-A Life Devoted to God-

Written by Ginger

Why have personal devotions? Is it even important? Today we are going to take a look into the necessity of having personal devotions. I know from experience that it can be hard to take the time to have devotions. But I also know that there is a major blessing in spending time alone with God.

You cannot expect to have a deep relationship with Christ without putting anything into it. To build a human relationship, you need to spend time together. It’s the same way with Christ. The more time you take to study the Bible and talk to God, the deeper your relationship will grow.

It’s easy to read your Bible and pray a quick prayer first thing in the morning and then go on with your day and never actually take in what you read. But if you truly want to study the Bible and have a meaningful time with God, He will bless that desire. Before you read a chapter ask God to help you understand what you read and make His Word come alive to you. Something I have found helpful is to write a portion of Scripture in my own words after reading it. I’ve found that this makes me think about what I have read and helps it stick in my mind. The more we read the Bible over an over the more it makes sense and new things stand out. Make it a point to read your Bible everyday and allow God to speak to you through His Word, silence and prayer.

Written by Damarus

Focusing when having devotions can be a struggle for me. Sometimes I find it helps to ask Jesus to clear my thoughts and help me to focus. I have been told that when you have so many thoughts going through your mind to simply pray about what your are thinking on and give it to Jesus. When I am struggling, I find it helpful to write a list of things for which I am thankful.

I have been continually blessed in the times Jesus has blessed me with Himself in my time of need. Times when I just felt too tired to read my Bible but did, Jesus gave me a verse that helped me so much. Journaling has been a big help for me. Coming to Jesus in prayer by writing my heart to Him. When my mind feels too full to focus on His Word, I write.

An easy way to communicate with Jesus is simply having solo time with Him. Come to Him in stillness and quietness. We need to come to Jesus as we are. Invite Him to wherever you are, in whatever state. He already knows our needs, but He wants us to present them to Him. Even our angry questions and hard feelings. Then come to Him in thankfulness and praise. Praising Him because you know He already knows and has a plan for you. Ask Jesus to come to you continually, and allow Him to guide your words, actions, and thoughts!

Resources

There are several websites and other resources that we have found helpful.

The Daily Grace

  • I tend to be the type of person who believes what I read. So, if you’re like me, you need to be careful what you read or use for Bible studies. I feel like this company’s Bible studies are reputable. You can get them as a book or digital format.

Revive Our Hearts

  • This website also has plenty of well-written Bible studies and podcasts. They also have various 30-day challenges. I suggest you get a couple of friends and do the challenge together. Some cover a book of the Bible and some a specific topic.

Tomorrow’s Forefathers– Speak Truth In Your Heart

  • This book is great to read by itself, but paired with the workbook it makes a great Bible study!

A Glimpse Into Our Life + Magnolia Wreath

You greatly encouraged us to share some more personal things, so here is a peek into the recent weeks of our life! We hope you enjoy!

” Fear not ye: for I know that you seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here for He is risen, as He said! Come, see the place where the Lord lay. ” Matthew 28 : 5-6

I’ve always loved Easter because of the hopefulness of it. This year I was especially blessed by what Jesus did for me. The intense pain and grief He faced was for me. But the most amazing part of Easter is that Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb. In one swift action He defeated and rose to give me life! If He wouldn’t have risen, salvation wouldn’t have been completed. It is only through this wonderful sacrifice on the cross and triumphant victory over death that I am what I am. This is what Easter means to me!

All of we girls were together for a short time and had a special time at the coffee shop! I am so grateful for encouraging and inspiring friends. We are designed for healthy relationships. Ones that upbuild, and push you closer to Jesus!

We had the privilege of capturing a kitchen session for a friend; making macarons! She allowed us the learning experience of making a batch in her kitchen also. The detailed shots of the food were so fun for something different. I was happy with some of the shots we got! Photography is so fun ya’ll!!!

We were blessed by a friend who invited us girls over for a relaxing and special day. She made such a yummy lunch; Tostadas and crepes with cream and fresh strawberries! If you have never tasted tostadas I would highly recommend them!

