2 Signs Your Relationship is Idolatrous

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Being in a relationship is so exciting. It’s full of butterflies in your stomach, excitement over every milestone, and those moments that make you happy to be where you are now. I still, four years later, have those times where I feel my enthusiasm about being with Joel bubble up in from my stomach to my neck. I get so unbelievably happy, it’s intoxicating. It’s in these moments that I’m tempted. It’s in these moments that I forget God and listen to what the romance novels and movies have shown me. It’s in this when my relationship can turn from God-honoring to an idol in my life.
It’s tempting to say that “I love Joel more than anything in the world” or that “Joel is the best thing to ever happen to me.” These thoughts come to my mind from time to time and every time I think them, I immediately know it’s not true because I love Christ more than anything in the world and Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened. I know that thinking that Joel replaces Jesus in these statements is dangerous and I’ve seen the damage that think these does to every relationship in one’s life, including the all-important one with God. This is an idol. The definition of idolatry is excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.
God warns against idols throughout the old and new testament. Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37.) And in Exodus, it is a commandment that “you shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) These show the basis of understanding what modern idols can be, and a relationship can definitely be one as it is created and physical. An important step to protecting one against your relationship becoming an idol is being able to recognize what behavior, thoughts or sayings are idolatrous. By recognizing it as such, you can work to make sure Christ is still center in your God-fearing relationship. Here are two signs that your relationship has become an idol to yourself and your significant other.

It’s Difficult to Spend Time with Friends Without Your Boyfriend.
If every time you are with your ladies, having an evening filled with sappy shows, painted nails, and talk about the latest news and you want nothing more than to be next to your significant other, there is an issue. When someone said to me last year “When Ryan is not there with us, it feels like something is missing…” I felt my stomach turn. It’s not that missing your boyfriend is bad, or that wanting to spend time with them is wrong. Not at all! It’s when your boyfriend has become more important than your other personal relationships that there is a problem.

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This shows that you have excessive devotion to your boyfriend. It’s okay to miss your significant other from time to time and want them to hang out with your friends, but when it’s constant, it’s excessive. Being able to spend time apart is important and it helps to not blind you to realities. It’s easy to get caught up thinking that your relationship is just wonderful when you never spend time apart. Not only can spending time apart help you to reflect, but it can also allow your friends to give you their opinions and advice. This is biblically important! In proverbs we read that we should “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” (Proverbs 19:20) Allowing the people who know you outside of your relationship with your significant other to give you their advice, helps you to keep things in perspective.

Having it be difficult to spend time without your boyfriend also hurts your friendships. Even if it’s not your intention, your friends may feel like they are not important in your life anymore. It shows them that your friendship will always be trumped by your dating relationship. Of course your boyfriend means a lot to you, but your friendships should still mean something too. It’s hurtful to feel left out of someone close’s life. This is just one of the ways that we know having Christ center in your life is important. When Christ is center, all of your relationships grow and you feel more balanced.

“You’re My Everything”
The words you say and think do matter. It reveals truths about what you believe. If you are saying or thinking that your significant other is your everything, the best thing in your life, or other expressions that put them in the most important spot in your heart, there is an idol problem in your life. You might be asking, why this is dangerous. If you put your everything into this one human person, you are going to end up disappointed. Jesus is the only one who will never disappoint you. Keeping him center in your life and in your relationships, will help you to remember the reality that we are all sinners and help you overcome the disappointment from a human with grace.

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Last year around this time, I knew a girl who was dating a guy and they seemed to be very happy together. They’d only been dating for a couple of months but they were both seniors so when the end of the year rolled around, they needed to decide what the next step was. And he proposed. Beautiful with lanterns in a lake and a row boat and magical sunset. She threw herself into their relationship. She made plans to be with him, missed out on job opportunities because they were away from him, but she knew they’d figure it out. With less than 100 days to go until their wedding, he told her he was no longer in love with her. She was heartbroken, as she should have been, and she was left with her future uncertain.God got her through it, but she realized she had been blinded by the idea of them, and that she had not put Christ first. Watch your words. Guard your heart.

