Party of One (BookLook Review)

JB Smith“Party of One” offers us, the Church that our Savior loves and purchased, a much needed conversation about singleness. A book on singleness can cover an array of topics, which this book touches on a lot of them.

While I disagreed with Joy Beth on many fronts, I respected her vulnerability. She warns us in advance, that this book will be outside of our comfort zone. And, it definitely was for me. I wrestled with a lot of things, but found comfort in others. I honestly don’t know how I felt about it all together yet.

Thankfully for me, this book is more like a memoir – so it makes for an easier grade | review. It earns four stars, because it is mostly listening in on conversations between Joy Beth and many others.

While I wanted to love this book, looked forward to its release, and the opportunity to read it, I honestly just did not love it. I thought it would leave me feeling closer to the Lord and armed in my singleness, but it had a different affect on me. I hope those who struggle with singleness will read it and make up their own mind about “Party of One”.

Bottom line: it opens the door to help us talk about singleness and how to better follow Him as His Church. We may disagree on various fronts as we listen into these table talks through this book, but it gets the conversations started. Which is the purpose for the book.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

A Light in All Circumstances {POTF}

Welcome, friends! I invite you to join me, as we walk through Titus 2. Today, we will be looking at verses 1-5. I invite you to open your personal Bible and turn with me to this passage. If you don’t have yours nearby, I have included it below –

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:1-5, ESV).

Ohhh friends, the Lord loves us soo much!

The Lord wants certain things from His followers. Like most families have set standards and norms, we are part of God’s family – where He will teach us how to act. What encourages me the most is – how God expects things from us regardless of our ages. Age or circumstances don’t limit God! This section is on older men, older women, and yes the young women too!

We are given the abundant privilege to love God with all ourselves, including our character and actions. As we learn His character, He is giving us the opportunity to become more like Him as Scripture teaches us (Eph. 5:1).

In our lives, we will be given many opportunities to teach and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is not reserved strictly for the wife and mother, ladies. And this is the power of the Gospel, that we can be changed by the Lord despite our circumstances. Our ages, relationship status, finances, among other things – do not determine how much of the Gospel we can hold inside or share! Do you hear me on this? 

The power of our Mighty God declares that we can live unashamed and be His light – because we belong to Him. Having a resting identity in our Lord Jesus Christ is all that matters. Once we are His, we are in the exact place we need to be!

We can live openly, without having to hide in the shadows – because our circumstances are “less than glamorous”. I am not a mom or wife. Instead, I have chronic illness as my “vessel” of influence.

Yet, God allows me to speak His name in this place. My faith and the way I carry it out in my daily life is important. Even in the simplest actions, I am able to reveal Christ through the way I live.

Chronic illness isn’t glamorous in the least bit, yet this is the place where the Lord will use me to shine His very important light and hope for the watching world to see! This doesn’t mean I never get depressed, but it helps to remember why I am in this position. It helps me to remember that it is for the sake of the Gospel – and God can use every single “loss” in my life for a heavenly “gain” to build up His Kingdom.

You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16, CSB, emphasis mine).”

Image by Marco Trassini.

In Him,

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Week 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:3

This week’s memory verse is 1 Thessalonians 4:3. This is a precious piece of Scripture. While all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), this one is quite meaningful for the lives of many believers in Jesus Christ.

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice… (AMP-C)

Friends, we have been set apart for God and His purposes. This is the tremendous joy of the Christian life we live. God has many amazing things in store for us, as His people who have been redeemed (rescued) by His Son Jesus Christ, and choose to continue seeking after God’s will.

For the Christian, one of the greatest temptations is sexuality. It is a hot area where the Devil knows just what crafty word or action to use, as he stands in the way between us and God. We all know someone who have fallen prey to the Devil’s lures with sexual temptation, and left their faith and lives in ruins.

While God has given us the ability to desire sex or things of that nature, it is a gift human beings have completely misused and reaped the consequences. This command is given for our benefit, for sexual sin destroys.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other… (Matthew 6:24, NIV)

Our sexuality is going to influence the sanctification process. Sexual sins promise little, deliver none, cost us much, and cause us to flee from God and His presence. And since many face this temptation and give into it, the Devil doesn’t have to try too hard – in order for us to give in. This is why we need to be aware of how we struggle with temptation, so we might stand firm and protect our relationship with our heavenly Father.

In Asbury’s Commentary, we are reminded of the remedy for temptations: run to God and stay in His presence!

Few things have contributed more to the downfall of believers than sexuality. However mature one might be, the constant bombardment from a society that does not know God (v. 5), coupled with the nature of sexual desires, provide ready ammunition for the Tempter (see 3:5). Paul’s implied remedy is the continuing presence of the Spirit in the believer’s life.

Our faith is heavily involved in this choice – whether we obey or reject this command given to us by God to abstain from sexual sins.

