What Happens When You Read Your Bible Everyday?

How often do you read your Bible? Up until about a year ago, I only cracked my Bible Bible-2515open for the Sunday morning service at my church. There were some days when I would read a passage or two, but usually I just came up with reasons not to: I’m too tired, there isn’t enough time, I don’t understand it, I have a head ache, etc.

It was during this period that my life was pretty much in shambles. I was suffering from anxiety and minor depression, I got stressed out about everything, and I got mad at everybody for no reason. I realized that I needed a change in my spiritual life but it felt like I was never able to stick with any devotional, Bible reading plan, etc. It was then that I resolved that no matter what, I would read my Bible every single day even if it was just one scripture.

Here’s what happened:

I Stopped Stressing

Before, I would stress about every little aspect of my life: what I was going to wear, what I was going to eat, when my school work was due, when I was going to be able to actually do my school work, etc.

However when I began reading my Bible everyday and seeing all of the ways that God provided for His children and all of the ways He promises to provide for me, I realized that I don’t have to stress or worry; I just have to trust God. If God will provide for the ravens then He surely will provide for me (Luke 12:24)!

I Found True Joy

The joy I receive from simply delving into the Word of God is unreal. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” The more time I spend with God in His Word, the more joy is infused into my spirit. As I read and learn about who Jesus is my soul just gets happy; and it’s a happiness that world cannot take away!

I’ve Gained Confidence

Since I’ve started really reading and digging into scripture I’ve started to learn all of the promises God has made to me. Promises of a future of hope (Jeremiah 29:11), promises to work all things together for my good (Romans 8:28), and promises that I can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).  I now wake up ready to face the day with my Savior rather than being tempted to hide away under my covers with dread.

 

The Bible is a powerful weapon. When we do not spend time in it everyday we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to attack from the enemy. Most importantly, it is literally God’s Word; it has everything we need to know about life and God, and Jesus all written within it’s pages.

So today I challenge you to start reading your Bible every single day whether it be for five minutes or even just one verse. I challenge you to see the difference that spending time in scripture can make in your life.

-Sierra

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Lioness Arising Book Review

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I am an avid reader and Christian literature is my favorite- fiction and non-fiction. I thought it would be fun to start reviewing the books I read here for you guys.

The first thing I notice about a book is its cover. I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I cannot deny that the cover is usually what draws me in and leads to finding out more about the book. Lioness Arising by Lisa  Bevere definitely has a captivating cover. Everything from the sleek, powerful lioness stalking through the high, golden grass to the bold proclamation of “Wake up and Change Your World” catches one’s eye. The cover of this book feels like a foreshadowing of what may happen if you dare to read the pages within.

Excerpt from back cover:

“The lioness rises from her slumber, a magnificent image of strength, passion, and beauty. Here mere presence commands the landscape, protects her young, and empowers the lion. In groups, lioness become a creative and strategic force to be reckoned with, acting as one to change the world around them.”

Lioness Arising is based on a dream Lisa Bevere had which she claims was given to her by God (I am not saying I believe or disbelieve God gave her this dream.) In this dream, Lisa saw a beautiful lioness along with a mention of Numbers 23:24 and God told her a lioness was going to awaken. After this dream, Lisa began researching the lioness and studying the Bible to reveal how God’s daughters are to be likened to the great and mighty lioness.

This is the first book by Lisa Bevere that I have ever ventured to read and therefore I was not familiar with her style of writing.  I’m not going to lie, at first I found the book very dry and I had to force myself to read it. There seemed to be a lot of talking and not much being said.  However, whenever I read a book I always try to invest myself and learn something so I buckled down, asked God to reveal himself to me through the book, and kept reading. I am happy to report that the further I journeyed into the book the more interesting it became. I do wish the author had spoken more about the lioness than she did about herself, however I am now reading Without Rival (also by Lisa Bevere) and I am seeing that this is just part of the author’s writing style; Lisa Bevere uses a lot of examples from her own life to get her point across which can make it seem like her books are more of an autobiography than they are Christian Living.

The one thing that I absolutely did not like is that Lisa often used the Message Bible translation to quote scripture and I’m honestly just not a fan of the Message. I made the habit of looking up the passages of scripture she quoted in my ESV Bible which was a tad time consuming.