And on that same special day with our friend, she showed us how to make magnolia wreaths. Right from her own bush in the yard! They are really beautiful and fairly simple to make. So we thought that we would share how we did it. The pictures will hopefully be a little visual help.

1: Pick lots of nice leaves

2: Collect a empty wreath and wire

3: Tie three similar sized leaves into a bundle. Make enough bundles to cover the whole wreath.

4: Wire the magnolia bundles onto the wreath with each one overlapping the other.

5: Continue unto the whole wreath is filled in. Spread the leaves so that it looks even. You may need to hot glue the leaves in order to keep in place. They are so simple and pretty! They will eventually dry and turn to a coppery brown that looks fallish. If you do not want a fall wreath you can spray paint them green again so it keeps its fresh look.

Technology: a Good Thing?

I will admit that when I got elected to write the post on good aspects of technology, my reaction was “this will be a short post.” I don’t tend to think of technology as a positive thing. But the more I studied this subject, the more I realized that there are a lot of ways that technology is beneficial. Whether it’s social media, texting, podcasts, YouTube, the list could go on. It’s not all bad!

Social Media

Most people’s tendency when posting on social media is to present their best self. We all want to look great and appear to be living a brilliant life. But what if, instead of focusing on ourselves, we would post things with true meaning- posts that will point people to God? I am not here to say sharing pictures of a trip or adventure is wrong, I don’t think it is, but be sure everything you do and say on social media is honoring to God and points people to Him. 1 Corinthians 10:33 “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” If you still feel like you can’t make much of a difference on social media, visit No Greater Joy . One way this mission uses technology is by placing Facebook and Google ads for Christian literature. The way they can do this is by people like you and I giving donations to their work.

Texting

In my life I have received many encouraging texts. This form of technology can be used to send inspiration and encouragement to friends who need it. Especially if you have friends or family in foreign countries. Some of them cannot get mail, but they can get a text from you. So instead of using texting to hurt other people or be silly and flirtatious, use it to bless! 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Internet Resources

Imagine if you lived in some far corner of the world as a missionary. You obviously could not take your entire bookshelf or every translation of the Bible. So you have your laptop and an app or two and you can still have many resources to teach the native people. Or even if you live in America with modern conveniences, there are many Christian sermons recorded, podcasts, and blogs. The blog that you are reading now has no reason for being here unless it is an encouragement to the readers. Our sole purpose for this blog is to show Jesus to everyone.

Testimony:

“Listening to positive podcasts and good music is one way technology has been good in my life.” – a friend of mine

Just a reminder though, be sure what you are reading or listening to is Biblical. There are many “Christian” websites out there that do not line up with God’s Word and will be detrimental to your spiritual life. Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of you mind, that you can prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

There are also many websites that can give us new inspiration for daily life. Pinterest, YouTube, blogs, etc. can all be used to help us be more efficient and serve better.

Testimony:

“Through blogs, email, and YouTube, there is so much inspiration for everyday living, cooking, housekeeping, child training, marriage, and spiritual things. I love to be able to listen to messages that I would never have heard otherwise.” – a friend of mine

Always be sure that you have your priorities right when it comes to technology. Set guidelines for yourself and always be sure that God is more important than your phone. For me, I don’t allow myself to pick up my phone until I have had my personal devotions in the morning. Technology can be an amazing tool if used correctly. Make sure you control it and it doesn’t have power over you.

Written by Ginger

The Bad and the Worse of Technology

The Bad and the Worse of Technology.

Written By Kinza

I know this might seem like a lot of negativity that you’re about to jump into, and that’s because it is, so stay tuned for next week’s post on good ways technology can be used.

I scroll through Pinterest. I tap through statuses. I shoot a picture and share it with a friend. My phone is something I use everyday. It is also something that I know I use too much. In reality we probably all know we use our phones, or laptops, or tablets, or whatever it is that we have, too much. The questions are: do we understand these problems to be as big as they actually are and do we want to take measures to stop them?

