A Brief Survey of Bible Reading, Bible Study, and Personal Devotions [their similarities, differences, and such]

We’ve got a few housekeeping things to get out of the way: 1) I’m not going to give a good reason why this post is so late because there isn’t one 2) November is my blogging break month, so no Penprints posts (keep a weather eye on the Facebook page for any momentous updates) 3) I’m doing NaNoWriMo for the first time in a few years!!! 4) there’s probably something I’m forgetting.

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Bible reading.

What it is: Reading the Bible. Here’s what you do: grab your Biblical text, settle in somewhere, and read through a chapter or book of the Bible (I know, we were all kind of unsure).

What it doesn’t do: Bible reading alone cannot nourish a soul. Scripture is the richest soul-food, but you can’t be filled up by something just by looking at it, or even putting it into your mouth. You have to chew on it, swallow it, and make it part of who you are (more on that later).

Bible reading “done well”: The best Bible reading springs from a heart realization not that you should read the Bible but that you need to read it, that if you don’t read it, you won’t survive. The best Bible reading is approached with hunger and humility. It’s Spirit-led, and both the mind and the heart are engaged, soft, and meditative/contemplative.

Why do it: The Bible is how God decided to tell us about Himself; it’s His chief form self-revelation. So, from a desire to know God flows the reading of His Word, and from reading the Bible comes a heart and mind that are saturated with Scripture.

Bible study.

What it is: Intense, extensive study of the Bible. This involves examining the context, wording, grammar, cross-references, etc.. The passage(s) in question is read and then reread and then rereread. Notes are kept, questions are asked, and answers are found. Theoretically. (Or, my favorite thing ever: I end up with more questions than I had when I started).

What it doesn’t do: Bible study alone cannot feed the soul. An exercise of the mind without the engagement of the heart will result in knowledge but not nourishment.

 

Bible study “done well”: Approach Bible study with much prayer and openness. It’s something to do with God, to enjoy and discuss with Him. Check yourself to make certain you’re delighting in the Word itself and God Himself and not in the discovery process. There’s a special thrill in realization and finding an long-sought answer, and it’s good to enjoy that bit of satisfaction… but it shouldn’t be the primary source of our satisfaction and joy.

Why do it: 1) Because we’re commanded to do it (2 Timothy 2). 2) Investigation is a byproduct of a healthy, worshipful heart. 3) We’re called to be stewards of God’s mysteries, and while they’re called “mysteries” for a reason (i.e. – we don’t even know what we don’t know about them, and we likely never will), it’s our responsibility as stewards to share our knowledge with others… and how can we share it if we don’t have it? And how can we have it if we don’t look for it?

Personal devotions.

What it is: Personal devotions (aka: quiet time, devos, or Jesus time) is where Bible reading, study, prayer, meditation, worship, and self-examination all come together to create rocket-fuel for the Christian life. This is where the heart, mind, soul, and strength strive together know God and then be like God. This is where the mind is renewed and the soul feasts.

What it doesn’t do: Doing devotions can help equip you to grow and live the Christian life, but you have to do just that: live the Christian life. Just as faith without works is dead, what you taste and see in your quiet time is dead if it isn’t translated into your everyday life.

 

Personal devotions “done well”: I don’t think there’s really a right or wrong way to do devotions, and I think that they will look a little different for each person, but there are a few universal principles.

If you don’t do it with the Holy Spirit, it’s worthless; so ask for the Holy Spirit (and really mean it). Be purposeful and intentional. Strive to be undistracted. Don’t lie to yourself or God about what you find in the text or yourself. Do it every day (that includes weekends) as much as possible.

Clarifications: Devotions are not reading a book about the Bible. Yes, you can read a book about the Bible, but you must balance it with actually reading the Bible itself. You can have a guide or commentary, but it’s important to remember what someone says about God’s Word isn’t as valuable as God’s Word itself.

Devotions are not public. This means you don’t broadcast them (i.e. – don’t do it in a public place, and don’t post about doing it on social media).

Devotions are not meant to be preparation to teach others. Pastors, small group leaders, and other teachers should have a time separate from sermon/lesson/discussion preparation outside of the their devotions. Devotions are where the Holy Spirit meets our personal needs, and teaching can spring out of that, but teaching should not be the goal. Knowing God should be the goal.

Devotions are more involved than Bible reading and Bible study alone because it incorporates more spiritual disciplines (more time spent in prayer, worship, reflection, application, etc.).

