Question Engagement

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You have been single for a few years but recently you have been dating someone and it is getting serious, real serious. You are both casually talking about building a life together and dreaming big dreams for your future. Pause. Before you start down those roads too far, remember the step between being married and dating is being engaged. Often engagement is undervalued and seen merely as a step to get a ring and reasons to start planning a big wedding day. Engagement is an important time for you both; it’s a time to solidify the little details in your relationship before the big day. But before you get engaged, you need to ask a few questions. By this point you have hopefully asked the big questions of compatibility and feel like things are going to work out. Questions about your spiritual, physical, and emotional compatibility. Right before you get engaged, now is the time to ask the small questions. 101 of them is a good start. We recommend 101 Questions to ask BEFORE you get engaged by H. Norman Wright because it forces a couple to process fully the commitment they are about to make. These questions may seem repetitive at first, but every couple we have seen go through it has learned more about themselves and their potential future partner. Christ is the foundation of a life-long relationship. With Him, all things are possible and together you will be one before Him in marriage. Take time to work out the small details before the hustle and bustle of being engaged and planning a wedding.  Your relationship will benefit tremendously by doing so.

Sunday Single Selection

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It is Saturday night and you know you should go to church tomorrow, yet you have reservations in your heart about where to go or if you should find somewhere new to go. You want to Worship and hear the Word preached, but the church you go to does not seem to get being single or you can not find a church with a singles group. Many singles have this Saturday night emotion, wanting to go to church for all the right reasons, but still desiring more in community with other singles like yourself.

Many churches don’t have a targeted group for singles, if they even seem to acknowledge they are present. Those that do have singles groups may not feel like they are targeted at people like yourself. While the emotions are valid, your response to these issues should have only one outcome and that is to go Worship with other believers. Worship is not a self serving activity where you get something for doing something. Worship is about praising God for who He is and learning more about Him through that experience. So here are a few encouragements for singles with regards to church selection.

  1. Base your selection on if the church Worships God and honors His Word.
  2. Connect with a congregation close as possible to enhance your ability to participate.
  3. Look for churches with existing singles ministries listed, if none are found it may be time to start a singles ministry in your area. Chances are there are several people like you looking for a place to connect.
  4. Bring or invite a friend to help you select a church, it helps to debrief with someone over lunch after Worship.

Finally, choose! Go to a church where God is calling you, make roots and serve. Don’t spend all your time looking when you could be connected to a church and start building a singles ministry for people like yourself. Your efforts to do so will not return void and God will honor your commitment to serve Him.

 

Is Sexting OK in My Relationship

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For those unaware, sexting is a form of provocative language between a couple using electronic communication. In a relationship, couples will often find creative ways to convey their love to one another. In years of old, this may have been letter writing or heaven forbid an actual conversation.

In any relationship communication is key, but what type of communication is profitable? For an unmarried couple sexting is crossing a line of respect for the boundaries of the relationship that honors God. If you have to ask ”Would God approve of this?” then you need to reconsider why you are doing it in the first place! At the core of these words you will find lust, and lust is sinful–not playful, and not loving.

Our response to dating singles is sexting crosses the line, it is lust and it is wrong. Even once you are engaged, it should be off-limits; you are not married and need to save something special to share after your big day. EVEN THEN, let us all not forget that the NSA is reading most anything we send and the high profile people caught sexting and the embarrassment it caused. So keep your text above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2) and have a happy, God honoring relationship.

Marriage isn’t the Finish Line

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The big day is here! Here comes the bride all dressed in white. The groom dressed to the nines in his rented tux stands fidgeting at the front to begin a ceremony that moves even the hardest of hearts to tears. Then comes the reception including a toast from the father of bride of just how proud he is that his little girl found a man, almost implicating that a secret achievement has been unlocked allowing the happy couple to continue in the game of life, side-by-side.

Singles. Get. It.

At the same time you are happy for another couple. Everyone is celebrating a monumental achievement in the lives of your friends. But in fact, is marriage the finish line? Singles often are looking to the next milestone or marker in life. At some point, it starts to feel like the only milestone left is marriage.

But the reality? It is not the finish line of achievement.

For married couples the next bombardment of expectation is kids. And while having a pet or three helped for a while, the next finish line of life is having a baby. Once that is crossed and no less than a day after the first child, there are questions of when the next baby will arrive. After baby two, the next quiz is will there be three. Have four, and comments of birth control fill the air. Then there is college for the kids, jobs for the young adults, and future weddings! The cycle starts all over again.

Here is the point.

The finish line is defined by a relationship, just not the one you may have thought or felt from your surrounding friends and family.

Being Complete in Christ is the only relationship that will leave you complete. All other relationships build off of that relationship and running a good race is defined by it. Keeping the faith and living for God is grounded in a relationship with Christ.

Singles, always keep in mind your life not measured by this world, but by following the One who paid our sins in full–Jesus–so we can live life more abundantly.

Not an Option

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When is the last time you made something “Not an Option”? Truly, 100% said to yourself that under no circumstances will I ever ____. Everyone has things that are not options in their lives, such as the clothes worn to work or the food we choose to eat that may cause allergic reactions. Everyone makes choices everyday that make things “Not an Option” in their life.  Yet, somehow, we are still tripped by the same sins.

