TRUE LOVE AND COMPLETION
“Madi,” as she likes to be called, has learned a lot about relationships in her 27 years. She admits that she, like many other young women, have looked for their identity in a relationship. “If I just had a significant other, I would feel whole and I have to follow my heart above all else. While there are obviously wonderful aspects of being with another person, these ideas aren’t the fullest expression of God’s love and calling for us,” she says. "We will never feel the security we crave if we try to build it on the quicksand of today’s version of love. But what about a love that is never changing, never failing, and never leaving? Isn’t that what we all want?”
When it comes to relationships, Madi says that we live in a world that tells us we need to find our partner to be truly happy, to complete us. She admits that we were made for love, but says for too long women have defined that as the love of a man. As a newlywed, she’s quick to say that Grant has added more laughter, joy, and fulfillment to her life than she thought possible. “But that’s the point: He’s added. He hasn’t completed.” She offers another perspective. “Here’s a healthier ideal: complementing. It says, ‘I don’t need you in order to be whole, but I want you because you add value to my life.’ Completing speaks to lack, complementing speaks to addition,” Madi clarifies.
LOVE IS BLIND
“It’ll get better once we get married. He’ll change. I see potential! My expectations are just too high.” These are some of the false notions Madi says people want to believe to make an unhealthy relationship work. “When it comes to relationships, we tend to have selective vision. We see what we want to see. We focus on their potential instead of looking at patterns displayed in their everyday life.” As to why we do this, Madi says, “I think it often comes down to fear. We’re afraid of the cold, hard truth. We’re afraid of what is on the other side of accepting the truth. We’re afraid to be alone or rejected.” She counsels that it is far better to face the truth, even if it leads us somewhere we don’t want to be for a while.
Madi points out a number of “red flags” to be cautious of when dating someone and sensing that things aren’t what they should be. “The red flags you tolerate or ignore at the beginning lay the groundwork for the kind of relationship you build,” she warns. Some of those warning signs (from a woman’s perspective, but of course apply to both) are:
• He Isn’t Healed from His Past.
“If a guy isn’t healed from past relationships, hurts, or addictions, it will create obstacles in your relationship and likely have a negative effect on you. And if he grows defensive, secretive, or deceptive when you ask a question about his past, he’s got baggage that you don’t want or need to take on.”
• You Are Dating for Who He Could Be and Not Who He is Now
“Don’t date someone’s potential,” Madi advises. “Don’t date someone that you hope will change. If he isn’t doing it now, what makes you think he will do it later? Relationships don’t change people; they reveal people.”
“How far is too far? If we don’t have sex before marriage, what if it’s bad in marriage? Is it bad to watch pornography? How do I deal with the shame for everything I’ve already done?” Madi made a firm stand not to have sex with the young man on The Bachelor, and received both praise and criticism for it. She’s taken much time to think through her convictions and answers all these questions, admitting her own struggles, and offering great grace no matter what one’s sexual past has included. “Here’s the thing – sex and all sexual acts were created to be experienced in the confines of marriage and to bring unity to the marriage. But when we experience them outside the covenant of marriage, they bring the opposite.”
Madi offers these words of advice: “If you are asking yourself, ss this too far? It’s too far. Don’t try to get as close to the line of impurity as you can. Try to get as close to purity as you can. Crossing the line of impurity or dancing beside it hinders your intimacy with God and your future intimacy with your husband. Chasing purity and holiness with all you’ve got helps grow your intimacy with God and your future intimacy with your husband.”
A few ways Madi offers to women to remain or return to purity are:
• Pray for forgiveness and confess for healing.
• Know your why. What’s your reason for having boundaries in the first place?
• Pre-decide your boundaries and tell someone. Decide before you’re in the heat of the moment.
• Surround yourself with godly friends – those who love you and love God even more.
• Feed the Spirit - What you feed and nurture grows.
• Pray for strength – What feels impossible is possible with God.
Purchase your copy of Madi's book, The Love Everybody Wants, here: www.TheLoveEverybodyWants.com.
Self-made millionaire Tiki Davis has faced his share of obstacles on his way to success. Starting with his childhood where he was one step away from becoming another statistic. He recalls, “When I was growing up in Odessa, we were murder capital of the world; the drugs, the crime, and a lot of that stuff was going on around here. And I was just a product of it.”
With an absentee dad and a drug-addicted mom, Tiki had to take care of himself from an early age. He was living on the streets by the time he was twelve. Yet Tiki, saw a way out of his poverty: playing football. He says, “My first goal and aspiration that I really could remember was to be a football player. The game of football gave me a sense of meaning, made me feel good about myself.”
His fortune would change when a teacher arranged for him to be moved into a boy’s home. Tiki recalls, “At that time, 11, 12 years old was the first time in my life that I knew I was gonna have a stable place to live. I was able to go to football practice every day. I was able to play in the games every week. That's when I started to excel because my home life was somewhat normal. I was really feeling really good there.”
In high school, life got even better... Tiki moved in with a loving foster family, was making good grades, and was a shoo-in for a football scholarship. Then, the summer of his senior year, a girl accused him of rape. Tiki says, “At that time, I didn’t know how much trouble I was in. I felt shocked. I felt defeated. I was accused of a crime that wiped my whole football career way. Talking about the lowest point in my life. And that moment was that dream, that first thing that I wanted, it was gone.”
