August 18, 2017

Practicing Habits of Grace

Start talking about spiritual disciplines -- habits like reading God's Word, praying regularly, attending church, evangelizing the lost -- and I guarantee someone will roll their eyes and respond that the word discipline is just too legalistic, not grace-oriented enough or allowing for Christian liberty. Others will sigh at the amount of effort required to maintain those disciplines. I think some people don't really understand the point of spiritual disciplines. It's not just a list of things we HAVE to do, in order to be considered spiritual. It's not what defines a good Christian. Spiritual disciplines have a higher purpose than simply acting as a spiritual to-do list. tweet [...Read More]

Inspiration, Creativity, and Using Your Talents

I watched a webinar with Michael Hyatt a while back about writing and getting published, and something he said stuck with me: "Inspiration doesn't show up until you do. Be consistent." Tolkien said it another way: "It's the job that's never started that takes the longest to finish." And here's how my boss, Becky Robinson, says it: "The magic happens when you show up." Another way to think of it is: creativity breeds creativity. The more you write (or design, or implement, or whatever your hobby is), the easier it will become. In other words, as difficult as it is for creative-types to acknowledge, art requires discipline. You have to show up consistently to make progress toward your [...Read More]

Good Intentions of Memorizing Scripture

Do you actively memorize Scripture?  If not, why not?  I know it's hard. It takes planning, concentrated effort, and discipline to practice faithfully. It requires being intentional -- because you aren't going to wake up some morning and suddenly have whole books of the Bible memorized, or even whole chapters. Memorizing takes work -- and you won't work at it, unless you plan to work at it. I was going to write more about the importance of memorizing Scripture, because there are so many great reasons to hide God's Word in our hearts. It keeps us from sin, it guides us in making decisions or offering counsel to others, it returns to mind when we need it most... and the list goes on. [...Read More]

Don’t Waste Your Prayer List

Over the past few years, I've struggled to find a prayer list method that works for me. I've tried quite a few variations, from journals to index cards to phone apps. Some were great, some were not-so-great, and some just weren't right for me at that point in time. Thankfully, I finally stumbled across a method that fits my lifestyle perfectly, and makes it easy to actually use the list (which I hope to write about soon). But one thing was true, whether I liked a particular method or not. It required work. I had to be willing to stop and pray whenever my reminder alarm went off. Or be willing to pull out that notebook every morning before starting the rest of my day. Or purposely go [...Read More]

Disciplines for 2014

I've been struggling to set new goals for this year, and I finally figured out why -- I don't want to attempt anything new. Not that I don't want to try new things this year, but I don't want to set goals for accomplishing new things. Instead, I need to focus on maintaining and developing current things. I stumbled across some pretty good rhythms in 2013, in several areas, and I don't want to lose any ground! And I'm afraid setting new goals would do just that. So this year, I'm choosing disciplines instead of goals. I've chosen seven areas in which I need to be disciplined, in order to shift from occasional habits into regular lifestyles. It's not my "word for the year" (that's [...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]

3 Ways to Accomplish This Year’s Goals

It hit me the other day that there's only four months left in 2013. That means, there's only four months left to complete my goals for 2013. I've made some progress in almost every goal I set, but I still have a lot of work to do if I want to accomplish everything. I'm thinking of one goal in particular -- memorizing 4 chapters of the Bible. It's almost September, and I've only memorized one chapter so far. That means I need to learn three chapters in four months! I need to get busy! What about you? Are you making steady progress? Or did life get busy and distract you somewhere along the way? Have you lost sight of what you wanted to accomplish this year, or are you hanging on to the [...Read More]

Intercession: Praying Together in Community

Confession: I struggle being consistent in intercession. It's easy enough to pray for my own needs, or my husband's needs, because they're right in front of me. But ask me to pray for a friend three states away, or a second-cousin-three-times-removed, or some family in South Africa -- and I start off well with great intentions, but a few days later "out of sight, out of mind" kicks in and my prayers for them wane. It can be hard to focus on the unseen things for very long. Even with prayer journals, and reminders, and all that -- it's hard to stay consistent. Tell me I'm not alone in that! But what to do? How to improve? How do you become more faithful in intercession -- [...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]

Spiritual Discipline

Life is never calm or comfortable for very long. Hard things come. Chaos runs through our carefully made plans. And... life happens. And when life happens, when you get so overwhelmed with busyness, it gets harder to keep up with reading God's Word every day. It gets harder to be at church whenever the doors are open, when you just need time to sit back and breathe. It gets harder to maintain a consistent and meaningful prayer life when you feel confused or discouraged. Because those things take work. They call for us to flex our puny spiritual muscles -- and usually leave us in pain, when we do. Whether it's reading or studying the Bible, praying for yourself or others, meeting with [...Read More]