Jesus, at the Sermon on the Mount, told people to be radical in their actions in order stop from sinning. Though He was being figurative, He suggested it is better to lose a hand than to keep it and continue a life of sin (Matthew 5:29-30). It is better to not have a hand and live for God than to have two hands and not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Single adults have a lot of time alone and, in those alone times, it is easy to slip into temptations. For any of us to be obedient to the Word of God and follow Him, we have to make certain things in our lives “Not an Option.” Doing so will glorify the One who sent His only Son to die on a cross for our sins and allow us to live a life honoring to Him.

What things in your life do you need to make “Not an Option”? Addictions? Gossip with friends? Temptations? Some may think you can’t change or overcome the struggle. That is not the case!

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

God is on your side and will not let you be tempted, tested, or go through trials that you cannot have victory over! He loves you so much that He always gives an alternative for you to choose and make something “Not an Option.”

Want to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage?

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Singles you may or may not be married some day. At Table for One Ministries, we often include in our blogs the idea of being Complete in Christ for singles. But being Complete in Christ is not just for singles. It is for all adults. If you one day are called to marriage, remember this tip to help divorce proof your marriage:

Be Complete in Christ!

That’s right. Being Complete in Christ and not in a relationship with another person is a big key to helping your potential marriage be affair-proof for a few reasons:

Christ will be the head of your marriage

 

  • So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (Col 2:10) (NIV)

 

  • Having Christ in the driver’s seat for major decisions and day-to-day tasks means your marriage will always have the right driver.

Communication will be better

 

  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov 10:1)(NIV)

 

  • Following God’s plan for you life will include things like prayer and devotion. You can and will apply those habits to your relationship with your spouse, resulting in conversation that is open, honest, and transparent.

Priorities will be clearer

 

  • …and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. (Mark 10:8) (NIV)

 

  • Shared priorities in a joint marriage means everyone is going the same direction as far as finances, relationships, and life goals.

You will be drawn close together

 

  • Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Heb. 13:4) (NIV)

 

  • Keeping your completeness in Christ will keep you away from the sinful desires this world has to offer. Chase after Christ rather than finding completeness in sin.

All of these are easier said than done, however when both people enter into a union where they are a whole person prior to marriage, they are complete in the one who made them not the one who married them.

Singles, we have all seen couples who marry and still lack happiness and chase other things of the world. It is our belief that you should be Complete; no, not because it will help you be married, but because it is God’s plan for your life.

I Fell in Love with an Atheist

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There is no way to dice it or dance around it. I loved an atheist. I loved him with every fiber of my being. Had it not ended, I might have loved him more than I love God.

In total transparency, my ex still has a small piece of my heart, that tiny shoebox in the corner of a heart where first loves and tacos live. Our “relationship” was a roller coaster of poor judgment, horrible communication, brilliant times full of laughter, sweet sincerity, highs, and lows. Conversation rarely revolved around God but, when the topic arose, it was like a round of tug-o-war.

I didn’t know he was atheist when we first started dating. I thought he was simply jaded and wayward. He was a music director at a church, his family was deeply rooted and involved. Having been raised in the church, he knew the political childishness that can happen within church walls filled with sinful humans. It never crossed my mind that he didn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t share the same heartbeat for Jesus that I did.

When the truth came to light, the hopeless romantic in me believed he would return to God. I was in his life to help him see the light. It was all God’s divine appointment. I believed God put me in his life to help him. Deep down inside he had to believe, right?. He HAD to. Feeling we were meant to be together, I fervently prayed for his salvation. He opened a part of my heart that had been closed for a long period. I thought we couldn’t NOT be together.

After the last round of relationship lows, I realized what was happening. I had created a false god out of this man and our “relationship” (Exodus 20:3). I had put my desires, my heart, my treasures for this man over my desire for God. I was trying to serve two masters but failing the most important one (Matthew 6:19-24). I was delivering loaded selfish prayers to God and ignoring every conviction and warning sign He laid in front of me. It became clear. I knew what I had to do.

My prayers shifted to a focus on God. I prayed for God’s will and for God to either change his heart or knowing it would break my heart, take him out of my life. And it happened. My heart shattered.

I spiraled to a lonely place, feeling worthless, and angry at God. He had put all this love and excitement in my life only to rip it away. My conversations with God consisted solely of prayers for loved ones. None for me, not for my anger and broken heart. But He was there, waiting for me to be done with my temper tantrum.

I made the choice to trust and give my heart back to God. He handled the rest. My heart softened, I grasped two important truths:

1. God shows me countless amounts of infinite selfless love every single day. Every morning I open my eyes, I’m reminded of God’s eternal love.

2. My heart will mend because it belongs to the most trusted Physician.

When my ex moved on, I reflected on God’s protection from mistakes that could have had life long consequences. With God’s love, I made it through the heartbreak stronger and wiser. I thank my ex for the good times and being the one God used to show me I have the capacity to love at a high level. It’s the reason my ex holds a small place in my heart shoebox.

