Single Living, Uncategorized

Remain Where You Are

“Just remain where you are.”

I am convinced that is a truth God wants to etch in our hearts, today. See, we become so convinced that we are not enough.

We are unmarried.

We are childless.

We are not dating anyone. 

By definition, we are as single as possible!

Culture can tear us down, in the midst of our singleness – which should be a gift. Yes, that is right. Singleness should be seen as a beautiful gift. But, often, it doesn’t. It can feel like a dreaded task to endure.

Singleness.

It is more than a season of life. It is a place, where God is stirring our hearts and preparing us for what’s next. That “next” might include a bae, in your future. It might mean… a new last name. A change of address. A new, life-long, roommate. But, it is much more than that. We hold up marriage as this sacred gift – which, it is.

Just Remain –

Yet when we put marriage on a pedestal, we view our singleness as the rejected gift. We deem it as, less than God’s best. We begin to allow culture to inflitrate our perspective. As a result, for some, singleness becomes our mark of shame. With this, enters in a myriad of thoughts to the single’s brain. Most of which – can lead us away from God and serve as billboard size distractions in our lives.

Oh, friends, if we could just remain where we are. If we could allow ourselves to be taken by Jesus’ hand and led through the gifts He is lovingly giving us, life would be far better.

There is a much better way, when we choose to center ourselves on the Lord our God and His divine will. We don’t know what God has planned for us, but He does have a plan!

In the world we live in, with social media, we are constantly trying to hold up to the standards of others.

… But, your life is not intended to look like theirs!

But, God!

God has uniquely made you – and for a divine purpose. That may include a spouse. Marriage is a ministry, just like any other. It is an important ministry. But, singleness is a ministry as well. God is going to use our time unattached from another soul, to draw us near to Him.

How are we allowing God to use our singleness, to draw us nearer to Him?

The first step of any good life – is Jesus Christ! Whatever season we find ourselves in, we can experience out-of-this-world intimacy – starting right now. Jesus Christ is the Creator of intimacy and companionship. Let Him soothe your soul, as He soothes my own.

Read Psalm 139; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthians 7:17-20; James 4:8

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Chronic Illness, Single Living, Truth in Trials

Stay The Course

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it (Psalm 119:1-4, MSG).”

On the rough days, we would be wise to remember what’s at sake. What’s waiting for us?

If we stay the course, we win the prize. We get the reward. Simply put, we win.

This can apply to any area of our life.

In how we live out our own faith in Jesus Christ on a daily basis.

Encouraging others in their own walk.

Teaching others His truth.

In Dating/Waiting (Yes, even this!)

Even in the physical aspect of our life through nutrition and fitness.

In Scripture…

the Christian life can be likened to that of a physical race (see 1 Cor. 9:24-28). We need to keep running, continue in our training, knowing that “in due season we will reap our reward” (see Gal. 6:8-10).

This marathon of faith we are running, let’s just give it all we got. We may be weary. I know, I feel ya – my friend. I am too. But when we get a glimpse of what is waiting for us on the other side, it is far more than worthy of all we are enduring.

The Most Encourage Thing We Could Read…

Read 2 Cor. 4:16-18.

In 2 Cor. 4:17, we are reminded that these earthly things we face – can’t compare to eternity. It can’t compare to the eternity that we will spend with our Savior Jesus – for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ! I love the encouragement just before this statement in verse 17, where the Apostle Paul encourages us as believers to…

“not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

We can keep our eyes focused on Jesus (verse 18), and be encouraged – knowing that Jesus – our Great Redeemer will renew us in the process of being pressed.

This is exactly why we can live out this imperative – this command to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Let me say it again:

When we get a glimpse of what is waiting on us on the other side (eternal perspective), it will be soo worth it!! Just hang on, dear reader. Hang onto JESUS – our Redeemer!

As I Write This…

I am munching on a freshly sliced apple (minus the stumbling block of Sunbutter that I can’t have in a self-controlled manner), thinking over my day (it’s been a dozey), yet this reminder reminds strong. It isn’t the first time the Holy Spirit (God-given) thought have taken me over..

IF I CAN stay the course, I will find abundant life.

