Our team got together and listed their CURRENT favorites in the music world. Comment below or email us your selection!
Fun: This is tough... Hmm... I like "Shot Through the Heart" or "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi
Love: "What You Won't Do for Love" Bobby Caldwell
Life: "Heart of Worship" Michael W. Smith's version
Fun: "Name" by Nichole Nordeman- I love this song because it reminds me of who I am in Christ. Even though I may feel insecure and inadequate at times, the truth is that Jesus knows me and His promises are sure. This song is fun because it will make you smile and make you feel good! :-)
Love Song: "Priceless" by For King & Country-This is not your average love song! Why? Because it's not from your earthly spouse but your heavenly One (the Lord) to you, the priceless Bride.
Life Song: "In Your Sight" by Kerrie Roberts- I'll be honest: The reason this is my life song is because this is the song I listen to when life hits hard. God is there. We are always in His sight.
Fun Song: "One More Time" by Daft Punk
This is childhood favorite of mine. Repetitive, but I have listened to it so many times I don't mind.
Love Song: "Fly me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra
Not at all a hard pick. This song is what sparked my interests in learning to sing properly. Beautiful ballad with simple but striking lyrics.
Life Song: "O Come to the Altar" by Elevation Worship
A beautiful song displaying true worship to the Lord. Its lyrics show how the heart of God is full of forgiveness and He just wants you to come to Him.
Bonus Song: Killing me Softly by Perry Como
Love song: "We Dance" - Bethel Music
Fun Song: "Prophecy"- PlanetShakers
Life Song: this is so hard!!!! "Pieces"- Steffany Gretzinger
Fun: Royal Taylor’s “Remain.” (Though I really want to put down all the classic VeggieTale songs….no judging me).
Love Song: Steven Curtis Chapman, “I Will Be Here.” Life has so many changes, but the husband continually emphasizes to his wife that what WILL be constant is His love for her and God’s love. In a world where committed relationships seems so easily lost, this song is such a comfort.
Life Song: Chris Tomlin, “Let Faith Arise.” (“I Lift My Hands” is the accurate title….) In my life, God has used this song in a special way to bring me reassurance of His faithfulness in meeting all my needs.
The problem of evil. There, I said it. For millennia, this has been the #1 issue people have with religion. It’s summarized as the “3O’s” argument. If God is good (omni-benevolent), powerful (omnipotent), and knowledgeable (omniscient), why does He allow for bad things to happen to good people? He is good, and thus has a desire for evil not to exist. He is powerful, and thus has the ability to end evil. He is knowledgeable, and thus would know how to get rid of evil.
There are a few ways to go about defeating this argument. You can bring up free will (good idea). You can go the “eastern spirituality” route and say, “Good needs evil to exist, just like small needs big. Without the other, they are meaningless.” (Huge consequences when acting out this belief.)
I’ll skip the various parries and thrusts that come with such methods and simply visit the foundation of everything.
Evil can only be explained by God existing. Whoa. Did I just say that? Yes, I did.
Let’s examine the flip side. For the atheist, everything that has ever happened is natural. Every murder and rape is composed of groups of molecules (humans) simply interacting with other groups of molecules. Are we really going to blame one random set of atoms for how it combined momentarily with other atoms?
For the naturalist, there is no purpose to this world. There is no set “way things should be,” for that would imply a greater being that has ordained the universe to function a certain way. We can’t have that!
According to this view, rape is no more or less acceptable than eating, because there is no ultimate authority that sets certain actions as morally acceptable or reprehensible.
Put another way, there is no unnatural or evil action. No one can ever tell another person that they shouldn’t live a certain way because life apparently never came with instructions on the “right” way to live.
The atheist doesn’t shudder when animals kill their own young. Why? Because it’s natural. Murder is normal in the wild… so why should we care when humans do it?
The atheist doesn’t care about ducks raping each other… or doesn’t care enough to attempt to regulate it. Why? Because it’s natural. Rape is normal in the wild… so why should we care when humans do it?
To the atheist, nothing that has ever happened is unnatural. One can’t use the word “evil” because that would imply that we are using our bodies and resources in an unnatural, unintended way.
However, even most atheists can’t hold to this. They see 27 MILLION sex and labor slaves and grow despondent. Countless women (and some men) are sexually assaulted and abused every year, and this makes the atheist sad. The atheist watches as wars kill countless people and children die of starvation; the atheist then turns to the Christian and says, “See? God can’t exist because of all this evil!”
However, it’s only because God exists that evil makes sense. God didn’t create us to rape and murder. These are unnatural actions that go against the way things should be. We hear about the millions of enslaved that exist today and cry out against EVIL. Something is WRONG.
The atheist can’t complain against evil because it shouldn’t exist for him or her. However, deep down, he or she knows that rape and murder are sick things that should not exist. Why is that? Only in a world created by God can we talk about the way things should be.