Christ Redeems.
In your relationship, and in all aspects of your life, it is easy to become overwhelmed and terrified when you realize that you’re in a bad direction. If you have realized some of your behavior with your significant other is idolatrous, do not worry. You do not have the power to mess up God’s plan. The power of the cross is redemption across all categories of life. God is writing your love story, never forget that. This doesn’t mean that you let the behavior continue, bring it to God and take action in your life and in your relationship. Spend more time apart and bring Jesus into your relationship. With your center on the True North of Christ Crucified, there will always be a solid foundation.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

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5 (last minute) Valentine Date Ideas

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Written by: Cheyenne Baccary

Valentines day is right around the corner! And sometimes it can be tricky figuring out the perfect date idea for you and your boo. Here are 5 cheap, simple date ideas that are loads of fun!

1. Cook a romantic dinner at home. Everyone loves a home cooked meal!

2. If cooking isn’t your thing. Order a heart shaped pizza from Papa John’s. Get 25% off when you order online with the code 25DISC.

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3. Pureflix and chill. The chill stands for a make your own sundae bar.

4. Go to the local animal shelter and play with the animals. (Share your experience on Social Media to help them animal get adopted.)

5. Grab a tablecloth and candles, download some fancy dinner music on your phone and go to a fast food restaurant. A fun way to enjoy a fancy dinner for two without breaking the bank.

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There you have it 5 easy affordable date ideas just for valentines day! Do you have a special someone you will be taking out this year? Let us know which date idea was your favorite in the comments!

LAS VEGAS: Finding Hope and Healing in the Midst of Hate and Hurt By Annika Asplund

It was a gathering of many, listening to Jake Owen and Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Country Festival on October 1st.

No one saw coming the shots from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel at would leave hundreds injured and 59 people losing their lives.

No one expected a 64 year old man who had no criminal record to cause this awful crime and then to take his own life.

With all the tears shed, angry words were said to the killer and those who may be just like him. Fear continued to rise in those who didn’t their lives or those of their loved ones to be taken, too. How we make it through this tragedy with the hate around us? In the midst of a tragedy and hurt we may not understand, we must remember that God is in control of our lives, and He is the one we need to turn to.

Philippians 4:7 reminds us that peace in God surpasses our understanding so we can guard our hearts and minds. Ephesians 4:32 reminds us to let go of our anger of circumstances by forgiving one another. One of the most important things we should remember is that Jesus will return and will make all things right. He will comfort the mourning, condemn the wicked, and command us to not be afraid. We may hurt now, but the pain will, one day, heal completely once we see our Creator and run into His arms.

We must continue to pray for those in Las Vegas and for the entire world for healing and coming to God for our most major hurts.

 

Mexico Earthquake 101 + how Y-O-U can help! By Felicity Rose

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On Thursday, Sept 7th just before midnight catastrophic struck Central Mexico as an 8.1 earthquake hit turning the city into dust and debris and trapping its civilians underneath fallen buildings. Just as clean up for this earthquake began another catastrophic earthquake hit Mexico City on September 19th at 1:14 p.m. with a magnitude of 7.1. Both earthquakes happened only twelve days apart. What’s terrifying and ironic is that the earthquake on the 19th was the anniversary of another devastating earthquake in 1985. As of today there are over 200 dead with many more people injured and still trapped underneath the fallen buildings.
So why is Mexico so prone to earthquakes? Mexico is in a region called the “subduction” zone. Subduction zones are parts of the earth where slabs of the crust slowly side against the each other similarly to how to the vertebrae in the spine would be rubbing against each other if there weren’t discs to keep space between them. Over a long period of time, stress builds up because of the friction caused by the plates rubbing against each other until it releases in the form of an earthquake. Going along with my anatomy analogy, let’s say you’re a hardcore athlete. Over time the ligaments in your knee, for example, will slowly fray due to the stress of whatever sport you play. Eventually, the pressure and stress in your ligament releases in the form of a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). That’s how earthquakes happen. All the pent-up energy from the plates rubbing against each other explode, so to speak, causing an earthquake.

