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From Ashlyn: 9 Simple Ways for Busy Women to do Bible Study

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips, From Ashley
bible_study

There’s Just No Replacement for Time in God’s Word

There are two things that battle for my attention every morning: the day’s agenda and time in the Word.

I know I’m not alone in this. It’s downright cliche’ to even acknowledge that we women are busy.

And it seems that every stage has its own busy.

I want to share some ways for busy women to get in the Word.  At the outset, we need to know there’s no replacement for unhindered, blocked off, fought for and found time in the Bible.

love devotionals and listening to archived sermons but neither can replace God speaking directly to us from His Word every day.

We also need time. I’ve had days where 15 minutes was all I got before the day marched on ready or not. While fifteen minutes is a great snack, it’s not going to sustain my soul for the day or feed me long term.

So I’m sharing 9 ways that help get me in the Word throughout the day. And more importantly – get the Word in me.

bible_study

1. No other words before the Word

This was my self-imposed rule when I had a houseful of babies, toddlers and school-age kids. Those were seasons where I was quite literally on active duty around the clock. There was no getting up earlier than my children.

My rule was this: Read the Bible before anything else that day. No emails, no Facebook, no magazines until I’d read the Bible. It worked beautifully. Because we will always read something every day, we can make it God’s Word.

2. Listen to the Word

On the treadmill? Cleaning a bathroom? This is found time to listen to the Bible on audio. Sometimes hearing the Word helps it fall fresh. If you’re studying through a book, this is a great way to listen through it every day.

3. Set it out

I loved this trick that Kaitlyn Bouchillon uses to make sure she reads her Bible every day. Kaitlyn writes:

So I started doing this thing. It is so simple I’m actually embarrassed to tell you.

Right before going to sleep at night, I place my Bible on top of my closed laptop.

That’s it. That’s the trick. And it totally works. For me to do any of my work for the day, I have to literally set the Bible aside. I’m a visual learner, and when I actually see what I’m doing – choosing work over time with Him – it plain stops me in my tracks.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most genius. Your sweet spot might be on your bedside table where you pick it up before scrolling through your phone or next to coffee pot where you head first thing every morning.

4. Check your phone

If we’re going to check our phone fifty times a day, we might as well use it to feed our soul. While conventional Bible apps that let you read one chapter of Psalms, Proverbs or read through the Bible in daily chunks, here are three of my favorite tried and true apps with daily devotions:

5. Stash a Bible in your car

Keeping a Bible in the car is perfect for pockets of downtime like the car pick up line or waiting for a child at practice. Side note: My van is actually my war room. It’s the most distraction-free zone I have and I’ve grown to adore the quiet every morning when the car door shuts.

6. Invite your kids

I know this completely undermines the quiet of quiet time, but on those days when you haven’t been able to find 30 secluded minutes, let your kids get their Bibles and sit near you. You can train your children to read or look at pictures quietly, all the while helping them develop their own Bible time habit.

7. Join a Bible study

The best thing I ever did to help develop a lifelong love for the Word was join a Bible study as a young mom. I love the accountability and fellowship in a Bible study group. There are two ways to go about finding a good, Bible-saturated study.

8. Tap an accountability partner

If you really thrive on accountability, ask a friend or mentor to help you. It can be as simple as texting DONE! Or she can periodically ask what God is teaching you and whether you’re finding daily time with Go. Remember that your spouse may be your best accountability partner. You can do a study together or simply agree to encourage one another in making Bible time a daily tradition.

9. Listen to great teaching

Radio stations, podcasts and sites such as OnePlace.com provide hours of updated teaching from some of the country’s best teachers. I’ve found that when I’m in the Word, these sermons often affirm and develop what God has been teaching me in my own Bible study.

I’d love to know what you’d add to this list. What other ways have you found to help you spend time in God’s Word every day?

Source: ibelieve.com

Hello 2017, Goodbye 2016 by Ashley House

January 1st, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in From Ashley
shutterstock_276025601A new year is upon us and before we get caught up in the new season of activities and plans, I find it wise to pause, reflect, pray & plan. When you take time to think back on 2016 and look expectantly at 2017 it can change your perspective drastically. It may seem tedious or daunting or boring but I’ve been doing this for the past 5 years and have never been disappointed that I took an hour out of the first few weeks of the new year to pray through what I did well or didn’t do well the previous year and the hopes, dreams & goals I’m chasing in the new year.I was given a good tip a few years ago around goal setting for the New Year – pick one fruit of the spirit as your theme for the year. Praying about it, focus on it and ruminate on it for the year.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

This year I’m choosing “forbearance” aka patience. Do you also feel like the world went a little crazy in 2016? It can make you feel anxious, it can make you want to speed through a portion of your life, it can make you want things that God knows you’re not ready for you. Patience. Time can be your friend if you let it. Be still, and I know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

I’ve been following along with a new leadership podcast out of Minnesota called “Lead Stories with  Jo Saxton and Steph Williams”. I love these girls, they make you feel included and loved and challenged. Highly recommend!

They’ve created a tool to help you say Hello to 2017 & Goodbye to 2016. Get it here: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/b6306858539af34958cfb5432/files/Hello_Goodbye.pdf

Wishing you a Happy 2017!
– Ashley

12 Ways to Have a CHRIST-Centered Christmas

December 1st, 2016 | 2 Comments | Posted in From Ashley

I’m a big fan of the ladies who blog at thedatingdivas.com. They have so many creative, fun & colourful (you’ll see what I mean when you click the link!) ideas for date night, family activities and the different holidays. I hope this list sparks some creativity in your home for keeping the focus on Christ this Christmas, even with all the hustle & bustle. Merry Christmas! – Ashley

12 Ways to Have a CHRIST-Centered Christmas

Because HE is the reason for the season.  And His presence is more important than the presents.

