Sex in the Name of Love

I have been abstinent for more than four years. When I recommitted myself to the Lord and to living a holy lifestyle, someone told me that I wasn’t really living a difficult life of abstinence because I was single. He went on to say that couples who are practicing abstinence together are the real MVPs the only legitimate members of the celibacy team. In retrospect, I imagine he was insinuating that I was abstinent by default and not by choice. I don’t think it ever crossed his mind that a young woman in her 20s would choose a sexless life. Who could blame him? The movies we watch, the songs that we jam to, and the television programs we DVR encourage and entice us to indulge in sex. The more we indulge, the more our carnal desires are titillated and seduced into exploring that which God designed to be sacred.

Sex is a natural, biological act that almost everyone will experience at some point in life. It is the ultimate experience of ecstasy that we will find on this side of Heaven, and once we have tasted that ecstasy it seems almost impossible to go without. When I met my fiancé, I was nervous for this very reason. I knew that sex before marriage was not an option and I didn’t care how fine he was, I would not compromise. Ironically, the fact that he believed in Jesus was not enough to convince me that we held the same convictions about sex. (Yes, there are singles in the church who struggle with sex) On our first date, you could imagine my surprise when he asked me about the purity ring that my father had delicately placed on my right ring finger on my sixteenth birthday. I never anticipated that we would discuss these things so soon, but I’m glad we did. It was then that he told me that he, too, was saving himself for his wife. When he told me of his recommitment to purity, I knew that he was serious potential.

In a world where sex in relationships is the encouraged norm, my fiancé and I have chosen to remain abstinent until we get married next spring. Abstinence is probably one of the most challenging tests we have faced, but there are a few reasons why we know this is the best decision for us.

  • God loves sex.

You read right. God didn’t just create sex for reproduction; He created it for pleasurable connection, romance, and intimacy. Yes, God loves sex! In fact, God intended for sex to be so wonderful, so life-altering, so magical, and so sensational…that only marriage is strong enough to handles its effects (Click to Tweet!). He knew that a connection this powerful outside of the intended confines of marriage could be destructive. Voddie Baucham said it best: [paraphrase] Sex is like a fire. Inside of a fireplace, it’s contained and it’s heat comforts, soothes, warms, consoles. Outside of the fireplace, fire is vicious, wild, dangerous, and catastrophic. The number one reason why we aren’t having sex is because we want to honor God. I believe that one of the reasons why God commands us to wait is because in a marriage, he is the glue that holds it together. Consummation without covenant is displeasing to God and leaves Him out of the equation. He longs for us to protect and preserve the marriage bed because anything else is simply settling for second best.

  • Premarital sex is selfish

It is impossible for lust to be satisfied, yet it constantly begs for more and more. Operating as the opposite of lust, love gives wholly and fully of itself. Tim Keller says that [married] sex is a radical self-donation. Covenantal intimacy seeks to protect and pleasure your spouse. Lustful passion wants to be pleased and pacified without much significant thought of the other person. We get the phrase “true love waits” when we take into account that real love isn’t hasty or irrational. It waits until it’s time to blossom and mature into all that God ordained it to be. No matter how much I love my fiancé, if we dabble into sexual sin it has tainted what God originated to be a selfless donation of love into unbridled selfishness. I am not protecting the heart and soul of my mate when I lie with him without promising to love him until death separates us. I am putting my feelings, my desires, my lusts before him and everything else. Love sees no need to hurry ahead of God; it waits for His perfect timing. Even Jesus waited to give His life—the ultimate self-donation of love—until the Father granted Him permission and announced that it was time. Sex before marriage says, “I’m not thinking of you. I’m not caring for you. I’m exposing you because I’m thinking of myself and what I want.” (Click to Tweet!)

  • Premarital sex breeds distrust and insecurity

Growing up, my mother always said that it is impossible to cultivate a trusting foundation when premarital sex is present. She pointed out that when you see couples who struggle with trusting one another you are seeing the fruit and repercussions of premarital sex.   In a marriage, sex has the power to reinforce the unshakeable covenant that was established; however sex beyond the confines of marriage exposes and deconstructs the trust that may have once stood unwavering. How can this be? Well, it’s simple really. If I give my body to a man who has not committed to me in marriage, then I have given a piece of myself that he did not earn. In the heart of every woman lies a yearning to be deeply desired yet fiercely protected by her man. A woman cannot help but swoon over a man who finds her sexually attractive, yet cares enough about her heart to practice discipline over his own body. When a man denies sexual indulgences because of his fear of the Lord and his love for his woman, she can trust that his accountability to the Lord governs him more than his sexual urges.

My fiancé is very committed to our decision to remain abstinent until marriage. Honestly, that choice is one of the things that has proven his commitment to me. I have no doubts that he is faithful to me because I know who governs him. He is not his own man; he answers to the Lord. My mother and I have had countless conversations about relationships and one of her nuggets of wisdom that I will keep with me is this: Jesus is the only one who keeps a man faithful to the woman in his life. There is no amount of will power that is strong enough to keep a man from physically or emotionally stepping out on his woman. Only the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit will cause a man to withstand temptations (because they will come) and remain faithful to the Lord and to his wife. However, if that man is not submitted to the Lord, then who holds him accountable to his actions and conversations with other women? Something bigger than himself must have a hold of the man, and if he cannot control his urges with you… what controls them when you’re away? These were the types of thoughts that marred my mind when I foolishly engaged in sex before marriage in a previous relationship.

Sex before marriage destroyed my self-esteem. I knew I was sinning against God but I was more compelled by my obsession for affection that I handed over my most precious gift as if I’d forgotten that all sales were final. During that season, my heart begged for more. I had affection but I lacked security. Someplace deep down I was forced to face the reality that I was worth more than empty sex in a relationship that promised no future. I knew that my heart was worth my weight in gold, and more than I wanted to be touched, I needed so desperately to be known. Once sex became a factor, it was much easier for me to believe the lies and excuses that constantly barraged me. Lust caused me to turn a blind eye to the dysfunctional aspects of my relationship and I somehow convinced myself that sex would make me forget about our deficiencies. It only heightened them. I never trusted him because when my heart wanted to be known and understood most were the moments when sex was initiated almost as if to stifle my cry for love. Each encounter became more taxing on my soul.

