Cheers For Change

[How to Believe Again] –“So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.” – 1 Samuel 3:9, NLT

God’s used the story of Samuel one other time in a very POWERFUL way. I remember when I was writing my first book, “Faithbook of Jesus” and how I couldn’t exercise the same kind of faith I was writing about.

I was weakened physically from working full time and writing full time (under a four month deadline of over 105,000 words). Burn out seemed imminent.

What I did not understand, however, was how much my faith would crumble. And I would lose all hope.

I did not know how to hear the voice of God because I had never been tested that way before. I didn’t know that instead of fighting it, I should have given Him cheers for change.

I struggled with verses like “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening” (Acts 16:25, NLT).

I did not want to pray.

I did not want to sing.

I was afraid so I began to pray and believe again. To hope for change. In my midnight hour, God used my father to recommend a book by Bruce Wilkinson called “Secrets of the Vine.” It was in this tiny book that I learned the power of discipline, pruning, and abiding taken from John 15.

The abiding part is what killed my spirit, but it was in that season of death and dying and winter that I learned how to change. Had to change.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives” (John 12:24 NLT).

Dies.

Harvest.

I recently said goodbye to seminary. Even though my original purpose for moving down to San Diego changed I still feel like it was the most fruitful season yet. I finished my second book on dating. God brought an amazing man into my life. I signed my next contract. I’m not leaving with a sense of failure and mistrust, but faith and hope (and love).

I decided to move back to Oceanside and stay with my family for the time being.

(That and I missed Pala!!!)

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And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel… (1 Samuel 3:10-11a, NLT)

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For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NLT).

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“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NLT).

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Now!


“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (James 1:21, NLT).

Biblically speaking, it’s time to take out the trash! Now!

“Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6, NLT).

Just as you would a best friend or someone you care about.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT).

Repent and turn from your wicked ways! Forgiveness can only be found in Christ.

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24, NLT).

Who or what is your master? You can’t have your cake and eat it too!

“Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, ‘How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!’ But the people were completely silent” (1 Kings 18:21, NLT).

Well?

“For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT).

The time is now!

“Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,

‘It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die'” (Revelation 12:10-11, NLT).

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Truth is Death

I have been going through a study of 1 John with the New Living Translation study group on Facebook. It’s a revolutionary way to study the Bible in the 21st century. I love it. I’m learning that truth is death.

Here are six things that caught and captured my attention going through 1 John 2:

#1 – When we struggle with the Christian life we have an advocate. “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous” (1 John 2:1, NLT).

Question: Did you know you had an advocate?

#2 –Jesus is the true light. “Jesus lived the truth of this commandment (to love one another), and you are also living it. for the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8, NLT).

#3 – What do you crave? “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world” (1 John 2:16, NLT).

Question: What kind of cravings are good?

#4 – People are going to leave church (fellowship). “When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us” (1 John 2:19, NLT).

Question: What does that mean? Seriously. I want to know!!! I know I am praying for a few people who are in danger of leaving or have already left the church…ahh my heart!!

#5 – John wrote so we could know truth. “So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies (1 John 2:21, NLT).

Question: Do you know the difference between truth and lies?

#6 – Remain. Remain. Remain. Remain (2 John 2:24 (twice), 27, 28, NLT). Using the NLT Interlinear I was able to find some really powerful spiritual truths for our lives:

First: Remain translated in the Greek is “μένω (meno, 3306)”:

[a] lasting, [he] remained, [while] remaining, an enduring [one], are waiting, are you staying, continues, does remain, he remained, he remains, he stays, he was living…

Did you catch that? He was living. I cannot believe it, but remain is also found in John 11:5-6. “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.”

Lazarus died during those two days.

Question: What things in your life are you currently dying to?

Remain where you are. Isn’t that the single, most powerful and yet impossible task Jesus gives us? And not only that but Jesus was given…

The same Greek word remain is also found in Matthew 26:38, “He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me'” (NLT).

Jesus died for us. Not only does Jesus ask us to remain through difficult circumstances, He lived it also!

Therefore…”This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NLT).

