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Wednesday, February 14

CELEBRATE--The BEST Single Valentine Gift-- "Singleness"?!

"Whatever lies behind you ... whatever lies ahead of you ... nothing compares to the singleness that lies *in you* waiting for you to pursue!" #WhatTheDevilDoesntWantYouToKnow #SinglenessMatters #WePressTowardTheMark #ValentinesDayWeek -- Keith, Brenda, and TTM Team

While so much attention is turned toward "sweethearts" --husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends-- we would like to offer some of the very best gift advice for every single person, this Valentine's Day week. And you're sure to be impressed to know how complete our Father made us to be, just between ourselves and Him! And, when you see yourself and others through The Father's Eyes, you'll realize how finding a potential mate really has no bearing on our singleness, but our pursuit of singleness bears great value in everything we pursue in life, including marriage.
The first fifty+ years of my (Keith's) life were not easy to spend alone. Patiently waiting for that special single lady was not easy. I never stopped hoping and asking God that I would one day get to know Holy Matrimony. Some weeks I prayed every single day for God to reveal my mate to me. And, sometimes I prayed more than just once a day. There were times that, whenever I entered a ministry service or event, I would wonder and ask The Lord, "Is 'she' (the 'one') going to be here?" And, I couldn't even tell you how many times, I would hear well-meaning people come to me to say things like, "Brother, God must really be preparing some amazing girl for you" or, "When you meet 'the one', you'll know it!"
Day after day, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade, though I was not really consumed with finding 'her', I couldn't seem to silence the voices in my head. Like a pesky little brother Mom makes you take with you wherever you go, voices would sound off at every turn, questioning, "Is she here? Is she? Is she??" Each time those annoying voices started up again, all I could think was, "If only I could get my hands on those little suckers... !"
There I was, a successful minister at a great church; had my dream football career; toured and recorded with my own band; and I could go on and on... the guy everyone always said seemed like the one who has it all together! And, for years, because all of my friends were married, I ate in restaurants alone, came home after church on Sundays and turned on the football game in an attempt to silence the deafening loneliness, and all but begged God to reveal to me just what it was that was wrong with me so I could work on changing it.
Well, I finally came up with a plan. I thought, "I could out-smart those voices by convincing myself that I was born without 'the marriage gene'! That would surely shut 'em up!" Then, just like every other thing I tried to do on my own, my plan didn't work. The voices continued.
By the time I was about forty years old, I decided that, if I can't shut 'em up, I'll flood 'em out, with God's Word! That was one of the very BEST decisions I have ever made in my life! I began seeking God and meditating on His Word, with a greater diligence than I ever had before. It was only then that the voices went from deafening, to annoying, to tolerable-like whispers... at least for the most part.
One of the biggest lessons, when I became wise to it, made one of the biggest changes in my life! "I" had to stop dwelling on things that were not of God, like TV shows. Realizing just how destructive and suggestive primetime television programming was becoming, I knew I had to do something about that. So I took decisive action, called the cable company, and cancelled my cable subscription!
If you truly want a Godly mate, here are the things that really helped, in my experience, to prepare myself for the day that God would orchestrate the meeting between me and my incredible wife Brenda (Brenda says, "Yayyy and hallelujah!"). I encourage you to pursue *Singleness* which I will tell you from person experience is the absolute BEST Single Valentine Gift EVER! Laid out below are 6 most essential steps to making sure you'll be prepared for our Father's plan He has prepared for you and the deepest desires of your heart... start to reason together with Him this Valentine's Day week.
First) Don't be fooled by watching TV shows that are misrepresenting marriage ... "tying the knot" is NOT Holy Matrimony!
