Get to Know Tricia | My Quiet Time with God
How do you keep your quiet time fresh?
What does your quiet time consist of, and where do you have it?
The Truth about Understanding the Bible (and Ideas to Help You, Too)
I grew up in church, but I have to say I learned very little about the Bible during those early years. My Sunday school teacher was awesome. I enjoyed the lessons and learned Scripture verses. And while I could tell you that David toppled Goliath and Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a child, I didn’t understand how the Bible was put together as one cohesive story. I discovered my lack of understanding a year after I was married. John and I signed up for Bible school classes. Before the class started, we took a quiz to see how much we know. I discovered it was very little. I couldn’t tell you if David lived before Abraham or vice versa. During the months I learned so much. I understood the Bible more, and I fell in love with God more, too. I craved spending time in God’s Word.
The truth about understanding the Bible is that you need to read the Bible. You also need to understand how the parts make the whole.
Here are some amazing books that can help you understand the Bible and understand how to know and do God’s will.
First, What the Bible is All About, which gives gives bite-sized explanations. I went through it during a Bible school class, and it helped so much. I now understand when the books of the Bible were written by whom and what the main message was. Knowing the parts have helped me understand the whole Bible so much better. They also have a What the Bible is All About For Kids.
I also recommend either the NIV (New International Version), God’s Word or NLT (New Living Translation Version) Bible. You can read these for free at www.biblegateway.com. They are easy to understand. I take turns reading from each of these versions. I also recommend the reading plans at Bible Gateway. I’ve read through the Bible at least six times, and I learn more and more every time. Reading plans help to break of the Bible in daily bite-sized pieces.
I also highly recommend Experiencing God (Member Book). It’s a Bible study book, and it had daily homework. It made me see God in a new way. I experienced Him through those pages! Don’t believe me? You can read my true story here.
Of course the best part of knowing God’s Word is the transformation that will happen in you. As Isaaih 55:11 (NLT) says, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
Isn’t that amazing that God will accomplish all He wants to do in you as you dig into His Word?!
P.S. Don’t forget to listen to my radio show, “Living Inspired,” today at 3 p.m. CDT on the landing page. I’m interviewing Mark DeYmaz, a pastor at a multi-ethnic church!
Being Available to God | Part 4
The Truth about Breaking out of the Christian Bubble | One Mom’s Opinion
When we moved to Little Rock two years ago, I knew it would be easy to slip into the Bible Belt bubble. My husband’s job is with a Christian organization (FamilyLife), so surrounding ourselves with like-minded friends would be easy. Big, beautiful churches are within a few miles of our home, and I knew we could make great friends at church, too.
But is that all life is about—to be surrounding with fellow Christians and enjoy life? Deep inside I felt it wasn’t. How could I raise my child to believe the concept of “giving to the least of these” when I wasn’t making the effort to cross town and reach out?
We were renting a house, and we knew our lease would be up soon. So we started checking out houses closer to the area we served. I could tell a teen mom, “I live right down the street, five minutes away,” instead of, “I live on the west [nice] side of town.” This is our community.
Being Available to God | Part 3
|Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
(If you missed a Being Available to God post, read parts one and two here and here!)
Being Available to God | Part 2
|Kalispell, Montana (image via Kalispell.com)|
Being Available to God | Part 1
What’s Up With Church?
I can still remember being nine-years-old and attending the small, white church on Highway 97 north of Weed, California. New to church, I was impressed with the caring people, fun Sunday School lessons, and new friends. These people were different than others I knew. They smiled, and they were full of joy. Yet as my teen years neared the last thing I wanted was to be around those people. Why? I was sexually active with my boyfriend and was watching the wrong types of movies. Whenever I was around church goers, the guilt was strong. I felt as if they could see right into my soul.
Accountability with believers is one reason why God established church. He wants us to have people in our lives who will show us the right way, and point out areas where we’ve strayed off the path.
Once I rededicated my life to God, church is the first place I returned to, and even though I was a pregnant teen, the people there welcomed me with open arms.
How about you? Do you need the accountability of Christians in your life? We all do. And if that’s not convincing enough, here are seven other reasons why church is important.
1. To connect with God. It’s true we don’t need to be in church to get close to Him, but church helps us step out of our busy lives and focus on God for a moment. Think about a close friend. What if she told you she had something super important to tell you? You’d most likely turn off the Television, set your phone aside, get off the computer and focus on her. Church does the same thing for us. It helps us show God that He’s the priority and we’re paying attention.
2. To understand what you believe better. The purpose of a pastor or youth pastor’s sermon is to explain the Bible and how it applies to real life. I’m amazed that EVERY time I listen to a sermon I learn something about God. As someone who’s been a Christian for 22 years, I know that I’ll continue to learn as I continue to listen.
