Meet Me in the Water: A Devotional

“Swimmers take your mark”, calls the announcer from the loudspeaker. Beeeeep sounded the buzzer. I dove into the water and glided effortlessly until I took my first stroke. Coming up for air in a fluid motion of succinct breathing, arm strokes, and kicks. I kept a steady pace down the lane, then curled up into a human ball, summer salting underwater known to swimmers as a flip turn and powerfully pushing through at the end of the wall. Then gracefully gliding once again. The art of swimming this heat would be 19 more laps until its completion.

Lap 17, no one on my left, no one on my right. Suddenly I hear the crowd roar as I head in to take my last flip-turn. Just then my thoughts creep in. That loud cheer couldn’t be for me. Someone must have just won I thought.

I had more and more time to think. To second guess. For the enemy to settle in with the negative self-talk. To tell me what I had already been playing in my head. I am the only one who looks like me here, I am not good enough to win this race. My body doesn’t look like theirs. I am not a swimmer.

Succumbed to the doubt I began to slow down. The lead that I didn’t know I had was gone. I had lost the race that I later learned I was actually winning. That loud roar… was for me, they were cheering me on neck and neck down the last lap. Only I couldn’t see it.

Instead of going faster when the crowd cheered I self-sabotaged, I stopped trying altogether.

Have you had moments where you begin to shrink or hold yourself back, too?

It was a sport that I absolutely loved and yet I had convinced myself otherwise.

The Bible tells us in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So why do we continue to condemn ourselves?

If you haven’t started already let God show you who you are through His eyes. You are not your failures or condemned. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.

I want you to acknowledge your shrinking stories, the ones you tell yourself when you are all alone with your thoughts.

If you are harboring those stories and letting them guide you as your truth, you are going to remain stuck. Instead, ask God to speak His word into your life, ask Him to reveal His truth of you.

When you do this, you will go through a change and transformation that God has been calling you to. Then, you will be able to move forward with a renewed identity in Christ.

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How Do you Hear God’s Voice

How Do you Hear God’s Voice

One of the most asked questions I get is how do you hear God’s voice? Some of you may wonder if it’s your voice or God’s you think you hear. In an email to Dr. Charles Stanley, the writer asks the same question. “I have prayed for God to speak to me, but I don’t hear him. My faith is strong, and I know he will do for me and what the Bible promises. But I have never heard him say, go buy this gallon of milk, go buy this car, wait for what I have for you”. Am I not listening in the right way, or is He guiding my everyday decisions, but I don’t realize He is speaking? 

Man with a cup to his ear trying to hear something.

Here are the 5 ways to hear God’s voice

 

1. My sheep hear my voice verse

John 10:27-28 says, my sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me. As Christians, remember that you are one of his sheep. Since you follow God, you can hear his voice. Believe that he will and does lead you, even though you may not see it yet.

2. Build your relationship

Go on a date with him. Create intimacy. Just like a relationship, it needs attention, or it will die out. The only way to hear his voice is to spend time with him. Spending time with him is crucial in hearing his voice. The more obedient you are, the more you will hear His voice. For example, going to the gym may not be the most enjoyable thing to do. However, the more you go, the more you build muscle, and you feel so much better. You have to flex the muscle to get muscles. You have to spend time to hear his voice. Create the space and time to make the habit. Then you will hear His voice which will lead you to what, where, and how.

3. Meditate on the scriptures

Joshua 1:8 says, Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. More verses in the Bible instruct on the benefits of meditating on God’s word too. Hearing God’s word requires diligence in staying in the world, to glean the understanding of God’s wants to you. He knows what you need when you need it, so let him share his wisdom with you. He will speak if you will listen.

4. Be Obedient to Hear His Voice

Being obedient to the word of God will set you up to hear him repeatedly. When you seek out His wisdom from the Bible and follow it is easier to hear what he says.

For instance, my friend Lauren at creativerecovery.net felt compelled to read all these books people would give her for her coaching business. She felt exhausted by all the books she thought she was supposed to read. Then she asked God what insights he wanted her to learn from each book. God showed what to glean from each book. Lauren is afforded more time because the reading load has lightened. Now, more time is allocated to doing the things that God actually wants her to do.  

5. Be still to Hear His Voice

If you really want to hear God you have to get still. When there is so much chaos or business and distraction on the mind, you might find it hard to hear God’s voice. You have to learn how to declutter the brain to pursue what God wants you to hear.  

In conclusion, be open to the way God will speak to you, his precious sheep. He will speak when you seek Him through the scriptures, become obedient, and are still enough to listen. Let God lead you because he wants you to succeed and prosper!

Additional Resources

Join the Feed my Sheep podcast and learn how to equip women for the kingdom

Learn about discerning the voice of God with a Christian life coach.

How to be Consistently Faithful

How to be Consistently Faithful

A serene picture that reminds us how to be consistently faithful.

I heard God whisper the words consistently faithful after praying about being a better leader. He told me how to be consistently faithful in a season when I focused on the strategy of marketing. As a result, I wasn’t consistently faithful to him.