And then I met the love of my life. He was a man who hung onto my every word when I spoke. He was the man who thanked me just for taking time out of my day to spend it with him. He was the man who chose to hug me after our first date rather than kissing me. He was the man who spent hours with his mentor learning how to best protect me. He was the man who took the time to learn the things that made me cry, laugh, and think. He’s the man who I still catch staring at me as if I’m the only person in the room. He’s the man who, on my birthday in front of my friends and family, got down on one knee and asked me if I would allow him the opportunity to love me for the rest of our lives. He is the one for whom I have been preserving myself, and he has decided to join his life with mine without me ever having to give anything of myself. What sexual sin threatened to steal forever, hope in Christ has restored! He never tried to take anything from me. All he set out to do from the beginning was to give and build and grow. I am better because of him, and on our wedding day he will be worthy of all of me.

One of the most amazing things about God is that we can all come to him and lay our weariness at His feet—yes, even our sexual frustrations. Living a sexless life is not easy, but God always rewards our obedience. If you are struggling with sex, I will pose the question a dear friend of mine asked me: “Ask yourself what is connecting you to the person you are dating. Are you truly compatible from each other outside of the bedroom?” This is important to think about, especially if you are considering marriage.

Remember, there is now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. It’s never too late to make a new decision about sex in your singleness. All it takes is a “Yes” and Jesus will grace you for the days to come. Don’t focus on what you think you’re missing, but all that God is storing up for your good and for His glory.

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Now You See Me

Last year I was at a point in my single life when I was uninterested in men who were uninterested in me. Fed up with dead-end “friendships” with emotionally unavailable and unresponsive men, I prayed the prayer I almost regretted. I asked God to protect me from men who didn’t have my best interest at heart. If he wasn’t the man I would marry, then you could count me out.

But what if that prayer is slightly off the mark? What about the men I could positively impact during my season of singleness? What about the men God would call me to serve alongside? What about the men who have never experienced the beauty of femininity, confidence, and grace from a woman who loves Jesus? What if asking God to hide me is selfish? What if there is a more powerful prayer?

Photo Credit: m_bartosch via FreeDigitalPhotos.net, royalty-free

Photo Credit: m_bartosch via FreeDigitalPhotos.net, royalty-free

When I met my boyfriend, he was more refreshing than an ice cold glass of water on a sweltering summer day in the south; more refreshing than a warm shower on a wintry night; more refreshing than a hearty meal after a season of fasting; more refreshing than… well, you get my point. I wasn’t paying any attention to him, but he saw me. Shortly after we met, I had a lunch engagement with my mentor. There she challenged me to ask God what this young man’s purpose was in my life and what purpose I should serve in his life. Every man you meet is not going to be your knight in shining armor. Every man is not your potential, and should not be treated as such. You may be who God uses to show him how Christian women conduct themselves. You may be who God uses to show him that all women are not seductive and manipulative. You may be who God uses to minister the gospel of Jesus through your testimony of purity and unwavering dedication to Christ. Our purpose in a man’s life could lead to a wedding ring, but our first order of business is to demonstrate the love of Christ.

Although I knew I was beginning to develop feelings for him, I kept everything in perspective by allowing Jesus to guard my heart, emotions, and intentions. All I asked was for Jesus to be glorified in however this relationship was to progress. Some time had passed since my last lunch date with my mentor. This time when she asked about my budding relationship, I told her I believed he was the one my heart had been waiting for. She asked me how I knew. I told her, “Because God allowed him to see me.”

I have always looked this way, written this way, and loved this way. Like an abstract sculpture that few people notice, people have walked past me with little appreciation, but only one man stopped to see me for the masterpiece that I am.

It was that moment when I realized the stunning beauty of those words. This man’s eyes had been opened and he had the vision to behold the beauty (and flaws) that make up who I am. He knows me because he wanted to know me. He listens to me because he wanted to listen to me. He understands me because he wanted to understand me. But he loves me because he sees me, and he sees me because God opened his eyes and placed me in his line of sight.

So, what if the more powerful prayer isn’t to be hidden but to be seen by the man who is sent from God? To be hidden can be lonely, but to be seen and known is the deepest desire in the heart of every woman. Asking to be visible makes us ready for God’s use. Let’s be unafraid to be seen by men. Let’s ask God for His purposes for the men in our lives. Let’s ask God to lead people in our lives we can impact, and who will positively impact ours. Let’s be willing vessels for His good during our singleness. Let us be fully seen by Jesus, and ask to be seen by the man who will vow to love us until the end of time.

The Scent of Singleness

You may not have a title or high position in your church, but you are a minister. Ministry is any act of service that edifies people and brings glory to God. Jesus said to His disciples that if they followed Him, He would make them fishers of men. He would make them ministers — carriers of the gospel and testimony of Jesus Christ. Many people may be familiar with the notion that marriage is a ministry. Husbands and wives are called to serve God together as they selflessly edify, encourage and uplift one another. A healthy marriage should draw people to God; it should encourage people to follow your God and your example. What you might not know is your ministry begins much sooner than your wedding day.

Singleness is a Ministry

Before we graduate to the ministry of marriage, we have to qualify ourselves through faithfulness in the ministry of singleness. In marriage your ministry is focused on your spouse and his or her needs, whereas in singleness your ministry is focused on God and what He has need of you to perform in the Kingdom. Your singleness is a time of uninterrupted, completely devoted service to God. Your allegiance to this ministry is to serve God to the fullest capacity you can muster.

