Looking for a new way to spend some spiritual quiet time? Try these Christian journal prompts to help explore your Christian walk.
Hello friend. I hope you’re having an awesome day. Today, I’m sharing some Christian journal prompts that I hope will help you fine tune your relationship with Christ. These are some of the topics I’ve written about in my own journal this past year.
I like to think of Christian journal prompts as a personal assessment about your spiritual life. So many times we are just trodding along not even realizing they we are off track somewhere. Using these journal prompts help me to stop and evaluate just where I am on my spiritual walk.
I will add one disclosure though. The Bible should be your guide through this. My degree is in Psychology and journaling can often be associated with that because Psychology is all about finding answers within yourself. But that isn’t what I’m promoting. I’m asking you to listen for God’s voice with scripture as your guide. Personally, I like to pray before I do spiritual journaling. Ask God to reveal His will for your life and ask Him to impart wisdom.
Christian Journal Prompts
Describe a time in your life where God has rescued you. Do you believe He’ll do it again?
Write a scripture that brings you peace. What is God saying to you?
Describe a time where you believed God spoke to you.
Write a prayer of surrender to God.
How can you be bold and courageous for the Lord.
Be still. What is God telling you now?
How can you serve God better?
How can you be a light to others in a dark world?
Describe a time when God used a bad situation for your good.
What do you feel God is asking you to change?
What do you imagine heaven will be like?
When do you feel most distant from God?
How are you hurting others with your pride?
Ecclesiastes tells us there is a season for everything. What season are you in right now?
Write out the lyrics of a Christian song or hymn that brings you joy.
Write a scripture that brings you joy. How can you apply it to your life?
Describe a blessing that happened this week.
Write a Psalm of worship to God.
Do you find it hard to apologize? If so, why?
The bible specifically speaks of joy, not happiness. In what way are they different?
Are you self-righteous about something? What can you do about it?
What are the character attributes you think a Christian should have?
When you get offended by something how does your pride react?
Pick a bible character. What can we learn from his/her life?
What do you need to confess to God?
Write a letter of forgiveness to an enemy.
Is there something that you haven’t forgiven yourself for? How can you receive the healing of the Lord?
Write 5 scripture verses that make you feel strong and courageous.
What does forgiveness look like?
If you are struggling though something, what do you think God wants to you to learn?
List all the needs God is currently meeting.
What do you love most about your church family?
What does God say about pride (see the scriptures)?
Describe someone in your life who exemplifies humility.
What are your God-given gifts and talents? How can you use them to advance the Kingdom?
Who or what do you need to forgive?
Before You Go
Don’t forget to PIN this post for later. Also, take a look at some of my other scripture related posts.
Did you miss me? I took two weeks away from writing on this blog to catch up on some much needed rest. I’m guessing most of you didn’t even realize I was gone! That’s okay. I needed a break. If you’ve been following along, you know my husband recently left his job of seven years. They closed his field office here in San Antonio and we’ve been job hunting for eight months. Let me tell you, the process has been stressful.
There have been tears, prayers (e.g. begging and bargaining with God) and dashed hopes. There was several highly desirable jobs we wanted, but didn’t get. There were several jobs we were offered but the pay and circumstances were just plain deflating. I had naysayers and critics who thought we were fools for waiting (and for turning down perfectly good jobs). I had friends who were always reaching out and praying over us. I can’t express my gratitude enough for the support. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster!
We Finally Have a Job
We were really hoping to get a job with a local refinery here. We’ve tried every way to make that work, but they just weren’t fully sold on hiring my perfectly-qualified husband for the senior manger role he desired. Alas, we have an offer that gives us a huge pay bump. There is just one catch… it’s in Austin.
First, let me start off by saying that I am completely and deeply grateful for this opportunity. God has opened some huge doors here and he has blessed us exponentially in this situation. However, Austin was never on the map for us and we are shocked by the housing market there. Let’s just say, San Antonio is far more affordable. So much so, we are considering commuting from San Antonio instead of moving.
We love our house and we are so happy here with what we have. We are still early in our house search, but we’ve yet to find anything that is even remotely comparable for the price.
If we stay, as I anticipate we will, it will come with immense sacrifice. It will mean a ninety minute commute each way for my husband, but he’ll have every other Friday off. It means we can stay close to our family and don’t have to leave the church family we love dearly. It means we don’t have to uproot our children from their home.
My oldest son is so reliant upon routine and structure. It brings him so much security. He loves his room and his house. His memories are here. Our memories are here. We built this beautiful house ourselves. I love it so much, it would probably take something immensely better for me to consider giving it up. So far, I haven’t seen it – at least not without spending unGodly amounts of money.
We’re going to see how this works out. Thankfully, we don’t have to make a decision on moving immediately. We have some time to let this play out. if the commute becomes too big of a burden, we’ll seriously consider moving.
