The Beauty of Asking (Matthew 7:7)

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

~Matthew 7:7 NIV

634667f35147f0fc3448d7cfa26db0b3As I have been getting back into my daily routine after traveling to Michigan, I have been blessed with ample amount of time to spend in the presence of God. I just finished reading through the gospel of Matthew, and God led me to the verse above that many know but few remember.

You see, I have found myself asking questions like “How can the Spirit be more alive in my life and ministry?” and “How can I learn to love people more?” and other kinds of questions we all often have. We want a mentor or spiritual person to tell us their story, their opinion, and give us a step by step guide to our goal.

While all of that is important and often needed, sometimes we forget that God made a way for us to go to Him when His Son died for us. God tells us we can boldly approach his throne (Hebrews 4:16). Why don’t we? Why don’t we bring our questions straight to God? Why don’t we let God teach us through prayer and His word?

What has God been teaching you lately? 

If you have any questions, thoughts, or something to add, please comment below so we can chat 🙂 

Related Posts: 
  1.  Tips For a More Exciting Personal Time with Jesus
  2. Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It.
  3. A Secret Place
  4. Learning to Listen

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Tips For a More Exciting Personal Time with Jesus

exciting personal timeI once heard it said that our personal time with God should be the most exciting thing in our lives. That can be hard to believe! How  can being cook-ed up in a room with an invisible God be anything close to thrilling?

I’ve been exploring this idea and wanting to add something special to my time with God. When you really think about it, our personal time with God is often taken for granted. We are talking to the Creator of all things, who incredibly loves us more than we could ever deserve, and He has the power to shape us into people we never thought we could be, and He can lead us to do more than we could ever imagine. Why is that not so exciting?

I won’t say my personal time is the most breathtaking part of my day. But these tips have helped me have a more exciting time with Jesus.

1. Invest more in worship.

Sometimes, we can think just reading our Bibles and saying a quick prayer is enough for a devotional. But when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, the first thing He did was worship God! And what is usually the first thing we do in church? Worship! Add worship to your daily time with God. Play some music. Move around if that’s your nature. Shout praises to God! Thank Him for everything He is and everything He has done. Don’t just ask Him to teach you, praise him!

2. Invest more in listening.

We often get so caught up in prayer and asking for answers when we forget to stop talking and listen! It can be hard, and it feels quite strange to sit in silence waiting. But God rewards us when we wait on Him, and he answers us every time! We need to be like Elijah, and listen for that still small voice. Waiting on the Lord allows Him to speak and move, giving us answers, peace, comfort, and love. We need to be still in listen. 

3. Invest more in application.

One of Jesus’ most frequent teachings is not only listening but doing what God’s Word says. Jesus said in Luke 11:28:

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Take some time after each devotional and write down what God is teaching you. Put it somewhere you can see it, and review it at the end of each day for a week to keep yourself accountable of doing the Word of God. And one day, you will see your old notes and praise God for helping you grow!

Doing these three things have helped me experience God more. I pray that these have helped you!

What are your tips for a more exciting time with Jesus? What do you do in your personal time?

Related Posts:

  1. Learning to Listen
  2. A Secret Place
  3. Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It
  4. 5 Things I Learned the Past 4 Months at Bible College

Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It.

going deeperI’ve been on a journey of getting more serious in my time with God. I needed to increase my personal relationship with Christ. I’ve been very successful in my journey and my life has been blessed in my growth. My life has improved in every area thanks to God’s blessing and guidance.

My journey started off with finding the little times in my busy day to stop and focus on God. It didn’t matter if it was 5 minutes or 30, the most important thing was getting some prayer and listening in. It was a great start. But eventually I wanted more. More prayer. More listening. More scripture. More connection.

Sadly, I can’t spend hours in God’s presence like I would like to. God has blessed me with responsibilities, so it’s hard to see how I can find more time for God without being a good steward of God’s gifts. So I sat down and asked myself: What do I want more of? It came down to these three things:

With this in mind, I made a simple system of my day to help me get more of these three things.

More connection: 

First, I wanted to be more personal. I didn’t want to just read devotionals, I wanted to give God time to work in me. So I decided that while I would keep doing one inspirational devotional a day, I would also do part of my own personal bible study a day. This is me working chapter by chapter through a book of the Bible. I also would do a separate topical study a day too (for example: patience, prayer, joy, etc).

This may sound like a lot, but here’s the thing: I don’t have to set a specific amount of time to do this. I like to not set up so many rules that, when I break, would discourage me. Instead, I give more attention to what I feel I need that day. As long as I get some of it in, I’ve done what is important.

