Weekly, I write devotionals for my sorority. I'll post them here, as well, in hopes that they will encourage you in your walk with God!
It's the start of something new and you know what that means! Time to look back on the old and review its lessons!
I'm talking about the school year, of course. Here is a list of things I've learned over the past year. You'll likely be hearing more about these as I write devotionals this semester. Hopefully this list will spark some reflection of your own.
1. I've learned the importance of quiet time with God. As difficult as it is to do, making time for myself to read quietly, pray, and rest pays off. God rewards us in big ways when we seek Him fully. Seeking Him often means making quiet times to pray and listen to His voice. Jesus frequently separated himself from the crowds and disciples in order to spend time with God alone. So should we.
2. I've learned the importance of proactivity. In both my Christian walk and school work, getting it done now is always the best choice. Procrastination is simply not worth it when compared to the reward of being done.
3. I've learned the importance of prayer. Never before have I made a conscious effort to pray regularly. It's amazing how regular prayer increases your ability to hear God, love others and changes your attitude for the better. Regular prayer has actually resulted in less temper tantrums, less stress, and less frustration for me. It's amazing! Why didn't I realize this before?!
4. I've learned the importance of community. As Christians, we simply cannot do it alone. Christianity is not a religion we can practice by ourselves. We need others to challenge us, instruct us, inspire us and encourage us. God speaks to us through others and His Kingdom is a place full of people. It is with people that we grow and improve. It is alone that we get off track and become deceived. I must go to church. I must engage in worship and prayer with others. I must speak with other Christians. I must pursue that community, or my relationship with God stops flowing properly.
5. I've learned the importance of reading the Bible. When I started reading the Bible, I thought that it was a risky venture. Surely I'll come across some verse that makes me doubt God's love or that I won't understand. Instead, I've found that God's word teaches us who He is - inside and out. It gives me confidence, reveals more of Him to me, and is actually interesting reading. There are some pretty intense stories in there! With about 20 minutes a day - split between morning and evening readings - I'll finish the Bible on December 31st, and start again the next day. I haven't regretted a day, yet.
6. Most of all, I've learned the importance of putting God first. He has given us promise after promise to bless us, reward us, love us, provide for us... All with one stipulation: we have to put Him first. First in our time. First in our finances. First in our friendships. First in everything. Daily, I have to submit myself to Him. I have to make a choice each morning to follow God and His will for my life. Sometimes, that means I bite my tongue again and again to hold back sarcastic comments, and ask for forgiveness when they slip out. Sometimes, it means I walk through my day feeling like He is at my side, dancing with me. It's a daily choice. In surrender, there is freedom.