Christ-Centered Christmas

It’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of Christmas.  There are presents to buy and wrap, Christmas cards to make and send, lights to hang, and goodies to make.  It’s just easy to forget the real reason for the season.  This time of year I try to remember our first Christmas together after we got married.  It was my first Christmas away from home, and we were far away teaching English in China.  I was pregnant and miserably sick.  There was no snow or lights or carols.  No stockings, gingerbread houses, or Christmas cards.  After all, it wasn’t a holiday in China.  We tried to get into the Christmas spirit by cutting out paper snowflakes and downloading Christmas songs from iTunes.  We even found a tiny 6-inch Christmas tree in the city.  But for some reason, I still wasn’t really feeling the Christmas spirit.

On Christmas Eve I started thinking about everything our families would be doing back home and on Christmas morning we had to go teach our classes.  There were no presents under our little tree.  Money was tight and we decided we’d exchange letters instead of gifts.  But as I sat down to read my husband’s letter, my entire mood shifted.  He talked about how grateful he was for our marriage and how excited he was to become a dad in the new year.  As I continued reading, I started thinking of the first Christmas family and that little baby in the manger.  I thought of my own new family and our little baby that was growing inside of me.  And suddenly I was overwhelmed with love- Christ’s love for me.  That’s the Christmas spirit!  We didn’t have any presents to unwrap, but we had all of the greatest gifts already.   Away on the other side of the world, away from the materialism and commercialism of Christmas- I found and felt the real reason for the season.  And every year as things get crazy and chaotic, I try to remember our first Christmas and what’s really important- my family and my God.


So this year, we decided to round-up all the resources that you’ll need to keep CHRIST in Christmas!
 

Including CHRIST-Centered Christmas . . .

  • Music {The Ultimate Playlist}
  • Decor  {Free Printables}
  • Books  
  • Movies
  • Advents
  • “Elf on the Shelf” Alternatives
  • Crafts & Activities
  • Coloring Pages
  • Treats & Snacks
  • Gifts 
  • Traditions
  • Service

Now obviously you can’t do them all!  But hopefully as you browse through them you’ll find the perfect traditions and activities to help bring your family closer together and closer to Christ.  Because THAT is what it’s all about.

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5 Ways to Spend Time with God When Life Gets Busy

November 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in From Ashley

From Ashley

Woman Reading with Baby on her LapLife gets busy! Trust me. I know it. As women, some of us have kids, housework, errands to run, dinner to cook, extracurricular activities to drive our kids to, ministry responsibilities, and tasks that need our immediate attention. For some, there may be schoolwork that needs to get done (college or online courses for seminary) or deadlines from work that need to be met on time. Nevertheless, in the midst of all of our busyness, guess what sis?  We have got to make time to spend with our heavenly Father. He longs for us to spend time with Him…no matter how busy life gets!

Are you busy today? Meaning, do you have a lot to do? Is your To-Do-List full to capacity? Let me ask you two more questions. Do you sense that God is calling you to a deeper walk with Him? Or are things great with you? If you’ve already created balance in this area, that’s great! But if not, or if you wouldn’t mind grabbing a few extra tips, here is a helpful list of 5 Ways to Spend Time with God When Life Gets Busy

  • Create a place in your home that is nice and peaceful, where you can sit down with a hot cup of coffee or tea to pray, talk to God, journal your thoughts or fresh insight from the Lord. Make sure to have your Bible, pen, and notebook ready to gain new revelation and encouragement from His word.
  • Change scenes by visiting a local coffee shop or bookstore. Bring your Bible, books, a journal, and do your devotion there! Be open to share what you’re reading with someone who may just happen to walk up to you to ask what you’re studying or reading (this is a great way to be a light in the place, too).
  • Simply be still in His presence. This can take place when you first sit up in bed in the morning or at some point in your day. It’s a moment when you purposefully stop what you’re doing and take a moment to just be still in His presence. It can even happen in your parked car, before rushing out of it to start the work day or errands. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” He owns everything…including time. So spend it with Him. Take time to breathe and sit in His presence.
  • Grab a Christian film from Wal-Mart, your local Christian bookstore, the Redbox, Netflix (they have a Faith and Spirituality movie section), from your video collection at home or go to your local theater and take a load off. Get some popcorn and just relax to a great wholesome film that will pour life into you. It’s a great way to escape your world of busyness and grow in your faith at the same time.
  • Take a long ride. Get away for a little while. Get away from the housework, kids, hubby, fiancé, school work, assignments, To-Do-List, and take a ride. It’s a great way to talk to God, have a good cry, and/or a moment to just break away from the normal routine and regroup. Personally, I do all of the above!

And don’t forget to rest. The Bible tells us in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we will reap, if we faint not.” But it also tells us that Jesus is right there willing and ready to give us a time of rest in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” So yes, we have work to do, and we do need to do what needs to be done. Quite naturally, life does get busy. BUT Jesus comforts us by reminding and nudging us that He will give us rest. Yesssssssssssss!

There is nothing like His supernatural rest. It just feels so good. But He also gives us wisdom to know when we need to slow down enough to spend time with our heavenly Father. Think about it. Even in all the work that Jesus did when He was here on earth, He still found time to rest and spend time with His Father in prayer. He knew that He could do nothing without being connected to Him. What a great example for us. We need to spend time with our Lord, even when life gets busy.

Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!

Source: ibelieve.com