Hope During Times of Struggle: How to Rely on God

Life is full of ups and downs, and there are moments when we find ourselves facing immense challenges and difficulties. It is during times of struggle that we often yearn for a glimmer of hope to guide us through the darkness. In the midst of our trials, one constant source of unwavering support and strength is our faith in God. Continue to read as I share how to find hope during times of struggle.

The episode:

Timestamps

00:00- Exploring Faith and Resilience: A Conversation with Carmen James”
02:15- Reflection on Growing Up in the Nazarene Church and Finding Faith in Adulthood
_:__:__ Reflection on Finding Faith After a Difficult Marriage and Cancer Diagnosis
09:36- Rediscovering God’s Priorities
_:__:__ Finding Faith in the Face of Cancer
14:10- Faith, Hope, and Overcoming Cancer
19:57- Exploring Faith-Based Support During Cancer Journey
25:58- Faith and Overcoming Adversity
30:39- The Power of Scripture in Healing and Encouragement
36:27-  A Reflection on Faith and Miracles
38:38- Trusting the Lord and Cancer Treatment
40:28- Experiencing God’s Presence During Cancer Treatment

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Hope During Times of Struggle: How to Rely on God

Have you ever noticed that spiritual growth only comes through trials?? I know for me, the times I grow the most in my walk with God is when I’m facing hard things. This is also true for my guest today.

Her name is Carmen, and in this episode, Carmen shares her journey through battling cancer and the profound lessons she learned along the way. Carmen’s story is one of resilience, faith, and the incredible power of community.

Throughout her trials, she discovered a deep trust in God that carried her through the darkest moments. In today’s conversation, we delve into her experiences, the transformative healing she underwent, and the role that prayer played in her journey.

Carmen’s story proves that even in the face of unimaginable difficulties, it is possible to find strength, joy, and purpose.

Carmen’s journey reminds us that our greatest battles can become the catalysts for profound personal growth and transformation. Join me as we dive into Carmen’s inspiring tale, exploring the invaluable lessons she has learned and the wisdom she gained from her encounters with both darkness and light.

So continue reading as we discover how unwavering faith in God can help us navigate the unknown and embrace the healing journey with grace.

Meet Carmen

I was born and raised in the Nazarene church. I grew up in a very strict home. We went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night.

My dad was very big into our church, and very much lived out. His faith has been a tremendous role model for me through the years.

But like a lot of kids, I didn’t grow up loving church. When I went off to college and was obviously out on my own. You know at that age you you’re just exploring the world. You’re out from underneath your parent’s roof and their rules. And my rules at that point didn’t include church and I really started to drift.

Church was not a priority. A relationship with God was not a priority.

I wasn’t in the word of God. I could give lip service because I’d had years of going to church, but going to church is not the same thing as being in a real relationship with the Lord.

And so I got into young adulthood and married, and he was Catholic.

I made that conversion to Catholicism, did that for about 10 years, and learned a lot, but it just wasn’t for me. After our divorce, I continued in the Catholic Church for a very short time and my second husband’s father was well shall we say an atheist.

And so that presented a lot of challenges in our marriage and how I wanted to raise the kids. And I often found myself going to church alone and trying to take three small kids by myself and it was a real struggle and I gave up. I gave in.

And that marriage ended 10 years later.

And so at that point, I was in a space where I felt like I need to get back to church. And so I went back to more of a Protestant church like I was raised in and fell in love and started taking my children because I wanted my children to have that base right.

The person who I’m married to now was not going to church at that time and I just didn’t let that deter me. But what I found over the years was it did start to impact me.

A picture of Anne Markey and Carmen James. Above their names and pictures are the words, Hope during struggle. How to rely on God to thrive amidst cancer diagnosis.

The Importance of being equally yoked

We’re told in the Bible to be very careful about being unequally yoked.

I truly believe that people become like the five people that we spend the most time with. And that impacted me and I found myself again, once again drifting away from church.

So Long story short, five, 5 and a half years ago I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma stage 3, which is a blood cancer.

For those of you who know nothing about that disease, that illness, that type of cancer, you hear the words incurable when you sit with that oncologist. And that dropped me to my knees. It was a big wake-up call because God had been pursuing me.

Jesus had been pursuing me, and the bells and whistles were going off on the dashboard of life.

I was just choosing to ignore and live my life the way I wanted to live on my terms. And that diagnosis brought everything to a screeching halt. It literally.

My world crashed. It was turned upside down.

In that moment, I realized that I was not in control and that someone else was calling the shots for real and had delivered me something to which I wouldn’t be able to figure a way out.

Because I’m a firstborn. A type A personality, very driven, a control freak if you will, up to that point. And this diagnosis would be the one that I would find myself on my knees begging the good Lord.

The word of God does not return empty

I love hearing testimonies of how as a kid you got to know the Lord and that it wasn’t wasted. Yes, you drifted a little bit, but because of that solid foundation, you went back to it.

I know that as a mom I always worry about whether or not we are teaching them the right things.

But it’s just an encouragement to remember that training our children in The Lord can produce fruit now and/or in the long rung.

Even if they make wrong choices, it’s not wasted. God can still redeem it and can still use it and can still, bring them back.

A Father’s example

The interesting thing behind this is my dad was diagnosed with the same cancer 12 years prior and so I watched my dad walk in faith, never wavered, and really took a hard-line position that he was going to do the aggressive chemo route and that he was going to stand in faith and believe for his healing, believe for his miracle.

He was not willing to claim the word incurable because my dad believed that The Lord is the great physician and if He wants to heal me He will. And if He doesn’t heal me here, He will heal me on the other side.

So it rocked our world when we got the news that Dad was sick and we were shocked. When this sort of thing happens, you start to ask: How did we get here and were there signs that we missed along the way?

At one point I was heartbroken and scared that I would lose my dad. And my dad said, Carmen, I’m going to tell you something right now. Don’t cry. Don’t waste your tears. I’m good. My eternity is secure. And I’m good. If the good Lord calls me home today, I’m good. Waste no tears. I’ve lived a great life.

Do I want to go in this moment? No. But it’s up to God and we have no control. So I will do my part and I will do the treatment.

But if the answer is still no and he takes me home, we’re good. We’re at peace.

And I remember thinking – wow, I’m not at peace and I’m not good with this.

And I wondered why would my God do this to my dad. He was so active in his church and volunteered and, he was always the first one to jump up and volunteer.

When the church was raising money for a project, my dad would stand up and commit thousands of dollars. And I would look at my mom and she would have this like look of horror on her face because she was like, we don’t have that money. She didn’t know where that was coming from, but that was what I learned. Faith and action. And I’m thankful for that. Because as I walked that journey with Dad, little did I know 12 years later, that was going to be me.

Carmen’s Cancer Journey

I underwent the same aggressive chemotherapy that my dad did. I lost all my hair. I was deathly ill.

At that time, I was an entrepreneur trying to run a book of business. So I have no guaranteed paycheck.

I needed to work and I was scared to death. I also recognized that God has already prepped the stage. And I already had a great example of faith.

Now did that great example make it super easy for me to go through that process? 100 % no.

In fact, I had to work through the stages of grief. I had to take my own journey in it and let it play out.

In the 1st 24 to 48 hours of reality really sinking him for me, I remember sitting at the kitchen table. My husband came home from work and sat there bawling. And my husband like, what’s going on?

And I’m like, I am just so angry at God right now. Look what happened to my dad. And now it’s happening to me and this isn’t fair. And why me? And you know the whole- what did I do to deserve this?

I had this anger that just spewed out at me and I remember who I needed to get that out.

I needed to work through that and process all of that if I was going to move forward. And I let the dust settle and I didn’t linger there.

I would say within a day or two I was out of that pit and I was like going to rise up and kick cancer to the door.

Using the pain for glory

But what I would say is there were moments in the six months of chemo and being very sick and trying to hold on to my business. I never ever blamed God, but there were moments when I didn’t see how any good can come from this.

Here’s what I know today, 5 and a half years– I received a phone call that my dad would battle cancer again.

I could not believe what I was hearing and that was hard. But I was like, oh, my gosh, we just, it just feels like we came up for air and we’re going to get hooked under yet again.

Praise God he would come through for my dad yet again. My dad is still here, he’s in his eighties, and he has now beat cancer twice. And what I have come to realize is 2 of the clients in my Virtual Wellness coaching program have found out that they have cancer as they’ve been a part of my program.

And I have one right now who’s about to battle breast cancer for the second time. We have Bible study on Monday nights over Zoom and this particular client has been very active in my Bible study. She nearly lost her husband last year. She’s been through so much. So as a tribe, we call ourselves a tribe. We’re devastated by the news. But we’re not going into battle asking for the victory. We are going into battle proclaiming the victory.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings to God

The Bible tells us the story of when Lot lost everything. He had these extreme emotions.

And so we see it in scripture.

But then when it comes to our own personal journey and we have these feelings of anger and feelings of things being unfair, I find that most Christians get really uncomfortable with those feelings.

Because you’re not allowed to be angry with Go. I’ve always felt like you like its OK, be angry but go to God with that anger. Express it and get it out on the table. Tell Him.

And so I love that you shared that you share how it’s messy. Our feelings and our faith aren’t always linear, and kind of get muddied up.

But I love that you were able to move. Out of that, into a space where you know you were trusting God through the process and then being able to use that experience to then encourage others.

God trusts us with the story

God trusts us with the story, right? He can’t trust everyone with incurable cancer.

He can’t trust everyone with breast cancer for the second time. But He’s entrusted us because He knows. That we will use that story and He will use it for our good in His glory if we allow it.

And I have been very open, very vulnerable, very raw, very real with my clients about this entire journey, very transparent.

One of the Bible verses that early on in my cancer journey really stuck out for me is from the book of Esther. And that the verse about perhaps, perhaps you were creative for such a time as this.

And in the moment I remember thinking, well, that really sucks. You mean to tell me that’s what this is all going to boil down to, that I was created for this? I mean, what good is going to come from this? What I can tell you is what I’m so passionate about. God has made it very real, the calling on my life. And who and what is my mission field?

And these women that I get to do life with and I get to be their Wellness coach. That’s my assigned mission field.

And I have watched God move inside my client’s lives. I have watched God show up.

When COVID hit, I was in a gym as a personal trainer. So basically all I did was give people great workouts. When COVID hit, I had a choice. At that moment, I prayed about it and I had a certification as a Wellness coach. But I had not used that certification.

God opened the door for me to be able to have an income, to still be able to have a job, because I could move my clients online, turn my business upside down, and go from just personal training to giving my clients workout, faith-based spiritual component, a nutrition component, a stress management component.

We talk about sleep. We talk about work-life balance, which is where I found myself when I had the cancer diagnosis. I wasn’t living in alignment with God’s priorities and there was no number work, life, balance. It was all about work.

My clients get to see me walk that out in real-time. And it’s one thing to sing a song about faith, you know, I’m always reminded of that song, Oceans.

That was such a popular song at the time I was diagnosed with cancer. I know that song because I would sing it and sob. That was my victory song, if you will because I felt like God was taking me into the deep where my feet wouldn’t touch on purpose so that I would become so dependent on him.

And when we’re never called to the deep, we don’t know the definition of faith. We can sing about it till the cows come.

But when you’re fate, when your feet don’t touch the bottom of that ocean and you have to lean on him and not yourself, that is the game changer.

Trials test your faith

I grew up in a Christian home and I thought I had faith. When you face those hard things, it’s the rubber hitting the road.

And this is when you have to decide: is this real?

And I remember for myself, it’s like I could spend all my time angry or frustrated or questioning or anything like that. But if I really believe that God is who He says He is.

I have to choose to trust.

And so it’s always these points where you have that choice.

You have the choice to say no, I don’t know what God is doing, but I trust Him.

Or it’s really a whole bunch of baloney.

But I know that it’s in those hard moments where you see Him so much stronger. That builds your faith.

Why is it the hard things that help us grow? I don’t actually want to go through all those things.

But then on the other side, it’s seeing how the Lord carried me through. He helped me grow. I understand so much more. And so there are these benefits, even though it’s sometimes a circus or a gong show or just a lot of ridiculousness.

We are the proof of God’s existence

If we’re not entrusted with the story and we don’t live it out, how will others really even know God exists?

Because if we can just be cured by modern medicine, which I know God uses medicine why am I doing this if we can just do it without him.

No one’s ever going to believe that He exists or that He is sovereign and that He is in control and He has the bigger picture.

We are the miracles.

When people say to me, I’ve never seen a miracle, I tell them “you’re looking at one”.

God knew that His strong-willed child needed something that would reguire me to need Him.

In the Bible, wasn’t it Paul who had the thorn in the flesh and He kept going back and asked God to remove it. Please remove this. Please take it. And God’s like, no, I’m not taking that away.

Why? Because it creates dependent on him.

Midset is life changing

I’ve learned a lot about mindset. I’ve learned a lot about the battlefield of the mind because that’s where the battle is won or lost.

