The Best Yes

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My friend and I are reading the book, The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s so rich and so good. I highly recommend this book. I started to think, what is the best yes? What is my best yes as a single person? The Bible says a single person has undivided attention. Meaning they can spend as much time with God as possible. They can go wherever God calls them to go without hindrance or having to check in with someone else. They donate as much of their time, money and resources to the Kingdom as they want and their focus isn’t pleasing a human spouse, but solely pleasing Christ. Married people have the priority of caring for a spouse and maybe kids. Their focus is divided as Paul stated. Neither is better than the other, but it’s easier to see priorities when they are set for you.

Married people: love God and please your spouse/take care of and disciple your kids.
Single people: devote your life to God. Be sold out for Him. What does that mean?

Here are my responses to that question.

Start each day with God
Cultivate intimacy with God
Invest monetarily, gifts, talents, and skills for Kingdom purposes
Seek God about relationships, how to spent time, resources, gifts, and talents. What will bring Him the most glory?
Be discipled by the Holy Spirit and other believers
Disciple others
Study God’s word and know it well
Soak in God’s presence often
Worship God and give thanks continually
Pray without ceasing…
Be salt and light everywhere I go
Share the Gospel with others
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked…
Be with Jesus and do what I see Jesus doing
Bless and encourage people daily (1 a day is 365 a year-14,600 in 40 years if you just bless one a day)
Pursue purity in thought, heart, and deed
Enlarge heaven

My best yes is relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The most important yes is to cultivate intimacy with God which doesn’t always mean doing for Him. It’s mainly being with Him. Being with Him leads to doing for Him out of love, not to establish identity or check a box. It’s not about perfection either. It’s about purpose.

Why are we here? What did God create us to do that only we are designed to do? What are we doing to be in alignment with our divine destiny?

Being single is the time in life to spend as much time with God as possible. To find out who He is, who I am in Him, and have unhindered fellowship with Him. No husband to check in with, no kids tugging at you, no restrictions in what you can do for Him. I am not against marriage. It’s a good thing too. I am pro living content in the season I am in. Enjoying today. I am pro not believing a wedding day is the best day of a person’s life. The day a person gives their life to Jesus is the best day of any person’s life. No person can do what God can do. He’s transformed and continues to transform my life. Only Jesus saves…so you don’t wait for the next thing to feel that’s what gives you purpose. Jesus gives purpose. God gives identity. Contentment is found in Him alone.

We also don’t live aimlessly and allow people to decide what we are doing. Jesus wasn’t driven by the demands and opinions of people. He only did what He saw the Father doing. He offended many by not doing what they wanted Him to do. He wasn’t a people pleaser. He pleased the Father.

For the married people. Loving your spouse and/or kids is loving God. It is honoring God. Teaching your children about Jesus is awesome and a best yes. Being a light to your spouse and family is so honorable. You don’t have to go across the world to do missions, though you may. Marriage was God’s idea and it’s noble. It does not replace God. A spouse and family are not God. He still wants to be first in a married person’s life as well as a single person’s life. He still want’s married people to disciple others, put Him first, give, be generous, encourage others, be with Him, study the word, worship, know Him, enjoy Him, and be led by Him. It’s just in ways different…

Lastly, God alone gives purpose. Only the Creator can tell someone what they were created to do. No marriage, friend, job, ministry, family, or anything else can give someone identity that is solid. When our lives are over, we will stand before Him alone. The most important question is, “What did you do with my Son?” for salvation. He will assess also what we did with what He gave us; time, talent, money, gifts,…see parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). God is the Best Yes.

What is your best yes?

What are you living for?

How are you spending time? There are 168 hours in a week…what are they being used for? Lysa has this great assessment tool. See link below. I highly recommend her book. It’s not adding more things to do. It’s assessing what we are doing that it’s aligned with the best yes. God gives each person the grace to be and accomplish what He created them for. I can’t be you. You can’t be me. We are unique creations designed to fit into our nitch to give Him glory.