Dear Jesus,

Help us in our unbelief. There are cravings of the flesh that tear us apart. Show us the truth from the lie, and may we understand our unique place in the Kingdom of God as Your child. Help us to remain in fellowship with You so that when You return, we will be full of courage and not shrink back from You in shame. Amen.

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Whom do you follow?

“Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch” (Luke 6:39, NLT)?

Today’s blog inspiration comes from a number of places.

#1 – Editing my dating & relationships book for Harvest House

#2 – Study of 1 John 1

#3 – Personal reflection & quiet time

#4 – Time spent with my boyfriend.

#5 – Remembering my first book, “Faithbook of Jesus.”

Recently, I was convicted and encouraged by the “blind leading the blind” passage. What a great representation of examining the self, right? David was personal with God; that is why I believe He was called a man after God’s own heart. He continually asked God to “search” his heart (Psalm 139:23-24). David’s impact on the Israelites went deeper than just a king, but through knowing God he was able to leave an eternal blessing and dynasty (2 Samuel 7:29).

Which begs the question: Do you know whom you follow?

“If God has yet to give you that insatiable hunger for the truth of His Word, I would plead with you now to seek such a thing from Him. Why must I ask God instead of simply pursuing such a desire out of my own heart? For the same reason you don’t get married after the first date, because the heart is all-together deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), to seek such a thing on your own will lead you into the grave danger of finding a hunger to study the Scriptures as an end in itself which has no meaning and no value. No, instead, let the Lord teach you that all study of the Scripture must have its end in knowing the author more intimately and deeply. If we study the Bible as an end then we make the same mistake as the Pharisees who knew the Old Testament very well, but did not know the author” (Marc Fisher).

As much as I have enjoyed getting to know my boyfriend and spend time with his family this weekend, I realized something much deeper in my soul. Time spent with God is worth more than any human being. When I don’t desire Him more than anyone else, there’s something wrong with me!!!

Do I know the Scriptures more than God, Himself?

Do I follow God closely enough to hear him say with my own ears?

“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:21, NLT).

I find it interesting that John the Baptist’s disciples came over to Jesus to personally ask him if he was the Messiah they were looking for or should they expect someone else (Luke 7:20)?

Personally expect. Did you catch that?

When we encounter God personally.

When we get to know His character.

When we know the power of His Word.

I can say that now because I’ve lived it. After I wrote my first book, “Faithbook of Jesus” I caved. My body was so broken. Panic attacks left me bed ridden for a long time. Here I had just written over 105,000 words (that’s roughly 636 pages double spaced or 300+ pages printed). My knowledge of Scripture had overgrown my ability to rest in Him. To abide.

I was this sad, scared little girl who didn’t know how to climb up on the lap of her Father God and cry out to Him.

I was too blinded by my own insecurities instead of searching for the author, Himself. It wasn’t until I fully surrendered and let my career die to spend enormous amounts of time with Him that I got it.

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Luke 12:33-34, NLT).

Was I still scared to death how I was going to recover? Yes.

Was I wondering where my next paycheck was coming in? Yes.

Was I wondering if my career in ministry and writing was over? Yes.

“Go back to John [the Baptist] and tell him what you have seen and heard–the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cursed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me‘” (Luke 7:22-23, NLT).

Sometimes the author God asks us to do things that are FAR beyond our comfort zones. Sometimes He doesn’t even give us all the answers. He simply asks us to wait in trust. To obey Him even when we can’t see, touch, taste, feel, or hear him.

“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him” (1 John 1:1-2, NLT).

“Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Psalm 37:5, NASB).

Dear Father,

May our joy be complete because we know YOU and not just Your Words. Help us to better know the author–YOU. We ask you to pour out your Spirit on our heart, mind, and soul. Teach us how to love you and love others we pray. Amen.

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A Father's Legacy

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me” (John 14:1, NLT).

I just love the picture of a father holding his precious ones in His arms. There is so much love in His embrace. In His arms we are found whole.

Complete.

No matter what the problems of the day, all we need is to surrender and go running into the arms of Jesus. He is the one who helps us lead a Father’s legacy.

I downloaded A Father’s Legacy: Twelve Important Things I Learned from My Dad by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, one of my favorite authors. I hope it encourages you this week to draw near to the Lord and find your portion. He is our inheritance!

