Monday, October 19, 2015

"On Fire": (VIDEO) A Modern Day Testimony of Purity

It's kind of interesting...

That this article is something that I checked out today because I was just sharing last Thursday's "Marital Covenant Thursdays" devotional that oftentimes Matthew 19 is not properly taught. This part most importantly:

"He said to them, 'Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”---Matthew 19:8-9(NKJV)

First up. God did not *ordain* divorce. Marriage is a covenant and covenants are not made to be broken. Moses *permitted* it. That says a mouthful right there and you can read more about that here and here and here. Nowhere...NOWHERE does the Word tell us that divorce is OK. It says quite the opposite. It says that God hates it (Malachi 2:16).

Secondly, back then, when a couple got engaged, they were considered to be betrothed. And if the groom-to-be found out that his bride-to-be was not pure (meaning a virgin), he had the right to request a divorce leading up to engagement or after marriage (yep, back then they even took the intention to marry seriously). This is a part of what the Bible is talking about when it speaks of Joseph considering "putting Mary away" after finding out that she was pregnant (Matthew 1:19). He wanted to protect her character.

Third. Peep how it says sexual immorality *and then* adultery. If you do a bit of research, you'll see that sexual immorality is defined as being *premarital sex* while adultery is considered marrying someone other than your original partner. WHEW! You can read more about that here.

Not only that but...

If you do a bit of historical research, in Jewish, Islamic and many African cultures, something that would transpire after the wedding night was the bed sheet would be put out on display as a symbol that the bride remained pure for her husband. Check it:

One of the most fundamental aspects of Jewish tradition -which also may be going the way of other Victorian virtues- is the great significance attached to virginity. It appears in Judaism as early as the verse in Genesis, referring to Eliezer's encounter with Rebekah: 'And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her' (Genesis 24:16) and is a recurring theme throughout the Bible, especially with regard to the laws governing betrothal, marriage and divorce.

Virginity was so essential a quality in a woman that a man had an automatic right to divorce his wife if he found her to be otherwise. On the other hand, to suggest that a woman was not a virgin without adequate proof was the vilest calumny that a man could perpetrate against his bride.

The 'tokens of virginity' were the blood-stained sheets that the bride presumably handed over to her parents after her first night of marriage. Among the Jews of North Africa, the elders of the congregation waited outside the bridal chamber until the groom emerged with the sheets. A similar custom existed among the Jews of Kurdistan, but in Persia, the female relatives waited about the chamber, until invited inside to examine the bridal bed. The sheet was then passed around for closer inspection and finally deposited with the bride's parents. This was no empty ritual: a woman other than a virgin (unless widowed or a divorcee) was not thought to be a fit member of a Jewish household. There is a natural male instinct to explore new worlds and unknown lands, and marrying a virgin is about man's only hope of doing so. That is why almost every society, especially those dominated by men, has laid particular stress on female chastity.

Virginity has had its defenders also on plain social grounds. It was believed to strengthen marriage and establish a sense of mutual respect that formed the basis of family life. A virgin, it was suggested, often falls in love with the first man she sleeps with, and her virginity thus establishes an emotional bond that might not otherwise exist.

The tradition of premarital chastity, moreover, gave to marriage an intense sense of liberation, the sudden freeing of yearnings long suppressed. One possible reason for pre-arranged marriages having worked out so well was the complete innocence for both and their mutual discovery formed a firm bond. Premarital chastity was regarded as one of the elements basic to marital bliss. 


So with all of that said...

MAZEL TOV (Hebrew for "good destiny") to Tim Bowman Jr. & Brelyn Freeman!!!

Reportedly, something that Brelyn offered her father was a Certificate of Purity:


There is some "social media press" that is taking issue with that but here's where I am with it:

1) The world is full of nothing but *lust* and pride. (I John 2:16)
2) The Word speaks of man's wisdom not being anything close to spiritual discernment. (I Corinthians 2:14)
3) I Corinthians 7 speaks of a single woman being a virgin. Yep. ALL OF US WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN MARRIED A VIRGIN.
4) I Corinthians 6:18(NKJV) says "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body." Again, sexual immorality, above all else, is premarital sex.
5) I recall telling an ex of mine, after talking about my abstinence, "I can't believe I'm going to have to go through that (physical) pain all over again." Guess what he said back: "Shellie, what's the purpose of pain? It's to help you to remember and you should remember giving yourself to your husband." AMEN!

All of this taken into account, here's Tim and Brelyn's love story as I've pulled from this blog:

I met Tim at the Stellar Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. Although he was one very respectful man he was sending me hints and signals that he was interested in me. I remember thinking of him often and wishing we had connected on another level. It was clear God knew exactly what I wanted, because I had another chance to spend time with Tim and his aunt on a very special occasion. My friend Lhauren came to pick me up that night and all I could talk about is Tim; how he had this killer smile, amazing personality, and this incredible singing voice.

He truly was my dream guy. After that night, Tim and I became really good friends. Tim began coming to my church once a week to assist with the music department. At that time I was attending a local college over 30 minutes away, but I would press my way to see Tim at the Monday night rehearsals.

