15 Ways to Plant the Word of God in Our Lives

As believers, we need the Word of God firmly planted in our lives.

Scripture teaches that God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our paths (Psalm 119:105) and that it is a vital part of our spiritual armor in the fight against our enemy Satan and his forces of evil (Ephesians 6:17.) The Word is God-breathed and is useful in many ways, equipping us for good works (2 Timothy 3:16.) It is living and active and judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12.) No doubt about it, we need to be rooted and established in the Word of God.

Weaving the Word of God into the fabric of our lives may seem like a daunting task—after all, it IS a big book—but when we take things a step at a time and use a variety of methods, it is indeed possible. And remember, God will bless our efforts as we seek to grow closer to him and honor him with our lives.

Here are 15 ways to plant God’s Word in our hearts and minds:

  1. Read a passage of scripture every day, asking God to bless the reading of his Word.
  2. Be part of a Bible study group/small group on an ongoing basis. Study the Word.
  3. As you read the Word, underline words, phrases, and entire verses that really speak to you.
  4. Memorize scripture using a systematic plan for memorizing and reviewing. Use whatever plan and method works for you in your current stage of life.
  5. Find a translation you enjoy reading that has study notes/footnotes included.
  6. Incorporate scripture into your prayers. It’s a powerful way to pray and also reinforces the scripture in your mind.
  7. Sing the Word—either songs you create as you worship or praise songs you already know.
  8. Read books, magazines, and online content that include scripture.
  9. Listen to teaching from the Word.
  10. Read passages from the Word multiple times, emphasizing different words each time.
  11. Share what you’re learning from the Word with others in ordinary conversations,  Bible study groups, and blogs. Share scripture via social media.
  12. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring the Word to mind as you need it.
  13. Use the Word to battle Satan when he attacks or whispers lies to you.
  14. Apply what you’re learning from the Word to your life. Live the principles and wisdom you’re discovering.
  15. Become a teacher of the Word yourself in a Sunday School class or Bible study or through a writing or speaking ministry.

I hope we’ve each found something helpful here today as we seek to firmly plant God’s Word in our hearts and minds. I know God will honor our efforts and use his Word powerfully in our lives. May we bring him glory, honor, and praise!

They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.” Deuteronomy 32:47 NIV

*Which of these methods is most helpful to you in planting the Word in your life? What other ways come to mind?

*Flickr photo by Lel4nd, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Short but Powerful Words from Jesus

6774808573_ca3a759623_z“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.” Mark 11:22

Jesus was known for using stories/parables in his teaching, but sometimes his instruction was short, direct, and power-packed. The above exhortation is one example.

These four short but powerful words from Jesus—have faith in Godcame from him after one of the many times amazement was expressed over what he could do, over the power he held. But Jesus doesn’t want us to be surprised when he acts in power or does what he says he will do. His response here shows us that he wants us to have faith, to believe.

Do any of us have a special need for this message from Jesus today? These words he spoke so long ago are for us, too. Let’s hear and heed his words. Let’s have faith in God.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

*Is there something in particular you need to trust God in faith for today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Khanah Hmoong, Creative Commons License

A Time to Focus on Family

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“‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” Mark 5:19

Remember the biblical account of Jesus healing a man who was possessed by a legion of demons? No one had been able to subdue this man, no one had been able to help him. Until Jesus. Jesus cast the demons out and restored this desperate man to his right mind.

How grateful he must have been. In fact as Jesus was leaving, this newly healed man begged Jesus to let him go with him . The man’s reason for wanting to accompany Jesus may have been an overflow of gratitude, a desire to be part of Jesus’s powerful life-changing ministry, fear that he had nowhere to go since he had destroyed all his relationships with his family and friends, or possibly a combination of these reasons. Whatever the reason, Jesus had another plan for him.

Instead of saying yes to the man’s request to go with him, Jesus told him to go home. He wanted him to tell his family how much he had done for him. To tell them about the mercy he had shown him.

We don’t know all of Jesus’s reasons for asking the man to go home. The Lord certainly wanted the man’s family to hear this amazing testimony of Jesus’s love and power. We know Jesus wanted more people to come to know him. But maybe he also knew the man’s family ached for news of him or that the man himself needed to be reassured of their love. Maybe he knew this family’s reunion was what was most important for that group of people at that moment in time.

Whatever his reasons, Jesus wanted this man to focus on his family. And there are times I’m sure that his plan and task for us is the same. We may have a desire to go somewhere or do something big for the Lord or we might just wish we had a more exciting role in life and in God’s kingdom, but sometimes in some seasons God shows us our main ministry is at home. Our main ministry is to be focused on our family.

