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Ways to Grow in Your Faith
There are many times when women feel like they have gotten off-track in their walk with the Lord. They desire to grow in their faith but are unsure of how to do that. So, I thought that I would share some of the things that help me stay on track in my Christian walk with the Lord and/or things that help me get back on track when I'm feeling a bit out of focus or desiring to draw closer to the Lord again.
* Christian Music ~ I love pop music and 80's music and a lot of soundtracks. But there is something special about a lot of the new Christian music being released right now. It is very heartfelt and worshipful without being boring (if you know what I mean). Sometimes I will just blare Christian music in my car and belt out my heart to the Lord as I sing along. There is something wonderful about the way music can move your heart and soul. And for me, so many songs speak to my heart right where it needs it and convey a message that I was needing to hear at that very moment in time. Whether it's to completely give something over to the Lord and to trust Him, to remind me of my love for Him, or to simply relish in praising Him - Christian music does this for me. I would recommend some of the following artists whose music has spoken personally to me:
~ Casting Crowns
~ Joy Williams
~ Jaci Velasquez
~ Matthew West
~ Natalie Grant
~ Steven Curtis Chapman
* Devotions/Bible Studies ~ Granted, our lives are very busy these days. But when I'm participating in a Ladies Bible Study, my heart just comes alive! I notice it more often when I am feeling as if I'm straying from God because my heart feels more in-tune to what He is trying to tell me, and I'm just generally more sensitive to growth and allowing myself to be taught and molded. For me, I'm not good at doing devotions or Bible Studies unless I'm held accountable. So I participate in a Bible Study whenever our church has one. I highly recommend any Bible Studies by Beth Moore. She has inspired me like no one else! (You can also listen to Beth online at OnePlace.com) - I have listened to devotionals on audio in my car as well or listened to speakers online (at the previously mentioned OnePlace) while I work on the computer.
* Praying Scripture ~ I learned about praying scripture last year when I was doing one of Beth Moore's Bible Studies. I wrote down some of my favorite scripture verses that spoke to me in different areas - such as fear, ambition, marriage, parenting, temptation, praising God, etc. I rotate the verses out depending on what I am going through in that stage of my life. But I just pray the verses out loud to God and then add some notes or comments about why I need that verse or why I'm praying that verse over someone else. It really helps to do this verbally out loud because there is just something about praying out loud that makes it more powerful. It has truly helped me focus on putting issues squarely on God's shoulders instead of my own and reminded me of many promises and truths as well as comfort me when I needed it.
*Minute Prayers ~ You don't have to know how to pray a big 'ol long prayer all the time. "Minute Prayers" are prayers that usually consist of one or two lines and basically are just comments or requests you take to God throughout the day. They are just what they are called - one minute quick prayers. For me, they help me keep my whole day in perspective when I do this and allow me to give things their proper balance and weight in my life instead of letting things push me to the edge or stress me out.
*Go to church regularly ~ I know I hear a lot of people say they don't attend a certain church or they don't go as often as they should. And I think, "Then how can you be growing in the Lord?" If you don't water a plant, it will wither and eventually die. The same is true of our walk with the Lord. We can grow complacent and immune to the ways of the world far too easily without being held accountable and being fed with His Word on a regular basis. And if you don't get excited over your church, then my recommendation would be to find one that inspires you and motivates you to get involved and grow in your faith.
*Surround yourself with Christian fellowship ~ There is nothing like having that special "bond" with a fellow brother or sister in the Lord when you need a shoulder to cry on, advice, or encouragement in your life. You know that their communication with you will usually be seasoned with thoughts and comments that come from the Lord and you can't replace that kind of input in your life. They will also hold you accountable in a loving way.
*Filter what you watch and listen to ~ For me, I have to really watch how much news I take in because it starts to infiltrate my brain and bring me down. Likewise, the movies we watch nowadays do not have the same ratings system as when we grew up. So you need to be very careful about what kind of content you see. There is so much nudity in them nowadays that can bring so much temptation into your marriage. In addition, there is other content such as violence and language that needs to be filtered as well. I'm not saying you can't watch a good action movie.... just be discerning about how much and what it is that you think you need to see so that it doesn't desensitize you to real violence that takes place in the world. Radio also, isn't what it used to be. DJ's can be very crude and music contaings references to violence, swearing, depressing thoughts, sex, sex, and sex - as well as hatred of others. What you take in - does come out of you at some point. So again, I'm not saying you shouldn't listen to secular music - just be discerning.
* Impact others for the Lord ~ whether it is community service, volunteering at your church, going on a missions trip, mentoring someone (I am in great need of Christian mom mentors to mentor others via email !) or whatever - once you minister to someone else on behalf of the Lord, you will never be the same again. Once you tap into the potentials and the opportunities that God can bring to you and through you.... you will be hooked and want more.
*Do SOMETHING! Don't just sit there and expect your Christian walk to be vibrant and "on-fire." You have to reach out and prioritize your life and your commitments so that you are getting or being around Christian values and influences.
These are just a few of the things that help me on my personal walk as a Christian. I learn new ways all of the time that inspire me or motivate me in one way or another. But if you find little "checkpoints" and implement them in your life to help you grow in the Lord, you will experience a joy and excitement that you would miss out in your life otherwise. And I have many times where I'm not doing something or getting spiritually fed, and it shows up in my heart and life at these times and moments.
I'd rather live a life of adventure and excitement for the Lord, rather than one of "status quo" because I was too scared to take the risks. So as I learn and grow and gain the courage needed to take risks for my Lord, I hope you will too.
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