Overall, I think how much you enjoy this book will depend on what season of your life you are in.  I really enjoyed the chapters on being passionate, bold, and unified. However, the chapters on parenting and being a mother were not as appealing simply because I am not a mother. This book has sparked a passion within me; I am becoming more bold in my faith.

I would rate this book 3/5.

Have you read Lioness Arising? Do you have any book recommendations?

-Sierra Smith

Embracing My Season of Being Alone

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I’m single. There, I said it. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but as someone who has always struggled with feelings of loneliness. it’s huge. I always thought that by 21 I would at least have an idea of who I am going to marry, if not already married or engaged. But here I am pushing 22 with no prince charming in sight. I won’t lie, it kind of sucks seeing all of your friends and classmates getting married and announcing pregnancies while you’re sitting around taking selfies with your dog (no? that might just be me then.) However, as bitter as it may sometimes be, I am coming to appreciate this season in my life and here’s why:

It’s just me and God

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart.”

Being single, my main focus is my relationship with the Lord. If I were dating/engaged/married I would also have to focus on my partner’s wants and needs. However, my heart is free to focus solely on building my relationship with God.

I’m maturing

Ephesians 1:17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

I’m not spending my single years being idle. I’m studying to be the godly wife and mother that I long to be. Every day, after I pray for my future husband, I pray for myself as a future wife. Proverbs 31 (the chapter about a woman of noble character) is one of the most read passages in my Bible. I’m using the time that I have before marriages to prepare myself for what it will take to be a good, godly wife.

I’m not truly alone

Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Though it may seem like, I am not truly alone. The more I mature in my faith and focus on my relationship with God, the more I begin to realize that He is always by my side. He has never left me (thought I have sometimes tried to flee from Him) and He will never turn His back on me.

I’m learning to trust God’s timing

Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

We live in a society that craves instant gratification. For example, a common conception today is ‘why wait until marriage to have sex when you can do it now?’

I yearn to be a wife and mother. I long for the intimate companionship of a husband and the unconditional love of a child. I know God isn’t keeping me from these things that I want so desperately just to be mean. The Bible says that everything that God does is for my own good so I am trusting that right now, at this point in my life, marriage isn’t what’s best for me.

All in all, I think the best way to get through a season of being single is to look as it as an opportunity; an opportunity to grow, change, and trust.

-Sierra

 

 

Reading the Bible in One Year

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I’ve always wanted to read through the entire Bible. I honestly cannot tell you the number of times I’ve started reading with the intentions to go cover to cover but ended up getting stuck around Leviticus or Numbers. I am not one to be easily dissuaded so you can have on guess as to what my New Year resolution is: reading the entire Bible in 2017.

However, this time it’s going to be different because I want YOU to do it with me. That’s right, I’ve started a Facebook group to encourage people to join me in my quest so we can uplift and hold each other accountable.

The reading plan itself is easy and takes only 15 minutes of your day. Starting January 1st we will be reading a small portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, a selection from Psalm, and Proverbs each day. There will also be the option of discussing each reading.

If you want to join click here and let me know in the comments.

I really hope you decide to join me!

-Sierra

 

Bible Journal Flip Through

In my Bible Journaling: Tips To Get You Started post I mentioned that I was thinking of doing a flip through video to show all of the entries in my journaling Bible. I had a couple people say they would enjoy such a video so… here it is!

*Disclaimer: I had to film this at my kitchen table because I had no space in my room. Also, I apologize for the video cutting off in the middle.*

Here is a link to the video: Bible Flip Through Video (Youtube)

 

Making Purity a Priority

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In today’s generation, purity is very low on the list of priorities. Kids are being taught to practice safe sex rather than no sex and choosing to remain pure until marriage is almost taboo. However, the Bible puts a huge emphasis on living purely.

1 Corinthians 6:18 says this, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be un-defiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

Ephesians 5:5 says, “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person- such a person is an idolater- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

Purity may not seem like a big deal but obviously it was pretty important to God. Living in purity may not seem like a big deal but it truly is. When you’re living in impurity (and I speak from experience) you’re going to have constant feelings of emptiness, guilt, and shame. It’s going to damage your self-esteem and perhaps the most terrifying, you will not be able to feel God’s presence (John 14:21 says that Jesus reveals himself to those who keep His commandments.)

I know living in purity is hard; trust me, I’ve struggled with it greatly. However, it can be done and I want to share a few things that have helped me walk in purity. I think they may help you as well:

1. Get rid of the impure

Moderate what’s going into your mind because it directly affects what comes out. Be careful of the music you listen to, the book you read, the t.v. shows and movies you watch because they open the doorway to impure thoughts which lead to impure actions.

