During busy seasons of life, spending time with God can be forgotten and easily pushed aside. Here are 10 ways to help you have a more effective quiet time.
Find your spot. Find a quiet spot, or a spot where you can focus.
Only bring what you need. Bring your Bible, journal, pen, and maybe a devotional book. Leave your computer at home because it can easily become a distraction.
Plan. Plan it into your schedule. Set a specific time and length each day.
Start with prayer. Ask God to give you wisdom to understand the scripture you read, and to help you focus on him.
Journal. Write down what God shows you. As you read scripture, God will teach you things. Write them down so you do not forget them. Write the verses out. This will help you learn the verse, and be able to look back later when God feels distant. (For more about journaling, read Why journal?)
Praise God. Worship God for who he is.
Thank God. Thank God for who he is and what he has done.
Confess your sins. Ask God to reveal any sins that are hurting your relationship with him.
Lately, I’ve been asking myself why I value Jesus. Do I value him because he is useful or because he is beautiful?
It is easy to forget about the beauty of Jesus, and it is even easier to focus on your own needs and desires.
To figure out why I value Jesus, I went to my journal and looked at what I’ve been praying for. None of my recent prayers have been thanking Jesus or admiring Jesus. They have been about me and my wants.
Jesus, help my friend love me.
Jesus, help me rid my addiction to sugar.
Jesus, use me to further your kingdom.
Try to name 10 recent movies that did not have a romance story in the plot. Could you do it? I couldn’t. We are being fed the lie that we need a man to complete us.
During the month of June, I participated in the June Goal Challenge. (Click here to read the post that explains the challenge, “Tired of giving up on goals?”) One of my goals for the month was to not watch romantic comedies. I quickly learned that not only romantic comedies, but most movies and TV shows had a romance plot line. I had to broaden my goal from avoiding just romantic comedies, to practically all movies and TV shows.
I wanted to avoid romantic comedies, because I am learning to be content in the single stage of my life. Those movies did not help me trust God. With a heart that is trying to trust in God’s perfect plan, watching fake relationships on TV is poison.
These relationships are not real, and are rarely a good representation of Godly relationships or Christ’s love.
When I took a month away from watching most TV shows and movies, I began trusting God more. At the end of the month, I processed the challenge and thought about the peace I gained and the new faith I have in God’s plan. There has been a change in my heart! Some days I catch myself still believing Satan’s lies, but these days are happening less and less. I am learning to trust God that his plans are perfect.
To all the non single people, be careful what “advice” you tell someone. I had someone say, “If you want a boyfriend, go out and look. Maybe you’re not putting yourself out there enough.” This kind of goes off topic, but I just wanted to say please don’t say that to someone. As Godly women, we are trying to learn how to trust in God’s perfect timing and be completely satisfied in Jesus. When you tell someone to just go look for a man, you are furthering the thought that we need a man to complete us.
No man, not even the man you marry, will complete you. Only Jesus can complete us.
We need to fight against the lie the Devil and the world is trying to feed us that we need a man to complete us. If you are single and struggling finding contentment, stop watching this junk. Stop watching the sex scenes. Stop watching weddings. Stop looking at wedding pins on Pinterest. Step away from the poison, and turn to the one who can fill this void – Jesus.
If you are like me and have a hard time trusting God’s plan for you, I challenge you to join me in the July Goal Challenge and add this to your goals. I gave up watching most TV shows and movies in June, and I plan to do it again in July. You can start now, it is not too late!
During my freshman year at USF, I began to meet with an older women in Cru, a college ministry. She prepared lessons for me and helped me in my walk with Christ. I loved our discipleship time together. As a freshman, I had recently surrendered my life to Christ, so I was very excited to learn. Every word she spoke to me I held on to as if it was gold. I made her an idol. When the year ended, she left and I was devastated.
Our friendship was one of the most helpful, but also the most harmful, during these early stages of my walk with the Lord. Thankfully, Jesus made me realize the problem, and used everything to bring Him glory.
