Monday, 1 June 2015

Focusing on God during Exam Times

leostudies : Productive study session again today in the same place at the same time :)It's that time of the year, when exams are pretty much the focus of most teenagers lives. Schools continually stress their important, but we as Christians need to remember that there is a much more important part of our lives, that will impact our futures in a much more permanent way! There is a difficult balance that Christian teenagers need to get right during exam time, the balance between working hard and to the best of our abilities, and still making sure our hearts are worshipping God and not our grades. However, this isn't simple, as our hearts are so easy to wander away to things that we think will give us more stability.

Give it all over to God
Keep remembering how God is in charge of our lives! He's our king, our creator and a God who loves us unconditionally. Exams shouldn't be something we hide from God, it should be a time where we share it all with him! Pray about exams, don't shy away from them, they're important and God has put us in a position where we are taking them. If it's not going well, pray for courage and strength to trust in God's infinite plan. If they're going well, thank God for that blessing! There are going to be times during exam season where you just want to give up, and have a cry or some sort of break down, and that's ok, but cry with God! Tell him what's plaguing your mind, because he is desperate to share it all with you. He knows how we are feeling, he knows our worries, so go through it all with him!

Don't be Afraid
note-spiration. Rewrite notes after the scribblings from class to re-organise, revise, and study themGod has a plan. We continually see that through the Bible. Take Esther for example, God was working his whole plan to rescue the Jews through Esther's position, and a series of seemingly ironic coincidences, that aren't in fact coincidences! Exams will not be the defining factor in your life's success. God will use you where ever you are, regardless of your grades or A-Levels! Trust that he knows what's happening, even if it seems completely out of control and disastrous!

Remember Why We Are Working
If you are anything like me, then work can become slightly obsessive, with constant note writing and an overwhelming sense of guilt when you don't spend every minute of the day working. It all becomes exhausting in the end, and it's great to just take a step back and think about WHY we actually do all the revision etc.
We are working with all our hearts, we read that in  Colossians 3 : 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 
revision <3
God has given us all gifts, and some of those will be academic ones. We should rejoice that he has blessed us with them, and use them to the best of our abilities to work for THE LORD. We aren't working for ourselves, the minute we try to live for ourselves is the minute where everything will start to go wrong. We know that our futures are going to be amazing! We are going to spend every last second with God in Heaven, we have that to look forward to. So while we wait, here on earth, use our gifts to work, and work hard! Think about the God we are serving! 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Quiet Time Tips

A quiet time is meant to be a time in the day, when we set aside some quality time to read God's word, pray and think about what we can learn from a passage. It should be a time where we grow in our faith and soak up every word of the text we're studying
But Instead...
Quiet times often turn into a routine. We're ticking another box in the daily schedule, and we feel holy when we do one and guilty when we don't. I know I'm guilty of rushing through my daily study, in order to move on to whatever I'm doing next! We simply aren't valuing the time enough. So, here are some tips and techniques I use to make sure the time I spend with God is as focused and God-centred as possible!

Leave Enough Time
I feel like my quiet time should be around 20 minutes, and maybe sometimes even longer! We do lead busy lives, with work and rushing around - but think about how much time we spend scrolling through instagram or facebook or twitter. We should definitely be spending more time on reading God's word than reading a newsfeed! Plan enough time the night before, get things ready, bags packed. We know what time we need to leave the house, so make sure your morning isn't taken up with rushing around finding lost textbooks, but instead filled with God's wonderful teaching! Make sure you've planned what you're going to wear, so that it doesn't take up precious time we could be using for quiet times! 

Know the Background of the Passage
If you're in a gospel, who is Jesus talking to? How old is he? How far into his ministry is he? It's important to understand who Paul is writing to in his letters, or which king is on the throne during Exodus! All that information can help us to understand God's message much better! 

Tiffany shows up step by step how she uses her journaling bible on illustrated faithWhat's The Big Message?
Do you feel like God is specifically telling you something through what you're reading? Sometimes, when I read a verse, something instantly pops into my head, for example a way I can live that passage out, or a way in which I need to change my heart. God isn't mysterious - he wants us to grow!

Make Notes!
No matter how messy, or short, or scribbled - take time to make a note of what you've learnt, or a favourite verse, or a awesome way of phrasing something from your notes. Writing stuff down cements it in our head! I use separate categories, (prayer for the day, big lesson, favourite verse, challenge) to set out my notes and try to make the passage clearer in my mind. Just reading won't stick in your head!
universefeathers:  Likes | Tumblr su We Heart It.
Writing in Margins
Some people aren't fans of writing in their bibles, but I love to highlight and makes little notes next to passages I've studied! It means next time round, when you come to a passage, it will jog your memory that you've been there before, and think about what it was God showed you about it last time! You can even get Bibles with specifically enlarged margins, so that there is room to write notes there!

Pray Before and After
Pray at the start that God would soften your heart and open your eyes. At the end, pray for whatever challenged you, or delighted you! We can't truly change ourselves, but God can work miracles in our hearts if we just ask him to! 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Christ Centered Life

LATELY, I've been finding more and more incredible verses on the internet, that just make me stop, and think about how much I truly let God into my life. Am I sharing my whole heart with him? The answer is inevitable no, but I think there are ways that we can all work to bring God back to the center of everything.

Pray More
I'm not talking big prayers at the end of the day (which are obviously great!) but more just random little prayers. If you see a particularly gorgeous shaft of sunlight, or something happens that just makes you smile, SHARE IT! Tell God! Share all the silly little things! It all comes from God, so why not chat with him about how much you're loving it!

Quiet Times
Quiet times need to be more than a rigid part of our schedules. The time we set aside for studying God's word and preparing to face the day with him shouldn't be rushed through! Next quiet time you do, make sure you are valuing every second! Leave longer than usual, then have an extended prayer session. Read an extra chapter, take a note of your favourite verse from the passage you read. Be generous with the time you spend solely with God.

If you find an awesome verse, or a sick quote, send it to a friend! It might be just the thing they need to make it through the day. God puts everything in our paths for a reason!

When I'm worried and cannot sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. - Bing CrosbyMake God the last thing you think of in the day and the first person you remember in the mornings
When we go to sleep, we shouldn't lie in the dark dreaming of what things we are going to buy, or who we're going to talk to the next day. It's a perfect opportunity to spend some time thanking God for things that went well in the day, and saying sorry for the ways we let him down. When you wake in the morning, try to jump straight to praising God for another morning, and praying for the day! Our creator should be constantly on our minds!

Friday, 17 January 2014

~ End of 2013 ~ Start of 2014 ~

I wanted to post a random selection of a set of photos I took near the end of 2013! Last year was filled with many many good things and a few bad things, which only taught me to appreciate the blessings God has given me even more.