Strong and Courageous

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“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:7-9

Have you ever had big change in your life? The type of change that you know nothing will be the same going forward if you do it? Joshua knew that what the Lord was calling him to do was a BIG change for him and the nation of Israel. We do not know 100% if Joshua was married from Scripture, so imagine what he as a single adult is facing when the Lord calls him to lead Israel. He is leading the Lord’s people as a single adult hearing from the Lord in Joshua 1 what his marching orders are to be.



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Reading this text as the Lord speaking to Joshua as a single adult does make sense. As a single adult it is easy to feel alone, afraid, and discouraged. But God addresses these fears and lets him know that He will be with him everywhere he goes, so Joshua should be strong and courageous. God’s promise is the same for all of us, to be strong and courageous for the Lord and He will stand by us.

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.

Get Out There

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So you are not the “outgoing type” or would rather curl up with a book on Friday night and not engage the world. Or maybe you are the “life of the party” kind of person and hate sitting in silence. Both people are created by God and uniquely wired to have a way to “charge up their batteries.” But when it comes to engaging those around us for Christ, our sole purpose for doing so should not be to only get something out of those relationships. We should also be looking for ways to give.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 a direct reason to introverts and extroverts to engage the culture and find new friends. You can see three versions of this text HERE, but the ESV says it this way:

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

As a single adult, you need to get out there and meet people for the sake of the Gospel! Not just to have someone to party with or call to watch a movie, but to meet lost people and show the love of God. These relationships are not for the purpose of dating, but for the Kingdom. But notice what Paul says, he does not do that because everyone is converting due to his efforts. He is doing this so that SOME MAY be saved. Just because you had lunch with a co-worker and there was not a baptism that followed, doesn’t mean you should give up on engaging those around you.

What is at stake is too great for you as a follower of Christ not to make all efforts to share the Gospel. If you don’t have a relationship with the Lord. Single adults have great opportunities to be flexible with their time and engage others. Single parents have connections as well through their family that otherwise some may never have to reach people. No matter where you are at as single adult, sharing the Gospel needs to be close to your heart daily in order that some may know Him.

All In

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If I had known at 20 that at age 30 I would be serving as a single female missionary in the Middle East,  I would have probably married the next guy that came along.  And, I would have regretted it, I’m positive.

Why?  Because I am right where I am supposed to be.  On the good days, my heart is so full of love for Him and others that I feel it may explode.  On the hard days, when I tend to ask, “Why, Lord?” and my prayers are peppered with complaints, it is often through tears and on bended knee that I renew the choice to trust Him.

Marriage was my plan. Always. Truthfully, it is still in my plans, and I consistently bring it up in my prayer life.  But I don’t think the life I’m living is some sort of backup plan to the “perfect life” that could have been.

There was a moment, a few years after I became a believer, I felt Him asking me how much of my life was really His, how much was I really willing to give up?  Would I hold back areas of my life, my plans, and my dreams from His touch?  Would I cling to the things of this world over Him?

It was one of those rare times in life, when the world may see nothing happening, but in my heart I was forever changed.  I was set on a path to following Him–whatever He wanted of me, my answer was yes.

Really, it’s the commitment every Christian makes– if we make Jesus Lord, then we are giving up our lives then and there.  But how often do we (and I mean myself in this!!) simply take our lives back and go on doing what we want to do and living how we want to live?

Shortly after that time of commitment (re-commitment?), I felt called to missions.  At that point my experience was limited, and I am pretty sure my answer of “yes” still included a husband, children and “white-picket fence” future.  Never could I have imagined where He would lead me.

After living in sixteen different places since college graduation, I feel like I am finally home–in the Middle East, odd as that may seem.  I am convinced that He is working in the lives of the women around me and some have hearts burning with desire to know Him.  As I move about my city, I am trying to meet these ladies and share with them the Truth they long to know.

I’m living the life He means for me to live, one day at a time.  Tomorrow I could be hit by a car (I mean, really, there are no crosswalks!) and be on my way to see Him.  Or something could happen that sends me on a plane back to the States.  Maybe I’ll get married someday, or maybe I won’t.  It could be I will see crazy large amounts of people turn to Him. Or possibly His purposes for me will be different.

Whatever He has in store for me, I’m all in. Not all in with bitterness. Not all in with hesitancy.  I’m all in with a great big smile on my face.

Another Closed Door

When my marriage of 14 years ended against my wishes, I drove to and from work, often not remembering how I got there. When I arrived home at the end of the day, I found myself staring at the television without registering what was on. I was a zombie. All I could think was, “What now? I’m alone.”

That feeling eventually dissipated but not without the comfort of Christ. I grabbed onto the promise of God stated in Deuteronomy 31:8.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;

He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

When relationships end, it’s easy to have a pity party. To relive everything said or done. To grow angry or depressed. To calculate how you need to change to guarantee you will not be alone again. Yet focusing and obsessing on all of these things can take the Believer’s focus off where it needs to be.