A Big Thank You
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who has prayed over us in this hard season. There are some (you know who you are) that reached out every couple of weeks and let me cry on your shoulder. Others gave me hope when I was clean out of it! I won’t forget that. I know our actions confused a lot of people – especially when we said “no” to certain jobs, but thank the Lord we were never in a desperate position. We could afford to wait for the right opportunity and God has come through. It may not be exactly how we expected (it rarely is), but we’re certain God had a hand in all of it.
Plans For the Future
With Dan’s long commute, it means longer hours – and that equates to even longer days as a stay-at-home-mom. May I be honest? I’ve been struggling the last twelve months as a stay-at-home mom. I’ve felt lonely, bored, and disinterested. I wasn’t always like that. I was very happy for a long time because I was a part of a mom’s group. It felt like a big family. But I rarely participate in that group anymore. First, some friends have moved on as their children have grown. Secondly, the group has a very different vibe these days. Then a falling out with a “friend” left me feeling uncomfortable about returning and participating. I’ve tried out a few other different groups, but never felt chemistry. I’m very conflicted about where to go from here. I’m not sure where my place is or where God is guiding me. I do know that I need to find a my new mom tribe! I’m just not sure who or what that is.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we enter the new season God has for us.
No one wants to admit they are jealous, but if you’re battling to happy in the successes of others, this is for you. Join me for scripture reading Jealousy and Comparison.
Hello friend. This month’s scripture reading is going to be centered around jealousy and comparison. I think this is a neglected topic, specifically in modern Christianity, so let’s talk about it.
What is Jealousy and Envy
Envy, jealousy and comparison are feelings rooted in insecurity, greed, and pride. Jealousy is the feeling of being replaced or outshined by a rival. Envy is the coveting or discontentment by another’s possessions, circumstances, or qualities. Both of them keep us from realizing our own potential.
Social media, for example, is a great catalyst for feelings of envy. It provides us an intimate glimpse into someone’s private life. We see their vacations, fun events, new houses, new jobs, and even romantic relationships. It’s easy to start comparing your life against someone else’s. Perhaps a friend’s life seems more exciting than yours. Maybe someone seems to be surrounded by countless friends or maybe a neighbor or coworker always seems to have financial blessings.
Many of us don’t think of ourselves as overly jealous, but here are some basic questions you might ask if you feel there is a problem. (Excerpt from the book Mind Over Emotions by Les Carter)
Do you work hard to come out looking good in situations?
Do you tend to be status conscious?
Do you need a lot of recognition for achievements?
Do you find it hard to pay compliments to others?
Do you base your self image on your performance?
Do you have hidden feelings of inferiority?
Do you complain about unfair treatment?
Are you willing to pass on negative rumors about a successful person?
Remember Your Identity in Christ
Earlier this year, I shared a scripture reading post, Identity in Christ. Knowing who you are in Christ really does solve a lot of life’s problems. Jealousy and often spark feelings of insecurity and inferiority. The way we fight that is to remember what scripture says about us. I encourage you to read my post if you are wrangling with self-worth issues. Root yourself in the God’s loving view of you.
The deeper my relationship with Christ, the more I understand the need for gratitude. It really is the remedy for lots of our problems. We limit the power comparison has over us when we focus on our own blessings. Yes, they are blessed, but so are you! If you are keeping score and trying to balance blessings on a scale, you will be eternally frustrated. Furthermore, I’ve learned to realize that many times the blessings of others pour into my life as well.
Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.
Perhaps you have a friend who is talented at party planning. Maybe you’ve even asked her to teach you, but you can’t seem to do it with the same ease and creativity as she does. You can be envious of her gift or you can be grateful that you have access to her talents and imagination when you need party planning help. A perspective of gratitude is a great cure for envy.
Develop an Attitude of Abundance
Envy ensues when you feel an imbalance of success, gifts, or talents. This perceived disproportion causes feelings of insecurity and fear – as if there are only so many blessings to go around. For instance, sibling rivalry is the feeling of being overshadowed by a sibling. It can create feelings of scarcity when it comes to the love of a parent (e.g. if my mom loves my sister there will be less love for me).
Therefore, we must retrain our minds to have an attitude of abundance. There is such a thing as “healthy competition.” My dad used to say, “there is always room for one more hamburger stand.” “Competition” isn’t something to fear. There is always more where that came from! That’s because God owns it all. He is the one who bestows gifts, blessings, and talents and he never runs empty. There is never a need to be jealous once you realize that God has a future full of blessings for you (Jeremiah 29:11). I promise you this…he will never run out of favor.
Also, in 2 Corinthians (v. 9-8) Paul reminds us the reason behind abundant blessings – not for our glory, but for HIS. So that we “will abound in every good work.” Finally, we’re also told in Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) and Deuteronomy (28:12) that we go through seasons of blessings and droughts.
