The Stirring Faith Blog

How to Cultivate a Deeper Relationship with God

How to Cultivate a Deeper Relationship with God

Do you ever find yourself yearning for something more in your relationship with God? Do you long for a deeper connection, a stronger sense of His presence in your life? If so, know that you’re not alone. Many of us crave a deeper, more intimate walk with our Creator, a hunger that cannot be satisfied by anything this world has to offer.

Today, I want to share with you five transformative steps that can help you cultivate a deeper relationship with God. These steps aren’t just theoretical concepts; they’re practical, actionable ways to experience the fullness of God’s love and presence in your life.

Prayer: A Lifeline to the Divine

Prayer is more than just a religious ritual; it’s a lifeline that connects us directly to the heart of God. When we come to Him in prayer, pouring out our hearts and desires, we invite Him to move in our lives in ways we never thought possible. As the psalmist David declared, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). The writer of Hebrews echos the same:

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Let’s make prayer a priority in our lives, seeking God’s presence with fervent hearts and expectant faith.

 

Drawing Near: Creating Space for Encounter

Drawing near to God requires intentional effort on our part. It means carving out time in our busy schedules to spend with Him, away from the distractions of this world. Whether it’s through quiet time in prayer, meditation on Scripture, or worshipful reflection, creating sacred space in our lives where we can encounter the living God is nothing short of essential. But it’s not without benefit. As James reminds us,

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8

 

Thirsting for the Living Water

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

In a world filled with empty promises and fleeting pleasures, Jesus invites us to come in close to Him and drink from what He calls “the wellspring of living water” (John 7:37-38). The crux of the meaning in this analogy is that Jesus, alone can satisfy the deepest longings of our souls, filling us with Himself, meeting all of our needs. This word encourages us to turn away from the empty cisterns of this world and drink deeply from the fountain of life that is found in Christ alone.

 

Treasuring God Above All Else

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44

This illustration emphasizes the essential nature of our connection with Jesus. He knows we can’t live without it, so our relationship with God should be our highest priority, above all earthly pursuits and ambitions. Like the man who discovered treasure hidden in a field and joyfully sold all he had to obtain it (Matthew 13:44), you and I are called to treasure God above all else. Today is a good day to pursue Him with passion and persistence. He is the greatest treasure we could ever hope to find.

 

Journeying Toward the Mountain

And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. 1 Kings 19:8

Just as Elijah journeyed to Mount Horeb in his desperation to encounter God, we are called to pursue Him with unwavering faith and determination (1 Kings 19:8). Like Elijah, sometimes, this journey may require more of us. Elijah was reading to throw in the towel and die. And God met him in his mental exhaustion and discouragement. Instead of saying, “You’re right. You fought well, but let’s call it quits,” He sends an angel to strengthen him to keep moving forward. Elijah walks forty days and forty nights out of his desperation to encounter God, without food or water. What you and I learn from his experience is that sometimes God calls us to a deeper walk. For Elijah, that looked like a forty day journey to the mountain of God without food or water. For you this might look like fervent prayer, or doing some fasting of your own. God met Elijah in his seeking. When we position ourselves before Him, we will experience His presence in a profound and life-changing way.

Friend, I encourage you to take these steps to heart and put them into practice in your own life. As you do, may you experience a deeper, more intimate relationship with God than you ever thought possible. He is waiting for you with open arms, ready to lavish you with His love and grace.

If you are ready, take a moment to reflect on these five steps and consider how you can incorporate them into your daily life. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

For His glory,

Before you go

Allow me to personally invite you to Momentum: How to Get Unstuck. This exclusive challenge helps you overcome obstacles, ignite your spiritual growth, and unleash your true potential.

Each day, you’ll encounter Biblical truths, devotional insights, and a personal challenge. These help you cultivate momentum and step into a more profound connection with Jesus.

Ready to take the leap? Sign up now and let’s embark on this transformative journey together!

Click here to join the challenge and unlock your spiritual potential

See you there!