It may take some time to pull yourself out of the doldrums, but lingering in the darkness is not where God wants us to be. We are called to walk in His light, to be a light for His kingdom.

No matter what changes your relationship status goes through, one thing remains constant. Your relationship with Christ will never end! Be Complete in Christ! Hold fast to the promise. Your earthly relationships may change or end, but not His!

Will Marriage Fix My Sexual Desires?

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“But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry,
for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
– 1 Corinthians 7:9

Marriage is more than a fix for sexual desires.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul addresses marriage to the married, single, widowed and divorced adults. In light of the above passage, how can any person choose to be single with such a burning sinful desire of passion? Are singles strong enough to control their sexual desires?

Prominent speakers have suggested that to be single is in effect an open sin as it is nearly impossible to abstain from impure thoughts while single. The fallacy in this opinion is that married persons do not have such thoughts, which is clearly not the case. Divorces are often caused by infidelity originating from sinful thoughts. Marriage does not fix sin, only being Complete in Christ can help fight against sin nature.

God’s Word instructs us to be strong and bold. Sexual desires are controlled–but only with God at the center of a relationship. As a relationship develops, it is not always easy. But God will reward the couple who chooses to wait. Self-control seems to be a major part of the conversation happening in 1 Corinthians 7 as Paul wishes people to be single like himself but realizes that many are too weak to do so.

This goes along with the same conversation for singles with “the gift of singleness” spoken of in verse 7 of the same chapter. The idea is that no person is strong enough to control their sexual desires and if there were such a person, they would truly have this “gift” of singleness. Yet, control is not what we, as sinners, as humans, have.

We, at Table for One, believe marriage is more than a way to fix a sexual urge. It’s a lifetime commitment. It’s a sacred relationship centered on Christ. It is not just a way to correct sin, Christ died for our sins on the cross and rose again defeating the grave and overcoming this world. Therefore we need to value marriage for what it is, a covenant between two people and God until eternity.

In this conversation, Paul is almost suggesting with a bit of sarcasm or frustration that as a last resort, the very weak should just get married if they can’t control themselves. Paul is writing with all seriousness that marriage is important and has its place, but above all, is serving the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and mind.

Marriage should be a calling to bond with another person, not a tool to fix sin.

Being Mom Through Divorce


Divorce is nasty.

Talk to anyone who is going through or has survived a divorced and unanimously they will say, even in the best of circumstances, divorce is hard. When children are involved in divorce, the stakes and emotions are even higher. From the day one spouse says the words “I want a divorce”, life and the marriage relationship will never return to the place it once was with unbroken trust.

Mothers are by nature the ones who nurture and care for others, being the solid foundation of the home for all family members. Maybe you are a mom reading this going through divorce. Regardless of the circumstances that led to this day, there are steps as a Christ follower that a mother should take even in the challenge of a divorce.


Fight for Your Marriage

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Emotions overrun reality with every communication that happens with your spouse. The one who once used words to show you love, uses them to tear you down. While your marriage will be shaped by the actions taken, it can be saved by the One who has saved you. In the midst of the storm do not retaliate harsh words with even harsher ones. Be just as vigilant in loving the one you chose to marry as the day you said “I do.” Just as Christ forgave you for your sins and offered salvation through eternal life, you can offer forgiveness in the difficult times.


Children Hear our Words

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” – James 3:1-12

Words can be weapons. It is vital to your relationship with your children to take the high road and control conversations around your children. Let your words be ones that honor God and ones you will not regret. When the conversation becomes intense, steer your words toward love and deflect the conversation until little ears are not in hearing range. It will be hard. Nothing in divorce is easy, but you will be demonstrating to your children Christ’s love in the hardest of circumstances.


Your Ex-Spouses Salvation Matters

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Ask yourself this question: do I want to see my ex in heaven? To a believer, this question should be a centering moment in how you proceed in your divorce and your life. Remember the reality of your present state in this world. The emotions are high, your anger may be running over, the circumstances may be out of control. However, as a Christ follower, you should still keep the Gospel in the forefront of your conversation and mind. Don’t “Jesus juke” to be spiteful, but let your actions be ones that draw people to God rather than turn from him. Your actions a Christian applies to your ex just as much as the believers who stand beside you in difficult times.

Lean On Me

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“I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me. As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches, whoever abides in me, He it is that will bear much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5 ESV

There you have it. The verdict. Apart from Him- Christ- We, I, You, We can do nothing. Nada. Zilch. Nunca. What is the epitome of nothing? A fruitless life. Maybe a passing moment of excitement, maybe full of temporary thrills, but in the end, it’s sterile, like a bottle full of placebo pills. It’s striking to consider that the opposite–a full meaningful, substantial and fruitful life means a life full of reliance–not on self–but God. Full reliance–to the point of dependence. Dependent like a subordinate clause. Dependent like a poopy baby with a serious pick-me-up within three-seconds requirement. This brings Bill Withers’  “Lean on Me” to a whole new level. Not only when you’re not strong, but even when you are, and when you’re hungry and full.  Sleeping or awake.