Ask God To Remove It
The first thing I recommend doing when these feelings spring up is to confess it. Tell God how you feel and why you are struggling with it. Confession is powerful because secrets control us. They become a stronghold. The enemy would love nothing more that to see you fester in resentment. Reject it and ask God to help you work through those feelings. Also, ask him to help you recognize the blessings he’s already given you and to give you an attitude of gratitude.
If you should desire to be like anyone, let it be Christ and not other sinners and imperfect people (Proverbs 23:17).
Trusting God in tough times is hard, but I’m here to share some hope on how to keep your focus on the Lord and his blessings that are coming your way.
Trusting God in tough times is one of the hardest things we will have to overcome as Christians. Worry is a symptom from doubting God. If we believe that he will sort out of problems and make good on his promises, there is no reason to worry. If we believe he is omnipotent and has control over all circumstances, we shouldn’t grapple with trust. And yet…we do.
A Hitch While Getting Hitched
When I was getting married, my husband wanted a cookie cake as his groom’s cake. I tried ordering it advance, but the store told me the soonest I could order it would be two days in advance. So, I went down to order it two days before my wedding. I asked for a cookie cake with a Collegiate block ‘O’ written in Scarlett and grey. The man behind the counter just stared blankly at me as I continued describing it. I even drew it out on a piece of paper. He then said, it might not be him that makes it and he had no idea how to leave the drawing for the next person. I left frustrated and in tears.
I called my maid of honor and started crying. With all the things I had to do for the wedding over the next 48 hours, I was totally stressed over the potential of disappointing my new husband over a groom’s cake. I sobbed. She listened. Then she said calmly, “I don’t want you to worry about this anymore. I will take care of it. Even if I have to bake it myself, it will be there. Enjoy your wedding and don’t worry about this anymore.”
I can’t even begin to describe how I felt. The burden had been lifted and I totally believed with all my heart that she would fix it. I trusted her to make it right. And…I stopped worrying about it. Sure enough, on my wedding day, there was a huge cookie cake, decorated with the block O, sitting there right next to my tiered wedding cake.
I realize this could have ended differently. But my point is the peace I felt knowing it was her problem and not mine anymore. This should be the same peace we feel when we shift our problems over for God to deal with.
I get it. Our problems are often bigger than a wedding cake. We suffer life altering things like divorce, death, chronic illnesses, job loss, and financial woes. I get it – but so does God. Scripture calls him compassionate. He knows what you’re facing and he is compassionate towards you.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in every way as we are yet without sin.
Why We Can’t Find Peace
We can’t see God face to face and that causes us to wrestle with faith. Even the disciples struggled to believe after witnessing miracles of Christ. Remember Peter on the water? When Jesus called him to walk on water with him he started to sink. Why? He started to doubt.
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
It is in our very nature to doubt. We’ve got serious trust issues! This is why it is so important to recount the times God has come to your rescue. I keep a prayer journal (war binder) with all my answered prayers. It proves to me that God is listening – or more to the point, that he cares an answers prayers.
Trusting God in Tough Times
Set Your Mind on Higher Things
Too often we tend to dwell on what is wrong, rather than what is right. This is why Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8 to purposely reset our minds.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
The Psalmist echoes Paul. He tells us how to trust in one simple sentence – by turning your thoughts often to the Lord. That means when doubt and worry start to creep in, you immediately turn to God for reassurance. His promises in scripture is the reassurance he has left for us. We deliberately need to choose to think of good things instead of our problems. The more you worry, the more your fear will grow.
One thing is certain, after this problem, you will face another. Such is life. There will always be something about which to grumble and complain. Again, focusing on what is good, will make you feel better – and there is always something for which to be grateful. Gratitude grows contentment and joy. Spend time praising God and I promise you’ll feel better. I love reading the Psalms. The Psalmist laments and cries out to God about his troubles, but then immediately praises God for being God. He encourages himself in the Lord, our savior. Magnify God, not your problems.
In every circumstance give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
There won’t always be someone to cheer you up or encourage you. It might be the friend, spouse, or parent, with which you have trouble. You can’t rely on imperfect people to be your “well.” Draw from the well that never runs dry! Learn to encourage yourself in God’s goodness.
You are limited. God is limitless. He is both powerful and mighty. He can take on any mess. Make it his problem to fix. Let him shoulder the burden of working out the kinks. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. When you know every mystery in the universe and control all circumstances, our problems aren’t a surprise. Wreckage and ruble is easy to clean up when you’re the creator of the entire world.
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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
A yoke is a wooden beam fastened to oxen (one older, one younger), to pull heavy weight in pairs. If the young oxen tires, the older one will bear most of the weight. Jesus invites you to share your heavy burden with him. Fasten yourself to him and let him take on the weight of your troubles. To him it is easy and light to bear. Also, the analogy of the yoke does not promise the burden will disappear, rather we are to walk in step with him and he will carry us through.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.