Devotions won’t always look the same for all people. Sometimes there will be more study time, sometimes much more prayer, sometimes more simple reading and relishing the Word, sometimes more worship, and it all depends on each person’s season in life and specific needs.

Why do it: If we want to know and be like God, we won’t just think about wanting to know and be like Him; we’ll ask Him to help us know and be like Him. And if we want to know and be like God, we won’t just ask for His help and sit on our hands; we’ll read His Word. If we want to know and be like God, we won’t just read His Word; we’ll meditate on it. If we want to know and be like God, we won’t just meditate on His Word; we’ll study it, knowing that in studying it, we are studying Him. And if we want to know and be like God, we won’t just study Him; we’ll ask Him to help us know and be like Him.

And so the cycle continues, the desire followed by the asking followed by the reading followed by the mediation followed by the study followed by the asking again, and the soul that goes through that cycle will follow it with action–changed thinking and behavior and way of life. And the soul that is characterized by hearing and then doing will be the soul that grows up into the image of Christ.

A few warnings.

Any spiritual discipline can easily become a rite of religion we do because we know we should.

As our eyes skim the verses during Bible reading, our brains can drop into autopilot, and the God-breathed words–the most powerful words ever to be said and printed–become nothing more than black shapes on a sheer white page. They go in before one blink and out after the next, and we have a vague sense that something about grace is being said, but we don’t really what it is, just that it’s something to grace and glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and other such Bible jazz.

When conducting intense study, the Bible can quickly become a textbook, and turning the Bible into a textbook is dangerous because it’s not a textbook. The Bible is the special self-revelation of God, a Being we don’t and never will understand. Yet, when studying the Bible, it is so easy for it to become an intellectual pursuit, engaging every cylinder of our minds while leaving our hearts and souls unaffected by the knowledge.

Pride is another danger, and when I say danger, I say it with flashing warning signs and blaring sirens because pride is a fire no one can get close to and not be burned. Pride in efforts or “results” from Bible reading, study, etc. is so appallingly natural; it’s the road our old nature wants to race down headlong given any opportunity. (And before you say you don’t have pride, you need to think again.)

Keep guard against legalism setting in as you seek to establish healthy habits, and always remember that grace super-abounds.

Don’t do one or the other; do all three.

Read your Bible outside of your devotions time. Learn to delight in it, pleasure read it. Regular, extensive Bible reading is not what “good” or “devout” Christians do. Regular extensive Bible reading is what hungry, needy, weak-and-owning-it Christians do.

Study your Bible outside your devotions time. Look into all the things that raise questions, seek and find answers. Puzzle over all the mysteries and come as close as possible to understanding all of them.

That’s all for today, kids.

So we’ve come to the end of my brief survey. What are your personal definitions of these things? Anything to add or object to? What do your devotions look like right now?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but then I lost the feature image and was too annoyed to figure out a new feature image at 11:05 pm on Sunday, and so here we are on Tuesday.

P.P.S. – I think I might be moving toward a final redesign soon (and, of course, I’m using “final” in the loosest sense of the word)!

P.P.P.S. – there’s probably a typo or two in this post, but I’m kind of beyond caring at the moment (you know when you’re wandering around the house in sweatpants with two day old makeup on your face, a mug of thrice-reheated coffee in your hand, and and bed hair? Yeah, I’m right there. Figuratively.).

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4 Thoughts on Cultivating an Appetite for God

We (Christians) often talk about desiring God’s Word and God’s will and God’s glory and God’s blessings and God’s work and bunch of other things of God, and all those are good things, the best things, actually. Yet frankly, wanting the things of God is meaningless without wanting God Himself.

So let’s talk about cultivating an appetite for God Himself because so often I’m too distracted to chase, not the things He does or says, but simply (yet not at all simply) Him, God, Yahweh.

 

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Why crave God?

What’s the difference between yearning for the things of God and yearning for God Himself? Is there a difference?

They’re entangled, feeding into each other at different times, but they are not the same. God is a Person, not a thing, and the things of God are just that—things, not God. And the things of God do not satisfy the soul. They don’t fill up the cracks and crannies and canyons of the soul. They do not fill the soul to overflowing, to bursting; God does that. God satisfies and floods to the point of brimming and spilling over, and it is God, who crafted the soul, who can truly meet all its needs and longings. So that’s why we must go after an appetite for God—because in Him is the fullness of joy.