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The Art of Memorizing Scripture

The Art of Memorizing Scripture

In the whirlwind of our daily lives, finding moments for spiritual growth can feel like a daunting task, especially for busy Christian women juggling multiple responsibilities. However, amidst the chaos, there exists a transformative practice that holds the power to deepen our connection with God—the art of memorizing Scripture. Join me on this journey as we explore three compelling reasons to commit God’s Word to memory, hear an inspiring story of someone impacted by Scripture memorization, and discover three practical techniques for busy women to make memorizing Scripture a reality this year.

Three Reasons to Memorize Scripture

  1. Nourishment for the Soul

In our hectic schedules, we often neglect our spiritual well-being. Memorizing Scripture acts as a source of continual nourishment for our souls. Just as we prioritize feeding our bodies with regular meals, our spirits require the sustenance of God’s Word. The verses we memorize become a wellspring of comfort, guidance, and encouragement, readily available to sustain us in every circumstance.

  1. A Weapon Against Challenges

Life is filled with challenges that can leave us feeling overwhelmed and powerless. However, when we store God’s Word in our hearts, we equip ourselves with a powerful weapon against the struggles that come our way. Like a warrior preparing for battle, memorizing Scripture allows us to access God’s promises and truths, providing strength and resilience in times of adversity.

  1. Deepening Intimacy with God

Memorizing Scripture is not just an intellectual exercise; it’s a pathway to a more intimate relationship with God. As we commit His Word to memory, we internalize His truths, allowing them to shape our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. This deepening connection fosters a sense of closeness to our Creator, transforming our faith from a mere belief into a lived experience.

An Inspiring Story

Consider the life of Corrie ten Boom, a remarkable woman whose story exemplifies the profound impact of memorizing Scripture. During World War II, Corrie and her family sheltered Jews from the Nazis, ultimately leading to their arrest and imprisonment in concentration camps. In the direst of circumstances, Corrie clung to the verses she had hidden in her heart.

One day, faced with the harsh reality of her sister Betsie’s failing health in Ravensbrück concentration camp, Corrie recited the entire 91st Psalm—the same Psalm Betsie had requested (from The Hiding Place, Chp. 8). In the midst of the darkness, these memorized words provided a glimmer of hope and comfort, creating a sacred space where God’s presence was felt even in the bleakest moments.

Four Techniques for Busy Women

Use your Technology for Good

Busy schedules often leave us glued to our smartphones or computer screens. Leverage these digital platforms by creating visual aids for the verses you’re memorizing. Design simple graphics or use apps that allow you to overlay text onto photos. Two are like include YouVersion and Word Swag. I download these as lock screens and then create a special folder for them where my pictures are stored. This way, you can glance at your phone during the day and reinforce your memory with visual cues.

Incorporate Scripture into Daily Routines

Seize the snippets of time scattered throughout your day to engage with Scripture. Whether you’re waiting in line, commuting, or cooking dinner, use these moments to recite and reflect on a verse you’re working to memorize. By integrating Scripture into your daily routines, you’ll gradually build a repertoire of memorized passages without adding extra time commitments.

Use Scripture Cards

Another way I incorporate Scripture into my routine is with physical cards. There is often something about holding it in my hand or placing the cards where I can see them that gives just one more opportunity to make the words stick. That’s why I design these for The Stirring Faith Company. My favorite set for getting started is our Plaid Collection Set that includes twelve verses every Christian should know. It’s simple as well as foundational. I created it with my special needs daughter in mind. I cannot tell you what it meant to me hearing her recite several of these to us a few weeks ago. It’s a great place to begin, for yourself, and anyone you know who might need the visual reminders.

You can find it here 

  Repeat and Associate

Memorization thrives on repetition and association. Choose a verse and repeat it consistently throughout the day. Some experts encourage reciting a verse 10 times per day when you are learning it for the first time. A tool I use and encourage my family to utilize is an app called Fighter Verses. This app helps tremendously because it offers lock screen images of verses, songs, an audio player for having the verse read outload to you, and games. The downside is that it costs $3. I prefer free apps, but in the grand scheme, the price is well worth the benefits gained.

