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Quotes by Other Authors

1

[Jesus] did not consider the political dominance of the Romans to be any infringement of the sovereignty of God. It is not the rule of foreigners over the nation, but the rule of all ungodly powers in the inner life of men, that the sovereignty of God aims at removing (Gustaf Dalman).

2

We study doctrine until we worship (Abner Chou).

3

Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (John Adams).

4

The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity (John Adams).

5

We are justified by faith alone, as the Reformers taught, but not by a faith that is alone. To truly receive the words of God is to intentionally, through a joyous faith in our crucified and resurrected Lord and active reliance upon His Spirit, obey them. Consider that if exposure to God’s word in the spoken gospel and the written Scriptures doesn’t soon change your behavior (even if slower than you might hope), if the transformation of your inner person does not extend to your outer life, you may well be wandering in the dream of those who never knew Him (Greg Morse).

6

Sometimes pastors become pastures. The sheep feed in them and trample them, but so not follow them (Mark Absher).

7

A follow of Jesus Christ who seeks to lead like Jesus must be willing to be treated like Jesus. Some will follow. Others will throw stones (C. Gene Wilkes).

8

Find someone who knows more than you and learn from that person. And find someone who needs what you know and teach that person. Every Christian is a student; every Christian is a teacher (Grady Jolly).

9

The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision (Helen Keller).

10

After all the high-blown theories are offered about why Jesus wept, we finally come down to the simple truth: Jesus wept because He cared. When He heard the sobs of the sisters of Lazarus, Jesus simply could not hold back His own tears. I doubt He tried. And the Holy Spirit, along with the New Testament writers, seems proud of that (Lynn Anderson).

11

The church needs elders who “live in the Word,” not merely “study the Bible.” Our best passions can be stirred by a shepherd who lives under the Cross with blood in his tracks and a Bible in his hands (Lynn Anderson).

12

Oh, how God’s church needs leaders who model persistent prayer, whose prayers glow with fervency, and who authentically believe God hears and cares. And how our spirits soar when leaders model vibrant praise and worship to God, who are unashamed to throw back their heads open their mouths, and let their adoration – even their tears – flow in free and authentic worship (Lynn Anderson).

13

No one can enter the kingdom without the invitation of God, and no man can remain outside of it but by his own deliberate choice. Man cannot save himself; but he can damn himself (T.W. Manson).

14

A woman’s heart bears God’s image differently than a man’s does, but no less accurately. Indeed, with only the masculine qualities that men exhibit, God’s image is not completely displayed in this world. Men must realize that those feminine qualities that seem so baffling (and to a certain extent always will) are things of beauty and honor that manifest aspects of the image of God. Far from wishing that a woman’s perspective could just be ignored or somehow fixed, Christian men should look upon women with wonder and joy – indeed, with the very delight once expressed by Adam in the Garden! (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

15

Leaders have an agenda, look for ways to incorporate others into their plans, and have a high need for control in life. Balanced with graciousness, leaders become a treasure because they make things happen, create organization out of chaos, and motivate people to action (Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller).

16

Should we “go as far as we can” without getting into trouble? That is how unbelieving people think (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

17

No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

18

If you cannot be contented in singleness, you will not be contented in marriage… No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

19

In our wealthy and materialistic society, Christians often tend to trivialize covetousness, but Paul calls it idolatry, and lists it as one of a number of sins that are bringing the wrath of God “upon the sons of disobedience” (Colossians 3:5-6). Concerning the love (or coveting) of money, Paul told Timothy that it was a “root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). John was speaking of covetousness when he wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). “Do not be deceived,” Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. No covetous person “will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) (Jim Elliff and Daryl Wingerd).

20

We must never forget the thief of the cross (Lk. 23:39-43). He is often used as an encouraging example of a deathbed conversion, but certainly much more is involved. Instead of seizing his last opportunity to be saved, perhaps it was his first opportunity! And think of the courage needed to confess Christ openly before that derisive mob. However one interprets the passage, one thing is clear: where there is life, there is hope. We never know what transpires between the soul and God as that soul is about to enter eternity (Warren Wiersbe and David Wiersbe).

21

It’s important to understand that anger is not good as a response to problems. It usually builds walls, increases tension, and contributes to distance in relationships. But we do believe that anger is good for identifying problems. Once you understand anger, you’ll be able to use it to your advantage to point out problems in life. Then you must move into another mode or plan to solve those problems (Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller).