The appetite.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it just to be clear: you and I cannot make ourselves hungry for God. There’s nothing we can do on our own to work ourselves into a true, salivating, soul-rumbling hunger for God. As it is with all things, we must first ask God to open us up to it, ask Him to give us what we cannot get on our own: an appetite for Himself.

This is not a “step” to breeze over because of its plainness or elementary nature; without this, the rest falls to pieces. Appetite is not based solely on craving, but instead craving and simple need are knotted together, and out of that comes the hunger. Thus, recognizing the base need and bringing it before God in spirit and in truth is where this all begins. So don’t skip this part.

Second, I think we need to return to wonder. I’ve been in church since the womb, and I get quite comfortable with God, used to Him (or, at least, I’m used to my idea of Him). God can seem stale to me, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m hardly amazed by God, not because He isn’t amazing but because I’ve lost wonder.

Let’s take something that seems so simple, something I’ve sung since before I can remember, something I careen past unthinking, unfeeling every day: “Jesus loves me this I know.”

Take a moment and think. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you. Consider who, what Jesus is—the image of the invisible God; the One by whom, for whom, and through whom the universe was created and is held together; the second person in the triune Godhead; the One so holy that it’s shouted back and forth in heaven and again and again and again, “Holy, holy, holy!”; the One who is so much beyond us, before us, that we can’t hope to express it. And this is a short, basic version.

Now, consider who you are, what you are—dust on a pale blue dot suspended in a universe wider and wilder than our minds can fathom. Now, not paying any attention to the things you and I have said and done, let’s go straight for the jugular: the things we think and feel. Varying degrees of indifference to God because He isn’t us. Varying degrees of disgust for others because they aren’t us. Not-really-varying-degrees of love for ourselves because we are us.

I’m an incredibly self-absorbed creature; so much of the time, I think of the world (and scarier yet—God) in relation to me, how I think things should be done, how it affects me, how other people make me feel, everyone else’s flaws, all my virtues. My world is me. My universe is me. (And remember, this is the short, blurry version because I can hardly bear to think about, much less write about, the seemingly endless, excruciatingly specific list of ugly things in me.)

Now, let’s put the two together. Jesus loves me. And since He’s the omniscient God, He knows all about that seemingly endless list of ugly things with more clarity than I can dream of and shudder to think of. And since He’s the Most Holy One, in my twisted, fallen, hideous state, I am an affront to Him, an offense to His awesome purity. Yet, He has decided to love me, has swept all that away, has given me His purity, His goodness, His righteousness, His holiness so that I might regain what was lost in Eden—the chance to come spotless before God and offer worship.

So that’s what I mean when I say that an appetite for God means recapturing wonder, and wonder is found in stillness and thinking. It’s been said that when you think about something for any lengthy bit of time, you can’t help but find wonder in it. So take time to wonder at and in God, to be broken and weeping at what you see in yourself and to be trembling and gasping at what you see of God. Seeing God with wonder, seeing Him as He really is, cuts open this profound need to see Him more. So we ask Him to graciously show us Himself, and then we take time to be wonderstruck.

Third, look for someone(s)—living or dead—whose appetite for God is/was worth emulating. And then emulate it.

For me, that’s the Psalmists (especially David), my brothers (Caleb and Luke), and A.W. Tozer.  See what they’ve done (or are doing) that compels them to want God so badly, and do it yourself. For me, it’s been reading Scripture, talking with my brothers, watching my brothers in their lives, reading good books, reading the Psalms aloud, and hearty, honest prayer.

Lastly, we have to eradicate the things—anything—that dulls our appetite for God, remove anything else that would slake our hunger and thirst (because we’re always hungry and thirsty for something; it just varies on what we fill up on). Locate the junk food in your life and cut it out. This can really be anything. Some will be sin, the obvious ones to get the axe. Slander. Fits of anger. Pornography. Gluttony. Lying. Slothfulness. Whatever it is, it needs to go. And then there are the less obvious ones, the ones that aren’t wrong per ce, but they also aren’t helpful (the whole lawful vs. helpful business). If it’s not increasing your appetite for God, it’s curbing your craving for Him. Whatever it/they is/are, we have to ruthlessly cut it/them out.

The paradox of it all.