As my family watched “Lord of the Rings,” it got me thinking about fantasy worlds and the imagination. You see, when we are young we are told to use our imaginations. It’s encouraged. Our parents give us tools to sharpen and expand that imagination.
We are told that the imagination can take us to lands that don’t exist anywhere other than the mind. We are allowed to believe in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy because it’s good for us to be happy. Kids desire a care-free world where the good guy always win.
Then, you grow up. What happens to the imagination? We are told to hide it, to let it go. Only kids play make-believe. So it diminishes, or at least goes underground.
But it never dies.
One thing few realize is that, just like everything else, the imagination is supposed to mature. Grow up. The imagination is supposed to be refined, not forgotten.
And as it grows, its name changes. The adult’s imagination is called vision.
Adults are no different than kids in that we desire the good guy to win and the world to be right. This desire produces fantasy worlds in the child (imagination), but it is supposed to produce action in the adult (vision).
However, it often doesn’t because we are told we can no longer dream past a certain age. So we go throughout life with no drive, no hope. No vision. We are told to be realists, pessimists. We look at wickedness and say, “Well, that’s just the way it is.” That’s not dreaming. That’s not a visionary speaking.
That’s the voice of someone who has been told to leave behind his or her imagination. It’s a dark, cold, gray world.
Bring back the imagination. Dream again. Think again. Before we can change the world, we have to have a goal. Then we can move.
End human slavery? Go for it.
Find a cure for cancer? Why not?
Live like Jesus day in, day out? Nothing’s stopping you*.
Pick up your sword of the Spirit and let’s go. Build your dreams. Kick-start a vision. Fight for a world that, as of now, we can only imagine.
*A bit of a half-truth, to be sure... but I’m in the middle of a rousing motivational speech, so just go with it.
Prayer is simply talking to God. No magic formula for getting heard, no special type of person can be heard or not heard by God. All are welcome to commune with Him. Through having Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are given direct access to talk with the Lord and be heard at anytime and place. Contact us if you're interested in learning more about prayer! -Editor
Our relationship with Jesus is the most important one we will ever have. He is our first love and our greatest friend. In order to better grow in other relationships, we must start with our foundational relationship in God. The Lord wants us to converse and walk with Him through life. Doing this requires some form of communication in which to contact God, this of course is prayer!
Prayer is our strongest resource for spiritual growth and support. It's our own personal conversation with the Lord. It makes sense then that we should be praying daily to constantly be guided and encouraged in our walk with God, right? Even Jesus had to retreat by Himself to pray. Mark 1:35 shows us how He would go out alone in the early morning to do so. If the son of God needed to commune with the Father then how much more so do we? The truth is the majority of individuals don't have a planned prayer time in which to rendezvous with the Lord and thrive. Building up such a regime is not that difficult; you just need to get into the rhythm of something called a “Quiet Time.”
First things first, we need to make room in our schedule for Quiet Time. 10-20 minutes a day is all you need to start. You should find a place where you can be by yourself with God, as explained in Matthew 6:6. Jesus chose to start His day communing with the Father so he could be ready to take on whatever lay ahead. He also gives an example to build our own prayers off of later in the chapter. The Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 is a great starting place when you begin to learn to pray. After you have prayed, open the scripture and do a small study. Read a passage you feel the Lord has lead you to and contemplate it with Him. This meditation on His word will help to comprehend what you are reading. Ask Him questions and then try waiting for His response (God responds to everyone differently, so as you learn to walk with Him, you’ll learn to hear His voice). Quiet time is just a tool for growth, but it's one that Jesus thought was important. We can learn from His teachings and utilize them to help us in our own walk.
This month, the focus of our blog is on prayer. As you can see from our daily prayers and our blog posts, we encourage you to pray about your walk with Christ, and to pray for your family, friends, and future spouse. However, one group we have not mentioned yet and often goes unmentioned in today’s society is the persecuted church. The goal of this post is to introduce you to the persecuted church, talk about how to pray for the persecuted church, and reflect on the testimony of the persecuted church.
The Open Doors Ministries website states (2018) “over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians)”. The persecution of Christians is prevalent in over 60 countries (Open Doors USA, 2018). What type of persecution do they face? Examples of this persecution include prison sentences, various types of torture, hangings, beatings, church shootings, rapes, abductions, and brutal murders of children, all in turn for a person(s) declaring faith in Jesus Christ. This persecution may be delivered by members of the community, family members, government officials, police officers, or terror groups.