More abundant than if I try to take a short cut in a nearby field (unknowingly, attracting the beast of the field – who stand ready to attack). In my life, I will face attacks. Spiritually attacks. By the enemy known as the devil. As John 10:10 says, he comes for three purposes – to steal, kill, and destroy. I have experienced this in my circumstances. Maybe, you have too.

We need to consider how we are living our life. There are three target areas I have – to combat the enemy. Maybe, you have your own choice areas that you know to focus on – to avoid these sudden attacks.

My Quiet Time –

This means I need to get serious about my quiet time with the Lord. This is one thing I have become convinced of these past few days. I need to get serious about drawing to closer to the Lord. I need to get serious about my 5 am (or another appointment time) wake up call, so I can be alone with my Savior. So, I can bring the needs of myself and my family before the Lord – before I begin trying to work through my day. Right now, I am going through the Armor of God – which is helping me to see just how much I need to begin my day spent in His Word of Truth. I need to begin my day with worship.

My Spiritual Health –

The brink between “just a quiet time” and overall well-being. The intrinisic part of my life is where spiritual health is found. It is composed of my mind/thoughts, emotions, my desires (my will), and much more. Here’s the thing: I want to glorify God with all I am! There are a lot of areas of my life that can disturb my spiritual health. IE) The shows I watch – affect my mind, thus affecting my spiritual life.

Proverbs 4:23 teaches us to “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts (MSG).”

My Physical Health –

This means making sure I stay on the plotted course. Late last year, the Lord revealed to me through the Holy Spirit specific foods that hinder my well-being. So, I have taken those things out of my diet. Like anyone would, I am getting weary with the new diet (on top of avoiding food allergies). It is a huge blessing to stay walk the plotted course, knowing this is where the blessing is. This is the plotted course, I have to stay on – as I continue to pray and seek God’s healing for my overall well-being – which includes my mind and will.

Godly Living, Single Living

Where are the Singles Ministering?

I have been thinking about 1 Corinthians 7, lately. In this particular portion of Scripture, we are reminded that it is better to be single. When we are single, we are in the absolute best position to serve God in His Church.

“I want all of you to be free from worry. An unmarried man worries about how to please the Lord. But a married man has more worries. He must worry about the things of this world, because he wants to please his wife. So he is pulled in two directions. Unmarried women and women who have never been married worry only about pleasing the Lord, and they keep their bodies and minds pure. But a married woman worries about the things of this world, because she wants to please her husband. What I am saying is for your own good—it isn’t to limit your freedom. I want to help you to live right and to love the Lord above all else (vv. 32-35).”

I don’t write this to condemn single Christ-followers, but to encourage them. To encourage you. On the basis of the love of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know there are many single Christ-followers. I just wonder where they are. Not in a “on-the-lookout-for-a-Christian-man” kind of way. But, I want to see the single folks serving alongside me, in every ministry in our global Church. I want to see us, as God’s dearly beloved, utilizing every single gift we are given. Let’s not misuse any of our God-given gifts!

I want to know…

  1. Where are they serving?
  2. How are they allowing God to use their season of singleness to impact the Kingdom of God?
  3. What kind of example are they setting?

Singleness and the Ministry Given

We Notice Them

As singles, we become abundantly aware of every married couple in our home church. We notice when new people visit our church. We notice who the single people of the Church are. So, the singles are out there – despite how rare their appearances seem to be.

Yet, many are single…
They just aren’t seen serving in His Church.

Singles: Godly Examples on Ministering

I am speaking of His Church on a global level. It is not solely my Church that I speak of, but His Church. I am one who craves mentorship. I am greatly impacted by others’ lives, as I observe their words and actions. I treasure seeing others’ faith at work through their serving within the Church. To see others who take God at His Word when He teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, live in harmony with one another, and associate with the lowly (Rom. 12:15-16).

So, this is a question that can obviously plague my spirit.

Where are all the single Christ – followers who can be leadingserving, and impacting others for the Kingdom of God?

Where are they?

I just want to know where they are.

I just want to find them and witness their God-centered passion.

Surely, they are out there. Right?

I mean, they have to be out there somewhere.

But, what are they doing if they aren’t ministering within the Church? And yes, I wonder if they allow their singleness to hold them back in their serving.

Or, perhaps, are they busy following other things?

  • Careers?
  • Friends?
  • Traveling?
  • Catching up on TV shows?
  • Self-isolating?
  • Busy buffing up at the gym?