God fulfills us, yet we can never get enough of Him. A voraciously hungry soul is fed beyond all contentment, yet is never satisfied. It’s absurd, enigmatic, too puzzling for me to actually understand, but I’ve found it to be true myself. A. W. Tozer puts it like this: “To have found God and still pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”

The end of the matter (or rather, the end of this post).

An appetite for God doesn’t come about overnight (much to my dismay), but when it comes, it comes in intense hunger pangs because once the living God reveals Himself to a craving soul, even just a sliver of who He is, all that can be done is to lurch after Him, gasping, searching, crying out “More!”.

 “O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1-2.

What do you think? Any suggestions to add for cultivating an appetite for God? Where is your appetite?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – the topic of this post was decided by the lovely people over on Twitter. Thanks for voting for your favorite topic, Twitter peeps! I could not decide for the life of me.

Mastered by Nothing [a beginner’s guide to self-control] [written by a beginner]

A couple weeks ago in my post about writing and its negative potency in my life, I talked very briefly on the idea of being mastered by everything but Jesus. Well, today, I’m digging into the idea and worthy goal of being mastered by nothing but Jesus.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and get going.

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“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12

At the core of this post is I Corinthians 6:12, and at the heart of 1 Corinthians 6:12 is self-control. Originally, this verse was specifically about self-control in the area of sexual sin, which is important to remember, however, I think there is much to be gleaned here regarding self-control in all areas of life.

As Christians, we have great freedom because of the liberty Christ bought for us with His blood (literally, He paid for every angle of our freedom as Christians with His blood; the more I think about it the wilder and more wondrous I realize it is. So don’t breeze over the truth of the high cost of our freedom.).

Not only are we free from bondage to sin and spiritual death in this life and the next (a thrilling and freeing truth by itself), we are also free from the need of a temple to offer sacrifice in because Jesus was the last sacrifice. We are free from the need of a priest to mediate between us and God because Jesus is our high priest. We’re free from every rule and ritual of the Law because Jesus fulfilled the Law.

We are free to do anything, but not everything will help us be like Christ. We are free to do anything, but we are not to be slaves to anything but Christ. What I mean when I say that we’re free to do anything is that we are able to do anything because the grace of God doesn’t ever end and will never be used up, so we are “allowed” to do anything. However, doing absolutely anything is an abuse of grace. Paul says in Romans 6: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

So, let me say it again: under grace, all things are lawful because the Law is fulfilled and ended in Christ, but just because we can do it doesn’t mean we should. Under grace, all things are lawful because Christ set us free from the rule of the Law, but we are not to be controlled by anything. I think that’s the gist of 1 Corinthians 6:12.

Yet we so easily abuse our incredibly expensive, blood-bought freedom.

I misuse my liberty in a lot of different ways. I do things that are “allowed” but aren’t all that helpful, things that don’t spur me to be like Christ. I have habits and mindsets that aren’t forbidden but they’ve grown to a place where they rule me instead of living under my control. We can be mastered by host of different things, but I’ll just give a few examples.

I am mastered by my body when my alarm goes off and I hit snooze five times because I want more sleep and don’t have enough control to just get up (it’s a simple yet telling practice of the state of my self-discipline).

I am controlled by my cell phone when every little ding and blip and whistle has me tugging my phone out of my pocket and scrolling through notifications instead of devoting myself fully to the task at hand.

I am enslaved to my cravings and emotions when I breeze into the kitchen because my story just got rejected and I need some comfort food instead of dealing with rejection in a healthy, godly way.

I am dominated by my body when my hormones are on a warpath, and my anger comes lashing off my tongue.

I am mastered by my emotions when depression creeps up and drags me down into the mud, and instead of doing the work to haul through it, I wallow in it.

I am controlled by my aspirations when writing fills my thoughts, whips my emotions, and dictates my time use (see the post from a couple weeks ago).

And there are so many other things that so often end up controlling us: anxiety, money, sex, body-image, hobbies, possessions, ambitions, etc.; the list goes on and on.

And here’s the deal: sleep is necessary; sleep is good. But my body and however sleepy or tired it is should not rule me. My cell phone is good, but my cell phone should not control my attention. Food is necessary; food is good. Food is to be enjoyed and savored! But my desire for food for any reason should not master me. I have been created with hormones and emotions, and they do need to be processed. But that’s the things: I need to process my feelings, but my feelings should never process me.

I am free to sleep in and have a cell phone and eat yummy food and experience a full range of emotions, but not all those things are always helping my new nature slay my old one. I am free to sleep in and have a cell phone and eat yummy food and experience a full range of emotions, but none of them should ever control me.

