June 23, 2017

Reading the Puritans: Where Should You Start?

The Puritans lived over 200 years ago, but their words still speak today. Through careful study of Scripture and much prayer, they left a legacy of writings and sermons that address the mind, confront the conscience, and engage the heart. And those who make the effort to mine their works carefully reap rich rewards! (Not sure what I'm talking about? Learn who the Puritans were and why you should read them.) But the list of Puritan authors is over 2000 names long, and their published works number even higher. So where do you start? Here are some favorite go-to recommendations for getting started: Voices from the Past -- Volume 1 and Volume 2 A collection of single-page devotional [...Read More]


Praise God in Private

Some days, thanking God on social media feels too... well, social. It feels too public. There's nothing wrong, of course, with praising God publicly -- in fact, we are commanded throughout Scripture to do so. Psalms especially tell us over and over to testify of His deeds among the nations, to praise Him in the sanctuary, to exalt Him before others. We must never disregard the need for corporate worship, public prayer, and shared times of testimony. But how often do we offer praise publicly -- and neglect it privately? When was the last time you personally bowed in gratitude before your Heavenly Father... when no one else was around? Our God is great and righteous and holy and [...Read More]


Refresh Your Quiet Time – Use Your Senses

We recently spent a few days at a cabin in the Nantahala National Forest. It was peaceful, refreshing, inspiring... all the things that make it worth the hours of planning, budgeting, and working ahead. We spent our days enjoying the mountains, hiking to waterfalls, relaxing and having fun together, and eating lots of good food. But my favorite thing about that getaway, besides being with my husband 24/7? The screened-in porch at the cabin! It wasn't that the porch itself was that amazing -- but the setting was great. It was one story off the ground and surrounded by trees, with the soft soundtrack of birds and a nearby fountain. It was a deep breath of fresh air, for both body [...Read More]


Be Quiet!

I keep trying to write today, and yet nothing seems to be coming out right. The words aren't flowing. The thoughts are jumbled and disjointed. The points that seem so clear in my mind, so pressing on my heart, simply refuse to be put onto paper -- or computer screen. And every time I give up trying, delete the attempt, and try to get busy doing something else, one thought continues to press on my consciousness: Silence... Quiet... Waiting... Stillness is not something that comes easily for most of us, but it is certainly necessary to ALL of us. Because it is through silent communion with God, we find sweet peace, relief, comfort. In quietness before His throne, we find the [...Read More]


More Good Posts to Start Off the New Year

Most of us like to set goals, make resolutions, or at least take time to re-evaluate and re-calibrate every January. And along with that comes a flurry of new blog posts about setting and reaching those goals. Here are a few that stood out to me this year, specifically regarding drawing closer to God.   Spending Time with God: The Priority of a Daily Devotional Life, by Nancy DeMoss "Having a quiet time does not earn you brownie points with God. It doesn't make you inherently a better Christian. It’s meeting with God that makes you more like Jesus." The Practice of a Daily Devotional Life, by Nancy DeMoss "I know we feel, 'I don’t have time. How will I fit this into the day?' [...Read More]


3 Steps to Spend More Time with God

Do you struggle to spend time with God every day? Is it a constant battle between spending time Him and distracting yourself with social media? Does it feel like you're in one corner of the ring, and the Holy Spirit is in the other corner? Maybe you want to read the Bible more, but find yourself putting it off to enjoy more "fun" reading. Or you forget about spending time in prayer until you're ready to fall asleep at night. You desire an intimate daily connection with God, but aren't sure how to maintain it. You wonder how to find more time to meet with God throughout the day? Those are good desires. In fact, they're great desires. But desire alone won't get us [...Read More]


When Life Gets Too Busy

I've lost track of how often I've told people lately that life is "too busy." And generally, those people repeat it right back to me... We are busy people. That's just the way life goes. But quite often, we are too busy. For instance, you might be too busy if... -- you can't find time to get the rest you need. -- you can't sleep whenever you do finally get to rest, because your mind keeps racing with all you have to do. -- you don't have time to fellowship with God's people, your family in Christ. -- you have little time to feast on God's Word. -- you view people as interruptions rather than opportunities to minister. -- you don't have time to spend a few minutes [...Read More]


Why Should You Read the Bible Daily?

I've been quiet, I know. Book revisions and visiting family (and a birthday! woohoo!) have taken a lot of time and energy lately. And this week will probably be quieter too. My husband's seminary has their annual Bible conference, and I'm hoping to make it to a few services -- it's always refreshing to listen to good preaching and soak up the truths of God's Word. I'm really hoping to get back into my "normal" routine after this week. But in the meantime, I have a question for you to think about. I'll probably be writing about this soon.... and I'd love to hear your thoughts: Why should a Christian read the Bible daily? Because you grew up doing that? Because it's something to [...Read More]


Growing Pains: the Cost of Getting to Know God

How has your time with God been lately? Are you staying faithful in reading His Word? Even if you miss a day (or a few days), don't let it stop you -- just like you wouldn't let a few missed coffee-dates ruin your closest friendship. You rearrange your schedule, figure out a better time or place, and keep trying to get together. You work at it, because it's important to you. What about your time with God? Are you willing to work at it? Is it that important to you? Are you living like it's top priority? Reading your Bible, spending time in prayer, being quiet before God -- these spiritual disciplines are all things we should enjoy, but they're also all things that take some [...Read More]


Taking the Time

Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Of course, it's silly to think we're supposed to be on our knees 24/7. It's silly to think we're supposed to walk around spouting off prayers every single second. But we should have a spirit of prayer at all times. Praying should come as naturally as breathing! We should live so continually dependent upon God that our first thought is always of Him, that our first cry for help goes immediately upward, that our first exclamation of joy is spoken for His ears alone. That continual dependence on God is made possible by His Spirit dwelling in us. And we are instructed to pray in that same [...Read More]