Turn the TV off! If you look to Hollywood to set your expectations for a mate, loneliness will remain your companion. Recognize that unreal, or unreasonable, expectations rob us from receiving, not only our peace but, every good thing Jesus Christ wants us to have. Having said that, I am in no way suggesting you compromise yourself by settling for someone who you know does not know and love God wholeheartedly. After all, marriage was not man's idea, it's God's, and it will NOT function correctly with-out (or on the outside of) God and His Word. ~Never forget this: WithOUT (apart from) GOD... it's NOT Holy Matrimony.~
Secondly) Don't be miss-taken by someone who only says "I AM a Christian" ... ignoring what you see leads to life-altering mistakes!
If you think you can change someone, you are deceived and are setting yourself up for a torturous ride. Only Christ Jesus has the power to change the human heart. Marriage is not a 50/50 arrangement; it's a 100/100 commitment. So, relax! Trust God to introduce you to a "Godly possibility." I must warn you, however. Just because someone, in an attempt to win your heart, says they are a Christian, it doesn't mean they are! Standing in a church building on Sunday makes someone a Christian about as much as standing in a garage makes you a car. As a safeguard for us, Jesus says in Matthew 7:15-20, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them." ~Always remember this: You can ONLY tell the character of a person by "the fruit of their life" ... not by what they say they are or will do.~
Thirdly) Don't fail to GET PREPARED for meeting "the prepared"!
Prepare for what you are praying for. You do NOT want to meet the prepared, unprepared. Diligently seek God for His help to make you the kind of person that you've been asking God to bring to you. Look in the mirror. Do you dress, and carry yourself, in the same way that you have envisioned your future mate will? If not, ask God for His help to truly change! Be passionate about, and in love with, God and His Word we get to read about, and receive, His Love and Character. And do everything as God's written and spiritual Word tells you to. I once heard it said that "'Insanity' is doing the same thing over and over again while you're expecting different results in the outcome." ~This is the fact: a person doesn't change themselves ... a human being can only change by Jesus Christ in their heart and life.~
Fourth) Don't define your identity by your marital status!
You can't BE something you're NOT, but you can BECOME something you're NOT. When you pursue "singleness" God's way, you and Father God will develop your full potential as the one-of-a-kind being He designed you to become. When you reach the level of WHOLEness, through your self-development IN God through Christ Jesus, you will come to be fulfilled, or "filled full" with Christ-likeness and contentment. There is where... You don't get married because you NEED to; You get married because you WANT to! But if you go about life, continuing to avoid the pursuit of "singleness", you'll never make it to the "want-to" for marriage and family because you'll be caught up in the "need-to." ~Remember this: our Father God created you to be "whole" ... not NEEDING another human being in order to feel complete.~
Fifth) Don't even consider marriage until you become "SINGLE" first!
The word "single" was not man-made, so we are not correct to believe man's definition-- unmarried or alone. "Singleness" was created and defined by God to identify the most important part of an individual's life. Becoming "Separate, Unique, and Whole" is the essential foundation of our life. Before you are ready for marriage, you must first "pursue singleness" and "become single." Only when you become "single" will you be ready for marriage. God's original plan for marriage and family is founded on each of us developing ourselves IN Him, in true SINGLEness, in *oneness with Him*. For as long as you avoid "singleness", and until you actually "become single", you will NOT be ready for marriage. ~"Becoming Separate, Unique, and Whole in yourself" is our highest goal ... not "being married."~
Sixth) And lastly, don't stress! Relax and release unreal and unreasonable expectations... of marriage, God, and others.
When we make that first, and each, step toward Him Who fashioned us, He reaches back and works *with* us, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you... (James 4:8)." Concerning the popular belief that God chooses your mate for you, there's a quote from the late Dr. Myles Munroe that will clear that right up, "God does NOT choose your mate because He doesn't want to be blamed if you find a reason why that mate is a bad choice." However, what He will do is put someone 'on display' for you. You have the will to make your own choice. ~Once you daily pursue ONEness with God, your wisdom and understanding *in Him* changes everything! Your focus on working *with God* will lead you to beyond your greatest expectations! Watch and see!!!"~