22

A man may have a charismatic personality; he may be a gifted administrator and a silken orator; he may be armed with an impressive program; he may even have the people skills of a politician and the empathic listening skills of a counselor; but he will starve the sheep if he cannot feed the people of God on the Word of God. Programs and personalities are dispensable. But without food, sheep die. Feeding the flock is therefore the pastor’s first priority. “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15, ESV) (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

23

Two of the most godly and disarming ways to display humility are accountability and correctability (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

24

Many men think of the call to give themselves for a woman solely in terms of her protection. They say, “I would defend her if there was trouble. If someone attacked her I would step up for her protection.” But they fail to realize that when a woman enters a dating relationship, she mainly needs to be protected from the sins of the very man to whom she is offering her heart. The enemy that men need to stand up to is the one who lives within themselves: the one who is selfish, insensitive, and uncommitted. It is when that man is put to death that the woman will be safe and will be blessed in the relationship (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

25

Deacons…serve to care for the physical and financial needs of the church, and they do so in a way that heals divisions, brings unity under the Word, and supports the leadership of the elders. Without this practical service of the deacons, the elders will not be freed to devote themselves to praying and serving the Word to the people. Elders need deacons to serve practically, and deacons need elders to lead spiritually (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

26

Too many singles think that life starts only with marriage. But singles must cultivate a purposeful life of Christian growth and service. You are not stuck in a holding pattern, just waiting to land at the great airport of life. The habits you develop as a single will carry over into marriage, and you will probably pass them on to your children. Remember, it is death – not a wedding – that removes every vestige of sin and presents us glorious before God. As singles, we must cultivate godly habits and the fruit of the Spirit that enables us to lead holy and effective lives (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

27

It cannot be emphasized enough that once a congregation votes a man in as an elder, they should cooperate with and submit to his leadership joyfully. Without a sincere intention and effort to cooperate with the leadership of the church, there is no point in electing elders to lead the congregation. Unless the elders are leading in an unbiblical or sinful way, uncooperative members are simply a bane to the local church and should seek fellowship elsewhere if their presence becomes divisive (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

28

Sin is the rejection of God’s authority. Sin is based on a denial of God’s goodness and truth. Sin involves idolatry (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

29

Five Causes of Anger: 1. Physical Pain. 2. Blocked Goals. 3. Violated Rights. 4. Unfairness. 5. Unmet Expectations (Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller).

30

God’s Word is His supernatural power for accomplishing His supernatural work. That’s why our eloquence, innovations, and programs are so much less important than we think; that’s why we as pastors must give ourselves to preaching, not programs; and that’s why we need to be teaching our congregations to value God’s Word over programs. Preaching the content and intent of God’s Word is what unleashes the power of God on the people of God, because God’s power for building His people is in His Word, particularly as we find it in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). God’s Word builds His church. So preaching His Gospel is primary (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

31

Music is a subset of our corporate worship, and corporate worship is a subset of our total-life worship (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

32

A Christian man who takes the lead in sexual purity, and who tells the woman that her heart means more to him than her body, and her purity is more valuable to him than his own pleasure, liberates her from a cruel bondage and gives her a blessing that words can hardly describe (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

33

What does the Bible say about dating? Nothing. And everything! Our challenge is to think biblically about an activity that isn’t in the Bible (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

34

Intimacy should therefore follow commitment; commitment is the cup into which intimacy is safely poured and from which it is wholesomely enjoyed (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

35

In the right setting – that is marriage – sex is a wonderful gift from God. Sex is given for our good. But God gave sex to be the servant of love and never the slave of lust. God intends for love to express itself in the commitment of marriage, and only then for intimacy to unite us in the joys of sexual love (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

36

The practice of comprehensive forgiveness overcomes our love of being right, our actual enjoyment and treasuring of our sense of being wronged… The constant practice of forgiveness leaves no room for self-righteousness. Frustrated condemnation of others and treasuring of old wrongs are not part of the artillery of God, but the slithering, slimy, deadly creatures of the Prince of Darkness (John Miller and Barbara Miller Juliani).

