SINGLE CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONAL 

Today’s single christian devotional is written by Levi Lusk and taken from the Bibleft App’s devotional titled Swipe Right.

You Don’t Want What the Devil’s Got in His Crock-Pot

“One of my favorite things about coming home is the smell that meets me when I walk in the door. There is nothing quite like walking into a warm, cozy house, with a fire roaring, a puppy yipping, little girls screaming and running, candles burning, and something savory simmering in the Crock-Pot. That’s what I want to talk to you about, and to be honest, it’s the reason I wrote this. Something cooking slowly in a Crock-Pot. It isn’t a delicious home-cooked meal, either. This Crock-Pot belongs to the devil. You need to know that Satan is slow-cooking the death of your calling.

The story of Esau and Jacob illustrates this perfectly. Twin boys are born, and one is to receive a great inheritance. The inheritance is this: Out of his family will come great nations, even great kings (Genesis 17:4–6) — this would lead to a messiah that would crush the head of the devil and destroy death. From an ancient, historical perspective, the easy answer is that the mantle would go to the firstborn: Esau. However, one night in a fit of hunger, Esau trades his ultimate birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup.

Red pill, blue pill. Swipe left, swipe right. Two options were on the table: Would you like this meal right now, or would you like to see God do great things through your life down the road? He gave up his inheritance for something that made him feel good for an evening.

Don’t you dare trade your calling for something that’s one-and-done. Don’t let the devil set the value on your life. He’s a liar! He will whisper that sleeping with someone will make you feel loved—but you are already loved by an almighty God. He will whisper that looking at porn is normal, harmless, and will satisfy—but you will be hungry again, and besides you are destined to be a leader, not a follower. Normal is overrated. He will whisper that you are missing out by not doing what your friends are doing and that one’s true! By following God’s plan, you are missing out on heartache, regret, guilt, and a whole lot of sadness.

Don’t fall for what the devil’s got in his Crock-Pot. Instead, decide that when he tempts you, you’re going to throw the soup off the table. Now yells louder, but later lasts longer. Resolve to stand up and take the place in the kingdom of God that you were born to inherit.

Remember: Now yells louder, but later lasts longer.”

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#EclipseOfTheHeart

Today is eclipse day. Everyone was losing their minds over the total solar eclipse that swept the nation. The schools gave out eclipse glasses Friday and closed today. Don’t worry, they gave out the real ones and not the counterfeits sold by certain online distributors. Some areas had people flocking from all over and paying for $1000.00 a night rooms for this rare event. My family, we stayed home as the eclipse was passing over our area. Just as time approached to witness this amazing event that has been built up for weeks…. it rained. I don’t mean it sprinkled… the sky fell out, clouds blocked every inch of the sky, thunder boomed, lightning flashed and we had a torrential downpour.

My daughter cried. she was so disappointed to miss it. Try as I might, nothing would console her. The sky went dark… as dark as if it were the middle of the night. She sobbed louder because she “missed it” and didn’t bask in the amazing event happening around her. So, you’re probably wondering “what does this have to do with a blog on being a single Christian?” Well, here we go:

As I said in a previous post, I have Bipolar Disorder type I. Just when I think I have it under control, I don’t. Stress piles up and then its like the medication just isn’t enough for the extra tough time. Now, this is something I will discuss with my doctor/therapist, but I want to discuss the very real threat of spiritual warfare.

I am a single mother, a pastor, a full time employee and a full time college student as of this week. Sometimes there isnt enough of me to go around for all of the roles I fill. The areas I want more time for, I don’t have it because its allocated for the areas I would rather neglect. I would rather do ministry all day and say to heck with my job, but the Lord has placed me in these positions for a reason.

This past week was extremely hard for me.  I began to feel like I spent all my time filling these roles that I had no time to just be me. I was afraid of losing myself to my roles. I was afraid of being eclipsed and not being a individual person anymore.

