Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Hopelessly Devoted

When I first started as a Christian, I resonated with Peter. He is stubborn and stands up for what he thinks is right. Notice how I said what he thinks is right. Yea, Peter grew spiritually, and I am too. Now I admire Paul. His books give me so much encouragement. So this week, I started with a small verse from the extended one you see below. It is Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

The whole piece is too good not to share it in its entirety, so please read it below.

Colossians‬ ‭4:2-6‬ , "Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone."

So, this week let’s devote ourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. First, let’s pray for each other so that God will give us many opportunities to speak his good news. Pray that we, as the body of Christ, would live wisely among nonbelievers. Remember that we need to make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Next, we can pray God gives us pure hearts so our words will be gracious and lovely. Finally, we can pray for our brothers and sisters in chains, bondage, and war. Pray the Lord is working in the circumstances they are in and that they can get the message out to those who need to hear it.

Traditions & Rituals

Traditions & Rituals

Significant Additions To Supplement Faith

Learning about other cultures and traditions is something that interests me immensely. I am New Mexican, and the customs there are vibrant and affluent. New Mexico is very saturated in old Catholic art and traditions. From the historic cathedrals to the shrines dedicated to the Lady of Guadalupe in the historic districts. Visiting is very much an experience whether you are catholic or not.

You can expect rich customs and traditions from many religions, except American Christianity. I know I must seem like I am always on the attack of American Christianity, but lately, I have been feeling flat in my worship. I crave something more. I read my bible, am enrolled in Bible Study Fellowship, attend church every Sunday, and listen to podcast sermons daily. I try to make Christ an integral part of my day. I still crave more.

I have been learning more about Christianity’s Hebrew roots and Jewish customs. It is essential to know and experience certain things to understand them fully. For example, my boys and I recite the Shema Prayer daily since hearing it in our nightly Abide meditations. My boys have taken to saying the morning and evening prayer and love to say the Hebrew words in the Shema. Doing this has also brought attention to the words in Deuteronomy ‭6:5-9. My kids have questioned what it means to wear them on your hands and forehead and write them on your doorposts. They have asked why we do not have this written on our doorposts. It has profoundly impacted us. Even though we pray, adding the Shema helps us re-frame our prayers to come to the Lord with reverence and worship rather than just supplications.

The Shema prayer is a Jewish prayer recited at morning and evening services. In the Abide meditation, the gentleman mentions that no doubt Jesus said this prayer every day, which moved me to make it part of our routine. I prayed about it because I did not want to offend my Lord. But, I felt this was something good and was led to move forward because, as you know, He offers discernment when we seek it. He affirmed me, and we are truly blessed. I cannot tell you how amazed I am that my kids have taken to this so well. My boys remind me to say it now, and I hear them throughout the day repeating it. My oldest son already has it memorized and leads us in our prayer.

What traditions and practices do you and your family do together to keep your heart on God?

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Pure Thoughts

This week, I remind myself to keep my thoughts fixed on Jesus and good things. I am repeating Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Isn’t it amazing to think that we can please the Lord just by having good thoughts? Our thoughts can determine the course of our day. But, we also have the power to bring life or death with our words, not only for ourselves but to everyone we meet. Our thoughts and words have so much power, so we have to direct them towards Jesus actively. I also really love saying, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. It makes me feel close to Him, like a term of endearment. I find my rest in Him. He is my rock.

Keep your thoughts fixed on Him this week, and see the fruit you will bear!

Wisdom Is Choosing Gods Way

Wisdom Is Choosing Gods Way

His Way Is The Right Way

What is wisdom? The dictionary defines it as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and sound judgment, the quality of being wise. Many would think that having ample knowledge makes a person wise, but on the contrary, someone can indeed be very knowledgeable and still be very unwise. Wisdom knows how to apply knowledge correctly to one’s life.

In the world, at school, we learn that knowledge is wisdom. We digest humanism or man’s view of the world. In this view, we are the center of our universe. Each person is essentially their own god. The problem with this view is that there is no universal truth, no moral standard. What is good in one person’s eyes may not be in another and vice versa. When we remove God’s moral standard, we have no absolute moral standard to measure against, and this can cause an ethical dilemma.

We think we have to look in textbooks and listen to lectures to obtain wisdom, and though those will help us gain knowledge, only God can give proper understanding. God’s word tells us that God is the creator of all things, and living our life by His commandments and absolute principles is what a wise person would do.

