10 Tips to Renew YOUR Devotional Life

10 Tips to Renew your devotional life.

1. BE A FOLLOWER. Disciple simply means follower. It’s not a spiritual term.

QUESTION: You follow people on Twitter and Facebook, so why not be mindful to follow God FIRST?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).

2. DISCIPLINE TAKES TIME. Over the years I’ve discovered what works for me. Daily eVerses + Yearly devotionals + One Year Bible + journal/pen = a VERY happy Renee.

QUESTION: What have you found works best for you?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NLT).

3. IF YOU’RE BORED, GOD’S BORED. My friend Monique told me this phrase, and it’s always stuck with me. If you’re in the middle of reading your daily this & daily don’t be afraid to get creative. Try a new Bible translation, time of the day, or devotional book.

QUESTION: In the past what have you found most helpful in getting creative with changing up your devotional life with God?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts” (Exodus 31:1-3, NLT).

4. 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.

QUESTION: Write down the names of one or two people who help keep you accountable for reading the Word daily. If you can’t think of anyone, write down the name(s) of people who you will ask this week:

1. ______________________________________

2. ______________________________________

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 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” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT).

5. ASK FOR HELP. Don’t be afraid to lean on your accountability partner for help. When trials come (and they will), God tangibly offers His support in the form of those who are made in His image (your friends and family).

QUESTION: Are you afraid to ask others for help?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening” (Acts 16:25, NLT).

6. KEEP WATCHING! Even when we’re asking others for support and encouragement—ultimately we need to take responsibility to stand watch and keep watching for the Lord to speak to us.

QUESTION: Where do you go to watch for the Lord? Write down at least three places including your room, the outdoors, private gardens, etc.

1. ______________________________________

2. ______________________________________

3. ______________________________________

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint” (Habakkuk 2:1-2, NLT).

7. USE YOUR SENSES. I don’t know about you, but I love the taste of food. I like how it fills me up, tastes good, and gives me energy. The Bible is like that too. We taste and see that God is good by spending time daily in the Word, through prayer, and meeting with others.

QUESTION: How do you use your senses to connect with Jesus daily?

Sight – ________________________________________

Hearing – ______________________________________
Touch – _______________________________________

Smell – _______________________________________
Taste – _______________________________________

 

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:33, 35, NLT).

8. FIND YOUR PROMISE. It took me eleven months and twenty-six days to find my promise of healing from God. He told me specifically “In kindness He called me to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after I have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen me, and He will place me on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10, NLT-emphasis mine).

QUESTION: What kind of promise from the Lord are you desperately searching for or have you already found one?

YOUR BIBLICAL EXAMPLE HERE: ___________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

9. MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE. If you can quote your favorite movie, you can memorize Scripture. Just sayin’.

QUESTION: When was the last time you memorized a favorite passage of Scripture?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:8, NLT).

10. LIVING FOR ETERNITY. God has given us every spiritual gift we need for living a godly life (2 Peter 1:3, NLT). Don’t let Judgment day catch you by surprise. Live each day with for eternity. Add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, affection, and love to your faith daily.

QUESTION: What attribute do you find most difficult and/or easy to live out loud?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT).

NEXT STEPS:

Purchase a copy of “Faithbook of Jesus: Connecting With Jesus Daily” on Amazon and subscribe to Daily Devotionals on Air 1.com and New Living Translation Daily Devotionals.

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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!!!)

===

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)

===

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).

==

“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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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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Facebook official

[Why my relationship is more important than a Facebook status or being Facebook official.]

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:17, NLT).

I think it’s the coolest thing that I started dating Marc the week I started editing my book on dating and relationships [to be released January, 2012 with Harvest House].

My editor, Kathleen, sent me back a TWENTY-THREE page Word document pertaining to my book, how she perceived it, and many (MANY) takeaway points of how I can make it the best book ever!

At first, I was humbled.

Then I was excited.

And then I was overwhelmed.