In most things in life and the enemy very early on. When I was not rooted and grounded in the word of God, when I did not know my identity in Christ, when I did not understand love, not your life, even unto death.

I’m not here for me. I’m not here to just get married and have kids and be glam on run a business and make money and go on vacation.

I’m here to serve him.

He’s not here to serve me.

Standing of the Word of God

I love how practical scripture can be and how it becomes so real in certain circumstances.

When I was younger, I would read scripture and ask, what do you mean? I would think, this makes no sense, and how is this possible?

And then you go through an experience, it clarifies to truth of The Bible.
We know that the word of God can come in and give us life.

How did Scripture help you in your journey?

I’ve shared this story before on a couple of other podcasts. At the time that I was diagnosed with cancer.

I was in a gym, and the gentleman who owned the gym that I was renting space from, he’s a Christian. He’s now an associate pastor at a local church. 1 morning I was sick that morning. I didn’t feel like I look good. and he met me at the door and put his arm around me and he spoke scripture over me and he prayed over me and he did that more than once.

It was a game-changer for me. He was the reason I started going back to church.

God does put the right people in the right places for us. And encourages us.

He was the reason that I got back in my Bible, that I really got back in a relationship with the Lord because he ministered to me every day and he believed in me and he spoke life over me when others were not.

God puts the right people in place

When you hear incurable and people aren’t educated, sometimes they say things that mean and they’re devastating.

He was that one person that would speak the word of God, pray the word of God, and stand in the gap. And it was amazing and I’m thankful for that because. That was life-giving, life-changing.

That was God who put that person right there when I needed them the most. And I really have prayed that God would give me those same opportunities to pay that forward for others to be the one who speaks. Life stands in the gap, intercedes and walks out of the difficult.

And I was so thankful that God put him there.

The Peace of God will wash over you

We read about, you know, and the peace of God will wash over you. And that was going through my mind when you were saying that it doesn’t even necessarily need to be a specific scripture, just the opening of God’s word and speaking it out loud and speaking it over people can bring people peace.

I think sometimes people want to do this, but ask what scripture and you can get hung up on, What do I say? What do I do. Instead of just being, saying- I’m just going to speak whatever words, whatever scripture the Lord tells me to and let God bring the peace.

It’s not about magic words

I was that person early on who I googled healing scriptures. And I’m obsessed. I printed them all off. I started putting them on index cards.

I started trying to memorize them because that was me trying to take control. That was me thinking there must be this magic formula that by praying the right words or memorizing enough scripture that God was going to love me enough that He’s going to come through.

It was never about that.

The other thing that I’ve really learned since then is we don’t have to pray some big, laborious, perfect prayer when it comes to healing because it isn’t about that.

It’s about do we believe, Do we have faith? Do we understand our identity in Christ? And who God is and what He’s capable of.

But then also recognizing there are no perfect words and it doesn’t matter how much we memorize or we could drone on in prayer for 20 minutes. If there’s healing, it’s because God’s organs that God gets the glory. God does the healing.

It isn’t because 10 people laid hands on you and prayed over you. Even though we realizethe Bible tal ks about that. I’m not negating that. I’m simply saying sometimes we get hung up on that.

We worry, did I say the right words. We worry that if we say the wrong words they don’t get healed.

We can also think wedon’t have the magic scripture to give you.

At the end of it all, God knows our hearts. He knows.

It’s not about OUR faith

I want the formula. I want The Lord to just tell me what specific steps do I need to take so that my kids get saved. Lord, tell me the specific steps I need so that …fill in the blank.

You can have the most amount of faith and say all the right things and do all the right things and the Lord still chooses not to intervene.

I remember this instant in the last year at our church. Within the span of one week, two different girls got diagnosed with the same cancer.

The church gathered around both and poured the oil and prayed and laid hands on them both. And one was healed miraculously. She went to hernext appointment and it was gone.

And then the other one walked through the cancer journey.

And I wondered why this one and not this one?

And I know the mom must have been thinking the same thing and it was kind of hard to watch.

We did all the same things, and the results were very different.

But they both walked the road that the Lord had put in front of them. And both of them gave the glory to God.

And thankfully, the second one is now in remission.

That tought me that it’s not about what we do, and what we say. It’s about the Lord. And it doesn’t take a magic verse. It’s just trusting the Lord for His plan, even if we don’t know what that is or agree with it.

Praying through the pain

Carmen had six months of treatment and the oncologist said we’re going to do something called our CHOP. And for anybody who’s been through cancer, you know our CHOP is literally the most aggressive cancer protocol out on the market today and it’s.

It, you know, it knocks you. I mean, I would literally get home and I spend the next 24 hours literally beside the toilet on the bathroom floor, face down, like help me survive, like just get me through the next 24 hours. It was debilitating.

In those moments, I did pray a lot.

I had this one moment when I was walking the hospital floor, I rounded that corner with an IV pole and in the blink of an eye I saw that sun setting and I felt the Lord put his arm around me. And I knew at that minute He was walking that hall with me. His presence was so real.

I just knew he was right there beside me and we would get through it one way or the other. We were going to get through this. I mean, I didn’t know if the kid, if the chemo would work, but I knew he was there. I absolutely knew He was present.

Struggles can take various forms – whether it’s battling an illness, facing financial hardship, navigating through broken relationships, or dealing with the loss of a loved one.

It is during these moments that our faith can be tested and our hope can waver.

However, by seeking a deeper connection with God, we can find solace and renewal even in the midst of adversity.

What is God’s purpose for your life and how to find it

The search for God’s purpose for our lives can be a long and difficult process. The Bible is a guidebook that can help us along the way. It can assist us in the steps we need to take to obey and honour God through the way we live our life. Let’s take some time and see God’s purpose for your life and how to find it.

How to Find God’s will for your life 

As a Christian, my desire is to know God and His will for my life. 

The best place to start is by reading the Bible. It is God’s direct word to us. In it, He tells us who we are, how to get saved, and how to live a life that will glorify Him. 

To learn more about finding God’s will, read the blog post 9 things you should do to know God’s will

A picture of 3 women sitting on a couch with smiles on their faces. under the picture are the words,  God's purpose for your life and how to find it. www.onedeterminedlife.com

God’s purpose for your life

Even though I have known God for so long, there are still some things that I am working out and some questions that I ask God.

One question that I have found myself asking repeatedly is: what will you have me do and God, what’s next?

So maybe you are wondering about something similar. Maybe you have made the decision to follow Christ and you are wondering what to do next.

Today I want us to discover God’s purpose for your life. There is the specific will of God and the general will of God. Since I can’t know everyone who reads this blog, I can’t speak to the specific will of God in your life, but I can share  3 things that Jesus wants every Christian to do.

1. God’s purpose for your life: Love the Lord

The First thing God wants from us is to love Him and to love others.

Luke 10:27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbour as yourself.’ ”

Jesus wants us to Love Him—with every single part of ourselves—heart, soul, strength, and mind – that means that every single part of us needs to be loving Him.

When we Love God- it spills into our lives and helps us do the next part of the verse- Love your neighbour as yourself.

People like to take care of themselves. We feed, cloth, and bathe ourselves. We also don’t cause ourselves pain or hurt. We don’t call each other names. We keep the best for ourselves.

Since these are some of the ways we love ourselves, then loving others means giving people food, water, and clothing. It means that we share with them our toys, house, food, etc.

Take some time to think about the things you do to love others and love the Lord. When we love people like ourselves, we give them a small picture of how much God loves them.

2. God’s purpose for your life: Tell Others about Him

The second thing that God wants us to do is to share all this awesome news that we have.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

This verse makes it clear that we need to share with others Who God is and what He has done.

Some ways we can tell others about God:
  • Tell people what you know about God—this week we have learned so much about God—so when you go home and your parents ask you what you learned- it’s a perfect opportunity to tell them what you learned about God.
  • Invite them to places and events that share who God is- bible study, church, church events, dinner with other Christians 
  • Become a missionary– tell people about God on a full-time basis at home or in another part of the world. There are many opportunities all over the world to share about God.

 

3. God’s purpose for your life: Remember Him

The third thing that Jesus wants us to do is to remember Him.

 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

In the old testament, the people of Israel had a short memory of God’s power. God had led them out of Egypt and showed his power through the plagues. But as soon as the Israelites faced a new barrier, they complained and asked why The Lord was doing this. 

As a child, I was so confused about how the Israelites could see God’s miraculous power one day, and wonder where He was the other. But, as I grew up, there have been many times I have forgotten who God is and what He could do. I let the circumstances doubt my salvation and God’s love for me. 

Because we are so apt to forget Him, He tells us we need to remember Him. He wants us to remember that He died, that He rose again, and that He is coming back one day.

Many churches will have a service once a week that is called The Lord’s supper. This is where people can share about who God is and what He has done and remind each other about His goodness. Other churches pass the bread and wine once a week or once a month.

Why is it important to remember Christ?

As mentioned earlier, if we forget who God is and what He has done then we might become worried, and afraid.

But, when we remember God – who He is and what He has done- then we will have joy, peace, security, hope, and so on. When we remember what God has done, it gives us confidence that He can do it again.

When our oldest daughter was 2 years old, my husband lost his job. At the time we were worried and afraid—so we turned to God and trusted that He would provide for us and He did—so when my husband lost his job again a few years later—we knew God would provide for us again because we remembered He had provided for us the first time.

When we trust God during hard times and see Him work- it’s easier to trust Him with the smaller things- so it’s important to remember all the ways God loves you and provides for you. It helps build a strong foundation of trusting God.

Our lives are a gift from God. How will you live yours?

Do you want more help to know God’s purpose for your life? 

I just shared with you 3 things God wants every Christian to do. This is a great first step in knowing God’s purpose for your life. But maybe you are already doing those things and you are ready to know more. 

Well, I have something that can help. The Grow in Trust Course is a 3-day virtual event to help Christian women stop feeling lost and discover God’s plan for their lives so they can be free to love God and pursue His will. Click here to learn more. 

How to spend time with The Lord without feeling guilty

As a Christian, my struggles are not external, they are all internal. The Devil uses guilt to keep us stuck, to make us feel like bad Christians and that guilt stands in our way to having a thriving relationship with The Lord. Continue to read as I share how to spend time with The Lord without feeling guilty.

It’s so important to combat guilt- to know how to shift our thoughts when we feel guilty and not let it derail our relationship with The Lord.  

5 things Christians feel guilty about in their walk with God: 

  • Not reading their Bible as much as they should
  • Missing a day (or more of Bible study)
  • Getting distracted when you pray or read
  • Now knowing more about The Bible 
  • Not knowing more to start 

Those were just a few things I’ve felt guilty about in my walk with God. Have you felt any of these? 

This is a short list, and I’m sure there are more! 

I share this because I want you to know that The Devil loves to make us feel guilty. That you are not the only one who has these thoughts and feelings and there are things we can do to throw that guilt away. 

How to spend time with The Lord without feeling guilty

1. Understand God wants to spend time with us. 

He loves us so much He died for us so that we could spend eternity with Him, but that’s not it. God wants to spend time with us NOW!  

  • Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The Lord calls all of us to come to Him. Not just to come to Him, but to bring Him our burdens. He wants to take our burdens from us, not give us more to carry. 

These verses remind me of when Jesus tells his disciples to let the children come to Him 

  •  Luke 18:16 (NKJV) But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”

In a physical sense, we’re not children, but we are ALL God’s children and He wants each one of us to come to Him.

  • Revelation 3:20 (ESV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

The Lord wants to spend time with us, are we going to let Him in? 

The first thing we need to do is to understand that God wants to spend time with us. The second is to know that God meets us where we are. 

2. God meets us where we are

There is this idea that before we meet God, we need to “get better” or change. That’s not the truth. God meets us where we are, and then brings us along to change us to be more like Him. 

The perfect example of this is the story of The prodigal son. I know most of you already know it, but it’s worth it to read it again. 

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

Luke 15:11-24

This is the story of 2 sons- meaning this is talking about Christians. The Bible tells us that when we are saved we become sons of God. Since we are women, we can claim that as daughters of God. 

So there are 2 sons: One of them walks away and lives a life away from God. They party it up, they spend time with fake friends.

Who knows what this son did, but none of it was good. It led him to a pretty desperate life- eating food out of the pig pen. 

When we live in the world, we consume what it has to offer- fame, fortune, work, ect. And it leaves us hungry and empty because it’s empty. 

The son who’s living in the world comes to his senses. He knows that a life with his father is way better than what He has now. So he goes back. 

A picture of a family laying tummy down on a bed. They are all happy. Above the picture are the words, How to spend time with The Lord without feeling guilty. www.onedeterminedlife.com

God sees us

Then the scripture tells us that: when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 

God sees us where we are and is waiting for us to come back to Him. 

Jesus has already paid the price for your sin, and there is no sin too great to separate you from God. 

God is waiting for you, all you need to do is turn to Him. 

The Devil loves to tell us that God won’t forgive certain sins. That we knew better so God won’t take us back. 

But that’s not true! There is nothing you can do that God can’t forgive.

