It’s the first week of January, so technically it’s still a good time to make New Year’s resolutions. I’m trying to drink more water and eat less sweets in 2016. These are not easy for me. I much prefer the taste of sweet tea and a daily intake of chocolate. Maybe your New Year’s resolution is reading the Bible more consistently or memorizing more scripture. Today’s smartphones and apps make it easier to keep this resolution. Here are five apps to help you maintain a daily diet of God’s word—but there’s no guarantee it will help you lose weight.
- YouVersion: More than 200 million people have already downloaded this app so there’s a good chance you already have it on your phone. Whether you want to read the Bible or hear the Bible, there are reading plans to keep you accountable and ways to share your progress with others. There are lots of new features, including a way you can create scripture images and share them on social media, or text it to a friend.
- MemVerse: This app will allow you to work on scripture memory. Select the verses you want to memorize, load them into your profile and review the verse or verses at your own pace.
- She Reads Truth: Popular with women, you can download the app and read the daily Bible study or have it emailed directly to your inbox. There are beautiful images to help you learn scripture as well. Study packs and journals are available for purchase, and they are beautiful.
- First Five: Developed by Proverbs 31 Ministries, this app helps you connect to God’s Word the first five minutes of your day. Set your alarm with the app, and you’ll have a morning devotion waiting for you.
- Script: Bible Verse Wallpaper Creator: There are several apps that will help you create personal lock screens for your phone, but this is a free one that is easy to use. It’s available for iPhone and iPad devices.
You may have another favorite app that helps you stay in God’s word. Whatever it might be, stay consistent and allow God’s word to penetrate your mind and heart.
Our organization often hires millennials for a variety of positions, but primarily jobs that are office-related. Millennials bring energy and ideas to the team, but there are a few things they should learn in order to put their best foot forward. While the goal isn’t always to “impress” the boss, new hires should make a good “impression.” As a supervisor and mom to millennials, consider these five suggestions.
- Dress professionally. This requires a financial investment, but start building a professional wardrobe. For women—consider the length of your skirt or dress. The closer to the knee, the better. Invest in dress shoes or boots. Leave your flannel shirts at home. For men—polish your shoes. Iron your shirts and press your slacks. Again, flannel shirts are for the weekend. Remember, the way you present yourself reflects how you present your organization.
- Show up on time. Minutes are money to your organization. Your boss may have earned the right to have flexibility in their schedule, but you haven’t. Consider that your supervisor probably answers calls and emails at all hours of the day and may work weekends. If you want to show you care about the organization, show up on time. One more suggestion—just show up. Period. I’ve heard other supervisors share stories of millennials who were surprised that they were expected to show up every day. Where did that come from?
- Take notes. If your supervisor calls you to their office or a meeting, do not show up without a pen and paper. Even if you like to take notes on your phone, resist. Supervisors are like teachers. They don’t want to repeat instructions or directions, so keep notes and a “to do” list. One more suggestion on this topic—leave LOLs and acronyms out of your emails. Not only should you dress professionally, but write professionally, especially when communicating with clients and people outside your organization.
- Be proactive and engaged in the organization. If you find yourself with free time or the tasks are completed, create work. Do not wait for someone to give you another assignment. Read through past files, clean something or dream of ways the organization could improve. Resist the urge to waste time looking at social media on your computer or playing games on your phone. If you serve clients, remove the earbuds. Being engaged also means being ready to listen to people—not Spotify.
- Ask questions. You’re new. You’re not expected to know everything. Find people who can help you navigate the system and ask for help. Side note: Once you’ve asked, learn and don’t ask again. See number 3—take notes when you have a question and refer to them when needed.
These are just a few ideas. What has helped you make a good impression?
How often do you find yourself saying, “I’m praying for you”? How often are you praying for that person? Do you forget to pray, or is it just a kind way of letting someone know of your concern?
I don’t know about you, but I have yet to find someone who says, “Prayer is the spiritual discipline I have mastered.” When I speak with other women and we talk about areas of our spiritual life that are lacking, prayer always comes to the top of the list.
So, how do we truly begin praying for others and being more intentional about our prayer life? This subject has been at the forefront in recent months with the release of the movie, War Room. Popular Christian speaker, author and now actress, Priscilla Shirer, tackles these issues in the book, Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. The book, published by B&H Publishers, is a companion piece to the movie. It is more than just a book “about” prayer. It is a “battle plan” you can put into practice.
Here are a few tips on how you can become more intentional in your prayer life, including suggestions from Shirer’s book and my own personal experience.
- Know your enemy. Ephesians 6 describes the spiritual armor Christians need to use when fighting against Satan. While some people ascribe to the theory of “the best offense is a good defense,” I believe spiritual battle involves going on the offensive. How? With prayer and God’s word. If we are fighting an unseen enemy, let’s go after him with the fuel and power of prayer.
- Pray God’s Word. When you combine God’s Word in prayer, you are affirming what God has already said. One of the ways I like to pray God’s Word is by praying through a Psalm each day. As I read through the Psalm, I allow God to remind me of the needs around me, and it causes me to remember the character of God. I learned how to pray through the Psalms with a simple plan outlined by Dr. Donald Whitney, professor of Biblical Spirituality and associate dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It has revolutionized my quiet time and prayer life. He released a book this summer outlining this plan entitled, Praying the Bible.
- Keep a prayer journal. I’ll admit—I used to be better at keeping a prayer journal than I do these days. I’m not sure how I got out of the habit, but writing down prayers solidifies my need to bring requests before my heavenly Father. It is a great way to be reminded of God’s faithfulness to answer prayer when you look back and see His hand in your life. I love the part in the movie when answered prayers are framed on display for everyone to see.
