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Posted 5/14/15 at 4:02 AM | Sunny Shell

Keeping Up With The Joneses Social Media Style

Most of us are familiar with the popular idiom, "Keeping up with the Joneses", but not all of us know what it means. Therefore, before I write about how we're still "keeping up with the Joneses" in the 21st century, I thought you might enjoy reading about its origin.

"keeping up with the Joneses [sic]. According to his own account, cartoonist Arthur R. (“Pop”) Momand lived in a community where many people tried to keep up with the Joneses. Momand and his wife resided in Cedarhurst, New York, one of Long Island’s Five Towns, where the average income is still among America’s highest. Living “far beyond our means in our endeavor to keep up with the well- to-do class,” the Momands were wise enough to quit the scene and move to Manhattan, where they rented a cheap apartment and “Pop” Momand used his Cedarhurst experience to create his once immensely popular Keeping Up with the Joneses comic strip, launched in 1913. Momand first thought of calling the strip “Keeping Up with the Smiths,” but “finally decided on Keeping Up with the Joneses as being more euphonious.” His creation ran in American newspapers for over 28 years and appeared in book, movie, and musical-comedy form, giving the expression keeping up with the Joneses the wide currency that made it a part of everyday language." FULL POST

Posted 5/7/15 at 3:15 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

It's Hard To Walk Away

It's hard to walk away, but you must! You have to make sure that you're not holding on out of ego. You have to be sure that you're not trying to raise an adult or change a person who is unwilling to change. It's not about you, it's about them. It's not that you're not worthy of love. It's that they aren't ready to learn how to love. You have to recognize that and be willing to walk away.

Sometimes it's the walking away part that makes a person change. If you've left before and it didn't influence them to change then the next time you leave it needs to be for good.

We waste so much unnecessary time trying to make love work. You have to be willing to admit when you didn't know love and you built on lust instead. You have to be willing to cut your losses, learn your lesson(s), and move on stronger and wiser. You can't force love and you shouldn't have to.

Love is a gift not a curse. Don't live a cursed life by trying to hold onto a lie. Evaluate your situation. If you know you've done all you can to make it work and it hasn't, let it go. Love is waiting for you but you can't attract it if you're still tied to a lie. FULL POST

Posted 5/6/15 at 1:19 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

The 6 Rules of Relationship Conflict

And today, since I’m flying to Colorado Springs to tape Focus on the Family’s radio show tomorrow (it won’t air until this summer! I’ll tell you when, don’t worry), I thought I’d share a snippet I thought was really smart that was sent to me recently.

Through conflict we can grow more like Jesus, see the world in a bigger way, and learn to be less selfish. We can feel understood and valued by our spouse. We can end up feeling that our marriage is rock solid.

But that doesn’t happen if conflict tears down rather than builds up.

So if you want it to build up, follow these 6 steps:

I love #6–remind yourself that your spouse cares. It’s just like Believe the Best that we talked about last week! FULL POST

Posted 5/6/15 at 10:26 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

I Want to Abstain From Sex Until Marriage But He Doesn't

A lot of women are deciding to abstain from sex until marriage for many reasons. The problem comes in when trying to date men who are accustomed to having sex while in a relationship.

I received a question from a young lady in her 30's who has decided to start dating again. She said she's trying to live by God's principles and save sex for marriage. She keeps meeting men who are Christians but don't want to live by God's principles about sex.

Since I've been a life coach and a speaker I've met two NFL virgins who were waiting until marriage for sex. One of them actually did it and I haven't checked back with the other one. I also met an NBA player who waited 3 years without sex until he married his wife. That was all I needed to hear to know that it's possible. If a man with that kind of money and opportunity can discipline himself enough to wait, then why can't a normal man do it?

I didn't have to wait until marriage and I can't say that I wouldn't have. If I met my wife and she decided to wait until marriage, I would have married her quicker. I believe a man will wait for anything or anyone he feels is worth it. We had sex because we were conditioned and programmed by pop-culture that it was the thing to do. That was 10 years ago. There is a shift happening now and because of the state of relationships people are becoming more thoughtful about their actions. FULL POST

Posted 5/6/15 at 1:07 AM | Diane Castro

Should We Love Everybody? Part 1

A theme I have been exploring in various posts on my blog is God’s love and how it is related to human love. One post asked the question “Does God love everybody?” which prompts the question “Should we love everybody?” which leads to the bigger question “How should (or how does) the way we live reflect what we believe about the character of God? My short answers to the first two questions are Yes and Yes. My short answer to the third question is that, for good or for ill, our lives do tend to reflect what we believe about God.