The Lord has called me to such seasons at times. Whether staying home to raise our girls or serving in caregiving roles for loved ones with health problems or giving my time to help with our twin grandsons this past year, I’ve seen that at times serving my family is indeed a major part of my role in life and in ministry for the Lord. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t be involved in other activities, but I did have to say no to many things in order to fulfill the ministries to family that God placed before me.

I wonder if today the Lord is leading any of us to focus on our families? Is his plan for us to “go home” for now? If it is, let’s accept it as from him and go joyfully and in peace. Let’s shine for the Lord at home.

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” 1 Timothy 5:4

*When has God called you to a season at home?

*Don’t miss out on the One-More-Chance Starbucks Giveaway. Deadline to enter is Feb. 10th!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out early last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Ryan Smith Photography, Creative Commons License

Messages from the Dark

4279216_68f6e38afe*Today I’m featuring an encore post from February 2009. Hope it blesses you!

Any other perpetual calendar lovers out there? I admit to having three scattered throughout my house right now. Guess you could say I’m hooked on them. I look forward to the fresh inspiration they offer me each day — and to finding quotes I can use on the blog!

One morning last week, one of the calendar quotes really resonated with me. A couple of hours later, my scripture reading for the day held a verse that conveyed nearly the same message. I knew right away it must be a message worth sharing. Some of us may need it more than others right now, but I feel certain we can all learn from it.

My Whispered Words of Encouragement perpetual calendar contained these encouraging words from Oswald Chambers, early 20th century author and Christian minister: “When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.”

Some of my recent days weathering the ongoing crisis with my mother-in-law’s health have been awfully close to “dark” — but could probably be described more accurately as very difficult.

Still, I identified with the message in a special way. I knew the Lord would use these difficult days to allow me to help someone in the future.

Later that morning, I read a verse from God’s Word that echoed what I’d read from Chambers. Jesus told his disciples, “‘What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.’” (Matthew 10:27) Jesus had been telling his disciples about the persecution they would encounter as they ministered in His name, but I think we can apply the teaching to any dark time we may find ourselves in. The Lord will teach us things — will give us precious messages — that He will one day give us opportunities to share with others.

Just this morning, I jotted a few practical things down I’ve been learning over the past several weeks. As dark storm clouds roll across our lives, let’s listen for God’s messages, whether they are practical ideas or spiritual truths and comforts. Let’s ready ourselves to “proclaim from the roofs” the things God has taught us. We may proclaim them to a crowd or to just an audience of one hurting person. Wherever we proclaim them, let’s allow our messages from the dark to bring light to another.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

*What have you learned in the dark that might help someone today?

*Don’t forget to enter the Steaming Hot Valentine’s Day Giveaway. Deadline to enter is 6 p.m. Feb. 11.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out this week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by boboroshi, Creative Commons License

What We Can Do When Grief Is Compounded

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We’ve all been there—smack dab in the middle of a conversation or situation that compounds a heavy grief we’re bearing.

Remarks are made that drive a knife deeper into an open wound. People may offer trite words or pat answers that may, in fact, be true, but do nothing but make the pain sharper because of their lack of understanding. Some may even make comments with an edge—with an implication of how we should get over the situation or fix it or how we possibly could have prevented it to start with. The knife goes in deeper.

Other times, actions are taken—or not taken—that show a lack of sensitivity and understanding. After asking how we’re doing, someone glances at his watch repeatedly as we try to share our stories. Another knife in the heart. Sometimes our heartache is ignored—we are ignored—when people, unsure of what to say or do, carry on as if nothing is wrong. In the process, these unwitting but guilty parties compound our grief as well.

So what can we do when our grief is compounded, when the pain is made worse? How can we turn it into something positive? A few things come to mind:

  1. We can give grace. We can forgive. Chances are, the offender doesn’t even realize the pain his remarks or actions caused. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt and overlook the offense. And if the person should have known better, we can still forgive. We can remember how God has forgiven us time and again and offer the same mercy ourselves.
  1. We can learn from the situation. Any time and every time our grief is compounded, we can make a mental note to avoid such remarks or actions in our own dealings with those who are hurting. We can guard against compounding others’ grief in the future.
  1. We can educate and enlighten others. We can share the lessons we’ve learned during our season of grief as opportunities arise. Depending on the situation and the people involved, it might even be appropriate and helpful to let an offender know how his actions or words caused hurt.
  1. We can draw closer to God as we handle the hurt. We can go to God with every fresh heartache. We can tell him all about it. In his arms we’ll find comfort and understanding. We can see the hurtful situation as one more opportunity to go deeper in our relationship with God.

Grief compounded doesn’t have to win, doesn’t have to have the final say. God can help us even through this. God can redeem the pain-made-worse. Let’s allow him to do so.

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 KJV

*What are some ways we can avoid compounding the grief of others?

 *Flickr photo by Thomas Leuthard, Creative Commons License