So that leaves us with the problem of self-control. Self-control (or self-disciple or self-restraint) is one of those annoying things that’s far easier said (or written or read) than it is lived. So how can we make our bodies and emotions our servants instead of our masters?

Well, we can’t. This is the part that gets my pride all fluffed up, offended, and territorial because what in the world do you mean I can’t control myself?

Self-control isn’t a matter of self; it’s a matter of Spirit. Either we are controlled by whatever our personal vices are, or we are controlled by the Holy Spirit. There is no in between or part where we actually hold the reigns; we only get to decide who/what we’re going to pass the reigns to.

Self-control is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5, and it’s one of eight attributes listed in 2 Peter 1. Both lists are like the process of sanctification in a nutshell. True believers will grow in these ways, but true growth is not a matter of willpower or work. Self-control is something to strive for, but we don’t get it overnight. It’s a process. And just like every other part of sanctification, it takes humility and time and intentionality and Spirit-reliance and daily, hourly, minutely gracious refillings of the Holy Spirit.

Recognizing that we can’t do it ourselves, that we’re still so weak, is the first step, and the next is faithful pursuit of knowing Christ and being like Christ. And then it’s a cycle of choosing to take those steps again and again and again.

In the everyday life, it looks like praying, “God, I can’t do this, but I want to because I want to be like You. I will run as hard and fast as I can to You, and I will trust that Your Holy Spirit will supply everything I lack to carve me into a better likeness of Your Son.” It looks like then asking in faith and expectation for opportunities to exercise self-control, to be shown where you need self-control, and prepare to be given lots of chances to practice self-control.

So, it is in being mastered by Jesus that we become mastered by nothing else.

Let’s drop a swanky bookend on this post.

As the title of states, this is only a beginner’s guide, and since it’s been written by a beginner, take it with a grain of salt and realize that this is barely even an introduction to self-control. For further reading on grace, sin, and self-control, I recommend Romans, 1 Corinthians, Proverbs, Ephesians, and this sermon from John Piper. (I’m recommending the whole books instead of specific verses because the fullness of the text is captured within its context, and the sermon from John Piper helped me write this post. Also, there’s a lot more to be found in Scripture about self-control; these are just the books I’ve been reading and ruminating over recently which spurred the writing of this post.)

Let’s chat it up. Anything to add? Do you struggle with self-control, or is there a different fruit of the Spirit/quality that you’re working on? What do you do to grow into the likeness of Christ?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – so, about the clickbait feature image of the Lego Loki in the tiny birdcage… well, I was racking my little brain about what I could photograph to capture the idea of self-control. I decided on the birdcage, and I was going to run with it and contrive some sort of decent explanation (like, we have to “cage our old nature” type thing; so brilliant, I know). But then I saw my little Lego Loki (curtesy of my Aunt Lis!), and then I was like: “Forget trying to make this picture relevant to the post or anything in life really. Some silliness is in order.”

And that’s how Lego Loki ended up in the tiny birdcage on Penprints.

When Something I Love Became Something It Shouldn’t

*insert witty post preface that makes you want to read this post*

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This past June and July were intense writing months for me. I reread Draft Three of Beasts, found a dysfunctional story, and decided that I could and would fix it. Because that’s what I do. I fix things. And if I can’t fix something, it drives me just a little bit crazy. And so help me, I was going to fix this story if it killed me.

A lot of June went into brainstorming how this fixing was going to happen and figuring out just how much of the 90,000 word Draft Three was going to be axed. As it turns out, 85k met the sword in my pursuit of a better fourth draft. I was on a deadline, one I couldn’t move again, so I dove into rewriting (fourth time’s a charm, right?).

I enjoyed very few (translation: zero) of the hours upon hours upon hours poured into the actual rewrites. Between hating the story itself and being drained spiritually, emotionally, and mentally by the other things going on in my personal life, the last thing I wanted to do was try and put what little I had left into fixing that stupid, broken story. As I wrote, I came to dislike it even more because the story was too warped to fix in one draft, but I had to do what I could because I’d postponed the Deadline too much already (the Deadline was an editorial review with an amazing freelance editor).

So I wrote, and I hated it. Doing the writing. The words themselves. Coughing up thousands and thousands of brand new words. Feeling guilty on days I only wrote 1,000 words. Sick with stress that made my family question if it was worth it, if I should write when it so obviously drove me to further physical exhaustion, anxiety, and emotional distress. I was wound so tight that I was popping a couple times a week in one way or another.