Despite insufficient evidence, Tiki’s court appointed lawyer advised Tiki to plead guilty to a lesser charge. He would serve 6 months in county jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Now his hopes for college and a successful career seemed to vanish. However, in jail, Tiki fully dedicated his life to God. He recalls, “All I had was God, I said, ‘God, just see me through this.’ As I would go to chapel when I was incarcerated, you know, the story of Abraham, story of David, guys that had great pain or, you know, one day they were in the fields and the next day they were in the palace and stuff like that. I said, ‘If God, God did it for David, he can do it for me.’"
After his release, Tiki went on to graduate high school and got a job washing cars at a dealership. Two years later the law changed, and he now had to register as a sex offender – not part of his original plea deal. Tiki knew that label would make life much harder. He says, “It made me feel like I was guilty. And that's when I really did get angry because now, you're on the internet. I prayed every day or every week when I was going through that time in my life. ‘Remove this case, remove this crime, remove this outta my life, God.’ I didn't know if God was gonna answer that prayer. But I never questioned God.”
Still, Tiki would defy the odds. With the help of his employer, he went on to earn a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree. Afterwards he worked in the oil and gas industry and eventually started his own energy consulting firm. By 35 he was a millionaire and a pillar of the community. Yet, he still carried the stigma of being labeled a sex offender as the courts had refused to clear his name. He recalls, “The only thing that I asked Him for directly that I asked God for was to remove this registry, clean my name, and I challenged the state of Texas to honor their original agreement.”
As his lawyer prepared his case, Tiki continued to trust God for justice. Then one day he got an unexpected call – it was the woman who had accused him all those years ago. “She says, ‘Tiki, I've been wanting to help you for 15 years.’ She says, ‘I know you are a good man. I'm ashamed of what I did to you.’ So now any anger or any malice that I have for her all went out the window because now this whole time, these 20 plus years, I think I'm the only one suffering. And she says, ‘Tiki, I'm sorry.’ And I'm said, ‘I'm sorry.’”
While Tiki had forgiven her, there was on thing that needed to be done. He recalls, “And I found myself telling her, ‘I don't know if I can get this done without your help. If you tell the lawyers what you told me, then we should be good.'"
So, the woman recanted her testimony and on May 17th, 2018, Tiki Davis once again stood before a judge. Tiki recalls, “The judge says, ‘Tiki, I can't do anything about the state of Texas. Can't do anything that happened in this courtroom before me, but I can do something today.’ And he says, ‘moving forward, you're a free man. I'm gonna remove you from the registry today.’ And so, man, I cried, man.”
Today, Tiki is an award-willing entrepreneur, successful businessman, and motivational speaker. He says his faith in God is what carried him through the trials he faced and delivered him from his traumatic past. He says, “If I look back over my life, God's been with me the whole time. I couldn't have got through what I got through if God wasn't the one that was carrying me. I’m only here because the grace of God.”
Cherry and her husband work hard to provide for their five children. She makes bricks or does laundry, while he works on construction sites. Their combined income, on average, is only seven dollars a day! On days they don’t find work, everyone goes hungry.
“Whenever our children say, ‘Mom, I’m hungry,’ my heart feels so heavy. It hurts me to see them suffer,” said Cherry.
“When I am very hungry,” added Than Naing Oo, Cherry’s son, “my tummy feels so empty, and my heart starts to beat fast.”
But things began to change for the family after CBN’s orphan’s promise set up an after-school program in the community. There, kids like Than Naing Oo and his siblings watch CBN’s Superbook Bible stories, get help with homework, and eat healthy meals.
“I like watching Superbook, playing with my friends, and eating delicious food,” declared Than Naing Oo.
Next, when Cherry’s husband was out of work for several weeks, we provided food packs for the whole family. Finally to help bring them bring in some additional income, we gave Cherry what she needed to sell vegetables in the community, including a bicycle to transport her produce. In just three hours of selling, Cherry can earn 9 dollars! That allows her more time to do other jobs and to spend time with her children, who now have plenty to eat.
Because of your help, our children don’t go hungry. I am so thankful for you!” said the grateful mom. “Now, we always have good meals at home. Our whole family is happy, and that makes me very happy, too! Thank you!” added Than Naing Oo with a smile.
CBN’s annual celebration of Rosh Hashanah returns with Gordon Robertson and musical guest Paul Wilbur.
CBN’s impact around the world
Daily prayers for people across the country
CBN’s prayer team prayed with over 1.2 million callers in 2022 alone, while also praying with people through email, social media channels, live chat on the website, and written correspondence.
Highlighting testimonies of God’s faithfulness
Vida Dura or “Hard Life” stories are sourced throughout Latin America and produced in Spanish to reach a region with testimonies of people who hit rock bottom and turn to God for change. CBN has a prayer center in Latin America to support people through prayer and faith resources.
Serving in the wake of natural disasters
CBN's Operation Blessing was on the ground quickly in the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, providing much-needed food, relief supplies, and medical aid. After large-scale natural disasters, Operation Blessing strives to be the first to arrive, and the last to leave, tending to the needs long after the news cameras leave.
Ukraine and Poland
For 30 years, CBN has been serving the people of Ukraine
Through CBN’s Orphan’s Promise and Operation Blessing, we were able to quickly provide valuable resources soon after the conflict began, and we continue to support Ukrainian refugees.
Projected 135 million* watched a CBN program in 2022
CBN partners are reaching children around the world with the Gospel of Jesus through Superbook, a Bible-based animation series. In 2022 alone, children in 139 countries watched at least one episode of Superbook.
Bible Reading for the Day
Read or listen to today's Old and New Testament Bible readings. Each day is portioned to give the entire Bible to you in a year. Start anytime. Scroll forward or backward if you miss any days or want to get ahead.