I hope to help you figure out now if you are in a similar situation before the problem gets worse.
Here are 4 ways to figure out if you idolize a friend, mentor, or leader in your life: (more…)
In my opinion, this is the biggest lie that women believe when they’re thinking about doing ministry or joining a leadership team.
This thought first entered my mind when I was in high school.
I was trying to figure out what God was calling me to do. I was confused, unsure, and it did not help that people always asked me, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
Adults frequently ask this question. In high school, kids are between 14-18 years old. How do they expect someone to know what he or she wants to do for the rest of his or her life at such a young age?
During my 10th grade year of high school, I started to get the call that God wanted me to go into ministry. What ministry has meant to me has changed over the years, but I knew two things: that I wanted to help people and that God was pretty cool. Combining those two things seemed like a perfect option! But I believed a lie that I was not qualified.
So, when I was asked that question, I felt embarrassed to share with others my heart desire for my career, so I would always reply, “Orthodontist.”
This was the safest way to go. If I would say, “I don’t know.” Then, I would get additional questions, “Well, what is your favorite subject? Did you like math? How about teaching? Etc… Thus, I realized the safest thing to do was reply, “Orthodontist.” There were no follow up questions, just a nod of agreement and maybe an encouraging statement.
For a high schooler, it is extremely difficult to fully trust God with this subject. It is difficult to share with others when you are not 100% sure that this is what you will do. Students also worry about what others will think of their choice. I worried people would not understand or try and talk me out of it.
When I was thinking about going into ministry, I believed the lie that one had to be perfect. How could I help people in their walks with God when I was not perfect?
Again, when I was asked to lead a Bible study in Cru my freshman year of college I did not want to step up and lead because I thought I was not qualified. How can I lead other women when I have my own issues to work through?
It is common to respond to God by saying, “I can’t. I’m not qualified.” I’ve heard this in high school. I’ve heard this in college.
My response now is, “Well what is qualified? Name one person in the Bible who was qualified.”
Abraham lied about Sarah.
Noah was a drunk.
Jacob was a liar.
Joseph was abused by his brothers.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah was said to be too young.
David had an affair.
Elijah was suicidal.
The Samaritan woman had multiple divorces.
Jonah ran away from God.
Peter denied Jesus.
The disciples fell asleep while praying.
And there are more examples found all over scripture!
Friends, if you are thinking of going into ministry, leading a Bible study, or joining the leadership team at your church, I want you to remember one thing: God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
I am so excited today because I get to be the first ever blogger to share her story on the Set Apart Spotlight!
She is Set Apart is a Christian ministry with this vision: to see women of all ages un-ashamed of what makes them different, to be bold and embrace what sets them apart and not conform to worldly standards. (Romans 12:2) This ministry was founded by a wonderful new friend of mine, Tierraney Richardson. Later in the week, her story will be featured on my blog, so make sure to check it out!
Think about a statue. On my college campus, we have a statue of Martin Luther King. What is the purpose of that statue? A statue is an image erected to display an event or a person who has achieved something in their lives that we want to remember. The image points to the original person and brings them glory.
We were created to be God’s statues and images.
Genesis 1:26-27:“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.”
God made human beings in his image so that the world would be filled with reflectors of himself.
Today there are over 7 billion people in the world. 7 billion people created in the image of God. 7 billion people who point to God.
God created us for his glory.
Here are some additional verses and questions to reflect on:
How are you pointing the world to God’s glory? For example, we can reflect God’s glory in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness.
How are you not pointing the world to God’s glory?
How will your thinking and feelings change if you truly understand why God created you?
Important to note: God does not need us to make him glorious. He does not need to be enhanced. When he calls us to glorify him, we don’t make him glorious, he already is. Being a statue for God means we are called to show and display his glory.
I love talking about how powerful our stories are, because when I realized this my life changed. I began to understand why I needed to share my story with other women. Through this, I experienced so much growth in my walk with God!
