Thursday, July 12, 2018

"I try to stick this pin through a butterfly cause I I like all the pretty colors"

July 12, 2018 0
Thrice's "Black Honey." Really, an incredible song. And if you're okay with being uncomfortable, consider the words and the breakdown of the lyrics.
The way we westerners live, is normally thoughtless and selfish. Our comfort, our distractions, make us complacent to overlook atrocities from which we directly benefit.
"Do not work only for your own good. Think of what you can do for others."
1 Corinthians 10:24

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Deciding Another's Worth

July 03, 2018 0
Earlier this year, this Crepe Myrtle was one single stick protruding two feet out of the ground. The neighbors said I pruned it too much, that the thing is surely dead. It was pitiful looking and after a few months, I believed there was no way that stick had life. I began planning the next tree I would plant in it's place. Yet one day, I spotted the teenest red bud. Within a few months, the bud multiplied, branches formed, the bush grew over five feet tall, and now its abundant flowers litter our yard like vibrant and eco friendly confetti. 

This Crepe Myrtle is just like a person. Too often, we write someone off saying they're crazy/heartless/impossible/ignorant/evil/dead inside etc. We give up on them because we've decided that they're hopeless. At least, that's what we see. God tells us though, that man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart. He also says He formed us in our mother's wombs. There's no one who knows a person better than the One who was there knitting us together before our births. 

Our job as gardeners, I mean, Christians, is to plant good seeds, water, weed, etc by sharing the gospel, loving God and others, and repenting from our sins. That's all we can do.  We can't create life and it's not our job to decide who is worth giving up on. That's up to the Lord, the Judge, and Him, alone. Whether my hack job on this Crepe Myrtle was helpful or hurtful, the Lord is the One who renewed it. Not me. The only thing I could do was tend to the plant as best as I could and hope and pray that Jesus would do as He saw fit with it. I'm so guilty of tearing people down with my condemning words. I did this because I forgot that only God can see their heart, not me. Only the Lord can see their future and only the Lord knows the loving details He put into creating that person and only He knows what it takes for this person to be renewed with a new life. We need to remember our place when handling each other. We are gardeners, not judges. We must love everyone and not decide who is unworthy of love. We must hope, serve, and pray for others and know that Jesus is the only One who can pierce hearts, clean, heal, and offer everlasting life. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Failing to be Christ-Like

April 26, 2017 0
As a Christian, I failed hard this past week. It was a doozy. A you-call-yourself-a-Christian?- kind of doozy.

I was surprised by the kind of hideous, frightening, evil-inspired darkness that bubbled out of me. I had no idea it was there, let along capable of it.

If you're a Christian, I'm sure you've been here. Where your heart revealed something frighteningly dark even though you've been seeking Jesus' light for so long. When this happened, I'm sure the accuser was quick to point out how all other Christians aren't as bad as you. Here's the thing, though; even if the enemy is right that I'm the worst at following Jesus, I'd rather finish this race in last place than get sidelined away from God's perfect will and protection.

Hallelujah for the Lord's grace that it's sufficient enough to cover our dark depths!

More thoughts...
Sin is sin. It doesn't matter if it's a little fib or literal murder - it's sin in God's eyes, and it makes us...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Don't Lose Hope

April 06, 2017 0
Seasons change, money comes and goes, babies are born, cars stop working, the highs and lows of life are constantly fluctuating. When I’m going through a hard time, the Lord reminds me that it’s not going to be like this forever and then He asks me, “so what are you going to do on the meantime?”

The answer is don’t worry, trust in Him, remember that He is the God of Hope and that the consequences of having faith in Him are joy and peace. We can’t fret our circumstances away so until Jesus gets us through a storm, let’s keep our eyes on Him.

Thank you for reading!  Jesus loves YOU.
-Alyssa

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

1 Samuel 18:3

April 05, 2017 0
The contrast between Saul and his son, Jonathan is unmistakable. Jonathan's loyalty to the Lord and to his friend, David, makes him one of my favorite people mentioned in the Bible.

Jonathan gives up worldly things like his "right" to the throne as well as risks family strife (between he and his father) for the Lord's plan. It's obvious Jonathan loves God more than his earthly "rights." Jonathan is more concerned with his relationship with His Heavenly Father than his relationships with anyone else.

My prayer is that my desire to follow Jesus will overshadow everything else. That I would never be afraid to follow Him even when the path seems lonely, even when my loved ones disagree, even when the grass seems greener on the other side.

