Category Archives: Spiritual Challenge 2015

Spiritual Challenge 2015, Part 4

Happy February friends! Can you believe that January has already come and gone? Me neither! At the start of the year, I encouraged you to do something to challenge yourself spiritually this year (see previous blog posts for suggestions).

I have one final suggestion listed below:

Attend or Begin a Bible Study, Small Group or Accountability Group  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

Meeting together with a small group of people is a sure-fire way to accelerate your spiritual growth!

  1. First of all, in a small group setting, you can ask questions and interact more personally than you can at a church service.
  2. Also, relationships develop where you can learn from each other.
  3. Another reason small groups are important is you have the opportunity to show Christ’s love to those in your group, whether they are easy to love or not. As a side note, studies show that you don’t like 10% of the people you meet. So . . . if you are in a small group with 10 people, chances are one of them will rub you the wrong way. That’s OK, it’s just an opportunity to show Christ’s love to those “Extra Grace Required” type people. You can learn more about truly being like Jesus with “EGR’s” than those that are easy for you to love.
  4. Finally, small groups help you to not just “listen to the Word” but to put it into practice.

Most likely, there is some type of small group or Bible study that you can find, either at your own church or at another church. However, if there isn’t, maybe the Holy Spirit is nudging your spirit to begin one.

So, there you have it, seven practical suggestions of ways you could spiritually challenge yourself this year. By its very definition, a challenge is something that is difficult to do. Are you up for a spiritual challenge this year? Would you like 2015 to be the year that you can look back on as one with marked growth in your spiritual life?? Prayerfully consider implementing one (or more) of these suggestions. Then get started and STICK WITH IT!! Find a friend who will join you and help hold you accountable. You can do it! Thankfully, God will help you. His Spirit will empower you to. As you take on a spiritual challenge, you will be changed from the inside out. Every bit of effort you put towards your spiritual growth reaps both earthly and eternal rewards.

I am cheering you on and praying for determination and discipline for each of us in 2015. As we take this “spiritual challenge” together, we will grow closer to Christ and become more like Him!

I believe the best in you and for 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,