In the past two weeks I’ve blogged about how powerful our stories are. Here is why:
Finally, the third reason why our stories are powerful is because vulnerability leads to growth.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
When we admit our weaknesses to others, God has an opportunity to be glorified. We are powerless. God is powerful.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Have you ever gone through a difficult time, reached the other end, and thought, “How in the world did I get through this?”
My freshman year of college I was in a ditch of loneliness, sadness, and anger. At that time, I never thought I could be where I am now. Now, every time I am vulnerable and I share my story with someone of how God healed me, I let my weaknesses show God’s strength. I get to give God all the glory.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” 2 Tim 1: 8
When Jesus was dying on the cross, everyone thought he was a complete failure, except God. They believed that all he had done was a lie and was now dying a useless death. They didn’t know God’s plan or look at the bigger picture because they focused on the now.
Three days later they saw things differently. God’s plan became clear.
Friends, we are just like this! In the midst of pain and struggling we question God. Then when we see the other side, we see how God used that situation to glorify himself. We begin to think differently.
I love journaling. When I go back and re-read old journals I can truly see that God has used my story to bring him glory. Here is one prayer I wrote in November of my freshman year of college, “God, I know someday I will see how you’ve made a beautiful thing out of this.”
God has answered my prayers. He has fixed my broken heart. And he can fix yours too. He can and will make a beautiful thing out of all your pain and suffering.
Ladies, be vulnerable with the other women in your life. You don’t know what they are going through. Maybe you have similar stories, and God wants to use you both to help each other.
Friends, I am so excited! Today I get to share my story on a wonderful blog called Revolutionaries! I hope you check it out!
Click here to read my story of how prince charming wasn’t enough for me.
If you are a Christian, Bonnie @ Revolutionaries would love to post your story! Just contact her on her blog. Let her know that you have a story you want to share. Remember, that your story is powerful and can impact someone’s eternity!
I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!
Last week, I blogged about how powerful our stories are. (Click here to see it!)
Our stories have as much power as Jesus’ death on the cross. If you are a believer in Christ and have a personal relationship with him, God can and will use your story to bring him glory. Your story is an extension of God’s power!
The second reason why your story is powerful is because our God has an eternal perspective. God knows how each event in our lives will be used to impact eternity!
Isaiah 55:8-11: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
We have to understand that God is SO much bigger than our tiny little brains.
Our thoughts are smaller than his thoughts. Our plans are smaller than his plans. Think of eternity as a line. It is a line that goes on and on and on forever. We are just one dot on that line, so we only see our dot and a little before and after. But God, the Creator of the line, sees the whole line! He knows how one dot will impact the next.
Before going on project, I prayed that God would bring one other women who had been sexually abused. I desired to use my story to help someone else heal. One day in Miami, I went on a walk with one of my friends. She was upset and said that she didn’t know why she was telling me this, but wanted to tell me her story. She had been raped her freshman year of college. I was the first person she had told.
God planned that both her and I would be in Miami that summer. She felt weird inside because the Holy Spirit was telling her to share her deepest pain with me. We cried and talked together, and I began to understand that God would use my story to glorify himself. That summer I got to help my friend begin a journey of healing, and I continued healing by viewing my life through God’s eternal perspective.
Later that week, I found out that 5 other girls on project had been sexually abused.
I prayed for 1 girl, God gave me 6. Before project, we each focused on our dot and our hurt, but God was focused on how our hurt could help others.
Here is my favorite part of the story! After project, one of the women felt called to share her story with other ladies, specifically the Greek women on her campus. She went to each chapter meeting and shared her story. She shared what she had gone through, how God redeemed her, saved her, and how now is experiencing real love in a relationship with God.
Later that semester, Cru at her college hosted an event called Girls’ Night Out by Marian Jordan. At the event, they witnessed 98 girls pray to give their life to Christ, most of them were women from sororities that my friend shared her story to.
Dear reader, my friend realized that God could take her story and use it to change women’s eternities! He can do the same with yours! Your story is powerful! I challenge you to stop focusing on your dot and focus on the line. Let God use your story to impact others eternities! Love, Joy