Monthly Archives: January 2015

Spiritual Challenge 2015, Part 3

Hi friends! We have been talking about challenging ourselves spiritually this year. In my last post, I shared three ideas for your consideration. Today, I am sharing three more:

Find a Prayer Partner

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. Ecclesiastes 4:9, NIV

What is a prayer partner? It is someone who regularly prays for you and with you. Amazing things happen when you join with a sister in Christ and agree in prayer. A prayer partner helps lighten your prayer load and rejoices with you when your prayers are answered!

How to get a prayer partner:

  • Pray first – ask the Lord who He wants you to pray with.
  • Ask someone – a family member, a co-worker, a neighbor, or friend from church.
  • If they say no – don’t get discouraged, ask someone else.

How to pray together:

  • Exchange contact information
  • Ask each other, “How can I pray for you?”
  • Pray with each other in person or over the phone at least weekly.
  • Pray for each other daily.

Praying with a prayer partner on a regular basis can change your life. Not only will you grow in your relationship with Jesus, but you will grow in relationship with your prayer partner.

Scripture Memory

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11, NIV

Once you are disciplined to read the Bible on a regular basis, the next step is to begin internalizing God’s Word through memorizing it. There are many benefits of Scripture

memorization. The one I have found most helpful is the ability to recall and recite promises and words of comfort to myself and others who need it without even having a Bible nearby. Now, I won’t try to sugar-coat it, Scripture memorization is hard work! But the benefits far outweigh the work.

Every other year, Beth Moore’s ministry (Living Proof Ministries) provides an opportunity for women to join together and     memorize two verses a month. That’s 24 verses in one year! The beauty of it is that rather than everyone memorizing the same verse, you memorize verses that are meaningful to you. This is the third year I have done this and there has been much growth in my life from this “spiritual challenge”. This year I have also   invited others to join me. It’s helpful and fun to have a friend (or daughter- see picture below) to join you.

Scripture Memory

If you are interested in this “challenge” type the following links into your web browser and get started! … …

Intentional Prayer

But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:13, NIV

Any time we talk to God, He listens. He delights in both hearing and answering our prayers. The bullet prayers that are shot up to heaven in a time of need are no less precious to God than the prayers that are offered in a daily quiet time. Yet, have you ever desired to have your prayers be more intentional rather than “in case of emergency” only?

Let me share with you one way to begin an intentional prayer time.

Intentional Prayer 1

You’ll notice in the picture above, there is an open Bible on the right and a journal on the left. In the open Bible, there are portions of verses that are underlined. As I was reading the Bible, these verses were meaningful to me as it made me think of   something in my life or other’s lives. Therefore, I took the words from the Bible and wrote them out as an intentional prayer.

Here a couple more examples:

Intentional Prayer 2

Intentional Prayer 3

The wonderful thing about Scripture prayers is that we know they are God’s will, and when we pray according to His will, our prayers will be answered. Additionally, when we write out our prayers, we can re-visit them from time to time both to continue to pray them and to see how God has been working.

There you have it! Three more suggestions of ways you can challenge yourself to grow spiritually in 2015. In my next post, I will share one more suggestions with you and give some parting words of encouragement. Until then, remember our verse from 1st Timothy 4:7-8: “Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit. Bodily exercise is all right but spiritual exercise is much more important. . .because that will help you not only now in this life, but in the next life too.”

Keeping “spiritually fit” with you. . . Your Friend in Ministry,


Spiritual Challenge 2015, Part 2

In my last post, I planted the seed about a “Spiritual Challenge” for this year. I shared how it is commonplace for us to consider implementing a health or physical discipline at the beginning of a New Year, yet we’re not as quick to challenge ourselves with a spiritual discipline. I mentioned that, as believers, we are out of balance when we focus much of our time and effort on our physical bodies and neglect our spirits/souls.

As promised, this is the first of two blog posts where I share ideas of ways we can challenge ourselves spiritually.

Attend Church Regularly – And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Heb. 10:25, NLT

Life is busy, isn’t it? Depending on the season of life you are in, there are countless demands on your time and energy. By the time Sunday morning rolls around, you’re tempted to catch up on sleep, chores, to-do lists, etc… Yet, there is nothing quite like gathering with sisters and brothers in Christ to worship God, hear from Him through His Word and encourage each other.

Any time you give to God, is time well spent. The amazing thing is, when you put God first by making time for church, God can multiply the time that is left over. Plus, you will be filled up and ready to face whatever comes your way the rest of the week.

If you are in a season, due to illness or other life circumstance that church attendance is not possible, I have been where you are and I understand. It is hard to want to desperately attend church and not be able to. If that is you right now, why not make it a point to tune in to a church service on-line each Sunday. You will find that the worship and teaching is an encouragement to you, and it will be almost like the real thing.

