Time with God

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Time with God

There are some excellent reading plans available to read the entire Bible in a year or even 90 days. These plans are great, and we encourage you to try one at least once. As a follower of Christ, you need to build a relationship with Him and know Him better. This comes through many venues. You can worship the Lord in praise. You can read about Him in His Word. You can also spend time with Him in prayer. All these require one thing: time.

As a single adult you might have been told “you have more time than married adults, so it is easier for you to spend time with God.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Every human has 24 hours in a day and can use that time as they choose based on priorities. It is a priority to get to work on time, so you do. It is a priority to eat food a few times a day to stay healthy, so you do. But it is the things we don’t prioritize that get shuffled lower on the to-do list and not accomplished. Single adults may or may not have children to tend during the day, and married adults have responsibilities to their spouse (1 Corinthians 7:33-35), but everyone sets priorities.

If you value exercise, you wake up early to work out. If you value TV time, you stay up late to catch your favorite shows. If you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength, you will make time for Him and He will be a priority in your life (Luke 10:27). Time with God does not always have to be reading His Word, although that is how we grow in the knowledge of Him. It may be just meditating on Him for a few moments every day and giving praises to Him for the great things He has done (Psalm 111).

Make time with God a priority as a single adult. If your relationship status changes, this will serve as a successful foundation for your marriage. Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior is the first step. The next step is to follow and know Him better.

What do you do to make time with God every day?

A Single Budget: Those Unexpected Expenses

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For some, it is pretty easy to stick to a Spending Plan except when some unexpected expense arises. Some of these expenses can be predicted, some are just pure, unwelcome surprises. It is important to have an emergency fund to take care of the unwelcome surprises that we know will happen from time to time.

However, there are many “unexpected” expenses that with a little thought and planning can be anticipated. Singles frequently tend to work more and socialize more because they often have fewer family obligations. In socializing, it is common to eat out a lot, celebrate lots of birthdays, weddings, babies and many other things. So we need to plan in our Spending Plan for things like gifts, dinner parties out, social events celebrating milestones like birthdays and graduations, etc.

We also have expenses that don’t occur every month. If we are not planning well, these expenses can be “gotcha expenses”. Examples would be things like oil changes, car tags and registration, children’s school Field Trip costs, Christmas gifts, etc. It is important to anticipate these expenses and work them into your monthly Spending Plan.

Take a calendar and go month by month to help you anticipate these expenses. Working these into your Spending Plan will help you have more confidence in your plan and therefore help you be more successful.

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.

A Single Budget: A Spiritual Revival

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Money is the root of all evil, right? Not even close. Money is neither good nor bad. Money is a tool that can be used for some very good things, like feeding your family or giving to support a ministry. Money can also be a tool to do bad things like spoil children or finance terrorists groups. It’s not the money. It’s how the money is used.

How do you handle money? As singles we are blessed to get to control all of our money! We don’t have to share with a spouse–we can make 100% of the decisions about our finances. However, the curse of this is we can also easily misbehave with money and not have someone nagging about it. If you find yourself struggling with sticking to a spending plan, find someone to help you with accountability. It can’t be someone who is an enabler and will not ask you the tough questions when needed. Look for someone who is doing well with money and loves you enough to be tough with your feelings when needed regarding your money.

As Christians, we know our money is not really our own. We are money managers for what God provides for us. He is our provider.

Does your money spending reflect your values? The answer is yes. Like it or not, where we spend our money says a lot about what we value. It doesn’t mean we should give all our money away and live in a tent and eat bread and water. It is okay to enjoy some things, but Believers should also be balanced in living, giving and saving.

When we start managing money God’s way, amazing things will happen. Your debt will be under control, you’ll experience more joy of giving and you’ll move towards a greater understanding of God and His love for us. He has many good things for us and wants us to have joy. Give thanks for the things He has provided and focus on how He wants you to manage His money.

Single vs Married 3 Bucket List Differences

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A bucket list is a compiled list of ideas, experiences and achievements a person wants to do before “kicking the bucket” (dying). So how is that list different for a single adult versus a married adult? Here are three categories we see they are the same and three ways we see they are different.

