Generation Cedar

We don’t live like we believe what’s in the Bible.ย  And we live like what’s in the Bible doesn’t matter much to the Kingdom.

There are a few topics that I jump on a soap box about. I’ve been accused of “majoring on the minor” about those topics. Two of them are the way we view children and the way we approach marriage.

Newsflash: Those aren’t minor topics. Just those two topics completely change our lives, our marriages, our parenting and our society.

My burden is for the body of Christ. People say, “you don’t talk about grace enough”.ย  I say if we understand grace properly it changes the way we live and I don’t think people are talking about that enough.

A believer who has been made so by the redemptive work of Christ should give his life afterward to pursing Him and becoming a disciple. His very life–the way he lives in every part–should reflect the life-changing power of the Savior. That is a point that shouldn’t have to be rehashed; that is why I don’t “talk about grace” more than I do. Grace is the foundational force which changes the way we live.

But we’re not living it.

And that’s what I feel compelled to talk about.

Godly marriage advice?

Recently an older woman, a woman who has been a Christian for years, a pillar-member of her church, asked me if my daughter was dating anyone.

Digging for a short answer I replied, “No, we’re waiting until she’s ready to get married before she looks for a husband.”

She turned to my daughter and said sincerely, with a sober face, “Just make sure he’s rich and treats you good, and if he’s nice-looking that would be good too”.

That was her shining, Titus 2 moment.

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction…But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:9

I was so deflated. I answered (gently, and with a smile), “Well, actually our main criterion is that he loves the Lord.”

If young women can’t get solid, biblical counsel from the matriarchs of the church, then where’s the hope?

Watch for a post soon on the problem with her question in the first place: why I think Christians should be appalled by the dating system.

I would encourage all of you older women to earnestly seek opportunities to teach the younger women what the word of God says.ย  Even in the small moments your words can have tremendous impact.

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47 Responses

  1. So typical and so sad.

    If a man pursues godliness: he will naturally treat her well, he will be rich in the faith, and will be beautiful in the sight of God. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hurry up with your post “why I think Christians should be appalled by the dating system.” I think I’d be ready to link it to my FB page. I am SO discouraged how worldly the church is in finding mates for the young people.

  3. Being a pillar member of one’s church doesn’t make one a Christian. Share the gospel with that poor woman. She needs the truth! Think of the consequences of so many assuming she is a Christian because she’s a “matriarch of the church”?
    A Christian is known by their fruit. (Matt 17:17-20)

  4. What a great post!

    This issue keeps coming around the church is more influence by the world around it then it is influencing the world with the Truth!

    This make me sad and mad all at the same time! We see more and more cultural Christianity and less and less or the Truth being share, why?

    Because the Truth and the words of God is so convicting and we are afraid to offend people that we change and we let the world take over!!!

    Sorry this is my rant for the past little while!

    Titus 2 women should take their ministry seriously.


  5. So sad! I think those who actively pursue the things of God should view themselves as matriarchs. WE must teach what is true, and in love, confront wordly thinking in the church. If not for the sake of the older women themselves, than for our daughters. Being afraid to step on someone’s toes has left a lot of people in sin, but able to walk fine. It is sick that I have, in the past, feared (wo)man more than I feared God. I didn’t want to hurt feelings. Better to have hurt feelings for a week, then get to the throne of judgment and hear “depart from me, I knew you not.” If we think eternally, we won’t get sucked into the game of letting sin be some other person’s problem.
    Excellent post and looking forward to the next one.

  6. Her comment is shocking, however, sadly, she bodly stated what many think, but try not to say. Sadly this is demonstrated in so many churches where the tithes are going to luxurious buildings, entertainment, and high salaries! The Messiah came to tear down the temple (church buildings) and sent HIS disciples out to minister!

  7. Oh, my goodness. What a shocking thing for her to say! ๐Ÿ™ I have benefited greatly from online Titus 2 ministries… I’ve not found any older (as in, older than I am at 23) women in our church who have any inclination to be mentors to younger married and single ladies.

    I’m looking forward to your post on dating. I don’t know a single person, myself included, who got through the contemporary dating system unscathed.