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. — Paul via Acts 20:24

Your singleness is a race, a course that the Lord has set out for you to run. It is a ministry that God has purposed for us to embrace, but it is up to us whether we will accept it or not. Our single status is a given, but we can choose if we will honor God in our singleness. Paul said that he received his ministry from the Lord. God offers us the opportunity and privilege to honor Him and serve others during our singleness, but we have the option to either accept or deny this ministry. If you do not accept God’s design for singles, you may begin to focus on the circumstantial frustrations and disappointments in your singleness rather than the ministry of singleness. You may allow your emotions to dictate and control your willingness to serve God during your singleness. You could let the pressures of friends and family telling you to jump into a relationship influence your spirit until you’re no longer content with God. You could let your loneliness cause your prayer life to spiral downward. Any of these things would inevitably circumvent all that God wants to develop in and through you during this season. God wants you to live purposefully single. What did Paul say to hardships and pressures weighing against him?

But none of these things move me!

If you want to experience the fullness of God in your singleness, you must accept the ministry of singleness and determine that none of the pressures, temptations, or emotions will move your position of holy singleness. As a single person, your ministry includes 1) giving yourself fully to devotion to God, 2) giving yourself to the service of others, 3) and cultivating faithfulness during the waiting season. I will develop these ideas in a forthcoming message, but now I want to delve into another idea.

Spread the Aroma

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life… — 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

As Christians, we have a special call — a radical purpose. Singles have a special advantage in the Kingdom of God to be about our Father’s business. If our singleness is a ministry, then our singleness is also worship. A wise man said, “Anything you do for God is worship. Whatever you worship, you imitate. Whatever you imitate, you become.” You can worship God with your singleness. Paul reveals an interesting thought: God leads us as captives in Christ’s procession.

Let’s consider a wedding. As the processional music begins, a hush falls over the place. The anticipation builds and everyone halts with hopefulness. Why? The bride is coming. But, she cannot walk down the aisle until the procession occurs. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are dazzling in their ensembles with blinding smiles to match the joy in their hearts. The groom takes his place in front of the altar, anxiously awaiting to behold his bride. The tension builds as two young men unroll the aisle runner and finally the flower girl takes her place. She slowly glides down the aisle, delicately dropping dainty flowers. Everyone in the audience silently applauds her beauty and bravery as she makes her way down to the altar. I wonder if flower girls realize that they are responsible for ushering in the bride. Everyone knows that after the flower girl makes it to the altar at the end of her procession, the bride immediately follows.

We are like that flower girl.

The maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen and ring-bearer are all apart of the procession and they have different roles. They are all needed for the wedding to be complete, but the flower girl has a special role. She is the only member of the processional who walks on the runner before the bride arrives; she has privileges that others in the procession don’t have. Similarly, the single Christian has advantages that the married Christian does not have. The marriage and singleness ministries are different, but they are both important to God. However, the flower girl is responsible for setting the atmosphere for the bride to appear.

Paul said that we are the procession for Christ’s entrance. Each Christian has a different role and has a different race set before him, but each one has the same purpose: to make way for the King to come. The flower girl is usually a young child, but her job is far from insignificant. Her job may not seem as glamorous as carrying the ring, but if the flower girl is not in place, then the atmosphere won’t be acceptable for the bride to come. Sometimes as singles, we believe the lie that we have no place in our churches or in the Kingdom of God because we are single. That is not true! Sometimes we feel ostracized or belittled because of our single status. Every member of the Body is needed to prepare the way for God to come on the scene in the earth. Even the flower girl.

As the flower girl makes way for the bride, she is dropping flowers. Paul said that God uses us to spread the aroma of Christ in the land just as that young girl spreads the aroma of floral delight down the aisle. Worship has a scent that pleases God. As we live our single lives for Him, we will carry the aroma of Jesus with us that will not only turn the heads of people, but it will attract the “bride.” The aroma will draw Jesus closer to us.

Just as your worship has a fragrance, your ministry of singleness has a scent. Although we may be living seemingly mundane lives, God is using this season of singleness to change our fragrance that will attract His glory and draw men toward Him. Holiness, purity, radical prayer, passionate worship, consecration, and complete surrender to God should be the scent of every unmarried person’s life. It is not easy to commit to this ministry of singleness. There will be times when you’d much rather blend in with those singles who settle because they are tired of waiting. Singles should never be sitting on the sidelines while we wait. The bride can’t come if the flower girl refuses to walk down the aisle. Prepare the way for the King and carry an aroma that will draw Him toward you. Remember, what you worship, you will become. If you worship God in your singleness, you will be like Him in your marriage. So, when those moments of discouragement come…when loneliness and temptation to compromise come knocking, what will you do? Consider the flower girl. What is her motivation for making it down the aisle — to finish the race — to finish her task? Is it the intimidation of all of the people watching her? Is it her friend in the pew waiting to poke fun at her if she trips and spills her flowers? Is it her eagerness to get the task over with? Is it her fascination with the pretty bridesmaids who she secretly wishes she could be? She wonders, Who would want to be a lowly flower girl? No, that is not what motivates her to make it down the aisle. She keeps her pace and leaves the aroma because she is captivated with her purpose and the unwavering, unshakeable truth that immediately behind her is the center of attention, the point of it all, the reason for the wedding. She knows that the Son of God is blazing behind her in His awesome glory, and that although she is a flower girl now, that same God will transform her into a bride for her own groom.

So, I pose the question that God asked me: “If singleness has a scent, what does yours smell like?”

Five Truths for Christian Singles

In February I began a mini-series on singleness as the Lord began to reveal some things to me about His plan for the single Christian. (If you missed them, check them out here: Lessons from Lot & I’m Saved, So Why Am I Single?) In the most recent installment, I listed a few reasons why many of us remain in our singleness season. After that message, I began to feel pressed to express truths for every single person in the Kingdom.

