Tag Archives: relationship with God

Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized

Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized…

Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized…

I’ve received several questions about being baptized on my post “How to Lead Someone to Christ”. Unfortunately, I think some readers may have inadvertently skipped the part that stated “Being saved or receiving salvation is only the first step. Click here to read more about the next steps that a person needs to take after being led to Christ” where the readers are then directed to the “1st Steps to Ultimate Success” page that instructs on the need for baptism, finding a church home, establishing/growing a relationship with God by daily quiet times/bible reading, finding a good Christian support system, etc. So, to remedy this problem I decided to write a more specific post about being baptized and then put a direct link on those pages as well.

We need to be baptized to follow Jesus’ example

Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19 (NLT), “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  Even Jesus was baptized. We need to follow His example.  This serves as a public example and expression of our decision to follow Christ.

“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.” Matthew 3:13-15 (NLT)

““I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!” One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.” Mark 1:8-9 (NLT)

“One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized…” Luke 3:21 (NLT)

Being baptized is an integral part of our faith

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Tips for Spending Time With God

Tips for spending time with God

Tips for Spending Time With God

On occasion readers post comments on different blog posts that I feel deserve more attention than just a reply at the bottom of a post. This week is one of those occasions. A reader recently posted a comment with some questions on my post “How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted”. I’d like to take some time to answer her questions and provide some additional resources that I think might be helpful for her and others struggling with spending time with God.

This might also be a timely message for others too since the start of the year is a common time to evaluate spiritual growth and set some goals to grow stronger and spend more time with God. You might find some good tips within the post or other resources to help you kick start and/or maintain some of your spiritual New Year’s resolutions.  You can also check out Tips to Start Reading the Bible on a Regular Basis for some extra help and encouragement too.

A comment from Tina

“As great as this article is, I still can’t grasp the concept that “God” loves me…I know partly this is due to me not spending enough time in his word, but for me I never really got much of a true understanding of the Bible and his Word 1. How do I know what to read? 2. What is enough time to spend with God?

I find comfort in being around others… amongst other things, but I want to find comfort in God. 2016 was a very very hard year for me. For the past 4 or 5 months I have felt so UNLOVED, lonely, and rejected…I have prayed countless times for God to just take me away, because the pain I feel on most days has become the norm.

It hurts the most when the one person you love, says one thing but acts different….the same person that I once was all he ever wanted and because I have felt so unloved my entire life, once the triggers started happening it made me become clingy and probably push him away (although he never said it)…My point is not to get advice on the above, but instead I feel the most unloved when things like this happen.

I wish I had the belief, peace, joy, and faith, but honestly it is hard for me to fathom that there is a God…I am very skeptical, logical, and need to be in control and those 3 things are disastrous to truly believing. I get so discouraged about this. I have prayed endless prayers to stop my unbelief and doubt, to prayers about understanding, etc.

I can’t take any more on my own the stress, sadness, and heartache is making me sick. It is so hard to see and understand God when you feel like everything is against you. I truly wish I was stronger, more confidence, and self-esteem. I wish someone (outside of God) would love me like I love. I am so genuine and all that’s brought me is heartache. I sit in my room or in my car with just with tears flowing wondering what I could have done in my life to feel like this. I am hurting and can only hope that I can find happiness and joy inside of me.”

Dear Tina…

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Sometimes I Thank God For Answered Un-Prayers

Sometimes I Thank God For Answered Un-Prayers... Ever had God give you something that you wanted but never even prayed for?

Sometimes I Thank God For Answered Un-Prayers

Do you guys remember that old Garth Brooks song “Unanswered Prayers”? The song tells a story about a man and his wife bumping into an old high school girlfriend. Years before he would pray that that old girlfriend would one day be his wife. Then he goes on to say that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. Well, today I’m not actually going to talk about unanswered prayers but about another gift from God: answered un-prayers.

I’ve discovered that God often answers “prayers” that we’ve never actually even prayed. I often look back and see how God has worked things out, and I didn’t even have to pray! I don’t know why I get so shocked by it sometimes. 