  8. I would like to share everyone’s “shock” with the answer this woman gave, but there was really nothing shocking about it.

    Welcome to a large portion of the American church: take the world’s standards, put a “Christian” bumper sticker on it, and live like there’s no eternity!

  9. Wow, “make sure he’s rich”? I did that, sort of… my husband’s name is Rich. : )

    All joking aside though, that’s sad. Really sad. Being rich and handsome aren’t enough. Money grows wings like eagles and flies away, and looks are fleeting. Who he is on the inside is everything – and what he needs to be is a redeemed child of God.

    I’m glad your daughter has a godly mother who will steer her straight. Imagine if that kind of advice was all she had!

    I can’t wait to see your column on dating. I am also very much against dating. The way people go about it is all wrong – they treat their hearts and bodies like a recreational vehicle, and when they’ve “had their fun” (and made a ton of mistakes and regrets) they date around some more to try and find a suitable mate. It’s a waste of time and they’re shooting themselves in the foot. It’s better to *not* date and just get to know people as friends…when you know them as a friend, you will know whether they’re the kind of person you’d want for a spouse or not.

    *ahem* Sorry, that’s one of MY soap boxes too. lol Anyways, great post.

  10. I am eagerly waiting for that next post. By the way… I know it didn’t phase Bria. She already has that settled in her heart doesn’t she? That’s what is so amazing to me. I need all the direction I get.

  11. We’ve had to deal with this from my grandparents, who are pillars of faith in most other areas of life. My mother decided once I got older that I should not pursue romantic dating relationships until I was old enough to act on them (i.e. get married), and even though they knew this they would often teasingly ask me and my brother (who’s 8 years younger) if we had a boy/girlfriend yet, and if not, why? Etc. It’s hard when the family whom you love don’t understand or respect your decisions as it’s so difficult to limit (much less cut off) contact with them

  12. I was just talking about this very thing with a friend this morning. She was telling me about a Mother/Daughter dinner she went to. She was quite disappointed in the lack of energy and guidance that the “older woman” speaking provided.

    We’ve decided someone needs to get together a spririted lecture to present at these types of meetings and we (Moms/trainers) need to push our churches to get involved. This is one of my soap boxes – maybe…. Altho’ the Botkins girls and Voddie’s daughter have got some wonderful stuff out there already ๐Ÿ™‚ Gotta love ’em.

    I’d like to say though that Debi Pearl has a new book out spefically geared to training up Godly helpmeets. I don’t know if any of you ladies like her books but the Created book is awesome and very useful. I can’t wait to get a copy of the new one.

    Gotta go push a water logged ’64 truck (Nashville flood ) out of the road before it gets towed ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I’ve talked to many of my fellow Christians about not dating but rather courting. You’d be surprised (or perhaps not) of the number who think this is silly and appalling. It’s more silly and appalling than giving bits of your heart and even body to someone you most likely won’t marry?!

  14. “My burden is for the body of Christ. People say, โ€œyou donโ€™t talk about grace enoughโ€. Iโ€™ll say as Paul did, โ€œwe should be beyond the milk of the word by nowโ€“we should be teachers!โ€”

    I know this isn’t your main point, and you probably don’t even mean it this way, but the way you phrase this makes it sound like grace — and conversations about grace — is just something for baby believers, like a free pass for them to get away with something for a little while. I’m curious what you think grace is, and its role in the life of a believer at any “level.”

  15. At our church, I’ve been told that our older women who should mentor to the younger women feel that they’ve “paid their dues” and just want to be left alone. I’m a young mother, and I can’t find anybody who is willing to mentor/guide me.

    I am thankful the Lord brings me to blogs such as these where I can find like-minded women who love the Lord and want to do His will. Thank you, also, for your passion in making the Truth known.

  16. Dana,

    I may need to reword that part…what I was trying to say is that salvation is the fundamental thing–the beginning of the Christian life. Grace is the means by which we receive salvation. Christians should be moving beyond “the beginnings”, (though grace bathes the entire life of the believer) and digging into Scripture to see “how then shall we live?”

    Does that explain?

  17. As a mom who is raising young men (no daughters yet!), I am disheartened to hear that young women of faith are being given this advice! I am certainly not raising my boys to be “rich” in anything but their love of the Lord – which I feel is absolutely the most wealth that a person can have.