One Word/Phrase for the Year – Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prov. 16:24, NIV

A couple of years ago, I introduced the “One Word” concept to the leaders at Cheney Faith. The general idea is to ask God to give you one word to focus on for the entire year. To read more about this, type the following links into your web browser.

In a journal, write the following, to keep your “One Word” in mind:

My “One Word”:

Statements using my “One Word”:

Bible Verses that can encourage me with my “One Word”:

Reading the Bible – I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Psalm 119:16, NIV

God’s Word is full of truth, encouragement, guidance and help. Yet, I know from personal experience, that it can be difficult to get into the habit of reading the Bible on a regular basis. I spent years of my life feeling frustrated and defeated in this area. In my desperation, I prayed for God to give me an insatiable thirst for His Word. An amazing thing happened, He answered my prayer! Now, there are not many things I love more than God’s Word. As Proverbs 4:22 says, it is “life and health to my whole body”!

Consider the following suggestions for regularly reading the Bible:

  1. Set aside time to read the Bible when you are at your best, with as few distractions as possible (put your cell phone on silent and place it out of sight).
  2. Begin by praying for the Holy Spirit to speak to you and for open ears and an open heart to hear from Him.
  3. Open your Bible and begin reading (see below for suggestions on what/where to read). When you come across a passage that seems like it was written just for you, stop and linger there.
  4. Interact with the verse somehow – underline it, re-read it, put the date by it, journal about it, etc. . .
  5. Close your Bible and ask God to help you open it again the next day.

How do I know where to read?

  • Psalms and most of the New Testament (except Revelation) is a good place to start.
  • Whatever the date is, read that chapter of Proverbs.
  • Choose one book of the Bible or even one chapter in a particular book and continue reading it through several times.
  • Read the portion of Scripture from that Sunday’s sermon, or what your small group is studying.
  • On your smart phone, install a Bible app with a verse of the day or reading plan.

Do one of these suggestions resonate with you?

By Monday, I will be post three more suggestions that may spark your interest. In the meantime, why not take some time to prayerfully consider how the Lord would want you to grow in your relationship with Him this year. Don’t be surprised if He gives you an idea that is just right for your spiritual journey. He is a very real and personal God. He sees you. He knows you. He loves you.

Your Friend in Ministry,


Spiritual Challenge 2015, Part 1

Don’t you just love a new year? There is something about a fresh start (whether it be a new day, week, month or year) that our souls long for. God designed us that way, that’s why His mercy and compassion is offered anew to us each morning. (Lam. 3:22-23)

As we begin a new year, it is natural for us to take stock of our life and think about making some changes. For example, a couple of days into the New Year, my daughter texted me a picture of a Food Challenge – a list of foods to avoid for 21 days, along with the picture, she said, “We should do this”. I must have had a moment of insanity as I agreed to do it with her. Thankfully, I was able to convince my husband (who also had a moment of insanity) to join us as well. I figure you can do just about anything for 21 days, right? The hardest part for me will be not eating chocolate for three weeks!

This list is now on the door of our fridge.

No Food LIst

We are almost done with the challenge and, surprisingly, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be.  Because it is January, I know many of us are thinking about our physical health and fitness. For example, one of my friends is challenging herself to run 1000 miles this year (talk about insanity! *smile*).  Another friend is removing sugar from her diet. Still another friend is challenging herself to drink a gallon of water a day. These are all good things!

Yet, as I was thinking about the many physical challenges I have heard about, it got me to be thinking about spiritual challenges. What are we doing to grow and challenge ourselves spiritually this New Year?

1st Timothy 4:7-8 from The Living Bible says, “Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit. Bodily exercise is all right but spiritual exercise is much more important. . .because that will help you not only now in this life, but in the next life too.”

Yes, God wants us to take good care of our bodies because they are the temple of His Holy Spirit. However, as believers, we are out of balance, when we focus much of our time and energy on our bodies and neglect our souls/spirits.

It takes discipline to not eat certain foods, or run, or drink adequate water each day. It is important to ask yourself, “Am I willing to be as disciplined in my spiritual life as I am in my physical life? “

One of the wonderful things about being a Christian is that no matter how “mature” you become in Christ, there are always new ways to continue to grow in Him. Whether you consider yourself a baby Christian, a mature Christian or anywhere in between, until the day you go home to be with Jesus, there is always something you can learn and grow in.

Are you up for a challenge this year? Do you sense the Holy Spirit kindling a small desire in your heart to challenge yourself to grow spiritually in 2015? Are you willing to commit to something and become disciplined in order to cooperate with the work Jesus wants to do in your life?

If so, stay tuned to the blog as I share some practical ideas of ways to challenge yourself spiritually in 2015!

Your Friend in Ministry,