More prayer: 

Every time I start a devotional, I pray before hand. But this was becoming just a step to get over. So instead, I set certain times of the day to pray. First, I pray first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed. Then, I added time after lunch to address prayer requests for my friends and I. I also try to have a “prayer and listening” time where I stop and listen for God’s voice.

More dependence:

Doing all these things at different times of my day helps me focus on God through out my day and helps me depend on him to get through the tough times. And that is what all of this is about- learning to be more like Christ and depend on him every single day.

How do you grow in your devotional life? Tell me what you do in the comments!

God bless!

Lillian ❤

Similar Posts:

  1. Meditating on His Word
  2. A Secret Place
  3. Learning to Listen
  4. Identity, Struggle, and Potential
  5. Identity in Christ

For the Days You Feel Overwhelmed

overwhelmedFeeling overwhelmed is a pretty common thing for us young adults. Trying to learn how to live out new “adult” lives, being swamped with college work, money being low, anxiety being high, living away from home for the first time- sometimes we just feel surrounded by worry or even failure.

But Christ doesn’t want us to live like that. God gave us the power to live above worry and troubles; to be in the world but not of it (Col. 3:2). Jesus came and provided a better life for us, one free from the bondage of being overwhelmed.

Now, please do not hear what I am not saying. I am not saying as Christians we should be unrealistically happy all hours of the day. I am not saying that if you feel overwhelmed you are not “Christian” enough. I am not saying nothing should bother you. What I am saying is that we don’t have to let things rule us. We may still feel overwhelmed, but we don’t have to be overwhelmed (read more on that here). Life is still the same but we are not. Through Christ we are free.

Now that we know that we don’t have to live like this, let us learn how we can live differently. The secret to rising above the overwhelming feelings we experience is summed up in three words: Focus on God. 

How did Peter walk on the water? He focused on God. The Bible says Peter walked on the water easily until “he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30). When believers in Israel were being forced to chose between Judaism and Christ, the writer of Hebrews told them, “We must focus our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2). We have to take our eyes off of things of this world, and set our vision on God. (For more on this, see Colossians 3).

Start off with simply diving into your time with God. Pray, read the Bible, and spend time listening to God. Go to a secret place with Him, where there is no distractions. As you focus on Him, He will help you when you feel overwhelmed. He will give you a state of peace beyond what you can understand (Phil 4:7). He will help you prioritize, guiding you to what you can let go of and what you can pursue (Psalms 25:4-5). Put God first in all you do, and the rest will fall into place. (Matt 6:33)

A Secret Place

closet“In the secret, in the quiet place,

In the stillness, You are there…” ~ In The Secret (song)

***

“Take me to that place, Lord,

to that secret place where

I can be with You…”  ~Wrap Me in Your Arms (songs)

Today I am back on campus of Northpoint Bible College, and the Spring Semester has started rolling along. I am very excited for what God has in store.

Today, I wanted to share with you a message that I have heard many times on Campus. I really believe every person can benefit from this and more Christians need to hear it. When I arrived at Northpoint last August, I was encouraged by our President and teachers to find one spot on campus, dedicated to letting God work in me; praying to Him, crying out, meditating on His Word. And I found my own little spot. I’ve made it my place to go when I am struggling or scared or just need to be alone with God. It’s quiet, private, but powerful.

Jesus also talks about finding our own little spot for prayer as well. When Jesus was teaching His disciples on how to pray in Matthew 6:6, He said:

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Greek word for “your room” (or “closet” as most people know it) is tameion which means “storage room” (hence “closet”), “inner chamber”, or “secret room”. The last definition stuck out to me. After all, Jesus was just telling His disciples not to pray in public for their own gain. For this reason, I edited out my description of my secret place, simply because I realized it is unneeded.

I believe one of the rewards for praying in secret place is the experience you have there. Prayer seems empty to many Christians, for with our intellectual culture, most people simply think their prayers as we go about our day. But God does a powerful thing in us when we make the time to stop, go into our room, shut the door behind us with the world outside us, and pray.

I encourage you, if you have not already, to find yourself a place to go and pray in secret, letting God work in you. It could be a nice cozy spot outside, or a corner with a chair in your house, or maybe at your kitchen table. Anywhere, as long as you are alone with God.

Thank you for reading, liking and commenting your thoughts. God bless!

