Tag Archives: spiritual growth

Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

I love being and working outside, especially this time of year with planting and gardening. Plants make me happy. I might even describe myself as an amateur gardener. However, I use this “gardener” term very loosely! Over the years I’ve learned a lot about God through the planting process. In fact, the bible is full of gardening and agricultural analogies, being they were so prevalent in that culture.

Because I love gardening so much, it’s easy for God to talk to me and for me to understand in gardening terms. For that reason, it happens a lot. Just this past week in fact I was reading John 15 where Jesus is describing himself and the vine, us as the branches, and God (the Father) as the gardener.

During this particular reading, the pruning process stood out to me. I think this was because of what God has been speaking to me about lately. Specifically, this made sense with regard to removing distractions when spending time with and listening to God. I mentioned last week that I was being “corrected” in this area! Therefore, pruning distractions fit right in the theme of what I was already learning.

John 15:1-8 (NIV)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Bearing Fruit=Being Successful

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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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The Importance of Writing Things Down

The Importance of Writing Things Down ...Learn some of the benefits and advantages of taking notes during quiet times and sermons.

The Importance of Writing Things Down

We recently talked about reading the bible on a regular basis (with tips here and how to stop spiritual cramming here).  This week I’d like to take that a step further and share about the importance of writing things down.  It’s a good idea to keep a journal or notebook for taking notes during our quiet times and even during church.  For a lot of people they know writing things down is helpful and that it’s probably a good idea (much like reading the bible on a regular basis), but they still neglect to do it merely for the hassle or inconvenience of it.  I’d like to discuss why the benefits of writing things down might outweigh the disadvantages of it.

Writing things down helps the information sink in…

Writing things down takes listening and reading a step further.  The simple act of writing forces us to think about what it is that we are hearing or reading and then reiterating that or abbreviating that onto paper.  When we take notes it help us to recall the information later.  How many times have you written a list only to find out that you didn’t even have to refer to it?  But try not writing that same list, and chances are that you will forget many of the items.  It’s almost a catch-22.  The process of writing things down will help you to remember what it is that you’ve written.  Skip the notes and potentially forget—with an added disadvantage of having nothing to refer back to if you’ve forgotten.  Which brings me to the next benefit…

Writing things down gives you something to reference…

Overall, the purpose of taking notes is to key in on the important information that we need to remember and to use as a future reference.  We need to write things down to remember—even for those with a good memory.  Exodus 17:14 (NLT) says, “…the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder…”  Jeremiah 30:2 (AMP) says, “This says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book.”  Psalm 105:5 tells us to “remember” the wonders God has done, and Psalm 103:2 tells us to bless the Lord and “forget not” all his benefits.  If we are being told to “remember” and “forget not”, then apparently it is possible to forget.  Writing things down will serve as a reference for those things that we may have forgotten.

I’ve also heard it said that writing things down can also give the Holy Spirit something to work with—a reference of sorts.  In John 14:26 it says that the Holy Spirit will “remind” us.  Taking notes will act as a reference to which the Holy Spirit may even trigger us to go back and look at.  Continue reading