#1: You are not single because God has forgotten about you.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. — Jesus via Matthew 10:30, 31 

The Bible says that the love of Christ surpasses knowledge (Ephesian 3:19). The love of the Father is unfathomable and mindbogglingly inconceivable. How a perfect God could ever love us when we were yet in our sin is a mystery. But since we know He loves us, we know that there is no good thing He will withhold from us!

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gits to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! — Jesus via Matthew 7:11.

God not only loves you, but He cherishes you. He could never forget about you, for you are the very reason He sent Jesus to die. You are the motive for Jesus’ mission on earth. God was willing to lose Jesus for a moment in order to win you for an eternity. That same God could never forget about You, even when we forget about Him. You are a jewel in His crown and an important character in God’s love story. You were the “damsel in distress” (this is not just for the ladies, but for you, too, fellas!) whose Knight in shining armor paraded into the city on a donkey. That same King could never forget about His bride.

#2: You are not single because you are unattractive.

Then the Lord will appear over them; His arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet; He will march in the storms of the south, and the Lord Almighty will shield them… The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people. They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! — Zechariah 9:14-16

We already know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made…that every fabric of our being was not only designed and fashioned by God, but His hands stitched and molded us into the person you and I are today. God has been dreaming about you since before the world was made. How He longed for someone who looks exactly like you! So, out of His bosom you were formed. Not only that, but Zechariah depicts God as a warrior in this passage. He swoops in and saves the day and He goes on to note how amazing and beautiful those jewels in His crown are. There is no possible way that you–God’s finest handiwork–are single because you are not attractive. You are a wonder to behold. As you fashion your spirit-man to look more like Jesus, that glow will turn heads left and right. Don’t think you’re single because of how you look or because (you think) no one notices you. Perhaps, the onlookers don’t have the capacity to fully appreciate the amazing creation that you are. Even if they cannot see your wonder or behold your beauty, you stop God in His tracks every time He looks down on you.

#3: You are not single because you have baggage.

Do you want to know how I can dare to say this bold statement? I’ll let you in on my secret. We all have baggage! There is not a single soul in existence who does not suffer or struggle from some sort of baggage or wound. Whether self-inflicted or afflicted from external forces, we all have baggage in our trunk. The good news about this is that God is a healer!

But for you who revere My name, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall…on the day when I do these things, says the Lord Almighty. — Malachi 4:2,3

God has likened us as young calves who have been locked away in a stall…that when He comes and heals us from our baggage, we will leap and gallivant with freedom, exuberance and the testimony that God has redeemed us and removed the reproach of baggage! No, my dear, you are not single because of your baggage because we all have baggage, and God is faithful to remove baggage and all of the damage that is associated with it.

#4: You are not single because there are no more eligible men or women left.

This is a lie that the devil wants you to believe in order to coax you into settling for the next person who makes his or herself available to you. There are so many men and women of God swarming around this world, but that’s not the issue and it should not be your concern. In your waiting season, your delight should be in the Lord. Trust Him. When we complain that there is no one left for us to marry, we are ultimately expressing our unwillingness to trust the Lord to write our love story. How silly that we would dare second-guess the Author of our life’s story when He knows the end from the beginning! So, yes, there are plenty of amazing people who God is yet preparing for us, but don’t get in a rush to end your singleness so that you can snag yourself one of them. Sisters, every good man is not your man. Fellas, every beautiful lady is not yours to have and hold forever. Wait on God to lead you to the one you’re supposed to finish your life’s mission with. Delight in God and stop looking!

#5: You are not single because you are inadequate.

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. — Jesus via Matthew 11:28-30

To my dear friends who suffer from feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, incompetence, or just a sense of impossibility that marriage or a healthy relationships could ever be a reality in your life…I leave you with this simple, yet powerful truth. God gives strength to the feeble, hope to the hopeless, and comfort to the weary. It doesn’t matter what you have experienced in life, you are not inadequate and a healthy relationship is in God’s dream for you! If you are a believer in Jesus, the Bible says you are more than a conqueror! Every good thing is available to you and I, not because of anything we have done to deserve it, but simply because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. God loves marriage. He desires love for you because He is love. Love doesn’t need you to perform in order to earn it. You need not jump through any hoops. All you must do is let God embrace you in His arms and envelop you in His inconceivable love. That love heals, protects and completes us all through and through. It will wash away every thought and lie from the enemy that tells you that you are inadequate and somehow don’t deserve true love. God’s love will rebuild everything in you the devil tried to destroy…and when that love does its perfect work, God can trust you in the arms of a man or woman who is almost as crazy about you as God is.

I have given you five reasons why I know that you’re not single, but I will close by giving you one reason why I know you ARE single right now. It is this beautiful truth:

You are single because, for the time being, your God wants you all to Himself.

I Just Want You

She stared at him from across the busy hotel lobby. His tall and muscular physique drew attention and she noticed several women casting alluring glances his way. His smooth, milk chocolate complexion reminded her of an edible dessert. Two women approached him like vultures swooping in on their next prey. A seductive smile tugged at his lips, luring the women in, casting them deeper under his spell. The woman across the hotel lobby felt both a tinge of annoyance and jealousy. She secretly envied the attention the two woman had managed to get from the attractive man. As she walked in their direction, the man glanced her direction. He whispered something to the two ladies and they both giggled. The tall, slender, bronze-colored woman of the flirtatious duo slipped him a piece of paper and then both women were gone. 

The man’s sensual smile faded into a stoic expression as the woman from across the lobby stood in front of him. He sat down on the bench and averted his eyes. She handed him a key card. “Here.”

He took the card without looking at her. She was beginning to think that inviting him on this business trip was a mistake. She sighed. “Okay, so you should go ahead and take our bags up to the room. I have to get to my first meeting in fifteen minutes.”

“Yeah,” he said, standing to his feet. He took the handle of her brown luggage, threw his red duffel bag over his shoulder and proceeded to walk toward the elevator.

“Wait,” she stepped in front of him. “Aren’t you going to kiss me goodbye?”

He glared down at her for a few moments before he spat out, “Why?”