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Now you’re all probably wondering what you can do to help Mexico. There are many organizations you can donate to such as Red Cross Mexico (cruzrojadonaciones.org), Save the Children Mexico (secure.savethechildren.org), Global Giving (globalgiving.org), and International Community Foundation (donate.icfdn.org). You can also register to be an organ donor at Organ Donor Registry (organdonor.gov) or donate blood at your local red cross chapter.
If you’re part of a ministry program at your church you might try talking to the person in charge about getting a group of people together and going to Mexico to help. It’s never too late to make a difference.

Author Bio:
Felicity Rose is a 20 year-old blogger, stage actress, and model. She is currently a junior at Fresno Pacific University majoring in psychology with a minor in theatre. You can contact her via email at felicity.rose97@gmail.com or on Instagram @missfelicityrose/ballerinaboss_).

Holding Onto Hope: Isabella Morganthal (20)

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Hope.
This has always been one of my favorite words.
I would scribble it down on paper, using it to try out new letter art. Or I would buy notebooks and wall art that read that word. It was always just a pretty expression, a beautiful string of four letters. But there was also something special about them. I knew they were meant to always help me remember: Hope is my anchor.
Yet there are times now when I look at this word and I wonder how. I wonder why.
How can you have hope when everything is crashing around you?
Why should you hold onto hope when you don’t get what you prayed for?
I don’t understand. I don’t know how I can hold onto hope when things turn upside down.
I look around at a suffering world—a world where things most certainly aren’t as I think they should be—and I ask God why. Why so much pain?
My heart aches inside as I scroll through pictures of the destruction in Texas from the recent Hurricane Harvey. I feel heavy as I look through death tolls and areas of flooding. How can we have hope in this? I question.

I flip through the TV channels and watch as everyone talks anxiously about the hurricane getting ready to hit Florida. I know people who have to evacuate and might lose their homes. I watch the TV screen as people rush to the stores to get supplies and try desperately to prepare for a storm that they can’t control. Can they find hope here?
My faith feels so small when looking at these things. These storms I can’t stop from killing innocent lives and destroying homes. What’s Your plan here, God? I want to ask.
Maybe…maybe that’s it.

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We want to know His whole plan because clearly things aren’t going according to ours and we need an explanation. If He would only tell us why, we believe we will then understand. But how? For: “’My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
His ways, His thoughts, His plans…they’re all so much higher than my own. He can see the whole, grand tapestry when I can only see a small, simple piece of it.
Okay, yes, He has a plan, but…
There’s always that “but” because we so desperately want an answer when faced with such unimaginable grief.
After all: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
One of the most commonly quoted verses in the Bible. God’s plans for us include good. They include hope. But how in all of this?

I still don’t understand. And then I look at Isaiah 43:2 and it tells me, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Quickly reading it, my first thought is, “Great, so God’s telling us that those bad things won’t come near us and we won’t have to deal with them, so…why are we?”
But no. I read it again.

That’s not what He’s saying at all.
He says…when you pass through the waters…when you walk through the fire.
What? Where is the hope in this passage? What hope can all of the victims of these massive hurricanes hold onto?
And that’s when I see it.

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The hope—the promise—it’s right there. It’s right there, shining beautiful in the midst of the pain…
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
There it is.
I catch my breath as it hits me. Our hope is not that bad things will not happen. Our hope is not that we will be spared from the waters or the fire—all those things that threaten to break us inside. No.
Our hope is so much greater. Our hope is that even in the bad things happening around us, He is with us. Our hope is that He will never leave us. Our hope is that God has a good, good plan for our lives and, even when we don’t understand, nothing in this world can destroy that plan. This takes my breath away. The hope God is giving us has nothing to do with outside circumstances—things that change like the tides.
The hope God is giving to us is a steadfast hope. Some of the definitions or synonyms for steadfast are: firm and unwavering, reliable, constant, steady.
This hope does not change because our God, the author of our true hope and faith, does not change. (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 12:2) He is our Hope!
And that’s when we know.

Whatever comes our way, whatever struggle or pain lies ahead, we know we will be okay. We will come out unbroken because our God stands with us. He is working good in our story—even in the pain—and even if we don’t understand the purpose until heaven.
If you are a victim of Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma, my heart aches for you. I can’t possibly understand what you’re going through, but I hope to encourage you by pointing you to the One who does understand. He understands every bit of your pain and looking at your pain, He weeps with you (John 11:33-35).
When you walk through the water or through the fire, take heart. He is with you. He will never let you go.
Hold onto your Hope, beloved.

