Godly Character Traits · spiritual growth · Spiritual Refreshment

One Thing We Can Do To Grow Spiritually This Year

We are a family of “Foodies.” We plan out our meals. We anticipate them. We enjoy them. We record them. When a new, “successful meal” is complete, I make sure I’ve marked that recipe for future use. I have a written copy of that recipe either on-line, in one of my cookbooks, or in my recipe box because I want to be able to go back and re-do that menu!

I make notes about how I may have tweaked the recipe, a substitution I made, or even what I learned I need to do the next time I make it. I love flipping through my recipes and bringing up old recipes I’d forgotten about! Without that written reminder, it would have been lost forever because we eat lots of meal in a year’s time!

But even more than my physical food, the greatest “food” I partake of each day is the manna of God’s Word – the Bible. It is a feast that is never complete. There’s always more. It’s rich, sweet, and nourishing. I need it. I look forward to it. I remember it.

For many of us, we enjoy the taking in of God’s Word, but we do little in regards to making a memory of what we’ve read or what we’ve learned. Simply put – we don’t write anything down after we’ve read the Scriptures.
Here are four reasons I’m choosing to journal when I read God’s Word this year ~

  • It helps me remember the Truth I just learned. There’s something about putting it in ink that just cements it better in my heart and mind. That leads to the next reason…
  • It helps me meditate on those Truths throughout the day. As I’m driving, I’m thinking about what I wrote down. I talk to the Lord and ask Him questions about the things that come to my mind as I ponder it.
  • It helps me dig deeper into those Truths and add notes – things from commentaries or quotes from other authors that are a blessing.
  • It helps me see my spiritual growth. Just like the physical growth of a child isn’t seen day by day, but you see it when you compare it to last year’s growth chart, neither is my spiritual growth seen daily. However, my journal serves as my “growth chart,” if you will. As I look back a month or a year later on what I’ve written, I see how the Lord has increased my faith, taught me lessons, and revealed more about Himself to me. It’s so encouraging!

I‘ve had seasons when I didn’t journal and I truly feel I didn’t grow like I should have. See if you resonate with my reasons for not doing so. I think there are four basic explanations as to why most women don’t journal ~

  1. I’m not a writer. I think that can mean two things – 1. I don’t enjoy using a pen…it’s just not my favorite thing to do the process of writing. It’s tiring. It’s messy 2. I’m not really good at expressing myself creatively.
  2. I used to, but I’ve just gotten away from it. I got tired of the habit.
  3. It takes more time and that’s one thing I don’t have!
  4. I really don’t feel like I need to do that. I’m good with just reading. I can remember it without writing it down.

As we think back to all the physical meals we’ve eaten this past year, there’s no way we could give a commentary on each one. How could we answer, “What was the best part? What did you enjoy most?” However, if we had each recipe card in front of us, we could be reminded and have something to share, right? Let’s make the analogy – As we think back to all the spiritual meals we’ve been exposed to in this past year, (preaching as well as personal devotions) could we share one truth we learned from each one? Only if we wrote something down.

Oh how much more value there is in God’s Word than our physical food! Job said it well in Job 23:12 ~

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Could you and I really say that? It will show in how we value the Bible. Ask God to give you a greater love for His Word so that you will treasure it more than ever before!

Next Wednesday I’m going to share some practical answers to our four excuses and also share a guide in Bible journaling that can be simple, and effective!

Refresh your response to God’s Word,

Coronavirus · Encouragement · refreshing others

Five Blessings During the Coronavirus

I want to show you some of the blessings of this very different week.  We quote Romans 8:28 often to others who are going through hard times, because we want them to remember that God is doing good things even in their hard situation.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose

What about you right now?  Are you seeing some good things that God is doing during these weeks of the worldwide crisis? Time will continue to show us more good things that God is doing, but in my little world, I can see with my little eyes some good things around me and I can’t wait to show you some pictures to illustrate them!

Continue reading “Five Blessings During the Coronavirus”

Coronavirus · Encouragement · spiritual growth

What Do I Do Now? Everything’s Been Cancelled.

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Would you just stop and think for a minute…

How many times in the recent months have you sighed (and maybe even complained) about how busy you were?

My hand is up.  I am guilty.

I said there was no time for (xyz).  I thought to myself how I wish I could just stay home and get some things done.

None of us could ever have imagined the state in which we find ourselves.  Like every other “event” on my calendar, the ladies’ events I was planning on attending this spring have both been cancelled.  Continue reading “What Do I Do Now? Everything’s Been Cancelled.”

Christian growth · fellowship with God

Let’s Advance!

LPA 4

Last weekend I had the blessing of attending The Ladies’ Prayer Advance in Roanoke, Virginia. This event is like a “ladies’ retreat” in that it is a weekend away.  However, it’s called an Advance because the whole purpose is to encourage women to move forward in their walk with God.

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Men joined the ladies for this choir special, but the congregation was all women.