Have you been in a season too, wrapped in getting the work done you have neglected the creator? As a Christian who leads herself or a group of people, you might think marketing, strategizing, or productivity in business will help you become more successful. However, God desires you to be consistently faithful to him first. 

Be Consistent in Your Faith

Being consistent in your faith is to be fully in God’s presence. Further, not looking to the right or the left but continually focusing on him. Through being consistently faithful, the work that He has designed you for can take root.

As a Christian, you probably know the importance of God’s presence. Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “rejoice always, pray continually give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Focusing on Jesus seems counterproductive when you need to move closer to your goal or feel like you can not seek God through difficult moments. However, focusing on Jesus is the only way He can move you forward in the call he has for your life.

So this season of life, I urge you to the words “consistently faithful.” Try surrounding yourself in God’s love by being close to Him in your prayer. By focusing on being consistently faithful, you will cultivate a relationship with Him. Thus, your journey will be made clear.

He Will Consistently and Faithfully Take Care of You

Let God take care of you and help you become consistently faithful. As a Christian, you are not here to earn God’s love but to be consistent in your faith with Him. Let this season be the season you surround yourself with Him and let Him lead you to the fruit he has for you.

Want to go further in your journey book a free session with a Christian life coach!

Stop Making New Year Resolutions, Do this Instead!

Stop Making New Year Resolutions, Do this Instead!

Why should you stop making New Year resolutions?

The New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start, the only problem is 80% of us fail to uphold our New Year resolutions. 

How can you ensure you are part of the 20% that do uphold their New Years’ resolutions? 

Stop making New Year resolutions and start following God’s plan for your life

How to stop making New Year resolutions and start following God's plan for your life. Learn the Godly way to set New Years resolutions

Getting to Know God

Before you can follow God’s plan you have to get to know what God thinks about you.

Have you ever had an artichoke? It’s a vegetable common in California. When you peel back all the leaves you get to the heart (the most delicious part). Imagine you are like His artichoke, you have many layers to shed but eventually, your heart is transformed by God. The situation you are in now might be helping you shed something. When it’s over you’ll be able to see how God helped you shed that layer and become a better person.

So today think of yourself and situation as an artichoke that God is always trying to get to your heart by shedding the lies and things that we believe to be true about ourselves.

What lies are you needing God to shed in the New Year? I’d love to hear from you

When you know what God wants you to do then He can guide you in the direction you should go.

Prayerfully listen and wait

God’s guiding hand in any situation is so much more effective than your own, for this reason, it is important not to get ahead of yourself and go it alone.

Prayer, listening and waiting for God’s timing is a skill, and for many of us, myself included is really hard.

However, I have learned that even though I want to do it my way, in my timing; it is always better when God’s hand is in the mix.

Prayerfully listening and waiting for God is asking God what He wants you to do.

After that, wait for the answer to be revealed in His timing.

Remember, God wants to get the center of that artichoke. So let Him peel back the layers and produce the good work in you. God can’t produce fruit in you if you don’t let Him.

Act according to His will

Now that God has guided you in where you must go, carry out His mission. What big or small thing God is calling you to this year?

By building a relationship with God you’ll know what He says about you. Then you can stop setting your own New Years’ resolutions and start listening to what God has planned for your life. Focus on seeking God, praying and spending time in the word in order to accomplish God’s plan this New Year.

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Sara Chinakwe profile picture

Sara Chinakwe is a Christian writer who believes every woman has the power to live out God’s plan for their lives. She enjoys helping other women shed the negative lies they think about themselves in order to live out God’s truth. Sara resides in Sacramento California with her husband and two kids. You can read more on her blog sarachinakwe.com

Honoring the Sabbath: Does Going to Church Matter?

Honoring the Sabbath: Does Going to Church Matter?

Does going to church really matter?

Maybe you’ve wrestled with that question too as you lay in a warm comfy bed one Sunday morning.

Sunday morning rolls around and you make all the excuses you can find not to go to church.

You don’t want to succumb to His desires and you find it easier to live in the flesh.

Then you ask God, does going to church really matter?

Why does going to church matter? Maybe you've wrestled with that question too as you lay in a warm comfy bed one Sunday morning.

Commune with God

The word communion comes from the word commune which means to focus on God, converse, talk, often with profound intensity, intimate communication or rapport as sharing your heart and mind with God in prayer.

The church is a place where we commune with God as individuals and as a group.

Since God wants you to desire Him, He wants to commune with you. He wants to build that special relationship with you.

Just like when you begin dating you are looking to build a relationship with one special person. That relationship takes effort, time and commitment.

You may spend hours on the phone telling each other intimate details about your life and past.

Being in communion with Him is no different.

Sharing your heart and mind with God allows the opportunity for Him to draw close and dwell within you.

There is Love in God’s House

The church is full of sinners because we are all sinners looking to be redeemed by Him. What better way to encourage one another in love than in God’s house.

Talking about or sharing your own testimony might make someone else understand God’s redeeming power and love.