But I’m a writer, and writers write.

So that’s what I did. I wrote. I lived and breathed that story for five whole weeks. My sun rose and fell on how much progress I’d made, how many words I’d put on the page, how many days spun between me and the Deadline, and if I thought I could make it. Because so help me, I was going to make it. My thoughts ran in a constant, dogged cycle of plot and characters and questions and cringing over how people would react. Oh, yes, I was always anxious about what people would think when they read it, a bit of black terror crunching my heart whenever I guessed what they’d say. Too dark. Too confusing. Too simple. Too choppy. Too weird. Underdeveloped. Not enough description. Trying too hard. Too many plot holes. Childish. And let’s not even get into that rushed excuse for an ending.

I finished it, though, and it came to just over 60,000 words with just one day to spare. So off it went to an editor, and I was finally freeeeeeeeeee.

Except I wasn’t.

The anxiety and fear hounded me, and the remnants of the story hung in my mind, saturating my thoughts still because the whole time I was writing, something was missing, something big. And the absence of this thing was what put me into such a frenetic state, and I knew it. I knew what was wrong, why I was so agitated and turbulent; it wasn’t just about stress or dedication or perseverance or getting too little sleep.

It came into sharp focus when I received my edits. My editor had so many good thoughts and critiques, but one thing she said, an offhand kind of comment, struck me: “I can’t wait to see what God will do with it once it’s even more polished.”

Ah, right. God. Him. You know, the One I’ve said up and down that my writing is for blah, blah, blah. Yeah, Him.

I knew I was writing without Him, knew I was driving a wedge between us by how everything else was mastering me. I did my devotions faithfully, and I sought Him… but not as hard as I sought to fix that story. It’s sadly ironic—I didn’t like even one aspect of writing and story at the time, yet it was the writing and story that dominated my thoughts, took hold of my emotions, and consumed my energy instead of devotion to my Christ.

What I loved became something it was never intended—by me or my Jesus—to be. Ever.

It was a twisted form of worship, not to God, but to myself and what I could accomplish, had to accomplish, devoid of my greatest Vision. And after writing with and for God as much as I have tried to, I was keenly aware of how hard it was to wrestle against Him and try and make Him bless my work while I carried and would not give up a double-heart. A heart that wanted Him but not enough to make me seek Him with everything like I used to. A heart that wanted His blessings and hand in my writing but not enough to live like it. A heart that took the story He gave me and made it into something less, much less.

And I’ve spent the last month lying to myself, telling myself that it was so hard because I procrastinated (though, that did happen), it was so hard because the story was too much to fix in one shot (though, it was to an extent), it was so hard because of all the other things going sideways in life, it was so hard because blah blah blah.

Well, no, it was so hard because I did it alone, because I did it hoping to create something incredible by myself. I was all at once terrified of what people would say and yearning for their praise and approval, wanting them to tell me I had made something great and powerful. And most laughably of all, I wanted people to say that they were moved spiritually, that they understood grace a little better, that God spoke through it yet I wasn’t involving God in the writing. (And don’t mistake me: God can involve Himself in whatever He sees fit to with or without anyone knowing or recognizing it. My point here is that my heart was impure.)

What then? Now that I’m being honest—with myself and God and everyone else too—how do I untangle this? How do I put writing back where it is meant to be and bow my heart again to God?

Well, thank goodness I’m not doing it by myself. It’s been a lot of thinking and praying and wrestling with the Holy Spirit and opening hands and remembering and relearning truth I’ve somehow forgotten and coming back to full, true worship and communion with Him for the first time in weeks.

Why am I posting this on the blog? Because I’ve read that being honest and real (and ten other buzzwords like “authentic”) is important, and also because it hurts my pride more than just little to admit (on the freaking internet) that I struggled hard with things that this post and this post would have everyone believe I’m so far over.

There is always the danger that the things we love will become something they shouldn’t, will take on a role they aren’t meant to, and my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will help mightily, just like He helps me and is patient with me.

With love,

Rosalie <3

My Worship Playlist

Happy Monday!

A little while ago, I talked a little about why I make music part of my personal devotions time, and some of you asked for some recommendations for songs to use for intentional, personal worship. Well, today I’m finally sharing the list of songs that currently comprises my personal worship playlist.