If you are struggling with trust, faith, or anxiety or worry, I encourage you to read my other posts:
Thank you for taking the time to read Trusting God in Tough Times, with me. If you are going through a hard time and are burdened with worry I’d like to pray over you.
Lord, thank you for inviting us to share our burden with you. Please help my friend, who is struggling with believing that things will get better. Bless them with the gift of faith and trust. Assuage their anxiety and worry and help them cast their care onto you and you alone. Thank you for always showing us compassion and mercy. Even though we don’t understand why this happening, we give thanks to you and know you are working it out for our good. Amen.
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Cataclysmic events can shake our faith. But don’t stay in doubt too long. Pray this month long scripture reading – Faith and watch your faith grow.
Hello, friend. I’m glad you’re here. Before we begin, let me pray over you. I pray that the Holy Spirit blesses you with the spiritual gift of wisdom – that what you’re about to read increases your faith and trust in the Lord. If you are struggling with faith today, I pray that he breaks the spiritual stronghold of doubt. Amen.
This has been a huge area of testing recently in my life. It’s easy to feel full of faith until something knocks the wind out of you. So since I’m also being stretched in this area, I thought I’d share with you how God is guiding my heart.
What is Faith
What exactly is faith? Paul explains in his letter to the Hebrews, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for – the conviction of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)” THE ASSURANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR.
Hope is the happy anticipation of good. Therefore, faith is the assurance of good, but in particular – when it is not seen. It is the conviction, the belief, that regardless of the current appearance or evidence, good is coming. To me, faith is built upon two pillars – hope and trust. You can’t have one without the other. The combination equates to faith.
Faith After Disappointment
“But what if I’ve been disappointed? I had faith and was disappointed!” Maybe you had a prayer you didn’t feel was answered or a situation that didn’t change. I know the feeling. In fact, over the last few months, I’ve struggled with this. In fact, today I experienced another very big disappointment…again! It’s very hard to get back to trusting God. But this is where you have to dig deep in TRUTH instead of fickle emotions.
I had often heard pastors and priests talk about “abiding in Christ.” For years, I thought it meant to surround myself in the warm, basking love of our savior. Almost like a warm blanket, I was to wrap myself up in him and his presence. But that isn’t what the word abide means.
The word abide actually means to “obey – to follow, to heed, conform to, consent to, acquiesce, pay attention to, agree to.” This takes on an entirely different meaning. To abide is a command of obedience. More directly, it means yielding our will to His.
Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?
Don’t misunderstand this as legalism, which is putting law above the gospel and reducing it down to rigid moral codes. Rather, our obedience is an act of love (John 14:15) and allows us to be malleable to God’s great plan for us. We shouldn’t expect full blessing in exchange for partial obedience.
If there is one valuable lesson I’ve learned as an adult Christian, it’s that I am incapable of anything in my own flesh. Trying to do things on our own – including following Christ, is all but impossible in our own humanness. Even with our best intentions, we are riddled with imperfections and shortcomings. That’s why it’s important that we ask God for help – including help with trust and the gift of faith.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours.
Ask God to increase your faith. You have not, because you ask not. Ask! And be bold!
Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you: for everyone that asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
While I would love for you to take a grandiose, blind, leap of faith, I know how hard it is to be afraid of doing so. After all, if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. So if you have to, start small. Just take the first step in faith – believe He hears you! Then believe He cares about you. Next, believe that he is good. Keep taking those baby steps towards believing! Over time, with prayer and scripture, your faith will mature.
Remember God’s Promises
God has given us the greatest spiritual food for faith – His word. His word is full of promises for when we are struggling with faith. Clutch to them like a life raft! Hold on to them and don’t let them go. Write them on sticky notes and put them on your fridge if you have to, but keep God’s promises in front of you! Remind yourself daily, that God’s ultimate plan won’t disappoint. He has something better for you.
Pray scripture aloud. I found this to be a powerful tool to increase faith and ward off the enemy. As Paul writes to the Romans, “so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Hearing the living word of God increases faith.
Remember There is a Battle Going On
It’s easy to forget that there is a real life battle going on for your soul. We have an adversary. Scripture calls him “the accuser,” “a deceiver,” and a “murderer.” The very introduction of Satan as the serpent has him causing Adam and Eve to doubt God and his command. Jesus himself called Satan the “father of lies” (John 8:44).
When he lies, he speaks according to his nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Renounce doubt! Doubt is a tool of the enemy. More to the point, doubt is the enemy of faith. Satan will tempt you by planting seeds of doubt, but you decide if you water it, root it, nurture it, and tend to it. Doubt must be dealt with like a weed. As soon as you see it popping up, yank it out by the root. Don’t allow it to grow in you.
Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which was sown in them.
Simply put, Satan hates faith, which is produced by the word of God. The good news is this – Satan will not win.
Start your son off with a blessing. Here is my list for beautiful biblical baby boy names and their meanings.
