Single

2020-07-16
1 Corinthians 7:8 NIV

If we’re single, we might experience people questioning why we’re not in a relationship. This can be frustrating, especially if we’re struggling with our singleness. But the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with being single. It’s better to be single than to marry the wrong person. The Bible teaches that the single life is not only a good life, but it’s a gifted life. Paul wrote: ‘Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.’ When we’re upset that we’re still single, we can struggle to see that it’s good for us to be unmarried. But what Paul’s saying is that when we’re single, we can be solely focused on pleasing God and following His call. Being married means we need to take another person’s thoughts, opinions, and callings into consideration before we make decisions. Being single means we can just listen to God’s voice for our lives. This doesn’t mean being single makes us more spiritual than if we were married. But some people have been chosen by God to remain single. Paul was one of them. Paul spent many years in prison, where he wrote the epistles. His God-given assignment in life was suited to singleness. None of us should ever be ashamed or embarrassed because we’re single. Maybe we’re called to be single, like Paul was. Or maybe we’re called to be single for a season, because God has a job for us that needs our full attention. Whatever the reason, if we’re struggling with being single, or we’re tired of people wondering why we’re not married yet, let’s remember Paul’s words and hand those feelings over to God.

Acts 1:1-3:10; Luke 7:36-50; Ps 123; Prov 16:1

Let them go!

2020-05-30
1 John 2:19 NKJV

Every relationship in your life is for a reason and a season. Your commitment to your family should be for a lifetime; other relationships may have term limits. So when someone walks away, don’t try to talk them into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, or staying attached to you. Your destiny is not tied to those who leave you. John writes: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” People leave you because they’re not joined to you. And if they’re not joined to you, you shouldn’t try to make them stay. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people; it just means their part in your story is over. You’ve got to know when a relationship is over, and graciously say goodbye knowing that whatever relationships God means you to have, He will provide. Stop begging them to stay – let them go! Clinging to a relationship whose season has ended will only lead to heartbreak. After Lot left him, Abraham entered a new level of God’s blessing. When Orpah left Naomi and went back home to Moab, Ruth stayed with her, and both Naomi and Ruth were blessed by God. You’ve got to know who belongs in your life and who doesn’t. If you’re holding on to someone who doesn’t belong, and who is not intended to be in your life, the word for you today is – let them go!

Soul food: 1 Kings 10-11; Mark 13:1-11; Ps 82; Prov 12:18-19

Has your mate been unfaithful?

2020-04-04
Psalm 31:12 NIV

When your mate breaks your marriage vows, it can break your heart. And after the initial shock wears off, your driving desire can be to hurt them in return. So what should you do instead? (1) Take time to process your emotions. A quick, “I forgive you,” or just sweeping things under the rug, will sabotage any hope of rebuilding a strong relationship. (2) If your mate is a habitual betrayer who wants to live as he or she pleases, God’s Word gives you the right to be set free from them. But don’t move too quickly. Ask yourself if work and family pressures may have caused you to neglect each other. Did you inadvertently open a door for the Enemy? These are hard questions – but they must be answered, because the decision you make is one you will live with for the rest of your life. You may not believe it right now, but God can make a good marriage out of a bad mess. Yes, it will take time – trust can only be rebuilt slowly. And that means: (a) Learning to be sensitive to one another. (b) Acknowledging that your mate may need detailed accountability, and you may have to go the extra mile to rebuild the trust that was lost. But it can happen. “The righteous cry out…the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:17-18 NKJV). God can turn your situation around. If you’ll work with Him – He’ll work with you.

Soul food: 2 Thes 1-3; Matt 27:1-10; Ps 32; Prov 9:10-16

United

2020-04-03
Amos 3:3 MSG

If we’re going to walk somewhere with a friend, it’s a good idea to make sure that we’re agreed on where we’re walking to. Otherwise it’s not going to work. The Bible says: ‘Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place?’ It’s the same in our relationships. If we’re looking for a lasting relationship (and especially if we’re considering getting married), we need to be on the same page as the other person. If we’re not walking the same way, the relationship will struggle and probably won’t last long. It’s natural for us to have differences in personality and have different ideas about how things should be done, but these should be things that we take the time to talk about and work through. We need to be aligned, even though we’re not the same. If we’re trying to get closer to God, and they’re walking the opposite way, we’re not walking together. If we’re prioritising work and they’re prioritising family life, we’ll become frustrated with each other. While it’s important to keep aspects of our individuality in our relationships, we need to be united in our main goals, values, and destinations. Even if we’re currently single, we can still use this principle in our relationships with others in the church. When Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, he said ‘Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel’ (Philippians 1:27 NIV). We need to stand as one with other Christians, united in the love and truth of God.

Est 5-10; Matt 26:65-75; Ps 18:1-29; Prov 26:24-27

Lessons from God’s creatures (2)

2020-03-03
1 Peter 1:8 NIV

In his book, Talking Dogs, Sam Mason continues: “During the last couple of years of his life, Tigger, one of our dearly loved Italian greyhounds, gradually lost his sight. He’d developed cataracts. They robbed him of his vision, but they couldn’t steal his precious relationship with his masters. My wife Carol often referred to Tigger as her ‘lovey-dovey boy.’ He would stand (not sit!) on our laps, putting his paws on either side of our necks, then affectionately tuck his head under our chins. It was adorable. Blind though he was, Tigger’s desire for the ones he could no longer see was unaffected. In spite of the cataracts that blurred our features, somehow he still managed to look us in the face. His diminished capacities may have hampered his movements, but his love and trust toward his masters remained rock solid. All of us who have placed our trust in the Lord possess handicaps…even spiritual ones. Do we use them as excuses for not pursuing God as intensely as we ought? Do we allow these hindrances to ration our love for Him? Or do we, with God’s help, find the strength to reach past our limitations to experience the unbounded joy of His presence, and fulfill the calling He’s placed on our lives? Yes, we may sometimes grope about in darkness every now and then, even stumbling and falling. But we can trust the One who understands our seasons of blindness. We can open our hearts to His love and love Him back…sight unseen!”

Soul food: Gen 24:1-25:18; Matt 20:1-16; Ps 70; Prov 6:26-28