1. Take God seriously. It will be well with those who fear God (Eccles. 8:12)

2. Start your day with God. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. (Isa. 50:4 NIV)

3. Trust and obey. Rest in and surrender to the sovereignty of God. For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods (Psalm 135:5)

4. Little things matter–a lot. The choices you make today will have consequences. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that he will also reap. (Gal. 6:7)

5. You aren’t responsible for what others say or do to you; you are only responsible for how you respond to them. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. (Ezek. 18:20b)

6. Ask for advice; listen to godly counsel. Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days (Prov. 19:20 NKJV)

7. Guard your heart. Be intentional and wise about what you feed into your mind. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life. (Prov. 4:23 NKJV)

8. Marriage is for keeps–don’t settle for less than God’s best. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen. 2:24)

9. Don’t spend your life–invest it. One day we will give account for how we managed the resources God entrusted to us-time, talent, treasure, and opportunities. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his mater has set over his household, to give them food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. (Matt 24:45-46)

10. You can’t out-give God. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce. (Prov. 3:9)

11. Look for opportunities to share Christ with others. I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)

12. Time is short; eternity is long. Make your life count for eternity. It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy…For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. (1 Cor. 4:2; 2 Cor. 5:10)

(c) 2009 by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for Your Father’s love and for serving us so selflessly. There’s nothing we could ever do to repay back the debt you paid at Calvary. Help us to be good children, and serve our earthly parents with dignity and respect they are due. Amen.

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10 Things I Hate About You

My favorite movie from high school days is 10 Things I Hate About You.

This morning, I was reading about accountability in the book, “Woman of Confidence” by Pam Farrel. Not only is she my mentor, but she’s also a family friend. She has taught by example and shown through her actions over the past 15+ years of ministry that she can be trusted. She exudes confidence.

I know if I were to ask her to tell me her secret, she would point me back to the section in the book that I just read and tell me to ask these 11 questions to my girlfriends weekly.

“A woman of confidence needs to have an accountability partner–someone she can trust to be honest with her about her strengths and her weaknesses, someone who will encourage her in the hard times and rejoice in the good.”

Questions to Help You Fine-Tune Each Other

1. Have you talked with someone about Jesus this week?
2. Have you managed your time wisely?
3. Have you taken time to thank the Lord this week? Have you had your quiet times?
4. Have you had a good attitude toward your spouse and children this week? (N/A)
5. Have you said damaging things about another person, either behind their back or to their face?
6. Have you succumbed to a personal addiction?
7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?
8. Have you fantasized a romantic relationship with someone other than your spouse or read or seen any sexual alluring material?
9. Have you lacked integrity in your financial dealings? Have you spent recklessly?
10. Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?
11. Have you been completely truthful with me just now?

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Don't Touch

“Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong” (Psalm 37:1, NLT).

I just had the best week of my life.

I just moved my WHOLE life down to San Diego. In the matter of a few weeks it was decided, and I was gone.

I can’t believe God told me (1) to go to seminary (2) that I was going to see Him face-to-face and (3) move to San Diego.

My roommates are a dream.

My place is a dream.

Living one mile of the beach is a dream.

So much excitement for one person!!! First, I was like “I’m Never Going Back!” Then, I learned that “Faith is Dynamite.” After only one day here, I finally got to experience being “Called to the Altar.” Craziness, right?

::

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a Wet Paint sign, I just want to touch it. My whole life I was taught “don’t touch.” Whether it was sin, food, temptation, or a boy–the response was always the same.

I’ll NEVER forget the day God gave me this verse from Psalm 37:1. I was working at a collections agency in North County and my co-worker had just asked me out for drinks after work. Bad idea. At least for me. I had no idea he was a creep. After being humiliated, I did not want the last guy I kissed to be a douchebag.

So I found someone else to flirt with, quick!

I stopped worrying about the wicked coworker, and envied the bad boy instead. I know what you’re thinking. Great move, right? All girls go for the bad boy. (If you’re living Psalm 37:1, you will…but enough of my soap box!)