The joy of naming a baby is unlike any other. It’s a special season as you and your partner search for the perfect name for your new baby.
There is a beauty in blessing your child with a biblical name. The search for the perfect name is a very personal one, but I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you’re interested in some biblical baby boy names for your little man. Here are some tips before we get started.
Tips for Naming
Consider if any family members should be honored
For names that are loved by one spouse and not by the other, consider using it as a middle name instead.
Consider if the name will be shortened (example: Jeremiah = Jerry or Jeremy) and whether you want or like that
You may want to consider omitting the names of exes
Say names in full, out loud to hear how it sounds.
Choosing a name can be fun, but it can also lead to disagreements, especially if you are passionate about a name. Maybe there is a name you picked out years ago, but your partner doesn’t like it. That can be a tough pill to swallow. Therefore, I suggest praying before each naming brainstorm. Give your partner permission to veto names they truly dislike.
Lastly, picking a name is a very special event in having a child. Your child’s name will follow him all of his life and may even be passed down. I hope that you enjoy the process of naming your little. Finally, here is the best advice, I can give. Lots of people, family included, will have an opinion about the name you choose. But their opinion doesn’t matter. That’s between you and the child’s father. Don’t let anyone’s comments bother you or rob you of joy.
Biblical Baby Boy Names
Here is my favorite list of biblical baby boy names with the meanings in parenthesis.
Aaron (high mountain, exalted)
Abraham (father of many)
Adam(man, to make)
Barnabas(son of the prophet)
Bartholomew(son of Talmai)
Benjamin(son of the right hand)
Daniel(God is my judge)
Eleazar (my God has helped)
Elijah(My God is Yahweh)
Elisha(My God is my salvation)
Emmanuel(God is with us)
Ethan(solid, enduring, firm)
Ezekiel(God will strengthen)
Gabriel(God is my strong man)
Jadon (he will judge)
Jehoshaphat(Yahweh has judged)
Jehu (Yahweh is he)
Jeremiah(Yahweh will exalt)
Joel(Yahweh is God)
John(Yahweh is gracious)
Jonathan(Yahweh has given)
Joseph (He will add)
Joshua(Yahweh is salvation)
Lazarus(my god has helped)
Levi (joined, attached)
Luke (light giving)
Matthew(gift of Yahweh)
Mark(the Roman God of Mars, warrior)
Micah(who is like Yahweh)
Michael(who is like Yahweh)
Mordecai(servant of Marduk)
Nathanael(he has given)
Noah (rest, repose)
Paul (Small, humble)
Philip(friend of horses)
Raphael (to heal)
Rueben(behold, a son)
Reuel(friend of god)
Samuel(god has heard)
Saul(asked for, prayed for)
Silas (forest, wood)
Simon(he has heard)
Timothy(to honor God)
Titus(title of honor)
Tobias(Yahweh is good)
Uriah(Yahweh is my light)
Uzziah(my power is Yahweh)
Before you go
Don’t forget to PIN this list for later. Before you go, be sure to grab my Baby Registry Checklist. It comes with a FREE printable to get your registry started. Also, in the comments below, I’d love to hear what names you love and why.
Not everything requires our comment or opinion. Let’s take a look at how the bible instructs us. Please join me for May’s scripture reading: When to be quiet.
I have a major problem keeping my mouth shut. My mouth has placed me in trouble more times than I care to admit.
I overstep boundaries. I give my opinion where none is needed. I’ve been sanctimonious, arrogant, and rebellious. Cantankerous, venomous words have escaped my lips. I have a problem keeping my mouth shut. The truth is, most people struggle with this. We tend to think too highly of our own opinions.
This month, we’re going to take a look at scripture to guide us when to speak and when to bite our tongue.
Never Quiet the Gospel
First, let’s take a moment and look at when the bible commands us to speak up. As Christians, we are called to bring darkness into light by spreading the Gospel.
To Defend Our Faith
“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” – 1 Peter 3:15-16
To Proclaim the Gospel
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” – Romans 1:16
To Lovingly Correct Other Christians
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” – Galatians 6:1
To Repair a Hurt or Disagreement
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. -Matthew 18:15
For Praise & Thanksgiving
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.” – Hebrews 13:15
To Expose Darkness Including Apostasy
“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;” – Ephesians 5:8
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” – Romans 10:9
How To Speak Up
When we are instructed to speak up, it should always be with love. This includes any admonishment. Once corrected, we should be quick to extend the mercy of God.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Thank you for joining me this month for Scripture Reading: When to Be Quiet. I know correction isn’t always easy to hear, but it’s important in our walk with Christ. Please and take a moment and read some of my other Scripture Readings like Depression & Grief.In the comments below, I’d love to hear how I can pray for you.
Disappointment in life can actually make you question God’s goodness. I have some words of encouragement and advice on how to handle disappointment with God.