Time Assessment tool: http://thebestyes.com/time-assessment-tool

The Single Reality (Part 10)

To Date or Not to Date, That is The Question?

Today we will tackle the topic of Christian dating? Who’s excited? I hope you are. First let me say that much of what will be sharing is based on my own experiences and experiences of people I know. You have to decide on your own with God what’s best for you.  The Bible doesn’t talk much about courtship in how to (the 10 commandments of dating). Paul did encourage those who were burning with desire to marry instead of simply hook-up. Well, not exactly his words, but you get what I am saying. We are told what not to do, but what about what we are supposed to do.

Here’s my top 10 dating tips:

1. Find out who you are alone first. It’s easy to try find another person to validate or fill a void. However, if you date to heal low self-esteem you will attract another person with low self-esteem and insecurities. Two insecure people makes for a roller coaster relationship. Trust me on this one. Let God heal you; love, respect, and accept yourself, and then add another person.

2. Keep pursuing Jesus! God knows where you are and will most likely align your life with someone headed in the same direction. He brings people together who compliment each other and can help one another. Some of the happiest couples I’ve met have met each other while serving God. Their paths crossed and they built a friendship. Their friendship evolved into a romantic relationship. They weren’t looking; God had their paths cross.

3. Leave the house. Some people like the online dating sites. I have no opinion on them. Pray and decide what’s best for you. I know people who have met their spouse online and they are happy. Some people have had no luck. With that said, if you never leave the house, you’re probably not going to meet anyone. I am not advocating making yourself super busy to meet someone. I am advocating living! Find things you like to do and do them. Join a gym, take a class, join a group, get going. I’ve found angels don’t deliver people to your doorstep, though I’ve never asked so who knows. I doubt though that God will FedEx your spouse to you. 🙂

4. Find out about that person’s walk with Jesus. Many people go to church who do not know Jesus. They know of Him, but they have no deep relationship with Him. Where are you in your walk with God? Do you want someone to spur you on, challenge you to grow stronger in your faith, pray and interceed for you, someone who loves like Jesus? Those qualities come from abiding in Christ. If the person you’re interested in isn’t passionate about Jesus, then why would you want to hitch your life to them?

5. Build a friendship, wait for romance and too much intimacy. Movies make it romantic and glamorous to fall in love in 20 seconds and live happily ever after. Well, that works in the movies, it does not always work in real life. People immediately want to kiss, hold hands, share their soul and deepest thoughts. There is nothing wrong with those activities. However, if friendship (platonic) is not the first thing built, then your foundation is not as solid. Friendship is what will hold your relationship together when the romance has subsided. The sooner you introduce physical or emotional intimacy, the more difficult it is to get out of the relationship if it isn’t right. It also makes it more difficult to see the flaws in the other person, things you may need to address before your heart is entangled. God created us to link up and join with people forming strong bonds. Intimacy fortifies (strengthens) those bonds. Once they are formed, it’s not easy to walk away. Also, if someone cannot be a good friend to you, do you want to have a romantic relationship with them?

6. Trust your gut. Sometimes we know someone is not right for us, but we continue on in a relationship just to be in one. Well, if we know it isn’t right we are wasting another persons time and our time. I dated someone who on paper looked great, but something in my gut said, “Red Flag. Abort…He’s not the right person for you.” I prayed and asked God to show me who this guy really was. Glad I asked. There were several deal breakers, and I saved myself from future heartache.

7. Set boundaries, have accountability. We are not immune to temptation. So plan ahead for it. Don’t simply go with flow and think you’ll able to make the right choice. In the moment you may not be able to. It’s better to prepare ahead of time and tell the other person what your boundaries are, than to fall into temptation or sin. It’s good to have a trustworthy friend you can confide in and seek counsel from as well. Someone who won’t go blabbing your business to everyone.