~Lillian ❤

Learning to Listen (Elijah~ 1 Kings 19:9b-13)

listening_eOne of the things I often forget is to just sit still and listen to God. As humans, we often forget that God, who can feel so mysterious and distant, speaks back to us. It’s important that we stop and listen to God when we pray. If you were talking to a friend and never stopped talking to listen to them, do you think they would feel like you even care? Just like we listen to friends, we should listen to God.

A lot of things can get in the way of us listening to God. One I am guilty of constantly, as you dear readers know, is being too busy. In this western world where time is everything, we often have schedules that are filled to the brim. My generation especially is the culprit of busyness. From early on, we were encouraged to do everything we can to create the best application for college- doing school work, sports, extracurriculars, family duties, community service, etc… the list goes on and on. We can all be guilty of not leaving any room for God. Even if we do schedule in time with God, our brains can be so wired and scattered that God’s voice isn’t heard. Elijah heard a still small voice on the mount in Horeb, after all commotion ceased:

And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”    ~1 Kings 19:9b-13 NIV

Elijah was feeling the stress of ministry and persecution, and needed some encouragement. So God told him to enter His presence. When we hit hard times, we need to go into His presence and know that He will reveal Himself to us just like He did for Elijah. I love having chapel everyday here at Bible college. I might be having the worst morning, but I rarely go through worship without feeling refreshed and encouraged by His presence.

Next we see God is approaching the mountain. There was a giant commotion with wind, an earthquake, and a great fire. But God wasn’t in the commotion. He came afterward. Sometimes we are surrounded by hardships, but we can know that God’s on His way. God is our deliverer, and He promises that He will come through. We need to have faith that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if we can’t see it yet.

If that wasn’t hard enough, we also have to step back and separate ourselves from the commotion to hear God. Sometimes I wish I could shut off my brain so I no longer have to hear it worry so much. But even when the world is falling around us, we need to stop and give the worry to God, who will take care of it for us. From there, we can breathe, stop worrying, and hear God speak to us. 

I will be posting more thoughts soon. What are some of your thoughts on listening to God? Leave ’em in the comments and let’s chat!

Till next time,

Lillian ❤

Call to Me (Jeremiah 33:3)

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you did not know.” ~Jeremiah 33:3

I find it so comforting that we serve a God we can call on and He will answer us. God wants to help us and is ready to answer our prayers. God answers prayers because it is us acknowledging that only He is capable of handling our troubles perfectly. When we go to God in prayer, we give it all to Him instead of trying to do things ourselves. God is faithful to help us when we pray for His help.

Life is confusing and hard at times, but if we pray to God for help and wisdom, He will give it to us. He will give us guidance and help us in times of trouble. He will show us things we never thought possible. He will help us handle our problems and we will one day look back and say with amazement, “Wow God, how did you do that?” God will teach us so many great things through our circumstances, things we couldn’t have discovered on our own. We can be confident asking God for these things because Jesus said in Matthew 7:7:

“7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Of course, God isn’t going to tell us everything. I believe God doesn’t reveal everything to us because without knowledge, we can have faith in Him and be humble to follow Him. Remember that we must walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) After all, knowledge is not a right. It’s a gift. We should be thankful when God gives it to us, but be faithful and patient when He doesn’t.

So pray to God for everything in your life, and He will show you great and mesmerizing things you would not have discovered on your own. He might show you these things before, during or after your trials, but have faith that God will teach you these great things.

Renew My Strength (Isaiah 40:31)

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

~Isaiah 40:31

As I was looking through verses for this blog, I came across this common passage and it hit me like a bag of bricks. As many teenagers, I have been struggling with strength my entire Senior year. I had to search the strength to keep going, and to continue with my best effort.
Before this year, I saw Seniorites as a joke, but I have found it is a real problem. After 13 years of the public school system, students slowly begin to break down, like an old car. Despite this, I also know it is not an excuse. My Senior year was an internal battle between wanting to go out with a bang and not wanting to care anymore. This is why I struggled to find strength to keep going and finish high school strong. 
As my high school years come to an end, I now look back and remember the struggle of high school without God. My busy life got in the way of my relationship God on more occasions than I like to admit. Six AM Monday mornings to practices and rehearsals to late nights of homework is hard (however, I know life will never get easier). But the struggle I have gone through has taught me this for sure: No amount of coffee can compare to God’s gift of strength. 
It sounds silly, but it’s true! There is no earthly thing; coffee, drugs, motivational quotes, naps, or friends; that can compare to God renewing of my strength. Nothing can keep me happier and more productive than an active walk with Him. When I wonder from God, I can feel myself getting slower, less motivated, and miserable. God’s presence is like a drug, I crave it desperately like David did:

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

(Psalm 63:1)

We all need God every day and every minute. He is the Vine, and we are His branches and without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We must keep our hope in Him, and He will renew our strength. With God, we will not grow weary. He will give us strength and motivate us, and keep us going. All we have to do is have hope in Him, and that hope will motivate us to keep going. 