“…consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Meeting at church with other children of God unites us in a way that God intended. The Hebrews verse goes on to say not to fall into the habit of neglecting to meet. Meeting with fellow Christians regularly helps us produce a fruitful nature for our community at large and members of our own church community.

Good Works around the World

Not only does going to church help you commune with God, your fellow Christian brother or sister but it also helps your larger community and world. As Christians, we have an opportunity by joining up with our local church to improve our local and global communities. We get to participate in “good works” with other Christians to improve our world locally and globally. By going to church we can better understand as a community how to serve populations of people.

Food for your Soul

Over the years I have found going to church has been the food needed to sustain my soul. Being in communion with God, encouraging others and giving my time talent and treasure to my local community and the world has been an amazing opportunity to deepen my relationship with God.

With the importance of the church, we are connected to each other. We are united as one body in Christ. By going to Church we are able to edify God, build and enhance our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

P.S Are you struggling to find time with God in your life? Here are some resources to help you get more Jesus in your day.

Roadblocks in Prayer

Truth Affirmation

Sara Chinakwe profile picture

Sara Chinakwe is a Christian writer who believes every woman has the power to live out God’s plan for their lives. She enjoys helping other women shed the negative lies they think about themselves in order to live out God’s truth. Sara resides in Sacramento California with her husband and two kids. You can read more on her blog sarachinakwe.com

3 Ways to Spend Time with God this Season

3 Ways to Spend Time with God this Season

Did you spend time with God this morning?

I mentally wince some mornings when I ask myself that. Although, I guess since I know the answer it’s less of a question and more of an accusation. A reminder that I didn’t spend time with God. A reminder that I failed.

Self-condemnation is my thing. 

But it’s what I do with the information that’s important. There are some days that I simply don’t get to start with Jesus… and maybe you can relate?

This is especially true during the busy holiday season. When the family is visiting, or we are away from home. Schedules and routines are replaced with holiday baking and late-night talks by the fire.

The holiday season gets so packed full of family and friends that routines sometimes get squeezed away.

3 Ways To Spend Time With God This Holiday Season

3 ways to spend time with God this season

All that said, I wanted to share some ways we can spend time with God this holiday season. If you are anything like me and your best intentions get hijacked by holiday fun, hopefully, these three ways I have found to spend time with God can help you, too. 

1.) Pause To Pray

I will never forget the first time I had a friend do this. Keep in mind that I have been a Christian my entire adult life. But there was one day, at the swimming pool when I was talking to another mom and right in the middle of our conversation, she stopped to pray. She took a timeout from our conversation because she received a text, it was something she had been praying about, and she wanted to thank God for answering the prayer.

That moment stuck in my memory and changed the way I thought about prayer.

And we can all do that, too. 

Right in the middle of our holiday hustle, we can pause to pray. 

We can thank God for answering prayers or come to Him with requests (Phi 4:6). Maybe we need to pray for what’s ahead for the day or safe travel for our family. There are so many things we can pray for each day, and we can pause to pray at any point throughout it.

2.) Step Away

Pausing to pray is just one way we can spend time with God this holiday season. It’s something we can do right in the midst of whatever we are doing, but sometimes we need a moment. This is why taking a step away is the second thing on my list of ways to spend time with God this holiday season.

If you can step out of the kitchen or away from the conversation, even for just a minute or two. You can use that time to pray, read your Bible or a devotional. So what if you missed your quiet time that morning, there is nothing saying you can’t do it at three in the afternoon or even eleven at night. Or maybe you had your quiet time, but you want more time with Jesus.

Taking a step away to spend time with God always helps calm my heart, and it’s something that’s usually pretty doable even during the holiday season.

3.) Be Still

The third way to spend time with God this holiday season is to simply be still.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” ~ Psalm 46:10

I love to stop right where I am, surrounded by everyone, and just breath it all in. I might use the moment to count my blessings; to say a prayer of thanksgiving. 

I might let my heart overflow with gratitude. But I really just take a moment to be still and know that God is good. It’s like resting in His grace. Being content.

Invite Jesus In…

Then there are the moments when we simply can’t take a break. Moments when we can’t get away from all the holiday hustle and bustle. Moments when life is demanding everything we have. 

It’s moments like those when I’ve found I need to invite Jesus in. 

Invite Jesus into the line at the supermarket when we just want to go home. Invite Him into the moments when we have too much to do.

Whether you do that by closing your eyes to soak in His grace, by pausing to pray, or whatever. I love the fact that we can know God is always with us. I mean that’s the whole point of Christmas. Jesus is Immanuel, “God with Us.”

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:20

I would love to hear from you though. How do you spend time with Jesus during the busy holiday season?

___________

Profile pic Heather Hart

Heather Hart is an internationally best-selling and award-winning author with an unquenchable passion for Jesus. She knows one thing every girl needs is a little honesty, so she’s not afraid to get candid and share her struggles. Her hope is that she can help others soak up the love of Jesus. 

Heather currently resides in a small Texas town with her husband, Paul, and their four quickly growing children. You can connect with her online by visiting her website BooksFaithandCoffee.com.

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