I struggle with bounaries. I struggle with putting my foot down and declaring time for myself out of a fear of being selfish. I struggle with frustration when others put their lives or wants above their roles and don’t consider how it affects me… a person. I can’t be upset with people. We view our surroundings and our lives; sometimes we dont even see others. I ended up yelling at God “why Lord? Why do you call me to such difficult things? Why do I have to do so much when others can deny serving you and they have a husband, a house, a life, and time to enjoy it all? Its not fair Lord, to work so hard and to see how important this all is when others don’t see”. Frustration was starting to eclipse my heart. Jealousy was starting to eclipse my heart. Stress and fatigue was eclipsing my heart. Then doubt started to creep in. “I can’t do this, I can’t Pastor, I will fail everyone.” And I started to feel as dark as the sky when the Sun is blocked out.

The past few days I started to sort things out. God showed me the importance of sabbath. The importance of having time to rest, to enjoy being a mother, and to enjoy God and his blessings. I’ve blocked out a day for no work, no school, no ministry. I keep thinking even now, “I can’t do that, theres too much work to do, its selfish, … ” etc. But God says ‘No, you must rest’. Just as the angel told Elisha “eat, fill yourslef or the journey will be too great” . God is saying ‘Rest, renew yourself in me, or the journey will be too great”.

Don’t let the things of the world eclipse your heart.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the LORD your GOD is with thee withersoever thou goest.”

Joshua 1:9

Amen.

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#ImGonnaPopSomeTags

Browsing in the thrift store is a fun past time for my daughter and I. We like to search for fun odeities or vintage decor amongst the cluttered shelves of unwanred keepsakes. Sometimes, we encounter friendly and eccentric individuals to make our trips all the more interesting. Last time, I met a wonderful woman whom I ended up talking to for about an hour, sharing my testimony, hearing hers, and praying for each other in the parking lot with our bags in hand. 

This time, however,  went slightly different. I found a piece of furnature I needed for a steal. So I took the tag up to the cashier to go ahead and buy the item before someone else scooped it up and then I would continue browsing. Well, as I stood next to my eight year old at the register two men standing behind me commented on my daughter. “Wow, she’s so cute” one said. “Thank you. She knows it though, I think they get in more trouble when they know they’re cute”, I joked and turned back around. Then he said “you must get in a lot of trouble then” in that tone where you know you’re being looked up and down without even needing visual confirmation. Now, let me take a moment to note that I did not have any make up on, I was sweaty from the heat, my hair thrown in a haphazard pony tail with my baby hairs sticking in all sorts of ways, and I was in a loose t-shirt and jeans. Literally nothing special. 

So, maybe he needed glasses himself. Nevertheless I attempted to difuse the situation by turning around once more and replying “actually, I’m a pastor. So I do my best to avoid ANY trouble”. One looks to the other and said, I kid you not, “S#!/… makes ME wanna go to church” and the other replies looking at me “huh… me too”. So, naturally I sweetly said “well if you’re wanting to go to church, it’s called Providence Wesleyan Church, about two miles past Cane Bay High right up that way. You’re welcome any Sunday”… And that is how you invite someone to church while they’re hitting on you. Seize every moment, ladies and gentlemen. Every single one. And, as always, guard your heart… wait for the one GOD sends for you, not the first one to compliment you. 

“Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.” Matthew 22:9

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

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#FamilyFeud

I recently returned from a trip to visit family out west. I woke up and God had placed the overwhelming need to go. I was convinced he wanted me to visit my mother’s small hometown to visit my grandmother whom I hadn’t seen in years. I assumed it was to spend time with her before her health declined. After only a few days I realized God had something much deeper in store for me.