Additionally, associate the verse with specific cues or locations. For example, link a verse about strength to your morning coffee routine or associate a verse about peace with your bedtime ritual. Creating these mental connections enhances recall and makes memorization more accessible.

Make This Your Year

As we embark on a new year, let’s make memorizing Scripture a goal that transcends our busy lives. Embrace the reasons that make this practice invaluable, draw inspiration from those who have gone before us, and adopt practical techniques tailored to the rhythm of our bustling days.

Imagine the impact of having a treasure trove of God’s Word stored within you, ready to guide, comfort, and strengthen you in every season. The art of memorizing Scripture is not an additional burden but a transformative journey that aligns with the flow of our lives, bringing us closer to God in the midst of our daily hustle.

This year, let’s not merely survive; let’s thrive by nourishing our souls, equipping ourselves for challenges, and deepening our intimacy with God through the beautiful art of memorizing Scripture.

For His glory,

Before you go

Allow me to personally invite you to Momentum: How to Get Unstuck. This exclusive challenge helps you overcome obstacles, ignite your spiritual growth, and unleash your true potential.

Each day, you’ll encounter Biblical truths, devotional insights, and a personal challenge. These help you cultivate momentum and step into a more profound connection with Jesus.

Ready to take the leap? Sign up now and let’s embark on this transformative journey together!

Click here to join the challenge and unlock your spiritual potential

See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Overcoming Spiritual Distractions

Do you ever find yourself at the end of a busy day, wondering where the time went and why you couldn’t focus on what truly matters in your spiritual journey? I’ve been there too, and I’ve discovered that the struggle of overcoming spiritual distraction to stay on course with God’s plan is a common challenge for many Christian women.

Today, we’ll tackle this very issue by delving into the Focused Faith Formula, a set of strategies that can help you overcome spiritual distractions and make meaningful progress in your relationship with God. Let’s dive right in!

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Following the Future Path

Keep your eyes straight ahead. Proverbs 4:25

It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions of daily life. This verse reminds us to keep our eyes fixed on the path God has laid out for us. The Message version of this same verse calls us to “ignore all sideshow distractions.” Left to myself, I can waste oodles and oodles of time each and every day. I am not able nor smart enough to keep my gaze straight.

Setting aside time each day for focused prayer and reading the Bible is my only hope of overcoming all the sideshow distractions. Some of these sideshow distractions seem like really good ideas. So, I literally bring my To Do list into my prayer time because I am so prone to veer off the path. I encourage you to do whatever is necessary, whether that be turning off your phone, setting a timer, or finding a more distraction-free zone to help minimize the opportunities for chasing the sideways jaunts that keep you from making spiritual progress.

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Fixing Your Focus on the Spiritual

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

Our minds often wander to worldly concerns, causing us to lose sight of God’s purpose. Make a conscious effort to shift your focus. Not only do I bring my To Do List into my prayer time, but bring Scripture I can pray. Starting your day by meditating on God’s Word and praying, keep your thoughts centered on eternal matters.

Too often, you and I show up to pray with nothing more than an anxious mind that wanders within a few minutes. My times like this were not very productive nor did I feel like I was making any spiritual progress or deepening the relationship. But A few years ago, all of that changed. I downloaded a free prayer app, called ECHO, where I can add verses into the app to pray, giving my brain and heart a tool for focusing on all thing spiritual.

If you are interested, you can download the ECHO app here. Or, maybe you will develop another technique that will work for you. The bottom line is that if you and I want to make meaningful progress in our relationship with God, we need strategies like this one from the Focused Faith Formula.