    I hope that mothers (and fathers) of our young people will take the time to really think about the advice we are offering our children. The Word may be “out of date” to the rest of the world, but it is – to those with the “ears to hear and eyes to see” – timeless.

    Thank you so much for your thought-provoking posts!

  18. 2 thoughts:

    On dating: IMHO, it depends a lot on how it’s done. Two of my nieces did a lot of “group dating” in high school. Everyone knew and got all well together, so they might attend a school event, movie, concert, or whatever without pairing off. This let the young women and men to do things together and find out about the opposite sex (other than their sibs) in a very non-threatening way. I generally see nothing wrong with this, but it may be depend on the teen. Service projects or Bible study with a mixed church youth group would also be great too, IMHO.

    For special occasions, like prom or homecoming, I went a couple of times with another boy just so we both could go — we weren’t dating or anything. I’ve had nieces and nephews who did the same.

    I agree that serious dating relationships are almost always inappropriate in high school — the young women/men just aren’t equipped to handle them emotionally (as well as physically). After HS, whether in the workforce, working at/from home, attending college, or entering the military, hopefully you have a relationship w/your children that they will ask for your advice about casual dating before seeking marriage, but if they don’t hopefully the things you taught them along the way will influence their decision-making (along w/your prayers for them through the years).

    WRT to a mentor:

    I’m not a “young woman” by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve been so blessed by getting to know a woman in my parish who is about 15+ years older than me, who I consider a beloved aunt. She has taught me a lot and is a joy to be around. This is especially special because my own mother died suddenly almost 7 years ago and my mother-in-law lives 500 miles from us.

  19. I guess I still feel that it’s important for grace to be part of the conversation, but I think I understand what you mean now. Thanks!

  20. Kelly,

    In “defense” to the older woman who made that comment to your daughter about what to look for in a potential mate, it is possible that no one ever taught her the importance of marriage, and that a husband is more than a “walking paycheck.” If that is the case, then there is nothing really “shocking” about her response.

    I remember when I was single, I received much of the same “advice” about “finding a man” from Christians and non-Christians alike. I believe that many individuals (Christian or otherwise) are not aware of the realities of marriage, and what it means to be striving to be a godly husband and wife, with Christ at the center of the marriage.

    I confess, I might have gotten married at 36 (almost 37), but I hadn’t the slightest clue about what it means to be a godly wife to my husband (or to the Lord for that matter). It’s only recently that my husband and I are learning and discovering what a godly covenant marriage consists of, praise the Lord! Otherwise, we might still be swimming in the sea of marriage immaturity!

    Therefore, I believe that as long as individuals continue to get misinformation about marriage, there will continue to be comments made that are similar to the one the older woman gave your daughter unless someone shows them the errors of their misconceptions regarding marriage and family (like you are doing all the time ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

    ~Mrs. Lady Sofia~

  21. I have had the most wonderful Titus 2 moments ,usually while shopping ,by black older women who boldly approach my girls and say truely inspiring things to us, it gives me a smile for sure as it is so unexpected and always so biblical it certainly makes an impression on me. I have rarely heard anything close to this in church…and usually the older ladies sound more like they are giving a womens lib speech!!

  22. I’m not really younger in age (I’m 29) I am younger in another important way in the sense that I’m still single. So let me chime in on the ‘dating vs courtship’ discussion:

    For young women who’s faith is young or not very well developed, the idea of courtship rather than dating is terrifying. “You mean, I have to wait through my younger years and not look for relationships until I’m marriagable… what if no one wants me?” Visions of ‘old-maid’ dance through our heads.

    Dating is a way that I, as a younger woman, addressed the fear of being unmarried by taking things into my own hands. Dating is something you have more control over, and I tried to use it to build my confidence in being ‘likable’.

    7 years ago, after a horribly failed relationship, I gave my relational life over to God. I told Him I wouldn’t pursue anymore, that I would wait for Him to bring someone.

    I’ve been single ever since.

