Pray more

Thursday, May 26, 2022

 How do you include more prayer in your life on a regular basis? Enjoy this encouraging podcast:

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Spiritual Discipline for Busy People

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Listen to this episode here:

Let's put on our humanity for a second. Can we agree that sticking with Spiritual Discipline can be tough? What I call Spiritual Discipline, you may call quiet time. You also may call it devotional. Whatever we decide, sticking to spiritual discipline as a habit can be challenging. 

You and I know there are those among us who never fail at their Spiritual Discipline habit. Or so we think! When you lift the veil, you find every human experiences moments of discouragement. 

My favorite part of every user manual I have is the quick start. I enjoy looking at the pictures and finding out how I can speedily put my product together so I can start using it. You can’t always do this when reading books but I want to offer you some quick tips to encourage you as you start building your spiritual discipline habit: 

Ask God to help you • When trying to connect with God, ask Him for help. God will speak to you and He will give you the strategy you need to make spiritual discipline work in your daily life. 

Start small • Everyone has a spiritual superhero. Someone I admire prays 4 hours a day. I can't begin to tell you that I would love to do that too. The reality of my life is: I work full-time, I have a small business, a wonderful husband and three marvelous kids. These are not excuses, these are facts of my current existence. Starting small means starting where I am. My way to start small is to pray before everyone wakes up. Once the kids get older, I bet I'll be able to carve more and more time to pray. Should I reach my 4-hour prayer goal? I'm sure it would be wonderful. The beauty of starting small is connected to the heart. God looks at the heart, not at the number of hours we are trying to pile up in prayer to impress him or someone else. He sees our lives. He wants us to simply come to Him as we are. 

Ask a friend you admire how they make it work • I often ask like-minded people about their spiritual discipline habits. You can ask a mentor or a friend. I remember asking a pastor how she made time for God when her kids were little. It was encouraging to learn from her experience. There are people out there who are seeking God and pressing on to know Him. Ask them questions. 

Got interruption from kids? Ask them to join you! • John Wesley's mom is a pioneer in this area. She trained her kids to know that when she had her apron on top of her head, they were to give her space because she was praying. She was also very particular about her kids’ Christian education. If your kids are interrupting you, ask them to join you during your spiritual discipline time. The word of God is for everyone. Kids receive the truth of God with joy. There is nothing wrong with exposing kids to what you read in the Bible as well as letting them hear your prayers. Remember, more is caught than taught. Thank God I heard the prayers of my parents! I'm living the answers right now! How would I know this unless my parents involved me in their devotional life? 

Set an alarm • If you have a problem remembering to set aside time for spiritual discipline, set an alarm as a reminder. When the alarm sounds, grab your Bible, get on your knees and get in God’s presence. Soon, this will become a habit and you will not need the alarm. 

Start with 5 minutes and increase the amount of time slowly • If spending time in Spiritual Discipline is a foreign concept to you, start with praying and reading your Bible for 5 minutes a day, then increase the amount of time slowly. The goal is to slowly "taste and see that the Lord is good." This slow introduction will lead you to desire more and more time with God. 

Join a group • Encouragement is the main benefit to join a group. When I joined a Bible study group, I was encouraged to study the Bible on my own. I was also surrounded by people who like me, wanted to spend time with God on a regular basis. The group can't do Spiritual Discipline for you but they can encourage you in your journey. 

Read a book • There are wonderful books about studying the Bible, prayer, and fasting out there. I often read books related to each spiritual discipline. Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster offers great insight. He will stretch your thinking in this area too. How do you get good book recommendations in this area? The books I read are recommended by my mentors. The books I read really helped me pursue God with more passion and joy. Books are tools. The Bible is my main textbook. God is the One I seek to know, worship, and serve with joy. I need to major in His book and minor in every other supplement. 

Teach what you learn • The best way to master a subject is to teach what you learn. If you have kids, teach them about spiritual discipline. If you have friends, tell them about what you are learning. If you are a Sunday School teacher, teach your students. I know you already have a lesson plan. You can enhance that lesson with the things you are learning from God as you practice Spiritual Discipline. Our faith in Jesus is active. Jesus always taught many things. 

We need to teach others too. It doesn't take a degree or an actual classroom. We are called to spread the good news of Jesus by simply teaching what we learn. Teaching can be as simple as a conversation with a friend who is feeling stuck in her devotional life. "Have you thought about reading the entire Bible?" is something I often ask. Then I tell her why she should do that. If you want to know God, you need to read His Book. How should a person read the entire Bible? I recommend a 15-minute Bible reading plan. I'm encouraging you to teach what you learn because what you know will grow. 

Don't let yourself get lazy • As a Bible lover and teacher, I hear people sometimes say they get lazy with their Spiritual Discipline. Getting lazy is the same thing as knowing you have to sweep a room and you don't do it well. We’ve all seen it. There's dirt in the corners. The broom did not cover every square inch available. You still have a dirty room because you didn’t clean as well as you were able. Getting lazy is different than getting discouraged. The lazy person will crack their Bible open. 

They'll check the reading on her to-do list. They will go to Bible Study and complain that the reading is boring. The solution is not to let yourself get stuck in that place. When you feel yourself getting to that place, ask God to help you. Tell Him how your heart feels. You basically say, "restore unto me, the joy of thy salvation." God will answer your prayer and give you Divine direction. 