The life of an unmarried person comes with much variety. There are single and dating, single and not dating, single and engaged and single with children, (which means you’re probably never alone). The unique part of singleness for all types is that one can never put him/herself legally into a binding union with the partner. The only binding union that’s safe and legal in the eyes of God, so much so that two become one, is the marital union….which means that for the single, we must lean on the Savior.

Think about it. What happens when you get a promotion? Argue with a friend? Get into a wreck? Go to a funeral? Celebrate a new move or jive over a new cup of java? You want to tell someone! Understandable. Who do you tell? A married person might call his/her spouse. Singles may turn to a best friend? A sibling? An Aunt or Mother? Yes indeed. All of the above.

In fact, healthy singleness encourages all of the above! Lean on a large group of friends and acquaintances in this special season of life, or lifestyle God has called you to. But the best choice to celebrate a wonderful life? The more comforting way to get through a tough time? Lean on God. In Philippians 4:11, Paul encourages the church to be content, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” (NLT)

In His contentment, He encourages us to give thanks. James 5:13-16: “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  (ESV)

There’s always someone to lean on as a single.God is ever-present. The Lord of the universe waits with bated breath for you to lean on Him.

The Single Parent Family Defined

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The contemporary family of today cannot be defined as a nuclear family consisting of a mother and father and children. Families come in different sizes, different ways, and many consist of one parent. Single parents are no longer defined in only one singular category. Single parents come from varied backgrounds, generations, and socioeconomic settings. Single parents can be categorized in four broad categories that define and more accurately refine the way in which they became single parents: widowed, divorced, through adoption, and child out-of-wedlock. Each of these categories will be defined below.

As single parents now make up nearly 40% of all parents in America, the local church needs to consider this statistic. A healthy and growing church that reaches families should reflect its local community’s demographics of its local community’s demographics. This should result in a church that incorporates single parents of all categories and whom have children in preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school.

Ministerial staff need to understand their local church should reflect the demographics around them to include single parents. The result of this reflection is building a discipleship platform of which a single-family home can participate in the same way as a nuclear-family home. This includes curriculum, finances, and time commitments that have often been geared towards a traditional family with two parents present.

The first category of single parents are single mothers/fathers by divorce. In the United States, the divorce rate fluctuates around 50% for all marriages. It is very hard to find a reliable statistic for this information as many surveys collect data differently. So Table for One Ministries will average those findings to 50%. Of those divorces, one statistic is for certain–the average age for a first divorce is 30 years old.

Secondly, single parents are defined as being a single mother/father by being widowed. The average age for the widowed is now 57 years old, meaning it is not just elderly who are widowed. Single parents are widowed as well.

Single parents are thirdly defined as single mother/father by child out-of-wedlock. With the average age for marriage rising to 29 for men and 27 for women, and the rise of socially-accepted sexual relationships, it is again easy to see just how many parents fall into this categorization. Furthermore, almost 14 million unmarried parents live alone with their children–10 million mothers, 1.7 million fathers, and 1.9 million couples.

Lastly, single parents are defined by single mother/father by adoption. Adoption can come in many forms and event countries. Single parents who adopt may do so from the foster system, a known relative in need, or by surrogate. On the rise in this category are same-sex attraction couples who are Biblically single and looking to have a family. Same-sex attraction couples amount to 3% of the general population, but are increasing their adoption rates. The key principle to apply in the local church is not all single parents became so by sinful actions. Some make a conscious choice by loving a child through adoption.

Single parents are not just mothers and fathers. In fact, over 820,000 grandparents are the primary caregivers in a child’s life in America, a statistic that is rising. People affected by single parents are everywhere. Single parents may include a broken family from a sixteen and pregnant female to the person in their forties whose spouse abandoned them and their children. Custody battles are often drawn out and expensive, with little positive results, leaving children who are hurting and looking for a place to be loved.

Every church community is affected by single parents, and churches need to create environments where the single parent and the children raised by single parents can be reached. So how does your church create welcoming environments for this wide variety of single families?

Dating by the Numbers

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There are over 54 million single people in the U.S. Let’s take a look at dating by the numbers.

— 50% of New York state adults are unmarried, making it the best state for single people.

— 48% of singles say they have Googled someone before the first date.  

— 2% of men and 9% of women have found a relationship in a bar.

— 40 million Americans have tried online dating.

— 80% of men will date someone 5 years younger.

— 48% of breakups in on-line relationships happen via e-mail.

— 15 minutes is the average amount of time it takes to make a first impression on a man. For a woman it takes an hour.

— 12% is the chance a guy will call, if he hasn’t called in the first 24 hrs..

*Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc.


Knowing some of these should also encourage you as you look to date someone. The statistics of so few people finding someone for a relationship in a bar is yet again evidence that clubbing and drinking do not equal relationships. Also, men, it seems to take less time to decide whether to continue pursuing a woman than time needed for a woman to decide on her interest in a man. So, men, give her time to “get there” if she is interested!

So what do you think?