*Florida, my prayers are with you tonight. God give you strength ♥

Isabella Morganthal (20) Is an author, blogger and writer for CCG! Check out her blog/website to find more of Isabella

http://jesusisworthitall.weebly.com/

Mental Health Disorders: A Public Health Concern By: Felicity Rose

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One in four people in the United States suffer from a mental health disorder. Forty-one thousand, one hundred and fifty people commit suicide each year and over ninety percent of those people suffer from a mental health disorder of some kind, whether it was diagnosed or undiagnosed. Given the facts, why does society keep mental health disorders all under wraps but makes a huge noise about gay marriage?         When mental health comes up in the news, it’s often when  a criminal is “said” to have a certain mental health disorder but after a while it is quietly put away because society thinks people with mental health disorders need to be locked up. Mental health disorders are dangerous, debilitating and people need to be more aware of the complications that surround them.
First of all, what exactly is a mental health disorder? According to Mayo Clinic, a mental health disorder is a condition that affects a person’s mood, thinking and behavior. It covers a wide variety of diseases from Schizophrenia, to Anxiety to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, to eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia
Mental health disorders affect people in a myriad of ways. For people with Anxiety, their autonomic nervous system perceives many things as a threat, even if said thing isn’t a threat at all. The threat causes their “fight or flight” system to go into “fight” mode when it shouldn’t. This response causes vicious cycles of panic attacks. In severe cases, this can lead to phobias such as agoraphobia, or the fear to leave the house.
Sometimes people are dealing with more than one devastating mental disorder. Twenty year old Semira, was diagnosed with anxiety and depression at the age of seventeeen. She grew up with stomach issues for most of her life which is what started her panic attacks in the first place. She said it’s like nothing agrees with her digestive system. Some of these cramps get so bad that she is in the restroom for hours in excruciating pain and none of the doctors she’s seen can figure out why.

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Because of this she started to cut back on how much she eats as a way of avoiding the panic attacks that came along with eating. Now while this may sound like an eating disorder of some kind, Samira does not have an eating disorder according to an evaluation done by her therapist. She was finally diagnosed in August of 2016 with Gastro paresis, or paralysis of the stomach. She is now in therapy for her eating induced anxiety as well as her Gastro paresis in hopes that she can gain weight and kick these panic attacks to the curb.
As mentioned earlier, Samira also has depression. She says her depression stemmed from re-watching a medical TV show that deals with a condition that has affected her family. She said that the first few weeks after watching those episodes were very hard for her. She cried herself to sleep for a week straight and eventually she found it hard to enjoy things she loved to do. She constantly thought about how unfair it was for this person to be ripped away from her family. She thought about trying to ease the pain with alcohol but never went thought with it because it was the strength of the character on the TV show when dealing with the tragedy that got her through the depression. Almost two years later, Samira is doing a lot better. She has now decided to become a psychotherapist in hopes to save other peoples lives in the same way that this character saved hers. “Even though the depression was a dark bottomless hole, I am glad I went through that. It helped me find my purpose in life. I looked for light in a dark place and now I know I will survive whatever comes my way next.”
Along those same lines, eighteen year old Travis has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He says that it started during his early teen years. It was mild for a while but it soon spiraled out of control and became the catalyst for his depression. He kept feeling emotions that were out of place and hearing thoughts that weren’t his. Through medication and support from friends, he has overcome his OCD and depression.
On the other side of the spectrum, a mental health disorder can actually change the way a person perceives the world. For eleven year old Brianna, born with early-onset schizophrenia, has a completely different world from us.