The older son was living a hard life. When he got to his father, he was probably wearing dirty, smelly clothes, who knows when it was he bathed last. Yet none of that mattered to the father.

The Lord loves us in our sin, takes us in our imperfections, and forgives all of it. Then, he helps us change to be more like Him. 

When it comes to reading our bibles and praying, there is this fear that maybe God doesn’t love me anymore. It’s been months since I prayed. Months since I read my Bible. 

This gap grows our fears and makes us think it’s too late, it’s been too long. But none of that was true. 

The Lord loves us regardless of how often we spend time with Him

My parents live across the country and I call them about once a week. But if I miss calling them for a couple of weeks, they aren’t mad at me. They still love me, they still love hearing from me. They don’t reject me because I missed a call. 

This would never happen in our earthly relationships unless that relationship was unhealthy. 

But our brain doesn’t connect that it’s the same with our relationship with God. He wants to hear from us all the time but doesn’t suddenly hate us if we don’t pray one day, or we miss our Bible reading time. 

Are those things good, yes, but they should not be what keeps us from turning to God? 

So, instead of focusing on the days you missed or worrying that God will reject you, focus on the truth. God is waiting for you, and will receive you- regardless of how “dirty you are”.

We have talked about how God wants to spend time with us and He meets us where we are. The third thing we can do is one simple mind shift. 

3. One simple mind shift 

Being a Christian is not a religion, it’s a relationship. 

I’m sure you have heard this said before, you might even say it yourself. But, even though you know this, you don’t practice it. 

Give me a minute to explain what I mean. 

I have had many relationships in my life, and each has taught me something about what a relationship with The Lord can look like. 

For example, My husband and I just celebrated our 15-year anniversary. 

I love my husband very much but I don’t spend all day every day talking to Him. Neither of us would get anything done. 

We talk every day, but most days those conversations are about coordinating schedules/activities and sharing highlights and low points in our day. 

I spend time with my husband every day, but I don’t consider this type of interaction as quality time. But, once a week, we have a date night and that is when we spend more time together and talk about more important things. 

If that is how I relate to my husband, why can’t the same be true with my relationship with God? 

There seems to be this expectation that Christians have to spend a huge chunk of time studying their bible every day to have a good relationship with God. 

This expectation is ridiculous, as most of us can’t do that every day. 

Don’t get me wrong, spending quality time with The Lord on a daily basis is good, but we need to stop measuring our spirituality with how often we pray or read The Bible.

The number of times we pray or read The Bible doesn’t measure a person’s relationship with God. 

So, instead of letting these unrealistic expectations make us feel guilty, I challenge you to think about it like any other relationship. 

I have a quick question for you and I’d love to see your answer in the comments below. How often do you text your best friend each day? 

For me, depending on the Friend, it can be anywhere from 1 to 10 times a day. These are small touch points we have with our friends and we can do the same with God. I call these everyday prayers. 

Everyday prayers

We can add prayer to any activity and touch base with God throughout our day. These prayers don’t have to be long or follow a pattern- just a check-in. 

For example:  Give me patience- I probably pray this at least 5 times a day. More when the kids were home all day. 

Sometimes it’s not even words, I’m taking a deep breath in and out and I’m doing so in the presence of God. I know He knows what I need at that moment and that breath represents me asking Him for help. 

I’ll give you another example of a simple prayer from this past weekend. My husband and I were supposed to drop our kids off at a friend’s place for the day to have a whole day as a date day. But, our oldest daughter wanted to attend a wedding, and the friends who were looking after the kids had other plans so we were not sure how it all would work out. This wedding was really important for my daughter and she wanted to go so I quickly just prayed: help us figure this out. 

And He did- and it all worked out. 

So, you can spend many moments in prayer in your day but it doesn’t have to be this liturgy. You can also have simple verses in your home or routine that you read throughout your day that you meditate on. 

Quality Prayer Time

But then, plan to spend quality time with The Lord at least once a week. So for me, I learn best and grow when I’m in a small group setting reading and talking about God’s word. So, I deliberately schedule being in a small group once a week or once every other week. Those are the times that help me work things out in my brain and understand scripture a bit more. I love it. 

So for me, I was already spending time with God regularly and growing in my faith, but I still felt guilty because it didn’t fit this box I was told was “the right way to do things”. 

All it took was this simple mind shift- seeing that I am spending quality time with God on a regular basis. 

So I didn’t even need to change anything. All I had to do was to understand that my relationship with God may look different than yours- and that it’s ok. 

Don’t get me wrong, there is always room for growth and increasing the number of times I depend on God- but I encourage you to look at what you’re already doing and not at what you’re not. 

The Devil’s lies

Now, maybe some of you may be thinking- I’m not doing any of those things, I’m the worst Christian out there. 

Those thoughts are lies from the devil trying to discourage you. Go back to step 1- Know that God wants to spend time with you

So to get started- pick one thing you are already doing and add prayer to it. 

For example, I stopped listening to music when I’m in the car alone. I now take those errands as prayer time. It’s amazing the number of things I can pray through in those short car rides. 

Then once you’ve added The Lord in a couple of areas in your life, you add more. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. 

I know there can me mixed feelings when it comes to reading the Bible. I also know that you may want to learn more and get some amazing Bible teaching.

That is why I am so excited to invite you to The Faith in Action Conference.

The Faith in Action Conference

The Faith in Action Conference is a FREE 4-day virtual event to help Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive Bible study of Mathew 5-7 & James.

The conference is all about helping Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive into Bible study.

16 speakers over 4 days will help you discover how to live out your faith by looking at Mathew chapters 5-7 & James. These chapters are filled with practical advice for us. Everything from how to treat one another, to marriage advice.

Click here to register for your FREE ticket today.

What does it mean to live for The Glory of God?

Are you looking for ways to live for the glory of God? In this episode, I talk to Gina Habig about how to glorify God in our daily lives. Gina shares her journey of realizing that following rules and striving to please God through our own efforts aren’t enough, and how the Holy Spirit empowers us to live a life that pleases Him. Discover how to overcome “religion guilt” and focus on pointing people to Christ and His example. Stick with me as I share practical ways to serve and love others in a way that points to God’s glory.

What does it mean to live for The Glory of God?

Are you looking for guidance on how to live a life that glorifies God? In this podcast episode, Anne Markey and Gina Habig share their personal experiences and insights on how to live for the glory of God.

In this episode, we talk about:

– How to avoid guilt and shame caused by not following rules and laws

– How to teach kids about having a personal relationship with God

– The importance of understanding the full gospel and having faith in it.

Hi and welcome back to the Christian Minute podcast. My name is Anne Markey and I am joined today by a guest. Her name is Gina Habig. Welcome to the show.

Meet Gina

Tell me about your background and how you first came to know God.
I remember at age 4, coming to my mom and asking her to pray with me. I don’t think I really understood the gospel till I was 30 years old.

So 26 years later, I felt like I finally understood that Jesus didn’t just give me a ticket to heaven, he gave me a new life, a new desire to want to serve him.

I think a huge piece of that was not understanding The Holy Spirit and how He empowers me to live a life that pleases God.

Instead, what I thought is, I got the ticket to heaven, and I’m not going to hell. However, I have to work really hard and kill myself to please God. Not that I could earn salvation, but more of never wanting to feel like I was on God’s bad side.

I saw him as an angry parent. I think that corresponded with my upbringing.

I was brought up in a very strict Baptist home where it was very much rule-based and everything was centred around the church and their culture. And so I thought I had to constantly continue to earn my way to God’s happiness. But I didn’t see it anymore. I didn’t really see it as I was earning salvation.

The Role of Guilt in Christian Living

I think when you’re younger, you really try to follow all those rules. But then you realize you feel guilty because you can’t follow all the rules.

Nowhere in the scripture does it say we actually have to read our Bible every day. The Bible tells us to meditate on scripture and tells us how good it is for us to do.

But, when we’re not measuring up, I think the devil does a really good job of making us feel guilty and telling us we’re horrible Christians, God doesn’t want you like all these things.

And so it’s this mix of The church conversation, but also the devil taking advantage of those things and like keeping us down and guilty and ashamed and all those things.

A picture of a women in a flower field with her face pointing to the scky. She has a large smile on her face and her hands reach towards the sky. Under the picture are the words, What does it mean to live for the glory of God? www.onedeterminedlfie.com

Pointing people to Christ

The piece we could mention is the picture of being pointed to Christ as being the one who did it all.

When people would sit down with me and go over Colossians 3, they would skip chapters one and two, which tells me who Christ is.

They would just tell me, stop sitting, stop doing this. But how do I do that in my own strength? I can’t.

And so that’s the I think a big piece of it is- are we pointing that person to Christ, or are we pointing them to more obedience and laws?

The downfall of toxic purity culture

I’ve seen exactly what you’re talking about because I think about the purity culture in the nineties. It was exactly this. It was very rule-based. It was very demoralizing and none of it was pointing us to Christ.

It was all very much teaching us that if you do one thing, then you’re completely ruined. It was just a really bad framing of this conversation.

And I find like one of the things I’ve noticed lately is it has shifted. These days, I see so many people talking about why it’s bad to have sex outside of marriage. Pointing it back to Christ and sharing that the church is a symbol of the bride and the groom.

We never gave me the God piece. You just told me that it was bad and that it would ruin me.

And so I think, when we’re telling our kids, we have to give them that God piece.

Otherwise, I think you missed that personalization.

As a mom, I’m trying to be a lot more conscientious about sharing why and how something they do has an effect on their relationship with God. Asking, how does God fit into this scenario?

What does Glorying The Lord mean?

When I think of glorifying the Lord, I think the first thing is defining glory.

Glory is not something that can be added, it’s something that already is. And that’s what the Bible teaches about God’s glory, is that it’s inherent to him. So things like His reputation, and being reverent to Him.

In Isaiah 6:1-4 when the heavenly creatures are saying holy is the Lord God Almighty, the whole Earth is full of his glory. Well, why did they not say holy is the Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is full of His Holiness? Why do they not say that? Well, because they were describing what glory really was, and it’s the purity, it’s the majesty of who God is.

God has to be connected to uplifting who He is. And I think the first thing that we do is understand the full gospel and believe in the full gospel.

Then of course repentance, and then continuing faith.

And then lastly, it goes into practice things like loving others and depending on God and trusting in Him.

Glorifying in The Lord’s discipline

When we glorify in The Lord’s discipline we become more like Him.

This is what The Lord says in Romans 8:28-30. He is going to be bringing us to full glorification by making us into the image of God. But that doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

And even if we look at the life of Christ, we see that He learned obedience. Jesus had to learn how to walk in the way even though he was 100 % God and also 100 % man, he still had to fulfill all righteousness by living a life that we could never live.

He was the model of what it meant to glorify God and we look to his life to see how it’s demonstrated.

But I think a lot of times it becomes more of a performance. And I think this is dependent on the motive of the person.

Our motives matter

Some of that could be like it’s glorifying if we serve in the church, it’s glorifying to help the poor, it’s glorifying to discipline our all that’s glorifying.

But what is the motivation?

I can look good and people can go, oh look at so and so is a good Christian mother?

No, if it’s not pointing to God, it’s not glorifying him.

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.

Psalm 19:1-2

The heavens declare God’s glory- it points people back to God, not itself.

We are to shine the spotlight on the person of God because He is already full of glory. So we’re not adding to his glory. We can’t. But we can lift up his glory, or at least like, point towards his glory and also, focus on his glory instead of ourselves, our works, our abilities and all those things.

Steps to shifting our thoughts and actions to glorying God

I’m not going to mention who this is because I don’t recommend this author. But I will say, I read a book that was very good and very biblical. I needed to be confronted that nothing I could do could ever please God in the same way that Christ please God.

And so the book basically contrasted what God says is good and what you think is good. And that blew me away because that confronted me at the core of my problem.

I needed to realize that Christ’s work was not only good enough to get me to heaven but was good enough for me to rest him and to stop running this hamster wheel.

So my twenties were just this hamster wheel of running around looking for this Bible study, going to this conference, thinking there’s a special secret I have not found. And there was. It just was the gospel.

The spirit led me that long so that I can have something to share with someone else.

I got married very young and just thought all my problems would go away since I met a completely different, like my husband’s upbringing.

He saw more of the gospel and I saw more of the loss. And he’s five years older than me, so he’s not much older than me. You just happen to see something a little something different, which was great because God used that to teach me to get me to realize, I needed to be in the word and I need to stop seeking some kind of special answer.

God redeems lost time

Even though you got saved, younger and didn’t really make it personal until your thirties. That time in between can feel like lost time.

But what I love is that the Lord still redeemed it.

To Him, it’s not lost time because you’re using it to encourage other people and put the spotlight back on Him.

I think sometimes we can get trapped in this idea of like, I’ve lost all this time. I haven’t made the most of my time and have that guilt.

Whereas in realizing that I’m not perfect, I may have some lost time, but God can still redeem that time and use it for his glory.

And I always think that that’s amazing.