He stalked away and she turned to watch him leave.

“Thank you, ma’am. Enjoy your stay.” She reached for the key card to her hotel room and turned around to look for him. She spotted him sitting silently on the bench across the lobby. His broad shoulders were drooped, his countenance downcast. Instant concern shadowed her face as she approached him. She rested one hand on his shoulder and he looked up at her, his large, green eyes vacant.

“What’s wrong?” she wanted to know. She sat beside him.

“I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”

“What are you talking about?”

“This. Us. I don’t think we’re going to work out.”

She sunk down to the bench beside him. Her pulse began to race. “W-w-what are you saying?”

He ran his fingers through his auburn hair and hung his head low. He felt her hand touch his knee gently. He rested his hand on top of hers and squeezed it tenderly. He finally mustered the courage to look back into her confused, brown eyes. 

“Look at you. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. You’re working in corporate America. You make six figures. Your job sends you all over the world and can afford to put you up in amazing hotels like this. You have two undergraduate degrees and one Master’s Degree. You’re the kindest, gentlest woman I’ve ever known. Every time I look at you, you take my breath away. You leave me speechless…all the time…”

She felt her heart gallop in her chest. Her head began to swim as if she might faint.

He continued. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone in my life. I’ve never felt so…so complete.

“You are the best thing that could have ever happened to me.” His voice caught in his throat and he wiped a single tear from his face.

She shook her head. “Stop it. Stop it! Why are you doing this?”

“Look at me! I flunked out of college. I’m a struggling musician who writes songs all day while you’re whisking from city to city. You’re clean and well-manicured and well-dressed in your business suit. I’m wearing a dingy white T-shirt, jeans with holes in them, and flip flops.” He leaned forward and softly kissed her jaw line. “You smell like vanilla and springtime. I barely remember to wash my hands when I leave the bathroom. Even my friends say I don’t deserve you. You deserve someone better than me. You deserve someone more handsome, more intelligent, more wealthy. I’m not good enough for you.”

“No,” she exclaimed. “No! No!” She held his face in her hands. Their surroundings had long been forgotten. Her eyes spilled tears as they frantically searched his. “I love you. I. Love. You. I don’t care what you do for a living. I don’t care what you wear. I don’t care about your education. I don’t care about your money. I don’t care about anything you could ever do for me. Do you know why? Because I’ve loved so many people and they all walked out on me. You’re the only one who loved me back. You make me feel wanted. You enjoy me. I am desired by you. You’re not like everyone else because you want me.You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever known and I love you exactly the way you are.”

“But,” he said, “there are so many other men you could have. They’re better than me.”

She thumbed his tears away. “No, I don’t want other men. I want you.”

More tears ran freely from his eyes and he leaned his forehead against hers. “Why?” he whispered.

She smiled. “Shhh, stop crying. Let me show you.”

What you just read is a dream that I had a few nights ago. When I woke up from the dream, I immediately thought about the Lord and His people. How many of us have felt the same way that the Caucasian gentleman felt about his girlfriend? Have you ever been in such wonder at the Lord’s awesome splendor that you look at yourself and wonder, “What does He see in me? Why does He love me this way?” I have. I have been this young gentleman. I’ve been simultaneously in awe of God’s holiness and in complete disgust at the horrible state of my own flesh. How could a perfect God love such an imperfect being?

I have come to the realization that God is a lot like that young, successful woman. She had loved before and her former suitors had left her high and dry. Yet, she continued to love. Finally, in her pursuit of love, she found a man who loved her back. She had finally found a man who didn’t want her for her money or her social status or her beauty. This man wanted her because he had gotten past the outer layers and desired her for the essence of who she was. God wants the same thing! He wants children who are eager to get to know Him simply for who He is, not for what His blessings will do for us. He wants to be desired and wanted. He wants our undivided attention. What He doesn’t want is for us to shy away from Him because of intimidation or because we think joining with God makes us an unlikely couple. On the contrary, He wants His awesome splendor to encourage us to draw nearer to Him and want Him even more! When we choose to pursue Him like no other, He will reward us with the greatest gift He could ever grant us: true intimacy with Him. God has already proved His love for us by sending Jesus to the cross to reconcile us to Him, but He takes the gift of salvation to another level by revealing deep, intoxicating intimacy with us.

One kiss from Jesus will sweep you off of your feet forever.

 

♫ Now Playing: “One Thing Remains” by Kristian Stanfill ♫

I’m Saved, So Why Am I Single?

Jesus sacrificed His life for all of humanity so that we might have the opportunity and the power to be reconciled with the Father and experience eternal life. He saved us from all of our sins. We no longer have to be bound by sin. Sin once held us as captives; sin was our master. Jesus snatched the power of sin and death from the enemy and breathed new life into us. Jesus is a HERO! He saved the day!

Jesus is a Gentleman. After He paid the price for the most amazing gift we could ever be offered, He does not bombard His way into every man’s heart. He doesn’t force Himself into lives where He isn’t welcome. He stands at the door and knocks. Isn’t He so sweet?

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. –Jesus via Revelation 3:20 NKJV

When Jesus comes into your life, He wants to wine and dine you. He wants to commune with you. He wants to be intimate with you. He wants your undivided attention. He wants to clean you up and make you into His image. After all, He died to spend every moment of your life (and beyond) with you. He was so desperate for you that He sacrificed His own life; He laid it down because the Father couldn’t bear the thought of spending eternity without you. Now that He has you He wants to romance you. He longs to sweep you off of your feet. He wants to make love to your heart. He wants to be your First Lover. He wants you for Himself. That is the point of salvation.

So, why is it that so many of us get saved and the first thing we expect from God is a relationship?

The church is widely known as a place in which one encounters the presence of God. Over time I have observed that many people attend church with one eye on God and the other eye wandering around the church looking for potential mates. (Some people, dare I say, don’t come to church for God at all) Singleness has become the most despised stage of life among people of all ages. There are external pressures attacking singles from every side, probing and questioning why they aren’t dating or married, when they plan to get married. This, in turn, indirectly discourages contentment in singleness.