He worked on the second floor of my building (not my coworker), and I would see him every day. Whenever I went walking on my breaks, I would see him outside smoking. (Gross).

It became this battle to see who could be the BIGGER narcissist. He was so into himself it wasn’t even funny. And I guess, so was I. (But I told myself I had a reason to be and that it was okay).

He knew he was good looking.

He drove a sweet car.

He had this ooh-so-oozing charm.

::

So much for don’t touch.

Maybe because it’s human nature to want to touch.

Maybe it’s because I grew up being told “NO!”

Maybe it’s because I just wanted to see if I could get the hottest guy in the building to make out with me.

Yes. Yes. And yes.

Don’t judge me. Okay? I know I’m not the only one who’s struggled. The enemy will make you believe that playing with temptation rocks, and to be honest it does…until you actually touch it.

It grips you.

Has a hold over you.

Guarding your heart becomes a thing of the past.

So why am I going in depth about this NOW? Because this weekend, God showed me that I was on the other side.

It was the coolest experience ever being able to talk about PURITY at the San Diego Salvation Army to a group of high school girls. The talk went really, really well. At the end girls were coming up to me and thanking me for sharing my story. How cool is that???

If I can do it; they can do it!

::

Don’t worry about the wicked
or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act (Psalm 37:1-7, NLT).

Dear Jesus,

Help us not to worry or envy, but trust You instead. Thank You that as we delight ourselves in You, You will bless those desires as we commit our ways to You. Amen.

 

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Called to the Altar

When I say the words: promise, dream, and destiny, what comes to mind?

Are you excited?

Are you afraid?

My gut reaction is JOY and lots of it. But if I think about it too long, my day dreams turn into fear and anxiety.

Why? Because this is me we’re talking about. I am fearfully [literally] and wonderfully made.

I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I don’t trust God with my emotions. I let them overcome me and I run.

I mean, I had waited and prayed for a church like this for three years. Don’t get me wrong, I love my church in North County – North Coast Church. It’s just that it’s mega!!! HUGE. Even if you’re serving and leading a small group [like I am], I could go to any service and maybe know three people max!!!

It was nice when I needed to rest for a while. But now that God’s been singling me out and making my heart burn for people again–I can’t hide! I must go.

So I went.

To All People’s Church in San Diego last Sunday. I couldn’t wait to finally go to a church that had time for prayer in the front.

I knew I felt called to the altar, and when I went up for prayer the words that were spoken over me made me ball my freakin‘ eyes out.

I mean, how did she know? [The Holy Spirit].

She prayed destiny.

Promise.

Dreams.

“I was born to fly.”

She said that I’m in a waiting period.

God’s promises and dreams that He gave can be trusted. He won’t put me to shame!!

Rest in His intimacy.

Immanuel, God is with me.

God will fulfill His promises for me.

I felt this was appropriate to share because prayer is one of the greatest forms of communication we have with our Abba Father. Any time we’re excited or afraid we can run to Him with our arms stretched out and say “daddy daddy!”

“Our lives are in his hands,
and he keeps our feet from stumbling.
You have tested us, O God;
you have purified us like silver.
You captured us in your net
and laid the burden of slavery on our backs.
Then you put a leader over us.
We went through fire and flood,
but you brought us to a place of great abundance (Psalm 66:9-12, NLT).

Dear Abba Daddy,

The exciting part is moving. The hard part is waiting. God give us the strength to endure Your abundant blessings today.We boldly approach your throne to find the grace and confidence that we’ve been missing. Thanks for allowing us, your children to come to you and not be ashamed. Thank You for always taking care of our needs. We love you, we need you, we want you in our lives! Amen

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How to Hear from God

Hearing from God does not have to scare you.

Fear of the unknown.

Supernatural.

What is it exactly?

Last week, I encouraged you in a bunch of reasons why I believe you should read your Bible this year.

This week, I want to show you how to hear from God.

Yes, sometimes it’s the pizza you ate last night, but chances are it’s a God-sized confirmation.

Here are some of the ways He speaks:

God speaks through His Word, prayer, wise council, dreams, and visions.

Want to know God’s will for your life?

Start seeking him.