As I write this, I am in the midst of disappointment. Not only are we currently losing, but we didn’t get the job we desperately wanted. We wanted it so bad we could taste it and it seemed like the perfect fit. We prayed so much about it too. So at times of deep disappointment it’s natural for us to ask, “God, what are you doing?”
Our Response to Disappointment
Disappointment is always easy to explain away when it isn’t you. We’re quick to tell a friend that everything will work out. We use phrases like “it’s in God’s time” or “it just wasn’t in God’s plan.” It all sounds good when it isn’t us. But how do we handle disappointment with God when we don’t get our way?
Typically, with a knee jerk reaction. We may think God didn’t hear our prayers. Similarly, we may feel that our prayers don’t matter to God. We want to know why God didn’t give us what we asked for. The truth is sometimes we may never know, but more often than not, I’ve looked back at my life and have been grateful for many prayers that God didn’t answer my way. One thing I do know is that God always answers prayers. It just might not be the response we’re looking for. First, let’s take a look at God’s responses when the answer isn’t yes.
Your request is sinful or may lead you into sin
It may not be good for you – regardless of it’s appearance
It may not be the right time
God is still moving the “chess pieces” and not yet finished with your story
He needs you to learn, grow, or do something first
I have something better
There is something better He wants to give you
I often equivocate God’s timing to a chess game. There are many moving pieces. There are obstacles. Each strategic move brings you closer to your goal. Sometimes it takes several moves to get into an advantageous position. When you don’t see your prayer being answered, you may wonder if God is moving at all. Throughout my life, I’ve learned that while I was waiting, God was busy moving all the pieces of my life for the best possible outcome to my prayer. When I didn’t see God moving – He was actually moving the most…behind the scenes.
How to Handle Disappointment with God
Disappointment comes from an expectation not being met. Read that again. An expectation. Could it be we feel entitled?
The Story of Job
Let’s take a look at the book of Job. The devil requests to tempt Job and God sets the parameters. The first tragedies don’t cause Job to curse the Lord. Therefore, Satan tells God it’s only because he was not allowed to hurt Job directly. So again, God redraws the parameters saying Satan can hurt him, but can’t take his life. Consequently, he is tortured by sores and boils. Job wants answers. Chapter after chapter Job complains, grumbles, and accuses – demanding answers from the Lord. By chapter 38, God has had enough. THEN THE LORD SPOKE TO JOB OUT OF A STORM.”
God is angry and He has a question or two for Job.
“Where were you when I laid the Earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!” (Job 38: 4-5) God is making a point. You know nothing. I know everything. God continues for two chapters announcing His glory, then waits for Job’s reply. Job is speechless. “I am unworthy. How can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.” (Job 40: 4)
Job has no answers. He’s been humbled and the best thing He can do in a moment like that is to put his hand over his mouth and shut up!
I’m not insisting we don’t grieve. Grieving is important to process loss. However, take a lesson instead from the Psalms. It’s okay to tell God your confused, disappointed, even angry. But those lamentations should immediately be followed by praise and vows of trust. Keep faith that God knows everything – including what is best for you and He hasn’t forgotten about your needs.
One of the best ways to ward off disappointment is to be grateful for what you already have. If you are complaining, you aren’t giving thanks. God has already given you many things and He has helped you thus far. As disappointed as you might be, try to focus on the blessings in your life.
I know what I’m saying in this post isn’t vogue. Lots of modern churches would have you believe that God is chummy with you and they focus on messages of prosperity. But let’s take a lesson from Job. God is not a peer. He is holy (set apart) and we should practice reverence. Additionally, while occasional messages of prosperity are uplifting, it shouldn’t be our Christian focus. God is not a genie in a lamp here to grant us wishes. I just think sometimes we forget, He does not exist to do our bidding; we exist to do His. Be encouraged that God wants what is good for us (even if it isn’t what we think it is) and He will bless us. If you need proof of that, count your blessings.
Encourage Yourself in God’s Goodness
When we feel disappointed by God, you may question God’s goodness. In those dark moments, remind yourself of God’s character. This is how to handle disappointment with God.
God is often described as just in scripture. I find amazing peace in knowing God is just! Not only is He just, but scripture says He “loves justice.” Justice is all about making what is wrong, right. No one can mistreat you, no one can take something away from you without God later making it right. He promises to payback what was wrong. Knowing this should curb feelings of disappointment or unfairness.
“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love,” (Micah 7:18) To be merciful is to extend grace when none is deserved. It means He pardons us, is slow to anger, and does not stay angry. Knowing that God is merciful tells us there are no grudges held against us. God is not spiteful. Take comfort that God is not “punishing you” by not answering your prayer the way you desire.