Sometimes we need a couple of days to rest, move slowly as we talk to God and spend time alone with Him, but then there are other times when we need someone to put their hand in the middle of our back, so to speak, and help us move closer to God through:

  1. Bible preaching in general sessions
  2. Biblical teaching in Break-out sessions
  3. Times of corporate prayer
  4. Times of individual prayer

It is absolutely wonderful.  It’s the best kind of tired you can feel!  To have heard God’s Word taught or preached seven times in those two and half days is powerful.  To spend time alone in prayer is convicting.  To pray with your prayer group several times is better than I can even describe.  The closeness that it brings is a special blessing that only the Spirit of God could do.

The break-out sessions allow each woman to choose topics that speak to her heart.  Abuse, contentment, depression, marriage, unanswered prayer, and overwhelming situations were some of the subjects addressed.

This is an exhausting weekend.  There are no shopping adventures.  No hours of rest between sessions.  No extra activities are planned.  Does it sound boring?  It’s anything but that! Does this mean we don’t have fun?  Hardly.  When you get right with God, you also are the happiest and you are also a blessing to those around you!  Our group had wonderful, sweet fellowship, laughter, tears and unity.  It was precious!

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This was after the last session, and I can say, we did indeed Triumph! We were all clean and right with God and it was wonderful!

 

Every year we make it a point to go to a fun place called Elderberry’s for lunch.  They have a TON of different wraps and a MILLION different smoothies to choose from.

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This year we ended our time at the Ladies’ Prayer Advance by sharing lunch together here before we had one last time of prayer and headed home…completely physically exhausted, but absolutely, wonderfully refreshed spiritually!!

Attending conferences like this is a huge sacrifice of each ladies’ time, but we all need it if we truly desire to advance in our relationship with the Lord.  Do you make sure to find a time or two each year to spend away at conferences like this so you can be challenged and renewed spiritually?  It’s really helpful if you are longing to advance!

Next year’s Ladies’ Prayer Advance is being held March 21-23 in Roanoke, VA.  Perhaps you would consider joining the more than 500 that were there this year?  You can find information here.

I will also be attending a Ladies’ Retreat this month in North Carolina at The Wilds.  I’m excited about this special weekend as well.  You can find information here and can also register on-line.  You can’t go to The Wilds and not receive a blessing!!

Take time out to refresh and advance!  You’ll be so glad you did!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Christian growth · Goals · Saturation

Spiritual Snacking Choices

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No snack before supper or you’ll ruin your appetite.

Most mothers have had to say this to their child at one time or another.  A child may feel as though Mom is withholding good food from them, but oh, no!  She has stored away all kinds of good things for her family!  Plans for good meals are in the near future! She won’t let her family go hungry; she just wants her family to be hungry for the best foods that will help them grow.

Physical food can ruin your appetite for the right things, but have you ever considered that spiritual snacking actually creates an appetite for healthy spiritual eating?

 Yesterday I talked about making wise decisions regarding entertainment.  We get kind of “hungry” for something good to munch on while we’re working or doing a mindless tasks like getting ready for the day, riding in the car or washing dishes.  Just as we don’t stop eating just because we want to eat healthy, we don’t have to stop using media because we want good choices to nourish our minds. Why?  Because there ARE good things out there that can feed us well!!

Look what Scripture says –

The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish:
Proverbs 10:3

Our loving God knows that we need spiritual food to grow and He will not let us go without what we need.  His Word is the answer for every hunger in our soul!  He is so good to allow so many avenues today in which we can hear His Word given to us!!

The word SATURATION is my word for 2018.  I’ve asked the Lord to help me saturate my heart with Truth from His Word each day. I don’t always win at this but I want to share with you some of the ways that I “snack” on God’s Word most days.

  • Audio Bible – Each morning while I’m making the bed, I listen to the Proverb chapter the correlates to the day of the month. In order to keep my ear and heart engaged, I try to finish the verse before the audio speaks it.  I don’t have it all memorized, for sure, but I know it well enough that I can finish some of the verses. The Word is getting into me while I straighten up.
  • Pod Casts –  I have an app on my phone that fills my podcast library with episodes from Revive Our Hearts and Love Worth finding (there are many other preachers on that site as well). The word is getting into me while I’m working at home or traveling in the car.
  • CD’s of messages – I often listen again to messages from conferences I’ve attended, via the recorded message on a CD.  The truth comes back to my heart and I’m reminded of what the Lord taught me or I catch something I missed the first time! The Word is getting into me while I mop, fold laundry, iron, work on projects or cook.
  • Pandora radio – I have several stations on Pandora of music that is a blessing to listen to while I cook or while I have my quiet time in the morning. 
  • Bible memory – I try to work on new verses or review ones I’ve memorized as I’m getting ready in the morning.  I keep my memory verse cards nearby – on the counter or I take them with me in the car so I can keep working on Scripture.  Having God’s Word in my heart makes Scripture the most mobile of all apps! It’s always with me!

While the real meat and meals come from my time in God’s Word each morning, these are some of my spiritual snack foods.  They’re so wonderful that it truly does make my heart crave for more.

If you haven’t tried these delights, I hope you will, and if you have another suggestion of good spiritual “snacking food,” I would love for you to share that with us!

I hope I’ve made you hungry!

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