4 Ways to Spur On One Another to Love and Good Works

4 Ways to Spur On One Another to Love and Good Works

“How do I motivate myself to fall in love with God’s Word? And how to I inspire other believers to do the same?”

These are the questions that have been swirling around in my brain lately. Because I’m realizing a few things:

I don’t wake up with a passion for studying Scripture. Sure, I dutifully sit down most mornings for Bible study, and by the time I’m done, I’ve learned so much and am very grateful that I jumped in even though I didn’t wake up hungering for God’s Word. But how do I motivate myself to desire Bible study before I begin? And how do I encourage others to experience the same?

When I was talking with a friend about this very issue, she gently reminded me, “We need to spur on one another to love and good works.” (Don’t you just love how Scripture answers all of our questions like that? I do!)

So, how do we go about spurring on one another to those good works? After studying for a bit, I’ve found at least 4 ways to do just that.

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Is Your Good the Enemy of Your Best?

Is Your Good the Enemy of Your Best?

As I looked over my to-do list Easter Sunday morning, I was overwhelmed. Between preparing something for our church breakfast, ensuring that the spark plugs had church-appropriate attire on, and practicing for the various special music selections, I was pretty frazzled by the time I sat down to listen to the sermon. And since I still had congregational playing at the end of the service, I still didn’t feel much like relaxing.

(For the record, I pretty much failed at my preparations anyway: my breakfast coffee cake was underbaked; D somehow made it to church in a Star Wars t-shirt instead of his tie; and I completely forgot to get the pianist hymnal out of the pulpit before the start of the service.)

As I sat there half-listening and half thinking through the rest of the song service, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart.

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Why and How to Write Out the Gospel In Your Own Words

Why and How to Write Out the Gospel In Your Own Words

Have you ever written out the Gospel in your own words?

I have to admit that, until last week, I hadn’t ever done this exercise. While I’ve written out my testimony before, I’d never even considered jotting down the story of the Good News as I would share it with others.

But my Bible study group challenged me to try this exercise, so I completed the assignment. And oh my, was I amazed by the wealth of spiritual truths I learned during the process!

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Why the Gospel Is Vital to Easter

Why the Gospel Is Vital to Easter

At first, I wasn’t sure what about that statement bothered me, but I knew immediately that something about it was incorrect.

And then it hit me.

Christianity didn’t start with Jesus’ coming to Earth around 4 BC (the date typically assigned to His birth).

No, Christianity is as old as the Earth itself, founded by God from the very beginning.

The Gospel has been woven through the pages of history, etched on mankind’s heart by a loving Heavenly Father (see Revelation 13:8; Ecclesiastes 3:11). And understanding the Gospel is pivotal to understanding the Easter season and everything it celebrates.

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4 Truths You Need to Know When God Breaks Your Heart

4 Truths You Need to Know When God Breaks Your Heart

It comes out of the blue. We’ll be merrily floating along, school in a good rhythm, excitement on the horizon, and…BAM. Diabetes rears its ugly head. Most days, it’s barely a blip on the radar (a true testament to God’s goodness, because in those early days just after diagnosis, I wasn’t at all sure things would ever feel “normal” again). Most days, diabetes is just a few blood sugar checks, possibly hunting for a misplaced blood sugar meter, and counting carbs for meals.

But then a virus will hit and send my diabetic spark plug into a tailspin, or his insulin pump will stop working, or things will get wildly out of control for no apparent reason.

And in those hard moments, I’m reminded all over again that God has chosen not to heal. That He’s found more glory in leaving Turbo as he is instead of healing him. That living with diabetes instead of being healed from it is what’s currently best for all of us.

At times, it even feels like God is breaking my heart.

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9 Things To Pick Up Instead of Your Cell Phone

9 Things To Pick Up Instead of Your Cell Phone

Do you often find yourself picking up your phone whenever you have a few seconds free? I know I do. Whether I’m hoping someone has emailed me or am simply wanting to scroll through my Instagram feed (the one social media platform I still have for personal use), all too often, I find myself wasting minutes on my phone when I could be doing something far more valuable with my time.

One of my goals this year is to better manage how I spend my days. We don’t know how many minutes we’re allotted, and the last thing I want to do is to waste mine staring at a phone screen! With that in mind, I made a list of things I could do instead of turning to my phone. And I wanted to share it here on the blog in case anyone else needs a bit of help in this area, too.

