Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clouds Your Judgment

"If you don't have sex when you're dating, you will know that person cares about you for who you are and not for what you can give him or her," says Elsa Kok. "It purifies the relationship and takes it to 'Does this person love my character? Does he or she love what's in my heart? What my hopes and dreams are?'

"That totally gets sidelined if you start sleeping together because then you're just consumed in that, and you don't deal with issues as well. A struggle may come up, but then you kiss passionately, and the next thing you know, you're sleeping together and the struggle is set to the side. You don't know if the person's going to stay through conflict once you get married because you're not addressing the conflict when you're dating. It clouds everything to sleep together."

Rob Eagar says, "Touching someone sexually makes your heart desire to bond with that person. What happens is your emotions and feelings get cranked up to such an intense level that you tend to overlook more important aspects of the relationship, such as character, spiritual depth, or maturity. Once you get involved sexually, it can cloud your thinking and you look at the relationship too much from an emotional standpoint rather than a factual standpoint concerning a person's integrity and commitment to loving you."

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (Mark 14:38).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Possibility of Pregnancy

When you have sex outside of marriage, the possibility that a child will be conceived is always a factor, even when birth control is used. That's a profound and long-lasting consequence.

"What happens if you get pregnant with this person you're dating?" asks Laura Petherbridge. "You're grieving the death of your marriage and now you're pregnant with someone else's child. Could it get more complicated than that?"

With all the consequences of sex outside of marriage, people still struggle with it and still do it. This temptation is difficult to resist for so many reasons. God is not asking you to try your hardest to resist the temptation. He is asking you to come to Him. He wants you to sit at His feet and learn from Him. He will show you how to tap into His mighty power, which will enable you to be victorious over your struggles.

"Our only power and success come from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5 NLT).

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Monday, June 28, 2010

Health Risk

Having sex outside of marriage is health risk. Sexually transmitted diseases, even deadly ones, are prevalent in today's culture. STDs can cause sores, rashes, infertility, cancer, liver failure, neurological problems, and death. According to the American Social Health Association, "The estimated total number of people living in the US with an incurable STD is over 65 million. Every year, there are approximately 15 million new cases of STDs, a few of which are curable. . . . At least one in four Americans will contract an STD at some point in their lives."

Just because a person seems clean, nice, and respectable, does not mean that person does not have a sexually transmitted disease. If that person admits he or she had an STD at one point but it is gone now, this may or may not be true. STDs can lie dormant for years. Also, symptoms of many of these diseases may not be obvious.

Laura Petherbridge says, "When you sleep with someone, you are sleeping with every person that person has slept with. That's not a very pretty picture. It takes away all the romance and all the fun. You're putting yourself in danger physically."

May this verse be a prayer for you: "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hurts People Around You

If you have children or nieces and nephews, know they are watching you and learning from you. Even young adults in your neighborhood and church are looking to you as a role model, whether you want them to or not!

Kay Arthur shares, "I went from one man to another. I wasn't considering my future or the future of my two little boys who were watching me. I didn't know the impact of what would happen one day when my oldest boy came down the stairs and saw me making love to a man. Now, God forgave me, but there were wounds for that little boy, and there were consequences of that sin that carried on."

Teri shares, "When my heart was broken because of divorce, I had sex outside of marriage, and I lost the respect of my children. When your boy looks at you and says, 'Mama, I have lost all respect for you,' that hurts."

The act of sex is not confined to you and another person. It can affect everyone who knows and loves you. Choose to abstain not only for yourself, but for the sake of others.

"If I've let myself be seduced by a woman and conspired to go to bed with her, . . . I'd deserve the worst punishment you could hand out. Adultery is a fire that burns the house down; I wouldn't expect anything I count dear to survive it" (Job 31:9, 11-12 Msg).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Diminishes Power and Pleasure of Sex

Rob Eagar says, "The more you get involved in sex outside of marriage, the more the power of sex is going to diminish because you're not truly experiencing sex in the way it was designed by God. Premarital sex becomes a superficial act that objectifies another person for your selfish pleasure, and you can't have intimacy with an object. That's why sex outside of marriage will eventually become a boring, hollow experience."

This happens because you are trying to fill the emptiness in your life with something other than God. If you don't truly open yourself to God's love, then you won't be able to fill the holes. God can fulfill you, but you must let Him fill you His way, not your way. Surrender yourself fully to Him, and stop any patterns of sexual activity that you've gotten yourself into. He can help you with that as well.

"With the Lord's authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They don't care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed" (Ephesians 4:17-19 NLT).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Erodes Ability to Trust

"I believe that trust is the crown jewel of a relationship," says Dick Purnell, "and when that's violated, it is very difficult to ever get it back. One of the most important consequences of sex outside of marriage is mistrust. You never know if you can trust the other person; you don't even know if you can trust yourself."