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Fortifying Your Senses

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Psalm 101:3

Our surroundings greatly influence our focus, don’t they? Take a moment to evaluate the things you expose yourself to, including TV shows, social media, and conversations. Sometimes you and I expose ourselves to what is socially acceptable, but not if our aim is godliness. Or we might settle for exposing ourselves to what is not “bad,” but it may still be “worthless.”

As you think over what you place before your eyes and ears, consider if these things align with God’s purpose. If not, consider eliminating or reducing them to create a distraction-free environment.

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Foster Daily Renewal

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Romans 12:2

God’s purpose for our lives often requires a transformed mind. To achieve this, we must move beyond a fifteen-minutes-with-God approach. John Piper points out that if you want leaves, rake the surface, but if you want diamonds, you must dig deep. One way to ensure we overcome our tendencies to rake the surface in terms of our spiritual lives is to participate in in-depth Bible study. There is much we will never know and understand about God and our walk with Jesus, but there is oh so much we can know. The Focused Faith Formula calls us foster daily renewal of our minds by digging for gold rather than being satisfied with leaves on the surface.

Overcoming Spiritual Distraction by Fighting to Win the Day

You and I are in the middle of a battle—a war for our devotion. Paul articulates the warring for who we will follow and what we will believe well by giving words to this struggle that is more spiritual that we might realize:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Every day you and I encounter all sorts of things that conflict with our faith, vying for our allegiance, the scope of which ranges widely. Essentially, this is a battle of the mind, and it’s a fight worth fighting. And fight, we must.

The woman who is actively working spiritual progress recognizes the fight she is in, and equips herself to fight back with divine resources.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

Paul warns us that we cannot sit back and let life happen, distracted from the fight by practicing a casual Christianity. If the enemy can’t have your soul, he wants everything else near and dear to you: your family, your health, your home, your relationships, and your faith (John 10:10). But he will settle for your ineffectiveness and small belief. Allow me to share a secret with you that took me too many years to learn:

You can learn to win the day, one small battle at a time.

So, take heart, my friend. You can overcome your lack of focus in this battle for your thoughts. Arm yourself with the truth of God’s Word to conquer destructive wanderings and entrenched beliefs. Whether it’s struggling to believe in God’s love or your forgiveness, find verses that speak to your heart and fight back. You can be an overcomer, led by the Holy Spirit, taking captive every thought, making them obedient to Jesus as Lord of your life.

Remember, with the Focused Faith Formula as your guide, you can overcome spiritual distractions, stay focused on your spiritual journey, and make meaningful progress in your relationship with God. Don’t let distractions deter you; embrace the tools and strategies to win the day. Your journey towards a deeper, more focused faith is about to begin.

xoxoxo,

 

Before you Go, don’t forget to 🌟 Join the Momentum: How to Get Spiritually Unstuck 5-Day Challenge! 🌟

Are you ready to break free from the chains that hold you back and embrace a vibrant spiritual life? If so, then this invitation is for you!

Allow me to invite you to our exclusive 5-day challenge, Momentum: How to Get Unstuck. This transformative experience helps you overcome obstacles, ignite your spiritual growth, and unleash your true potential.

Each day, you’ll encounter Biblical truths, devotional insights, and a personal challenge. These help you cultivate momentum and step into a more profound connection with Jesus.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to revitalize your spiritual path! Join us for the Momentum: How to Get Spiritually Unstuck 5-Day Challenge. Discover the limitless possibilities that await you.

Ready to take the leap? Sign up now and let’s embark on this transformative journey together!

Click here to join the challenge and unlock your spiritual potential

See you there!

Consistent Daily Devotions Amid Life’s Chaos

Consistent Daily Devotions Amidst Life’s Chaos: Grace-Filled Strategies for a New Season

As we step into the first of a new season, many of us find ourselves in a reflective mood. After months of a relaxed summer schedule, it’s a natural time to regroup and reassess our priorities. It’s an opportunity to rethink our time, focus, and where we want to be in the next season. In the midst of this transition, we often desire to establish or rekindle a consistent daily devotional habit, but life’s chaos can make it feel like an elusive goal. I understand the difficulty, the challenge, and the disappointing sense of failure that can come with trying to maintain a consistent daily devotional habit. So, what’s a busy woman to do when she’s already doing more than she’s able? It’s a great time to explore how to maintain consistent daily devotions amidst life’s chaos as we step into this new season.