37

Old Testament narratives are not just stories about people who lived in Old Testament times. They are first and foremost stories about what God did to and through those people. In contrast to human narratives, the Bible is composed especially of divine narratives. God is the hero of the story – if it is in the Bible (Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart)

38

Factors taken into consideration [when evaluating the potential for missionary support]:

1. The strategic nature of the work.

2. Relationship to “our” church.

3. Amount of money already in hand.

4. Competency (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

39

If what we’re doing on Sunday mornings is corporate worship, then it makes sense to give deliberate preference to congregational singing – singing that involves the active participation of the whole congregation (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

40

One of the reasons why so many fall into sexual sin – bringing guilt into the relationship and short-circuiting its emotional and spiritual growth – is that they place themselves in tempting situations. This is simply foolish, and Christian men and women who are realistic about sexual temptation will not put themselves in a position to fall (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

41

According to the Bible’s perspective, if you are dating you are not just holding hands, you are holding hearts. What you do with your own heart, and what you do with another’s, is a matter of great importance (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

42

Commitment, intimacy, and interdependence – these are the building blocks by which a healthy dating relationship grows toward marriage. They start out small – a first date does not and normally should not involve a great deal of commitment, intimacy, or interdependence – but as a couple desires to grow toward marriage, they should pray for these qualities to grow in their relationship and they should give of themselves along these lines. This is, by the way, the best way to develop a healthy marriage. A strong marriage draws from the relationship that was developed before the wedding, a relationship that grew according to the architectural plans of God’s design in creation (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

43

In today’s society, intimacy means practically nothing more than having sex. Couples meet and immediately begin enjoying sexual intercourse, committing either to immoral hedonism or to the idea that sex will serve as the foundation for love. This goes a long way toward explaining why so many marriages, built on no stronger foundation than sexual thrills, end in divorce soon after the flames of passion have died down (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

44

Compatibility is not the key to marriage… It is our conviction, based on experience in ministry and God’s Word, that two Christians who share an attraction, who are committed in faith to God through Christ, and who are determined to obey the Bible’s teachings will be able to love each other in marriage (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

45

I initially examined Christianity in order to write a book making a mockery of it… After extensive research, however, I discovered that Christianity is not a religion of men and women working their way to God through “good works.” Nor is it obedience to a pattern of religious ritual. Rather, it is a relationship with a living God through His Son Jesus Christ. To my amazement, I was confronted with a person, not a religion. Here was a person who made staggering claims about Himself, along with profound claims on my life. Jesus was so different from what I had expected. Other religious leaders put their teachings out in front. Jesus put Himself out in front. Others would ask, “How are you responding to my teachings?” Jesus asked, “How are you related to Me?” (Josh McDowell and Bart Larson).

46

Second Corinthians 6:14-15 warns [Christians], “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” This, like all of God’s other commands, is not a cruel barrier to our happiness, but a loving restriction that preserves us for God’s blessing. The blessings that we are hoping for come from God alone. Therefore, we must start with obedience to His Word. Only a relationship in which both partners are Christians can possibly result in the kind of love that only God can give (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

47

If God is my portion, if God is the true source of my joy, and if it is God who will fulfill me, then I am free to be a companion instead of a consumer. That is, because of what I receive from God I can give to another person instead of always taking; I can minister rather than manipulate because of the fulfillment I get from God (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

48

Sexual sin will damage and often ruin a promising relationship. It stops the development of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

49

A woman needs to know about a man’s background and character before he has worked his way into her heart (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

50

Lying is stating something, either written, oral, or with other signals, with the intent to mislead (Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller).

51

The ordinances are the dramatic presentations of the Gospel. They are the moving pictures that represent the spiritual realities of the Gospel, written and directed by Jesus Himself… The ordinances, then, are where we see the Gospel enacted, and our participation in it dramatized. They are where the word of God’s promise is spoken to us in tangible form – we touch and taste the bread and wine; we feel the waters of baptism. They are means of grace instituted by Jesus that God uses to assure His people of the trustworthiness of His Gospel and the reality of our participation in it (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

52

Instead of considering those women who are most physically attractive, and then trying to restrain your flesh so as to give at least some thought to Christian character, you ought first to focus on those women who give evidence of fearing the Lord. Feminine wiles are deceiving, says God’s Word, and men easily fall prey to this very thing. Therefore, a wise Christian man will protect himself from the entrapment of beauty and will desire above all else a godly, growing Christian woman (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