As we loaded up the car- My mother, daughter, nephew, and I- I was so sure that I knew what God was calling me for… big mistake. Never assume that you know what God is doing. He will always surprise you. Sometimes it will be joyous, sometimes it will hurt, but it will always be for part of His plan. We Began our 28 hour drive with the intention of making the most out of the 10 days we planned to be gone. This meant deciding on the sacrifice that my mother and I would trade off driving shifts to avoid stopping for the night, thus saving time and money.

I attempted to look up Wesleyan churches in the area so that I could attend church while I was away. I found that not only is the closest (and only two in the state) is 3 and a half hours away from our destination. The more research I did, the more I discovered the vast distance between churches in this region. Few and far between is an understatement. As I looked at the map on my screen, God gave me the words “blank canvas”. That was the first spark in the beginning of a journey soon to come… more on that in the future…

Twenty-eight hours later we arrived at my grandmother’s around 10:00 pm local time. She was very excited to see us, and stayed up talking for a long time before we went to bed. The next morning we had breakfast, prepared for a day of errands with her had lunch, and caught up. It was wonderful. Then came the third day…

After running some more errands and a day planned out of full tasks, things began to change. It had began to rain and we decided to take the kids to the indoor pool the town has. When we returned, she was a different person; yelling and angry. I was confused. I had no idea what changed. The next day it was twice as bad; yelling, screaming, throwing things, accusing us of things we hadn’t and scaring the children. She kicked us out and we didn’t even understand what we did. We were all in tears, we packed the car and were ready to begin the trip home after only a few days. I’m almost sure that my bipolar disorder does run in the family now. I saw two completely different people that day and the image I had of who my grandmother was shattered.

My aunt told us not to leave town yet. She opened her home and her heart to us. Her children, my cousins, did the same. In that moment I realized that at 28 years old… I didn’t even know my aunts and cousins. So much of my family were essentially familiar strangers to me. I retreated into the car to pray alone and spend time with the Father. I knew there was a purpose for this pain but at the moment I couldn’t understand what that purpose was. My sister called and we talked for a while. Granted, we have had a trying relationship at times but when it came down to it, she was there for support when I needed her. That is family. My sister helped me to realize that God was using this one broken relationship to deepen six other relationships for me and other family members. She also helped me to see that God was, in a way, showing me something to remember if I ever think I should come off of my mental health medication again.

My aunt was a life saver and a trip saver. She embraced us and refused to let that bad situation be all we remembered of our trip. We saw so many sights, had so many experiences, and didn’t want to leave when the time came. Sundays sermon was broadcasted on live stream from my church back home and I made a point to watch it. The message that was shared was so on point that I rewound it and made sure to have my family gather around the phone to listen to it. The spirit is alive and moving. He spoke to each one of us in that sermon.

All in all, throughout the trip, God deepened relationships. He showed me my next calling and told me to wait and prepare. He spoke to my family members. He gave me a deeper understanding of my family as a whole. He gave me a deeper understanding of my mother and her upbringing, even of my grandmother and her brief upbringing. Sometimes pain brings understanding, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt. We can understand how someone became who they are and forgive them without excusing wrong behavior. It is a hard thing to do though. My grandmother and I haven’t spoken so far since that day but I pray for her mental and spiritual healing. I do believe that God has started a healing in my family and the future holds so many big things that have yet to come.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the hard lessons and the hard times as well as the good.

“Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8

“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:26-27

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Patience Is A Virtue

Patience… this may be one of my weakest areas. Seriously. Even when I buy people gifts I end up having to buy replacement gifts because I simply can’t wait for them to open it and I give it early. We live in such an instantaneous world. A microwave generation, I’ve heard it called. We want everything now, now, now. Think about it, a world of knowledge is right at my fingertips. With my phone I can search for almost any answer. With that same phone I can also order dinner, video chat, file a claim on my insurance… heck, you can even do your taxes via app now! 