8. Please don’t date if you don’t want to get married. A non-Christian can get away with this. Most Christian singles date to find a mate. So, if you know you aren’t ready, don’t want to, or don’t see yourself marrying the person interested in you, don’t date. I’ve made this mistake before. I dated people with no intention of ever marrying them or anyone. I was more interested in traveling, following passions and dreams, etc…I had no desire at all to be married, yet I was dating people. I told them I wasn’t interested in marriage at the time, and I think some thought I’d change my mind or something. Then things just got awkward and people were disappointed when they realized I meant what I said. I liked the people I was spending time with and the friendship was good. However, I did not want to be married and we are to be good stewards of people’s hearts. I was doing a horrible job.

9. Dont just get to know the person, get to know their friends and family. A person who cannot sustain any healthy friendships with other Christians is a big red flag. There needs to be someone who knows the person and can vouch for them. It’s easy to hide crazy. However, people are more themselves around their closest friends and family. If they cannot build a healthy relationship with someone who they are not romantically involved with, then be concerned.

10. Take your time. Everything in our society is fast paced. People are always in a hurry. However, when it comes to your future, you have the right to take your time. Marriage is supposed to be until death. That’s a long time. Imagine 50 years with someone you can’t stand. People also put their best foot forward the first year or two they know you. I’m not saying you need to date for 5 years then get married. I am saying that people are out to impress when they first meet you. It takes time to know who they really are. Ask questions. Find out how they handle stress, money, life…get to know the person. Goes back to numbers 5, 6, and 9.

Lastly, God said that He does exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ask or imagine. Don’t settle for so-so, or okay, or good enough if you want exceptional. Exceptional doesn’t mean perfect, but it means perfect for you. The person who compliments you. The person who’s an amazing person to you. The person who’s inner beauty is more radiant than their outer beauty. A person you could imagine growing old and sharing everything with… You’re worth it!!!!

The Single Reality (Part 8)

Purity in an Over-Sexed World

We live in a world that is obsessed with sex. Yes, I said the s word. God created sex and created it to be good. Everything He created is good. The problem comes when anything God intended for good is used outside the boundaries He put in place. He is smarter than we are. He knows that if we are allowed to do whatever we want, it will lead to disaster. He’s right. We have tv shows promoting teens having sex, when they can’t even drive a car or vote. We have people saying, “Do whatever feels right to you. If it feels good do it!” We live in a world where children and women are being held against their wills and are trafficked for sex. People are cheating on their spouses, addicted to pornography, and even children are being exploited. People have access to any and everything, more than any generation in history. All this over saturation has led us to a place of being desensitized. What God created for good is being used for evil.

So, why is God so concerned with purity in thought and deed?

A. Lust is never satisfied. God knows that self indulgence does not lead to freedom, but to bondage. Anything we feed grows. Anything we starve dies. Our appetites are not quenched by indulging in whatever activity our body craves. Hunger creates more hunger. Lust is destructive because it is rooted in selfishness. A person can be single or married and struggle with lust. It is not limited to sexual activities. A person can lust for what someone else has (coveting), or lust for power (pride), or lust for money (greed). It is a strong desire to take for oneself. It is not giving, lust takes.

B. Purity is rooted in love. God is love. Love is not selfish. Love wants what is best for the other person. Love does not reduce a person to an object for pleasure. Love elevates a person to a place of honor. Love seeks to serve, sacrifice, and give. Purity is an essence of God. Purity of thought leads to purity in deeds. Paul encouraged us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to God’s word, 2 Corinthians 10:5. God’s way is the right way whether we want to adhere to it or not. He knows that not choosing His way leads to destruction.

What about my hormones and urges….?

Okay so I’ve been alive long enough to have been asked this question, and I am the oldest sibling with teenage siblings. A sex drive (the desire to have sex with someone) is not evil. It’s what you do with those desires. You can meditate on them and allow them to control your life. Or you can focus on love. Love is willing to wait. Lust wants immediate gratification. Love is patient. Lust is impulsive. Love wants God’s way. Lust wants its own way. God isn’t cruel. He does not give humans a desire to mate and then laugh when they can’t. If asked, He will help any person to maintain self-control. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control.

Won’t marriage cure my cravings?

