Thorn in My Side

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Thorns hurt. Have you ever had a thorn in your finger? It is normally hard to get out and bleeds as well as bruises. As a single adult and as a Christian, you have a thorn in your side, all of us do. You may not know what it is yet, but there is something you wish you never had to deal with or had thoughts of. It could be a physical ailment, an addiction, sinful thoughts, still being single, being single again or anything else that makes you cry out to God to have ____ removed from your life. Paul shared this pain with you.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul is talking about how he has something in his life that keeps him in some type of hardship. So much so that he cried out to God three times for it to be taken from him, and it never was. God heard Paul and simply replied “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Then it clicked for Paul, he would boast in his weakness so that the Lord may be glorified! So he makes a stand that going forward he will delight in his weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties because when he is weak then he truly strong.

If only all of us had the mindset that in our weakness we are strong, that our thorn is our strength not our excuse. People ask for more money, power, job positions all because it seems too hard to serve God where they are at. But where God has you is right where He wants you and that thorn is your strength. Do not hide to the world around you your pain and hardships. It is those situations that make you human and connect you to others in order to share the Gospel. You’re not a perfect Christian, so stop trying to be and be real about your pain, but in being real remember that your source of strength comes from the Lord. Share that along with your pain and you will Christ glorified because of your thorn.

John 3:16

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One of the most popular verses in Scripture is John 3:16. See the different Bible versions of this verse side by side by clicking HERE. The NIV is perhaps the most popular translation:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This simple message has been written everywhere and worn on everything imaginable. Tim Tebow recently made it famous wearing it under his eyes during NFL games and while he was playing college football. This verse is so widely used and preached because of its direct message to those who read it. People identify with the commitment it took God to give his only Son as a sacrifice. But this verse also points out why He did it–for everyone to have life eternally.

So, why is this important to you as a single adult? It is first important to you as a human making a decision to follow God or perish. For you as a single adult, this message is one that is easily shared with others in social situations. While talking about faith does not come up often in social situations, when public figures like Tim Tebow use it like he did, you get a chance to chime in on a conversation and speak truth to your peer group.

After one of Tebow’s big wins, John 3:16 was trending on Twitter and the most searched phrase on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. We assume people know John 3:16 in a “Christian Nation,” but that could not be further from the truth. You need to be bold in sharing your faith and knowing Scripture so you can give others answers they are searching for and not leave them to search online for them. Speak up when people around you attack public figures like Tebow, not for him, but for Christianity and the Gospel.

Trust in the Lord

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Trust can take a long time to earn and seconds to end. Trust is the foundation of currency in the world, agreements between Nations, and the foundation of a relationship with Christ. The Bible speaks a lot about trusting in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgement”. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow.” Faith and trust are closely related. Most of the time when faith is used the word trust could be in its place.

Faith and trust do not happen without taking a step forward with God. When life situations hit you hard and you are not sure what to do next, trust in the Lord and don’t lean on your own understanding. Maybe He is calling you to be single for awhile or asking you to relocate cities or even be a missionary overseas. Trust His path and follow Him; He will take care of the details.

Trusting the Lord is how Table for One Ministries came to be. PJ Dunn & Christina Dunn left their jobs, sold most of their belongings and moved 1,000 miles away. When they first left, the destination was unknown, but some hints were given along the way. God took a year to refine their path and direction and led PJ to start Table for One Ministries.

Stepping out on faith and trusting the Lord is scary! It often requires much sacrifice and patience but when the fullness of the Lord’s plan is revealed, it is an amazing thing to be a part of. What has the Lord asked you to sacrifice in order to trust Him and follow His lead?

Abundant Life

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Life can be hard. There is also no promise in Scripture that being a follower of Christ will result in an “easy life”, John 16:33. When Christ died on the cross for our sin He took upon Himself to be a payment or atonement for us to the Lord so that we may have a relationship with Him. It is that relationship that gives this life abundance and value.

 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

 John 10:9-11 KJV

As a single adult you interact with people every day that seem to not be living life to its fullest. They go to their jobs and clock in and out without any true joy. You see them in your social groups drinking to be accepted by others or dating people to feel valued. These actions and ones like it are the actions of people who do not understand abundant life. Having a relationship with God is not simply something to keep in your back pocket, but to be a relationship that grows and compels you to act different and share the Gospel.

Many singles that desire to be married think that abundant life will be a spouse, a family, and a big house. Wrong. These are all the wrong types of relationships for seeking to live life abundantly. Abundant life comes only through Christ and following Him.

Hand in Hand

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You’re walking through the mall on your way to get a shirt and you see it, a couple holding hands. As a single adult, you have been pretty good with not feeling overwhelmed in your singleness, but when you see that emotional and physical connection someone else has, you desire it. Dating may or may not be in your life at the moment, but when you see couples holding hands it heightens your awareness you do not have that same relationship. This fantasy of a perfect couple holding hands and being complete is false. The only relationship with unconditional love and acceptance is with Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged! Holding hands is not all it is cracked up to be, especially if the other person has sweaty hands! That emotion of wanting a relationship may be partially filled by another person someday, but regardless of your relationship status the only thing that can fill any void is Christ. Chris is the beginning and the end, Revelation 22:13. Psalm 37:4 says that He knows the desire of our hearts, so if you desire a relationship with someone else take joy in knowing Christ knows that. Lastly, Matthew 28:20 tells us that Christ is with us through the end of the age. So next time you see that couple holding hands, remember you are not alone in Christ. With Him, you do not need anything else, but He knows if you desire to be married some day.

Did Christ have to die more for me?