Paul (from the Bible) was no stranger to persecution as he endured stoning, beatings, prison sentences, and other forms of torture for proclaiming the name of Jesus. In many of Paul’s letters, he is praying for the Church, and admonishing the people in the churches to pray for one another. The Church is the body of Jesus Christ. This body is made up of all believers, including those in your local church, those in your neighborhood, and those being persecuted across the globe. We have been given the call to pray for the persecuted church. In my times with the LORD, He has been teaching me some important ways to pray for the persecuted church. I will share 3 specific ways we can be praying for the persecuted church.
You see him. He’s a model: funny, athletic, intelligent. Perfect in every way. You fall in love. Then you get to know him*…and he’s definitely not what your first impression was. So you dump him.
You see her. She’s an angel on earth: beautiful, talented, smart. Perfect in every way. You fall in love. Then you get to know her…and she’s someone totally different. So you dump her.
What can a person do to avoid this often inevitable yet-still-painful result? Observe your dreamy dreamboat before you make the emotional leap into love and a relationship.
The 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 Test
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily-angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (NIV)
This is the Bible’s definition of love. It’s a classic passage and very applicable to dating and relationships. In these verses lies an evaluation that you and I need to use to compare our potential plus one.
What is this evaluation? I spent awhile trying to come up with a cool name, and I just couldn’t. I’ll just call it the “Love Test”. Very original, I know.
The Love Test is very simple. Instead of the word “love,” simply insert the name of the person you are interested in and see if the results are accurate. Let’s say you are very curious about a dude named “AJ.” Put him through the Love Test, and see if he’s someone you should enter a relationship with:
AJ is patient, AJ is kind. AJ does not envy, AJ does not boast, AJ is not proud.
AJ does not dishonor others, AJ is not self-seeking, AJ is not easily-angered, AJ keeps no record of wrongs.
AJ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
AJ always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Is this an accurate description of AJ (i.e. whoever you are interested in)? If so, he’s loving and would be good for you. If not, then he is probably not ready to treasure your heart.
Is This Wise?
People might say that we are all humans and can’t match this description of perfect love. They would say that this test is unrealistic and would lead people to look for someone who doesn’t exist. Who is perfectly loving? No one.
My answer would be that these people are right in that no one will be perfect; however, that doesn’t mean we can’t look for people who are strong in the areas of patience, kindness, humility, honor, forgiveness, etc. No one will be perfect, but some will be more mature in these areas than others. Also, someone honestly trying to grow and showing results in these areas deserves your consideration. These are the people worth your heart.
While You Are Observing Others, Someone is…
While I’m advising you to put your potential guy or gal through this evaluation and see if there’s a match, guess what that person can do? They can do the same thing to you!
How are you in these areas? Are you a person whose character someone should fall in love with? Are you someone who would be good for someone else?
Put your name through the Love Test and see whether it’s accurate. If it is, wonderful! If not, definitely take the time to become a person of high character before you look for someone to fall in love with. Surround yourself with friends and mentors able to provide examples of godly, loving attributes.
In The End
I can’t stress this enough: before you fall in love or enter a relationship, observe the person you are interested in. Ask yourself if you and that person are mature enough to handle a relationship. The Bible defines love for us, let’s use this definition*!
*There is something wrong already. Get to know the person first BEFORE you fall in love. I’ll get to that later in the post.
**This evaluation goes beyond dating and relationships. It can be applied to everything. Are you and I the person we need to be in general?
Am I patient, am I kind? Do I envy, do I boast, am I proud?
Do I dishonor others, am I self-seeking, am I easily-angered, do I keep record of wrongs?
Do I delight in evil or do I rejoice in the truth?
Do I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere?
We're answering four random questions about us so you can get to know The Married Single team a little better.
Question 1: What's your favorite hobby?
Question 2: What's a secret/crazy/random life goal you have?
Question 3: What's your life verse?
Question 4: What would you tell your ten-year-old self?
#1 - Taking pictures :)
#2 - To visit the capitol of all 50 states, and visit all Continents (or at least most) :)
#3 - Esther 4:14: "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
This verse will always be so special to me, knowing the context of Esther's life at the time. Nobody believed in her. She didn't have much of a support system. But she knew what she wanted, and she knew God was right there, and nothing stopped her. I want to live a life of not having circumstances stop me from what I know God is calling me into.
#4 - "You know what you want, you know who you are, and you know who you aren't. Make it happen."
#1: I don't have a single favorite hobby... I love writing, speaking, reading, anything outdoors with friends, sports, throwing knives (very relaxing, actually), playing music...
#2: I want to be able to play all three major instruments (drums, piano, guitar), I want to be proficient in one style of dance, and I want to be an expert in one style of martial arts.
#3: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)
Unbelievably peaceful and has helped me through tough times.
#4: "Do something with your hair, kid."
#1: My favorite hobby is singing.
#2: My life goal- to run a 5K run and be able to hold the crow pose.