The Gift of Singleness

I wish we recognized the tremendous strength that our singleness could hold. It has taken me nearly 29 years, to reach this blessed point of being content in singleness and having a passion to utilize this season to actively pour myself into ministry as God allows. I don’t want to miss a beat, due to discontentment. I don’t want my Christian brothers and sisters, to neglect their God-given gifts either.

Single or married, we need to concern ourselves with pleasing God and using our gifts in His Church.

Contentment in Singleness

I am growing in this area of being content in singleness. A key aspect of this, for me, is to serve God in the local Church. While I serve, through various functions (this blog, my writing, other social media, etc), serving in the local Church body is a key aspect of growing in godly contentment.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it (1 Tim. 6:6-7).”

 

Serving within the Church has replaced the discontentment. I am choosing to see the gift of singleness and the contentment that God can bring with (and through) it. Instead of being centered on singleness and dreaming up possibilities, I am basking in the opportunity to serve. Using my spiritual gifts, to serve where I can love and grow alongside others. This is where I am finding my joy, sweet fellowship, deeper communion with Jesus Christ, and yes godly contentment – even.

In the Bible, there are countless singles who left their footprint on others’ lives. It is because of their singleness that they could more wholeheartedly follow Jesus Christ – our loving Savior.

This is not to say that married individuals did not (or cannot) wholeheartedly follow Christ. But as we know, single individuals have more to offer. This is due because our lives typically include much less responsibility. A married individual worries about how to please their spouse/family, whereas we can focus on solely pleasing the Lord. All He asks for is our hearts, and singles have plenty to give.

Singleness: An Opportunity to Minister

You know when you read Christian books or articles on singleness, there is something they tend to mention.

Those who are unattached, are in the absolute best place to minister to others.

I am holding onto this truth. Scripture even backs it up. It’s biblical, as we see in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35.

When we are single, we can throw ourselves into whatever area God is calling us. We do not have concern ourselves with wondering if our husbands feel as though we are neglecting our marriage, kids, spending too many hours in Church, etc. Because, we can wholly devote ourselves to Christ, His Bride – the Church, and just focus on how can we minister to others and be ministered to.

As I look to this kind of lifestyle of treating singleness as a ministry opportunity, I want my eyes to be opened to other men and women of God who are of a like-mindset, and learning how to focus on pleasing the Lord. I want to find these individuals who can serve as encouragement and examples of how to lead in the midst of singleness.

Reflection –

If you are single, how are you using your singleness to serve?

If you are married, what examples of single Christians have you observed in your own life?

Seeking Holiness: A Study on 1 Thessalonians 4, Single Living

Seeking Holiness: The Holy Spirit’s Involvement

Seeking Holiness - A Study on 1 Thess 4

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thess. 4:1, NIV)

We left off with an acknowledgment worthy of its own blog post.

“With Christ as our foundation, everything changes… God will use these relationships and moments of truth-telling in these trusted relationships,  to change our lives (and others) – for the better. We never have to go back to the before.”

God will use these relationships in which we have been placed, to speak His words of life.

Question to consider –

How many times have we gone to a brother or sister in Christ, and received a word from God?

If you have gone to them, especially while in a rough spot, you will hear words that will resound with what God teaches us through the pages of Scripture.

God wants to use those relationships.
But, we have to give God room to work!

Here’s the Thing…

In order to allow God access to these relationships, we need to remember a few things. Or perhaps, learn these things for the first time. We know God can work so mysteriously, and use relationships within the church to such a strong degree.

Before we can get there and experience those blessed transformative moments with our brethren, we have to know how God works, see people through His lens, and give them to God.

The Holy Spirit

… is what makes the difference between our relationships within the family of God and others. The Holy Spirit is how God will work and use His people to speak His truths when we need to hear it. The Holy Spirit is influential and the reason for the transformation taking place inside of us. He wants to use us, as He continues to work in others’ lives too (see Phil. 1:6).

Let me say that again:

The Holy Spirit is what makes the difference, and leads His Church into transformation – through heart-piercing-truths we need to hear! Without those relationships in place, how will we ever grow in Christ?

Growth

Through the Holy Spirit, we can see our relationships and friends (brethren in Christ) grow more fruitfully. It may mean rough conversations like these men would of had, with those they cared about. But, we are called to “spur one another one toward love and good deeds”.