A potential scheduling fiasco

The Story of Christmas...as told by kids!

The Nativity Story…as retold by the kids!

Recently, I experience some answered un-prayers. My mom had asked me to get a hold of my siblings and arrange a date to do our family Christmas party. We do a separate gift exchange for the adults where the adults get together and play Dirty Santa. While the adults are playing all of the kids get together and organize a play or a retelling of the Nativity Story (ALWAYS entertaining).

Dirty Santa invite

My family Dirty Santa invite I sent out

Sometimes it can be a bit stressful trying to arrange a function that accommodates everyone. I was having trouble trying to find a date that would work for everyone. We had already been struggling to find a day and time to do the annual Christmas pictures of all the grandkids. Then it’s also occasionally difficult to work around families with shared custody with ex-spouses in order to work with what weekends they have the kids.

On top of that, it’s hunting season, so we have to accommodate the hunters in the family. Then we also have to schedule around volunteering for the church Christmas functions, attending church Christmas services and the rest of the holiday obligations (Christmas concerts, work parties, other family gatherings, gatherings with friends, and so on). It’s a lot to try to fit in this time of year!

The dilemma 

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Explaining the Fear of the Lord

Explaining the Fear of the Lord...

Explaining the Fear of the Lord

The kids and I had a discussion recently about the fear of the Lord and what that truly means. It can be a little more difficult to explain to children. Even adults sometimes misunderstand the phrase “fear of the Lord”. So, I thought I’d spend some time on that today and share an analogy that came to mind to describe this “fear”.

This month we have been reading through a YouVersion bible reading plan called The Wisdom of Proverbs. It’s a good introduction to the book by reading a chapter of proverbs each day of the month accompanied by a short explanation each day. Reading a proverb a day is one of my daily routines that I’d like to instill in my own children. I learned as a youth that this practice is one of the best ways to grow in wisdom.

Wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord

As a result of reading the bible, we’ve learned that the beginning of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding comes from the fear of the Lord.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)

“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!” Psalm 111:10 (NLT)

“And this is what he says to all humanity: The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.” Job 28:28 (NLT)

Therefore, if we want to be truly wise and grow in wisdom, we must learn this principle of having the fear of the Lord.

What is this “fear”?

The fear of the Lord has been defined as a specific sense of respect, awe, and submission to God. The Hebrew word for this fear is Continue reading

Connect With God Through Nature

Nature reveals so much about God. There's a lot to learn when we connect with God through nature. Here are some things to learn and some ways of connecting.

Connect With God Through Nature

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20 (NLT)

Any nature lovers out there? Picture me raising both hands. I absolutely LOVE being outside (weather permitting) and being around nature. There’s just something about seeing creation in all of its shapes and forms. As a result, I feel like I connect with God through nature.

Now, I know this is probably not the case for everyone. Hence, this is only one of many ways of connecting with God. There are loads of people I know who love and prefer their creature comforts…namely indoor air conditioning and heating! However, I still think even those who prefer to remain indoors have something to gain by trying to connect with God through nature.

Even Jesus liked to connect with God through nature

“Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake.” Matthew 13:1 (NLT)

This is a verse I found written in my journal on one of my quiet time notes. My own notes beside it included some of my thoughts as I read the verse. “I love this because I can relate. Even I love to go out and enjoy peace and nature—especially beside water (like a lake). I can just imagine him sitting there, enjoying the beauty, talking to God, and thinking. I love it!”

It was cool reading that Jesus did some of the very things that I also enjoy doing to connect with God through nature and the outdoors. In fact there are several other instances of Jesus doing just that…

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Luke 5:16 (NLT)

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone” Matthew 14:23 (NIV)

“Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”” Matthew 26:36 (NLT)

Nature can reveal so much about God.