Well, it depends. We tell people that getting married solves a lust problem, but it doesn’t. No more than going to a buffet cures an over-eating problem. Lust is a heart issue. If the desire to please self is more important than loving another person, then it will exist even after there’s a proper outlet for it.

How do I remain pure in an over-sexed world?

1. Take inventory of what you are feeding your mind. We spoke of this a few weeks ago. What you feed your mind is what it will meditate on and garbage in=garbage out. Our spirits are affected by what we see and hear.

2. Prayer. I put prayer second because you can pray but if you don’t take inventory of what you’re taking in, you are defeating the purpose. God will help anyone who asks for help. He’s also the most powerful Being in the Universe. He will not allow a person to be tempted without providing a way of escape, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

3. Accountability. Even the strongest person benefits from accountability. Whether you are single, dating, or married, there needs to be someone you can trust with any struggles, who can ask the difficult questions and hold you accountable to purity. It’s one of the benefits of being in community. I recommend a trustworthy, loving person.

4. Boundaries. Sometimes people fall because there are no boundaries. They don’t set boundaries in advance. If they are dating, they just go along with the flow until there’s an “Oops.” Plan ahead to protect the person you are dating. How can you help them remain pure? Love protects. Love isn’t seeking its own pleasure but what is beneficial for the other person.

Father I pray for every person who reads this blog to have a purified heart and mind. Remove anything that would hinder love, pure love. May we have a deeper revelation of Your love and understand the power we have in You to do all things. In Jesus name, Amen.

Next time we will talk about dating…Have a great week friends.

The Single Reality (Part 7)

What are you waiting for?

My dear friends, I hope you are enjoying this series. We will talk about purity, dating, connecting with families, and so much more in the weeks to come. We will have guest bloggers to chat with us. Tonight, I wanted to talk about destiny. Yes, your destiny. Why are you here? Are you sitting around waiting for something to come along or someone to come along before you start living? I hope not. God has so many great plans for you as an individual. You have your own destiny that is tied to Jesus.

I’ve heard single people state they will finally be happy when they find someone. Life seems to be at a standstill until “The one,” shows up. I want to ask, “What you waiting for? Life is worth living today. Be happy today. The sky is the limit for you!” If you are single, your heart and time is unhindered. You can go where God tells you to go and do what He calls you to do without it impacting too many people. If He tells you to pick up and move, you can most likely go. You have a future that is bright…

Here are some things I’ve found that were beneficial in enjoying life as a single person.

1. Ask God why He made you. God knows why He created every person on the planet. He has a personalized plan for each one. He knows the gifts, talents, and skills He placed inside every person. He has a plan for every human being so they shine brightly for Him. Everyone has a divine purpose and it’s worth investigating.

2. Spend time getting to know God. He is better than any gift He gives. People can spend their entire lives going to church and miss truly knowing God personally. He is an amazing Father, friend, and He’s not boring. Getting to know Him is an adventure. Then you have stories to share with others about Him. It’s a journey worth taking.

3. Find what you love to do and do it. Is it music, art, writing/blogging, cooking, sports, travel, missions,….? Find out what you are passionate about and do those things. Life is worth living, as I stated earlier.

4. Let God love you and love yourself. There are so many people in the world who don’t know how much they are loved or don’t love themselves. Love is something we can not give away if we don’t have it. If we don’t love ourselves or know God’s love for us then we will search  for someone to love us and fill that void. No one can fill a God sized void. Only He can.

5. Help and serve others. Life is far more fun when we share, give, love others, and help those in need. Volunteer. Get to know your neighbors. Serve as Jesus served.

6. Be a world changer. You my friend can change the world. Many people say, “What can one person do?” One person can do quite a bit. Mother Teresa was one woman, but she accomplished so much. One person can make a difference. Just tie your life to Jesus and watch your life take flight.