Having sex outside of marriage not only erodes your ability to trust now, but it also affects the trust relationship in a remarriage. Dick Purnell says, "When you get married, the consequence goes right into your marriage because you've lacked self-control. How can you trust the other person to have been pure for you when you weren't pure for him or her?"

By God's grace, you can change your ways and you can rebuild your capacity for trust and become pure again through Him.

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good" (Titus 2:11-14).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Consequence of Pain

Having sex outside of marriage results in serious consequences. One consequence is the immense pain that comes at the end of any sexual relationship. Because you supernaturally bond with every person you have sex with, ending that relationship will result in a tearing of the bond, even if that bond was only created through a one-time act.

Rose Sweet says, "If you're sexually involved after divorce, there is a huge price to pay because sex is not isolated to the sexual act. God designed sex to be a whole person experience. Sex was intended to image God's free, full, faithful, and fruitful love. That four-fold love is only present in marriage. When sex does not reflect these four factors, it hurts everyone from the couple to the children to society. So, why subject yourself to a few moments of pleasure for months or years of pain?"

The Bible says to not even think about having sex outside of marriage. When these thoughts come into your head, pray immediately or prayerfully repeat a Scripture verse. Then find a healthy, fun way to release that energy.

"The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Romans 13:12-14).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ubuntu as Mom’s Operating System

By Jonathan DePrizio

A lot of tech-savvy indivuals face the same dilema: their parents, who aren’t so tech-savvy, count on them to provide constant technical support for their Mom & Dad PC. This can become an incredible burden in a Windows world, where the dangers of spyware, viruses, and total system meltdown loom large. I’ve found that the best solution to the problem is not to load up the parents’ PC with antivirus or malware protection, but to ditch Windows altogether and go with a clean Ubuntu approach.

Here are seven reasons why an Ubuntu-based machine makes the best Mom & Dad PC:

1. The software is free

Instead of having to pay for an additional copy of Windows, Ubuntu is a free download. Additionally, Ubuntu’s software center has lots of free applications that are of a high enough quality to meet the needs of mom and dad. Using an Ubuntu solution with Open Office easily saves several hundred dollars worth of software licenses when compared to an equivelant Microsoft solution.

2. The hardware is low-cost

On top of the free software, the system requirements for Ubuntu are minimal. I setup my parents on a low-cost Atom-based nettop which cost about $300 to build, complete with a solid 1.6GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 300GB hard disk. Obviously this system is going to win any gaming competitions, but for the solitare that mom likes to play, and the news sites that dad likes to surf, it’s got plenty of power.

3. It’s low maintenance

A Windows-based machine would require monthly patching and rebooting, virus protection, malware scanners, and a host of other meta-applications, just to keep the system running smoothly. With Ubuntu, I simply setup automatic updates to run once a week, and I’ve completely forgotten about it since then. Every once and a while I’ll login to the system and run a quick “apt-get dist-upgrade” just to make sure I haven’t missed anything important. And I don’t have to worry about viruses or malware at all.

4. Remote Assistance

In the case that something does go wrong, it’s a lot easier to troubleshoot the problem when I can just SSH in remotely (using X11 forwarding if necessary), find the problem, and fix it; no talking Mom through how to readjust the screen resolution when I can do it myself in a fraction of the time. And SSH means that I can solve any technical problems from anywhere.

5. They can’t mess anything up — too badly

Although it is possible for me to fix things remotely, I almost never have to. That’s because Mom and Dad have their own, non-privilaged user account. It is an easy way to rest assured that they can’t mess anything up too badly — even if they somehow manage to destroy their individual account, the reset switch is as easy as creating a new user (I’ve never had to do this). Compare this to Windows, where the norm is to run as Administrator, and the reset swith is a format and clean install.

6. It gets the job done

If you have a mother that plays WOW or does CAD, maybe an Ubuntu-based PC isn’t right for them. But if that’s the case, they probably know enough about computers that you don’t need to hold their hand through all their minor technology troubles. But, if your parents, like mine, simply want to check their email, play card games, and surf the net, then Ubuntu will get the job done without getting in the way. Whereas any Windows machine is guaranteed to become loaded up with all sorts of extensions, additional programs, and malware just by the act of putting Dad on the internet, you can be sure this won’t happen with Ubuntu.

7. It’s easier for YOU!

And ultimately, that’s why Ubuntu makes for the best parent PC. Because the parents don’t really care what their OS is, as long as they can do the things they want to do with it, whether it be Linux, Windows, or Mac. But by chosing Ubuntu, you’ve simplified your own life by removing the need to provide constant technical support. And, if something eventually does happen, you know it will be less of a headache to resolve the problem than if you had gone with an alternative solution.

What do you think?

Do you provide tech support for your parents? What OS are they running, and how often do they need to you to solve their technical problems?