When we think of the children of Israel and how much time they lost, how much of their story do we learn from because of that?

So God can use all these things for His glory because of who He is. And all we have to do is shift that mindset.

Is it sad that I lost that time?

Sure! But I don’t need to sit in that sadness. I can use it to encourage other people.

The Lord can use our husbands to help us grow

I think the Lord has an amazing way of using marriage in our spouses to show us different pieces of himself.

My husband grew up in a non-Christian home. And the organizations that he got saved through were very much relationship-based and had a different way of looking at things.

And so learning from each other in our marriage and figuring out how we take both sides of what we learned now and apply it to the way we raise our children and the priorities that we have in our life.

1 Year Bible reading plan

The purpose of the law

When you understand the gospel, you’re no longer enslaved to the law. The law kills. And so in Christ, the law is still important.

But the law is our schoolmaster. It is to instruct us.

It is not to kill us and the Israelites.

They were to see through the law that they needed a saviour.

That was the whole purpose of the law.

That’s, where the Pharisees went wrong. They kept thinking the more laws I do, the more spiritual I am.

And God is saying, no. The law is to show you can never keep my law perfectly. This is to show you how holy I am. And how much you need me to save you completely.

And that’s what the prophets kept telling them. But they still didn’t get it.

It’s all about coming right back to the gospel, coming right back to who God is, His character and how that shapes the way we think about our relationship with Him, and other Christians.

I think we can have this impact by sharing more about who God is and bringing it back to Scripture.

When you understand the gospel, you’re no longer enslaved to the law. The law kills. And so in Christ, the law is still important.

But the law is our schoolmaster. It is to instruct us.

4 steps you can take to live for the glory of God

Step 1: Get to Know God

The first thing is- if you don’t know the gospel you don’t know Christ.

That would be the first step is to get to know who your saviour is because you can’t live if you don’t know who He is and what He has done for you.

So that’s the first thing. Read the book of John maybe. And I would read it in conjunction with one of the Synoptic Gospels because then you can see more of the movements of Christ’s life because we know John is evangelistic, so you see it pointing to the Saviour and then the other gospels.

You see more of the everyday life of Christ and how his ministry actually was carried out.

Step 2: Find a mentor

The second step I think would be to get with a mentor. Find someone in your church that can walk you through the steps of what it means to be a Christian through the example of their life and through the scripture.

I think sometimes we focus too much on books and there are some great books that I’d recommend, but make sure it’s Bible based and it’s expositional to scripture.

Step 3: Spend time with God regularly

Find a time- in your day, and your week when you can be in God’s word.

There’s no law about you must do it at a certain time of day. Find a time in the day that works for you.

I know for one of my friends when all her kids are napping is the time she does it. And they all go down and she goes in the word, and that’s like clockwork to her. But she’s made it a priority because she knows she can’t live without it.

So find that time.

You don’t have to make it difficult. You don’t need to read three or four chapters a day. Start slow and don’t go past the point that you can’t understand anymore.

And I’m a big believer in reading through scripture if you haven’t done it and start in Genesis and just go and get a commentary if you need it or get a study Bible if you get stuck in Leviticus because we all get stuck there and then study.

What I mean by the study is to pick a book and go verse by verse. Very slowly and go over and over and over until you get it. That’s how I think the practice starts.

And then the spirit is going to lead you.

1 Year Bible reading plan

A simple tip to start reading God’s word

One of the things that I did at a camp growing up, was have morning staff devotions. And one of my favourite things was reading the same book every morning for a week.

And so you’re reading the entire book of Galatians every day for like 7 days.

And then all you’re doing is just talking about the different things that just popped out.

And then you start seeing connections and you start seeing how the word of God is alive and moving because, on day two and three and four and five, you see new things even though you’ve already read this book like 4 different times.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be just super simple. It doesn’t have to be an hour, 2 hours, or 10 minutes. It can be one minute, 2 minutes, or 3 minutes.

It’s about the quality of time with God, not the quantity.

It’s an active choice to continue to learn more and seek more.

Step 4: do everything for God

Make sure what you’re doing is connected to Christ. I’ll give one example because I say this example a lot.

So let’s say you have a neighbour and she needs help. She is a widow. She needs you to help her clean her house.

So if you’re going to clean her house, but it’s not connected to Christ, meaning you’re just doing it to say I did my Christian duty or to feel better or to think you’re more holy, then you got a problem.

That’s kind of the test that I always kind of ask myself, okay, why am I doing this?

Am I doing this for my praise? Or am I doing this for the praise of God?

And so I’m very careful when I get involved in things. I don’t go out to church and get involved in 40 things because those things might be good, but they’re not. If I’m not doing it to point the person or the people who are going to receive that to Christ, I’m not living for the glory of God.

It’s not on your list of things to do

When we’re doing those things, glorifying God will become more like it’ll just happen because we’re seeking the Lord.

I don’t think we need to necessarily add one more task. Thinking- now I have to glorify the Lord.

Glorifying the Lord happens naturally when we’re spending time with Him and doing the things He’s called us to do.

When we do that, then glorifying the Lord is just a really amazing byproduct of those things.

How to connect with Gina

Share with us where people can connect more with you, and how they can find you and get to know you more.

My goal is to help women to study the Bible and to connect it to the context of the gospel in Christ.

You can connect with me on my blog, and Instagram.

I’ve been taking Bible classes, and now I want to give the information to people so they don’t sit there with four or five books and go, I don’t know where I’m going.

If that’s something that’s interesting to you and please reach out to me.

My website is also standing on foundations.

10 Christian Parenting Tips for Raising Godly Children

We know what an amazing and important role we have in nurturing our children’s spiritual growth. It’s a journey filled with love and joy. We also have the privilege of helping our children become people who love and honour God. To help you with this task, Im sharing 10 Christian Parenting tips for raising Godly Children. 

10 Christian Parenting Tips for Raising Godly Children

1. Lead by Example

When it comes to raising Godly children, one of the most powerful ways we can teach them is by setting a good example through our own faith. Kids are like little sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear. So, if we want them to develop a strong relationship with God, it’s crucial that we show them what it looks like in our own lives.

Being a role model means living out our faith authentically and consistently. It means demonstrating love, kindness, honesty, and integrity in our daily interactions. 

Our children are always watching, whether we realize it or not. So, let’s make sure we’re showing them what it means to follow Jesus with our words and actions.

2. Teach and Discuss Scripture

In our journey of raising Godly children, one of the key ways we can teach them about God is to read and talk about The Bible. 

The Bible is filled with wisdom, guidance, and stories that can shape our children’s hearts and minds. 

When reading the Bible with our children, it’s important to explain the context and background of the passages. This can bring the stories to life and help them connect with the characters and events. 

We can encourage their curiosity by asking open-ended questions. This allows them to express their thoughts, share their insights, and develop a deeper understanding of the Scriptures.

A picture of a family facing towards the water as they stand together on a beach. Above their picture are te words, Christian family, 10 Christian parenting tips for raising Godly children

3. Pray Together

Praying together as a family is a great way to deepen our relationship with one another and with God. 

It doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy – it’s simply about coming together, sharing our hearts, and lifting our voices in prayer.

Find a quiet and cozy spot where you can gather as a family, whether it’s around the dinner table, in a comfy corner of your home, or even outdoors. 

Take turns leading the prayer or invite everyone to participate by expressing their gratitude and sharing their prayer requests. 

Remember, there are no right or wrong words when talking to God. 

Encourage your children to speak from their hearts and share their thoughts and feelings. 

As you pray together, trust that God is listening and that He delights in the voices of your family. Let this time of prayer be a source of comfort, strength, and unity as you grow in your faith and love for one another.

4. Foster a Relationship with God

Help your children develop a personal relationship with God through prayer, worship, and listening to His voice. Encourage them to seek Him in all aspects of life.

That means giving them the tools they need to grow in their faith and become a disciple. 

In our family, it also means letting them lead their relationship with God when they want to take communion or get baptized. 

We also make sure Friday nights are free so we can take our teenagers to youth groups and encourage them to create and keep deeper relationships with friends who will encourage them in their faith.

5. Instill Moral Values

Teach your children the importance of moral values such as kindness, honesty, forgiveness, and respect for others. 

Help them understand the significance of living out these values.

Through age-appropriate discussions and real-life examples, we can help them understand the impact of their actions on those around them.

Encourage them to make choices that align with these values, guiding them to consider the well-being of others and the principles taught in the Bible.

6. Create a Safe and Loving Home Environment

Build a home where your children feel secure, loved, and accepted. Provide a nurturing environment that fosters emotional and spiritual growth.

Be slow to anger and quick to listen.

Listen to their problems and ask what they need. 

Give them space to work out their faith and support their journey. 

7. Set Clear Boundaries

Establish reasonable and consistent boundaries for your children. Teach them self-discipline, responsibility, and the consequences of their choices.

God’s presence and His laws provide a sense of safety and protection for us. 

This is like a study conducted with children playing in a fenced schoolyard. Beyond the fence, there was a vast natural area with big trees and exciting things. 

However, when the fence was removed to give the children more space, they actually stayed closer to the building. 

Why? 

Because the boundary made them feel secure, and that instinctual need for safety kicked in. 

This study teaches us an important lesson: true freedom isn’t about having no boundaries; it’s about having the right boundaries that keep us safe. 

When we embrace God’s boundaries, we find the freedom to truly enjoy and experience joy in our lives. 

So, let’s teach our children about God’s loving boundaries so they can embrace the safety and freedom that He offers us.

8. Encourage Service and Generosity

Teach your children the joy of serving others and sharing their blessings. Engage in acts of kindness as a family, such as volunteering or helping those in need.

We can inspire them by setting an example of generosity ourselves and involving them in acts of service. 

Whether it’s volunteering together as a family, helping a neighbour in need, or donating to a worthy cause, these experiences teach our children the value of selflessness and the joy that comes from making a positive impact in someone else’s life.

By nurturing a spirit of service and generosity in our children, we empower them to be a source of goodness and kindness in the world, spreading love and making a difference in the lives of others.

9. Cultivate a Culture of Gratitude

Teach your children to appreciate and express gratitude for God’s blessings and the kindness of others. Foster a thankful attitude in daily life.

We can do this by leading by example and expressing gratitude for the blessings in our own lives. 

Engaging in conversations about gratitude and highlighting the little joys and moments of appreciation in daily life can help our children develop a grateful mindset. 

Encourage them to express gratitude to others, whether it’s through a simple “thank you” or a heartfelt note of appreciation. 

By nurturing gratitude in our children, we open their eyes to the beauty and abundance that surrounds them, fostering contentment, joy, and a deeper appreciation for life’s blessings.

10. Encourage Open Communication

Create an atmosphere of open communication, where your children feel comfortable discussing their questions, doubts, and concerns. 

We can encourage open communication by being approachable and actively listening to our children without judgment or interruption. 

By validating their feelings and perspectives, we create a safe space where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and questions. 

It’s important to prioritize regular conversations where we genuinely engage with our children and show genuine interest in their lives. 

By fostering open communication, we show our children that their voices matter and that we are here to support and guide them. 

Together, we can navigate the ups and downs of life with love, understanding, and an unbreakable bond.

Conclusion: 

Every child is unique, and parenting is an ongoing learning journey. These tips can serve as a foundation for raising godly children, but adapt them to fit your family’s dynamics and values. In the comments below, share your christian parenting tips to raise Godly children. 

5 Practical Tips for Teaching Scripture to Kids

Are you ready to unlock the power of Scripture in your children’s lives? Look no further, this blog post is here to guide you. I’ll be sharing five practical tips for teaching scripture to kids. From making Bible study a cherished part of your routine to engaging in meaningful conversations that relate God’s Word to their world, we’ve got you covered. Continue to read to help you share 5 Practical Tips for Teaching Scripture to Kids.

**This blog post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more details.**

5 Practical Tips for Teaching Scripture to Kids

1. Make Bible Study a regular part of your routine

It’s important to make Bible study a regular and enjoyable part of our family routine.

Making Bible study a regular part of your family routine is a wonderful way to strengthen your faith together.

7 simple tips to help you get started:
  • Choose a specific time that works best for your family, whether it’s in the morning, after dinner, or before bedtime. Make it consistent, so everyone knows when to gather.
  • Find a cozy spot where you can all sit comfortably, like the living room or dining table.
  • Next, pick a Bible version that is easy to understand, especially if you have younger children.
  • Read a short passage or story each time, and encourage everyone to take turns reading aloud.
  • Discuss what you’ve read, ask questions, and share your thoughts.
  • Make it interactive and engaging
  • Don’t forget to pray together, thanking God for His Word and asking for His guidance.

By making Bible study a regular part of your routine, you’ll deepen your family’s faith and grow closer to each other and to God.

2. Explain the passage you read 

When reading the Bible with our children, it’s helpful to explain the context and background of the passages.

This can bring the stories to life and help them connect with the characters and events. Encourage their curiosity and ask open-ended questions to spark meaningful discussions.

This allows them to express their thoughts, share their insights, and develop a deeper understanding of the Scriptures.