The problem with us, as people, is that we are bound to our sinful flesh. We have natural tendencies to accept humanistic thought because our flesh craves it. One way to battle this is to remember that we are a consecrated souls as children of God, and we have the power to overcome these temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” God has given us all the tools to have true wisdom, to walk the path He has chosen for us. It is up to us to choose true wisdom or not. 

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Power Over Temptations

This week my mediation verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

I love this verse as it has helped me often and when I am in the throes of temptation I hear the still small voice in the back of my head repeating these words to me. We all deal with temptation from time to time. But, no matter the scope of the lure itself, we can rest assured knowing that our Lord is bigger and stronger. He gives us the power to overcome, so we can quickly look for that exit and beeline to the door!

I hope this scripture will encourage you this week! If you enjoyed the wallpaper from last week, I added it again.

Food For Your Soul

Food For Your Soul

Give yourself a heaping portion!

"People do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4

Do you ever feel like God starts to nudge you when you haven’t put any focus on him? I can feel it when I start to slide on spending time with the Lord in my day-to-day life. I get busy with the kids, errands, and household things. Time goes by so fast, and before I know it, it’s time for bed! It can be so hard to find the time to squeeze God in. That in itself is a problem. I shouldn’t have to “squeeze God in,” so I have to be adamant about making time for him. It isn’t something I am great at, but these are a few of the things I do that help me make the time to focus on the Lord and recharge my soul.

  1. Be Intentional. Like I mentioned, I can feel it when I need to soak in the word. I start stressing, getting irritable, and I know I need to get back into God’s word. It’s not something I do because I feel like I have to, although, for my sanity, I do. Set time aside every day to meet with him and dig into his word. Make sure you can do it uninterrupted. I know it’s hard when you have kids. For me, it either has to be early in the morning or after they go to sleep. I prefer mornings, but I don’t always get to do it then.
  2. Commit. Once you have picked a time that works best for you, You have to commit to doing it every day. You have to commit to yourself and God that you will follow through and meet with him. I know that if I promise God I will, I’m more likely to do so than if I decide on my own. I am currently in Bible Study Fellowship. This year is my third year with them. I love BSF because it is so in-depth, and it is great to have a group talk about what you have learned and hold you accountable. Accountability is always helpful. If you can’t find a person or group, it may be a good idea to write out a prayer of commitment. A study I did with Good Morning Girls asked that we do that, and I loved the idea! Something about having it in writing to God makes it more official and could help you better commit.
  3. Create small goals. Let’s face it. The bible can be overwhelming. I found that it’s easier to commit if I do small studies or set a small goal, such as finishing one book at a time. Celebrate your accomplishments. When you complete a study, reward yourself. I feel like I accomplished an incredible feat when I can finish a devotional in its entirety, and a reward is always nice.
  4. Engage your mind. One thing I have found that helps me is keeping a journal. It helps me focus and not let my brain wander to the kitchen or the kids. Plus, I get to think about what God is speaking to me. Even if you do not like to journal, its always good to at least answer some engaging questions to get the most out of your time in the word. Most studies come with questions of some sort, but if you are studying alone at least think about what message is being taught and how you can apply it to your life.
  5. Engage your kids. I have always loved talking to my kids about what I’ve read. Now my kids are old enough to read with me, and they always have the best questions. My daughter has always had fantastic feedback as well. She loves talking about verses, and I love hearing what God is speaking to her through the same verses, she often hears an entirely different message, and it’s terrific sharing that with her!

If you are having trouble finding time to dive in and soak up the word in a busy world, don’t give up, God is always ready to speak to you. Just take the time to listen! These are just a few ways I can plug in and recharge. What are some ways you find work for you? Comment below!

"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." Psalms 119:105
Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Peace Over Worry

I will be starting my weeks off with scripture to meditate on for the week. We could all use some encouragement, and what better source than The Holy Word. So this week, I am meditating on Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything instead of pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Honestly, I meditate on this verse often. I have spent many nights repeating this to myself as I drift off to sleep. This verse is the second verse I memorized and one of my favorites as a chronic worrier. I hope it will bring you some comfort this week!

If you want some extra encouragement, I have included a free phone wallpaper with this weeks scripture below!

Time with Jesus Everyday

Time with Jesus Everyday

Save the date!