53

If a member shows prolonged negligence in gathering with God’s people, how can he say he loves them? And if he doesn’t love them, how can he say he loves God (cf. 1 John 4:20-21)? (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

54

God’s Word has always been His chosen instrument to create, convict, convert, and conform His people (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

55

The authority of the pastor is derived and declarative. In other words, the pastor has authority only insofar as what he is saying is faithful to the Message of the One who has sent him (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

56

How are you to avoid falling into sexual sin? The answer is this: while you struggle with unfulfilled sexual desires, the last thing you should do is to toy with them. Human sexuality operates on a positive-feedback system. Each stimulus is designed not to leave you satisfied but to increase your desire until you finally join in sexual intercourse (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

57

God values them with a great love, and men who think the treatment of a Christian woman’s heart will not affect their own relationship with God are seriously mistaken. She is Daddy’s little girl! (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

58

Sin needs darkness to grow – it needs isolation disguised as “privacy,” and prideful self-sufficiency disguised as “strength.” Once these conditions prevail, sin is watered with the acid of shame, which then makes darkness appear more attractive to the sinner than light (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

59

Broadly speaking, baptism tends the front door of the church, while the Lord’s Supper tends the back door. Properly administered baptism (i.e., baptism of believers only upon a credible profession of faith) helps to ensure that only genuine believers are admitted into the membership of the church. Properly administered communion (i.e., communion given only to members in good standing of evangelical churches) helps to ensure that those who are under church discipline for unrepented sin do not scandalize the church or eat and drink judgment to themselves by partaking of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:29) (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

60

A Christian woman is to seek a man who is: 1. Regular at church… A believing man who often cannot make time to faithfully attend and to be a contributing member of a church is not a likely candidate for the obligations and challenges of marriage. 2. A man of the Word of God, a man of prayer, and a man who delights in worship. 3. A man after God’s own heart. 4. [A possessor of] specific character traits [such as] industry… integrity…self-control…[and] kindness (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

61

[Church] discipline has three primary purposes. The first is to restore fallen Christians to usefulness to God and fellowship with His church (see Matt. 18:12-14; 2 Cor. 2:5-11; 7:8-10; Gal. 6:1-2; Jas. 5:19-20). The second is to guard and preserve the honor of God (see Rom. 2:24; 1 Cor. 10:31). And the third purpose is to protect the purity of the church (see Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:6; 1 Tim. 5:19-20) (Wayne Grudem and Dennis Rainey).

62

The longer we serve in ministry, the more we see that pretty much everyone is envying everyone else. It is really pitiful. None of us has the circumstances we really want, and the circumstances we have always provide us with challenges. What a shame it is when we allow such envy and resentment to hinder the Christian fellowship that ought to be one of our chief blessings in this life (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

63

A first date should be safe, relating and fun. It should minimize awkward, compromising scenes. We think it best if the first date not be a place at night, both to create a more casual setting and to minimize sexual tension. The goal is to get to know each other better and to begin the process of sharing that, Lord willing, may lead to a closer relationship down the road (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

64

It is commonly accepted among men today that the great danger is to get married too early. The thought of marriage is approached with fear and trepidation, with the threat of what the man will lose mainly in mind. But in the view of Genesis 2 – and in our experience in ministering to singles – the greater danger is what will happen to the man if he doesn’t marry. It is not good for a single man to develop selfish and otherwise sinful habits. It is not good for a man to grow older without the sanctifying influences of a wife and children. It is not good for a man to battle with sexual frustrations. (The same things might be said about a woman, too, but the Bible is specifically talking here about the man.) What is good for a man is to seek a relationship that will blossom into marriage – the sooner in adult life, the better (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

65

Counsel, prayer and accountability – these are three vital tools for healthy, wholesome dating (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

66

The devil’s attack against God begins with the greatest of God’s creatures, the one who has dominion over all else, the one who bears God’s image and holds the dearest place in God’s heart. It says quite a lot that what the devil hated most in God’s perfect world was the man and the woman in their relationship with God (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

67

Use working definitions [with your children]:

1. Obedience is doing what someone says, right away, without being reminded.

2. Honor is treating people as special, doing more than what’s expected, and having a good attitude.

3. Perseverance is hanging in there even after you feel like quitting.

4. Attentiveness is showing people you love them by looking at them when they say their words.

5. Patience is waiting with a happy heart.

6. Self-discipline is putting off present rewards for future benefits.

7. Gratefulness is being thankful for the things I have instead of grumbling about the things I don’t have (Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller).