Let me share a bit of my own journey to encourage you. As a mother of eight children, I know all too well how demanding life can be. There have been days when I’ve felt like there simply wasn’t enough time or energy left for my personal devotion with God. It’s easy to get discouraged when your to-do list seems to multiply by the minute, and finding a moment of quiet reflection feels like an unattainable luxury.

Embrace Grace Over Perfection for More Consistent Daily Devotionals

First and foremost, my dear friend, allow me to invite you to embrace grace over perfection. It’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way. As moms, we often set high standards for ourselves, wanting to be everything to everyone. But in the process, we can forget that God cherishes our hearts more than our achievements.

Start small

Don’t pressure yourself with the expectation of hours of uninterrupted devotion time. Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes in the early morning or a brief pause during naptime, it’s a beautiful offering to God. Remember that God values your consistency and desire to seek Him daily, even when life feels overwhelming.

Establish a Sacred Space and Time for More Consistent Daily Devotionals

Creating a sacred space and time for your daily devotions can make a world of difference. I often found solace in a cozy corner of our home, a place where I could retreat from the chaos and focus on God. Whether it’s early in the morning before the household wakes up or during a quiet moment in the evening, having a dedicated space and time makes it easier to resist life’s distractions.

Yes, it might require some adjustment in your daily routine (I have moved both time and space through the years), but it’s a commitment worth making. Finding the best time for your season of life is really answering the question, “What is the first moment when you could choose to do something else besides the urgent?” Remember, God honors the effort you put into seeking Him, no matter when or where it happens.

Utilize Devotional Guides and Apps

One of the challenges I faced was knowing where to start or what to study during my devotional time. This is where devotional guides and apps can be your faithful companions. They provide structure and inspiration, which can be a lifesaver for busy moms like us.

YouVersion, for example, offers a treasure trove of Bible and devotional plans tailored to various interests and spiritual needs. You can choose plans on topics that resonate with your heart and the guidance provided simplifies your daily devotions. It’s like having a trusted friend walk alongside you on your spiritual journey.

It is my privilege to partner with YouVersion for this very endeavor in the lives of Believers all over the world. YouVersion is not only a free app, but one that allows you to set reminders to help you make your devotional time a habit amid your crazy schedule. You can find the plans I have written here.

Invite Accountability and Share the Journey

Lastly, consider inviting a trusted friend or family member to share in this pursuit of daily devotion. As moms, sisters, wives, and friends, we know the power of accountability. Sharing your goals and struggles with someone who can encourage you and hold you accountable can make a significant difference. Since my phone is always with me, it makes sense to find a way to achieve this goal of accountability using technology, like YouVersion readily available.

Additionally, consider sharing your devotional insights and experiences with other women who understand your journey. Sharing what is really going on in your life often inspires others and creates a sense of commitment to your own devotional practice. When you know others are journeying with you, it can provide that extra motivation to stay consistent.

The most important aspect of establishing some consistency is knowing you are not alone. God knows life is demanding, but He wants you to know Him and seek Him every day. He sees your heart’s desire to seek Him, even amidst the chaos.

 

So embrace this grace. Create a sacred space. Utilize Bible plans and devotional guides, and invite accountability into your life. Your pursuit of God is a precious offering, and He meets you where you are, rather than waiting for you to get where you wish you were.

In the midst of the challenges you face each day, may you find moments of grace and peace in the presence of our loving Heavenly Father. He understands the busy seasons of life and cherishes every effort you make to draw near to Him.

With love and solidarity,

 

Before you Go, don’t forget to 🌟 Join the Momentum: How to Get Spiritually Unstuck 5-Day Challenge! 🌟

Are you ready to break free from the chains that hold you back and embrace a vibrant spiritual life? If so, then this invitation is for you!