 

How they list are the same:

 

  • Career Goals
    • Regardless of your life stage, many of us have career goals we would like to achieve in life. Be it a leadership role, working abroad, or finally finding that job that is not work because it is so much fun. Scripture is clear, we need to go and do what is the Lord’s will and seek to do good in James 4:13-17
      • Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
  • Spiritual Goals
    • Whether single or married, our status should not affect our mandates found in Scripture. Love God, Love others (Matthew 22:36-40), Go and Tell (Acts 1:8), and to hear the word’s “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Luke 19:17). As followers of Christ, our spiritual goals are the same. We want to be more like Christ every day on this earth to see people come into a relationship with Him.
  • Vacation Goals
    • Often when people make a bucket list, it is full of destinations, locations, and activities to do. This is no different for single or married adults. Singles, you should be traveling as you feel led anywhere you want to go. Go visit those places, do those things, and share them on social media while you are at it. Smile.

 

Now, here is how they differ:

 

 

  • Relationship Goals
    • Relationships take forms in many ways. For singles, the idea of being married may not be one they are led to have or it could be an opportunity never opens for marriage to occur. Others have been married and experienced the pain of a failed marriage by divorce. There are others who expected to be with their spouse till death do they part, only to outlive them and find themselves single again. Colossians 2:9-10:
      • For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete…

 

 

  • Undivided Life Goals
    • Singles have the clear advantage to live a life that is not divided as our married counterparts. Married adults have to think about their spouse and children when making decisions about, well, everything. As a single adult you have the opportunity to go where God leads anytime, anywhere. This is the advantage the apostle Paul is speaking of in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
      • I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

 

 

  • “Passing the Baton” Goals
    • Singles define family differently. Investing in the next generation may not be your direct family. Married adults see this in passing on family stories to children and having children to care on their “legacy.” For singles, defining family in the broader sense than blood-related relatives open doors and opportunities for them to share their story with others for generations to come. Just because you do not have children, does not mean you cannot pass on wisdom for the generations to come. Look to serve by sharing experiences and knowledge with others throughout all your life and let it be said of all of us in Psalm 71:18:
      • Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.

A culture that hides death hides the Gospel

A culture that hides death hides the Gospel

History lessons teach the impact of death prevalent in culture when death is removed. A look at the Middle Ages finds people lived daily with the reality of death. A look at our current culture reveals a much different story. The current American lifestyle not only doesn’t discuss death, it finds ways to minimize and remove it from our daily life.

An obsession with a youth-focused culture certainly is a major voice of today’s messaging. Another important factor? The lack of value and respect for previous generations. One example of the local church. Funerals used include more than a biographical speech. The usual funeral included presence at a cemetery and at the very least, on the way to worship, the parishioners passed a neighboring cemetery, a visual reminder of our fleeting, temporary life.

For single adults, this is a compounded issue. Not only do you have all the factors of a culture ignoring the consequences of lifestyle and morals upon death, there is the added pressure of marriage. Marriage isn’t the finish line but an expectation of an event to occur in our youth and an achievement before death. However, this could not be farther from the truth. Being complete in Christ is not related to an achievement, but rather a commitment to follow Him.

 

Choices to view death?

 

Death gives life perspective

For singles, your relationship status is momentary, not eternal. Consider when Jesus was asked who will be married in heaven.

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” Matthew 22:29-30 (NIV)

Passages, when Jesus talks about how much we are valued, do not include the marriage relationship. Knowing the end result helps us to curate the life God calls us to live.

 

Death gives the Gospel a platform

When eternity is examined, the Gospel provides light in the darkness. In a moment of self-sufficiency people rarely reflect upon things greater than themselves or things to come. When death is discussed, it is a reminder of our temporary life on Earth, a reminder that gives urgency to sharing the gospel. To share with others that all should know him as Lord and Savior and welcome the gift to spend eternity with Him, not apart from Him. The realization of this will absolutely change the daily life.