68

A redeemed woman is one who has entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith. Her sins are forgiven, and she knows God’s love. She fears the Lord realizing that blessing for her comes through obedience to His Word. His commands are not burdensome to her and her heart is not set on worldly treasures. She attends regular worship and approaches her life with prayer. She enjoys healthy fellowship with other believers and bears observable fruit in ministry to others. She answers God’s calling in her life while single, not waiting for marriage to give her happiness or purpose (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

69

The desired result of church discipline is always repentance and the restoration of the offender. Our private and public disciplinary measures should always be undertaken in a spirit of love, gentleness, and humility as we seek to bring about this positive end (Galatians 6:1-2). When restoration does not occur and expulsion becomes necessary, we are glad to see the purity of Christ and the church upheld, but we should be grieved, individually and corporately, that someone we loved as an apparent brother or sister in Christ is now understood to be an unbeliever (Jim Elliff and Daryl Wingerd).

70

These are the hallmarks of good worship songs, whether they’re hymns or choruses: biblical accuracy, God-centeredness, theological and/or historical progression, absence of first-person singular pronouns, and music that complements the tone of the lyrics (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

71

Some advice… about first dates. For the man, be polite, well dressed, and on time. All of these things show respect and consideration. Don’t be so intent on impressing her with worldly things, such as your car and the money you can spend, at least if you are hoping for the kind of woman commended in the Bible. Take her to a place that will make her feel comfortable and safe. Take an interest in her, and don’t talk all the time. Ask her questions and listen to what she says in reply. You should be interested in getting to know her heart and the character of her relationship to Christ. Above all, our Lord commands you: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 19:19). Your guiding rule should be to ensure that a woman who spends time with you is spiritually encouraged by the experience. You must take responsibility to ensure that conversation is wholesome and godly. Remember that you are out either with your future wife or with the future wife of some other Christian man. Start honoring marriage now (Heb. 13:4), and thus honor God. If this is not the woman whom God has for you to marry, then assume that her future husband may be on a first date with your future wife. Do unto him as you would have him do unto you (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

72

When the Gospel enables us to live in love, even though we may have nothing else in common save Christ, it is a testimony to its power to transform a group of sinful, self-centered people into a loving community united by a common relationship with Jesus Christ (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

73

In a dating relationship, a man does not have a right to expect submission from the woman, since this obligation is reserved for marriage. But backtracking this principle into a dating relationship, a man should take it as his responsibility to lead the relationship, ensuring that it honors God and is a blessing to the woman he is dating… Unlike the norm for worldly men, the Christian is not to exploit the woman sexually, emotionally, or otherwise, but to minister to her needs so that she will be blessed (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

74

The way to destroy Adam and Eve, [the devil] realized, was to turn their (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

75

Day by day, dear Lord, of Thee three things I pray:  To see Thee more clearly, To love Thee more dearly, To follow Thee more nearly (Richard of Chichester).

76

Take a look, then, at what you are presenting to men and ask what kind of man you will attract. If you are relying on charm and outward beauty, setting them forth in your dress and flirtatious conduct, then realize that it is only the foolish man who will fall into your trap. Especially if you are loud or contentious, realize that the Bible specifically warns men against falling for you. The godly man, the man who will make a loving and faithful husband, sees you and turns away. How much better for you to trust the Lord and cultivate those spiritual beauties that are calculated to draw a man of godly character and real wisdom and, better still, that are certain to make you precious in the sight of our loving Lord and God (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

77

It is neither obedient to Christ, nor in the church’s best interest, to permit an expelled person to attend the meetings of the church so that he can be exposed to biblical preaching. He was expelled because he has already heard, and rejected, the biblical message of repentance. The determination to exclude such a person from all church functions is primarily based on the command for Christians not to keep company with those who are under the discipline of expulsion (1 Corinthians 5:11), which in turn is based on the principle that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6). Leaven (sinful influence) can only be prevented from spreading throughout the whole lump of dough (the church) when the two are not allowed to come into contact with each other. It cannot be right, therefore, to give a person who is openly unrepentant the opportunity to exert an immoral and/or divisive influence on the other members of a local church (Jim Elliff and Daryl Wingerd).