"God Will Forgive Me Later"

The Bible says God will forgive all your sins if you ask Him with a sincere and repentant heart. Many times people will make the decision to go ahead and sin, or in this case, to go ahead and have sex outside of marriage, since God will forgive them later. These people forget that God looks at the sincerity of a person's heart when He grants forgiveness. He does not forgive just because a person says the words "forgive me." The Bible says that before you seek forgiveness, you must first repent. To repent means to turn away from your sin and move in the opposite direction.

God's gracious gift of forgiveness cannot be used as a license to do whatever you want with the thought that He'll clean you up in the end.

Dick Purnell says, "Forgiveness and the power to change are two sides of the exact same coin. When God works in your life, change is what He wants to see—change for the good and for the better, not just, 'Oh well, He'll forgive me.'"

You cannot try to manipulate God's character—expecting Him to forgive when you want to be forgiven, to bring about a change when you want a change, or to answer a prayer a certain way because you feel that's the best answer.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"I Need to Be Reassured of My Virility/Attraction"

Divorce delivers a strong blow to your feelings of worth and desirability. As a result, you are vulnerable in situations where someone is attracted to you.

Bonnie Keen says, "After divorce there is a tremendous need for touch and for somebody to affirm your sexuality. It's wise to say, 'Okay, I know that I'm vulnerable here.'" Because you have this knowledge of yourself, you can prepare in advance to avoid those situations and find other self-affirming activities to do.

When someone affirms your sexual desirability, you may be tempted to have sex to prove a point to your former spouse. You may think, You didn't think me desirable, but I'll prove that somebody thinks I'm attractive and fun to be with and that I'm a good sexual partner.

You do not need to prove anything to anyone. God knows you; He knows your heart; and He places tremendous value on your inner and outer beauty.

Elsa Kok says, "God is saying 'You don't have to go there. If you feel you aren't irresistible, come to Me. I'll remind you how precious you are. I'll remind you how beautiful you are. You may want to be irresistible. But trust me, for a relationship, it's okay to be resistible."

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

Monday, June 21, 2010

"We Are Already Married in God's Eyes"

We have said this before. Either you are married or you aren't married. There's no in-between state.

Dick Purnell says, "The only way you're married in the eyes of God is to walk down the aisle between God and people and commit your life to the other person in a ceremony. You are showing, with witnesses, that you're serious and you're committed. Having the excuse that 'we're married in the eyes of God' doesn't hold water; it's worse than a sieve with the water going right through it."

In an age where cohabitation is common and accepted, it is difficult for some people to understand that sex and marriage are sacred and holy and worthy of our respect.

God has a perfect design for marriage—for your marriage. If you devote yourself to God and God's plan, you will experience a life that is fulfilling, secure, and joyful. He wants what is best for you. Even when your plan for sex and marriage may seem better to you, know that His plan is better.

"As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy'" (1 Peter 1:14-16).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"But This Relationship Is Different"

Yes, this relationship may be special and unlike anything you've ever experienced. But this is not a good reason to have sex with that person. As a matter of fact, it's an excellent reason not to have sex with him or her.

If your new relationship is orchestrated by God, then you have many wonders to look forward to in the future if God calls you to be married. If you have sex with this person before marriage, your relationship will not be as good as it would have been had you followed God's original plan.

Elsa Kok says, "In a dating relationship some people justify moving further sexually because they are in love; they have strong convictions towards Christ; and they're going to get married anyway. They rationalize that they don't have to follow the rules like other people do. They say, 'We're just loving each other.'

"God's guideline is set for you because He is protective of your heart and He loves you. He is not robbing you of joy. He wants to protect the relationship, and He wants to protect your heart."

Show your love for Christ and for the other person by staying within God's protective limits.

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him" (John 14:15, 21).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"I'm Not Hurting Anyone"

Can you truly say that no one will get hurt if you have sex outside of marriage?

"First of all," says Dick Purnell, "you don't really know another person's heart. It says in Jeremiah 17:9 that 'the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.' How can you know if you have hurt another person? You don't even know your own heart. The only one who knows your heart is God.

"You are also hurting yourself because you've lost self-control; you don't really know what love is all about; and you've gotten yourself into a situation you don't know how to get out of.

"You are not only hurting yourself, but you are also hurting other people, and you are setting a pattern for others who are watching you. Many times children will look at adults and say, 'If that's the way they act, that gives me an excuse to act the same way.'"

Sex outside of marriage is harmful. Please be careful of deceiving yourself that it is not.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings" (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV).

Friday, June 18, 2010

"I'm Only Going This Far and No Further"

Setting boundaries ahead of time for your relationships is a crucial step. You need to be prepared to not budge once you've set those limits. When you are not in a relationship, it's easy to say, "These are the boundaries for sure." But when you meet someone who is wonderful, you are tempted to go just a little bit further.

You may think, Well, a good-night kiss never hurt anyone. Then, before you know it, that good-night kiss gets more passionate, and you continue to push the boundaries, setting new ones slightly further out.