Click here to read the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 18.
Click here to select a different translation.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

When I Chose Modesty

April 04, 2017 0
When I was in my teens and early 20s, I was extremely immodest. While I was getting ready to go out, my goal was to look as hot as possible and collect as much attention as possible. 

I thought that if I could be the hottest woman in the room, I would be able to capture attention and it would be mine for as long as I wanted. It didn't occur to me that the kind of attention I was seeking is a fleeting kind. In other words, it didn't matter if I was the most beautiful woman that guy had ever seen. The kind of guy who appreciated my immodesty had zero standards whatsoever. He'd hang on my every word until someone else's skin flashed by. He'd flirt with me and then turn around and flirt with every other girl as well. This guy didn't care about whose makeup was better, who was witty, who had better legs, who was nicest, etc. The kind of guy who is attracted to immodesty is only interested in one thing and that's not your heart. This dude has no other standards and sees immodest women as all the same - potential bed partners. 

If you go home with him at the end of the night, it's not because you "won" and it's not because you're the best and all the other women left behind in the club are subpar. It's because you were the first one to say, "yes." And coming from a former hoochie mama, I hate to break it to you; you're easily interchangeable with anyone else who would say "yes."

It wasn't until I went to a strip club for the first time with friends that my eyes opened to the kind of guys I had been seeking attention from. I watched the eyes of the males in there consume flesh without a care. Those eyes didn't care about that woman's story. Those eyes didn't care that she's a single mom trying to make ends meet. Those eyes didn't care that most women in this line of work end up drug dependent because most are incapable of doing this job sober. Those eyes are driven by lust and lust doesn't have standards, it's selfish and just wants to be satisfied and anything'll do. Those eyes don't care if you're the hottest/sweetest/most gifted/funniest woman in town, if you say "yes," you'll do. 

I left that club feeling so down about the world and about men. I remember thinking to myself, that if that's what all men are like, I'd rather never be looked upon again and I'd rather be alone forever. If it's true that all men are dogs, I want no part. 

Thank the Lord that He started talking to me about this! He told me that NO! Not all men desire immodesty. He put some acquaintances in my life who were godly men and pointed out their examples. I saw that these godly men were so different from the guys I used to try to impress with my short skirts and teeny tops. These godly men had their eyes locked onto the Lord and in turn, they only had eyes for their wives/fiancées. They cherished the woman God put in their life above all other women and they purposefully guarded their eyes for her. It didn't matter how attractive or charming any other woman was, their eyes were loyal to the godly woman in their lives. That godly woman had won! She had beat out all the other women in the world. 

I had been seeking this exact same kind of attention but went about trying to get it from the wrong guys. Males who have an eye for immodesty don't cherish one woman and don't seek to guard their eyes from any other. To them, flesh is flesh. In contrast, the men who seek one woman to love and hold above all the others are probably getting their example from God. And one of the instructions from the Lord is to guard your eyes and not lust after anyone. These godly men are not in strip clubs. These godly men are not giving attention to the scantily clad.

If what you're looking for is a loyal man, consider this, God is explicit in instructing men to stay with their first wife. The Lord wants people to be loyal and stay married. He provides detailed instruction on how to be able to uphold a strong marriage in which the husband places no other woman above his wife and the wife places no other man above her husband. I think we can agree that God supports the idea that you should be special to and cherished by a good man. However, that man deserves a godly woman. One who doesn't show off her goods to anyone she's not married to. 

If what you want is a man who wants you and only you, stop surrounding yourself with and trying to attract lustful guys. If you think it's better to be caught up in drama with a philandering playboy rather than sleep alone, it's time to ask Jesus to put things in perspective. 

Sister, you were fearfully and wonderfully made. God created you so special. He wants you to have His best which is the best! Don't cheat yourself. Instead, seek to please the Lord and He'll inspire your heart to want what He wants for you. On top of that, the Lord will give these things to you as long as you keep following Jesus. So button up/get a larger size and smile because you have now weeded out a good portion of men who you don't want anyway. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

1 Samuel 4

April 03, 2017 0
Regarding the Israelites foolishly taking the ark into battle without reverence to God.