Now, I focus on building my relationship with God. Like any relationship we’ve had our ups and downs, but He’s always right there, always. He loves and guides me through every low and celebrates with me at every high. My relationship with Christ is the most important I have. Grounded in His truth, I know it is the foundation for all other relationships (Matthew 22:37-38).

-Crystal

End of the Rope with Addiction

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Do you ever feel torn between doing what you know is right, and then doing the wrong thing anyway? Choosing to continue in a sin that you should be able to be free of, yet you keep making the same mistake. We have some comforting words for you, the apostle Paul had this same struggle in Romans 7-8 regarding the Law. The Message translation Bible is not intended to be an everyday Bible, but what it is great at is expressing things in a new light with the same Biblical meaning. This could not be more true of this passage! Here are the phrases Paul uses in his struggle with sin.

  • I need something more!
  • I know the law and yet I can not keep it
  • Sin keeps sabotaging my best intentions
  • I obviously need help!
  • I have the will, but I can’t do it!
  • The moment I decide to do good, sin trips me up
  • I have tried everything and nothing helps, I am at the end of my rope

You should take time and read this entire chapter out loud and hear the urgency and distress in Paul’s voice. Go ahead, read it out loud.

Romans 7 Message Translation

Have you ever felt that way? When it comes to sin in your life like getting drunk, sex before marriage, drugs, lust, porn,and on and on? Have you been at the end of your rope with sin? Do you feel like there is nothing anyone can do for you? Well, there is great news! Romans 7:25-8:1-4.

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

Struggle with your addictions and then give them all to God. Make a stand in your life for sin to be “Not an Option!” Have you reached the end of your rope with sin?

A Broken Engagement = Broken Dreams

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According to leading wedding industry averages, nearly one-third of engagements end before the wedding day. That means when the right one says “I do,” there is more work to be done besides the wedding details. Engagement is not a time to stop focusing on your relationship, but rather the time to dig deeper into the reality of a lifelong commitment before God.

 

Don’t make a lifelong commitment on a short-term relationship

  • Maybe you are reading this and are not engaged. Regardless of where you are (or aren’t) in a relationship, time is meaningful. Spend time with the person and see a future that cannot be replaced by bursts of conversations or non-personal communication. This is the person you should see yourself building a family with, to whom you need to stay committed through good and bad times. How do you know this person is the one if you have not been around them long enough to see their values demonstrated by life actions, not just talk?

 

While your dreams are broken, you are not

  • Cue the song lyrics “Love Hurts.” You had your future, or at least a piece of it, planned out, and you were excited about the adventures ahead. It’s not just the broken relationship with your spouse-once-to-be, but there friends and family to notify too – not to mention social media. What appeared to be a dream became a nightmare. Let yourself process these feelings and emotions, but remember the Truth is found in God’s Word. As a Christ follower, you are a child of the One True King, and He knows the number of hairs on your head. You are eternally loved, never alone, and complete regardless of a called-off wedding day.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – Luke 12:7

 

Trust His plan not your plan

  • The wedding spiral can be brutal. Once the question is asked and a ring is placed on the finger, the rabbit hole of planning, bridal shows, and pinterest boards begins. The tidal wave of budgeting and opinions can be brutal, even when it’s about the happiest day of your life. But when the engagement is called off, the reversal of all those emotions and decisions must happen, including notifying everyone involved. Your plans are derailed, but His plans never were. Regardless of the reason, God’s got this. Turn to wise counsel in this time of shifting plans, and keep your eyes focused on Christ.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

 

Many singles have experienced an engagement that did not end in marriage. It is actually more common than expected. When stories are shared of past relationships, many can recount a very serious breakup or an ended engagement. Learn from the experiences in your life that may wound you, but never let them leave you broken. With Christ, you are never broken — you are complete in Him.

The Love Chapter

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You roll out of bed on a Sunday morning at the last possible minute and arrive 15 minutes late to your local church small group meeting. Today’s topic is on 1 Corinthians 13, the “love chapter.” Great. You settle in for a morning talking about couples and love and how they can love one another. You’re not annoyed by the comment the teacher makes that one day this will apply to everyone, even singles.

But, you are just tired of feeling like you are left waiting for one more day.

Then after a time of worship the pastor comes to the pulpit and also preaches on the same passage. Already filling in the blanks in the bulletin, you hear the words, “The love in 1 Corinthians 13 is not about a wedding poem, it is about how love should be in the lives of everyone.” You perk up! The pastor continues his sermon, getting into the meat of the passage, explaining how to define love regardless of one’s life stage.

This love is the love anyone can have in Christ, single or married.

Your pastor gets it and your group leader gets half of it.

This passage is not just about a marriage love relationship, or about making a wedding ceremony sound all fluffy. It’s actually a hard passage about what it take to love as Christ has loved us.

Singles, you may not always feel like the sermon is about you. Sometimes we even are biased if it is not. But, if you are open to God’s word, regardless of the speaker, you will see a Gospel that values your life stage just as much as everyone else in the room. You are Complete in Christ and His love is more than enough.