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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tips to Help You Read Your Bible

Sometimes reading the Bible can be a challenge in the mornings for various reasons. I've found that I just don't feel like getting up. I'm still sleepy and will sleep in as long as possible until I have to get up. Unfortunately this cuts into my Bible reading time. I've found a few ways to ensure my Bible reading doesn't get cut out:

If you wake up early in the morning to spend time with God:

1.) Consider getting ready for the next morning the evening before. If you shower in the mornings, try switching to evening showers.If you spend time ironing, do that the evening before. Spend time prepping your meal to take to work? Do it the night before. Are there items you can't find at the last minute that you need, like your keys? Make sure you place those all in a place where you will easily find them and cut out wasted time looking for lost items. All of these little changes can increase the amount of time you have left to spend in the Word.

2.) Cut out the social media until lunch break. Social media sucks up a lot of time. Answering messages and responding to notifications can cut into a lot of time that could have been spent reading the Bible in the morning. I've found that it takes 15-20 minutes for me to respond to that, which is a large chunk of time when you are getting ready to go to work. Wait to respond to those notifications until after you have read and prayed. Besides, it's nice to look at your phone on lunch break and see that it can't even show you all of the notifications you have!

3.) Get a good night's sleep- If you can't get to bed early due to insomnia or various reasons, take advantage of that and begin your reading right then and there! It's an excellent alternative to worrying about why you can't sleep.

4.) Wake up early- this really goes hand in hand with getting a good night's sleep. You can always wake up earlier to spend time with the Lord.

Do you have any more tips for helping improving your quiet time with the Lord? Post below!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Basic Etiquette
I know this blog is to help others out in their Christian walk, but I really feel like basic etiquette, manners, is extremely important for Christians to cultivate too. The opposite of not having manners leaves you with someone who is rude, and how can we accept that title as Christians?

So I want to go over a few things to remember:

1.) If you are invited over to someone's house for a meal, a meal for a wedding, or anything in general where the host is being generous and paying for you, then it is extremely rude to back out or accept at the very last minute, unless there's some sort of emergency. I've seen this happen to some gracious hosts. They need to know how many people to plan for, and when you back out at the last minute just because you forgot you had other plans or something better came up, you've caused them to waste money on your portion. And when you just all of a sudden decide to show up, don't be surprised if there's nothing left for you. Your host is not obligated to give you free food at the last minute. Also, don't be surprised if you get left out of being invited over to someone's house. Nobody wants a rude guest. If you've done this, make amends by apologizing and offering to bring something to the meal next time around for everyone to share. By the way, that's what needs to be done in the first place!

2.) When you are given gifts, especially at weddings and baby showers, it's extremely important to say "thank you" and then give them a little thank-you note. Of course, it's not necessary to do this with small gifts, but when you receive things like cash, it's rude not to give a thank-you note back. Now that I'm older and give gifts to younger kids and teens, I'm not as happy to hand out gifts knowing that I won't even receive a "thank you" in return. I especially don't like sending out gifts in the mail and not even receiving an acknowledgement from the person that they were received. I understand that it may not occur to people to send thank-yous, but once you're the recipient of an ungrateful person, you realize how important it is. It only takes a few minutes to express your gratitude, and you can be sure that if you did this at your wedding with gifts, people will gladly give you baby shower gifts. If you don't, you'll probably see less gifts coming your way.

3.)When you go out with friends for a meal, remember to make it clear that it's established who is paying for whom. If you want to pay for everyone, let them know up front that the meal is on you. If you want to get together but want each individual to pay for their meal, make that clear. Nobody is going to be upset if they have to pay for their meal, unless you told them you would from the start. I had a friend tell me that her boss told her and her fellow workers that they would go out to eat and she, the boss, would pay for everyone. My friend said that when they arrived for lunch at the restaurant and were gathered at the table the boss said, "I'm sorry, but I didn't know how expensive it would be to pay for everyone's meals. I'll pay for the meals of those who are leaving, but is it okay if everyone else just pays for their own meal?" I was shocked. What were her guests supposed to say? Of course they had to say yes! Never back out of an agreement you've made, unless it's for a legitimate emergency. You said you'd pay for everyone's meal, you do it, even if you didn't realize it'd put a dent in your pocket. Your word is important, and keeping it is more important to God. Just look at the Bible verses where Jesus says to let your yes be yes and your no be no and how he tells women to make sure they keep their vows to God. It is honorable to keep your word when you've made mistakes.Believe me, it's not easy, but it's important. I remember a time when I accidentally sold something for $1 on Ebay. That was not the price I had intended, but it's the price Ebay listed, so I honored it. It would have been wrong for me to say, "That wasn't the price I wanted to sell it for!" I should have caught my mistake sooner, so I told my customer that they had gotten the best deal ever, and I earned a happy customer.

And those are just a few pieces of etiquette I wanted to clarify. Hopefully this will help you to remember to think before acting out in public situations. When you think about your future actions, you're able to determine whether you're making a rude move or not.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Getting Rid of Pride
Pride is an issue we all have to a certain degree. Maybe you got a new job, beating out hundreds of applicants. Perhaps you placed first in a competition. Or maybe you are excellent at a specific hobby, in which others praise you for. Whatever the case, pride is a very ugly sin that needs to be beat down, constantly.

It is also a sin that slowly creeps upon a person. It's also the least preached about sin that I know of, and I wonder if it has to do with the fact that many famous preachers today ooze with pride. I remember visiting the church of a famous preacher, excited to hear him firsthand, but disappointed to hear his unwelcoming words for his visitors. He sarcastically mentioned he wished the church would stop growing and that new people would stop coming. He pretended like he was joking, but I could tell he wasn't. And at that moment, I suddenly realized that this man whom I had thought so highly of had a disgusting wound oozing out which was exposed for everyone to see: pride. When I hear famous preachers speak of the achievements they have accomplished or hear that they place all of those achievements on display for others to see, I cringe a bit. They let pride continue growing to the extent that now it's on display for the world to see.
But here's the thing: you don't have to let pride get that bad where it's exposed to everyone. In fact, you can stop pride before it ever reaches that point.

I pondered that the other day as I noticed that pride was welling up within my heart. Instinctively I realized i needed to combat it. Feelings are hard to combat, but taking actions to prevent pride are key to helping quench the feelings of pride.

1.) When you begin to become prideful remind yourself of Scripture verses pertaining to humility, our weakness and dependence upon God, and our insignificance.

1 Corinthians 1:28-29- God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

Philippians 2:3- Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Romans 12:16- Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Job 38:4- "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding."

2.) When you begin to become prideful, remove areas of your life that cultivate pride. Social media is normally the place to brag, although it's not typically called that. In fact, it's considered posting the highlights of your day, week, month, etc. It just shows the world you're happy. Perhaps that is true to a certain extent, but other times, not so much. Many times those posts are just bragging posts. If you are prideful about something you accomplished, don't post it on Facebook for all of your friends to see. You'll just be seen as a show-off, and your pride will continue to grow as friends like and congratulate you.
3.) When you begin to become prideful, pray. Prayer is the best way to combat sin. The Bible says that the effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much (Jas. 5.16), meaning that God will hear your earnest cries and respond by replacing pride with humility.

You may begin doing these things and not feel any different. Perhaps you still feel prideful. It doesn't matter. Keep repeating these steps until what's expressed on the outside is expressed on the inside. Pride is a constant battle that will need to be worked on for an extended amount of time, and it will always be a lifelong battle.