Holy / Righteous
To be holy literally translates to “separate.” God is separate from us in the sense that there is no evil in his character. Simply put, God is good…all the time. He is separated from sin and the sinful world. He does not participate in sin. Therefore, knowing that He has no evil in him tells us His intentions are good for us and we can trust him.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus came into this world as a baby? Why not come at the age of 30, just in time to start his ministry? Ask yourself, why put up with sickness, temptation, betrayals, and bad days? Why weep over the death of Lazarus when he knew he’d raise him from death only minutes later? So you would know He is compassionate. He understands your pain. God knows what troubles you. He’s been there. He sympathizes with your problems. Knowing that He is compassionate and that he has gone out of his way to show you, should bring you comfort.
Rich In Love
God’s character is loving. It’s a love we can’t even comprehend. But let’s start with the fact that He couldn’t be separated from us and therefore sent His son down to pay the price for our sin. (seeJohn 3:16)
Take a moment and read my earlier post Identity in Christ. Stop and see yourself through the eyes of God. Read what He has to say about you and how much He loves you. Once you remind yourself about how good God is and how much He loves you, it’s hard to feel disappointed for long.
Find the Fruit in Your Wilderness
For Christians there is purpose to our suffering. Everything, including our trials should bring us closer to God. How often do we become complacent when things are smooth and easy? Hardship reminds us we can’t stray too far from God because we need him.
Furthermore, everything is orchestrated to further God’s kingdom and proclaim His glory. If you remain steadfast and hope in the Lord during your troubles, you also become a witness for the Kingdom – a living example of the divine grace that passes all understanding. That strength in the time of adversity invites non-believers to desire the strength only God can provide and thereby the church.
Spread the gospel. When necessary, use words.
We are ambassadors of Christ. Remember…God is in the business of divine self-promotion.
Grateful For “Unanswered” Prayers
When I look back over the course of my life, I’m grateful for prayers to which God said no. Ultimately, what he gave me was far better. In fact, some things were so good, I never could have even imagined asking for it. Time and time again he has proven to me to just trust him and let him work out my problems for me. God’s ultimate solutions don’t disappoint.
If you feel this message has helped you, save it for later by bookmarking or pinning it. Share it with a friend who needs it. I pray the Holy Spirit speaks to you and comforts you.
If you are struggling with how to handle disappointment with God, leave a prayer request in the comments below. I’d love to pray for you.
Maybe you’ve watched the hit Christian movie “War Room” based on the book “Fervent.” Today, I’m going to show you how to make a war binder – a mini war room from which to pray.
A Travel Notebook Cover
Art Supplies (stickers, markers, highlighters, etc)
A travelers notebook is a long notebook. It is typically a thin book and contains blank, lined, graph, or dot grid pages. A travelers notebook cover is just a cover designed to hold anywhere from one to six notebooks. Inside the cover are bands that hold the books in place like a spine. Travelers notebook covers can be found at Michaels craft store. However, I wanted something more personal. So I had someone make one for me on Etsy. It has a sewn cover and I chose an anchor theme because of all the sea and water references in scripture, but you choose whatever resonates with you. I’ve provided a few links below, but you can find them at other places both online and at craft stores.
War Binder Subjects
Honestly, this is totally up to you. This is how you personalize it and make it your own. Your war binder should reflect your personal relationship with Christ. But to give you idea of what sections you can create, I’m going to show you what I do. Hopefully it will spark your creativity. I have six books:
Scripture (memory verses, important scriptures, devotionals)
Miscellaneous (anything that doesn’t fit in the above categories)
The inside pages are where the magic happens. The photo below is a page from my Book Notes notebook. I’m always reading and it’s here that I write down the main takeaways. You decorate it as little or as much as you want. Don’t worry if you aren’t artistic, there are lots of ways to fake that (more on that in a minute). I got these notebooks from May Designs.
As you can see below, I’ve written down my sermon notes. These are really helpful as I try to implement what I learned on Sunday, throughout the week. Personally, I like to scribble notes in church and then come home and organize my thoughts in the war binder. Remember, no one is going to see your war binder unless you want them to. Make sure to make it your own instead of copying others. Making a war binder is all about inspiration.
My scripture notebook is where I keep memory verses I want to remember. I turn to these during rough times or during my prayer for praise. Personally, I prefer to decorate the pages with something the scripture inspires within me. I did this page with colored pencils, but you can use any art supplies you want to decorate your pages, if that’s the way you want your war binder to look. Remember this is YOUR war binder. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
If you aren’t artistic there are other options. You can decorate with stickers and washi tape. Illustrated faith has lots of accessories like stickers and die cuts for those who don’t want to draw or need inspiration to get started. Washi tape is a Japanese masking tape. It is very colorful and comes in a variety of patters, colors and widths. It can immediately brighten up a page. Use it for creating borders and columns. You can cut it into shapes, ribbons and flags. Get creative!