5 questions parents can ask kids about any bible verse they read
  • What is the main message or story in this Bible verse?
  • How do you think this verse applies to our lives today?
  • Can you identify any important lessons or values that we can learn from this verse?
  • Is there a particular character in the Bible verse that you find interesting or inspiring? Why?
  • How can we live out the teachings in this verse in our daily lives?

A picture of a girl smilling with her index finger pointing up. Above the picture are the words, 5 practicle tips for teaching scripture to kids. www.onedeterminedlife.com

3. Relate God’s word to their lives:

As parents, we can also relate the lessons from the Bible to their everyday lives. 

This helps them see how the principles and values found in Scripture can be applied to their relationships, choices, and challenges. 

Start by identifying relevant situations or experiences in their lives where biblical principles can be applied.

For example:

If your children are facing a challenge at school, discuss how the story of David and Goliath teaches us about courage and trusting in God’s strength.

Use age-appropriate language and examples to make it relatable.

Encourage open discussions and ask your children how they think God’s word can guide them in making choices or handling difficult emotions. Help them see the practicality and relevance of Scripture in their everyday lives.

By relating God’s word to their experiences, you’ll instill a deep understanding of faith and equip them with a solid foundation for navigating life’s challenges with God’s guidance.

4. Encourage them to memorize scripture

Beyond reading and studying Scripture, encourage your children to memorize key verses.

This will help them hide God’s Word in their hearts and carry it with them throughout their lives.

Start by choosing short and meaningful verses that are easy to understand.

5 verses you can start with
  • “God is love.” – 1 John 4:8
  • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” – Proverbs 3:5
  • “Be kind to one another.” – Ephesians 4:32
  • “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31

Once you pick a verse, you can write them on colourful index cards or create a verse-of-the-week display in their room.

You can make it a family affair by memorizing the verses together and reciting them regularly.

Create fun games, crafts, or challenges to make memorization enjoyable, like turning it into a friendly competition or using a song or rhythm to help them remember.

Celebrate their progress and offer small rewards or praise to motivate them.

Help them understand the meaning behind the verses and discuss how they can apply them in their lives.

By making Scripture memorization a positive and interactive experience, you’ll help your children build a strong foundation of faith and equip them with God’s words to guide them throughout their lives.

An infographic that shows the 5 practical tips for teaching scripture to kids. www.onedeterminedlife.com

5. Have an ongoing conversation

Lastly, let’s remember that teaching and talking about Scripture is not a one-time event but an ongoing conversation.

Look for opportunities throughout the day to bring up biblical principles or share relevant stories from the Bible. This helps our children see that faith is not limited to a specific time or place but is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives.

Conclusion

By teaching and talking about Scripture with our children in a way that is engaging, relevant, and relatable, we equip them with a strong foundation of God’s truth. We guide them to develop a personal relationship with Jesus and understand the depth of His love and grace. 

Together, let’s embark on this exciting adventure of exploring God’s Word with our children and watch as their hearts are transformed by its life-giving message.

In the comments below, share your best Tips for Teaching Scripture to Kids.

How faith in God provides hope and comfort during hard times

In this episode of The Christian Minute podcast, host Anne Markey sits down with Colleen Faul, a remarkable woman who has faced the challenges of raising a child with special needs.

Colleen shares her background as a missionary with Net Ministries and her current role as a stay-at-home wife and mother of two toddlers.

Together, we discuss the importance of sharing each other’s burdens and how faith in God can provide hope and comfort during difficult times.

As we delve into Colleen’s personal journey, we discuss the struggles of raising a child with infantile spasms and tuber sclerosis complex, both rare conditions that have caused health issues and developmental delays. 

Whether you’re facing your own challenges or simply seeking inspiration, this episode offers uplifting and inspiring messages for listeners to take away.

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable insight from Colleen’s journey and the power of faith in overcoming adversity.

Listen to The Episode

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Download the episode transcript here.

Episode At A Glance:

Time stamps

00:00:00- Reflections on Faith and Life Journeys

  • 00:08:02- Parenting a Child with Special Needs
  • 00:10:11- The Unexpected Diagnosis of a Child’s Neurological Disorder
  • 00:13:51- Heading: Infantile Spasms Diagnosis: A Mother’s Story
  • 00:19:23- Grieving the Loss of a Future
  • 00:23:33- Detaching from Materialism and Finding Comfort in God’s Love
  • 00:33:41- Accepting a Child’s Autism Diagnosis
  • 00:39:57- Parenting a Child with ADHD and Dyslexia
  • 00:41:51- Parenting Special Needs Children and Finding Strength in Faith
  • 00:48:46- God’s Love and Acceptance of Special Needs
  • 00:51:21-  Practicality of the Christian Faith in Today’s World

Connecting through Pain: The Importance of Sharing Our Struggles

Collen’s experience with her daughter Grace, who has rare genetic diseases, infantile spasms, and tuber sclerosis complex, shows how hard it is for parents of children with disabilities.

Grace’s health problems and slow growth have had a big effect on Collen and her family, who have had to show a lot of strength and resilience as a result.

People are often discouraged by social rules from talking about their problems and pain, especially on social media, where people usually only talk about the good things in their lives. It can be hard to talk about our problems and burdens, but as Anne says, it’s important to do so if we want to connect with other people and get help.

As Christians, we are told to share each other’s problems. By doing this, we can help each other get through life’s hard times. Collen’s willingness to tell her story lets others learn about and understand the problems that families of kids with disabilities go through.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote from the blog post that says, The Bible instructs us to share each other's burden, but in reality, it can be challenging to do so. This is because our culture has fostered a mindset of pretending that everything is okay even when we are struggling with significant issues. For instance, your child's health problems might be causing you a lot of distress. I hope that through our conversation, we can inspire others to support one another, no matter what they may be going through.

The Healing Power of Vulnerability: Opening Up to Others  

We all have to deal with pain, sadness, and hard times in life. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed and lost. It could be because of a bad breakup, a job loss, a family problem, or a personal issue. It can be hard to find hope and healing on our own in these times.

That’s why it’s important to have a group of people who care about us and can help us through hard times.

[00:11:12] “I think we need to be intentional about finding people to share our burdens with and then intentionally creating a space where they feel comfortable sharing their burdens with us”

This is a fact. Just having people around us isn’t enough.

We need to go out of our way to find people we can trust who are willing to listen and help. And once we find these people, we need to make sure they feel safe and welcome so they can talk to us about their problems.

Having a group of people who can help you feel better is very important.

[00:13:24] “It’s important to find those people who can pray for you and with you.”

Whether you are religious or not, it can be very helpful to have people who can help you with your spiritual life. Knowing that someone is praying for you and thinking about you can give you a lot of strength and comfort.

It’s also important to realise that healing and hope come when we’re willing to be vulnerable and share our problems with others.

[00:14:33] “I think that’s where we can start to find hope and healing is when we’re able to acknowledge what’s going on and then share it with someone else and let them be with us in that”

When we talk about our problems with other people, we make room for kindness, understanding, and empathy. We let other people join us on our journey and offer their help and support.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote that says, It's not that the struggles are any less, but I think that we're able to find the hope and the joy in the midst of those struggles when we can share them with other people.

Navigating a Life-Altering Diagnosis for Your Child 

We all have to deal with pain, sadness, and hard times in life. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed and lost. It could be because of a bad breakup, a job loss, a family problem, or a personal issue. It can be hard to find hope and healing on our own in these times.

That’s why it’s important to have a group of people who care about us and can help us through hard times.

[00:11:12] “I think we need to be intentional about finding people to share our burdens with and then intentionally creating a space where they feel comfortable sharing their burdens with us”

This is a fact. Just having people around us isn’t enough.

We need to go out of our way to find people we can trust who are willing to listen and help. And once we find these people, we need to make sure they feel safe and welcome so they can talk to us about their problems.

Having a group of people who can help you feel better is very important.

[00:13:24] “It’s important to find those people who can pray for you and with you.”

Whether you are religious or not, it can be very helpful to have people who can help you with your spiritual life. Knowing that someone is praying for you and thinking about you can give you a lot of strength and comfort.

It’s also important to realise that healing and hope come when we’re willing to be vulnerable and share our problems with others.

[00:14:33] “I think that’s where we can start to find hope and healing is when we’re able to acknowledge what’s going on and then share it with someone else and let them be with us in that”

When we talk about our problems with other people, we make room for kindness, understanding, and empathy. We let other people join us on our journey and offer their help and support.

Reframing Expectations: Life With A Neurodiverse Child 

When a parent hears the words, “Your daughter has infantile spasms,” their world can come crashing down. The fear, uncertainty, and grief that follows can be overwhelming. That’s what happened to me when my daughter was diagnosed with this rare form of epilepsy.

[00:05:18] “It was a scary time,”

I remember thinking as I sat in the doctor’s office, trying to make sense of what was happening. My mind raced with questions and concerns. Would my daughter be okay? Would she ever be able to live a normal life? What did this mean for our family’s future?

As we started taking care of our daughter with special needs, it became clear that she wouldn’t have the life I thought she would have. We had to deal with things I didn’t expect, like medical treatments and therapies, as well as the daily struggles of living with a child who was behind in growth.

Parents of children with neurodiversity know that even simple jobs can be hard. Even simple things like brushing hair, getting dressed, or eating a meal can cause stress and worry. It’s the weight of knowing that they’re different and having trouble and that you can’t do much about it, plus the fact that they’re not reaching the regular milestones.

[00:20:29] “I really did go through a grieving process, not necessarily grieving a death, but grieving a life that I didn’t get to live,”

I recall remember as I struggled to come to terms with my daughter’s diagnosis. I was mourning the loss of a dream, the dream of having a “typical” family and a “typical” life.

It’s a weight that is difficult to put into words, but one that is all too familiar to parents of children with special needs.

I also thought about the future, and how my daughter’s condition might affect it.

[00:22:54] “I may not get to have grandkids by her,” I remember thinking as I watched her struggle.

It’s a thought that still brings tears to my eyes, but one that has also taught me to cherish every moment that we have together.

“There were all of these things I didn’t know. I was clinging to…” I thought, as I searched for answers and support.

[00:23:26] I found solace in connecting with other parents of children with special needs, who understood what I was going through and could offer advice and support.

A picture of Colleen Faul next to a quote that says,   Through it all, I have learned that while life may not always turn out the way we expect, it can still be beautiful.

My daughter may face challenges, but she has also taught me more about love, resilience, and strength than I ever thought possible. 

I am grateful for every moment that we have together, and I am proud to be her mom.

Embracing The Journey: Learning To Love Your Child For Who They Are 

Parents don’t find it easy to let go of the idea of a “typical” child. It can be especially hard if the child has a disease like autism.

“detaching myself from the idea that my daughter was going to be a neurotypical child…I held out hope for that for a while, and then as time went by…put one more nail in the coffin of, no, she’s not going to be typical neurotypical.”

I held on to this idea for a while but finally realised that her daughter would not be like other kids her age.

It’s hard for a mother to accept that her daughter has a genetic disorder.

 “I had been praying for a miracle ever since we learned about all this. I’ve just been praying, god, please heal my daughter. Please heal her. But God answered: I’m not going to fix your daughter. I have given you a daughter that you were not expecting, but she is a gift.”

The Lord creates each of our children, and we need to stop seeing them as broken, but as gifts.

A picture of Colleen Faul next to a quote that says, The only one who's going to suffer by seeing the difference is me. And I can either allow myself to suffer from it or just love her the way she is.

As hard it is for me to raise a daughter who has autism. At first, it was stressful and I didn’t know what to do, but I’m glad I had the chance to learn and grow because of it.

I have been able to find inner strengths and traits I didn’t know I had.

“I’m just really grateful for the experience of all of it because it’s shown me the strength that I have, that I never would have had to use if I hadn’t gone through this. And I think I’m a better person for it. I know I’m a better person for it.”

This has given me the confidence and strength to deal with tough situations.

By facing and getting through these problems, I’ve become a better person. I’ve learned to look at the world differently and enjoy the small things in life.

When we face problems, they can help us find strengths and skills we didn’t know we had. It can also teach us important things about ourselves and the world around us. In the end, the problems we face can make us better people if we use them to learn and grow.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote from the blog post that says, We're not guaranteed anything in life, you know? The only thing we're guaranteed is that we're going to die. We don't know when that's going to happen, and we don't know how it's going to happen...So why not just embrace the journey and love the people that we're with and just be grateful for the time that we have with them?

Where Can Parents Go?

When I think about the Lord, I think about my kids and how they snuggle up to me. I just picture myself climbing into The Lord’s lap and resting there.

I know why my kids come to me for that, and I come to the Lord for the same thing.

God calls us to come to Him like that – Dad, Abba Father means Daddy. He’s calling us to His lap, so that we can tell Him all the things that are hurting us and making us worried.

As parents, I really have no power to change much about my kids’ scenarios, but just knowing that God does, gives us access to the one person who can change things.”