More and more people are putting down their books and picking up their phones. It has become increasingly evident that this trend is severely handicapping our brains. Many children can barely read a grade appropriate book, hold a meaningful conversation, or sit through a service, yet know all the capabilities of a smart phone and the internet. Whether we realize it or not, smartphones have trained us to skim. While on our phones, all we need is a few taps and swipes and we can jump from one thing to the next and in that we can constantly keep up with the latest and keep ourselves highly entertained. This effect carries over to the rest of life, causing people to have short attention spans, low comprehension levels, and little concentration in work and conversations. Also, with all the virtual talking going on, many people are missing or losing their emotional and communication skills. Let’s start using our phones less and reading more good books that stimulate our brains.

Texting is great. It saves time. It’s also dangerous. We need to be extremely careful when communicating with others via text as misunderstandings can arise very, very easily. Relationships can be hurt when a text gets sent to the wrong person or an emoji or texting slang is misunderstood. Girls, please be very cautious when texting guys, and vice versa because what you think is an innocent text can be misread or read into very quickly. Another thing to remember is if you wouldn’t say it in person don’t say it online. Many people use social media and texting to run others down, gossip, and spread lies and rumors. Sadly, we have also come too okay with ignoring those around us and being on our phones instead. Whether or not we realize it, not listening is giving the impression that we don’t care. Let’s put down our phones and start investing in face to face relationships.

One thing that we often tend to forget about is how Google, YouTube, Alexa, and generally everything spies on and tracks us. If you have a Google account and use it, then someone has access to all of your contacts, searches, YouTube trends, photos, general location, and various other things. In your Google settings you can limit what Google can see and use, but that can only protect you so far; some of this is out of our control. Another thing you can do to protect yourself is to cover the cam on your laptop so you know you won’t be spied on with that. I hope it isn’t that we have anything to hide, but in the future what we think is private information could easily be used against us. Google, Amazon, YouTube, and Pinterest also censor, blocking and removing any content that they don’t want people to see. Such content includes politics and anti-vaccine and other health-related topics. If you want to search without being tracked and censored, use a different web browser such as Duck Duck Go. The reason behind this tracking and censoring eventually boils down to the control and money that drives a few people. Let’s never let those motives rule our lives! This can tend to scare me, but I just have to remember that God is in control and no matter what happens He’ll always be there for us!

Yes, step away from screens, and let the glories of creation break your heart and let the handiwork of God’s creative genius wash you as you ski mountains, hike trails, and scuba dive into oceans. But don’t stop there. Climb the summits of Scripture, too. Let God’s word pierce your intentions and cut down into your truest motives, and let yourself be convicted, broken, and remade-which is the feeling of standing in the breathtaking presence of God.

-Tony Reinke, “12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You”

The Broken Ones

The ewe once again pushes her newly delivered lamb to the ground and I want to cry. Her lamb feebly walks on soft hooves, still wet from birth and needing the acknowledgement of her mother. The lamb needs licked so warmth can come and her mother’s new milk that is so incredibly important for the healthy life of her baby. Yet, there she stands, continuing to push off the life that she carried for so long. Refusing to meet the increasingly important needs that are crucial for the health and growth of her baby. And once again the little lamb pursues her mother. Desiring her mother because she knows she is the one who can fill the ache in her little self; and she is rejected again, falling in the hay because of her feebleness. It makes me think of life, people and the brokenness around us.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1 : 27

My family just celebrated three years of having my little siblings in our home. I have to think about what all they have gone through and what they need so they can heal. They missed that nuzzle from their mother and that acknowledging touch.

There are children like orphan lambs that have been pushed in the hay by the one who should have protected them. They have soft hooves and feeble legs. They have not been given the security and nourishment that they should have received immediately at birth. You wonder often what will become of this hurting life.

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father : and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10 : 14-15

Slowly healing comes. One day you will celebrate because they can stand on their own! Their legs have been strengthened. Where love, structure and life are met, there is growth. When you meet a child with love and gentleness, meeting their everyday needs, healing comes.

We all like sheep must come to Jesus in complete brokenness, realizing our need for Him. How we simply can’t live a rewarding life without Him. Coming to Him for nourishment, just as an orphan lamb needs a bottle and a child needs unconditional love.

Words by : Damarus