    God has used this time to work on my heart in important ways and to teach me to trust Him. But I think for women who date, they have this fear that if they really just wait on God, nothing will come… so they step out on their own. It’s not right, but it feels ‘safer’. I wanted to give you a look inside one heart that’s struggled with this to give you a perspective on why girls do it.

    I know there are lots of other reasons – impatience, hormones, etc, but I just wanted to share mine. ๐Ÿ™‚


  23. โ€œWell, actually our main criterion is that he loves the Lord.โ€

    Truly loves in such a way that he continually seeks to become a better person.

    I have a friend now who married a “good Christian man”, but it is a sham. He uses the
    Bible to justify his abuse and intimidate others.

  24. This is OT re: the current post, but I still thought you’d be very interested in it You can find the full story here

    “More than 50 medical studies, to date, have investigated the association of hormonal contraceptive use and HIV/AIDS infection,” Robinson reports. “The studies show that hormonal contraceptives โ€“ the oral pill and Depo-Provera โ€“ increase almost all known risk factors for HIV, from upping a woman’s risk of infection, to increasing the replication of the HIV virus, to speeding the debilitating and deadly progression of the disease.”

  25. Kelly,
    One of the misconceptions people have is if you attend a church you must be a christian.There was a lady in our church whose testimony was that after her husband died(she was in her late seventies) God saved her . She told the church body , that she had thought she was christian all those years because she had done all the things christians do(attend church, profess Christ, read the bible, etc.)She said the difference between thinking she was a christian and when God actually saved her was startling. She gave her testimony because she didn’t want anyone to think they were saved when God hadn’t saved them. She had been raised in a christian home .

    Parents tend to think their children are saved because they attend Sunday school then teen group and they’ve been in church since they were babies. When God saves someone there is a difference then when someone feels they were saved because of an emotional experience or having said a commitment prayer.Salvation isn’t a formula or a ten easy steps program.One plants, one waters and God gives the increase.

    When the Bible is our standard what to do is clear ,though it may not be what other church goers are doing.Traditions of men and God’s way are radically different in my opinion.

  26. Kelly,

    I am looking forward to your future posts on this subject. When you do write, would you consider including how you and your husband will handle your daughters’ courtship? How you will go about the process? I am a single 22 yr. old and since I am the oldest child in my family, my parents and I are still a little lost about how to go about this should the Lord bless me with a future mate. Thank you for transparency and honesty!

  27. That really is sad that she would say that. But I don’t think we should jump to say that she can’t be Christian because of the words she spoke. We all have our faults. It discourages me more to see people say share the gospel with her she can’t be Christian. If she were living with her boyfriend and loved money more than anything then I think it would be safe to say we could judge her by her fruits. We all have point of views that may be off a little bit. Again I am not excusing what she said I just think we need to be careful as a whole.

  28. this is not a new topic,even among the church, and there are some excellent resources. one of the very best we’ve found is Josh Harris’s “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, Multnomah Press, along with his follow up book, “Boy Meets Girl”. hope these help, they were tremendously helpful for us as we parented through this season. still have one at home, wanting marriage but trusting God. well, most days she does! blessings, mo

  29. I think there’s some jokes that aren’t funny. Tasteless, anyone? There’s a time and place for joking… and a WAY to joke that isn’t so flat out un-Christian. I have always been told I am funny but since becoming saved I have looked at myself with a critical eye and seen that I, like many people today, see being coarse, offensive, shocking or just plain dirty as a shortcut to a few good laughs.

    Anyway joking or not, I’d say this woman’s remarks were quite pathetic.

  30. I am one of the ‘older women’ in our church and considered fairly well grounded. However, when I have given sage, godly advise, I am told to “lighten up”

    I have been told we are hiding from real life or quit judging, or I guess if your character is weak, you need to avoid that.”

    It is sad. I have had to be so very subtle in my Prov. 31 & Titus 2 ways that it is completely lost on those that need it the most.

    I pray for God to open eyes and prepare hearts to hear His truth, not just of salvation but how to LIVE as believers of a Holy God. I have found such JOY in Him I want others to experience it too.