We know the scriptures that say, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing,” (Proverbs 18:22) and, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).” Sometimes we, as singles, use these scriptures as a God-given word that will get us away from the grips of singleness. The questions I want to pose to my fellow singles are:

  1. Why are we so eager to escape singleness?
  2. Rather than asking God why we are [still] single, why not ask Him why He wants us to be single?
  • The Power of Singleness

But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world, how he may please his wife…The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit…and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.” –Paul via 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Your life should neither start nor stop with a relationship. A relationship is a beautiful gift from God, but many of us fail when we begin to think that we are insufficient or inadequate unless we’re in a relationship or married. That is a lie! Some of us are eager to abandon singleness because marriage is viewed as the only label of success in a person’s life. (Note: There are more reasons why some singles are eager to be married such as sex, comfort, security. This is simply one of them.) If that were true, will you have fulfilled your life’s destiny when you marry your future spouse? No! Marriage should be a step toward the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life, but it should never be a stopping point. There is more that God has in store for your life. Before I move on, I want to tell you that YOU, right here in your season of singleness, are created in the image of God and you have a purpose in the Lord. He wants to birth ministries through you because He has people who need to be touched by Him through you. These are people who only you can reach! You are not insufficient! You are not inadequate! There is nothing wrong with you because you are single. God has not forgotten you; He is working on the inside of you and creating amazing wonders that will come forth from you. Be encouraged!

With that being said, choose to be content in your season of singleness. Why? Because the Lord has work for you to do. Your season of singleness is not intended for you to sit at home and twiddle your thumbs until your future spouse knocks on your front door. God has work for you to do! God loves everyone, but I believe He has given a special grace to single men and women. We are called to be pliable, willing, obedient children. He can do more with us because we do not have the distraction of marriage. Imagine that God has given you the gift of music and He has called you to sing. When people hear you sing, sick people will be healed, deaf people will hear, blind people will see, dead people will awaken. God then calls you to travel to the nations and minister this gift He has given you. As a single person with no children or a spouse, you are more apt to go as God has instructed. As a married person, you have to consider your spouse and their profession, whether s/he will travel with you or stay home, and whether the house will be taken care of while you’re gone. Can your home survive on one income while you’re away? What if there are children? Who will provide and care for the children while you’re traveling and doing what the Lord called you to do? What about their education? Their friends? Don’t forget about the cute little puppy the family just adopted….

See how messy that scenario became?

As a single person, you should glory in the fact that you are in a place where God can call on you and you are able to go to any lengths to please Him. You are consumed with how you can please Him. If God wants you to spend the night in church before His altar, you may do so without having a spouse to consider. God is your spouse. He deserves your total, undivided attention. We are His full-time on-call agents ready to report for duty at any time. That is exciting! I keep myself preoccupied with the things that bless Him and I am always thinking of new ways to please Him. This is what He wants from us as single people. He wants us to commit to Him before He trusts us enough to give us another person to commit ourselves to.

  • Why Does GOD Want Me to Be Single?

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life. — Isaiah 43:1-2,4

From the beginning of time, when God created Adam, He had a desire to fellowship with mankind. He wanted a people who would love Him fiercely, although not as fiercely as He would love them, for His love is incomparable and unfailing. He wanted a people who would allow Him to be their God. God takes ownership of the people and things He loves. In this passage, God speaks possessively. “You are Mine.” This illustrates the ferocity of the love that God has for us, that He would go to any extent (and already has when He sent Jesus to the cross) to ensure that we remain His.

For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. — Exodus 34:14

This is a familiar text to many, but hear the words from our God. He says that there shall be not one single god before Him, that we should worship no other god. Why? Because He is jealous. A god (or idol) is anything that dethrones God’s place in our life. What does this mean for singles? How is this significant? Since God is a jealous God He will not allow anything to come into your life that He knows will take His place in your heart. He has gone through such strenuous lengths to have our affection and He will never bless us with something that He knows will cause us to turn our backs toward Him. So, if God knows that a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife will become an idol to you, He may prolong your season of singleness. God loves you and He wants to bless you with the desires of your heart, but not if that means He won’t be included anywhere in those plans. Pray that God’s plans for life will be the plans you want for your life.

Remember, you are His and He is particular about His children. He won’t allow anything into your life that you are unable to bear. He won’t allow anything into your life that you don’t have the grace to withstand. There is no good thing that He will withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). He truly has your best interest at heart.

So, the next time you are tempted to ask, ‘Lord, why am I [still] single?’, ask Him, ‘Lord, what would you have me accomplish in my season of singleness?’

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4-5

A Letter to My Beloved

Dear Jesus,

As the clock struck midnight, the only thoughts that permeated my mind was that this is my first Valentine’s Day with my Sweetheart. Although You have loved me even before time began, I feel that this is the first time my heart has loved You back with such an intensity words could scarcely describe it. You and I have history over the years, but we have grown to a place of intimacy that supersedes every other experience I’ve ever had with You. This time I mean every word of love and affection that I say to You. My heart swells with adoration and devotion. I recognize that I not only need You, but I have a strong desire for You. My ardor cannot be quenched. You completely satisfy me, yet my yearning for You refuses to be satisfied–I want more! I just have to have more of You.

I thought I knew what love was. I thought I knew all there was to know about You. But there came a day when I had reached my lowest moment, my breaking point, my ugliest stage…and You looked at me and said, “She’s beautiful. I want her.” No one has ever said that to me. There was a day when I looked in the mirror and despised the person who glared back at me. I hated her to the core. I was ashamed of her. I hung my head for fear that any passerby would see my innermost, vulnerable thoughts and secrets. I didn’t think I was capable to experience real love because of the sin and shame that stained my life. How could I deserve the love of a man, let alone the love of a Holy God who is perfect in every way? It was that day that You picked me up from the dirt I had been carousing in. You looked at me and You weren’t intimidated or repulsed by my filth. You knew You could handle me and my mess. I had been used and abused, yet You chose to have mercy on me and show me the way to holiness. You took a chance on me and loved me without limits! You looked past my pain and decided to show me what true love is all about.