When the choir training was starting to end, we mutually knew that we never wanted to be without each other. It wasn’t long after that when Tim asked my Dad if we could date each other, and after his approval, it became official. I was so excited to be with the love of my life. It has been difficult at times because Tim lives in Michigan and I’m in Maryland but we have learned that you fight for what you love!

Unbeknownst to me on December 23, 2014, Tim asked my parents for my hand in marriage. They said yes! Two days later on December 25, 2014, I texted my friend Sharice a picture of my covenant ring jokingly saying, “this is the last time you’ll see this.”

Of course we had no idea that, that would actually be accurate! After arriving in Michigan at Tim’s Aunt’s house he proposed! He got up in front of his family, expressed his gratitude to them for loving and building a relationship with me. Then Tim called me up in front of everyone saying the most beautiful words I have ever heard. My favorite part was when he got down on one knee and said, “I can’t imagine my life without you.  You would make me the happiest man alive if you’d become my wife!” With tears flowing down my face I said, YES! When I saw the ring, I was in awe…He didn’t do good…he did great!!!

The next day we traveled to Las Vegas with his family to celebrate and then traveled to Maryland with mine to bring in the New Year!

(As told by Timothy)

 I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on Brelyn Mya Freeman. Looking back, it felt like all of heaven and earth stood still in that moment. That day at the Grand Ole Opry hotel I had an encounter with the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.

My swag was operating at full capacity and I knew that she was thinking the same about me. After introducing myself we had a brief conversation, and I could see that she was just as beautiful on the inside. I was in awe by how well she carried herself. I remembered thinking “beauty and brains”…. just like my mama. (hahaha).

Soon after, I started working with the music department once a week at Brelyn’s father’s church, Spirit of Faith Christian Center. Although Breeze (Brelyn) was in no way involved with the music ministry, she found a way to make every single rehearsal. During that 4 month time we became very good friends. She was “THE ONE”. I found someone that honored God, her parents, and herself. Not long after that, I found myself back on a plane to Maryland. This time I was on a different mission.

My purpose was to ask Dr. Mike Freeman (Brelyn’s father) for permission to date her. Talk about being nervous…I remember that day it like it was yesterday, it was roughly a one-hour conversation, riddled with reminders that he owned a gun. (hahaha) I got the green light from Bishop! I felt like the happiest man on earth. I started dating my best friend.

Although I live in Michigan and Brelyn lives in Maryland, we always made our relationship work. We found ways to keep it exciting and fresh with surprise visits, weekly iChat dates, and about 1 million dollars spent on edible arrangements and flowers lol. On December 23rd, 2014, I found myself on yet another flight to Maryland with another mission.

This time I was going to ask Dr. Mike and Dee Dee Freeman for Brelyn’s hand in marriage. I can remember myself sitting on the plane, in a full suit and tie, a diamond ring in my pocket, and thinking…“What if they say no?”

Well after a 2 hour meeting (notice the meeting time increased lol) I got the green light once again!!! On December 25th, 2015 I got down on one knee and asked my best friend and the love of my life for her hand in marriage. She said “Yes!”

There are some details on the wedding here.

Here's a GMA video:

Nice. Special. Sweet. Sacred. GODLY.

Look, I'm not a virgin and even though it's been almost nine years since I've last had sex, I don't use the phrase "born again virgin" either. I personally am at peace with "pure". A big part of the reason is because I know a lot of virgins who watch porn, engage in oral sex (which *is* sex, by the way), everything but penetration and *that's not purity*. Yes, virginity (physical state) and purity (spiritual condition) were created to be one in the same. That's need to be taught a lot more. Therefore, *purity is my goal*. After all, the Word says what about the marriage bed? That it's *pure*, right?

"Marriage is to be held in honor among all [that is, regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."---Hebrews 13:4(AMP)

Anyway, I'm saying all of this to say that not all of us are going to be virgins on our wedding day. Some, by choice. Others, not by choice (due to sexual abuse, rape, etc.). Yet purity is always possible and it does my heart good to see a couple who, as my mother says about my abstinence, *made the sacrifice of praise*, by remaining sexually pure until their wedding night. Oh, I can only imagine how much...shoot, TRUST and SECURITY exist between the two of them by putting God's will before marriage above their desires. *Sexual purity is foundational for a strong marriage*. I'm a firm believer of that because as I've shared before, I've yet to counsel a couple who waited before marriage to have sex before marriage. And if the couples that I do know who waited, although they have challenges (as all marriages do), they don't go through nearly the amount of drama or trauma as couples who fornicated did.

Why do you think God doesn't want us to do it? (AND HE DOESN'T...)
Why do you think Satan wants us to so badly? He seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), after all?

Whether you're a virgin or not...
Whether you're in a relationship or not...
Whether you're convicted about sexual purity or just considering it...

My hope (Romans 5:5) and prayer are that you'll take the testimony (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP) of Tim and Brelyn to heart and think about the *power of purity*. The purpose of it too...

It's a gift to give your husband a pure vessel on your wedding night.
And yes, I find it to be very precious to be able to look at your father and say "thanks" for training me up in the way that I should go (Proverbs 22:6). If not your earthly father, your heavenly one. ;-)

Amen? Amen!



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