It's so easy for our flesh to want religion - a formula.  This means, as long as we keep up the formula, we don't have to surrender to the living God, because we performed the "routine."  This routine/formula/religion looks like superstition and quickly becomes bondage.  The etymology of "religion" breaks down to, "return to bind," or "return to bondage."  Today's study points out that the Israelites put their trust in the ark instead of the Lord.  We may not be putting our trust in the ark, but perhaps we're putting our trust in specifically worded prayers that are on repeat, word-for-word?  Perhaps we're putting our trust in the act of going to church every Sunday rather than in worshiping Jesus with our lives?  Perhaps we're counting on proxy to godly people to make us holy?  This is a great chapter that's getting me to check my heart and remember where to place my trust and worship.

Click here to read the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 4.
Click here to choose a different translation.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Judges 19

March 13, 2017 0
Click here to read the entire chapter of Judges 19
Click here to select a different translation
Read the First5 study on Judges 19

There are so many lessons in this chapter. First, the concubine/wife was unfaithful to her husband. Other translations say she played the "harlot."  Second, she ran to her father, its suggested that he had been allowing her wild ways for a long time because she knew she could run back to him and he would accept her instead of urging her to make things work with her husband, back at home.

The fact that her husband traveled to her to forgive her and woo her back shows that he's at least a decent man and that he doesn't intend for her to be punished over her marital transgressions like the law would allow.

The Levite was at first, trying to do the decent thing. At first, he chose to forgive his wife and keep her from an adulteress' punishment of death but in Gibeah, he went forth with her punishment not because he wanted her to be punished, but he valued his life and safety more than hers.  The Levite fell short in being a just man.  The lesson I got from him is that most people want to be just - only when it's easy.  When it takes personal sacrifice, most people won't fight for the right thing to do.  The Levite should have kept his wife hidden away in the house and called out to the Lord to ask for safety -  all while preparing to fight evil.

The father in law wanted his daughter and son in law to stay longer and longer, which is understandable, but we should allow our guests to depart when they feel it's time because the father in law messed things up for the Levite.  In that the Levite, his wife, and his servant had limited options when it came time to lodge.  I think he was trying to delay their departure because he wanted to make sure everything was reconciled with his son in law and that the Levite wasn't going to pursue the adulteress' punishment for his daughter.  Also, I think the father in law had kind of selfish intentions and wasn't trusting that the Lord was inspiring this reconciliation. As a host, he should have allowed his guests to leave when they felt inclined to leave.

The Levite wanted to lodge amongst brethren, but this was a bad choice in that a lot of the men in Gibeah had debased minds.  The Levite probably would have been safer in the heathen town in which the servant suggested they stay.  Honestly, sometimes I've felt safer around unbelievers because I've found that some of the believers that I was around to be harsh, judgmental, and legalistic.  As Christians, we need to make it a point to be the people who love with a godly love.

The old man of Ephriam had a place in Gibeah, most likely because he did lots of business there on account of having nearby fields.  He was godly - he wished safety on these travelers and was the only one to offer them a place to stay.  Also, Sodom and Gomorrah met their demise nearby and within this old man's lifetime so we know that he knows what happened there.  This old man looked up to Lot as a godly man.  But as Matthew Henry points out, oftentimes when we try to emulate godly people, we tend to emulate their good choices as well as bad (in this case, offering up the women in his house to the evil men just like Lot did).  We must look up to God, alone and only try to emulate Jesus.  He's the only perfect one.

An interesting point of Matthew Henry's, is that the evil men chose to defile the concubine but didn't want the virgin daughter.  It's likely the daughter was rejected for defilement because she had a reputation within this town of being kind to everyone and/or she was always modestly dressed.  Henry also points out that it's likely the concubine was still dressing like a harlot at this time and perhaps this is why the townsmen accepted her for defilement and didn't want anything to do with the old man's daughter.  As women, we must always consider that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that modest dress is very important for many reasons.  A rapist is totally at fault, but let's do our best not to attract/entice these evil types with our clothing choices.

Phew! I could go on and on about this chapter, but I have to stop here.  Would you like to add or discuss?  Please leave a comment!

So many lessons in this sad story.  Let's press close to the Lord today and be thankful for His love, wisdom, and protection.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Video - Stop Saying "No" to God's Gifts

March 09, 2017 0
Below, is the script from today's video...

The Lord provides His children with opportunities to bring Him glory as well as draw others to Jesus. The job is going to get done no matter what, but we have the choice on how we're going to play our part.

God can still use us to advance His kingdom even if we're only interested in living for ourselves. We see this with Samson. Even though Samson was only interested in fulfilling his fleshly desires like lust and pride, we see that the Lord still uses him to take out the enemy.  However, as we see in judges, that Samson brought destruction and humiliation upon himself.  The Lord uses Samson in great ways despite Samson's disobedience. As a result, God was still given all the glory, Samson, however, died with humiliation and disgrace.