Print this and read repeatedly 'til it becomes permanent on the tablet of your heart:



"SEPARATE":  NEEDING nobody else in order to feel complete
GOD created you as one of a kind. You are Designer-made!**

"UNIQUE"DISTINCT from everybody else
When you imitate, you lose your value!**

"WHOLE"BEING the individual God created you to be
All by yourself**

If you have yet to invite Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Lord and Savior, or if you have allowed something or someone to come between you and God, now is your time to get right with God. Right there where you are, pray this prayer to God, then relax and watch what God does...

          "Dear Father God, in the precious Name of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of all lords, I lay my life at Your Feet. I come before You, confessing that I am a sinner, and I ask for You to forgive me of all my sins - those that I know I have committed, as well as those that I am not even aware of.  I ask that You come into my heart and be my Lord. I lay my life, and everything in it, at Your Feet, and ask that You please take me and begin to change me to be like YOU. I ask that You redeem the time that has passed, and allow me the opportunity to become exactly what You have predestined me to be, from before the foundation of the earth. I commit my life to You now, and thank You for receiving me as Your own. In the wonderful Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, I pray, Amen."  And AMEN!!!

            WELCOME HOME!

            If you have just prayed this prayer, we want to congratulate you for making the greatest decision that you'll ever make! By accepting Jesus Christ, or rededicating your life to Him, as your personal Lord and Savior, you have begun the wonder-full process of being grafted into the family of God, and we welcome you "Home" to God's Family. We would also like to invite you to contact us so that we can send you information that will help you begin growing in your relationship and daily walk with God. We would encourage you to begin attending a Holy-Spirit-filled, Bible-believing church right away.

            We advise you to begin reading The Holy Bible daily, whether you understand it or not. Always remember, God's written Word in The Holy Bible is LIKE NO OTHER BOOK that has ever been written! When we rendezvous with The Person of The Holy Spirit as we read what God has written there, it becomes stored in our heart for The Holy Spirit to access it to bring to our remembrance.  You will find that the Scriptures will become applicable to whatever you are going through, at any given time!

            There are wonderful Bible teachers on television and on the radio that can, especially early in your walk with God, help you to begin receiving good teaching, and encouragement, right away. Although very informative, these programs are never to be a substitute for close relationships with people who love and serve God. At times, the transformation process that you have now begun will be difficult, and you will be tempted to go back to your old ways of living your old life. It will be during times like these that hanging out with strong Christian friends and mentors will be crucially important. There really IS strength in numbers! (Selah)

      And, remember, no matter what, KEEP PRESSIN' IN...  growin' *with* our Lord and Savior.

      Consider using Keith and Brenda's book XII SMOOTH STONES, the special collection of 12 life-changing teaching titles:

No Matter What!
The Magnetic Mantle or Why Cats... Have Kitties;
Fire, Pressure, and Them Slithery... Snakes
The Ultimate Home Gym
Vampires In The Church
The Great Deception
The Invisible Man
God Is So Much Bigger Than You Think!
Die Empty!
Building Godly Friendships
The Secret To A Happy Life

      This collection of twelve teachings,
when taken to heart,
will help you emerge triumphant over seemingly impossible situations...
"XII Smooth Stones"
available at

TowardTheMark online.

We pray God uses this message, and all of our resources, to fan the flame in your heart for Christ Jesus, His wonder-full Ways, and His Plan and Purpose for you in this life. If you have any questions about our work, or if you would like to make a special tax-deductible donation, place a special order for any of our books, magazines, or CDs, or to share a testimony or prayer request with us, please  e-mail us. Also feel free to write a letter and mail it to TOWARD THE MARK, P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.
May God bless you greatly as you carry this truth in your heart. We are eternally grateful for our loving Toward The Mark Family of sponsors who make this blog, and all of our resources, possible by their faithful prayer and monthly financial support!
Your friends and servants in Christ,
To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small… 
sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word that Keith recounts in our written and recorded products.

We couldn't do this without the help of our friends!
This blog message, along with the complete collection of original podcasts, music, blogs, books, CDs, and other Bible-based resources of Toward The Mark, Inc. is made possible by the faithful prayer and financial support of the TTM Sponsorship Family. We'd like to invite you to come on-board, to become a part of the TTM Family as well, by becoming a monthly financial partner. Your support will go toward fulfilling our God-given calling to help provide effective, contemporary outreach tools that are available to everyone, the churched and un-churched alike, who desire to know more of the love, truth, and salvation of Jesus Christ. We invite you to partner with us, as we, "press Toward The Mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)


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