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According to the video about her story, she sees people, such as Seven, an imaginary number who commands her to do things, such as stabbing her mom with a pair of scissors. It is believed that Seven is actually a person Brianna becomes which means that she also has Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder) which is another devastating and dangerous mental health disorder  in which someone has multiple personalities.
One other difficult to diagnose but dangerous mental health disorder to diagnose is psychopathy. These people are masters of disguise. They are very observant and can seem like normal people. All though they may seem to have charm, it is superficial charm and they are most likely going to manipulate you. These people can be serial killers. They have no remorse for loss of human life and no empathy for the crimes they commit. They are extremely violent and are the types of people who will go to a mall and shoot a bunch of people for enjoyment. They need stimulation, like killing people and that is why they do the horrific things we see in the news.
For example, in 2003, Gail Sands was found floating in her pool, face down along with a twenty foot ladder. It was said that she had fallen when she was trying to move the ladder in order to clear some tree branches, so it was ruled as an accident. It wasn’t until the medical examiner noticed the trauma marks on the back of her head during the autopsy that indicated that it wasn’t an accident. It was brutal murder. No one who knew the couple, would have thought that her own husband, Lionel Sands would eventually be convicted as the murderer. To most people he was an ordinary human, but to a psychologist, it was very obvious he was a psychopath. He never looked you in the eye, he kept himself very isolated and he always seemed to be observing people he met and copying what they did.
In most cases, disorders such as anxiety, depression and even psychopathy can be treated with medication as well as one on one therapy with a psychotherapist. This kind of treatment is very costly for families without health insurance because these appointments can cost anywhere between three to six hundred dollars per session. Often times, this is why most people don’t go to therapy when they need it. In 2013, a study was done amongst adults ages eighteen and over. Fifty one percent said they can’t afford mental health treatment because the cost is too high, even if they had insurance for it.
The cost of getting mediation is even higher; almost up to a thousand dollars every three months without insurance. And often times, medications don’t work, they become addictive which creates more problems in itself, or they can make the problem it’s trying to treat even worse. If we’re to take better care of ourselves, the cost of mental health care should be lower as to make it more affordable for people.
Why is mental health a public health concern? We have a growing number of people who commit suicide each year or go on a shooting rampage before ending their own life. As stated earlier, ninety percent of these people have one or more mental health disorders whether it was diagnosed or undiagnosed. Shootings like the ones at public places put everyone at danger. If we do more research into how we can save and treat people with mental health disorders, we can lower the chance of  public shootings as well as the suicide rate.
Here is what we can do to help the people who want it. First, mental health care needs to be more affordable. There needs to be some sort of law, in which mental health care for everyone is either free or at very low cost. This will help people with low income get the treatment they deserve. No one deserves to have a mental health disorder and everyone who wants treatment should be able to get it. Secondly, in high schools especially, there should be a hired psychotherapist available to help students deal with their issues, whether that is being bullied to the point of suicide, or having panic attacks. In college, there are psychotherapists on staff, so why can’t high schools have it too? Most of the school shootings we see are in high school, which should be a red flag as to something that needs immediate attention. Also, all businesses should offer their employees with free mental health services with a certified psychotherapist. Maybe this would help a disgruntled employee not going on a shooting rampage.

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Society in general needs to be more aware of the different types of mental disorders there are and how to treat them efficiently. Lastly, all the people interviewed in this agree that instead of more medications for people with mental health disorders, we need an understanding amongst society. We need to have courage to tell people, “What has happened to us.” not so much, “What is wrong with us.” without feeling like society will lock us up for having a mental health disorder.
Mental Health is an ongoing and increasing problem in our country unless health insurance becomes more affordable for each and every person. Only then will we see a huge improvement in our everyday lives.

CCG of the Month! Meet Iman:

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Iman Kasabian
Please tell us about yourself: I’m 16 and I’ve lived in California my whole life. I have two siblings and love reading, writing and acting.
Instagram: @marie.iman and @imankasabian
Please tell us about your faith journey?
I accepted Christ when I was in the first grade, but never really got to know Him and who He really was until I went through a rough spot. I discovered His mercy and grace and truly came to Him as a freshman in high school. I’m a junior now.
Favorite Bible verse(s) and why that verse speaks to you?
Proverbs 31: 25-31
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

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I love it because that’s the woman I want to be!
What do you think the hardest part about wanting to become a Proverbs 31 woman in today’s society?
I think society often tells us to be the opposite, especially with giving instructions with kindness because there’s always a lot of pride involved.
What’s the advice you’d give to others who wish to pursue becoming a Proverbs 31 woman?
Don’t listen to what the world tells you! It’s twisted and contradictory and confusing, so you have to rely on the truth.
What is it that you think defines a Christ Centered Girl and what makes you a Christ Centered Girl?
Well I definitely consider Christ the center of my life! Kylie (Christ Centered Girls founder) was just always a big help and encouraged me when I was going through a lot of things. She was one of the few people who reached out and prayed for me.