Remember, no matter what, God will always be glorified.

Sometimes the Lord will use us despite our resistance like we see with Samson and other times, the Lord will allow us to choose to pass up an opportunity He provides for us.  When this happens, the Lord will go ahead and assign the task to someone else.  We saw this with Moses and Aaron.  God told Moses to go speak out loud.  Moses asked if his brother, Aaron, could speak the messages that God had put in Moses instead and the Lord said, "okay."

Years ago, my church at the time held a talent show.  At the time, I was unaware of any gifts and talents I had so I was planning on sitting in the back quietly and watching other share theirs.  As soon as I took a seat, the pastor said, "Alyssa can do it."  The pastor was talking to a gentleman who wrote a worship poem.  This gentleman had to work behind the scenes for the talent show so he was unable to share his poem in front of everybody so he was asking if someone else could read it out loud for him.  My stomach dropped as the poet handed his poem over to me and the pastor wrote my name down on the list of presenters.

The Lord had provided me with an opportunity to glorify him and to stretch me but all I felt was dread.  I listened to all the excuses in my head - I was caught off guard, I was uncomfortable, I don't like the sound of my voice, what if people thought the poem was lame?

As I nervously sat there, my friend sat beside me and she could read my face.  She asked what was wrong and I complained to her over what I was going to have to do.  Being the brave and godly woman that my friend is, she volunteered to read the poem in my place so I didn't have to.  My friend walked up to the microphone when it was time and she read the poem to everyone.  Everything went fine and she didn't collapse on the floor and die of embarrassment.  Later on, the Holy Spirit told me that He wanted to gift ME with that opportunity to speak in front of everyone.  It was a gift from God!  And I said "no, thank you." Ultimately, the Lord got the glory from the poem, but Jesus wanted me to take a part in this task...for me.  I don't know what exactly would have come from this gift, this opportunity.  Perhaps the Lord would've used it to strengthen my public speaking.  Or perhaps He wanted me to practice resisting my feelings of anxiety and just simply press forward when it comes to His will.  I don't know and maybe I'll never know because I passed this up.

Regardless, God wastes nothing.  I learned a big lesson from this in that the Lord will be glorified no matter what and it's a gift, it's an honor when He provides an the opportunity to glorify Him.

So how do you know when God is providing an opportunity for you to serve Him?  You can start off with asking, "will this glorify Jesus?"  Also, has He given you the resources and/or the facilities to do this task?  When it came to reading this poem in front of everybody, I already had the necessary tools.  I knew how to read and I had the ability to talk.  So yes, I had the tools.

It's easy for us to think, "I don't have the tools, I don't have the resources to glorify You.  But we do!

Next time you walk into McDonalds, can you afford a $5 gift card to hand over to a homeless person? Can you trade in some of your TV watching time to go rake leaves out of a widow's yard?  Do you have the ingredients as well as a working stove to bake cookies for your lonely neighbor?

We have the tools and the Lord provides us with opportunities every day to glorify Him, to help others, and to strengthen our walks with Him.  We need to be in the habit of recognizing the gifts that God has given us. Your job, your running water, your wardrobe, the breath in your lungs, the knowledge of the one true Lord. These are all gifts from Him.  It is a privilege to honor the Lord with whatever gifts he's given us at the moment.

For years, the Holy Spirit had been urging me to do these videos.  Despite having a good camera, professional lighting, and a husband who is willing to edit and makes music, I would talk myself out of this.  I would say, "I'm not a theologian, I don't know enough!  What if people think that I just want attention?  I'm too tired!  My voice bugs me," etc.  What was so funny is that I'd allow these excuses to talk me out of doing these videos that would glorify the Lord, and then I'd turn around and ask the Lord to please increase my territory and give me ways to advance His kingdom.  The Holy Spirit would patiently remind me that I must be faithful in the little things.

This is it! I had been asking the Heavenly Father for something to do and when He would provide me with something to do, I would say, "mmmm, no, not that one."  The Lord is not a grab bag in which we can toss the assignment that we don't like on the ground and then reach our grubby little hands into the bag for something else to do or for something else to choose from.

God knows more than us, He knows what will honor Him, what will help others, what will strengthen us.  So when He tells us to go, we must go.  When He tells us to walk through this open door, we better walk through.  If we're not being faithful in the little things, how are we going to expect Him to  provide something bigger for us to do?