If it’s true that God loves everybody, then it follows that we should try to love everybody as He does. And even if you don’t believe that God loves everybody, if you’re a Christian you probably agree, at least in theory, that we should love our neighbors. Jesus Himself considered the command to love our neighbors of utmost importance, second only to loving God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. FULL POST

Posted 5/5/15 at 10:49 AM | Kevin Carr

The Benefits & Responsibilities of The Single Man

Let me get right to it and just say that everything that I have learned about what it means to be a single man was wrong. I recognize that is a very bold statement, but it doesn't make it less true. As I’ve grown over the years I have realized that whether it be the images promoted via pop culture, the messaging coming from the pulpit or even the conversations that i’ve had with my own father, very little of it if any promoted a healthy and accurate outlook on life as a single man. So as I sit and write this to you, my fellow single brothers know that in more ways than one we’re the same. Many of us want the same things, have the same desires and good or bad have accrued the same habits. Contrary to popular belief what we do now matters; the lives with live, the choices we make and relationships we cultivate all will have an impact for years and in some cases generations to come. Being single isn’t about anything else except for the purpose that we’ve devoted ourselves to, the foundations that we are working to lay and the lives that we have chosen to build. FULL POST

Posted 5/4/15 at 10:39 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

10 Healthy Dating Practices

There are plenty of unhealthy ways to date, so I’ve compiled 10 healthy dating practices that I believe cut to the core of what it means to date with intentionality and maturity.

1. Date with intention.

This is going to be for the best of both parties involved. Dating isn’t a game, and the last thing you want to do is get in a relationship with someone when your intentions are anything but pure. If you’re just looking for fun, I’d recommend you be open and honest about your intentions with anyone you meet or connect with. It’s only fair to them and their emotions.

2. Make sure your first date is in a public place.

You just never know who you’re going to meet. I’d recommend your first date be in a public place, in front of lots of people and I’d even recommend you let your friends know where you will be in case something were to happen. You never know who the person you’ve chatted with on the phone might act in person, and the last thing you want to happen is end up in a private place with someone whose motives are anything but respectful. FULL POST

Posted 5/1/15 at 8:20 AM | Karen Farris

Please Don’t Look Away

Seattle has its share of homeless folks—just like in most cities. It’s a hard situation without easy solutions.

Yet, every time I visit the land of Seahawks and Mariners, of skyscrapers and the Space Needle, I’ll walk right past the folks who have no home.

What else can I do? How much will a couple bucks help?

I’ve tried the cluster approach, where I gather with a fast-moving group and we collectively ignore the beggar on the corner. It’s like a human shield protecting me from having to consider the dollar bills in my purse.

However, it was mid-morning and my fellow cluster must have already been at work. I walked alone with my cell phone in one hand and my handbag tucked close to my side.

I’m adept at pretending to be on an important call—appearing oblivious to the suffering on the sidewalk. So, not only am I ignoring a human need, I’m a liar as well. I’m ashamed to think how often I’ve done this. FULL POST

Posted 4/29/15 at 12:44 PM | Tim Challies

What Is Engagement?

A friend of mine expects that she will soon be engaged to be married, and finds herself wondering about the nature of engagement. We assume it: We must get engaged to be married before we actually get married. But what is engagement? Is it an inviolable agreement with all the significance of marriage? Is it a tentative agreement that can be broken off on a whim? What exactly is this thing we call engagement?

The first thing we must admit is that there is no New Testament command that a couple must be engaged before they are married, and no New Testament edict about what an engagement looks like. We see a description of betrothal—something similar to engagement—in the lives of Mary and Joseph, but no prescription that we are to imitate this exact form of it. We see glimpses of similar traditions in the Old Testament but, again, nothing that binds us today.

Whatever engagement is, we need to admit that it is a cultural, not a biblical, construct. Like the white dress at the wedding or the black suit at the funeral, engagement is a construct that varies significantly from culture to culture. We see this when we can look past our own traditions. FULL POST

Posted 4/29/15 at 11:53 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Getting to Deeper Levels of Communication

It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! And today I want to talk about how to really get to know each other and stay close–even once you’re married. And it all starts with intentionally getting to deeper levels of communication.

Recently a reader from New Zealand sent me this question:

We have only been married just over a year and really loving it. I’ve noticed in some of your recent posts you’ve been covering when she doesn’t wanna and when he doesn’t wanna. This isn’t really applicable to us thanks to a great start to marriage (through God’s grace). But it’s making me wonder if all couples go through a season/period of distance with one another? If it is inevitable I’d really like some pointers from how to approach it from our end, from the beginning. How to spot it, when to have those conversations, when to get help, any prevention strategies etc. Because I’d like to continue having an awesome marriage and although I know we will (and have) face ups and downs, I’d like to have the best go at it that we possibly can. FULL POST

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