of the Devil against your marriage.”
“But when you practice pre-marital sex and no blood flows when you consummate your marriage, the sign of your covenant is missing.”
“Of course, God still honors your vows but there’s no sign of the covenant for you to hold up against the Enemy, nothing for him to submit to and nothing you can use to remind him of the binding power of your covenant.”
“When the sign of your covenant is missing it encourages the enemy to attack your marriage more.”
“This doesn’t mean that once you’re a virgin when you get married you won’t have any problems, it just means that engaging in pre-marital sex puts you at a greater disadvantage when it comes to winning the spiritual war for your marriage.”
“Wow, Pops, that’s some heavy sh… stuff!” Jen stammered.
“I know… so, what do you think about it?”
“I’ll get back to you on that, father I need some time to process.”
Her father tossed the car keys to her as she pushed back the chair and stood up to leave.
He gave her that particular look that said, “You’ve been warned, the ball is now in your court” as he opened the Newspaper and resumed reading.
Jen slowly started up the stairs as she muttered to herself, “A Blood Covenant… Wow”
Hi guys…this isn’t easy for me to get up here and speak in front of you.
I am a kindergarten teacher and do much better speaking to 5 year olds than teenagers.
But God impressed on my heart to tell you my story so here it is… I was about 14 years old, just starting high school, when I made the decision to save myself for marriage.
Having grown up in church I knew that it was the right thing to do.
I felt very strongly about waiting for my husband and even though all of my friends felt differently they always respected my decision. Even my guy friends respected how I felt, however they always tried to get me to change my mind.
As the years went by, I watched as my friends dated guys, slept with them and then broke up. I remember listening to my friend, Pam as she cried her eyes out when she found out she was diagnosed with HPV, an incurable STD she got from a guy she hardly knew.
I begged my best friend not to go through with her abortion when she got pregnant but she refused my help.
I remember looking into my friend, Rebecca’s eyes as she lay on a hospital bed at South Oaks recovering from her suicide attempt.
She tried to kill herself because her boyfriend she gave her virginity to had broken up with her for another girl.
It confirmed to me that I had made the right decision.
These guys didn’t really care for these girls, mostly they just used them.
It became “known” that I was a virgin and wasn’t one of those girls. I kinda liked that. It made me different from everyone else.
And when people would ask me why, I would be able to tell them about my relationship with God and how he wants us to wait until marriage and how I wanted to do that for him.
I would tell myself…until a guy is willing to get up in front of my family, his family and God and promise to love me forever, he didn’t deserve me.
It was that simple.
My mom always told me that I would be the one the guys would remember, not the 10 other girls he slept with. He would remember me because I wouldn’t sleep with him.
And I can tell you today that my mother was right.
Years later when I ran into old boyfriends or even just my guy friends they would always say there was something different about you – you weren’t like the other girls.
They may not have known it at the time but in a way they respected me and realized later on why.
When, Lord, When?
Well, high school came and went. I had boyfriends, some waited and respected my decision and some didn’t.
College came and went, more boyfriends some waited, some didn’t. When I turned 25, I realized I had dated all these guys and not one was worthy, not one was the one that God had for me.
I was so thankful that even though I may have wasted some time and went through a lot of heartache, I was faithful to God and did not give away my virginity.
I was still waiting to give that gift to my husband.
I promised God I would stop dating and just wait. Wait for the one he had for me.
Well, about a year and half went by and I was still waiting.
Now I was starting to get worried. Here I am a 26 year old virgin. Did I really wait all these years and now I’m still waiting?
My patience was running out…I had read so many books on how to be single – I just couldn’t read one more book.
I would joke around with God and say when is he going to walk through those church doors?
I can’t wait anymore.
Well, it was Sunday July 11, 2004 when this gorgeous guy comes walking through the church doors.
As soon as I saw him I fell in love.
The moment we met I just knew that he was the one.
God had promised me that he would confirm it to me and he did. The very first time we hung out it was amazing. All the questions, all the doubts they just went away.
I looked at this man in the eyes and I could say “I waited for you – You’re the one.”
And to know that God was in it, that he had planned for this day to happen was incredible.
I can tell you it is so amazing to give this gift to your husband.
You loved him so much before you even knew him to save yourself just for him.
I have some pictures to show you from our wedding that took place this summer. We were married on July 7th almost exactly 2 years after we met, in the Bahamas.
Pastor Todd married us and this is the day that I waited for.
I have a prayer I would like to share with you.
It is a prayer that helped me through my waiting period.
When I met my husband, I showed him this prayer. He was so honored to see how much I loved him and how I prayed for him before we even met one another.
I hope you guys make this your prayer tonight.
Prayer of Purity
“Lord God, your Word declares that if I delight myself in you—if I enjoy and seek your pleasure above mine—you’ll give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).