God I pray for every person who reads this blog to have an encounter with you. May they have a deeper revelation of your love and the purpose You have for their lives. Reveal the reason why they were created. Lead them, guide them, and help them to enjoy life to the fullest. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Single Reality (Part 6)

Covenant Friendship

When you are not married there are questions that pop up such as, “Who will be my witness? Who will share my life with me? Who will be my family? Who will care for me when I am old?” Married people have someone who has promised to love them for better or for worse. They have someone who interacts with them regularly. They have a person who cares about the details of their lives. They have a witness. If you are single, who do you have? Of course for believers, we have Jesus. However, there is someone else that we can share our lives with as well. It’s a covenant friend.

What is a covenant friend?

A covenant friend is someone you are committed to love for life.

God has a covenant with His people. He will not break His covenant. A covenant is a promise.

Covenant friendship is a willingness to lay down one’s life for the other person, it involves sacrifice. It is sacrificial love. In a godly context it is a oneness in spirit, a linkage by the Holy Spirit.

Example of covenant friends: David and Jonathan, 1 Sam 20.

Think of David and Jonathan in the Bible. They had a covenant friendship, a promise to love, protect, and be there for each other for life. What were some of the characteristics of their friendship?

1. Loyalty. They refused to betray one another. Jonathan would not surrender his friend to his father Samuel. He chose to protect his friend even with the possibility of being harmed.

2. Trust. There was complete trust between David and Jonathan. They had each other’s best interest at heart.

3. Transparency, Vulnerability, and Accountability. These two men were willing to be vulnerable, transparent, and accountable to each other. They had no fear. They were able to expose their souls to one another and know that the other person would do what was best for them. Not only was there intimacy (transparency and knowing each other), they were willing to hold each other to God’s standards.

4. One in Spirit. They both loved God and were one in spirit. There was no division over who they were serving. They both believed and were committed to God.

5. Mutual Service. David and Jonathan had a relationship of give and take. They supported one another 100 percent. They took care of each other. Even after Jonathan’s death, David cared for his disabled son.

6. Protection. These two men sought to protect each other.

7. Genuine Love. David and Jonathan loved one another as God loved them. They demonstrated their love for one another with patience, kindness, godly affection, support, encouragement, protection, and friendship.

8. Honesty. David and Jonathan were honest with one another.

So where do you find a covenant friend? I would say pray for one or a community of them. You would think that any person who believes in Jesus is a good match. I have found that is not true. Though you may find a covenant friend in your church, God may send you a covenant friend from across the  world. I have a friend who lives in Brazil. We met on a mission trip. As soon as I met her, I knew we’d be friends for life. We pray for each other. We protect each other. We correct each other in love. We support each other. We seek God for each other. She is interested in the details of my life. It’s a give- give relationship. It’s a win, win. God will put us on each other’s minds and we pray. Distance isn’t an issue. I can say I would lay down my life for her. I love her with my life, and I trust her.

I have another friend who has a community of covenant friends. They live like family. They don’t simply hang out and have fun. They point each other to Jesus. They are there for one another. They share resources. If one person is lacking, they as a community will help out. No person is alone or without support. The community has married couples, families, and singles. Together, they are one big family under the parenting of God. I believe the model they follow, is what Jesus intended for church community.

Prayer for you:

Abba I pray for everyone who reads this blog to have a covenant friend or covenant friends. People they can share life with, find support, encouragement, love, protection, accountability, family, and so much more. Knit them tightly with people who will love them the way you love them. If they already have covenant relationships, bless those relationships. Keep them from division, strife, pain, hurt, or offense. Build a wall of protection around them. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Single Reality (Part 5)

Overcoming the Challenges of Being Single

My dear friends. Soon we will have some guest authors submitting posts for you. How exciting! I hope you are enjoying the posts. Here are some of the challenges of being single that I have heard people speak of and some ways to overcome them.