I hope you're encouraged to be faithful in the little things and to not allow excuses to keep you from glorifying Jesus.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Philippians 1:10

March 08, 2017 0
"For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return." Philippians 1:10 (NLT) 

As Christians, a big part of our walk is trying to figure out what matters. It's easy for our flesh to swing from laziness to legalism. So for Paul to wish us a clear focus is extremely sensible and necessary.

Click here to read the entire chapter.  Click here to select a different translation.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Let's Keep Our Eyes on the Lord

March 07, 2017 0
This photo was reposted from my Instagram
Aaron and I were watching the last movie in The Hobbit trilogy the other night. One scene struck a chord in me; the scene where Smaug, the evil dragon was facing off against Bard, the archer and Bain, his teenage son. Smaug, was smack-talking and trying to strike fear. He asked Bard, “is this your child? You cannot save him from the fire. He will burn!” On that last word, he lunged forward, open mouthed, ready to consume. At the same time, Bard was steadying the arrow on Bain’s shoulder, because the bow was broken. Bain was facing his father but he turned to see Smaug descending on them. Just then, Bard calmly said, “Bain, keep your eyes on me.” Bain did so and his dad hit his mark and the dragon died.
I love this scene because it reminds me of what God desires from us. When the enemy is thrashing about, threatening, accusing, trying to spread pain and fear, the Lord tells us to keep our eyes on Him. God is always in control and not only will we be spared from worrying when we keep our eyes on Him, but we will also be more effective in our task at hand.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Video - Moving Forward with Forgiveness

March 06, 2017 0
Below, is the script from today's video...

If we feel like we're entitled to our unforgiveness, then, not will we need recover from our pain, but we will continue to spread that pain onto others.  I'm sure you've heard that saying, "hurt people hurt people."  And it's true.

My dad has gone through a pretty terrible childhood.  He was abandoned, he was abused.  There were quite a number of people who were purposefully cruel to him.  It wasn't until I was a child that my father came to know the Lord.  Prior to that, he was dealing with a lot of pain from his past.  Because he didn't have Jesus in his heart, he didn't know what to do with all this pain.  Remember, like I said, hurt people will hurt other people.  So there was definitely a trickle effect where I felt like I was pained because of what he had gone through.

I developed a bitter hatred toward these people.  If they hadn't hurt my dad, my dad would have been a lot more okay for me growing up as a child.  When my father came to know the Lord, my dad was able to forgive.  I watched my dad, curiously, as he was able to release his pain, release hatred, and not only forgive these people, but receive them, and love on them and share his resources with them.  He opened his home to them and whatever he had, he was so happy to love on them and he was excited to bring them into his life.  I watched him be able to come to the Lord with a clear conscience despite what they had done to him.

I didn't understand why he was able to forgive them.  I chose to continue hating them.  Their sins affected me.  Their sins hurt me.  And so I was going to hold onto my hatred because I felt like it was my right to do so.  The Lord pointed out to me that my dad's ability to forgive freed him from reliving the pain.  The Lord pointed out to me that my dad had more of a right to retain more of a grudge against them than I did.  But if my dad was able to forgive them, so should I.  Matthew 6, "for if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

The Lord doesn't desire for us to have wrath and bitterness, and pain in us.  He wants us to forgive.  He wants us to be able to be a great witness.  As children of God, we're supposed to reflect Him.  The Lord is gracious and forgiving.  My dad was a great example of that.  He trusted in the Lord, he let Jesus heal him.  He let Jesus strengthen him with a strength that my dad didn't have. Forgiveness is an incredibly hard thing to do.  It goes against what the world says in that, "this is your right to be angry.  This is your right to be hurt."  But that's only going to put us in bondage.  That's only going to make the pain ferment and continue to hurt us.

I love Ephesians chapter four verses 31-32, "get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you."  And like He says in Isaiah chapter one, verse 18, "'come now, let us settle the matter,' says the Lord, 'though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'"  For Him to say that to me after the horrible things that I've said and done and thought; it takes a HUGE burden off of me.  This is why it's important that we forgive - not just the person who has committed a transgression against us, but simply because that's what the Lord wants from us.

Look at my dad's choice...he now has this group of people who love him and are so astonished over the peace that he has in being able to let go.  That is making great strides for God's kingdom.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Video - Five Things Women Need to do Before Marriage

February 22, 2017 0

Below, is the script from today's video...