2. Set boundaries

If you are in a relationship with someone who you have had sex with and you are now desiring to live in purity, you need to set boundaries and be firm with them. Let them know that you have changed, why you’ve changed, and tell them you’re not going to live in sin anymore. (P.S. It is never too late to decide to live in purity.)

3. Get a purity ring

A purity ring is not only a symbol of your promise to God to everyone around you but also a reminder to yourself. Every time I look down and see my purity ring I remember what I promised to God and I’m given an extra little boost to stay strong.

4. Haters gonna hate

Accept that there’s going to be people that make fun of you for your decision. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been called a prude or have had someone roll their eyes at me because I’ve decided to live in purity. Just hold your head high and remember why you are living in purity.

5. PRAY.

There’s no way you can live in purity on your own. Trust me, I tried and I failed every single time. The only way you will make it is if you seek God. Every morning I pray for God to give me the strength it takes to live in purity and then I continue praying that several times throughout the day.

 

I’d like to close this post in prayer:

God, I pray for each and every person who reads this. I ask that you will guard their hearts and give them the strength it takes to live in purity in an impure world. Let them know they are not alone in this walk. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

-Sierra

 

Five Books That I Can’t Get Enough Of

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I’m a reader, always have been and always will be. I have a NOOK, a Kindle, and a bookshelf; all of which are packed fool and in the case of my bookshelf, spilling over. Today I am going to share five books that have helped me greatly (other than the Bible because that is a given); five books that I cannot get enough of.

1. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

 Jesus Calling is a one year devotional written in the format of a letter written by God directly to you.

I’ve always struggled with studying the Bible consistently everyday. I think we can all agree that the Bible is a big book chocked full with tons of information- which to me is quite intimidating. Every time I sit down to read my Bible I am overwhelmed and have no clue on where to start. This devotional gives me a starting place for my daily studies. Once I have read the daily devotion, I use the accompanying scriptures as a starting point for my studies.

2. Fervent by Priscilla Shirer

Fervent is a book written to help women identify how Satan is attacking their life and then teach them how to use prayer to fight back. It covers topics such as passion, purpose, relationships, the past, etc.

*Warning* reading this book will change your life!

Like most women, I have failed to see how much of a threat Satan truly is. I allowed him to lie to me, manipulate me, drag me through the mud and all without putting up much of a fight; mostly because I didn’t know how to fight. This book has taught me how to pray -and I mean really pray- strategically and with a purpose. I no longer feel weak and helpless when Satan starts meddling in my life; now I’m the warrior God always intended me to be.

3. Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Crazy Love is all about understanding God’s crazy, radical love for you and how you can return it. Christianity isn’t about doing what’s right and being perfect, it’s about having a passionate relationship with God.

This book captivated me from the moment I opened it. I literally couldn’t put it down; I sat on my bed for four hours straight and didn’t get up until the book was finished. Something about this book just called to me.

For a lot of my Christian life I focused on doing the right things and trying not to sin rather than focusing on my relationship with God. This book opened my eyes to what God truly desires from me. Does He want me to strive to do my best? Yes. But what he truly wants is a deep, meaningful relationship with me.

4. Undaunted by Christine Caine

Undaunted is aimed to help Christians overcome their fear and the obstacles that life has thrown their way and pursue God’s will.

Christine Caine is an amazing woman of God. I consider her to be a role model or a mentor for my walk with God. Seeing her passion and zeal for following God is inspiring to me.

I’m a quiet person and often keep to myself; always afraid to put myself out in the open. For a long time Satan had me convinced that God could never use me- I was too quiet, too damaged, too backward. This book opened my eyes to how God can and will use me.

5. Left Behind Series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins

The Left Behind Series is a fictional series based on the book of Revelation and what will happen after Christ returns for His followers.

I know I am cheating by including a series and not just a single book but this series is amazing and I cannot tell you how many times I have read it! If you are struggling to understand the book of Revelation and the rapture then you need to read this series. Even though the characters and their lives are fictional, the events that take place are Biblically sound and make so much easier to understand what is going to happen once Christ returns for his church. These books have everything needed to be entertaining: romance, action, protagonists, antagonists, etc. and best of all, it is Biblical!

What are some of your favorite books?

-Sierra