Elsa Kok says, "You have to set a firm line, and you have to agree on that line and not continue to press the boundaries to keep it more exciting. The amazing thing is when you set those boundaries and keep them, you're forced to get creative in how you express your care for someone. It opens communication that you may never have thought of before because now you are forced to say things and not just express them physically. It actually builds the romance and enhances the relationship because you are doing things a different way."

Take care not to rationalize your actions. Instead, seek a better way of doing things.

"Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?" (Proverbs 6:27-28).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"I'm Entitled to It"

Our society has the mentality that we are entitled to feel good, to have nice things, and to go after whatever it is that we want. Society says if you work hard, you deserve it.

Paula Rinehart comes across this same mentality as she counsels people in divorce. She often hears, "Given what I've been through, of course I need the validation and the healing of a sexual relationship outside of marriage."

You may think that you deserve to have sex and that God's limits should not apply in your situation. But you may not be thinking of the potential pain and destruction you are opening yourself up to by engaging in sex outside of God's plan. You may not be thinking of the harmful consequences to others around you.

Being saved by Christ is not based on a person's work or achievements, and it is not something anyone deserves. As a matter of fact the Bible says that because we are sinners by birth (not inherently good) that we deserve punishment. But Jesus came and died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins and then He rose again and is alive in heaven today. You can choose to accept His free gift of love and life, not because you deserve it, but because He loves you so incredibly much.

"What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to" (1 John 3:1 Msg).

"It's the Other Person's Fault, Not Mine"

Some people, after having sex, will rationalize their actions by blaming the other person. Maybe not to the extent of saying, "It's all his or her fault," but more subtly in the mind.

If you have engaged in sex outside of marriage, perhaps you have had thoughts such as these:

* I truly would not have done that if the decision had been wholly mine to make.
* I felt like I had no choice at that point.
* He (or she) wore me down insisting that we should, and I got tired of worrying about it.

Number one: the decision is wholly yours. Number two: you always have a choice. Number three: the stress you feel when the other person insists you have sex will be much greater if you give in. Plus, if the other person thinks sex is an option right now, then you need to think carefully if this is the kind of person you need or want in your life.

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God . . . does [not] tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:12-15).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Note taking with an iPad ... netbook... laptop...

I came accross a posting by Michael Hyatt that I believe had some useful suggestions on note taking, and while he was using these with his iPad these suggestions could be helpful with a netbook or laptop as well.

If an item is particularly important or insightful, I put a double exclamation mark in front of it, like this:

!! This is a really important item. I’d like to be able to find it quickly when I scan my notes later.

If an item requires further research or resolution, I put a double question mark in front of it, like this.

?? This is an item that needs more research.

If an item requires follow-up, I put a double “at sign” next to it. The at sign reminds me of David Allen's GTD Task Management System.
The item looks like this:

@@ This is an item that needs follow-up.

If I have assigned a follow-up item to someone, I put a double ampersand sign in front of it. The ampersand, which is symbolic for “and” reminds me that I am doing this task with someone else’s help. It looks like this:

&& This is a delegated item that needs tracking.

When I get back to my office after the meeting, I act on these items, either calling people, sending emails, or adding the items to my task manager.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rationalizing That Sex Is Okay

Have you made the decision to abstain from sex outside of marriage? If so, be prepared ahead of time for rationalizations that may creep into your head. Satan is real, and he whispers lies in your ear to try to convince you to go against what you believe.

If you aren't seeking God's constant protection, you may begin to believe the lies and do things you weren't planning on doing because "it's not that bad" or "it's not like I'm doing such and such."

When faced with decisions, don't take what seems to be the easiest path or the one that will make you happy the quickest; it might lead to even worse difficulties than you've already had.

You are a strong individual when Christ is in your life, and God has sent His Holy Spirit to enable you to make the right decision when faced with temptation. He is also there to help you make decisions that will keep you from being in those situations in the first place.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place" (Ephesians 6:10-11, 14).

Almighty God, I choose to abstain from sex outside of marriage from this point forward, but You know I can't resist the temptation on my own. Suit me with Your armor and prepare me to stand firm. Amen.

Monday, June 14, 2010

God's Limits Are for Your Protection

God is not trying to punish you or make things more difficult for you by limiting sex to marriage. He is protecting you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

You are already vulnerable emotionally because of the separation or divorce. A sexual relationship can cloud your judgment, setting you up to be hurt. Also, deliberately disobeying God will block the joy, peace, and assurance that come from Jesus.

Physically, there are many consequences to having sex outside of marriage: sexually transmitted diseases (some of which can be fatal), pregnancy, and being forced to do something you do not want to do.

Rose Sweet explains the spiritual importance of sex: "Some might think God is being unreasonable to limit sex to marriage, but that's because we're ignorant. Most of us haven't really tried to understand the fullness of what sex is. Sex is a renewal of the marriage bond. It's a renewal of a covenant—just as God was with His people in the Old Testament and as Christ is now with the church. In other words it's saying, 'I take you forever, completely, and in every way, and I will never bring any harm to you.' You can never have that in a casual or in an emotionally committed but non-married sexual relationship."