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The FASTEST Way To Uproot Discontentment

The FASTEST Way To Uproot Discontentment

While there’s nothing wrong with dreaming by itself, inevitably, I get carried away with my wishful thinking, and I begin to covet that which I don’t have. When I start to develop discontentment with my current situation, that’s when sin sets in.

Truthfully, there are moments when I’d rather wallow in my pity instead of chasing discontentment to the curb. It almost feels nice to fuss about my lack of space! And that’s exactly why I need to root out the seeds of dissatisfaction immediately: so that they don’t take deeper root and grow into resentment or bitterness.

I’ve found the absolute FASTEST way to uproot discontentment:

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A Different Approach to Choosing One Word For the Year

A Different Approach to Choosing One Word For the Year

Do you like the concept of choosing a single word to guide your coming year? In theory, I love the concept, but in reality, it’s never really worked well for me. Between choosing words that were ill-fitting or ill-defined to having curve balls thrown our way, my word-of-the-year track record hasn’t been too stellar!

But something happened recently that gave me a completely different approach to choosing one word for the year, an approach which might work well for you, too, if you’ve also been struggling with the one-word concept.

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My BEST Advice To My Younger Self

My BEST Advice To My Younger Self

Today’s my birthday! I was really looking forward to the start of a fresh year, and then my youngest spark plug came down with a stomach bug…before the previous flu we were recovering from had even fully left our house. Spending the day with a fussy little one was definitely NOT the way I had planned on celebrating.

While I would give almost anything for him to feel better (and for this not to spread to anyone else!), I started thinking about how dearly I tend to hold onto my plans and how devastated I often am when things go awry. Although I’m a little more flexible now than I was a decade ago, going with the flow is still a daily struggle for me.

And that got me thinking about the things I wish I had learned sooner in life. In fact, there’s quite a bit of advice that I would have loved to gleaned before now. So, instead of visiting my extended family as I’d originally hoped, instead, today, I’m sharing my best advice to my younger self.

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4 Reasons to Have Hope When You're Hurting This Holiday Season

4 Reasons to Have Hope When You're Hurting This Holiday Season

I love the holidays with all those picture-perfect moments and photo-worthy family gatherings. I love thinking about and planning for the fun activities and festive meals we’ll participate in. Most of all, I love savoring the birth of the Savior - Christmas is such a wonderful time to reflect and think about all that Jesus did on my behalf.

But maybe you’re not eager for the holidays this year because you’re hurting. Maybe a recent loss - or a loss associated with either Thanksgiving or Christmas - has dampened your joy, and you’re not really sure how to feel happy when, inside, you’re still suffering deeply.

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Wash His Feet, Day 2: Pray for Him Faithfully

Wash His Feet, Day 2:  Pray for Him Faithfully

Welcome back to the Wash His Feet challenge! Yesterday’s post was all about being thankful for your husband. Today’s is similar: pray for him faithfully!

While we’re developing the habit of thanking God for our husbands, we also need to cultivate the custom of praying for them every day. The Lord has laid a tremendous task on our husbands’ shoulders. They are to love their wives as Christ loves His bride (if you’ve ever been tempted to think that husbands have it easy compared to wives’ command to submit, I encourage you to re-evaluate your thinking!); provide for their families; and raise their children in the admonition of the Lord without exasperating them. Those are some very tall orders, and they need prayer to accomplish them!

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Wash His Feet, Day 1: Thank God for Him

Wash His Feet, Day 1:  Thank God for Him

Truth time: how often do you thank the Lord for your husband? For some of us, thanking God for our spouses comes easily. We’re married to a great guy, who, for the most part, is lovable and easy to get along with. For others, being thankful is a bit more of a challenge. Sadly, it’s often easier to focus on what we don’t appreciate in our spouses than to dwell on the things that we do. But my hope is that this Wash His Feet challenge will help all of us learn to appreciate more the men that God has given us.

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Wash His Feet: 31 Days of Serving Your Spouse (Introduction)

Wash His Feet: 31 Days of Serving Your Spouse (Introduction)

One of my greatest joys as a blogger is getting to pray for my readers. I love it when people reach out to me with prayer requests, because praying for them is something I can do no matter how far away they live!

And as more and more prayer requests come in, I’m noticing a trend.