- Pray when prompted and pray in the moment of need. Because I am in vocational ministry, there are many times during the day I am confronted with prayer needs. Because I know I’m prone to forget them, I stop at the moment I’m prompted and just pray. If I’m speaking with someone and they ask for prayer, I literally stop right then and pray with them. Also, don’t neglect those times when God brings someone to your mind during the day. Allow the Holy Spirit to work through those moments and pray when He prompts you.
If you are looking for ways to be more strategic and intentional in your prayer life, pick up a copy of Fervent. Better yet, share your comments and you’ll be entered to win a free copy of the book, courtesy of B&H.
It’s that most wonderful time of the year. It’s also the most tearful time of the year.
Children are headed back to school. Moms are ready for their children to have a regular schedule. They are ready to send them off for a year of learning, growing and becoming more independent. But there are also a few tears, reminding moms they won’t be at their child’s side, that the world is sometimes a harsh place and another milestone has passed.
I’m at a new place of motherhood. I’ve sent both of my children off for their “last” first day of school. Both of them will graduate from college this year. As my son drove away this morning for his last semester—ever—I reflected back on all the years that has brought us to this point. Some have been challenging, but it is exciting to see him complete this goal and look towards the future.
My daughter began her last full year of college and she’s embarking on a new challenge this semester—student teaching. Instead of sending off a child to school, she’ll be one of the sweet faces that greets children each morning and prepares them for a life of loving music. On her first day, a 6-year-old asked her if she was a kid or an “adult”. She wasn’t quite sure how to answer, but quickly decided “adult” would be the best way to establish a sense of authority.
No matter what stage of education my children have begun, there is one consistent way I’ve approached each year as they leave the house and encounter a new year of school. It’s the best thing I’ve found that I can do for my child.
What is it? This may seem trite or a simple Sunday School answer, but praying for your child is the best thing you can do. It really is the greatest thing you can do—at any stage of life. Praying is not “wishing” or “asking” the Lord to grant your children every request like a Genie in the bottle, but it is going to the Lord and standing in the gap for your child. It is going to battle for your child in the spiritual realm and desiring God to be glorified in their life.
As you send your children off to school this year with new backpacks, lunch boxes and tennis shoes, here are a few specific ways you can pray for your child.
- Pray for them to be respectful of authority. Pray they will learn to listen and obey their teachers. As they learn how to respect others, they will learn how to respect God and obey Him.
- Pray for them to treat others as you want others to treat your child. Help them develop sensitivity to others who are left out or might be different. Pray for your children to develop a love for others now because we need them to love our world with the Gospel.
- Pray for your children to have a hunger for learning—however that might look for them. Do not compare your child to others or shame them because they don’t make straight As. Discover your child’s learning strengths and help them find ways to learn in that strength.
- Pray for your child’s teacher. Be their advocate. Teaching is difficult work, and the ones who teach do it because they believe in the next generation. Listen to their counsel and partner with them to help your child be successful in school. By the way, it doesn’t hurt to surprise them with a gift card or school supplies once in awhile too.
- Pray for your child to be caught when guilty. This isn’t always an easy prayer, but helping your child develop honesty and integrity throughout their education will result in adults who have character.
- Finally, pray your child will be light in a dark place. Pray for them to share Christ with others and look for opportunities to stand against cultural pressures that go against your Biblical worldview. As scripture says, pray they will be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
If you would like to join a group of other moms who are praying for your school and for your children, look for a Moms in Prayer group. The sole purpose of Moms in Prayer is that every school in the world would be covered with prayer. To find a group near you or to start a group, visit momsinprayer.org.
Graduation is over, and job hunting is in full swing for new college grads. If that describes you or someone you know, what sets you apart from the thousands competing in the same job market? Is it your academic record? Your internships? Maybe your volunteer involvement? All of those are valuable markers for your resume, but there are several intangible skills just as important. As you navigate this season of life, consider these fundamental and essential skills every millennial should possess.
- Possess the ability to communicate, both verbally and in written form. Almost every job requires the ability to write effectively, even if it is an email. If you can articulate verbally, you’ll soon find you have a voice of influence and leadership.
- Possess the ability to deal with people. You will work with people you naturally like and those who will challenge you at every level. Relationships will be the key to your success, so learn to listen, learn to adapt and learn how to submit to those in authority.
- Possess the ability to deal with change, especially technology. Let’s face it. Change is going to happen, so embrace it. When I entered the workforce 30 years ago, there were no computers, no cell phones and no emails. I learned publishing and graphic design with a typesetter, exacto knife, bricks of wax and a drawing table. All of them are obsolete in this field because of a person named Steve Jobs who revolutionized the publishing and printing industry. I learned how to change, and I continue to deal with change, whether it is technology or organizational change.
- Possess the ability to process cultural changes. Whenever people ask the question, “Does time travel exist?” I say, “Absolutely!” For instance, attend any number of churches on Sunday and you will automatically be transported back in time. Why? Because many churches refuse to understand cultural shifts, or they ignore the cultural changes in their community. This is the same in any workplace. Be aware of cultural shifts and how it affects the entire organization. As a Southern Baptist denominational worker, cultural Christianity is changing rapidly. Whether the changes are good or bad, I need to be diligent in my awareness of those changes. If I continue to do ministry in the same way I did 10 years ago, I will quickly find myself irrelevant and unable to have a voice of leadership.
This is a fairly short list, so I’d like to ask you—what do you think will help distinguish you in today’s marketplace?