In her book, What’s Your God Language?: Connecting with God through Your Unique Spiritual Temperament, Myra Perrine says of people who connect with God through nature,  Continue reading

How to Teach Your Kids (or others) to Have Relationship With God

Learn How to Teach Your Kids (or others) to Have Relationship With God

How to Teach Your Kids (or others) to Have Relationship With God

It’s so important to me to teach my kids to have a real relationship with God, beyond salvation.  In fact, I’d say that’s part of my life’s mission and calling.  I want not only to help my kids learn how to have relationship with God but to teach others this as well.  It’s a part of why I started this blog.  Today I was reading through the Jen Hatmaker Bible plan “For the Love“.  She was discussing how kids are ultimately going to make their own decisions especially spiritually.  We can’t control or guarantee the outcome as parents.  She said “the best we can do is give them Jesus”. He is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8).

Jen shared how when we don’t know what to do, when we are grasping as a spiritual mentor, or when right words and answers fail us, Jesus can deliver.  Kids may  doubt us, but they can’t doubt Jesus because he is unfailing and dependable.  He always endures.  Jesus can lead and guide our kids during those times when we can’t and even after our job of raising them is done.  We need to remember that our children belong to God.

Raising good, godly, world-altering kids who have a relationship with God

I kind of had a vulnerable moment with God during reading this because one of my heart’s greatest desires is to raise good, godly, world-altering kids who love God faithfully with their whole heart and have a genuine relationship with God.  My kids are still young, but sometimes I worry about their relationship with God (not their salvation because I personally prayed the believer’s prayer with both of them).  I especially worry about my 12-year-old son at times.  He doesn’t seem too terribly interested in spiritual things or in true relationship with God.  That hurts my heart because I don’t know how to fix that. You hear stories of kids being raised in good Christian homes and then turning away from God.  I don’t want that.  So reading this devotional helped a little…I just need to give them Jesus.

I stopped my reading and prayed an earnest and heartfelt prayer (James 5:16) telling Jesus my concerns and desires for my kids.  I told him that right answers have failed me.  I told him that I’m concerned that I can’t guarantee their “spiritual success”.  I asked him for help.  I asked him to show me what I could do (what steps I could take) to do my part in “giving them Jesus”.  After pouring my heart out for a minute or two, I continued reading my Bible.  This verse was part of the plan and the last phrase comforted me…

“For the Lord is good, His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalm 100:5 (NLT)

Each generation… That means He will be just as faithful to my kids as He’s been to me. 😀 

Moses told stories to help people develop relationship with God Continue reading

Recognizing God’s Love By Building Your Relationship With God–Part 2

Recognizing God’s Love By Building Your Relationship With God--Part 2

Recognizing God’s Love By Building Your Relationship With Him–Part 2

Last week I started a reply to comment that I received on a previous post, “How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted”.  I shared that learning to recognize God’s love is a process that takes time and starts with building a relationship with God.  This week I’d like to finish up my reply by giving the intentional steps that we need to take in order to build our relationship with God and to learn how to feel God’s love.  I will give more details on what more is needed besides attending a getaway, retreat or conference in order to have lasting healing and success.

Reader’s Comment:

“I’m 59, and to this day still feel unloved. I believe what you say about God’s love for us. I can’t seem to sit and really spend time with him. I do talk to Him all day here and there. I know in my mind He loves me but the rest of me doesn’t. I’m so insure from lack of feeling love I push people away. I hate it. I have five kids whom I love so much along with 9 grandkids. At this point I prefer to be dead, but I don’t want to give up. I want to know true love (not from a man at this point divorced twice) and happiness here on earth before I die. Are there places to go for a week or 2 for adults to get away and have bible studies or spiritual help?”

Previously I addressed that there’s a need for some emotional and spiritual healing to take place.  I gave an analogy of a broken arm and how a cast (like a retreat or a conference) is the start of the healing process, but more healing needs to take place on the inside by taking some steps on purpose to have lasting, long-term recovery.  I mentioned that the 4-step Formula for Success would be beneficial in this process.  The formula consists of learning, taking action, using persistence, and make sure we have support. 

Take Some Practical Steps to Build Your Relationship With God:

Learn

The first step we need to intentionally take to build our relationship with God (and to learn to recognize God’s love by spending time with him) is to learn about him.  There are several ways to do this. Continue reading