Choose to stay within God's limits. If you are not sure what God's limits are about specific acts surrounding the sexual experience, search God's Word for principles that apply to those situations. Read Ephesians 4-6 together.

"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. . . . Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 5:3-5).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Breaking the "One Flesh" Bond

Sexual intercourse—and the words, touches, and thoughts that go with it—is God-created and God-approved within the bonds of marriage. Sex is so amazing that when a couple comes together, they supernaturally bond. Even after intercourse is over, the couple is still bonded because sex cannot occur without that supernatural bonding to occur as well. Genesis 2:24 says the couple becomes "one flesh."

"If sex were just physical," says Paula Rinehart, "any of us could walk away and feel nothing from it. But there's a real bond that's made. When people go through the breaking of multiple sexual bonds, they are losing a little bit of themselves over and over. Often when I relate to a woman who's had a number of men in her life, I feel like I'm relating to someone for whom the lights are on but I can't get in to her personality. She's simply been through the breaking of too many bonds."

Maybe you have engaged in sex outside of marriage or are worried you have lost an irretrievable part of yourself from your prior marriage. Dr. Linda Mintle offers this reassurance: "Sometimes people who have divorced wonder if a part of them has been forever lost. No, in God's economy, that part of you can be recovered through prayer and through asking God to restore that loss to you."

God can redeem you from any situation and sin. He can free you and restore wholeness to you. Just ask Him.

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you" (Isaiah 44:22).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

God's Perspective

God designed sexual pleasure to be expressed and enjoyed within the bonds of marriage.

Rob Eagar says, "Satan wants you to think the best sex is forbidden sex. God says the best sex is in any committed marriage relationship because in that environment you're free to be yourself and another person is celebrating you for who you are. Plus, the commitment is there, so as you give your body and soul over to another person, you're confident that that person is in it for the long haul too. Hot sex happens when you are bonding yourself on all levels, and God says that can only be found in a marriage relationship."

When you are interested in a member of the opposite sex, whether it's a hopeful flirtation or a committed relationship, you must remember that your body is God's temple. Christ dwells within you if you have asked Him to do so. This man or woman you are interested in should honor you and your body in the same way he or she would honor the Lord Himself. Are you receiving that kind of honor? Are you showing yourself that same reverence?

"In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another. Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? . . . So let people see God in and through your body" (1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Msg).

Father, my body is a sacred place. Please forgive me for past sins against my own body. I turn away from those sins and embrace the purity of a life with You instead. Amen.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Society Embraces Sexual Freedom

Our culture approves of and encourages sexual expression and sex outside of marriage. Daily we are bombarded by sexual images and with the message that sex outside of marriage is good.

"Sex is all around us, but that's no excuse," says Dick Purnell. "Just because everybody jumps off the bridge and dies doesn't mean you have to do the same thing."

Kay Arthur says, "Sex has become everything in our society today. Because there's no fear of God before our eyes, we flaunt our sexuality. We sleep around. We live with people. We don't get married. We think of sex as the cure-all."

Take a moment to consider what you believe about every aspect of a sexual relationship—from showing interest, to flirtation, to holding hands, to kissing—everything that leads up to and surrounds the act of sexual intercourse. Define your beliefs ahead of time so that you can stand firm on your convictions. If you are unsure about the rightness or wrongness of a particular thing, you will likely convince yourself that it is right when the feelings and emotions start coming in. Search the Bible and pray to God to help you make the right choices about what you believe concerning every aspect of sex before you find yourself in those situations.

"People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives" (Proverbs 16:2).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memo from Dell: Ubuntu linux is safer than Windows

Even as Dell ships millions of Windows 7 systems, the PC giant is making a bold statement on its web site. Indeed, if you look hard enough you’ll find Dell stating that “Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft Windows.” Moreover, Dell quietly says it plans to ship Ubuntu 10.04 systems in mid-2010.

Visit and you’ll find a “Top Ten” list of “things you should know about Ubuntu.” Item number 6 on Dell’s list states:

“6) Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft® Windows® The vast majority of viruses and spyware written by hackers are not designed to target and attack Linux.”

On the one hand, Dell states the obvious: Hackers target Windows (rather than Linux) because of Microsoft’s massive installed base. But on the other hand, it takes guts for a major PC maker to state — in black and white — that Canonical’s Ubuntu is safer than Windows. The move will surely ruffle some feathers in Redmond.

But the story doesn’t end there. Dell claims it has shipped more computers pre-loaded and pre-tested with Ubuntu than any other computer maker in the world since 2007.

No doubt, Dell remains committed to Windows 7. But Dell’s decision to ship Google Android-based tablets and Ubuntu 10.04 systems reinforces a hard fact: PC industry leaders continue to seek alternatives to Windows, especially in emerging markets like mobile devices.