Reading the Bible is not supposed to feel like an amusement park ride daily. It is also not meant to be boring. As you ask God for direction, He promises to lead you and guide you in the way you should go. God will challenge your mind and your understanding of His word. He will take you deeper than before. It is up to you not to let yourself get lazy and continue in the most rewarding journey you can have on this side of life. 

I sincerely hope these tips can help you. Be encouraged in your Spiritual Discipline my friend! Try any of these and see what you will discover. One thing I know for sure, God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. He will be found by you my friend.
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2 months of Georgia

Monday, May 23, 2022

 Today marks 2 entire months we've moved to Georgia. God has been great to us. I keep thinking about my first 2 months in Mississippi, North Carolina, Southwest Houston, and East Texas. 

I had completely different experiences in all of those places. I am completely thankful to God for taking us to all of those places. We gained so much experience. We made so many friends. We learned so much about God and our own lives. 

Today I am grateful for so many things. I'm grateful that Georgia feels like home already. Having family closer to us has been the icing on the cake. Knowing your people will be there for you gives us that deep sense of calmness and belonging. Acceptance with love becomes the norm, which brings peace to the spirit. 

I'm grateful for how resilient my children are. They did so well with this transition. One more reason to be grateful. Where God leads, He truly provides and paves the way for us. 

I'm grateful for new hope. Hope has always been my word of choice. The tagline of this blog is "spreading hope online one word at a time." I can honestly say that my hope tank got really low in the past 3 years. God in His infinite wisdom has given me His word, Himself, and His children to remind me to keep hoping against hope, so I did. 

The name of our new church is "New Hope," which is just what I needed. 

I'm grateful for a little downtime. Our pace is different. I'm also forcing myself to slow down and accept the different pace of life I now have. It is not worse or better than before: it is simply unique. I believe that when I partake in this downtime, I am refreshed and renewed. 

Discovering our new home state has been so nice. I had been here before but the last time I was in college (I think). Georgia is a blessing and I am blessed to be here with my family.

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Change and mindset

Friday, May 13, 2022

Change can be good. It all depends on your mindset. 

We are familiar with our least favorite parts of change. 

Today, I want to encourage you to think about the good. 

When I got married to Zeke, we had to change our clothes. 

We went to the mall and we bought Indian shirts. 

Mine was green, his was orange. 

We were thrilled about changing into our wedding clothes. 

That simple change of outfits signified the joy we share for the past 16 and a half years. 

Six months later, when we had the blessing of our marriage, we changed outfits again. He had on a suit, I had on a wedding dress. 

We change clothes to fit the occasion and so the occasion can fit us.

It's getting warmer in the southern part of the U.S. where I live. 

I decided to change clothes so my workouts can be more comfortable.

I retired my long sleeve shirts. Tanktops and shorts are more appropriate. 

I don't want to overheat so I changed clothes.

Change is what you make it. 

Change is action.

I've fought change before. 

I hate to admit that I never win such fights. 

Acceptance with joy brings blessed results. 

I am learning to 'dress' for such occasions too. 

How do I "dress" my mind for change? 

I take off dread and put on gratitude. 

I take off frustration and put on curiosity. 

I take off negativity and put on positivity. 

Change can be good. It all depends on your mindset.  

"So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world." 1 Peter 1:13 (NLT)

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Reflective questions

Thursday, May 12, 2022

I enjoy taking time to think about what was so what will be can be better. Here are a few reflective questions. You may use them both now, in the middle of the year, or at the end. Enjoy! Credit for the questions at the end of the post. Have a great day!

Listen to this episode here:

Over the previous 12 months... quick-fire responses:

What did you get curious about?

What did you get over?

What did you good at?

What did you embrace?

What did you rediscover?

What did you surrender to?

What did you sacrifice?

What did you sideline?

What did you survive?

What did you celebrate?

Contemplate. Take time to ponder:

What did this year teach you about your capacity for courage?

What risks did you take? How did they work out?

What did this year teach you about relationships? love? your capacity for forgiveness?

What particular synchronicities did you notice?

Where did you bring light to the darkness for someone?

When were you generous? How did that serve you?

Did you neglect yourself in any way? was there a time when you did not allow yourself something you needed? If a similar situation arises this year, what will you tell yourself?

Of all the places where you spent time, which environment made you the most calm? where did you have your best ideas?

What changes did you notice in your loved ones? 

What went on in the world that really affected you? what did that teach you in your role in wider society?

What did this year teach you about the preciousness of life?


What did you create or made happen this year?
What brought you the most satisfaction?

What was money well spent and when did you waste money?

What was the best use of your time and energy? Where did you waste time and energy?

What was a real success for you and why? What did you learn from that?

What didn't work out as you hoped? Why? What did you learn from that?

What or who was a challenge? Why? What did you learn from that?
What was the single most important thing you did for your physical health? 

What was the single most important thing you did for your mental health?

If you could sum up the year in a single word, what would it be?

Letting go:

Write down things you want to let go.

Moving forward:
When did you allow yourself to be vulnerable over the past 12 months? What did you learn in the process?

What do you want to carry with you in the new year?

What truths are you ready to start believing?

What are you ready to receive?

Time to make a plan. 

* from "Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year" by Beth Kempton. 

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