How were the people of the bible so patient? How were they able to wait YEARS or even DECADES for God’s answers? Well, for one, they didn’t have cellphones. If they needed groceries they didn’t just hop down the block for a gallon of milk. They had to work and wait for EVERYTHING. Need something from the market? Better be ready for a two or three day walk, one way. Want milk for the house? Better get a bucket and go milk the cow. We are far more spoiled and have forgotten what it means to simply be still.  

I am impatient in almost every area, you can imagine when I went back on meds (catchup story below) and I got the “it can take up to a month” warning I freaked out a bit. I would love for God to send my future husband right this second. I would love for a lot of things to happen right this second. But timing is everything. The right time and right place are essential in His plan. God has said “not now” and “not yet” so often lately because he ‘s working on strengthening my weakest area. After all,  what kind of wife would I make if I don’t have any patience?   Whether your wait is for progress, medication effectiveness, your future spouse, or answers from God, let’s remember how to sit our behinds down and be patient. 

https://youtu.be/Eoi1fR3py9U #EndTheStigma video sermon on mental health as a Christ Follower. 
https://youtu.be/pwn7Y8L5usY #ChristianSingle video sermon about being a single Christ Follower. 

Lord, thank you for strengthening ourweakness. Empower us to be better. Give our hearts the desire to be the best we can be for you, for ourselves, and for our future spouse. Lord strengthen our motivation to do the work when it is hard. Deepen our patience and help us to be still when we need to. We thank you and we love you. Amen. 

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Loneliness Is Not Weakness

Loneliness. Let’s be real here, we all experience it. If you haven’t you’re lying. Plain and simple. Why do we act like admitting to loneliness is some kind of weakness. Our society is slowly deeming any piece of humanity as weakness; calling people “thirsty” for showing even the slightest sign of interest. We are losing our softness and becoming hard. Why is that the goal? The answer: its not. That is a trick from the world to help you lose yourself and give in to sin. Ezekiel 36:26 says “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”.

Don’t let the world turn your heart to stone. It is okay to feel. You will get lonely. Period. How will you deal with it? Will you hide it, proclaiming to be a strong woman “who doesn’t need a man” or pretending to be a man who doesn’t need solid woman in his life? will you pretend that you don’t long for real love and companionship? If we succumb to this practice of the world then will we next succumb to the common practice of premarital sex and hollow relations? Resist and go against the grain. Be strong and listen to God’s word; to truth. “Desire without knowledge is not good – how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” – Proverbs 19:2

Here’s the truth: it is okay to be lonely! Men and women of God, hear me, you are Children of the all powerful! You are sons and daughters of the king most high! You are princesses intended to be queens and princes intended to be kings. It is up to you to RISE. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3

Now, let’s address guilt. The next very real issue we can face as single Christians is guilt because “God should be enough and you shouldn’t need anyone else”. Well, I was feeling this guilt and a wise mentor of mine put it in the best terms. He told me God designed us to need a mate. God designed us to need companionship and a partner. We are not meant to do life alone. That loneliness is something he put within us to seek out our partner. He could have made us without that need but he didn’t. That is why he created Adam and gave him Eve. God was not enough for Adam, he needed a helper. He made it that way on purpose. When he told me this, the lightbulb went on. I’ve prayed for that loneliness to go away and and honestly, the pain of it has, but the need to find my other half persists because God wants us to find our person.

There is no shame in this!

When you are lonely, pray. Read the word. Talk to your small group members or your spiritual family. You can even write letters to your future spouse or keep a prayer journal for them. I recommend praying for your future spouse often, not just that God will bring them to you, but praying for them as a person. Pray for their protection. Pray for their preparation. Pray that God prepares you. Pray for their spirit and journey. Pray for their heart. As you seek them out, pray that God will keep away the wrong people and shut all the doors to you except the one He has intended for you. Pray for His guidance. I have read 31 Days of Prayer for Your Future Husband which is a great daily devotional to pray for your future spouse. If you are a single parent, I highly recommend reading 21 Principles for a Healthy and Happy Single Mom (It can apply to men too!).  Remember to focus on preparing yourself and to be patient!!! Wait for your Boaz or Ruth. Wait for what is right (If you haven’t read Ruth, please do).