Don’t Play With Fire~A Blog on Teen Dating (Song of Songs 3:5)

I wrote this blog post with young teen girls in mind, but anyone no matter age or gender is welcome to read it. Bringing teen girls to Christ is my calling into ministry which is what has made this blog post so personal to me, along with my story and my experiences. 

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the doves of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Song of Songs is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is a symbolic story of love and companionship filled with sweet words and wise advice. In this verse, King Solomon’s new wife tells the women of Jerusalem to wait for love until the time is right. But what does that mean?

First of all, I want to say that I write this blog not recommending a specific age or time but I write about the effort put into finding love. In almost every magazine for the ages of 10 and up, you will find articles such as How To Get Him To Like You and How to Get a Boyfriend. Girls are told that they can flirt their way into the boy’s heart. I remember trying to do this in middle school and my early years of high school. However, the verse above advises us not to do this.

Why not try to find a boyfriend? Often, it becomes a waste. You try to hard to get this boy to like you and if he says no, you get hurt. If he says yes, the relationship will not be a good one. A forced relationship often means the two are not right for each other, and the relationship can be for selfish reasons. Wanting a boyfriend because he’s cute, or you are lonely, or you want to have fun is not a good reason to start a relationship. Also, when you enter a relationship you give your heart to them, then when you give your heart to so many boys until “the one” comes, you will not be able to give a full and healthy heart to him. I know not having a boyfriend when you are surrounded by today’s media and your own friends who have relationships is very hard, but the pain of waiting is worth it. Imagine how happy your future husband will be when he learns that he’s the only one to have the privilege of loving you. Imagine that handsome prince you grew up hearing about- he’s that special to you and deserves your whole heart.

Girls try to hard to get a boy to like them, when really the best way to find love is to not look for it at all. A good example of this is the story of Ruth, who focused on God until He sent the man of her dreams to her.  If you want a wonderful relationship full of love and happiness that leads to a marriage one day, stop looking for one. Focus on your relationship with Jesus, be happy as a single woman, and when the time is right, God will send you your man and everything will fall into place. No relationship is perfect, but the relationship that was patiently waited for will be blessed.

Making It Beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 NIV)

10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes is another book by the wise king Solomon in which he examines what he has learned over his life. Solomon is known as the wisest man ever and towards the end of his life he tries to analyze big questions like why bad things happen to good people. The scripture above is one of many wise conclusions he comes to.

The first thing Solomon states in the passage is that life is hard. The people of earth deal with a lot in their lives, and he addresses God as the origin for many burdens of life. This is often true. However, a lot of trouble in this world and problems in our lives come from the enemy or even our own mistakes. Still, it is undeniable that some struggles in our lives happen because God lets them happen, but why?

Next, king Solomon instantly shifts to explaining that God makes everything “beautiful” in His own timing. Life is hard and it may seem like people are drowning in trouble, however we may not be able to see it, but our situation will turn out for our good because of God. The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God often uses bad situations or seasons of our lives to teach us something, make us stronger, and for many other reasons, even ones we can’t understand and won’t know until we stand before Him. One example from my own life is the suffering I went through in middle school when I was bullied. I was harassed and abused by my peers through out middle school and it created me into an angry, depressed monster. However, this event brought me to Jesus and I found myself in Him. This awful season of my life made me who I am and brought me to Christ. This shows that even the darkest days can bring light into my life later on, but only by the power of God.

We can have faith in this because God “set eternity” in our hearts. This means that everyone, no matter who they are, have a feeling or belief in eternity in their hearts. So, with this internal belief in us, we can use that to believe that God has a plan and He will succeed because we can feel it. We can know that God will come through and bring good out of the bad in our lives.

As Solomon finishes, I finish saying that no one can understand the full grasp of God’s plan. Why is this? It’s simple: we are not God. We can not see everything that was and is and is to come. We can understand the story of every person we meet. We often can’t even understand ourselves fully, but God can. God sees and knows anything and everything, and He’s also in control of all. So have faith in God’s plan for you, even when you don’t understand it, and be comforted that the perfect God that can do no wrong has in all under control.