Sex Is Pleasurable

Sex is pleasurable on many levels and sometimes the desire for sexual affirmation is overwhelming. Sex not only feels good physically, it also satisfies emotional and spiritual needs—when practiced within the bonds of marriage. Unfortunately, because of the satisfying nature of sex within marriage, your body and mind can fool you into thinking that it will be satisfying outside of marriage as well.

When a person of the opposite sex shows interest in you, you feel affirmed and attractive; you feel a spark that you thought was out for good, and you want more of it.

Laura Petherbridge says, "Many times when you first start dating again, it's been so long since anybody has treated you this nicely, or made you feel special, that it's easy to drop your guard."

There is a better way to fulfill these desires. Jesus Christ can meet your every need. He can satisfy the hunger within you. God has called you to rise above your feelings and be filled with Him.

"I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people. I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him" (Ephesians 1:18-19 NLT).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Desire for Sex

The desire to have sex is natural, and when you were married, you were free to satisfy that desire. Your longing for sexual intimacy won't go away just because you are separated or divorced. In the coming days, we will help you gain an understanding of the sexual issues that are or will be confronting you at this stage in your life.

Rose Sweet says, "Sexuality after divorce is one of the toughest things to deal with. You've been sexually involved in your marriage. It's normal. It's natural. It's healthy. Now you don't have it. What do you do with those feelings?"

Elsa Kok says, "Your natural inclination, if you've been in a married relationship, is if you kiss and that kiss is passionate, that right away leads to sexual contact. You have to set strict boundaries when it comes to dating and relating to the opposite sex."

God created the sexual experience to be beautiful and good between a husband and wife. Outside of marriage, a sexual union is fraught with difficulties and negative consequences.

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7).

Holy God, I want to honor You and remain pure. To tell you the truth, though, sometimes I'm just too tired to be strong in this area and sex sure feels good. But I choose to do better than that. I choose to turn to You for help and strength. I know that what You will give me is far beyond the rush illicit sex will give me. Lord, Your gifts are deep, lasting, and strong enough to build a life's foundation on. Amen.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Showing Affection in Your New Relationship

How do your children feel when you show affection to the person you are involved with?

"It's very disturbing to children. That should be something that's shown to them more if the relationship is turning into a marriage than in the dating situation," says Gary Richmond. "Children think this is inappropriate behavior. They don't feel comfortable seeing their parent be affectionate with a stranger or someone outside of the family. It isn't natural to them.

"In many cases in dating relationships, the couples are more demonstrative as dating couples than they were as married people, so the children have never witnessed this before, which is frightening to them."

Jan Northington says, "It's important to allow your kids the freedom to express their feelings in a safe way and in a safe place. That is so hard. When you are in the midst of your own emotions, you want to jump in and make your point. That's the time you have to step back and allow your children their own feelings and help them put their feelings into words and be honest."

Ask your children how they feel about you dating. Ask them if anything makes them feel uncomfortable or worried regarding your new relationship. Ask them how they feel about the affection they see between you and the person you are dating. Answer your children's questions with age-appropriate answers. Consider coming up with a compromise so that both the children and the adults can feel comfortable with the amount of affection shown.

"Children take pride in their parents" (Proverbs 17:6 Msg).

Monday, June 7, 2010

When Should You Involve Your Kids?

"Do not immediately introduce the children to the person you are dating," advises Gary Richmond. "Tell the children that you are dating and if anything comes of the dating, you will keep them apprised so they don't have the constant fear of the unknown. They will be secure in the fact that if they do not hear any more, that nothing serious is happening."

When you bring together the person you are dating and your children, a relationship will begin to form between them. Perhaps the person you date likes to talk with your children, plan surprises for them, bring gifts, or play their favorite games with them. If the new relationship ends, then the children will have to deal with feelings of abandonment again. That is not fair to them.

Dr. Bob Barnes says in a dating relationship you "have the privilege of teaching the children how to date, how to stay pure, and how to not rush into anything." Every moment of your life is a teaching opportunity for your children.

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them" (Deuteronomy 4:9).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Before You Enter a New Relationship

"I made a mistake after my separation and the first part of my divorce," admits Cindy. "I started dating a very nice man. Then I realized, 'Wait a second—as flags were going up—this is the same kind of guy I just divorced.'

"Fortunately, he had said to me 'You're not ready to date yet,' for he too had been divorced. At first I thought, What do you mean? I know when I'm ready to date and when I'm not. But he was right. I wasn't ready."

Cindy, with her three teenage children watching, made the decision that she needed to experience complete healing before she began to date again. She realized that she needed to be okay on her own, and she knew she could only move forward with God at the helm of her life.

Before you enter a new relationship, you and your children need to be healed. Teach your children that God can be the one to meet all of your needs and He will provide the healing you so desperately need.

"With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. Don't ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the LORD and stay away from evil. This will make you healthy, and you will feel strong" (Proverbs 3:5-8 CEV).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Relationships: Kid's Perspective

New relationships can have a profound effect on your children. You might be looking forward to having a new relationship, but, with few exceptions, your children are not.