78

It makes sense that we only sing songs that use [God’s] Word both accurately and generously. The more accurately applied scriptural theology, phrases, and allusions, the better – because the Word builds the church, and music helps us to remember that Word, which we seem so quickly to forget (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

79

One last thing for the guys: call her the next day or evening. A woman feels tremendous anxiety about a first date, even if she isn’t very much interested in the man. Express appreciation for the time you had together, and communicate to her where you think things stand. That’s right – it’s what you must do to protect her heart. If you are sure that you have no further interest, then graciously let her know that. How about this: “I enjoyed the time we spent together, but I don’t think I’m really interested in going out again.” Is that cruel? It may not be good news to her, but if it is true, then it is godly and gracious. How much better this is than giving polite but false impressions that may encourage her to cherish false hopes… This kind of follow-up to a first date is more than a courtesy; it is the reasonable duty of any thoughtful Christian man (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

80

Worship is a total life orientation of engaging with God on the terms that He proposes and in the way that He provides (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).

81

Some specific suggestions for how a Christian man can put these principles into action in a dating relationship:

1. Commit to take the lead in the godliness of your relationship. Read the Bible’s passages about how men and women and all Christians should treat one another. Especially take the lead in establishing boundaries that will keep you from sexual sin. Assume that this woman is going to be your wife or the wife of some other Christian brother (who might be currently dating your future wife). Treat her as the precious sister in Christ that she is.

2. Decide in advance whether or not you are willing to love a woman in the self-sacrificing, nurturing way the Bible describes. Until you are ready to faithfully hold a woman’s heart in your hand, do not enter into a dating relationship.

3. Realizing that God wants you to learn to put her interest ahead of your own, ask her the kinds of things she likes to do and be eager to spend time doing them.

4. Be willing to talk about the relationship. Initiate honest dialogue about how you feel. Do not resent her desire to have the relationship defined, but protect her heart by making your level of commitment clear and thereby making clear the appropriate kind of intimacy to go along with that commitment.

5. Pay attention to her heart. Ask her about her burdens and cares. Seek ways to minister to her and to make her cares your own. Instead of being critical of her, speak words of encouragement and support.

6. Do not be shy in ministering the Word of God to her. Do not preach, but exhort her and call to mind God’s promises and God’s love for her in Jesus Christ. Make it a primary goal that she will be spiritually stronger by having been in a relationship with you.

7. If something about her bothers you, think about how you can encourage her in that area. Realize that none of us is without flaws. Pray for her weakness and try to strengthen her in that area. If your concerns are enough to deter you from wanting to marry her, let her know in a forthright manner while being as considerate as possible (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

82

God’s curse on the woman is alive and well today. Go to any checkout counter and look at the contents of so many women’s magazines. Page after page, article after article, is devoted to the very things God cursed Eve with: an obsession with possessing and captivating men, mainly through beauty and sex. If it is true that women tend both to long for a man and to try to control the man they have, the origin of this problem is found in God’s curse on Eve (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

83

The key to trials is to get out of them all that God intends for us (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

84

What matters most is not finding the one right person but becoming the person that God wants you to be. Before judging the man or woman you are with – scrutinizing and appraising every attribute and characteristic, as if you were buying a horse – you ought instead to scrutinize your own heart. Here are some questions to ask before an engagement to marriage:

1. What would it mean for me to love him or her in accordance with the Bible’s teaching?

2. Am I willing to commit myself to anyone “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health?”

3. Can I be steadfast in fidelity and servant-hearted in ministry?

4. Is God leading our lives in similar directions?

5. Do we have similar goals and ideas about children?

The issue is not whether you can find someone worthy of your love, but whether you are ready to give a love that is worthy of marriage (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

85

No church has a choice about obeying Christ, therefore our church must practice church discipline. But there is also beauty and value in disciplinary action that we may not immediately see. It is beautiful because it is about love. Our discipline toward a professing Christian in sin may be the most loving act he has ever experienced. However uninviting or difficult discipline might be, and however severely we must act, God has made church discipline valuable because it will either produce a holier life or a holier church, or both, when carried out obediently and harmoniously (Jim Elliff and Daryl Wingerd).