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“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

Hebrews 9:27-28

Did Christ have to die for certain people and certain sins more than others? For instance, did Christ suffer as much for Mother Teresa as He did for Hitler? If Hebrews 9:11-28 tells us that Christ died once for the sins of all people everywhere, why would one ask such a question?

A single adult was talking about how he struggled with same-sex attraction, even though he knows it is wrong and it is not God’s will for his life. He has trusted Christ as his savior and desires to live according to His Word. However, the way that others talk about his struggle with same-sex attraction makes him feel as though Christ had to die more for his sin than for the sins of others – that somehow, same-sex attraction is a weightier sin, requiring more blood from Christ to cover.

Some may read our site and wonder why we address those who struggle with same-sex attraction. The reason is that single adults who struggle with this need to know God loves them and Christ’s atonement for all mankind on the cross is for everyone. Notice we always say “struggle” when talking about same-sex attraction and all sins. The battle with sin should be just that, a battle. We are fighting a war on the sins of the flesh, in order to become more like Christ every second of our lives.

This idea of warring against sin is addressed by another single adult, the Apostle Paul, in Romans 7 & 8. In the Message paraphrase, he describes what the end of this struggle will look like for someone who is in Christ. “The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.”

If you struggle against same-sex attraction, Christ did not have to die more for you. His gift of salvation and payment for our sins is equal for all who accept Him.

All Things Work Together

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We’ve all heard the saying “God works in mysterious ways.” I would like to add, “and we already know why”.

Here is the why:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Do you love Him? Are you a born-again Christian having accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life? If so, then be assured God will use the good works and bad works that surround you on this temporal earth to accomplish His plan.

Every day, all things, whether they are good, bad, or just plain ugly, are appointed for our welfare. Afflictions, trial, persecutions, and calamities are numerous. They can weigh us down with questions of why or how something difficult is good for us. But, we need to remember the bad and good in this world are temporary and all the tough “things” contribute to our spiritual growth and God’s ultimate plan–even being single.

Being single may feel like the “thing” in your life that you cannot wait to end. It’s a type of phase or trial. However, Christ says for those who are single can do great things for the Kingdom (Matthew 19:10-12). Paul urges Believers to be single, like him, and he views being single not as a phase to go through, but an opportunity to serve God (1 Corinthians 7:7). God works in your life as a single, because you are single. If you love God, then your time as a single will work for the good in your life.

So, be comforted that “in all things God works for the good.” “All things” transforms us into the spiritual persons we were created to be. God is preparing us for our everlasting inheritance with Him.

Table For One’s Statement on Marriage

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Table for One Ministries’ mission is to build community for single adults through discipleship. Our ministry focus is helping singles to fully realize their completeness in Christ. Yet we also affirm the importance of marriage and believe that being Complete in Christ is not just for singles, but for married individuals as well. Additionally, while we desire to help churches reach and minister to the ever-growing single population, we want to acknowledge the importance of marriage in God’s redemptive plan for this world.

We affirm that biblical marriage is established by God as a life-long covenant between one man and one woman. Marriage is intended to be the perfect example of Christ’s relationship with His church and a living example of the gospel of forgiveness, grace and mercy. The marriage relationship provides the only acceptable channel for physical intimacy between a man and woman. Additionally, marriage is God’s plan for procreation and is vital to fulfilling His will for both mankind and His kingdom.

We believe in the institution of marriage, yet we recognize that there are many Christians who are single for numerous reasons. Our goal is to contribute to the wide-ranging singles community and guide each individual, no matter their marital or relational status, to desire and develop a deep and intimate relationship with Christ. We want to promote the active Christian single lifestyle that does not wait on marriage to fulfill a much needed Christ-like role in the world today.

How to Give Joy to Your Children at Christmas

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“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Romans 12:18

For single moms or dads, Christmas brings added anxieties. You worry about getting your children something they will like while remaining within your budget. You worry the non-custodial parent will get your child something nicer than your purchase.

And then there’s the question of whom will the child spend Christmas? Will they be with you or the other parent? Will they spend time with both of you on Christmas Day? What about the hand-off? Will you be seeing former in-laws? You know, the ones who hate you and blame you for everything?

Let me begin by saying first–Christmas is about Christ. Keep the focus on Him  and let everything else fall into place. We get so wrapped up in the “what ifs” of life that they can steal our joy of the season.

How do we keep the focus on Him? Remember, Christmas is a celebration of the greatest gift ever given. It is a time to focus on not just the miracle of the birth, but the entire gospel story. The greatest gift has already been given; nothing can top it, so stop trying! You will only feed yours and your child’s selfish desires. Give sensible gifts within your budget. Make Christmas a time of worship, not materialistic hedonism. You and your kids will be thankful and better off in the long-term.

Remember, after honoring God in this season, your second priority is your children. They need unconditional love and comfort. They need demonstrations of unconditional love! Remember, as a Christian, you are called to love and live in peace with everyone. Yes, even the ex. That doesn’t mean giving them a kiss or putting yourself in harm’s way. It does mean you need to show love and respect to the other parent, especially in front of your children. Bad mouthing, slinging insults, and trashing your ex or their family will only hurt your children.

Additionally, children thrive on routine and solid expectations. This means they need to know what is happening and when. If you and your ex can agree on a consistent experience for your child, then make plans and follow through. Tell your kids when they will go and return. If the other parent is undependable or does not know for sure if they can be there to pick up the child, then find a time when they can follow through.

Remember above all, we need to be pointing our children to Christ and setting good examples for them. If you do this, they will have a Happy New Year.