Children for the most part don't want to share their parent with someone else. A new relationship can be scary, confusing, and uncomfortable for the children. Your own perspective on a new relationship is nothing like the perspective of your children. Listen to your children's fears and concerns and reassure your children how special and important they are to you. Always answer questions with thoughtfulness. You might be feeling giddy with the prospect of a new relationship, but your child is likely to be completely serious and concerned.

"Some children will encourage their parent to date; they say they want another mother or father," says Linda Jacobs. "Your children see how lonely and unhappy you are, and they think that if you found another partner, you would be happy. The children may put their own needs aside out of love for you." Carefully consider your children's possible motives for saying they want you to date. More than likely your children deep down really don't want you to date.

"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:10).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Your Former Spouse's Questionable Lifestyle

Some of you have a former spouse who is living an immoral or questionable lifestyle. Should you send your kids into this environment for visitation? That's a difficult question.

While you cannot control what goes on in your former spouse's home, you can control your reaction to the situation and the words you say to your children about it. Sometimes children are quick to tell you things that happened at the other parent's house that they know you will disapprove of. Do not prompt your children to tell you these things. That places the children in the middle again, and your role is not that of detective or police.

Your children may come home and say, "We saw some R-rated movies that you didn't want us to see." Here is where you check your own response before blurting out disparaging words against the other parent.

Dr. Bob Barnes recommends that you say something like, "I'm sorry about that. Your dad and I, or your mom and I, have differing opinions on those kinds of things. I'm sorry that happened. Do you want to talk about the movie itself? Let's do that."

Hopefully your former spouse will be open to calmly discuss your concerns, but if this is not possible, do not despair. Even though you can't be with your children at all times, God can and He is. Read the following Bible verse out loud with conviction.

"I know whom I have believed [God!], and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Your Attitude About Visitation

Dr. Bob Barnes says, "You need to not get in those little verbal battles and games that happen between ex spouses regarding visitation. Do the best you can to cooperate. Whether your ex cooperates with you or not is his or her decision. You need to do the best you can for your children's sake, and you need to not compete with these visitation times. Be happy for your children when they come back happy, and do not make them feel guilty about good things that have happened in their lives. You need to be mature and be glad for your children, even though what your ex is doing just grates on your nerves.

"Strive to do the best you can. Every time you make a mistake, when you raise your voice at your children and when you say something you wish you hadn't said, you need to apologize to your children and to your Lord. The beauty is you're going to be able to start over tomorrow."

Remember that the relationship between you and your former spouse has changed. You are no longer working on a marriage but you are now two people parenting the same children in separate households. Your focus should be on your own parenting skills and issues.

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men" (Ephesians 6:7).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Methodist Church launches app for iPhone

The Methodist Church has become the first major denomination in Britain to launch its own application for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The new app will allow users to view Bible studies and daily prayers.

It is hoped it might appeal to both believers and those who might be more cautious about attending church.

The app may also offer an alternative for people who want a daily dose of scripture, but are not keen on carrying a Bible on their daily commute.

The Methodist Church stresses that technology should complement, not replace traditional worship.

However, they believe the download will be popular and are already planning the next version.

Apps, which are pieces of computer software downloaded from the internet onto mobile phones, have become increasingly creative in recent years.

The Methodist Church is already engaged in new media with its Twitter account, various blogs and online Bible studies.

Little John the Baptist

"Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And who ever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. "

Johnny's Mother looked out the window and noticed him "playing church" with their cat.

He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work. A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back To the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water.

She called out, "Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!"

Johnny looked up at her and said, "He should have thought about that before he joined my church."


The way you deal with visitation and interact with your former spouse will affect your children. Take care that you communicate with your spouse in a way that is friendly and without blame for the sake of the children.

If you are struggling with visitation issues, here are some suggestions to better handle these difficulties:

"There are no good answers for visitation," says Dr. Bob Barnes. "It's not God's plan. It's not ideal. The best-case scenario is for you to decide that regardless of your ex, you are going to try to cooperate and compromise.

"Your ex may always want you to drop the children off and pick them up and never participates in the transportation. It's not fair, but you are not dealing with the nurturing of your ex anymore. You are dealing with the nurturing of your children. You don't want your children to arrive under strain all the time because you and your ex are furious with each other. The children lose here.

"You have to decide that you are going to go the extra mile. Maybe you've gone the extra mile for eight years now, and you are tired of it. Do it for the Lord's sake and for the children."

If you are angry or frustrated with your former spouse and you show it, then you are teaching your children to be angry and frustrated when things are unfair or things don't go their way.

"The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him" (Proverbs 20:7).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FOSS and Option for the Poor

a repost from Fr. Stephen Cuyos , MSC. Fr. Stephen Cuyos is a Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) priest, who blogs about his faith and ministry, about the use of new technologies and social media for evangelization, as well as his advocacy for Linux and Free/Open Source Software.