 

Death shows Love

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Eternal love is not one engulfed in a marriage relationship. True, eternal love is a God who sent his only son to die for us so we would not have to spend eternity apart from Him. It was His atonement on the cross that is love eternal. Singles, do not let culture influence the way we value eternal love. It should always be based on a Biblical foundation.

 

Jesus was single too

A life fully lived is not defined by relationship status, but by following the will of God. Not only was Jesus single but several main characters in scripture were single or single during a season of their life when God used them. Take heart, our savior was and isn’t back the same life status. Single. Regardless of relationship status, God uses everyone on Earth to bring glory to his kingdom.

 

Grasping death gives Eternal significance to your everyday life. It is our hope and desire as a Ministry that all singles would follow God every day and share the gospel with everyone. One way to ensure your passion for God’s kingdom is to keep the temporary nature of our days at the forefront of your daily life.

Why am I single?

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The question of why a person is STILL single starts with all the wrong questions and answers.

Why am I all alone? – “You’re not good enough”

Why have I not purchased a home yet? – “You need a house to be settled”

Why is dating so hard? – “Love just happens”

Why can’t I make friends? – “Everyone else is loved”

Why have I never been on a date? – “Your don’t put yourself out there”

Why am I not happy? – “You need a spouse”

Why can’t I be happy? – “You don’t have kids”

Why won’t I be happy? – “You aren’t doing enough”

Why are others happy? – “They have it all”

 

These are questions singles ask themselves and answer. The world around us has expectations of what it means to be happy, assume singles are not, and then speculates on the why they are still single. This happens in TV shows, expectations of dating and relationships in college, and the portrayal of boldness in solidarity, yet observes the emptiness of a dinner table set for one. The world will always set up measures of success and failure based on opinions and social norms rather than a solid foundation of truth.

When truth is relative, then there is no absolute truth. When there is no truth, then the definition or completeness is set by advertising campaigns and media.

 

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

  • Colossians 2:6-10 (NKJV)

 

But, questions started in the wrong context will produce the wrong answers. As followers of Christ, we walk with Christ. We are to be thankful and on guard against the philosophies of the world that don’t line up with the will of God. The totality of Scripture demonstrates the value of human life, not the stages of human life. The number of kids, house, spouse, or financial stability never indicate the way in which God used His people according to His will.

God uses everyone who seeks Him and is COMPLETE IN CHRIST.

So what is the answer to “why am I single” afterall? Your worth is not dependent on the value of an earthly relationship status, but based solely on your relationship with God. 1 John 4 reminds us that God loved us before we loved Him, and as His followers we ought to love others in the same way.

 

Stop letting the world answer questions to your life. Then you’ll be living for Him and not the world. Answering the questions above look different in the light of honoring His glory.

Why am I all alone? – “You are never alone in Christ”

Why have I not purchased a home yet? “This is only your temporary home”

Why is dating so hard? – “Let God direct your path, not eharmony”

Why can’t I make friends? – “You were made to live in Biblical community”

Why have I never been on a date? – “Dating is not in the Bible, mic drop :::here:::”

Why am I not happy? – “You were never promised happy, just eternity”

Why can’t I be happy? – “Your happiness is dependent on your perspective”

Why won’t I be happy? “You place value on the wrong relationships, God first”

Why are others happy? “A face is not the heart, only God knows the heart”

Single Myths: You’ll Know When the Right Person Enters Your Life

The falsity of the statement in this title reaches many levels. If you are a Christ follower, we’re sure you felt the same immediately as a single. Except the importance level, searching for a mate is no different than seeking and drawing closer to Jesus.  

A relationship whether with Jesus or with a friend or with a family member takes time and effort on the part of all parties.  Although we know that Jesus is always present, our acknowledgement of Him, our conversations with Him and our study of His Word and ways are essential for a healthy, loving relationship with our Creator.

Seeking a relationship for friendship or marriage is much the same. We must spend time with the individual to learn his or her morals, lifestyle, and beliefs. We must see the potential mate during his or her best of times and worst of times. In order to do that, we must make the time to connect and spend face-to-face time with the person. We cannot expect a godly, healthy relationship to come from texting, Facebook interaction or tweeting. We cannot think a long term commitment can be sustained on the initial attraction to the humor or physical looks of a person.