1. What about my needs? I thought we would start with talking about the media’s favorite subjects love and sex.  God made humans with the desire for love and sex. Our media does not portray it the way God intended, but the desires to mate are not sinful.  The problem comes when there is no outlet for unmet needs. People rush to the altar to have those needs met instead of asking God for peace in the current state of being without someone. Should you get married for those reasons? I am not here to judge. To each his/her own. However, if you don’t have someone and want to follow Jesus, then sex outside of marriage is against His will. So, what do you do?

a. Pray. Ask God to calm your desires until love arrives or give you the ability to not be perpetually frustrated. God is able to keep those who want to be kept. Jesus lived without a spouse, so did Paul and many others. It can be done. God’s Spirit is able to calm the fiercest drives. Many have prayed for contentment unless God led them to marry.

b.Pay Attention to What You Read/Watch/Listen To. Our books, music, and movies glorify sex outside of committment. Sometimes they throw a sultry scene in the middle of a movie with no point at all. The same goes for romance movies/books. If you are saturated with scenes, images, etc…of what you don’t have and can’t do, you will be frustrated. What you take in does matter. I am not saying you can’t go to the movies, etc…I am saying if you are struggling, it may not be helping out.

c. What You Feed Grows. What You Starve Dies. Our appetites are tied to what we are feeding. Whatever we indulge in is what we will crave. Those who struggle with lust are not cured by marriage. Lust is a hungry beast that is never satisfied.

2. Married and Engaged Couples. Some of your lovely friends are headed to the chapel. And you aren’t. You are happy for them, but they are not thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves, how happy they are. They say things like, “I am so glad I am not single anymore.” Or, “We need to find you someone.” Or, “Your day will come.” Aside from being a different category, you may notice that you lose friends as they get married. Their focus turns towards their families. So, what do you do.

a. Be Happy for Others and Understand Happy People Can Be Insensitive. I have heard married people say ridiculous things to singles. I have heard them brag, boast, and even talk about their sex lives. Try not to take it personal. It seems in the church the only things people are allowed to brag about are their significant others or children. It’s socially acceptable. Even unhappy people brag and can be insensitive. Let it roll off. If people insist on asking you about your love life or lack of one, limit time with people like that or tell them you don’t want to discuss your personal life.

3. Wanting a Family. For those who don’t have a close family, family members are dead, or want kids, the wait or prospect of not having a family is disheartening. How to deal.

a. Pray. God hears your prayers. If you want a family, pray for one. In the meantime try to connect with a church, others who share the same interests, neighbors, and community service activities. Invest in others. God will send you people who can be a substitute family. If you want people to ask about your life, start engaging with others about their lives. Also don’t limit yourself to people in your church. I have a single friend who met amazing people within a hiking group. There are still good people in the world, waiting to meet you!

b. Kick Your Biological Clock. Today people are able to have children later in life. Heck, in the Bible people had children later in life. God is not limited by time or anything. He called the Universe into being.

4. Social Activities. Wedding invitations are flooded to your inbox and couples are everywhere. You don’t want to go alone or be the third wheel. You want a travel buddy.

a. Make friends with members of the opposite sex. It may be awkward, but men and women can be friends. If that doesn’t work you can always see if another friend you know is available to go. It’s easier said than done, but it’s a way to get over the hurdle of people asking you why you aren’t with someone. You are a treasure and just because someone hasn’t noticed, doesn’t take away from your value. A diamond is a diamond, whether it’s on someone’s finger or perfectly polished on the shelf.

Lastly my friends, no matter what you face God is with you and for you. You are not alone or without help or hope. You are a valued, treasure and God sees the desires of you heart. You are in my thoughts and prayers. 🙂

The Single Reality (Part 4)

Dear friends,

Here’s some mid week encouragement. One of the challenges of single life is sometimes there are seasons of feeling lonely. Even married people have seasons of loneliness.

If there’s no one to ask about your day or invest in your life. If you are without strong community, or are experiencing loneliness, this prayer is for you.

Abba, I pray for every person who reads this blog to have an encounter with You. Fill their hearts with Your love, encouragement, hope, joy, and peace. Provide them with family here on earth, a strong community of people who will love them as you do. May they never feel lonely, outcast, or insignificant. Give them blessings they have no room to contain. Shield their ears from those who speak negatively. Fill their minds with Your words. They are loved, cherished, cared for, and the apples of Your eye.

You are deeply loved…:)