About Collen

A picture of Colleen Faul

Colleen Keefe Faul is the author of God’s Precious Gift: A Special Needs Child. At 6 months old, Colleen’s daughter, Grace,  was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

The experience pulled Colleen deeper into her faith, where she found consolation in the form of creativity. She was inspired to write a faith-based children’s book for the special needs community that was as much for the parents as it was for the children.

Her mission is to help members of the special needs community, their loved ones, and their caretakers find peace in God’s Will.

Check out her book!  |  Connect on Instagram  Connect on Facebook

Resources: 

PIN IT FOR LATER!

6 Practical steps to prioritize your spiritual life 

It’s hard to make our spiritual lives a priority in the fast-paced world we live in today, with all the responsibilities and obligations we have each day. We can create the relationship with God we want by cultivating it. If we reflect on our priorities and make space for God in our life, we can start prioritizing Him.  Continue to read as I share 6 practical steps to prioritize your spiritual life. 

6 practical steps to prioritize your spiritual life

1. Evaluate your priorities 

It is easy to get caught up in the routine of day-to-day life and lose sight of the bigger picture. However, stepping back and reflecting on your most important values will help you in making time to connect with God. 

The first thing you should do in evaluating your priorities is to take a step back and look at your life. 

You can do this by writing in a journal, meditating, or even just sitting still for a while to think about your life. 

Keeping a journal can be especially beneficial because it enables you to record your thoughts and emotions on paper, which can assist you in developing greater clarity and insight into your priorities. 

Journal Prompts might include:  
  • What are your most important values and goals?  
  • What am I most grateful for in my life? 
  • What brings me the most fulfillment and happiness? 
  • What brings you the most fulfillment and happiness? 

Other Powerful tools

Christian meditation

Meditation is another powerful tool for taking a step back and gaining perspective.  

Christian meditation is a spiritual practice that involves thinking about God and the Bible or other spiritual writings.

Christian meditation is different from traditional ways of meditating, which try to calm the mind. Instead, Christian meditation involves actively engaging with God and the Bible.

Christian meditation often involves the slow, thoughtful reading of the Bible and “centering prayer,” which involves repeating a sacred word or phrase to quiet the mind and make room for God.

Reflection

Taking some quiet time to think can be a powerful way to step back and see things from a different point of view. This could mean going for a walk in nature, sitting in a quiet room with no distractions, or taking a break from technology and social media.

By making time for quiet reflection, you can get in touch with your inner wisdom and figure out what’s most important.

2. Identify your core values 

 Once you know what your main priorities are, it’s important to figure out what your core values are. Core values are the ideas and beliefs that help us decide what to do and how to act.

To do this, you need to ask yourself, “What are the most important things in my life?”

Finding out what your core values are will help you decide how to spend your time and energy in a way that fits with your deeper goals.

4 things to consider when identifying your core values:  
  • Reflect on your life experiences: Think about all the things you’ve done in your life so far and try to pick out the most important ones. Which parts of these events had the most impact on your values?
  • Identify what brings you joy: What kinds of things or experiences make you feel the most alive and happy? Most of the time, these are signs of the things you care about.
  • Consider your role models: Think about the people you admire and respect. What values do they embody? This can help you identify values that you aspire to live by. 
  • Look at your beliefs: What do you believe to be true about the world? What values are at the core of those beliefs?  

Examples of Christian core values include:  
  • Love, Faith, Humility, Forgiveness 
  • Compassion, Integrity, Honesty, Kindness 
  • Grace, Mercy, Patience, Perseverance, Courage 
  • Generosity, Justice, Servanthood, Obedience 
  • Holiness, Gratitude, Self-control, Respect 
  • Hope, Joy, Peace, Wisdom 

Once you’ve identified your core values, it’s important to live in a way that reflects your core values. with them. This may mean making difficult choices or changing your habits and behaviours to ensure that your actions reflect your values.  

A picture of a women at her desk writing something in her notebook. Under the picture are the words, 6 practical steps to prioritize your spiritual life.

3. Evaluate your current commitments 

After identifying your core values, evaluate your current commitments and responsibilities.  

Ask yourself these questions:  
  • Are there any areas of your life where you’re spending too much time or energy?  
  • Are there any areas where you’re neglecting your spiritual well-being? 
  • Do these activities align with your core values?  

To help you with the process, make a list of your current commitments and evaluate them based on how well they align with your values and priorities. 

If your current commitments don’t align with your values, plan how you can start stepping away from those commitments.  

Doing this might take time but it is well worth it.  

Then, before you make any other commitment, make sure it aligns with your values. 

4. Schedule time for spiritual practices 

Once you know what your core values are and what your commitments are, it’s time to schedule time for the spiritual practises you want to add to your life.

This could mean making time every day to meditate or pray, going to a religious service once a week, spending more time in nature, finding ways to serve God, or doing anything else that brings you closer to God.

The key is to practise regularly and on purpose, so that it becomes a normal part of your life.

5.  Simplify your life 

Simplifying your life can be a way to create more space and time for spiritual practice. When you simplify, you eliminate distractions and focus on what matters most to you.  

By focusing on what truly matters, you can deepen your spiritual practice and cultivate a greater sense of meaning and purpose in your life. 

Here are 3 things you can simplify that will help you create space and time for spiritual practice: 
  • Clearing physical clutter: As you clear the clutter from your home, you make it easier to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Meditation, prayer, and Bible study can all benefit from this increased concentration. 
  • Prioritizing activities: If you pare down your commitments to the essentials, you’ll have more time for spiritual pursuits. In certain cases, this may necessitate turning down invitations or spending less time on social media and other time wasters. 
  • Cultivating mindfulness: By practicing mindfulness it helps you focus on the here and now by training your brain to pay attention just to what’s happening right now. This can open you up to a greater sense of freedom and possibility, allowing you to go further into your spiritual practices. 

An infographic showing 3 things you can simplify to create time for God.

6.  Being part of a Christian community 

When you are a part of a community of believers, you have access to resources and support that can help us grow in your faith and deepen your spiritual practice.  

Finding a Christian community can also help you create space and time for spiritual practice by providing: 

  • Accountability: A community of believers can help us stay committed to our faith by encouraging and supporting each other.  
  • Resources: A Christian community can provide access to resources such as Bible study materials, books, and other spiritual resources that can help deepen our understanding of God and your faith.  
  • Fellowship: Fellowship with other believers creates a sense of community and belonging that can help you feel supported and encouraged in your walk with God. 
  • Opportunities for service: Being part of a Christian community provides opportunities for service and outreach, which can be a powerful way to live out our faith and deepen our spiritual practice. 

In a fast-paced world, it can be challenging to prioritize our spiritual lives. However, by evaluating your priorities and identifying your core values, you can align your commitments with what is important to you.

By implementing some of these steps, you can have a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in your life. 

5 simple things you can do to experience peace

We live in a troubled world, and it’s easy to get distracted by all the unrest and injustices of the world. But when we do that, we rob ourselves of the peace we can experience. Today, I want to take a few minutes and share with you 5 simple things you can do to experience peace from The Prince of peace- The Lord Jesus Christ.

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have 3 kids. In that time, 3 out of 5 people in our house are getting support because of a high level of anxiety.

Needless to say, we are well-versed in feeling anxious, stressed and worried. 

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have 3 kids. In that time, 3 out of 5 people in our house are getting support because of a high level of anxiety.

Now when I say support, I mean either medication or counselling or both. And I’m not just talking about everyday anxieties. I’m talking about extreme anxiety that actually inhibits people’s lives. 

Needless to say, we have a lot of experience with feelings of anxiety, stress, worry, and a bunch more. 

When our kids act out due to their anxiety, we encourage them to use calm-down routines and work on finding triggers for their anxiety. 

Those things can take a lot of time, but it’s not everything we can do. 

We also encourage our kids to refocus their thoughts on The Lord and take time to thank Him for who He is and what He has done for them. 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

The Bible tells us we are going to face hard times. Just because we are Christians, it doesn’t mean we are exempt from facing trials. 

Since we know we are going to face trials, I want to share with you some practical things we can do to have peace regardless of what goes on around us. 

One of the things I love to do is teach people to turn to scripture for answers. The Bible is extremely practical and tells us exactly what we can do to gain peace. 

I want to spend a few minutes sharing practical things we can do, or stay away from to gain peace. 

5 simple things you can do to experience peace

1. Accept The Lord as saviour

The first thing we need to do is accept The Lord as our saviour. To experience true peace, we must be saved.

True peace doesn’t come from ourselves, doesn’t come from the world around us. It comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5: 1-2 

Our salvation gives us access to God- He is the source of all peace. 

We are enemies with God, and so we’re not close to God. And so we’re not going to feel peace when we’re separated from him. But when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as a Lord and personal saviour, we suddenly gain a relationship with the Lord.

But then we get access into his presence and so the King of peace himself, then his presence and who he is is what gives us peace.

Not only that, but once we’re saved, our salvation guarantees us eternity with him. So that means that regardless of what’s happening in their lives, we can know it’s not going to last forever and that one day I will be with God in heaven, with him for eternity.

I don’t know about you, but when my life is going crazy and things just keep happening and things feel really stressful, one of the ways my heart gets encouraged is to think about God’s timing and how certain seasons can feel really long and really hard.

The Bible tells us that those hard seasons pale in comparison to the glory and the Majesty of God and heaven. And so thinking about these things not only encourages me but gives me peace, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that one day I will experience that eternal peace in heaven with God. 

2. End your day focused on Christ

For some reason, nighttime is when most of us feel the most unrest and anxiety. That is because we have time to think about all the things that may go wrong, worry about the future and so on.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

One way we can keep that unrest at bay is to end our day thinking about The Lord. By refocusing our thoughts on him, we can have a much better perspective on everything and lay down all our anxieties on someone who can actually change things.

Refocusing our thoughts from all our worries and turning our thoughts to Jesus, helps us put our trust in Him. It helps us shift the burden we are carrying from our shoulders unto His, and realize that we may not have the power to change what’s happening around us, but God does.

So instead of trying to do all those things on our own, when we take it from our shoulders to his, it’s like taking that burden off. It’s saying, OK, you know what, I can’t worry about this anymore. I cannot solve this problem. I’m going to go to the person who can solve this problem give it to him and say, OK, I trust you. And that act of trust and submission and just unloading gives us so much peace.

Trusting God

My middle daughter is 10 years old, and she really loves knowing exactly what’s gonna happen. You know, from morning until the night she needs a schedule.

When she doesn’t know what’s happening next, she feels really, really anxious. And so she tries to rush the schedule or she’s always asking me what’s happening next, what’s happening next, what’s happening next.

It’s gotten so bad that in some instances I have to take her face and point it towards mine and say: Hey! Worrying about what happens next isn’t your job. That’s my job. I know the schedule. I know what we’re doing first. I know what we’re doing next. So don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.

As I’m having those conversations with my daughter, I can’t help but relate it to my relationship with the Lord.

Sometimes I go to the Lord. I say, what are you doing? I thought we were doing this, this, this and this. And I want to do all these things. And The Lord looks at me and says: I know what’s coming down the road. Trust me, I’ve got it.

And so handing him over that control, which really wasn’t mine, to begin with, God is in complete control of anything, suddenly shifts that burden off of me and to the Lord.

Action step:

So I want you just to take a minute and to think about some burdens that you are carrying or things that you’re worried about. And say. Is that my job to worry about this or is this something I can give to the Lord?

99.999 % of the time it’s not your burden to carry. And even if it is, the Lord says you don’t have to carry alone. Bring your burdens to me. I want to carry them for you, or I want to give you the strength for you to carry them yourself. So let’s not end our day feeling anxious and worried.

Let’s end our days thinking about the Lord and giving him our burdens in our worry. And I promise you that peace will come.

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3. Pursue Peace

One of the things I get caught up in is perceived or actual injustice. There is nothing else that gets me so riled up.

It’s even come to the point that sometimes, my husband and I will be laying in bed and he’ll say, I’m not sure if I need to tell you now or later, because if I do, you’re probably going to be bothered by it and you won’t be able to sleep.

But I wish he wouldn’t even say that because then my mind gets curious and I want to know what’s the thing? And so I beg him to tell me. And then he tells me, and guess what happens? I get fired up. And then I have the hardest time falling asleep because I don’t want those injustices to continue.

I want to find a solution to the problem and get it done. And these events really bother me, and they weigh on me. I really noticed this during COVID.

I got caught up in all the different opinions of what was happening with COVID regulations and what we weren’t allowed to do, and vaccines are no vaccine.

And I’m sure this happened with you and your family or your church, but suddenly you had two very different camps and they were in opposition to each other. And so I was in a particular camp, and any time I thought about the other camp- I would just get frustrated and think: what are they thinking? That is so completely and utterly ridiculous.

And the frustration would rise in me and I would just feed into it. I’d read the news stories, and I’d read the comments. I was very tempted to post on social media a million times trying to “be like, no, we got to”correct” the other side.

