Archive for 'Tips'

Create a devotional plan:

Bible Study Pic from the Journey Guy - http://www.flickr.com/photos/journeyguy/

©2011 - The Journey Guy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/journeyguy/)

Now that you’ve decided on a time and place, you’ll need to put together some thoughts on what you will do during your time with God. Time with God should be some-what organic and constantly change and shift as you grow in your relationship with Him.

Some things to think about:

How to transition into devotional time:

Often going from waking up or the hustle of daily life to quieting ones mind takes a strategy. Below are some things I’ve found helpful to make this transition from a chaotic mind to quiet and ready to hear from God.

Music

This is as simple as picking a favorite praise songs that help to slow you down and begin the transition to quieting the mind, body and spirit.  I create a playlist on my ipod just for devotional songs.

Some of my favorites are:

Chris Rice – Hymn Project or The Living Room Sessions

Ginny Owens – Say Amen or my personal favorite: Be Still My Soul

Bible Reading Plans

A structured Bible reading plan helps with consistency and knowing what to read. I’ve used a variety of different ones over the years, such as:

The One Year Bible (NIV)

A Chronological Daily Bible (NIV):

But, Nowadays I use the YouVersion Bible Reading Plans: Currently for 2012 I’m doing: Project 345 Plus

Devotional Books:

I like using devotional books and have a large assortment that I’ve used at different times in my life. Like music they provide a transition and a spiritual thought to start my devotional time.

An easy option is simply – Our Daily Bread

Other favorites of mine are:

One Year Book of Hymns

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life

The Complete Personalized Promise Bible

Quiet Time Notebook:

Sometimes starting out with a devotional / quiet time is tricky to know what to do — Catherine Martin has a very great quiet time resource: The Quiet Time Notebook

I’ve always developed my own quiet time process, but this year decided to give Catherine Martin’s notebook a try. I bought it many years ago and just never used it. I like the structure of it and she’s like a friend whispering encouragement and helpful thoughts throughout the notebook. I think this is a nice resource for people just starting out in quiet time or someone like me who has had a regular time with God for many years, but wanted to get new ideas and a fresh perspective from someone else.

Journal

I’m a natural journal writer and love how writing slows my mind and allows me to listen to the rhythm of my heart. It also allows me to see what God has been teaching me and be nourished through his continued working in my life. The majority of great men and women of the faith are journal writers, because it is a powerful tool for continued growth in Christ. When I go through a spiritual drought the journals from my journey nourish and refresh me to keep journeying deeper with Christ.

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Original Posted on: January 15, 2011 at 23:49
Edited / Updated on: 1/13/2012 at 22:50 

Create a Devotional Plan for 2011 – #1

So often, we rush through life wanting to change, but are too busy to make plans. Life ends up being a whirlwind of busyness without moving toward the better future that we all hope and dream of living.

The most powerful method (that I’ve found) to produce lasting life change  is being strategic about my devotional life. Creating a strategic plan to grow closer to God and become more Christ-like. Christian’s hate to talk like this, because it seems so ungodly to speak of God like an item on a to-do list. Yet, by not adding God time as a must do item it ends up being a rarely do item. God wants us to actively and passionately pursue Him, which means being strategic about our time together. He wants us to desire to know him more and more . . . while becoming more like him each day.

The best way to actively pursue God is to make sure you are spending regular time with Him.

Tip #1: Decide on the amount of time you will give God daily.

Schedule an appointment with God like you would any other VIP. Decide on how much time you’ll spend with God and where you will meet with Him.

Be Prepared, there are going to be days when you ‘really’ don’t feel like waking up early or taking time away from something else to spend time with God (because it doesn’t ‘feel’ productive). That’s normal, but often these are the times when we need God most — and feel refreshed or more at peace afterwards.

The amazing part about spending time with God is that he slowly changes us to be more like Him in the process. It’s not magic, but you’ll soon begin to notice a change in yourself. This will usually be expressed in how you react or don’t react to stressful situations. Other changes may be in your words, your compassion for others, decreased anger or frustrations and a general greater sense of peace and patience.

Wanna Grow? Listen to Sermons Online

The main point of this blog is to encourage people in their walk with God and help them . . . Journey Deeper in Christ.

So, I’m going to include various things I do that encourage me in my faith and help me grow closer to Christ.

One of the things I often do is listen to sermons online. I’ve gained a lot of insight from different perspectives that I’ve found invaluable for growing in my faith.

My favorite churches to regularly listen to sermons from are:

Lifechurch.tv (Craig Groeschel) – I’ve been a loyal e-ttender since 2007! I have learned and grown so very much through the teaching of Pastor Craig that I couldn’t possibly recommend lifechurch.tv and their resources highly enough.

North Point Community Church – (Andy Stanley) – Andy Stanley is another favorite  pastor of mine, I’ve also learned a lot from his teaching.