Spending time with the individual we see as a potential mate must encompass many situations and events. The actions and words of Individuals can be very different, whether in a group situation, a family situation or a one-on-one conversation. Think you’ve found the one? That’s great. Give the relationship the time to grow.

See the individual’s reaction to a bad situation. Watch the person’s moves when someone requests help. Are they involved in their church or do they walk through the door on Sunday but nothing more? Are prayers offered before meals? Is his or her Bible covered in dust on the living room coffee table? How does he or she treat your family members? Does he or she respect elders? Does he or she respect you?

All these things take time to discover and nurture. Just as Christ wants us to get to know Him, grow closer to Him, our earthly relationships benefit from the same effort to ensure a long-term, healthy relationship.

A Singles Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving for a single adult has some different nuances that married adults don’t have. For one, if there is family to be with, it is an easier decision to make to go see them than choosing which side gets which holiday this year. Singles, like married adults, may live in the same city as their parents or live miles and miles away, while some may still live with their parents.

But here is where Thanksgiving changes for singles. Those singles who don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving are left over the holiday alone, with possibly no one to share it with. Even the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving can be stressful as everyone is talking about travel plans and big dinners, while some have no plans at all. Some singles with siblings are often given no opportunity to host Thanksgiving at their homes, rather the married family member gets priority. As the family grows, the single vote seems to be diminished somewhat to the siblings with spouses and kids.

The church you’re involved in needs to recognize these singles and organize some type of gathering for them leading up to Thanksgiving. You may be the one to organize such an event for your church. Also, there is an opportunity on Thanksgiving day for people to open their homes to those who have nowhere to be and offer them a seat at the table. If you’re a single adult with nowhere to be, let your friends know so they can bless you with a place to join in as family and give thanks to God above from whom all blessings flow.

I Pharisee

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When I look in the mirror, what do I see? When I ask myself the question, “How am I doing as a Christian?” What measure do I use to answer?

In Western Christian circles, the term “Pharisee” is normally used, particularly in a religious context, to describe someone as mean spirited, legalistic, and hypocritical. This is a caricature of a conservative religious group presented in the New Testament. When Pharisees are mentioned in the New Testament, the text often presents them in an unfavorable light. Jesus debates the Pharisees, rebukes the Pharisees, and warns His disciples (and everyone else) not to imitate the Pharisees.

Early in His ministry, Jesus confronted the root problem associated with Pharisaism, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ ”  – (Matthew 15:7-9)

In spite of these harsh words, the Pharisees continued to interact with Jesus and His disciples. This interaction, was honest enough that a significant number of this group accepted Jesus as their Messiah and became believers. We know this because Acts 15:5 mentions them by name, “But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying ‘It is necessary to circumcise them [non-Jewish Christians], and to command them to keep the law of Moses’”.[emphases added]

This reality forces me to consider two implications. First, whatever feeds Pharisaism, in terms of mindset or worldview, survived the initial transition from Judaism to Christianity. This implies that Pharisaism is not restricted to unbelieving legalists, but is a real threat to believers today, even those who are painfully aware of their own need for grace. Peter, for example, falls prey to this influence, briefly requiring Gentile Christians to “Judaize”, live like Jews (Gal. 2:14).

Second, while Jesus linked Pharisaism to hypocrisy, that hypocrisy is inadvertent. Like Peter, most Pharisees (and “Judaizers”) are sincere in their desire to please God. This implies that Pharisaism is a deceptive error, not a willful rebellion, that causes us to act in ways contrary to the God we claim to serve.

The problem with Pharisaism is that it teaches cultural expectations as if they are God’s expectations. It encourages believers to evaluate themselves and others based on the vagaries of cultural expression instead of the “sure word” of God’s promises. It replaces conviction with social pressure and discipleship with social conformity.

So I ask again, when I look in the mirror, what do I see? If I am evaluating myself by how often I attend service, where or to whom I minister, or even how much I study scripture and pray, then I am looking at a Pharisee.