There is a better way

But there’s a better way. What I noticed is that those actions were not in pursuit of peace. They were in pursuit of being right or showing that they know more than this person or that person and the divide just got bigger and bigger and bigger.

The Lord was so gracious to me and showed me that I was getting angry at your brother and sister in Christ. You know what? They may be wrong. I may be wrong, but the Lord wants us to pursue peace, not unrest.

And so when we fight with one another when we fight with other Christians- that’s just bringing more unrest. And so the Lord encourages us to say, I don’t want you to go after those things that bring up arguments.

These types of divisions bring nothing but unrest. 

Scripture tells us that there is a better way. The Bible is full of verses that encourage us to stay away from these types of arguments.  

We are called to seek peace and pursue it. But too often we pursue being right and put it above our relationship with God and other Christians. 

Learning to drop issues

We’ve got three kids and they fight about everything, and sometimes they’ll come to us and they’ll just start telling us all the things that they’re fighting about.

And one of the things I start thinking and telling them is this is not worth an argument, just let it go. And then I think ohh you know what? That is also something I need to tell myself.

How many times do I get upset about something that just gets me fired up and not at peace at all? That is not worth the energy or the argument.

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:14

Growing up in my family, we argued a lot. And so when I got married, my husband does not like confrontation. And so suddenly there was no argument and I hardly knew what to do with myself.

Sometimes I would try to like poke him just to start an argument and he just would not bite. And so one day I was feeling like I needed an like a fight. And he asks me why don’t you just call your sister? So I called my sister and I forget what in the world happened, but we ended up in a big argument.

At the end of the phone call, we were both like, thanks, I needed that.

The reason why that was so fulfilling was that I had just known this pattern of just fighting. And my husband just showed me a new way.

Pursuing peace, pursuing relationships, and dropping arguments that are just not worth it, is so much better for me, for my mind, for our home, and for just so many different things.

But I have to choose not to let things bother me.

I need to choose to say, I’m not going to think about that. I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole. I’m not going to get into that argument.

If people want to start an argument with me, I need to be the bigger person and not taking the bait. I’m going to let it go. And then later, if it’s still really bothering me, I can wrestle that out with the Lord, but I’m not to take these different things and then go to war with other Christians.

To have true peace, we must pursue it. 

 I want you just to take a minute and to think about the things that are making you upset right now and to say. Is this an argument that I can just drop? Is it really worth getting this upset over?

I don’t know what it is that you’re thinking about right now. I know there are a ton of different scenarios, and for some of you, there are going to be fights you need to face.

But then most of the time, that argument is only going to lead to worse things down the road.

It’s not going to lead me to good relationships. It’s only gonna bring me more trials or more hard things, and so just pursuing peace is actually better in the long run for everybody.

4. Listen to The Lord

To experience true peace, we must learn to listen to The Lord and what He has to say.

I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.

Psalm 85:8

The world is full of noise and people telling us what we should do, think and act. Every single one of us has an opinion on what is right. 

We have mini-computers in our pockets that we scroll through news or social media. We’ve got a bazillion different people telling us different messages coming from all different directions.

It’s really easy to start listening to those voices and to believe that they are right. It’s really easy to get caught up in all of it and to actually lose focus because we get strung along over here.

The Bible tells us we can be in the world, and we can be hearing those things, but The Lord wants you to listen to Him.

We have access to the God of the universe and he wants a relationship with us. He wants to speak to us through his word and through, you know, other Christians and fellowship.

But we need to take the time to choose to listen to the right voices.

Testing what we hear

My daughter came home from school one day and she was telling me how her social studies teacher studied the Bible, and she had her degree in religion.

The teacher shared an opinion with my daughter. And my daughter was convinced that her professor was right.

She thought her teacher must be right because she knew more about the Bible than my daughter does and my daughter knows a lot about Scripture.

This teacher also has a degree in religion, so she must be right.

I tried to explain to my daughter that just because somebody knows Scripture or has a degree in religion does not mean that their opinion is the right one.

Because in most cases it’s really easy to take anything we hear from the scripture and to shift its meaning or to make it say what we want to hear.

And then we only join groups that agree with us so that our point of view continues to be validated, regardless if it’s biblical or not.

And so my daughter now thinks that I’m completely wrong. But I was just trying to explain to her that it’s easy to get caught up in people’s opinions because then, you know, they tell us, well, I know this because I’m an expert, and so you have to believe me.

Why we need to test what we hear

When we don’t compare those things to what we read in Scripture, then there’s no guarantee to know that anyone is actually telling the truth.

We always need to compare what people say with God’s word.

This wisdom and practice takes time.

I’ve been a Christian for 35 years. And I’m still learning to get the noise out of my brain and to hone in on the Lord himself.

It takes time to know what Scripture says, and it takes time to be able to discern the voice of the Lord so that we can hear it above every other things.

But not only that, but then we need to choose to listen to his voice.

Choose to listen to The Lord’s voice

So we have to learn what The Lord sounds like, and then we have to choose to listen to it above everything else.

But it doesn’t end there. Once you know what The Lord’s voice sounds like, now that we’ve heard Him speak to us, we need to go ahead and obey Him and do what The Lord calls us to do.

And so I encourage you to take some time and to think what are all the things that I’m watching, listening to, hearing, and thinking that are not from the Lord?

And then think about how you can drown out those voices so that you can focus on the Lord and His voice and what He wants you to do.

And like I said, that’s a process and it takes time. So I don’t want you to feel discouraged that you, you know, don’t get it right or whatever.

This is just something that I want to encourage you just to be continuing doing.

Always challenge what you think you know. Always challenge yourself and your thoughts and what you believe and challenge it with the truth, which is Scripture itself. So drown out the noises and instead of listening to all those things around you, focus in and listen to the Lord.

5. Love the Word of God

To end our time together, I want to share one more practical thing we can do to gain peace. That is to LOVE the word of God.

The Bible tells us that spending time in God’s word brings us peace. 

The Bible tells us that spending time with the Lord in his word will bring us peace.

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 119:165

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in scripture and it’s all about the word of God and encourages us to love it and enjoy it. This verse uses the word law, but this word is referring to the word of God. 

Psalm 119 is a poem and has 26 sections I believe. Each section is a stanza that expresses and tells people and saying how they love your word and is talking about loving the word of God and the benefits of loving the word of God.

And so this entire chapter is about encouraging us to not only read God’s word but to love it and to want to spend time with it.

So if you’re not loving the word of God and you’re not longing to be in it, instead of feeling discouraged, I encourage you to bring that to the Lord and say I want to love your word. Please give me that longing so that I can spend time with it.

And I know that when I’ve done that, the Lord has either shifted my perspective or He’s helped me make that time to really spend time with him.

And then when I’m studying the word of God for myself and I can find those gold little Nuggets that are really, truly encouraging to me.

Then I start loving spending time with the Lord because I know that if I keep digging, I’m going to find more treasure. So when we love the word of God, then we want to spend more time with him.

And then when we do that, we learn more about him.

And anytime we’re focusing on the Lord and not ourselves and not the other voices around us, we’re only going to gain more peace. And this is the number one thing you can do to gain peace.

The Source of Lasting Peace

So if you’ve forgotten everything else, I want you to remember one thing if you’re feeling anxious or unrest or you’re lacking that peace, and you want more of it—-

I encourage you to spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ. And you can do that through scripture reading, prayer, and lots of other ways.

But that is how you’re going to gain peace just to spend time with God, learn who he is, and learn his perspective on things.

So that you’re not getting as anxious about different things and you’re learning to trust him with all of those worries.

So I want you to know that regardless of what’s happening in your world right now, you can find peace.

Our peace is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has conquered death and gives us everything we need to find peace in him and have a relationship with him.

So I encourage you today just to take a moment and spend time with the Lord and go to the source of peace so that you can experience it.

3 mistakes keeping you stuck in your faith

Have you ever felt stuck in your faith like nothing was changing and like you were going absolutely nowhere? I know I have, and I’ve actually felt like that more than once. The Bible tells us that there might be things we are doing or not doing that are keeping us from moving forward. So stick with me today as I share with you 3 mistakes keeping you stuck in your faith and the steps you can take to change it.

3 mistakes keeping you stuck in your faith

1. You might have offended someone

The first thing you should consider is whether or not you’ve offended someone.

Maybe you’ve done something or said something that has hurt or offended someone you know.

The Bible is very clear about how that affects our faith and then tells us exactly what steps we should take.

Matthew 5:23- 24 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

These verses tell us there are some preparation steps we need to take before we go and worship God.

If you go to church on Sundays and they have a communion service, then on Saturday, you should take some time and pray to the Lord and ask him, whether you offended somebody.

Have you done or said something that has hurt somebody’s feelings? If the Lord says yes and even gives you a name, then scripture tells us that you must then put in the work to try and reconcile with that person, and then you can go worship.

That means you might need to make a call or write an email. Whatever that action is, you must take that step of reconciliation before then you go and worship God.

If you don’t, then that unforgiveness is like the elephant in the room and is a hindrance to your worship.

So to get unstuck, we must prioritize mending fences with people that we have offended.

2. Not Bringing something to The Lord in Prayer

I often want to do things on my own, but later realize it’s harder than I thought and I need the Lord’s help.

I do this all the time when planning projects. I have a million great ideas and I just start. And then a couple of days in or even a few weeks in and I realize that I haven’t actually prayed and asked the Lord whether or not He wants me to be working on this project and what I should really be focusing on.

The remedy for this is to depend on the Lord for everything we do.

I’m not saying that you need to ask the Lord what you’re going to have for breakfast, but I encourage you to spend some time and think of the different decisions you make throughout the day and pick a few that you then bring before the Lord before you do anything about it.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

The Bible tells us that when we seek wisdom from the Lord, He will give it to us. When we ask the Lord for direction, He will tell us which steps to take.

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I’ll give you an example.

Currently, my middle daughter is having some learning difficulties and so we are praying about what school to send her to next year. We know the decision has to be made within the next couple of weeks and we just don’t know which one to pick.

So what we’re doing is we’re praying about it.

But at the same time, we are also seriously considering each option.

What does this look like? So, for example, there’s an open house at one of the schools that we’re interested in. So we’re going to go to the open house, and we will talk about the program, and see what sort of support they have in place and what we can expect from the teachers.

We’ve also talked to the principal at a different school about a different program that she’s qualified to go to learn more about that.

We’re not just waiting for God to give us direction, but we’re actively seeking information so that when we feel peace from the Lord, we’ve done our part and we have all the information.

I find that when we collect the information, it’s in those meetings, it’s in those discussions, it’s in the small things that the Lord may prompt you and tell us which school is the best fit.

It’s really easy to make those decisions without Him or to not invite Him in that decision-making.

But I find that it’s so much easier to bring the Lord. Ask him for guidance and then actively seek information so that you are making wise, biblical God LED decisions.

Related Blog Post

3. You are putting too much stock in earthly things

I have a question for you. What takes up most of your time?

I ask because we all claim to be busy, but what will our efforts add up to when we realize that all material things will one day disappear? It puts everything else in perspective.

Matthew Chapter 5:19-20  Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

These verses tell us we need to measure our wealth and other outcomes the way God does. This means we need to think about how our actions affect eternity, and if they don’t have any effect on eternity, then we need to seriously consider whether or not we should partake in those activities.

I can’t give you a list of things that will add to the Kingdom or things that won’t because everybody has a different opinion.

And I’ll give you an example.

A few years ago my husband was training for triathlons and one Christian asked him, why are you spending all your time training? Wouldn’t that time be better spent reading your Bible and serving the Lord?

Maybe that man was building treasure in heaven by reading his Bible and praying. But for my husband, the training was helping his mental health so that he could be a better husband, a better father, a better leader, and a better worker.

And so doing physical exercise was helping him be the man God called him to be.

So his activities didn’t necessarily have a direct effect on building the Kingdom, but they affected how well he was doing in building the Kingdom.

I hope you can see the connection that sometimes there isn’t a very clear cut. Well, this builds treasure in heaven and this doesn’t.

I’m not gonna tell you to do this, don’t do that. But I’m gonna go back to my earlier point. (praying about everything)

In everything you do, whether it’s extracurricular things or even service for the Lord; Bring those things before the Lord and ask God to direct you.

And while you’re doing those things, change your attitude so that you’re doing those things for the Lord.

And when you are doing that, then you are building things for eternity because you’re seeking God.

When we seek to know and do God’s will we are showing and expressing our love to Him.

Conclusion

So I want you just to take a minute and consider these three mistakes that we’ve gone through.

  • Maybe you’ve offended somebody.
  • or you’re not bringing things to the Lord in prayer.
  • Maybe you’re putting too much stock in earthly things.

I encourage you to take some time to pray about those particular areas and seek the Lord and see what He brings back to you.

Maybe He’ll show you which specific thing is keeping you from having a closer relationship with him.

And when He shows you, it’s not enough to just know what is keeping you from getting unstuck, you have to then make that change.