Christians worldwide are called to follow Jesus’ example of showing preferential concern for the poor. This means that as Christ’s followers, they are called to respond to the needs of all, especially the marginalized and the most vulnerable. The philosophy of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is based on cooperation, common good and mutual benefit, and is in many ways consistent with the Catholic Church’s preferential option for the poor

Option for the poor is rooted in the biblical notion of justice and common good, where God calls us to be advocates for the voiceless and powerless in society. It means that we need to look at the world from the perspective of the poor and to work for justice and equitable sharing in the world community. In the area of computers, it means that we need to break down an oppressive system that forces billions of people to use closed, proprietary formats and subscribe to sky-high licensing fees. It is both a matter of justice and common good that structures and systems be put in place to address the needs of the poor to have access to free software and open formats.

The use of FOSS can help poor people to empower themselves. This is because FOSS allows its users to learn how software works by providing both the binary and source codes as well as the freedom to run, copy, modify and share the software. Proprietary megacorporations, on the other hand, label it a crime to modify or make copies of their overly expensive software.

It is said that the moral test of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. In the area of computers, the best way to treat the most vulnerable members of society is to share free and open source software with them and collaborate with them in improving old applications and developing new ones for the common good of all.

What can Christians do to promote FOSS? The best answer to this question is found in the Manifesto of the Eleutheros project, which proposes, among other things, that Christians should:

  • increase their awareness of the importance of Free Software and Open Formats and Protocols, as well as their ethical values
  • propose that only Open Formats and Protocols are used, by all Catholic Organizations to store or manage any kind of digital data
  • propose that, whenever it is possible, Free Software is used instead of proprietary software in all Catholic Organizations
  • request that, without exception, teaching of programming and basic Information Technology in all Catholic Schools and Universities is performed using Free Software

This is not an easy task, I know. But we will get there, one FOSS application at a time. As Christians we must never stop exploring and examining how software is developed and used, especially in terms of how they affect the poor.

Let your old computer have a second life

a repost from Why Linux is Better

Windows requires more and more hardware power as its version number increases (95, 98, 2000, Me, XP, etc.). So if you want to keep running Windows, you need to constantly buy new hardware. But I can't see any good reason for so fast an evolution. Of course, many people need a lot of computer power and new hardware and technologies are really helping them. But for most users, who surf the web, read and write emails, write text files and slides, what's the point of buying a new computer every 2, 3 or 4 years, apart from letting computer vendors earn more money? What is exactly the profound reason why your computer can't do any more of what it did perfectly well 5 years ago?

Ubuntu Linux runs perfectly well on older hardware, on which Windows XP would. Ubuntu Linux will run very well on it and allow you to perform usual tasks (surfing the web, writing documents, etc.) just fine. The very computer that delivers this page to you is not very young and runs Ubuntu Linux: if you can read this, then it is up and running (and if the website loads slowly, blame my Internet connection only).

Why does your Windows get slower day after day?

a repost from Why Linux is Better

Windows has a number of design flaws, resulting in it becoming slower and slower and not lasting very long. You've probably heard more than once someone say "My computer is getting sluggish, I'm gonna reinstall". Reinstalling Windows solves the problem... until next time.

You may think this is just how computers work: they're very new technology, and not really stable yet. Well, try Ubuntu Linux and you'll be surprised. Five years from now, your system will be just as fast and responsive as the day you installed it, not to mention that you won't have any viruses, adware, trojans, worms, etc., that would force you to reinstall anyway.

I have managed to convince many people to switch to Ubuntu Linux, while keeping Windows on their hard disk, because they needed to use some piece of software that Ubuntu Linux doesn't have (eg Autocad), so they use both systems. Since the day they switched, most of them have reinstalled Windows about once in a year or two; but Ubuntu Linux didn't let them down, and is still running perfectly well and is still snappy today.

Ubuntu lets you spend more time working, less time reinstalling over and over again.

Spend Time Together

Be there for your children! You have to be there emotionally as well as physically. Children can sense if you are only giving them your presence; they want and need all of your attention.

"I drew a lot closer to my kids," says Lee. "I really made myself available to them. The first Christmas we had, which was only three months after my wife left, was a wonderful Christmas. The children and I had anticipated dreading it, but we built new memories; we started some new traditions; and we stayed up until three o'clock in the morning.

"I realized how important it was just to be there. I found that with kids you can't sit down and say, 'Let's talk about it' and expect them to immediately open up. You have to give them your presence, and maybe three or four hours into an innocent evening of fun, they will open up with their feelings and concerns. Sometimes it's three in the morning! So you have to change your lifestyle a little bit to be available for them."

Enjoy the time you spend with your children. Think of activities you can do that involve talking and laughing together—play a card game, have an ice cream sundae party, have a make-your-own pizza night, clean the basement together while listening to upbeat music, or ask each other getting-to-know-you questions, such as "What's your favorite …?

"For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness" (Hebrews 12:10 NLT).