Prayer & Gratitude
In my prayer book, I have my gratitude on the opposite prayer page. Some people dedicate a separate book for gratitude. It’s up to you. Personally, I love writing down my blessings and answered prayers in my war binder and thanking God for them before I ask for more. Again, do what feels comfortable to you. I love writing down answered prayers. When I feel like God isn’t moving in my life, I open this up and look at all He has given me and how he has answered me so many times before. If you aren’t sure where to begin, read my Gratitude Journal Prompts.
Finally, I keep a miscellaneous notebook for anything that doesn’t quite fit in some of my other notebooks. These might include prayer cards that someone gives me, devotionals, book lists and other types of things.
War Binder Support
Lastly, if you need additional inspiration, Facebook is a great place to look. The main war binder group has over 35,000 members. There is also a sister prayer group and pen pal group.
In closing, I hope I’ve help you get started with your war binder. I’d love to hear what you put in yours in the comments below.
Overcome depression, sorrow, and grief with these powerful scriptures. Speak truth into your life with the Holy living word of God. Join me for April Scripture Reading: Depression and Grief
A Season of Sadness
I live with depression. I know well the feeling of complete hopelessness. Depression and grief has a way of stopping time. The moment can feel endless. You may find it hard to believe that situations or feelings will ever change or improve. I promise you friend, it will. It’s a season – and seasons don’t last. Read what the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) says:
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.
Depression, sorrow, grief is for an appointed time. We have seasons of abundance and seasons of loss. I love what the Psalmist says: “Weeping may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) The good news is this: this season of your life is temporary. One day, it won’t hurt like this. One day this will be over. God will bring you out of the pit (Psalm 103:4).
A Time to Cry
When calamity strikes, it is our nature to wonder why. We want answers, no – we demand them. Our humanness wants explanations in order to process loss. But sometimes there are no answers. There are no reasons, at least not earthly ones.
In times like these, we must remember that all things that happen in our lives are designed to draw us closer to Him. And our trials? What about our hurt, pain and suffering? Yes, that too. He wants us to fervently seek Him. Secondly, our weakness, our tears, our hardships all exist to magnify His glory. In order to be our Savior, we must first need saving. See what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians:
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10
Not convinced? Read what the Psalmist writes in 50:15:
“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
Simply put, God uses our pain to show non-believers how He saves.
Maybe you are struggling with a loved one who has passed on. I encourage you to comfort yourself with the living word of God. He has promised that we will be reunited with those we love. We will see them again. Therefore, death is not the end.
I have learned that grief comes in waves. Like the ebb and flow of an ocean, grief subsides allowing you to catch your breath for a moment, then it seems to overcome you again all at once. One minute you think you’re doing better. Then a reminder or a memory will surface and the thought of having to live the rest of your life without them seems unbearable.
Perhaps it is not the physical death of a person you are grieving, but the death of something else. Your dream, health, a job, a friendship, a marriage. Maybe you are so overcome by disappointment you can’t see a happy future. There is one. He has promised it.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Battling Feelings of Grief
Remember Who God Is
I count at least 20 times in scripture where God and Jesus are described as compassionate. Paul writes in Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus understands our suffering. He empathizes with us. He is compassionate towards our troubles.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
The character of God is unchanging. “I am the Lord. I change not.” (Malachi 3:6). Everything is subject to change except for God. Read that again. God does not change. Therefore neither do His promises. I love an easily overlooked verse in Psalm 11. “When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3). In other words, when the floor beneath you gives way, what should we do? The answer can be found in the next verse. “The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord sits on his throne in Heaven.” This declaration reminds us: when all that is good falls apart, God is still in control. He is still on his throne. He is not shaken by our troubles. God does not change.
Put Your Hope In God
The Psalms are a wonderful comfort in times of trouble. The Psalms demonstrate the cry of someone in need of help and refuge. They echo our troubled hearts. They also model how we should pray (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication). But Psalm 42 also describes what we should do when we are sorrowful and disturbed.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
The Psalmist tells us to put our hope in the Lord. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. It is the belief that God is a good God and He has good things in store for us (Jer 29:11) . We get hope by praising God in the midst of our sorrow and by comforting ourselves with His promises.
Give Up Your Ashes
One of my favorite verses in the bible is Isaiah 61:3. It is the messianic prophesy of why Christ came and died for us. This lone scripture has brought me so much peace when I’ve been overcome with depression and grief. Here is the truth:
to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor.
Beauty instead of ashes. Ashes represent what is left over after something has burned away. The leftovers. The broken pieces. But here is the rub. An exchange has to take place. Note that scripture says, “instead of.” Some translations say “for.” You must give your ashes to God. Give Him the brokenness and remains. Give Him the ashes and He’ll give you restoration.
Another way to pull ourselves out of sadness is to try and get the focus off ourselves and on our creator. You can do this by praising God through thanksgiving. It is hard to be downtrodden when you are remembering all the good God has already done for you. This is why Paul says to “set your mind on the higher things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Thank you for joining me for April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief. In the comments below, I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. In case you missed it, see also March Scripture Reading: Fear & Anxiety.