Elevation Church (Steven Furtick) – young, fresh, inspiring, need I say more.

Church of the Highlands (Chris Hodges) – There’s something real humble and likable about Christ Hodges, so I also add him into the mix from time-to-time.

Another great place for sermons and Christian broadcasting Oneplace.com.

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For fun, I also listen to listen to Children’s radio programs. Even though it’s for kids, they can be really fun and useful to the kid in all of us  🙂

Your Story Time (I first listened to these when I was a kid, they bring back memories, but are also quite good!)

Adventure’s in Odyssey (radio theater by focus on the family)

 

 

Lesson 01: Application

If there is anything I want you to take away from this lesson is a simple process:

  1. Pray First: Start this very day praying before you begin studying the Bible. Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding. Ask him to soften your heart so that you will receive the truth that he has for you.
  2. Focus: When you begin reading, don’t focus on the quantity of what is read (# of chapters), but instead focus on ‘What is God trying to tell or teach you through His word?’
  3. Pause & Discuss: Pause for a moment and talk to Him. Ask Him questions or discuss what you are learning.  If you feel convicted and know you need to ask forgiveness, stop and do it — right then, don’t wait!

I want you to have your Bible reading time to be a conversation. When you do this then God’s story begins to be woven into your life and it becomes your story as well. You’ll remember years later how certain verses sustained you through difficult times. How you were strengthened and challenged by your conversations over the Bible. It will be amazing how God can use a simple phrase or even just a word to speak into your life — if you’ll let Him!

Tips: Improve Your Prayer Life

Tip for the journey:

I know people pray in many different ways, but I wanted to give some thoughts and helps for improving your prayer life.

Whatever you say is OK!

There is no perfect prayer or prayer style. Often throughout the prayer time I pause , which allow me to listen to see if God is trying to speak, but sometimes I rush through it and just rattle on to God and hardly ever listen (I’m lucky He’s so understanding). When I first became a Christian (5/3/98) I prayed rotely, because I knew I was supposed to, but wasn’t sure what to say.  I think God honored these prayers, because I was wanting to know him more and that pleases Him! So don’t worry about what you say or even if you’re mad at God or confused about His plan – he’ll just be happy to hear from you. I think a sincere honest prayer is what God wants from us – not polished words or perfect poise, but a heart desiring to listen and follow Him.

Keep a notebook in hand:

This is a multipurpose tool, you can right down anything that comes to mind that is distracting you from your prayer time. Most of us have experienced that –  we get quiet to pray, then our mind suddenly fills with a bunch of stuff we should do instead. Take some time and write it down and get it out of your head. You may also notice other things showing up in the quiet, things you are frustrated about from your day and starting to worry about or decisions your not sure what to do about, relationships you need help in, goals that you are wanting to reach, people or things to pray about, etc. Often whatever is stirred up in this initial quiet will both make up your to-do list and your prayer list and that is okay. It is much better to work through it and then pray about everything then simply try to ignore all these thoughts, which should be making up your prayers.

Don’t Forget to Listen:

Often we ask and ask and ask . . . but do not stop to listen for directions or answers. It’s like stopping to ask someone for directions, telling them what a difficult situation you are in, tell them how much you need to find the right direction, tell them more and more about your hopeless spot, but not stopping to listen for the directions. That would obviously be foolish. We are also foolish to ask God to guide us, but never stop and listen for His guidance. What is God trying to say to you. Has there been a theme threaded through many areas of life, bible study, conversations, music, sermons? Are you wondering,  is this just a strange coincidence? No, more than likely, it is not a coincidence and is,  perhaps, God trying to tell you something (as long as it does not go against his revealed will through the Bible.) This is the opportunity to ask, Hey God, it seems like everywhere I turn I keep getting the same message is that you? Then give Him the opportunity to answer.

Pray through the Bible

Occasionally make the habit of combining your Bible Study and Prayer Time. When you read about a Bible Character and know that you are tempted to fail in similar ways, pray for strength, pray for the ability to overcome and stand under the temptation. If you see a characteristic that you would like to have more of in your life – ask for it. Let God know that you desire to be like ______ and what you are learning. If you are reminded of a character about God that you appreciate, let Him know and Praise Him for it.

Find Creative Prayer Times:

Our lives are so busy that it is useful to create a sanctuary out of the ordinary. You can redeem various times by combining prayers with other activities. I’ve heard many people say that their best prayer times are in a car during a long commute, while waiting in line or cleaning the house. Often activities that are mainly physical in form, but don’t require a great deal of mental processing make for perfect prayer times. These are all items that may be good times to include prayer in: Gardening, Exercising, Brushing your Teeth, Doing Dishes, Cleaning, . . . feel free to add to comments any others that you can think of.

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