You wanted to love me….and I let You.

How could I not fall for a Man like You? You’ve taken me out of the darkness and shown me the light. You are that Light. Because of You, I am now reconciled with my Father in Heaven. You don’t judge me. You don’t control me. You don’t hurt me. You don’t lie to me. You don’t take advantage of me. You don’t make excuses. You don’t reject me. You don’t belittle me. You’re so unlike anyone else in this world. You’re so wonderful in every aspect. You understand me in ways that no human would ever dare to try. You make me feel like the most beautiful, priceless person in this world. You actually enjoy listening to me talk, even about the most trivial things. You blow my mind every time You speak back to me.

You are more than enough for me. I know some people don’t understand the sort of relationship I have with You. I used to think people who talked about You this way were from a different planet. Now I know that it is impossible to fall in love with the King of kings and the Lord of lords and remain the same…talk the same…behave the same. You’ve completely ransacked my world and turned me into a new person. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I know as long as You keep firm grasp of my hand, I’ll never be led astray. I’ll only get closer to becoming just like You.

You’re my everything. You’re my life. You’re my passion. You’re my desire. You’re my affection. You’re my all. You’re my fascination. You’re my purpose. You’re my magnificent obsession. You’re my Lover. You’re my Sweetheart. You’re my God.

On this Valentine’s Day…I dedicate myself to You…all over again. I commit myself to You. I align myself with You. I surrender myself to You again and again and again…

Today, and every day that I exist, I give myself to You….

 

…..and I am so in love with You…..

 

Your Beloved,

Jeida

♫ Now Playing: “Beloved” by Tenth Avenue North ♫

Lessons from Lot: Valentine’s Day Message to Singles

The Valentine’s Day season is upon us once again. Jewelry store commercials are airing on television at an all-time high. Your favorite shopping centers have aisles and aisles of pink and red cards, stuffed animals, candies, flowers, and other gifts. For some people in relationships, Valentine’s Day is a special occasion to celebrate your sweetheart. For many singles, Valentine’s Day (Affectionately known as “S.A.D.: Singles Awareness Day”) nothing more than a painful reminder of their relationship status. The temptation for singles during this “love season” is to sink into minor depression and, as a result, self-medicate that depression by creating their own happiness or self-fulfillment. What is the common tendency for singles around Valentine’s Day? Contacting an ex.

Dr. Myles Munroe says in his book, “Waiting and Dating,” that loneliness is a spiritual disease. A disease is a malfunctioning organ, part, structure, or system as a result of  genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors (definition derived from Dictionary.com). This definition insinuates that loneliness affects your spirit as a result of some sort of internal or external influence. So, if loneliness is a disease, then what is the remedy? Simply put, Jesus is the cure for the loneliness you may feel in your soul. Only Jesus can satisfy you in ways that money, sex, relationships, social status, cars, or any such thing cannot. He does things to you on the inside that mere words can barely express. When you cling to Jesus and begin to open yourself up to Him, He will breathe into you and capture your heart in ways you never thought possible. When that happens there won’t be any room for thoughts of loneliness to be entertained. You’ll be basking in the glory of the Almighty God. This isn’t to say that the devil won’t tempt you, which leads me to what I want to share.

When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he [the angel] said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there and my soul shall live.” And he [the angel] said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plains, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. — Genesis 19:15-26 NKJV

This is a very familiar text that many of us have heard before. Many people usually focus on Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt. I want to focus more on what God is telling us throughout the entire text that spoke greater volumes to me. There are some things that I want us all to be mindful of as Valentine’s Day approaches. I want us to be mindful of the enemy’s devices and tactics to take our focus off of the Lord and how he distracts us with loneliness, discontent in the Lord, and disbelief in His faithfulness to us.

  • Don’t Linger

God loves us. That is the most profound and humbling truth to ever exist, that a totally Holy, Perfect, Unchanging, Mighty, Beautiful God could love sinful, flawed, unstable, weak and feeble human beings. Not only does He love us as God, but He wants us to be apart of His family as His children. The love that a father has for his child is ferocious. He will go to any extent to ensure that his family is safe and secure. How much more will the God of the Universe do what He can to ensure our protection? In the text, God is going to incinerate Sodom and Gomorrah because of all of the filth there. If you read in Chapter 18, Abraham pleads with God to save Lot and his family and God honors Abraham’s prayer.  So, God sends angels to Sodom and Gomorrah on a rescue mission to save Lot’s family. The angels clearly tell Lot what God is going to do in the place. Lot knows that the condition of Sodom and Gomorrah is unfit according to God’s standards. In fact, the night before, the men of the town tried to burst down the doors because they wanted to have sex with the angels, even after Lot offered his own virgin daughters to the lust-filled men (Genesis 19:1-11). Yet, when the morning arrived, Lot was not eager to leave. The Bible says he lingered. Are you like Lot? Is there a relationship in your life that did not fit God’s standards and you were commanded to leave before God destroyed it Himself? You know the condition of that relationship. You know that if you stay, destruction will be your portion. God, as your Father, wants to protect you. Even if you don’t think you have the strength to leave, He will send angels to help you make that decision. Listen to your Christian friends, your pastors, your spiritual leaders, your parents. They are God’s agents that He has deposited in your life to help you leave that situation. Don’t linger! The angels told Lot to hurry! When they saw him begin to linger, the Word says they took him and his family by the hand. Let God take your hand and show you the way to safety. If that relationship will bring destruction, God wants you out of it!

  • Escape for Your Life!