Faith is the belief in the Father’s love for you, the Son (Jesus Christ) who willfully went to all costs to redeem and reconcile you to the Father, and the truth that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in your life. The Holy Spirit will not sit around and do nothing. God has set you apart and equipped you to live a godly life. Keep drawing near, and watch Him work!

How are you focusing on His Presence, as you face temptations?

Feature image by Carly Rae Hobbins.

Genesis 19-21; Psalms 43-45

jan-18

Assigned Reading: Psalms 43-45; Genesis 19-21

Psalms –

Chapter 43: “Lord, we need You to rescue us!” Things can seem so difficult and dark. Where will we turn? We are reminded that God can rescue us and our need to praise Him. There is a verse in this passage that always hits home –

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (vv. 5).

Chapter 44: God has a legacy. He has delivered our ancestors. He has delivered many others before we were even conceived in our mother’s womb. His love is unfailing, and the reason for His action. Our trust is in Him, because He is where we find our victory. When we are disgraced by the enemy, God is still the same One He has always been. We need to remember that, when we are going through a rough time. God is always the same, and will rescue His people.

I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever (vv. 6-8).

Chapter 45: God’s Kingdom is forever, and the One that sets our hearts on fire. Our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, is coming and will rule over all the nations. Let’s allow the joy and presence of the Lord to infiltrate our being, and enter into every area of our lives. God is our Bridegroom, setting out to take care of us, His people, and will come back for His Church!

Genesis –

Lot’s Escape (Gen. 19:14-15)

Lot was urged to leave the town with his wife and two daughters. Slowly you see the family disintegrate due to lack of trust in God. His daughter’s fiancés didn’t believe Lot. Lot’s wife disobeyed God and looked back – turning into a pillar of salt. God’s commands are serious. God wanted to protect them. But, they wouldn’t listen.

Lot’s Daughters (Gen. 19:30-32) 

You can see his daughters’ desperation, which many of today’s single (or childless) women face. It simply manifests itself in a different way. We can easily lose sight of our calling and purpose in Christ, when our fleshly desires try to overtake us. When we look at the struggle, rather than look to God.

Abraham and Sarah

Abraham faced his own desperation repeatedly, when moving to a new town. He feared what the people would do, when they found out Sarah was actually his wife. A mess of things occur when we choose our own desperation over trusting God.

Our fear can take the place of our faith, which is why fear and carrying concerns on our own is such a dangerous thing. Our hope is in God. With Jesus Christ, we have an Advocate who wants to be our everything and to help us. He wants to lighten our load, and carry our burdens.

When we give our burdens to the Lord, we are blessed immensely and see how God will provide. God provided Isaac to Abraham and Sarah – their son.

Remain Where You Are

“Just remain where you are.”

I am convinced that is a truth God wants to etch in our hearts, today. See, we become so convinced that we are not enough.

We are unmarried.

We are childless.

We are not dating anyone. 

By definition, we are as single as possible!

Culture can tear us down, in the midst of our singleness – which should be a gift. Yes, that is right. Singleness should be seen as a beautiful gift. But, often, it doesn’t. It can feel like a dreaded task to endure.

Singleness.

It is more than a season of life. It is a place, where God is stirring our hearts and preparing us for what’s next. That “next” might include a bae, in your future. It might mean… a new last name. A change of address. A new, life-long, roommate. But, it is much more than that. We hold up marriage as this sacred gift – which, it is.

Just Remain –

Yet when we put marriage on a pedestal, we view our singleness as the rejected gift. We deem it as, less than God’s best. We begin to allow culture to inflitrate our perspective. As a result, for some, singleness becomes our mark of shame. With this, enters in a myriad of thoughts to the single’s brain. Most of which – can lead us away from God and serve as billboard size distractions in our lives.

Oh, friends, if we could just remain where we are. If we could allow ourselves to be taken by Jesus’ hand and led through the gifts He is lovingly giving us, life would be far better.

There is a much better way, when we choose to center ourselves on the Lord our God and His divine will. We don’t know what God has planned for us, but He does have a plan!

In the world we live in, with social media, we are constantly trying to hold up to the standards of others.

… But, your life is not intended to look like theirs!

But, God!

God has uniquely made you – and for a divine purpose. That may include a spouse. Marriage is a ministry, just like any other. It is an important ministry. But, singleness is a ministry as well. God is going to use our time unattached from another soul, to draw us near to Him.

How are we allowing God to use our singleness, to draw us nearer to Him?

The first step of any good life – is Jesus Christ! Whatever season we find ourselves in, we can experience out-of-this-world intimacy – starting right now. Jesus Christ is the Creator of intimacy and companionship. Let Him soothe your soul, as He soothes my own.

Read Psalm 139; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthians 7:17-20; James 4:8

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