Yesterday, our church studied I Thessalonians 5:12-18. As we were being challenged to "Rejoice always and pray without ceasing" (vs. 16-17), I was reminded of my own personal conviction I've been experiencing lately to spend more time focusing on God throughout my daily activities. As a mom of young children, I don't often have time to sit down and open my Bible for study (though I often desperately want to). However, I do not need to do this in order to spend time with Him consistently each and every day. Our pastor then encouraged us to do two things:
1) To remember that we are always in God's presence as believers, because we have the Holy Spirit. And to really make a conscious effort to just BE in His presence throughout daily life.
2) To keep a journal to help us remember all that God has done and is doing, and to use this to give us the opportunity to take time to truly rejoice in Him.
I really loved the journal idea. I used to journal all the time in my teen years, and in college. But after that and now as a busy mom, I just struggle to find the time to write out my thoughts by hand. (And maybe I'm also just a little bit too lazy to write it all out....hmm thanks, technology!) Well, I decided that since this blog is dedicated to many different subjects, why not study a book of the Bible and write out my thoughts on here? I really love just reading through and seeing what jumps out to me. I love how God's Word works like that! Alive and powerful. I need this study time to bring some things into focus and if you do, too, I invite you to join me. Read through the passage I read, and tell me what jumps out at you. Or just do your own journaling! I chose Philippians because there is a lot in there about having joy in the Christian life. And it was also written by Paul, at a time in his life when there wasn't much to be joyful about by worldly standards. He was imprisoned and facing imminent execution. This would have been a perfectly understandable time for him to be extremely discouraged. Yet, he sent this letter to encourage other believers. I think we have a lot to learn from this book (and every other book of the Bible, too ;) )!
I'll start out by reading Philippians 1:1-11. I plan to write my thoughts out on this passage tonight or tomorrow afternoon. So stay tuned. And if you get a chance, read it too and give me your thoughts either on the Growing Together FB page or on the blog! The more people to study with, the better. I love getting others' perspectives!