  31. Jenny,
    I would encourage you to do as God told you to, to be the elder woman who speaks the truth. Also, the only requirement is that it is said in love, not subtly. “You brood of vipers” comes to mind ;). If someone chooses to be offended by the TRUTH, then it is between them and God. You can have a clear conscience that you were obedient.
    Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due time you will receive your just reward… What if your earthly reward (and those of us who speak against the grain) is to see a generation of women sold out to God raising an even Godlier, unsullied generation after that. Others contempt would fade away!

  32. I think this matter deserves a lot of careful thought with regard to how it’s carried out. Frankly, I think there are just as many flaws with the courtship system as there are with the dating system, although they are different flaws. The major danger of the courtship system, in my opinion, is that the prospective spouses often are not able to get to know each other well enough to decide if they will be suitable marriage partners. I think this is mainly caused by a lack of privacy, and, in many cases, the inability to spend enough time together prior to becoming engaged. I have heard of too many courtships ending in shock and disappointment. In addition, it is often hard for parents to find suitable candidates for their children to court, especially if they live in rural areas and don’t have the funds to attend many conferences. In many cases, I think it would be best to allow sons and daughters to do the “seeking” themselves (in consultation with parents) while attending college or participating in the workforce. There is n reason why “restrained” dating could not result in a courtship, and it might just be a better one!

  33. Linda, I would submit that neither parent nor eligible child should do any seeking other than seeking the Lord. I live in Las Vegas. Even in the church we attend, there are not many who view dating as unChristlike behavior. I am not, however, concerned with whom my daughter will marry. I pray for her future husband already (she’s 10). It is God’s job to show my daughter and my husband and I the (future) spouse He created for her. All we need to do is listen to His voice, and He will let us know when, where and how. I think any model, dating or courtship, can get into trouble when leaning on our own understanding.

  34. Dang, judge much? And why would you let some random woman bring you down and steal your joy? Why not just laugh it off and say what you did without an attitude? Maybe the Lord was trying to use you to show this woman a different way of thinking about marriage and dating but you showed her a sour countenance, thus leading her astray? I find this story very very sad.

  35. Carol,

    Speaking of judging…where did you perceive a “sour countenance”? Actually, I smiled, did not *feel* anything toward her except a disappointment, and simply said what I would have said to anyone, in any reply.

    Nor did I let a woman “steal my joy”. I am using an example that reveals a common problem among older men and women…a very real lack of teaching and encouraging biblical principles.

    What is sad, is that someone so desperately wants to find fault with me that they twist the entire post into a tsk tsk where none is due.

  36. I’m desparate for something like a “titus 2 mentor”! I’m 29 years old, grew up in the 80s/early 90s and was raised by the public school system and a babysitter. I guess I’m doing okay on my own, but someone who’s “been there” would really be an encouragement.

  37. Well, as someone who came through the “dating” system and ended up in courtship I think that I should weigh in here…

    I thought I couldn’t wait, so I dated a young man for several months when I was 23. That ended up being a bad idea as his walk with God was shaky at the time, so we stopped dating (“broke up”).

    So, after that bad experience, I gave it up to God. I basically said, “It’s up to
    You, Lord. I’m done messing with Your plans.”

    Since I was now waiting on the Lord’s guidance, I was not actively “Looking” for someone, but there was a tug on my heart to
    still get to know Christian young men (my age). So, less than a year after “dating” the wrong guy, I was “courting/in a Godly relationship” with another young man, D. God had spoken to my heart about talking with D, and it turned into a relationship that lead to marriage a year later. Now, I did not do anything except start a conversation with D… a basic “hello”. We both knew that the other was single and (with prayer and guidance) our relationship bloomed.

    D asked my dad for his and my mom’s permission to marry me, to which my dad replied, “Yes, you can be my son!” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am now 26 and we have been married for almost 2 years. My D. is the most Godly and caring man I’ve ever met, and it was because I left it in the Lord’s hands that we found each other. I hope my story is an inspiration to any single young women out there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Alyssa A,
    What a beautiful love story !!Thank you for sharing. Having four children, I was greatly encouraged to read a God success Love Story.

  39. Wow! I just ran across your site while perusing Ladies against feminism. I’m definitely going to follow! I, too, am often accused of not focusing on grace enough, but it usually comes in the form of “you’re too serious” you “need to lighten up” and the latest is “you’re too churchy”. Great article!

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