Accountability

Those who have trusted Christ as their Savior, are our brothers and sisters. We have a responsibility to share the truth with them. We harm them, by not speaking the truth when the Holy Spirit leads us to do so. But, we need to cultivate more of these kind of relationships where we are being sharped and transformed by God through His Holy Spirt, the Word, and the Church!

New Perspective

This means, we need to have our perspective of relationships… refined. How is God wanting to use your relationships for His glory? Do you realize how He wants to use those people in your life, and vice versa? We need to remember that once we come to Christ, we are forever changed. We don’t operate on an old perspective. Instead, we need to see others the way Christ sees them. The way Christ loves them. We have been given the opportunity to be used by God and gain His heavenly perspective on His creations.

“From this time on we don’t think of anyone as the world thinks of people. It is true that in the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks. But we don’t think that way now.  When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world…” (see 2 Cor. 5:16-19)

Surrendering to God

We know the importance of giving everything we have to God. That is where the beauty is, in seeing what God will do with what we have lovingly entrusted back to Him. After all, they were His first! This is where the two greatest commandments step in. Loving God and others, through how we view these relationships and love our friends. What kind of love do we want to show those we care for – the deepest? The deepest-level of love, is to give them to Jesus. Not just for today, but for a lifetime!

We need to trust that God can and will do what His Word promises to do. We need to trust God to care infinitely more for our loved ones, and to use us to reach them, showing them who He is and how He loves.

Seeking Holiness: A Study on 1 Thessalonians 4, Single Living

Seeking Holiness: Transformed in the Family of God

Seeking Holiness - A Study on 1 Thess 4

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thess. 4:1, NIV)

When we left off last week, we began to explore the God-given truth that His wills for the Church family to be a good example of how a family can be. We can love, forgive, and through Him – our relationships can experience glorious restoration. The key is to place Christ at the center of our relationships. Remember, He is to be the foundation. The foundation on God is why “the righteous are never shaken” (see Ps. 112). He is what causes there to be a difference – a transformation.

When Christ is not the center of our structure, how can we expect it to stand?

Invested in Relationships

This is why these men of God could come to the church of the Thessalonians, and share with them the truth of God. There was a bond that could not be broken. Their relationships with one another was unshakable, as long as they stayed committed to the Way. They were invested in one another – for the long run.

Painful Truth

“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (Prov. 27:6, NLT)

Their relationship with one another was centered on depth, not what felt comfortable. There were times when the truth would be spoken to ultimately better their friend (and their relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ), but it would be painful to do.

An Example…

We read about this in 2 Corinthians 7:2-14, as Paul had to share some influential truths with the Church of Corinth. He wrote that the truth spoken, might have caused the Corinthians sorrow – yet it had its purpose. To lead them into repentance – turning away from sin and toward God (see vv. 8-9).

Before Christ

… our relationships would be centered around something, other than Christ. But, now. Our relationships invite Him to participate center stage. As we continue to walk with Jesus Christ each day, we need to allow our relationships to experience our inward transformation too. To glean the most from “Seeking Holiness,” we need to understand this redefinition of relationships.

These men of God and the Thessalonians are operating on a relationship based on trust found through Christ alone. This is where we invite others into our lives, to speak the transformation words of Christ. In Scripture, we are reminded that we all belong to God’s family (see Eph. 2:19). This opens the door to this new-way-of-relating to one another.

If we want to allow our brothers and sisters (in Christ) to experience the transformative works of Christ, we need to allow Him to invade our relationships.

This is where the most blessings occur. The Thessalonians would soon experience that, as they put into practice these men’s words given to them by God to speak.

Everything Changes

With Christ as our foundation, everything changes. As we consider those relationships with other believers, let’s give them room to speak His truth in our lives. God will use these relationships and moments of truth-telling in these trusted relationships, to change our lives (and others) – for the better. We never have to go back to the before.

“We have been resurrected to life, as it were, so that there will be a change in the kind of life we live due to God being at work in us. The Creator is at work; in fact, interestingly, workmanship can be translated “work of art.” God is not merely giving a command and transforming us, but He is artistically molding and shaping us.” – John W. Ritenbaugh, on Eph. 2:10