I’m including some of the lyrics to each song, and if you click on the song, it will take you to the best YouTube version (theoretically, a lyric video) I could find!

my-worship-playlist.jpg

What a Beautiful Name.

“What a beautiful name it is,

Nothing compares to this,

What a beautiful name it is,

The name of Jesus.”

For the Cross.

“Then on that day, what seemed as the darkest hour,

A violent hope broke through and shook the ground,

And as You rose, oh the Light of all the world was magnified,

As You rose in victory.”

O Praise the Name.

“Then on third, at break of dawn,

The Son of heaven rose again,

O trampled death, where is your sting?

The angels roar for Christ the King.”

God, You Are My God.

“No praise can define You,

No thought can contain You, God,

No other one is holy,

No other one is robed in righteousness.”

Be Enthroned.

“And unto You, the slain and risen King,

We lift our voice with heaven singing,

Worthy are You Lord.”

Resurrecting.

“By Your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat,

The resurrected King is resurrecting me,

In Your name I come alive to declare Your victory,

The resurrected King is resurrecting me.”

Captain.

“Jesus, my Captain,

My soul’s trusted Lord,

All my allegiance is rightfully Yours.”

Boldly I Approach.

“Behold the bright and risen Son,

More beauty than this world has known,

I’m face to face with Love Himself,

His perfect spotless righteousness,

A thousand years, a thousand tongues, are not enough to sing His praise.”

Simplicity.

“I come in simplicity, longing for purity,

To worship You in spirit and truth,

Only You.”

In the Garden.

“And He walks with me,

And He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own,

And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

My Worth Is Not In What I Own.

“I rejoice in my Redeemer, 

Greatest Treasure, Wellspring of my soul,

I will trust in Him, no other,

My soul is satisfied in Him alone.”

Fall Afresh.

“Spirit of the living God, come fall afresh on me,

Come wake me from my sleep.”

Be Thou My Vision.

“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;

Thou my inheritance now and always.”

Crowns.

“I will not boast in riches,

I have no pride in gold,

But I will boast in Jesus,

And in His name alone.”

All I Have Is Christ.

“Oh Father, use my ransomed life,

In any way You choose,

And let my song forever be,

My only boast is You.”

Come Thou Fount.

“Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be,

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.

O Come to the Altar.

“Oh what a Savior, isn’t He wonderful?

Sing alleluia, Christ is risen,

Bow down before Him, for He is Lord of all,

Sing alleluia, Christ is risen.”

Sweet Hour of Prayer.

“In seasons of distress and grief,

My soul has often found relief,

And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,

By thy return, sweet hour of prayer.”

Even If.

“You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good all my days,

Jesus, I will cling to You come what may,

‘Cause I know You’re able,

And I know You can.”

Do It Again.

“You made a way when there was no way,

And I believe I’ll see You do it again.”

It Is Well.

“Whatever my lot,

Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well,

It is well with my soul.”

Call Upon the Lord.

“Jesus’ name will break every stronghold,

Freedom is ours when we call His name.

Jesus’ name above every other,

All hail the power of Jesus’ name.”

You Love Me Anyway.

“See now, I was the man who yelled out from the crowd,

For Your blood to be spilt on this earth-shaken ground,

Yes, then I turned away with a smile on my face,

With this sin in my heart, tried to bury your grace,

And then alone in the night, I still called out for You,

So ashamed of my life, my life, my life,

But You love my anyway.”

Grace Unmeasured.

“Grace unending all my days,

You’ll give me strength to run this race,

And when my years on earth are through,

The praise will all belong to You.”

What Grace Is Mine.

“What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light,

Called through the night to find my distant soul.

And from His scars poured mercy that would plead for me,

That I might live, and in His name be known.”

To Live Is Christ.

“My great desire is to be with You,

But this is the place You chose for me,

This is the place You chose for me,

To lift my cross and give everything,

This is the time You gave to me,

This is the time You gave to me,

For me to live is Christ.”


Have you heard of any of these songs? Do YOU have a personal worship playlist? Do you think you’ll start one? What do you think about including music in devotions?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – the winner of the paperback copy of The Girl Who Could See is Kat Vinson of Sparks of Ember! Keep an eye on your inbox for an email from me, Kat! :D

P.P.S. – also, if all goes according to plan, next week is the (legendary) tour of my bullet journal. You’ll want to hold onto your hats, kids. ;)