3. To spend time with close friends. I’m not too ashamed to admit it, there were seasons when my friends were the main reason I went to church–and that’s okay. Even though these friends had struggles of their own, the fact that they were seeking God–and were open to Him–meant something. All these years later my “church friends” are still seeking and serving God. Likewise, most of my “unchurched friends” are still drinking, partying, and trying to find happiness in a broken world. It’s okay to spend time with these friends, and church is a great place to connect.
4. To be inspired. I’m inspired when I see others loving God with passion. When I’m feeling down, going to church and seeing people who love God and are excited about serving him pumps me up.
5. To volunteer. In junior high I volunteered in the church nursery. My teenage son likes to work on the media panel for children’s church. Church is a great place to learn service. Churches need people to join in the work, and working alongside others provides skills and unity.
6. To be mentored. I can still name the people who mentored me and helped me on the right paths. These people are still important to me. Because of their mentoring my life was changed, and I now like to offer the same personal encouragement to others.
7. Because God said so. Hebrews 10:25 says, “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” (NLT). God designed the church and wants us to be a part of it. He knows the benefits. He knows the greater good. He knows that when we surround ourselves with other believers and seek Him on Sundays, our lives are better for it. God knows!
Now, how about you? Why do you go to church? How does church impact your life?
Bedtime Prayers and Promises–an Easter gift to cherish
A special Easter present you received as a child
Your favorite childhood book
Who you’d like to give a copy of Bedtime Prayers and Promises too.Or
Who you’d ask to record this book for your child and why.
In My Dreams: The Struggle with Comparing Ourselves to Others
As believers, we all know we are special creations, unique and precious to God. Yet why do we struggle with comparing our lives, our bodies, our kids, and our talents (or lack of talents) with others? In reality, we need to look past who we “dream” to be and consider God’s dreams instead.
In God’s word, we read: “God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks: ‘Exactly as I planned, it will happen. Following my blueprints, it will take shape,” says Isaiah 14:24 (The Message).
The word “planned” here is translated as “compare.” [i] It’s as if God has weighed the different possibilities, looked at them from all angles, and then chose the best way. He makes the blueprints . . . then He constructs them into our reality.
This is the life the Lord has constructed for us. Not the life, body, health, or circumstances we wished we’d had. Or the perfect life we can never attain. But the blueprints and the form He is forming into reality.
“Remember your history, your long and rich history. I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have—from the beginning telling you what the ending will be, all along letting you in on what is going to happen, amazing you,” we read in Isaiah 46:10-11. “I’m in this for the long haul, I’ll do exactly what I set out to do.” (The Message)
It’s okay to have longings.
But even before we worry about what we desire for our lives, the first step is to not let our dreams motivate us, but instead let His.
God has longings for us even greater than we imagine, and He’s willing to tell us these things as we seek Him out.
All of us have a problem with comparing. How do we deal with it? (Revised from Tricia’s book Generation NeXt Parenting.)
1. Discover your passion . . . and be okay with it.
“Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well,” says Galatians 6:4, “and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct” (NLT).
As long as I can stand before my Maker and see pleasure in His eyes, why do I wonder about what others think . . . or worry I don’t measure up? When I seek God, do what He asks, find joy where my passion lies, and feel His pleasure, then comparisons won’t matter.
2. Cultivate a Quiet, Happy Heart.
“God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans,” says Psalm 131:1-2. “I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.” (The Message)
God’s arms are open to us, and He wants nothing more than for us to be content there. We don’t need to be king of the mountain, queen of the slim and beautiful, prince of the popular, or princess of grandiose plans. Through prayer and focus on God, our quiet hearts will remind us He is enough.
3. Conform to Christ.
“Conforming to the image of God is a long and steady process of internal change as we abide in Christ. People simply do not change overnight, nor can they be forced to do so,” write Neil Anderson and Robert Saucy, authors of The Common Made Holy. “Abiding in Christ is being yoked to the gentle Jesus (Matthew 11:29).” [ii][ii]
If we are connected with Jesus, have a quiet heart, and focused on our passions … what is there to compare? God has us just where He wants us … in His hands.
What can be better than that?
Want to learn more about soul care and having a Happy Heart? Heart Happy: Staying Centered in God’s Love through Chaotic Circumstances will inspire you to stay tethered to the Lover of your soul. By taking time to make your heart happy in the Lord, you’ll grow closer to the Heavenly Father, fostering true transformation from the inside out. Peace and joy can be yours—no matter what life dishes up.
Have you ever wondered what can be gained by cheering each other on? On this episode of The Tricia Goyer Show, I chat about my book with Todd and Brooke Tilghman (Every Little Win), and how we can all use our gifts and talents to support each other. From homeschooling parent to homeschooling parent, I reached out to the Tilghmans and helped them by writing their book. But all throughout my life, I’ve benefited greatly by not comparing myself to others (I have a GREAT story about when I did, though). We can each use our gifts and talents to support each other! You’ll want to be sure to listen to the end of the episode because there is a fun surprise waiting! I know you are going to enjoy this episode.