January 2007 is coming in about three weeks’ time, and after the seemingly endless “Jingle bells” sung by carolers in your neighborhood during the Christmas season, guess what you will be hearing more of when January comes around? Wedding bells!
It is a myth, an urban legend that more people get married in June than any other month of the year. The truth is, as figures from the National Statistics Office would bear me out, more Filipinos get married in January than in June or in any other month.
If you are getting married this January or any time next year, I highly recommend that you make use, with some modifications, of the wedding vows I wrote about in my “Covenant Marriage” article. The article was a bit long, with a lot of legal talk and prefatory statements (yup, “prefatory” is an acceptable word in the language of lawyers and the courts). And so you might have missed reading the covenant marriage vow I mentioned in that article. Anyway, if you want to see the PDF of that marriage covenant vow, just click this link.
Before 2006 ends, I will be posting (hopefully) several articles here in “Salt and Light” or in my other blogs. These coming attractions are the following:
 A review of Dannah Gresh’s books “Pursuing the Pearl: The Quest for a Pure and Passionate Marriage” and “And the Bride Wore White – Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity”
Dannah, together with her husband, is the moving force behind www.purefreedom.org which advocates sexual purity for teenagers. Speaking of “And the Bride Wore White”, I bought two weeks ago the very last copy of this book at the OMF Lit bookstore in Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong. But don’t despair; last Friday, I saw three or four copies at the Back to the Bible Bookstore in West Avenue, Quezon City.
Just to give you a glimpse of how great Dannah’s book “Pursuing the Pearl” is, she discusses in pages 61 and 62 some warning signals when a wife is beginning to form emotional bonds with a man other than her spouse. Dannah says,
Sexual impurity is a zero tolerance arena! You are on shaky ground if there are emotional bonds being created between you and another man (or your husband and another woman). Those bonds begin with little things like:
• Innocently having lunch alone with a man
• Seeking advice from a man about personal issues, especially marital issues
• Seeking or accepting frequent praise or affirmation from the same man
• Seeing or becoming comfortable with being alone in an office or a home together
Emotional bonds are growing, and you are in danger of the emotional affair becoming physical when
• You intentionally seek out time to be with this man
• You manipulate your schedule to see him
• You spend time fantasizing about him
Do you see some of these characteristics in your friendships with guys? Run for cover and fast!
You might want to review my article “Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry” which discusses the dynamics of adulterous relationships. You might also be interested in reading the article “When a Spouse is Unfaithful” from the Radio Bible Class Ministries.
 Preventing the sexual abuse of children
I’ve been doing the research and collecting information on this topic primarily from the website and printed materials of the Center for Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse (CPTCSA). The books I bought and the flyers I got from the CPTCSA office in UP Village, Quezon City two weeks ago, state some of the early warning signals and telltale signs of sexual offenders which children - and their parents - should be aware of:
• Offender says you are special, different or the only one who really understands himThe CPTCSA books and flyers also list “Wants to take your pictures” as an early warning signal and telltale sign of sexual offenders, but since photography is the number one hobby in the world, this sign should be taken not in isolation but in relation with the other warning signs.
• Treats you differently from other kids; gives you special privileges; treats you like an adult while he acts like a kid
• Says he is teaching you sex education by showing you pornographic pictures or movies; he shows his body or touches yours
• Puts lotion or ointment on you when your mother or others are not around (even when you don’t need the ointment)
• Offenders hang around school, yard or park where children play; tells you “not to tell” or asks to “keep a secret”
• Does not let you have friends or does not let you do things that other kids your age do
• Comes into your bedroom for no reason
• Asks you to do things that involve physical contact or touching of private parts
• Offender wants to spend time alone with you; makes excuses for you to go places with him
• Asks questions or makes accusations about sex between you and your boyfriends
• “Accidentally” comes into the bathroom when you are taking a bath; not respecting your privacy
• May fool you parents into allowing you to be “friends” through bribes and other tricks
For pastors, counselors or church workers who want to know more about how to deal with the damaging effects of sexual abuse, I highly recommend to you the Radio Bible Class Ministries article “When trust is lost” written by Dr. Dan Allender, founder and director of Wounded Heart Ministries in Denver, Colorado.
 “Saving Private Ryan” as a modern day parable of God’s seeking heart
Several days ago, I bought at the National Bookstore a bargain priced, original DVD of this 1998 Oscar-winning movie by Steven Spielberg. When I first saw “Saving Private Ryan” I was amazed to see parallels - whether intended or not by the movie’s writers - with the Bible’s message of a sovereign, omnipotent God who undertakes a rescue mission to grant repentant sinners grace and mercy.
Well, well, well, it promises to be a busy last three weeks of 2006, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading these articles, as much as I enjoy writing them for you. Keep in touch!