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A Prayer for When You Need a New Start

prayer Jul 01, 2019

I love it when the first day of the month is a Monday. Today is a Monday, the first day of the Quarter, and the exact halfway point for the year. It is like some sort of magical new beginning.

I love new beginnings. I get to restart where I may have messed up. I get to quit things that aren’t serving me well. I get new energy towards tasks I have let slide (hello, there huge stack of laundry).

But if we are being really honest, there is nothing special about a Monday. There is nothing special about the 1st of the month, or even the year. We can have a new beginning anytime we decide. If we are in Jesus, we have even more than simply a new beginning, we have new life!

Romans 8:11 says that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from death to life is at work in us, and if that isn’t some good news to start our week! Through Christ, we have new life.

If you have never asked Jesus for a new start but you want to, that is all you have to do. Ask Him. He delights in giving out...

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Journal Prompt: Count it All Joy

journal prompt Jun 29, 2019

The phrase from the Bible that comes to my mind the most often is from James 1:2, “count it all joy.”

I think I take it out of context more often than not, since James was writing to persecuted Christians, and my life is pretty easy here in the States. But it reminds me of where my focus is. Where my focus should be.

James says count it all joy, because all these trials we go through are making us more like Christ, and as Christ followers, that should be our goal. But the thing I notice most about this is that James doesn’t say “feel joy.” He says to count it as joy. We can feel upset about something, yet note that we are becoming more like Christ so it is ultimately good. We don’t have to manufacture fake feelings to count it all joy.

Spend 5-10 minutes journaling about what it looks like for you to count it all joy. There are no right answers, as this will look different for everyone.

Next time you are going through something hard,...

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A Prayer for Reading the Bible

bible study prayer Jun 24, 2019

Are you ever intimidated when reading the Bible? What if you have questions? What if you don’t understand it? I have asked myself these same questions before. The size alone of a Bible with the small print can be enough to make you hesitant to crack it open.

I got the chance to talk with Lisa Hensley the other day, and she said a something that really struck me about the Bible. She said, “truth is not challenged by questions.” I love how true that is about the Word of God. God is not threatened or offended when we have questions about His Word. He is not offended when we don’t understand something. Instead He offers that we come closer, that we look deeper into His Word and who He is.

One of the first verses I ever memorized was Psalm 119:11. It says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.” All of Psalm chapter 119 is about valuing God’s Word, and putting it to practice in our lives. I want that to be true...

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Make the Bible Personal

Here in Middle Georgia, everything is personalized with a monogram. Purses, cars, earrings, luggage, notebooks, cups, everything. You can even buy the machines that cut out the vinyl that personalize everything. We have taken it to a whole new level.

So how come, when we read God’s Word to us, we feel like it’s not personal? We feel like it isn’t relevant to our lives. But that isn’t the case. The Bible is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), and is relevant to our lives today!

So I challenge you today. Take out your journal, and write out Ephesians 3:14-21 and personalize it. Where it says “you” write your name. Write it like it were a prayer from Paul, specifically for you.

How would your life be different if you took the Bible as a Word for you? Would your life change? Would you read it more, and do what it says (James 1:22).

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How to Pick a Bible Translation

bible study how to Jun 19, 2019

I absolutely love shopping for books. It is one of my favorite pastimes. The smell of the books, the rows and rows of shelves combined with the hushed atmosphere is the best way to spend a Saturday morning. But there is something even more special to me about picking out a new Bible. I know it is the book I will spend the most time with over the next year, and I want to find one that is just right.

[Now at this point you could be thinking that I am obsessed with books. To that I say, you are not wrong.]

Bible translation plays a huge role in what Bible to get. If you get a translation you don’t understand easily, but the cover is pretty, you are probably less likely to read it. So that brings us to the first point.

GET A TRANSLATION YOU CAN UNDERSTAND.

If you can’t understand it, it’s not worth it. We are lucky that in English, we have so many different translations to choose from. They range on a scale from word for word translations, to a thought for...