#3: My life verse is Zephaniah 3:17: "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing." Why? This was the first verse I memorized without a grade attached (all my Christian school peeps will understand :-) ). Also, it just inspires me to keep going since God is with me; He is fighting for me; He loves me; He rejoices over me, and He delights in me.
# 4: If I could talk to my ten-year-old self, I’d say don't let yourself be enslaved to others.
#1: Favorite hobby is playing strategy games (Chess, Go, ect.). I love predicting my opponents’ thoughts and knowing how the game will turn out 5 steps ahead. Building and devising a strategy is my idea of fun.
#2: I have always wanted to build a large elaborate object out of wood. What it will be matters not; it's the journey of crafting it that I find tranquility in.
#3: Matthew 28: 18-20. The Lord formed me from the dust. I have come to know Him and it is the greatest experience of my life. Now it is His commission for me to go and spread the Good News. What a blessing!
#4: "Listen to the Lord's call to become a pastor! Don't squander all this time He gave you on video games and redundant actions!" is what I would probably say to myself. I feel my 10-year-old self would be more stunned at the fact I was a time traveler from the future...
#1 For my favorite hobby, I love reading, being outdoors, and chilling with loved ones.
#2 Crazy, secret life goal…probably would be to do a very long, random trek around someplace that is not America (with bike or just hiking boots).
#3 My life verse is Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” I am very aware of my shortcomings and of how difficulty everyday life can be for others and myself. This verse is such a source of strength for me because God promises to be my faithful Helper, and I am holding Him to it!
#4 Little Natalie, there is way more to life than trying to be perfect, which, BTW, you can’t be. Let God melt your fear to faith now- don’t wait so long for that freedom!
An ancient Christian practice came under fire on a national scale after the Las Vegas shootings. All of a sudden, it became unacceptable to say “we are sending our thoughts and prayers,” “I’m praying for you,” and other well-known religious clichés. The attacks were harsh and swift, and they took several forms:
“Why pray when you can actually do something?”
“If God cares so much, why did He allow the shooting to happen in the first place?”
“Prayer is a waste of time.”
“Prayer is the same as changing the filter on your Facebook profile photo to support a cause… it’s an empty gesture meant to satisfy an individual’s sense of duty without actually helping anyone.”
You get the point. For a long time, prayer has been misunderstood. While it rarely becomes the focus of national attention like it did this time, prayer is often used as cannon fodder for the non-religious. Here are two of the main complaints:
1) If God knows everything, why do we have to pray?
2) Prayers often go unanswered (in our opinion). What’s the use of prayer?
The answer to these objections is simple. They miss the point of prayer and thus are irrelevant. The fact God knows everything is irrelevant. The fact that our prayers aren’t always answered (noticeably) is irrelevant. If God NEVER answered a single prayer from this point forward, we would still pray. If God told us everything that was ever going to happen from this point forward, we would still pray. It’s not about knowledge or request-granting.
Why We Pray
Simply put, we pray to worship. Humanity’s oldest and greatest downfall is pride. Tell me, can you ever think you’re better than anyone when you are on your knees in sincere prayer? Can you lift yourself up in pride when you give all the glory to God with arms outstretched, like children asking for a parent to hold them? A life of prayer is a life of humility. It’s asking and thanking God for everything. Prayer is the answer to pride.
What are the traditional positions for prayer? Saints sink to their knees, close their eyes, and position their arms in some humble way. Let’s read about worship in the Bible and see if there are any parallels:
Psalm 95:6– Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
Romans 14:11– For it is written, "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD."
1 Kings 8:34– When Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and supplication to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven.
Ezra 9:5– But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the LORD my God.
In fact, the Lord’s Prayer goes something along the lines of “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…” (Matthew 6:9). The purpose of prayer is to establish who is on the throne of your heart. God is God, and you are not. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good; you are not. God is in Heaven and is worthy to be worshipped, and you are not.
This is why all the above objections miss the point of prayer. Yes, we are asking God for wisdom and guidance when we have none. Yes, we are asking that atrocious things never happen again. Yes, we question God’s motives and seek clarity on tough topics. However, God does not have to answer the way we want Him to on these matters.
The main point is that, from beginning to end, we are praising and thanking Him. We are thanking Him for our lives and everything He gives and takes away. We are praising Him for His goodness and mercy because we serve an unconditionally loving and faithful God, but those qualities are not affected by how much we suffer in this life. We worship God with our lives; prayer is a small part of that.
That is why we pray.
Though we'll talk about many other things, the theme on our minds this month is prayer!
Why should we pray? How do we pray? Stories about God answering prayers? All coming soon!
Below are links to help you with an interesting concept-praying for your future spouse (even if you don't know who that is). Your prayers on any area of life will make a difference, and with such an important life action as choosing a marriage partner and committing to life with him or her, why not actively seek God's guidance and help in this area?
Topics to Pray about for (Future) Husband
Topics to Pray about for (Future) Wife