Desiring a husband is neither evil nor selfish because marriage is honorable (Hebrews 13:4).
At the beginning of creation, you proclaimed, “It is not good that man should be alone” and then you created Eve to be a suitable partner for Adam (Genesis 2:18).
In the name of Jesus, I ask that you would protect the husband—a suitable partner—you have chosen for me.
Because the covenant of marriage is sacred (Mark 10:9), I ask for a man of God.
Please give me a husband whose love for me is only outmatched by his love for you; a man who will cherish me and build me up (Proverbs 31:28); a man who will honor me (I Peter 3:7) and our marriage vows; a man who will be a good father and provider; a man whom I will be attracted to physically, emotionally, and spiritually; a man who will love me as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).
Keep me from attaching myself to another man out of desperation.
I will not settle for a relationship that’s second best, convenient, or one that feeds my insecurities.
Guard my purity and give me the patience to wait. And when I meet him, confirm to me that he is the one.
Release from me the baggage of past relationships, and prepare me for the man You have chosen to be my husband.
Free me from any hindrances to a healthy and godly marriage: insecurities, habitual sins, selfishness, and emotional hurts.
Dispel my unrealistic expectations that set me up for disappointment.
I place my trust in you rather than my partner.
In this period of waiting, I will look to you alone to be my companion and best friend. You are the one who redeems my life from the pit, who crowns me with love and compassion, who satisfies my desires with good things (Psalm 103:4-5).
I will not be anxious, but as I present my requests to you, flood me with the peace that surpasses all understanding so my heart and my mind are guarded in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7).
In this request, I commit myself to trust you and do good, to dwell in the land and feed on your faithfulness.
I commit my way to you and trust that you will bring it to pass (Psalm 37:35). In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Movies speak to me very deeply; in a way my wife doesn’t really understand.
When I’m watching a movie I’m not just using my eyes and ears, all of me is involved in the total experience the movie is offering.
I temporarily live in that world with the characters and I’m open to learning whatever I can from the story being told.
My first movie is, “Braveheart” starring, Mel Gibson.
It’s a rare thing to find someone who so completely believes in his cause that he’s willing to die for it.
Many of us talk a big talk about what we believe but are we willing to literally die for that cause we’re so passionately defending?
Apparently William Wallace did!
One particular scene that touched me deeply was when Wallace told Robert The Bruce he would follow him if he took up the mantle of leadership and led the people the right way.
The Bruce looked at at Wallace with a completely new revelation.
This, more than anything else revealed Wallace’s heart and motives, clearly showing that he was more interested in serving the people than being served.
This is the unmistakable mark of a true leader, to serve others unconditionally without desire for reward or personal gain, the very thing I’ve been struggling with in my own life and ministry for many years.
Cultivating the heart of a true servant leader.
Wallace clearly defined this attribute and inspired me to pursue it more diligently.
Next is, “Fifty First Dates” starring, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Even though the opening scene is a bit raunchy this movie had an all round positive impact on me.
Sandler’s character willingly choose to put himself in a marriage where he would literally HAVE to win his wife’s love all over again EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THEIR LIFE FOR AS LONG AS THEY LIVED!
Every morning this woman would remember nothing about him… Nothing!
Everyday he’d wake up a total stranger to her and would have to live that day so she’d fall in love with him all over again.
The power of this concept is unsurpassed!
This spoke loudly to me because it’s what we all, as husbands, are supposed to be doing anyway… Winning our wife’s love every day!
Instead, we fall into a rut and find it so easy to take each other for granted.
I believe if we all worked as hard on improving our marriages as we do on improving our careers we would each enjoy married bliss!
Instead we’ve bought into the lie that all we need is love.
A successful marriage takes hard work and Sandler’s character epitomizes what the ideal husband’s attitude should be.
The third movie that simply blew my mind is, “March of the Penguins!”
What an awesome display of unadulterated fatherhood!
The Mom’s role wasn’t too shabby either but being a male myself the father’s role is what really got me.
I see this movie as an unmistakable beacon of hope, if our animal cousins operating solely on instinct can demonstrate such self-sacrifice in protecting and nurturing their young, can we who boast a superior intellect do any less?
This movie establishes an ideal for fathers of the human variety to strive for. It clearly defines a father’s position and what sacrifices he should be willing to make for his children.
So, there you have it, the top three movies that have impacted me deeply.
This is the reason when I’m settled down to watching a good movie it’s almost like I’m in church.
There’s an invisible “Do Not Disturb” sign hung around my neck because even though I want to be entertained I’m also trying to learn as much as I can on becoming a better husband, father and leader.
Author’s Note: Last paragraph included just in case my wife’s reading this (smile).