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When God Answers Prayers

prayer story Jun 17, 2019

I didn’t realize tadpoles were going to be the answer to my prayers.

We were walking past a ditch on a road we had walked so many times before. Why I looked to see what might have been in the standing water, I am not sure. But today there was something there.

Tadpoles.

Just starting to sprout little legs, swimming through the water. There were too many to count! I had prayed that I would notice the little gifts God had placed throughout my day, and there they were. I didn’t want to miss out on something good He had planned for me, no matter how small.

I am not saying God always answers prayers with tadpoles. But I am saying that sometimes the answer to our prayers is unexpected.

I want to be able to hold my requests loosely before God, knowing that His plans are better than my plans. His schedule is better than mine, and His gifts for me are better than anything I could have dreamed up myself.

Father,

I am so glad that your ways are higher than my ways, and that...

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5 Tips for Studying Difficult Bible Passages

bible study guest post Jun 13, 2019

This is a guest post by Cyndee Ownbey. Cyndee writes at her site Women’s Ministry Toolbox, and is passionate about pointing women to Christ and teaching them how to dig into the Word of God.

Have you ever blown anything out of proportion? Made something harder than it really was?

Several years ago, we visited Stone Mountain in Georgia. There is a high-speed Swiss cable car that “provides a stunning view of the Confederate Memorial Carving as it transports guests more than 825 feet above ground to the top of Stone Mountain.” Our boys could not wait to ride it!

That sounds like great fun unless you’re terrified of heights! The longer we stood in line, the more nervous I became. I worked myself into such a panic that I felt like I was going to pass out before we even got in the cable car. I purposefully positioned myself in the middle, held on for dear life to the handrail, closed my eyes tight, and prayed. My heart raced. My legs shook, and my hands were so...

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Good Gifts

prayer Jun 11, 2019

It seems like the days are passing especially quickly this summer. Things I looked forward to for so long have already come and gone, and things that I am still looking towards are right around the corner! I don’t want to get caught up in the rush, and miss out on the little gifts God has placed in my day. Let’s take a second together today to thank God for those little gifts. Let’s ask Him to help us slow down long enough to see them.

Father,

You are the author of every good thing. The Bible says in James that every good gift comes from You. We are surrounded by such good gifts, if we would only take the time to see them. This doesn’t mean life will be perfect, but God it means that You are with us, giving us good gifts, even in the mess.

Help us to look for You this week. Help us to see You in the good gifts all around us. Help us to see You in that first sip of coffee in the morning, and the sunshine of summer. Help us to notice little joys that make...

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Journal Prompt: Gratitude

journal prompt Jun 08, 2019

Over the past month, I have been so overwhelmed with the to-do lists and the craziness. I could blame this on the final days of school, and the transition to summer, but y’all, I don’t even have kids to blame it on!

But one thing that I have found always calms me down is gratitude. Spending time acknowledging the gifts I have been given, and giving thanks to the One who gives them.

So I challenge you today to take 10 minutes and sit down with your journal. Take the first 5 minutes and list as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for. Then take the next 5 minutes and thank God for those things. Take note and see if your whole spirit is calmer afterwards. I would bet it is.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

his faithful love endures forever.” -Psalm 107:1

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Read the Bible Like it Really Matters

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Cravillion. Elizabeth writes to shine a light on the hard places of life on her website elizabethcravillion.com.

2019. An impressive time to live.

We can practically have anything we want. I’m sitting in a Starbucks coffee shop with an Earl Grey latte with almond milk and honey. I drove here in my husband’s Silverado listening to a classic Easton Corbin song in a ball cap and my silver Allbirds. I get to customize all my choices.

2019. Unlike our parents generation, we’re allowed to talk about our feelings and our mental health. Self-care is on trend. We’re bringing dark things into the light. Hashtags create a way for people to share their stories, even if from behind a screen.

You could argue that we are healthier as a society than we’ve been for a long time.

Problem? When we focus on one thing, we fall off balance and let other things slide.

Generation X zoned in on appearances. Studying the Bible with stacks...

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