Back to Marc…

I can’t believe that in all my prayers for a relationship. Wanting. Pleading. Begging to be in a godly relationship could and would actually come true. Not just come true, but happen at the RIPE time.

The words below were written to me from a friend back in 2003 after my last serious relationship ended (that’s EIGHT years ago). She said something that still rings true today:

Your actions speak your heart. Your heart is not fully with me the lover of your soul. I miss you and desperately want you to myself, and you are looking elsewhere. This will not lead you to the full joy I want you to have. (Insert your name here) keep your faith in me, that I will bring you the desires of your heart. Stand strong and do not look to men. I will bring you the one, and how sweet will it be if you remain pure and focused on me until then.

Do not be hindered by your flesh, for your flesh wants pleasure now. But now is not the time, not yet.

Do not be angry because when that day comes, you will be pleased beyond comprehension.

Wait for him and do not search for him for when the time is ripe you will know–I will tell you.

When you give this to me I will give you peace, but when attacks of the flesh come–flee for the peace I have, which comes when you trust in me and wait for the proper timing–the time, when it comes, will be so amazing so please wait for this wonderful gift! I love you!

Eight years later the phrase “when the time is ripe” still haunts me in my sleep, in my waking up, in going about my business.

This past year when God had me choose the value of “fruitful” for 2011 I had only hoped. No-dreamed it would come true! Following up last year’s value of “Intimacy” and the year I spent with God and the invaluable lessons I learned. Priceless.

So here I am enjoying the company of a godly man who loves Christ and loves others. It’s truly a wonderful gift and I’m so glad I waited.

Back to Facebook

So many times I’ve seen relationships rise and fall on the Facebook wall (See the movie Catfish for a crazy portrayal of this very subject).

Suddenly someone who was “single” is now “in a relationship” or worse–the “it’s complicated!” I’m not judging, but you can usually figure out where that’s going!

Last year I briefly dated someone for a few weeks and sadly I was interested more in what people had to say and how they perceived my “relationship status” that I made it Facebook official within seconds of him asking me to be his girlfriend.

Before I talked to God.

Before I consulted my best friends.

Before. Before. Before.

After I realized that we had the compatibility of a field mouse (what??) it was over. And the damage done on cleaning up my “image” on Facebook again became more important than the actual relationship itself.

Skip to now…

I am proud to say that I lasted almost a month before saying ANYTHING on Facebook. And if anyone knows me–that’s pretty good. Because I am a processor, writer, encourager, speaker, WHATEVER everything I do is usually NOT done in private.

When God tells me to shout from the mountain tops, publish his glorious deeds, or encourage someone I DO IT!!!

But what you didn’t see was the time spent in the Word, with friends, and most of all–Marc himself!

I’ve enjoyed that precious time getting to know him one on one and I’m still enjoying our time. It only gets better with time!!!

Back to editing…

When I started writing my first book, “Faithbook of Jesus” I had NO idea the trials and spiritual warfare that I would face. Not only was it HARDER, but more challenging than I ever would have imagined. So much so that I quit my job and went into full time ministry in the worst economic recession ever. And you know what? God blessed my obedience.

I can’t thank God enough. I shutter in obedience when he not only asks me to write words but HE MAKES ME LIVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

So much harder.

So here I am writing this book on dating and relationships and everything I’m processing from the TWENTY-THREE page Word document of the changes my editor wants me to make I’m living–like RIGHT now!

If you’re single…

If you’re single or in a relationship consider the source. Where do all blessings come from? And who has the power to take them away?

My mentor, Pam Farrel, gave me a bobbing head turtle when I graduated from her Circle of Influence (a mentor program for first time authors). The question she asks us is “how did the turtle get on the fence post?” SOMEBODY PLACED IT THERE.

The only official thing we should be truly concerned with is the power of God. He has the power to ELEVATE us and HUMBLE us. The choice is ours. Will you be found waiting [OBEDIENT]?

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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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