My husband sometimes jokes that there is another man in my life, I tell him, yep, his name is Jesus! Spending time reading his word and learning to apply it to my life is one of my favorite things to do, but I know all too well when life gets busy, it can sometimes feel like it is just another thing on my to-do list. Here are a few tricks I recommend if you are having the same issue.

  • Carve out time when you can focus on Jesus. One on one time is the foundation of a relationship. It is also something a relationship needs to grow. If you aren’t getting quality time in a relationship, it is bound to shrivel up and die. Just like you need quality time with your spouse, family, and friends, you will need quality time with Jesus. That means uninterrupted time reading his word, praying, and listening.
  • Put your phone away. You wouldn’t pull out your phone to text a friend or scroll Facebook when you are on a date, at least I hope not. So it would be best if you didn’t do those things when you are spending time with Jesus. I know that I use my phone bible app, which can make this a little tricky. You may need to go old school and pull out that dusty old bible in the back of your closet, so you arent tempted to switch that bible app over to see what that notification was!
  • Find a time when no one else is awake. Everyone is different. I like to have my mornings with Jesus, some people like evenings with Jesus. You want uninterrupted time so choose a time that no one else will be coming in and taking your attention away from Him. Be open to change if you’re going to do evenings, but you know you are tired at the end of the day, try to meet Him in the morning. 
  • Make an appointment on your calendar. It is easy to put off things we do not plan to do. I think to myself all the time,” I’d like to spend time with Jesus today,” and then never get to it because I get busy and never actually planned to do so. If you plan for it, mark out the time in your calendar, you are more likely to keep your appointment. It’s in the calendar, its a date!
  • Journal to Jesus. I don’t think kids do this anymore, but growing up, we always wrote letters to our friends. Even though we saw them all day at school, it was fun to keep in touch with each other when we were apart. This year, I started journaling letters to Jesus, Aside from my prayer time. I love doing this first thing in the morning, after yoga and meditating on his word, I write a letter to Jesus in my journal and thank him for the day and any imparticular things I want to pray about that morning. Somedays I write three pages, somedays I write a half-page. It doesn’t have to be a long-drawn-out essay, just a simple thanks for this day, bless this day, let me feel your presence today. Doing this has helped me personalize and deepen my relationship with him.

It is easy to forget about Jesus if we do not think of Him as a real person. Could you imagine telling your best friend that you would spend time with them later today at some point and then ghosting them? Could you imagine doing that to your spouse or children? Jesus is real, and He is waiting for you. He is the one appointment you should never miss because what He has for you is so good, it is food for your soul. So, this brings me to our last tip!

  • Notify Jesus. Make it a point to let him know when you can’t make the appointment and reschedule, just like you would anyone else. He is always available and ready when you are! When you start treating Jesus like a real friend, you will find that you are willing to make more effort to spend quality time with him!

If you are struggling in your relationship with Jesus, I hope these tips can help! Let me know if you try any of them, and how they helped you! 

Connecting With God

Connecting With God

Overcoming Spiritual Roadblocks.

Do you ever feel like you are having trouble connecting with God? Do you feel like you are doing everything you are supposed to do, but it feels empty? Do you feel like God doesn’t even hear you? Looking back on my journey as a Christian, I can see some roadblocks that occurred that may have stalled my growth. If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have a few things you can try that may help!