The Word says that once the angels led Lot and his family out of the way of destruction (Sodom and Gomorrah) that they instructed them, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” Hear the Word of the Lord. If God has told you to leave a relationship, don’t look back! There is nothing for you there! All that is good comes from the Lord and there is no good thing He will withhold from those who love Him. A destructive relationship is not something you skip away from. The Word said ESCAPE! Imagine that you were being held captive in prison and that relationship is the prison guard. If God has shown you the way to get out, you don’t timidly crawl away. You don’t wave goodbye to your captor. You run with all you have in you! Run for your LIFE! The angels gave specific instructions. They told Lot to escape to the mountains and not to stay anywhere near Sodom or Gomorrah. Sometimes we think it’s enough to end the relationship, but not to cut off all communication with that person. No, the Word says don’t go anywhere near the plain. In fact, the angels told Lot to go to higher ground: the mountains. When God sets you free, He doesn’t want you gallivanting around near the place He wants to destroy lest you get caught up in the destruction. Remember, He wants to ultimately protect you and your heart. He wants you to run away from harm and run to HIM where He knows you will be safe. Run for your life. We know who that source of Life is: Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE. If you remain in the plains (a complacent place) you are still susceptible to be hurt. Go higher into His presence.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Climb

After hearing this, Lot says to the angels, “Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there and my soul shall live.” Sometimes we want out of a destructive relationship, but we don’t want the challenge to ascend into the hills of the Lord where His presence is. Why? We want to be normal! We don’t want to make the sacrifices needed to go where He is. We want to heal on our own without God’s help. We want to do things our way. We are thankful, as Lot was, that God got us out of a terrible situation, but we are yet unwilling to climb that mountain to get to Him. We make negotiations with God, instead of fully doing that thing which He requires of us. The whole point in getting you out of Sodom and Gomorrah in the first place was to bring you back to Him! He doesn’t want you to live in the small city near Sodom and Gomorrah. Even though you’ve left the place of destruction, it is still too far from where He wants you: the mountains in His Presence. I challenge you not to be afraid to climb. Lot made the excuse that he would die if he attempted to climb the mountain. That’s what the devil wants us to believe. He wants us to believe that the things of God aren’t fun, aren’t good, aren’t beneficial, aren’t relevant! The devil is a liar! The angels granted Lot his request and allowed his family to find refuge in the city. God is a gentleman! He won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do. He will wait until you want Him desperately enough. But I exhort you, don’t let the lies of enemy thwart you from experiencing what God has for you! Cast away spiritual laziness and begin to climb the mountain. Get up early. Pray. Read the Word. Seek His face. Climb the mountain.

  • Don’t Look Back

As we all know, Lot’s wife looked back as the Lord began to rain down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Some of us may arrogantly proclaim, “I would have never looked back at that city! There was so much evil there! I would have kept my eyes on God.” But, would you? I’m sure she looked back for many reasons. Sodom and Gomorrah had been her home for many years. She had friends and family (The Bible says that her sons-in-law did not depart with the family) in that city. She had memories of her daughters growing up in that place. Everything she had worked hard for was in that place and God was going to destroy it. So, even though she was with her husband and children following God’s will, she turned back to get one last glimpse at what she loved, at what she had invested into. We all know that was the last thing she saw. I encourage all of you, when you decide to follow God, go all the way! Don’t look back at that relationship! Don’t reminisce on the “good times.” Don’t allow yourself to think for even a moment that what God is bringing you out of is better than what He will bring you into. That is untrue! Another thing I must say to my fellow singles: Let God deal with your past accordingly. Leave that situation, that person, that relationship, and everything you put into it into the hands of God. There is nothing that Lot’s wife could have done to save Sodom and Gomorrah’s fate. There is nothing you can do or offer your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. All you can do is give their place in your heart into God’s hands and trust Him to be God. Trust that He told you to leave that person alone for a reason. Trust them in His hands. But, whatever you do, don’t look back! If you do, you’ll be like Lot’s wife: initially following God, but turned for even a split second and ended up stuck in one place forever. It may be hard, but don’t stop. Don’t look back. Keep following Jesus.

  • Hide in the Lord

And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt. Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid  to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave. –Genesis 19:29,30 NKJV

When the Lord began to literally wreck everything around Lot, he changed his mind about staying in Zoar and decided to seek higher ground! HALLELUJAH! This is such a powerful testimony! Why did he leave Zoar? This is the place the angels said it was safe for him to live. Think of all that has happened. Lot has pretty much been evicted from his home, leaving behind his entire life, and his wife has suddenly turned into a pillar of salt. He finally decides, “NOWHERE IS SAFE OUTSIDE OF THE LORD!!!!!” So he goes to the place God suggested in the first place. Maybe you have recently broken ties with a former lover or friend. Maybe you’re not sure what to do next. You’re in a strange land and you see your world crashing around you. You see relationships ending left and right. God is calling you to a place of rest in His bosom. The Word says Lot left Zoar because he was afraid. Maybe he was afraid that he, too, would turn into a pillar of salt. Maybe he was afraid that he would long for the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe you’re at a place of intimacy with the Lord and you’re afraid you’ll be tempted to sin again. Maybe you’re afraid of disappointing God. Maybe you were believing in God yesterday, but today you long for a relationship. I believe that Lot was afraid to remain in Zoar because he knew it was very likely that he’d go back to the place God destroyed. Zoar was a plain, on the same level as Sodom and Gomorrah. Zoar is what is comfortable; it’s normal. Run from normal! You don’t serve a normal God, so don’t settle for normal! I encourage you to do what Lot did! Decide today that you will climb that mountain and hide in Him. Follow hard after Jesus and rest in Him. Let Him be your Lover. Let Him woo you. Let Him be everything you could ever desire.

Learn from Lot this Valentine’s Day. See how the devil tries to get us every year. He’s been exposed. Now you have the secrets! Use them against the enemy!

God has one last question He wants me to ask you:

“Will you be Mine?”

♫ Now Playing: “Gorgeous Face” by Rick Pino ♫