Today, we are talking about five things women need to do before they get married.

1. Enjoy the single season.  This is your opportunity to learn independence.  In my opinion, I believe that women and men need to learn how to be comfortable with just themselves.  Because if you don't like being alone with you, why would you expect someone else to enjoy being alone with you?  You might marry someone who needs some quiet time or needs to take a walk alone in order to think or meditate on the Lord and if you're not okay with just being still, being silent by yourself, there's a good chance you're going to drive him nuts.  Learn some independence right now.  It'll help.  It'll pay off.

2. Make a list.  Make a list of things you want to do before you get married.  Like a bucket list before you tie the knot - so, like a "knot list."  Make a list of new things you want to learn and experience before you get married.  Buy your first diamond for yourself.  You can wear that as a purity ring.  Do you want to go sky diving?  Go on a road trip - Highway 101 in California is beautiful!  Learn a new language!  Go get some Rosetta Stone and when you get married you can wow your husband with some new languages.  Basically, this list will help make you more interesting and have more things to discuss when you get married.  Just because you finished high school or college doesn't mean it's time to stop learning.  Keep yourself busy with new things and fun things and things that glorify the Lord.  It'll help give you a better idea of your likes and your dislikes.

3. Throw out a list.  I'm not talking about this last list, our "knot list" we were talking about.  I'm talking about throwing out a list of shallow expectations of what you want in a future love - your future hubby.  Growing up, most girls do this.  Most girls write a list of all the things they want in the man they're going to marry one day.  It can get really ridiculously specific.  "He must be tall, dark, and handsome.  A firefighter.  Two siblings.  Do volunteer work.  His favorite movie must be "The Notebook." - That kind of silly stuff.  Did the Lord inspire this list?  Did the Lord tell you this is what your husband is going to be like?  Or "this is what I expect your husband to look like."  If not, then throw out that list.  Don't have these silly, shallow desires unless the Lord tells you specifically, "this is what your husband's going to look like.  This is what your husband's going to act like.  This is how he's going to sound.  This is what he's going to do for a living."  Don't have those specific expectations.  Don't have fleshly expectations.  Let all of your desires be Holy Spirit led.  Trust that the Lord will let you know, "Hey!  This is the person for you!"

4. Learn the difference between love and lust.  Lust is selfish, it's inward driven.  Lust is, "what can you do for me?"  That's not good.  That is not love.  Lust can be, "he makes me laugh and he gets me flowers and I love that he makes me feel so good about myself."  None of those things are love, no.  Love is commitment.  It's unconditional.  It's intentional.  Love is, "even if you let me down, even if you disappoint me, even if I'm having a terrible day, I love you because I said I love you and I will continue to love you."  Lust says, "you're not working now" or "you're not doing things right for me" or "I'm bored" or "my feelings are hurt so I'm going.  Bye!"  Love is patient, kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it makes no records of wrong.  Love does not delight in evil, but it rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers.  Lust doesn't do any of those things.  Lust says, "this is too hard, so it's time to end."  That's not love.  Love is going to endure and love is a choice that you make.  So study it.  Learn the difference between love and lust.  And honestly, while we're in our fleshly bodies, I don't think that we're ever going to fully understand the depths of love.  As long as we're on earth, I believe that love and pursuing the knowledge of love is going to be constant.  It's never going to stop.  There's so so much to learn about love.  Start studying now and ask the Lord for wisdom on what love is and what love looks like and what it doesn't look like so you don't get it confused later on with lust.

5. Get closer to God.  As a child of God, you've been given much, so much is required from you.  The enemy will do anything he can to ruin your witness.  He'll do anything he can to discredit you and tempt you out of God's protection.  So if we're not close to God, we're not making good decisions.  If we're not close to God, we're vulnerable to attacks.  So get close to the Lord.  Learn more about Him.  Pursue more of Him because we cannot trust our own hearts.  The Bible says that the heart is deceptive.  Who can know it?  Who can understand what's in our own heart?  We can't, but God knows what's in our hearts.  We can't trust what's in our hearts, but we can trust the Lord.  He is good and He will never ever fail you.  He will never give up on you.  He will always be at the ready when you're ready to say, "I have no one but You, God.  So please, guide me and direct me and inspire my desires."

I hope that it inspires you as a single to pursue the Lord more and to give Him this area of your life - this singleness.  And to be satisfied with where you are right now, because this is a great time!