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

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https://youtu.be/Eoi1fR3py9U #EndTheStigma video sermon on mental health as a Christ Follower. 
https://youtu.be/pwn7Y8L5usY #ChristianSingle video sermon about being a single Christ Follower. 

Get out the GUNK

Preparing for your future spouse starts with seeking God and spiritual cleansing.

Who here loves spring cleaning? … Yeah, me neither. I tend to procrastinate until the task becomes something I can’t ignore anymore. I keep saying “I’ll get to that later” until that embarrassing moment when you open the car door any your empty water bottles start falling out. Even if you don’t have this problem with physical tasks, you may be experiencing this problem with another type of ‘spring cleaning’… Spiritual cleansing. 

Believe it or not, spiritual healing and growth is some seriously hard work. It takes dedication and determination but even more so, it takes a deep desire. If you’re praying “God, bring me my future spouse” you should also be asking “God, what do you want to change in me for my future spouse? How can I be the best person I can be for you and for them?”. Just like you don’t want God to bring you someone who isn’t ready for you, He is not going to bring you to them if YOU are not ready either. 

I had an experience recently, a weird one. I recently had a period of time where I was unmedicated for my bipolar disorder, long story but if you’d like to check it out, the video is here: https://youtu.be/Eoi1fR3py9U . Anyway, since I’ve gotten back on track, I’ve still struggled personally. Its like God is trying to speak to me but I am underwater and can’t hear him clearly. I was still desiring things that God had clearly said were not for me and I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t taking the desires away when I prayed so many times for Him to. 

In the most random of moments I began praying in the shower for spiritual cleansing. I dropped to my knees, crying like some mad woman, and just begged God to renew me. Revive me. Bring me back from the dead. In that moment it felt like the Spirit reached inside of me and grabbed all of the filth, all of the sticky tar of unholiness that was still clinging to the corners, and yanked it out of me. I physically vomitted. Now, stick with me because I know that sounds super gross, but I felt clean after. I felt like the grime that was built up inside had been scraped out. God was doing some spring cleaning on my soul and was just waiting for that deep longing desire from me. I’m not saying everyone will have some weird, supernatural, vomiting experience, but He is waiting for that deep desire in you as well. Start seeking Him. Seek Him in His word, seek Him in prayer, seek Him in quiet time. Never stop. Let the spring cleaning begin. 

Tonight, I heard the word from several fellow pastors, members of my Christ family, and as always I am amazed by how much the Lord is moving. A few preached in the importance of witnessing, talking about the story in Mark 5 when Jesus drives a legion of demons out of a man and tells him to go share his story. Really that is why I’ve decided to share my story. Even wierd ones like this which I was going to keep to myself. Tonight’s messages reminded me that God needs us to share our experiences, even when it makes us uncomfortable; especially when it makes us uncomfortable. 
I’d like to leave you with this piece of scripture where Jesus works in the life of Saul, a man who has not only sinned and murdered but his job was specifically to murder Jesus’ followers. Specifically to persecute Christians. Man, if God can cleanse him and make him new… He can work for us too. Nothing is too big for God. But remember… Its a journey, not a moment. Even if you’ve been saved. There are times where you will need to be cleansed again, to confess again, to fall to your knees again. And that is okay. Never stop. 

 ““ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.  “ ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’  My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.  “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.  “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’ ” – Acts 22:8‭-‬16 NIV

Lord, thank you for the amazing ways you are moving. Thank you for your unending grace ans mercy. Oh father, prepare us and change us. Lord, lead us to desire your desires. Lead us to want your path and plans. God, scrape out the gunk that is stuck inside of us. Break down the sinful desires we still struggle with. Break our chains, Lord. Create in us a deep desire for you and for righteousness. Lord, we love you and we thank you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. 

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