  • Be Emotionally Open and Honest with God. Opening up emotionally was so hard for me. I live my life in a safe little bubble. I do not open up to people much, if at all. I carried this habit into my relationship with God at the beginning of my walk with Him. I knew he knew everything about me, so I didn’t feel like I needed to go over the details. I was wrong; He wanted me to. I needed to. Once I surrendered and told him everything I had done, even though He knew, we had a new closeness. He had become a confidant, a friend, my Jesus. Though Jesus knows everything we have ever done and paid the price for it, he wants you to share it with Him so he can heal you. You have got to confess your sin. You can’t brush it under the rug and ignore it. It will just sit there and keep resurfacing. Once you confess your sins to Jesus, He can heal you and help you clean it out so it won’t come back!
  • Rethink Prayer. Prayer can be tough to master, especially if you are new in your faith. Growing up, I attended Catholic mass occasionally. Catholic prayer, for me, was mechanical and repetitive. Going from that to a Christian church was such a contrast. Prayer in the Christian church scared me. It was loud and emotional. They used churchy words, and some even flailed their arms around. I was so confused about how I should pray because I didn’t feel like my prayers were spiritual enough. I had to flip the word in my head from prayer to conversation. Whatever your background is with prayer, Jesus wants to hear from us. Jesus doesn’t care if you are saying repetitive chants or using spiritual churchy words. He only wants us to talk to Him. If you use those words, cool, but if you don’t, that is cool too. Tell Him what makes you sad, the bible says he grieves with us. Tell Him what makes you happy, the bible says he rejoices with us. Tell Him what’s stressing you out, the bible says to give him your worries, and he will provide you with peace. Talk to Him about your day, your decisions, everything, just talk to Him!
  • Don’t Compartmentalize Jesus. It can be so easy to keep Jesus secluded to your bible study or prayer time, but he’s with you all the time. Try talking to Him throughout the day. Let Him infiltrate your whole life. Find ways to remind your self He is there. I heard Pastor Greg Laurie talking about how he uses his Apple Watch Breathe reminders to remember Jesus throughout the day. I loved this idea, and now every time my watch tells me to breathe, I take a minute and say thank you for something I am grateful for at that moment. I don’t always have time to do the full minute of the breathing exercise, but it is still a reminder that He is there with me at that moment, and I always send up a quick thank you!

These are just a few things I would recommend trying out if you are having some connection issues in your walk with Jesus. Keep in mind that the relationship you are building with Jesus is unique, so do not compare yours with anyone else’s. Give yourself some grace and keep trying, if you are genuinely trying to cultivate a relationship with Him, know that He is ready and excited to guide you through your roadblocks right into His loving arms!

Wisdom From Paul

Wisdom From Paul

Christ over comfort.

As you all know, I started my first year in Bible Study Fellowship this year. I have always wanted to participate in BSF but since we travel at the drop of a dime to places that are usually out in the middle of nowhere, I have never been able to join. Now that they offer online classes I have been able to connect with a wonderful group of ladies from all over the US. It’s so nice to have a time of online fellowship. Luckily, since we are online, we haven’t skipped a beat with this whole COVID-19 pandemic going on. This year we have been studying Acts of the Apostles. This book has been such a phenomenal blessing to me in so many ways.

Seeing the boldness of Paul as he faces his trials and setbacks and continuously preaches the Gospel amazes me. Let me first say how much hope he gives me when he tells his testimony as a Pharisee who was a persecutor of Christians and now because of his vision on the road to Damascus is one of the most blazingly bold evangelists in the Bible. To see how God used Paul and to think of the ways He could use me if I only let him blows my mind.

During this time I have also been homeschooling my daughter and we have been using a bible curriculum called Wise Up, Wisdom in Proverbs. Doing these two studies at the same time has been amazing. I cannot tell you how much bible study has affected my life. I am in such a better place mentally, emotionally, and spiritually than I ever have been. I already take care of my physical needs by eating healthy and working out but being in the word and learning to apply it to my life has just fed my soul.

Since I have been learning and teaching I felt I should be sharing some of what I am learning. I have answered the call to reach out and teach a class to my sisters-in-law and my daughter who all live in New Mexico. I am teaching the Wise Up class online. This was a big step for me because I am a creature of comfort. I like my comfort zone and I had tons of excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it. I am so busy homeschooling my other three, I will neglect my blog, I won’t have any time for me. Paul has taught me that this life is not about my comfort. It is not about me. God kept nudging and I kept putting him off until I realized I cannot ignore Him anymore. The quote from our lecture in BSF that hit me the hardest was, “A courageous witness chooses godly obedience over personal comfort.” God is not calling me out to the masses, at least not yet. He wasn’t expecting me to minister out of a jail cell or at the threat of persecution. He was asking me to minister to my baby girl and my sisters out of the comfort of my home.

Someday I may have to face more uncomfortable situations for my Lord, but what he is calling me to do now is a no brainer. I have had to move some things around in my day and I have not been able to get to my blog. I don’t write blogs ahead of time so I am sorry if I have been MIA. I am a fly by the seed of my pants kind of woman these days, lol. I have had to miss a few weeks on my blog and have had to prioritize a little more of my time to get the class up and running, but I am still here. I am so excited to see Jesus at work in these girls and I am also excited to see the work He is doing in me as well! I will keep you all posted on how this all works out, Pray for us!