A major “thank you” to Iman for being our Christ Centered Girl of the month! It was a pleasure interviewing you! You are a lovely young Christian woman and may you be blessed in all that you do! ☺

 

5 Ways to Spend Time in God’s Word This Summer

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BY: Isabella Morganthal

It was June 3, 2011.

Summer was just beginning and the sun was shining warm and bright. But I remember my focus that day was not on summer or the sunshine. My focus was wrapped around the neatly packaged box I had just received from UPS. My very first National Bible Bee box.

You see, for the summer of 2011 I had signed up to participate in a competition for young people, that was focused on Scripture memorization and studying the Word of God. June 3, 2011 began my first journey with the Bible Bee. Yet what I soon realized was that this competition was not really about a competition at all. It wasn’t even really about the Bible Bee, or the prizes, or making it to the national level.

I continued to compete in the Bible Bee every summer until I aged out in the fall of 2015. I walked away from the competition having never even made it to the top 5 final round or winning any cash prizes. But honestly, none of that mattered to me. The one thing that mattered to me was what the Bible Bee is all about: the Word of God.

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You see, I already had my prize. The priceless and matchless Word of God in my heart was a prize greater than any earthly treasure. And when I walked away from the Bible Bee, I had a deeper love for and understanding of God’s Word.

You may never have heard of the Bible Bee, so you may be wondering how it’s possible for you to love God’s Word just as much and make time for Him over the summer. I know summer always seems to fly by and be so much busier than we hoped. But if you want to radically change your spiritual life this summer, here are my top 5 tips for falling deeper in love with God’s Word…

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  1. Choose a specific quiet time that you will have every day. Set this time so that it is the same time every day, getting you into the habit of it. I prefer to have my Bible reading in the morning, shortly after I wake up. Doing it this way prepares me for the day ahead and immerses me in God’s presence right away. Maybe the afternoon works best for you though, when you’re more alert. Or maybe you would rather have this time right before bed. Whatever works best for you, choose that time and purpose to stick to it! Don’t give up!

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  1. Complete a Bible study. It’s great to read a chapter or two in your Bible, but if you want to grow and develop a deeper relationship with Christ, study is what you need to do! When you study the truths in the Bible and God’s words to you, they will come alive and allow you to understand Him better. You can do this on your own, using a notebook to journal what you’re studying. Choose a theme, such as patience, that you want to study and use Bible study tools (Strong’s concordance, Bible maps/charts, Greek/Hebrew word studies) to learn more. A great online website for study tools is: www.blueletterbible.org. If you’re just starting out however, and you’re a little unsure how to do all this studying on your own, consider purchasing a Bible study or commentary from a popular author! There is an abundance of them out there that are so good. Some of my favorite Bible studies however, come from Lysa Terkeurst.
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  3.   Have an accountability partner. Let’s be honest. Sometimes when we make goals/plans we tend to do it alone and then we totally fall behind. When we don’t have accountability it can be easier for us to ignore our plans and just let them slide. This goes for our Bible reading too! So this summer, get an accountability partner. Encourage, pray for each other, and share what God is teaching you. Meet every now and then just to catch up and spend time in person. Maybe you can even go through a Bible study together!

 

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  2. Memorize Scripture. I’ve been memorizing Scripture basically since I could talk. Memorizing Scripture is super important to me, and here is why it should be important for you too: “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You! Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes! With my lips I have declared all the judgements of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” (Psalm 119:9-16 NKJV) This verse is all about hiding God’s Word in our hearts! Make your goal this summer as you read the Bible to also take time to fill your heart with the words too.

5. Check out the National Bible Bee! Yes, this was coming. 🙂 If you are between the ages of 7-18 and you want to grow in Jesus over the summer and you want to make reading/studying your Bible a priority, sign up for the Bible Bee! The summer study registration usually opens sometime in April each year. You won’t regret checking it out and participating in 2018. Visit their website here: http://www.biblebee.org.

Have fun growing in Jesus this summer, friends!