Allow me to invite you to our exclusive 5-day challenge, Momentum: How to Get Unstuck. This transformative experience helps you overcome obstacles, ignite your spiritual growth, and unleash your true potential.

Each day, you’ll encounter Biblical truths, devotional insights, and a personal challenge. These help you cultivate momentum and step into a more profound connection with Jesus.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to revitalize your spiritual path! Join us for the Momentum: How to Get Spiritually Unstuck 5-Day Challenge. Discover the limitless possibilities that await you.

Ready to take the leap? Sign up now and let’s embark on this transformative journey together!

Click here to join the challenge and unlock your spiritual potential

See you there!

Memorize Like a Boss

How to Memorize Like a Boss

Podcast #79

Memorize like a boss

Welcome to the Podcast–How to Memorize Like a Boss

Last week I was doing what most of you do on social media: sharing the headlines and pictures of the Who’s Who in my life. One particular post celebrated the 292 Bible verses our kids memorized and recited on New Year’s Eve this year, and their goals to move ahead with at least 100 more next year. We are not part of a club, team, or ministry that helps us accomplish this feat. It’s just my own system created out of a recognized need. So I offered my two cent’s worth for how we are being successful at memorizing Scripture every year. Surprised by the response, it became evident other people needed what I recognized years ago that I needed. Therefore, today I put together an episode that addresses How to Memorize Like a Boss!

Note: this is our final episode as THE SHE YEARNS PODCAST. God willing, by next week, we will be here-after recognized and known as STIRRING FAITH WITH CHERI STRANGE. But don’t worry. If you are a subscriber, unlike I originally thought, you will not need to do anything. You should automatically be updated with the changes, I am assured.

So that you know, Stirring Faith will contain the same type of quality content and messaging. We simply felt we needed clearer packaging to help people locate the podcast and recognize what it was about. Thank you for listening and being a part of the community!

There are two IMMEDIATE benefits for you with these changes I want to mention:

  • You can now listen on Spotify!
  • You can share Sound Bites like this one from the Friday episode! (Ha! It’s appearing rather LARGE in this post, but it’s PERFECT for social media sharing on Instagram or Facebook. It will help your friends try it out a few seconds to see if it’s something worth their time and your recommendation.) I will be sharing these on social media and you can share it, too.

There are more benefits to come I can’t wait to share with you. But these are all I’ll mention for today.

Don’t forget about The Show Notes!

Just fill out the form and today’s note will go straight to your inbox. Every episode after you sign up should show up on the device of your choosing. What could be better?

How Awesome is Show Notes?

If you are already a subscriber to the She Yearns Updates, you will begin receiving a link to a pdf. But this is different. By signing up here, you will ONLY RECEIVE Show Notes for the podcast. There is nothing to download unless there is some sort of bonus offered.

You can also use this resource to take with you to coffee with a friend or sit with a small group and talk about the topic together. It’s a quick low prep to no prep way to have a deep discussion about relevant Gospel-centered topics that matter to your everyday lives. So don’t wait! Sign up today!

Besides, How to Memorize Like a Boss — Your God is For Me is one of my favorite recent episodes. You can find it here if you are interested.

You can now check out the latest episodes from iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, iHeartRADIO, or BuzzSprout. Just click on the links below! As always, you can scroll down and listen right here!

soul care

soul care

And if you have not already become a subscriber to the podcast, allow me to invite you to become one for the She Yearns Podcast by going to any of the providers and signing up for the RSS feed to have it automatically updated to your device! It’s basically ONE CLICK! And it doesn’t use any extra memory and really makes life easier.

If you enjoyed this episode, How to Memorize Like a Boss, or found it helpful, please leave a comment or review in your hosting provider service! We cannot do it without you! The only way the word goes out further is with your help. Please share it as you feel the leading.

Thank you for listening,