By far, the topic that people most often request prayer about is for their marriages.

And it really should be no surprise. Marriage, as wonderful as it can be, is the union of two sinners (read: selfish people) trying to live in harmony with one another. It’s naturally going to provide all of us ample opportunity to for refinement in areas we probably didn’t even know were an issue!

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How to Preach Truth to Yourself During A Hallway

How to Preach Truth to Yourself During A Hallway

“How are things going?” I asked a friend who was walking through a very dark hallway.

“I’m surviving because I’m preaching truth to myself during this valley,” she replied.

Her response both encouraged and challenged me. I was thrilled to hear that she was taking measures to find her hope in the Lord, but I was also convicted about the way I handle my own struggles. When I’m hurting, how often do I forget to remind myself of the truths in God’s Word? Do I even know how to preach truth to myself?

Maybe you’ve wondered the same things. You know you should be dwelling on God’s faithfulness and preaching truth to yourself, but how do you go about doing it?

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4 Good Things I Don't Do (Plus 4 Best Things I Do!)

4 Good Things I Don't Do (Plus 4 Best Things I Do!)

Between my faith, marriage, parenting, homeschooling, blogging, and hobbies, I have a lot going on in life.  In order to make room for these valued things, however, there are a lot of good things that I've chosen to give up in order to make them possible.

Each one of us will have to make decisions between good things and best things - unfortunately, we simply can't do everything or take up every opportunity that comes our way.  While my list of "good vs. best" won't look identical to yours, here are 4 good things I'm currently opting not to do and 4 best things I find valuable enough to include in my day!

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4 Ways to Pour from An Empty Vessel

4 Ways to Pour from An Empty Vessel

Everywhere I look these days, I see people promoting this thing called self care.  And I don't disagree that taking care of our bodies - which comprise the temple of the Holy Spirit, after all! - is a bad thing.

But we're also commanded to be selfless, to put others first, and to be giving.  So, while I think that self care (or temple maintenance, as I prefer to view it) can be a good thing if not overdone, there are going to be times when we have nothing left of ourselves to give, and yet giving of ourselves is exactly what we need to do. 

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3 Ways We Can Find Comfort in the Hallway

3 Ways We Can Find Comfort in the Hallway

I don't know too many people who love to wait or who eagerly welcome difficulties in life.  And I've shared before about my dislike of hallways.  But as my faith has matured, I've also come to realize that we can have hope and encouragement even during seasons of waiting.

If you're facing difficult circumstances or are waiting for something, there are 3 ways to find comfort in the hallway.

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The Hallway Hymn List

The Hallway Hymn List

Our church congregation sings a mix of both hymns and worship songs, and I've been greatly blessed by both.  Because the two seem so different to my musician's ear, however, I've always kept the two separate in my mind.  And since I shared my Hallway Playlist in my last post, today I get to share about my most beloved hymns!

There are SO MANY excellent hymns of the faith that it was difficult to select just a few to share here!  Several of these I've grown to love after playing them on the piano.  It's funny how that happens.

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The Hallway Playlist

The Hallway Playlist

Do you love listening to music?  Even though I'm a musician by training, I actually don't listen to a lot of music.  It's not that I don't love it, and it's not that I don't have enough access to CDs or Youtube.  I think it's just that in the business of this season of raising spark plugs, I just don't usually think about turning it on.

However, there have been a few songs that have really ministered to me, especially during seasons of struggles (or hallways, as I like to refer to them).  Today, I'm sharing a few of my favorites and why these specific ones have impacted me. 

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Should You Do A 90-Day Bible Reading Plan? Things to Consider Before You Begin!

Should You Do A 90-Day Bible Reading Plan?  Things to Consider Before You Begin!

Although I've read through my Bible numerous ways, until recently, I'd never ventured to a 90-day Bible reading plan.  It usually takes me 1-2 years (sometimes even 3, if I'm in a busy season of life) to read through the entirety of God's Word, so the idea of consuming it in a mere 3 months was a bit daunting.

After some consideration, I finally committed to the challenge this past February.  It was extremely difficult to keep up with the daily reading portions, but by the end of April, I had successfully finished my very first 90-Day Bible Reading Plan.  

I learned so much from this exercise that I felt I should share some of my takeaways in the hopes that my experience will help you decide whether or not you would benefit from reading your Bible in 90 days, too.

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