So that means maybe asking a brother or sister in Christ for forgiveness. Maybe it’s starting to invite the Lord into the decisions that you’re making in your everyday life. Or it’s time to reprioritize things in your life because you’re putting too much activity and too much emphasis on the things of this world and not in heaven.

I hope that through this blog post, you’ve been able to gain a deeper understanding and insight into the practicality of the Christian faith in today’s world.

My goal is to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus and to use the Bible practically in your life. May the Lord bless and encourage you.

5 Powerful Results of Spiritual Growth

As a mother of 3, I spend most of my days making sure they are fed and dressed properly. Their clothes and behaviour reflect the type of home they live in and most people judge parents by their children’s actions. As Christians, we reflect The Lord. If you are like me, I want people to see that I’ve grown and become spiritually mature. But how can you know if you are growing in faith? Continue to learn 5 Powerful Results of Spiritual Growth.

This blog post was written by Sacha. She is the owner/creator of Clothed With Dignity Co which is a Christian blog and apparel store, encouraging women to be strong, honourable and faithful to God. Learn more about her here.

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When someone repents and believes in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they are saved and
become born-again. They are now a new creation unto God and have the Holy Spirit
dwelling inside of them. Although they are still living in the flesh in this world, they are
also walking in the spirit.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” –

Galatians 5:16.


Even though we are walking with The Spirit, there is a constant battle between the flesh (represented by the old self/ways) and the spirit (the new creation).

Each and every day we have a choice to make: will we follow the Lord and walk in the spirit, or fall into temptation for the lusts of the flesh?

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are
contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” –

Galatians 5:17.

What is Spiritual Growth?

Every day, Christians have access to two of the most powerful weapons to help them on
their walk with Christ and deny the desires of the flesh each day: the Word of God
and prayer.

When we choose to study the Bible and meditate on His Word, in order to learn, mature and grow in the faith, we are seeing spiritual growth within our own selves.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth” –

2 Timothy 2:15.


Spiritual growth is where we yearn to be more like Christ, and less like our own selves,
or those in this world. We make choices each and every day to serve the Lord in the
spirit, and deny the desires of the flesh. Although we still sin and fall short of the glory
of God, He is merciful towards us.

Why is Spiritual Growth Important

Spiritual growth is important for Christians because it helps us understand God more, and
also what His purpose and plans are for our lives. We are no longer living in this world,
for the world; we are following God and His Will for us.


God knows what is best for us. He created each and every one of us with a plan and
the purpose for our lives.

For many, they will never follow through with said plan and purpose, but for those Christians who are actively seeking the Lord and desiring to grow and mature in the faith, they will actively do God’s Will in their lives.

What Can You Achieve?

There is so much that you can achieve when you walk in the spirit of Jesus. Aside from
the obvious – spiritual maturity and growth, there is also a deeper sense of wisdom and
understanding of the Bible. We also get to know more about who God truly is, and why He
created you, others, and this world around us.

We also receive unique spiritual gifts that can not only help ourselves but also others
around us.

For example: Joseph’s gift was interpreting dreams, Solomon had wisdom, Samson had such strength, Deborah was a strong leader, and Paul became one of the greatest apostles known to mankind for his faith and leadership.

When we become closer to God, we can start to receive these spiritual gifts that He has
given us, and use them according to His purpose.

5 powerful results of spiritual growth

1. Spiritual Growth Leads You Closer Towards God

As you choose to spend more time with God, studying the Bible, praying, sharing the
Gospel with others, attending Church and so on, you will feel closer to God.

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” –

James 4:8a.

2. There is a Greater Understanding of The Bible


The more you study the Word of God and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you, the more you will understand what The Bible says.
The Bible compares this process to a child being able to stop drinking milk and start eating meat.

A great example of this is being able to read the less exciting scriptures in the Bible, such as the
genealogies or measurements of the temple, and see the real hidden messages behind
those Bible verses.


“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” –

2 Timothy 3:16.

3. Better Mindset During Spiritual Warfare


All Christians will go through trials, tribulations, and spiritual warfare. Spiritual maturity allows you to go through these trials and hardships with a better mindset.

As you grow closer to The Lord, you depend on His strength more, are more aware of The Lord’s presence, and can work through these struggles easier than when you were not as spiritually mature.


“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the
devil”

Ephesians 6:11

4. You Share the Gospel With Others

Once you understand the Bible and the Gospel a lot better, you will be convicted to share the truth of the Gospel with others.

The Bible also encourages you to pray for others, especially for their salvation.

Overall, when you grow in your faith, you have a stronger desire to make God known and glorify Him daily.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature” –

Mark 16:15

5. Gives You a Better Understanding of God’s Plan and Purpose

Have you ever asked yourself these questions:

  • What is my purpose in my life?
  • What is God’s plan for me?

These questions are ones that most Christians face. Through reading The Bible and getting to know God more, we slowly get answers to these questions.

There needs to be a lot of patience, consistency and a change of mindset towards how you go about seeking
these answers.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to his purpose” –

Romans 8:28

The Importance of Spiritual Growth In Christianity

God loves you and has a plan for you in your life. He desires for you to get to know Him
and to make Him known to others.

Our lives are no longer about ourselves once we see
and believe in the truth about God and His creation. Our lives are transformed, for we are
no longer the person that we were before we were saved.

The ultimate reason for us being here on this earth is to glorify God. As such, spending
time in the Word, praying to God and actively choosing to do other things that will result
in spiritual growth and maturity in the faith is of paramount importance for us Christians.

In the comments below, tell me your results of spiritual growth.

Author:

Sacha is the owner/creator of Clothed With Dignity Co which is a Christian blog and
apparel store, encouraging women to be strong, honourable and faithful to God. She shares
various different topics about the Christian faith, including Spiritual Growth,
Motherhood and Encouragement for Single Christians/Single Christian Moms. She has
recently created a secondary store/blog called Scripture + Prayer which can be found on
her blog. Check out her blog here!

How to pray regularly without repeating yourself

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As a Christian, I have a desire to grow in my faith and in spiritual disciplines. One area The Lord has helped me with is praying more throughout my day. But I know many people struggle with prayer, so continue reading to learn how to pray regularly without repeating yourself.

A picture of a woman laying on her stomach on a picnic blanket. She has her eyes closed and her hands together. She looks like she is praying. Next to the picture is a blue background with white letters that say spiritual growth, how to pray without repeating yourself.

As a Christian, I’m sure you have heard that the best way to grow in faith is to pray and read The Bible. 

So, since you love The Lord and want to grow, you go about reading The Bible and praying. 

But a few years down the road, your prayers are all starting to sound the same, and you may even feel like you’re just going through the motions. 

Has this happened to you? It has for me. 

There are many times at the dinner table that I’m just spouting off a quick prayer, not even focusing on what I’m saying, just getting the blessing done and over with. 

When our prayers get repetitive, what’s the first thing you do? 

For me, I learn more about prayer and how to pray more or be more meaningful. I start implementing a few things I’ve learned and feel excited about bringing my prayer life back to life. 

But then, it all starts feeling like a chore to do, and a bit overwhelming.

4 simple steps to a thriving relationship with The Lord

Turning prayer into a chore

For example: When my oldest daughter started going to school, I googled prayers for going back to school. I found a great post that had a list of verses and even a calendar with specific prayers to pray on specific days. 

I have nothing against these blog posts because I also write them. 

But I looked at the calendar and felt overwhelmed. I tried keeping up the routine but could not do it. 

So, maybe you are like me. You want to pray regularly, but you don’t want the prayers to be repetitive, but you also don’t want to “learn new prayers”, or add more things to your list of things to remember or do. 

So how do we find this balance? 

Before I continue, I want to be 100% honest with you and tell you I’m still trying to figure this out. I’m still learning how to do what I’m suggesting. But, there are a few things that I do to help me in this process.

How to pray regularly without repeating yourself

1. Remember who we are talking to 

When I first started dating my husband, we would go to museums and read all the plaques. Then we would pass a display that was closed to the public, and I always wanted to go over the rope or open the door. This petrified my husband, and he thought I was crazy to want access to these areas. 

I hate feeling like I can’t go somewhere. 

So, for me, anytime I’m feeling down about my prayer life, I remember that I have.

  • Hebrews 4:16, NIV Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

As Christians, we have access to God’s presence. 

This is the same God as we read about in Jeremiah 10:12-13

“But God made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding, he stretched out the heavens. When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.

Jeremiah 10:12-13 

When I remember whose presence I have access to, it humbles me and encourages me to continue being in His presence and take advantage of the access I have. 

Last year, we got a family pass to the science museum, and you better believe we go as often as we can to get every penny’s worth out of our season pass. 

This is the same attitude I want to have about having access to God’s presence. 

2. The Lord hears our prayers

1 John 5:14-15: This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

The God we serve is alive and hears our prayers. One perfect example of this is when Elijah had a “competition” with the prophets of Baal to see which god was better. 

I’m not going to read the full story because it’s long, but you can find the story in 1 Kings 18: 20-39

I will give you a quick recap of the story. The prophets of Baal went first and they built an altar and called upon Baal to consume their offering. 

Verse 26 says: and (they) called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. 

Then it was Elijah’s turn. He built the altar and then drenched the altar and trench with water until the trench was full and everything was soaked with water. 

Once everything was ready, Elijah cried out to God. 

Verse 37 says: Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.

These events teach us that God not only hears us, but He responds. That point brings me to my last point. 

3. The Lord answers our prayers 

The Bible is full of verses that assure us that God answers our prayers. 

Today, I just want to share 2. One from the OT, and one from the NT. 

  • Psalm 34:4 NIV I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

This verse is part of a Psalm that David wrote. Here, he gives us a first-hand account of praying to The Lord and The Lord answering his prayers. The Lord delivered him from his fears. 

If God answers David’s prayers, then it’s logical that God would also answer ours. 

To cement that belief, we move to The New Testament.

  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

These words were spoken by Jesus Himself during the sermon on The mount. He is teaching his disciples the meaning of things and encouraging them to know it in their minds, but also in the way they live. 

These verses assure us that if we ask, it will be forgiven

This doesn’t mean that we can ask for a large house and get it the next day. It’s an encouragement to ask The Lord for everything. 

Not only do we have evidence of answered prayer from The Bible, but we have people on earth today that follow The Lord, ask Him something in prayer, and their prayers are answered. 

This “cause and effect” is one way I knew 100% Jesus is real. He hears us and responds. We serve a LIVING God. 

4 simple steps to a thriving relationship with The Lord

4. You can pray about anything, at any time 

Growing up in the church, I got the perception that there were “better times” in the day to pray, and that prayers had to have a certain format. 

So, I got stuck thinking that prayer looked and sounded a certain way. 

It took me way too long to figure out I could pray anywhere I wanted to about anything I wanted to, in whatever way I could. 

Ephesians 6:18 Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

This verse tells us we can pray at all times with any type of prayer. 

It wasn’t until I started going to other denominations and speaking to other Christians that I realized how many ways there were to express our worship and pray to Him. 

2 years ago, I met someone who receives images when she prays for people. When she gets that image, she will pray it over someone. I had never experienced that type of prayer before, and it was beautiful.  

Too often we get caught up in what to pray for or how to pray. But The Lord just wants you to come to Him. 

One thing that really helped me understand this was watching my son communicate with people. 

The Lord understands our prayers

At 3 years old, my son was diagnosed with a severe speech delay. He didn’t have many words and most people could NOT understand what he was saying. 

But for me, I understood him the most out of my three kids. I don’t know if it was because I was a seasoned mother and learned to anticipate his needs, or that he was very good at using sounds and gestures to communicate his needs. 

Any time my son tried to communicate with me, I was happy to hear the grunts and the sounds he could make. I understood Him, and it didn’t matter that he had a speech delay or communicated in a different way than my other kids. 

It’s the same with The Lord. He already understands what we say because He is our Father. But, He is also happy for us to speak to Him in whatever way we can. There isn’t a certain level we need to reach to talk to Him. 

We can just come and communicate with Him how and when we can, and He loves it. 

Conclusion

I’ve just shared with you a few things I do, but I want to sum it all up into 1 action step. 

Remember, I am talking about how to pray regularly without repeating yourself, even if you don’t know where to start. 

1 action step: Remember that God is always with you, and you can talk to Him throughout your day about anything that is going on. 

You don’t need to wait for a certain time or pray a certain prayer. 

Just start bringing God all the things. When you do that, your prayers are honest. They build relationships, and you may repeat a thing or 2, but it’s not empty. 

Do you have a personal and thriving relationship with The Lord? 

If you said no, or want to grow in your faith, I have something really special for you. 

I’ve put together a webinar for you called: 4 Simple Steps to a thriving relationship with The Lord, 

In this webinar I’ll tell you:

✅ The exact steps I took to change my relationship with God

✅How asking a few questions unlocked the key to a thriving relationship with God

✅ How to discern the best way for you to connect with God

✅ And more!

If you want a closer relationship with God and aren’t sure where to start, register for this FREE Webinar

Click here to get all the details and get your FREE ticket.

4 simple steps to a thriving relationship with The Lord
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