Then keep seeking…

Matthew 7:7, NLT says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

If you’re reading along in the One Year Bible with me then you would have caught this verse. The awesome thing about being in the Word C O N T I N U A L L Y is the source of strength it provides.

The Word is living.

It’s active.

Just like you and me.

Hebrews 4:12, NLT says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Want to know how to hear from God? Resolve to read the Word this year.

Don’t let another year slip you by simply because you’re afraid of being

exposed.

That’s part of growing and living and being in community.

Be vulnerable.

Like it or not.

Ultimately, it’s your choice to reveal part of yourself to your family and friends.

Why is it that it’s sometimes easier to let a stranger in on what’s going on in your life? Maybe it’s fear. Maybe you’re not yet confident in your relationship.

If it’s confirmation you’re seeking this year, I encourage you to stay in the Word, pray, and get in a Bible believing community where you can receive support, accountability, and encouragement you need.

Hebrews 10:25, NLT says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

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15 Reasons to Read the Bible

In 1997, my mom gave me a NLT One Year Bible. I was in the hospital with severe eczema all over my face and feet.

She read to me Hosea 6:1-3 that says,

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”

I was determined to find my own verse so I read through the One Year Bible for eleven months and twenty six days later I found it.

“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10, NLT).

My life has never been the same since and I wholeheartedly believe in reading the Word daily. That’s why I do what I do. I write, speak, teach, publish, laugh, and love according to what I’ve learned through this book. 1997-2011 marks my crystal anniversary of being in the Word. That’s 15 years of being fruitful and remaining in the vine that is Jesus.

Because I’m SO passionate about it I’m giving you 15 reasons to read the Bible this year with me!!

1. Get to know Jesus. If you like someone you’re going to spend time & money getting to know them. It’s really that simple!

2. Be a follower. Disciple = follower. It’s not a spiritual term. You follow people on Twitter and Facebook, so why not be mindful to follow God FIRST?

3. Discipline takes time. Over the years I’ve discovered what works for me. Yearly devotional + One Year Bible + journal = a very happy Renee. Find what works best for you and stick with it!!

4. If you’re bored, God’s bored. I don’t remember who told me that, but it’s stuck with me. If you’re in the middle of reading your daily this & daily that and you find that you’ve replaced the ritual with religion. Get. Out. Quick. Find something else. Do something else. Go somewhere else. Ask someone else.

5. Don’t be afraid. Perfect love (from God) casts out all fear. Throughout a year’s time you and I will encounter trials and temptations. Watch for them and stay alert. Mostly though don’t be afraid. If you need help remembering this just open to Joshua 1. I think God says it like 8 times. Don’t be afraid…Don’t be afraid…just keep swimming…just keep swimming…

6. Ask. Just because you or I am in the Word daily doesn’t mean we still struggle. Ask for help!

7. Don’t do it alone. We need community. We need people. We need help. See if one of your friends or family can keep you accountable to spend your time daily with God. If you don’t tell others, they won’t know to ask.

8. Learn more! I’m like a sponge. I soak up everything I see, touch, taste, smell, read, etc. Here is a great way to spark learning in your life. Take a topic you read about in your daily quiet time and dig deeper.

9. Use helpful tools. My favorites are NLT One Year Bible, Streams in the Desert (devotional), My Utmost For His Highest (devotional), BibleGateway.com, You Version, and Logos.

10. Use your senses. The Bible actually says to taste and see what is good (Psalm 34:8). Food tastes good, your time with God should too!

11. Find your promise. There are a million (okay maybe not a million) promises. I like to treat my Bible as a text book and underline my favorite verses and write “Promise” up on the top margin to remind me of God’s promises.

12. Memorize Scripture. If you can quote your favorite movie, you can memorize Scripture. Just sayin’

13. Fall in love with God. No matter what you read, how difficult a passage is, or how frustrating it is to find time to spend with Him…He is worth it! All of it. All the marbles, all the money, everything in the world does not compare to Him!

14. His grace is enough. My heartache is knowing God, seeing that He can heal, and watching when He says no. Grace is figuring out that He is enough. No. Matter. What.

15. God is the Beginning and the End. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means that January 1-December 31st is all under His control.

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